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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)

Thursday, February 18, 2021

5 Keys to Understanding Cuomo’s COVID-19 Cover-up in New York

by Fred Lucas: New York state lawmakers say they want to impeach Gov. Andrew Cuomo, strip him of emergency powers, and investigate his administration as new information shows the state’s COVID-19 death toll in nursing homes is even higher than a revised estimate.

The New York Department of Health released data Wednesday on 647 more nursing home deaths to the Empire Center for Public Policy, a state think tank that has analyzed the issue through a state statute called the Freedom of Information Law.

These additional deaths come on top of the more than 15,000 reported to have died in New York nursing homes while the Cuomo administration put that total at 8,000 as of January, according to The New York Times.

The Empire Center still seeks details about nearly 1,000 other deaths that occurred in “adult care facilities” that are not clearly identified as nursing homes.

Some of the governor’s fellow elected Democrats seem to be turning on him because, they say, he misled them and state residents about COVID-19 deaths.

Despite a rising death toll during the pandemic, Cuomo spent much of 2020 doing a victory lap and becoming a regular on talk shows—including one on CNN hosted by his brother Chris Cuomo—after writing a book extolling the job he did and winning an Emmy for his televised press conferences.

But after 2021 arrived, a tale of death, deception, and lack of government transparency emerged.

Answering questions Monday on the scandal during a press conference, Andrew Cuomo showed no contrition and largely blamed front-line workers at nursing homes, visitors to nursing homes, and the Trump administration.

“The truth is, COVID attacks senior citizens,” Cuomo said. “The truth is, with all we know, people still die in nursing homes today.”

New York’s attorney general determined, as did The Associated Press, that the Cuomo administration was underreporting COVID-19 deaths in nursing home by about half the actual number of 15,000.

New York lawmakers did not receive Cuomo’s press conference well.

As what some call a cover-up unravels, here are key questions about the scandal.

1. Could Cuomo Be Impeached?
Nine Democratic state legislators signed a letter late Tuesday accusing Cuomo of “intentional obstruction of justice,” and of “criminal use of power” that could prompt “commencement of impeaching [sic] proceedings.” The letter’s reference to impeachment was in bold.

“It is now unambiguously clear that this governor has engaged in an intentional obstruction of justice, as outlined in Title 18, Chapter 73 of the United States Code,” the lawmakers say in the letter, adding:In response to this criminal use of power, Assembly member Ron Kim and Sen. [Alessandra] Biaggi are introducing a bill to repeal the amendments to the Executive Law that were passed by the legislature one year ago … that expanded the governor’s authority to unilaterally suspend entire state statutes in response to an impending state emergency. This is a necessary first step in beginning to right the criminal wrongs of this governor and his administration.

Most consequently, if this legislature fails to take collective action in stripping the governor of his emergency powers and engage in additional measures to seek the realization of justice, including overriding an eventual executive veto and potentially the commencement of impeaching proceedings against Governor Cuomo, per the powers vested in the Assembly … then we too shall be complicit along with this administration in the obstruction of justice and conscious omission of nursing home death data.
State Sen. Jessica Ramos, a Democrat, told the news outlet City & State New York that impeachment is “being thrown around a bit.”

“It sounds to me like there’s potential obstruction of justice,” Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, a Republican, told City & State, adding that impeachment is an option.

“We don’t know if there is a crime,” Ortt said, “but we certainly have enough smoke here to warrant an investigation.”

The Empire Center led the way with lawsuits under the state freedom of information statute to obtain information before the state’s attorney general delved into the matter.

Still, at this juncture, an impeachment of Cuomo would distract from combating the coronavirus in the state and getting complete information to address the problem, said Bill Hammond, senior fellow for health policy at the Empire Center.

“Barring more revelations more dire than what we’ve seen, we have not yet seen the evidence that would support impeachment. The majorities in both houses of the legislature are solidly Democrat,” Hammond told The Daily Signal. “I wouldn’t advocate for impeachment. It would be a huge distraction.”

Hammond said Cuomo still could correct his course.

“One way for the governor to regain credibility is to provide maximum transparency,” Hammond said. “I would hate to see too much focus on trying to pillory the governor. That would be a distraction from the deeper problems.”

Lawmakers’ more immediate course of action likely is to strip Cuomo of his emergency powers, as 14 Democratic state senators called for in a joint statement expressing distrust for the administration.

“The New York State Constitution calls for the Legislature to govern as a co-equal branch of government,” they say in the public statement. “While the executive’s authority to issue directives is due to expire on April 30, we urge the Senate to advance and adopt a repeal as expeditiously as possible.”

