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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, December 20, 2019

230-304: The Crisis of the American System

ARRA News Service Editor's Note:
"Pelosi's Piss Poor Performance!"
by Newt Gingrich: On Wednesday 230 Democratic House members decided to repudiate the 304 electors who chose Donald Trump to be president.

Another way to think of it is that 230 House Democrats felt they had more of a right to decide who should be president than the 62,979,636 Americans who voted for President Trump. Apparently, in the Speaker Pelosi caucus, they thought each Democratic Congressman outweighed 273,824 Americans who voted for Trump. After all their nominee told them Trump voters were “deplorable.”

The Left wants to forget that President Trump actually won the Electoral College in a landslide, 304 to 227 for Hillary Clinton.

The Left prefers to emphasize that Secretary Clinton won the popular vote, but they always ignore the reality that outside of California President Trump had a 1,405,004 vote majority. So in 49 states, including all those in which they both competed, Trump got a majority. Only the huge margin in California, where Trump did not campaign, gave Clinton her claim to a majority.

In fact, there is every reason to believe that had popular vote been the key to victory, Trump would have campaigned in California and cut into Hillary’s margin.

Ironically, Donald Trump, the amateur in his first race, understood that under our Constitution winning the Electoral College was decisive and the popular vote was irrelevant. Secretary Clinton, who had been in politics her entire adult life, apparently forgot the Constitution’s emphasis on the Electoral College rather than the popular vote.

We now know that people began writing and talking about impeaching candidate Trump as early as April 2016, months before he won the election and was inaugurated.

If you look at the number of Democrats who were for impeaching President Trump before anyone knew anything about a Ukrainian phone call you know that impeachment was an event waiting for an excuse. The Ukrainian phone call did not lead to the impeachment movement. The impeachment movement had been looking for an excuse, and when Mueller’s Report collapsed without finding President Trump guilty of anything, the impeachers desperately looked for something they could use.

The impeachers found the Ukrainian phone call, the call did not find the impeachers.

The most sobering aspect of all this is the profound level of corruption, arrogance, and dishonesty which has infected the national establishment in general and the deep state, in particular.

This extraordinarily painful process for President Trump and his family may, in fact, be the beginning of a national exposure of dishonesty and corruption on a scale none of us would have thought possible.

The combination of Inspector General Horowitz’s report on malfeasance in the FBI; the fact that the report shows conclusively that Devin Nunes, the Republican House Intelligence Chairman told the truth and his successor, Adam Schiff consistently lied; Lee Smith’s book The Plot Against the President, written with the help of the House Intelligence Committee Republicans; the clear linkage of the establishment news media to the most dishonest and in many cases law-breaking elements of the deep state; the reports on over a decade of dishonesty from our government about the state of the conflict in Afghanistan; and the Federal Communications Commission report that major telephone companies lied about the amount of mobile coverage they provided rural America — again and again we are seeing the breakdown of the American system in ways that amount to a crisis of the entire establishment structure.

As the Democrats’ fake impeachment process further weakens both their own credibility and the credibility of the fake news media, the Left will have less and less ability to defend itself.

As the average American grows disgusted with feces in the streets of our major cities, schools that cannot prepare students to pass basic exams, communist district attorneys who believe they can pick and choose which laws to enforce and which lawbreakers to prosecute, the energy behind the rise of Trumpism is going to continue to grow.

The thousands in Michigan cheering the President were vastly more real and more important than the 230 Democratic House members Speaker Pelosi was lecturing to pretend to be solemn and not celebrate.

The Democrats have sewn the whirlwind, and in 2020 they will begin to reap it.
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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, 230-304, The Crisis, American System To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Federal Funding Finally Comes Together

by Tony Perkins: Earlier this year, it only took the new Democrat majority in the House of Representatives one day into the 116th Congress before they began to pick a fight over longstanding pro-life and pro-family policies in the annual appropriations process.

In a move to reopen the government after a 35-day partial shutdown, Appropriations Chairwomen Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) introduced a funding bill with language to repeal President Trump's Mexico City Policy, which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion providers overseas. This move was just the beginning of a year-long battle to maintain what are known as values provisions (defending life, family, and religious liberty) in the funding bills under the new divided government.

The Trump administration foresaw this impending battle. With the support of 169 House members and 49 senators, President Trump issued a letter to Speaker Pelosi threatening to veto any funding bill that would weaken his current pro-life policy. But even with this strong warning from the president, when the time came to begin working on 2020 appropriations bills, House Democrats did not delay in directly attacking pro-life and pro-family policies.

The House-passed versions of the many appropriations bills included radical provisions to allow funding for abortions in D.C., provide illegal immigrants a loophole to escape lawful deportation by claiming to be to lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and prohibit the government from enforcing federal law in states that have legalized marijuana. House Democrats cannot stand the great work of the Trump administration on the values issues -- they even added language to block implementation of the new Title X family Planning Rule, the Conscience Protection Rule, and the president's new military transgender policy.

While most of our work defending values issues was confined to the House, there were some issues that needed to be addressed in the Senate. Even an agreement last summer between leaders of both parties to not include "poison pill" policy changes in this year's appropriations bills did not preclude Democrats from trying to subvert protections for life and religious freedom.

Shortly thereafter, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) was able to sneak language into the State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill that would increase funding for organizations that promote abortion overseas and codify an Obama-era religious freedom-violating SOGI policy in an effort to exclude faith based organizations from contracting with the United States abroad. The "Shaheen Amendment" became quite a controversy over the past several months, and because the Democrats cannot help but push harmful, ideological policies, it threatened to derail the entire process and potentially lead to another government shutdown.

Fortunately, during the final negotiations between the House and Senate, Leader McConnell and McCarthy as well as Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and House Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-Texas) used their leverage to ensure that the values provisions were protected in the final appropriations bills Congress passed this week.

But this would not have been possible without the tireless work by many staffers from the pro-life caucuses and the Values Action Team, along with other values issues allies, to alert members of Congress and senators to the numerous issues littered throughout the appropriations bills. Throughout it all, the White House and Office of Management and Budget continued to hold the line to ensure that pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom polices were not sacrificed for other Republican priorities in these bills during negotiations.

This year's appropriations process shows that even in a divided Congress, a unified voice on values issues can effectively protect these priorities in the legislative process. All who took part in this coalition and the political leaders who took up the cause deserve to hear: Job well done!

As we move into the next year, let us continue to push for further advancement of the pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom policies that we all care about.

