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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, June 12, 2020

Policeless in Seattle

by Tony Perkins: If you're President Trump, you have to be wondering, "What next?" It wasn't enough that the administration had to deal with the liberals' three-year crusade to unseat him -- the Russian collusion, an impeachment sham, the deep-state FBI conspiracy. Then came 2020: the coronavirus, 119,000 deaths, an economic shutdown, and George Floyd. Now, if cities aren't burned to the ground, they're becoming part of a "proxy civil war." It is, the Left smirks quietly, the perfect election storm. But is it enough to win?

Most people watching Seattle, where armed warlords have taken over whole city blocks, aren't looking at the city with envy. "The rabid foxes are in the hen house," the Washington Times's Cheryl Chumley warned. "These are not poor misguided youth exercising their First Amendment rights. These are criminals -- violent criminals -- intimidating innocent law-abiding citizens... This isn't America," she argued. What this is, she said bluntly, "is some third-world chaotic country crap, where loons and drug-addicted deranged and soulless evil rise up and mount an assault on [ordered] society."

If this is a picture of police-free living, Americans are telling pollsters, count us out. Eight in 10 people don't just want our law enforcement funded -- many want funding increased! They've seen the pictures of gun-toting insurgents walling off "autonomous" parts of Seattle lined with signs that say, "You are now leaving the USA." They don't want to be the next town with a police chief in front of the cameras saying her teams can't answer 911 calls for rapes and robberies because the mayor "relented to public pressure" and boarded up the closest precinct. Nor do they want to hear other city leaders, after losing control of their cities, insist this is a "summer love block party" instead of the hostile takeover it is.

Yet when the president steps in and warns Governor Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) to get Seattle under control, what's the Left's reaction? "[They say] he's simply being his usual racist self by trying to shut down the 'lawful protesters,' as they're deemed in the eyes of the Democrats," Cheryl shook her head. And frankly, she told Sarah Perry on "Washington Watch," the longer this goes on, the better chance it has to get completely out of hand. "If you don't think other[s]... are watching CNN right now with interest in planning and plotting similar takeovers of their own, I think you have your head in the sand -- because I think this is going to spread as far and wide as the leftist violent thugs can make it."

As disturbing as the situation is, she points out, there's something even more concerning -- and that's the complete capitulation on the part of political leaders. "Republicans could be a little bit louder about the problems here," Cheryl agreed. "But really, the Democrats giving these people voices, treating them as if they're First Amendment, law-abiding protesters instead of what they really are [is shameful]." The banner of the Democratic Party, she thinks, has truly become "No law, no order -- just mayhem."

On one hand, maybe that makes sense. This stew of unrest and anarchy serves the Left well. If you want to destabilize the country and make it completely ungovernable, Sarah pointed out, "You begin with a pandemic. You send everyone home to shelter in place. You throw in some race riots. Foment it with Antifa vigilantism -- and before you know it, you're losing major metropolitan cities to domestic terrorists." Suddenly, no one's paying attention to the Democrats' mediocre candidate Joe Biden or their subversive attempt to create a nationwide system of mail-in voting.

The Left doesn't just want a civil war -- it needs one. They can't win on extremism alone. That's why, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) wrote, "There is no scab they will not pick at, no divide they will not exploit, no controversy they will not gin up to make us hate each other... But we cannot take their bait."

Our country, and its survival, depend on it.
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Tony Perkins (@tperkins) is President of the Family Research Council . Article on Tony Perkins' Washington Update and written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tags: Tony Perkins, Family Research Center, FRC, Family Research Council, Policeless in Seattle, Senator Josh Hawley, Cheryl Chumley To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Tom Cotton EVISCERATES Cancel Culture in 'Obelisk of Wokeness' Speech

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (AR)
by Tyler O'Neil: On Thursday night, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) eviscerated the terrifying “cancel culture” that seeks to silence anyone who dares disagree with leftist dogma. Cancel culture animates the vandalism against statues — including those of black volunteer troops for the Union fighting against slavery — along with the abortion of television shows and the firing of people.

Cotton briefly listed many of the recent victims of cancel culture in the wake of the George Floyd riots: a UCLA professor facing police investigation because he declined to postpone final exams to let students protest, a professor under investigation for reading from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, a professional soccer player who was fired for his wife’s tweet, and “business executives and editors at newspapers and magazines.”

Tom Cotton did not need to mention former New York Times op-ed editor James Bennet, who resigned amid backlash for publishing Cotton’s op-ed.

Lastly, the senator mentioned Ivanka Trump, whose commencement speech at Wichita State University got canceled.

“What is the logical conclusion? What is the end of the cancel culture? I will tell you what it is. It is right here in this city, Washington, the District of Columbia. That’s where it will end if we don’t put an end to the madness now,” Cotton warned.

“Just up the Mall is the Washington Monument. Are we gonna tear the Washington Monument down? Are we going to rename it the Obelisk of Wokeness?” the senator asked.

“Up the Hill is the Washington National Cathedral where so many times we have gathered as a nation over the years to mourn our great leaders, to pray for God’s protection and deliverance in moments of national strife and struggle,” Cotton continued. “Are we going to rename the Washington National Cathedral the ‘Temple of Reason’ as the Jacobins did to Notre Dame during the French Revolution?”

“And what are we going to call this city? Can’t call it Washington. Can’t call it Columbia,” he said, rejecting “Columbia” because it is a version of Christopher Columbus’s name. “Gotta come up with new names, all around.”

“I will say this, the cancel culture, whether in its Maoist or its Jacobin forms, ultimately is animated by a single idea, that America, at its core, is fundamentally irredeemable and wicked,” Cotton concluded. “I reject that claim fully, wholeheartedly. America is a great and noble nation, the noblest nation in the history of mankind, that has struggled throughout our history, imperfectly but ceaselessly, to live up to our founding creed that all men are created equal. The single greatest defense against tyranny, against racism, against oppression. [Those are] the stakes of this debate.”

Cotton is correct. The cancel culture — like its more virulent form in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate group” defamation — is about control over the mind, quashing intellectual dissent from The Narrative. That Narrative is that America is fundamentally oppressive — racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, and all kinds of bigoted for which words do not yet exist — because evil domineering white men invented it.

“And what are we going to call this city? Can’t call it Washington. Can’t call it Columbia,” he said, rejecting “Columbia” because it is a version of Christopher Columbus’s name. “Gotta come up with new names, all around.”

“I will say this, the cancel culture, whether in its Maoist or its Jacobin forms, ultimately is animated by a single idea, that America, at its core, is fundamentally irredeemable and wicked,” Cotton concluded. “I reject that claim fully, wholeheartedly. America is a great and noble nation, the noblest nation in the history of mankind, that has struggled throughout our history, imperfectly but ceaselessly, to live up to our founding creed that all men are created equal. The single greatest defense against tyranny, against racism, against oppression. [Those are] the stakes of this debate.”