Among those Democrats was Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, who tweeted about top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa’s comments, asserting: “You’re only sorry that you all got caught. Because of your decisions, thousands of people died who did not have to die. We’re not ‘offended,’ Melissa, we’re furious—with extremely good reason.”
2. What’s the Potential Legal Issue?
DeRosa holds the title of secretary to the governor.

“Basically, we froze,” she said during a Feb. 10 teleconference with Democratic lawmakers, referring to providing data requested by the Legislature after the U.S. Justice Department inquired about similar data.

“Because then we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation,” DeRosa said, according to audio recording of the call first obtained by the New York Post. “That played a very large role into this.”

DeRosa added in the teleconference that former President Donald Trump was “tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes.”

The left-leaning New York magazine characterized the conversation this way: “In other words, the Cuomo administration apparently feared legal jeopardy—and federal persecution, if not prosecution—over the data so, at best, it slow-walked releasing it to avoid that fight.”

During his press conference Monday, Cuomo said that “we paused the state legislators’ request” because of the Justice Department inquiry. The governor then seemed to taunt the lawmakers, saying: “They can’t say they didn’t know.”

Cuomo is “not entitled to his own facts or alternate timeline of events,” Carolina Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for Democrats in the state Senate, said on Twitter.
“If the DOJ request took precedence and that was the cause for the delayed response, why didn’t the Legislature receive answers shortly after his administration responded to the DOJ request?” Rodriguez asked.

Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat whose uncle died of COVID-19, was insulted when DeRosa told Democratic lawmakers that the delay in providing information was to avoid the Justice Department.

“She talked about the potential that the information would be weaponized against them. DeRosa needs to be accountable for what she said,” Kim told the Post. “She implicated all of us in the cover-up.”

Cuomo told reporters Monday that the Legislature would be committing a crime if it investigated him and issued subpoenas to force the executive branch to provide more information. He accused lawmakers of trying to force him to endorse their budget.

“That is a crime. You can’t say—I’m a former assistant district attorney—you can’t use a subpoena or the threat of an investigation to leverage a person. That’s a crime,” Cuomo said. “It’s called abuse of process. It’s called extortion. The question before, is it raw politics? No. It’s not raw politics. It’s criminal.”

A former federal prosecutor from New York, Andrew McCarthy, wrote in National Review that Cuomo, a former state attorney general, should have known better than to characterize a legitimate process in that way.

“Extortion under color of official right happens when a government official exploits his authority—the damage it empowers him to do—in this manner,” McCarthy wrote, adding:That, in essence, is abuse of process: the exploitation of investigative procedures, not for legitimate inquiries … In marked contrast, when a legislative panel or law enforcement agency, in furtherance of an inquiry in the public interest, issues subpoenas backed by the power of a court to order compliance on pain of contempt sanctions, that is not extortion. It is the conducting of an investigation—it is the process, not abuse of the process.3. How Responsible Is Cuomo? To what degree is the Cuomo administration responsible for the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes?

The question isn’t easy to answer, but data from multiple sources contradicts what the governor has said.

On March 25, the Cuomo administration’s Department of Health issued a directive requiring all nursing homes to readmit COVID-19 patients in an effort to relieve crowded hospitals.

After reporting the initial low estimates, The Associated Press investigated and reported that following the directive, the state sent 9,056 recovering COVID-19 patients to nursing homes. This total was over 40% more than what the state previously reported.

Cuomo insisted Monday that COVID-19 didn’t spread in nursing homes between patients, but blamed staff and visitors.

“COVID did not get into the nursing homes by people coming in from hospitals,” Cuomo said, adding:COVID got into the nurshing homes by staff walking into the nursing home when we didn’t even know we had COVID. Staff walking into a nursing home even though they were asymptomatic because the national experts all told us you could only spread COVID if you had symptoms. They were wrong. COVID may have been brought into a nursing home because visitors brought it in.New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, determined in findings from an investigation that sampled 62 nursing homes that the Cuomo policy had an impact.

“Government guidance requiring the admission of COVID-19 patients into nursing homes may have put residents at increased risk of harm in some facilities and may have obscured the data available to assess that risk,” the report from the attorney general’s office said, adding: “A larger number of nursing home residents died from COVID-19 than [Department of Health] data reflected.”

ProPublica reported: “Some 58 nursing homes did not have a single case of a sickened staff member or resident prior to the arrival of a COVID patient from the hospital.”