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Tony Perkins (@tperkins) 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, Federal Funding, Finally Comes Together To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Impeachment Day Somber For Arkansas' 4 Congressmen

. . . No joy in living through history, declares one
Frank E. Lockwood
by Frank E. Lockwood: While his colleagues debated the merits of impeaching President Donald Trump, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack sat in the Speaker's Lobby in the Capitol on Wednesday morning, quietly pondering the significance of the moment.

Scores of speeches, including his own, were yet to be delivered. A raft of roll call votes lay ahead.

"It is, by anyone's estimation, a very historic day," the Republican from Rogers said. "Our kids and our grandkids and their kids and grandkids will read about this day."

If historians adopt Womack's viewpoint, it will be remembered as a day of division.

"It's kind of hard to be upbeat and proud of this moment because I'm not," he said.

Womack, like the other three House members from Arkansas, had never wavered in his opposition to impeachment.

His vote was not in doubt Wednesday. Neither was the outcome.

"It's sad for me as an American to see the country continue to unravel to the party extremes and become so filled with disdain for each other, to allow ideological polarization to divide the body and divide the country. And that's where we are at this moment in time," he said.

"I believe in my country. As divided as we are, I believe we will land on our feet. We will overcome this," he said.

Back in Arkansas, as the final vote neared, Womack's Democratic opponent was also striking a somber tone.

"Today I grieve for our country; I find no joy in this vote," Celeste Williams said in a written statement.

Nonetheless, the Bella Vista-area nurse practitioner was unwavering in her support for removing the president.

"As a public servant, one must make hard choices, but the choice between blind partisanship and defending our democracy and constitution is clear," she said. "I believe using the power of the Presidency for one's own personal gain -- and trying to cover that up -- is an impeachable offense. No one is above the law."

On Capitol Hill, there was no suspense about the end result. Only the precise timing of the vote was uncertain.

"I think it's, unfortunately, a foregone conclusion," said U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, a Republican from Hot Springs.

He'd stayed up late Tuesday reading a copy of Federalist 65, he said.

"I've tried to get as educated as I can on the issue," Westerman said.

Written by Alexander Hamilton in 1788, it had warned that impeachment proceedings "will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused."

"In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt," Hamilton had written, lines that Westerman had pondered and later paraphrased.

After sleeping briefly, he'd risen early, arriving at the House gym at 5:30 a.m., a half-hour or so before Womack.

As the vote approached, "I'm getting a lot of encouraging texts and emails and things like that from friends and constituents back home," Westerman said.

Family had also weighed in, he said.

"One of my kids sent me a text and said 'People are going to be mad no matter how you vote today, but I still love you,'" he added.

While he waited for the final vote, Westerman said he was staying busy, meeting with staff members, going over next year's priorities and working on new health care legislation he hopes to introduce soon.

The impeachment campaign had been harmful to the president and the nation he leads, Westerman said.

"I don't think that the country deserves this and I don't think he's being treated fairly in the process," he said.

U.S. Rep. French Hill also arrived early.

"It's been a pretty busy day," the Little Rock Republican said, with the impeachment vote still more than three hours away.

In addition to voting, without success, to table impeachment, he had also met with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The chairman and Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee had discussed cryptocurrency, digital dollars and the repo market, Hill said.

The schedule also included a visit with the Albanian ambassador to the United States. Floreta Falber and Hill talked about the two nations' economic relationship as well as a "horrific earthquake" that recently did devastating damage there.

Hill had sent Faber a note of concern after learning of the disaster.

Unlike scores of his colleagues, Hill had no intention of delivering a speech Wednesday.

He'd already delivered a floor speech, in October, denouncing the impeachment inquiry. In it, he accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of turning "a blind eye and a deaf ear to fairness and precedent." He had also called on the Democratic majority "to put aside partisanship and pointless attacks and get back to work."

Rather than reiterating what he'd already said, Hill said he would release a written statement laying out his concerns.

Released Wednesday evening, it said, among other things, that the case for impeachment "is not overwhelming and not supported by even the selected leaks and one-sided testimony" orchestrated by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Hill's Democratic opponent, state Sen. Joyce Elliott of Little Rock, issued a statement saying she expected "every person in Congress to do their job. I expect them to live up to the oath they swore, to protect our country and to ensure that no one is above the law."

It didn't say, however, whether she wanted Trump to be impeached and removed from office.

Reached by phone, Elliott expressed confidence in those who serve to make the right decision, but didn't take a firm position for or against impeachment.

"I assume, you know, if I were there, I think with the information that I have seen, I would most likely be on the side of supporting it. But what I'm careful to say is I'm not there. I'm not hearing all the information. I want to be fair to people because that is how I conduct myself in Arkansas and I've got to respect the people who are there and get all the information and make that decision," she said.

The fourth member from Arkansas, U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford watched much of Wednesday's debate from his House office. A cinnamon-scented candle, sitting on his desk, slowly melted away as the speeches dragged on for hours.

Feedback, from northeast Arkansas, continued to be pro-Trump, he said.

"I'm getting text messages from home and phone calls, predominantly opposing impeachment. Certainly the text messages I receive reflect that. This just is not playing very well at home," he said.

The Republican from Jonesboro portrayed the entire proceeding as an attempt to undo the results of the 2016 presidential election.

The day's speeches weren't causing him to reconsider, he said.

"Where is the underlying crime? Where is the high crime, misdemeanor, bribery, treason? It doesn't exist," he said. "The arguments that the Democrats are making, they're just not valid."

"I mean, it's clear that they dislike the president and I get that," Crawford said.

But there's an obligation, he said, to respect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

"This is not about a blind loyalty to the president," he said. "This is about a loyalty to the Constitution."

Trump beat the Democrats in 2016 and he's going to beat them again in 2020, Crawford predicted.

"He's very well liked. He's going to get reelected in a landslide," Crawford added.
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Frank E. Lockwood is a Washington correspondent writing for ArkansasOnline.com which part of The Arkansas Democrat Gazette. (Shared via the Fair Use Doctrine)

Tags: Bruce Westerman, Steve Womack, Rick Crawford, President Donald Trump, House Financial Services Committee, Arkansas, Capitol Hill, House Intelligence Committee, Jerome Powell, Joyce Elliott, Celeste Williams To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Sens. Boozman, Cotton Lean Against Impeachment

by Times Record Staff: Arkansas’ two U.S. Senators are leaning against an impeachment vote, but are taking the issue seriously as jurors.

Both U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton have indicated their support for President Trump in an impending impeachment trial.

“Senator Boozman believes that nothing he has seen so far rises to the level of an impeachable offense,” a spokesman for the senator wrote by email Wednesday. “The fact that his Republican colleagues in the House have all echoed the same sentiment further reinforces that view for him. He has been concerned from the onset that the Speaker took a very partisan approach to appease her party’s base, with the predictable result of further dividing the country.