Cotton is correct. The cancel culture — like its more virulent form in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate group” defamation — is about control over the mind, quashing intellectual dissent from The Narrative. That Narrative is that America is fundamentally oppressive — racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, and all kinds of bigoted for which words do not yet exist — because evil domineering white men invented it.

The Violence Against This Civil War Monument Captures Just How Badly the George Floyd Riots Have Gone Wrong

Nevermind that those white men made universal human equality the central truth on which the nation stood, so much so that the logic of that freedom and equality forced the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage. Nevermind that America’s free markets have helped give birth to an entirely new form of wealth unimaginable just two centuries past. Nevermind that the supposedly “oppressed” people are citizens with the right to vote, petition their government, and speak their minds to a degree essentially unprecedented in human history.

It takes an absurdly blind fanaticism to insist that today’s extremely free and prosperous America is institutionally oppressive, bent on holding back its own citizens. To a limited extent, the administrative state is frustrating America’s entrepreneurial spirit, but not in a way that discriminates against people based on their race, sex, or identity. Those who violate the law face repercussions, and many of the laws are in need of reform, but this does not prove that America is rotten in the way the leftist Narrative suggests.

The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau once warned that the French philosophes aimed to take over the climate of opinion and force their views on society. He warned that secular philosophers had taken up the role that Catholic priests once formed in limiting the sphere of publicly-acceptable opinion. He warned that if there were a renaissance of religious belief, “one would soon see raised up against them the most terrible persecutions,” and “soon a philosophical inquisition, more cunning and no less sanguinary than the other, would burn without mercy anyone who dared to believe in God.”

Something like this is happening in America today, and it is terrifying. I have long followed the way the SPLC silences mainstream conservative and Christian opinion by branding its political opponents “hate groups,” associating them with America’s most notorious hate group, the Ku Klux Klan. The SPLC has served as the tip of the cancel culture spear, but it is far from alone. Antifa mobs have beheaded statues and vandalized public monuments across the country, and the cancel culture is coming for dissenters in various quarters of society.

Cotton’s speech — both taking the threat seriously and mocking it by coining the term “Obelisk of Wokeness” — has encapsulated the terrifying strength of the cancel culture while uncovering its weakness. Americans should laugh at the idea that people would be “canceled” for questioning the leftist Narrative. Many of them are already starting to fight back. Students have started to call for the UCLA professor to be reinstated.

Cotton’s speech, my book on the SPLC, and other powerful denunciations of this trend should help Americans wake up to the threat. We are fighting an uphill battle, but the truth is on our side.
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Tyler O'Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) is Senior Editor of PJ Media, Tyler O'Neil is an author and conservative commentator. He has written for numerous publications, including The Christian Post, National Review, The Washington Free Beacon, The Daily Signal, AEI's Values & Capitalism, and the Colson Center's Breakpoint. He enjoys Indian food, board games, and talking ceaselessly about politics, religion, and culture. He has appeared on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight." He is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Tags: Tyler O'Neil, Senior Editor, PJMedia, Arkansas, U.S. Senator, Tom Cotton, EVISCERATES, Cancel Culture, 'Obelisk of Wokeness' Speech To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Don't Confuse Moral Bankruptcy With Racism

by Star Parker: As more of our political elite joins the mobs in the streets to conflate the death of George Floyd with a general indictment of America as a racist and evil nation, black Americans, more than anyone, will suffer.

Former President George W. Bush has now weighed in to falsely accuse our nation of "systemic racism."

President Bush was born to a life of privilege. Yet he fell victim to alcoholism and turned to faith and religion to take back responsibility and control of his life.

Yet he has insufficient respect for black Americans, most of whom are born into circumstances far more daunting than anything he has ever known, to grant them the privilege of truth and personal responsibility that have served him so well.

It is simply delusional to suggest that there has been hardly any change in the gaps in income and wealth between blacks and the rest of the nation over the more than half-century since the passage of the Civil Rights Act because of "systemic racism."

If there is a racism that accounts for these persistent disparities, it is the racism of big-government liberals. Now we see some Republicans, many business leaders and even some black conservative leaders signing on to this. It is a racism that says black Americans cannot adhere to the same eternal truths, to the same law, as everyone else and take personal responsibility for their lives.

Let's recall the observation attributed to George Orwell that says, "In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." All Americans today sorely need to hear the truth amidst the deceit that is now rampant.

Why do racial disparities persist in America today?

Listen to Dr. James Heckman, professor of economics and director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago, and winner of the Nobel Prize in economics.

In a recent interview, Heckman was asked, "What do you think are the main barriers to income or social mobility?"

His answer: "The main barriers to developing effective policies for income and social mobility is fear of honest engagement in the changes in the American family and the consequences it has wrought. It is politically incorrect to express the truth and go to the source of problems. Public discourse, such as it is, cannot speak honestly about matters of culture, race, and gender. Powerful censorship is at play across the entire society. ...

"The family is the source of life and growth. Families build values, encourage (or discourage) their children in school and out. Families — far more than schools — create or inhibit life opportunities."

In 1960, a few years before passage of the Civil Rights Act, 61% of blacks over 18 were married. By 2010, 31% were.

In 2015, per Pew Research, 54% of black children compared with 19% of white children were living in a single-parent home.

If black Americans are victims of anything, it is that they live in a country that has become a wasteland of moral relativism.

What government can do is advance policies to encourage the right behaviors. Allow parental choice in education; advance ownership by replacing the payroll tax with personal retirement accounts; implement housing and health care policy that relies on freedom and choice. And purge ethnicity from existing and future law.

Don't tell me I am indifferent to George Floyd's death. Poor police behavior must be punished. A good start is to diminish the influence of police unions.

But the only systemic racism that poisons and divides our country is the insistence of the powerful to see everyone through the lens of race, placing one's race ahead of one's humanity. The result is the isolation and separation of the "black community" that they claim to care so much about from the community of the nation and the entire community of God.
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Star Parker (@UrbanCURE) is an author at and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. CURE is a non-profit think tank that addresses issues of race and poverty through principles of faith, freedom and personal responsibility.

Tags: Star Parker, Center for Urban Renewal and Education, CURE, Don't Confuse, Moral Bankruptcy, With Racism, culture wars, race, economics values agenda, George Floyd To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Beijing's All In For Biden, Zoom Bombed, No Joke

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Beijing's All In For Biden
Twitter just announced that it has deleted nearly 175,000 fake accounts linked to communist China. According to Twitter, the accounts were "spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China (CCP), while continuing to push deceptive narratives about the political dynamics in Hong Kong."