At one point during his press conference, Cuomo asserted: “The patients were not sent to nursing homes.”

This statement was similar to a comment that CNN fact-checked as false in October. At that time, Cuomo said, “So it just never happened in New York where we needed to say to a nursing home, ‘We need you to take this person even though they’re COVID-positive.’”

However, Empire Center’s Hammond, no Cuomo defender, said it’s unquestionable that COVID-19 made its way into nursing homes before the state’s March 25 order.

“It’s almost a certainty that staff and visitors brought some of it in,” Hammond said. “I have never bought into the March 25 order being the sole or even the primary reason for the spread in nursing homes. I have also never bought that it had nothing to do with it.”

Importantly, he said, the Legislature is stepping up to address concerns about nursing homes.

“There is a lot of interest in the Legislature to respond to the nursing home matter,” Hammond said. “I’m not sure if the solutions are on point, but the increased energy on the topic is a good thing.”

4. What Has Cuomo Admitted?
Cuomo admitted Monday that he didn’t provide as much information as he should have, and said it was a mistake to delay information, for which he did “feel badly.”

However, the governor was not willing to apologize.

When a reporter asked whether he would apologize, Cuomo seemed to take umbrage.

“Apologize? Look, I have said repeatedly we made a mistake in creating the [information] void,” Cuomo said, adding that his administration was “too focused on doing the job and addressing the crisis of the moment.”

“I take responsibility for that,” Cuomo said. “Total death counts were always accurate, nothing was hidden from anyone. But we did create the void, and that created pain, and I feel very badly about that.”

Cuomo seemed to deflect blame to those who criticized him, saying the lack of information left a void “filled with skepticism, and cynicism, and conspiracy theories, which furthered the confusion.”

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., was not impressed with the rationale that Cuomo was too busy doing his job to provide information to the Legislature and the public, since the governor was on a publicity tour.
5. Who Are Other Players? An investigation by state lawmakers won’t be limited to Cuomo or DeRosa.

“The governor and his health commissioner were not only withholding information from citizens and the state Legislature, but they were misleading about the information they were not providing and accused those seeking information of being conspiracy theorists,” Hammond said.

Health Commissioner Howard Zucker had told lawmakers for months that the Cuomo administration was compiling an accurate count of nursing home deaths. However, Zucker reportedly already had the numbers, based on the investigation by the state attorney general.

Since the conference with lawmakers, DeRosa has issued a statement telling the public what she told them.

“I was explaining that when we received the DOJ inquiry, we needed to temporarily set aside the Legislature’s request to deal with the federal request first,” DeRosa said, adding:We informed the [Legislature’s] houses of this at the time. We were comprehensive and transparent in our responses to the DOJ, and then had to immediately focus our resources on the second wave [of COVID-19] and vaccine rollout. As I said on a call with legislators, we could not fulfill their request as quickly as anyone would have liked.Several Republicans from New York’s congressional delegation and at least one Democrat, U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, have called for a probe of Cuomo’s actions.

Kim, the Democratic state assemblyman, noted that lawmakers sought information from the Cuomo administration for months.

“They could have given us the information back in May and June of last year,” he said. “They chose not to.”
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Fred Lucas is chief national affairs correspondent for The Daily Signal.
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Goodbye Rush, Trump vs. McConnell, Biden's Bumbling Town Hall


Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer: Goodbye, Rush
By now you have probably heard the heartbreaking news that Rush Limbaugh passed away this morning from the consequences of the lung cancer he had been battling. His wife, Kathryn, opened his radio show today to make the announcement.

I don't need to tell you that Rush was one of a kind. He touched millions of lives, and was, in many ways, the heart and soul of American populist conservatism. They say no man is irreplaceable, but he came as close to fitting that definition as possible.

Our condolences go out to his wife, Kathryn, his brother, David, to the rest of his immediate family, and to all those who knew and loved him.

In the days ahead, many things will be said and written about Rush Limbaugh. I was honored to speak with him at an event in California a number of years ago. In 2000, when I found myself in some controversy after exiting the Republican presidential primaries, Rush graciously interviewed me on his show so I could present my side.

If I had to pick one thing that made him so countercultural to the left and such a vital force, it would be his unapologetic, enthusiastic, heartfelt love for the United States of America, its history, its accomplishments and the goodness of its people.

Rush was a patriot from top to bottom. That shouldn't be rare, but, unfortunately, it is rare in far too many places these days.

God bless you, Rush. You fought the good fight and kept the faith. We will pick up your mantle and fight on!