“Senator Boozman takes his responsibilities as a juror very seriously as this moves forward to a Senate trial, but he remains skeptical that the articles of impeachment considered by the House merit removal given House Democrats’ intentions and the unconvincing public case they have made so far.”

A spokesman for Cotton pointed to a Dec. 3 interview with Hugh Hewitt at HughHewitt.com.

Womack’s response

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, issued the following statement Wednesday evening following his speech on the House floor against impeachment.

“Today is a sad day for our country and the people’s House,” Womack said. “Instead of fighting for priorities that will make a difference in the lives of American families, House Democrats have focused a majority of their agenda on this impeachment moment. It has consumed them since the hour they learned the results of the 2016 election. It’s exactly why we witnessed an inquiry driven by politics, hearsay, and a pre-determined outcome — not one rooted in fairness or facts. And, for the first time in history, impeachment is expected to move forward with a party-line vote. Although this process is likely to end in the Senate, some Democrats have already stated that it won’t stop their work to remove a duly-elected President. It’s yet another signal that the intent has always been political. I regret that these actions have further divided our nation and blocked progress on issues that contribute to the strength of Arkansas and America. I truly hope that we can move forward, remember the many things that unite us, and get back to bridging the gap on the numerous challenges facing our nation.”

Westerman’s statement
U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman issued the following statement on Wednesday night.

“This is the day Democrats have been planning since the American people duly elected President Trump. Over the past few months, the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees have neglected legislative work and instead spent taxpayer dollars handpicking witnesses and hearing secondhand testimony. Adam Schiff’s closed-door hearings allowed him to selectively leak information that fit his narrative. Judiciary Committee’s only witnesses were law school professors and congressional staff. Democrats’ original claims of bribery didn’t even make it into the final articles of impeachment.

“Over and over, House Democrats have proved this is a sham process. It’s been an ever-changing narrative, dictated by primetime ratings and whatever happened to be polling well that day. For these and many other reasons, I voted against the articles of impeachment. This is one of the most serious and divisive tools Congress can use, and every other presidential impeachment had bipartisan support throughout. In this case, the only bipartisan votes have been cast against impeachment proceedings.

“Alexander Hamilton said it best in 1788, when writing Federalist No. 65: ‘In many cases it [impeachment] will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.’ We should all be concerned about the damage these antics do to our Republic.

“I hope now that this vote is behind us Congress can focus on working for the people, and take up initiatives like fixing our health care, reforming forest management and lowering prescription drug costs.”

“You know, in 1998, there was a unanimous resolution to structure the Clinton impeachment trial. I’m not sure that that’s going to be the case in today’s Senate,” Cotton said in the interview. “But if they send articles of impeachment over here, I think we’ll take a careful look at them ... But I also believe the President also wants to actually put on a genuine defense of his actions. That’s what I’ve heard from him, you know, in his public statements and from my conversations with people in the White House, that he views the Senate as a place where he can actually get a fair proceeding to present the evidence and arguments in his defense, unlike the star chamber in the House.”
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H/T the Boonsville Democrat.

Tags: Senators, John Boozman, Tom Cotton, Lean Against Impeachment, Times staff, Boonsville Democrat, Arkansas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

CT Joins The Leftist Mob, Happy Chanukah

by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: CT Joins The Leftist Mob
My wife and I attended a holiday party last night where we were blessed to have the opportunity to talk with many Christian heroes and luminaries, including Dr. James Dobson and Reverend Franklin Graham. There were many Christians serving in government there as well at Vice President Mike Pence's home, including Justice Clarence Thomas.

It was an encouraging time, and a reminder of all the battles that have been raging for decades in which we all did the best we could as followers of Jesus Christ.

As Carol and I were returning home we heard the news that Christianity Today's (CT) editor-in-chief, Mark Galli, had just released an editorial entitled, "Trump Should Be Removed From Office."

This once respected publication, which Billy Graham helped to launch, has just thrown its lot in with the aggressively secular, abortion on demand movement that has spent the last 20 years trying to rip America out of the rich soil of our Judeo-Christian heritage. Some Christmas present to their subscribers. Shame on them!

Franklin Graham was quick to react. In a lengthy Facebook post, Graham revealed that the last vote his father cast was for Donald Trump. Graham wrote:

"My father knew Donald Trump, he believed in Donald Trump, and he voted for Donald Trump. He believed that Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation."

Graham added this impeachment sham was "politically motivated, 100% partisan," and he blasted CT, writing, "It's obvious that Christianity Today has moved to the left and is representing the elitist liberal wing of evangelicalism."

Graham is absolutely right. Five paragraphs into the anti-Trump editorial -- there's no other way to put it -- CT engaged in a bald-face lie. It wrote: "But the facts in this instance [the Ukrainian phone call] are unambiguous."

No they are not. That's why legal scholars, members of Congress and the American people are divided about the phone call.

What follows in the editorial is a description of the call, which, if I did not know better, I would swear had been written by Nancy Pelosi or Adam Schiff. I will not poison your mind by quoting it because you have heard similar things over and over again by far left fanatics who hate everything that Donald Trump believes and, by the way, that Christianity Today claims to believe.

The editorial later asserts that they are "agnostic" about whether Trump should be removed by the Senate or at the ballot box in the next election. But it declares that he should be removed out of "loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments."

So, Christianity Today just endorsed a Democrat presidential candidate whose name we do not know yet. Whether that nominee is a class warfare candidate like Sanders or Warren, who uses envy to attack successful people, or Pete Buttigieg, who is committed to normalizing the homosexual political agenda, or whether it's a resurrected Hillary Clinton, that candidate is CT's choice in 2020.

Any Democrat candidate will be totally committed to abortion on demand, to taxpayer subsidies of abortion, to the restriction of religious liberty and very likely anti-Israel. In short, everything that the Creator of the Ten Commandments, as CT put it, would abhor.

Here's some breaking news for CT: No election involves a sinner running against a saint. All candidates are sinners. All the voters who vote for them have sinned. In the real world, most elections are a binary choice between fallen human beings who are willing to defend certain values and oppose other values.

Donald Trump has boldly taken the side of believing Christians on every major public policy issue: our freedom of religion, the humanity of the unborn child, that liberty comes from God, and many, many more.

On the day CT printed this editorial, 13 more judicial nominees who will defend our values, nominated by President Trump, advanced in the Senate over the objections of progressives CT wants to see back in power next November.