What were those "favorable CCP narratives"? That communist China handled the coronavirus correctly. Of course, we know that is totally absurd.

The accounts also attacked President Trump and anyone who criticized the communist regime's handling of the virus or suggested that communist China should be held accountable for the global outbreak.

Just a few weeks ago, Chinese state media threatened to interfere in the 2020 elections. Well, it seems that they already are. After all, who was the biggest voice saying China was responsible for the coronavirus? President Trump.

It's worth noting that this massive propaganda campaign by communist China is about 150 times greater than Russia's social media influencing effort in 2016.

So this was a massive pro-Biden effort to interfere in our election by the communist Chinese. Adam Schiff call your office!

Zoom Bombed
On May 31st, the U.S.-based group Humanitarian China held a Zoom meeting worldwide for human rights activists that featured former student leaders of the Tiananmen Square protests and the Tiananmen Mothers. As the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre approached last week, Zoom shut down Humanitarian China's account.

Zoom is a U.S.-based company that also operates in China and has a research and development facility there with more than 700 employees. But why did it shut down the Humanitarian China account?

In response to criticism, Zoom issued a statement saying, "We aim to limit the actions we take to those necessary to comply with local laws." Well, whose laws would that be exactly? Certainly not ours! Zoom caved to pressure from the Chinese Communist Party.

Zoom is now promising to "do better" in the future, but it bombed terribly in this case.

The company has suffered from serious security problems. The Pentagon banned its use after reports that some Zoom data was routed through China.

Full disclosure: As you know, I am one of nine commissioners who serve on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). We meet frequently, but have not been able to meet in person due to Covid restrictions. Like a lot of families and businesses, we have been using Zoom.

Well, I and other commissioners are asking the USCIRF staff to give us a Plan B ASAP. We have cited communist China as one of the world's worst abusers of religious freedom, and we should not be using a platform that does the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party.

Speaking Of Religious Liberty. . .
More than 80 people in Nigeria were killed in an attack this week by Boko Haram jihadis. They reportedly burned down an entire village. It is not clear from the reporting who the victims were, but Islamic supremacists have plagued the West African nation, routinely massacring Christians, burning churches and kidnapping children.

In related news, Christian leaders in the Middle East are praising President Trump's recent executive order advancing international religious freedom.

Archbishop Bashir Warda of Erbil, Iraq, said, "Having directly experienced persecution, crimes against humanity and genocide because of our commitment to our faith, we are deeply grateful for the efforts of the administration to maintain an international focus on this issue."

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Nigeria called Trump's order a "welcome development especially in the face of the crippling secularism that is trying to push religious identity to the sidelines."

No Joke
There is an effort underway by the media and its left-wing allies to laugh off CHAZ. What's that, you ask? Well, I'm not surprised if you don't know because the mainstream media are totally ignoring the story.

CHAZ stands for "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone," the section of Seattle that has been seized by Antifa.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was asked how long the standoff will continue, and she responded, "I don't know. We could have a summer of love!" She insists that everything inside CHAZ is just fine, even going so far as to praise the extremists for their "patriotism."

It's anything but fine. (Here and here.)

Covering up the truth and joking about it is the left's latest strategy to downplay the seriousness of what is happening there. But law-abiding citizens who live and work in that area do not have access to the laws of the United States of America.

They are living in a zone run by anarchists and communists. Those citizens are being deprived of their liberty. This is not a joke.

But just imagine if a group of conservatives declared a "Christian Autonomous Zone."

Suppose they blocked off streets and shut down the local abortion clinic. Suppose they announced that you could only stay there if you fly the American flag, own a gun and that schools will begin the day with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

My friends, the tanks would already be on their way to crush this secessionist movement.

By the way, I mentioned recently that one reason why the French revolution failed was because the radicals turned on one another. Well, that already seems to be happening in the utopia of CHAZ.

Who could have predicted that?!
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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

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Beijing's All In For Biden, Zoom Bombed, No Joke To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Trump Should Be Trump At Home And Abroad

by Caroline Glick: Donald Trump was elected four years ago because Americans wanted to save their country. Both in domestic and foreign policy, in the eighth year of Barack Obama’s presidency, America was going off the rails. At home, Obama’s identity politics were tearing the country apart. As is now graphically apparent, identity politics are not about expanding justice. They are geared towards tearing Americans away from one another and undermining the very idea of America.

Abroad, America had become the laughingstock of its enemies and the worst nightmare of its friends as Obama and his merry band of foreign policy “experts” abandoned and denigrated allies and reorganized America’s foreign policy around a commitment to appeasing and kowtowing to America’s worst foes, first and foremost, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Trump rose to the top of a crowded field of Republican candidates because voters believed that the iconoclast who made good deals because he cared about the result and didn’t care what people thought of him, would make America great again. They believed they could trust him to tell the truth and do what needed to be done, no matter how many inbred “experts” told him differently.

And America needed a leader who wouldn’t shy away from controversy.

In 2016, with Obama’s backing the radical, anti-American, anti-police #BlackLivesMatter group was ascendant. Police had targets on their heads. Two weeks before the Republican Convention in July 2016, five police officers were massacred in Dallas after anti-police protests in the city. Days before the convention, three policemen were murdered and four were wounded in another massacre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Defending law enforcement officers and pledging to restore safety to America’s cities was a major theme of Trump’s convention address and a major pledge of his campaign. And he delivered.

According to FBI data, after rising sharply in the last years of the Obama presidency, violent crime in America went down every year of Trump’s presidency.

Those gains are now being reversed now. The radical mobs Trump pledged to remove from America’s streets have returned. Waving the banner of identity politics and spewing hatred of America they are wreaking havoc, terror, devastation and crime. Last week saw a rise of 100 percent in the number of murders and shootings in New York City. Los Angeles experienced a 250 percent rise in shootings and murder. Last weekend, Chicago saw the highest murder toll in a 24-hour period in 60 years.

Businesses have been looted and destroyed. And the violence continues and mutates daily. A mob of Antifa thugs took over six square blocks of Seattle and is working to reenact its conquest in other cities. Progressive mayors and governors are responding by kneeling and blaming Trump.

Police, for their part are walking away. As police officer Travis Yates wrote this week in a stunning essay at the Law and Officer website, police officers are demoralized by the politically powerful mobs of radical leftists that demonize them. The rational choice for officers today is to quit, he wrote bitterly.

This crisis is tailor-made for Trump’s leadership. Trump was elected to defang the commissars of political correctness that terrorized Americans intellectually, socially, racially and physically. When he said, “We cannot afford to be politically correct anymore,” he was speaking for hundreds of millions of Americans who were afraid to speak out lest they lose their jobs or face social ostracism for harboring dissident views of identity politics.