Trump vs. McConnell
Make no mistake about this: If you are disturbed about a split in the Republican Party, Mitch McConnell caused the public break that is taking place right now.

Trump and McConnell have had their differences for some time. McConnell opposed Trump during the 2016 nomination battle. He and then-House Speaker Paul Ryan did their best to steer Trump away from the populist message that elected him.

He has gone to the Senate floor repeatedly to suggest that Donald Trump was responsible for what happened at the Capitol Building on January 6th. He dismissed concerns about election fraud and other irregularities. Then he wrote an opinion piece in Monday's Wall Street Journal again taking aim at Trump.

So, McConnell has attacked Trump multiple times and undermined his agenda. Finally, Trump responded yesterday with a powerful and blistering statement.

Every conservative in Washington has had to work with Mitch McConnell for years. His knowledge of Senate rules has made him an influential force on many issues we care about. He was strong on judicial nominations, and Supreme Court nominations in particular.

But Trump is right. If McConnell is the face of the Republican Party going forward, we will lose more Senate seats and it will be a long time before we get the White House back.

Donald Trump's support in the Republican Party has held steady over the last few months. Polling shows that he is by far the party's most popular figure.

In contrast, Mitch McConnell's approval rating has plummeted in his home state of Kentucky. Three months ago, he won reelection by a whopping 20-point margin, as Trump won the Blue Grass State by an even bigger 26-point margin.

But the latest poll shows McConnell's approval rating is just 41% in Kentucky. And nationally, McConnell's ratings are even worse.

Going Forward
In 2008 and 2012, many pundits gleefully danced on the grave of the Republican Party only to see it come back forcefully in 2010, 2014 and 2016.

But what is the Republican Party that McConnell, Romney, Sasse, Murkowski, Cassidy and Burr seem to imagine? What is its message? Why was Donald Trump able to do what Mitt Romney and John McCain could not? How did he attract 75 million voters?

Trump added to the traditional Republican message of lower taxes, constitutionalist judges and a strong military a full-throated defense of America, our founding and our values.

He exposed the rotten trade deals that sent blue-collar jobs overseas. He shattered the myth that communist China was just a trading partner, and not an enemy.

Trump didn't just mouth platitudes about the sanctity of life and religious liberty. He fought hard for values voters – the real base of the Republican Party.

Donald Trump understands that we have bigger problems than the marginal tax rate and whether or not the Chamber of Commerce is happy.

Trump accomplished a lot in four years. He could have accomplished even more if there were more senators in the GOP like him instead of the establishment types who constantly resisted and undermined him.

Respectfully to Mitch McConnell: Do you really believe that you and others can destroy Donald Trump and that his voters will turn out for you in 2022 and 2024? That's insane!

Biden's Bumbling Town Hall
If you've ever wondered why we don't see more press conferences from President Biden, you saw why last night. His CNN town hall was one gaffe after another.

Asked how he was going to help unite the nation, one of his big talking points, Biden offered rambling and contradictory remarks, even suggesting that "the nation is not divided."

Biden suggested that one of the problems plaguing the COVID-19 vaccination efforts is that many blacks and Hispanics don't know how to get online. What!?

For whatever reason, Biden frequently talks down to minority Americans. Remember when he told a black talk show host, "You ain't black"? Or when he asked a black journalist if he was a junkie? Remember his comment about black women stocking shelves? But he always gets a pass from the media.

Biden bizarrely claimed that there weren't any vaccines when he took office. Well, the Trump Administration was administering one million vaccinations a day, and Biden himself got two doses before he took office!

Asked about efforts to combat racism in America, Biden outrageously smeared veterans and retired police officers, suggesting they were behind a rise in white supremacy.

And to top it all off, he made excuses for communist China.

Referring to his recent phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden said that he brought up Hong Kong and the oppression of the Uighurs. But then Biden said this:

"The central principle of Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightly controlled China. And he uses his rationale for the things he does based on that. . . Culturally, there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow."

It's really not clear what exactly Biden was trying to say, but genocide is not a matter of "cultural norms."

The issue is not that China has different cultural norms. It's that communists have unacceptable cultural norms.

Communists are always aggressors in foreign policy because they are threatened by free people. Communists always suppress human rights and religious liberty because the state is their god and the people have no rights beyond what little the state gives them.