Years ago, when I was a senior vice president at Focus on the Family, Dr. James Dobson and I were often in the foxhole together battling the left. We were also trying to alert the church about what was coming down the road.

I don't remember a day when the attacks by the left, often involving death threats, ever caused Dr. Dobson and I to waver or get depressed or to think of giving up.

But there were days we would get letters from churches upset that we had criticized their deacon who happened to run the local abortion clinic. There were days when publications like CT, claiming to speak for the church, said we were being "alarmist" and that Christians should not be involved in politics at all. Those days depressed both of us more than anything else.

Dr. Dobson never stopped fighting, and I haven't either. But today, I will confess to you is a tough day when you're fending off blows from Pelosi and progressive activists, and suddenly all the reporters in Washington are calling, eagerly wanting to talk to me because CT just took the side of the radical secular left.

Please, my friends, take a moment today to pray for all the Christians involved in government and in the public policy debate – Vice President Pence, Justice Thomas, Franklin Graham, and yes, the president too. I would also covet your prayers for myself and my family.

If you could also take this opportunity to invest in my work at American Values, as we get ready for what will be a brutal year ahead, that would be a fantastic blessing on this particularly troubling day.

Happy Chanukah
Carol and I extend our warmest wishes to all our Jewish friends and supporters. As an evangelical Christian, I have tremendous respect and admiration for the Jewish faith and the state of Israel.

As the celebration of the miracle of lights begins Sunday, I promise to continue to fight against the darkness of anti-Semitism and to work for the safety and security of America's friend and ally Israel.
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Gary Bauer (@GaryLBauer)  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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Buttigieg Would Compensate, Fast Track Citizenship for Illegal Minors Separated from Families

by Melanie Arter: Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said Thursday that he’s for compensating illegal immigrant children separated from their families at the border, and on top of that, he would fast track U.S. citizenship for them.

“You said last month that the U.S. owes compensation to children separated from their families at the southern border. The consensus among child welfare workers is that they will suffer lifelong trauma as a result of that separation. Are you committing as president to financial compensation for those thousands of children?” Buttigieg was asked at the PBS NewsHour POLITICO Democratic presidential debate in Los Angeles, Calif.


“Yes,” Buttigieg said, “and they should have a fast track to citizenship because what the United States did under this president to them was wrong. We have a moral obligation to make right what was broken, and on the larger issue of immigration, my understanding of this issue isn't theoretical.

“It’s not something I formed in committee rooms in Washington. It begins with the fact that my household, my family, came from abroad. My father immigrated to this country and became a U.S. citizen. It comes from the fact that I'm the mayor of a city where neighborhoods that were left for dying are coming back largely due to the contributions mainly of Latino immigrants,” he said.

I’ve seen neighbors shut down, families huddling in church, panicking just because of a rumor of an ice raid. It did not make our country safe,” Buttigieg said.

“To look into the eyes of an eight-year-old boy whose father was deported even though he had nothing so much as a traffic ticket against his name and try to think of something to tell that boy because I couldn't tell him what he most wanted to hear, which is just that he was going to have his dad back,” the mayor said.

“How can harming that young man possibly make America safe? When I am president, based on those experiences, I will make sure that this is a country of laws and of values, and that means not only ending these unspeakable, cruel practices at the border but finally and truly fixing the immigration problem that has needed a full overhaul since the 1980s. We cannot wait four years, 10 years. We cannot wait anymore to do something,” he said.

Buttigieg was also asked whether he supports reparations for the descendants of slaves.

“I support H.R. 40, which is the bill that has been proposed in Congress to establish a commission to look at reparations, but we shouldn't wait for that commission to do its work to do things that are reparative. Remember, we're not talking about a gift to anybody. We're talking about mending what was broken,” the mayor said.

“We're talking about the generational theft of the wealth of generations of African-Americans. And just crossing out a racist policy and replacing it with a neutral one is not enough to deliver equality. Harms compound, just like a dollar saved in its value compounds over time. So does the value of a dollar stolen, and that is why the United States must act immediately with investments in minority-owned businesses, with investments in health equity, with investments in HBCUs, and on the longer-term, a look at reparations so that we can mend what has been broken,” he said.
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Melanie Arter (@ladaisia) has been with CNSNews.com since November 2000. She is Senior Editor and White House Correspondent.

Tags: Melanie Arter, CNSNews.com, Democratic presidential candidate, South Bend Mayor, Pete Buttigieg, would compensate, fast track citizenship, Illegal Minors, separated from families To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

'One-Nation' Conservatism Wins Again in Britain

Michael Barone
by Michael Barone: Last week the world's second-oldest political party showed, and not for the first time, its capacity to regenerate itself and win an impressive majority in difficult circumstances.

That's a reference to the victory of the Conservative Party in Britain's Dec. 12 general election, in which it won a 365-seat majority in the 650-member House of Commons -- about which I wrote at considerable length earlier this week.

The resilience of the Conservative Party should not come as a total surprise to those who know that it is older than our Republican Party and just a dozen years less longstanding than our Democrats. Our parties' persistence is the subject of my recent book, "How America's Political Parties Change (And How They Don't)."

Some think the Conservative Party even older, tracing it back to the Tories who combatted the Whigs in the elections of 1679 and 1681 (both names were insults). But I follow its leading historian, Robert Blake, in dating it to 1846, when Benjamin Disraeli led a rebellion against then-Prime Minister Robert Peel's embrace of free trade.

Disraeli, the Anglican son of a Jewish writer, believed the party should be guided by the great English landowners and the established Church of England yet, at the same time, could be the voice of the patriotic people of England, Scotland and Ireland.

For two decades, he labored in the political wilderness. When he finally climbed the "greasy pole" (his phrase, in one of his novels) to reach No. 10 Downing Street in 1868, he immediately extended the franchise to the working class.

Conservatives have led British government most of the time since Disraeli's premiership -- a longer dominance than that of either Republicans or Democrats. A party with roots in ancient institutions of blood, faith and empire has governed industrial and post-industrial Britain for 68 of the last 100 years.

How has a party of aristocratic lineage managed to do this? By adapting to circumstance, by maintaining party discipline, by an internal culture of vicious rivalry and willingness to poleaxe political colleagues. And one other thing: In one of his novels, a Disraeli character described Britain as "two nations -- the rich and the poor." Disraeli the politician proclaimed a "one-nation" Conservatism, a theme explicitly revived by his triumphant successor Boris Johnson.