Now the commissars have become wardens and all of America is their prison. Americans are now expected to kneel for the Star Spangled Banner and disavow American history while swallowing whole a false, malicious new history that claims America has a been force for evil at home and worldwide since it was nothing more than a sparkle in a racist colonialist’s eye.

Trump’s approval ratings dropped ten points in the space of a week. It’s possible that terrified voters are afraid to tell pollsters the truth and that the numbers are false. But its also possible that the drop is real.

In the face of this chaos and madness in the streets of America, Trump is not doing what he does best. He is not standing center stage defending the father and mother holed up at home, terrified of the mob marching down their street or looting their store. He is not protecting the high school and college students who must accept the mob’s rules or face ostracism and failing grades. He is doing many things, to be sure. But they are scattershot and uncertain.

Trump has the advisors in place to put together a plan for immediate implementation. Roundatable meetings will not suffice. Actions must be taken to end mob rule, restore order, stand with police and protect the silenced, terrified citizens worried about their safety, their families and their freedom to love their country.

Everything Trump entered politics to oppose is returning and threatening to take over America for good.

Now is his moment to act forthrightly and decisively. Now is the time for Trump to be Trump.

The same holds in foreign affairs. Administration officials – Trump loyalists – are down in the dumps right now. Trump’s low polling numbers may or may not reflect the true state of affairs but they harm his ability to influence foreign actors. The leaders of Germany and France are practically frothing at the mouth in expectation of deliverance from the first U.S. president in memory that actually expected them to act like real allies, pay their share of the NATO budget and stand with the US and against Iran as it sprints towards the bomb and against China as it uses its 5G network to leapfrog over the U.S.

The Chinese are betting that their virus, which capsized the Trump economy will spell the demise of their nemesis. And the Iranians are so sure that he will be defeated that they are enriching uranium in broad daylight.

When he came into office, the first step Trump took to make clear to all takers that America would no longer be abandoning its interests and its allies was to stand with Israel. This wasn’t a move – as his haters claimed – to rally his evangelical base. It was a strategic play.

Israel is not only the U.S.’s most loyal and steady ally in the Middle East. It is also the ally that was most brutally betrayed by Obama and despised by Obama’s progressive supporters. It makes sense that the likes of Black Lives Matter and the BDS thugs are joined at the hip and united in their hatred of the Jewish state.

Police are the guarantors America’s domestic peace. They are charged with keeping Americans safe and so making it possible for America to succeed and prosper.

The strength of America’s alliance with Israel is a reflection of the strength of American power. Since Israel shares the same values and interests as the U.S., a strong Israel serves as an extension of U.S. power in the Middle East. So too, Israel is the bogeyman of the foreign policy establishment worldwide. So when America stands with Israel it is standing against the foreign policy mob. Standing up to the mob is not for the faint of heart. So by standing with Israel, the U.S. proves its courage and power.

Trump’s reversal of Obama’s hostile policies towards Israel got the world’s attention. They made the likes of Iran and China realize he meant it when he said that he was adopting policies that would be good for America and bad for its foes. By standing with Israel Trump also showed other spurned allies America could be trusted again.

On January 27, Trump presented his vision for peace in the Middle East. It is based on a rejection of the “experts” collective “wisdom” regarding the region that had formed the basis for 25 years of failed U.S. Middle East policy.

Contrary to the consensus view, Trump understood Israel wasn’t responsible for the absence of peace. The source of war, radicalism and terror in the Middle East was radical Islam and the Arab world’s rejection of the Jewish people’s right to freedom and sovereignty in their homeland. The rejectionist Palestinians were the apotheosis of the Arab world’s pathologies.

Trump’s plan recognizes that the first step to peace is for Israel to render permanent its control in Judea and Samaria because only by doing so will it kill the myth that Israel is an “occupier” in its ancestral homeland and extinguish the hope of the Palestinians and their supporters that Israel can be destroyed. Peace can be accomplished only after Israel’s legitimacy and security are taken off the table.

So the first step on Trump’s road to peace is for Israel to apply its laws to all of its communities in Judea and Samaria and to the Jordan Valley, Israel’s eastern frontier with Jordan. Once that step is implemented, the Palestinians will be expected to take specific actions, like ending their payments to terrorists to show that they are willing to make peace. Peace itself, which can lead to a Palestinian state, requires the Palestinians to do basic things like accept Israel and dismantle Hamas.

It is hard to know if peace will ever come. But if it ever does, it will be on the basis of the Trump plan. Because unlike all the plans that preceded it, Trump’s peace plan is based on reality.

Unfortunately, the excitement that greeted Trump’s plan was overtaken by the multiple crises of more recent months. Moving it forward is likely not on the top of Trump’s list of priorities.

That list ought to be reconsidered though. Now is the time for decisive action. Trump’s domestic enemies and international rivals are using his distraction to try to undermine his revolutionary accomplishment. Democrats are threatening Israel with a downgrading of relations if Israel dares to apply its laws to the areas envisioned in Trump’s plan. Germany is leading Europe’s passive-aggressive charge with threats of sanctions if Israel implements its sovereignty plan in accordance with Trump’s vision for peace. Threatening Israel is seen by these forces as a means to begin dismantling all of Trump’s foreign policy achievements and undermining the public’s perception of his competence.

If Trump wishes to defeat his opponents and restore his credibility, the first thing he should do is call on Israel to apply its sovereignty to its communities in Judea and Samaria and to the Jordan Valley in accordance with his blueprint for peace. Doing so will restore faith in Trump’s seriousness of purpose, and increase his credibility at home and abroad.

The American voters elected Trump to be Trump. They will reelect him if he sticks to his guns. Staring down the mob, defending the police and protecting the public; standing with Israel and advancing his vision of reality-based peace are the two legs on which he built much of his pre-coronavirus success. Now they are the two main bases on which he will reassert his leadership and win his second term.
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Caroline Glick is the Senior Contributing Editor of Israel Hayom and the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit carolineglick.com.

Tags: Caroline Glick, Israel Hayom, Trump Should Be Trump, At Home, And Abroad To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Slave-Trader Garb and Juneteenth Flap Reveal Democrat Hypocrisy

. . . Democrats show the wrong kind of "solidarity" pretty much all the way around.
by Nate Jackson: Politicians of all stripes specialize in opportunistic photo-ops. But Democrats really blew it earlier this week with their display of Kente cloth shawls, which they donned while kneeling for nearly nine minutes to show “solidarity” with black people in the midst of race riots plaguing the nation. For one thing, George Floyd died because a cop kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, so this was, to quote the movie “Animal House,” a “really futile and stupid gesture … on somebody’s part.” Worse, the Kente cloth they wore was the garb of the Ashanti tribe — a tribe that was known for owning and trading slaves. Oops!