Once again, we have been reminded why Barack Obama's secretary of defense warned that Biden was wrong on nearly every major foreign policy issue throughout his career.
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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: Goodbye Rush, Trump vs. McConnell, Biden's Bumbling, Town Hall To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

On Loan From God

Rush Limbaugh has passed on but is important that we keep his legacy alive by spreading the Truth.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: On Loan From God, Rush Limbaugh has passed on, but is important that we keep, his legacy alive, by spreading the Truth To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

The “China-fication” of America

China Photo via AP, File
by Tom Balek: Two months into the Democrat takeover of our nation, I am plenty worried. Not about myself and my wife. Not about our children. Our grandchildren? You bet.

As I recover from the shock of a stolen election followed by the unraveling of all the progress made over the last four years, my worldview has begun to clarify. I think I am finally beginning to understand what’s going on.

My son asked me today, “Do you really think we will never again have a fair election?” After some thought, I had to admit that the likelihood of a real election in our near future is pretty remote.

Look at it this way – the Democrats now have control of the three branches of federal government, the news media, the education system, the military, the judiciary including the Supreme Court, the FBI/DOJ/CIA/State Dept., the entire federal bureaucracy, most of corporate America, the internet, social media, pop culture, entertainment and sports. Their control is so complete that they are able to steal an election in front of God and everybody, get away with it and laugh about it, with virtually no opposition. They can presumably do that again, repeatedly. How in the hell could we traditional Christian conservative Americans expect to ever gain back even a tiny portion of control over our government or our destiny without a deadly civil war?

It appears that the United States (and perhaps the civilized world) has come to accept the Chinese model of government, culture, and morality as the new paradigm of success. After all, the communist leaders of China have maneuvered their huge nation from abject poverty and utter failure to world champion status in just a few decades. Yes, their model richly rewards the ruling elites while “genociding” or “disappearing” unwanted citizens. Yes, their air is unbreathable, their genome-bending diseases are unstoppable, and any disagreement with the CCP is brutally, even militarily, extinguished. But the billions of people in the great Chinese middle class have been elevated to a sustainable, somewhat comfortable standard of living. That is, as long as they do as they are told, maintain an acceptable social score under constant surveillance, and accept mediocrity for their entire lives.

We apparently want the same one-party control system that China has. No need for citizens to make decisions of any kind. No need for freedom of expression, religion, or truth. The government knows best, just shut up and live.

There’s only one problem here. China was able to build their system by using and abusing American knowledge, creativity and money. If America wants to emulate China, who will we look to as our “cash cow” to finance our growth and progress? Guatamala? Mexico? Using the wealth they pilfered from us, China has already taken over most of the third-world at breakneck pace.

With Democrats now controlling every aspect of American civilization, and promising (already delivering) the China model to our nation, those of us over age 40 who give a damn about our grandchildren don’t seem to have a lot of options.

But there is one last hope. And it is that individual states will re-affirm their sovereignty, rights and freedoms under the Constitution of our forefathers. If there is no room for the “Make America Great Again” spirit in our nation, I pray to God that there is room for it in our states. If we have hope to restore the USA to greatness, that hope lies in the flyover states, not the metropolitan coastal areas that are willing and happy to sell their pitiful, fearful souls to the federal government for promise of a crust of bread. May God bless the United STATES of America!
--------------------------
Tom Balek (@TomBalek) is a fellow conservative activist, blogger, musician and contributes to the ARRA News Service. Tom resides in South Carolina and seeks to educate those too busy with their work and families to notice how close to the precipice our economy has come. He blogs at Rockin' On the Right Side
Tags: Tom Balek, Rockin' On the Right Side, The “China-fication” of America To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Rush Limbaugh: Tribute to a Great American

by Newt Gingrich: Rush Limbaugh’s passing is a tragic moment. Callista and my sympathies go out to his family and loved ones. He was a wonderful man and one of the great heroic figures of the conservative movement.

I knew Rush as a political commentator, a pioneer, and as a personal friend. I have so many memories of Rush, but first let me talk about him as a national figure. Beginning in 1988, Rush Limbaugh created a nationwide audience of more than 20 million people who felt that they had to listen to him every single day. They believed he was the personification of intelligent, funny, confident conservatism that was willing to take apart liberals who were doing indefensible things, challenge the political elites, and stand up to political censorship.

His audience was powerful. I can tell you this from personal experience. When we ran the 1994 Contract with America, Republicans had been out of power in the house for 40 years. Rush’s help was absolutely vital to winning that election, communicating the issues to the country, rallying people, and helping key candidates win.