Some Conservative leaders have been aristocrats themselves. The Marquis of Salisbury (PM from 1886-92 and 1895-1902) was descended from the William Cecil who served Queen Elizabeth I, and Winston Churchill (1940-45, 1951-55) from the 1st Duke of Marlborough, ennobled by Queen Anne. Others have risen from modest backgrounds. Margaret Thatcher's (1979-90) father was a grocer and John Major's (1990-97) a music hall performer. The posh education -- Eton and Oxford -- of David Cameron (2010-16) and newly elected Boris Johnson, once common among Conservative politicians, is now an exception, not the rule.

As a resilient party must, Conservatives have sometimes made wrenching changes. They have switched back and forth on trade at least three times and switched abruptly from Neville Chamberlain's appeasement to Winston Churchill's "never surrender" in 1940. They built public housing projects under Harold Macmillan and sold them off to tenants under Margaret Thatcher.

These policy switches were not smooth. The internal culture of the Conservative Party is cutthroat, with many members constantly plotting the political downfall of others. Churchill was opposed by Chamberlain-admiring backbenchers, and Thatcher was harried by "wets" within and outside her cabinets. Since 1988, the party has been deeply split between enthusiasts for the "ever-closer union" of the European Union and Euroskeptics determined to assert Britain's independence.

Now the Euroskeptics have utterly prevailed. For three years, Europhile Conservatives blocked legislation implementing the Brexit 17.4 million Britons voted for, but this fall, Boris Johnson abruptly expelled from the party former "Big Beasts" who opposed his "get Brexit done" policies, and insisted that all 632 Conservative candidates (the party doesn't run candidates in the 18 Northern Ireland seats) back his plan.

Conservatives won pro-Brexit seats in the Midlands and North of England that had been held by the Labour Party for decades. Voters there were appalled by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's softness on terrorism and hostility to patriotism. For the first time, DE voters (blue-collar and unemployed) gave Conservatives a big margin over Labour.

This confounds the confident predictions, made by elite observers since Tony Blair's 1997 and 2001 triumphs, that rising numbers of immigrant voters and a newly woke young generation would permanently consign the Conservatives to second place. And they have lost some ground in the vitriolic, anti-Brexit London and in university towns.

But that's more than offset by whopping gains among the patriotic working and middle classes. Under Boris Johnson, the 150-year-old formula of One-Nation Conservatism has prevailed once again.
---------------------------
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.

Tags: Michael Barone, editorial, Rasmussen Reports, 'One-Nation' Conservatism, Wins Again, Britain To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Is Impeachment Backfiring on Democrats?

by Patrick Buchanan: The message sent by Pelosi’s call for more time before the trial, and Schumer’s call for more witnesses, is one of fear that not only could the House’s case for impeachment fail, it could be laughed out of the Senate. And the American people might be fine with that.

“We’re gonna impeach the (expletive deleted).”

Thus did the member from Michigan, Rashida Tlaib, declare last January to be the goal of the 2019 House Democratic Caucus.

Wednesday night, Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered the goods.

The House impeached President Donald Trump on a straight party-line vote. Not one Republican signed on to the most partisan impeachment in U.S. history.

Yet, as we head for trial in the Senate, Democrats seem to be having nervous second thoughts over what they have done.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the Senate to subpoena four new witnesses the House never heard. Nancy Pelosi signaled Wednesday night that she might not send over to the Senate the articles of impeachment the House had just approved.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor both Wednesday night and Thursday morning. To have the Senate, which is judge and jury of the impeachment charges, to start calling witnesses whom House prosecutors failed to pursue “could set a nightmarish precedent.”

Said McConnell, Schumer “would apparently like our chamber to do House Democrats’ homework for them.”

Schumer’s plea for new witnesses is an admission that the House’s case for impeaching Trump is inadequate and deficient and could prove wholly noncredible to the American people. After all, if you need more witnesses, you probably do not have the smoking gun.

The message sent by Pelosi’s call for more time before the trial, and Schumer’s call for more witnesses, is one of fear that not only could the House’s case for impeachment fail, it could be laughed out of the Senate. And the American people might be fine with that.

The Democratic Party has bet the ranch on the impeachment and removal of Trump for imperiling our “national security.” But are Schumer and Pelosi behaving as though the republic is in mortal peril?

Schumer’s call for new witnesses also underscores the thinness of Article I of the impeachment, Trump’s alleged “Abuse of Power.”

Beneath Article I, there is not a single crime listed — no treason, no bribery, no extortion, no high crimes.

What kind of impeachment is this, with not one crime from the list the Founding Fathers designated as impeachable acts?

Why did the Democratic House not impeach Trump for conspiring with Russia to steal the 2016 election? Answer: The House could no more prove this charge than could Robert Mueller after two years.

Other events are breaking Trump’s way.

The James Comey-FBI investigation Mueller inherited has begun to take on the aspect of a “deep state” conspiracy.

According to the Justice Department’s IG Michael Horowitz, the FISA court warrants used to justify FBI spying were the products not only of incompetence but also of mendacity and possible criminality.

The “essential” evidence use by the FBI to get the FISA judge to approve warrants for surveillance was the Steele dossier.

An ex-British spy, Christopher Steele was working in mid-2016 for a dirt-diving operation hired by the DNC and Clinton campaign to go after Trump. His altarpiece, the dossier, we learn from Horowitz, was a farrago of fabrications, rumors and lies fed to Steele by a Russian “sub-source.”

In the four FBI submissions to the FISA courts for warrants to spy on Carter Page, there were “at least 17 significant errors or omissions.”

And all 17 went against Team Trump.

Moreover, the discrediting of the Comey investigation has just begun. U.S. Attorney John Durham will report this spring or summer on his deeper and wider investigation into its roots.

As IG of Justice, Horowitz’s investigation was confined to his department and the FBI. But Durham is looking into the involvement of U.S. and foreign intelligence in the first days of the FBI investigation.

Attorney General Bill Barr and Durham have both said that they do not share Horowitz’s view that there was no political bias at the beginning of the investigation of the Trump campaign. Durham’s writ is far wider than Horowitz’s and he has the power to impanel grand juries and bring criminal indictments.

Among the fields Durham is plowing are reports that agents and assets of the FBI and CIA may have “set up” Trump foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos. Possible purpose: to feed him intel about Russia having dirt on Hillary Clinton, and then entrap him, put him in legal jeopardy, and turn him into an investigative instrument to be used against Trump.

With the Horowitz report confirming what the Trumpers have been reporting and saying about Comey’s investigation for years, and the newly proven manipulation of the FISA courts, the media hooting about “right-wing conspiracy theories” seems to have been toned down.

Carter Page, once considered a dupe of the Russians, is now seen as a patriot who assisted his country’s intelligence services only to be made a victim of injustice who saw his civil rights be trampled upon by his own government.