If leftists weren’t so busy learning their “history” from the revisionist and race-baiting 1619 Project, they might know that black Africans captured and sold other black Africans to white Westerners, and that there is still an active slave trade in Africa.

Undeterred by such inconvenient facts, Democrats know that their allies in the Leftmedia won’t ever call them on this hypocrisy. Instead, the media’s busy screaming about how President Donald Trump would dare to hold his first 2020 campaign rally since BC (Before Coronavirus) next Friday, June 19. It’s known as “Juneteenth,” the date when the last American slaves in Texas were truly freed in 1865.

Juneteenth is a recognized holiday in 47 states. What are the odds that congressional Democrats use this year to push for it to be a federal holiday?

Never mind that the Republican Party freed the slaves, or that the modern party, currently led by Trump, is doing more to actually help blacks on meaningful policy issues than its Democrat counterparts. Democrats think they own black votes.

It’s true that Tulsa was the site of arguably the most horrific racial violence in our nation’s history, though the truth about those events remains murky. On May 31 and June 1, 1921, whites (most likely KKK Democrats) rioted, attacked and looted black-owned businesses, and killed at least two dozen and perhaps as many as 300 blacks (between 10 and 50 whites were also killed). But Trump’s M.O. is to tweak the Left like this. If anyone argues that he blew it, we’d simply note the irony that, as we’ve said before, in this respect he actually behaves like Democrats.

Apparently, none of them noticed that their kneeling charade was to show solidarity with blacks who rioted, attacked and looted black-owned businesses, and killed 17 blacks — not counting the murders in inner cities that occur nearly every day.

So what’s their message? Rioting, looting, and murder is okay when black Democrats do it?

Keep all this in mind as well when you read about the raging kerfuffle over military bases named after Confederate officers, toppling Confederate monuments, or NASCAR banning the flying of Confederate flags at its races.

In other words, which party benefits more from revising history and fomenting racial division? Your first clue would be how political strategists and media pundits keep churning these controversies.
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Nate Jackson is managing editor at The Patriot Post.

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Academia Fans The Flames Of Social Disorder

by Malcolm A. Kline: Those of us who thought higher education could do little damage while it was shut down were sadly mistaken.

As Antifa-led demonstrators burned and looted American cities in the wake of the tragic murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop, academia, like the rest of the American Left, never let a crisis go to waste, even one they helped engender.

“Fittingly, the ideological handmaiden of this violence — academia — has already sprung into action,” Heather Mac Donald wrote in City Journal on May 31, 2020. “The chancellors and presidents of Harvard, the University of Arizona, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale, among others, released statements over the weekend assuring their black students of their schools’ commitment to racial equity, in light of the George Floyd death — an event wholly unrelated to the academic.”

“No college leader denounced the violence.” City Journal is published by The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

In fact, Rudy Fichtenbaum, president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) saw in the riots an opportunity to bash police everywhere. “The AAUP supports the right of all citizens to engage in peaceful protests and calls for an end to police violence against protesters,” he wrote on the Academe blog maintained by the AAUP.

Notably, the avowedly progressive John K. Wilson, a contributing editor at Academe, took a markedly different position: “Too many people on the left revere the street protest as the epitome of working for social change,” he wrote. “They harken back to the days of the Civil Rights Movement and imagine that protests on the streets are an effective tool for social change. That’s rarely the case anymore. The truth is that most street protests are useless, and the rest of them (like all of the protests this week) are usually worse than useless.”

Another contributing editor to Academe, Hank Reichman, downplayed the violence and tried to apportion blame across the political spectrum even though conservatives present at the demonstration are really hard to find, unless they’re cleverly disguised as Antifa organizers.

“No right-thinking person can fail to condemn the looting, arson, and window-smashing that have marred the overwhelmingly peaceful protests that have swept the nation for the past week in the wake of the brutal slaying of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers,” he wrote. “These criminal actions may have been carried out by a handful of political extremists, left and right, who probably envision these events as prelude to some fantastical revolution or civil war.”

For his part, Fichtenbaum did take blame for the violence, sort of, and offered academia as a solution to the problem it helped create: “We also recognize that our institutions of higher education have been part of the problem, but they can be part of the solution by marshaling the expertise of faculty and the energy of students in developing meaningful approaches to mitigating racism and inequality in our society.”

Apparently, academia sees in the riots a more reliable source of cash than a federal bailout. “UCLA’s chancellor Gene Block, as well as the school’s $400,000 a year Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and a parade of deans, announced that the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the school’s legions of Equity Advisors would be coming up with new programs for ‘virtual reflection spaces’ in which to ‘humbly acknowledge the pain,’” Mac Donald writes. “The school’s Resources for Racial Trauma would be beefed up.”

“The academic diversity bureaucracy has now been given a whole new excuse for existence and can be assured that it will escape the cost-cutting chopping block, even as universities beg the federal government for more coronavirus bailout money.”
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Malcolm A. Kline served as executive director of Accuracy in Academia for 15 years and had many occasions to debate members of the AAUP. Article shared on Issues & Insights (@IssuesInsights).

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It's For Your Safety

by Mario Murillo Ministries: The Nazis had a phrase which they used in order to cover all abuses by the state: “Für ihre sicherheit.” Meaning, what we do is “for your safety.” As I was walking recently through a home improvement store with my wife, I heard this recorded message blaring through their P.A system, “We are doing all we can to ensure your safety.”

Before I go any further, I want to give you a revelation about Christians in America. We are similar to the Jews who went into captivity in Babylon. Jeremiah the prophet instructed the Jews, “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace” (Jeremiah 29:7). I believe God is giving Christians that same mandate in this hour, in regard to America.

Some will disagree with my comparing America to Babylon, because they believe America is a Christian nation. To a degree they are correct, but no nation can be fully Christian because Jesus told us, “My kingdom is not of this earth” (John 18:36).

The best that can be said is that any nation which is sympathetic to the teachings of Jesus and honors the church will be blessed with freedom. If America removes the welcome mat for Christianity, she will not survive.

Just as the Jews were a blessing to a nation that held them captive, we are to be a special blessing to America on the eve of her destruction. God has chosen the American church to play a heroic role in our nation’s most desperate hour.

To do so we must put away all self-righteous smugness. We must ignore the voices that are telling us this is not our fight. In nation after nation, Christians have had the opportunity to extend their faith beyond their church buildings: in soul winning, healing, and in justice. That last virtue is the call of this hour.
The pandemic offered the perfect storm for Democrat Governors to unleash their despotism. They sent preachers to jail who had not broken any laws. They terrified innocent barbers and hairdressers by seizing their licenses, their livelihoods, and then invading their homes. In one particular case, they interrogated the 6-year-old child of a hairdresser, without her permission. Storm troopers—for that is precisely what they are—crashed into churches, and homes, arresting people who honestly did not understand the vague, ambiguous, and ever-changing stay-at-home orders.