I used to go down and visit with Rush once he had left New York and gone down to Palm Beach. He moved partly because he was fed up with being surrounded by New York liberals. In Palm Beach, he found a lot of conservative friends. Two of them, Gay and Stanley Gaines, are now among our closest friends. We would often get together at Gay and Stanley’s. Bill Bennett would come down, and Rush would join us for a long weekend. My children and their spouses would come down. On one occasion my son-in-law Paul Lubbers hit a hole in one, while golfing with a Rush and Stanley. He has a card to this day testifying to that hole in one signed by Rush Limbaugh, so it’s a genuine collector’s item.

Rush was very considerate and very open. Callista and I had lunch with him one time, and it turned out they had both started in radio working the late shift in high school at small town radio stations. In Callista’s case, she ultimately went on to do other things and ended up as the US Ambassador to the Holy See in Rome. But in Rush’s case, he kept coming back to radio again and again – and became amazingly successful. It was fun to sit there and listen to these two people who started at the same point. Rush became a national figure in his own right in radio. Callista has become a national figure in a totally different way. And the conversation was just between two friends. Rush never had any sense of presenting himself as an important national figure or heroic pioneer. There was nothing pompous or stuffy about him. He was just practical, and down to earth. So, I think that it’s really important to remember Rush Limbaugh the person.

Rush never really left Missouri in his heart. He had that middle American, down to earth sensibility. He might have lived in Palm Beach, but his mind and senses of reality and life were still basically in Cape Girardeau. He brought this with him to Kansas City, where his career really began to take off – then on to Sacramento. He never lost that touch – that life is about common, every day, practical things. And he never lost the courage to stand up to the Left and the elites – no matter how outraged they became. The result was he had an amazingly faithful, solid group of listeners.

And one last thing I just have to say: Rush worked really hard at learning the trade. He practiced the art of radio in a variety of ways. He worked really hard learning how to be successful. It used to infuriate him when friends of his will say, “Oh, I could do that. All you have to do is get on and talk.” Rush prepared every day, and he brought to bear a lifetime of experience. It was a terrific thing when President Trump honored him at the State of the Union. It was an emotional moment to see him there. It was emotional to see a normal guy from Missouri earn such an honor purely through a lifetime of hard work.

We will all miss him deeply. He is a great American original. And for conservatives, he is a great American hero.
------------------------
Newt Gingrich shares his thoughts on Rush Limbaugh’s passing.
Tags: Newt Gingrich​, Rush Limbaugh To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Frozen New Deal

Green-New-Deal style policies are claiming lives due to frozen windmills
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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Biden Targets the Second Amendment

He dubiously calls for "commonsense" gun control to effectively gut Americans' firearms rights.
by Thomas Gallatin: This past Sunday, Joe Biden did what we knew was coming — he officially announced his intention to launch an assault against Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Using the anniversary of the Parkland school massacre and shamelessly exploiting those dead children, Biden dubiously couched his affront against the Constitution as “commonsense.” He listed several “gun law reforms” he wants Congress to pass. Notably, none of them would do anything to stop criminals from acting criminally, and at least some of them would make criminals of law-abiding citizens.

Biden’s “reforms” include “requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufactures who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”

As we have repeatedly noted over the years, none of these “reforms” deal with the actual root problems of crime. Rather, they only work to further infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment right to bear arms for self-defense and as a check against government tyranny. Being an elitist Democrat, Joe “Buy a Shotgun” Biden clearly believes in neither.

In his push to “finally” deal with “gun violence” (as far as we know, there’s never been an incident in which a firearm, acting on its own volition, shot someone), Biden did not rule out the possibility of issuing an executive order to assault the Second Amendment. On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if Biden would consider using an executive order. “The president has a range of actions at this disposal,” she responded. “He hasn’t ruled out either of those options.”

Leftists in developed nations around the globe have long targeted citizens’ right to bear arms as a primary hurdle to their agendas.

Recall how quickly New Zealand’s prime minister unilaterally acted to strip Kiwis of their gun rights in the wake of the 2019 mosque attack in Christchurch, all in the name of “commonsense” action.

Moreover, according to The Hill, “Canada is expected to pass sweeping gun reform legislation, including a measure that allows municipalities to ban handguns [emphasis added]. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the new measures on Tuesday, a sweeping package that builds on a ban of more than 1,500 assault-style firearms. Trudeau said at a news conference on Tuesday that the country would move forward with a buyback program ‘in the coming months.’” Trudeau ridiculously asserted, “You can’t fight gun violence for any violence on just one front. You can’t fight it without addressing its root causes.” Well, it’s clear that his administration is more interested in blaming inanimate tools rather than actually digging into the root human causes of violence and crime.