The cards appear to be falling Trump’s way.
--------------------
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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Chicken Pelosi . . .

. . . The House Speaker declines to move her impeachment clown show to the Senate.
by Lloyd Billingsley: Wednesday night, House Democrats passed two articles of impeachment against President Trump. According to the U.S. Constitution, the articles then move on to the Senate for a trial. At this writing, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding off, and that provides time for review.

As President Trump and others have pointed out, the quest for impeachment began when Donald Trump was still a candidate, confirmed by the Washington Post on inauguration day. That has now been established beyond reasonable doubt, but the story goes back much farther.

Progressives believe they are wiser than the deplorable masses and destined to bring in the utopian state. This has all been predetermined by history, so if the progressive candidate loses, the winner must have stolen the election. In the case of 2016, another dynamic is in play.

The president formerly known as Barry Soetoro had eight years to transform the United States into a different kind of country. In his vision, drawn from experience in Indonesia and the beloved Communist Frank Marshall Davis, the president selects his successor. So POTUS 44 deployed Deep State allies in the DOJ, FBI and CIA, including Gus Hall voter John Brennan, to clear Hillary Clinton of crimes and keep her in the race.

When she lost, the Deep State troops launched the insurance policy, using a DNC-funded fake dossier to gain FISA warrants and frame Trump as a Putin toady and Russian agent. That plot has raged for three years but came up empty on facts and the IG report has now shot it down. With U.S. Attorney John Durham conducting a criminal investigation, Democrats targeted Trump, as Rep. Rashida Tlaib proclaimed, “we’re gonna impeach the motherfucker.”

Nancy Pelosi once claimed to oppose impeachment, but in regal style proclaimed le congrès c’est moi and ordered an impeachment inquiry without a House vote. Intelligence committee boss Adam Schiff conducted a show-trial in which the co-conspirator he called a “whistleblower” failed to show and a squad of State Department drones defied satire. As this clown show wrapped, IG Michael Horowitz blew the whistle on FISA fraud that empowered the hoax.

The fact-proof Pelosi, who has called the president an imposter while claiming to pray for him, proceeded with the impeachment vote. The carefully coiffed Speaker, 79, showed up Wednesday solemnly decked out in black. To Democrats’ undisguised delight, the House voted 230-197 on abuse of power and 229 on obstruction of Congress. Still, Pelosi did not get everything she wanted.

Three Democrats declined to vote for impeachment, including Tulsi Gabbard, recently branded a Russian asset by Hillary Clinton. No Republicans voted for impeachment but some made the best of the occasion.

“This is the first time in history a president will be impeached without a single allegation of criminality,” noted Rep. Doug Collins. “I am about to say something my Democrat colleagues hate to hear,” said California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, “Donald J. Trump is President of the United States. He is President today. He will be President tomorrow. And he will be President when this impeachment is over.

During the House session, President Trump was in Michigan, thanking the voters, hailing the healthy economy, and not holding back on the Democrat impeachers, the fake news, and liars like James Comey. As the president said, “Did I do a great job when I fired his ass?” The Michigan crowd sure thought so.

On Thursday, Nancy Pelosi defended her decision to back off on sending impeachment articles to the Senate. The Speaker called Sen. Mitch McConnell a “rogue leader” and rattled on about “the process” in the Senate and “the number of managers that we may have to go forward, and who we would choose.” Trouble is, as judge Andrew Napolitano pointed out, the Senate makes the rules and has never proceeded with an impeachment trial if the House fails to send over the articles.

According to Eric Trump, the Democrats’ true articles were 1) We didn’t win in 2016 and 2) We can’t win in 2020. For his part, Donald Trump told the Michigan crowd “I’m not worried,” but Michael Finch advanced some reasons for concern. “The establishment of the GOP may just make the backroom deals,” Finch warned, “and rationalize that this is their opportunity to take the party back from the usurper Trump.”

That establishment includes Sen. Mitt Romney, who as the Republican candidate in 2012 claimed that illegals would “self-deport.” Romney lost to a phony and a fraud but used those words for Donald Trump in 2016. The Senate trial could be overseen by Chief Justice John Roberts, a Bush nominee and the ultimate enabler of Obamacare, the statist atrocity Trump is steadily demolishing. With a cast like that, anything is possible.

At this writing, Chicken Pelosi declines to place her longstanding impeachment production in the theater of the Senate. Republicans are united and Trump is moving full speed toward November, 2020, less than a year down the road. As the president says, we’ll have to see what happens.
---------------------
Lloyd Billingsley writes for FrontPage Mag. He is the author of Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation, recently updated, and Hollywood Party: Stalinist Adventures in the American Movie IndustryBill of Writes: Dispatches from the Political Correctness Battlefield

Tags: Lloyd Billingsley, Chicken Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker declines, to move her impeachment clown show, to the Senate To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Pelosi's Impeachment Articles 'Quid Pro Quo'

. . . House Speaker refuses to send articles of impeachment to Senate over "fairness" concerns.
by Thomas Gallatin: While Senate Republicans were busy approving 12 more of President Donald Trump’s judicial appointments, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi added another slice of baloney to the Democrats’ sham impeachment. Pelosi broke from the Constitution and announced that she would not send the articles of impeachment to the Senate “until we see what the process is on the Senate side.” She complained, “So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us.”

Of course, there was nothing “fair” to see on the House side.

The Constitution clearly states that the House has “the sole power of impeachment” but gives the Senate “the sole power to try all impeachments.” Pelosi is trying to game the system in order to perpetuate the false narrative that it is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans who will not hold a fair trial – thus, Trump must be guilty. She’s demanding that, as speaker of the House, she dictate how the Senate runs its impeachment trial before she sends over the House impeachment articles. That’s unconstitutional, but our Constitution is just a speed bump on the Democrat agenda highway.

As Mark Alexander observed, “Pelosi is demanding certain conditions be met before she will release the articles of impeachment…so, a quid pro quo?”

It’s obvious that Pelosi and company have been planning this delay tactic for some time. She’s running interference for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, hoping to damage Senate Republicans enough to win back that chamber for Democrats come November.

Pelosi will likely hold off on sending the articles of impeachment through at least the holidays and maybe well into January. Will her gamble pay off? Only if McConnell and Senate Republicans fail to expose and resist the Democrats’ fraudulent “fairness” game.