What is even more horrifying than these illegal acts of search and seizure, is the sheep-like reaction of so many Americans. Indeed, like trained seals, we have barked when they said, “Bark!” and rolled over on command because they offered us a shiny fish, called ‘safety.’ There is a vast difference between being safe, and being secure.

Where is the outrage over blue-state Governors like Gavin Newsom (CA), Gretchen Whitmer (MI), and Ralph Northam (VA)? They have become arrogant, cruel, and criminal. They claim their actions are based on science, and they are, but the problem is that it is political science.

They have scared millions into frittering away their rights. What began as fear of a sickness, has mutated into a paralyzing fear of the state. That is why they can ignore the Constitution, and kill people through despair and addiction. This is no mission to save lives, it is a bloodless coup to take over a nation.
Am I going too far by accusing them of killing people? They are killing people by keeping them imprisoned in their homes, euthanizing their small businesses, and driving them to addiction and suicide. Doctors, not preachers, are the ones who are protesting the spike in suicide, which can be directly tied to people who have been trapped in their homes.

Where is the outrage? Where are the voices of reason? But most of all, where is the church?
I repeat! We must put away our self-righteous smugness. We must ignore the voices that tell us this is not our fight. Not only is it our fight—I believe we ‘have come to the kingdom for such a time as this’ (Esther 4:14).

Only the church has the special power required for this dark night of our national soul. Only churches can demonstrate the light, the power of prayer, and the authority that will pull the bloody talons of Satan off of the throat of America.
If you value soul winning—if you value open worship and citywide outreach—if you love this free nation of ours, then you must join with us as we march shoulder to shoulder to banish this curse, this attempted power grab, from our land.

What they are doing is not ‘for your safety,’ it is only for their control.
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Mario Murillo is an evangelist Mario Murillo, minister, blogger.

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Will Churchill’s Statue Be Next to Fall?

by Patrick Buchanan: The systematic dishonoring and disgracing of men once revered has only just begun. But it represents a spreading revolution in thought and belief about the origins and history of America.

On Gen. George Washington’s orders, the Declaration of Independence, signed in Philadelphia, was read aloud to his army. On hearing it, the troops marched to Bowling Green, decapitated and pulled down the statue of George III, and sent the remnants to be melted down into musket balls.

It was a revolutionary act, a symbolic statement. These once-loyal American subjects were now rebels and no longer owed allegiance to the king. They would fight to end his rule in America.

During the recent demonstrations and disorders here, similar acts had about them an aspect of societal rebellion and a repudiation of a heritage.

In Richmond, Virginia, a statue of Christopher Columbus, who generations of American children were raised to revere as the intrepid Italian explorer who discovered the New World, was pulled down and thrown into a lake.

In Boston, the Columbus statue was beheaded.

In a half-dozen states, statues of Confederate generals and soldiers were pulled down. Gov. Ralph Northam promises to remove the huge statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson from their century-old places of honor on Richmond’s Monument Avenue.

In Philadelphia, the statue of fabled Italian American cop, police commissioner and mayor, Frank Rizzo, was desecrated and hauled away.

Retired Gen. David Petraeus has written to urge that all army bases bearing the names of Confederate generals, such as Forts Benning, Bragg and Hood, be renamed. Robert E. Lee, who is everywhere at West Point, says Petraeus, was a U.S. soldier who “committed treason.”

Nancy Pelosi wants 11 statues, including those of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens, and Sen. and U.S. Vice President John Calhoun, removed from the Capitol.

The purge of historical figures has spread to Europe.

The giant statue of King Leopold II in Brussels, who was enriched by the brutalitarian plundering of his Congo colony, has been taken down.

In Bristol, England, a statue of Edward Colston, philanthropist and patron of the city but also a slave trader, was thrown into the harbor.

At Oxford, students are moving to take down the statue of Cecil Rhodes, the archimperialist and founding father of Rhodesia who created as his legacy the Rhodes scholarships for British and American students.

Resumes of all the once-admired great men who discovered, explored and colonized the New World, as well as all those who created and first led the United States, are being investigated to determine how egregiously these men violated the egalitarian and democratist dogmas of modernity.

The list of malefactors seems impressive.

Who are we talking about?

Nearly half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were slave owners. So, too, were five of our first seven presidents and two of the four men on Mount Rushmore.

George Washington won the war for independence. Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of the nation with the Louisiana Purchase. Andrew Jackson saved the nation from defeat by the British at the Battle of New Orleans and seized Florida. James Polk took us to war with Mexico and relieved it of what is now the American Southwest and California.

All four of these nation-builder presidents were slave owners.

The systematic dishonoring and disgracing of men once revered has only just begun. But it represents a spreading revolution in thought and belief about the origins and history of America.

How far is this going?

During the London protests in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, there was painted on the Parliament Square statue of Winston Churchill, who historians voted “the greatest man of the 20th century” for his role in leading Britain against Nazi Germany, the word “racist.” The mob wanted Churchill’s statue down.

And was Churchill a racist?

Surely, he was an archimperialist, a lifelong defender of the British Empire who believed in the supremacy of the Anglo-Saxon race and its right to rule what poet Rudyard Kipling called “the lesser breeds without the law.”

Churchill disparaged people of color whom the British ruled, from the Caribbean to Africa, to the Middle and Near East, to South Asia and the Far East, in terms that would instantly end the career of any American or British politician who used them today.

Historian Andrew Roberts writes of Churchill that he was a “white … supremacist (who) thought in terms of race to a degree that was remarkable even by the standards of his own time. He spoke of certain races with a virulent Anglo-Saxon triumphalism.”

Many Americans, especially among the young, view the history of the European exploration, the colonization of the New World, and the creation of Western empires not with pride but with shame and guilt. And they want to make expiation by canceling out all the honors accorded such men, be it in statues or the names of cities, towns, parks and streets.

And their numbers and militancy are growing. The left has the bit in its teeth and is dragging the panicked elites along.

How this ends without permanent division in the country escapes me.
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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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The New Religion of Woke Anti-Racism

Michael Barone
by Michael Barone: It's all about religion, isn't it? "(W)e have the cult of social justice on the left," Andrew Sullivan wrote in New York Magazine, "a religion whose followers show the same zeal as any born-again Evangelical."

Linguist John McWhorter elaborated on that theme in The Atlantic. "(A)ntiracism," he wrote, "is a profoundly religious movement in everything but terminology."