But we don’t need to go to other countries to see how anti-gun leftists are determined to do everything in their power to limit gun rights. That much is demonstrated by Democrat Representative Sheila Jackson Lee’s bill HR 127 that would, among other things, create a mandatory registry of gun owners and the number of firearms they own.

Kevin Hasset, president of the Retired Police Association of the State of New York, noted, “This is very dangerous, especially for retirees. Things have gone so downhill with this level of hostility towards cops and we are out there with the label that we are no longer cops. Retired cops don’t have partners or backup. We are out there on our own.”

The same can be said of millions of other American citizens. Hasset further warned, “This bill will go after all the lawful gun owners. If you are ever interested in robbing my house, you can look me up and know where my guns are stored.”

Biden has made his intentions clear: He aims to assault our Second Amendment rights. And given his penchant for signing executive orders, this threat is no malarky.
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Thomas Gallatin writes for The Patriot Post
Tags: Biden Targets, Second Amendment, guns, gun control, democrats, left, Joe Biden, Second Amendment To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

End in Ice?

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: When I was young, some folks worried about a return to Ice Age conditions. The climate alarm, in the decades since, prophesies hotter conditions, not colder.

So, with this cold snap hitting North America — ice storms from Washington State to Texas and now heading east by northeast — climate change has emerged in the back (or even front) of our minds.

It’s just not necessarily Fire we fret about. It’s Ice. (Cue recitation of the great Robert Frost poem, now.)

“The arctic air that poured into Texas resulted in a record-breaking demand for power that caused the state’s electric grid to fail,” the Weather Channel reports. “Suppliers had planned to use rolling blackouts, but the system was overwhelmed” — effecting an “estimated 75% of Texas power generation capacity.”

Millions in Mexico are also without power, because natural gas pipelines from Texas froze.

The main hit to the electric grid sure looks like it has been directly* to the distribution — if what I glean from Georgetown’selectric outage page is a good indication.

But that town went heavy into alternative forms of energy production (as has the whole of the state, along with many others). Did that investment help them when the cold came? Former Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette says the problem is that alternative energy sources are not “base load electricity” but “intermittant and sometimes unreliable.”

Just as batteries under-perform in the cold, windmills don’t turn well when covered in ice. When we really need power, energy production that flakes out is not an energy alternative at all — it’s non-energy.

And if an Ice Age does come back, we’ll need more energy, not less than were global warming to remain the trend.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
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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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With Cuomo, Democrats Are Fleeing a Sinking Ship

by Tony Perkins: You know you're in trouble when your own party turns against you. That's the lesson New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is learning, or should be learning, right now.

Washington Times reporter Valerie Richardson explained yesterday on Washington Watch that "there is quite a bit of momentum right now into at the very least a state investigation," and quite possibly a federal investigation as well. But it's not just Republicans, she said: "There is increasing pressure in the Democratic Party to do something about the Cuomo scandal." Too bad it took them nine months after the scandal broke to do anything.

New York was America's first and deadliest hotspot of the coronavirus pandemic, driven in large part by poor policymaking from the very top. Governor Cuomo forced nursing homes to accept Covid-positive patients who were discharged from hospitals, placing New York's most vulnerable citizens at the greatest risk of exposure. But instead of quickly reversing course when it became clear this would be a disaster, Cuomo dragged his feet for six weeks. Then to dig his own hole deeper, Governor Cuomo helped to cover up the extent of this problem, underreporting the nursing home deaths (in which he was complicit) by as much as 50 percent. That's according to a report by New York's attorney general, who is herself a Democrat. In other words, Cuomo lied; people died.

Shockingly, Governor Cuomo still refuses to come clean. Last week, an aide only apologized for the political inconvenience, and not the actual deaths. But in a Monday press conference Cuomo remained on the defensive:So there is nothing to investigate. All the numbers we produced were exactly right. We didn't provide all the information that was requested. That did create a void and misinformation did fill the void. And that misinformation gave people aggravation, and confused people, and confused people who lost a loved one, and allowed conspiracy theories to fester. And that aggravated people who lost a loved one, because now you don't know what to believe. And that is the last thing anyone wanted to create.To be clear, by "misinformation," Cuomo means the real number of nursing home patients who died from Covid-19 as a result of his policies, which his own Attorney General says could be up to twice as much as the number he reported. And by "conspiracy theories," Cuomo means the attempted coverup, which his own staff have admitted to. But never mind, he says, "there is nothing to investigate." Really?