Fortunately, Republicans won’t acquiesce. In fact, McConnell is already calling the Dems’ bluff: “The House’s conduct risks deeply damaging the institutions of American government. This particular House of Representatives has let its partisan rage at this particular president create a toxic new precedent that will echo into the future. … This case is not compelling, not overwhelming, and as a result, not bipartisan. … And it was made even more clear last night, when Speaker Pelosi suggested that House Democrats may be too afraid to even transmit their work product to the Senate. The prosecutors are getting cold feet in front of the entire country and second-guessing whether they even want to go to trial.” He later astutely noted, “They said impeachment was so urgent that it could not even wait for due process, but now they’re content to sit on their hands. It is comical.”

Finally, an interesting fact that will likely become a big talking point for Trump and Republicans should Pelosi continue her stalling tactic: The president is not officially impeached until the House delivers its articles of impeachment to the Senate. So, as things currently stand, Trump hasn’t yet been impeached.
------------------
Thomas Gallatin is a Features Editor at The Patriot Post.

Tags: Thomas Gallatin, Patriot Post, Pelosi's Impeachment Articles, 'Quid Pro Quo' To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Here’s Your Sign . . .

. . . For the past fifty-plus years, environmentalist have been saying we only have 12 years before life is over on planet earth.

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: AF Branco, Editorial Cartoon, Here’s Your Sign To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Charter Schools

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: Many of the Democratic presidential candidates have been critical of charter schools, and you might wonder why. After all, they are public schools and have a relatively good track record.

David Osborne, writing in the Wall Street Journal, documents some of the charges made against charter schools. Senator Elizabeth Warren argues that these schools “strain the resources of school districts.” Senator Bernie Sanders also says that the growth of charter schools “has drained funding from the public-school system.” This is interesting since the only difference between charter schools and other public schools is the fact that they can operate independently of district bureaucracies.

Of course, that is the real reason. Osborne reminds us that no interest group has more clout in Democratic primaries than teacher unions. “In the last presidential election, the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association combined spent $64 million.” Charter schools are free to unionize but rarely do. Only about 11 percent of them chose to do so. As the charter school movement grows, union influence shrinks.

Charter schools are quite successful and provide an alternative to millions of students (two-thirds of which are non-white). “Graduation rates, college-going rates, and college completion rates are also higher among students who enroll in charter schools.”

There is another benefit: competition. We don’t have true school choice and won’t get it any time soon. But the presence of charter schools does provide some competition to the public schools. It encourages school leaders and teachers to improve their schools so they are more attractive to parents wanting to give their children the best education they can receive.

Charter schools don’t deserve the criticism they are receiving these days from many of these candidates.
----------------
Kerby Anderson (@kerbyanderson) is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network (@PointofViewRTS) and is endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service.

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A Flip-Flop, Not an Echo

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: “If I’m President, Betsy DeVos’s whole notion [of school choice], from charter schools to this, are gone.”

That’s what Joe Biden, presidential candidate, had to say this December at an education forum.

Charter schools are K-12 schools that are publicly funded but managed semi-independently— not by the standard educational bureaucracy. Biden’s repudiation represents a break with the Obama administration, which had voiced support for charter schools.

One reason for Obama’s support may have been that so many Democratic voters, like other voters, want an alternative to standard public schools.

According to a survey conducted by Beck Research, 56 percent of Democrats “favor the concept of school choice,” with “school choice” understood to mean giving parents “the right to use tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school which best serves their needs.”

Once upon a time, Biden supported greater educational opportunity — explicitly, not just tacitly as a member of the Obama administration. But now he slams charter schools for taking money from public schools. (But in a different way from how public schools take money from taxpayers.) More and more, this man’s “moderation” seems indistinguishable from opposition to any even halting expansion of our freedom.

Andrew Cuff of the Commonwealth Foundation suggests that a Democratic presidential candidate who advocates school choice will gain an edge over his competitors — given the popularity of school choice among Democratic voters.

How about it, Joe? Flip-flop again.

But this time in favor of freedom.

And better education.

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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Pension Crisis: Grassley, Alexander seek to tackle forecasted union pension collapse

by Rick Manning: Our nation’s pension systems are in trouble. Underfunded with outsized promises to beneficiaries who are living longer, the death rattles of the defined benefit pension system, which promises a fixed amount of money per month for retirees, are now audible.

There are many facets of this problem and I will focus upon the four distinct groups of defined benefit plan beneficiaries. Note those who have their retirement funds in 401(k) accounts are not included in this discussion because the pension payments for those are dependent upon the amount in the actual accounts rather than on promises based upon fantasy future projections.

The first, and most obvious, is the Social Security recipient. Social Security is a defined benefit promise to people who paid into the program and were promised an annuity-like payment depending upon the amount paid in, and the number of years worked. Social Security faces two major problems which lead to projections of insolvency in 2035. The first is the retirement of the huge baby boomer generation who are at the midway point in entering the system, creating a massive drain on resources. The second is that someone who is eligible for Social Security at age 62 this year is projected to live to 84 years of age on average. This means that if that person entered the workforce at the age of 18 years old, they will have worked for 44 years, and would be likely to collect Social Security for 22 years. This is far longer than was anticipated when the monthly payment amounts were promised.

The second is the private sector, non-union employee who was promised a pension after reaching some combination of age and years worked. Payments from these pension plans are “safeguarded at 55% of payments” by the federal government’s Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). These pensions suffer from the same challenges as Social Security with an additional layer of potential underfunding by the employer along with employer bankruptcies which end money flowing into the pension while leaving all the liabilities. While most pension funds are not in bad shape, enough are projected to be in trouble that the PBGC consistently warns Congress that they face catastrophic shortfalls should a wave of corporate failures occur.

The third group are public employees who typically have a pension fund and promised returns that are politically driven with the expectation that taxpayers will continue to be compelled to pay higher and higher taxes due to the political influence of public employee unions. This system is on the brink of failure in many states like Illinois, and another column will be devoted exclusively to this public policy problem.

The fourth grouping, which is the primary subject of this column is the pension promise made to private sector union, multi-employer pension plan (MEPP) retirees, who through some fault of their own, find themselves facing potential massive cuts in their pension payments due not only to the same demographic factors challenging all defined benefit plans, but also due in part to the decision made by lawmakers of both political parties to outsource union heavy industries like steel oversees. With fewer and fewer domestic steelmakers, those steelworker union members found themselves with pension promises and no one paying the premiums.

In other circumstances, over a long period of time, the contract negotiations between the unions and the companies focused upon wages and health care, while giving short shrift to the future pension needs. Union negotiators knew that pensions were tied to wages, so they were pushing pension costs higher through every wage increase, but failed to negotiate for additional funds to be paid into the pension plan. What’s more, in many cases, the amount of employee contributions into the pension was negligible, and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

The Society of Human Resources Managers reports that 114 multi-employer pension plans impacting 1.3 million workers are projected to fail within the next 20 years. Of these, one dwarfs the rest, the Teamsters Central States pension fund which a whopping $18 billion in unfunded liabilities affecting almost 400,000 people is projected to go bust in the next couple of years.