McWhorter likened the notion of "white privilege" to original sin, argued that the hope that Americans will "come to terms with race" is as vague as hopes for Judgment Day and observed that the faithful on the lookout for "that which may be blasphemous" resort to social media shaming tantamount to "the excommunication of the heretic."

You could be pardoned for supposing that Sullivan and McWhorter were reflecting on the past week's events -- the epidemiologists piously proclaiming that participating in crowded protests of police racism was more important than the otherwise sacred duty of social distancing, the chastened suburbanites in Bethesda, Maryland, kneeling before and asking forgiveness of black fellow citizens.

But actually, their quoted comments both appeared in magazines dated December 2018. They nevertheless proved apt as commentary on events no one then imagined.

Sullivan and McWhorter understood that we have been living for two decades in a political era during which the demographic factor most highly correlated with voting behavior is religion, or, within each sectarian group, the degree of religiosity.

They observed that the era produced, for the first time in American history, a partisan division between the largest metropolitan areas and the rural and small-town areas outside metropolitan boundaries. Our coastal metropolises voted 3-1 for Hillary Clinton while rural areas north and south, except for Vermont and the Berkshires of Massachusetts, voted 3-1 for Donald Trump.

While non-metropolitan voters, as Barack Obama noted in 2008, still tend to cling to traditional religion, articulate white metropolitanists are increasingly comfortable defining themselves as atheists and characterizing their religion as "none."

They believe instead in Science, with a capital S. Science, they claim, justified the two-month coronavirus lockdowns and the need, until the protests against police misconduct that resulted in the death of George Floyd, to maintain them.

Actually, scientific advice kept changing -- understandably, since epidemiological models of a novel virus made projections refuted by evolving evidence. And epidemiology has an understandable bias toward pessimism, since society wants warnings against unlikely but disastrous downside risks.

Science, moreover, provides no convenient formula for weighing the predicted benefits of lockdowns against their large and incommensurate costs. That requires judgments based on your values -- which is to say, in many cases, on your religion.

So, urban liberals insisted on strict limits on traditional religious services, symbolized by the vexed tone of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's denunciation of an Orthodox Jewish funeral. But they quickly bent themselves into logical pretzels by endorsing crowded mass anti-racism protests. My (tolerant, modern, progressive) religion is better than your (parochial, antiquated, traditional) religion.

Is this conflict really necessary? Overwhelming majorities of Americans believe the Minneapolis police officers acted wrongly and support peaceful protests. Traditional Christianity preaches the moral equality of every individual -- a position consistent with believers in secularized anti-racism.

And large majorities believe that violent rioting is wrong -- and support sending in the National Guard and, if necessary, even the military, to end it. But here there's a collision with believers in the woke religion of anti-racism, at least if young staffers in The New York Times newsroom are indicative. They demanded -- and got -- the editorial page editor to resign (be fired) for having run an opinion article by a Republican senator in which he urged deploying the military when necessary to stop rioting.

Absent from the catechism of the woke anti-racism religion is any acknowledgement of the facts, cited repeatedly by the Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald, that police shootings of blacks have become exceedingly rare. Christianity asserts that original sin will always be with us, but racism in America has been in long-term deep decline.

Protests have featured confessions of sin and demands for reforms. Some demands -- "defunding the police" -- are so lunatic that Democratic politicians have been skittering away and explained that "defunding" doesn't mean defunding. Others -- like requiring police cameras -- are already widely in use or not particularly controversial. Some are not familiar but bear serious consideration: Police officers' qualified immunity from federal civil rights lawsuits, instituted by then-Chief Justice Earl Warren and a unanimous Supreme Court in 1967, could be abolished or altered by the court or Congress.

Unfortunately, historical perspective, statistical literacy and any need for consistency are not of much importance to practitioners of the religion of anti-racism.
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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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Changing of the Guard . . .

. . . The left is demanding the police be defunded, restructured, or replaced. Replaced with what?

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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Truth

by Kerby Anderson: George Barna has been doing an extensive inventory of the worldviews of Americans through the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University. He was on my radio program last week to talk about two of his most recent surveys dealing with truth and morality.

Past generations of Americans viewed God as the basis for truth. Not only has that changed for the general population, it has also changed significantly within the church. He found that there were certain groups that rejected the idea of absolute truth. That would be members of the LGBTQ community, political liberals, spiritual skeptics, Democrats, and young people under the age of 50.

By contrast, those most likely to see God as the basis of truth are the group called SAGECons. That stands for Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservative Christians. Nearly nine out of ten (87%) point to God as the source of truth and more than six in ten (62%) recognize the existence of absolute moral standards.

In his next report, he decided to see how we apply moral principles in real life situations. The questions ranged from telling a “white lie” to failing to pay back a loan to speeding to abortion. It was troubling to see what percentage of Americans felt that some of these behaviors were not even a moral issue. In some cases, a significant percentage might have believed it was a moral issue but that it was morally acceptable in today’s society.

Another troubling finding was what Barna calls a “seismic shift” in Christian views about morality. For example, born-again Christians in the survey were three times as likely to say they rely on the Bible for primary moral guidance. But less than half (48%) actually do so.

The latest Barna surveys are a reminder to pastors and other Christian teachers that we need to make the case for moral absolutes based on God’s Word.
-------------------------------
Kerby Anderson @KerbyAnderson) is an author, lecturer, visiting professor and radio host and contributor on nationally syndicated Point of View and the "Probe" radio programs.

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Now Is The Time to Reform Government, Not Swell Its Payrolls

by John Faso: Public health authorities have said that an essential part of the effort to contain coronavirus outbreaks is to institute a system of contact tracing across the nation. The Centers for Disease Control and others recommend that up to 300,000 contact tracers be hired and the federal government is providing funding to states and localities to initiate these programs.

Before we blindly rush into this process, Washington should require that this effort not result in a permanent expansion of government at the state and local levels. Contact tracing efforts will likely be needed over the next 12-24 months. Yet, some states and localities are treating this crisis as an opportunity to create new government jobs, despite the temporary nature of the task. With many states and localities struggling in meeting pension and retiree health obligations, it makes no sense to expand government payrolls, when private contractors are ready and able to perform such tasks.

The coronavirus has wreaked enormous human and economic devastation across the United States. Now in its third month, the virus has taken the lives of 100,000 Americans and put over 36 million on the unemployment rolls.

The economic shutdown has also devastated federal, state, and local government revenue collections. The federal deficit has exploded to over $4 trillion and counting. The business models for restaurants, retailers and travel and tourism industries have been shattered, perhaps for years. Colleges and universities, as well as K-12 education, have been totally disrupted.

In the aftermath of the crisis, companies, both large and small, are creating new ways to innovate, modernize and measure business operations to survive. Government, historically slower to react to change, needs to similarly reform how it serves citizens, creating efficiencies and lowering costs.

As Congress and the Trump Administration haggle over the next economic package, taxpayers and governments at all levels will be left with a massive fiscal hangover, requiring a significant rethinking of how government services are delivered. Revenue losses, like the virus, do not discriminate between red and blue states. For instance, updated budget projections in New York predict that state revenues will not reach 2019 levels until 2024. Florida and Texas, while in better financial shape than New York, have experienced dramatic drops in sales tax collections, their primary revenue source.

The crisis is an opportunity for states and localities to reform service delivery, especially where serious operational failures have been exposed. A prime example has been the inability of state unemployment insurance systems to process claims in an efficient and timely manner. While much of that problem can be explained by the unanticipated crush of millions applying for unemployment, too many states are still using antiquated, COBOL-based state computer systems which proved unready for the task. Considering this experience, states should move to cloud-based UI systems and competitively bid private sector contracts to administer the claims and benefit determination process.

Contractors, both non-profit and for-profit, have long provided critical support to government, delivering human services programs, construction, and other professional services. In the post-corona environment, it becomes even more crucial that government seek out innovative and cost-effective methods of delivering public services.

When deciding whether to deliver services utilizing public employees or private contractor’s government needs to conduct a strict cost analysis considering salaries, current and post-retirement benefits, capital costs and other overhead expenses. A 2011 study of Defense Department contracting conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies found that government consistently underestimates the true cost of utilizing government employees to provide services and recommended a more accurate method of comparison with private sector contractors. The Trump Administration should update existing OMB guidance to better reflect actual overhead costs for governmental administration. New coronavirus legislation should also adopt additional flexibility measures for states to deliver services more effectively.

The Trump Administration has already taken some small steps in this regard. The federal Office of Personnel Management determined in 2019 that private contractors utilizing merit system principles for their employees were qualified to administer federally funded programs. Governments should take advantage of this guidance and use competitive contracting for administering programs from motor vehicles, workers’ compensation, unemployment, and a full range of health and human services functions.

Private and public sectors in the post-pandemic world will be required by economic necessity to innovate, modernize, and reform administrative and program structures. Competitively bid service contracting offers a path to deliver services on a cost-effective basis.
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John Faso served as U.S. Congressman from New York's 19th District from 2017 - 2019. He is now a senior advisor to the Center for Accountability, Modernization, and Innovation (CAMI). H/T RealClear Policy.

Tags: John Faso, former U.S. Congressman, New York's 19th District, RealClear Policy, Now Is The Time, to Reform Government, Not Swell Its Payrolls To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Cities With The Highest Unfunded Pension Liabilities

by Michelle Jones: The crisis of unfunded pension liabilities has been impacting U.S. cities and states for years, and the problem is only getting worse as the years go by. In its recent “City Combined Taxpayer Burden Report,” Truth in Accounting looked at the most populous U.S. cities and where their unfunded pension liabilities stand.

The organization also studied which cities are in the worst shape in its "Financial State of the Cities" report earlier this year. Truth in Accounting said the 75 biggest U.S. cities have $176.2 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, which are the main factor contributed to the $323 billion it reported in city debt.

The organization said one way that cities make their budgets appear to be balanced by shortchanging their public pension funds and other post-employment benefits funds. The result has been a $176.2 billion shortfall in public pension funds among the 75 biggest cities and a $149.8 billion shortfall in other post-employment benefit funds.

According to Truth in Accounting, the five worst cities for taxpayer burden, meaning the amount taxpayers are on the hook for in unfunded debt, are New York City, Chicago, Honolulu, Philadelphia and New Orleans.

The big loser is Chicago
Chicago is well-known as far as cities with unfunded pension liabilities. Truth in Accounting Founder and CEO Sheila Weinberg told ValueWalk in an email that Chicago's pension plans are the worst in the country due to one key reason.

"The city of Chicago’s pension systems are by far the worst-funded in the country with only 23 cents set aside for every dollar promised," she said. "Unlike most cities, who are trying to properly fund their systems, Chicago contributions were less than half of the amount their actuaries said should have been paid into the systems.

New York City taxpayers are on the hook for $63,100 in debt each or $83,600 when including state, city and county governments' unfunded debt. Although the city's pension plans are 76% funded, it has funded just 4% of the other post-employment benefits employees have been promised.

"While New York City’s pension debt of $51 billion is large, it is dwarfed by its unfunded retiree health care debt which is $106.1 billion," Weinberg said. "The unfunded retiree health care debt for the 75 most populated cities totals $149.8 billion. More than 70 percent was New York City’s portion of this debt."

Philadelphia's pensions are also in rough shape. The city's taxpayers have a burn of $25,500 each or $45,800 when state debt is added. The city has $9.9 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, while Pennsylvania has $40.3 billion.

"Even though the city of Philadelphia has set aside less than 51 cents to pay for each dollar of promised pension benefit, the city still does not pay the total annual contributions needed to properly fund the pension plans," Weinberg said. "The city’s retiree health care plans are even less funded with only seven cents set aside to pay for each dollar of promised benefit."

Phoenix's pension plans are also in rough shape, as the city has just 50 cents set aside fors every dollar promised to pay pension benefits.

Where other cities stand on unfunded pension liabilities
San Jose is doing better than Chicago and Philadelphia in that its pension contributions amount to what actuaries say is needed to fund the plans. However, they are still significantly underfunded at 64%. Additionally, San Jose has set aside only 32 cents for every dollar of promised retiree healthcare benefits.

The city whose pensions are in the best shape is San Antonio, with over 86 cents set aside for every dollar of promised pension benefit. The problem for San Antonio is state debt, according to Truth in Accounting, and pensions are a big problem for the state of Texas.

"The main reasons for this debt are the state has only 69 cents set aside for every dollar of promised pension benefits and has promised $72 billion in retiree health care benefits, but only set aside $771 million to fund those benefits," Weinberg said.

San Diego and Los Angeles are in similar situations, as the state of California is a bigger weight for their taxpayers than their own debt. San Diego's pensions are 74% funded, while Los Angeles' pensions are nearly 86% funded. However, California's pension plans are just 72% funded.

Houston improved its police pension system with an extra $750 million contribution, but the city essentially robbed Peter to pay Paul as it borrowed the money to make that contribution. Dallas' pension systems are 64% funded, and Weinberg said one reason for the low funding status is the fact that the city decided not to pay the contributions actuaries said were needed to fund the system in 2018.
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Michelle Jones is editor-in-chief of ValueWalk.

Tags: Michelle Jones, ValueWalk, Cities, With The Highest, Unfunded Pension Liabilities 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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