And since every year of delay in meeting this pension time bomb means exponentially higher costs downstream, Congress feels some urgency to meet the private sector pension problem now rather than to make it much more expensive downstream.

Toward that end, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) have draft legislation which seeks to undergird the pension system now to protect taxpayers from being saddled with a massive bailout in the future. The Multiemployer Pension Recapitalization and Reform Plan includes five major components:
  1. Stabilize plans in immediate danger of failure;
  2. Secure workers’ and retiree’s benefits;
  3. Strengthen the PBGC’s ability to backstop the multiemployer system;
  4. Put the multiemployer system on a stable path for the long-term;
  5. and Ensure fiscal responsibility.
In essence, these five areas entail increased corporate contributions into both the troubled pension plans and the PBGC, potential union employee payment requirements, an infusion of cash from the government into the system to keep it solvent in the short term while the structural reforms take effect and increases in the MEPP beneficiaries PBGC payment backstop along with some structural changes to MEPP management.

Other reforms which should be considered by the sponsors are an inclusion of provisions compelling the unions themselves to contribute to the pension fund solvency should they fall into an at risk status, require that funds only invest in companies which are transparent with the objective of protecting and growing assets under management, along with judging retirement fund investments solely on fiduciarily sound principles avoiding all social and environmental justice investments which don’t meet basic established standards. Finally, a requirement should be included that unions with troubled pensions convert younger workers to 401(k) style pension plans with employer contributions from the current reliance on defined benefit plans.

The importance of Senator Grassley and Alexander’s attempt to reform the current multi-employer system while it is relatively inexpensive is borne out in the latest Congressional spending spree where they gave a $6 billion taxpayer bailout of a number of United Mine Worker pension funds without any structural reform requirements or a plan to shore up the PBGC system as a whole.

The need to incorporate transparency investment criteria, stop-gap funding for the PBGC system, and requirements which ween younger union members off of the guaranteed to fail defined benefit system now would alleviate the long-term liability problems of today while providing retirement security for private sector union members in the future.
---------------------------
Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

Tags: Rick Manning, Americans for Limited Government, Pension Crisis, Grassley, Alexander, seek to tackle, forecasted union pension collapse To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Cory Booker Gripes About a Democratic Debate ‘With No Diversity Whatsoever’

by Larry Elder: About the cabinet of newly elected President Barack Obama, the Los Angeles Times gushed in 2008: “Seldom has a presidential Cabinet included so many intellectual and political heavyweights. Obama’s other achievement is to have assembled such an impressive team with due deference to the need for an administration that ‘looks like America’ — Bill Clinton’s shorthand for ethnic and gender diversity.”

Sounding the same “diversity” theme, former Vice President Joe Biden recently told NPR: “I have the most diverse staff of anybody running. I’ve always done that. … The country has to look like, the administration should look like, the American public.”

But after Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., dropped out, Democratic president candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., complained about the prospect of the next Democratic debate stage with “no diversity whatsoever.”

Booker said on MSNBC: “I’m a little angry. I have to say that we started with one of the most diverse fields in our history, giving people pride, and it’s a damn shame now that the only African American woman in this race, who has been speaking to issues that need to be brought up, is now no longer in it, and we’re spiraling towards a debate stage that potentially … could have six people with no diversity whatsoever. The way this is shaping up, especially with the rules of the DNC, it is preferencing millionaires and billionaires and a lot of other things that don’t ever translate into viability in Iowa.”

“Giving people pride”?

If Booker is referring to blacks, lack of self-esteem is hardly the problem. As conservative columnist Dinesh D’Souza points out, “Several studies have shown that, within the U.S., black males have the highest self-esteem of any group.” In an article called “Black Women Are More Confident Than Any Other Group of Females,” Glamour Magazine quoted San Diego State University psychology professor Jean Twenge, who says, “Research shows black women score higher on self-esteem than women of other races and ethnicities, which may seem surprising, given the long history of prejudice and discrimination they have faced.”

As for Booker’s “no diversity whatsoever” complaint, he is effectively accusing the Democratic caucus and primary voters, responsible for choosing their nominee, of both racism and sexism for their rejection of Harris. Shortly before her withdrawal, she attributed her falling poll numbers to a lack of “electability” due to sexism and racism. “Why is that?” a reporter asked her. Harris responded: “Electability. You know, essentially, is America ready for a woman and a woman of color to be president of the United States?”

At the time of Booker’s complaint, the six Democrats likely to make the next debate were Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer. Let’s examine their alleged lack of diversity:

Joe Biden would become only the second Catholic president, after John F. Kennedy, who was elected almost 60 years ago.

Bernie Sanders’ father was an immigrant from what is now Poland. His maternal grandparents are from Russia and Poland. If nominated and elected, Sanders would become the first Jewish president.

Amy Klobuchar’s maternal grandparents immigrated from Switzerland, and her father’s grandparents immigrated from Slovenia. Winning the presidency would, of course, make Klobuchar the first female president.

Pete Buttigieg is an openly gay Episcopalian man married to a man. His father immigrated from Malta. Buttigieg would become the first gay president and, at age 39 by the time he would take office, the youngest president ever elected.

Elizabeth Warren, a Methodist, no longer calls herself a Native American. So that box cannot be checked off. But she remains a female in a country that has never elected a female president or vice president.

Tom Steyer was the last-hour billionaire entrant into the race. His father was a nonpracticing Jew, and his mother was a Episcopalian, as is Tom. “My parents’ house was not particularly religious,” Steyer said. “They had different religions. My father was brought up Jewish; he was quite irreligious. … My mother was quite religious.”

That’s not enough diversity? And, since Booker’s complaint about the lack of diversity, former tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, a Chinese-American, has qualified for the next debate. But no blacks. This means these seven debaters, despite having diverse religions, income levels, backgrounds, upbringings and heritage, flat-out flunk the party’s diversity test.

“Woke” Democrats like Booker have either forgotten or no longer embrace the words of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who in 1963 delivered one of the most famous speeches in American history in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., before an estimated crowd of 250,000. King said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
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Larry Elder (@larryelder) is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host, an American lawyer, writer and radio and television personality who is also known as the "Sage From South Central." To find out more about Larry Elder. Visit his website at LarryElder.com for list of other articles.
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Tags: Larry Elder, Cory Booker, Gripes About a Democratic Debate, ‘With No Diversity Whatsoever’ 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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