It's not just Republicans, said Richardson. "Democrats are really having none of it at this point." Democratic leaders in the state legislature are "contradicting what he said at his press conference." Democratic state legislators "are tweeting about how he needs to tell what happened and disclose more and be more transparent." Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim said specifically he was "lying" in his Monday press conference. I guess this explains why Governor Cuomo receive the international Emmy for his masterful Covid-19 briefings. He really was acting.

Governor Cuomo defiantly refuses to accept responsibility for his decisions. He tried to sweep it under the rug. Then he tried to blame everyone under the sun, including the victims themselves. At this point, it seems even his own party has begun to see him as a liability. Richardson reports that "the minimum the state legislature could do at this point would be to revoke his emergency powers, which they appear to be poised to do." That seems like a step states beyond New York should take.
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Tony Perkins is president of Family Research Center.
Tags: Tony Perkins, Family Research Center, With Cuomo, Democrats, Fleeing, Sinking Ship To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Rush Limbaugh: Death Of A Giant

by I & I Editorial Board: Though widely anticipated, the death of Rush Limbaugh after a long battle with cancer is a major blow to conservatives. His witty, often acerbic commentary had been a daily anchor to reality for many Americans, tired of the mainstream media’s lies, bias and prevarications. But with his death, Limbaugh leaves a hole in the conservative movement that is impossible to fill.

The center-right media firmament has many bright stars. Unfortunately, none shine as brightly as Rush did. As the numerous accounts of his death and life point out, he was the most listened to radio show host in history.

He was a master of the medium, and used his three-hour daily radio platform both wisely and well. With 20 million listeners at his peak, Limbaugh singlehandedly turned more liberals and moderates into conservatives than perhaps anyone outside of Ronald Reagan. He was a cultural phenomenon.

That gave him unprecedented political clout for a radio personality. Frankly, we’re not sure who picks up the torch from here. Dennis Prager? Ben Shapiro? Mark Levin? Laura Ingraham? Dan Bongino? Sean Hannity? Andrew Klavan? John Batchelor? Michael Knowles? There are many possible candidates, each excellent and brilliant in his or her own way.

But none is likely to ever match Limbaugh’s raw muscle, reach and influence.

National Review’s description of Limbaugh’s media legacy is on target: “His lashing critiques of the Left, comic riffs, and combative ebullience spawned many imitators, but none of them came close to being his equal.”

Unfortunately, it might be that no one can really replace Limbaugh, whose excellence and ability to make sense of confusing news events on the fly had no peer. People who knew that something didn’t jibe with common sense but couldn’t quite articulate why found a home on Rush’s show. He verbally picked apart the affairs of the day with a lapidarian precision and humor.

It’s no accident that the modern rebirth of conservatism during the Reagan years more or less coincided with the rise of Limbaugh, who, with the media’s omnipresent left-wing filter removed, taught people that being a conservative is about understanding what’s going on every day.

He gave those tired of the press’ relentless bias a place to go, and regularly showed that conservatives were not crude, Bible-thumping, un-nuanced reactionaries. Or, as the media call them today, “domestic terrorists.”

Limbaugh was, in a sense, both the glue that kept the movement together in recent decades and a big reason for its growth. Politicians aplenty, right and left, learned quickly that to run afoul of Limbaugh’s well-articulated views was to court political disaster. His audience doesn’t forget.

Limbaugh’s end after his heroic battle with cancer will be tough for the conservative movement, especially if the radio king’s loyal and widespread audience lose interest, scatter or drift away, avoiding the coming political battles altogether. That would be a shame.

It may be a cliché, but it’s nonetheless true: America is today at a crossroads, and those of us who dearly love this country, as Rush did, will find themselves sorely tested by the trials and battles to come. He was more than just a voice on the radio.

Oh, how he’ll be missed.

So, RIP, Rush Limbaugh. You did yeoman’s duty in keeping the conservative fire burning. As for the rest of us, perhaps our best tribute of all to Limbaugh would be to make sure that flame never goes out.
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I&I Editorial Board shared about Rush Limbaugh.
Tags: Rush Limbaugh, Death Of A Giant, I&I editorial Board To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

43 Constitutional Amendments Proposed in Arkansas

by Jerry Cox: A total of 43 constitutional amendments have been proposed at the Arkansas Legislature this year.

Lawmakers can refer up to three of these constitutional amendments to voters for consideration.

The three amendments selected from these 43 measures would appear on the 2022 General Election ballot.

Our team has reviewed and summarized each of the 43 proposed measures currently in play in Little Rock.

Below is a breakdown of each proposed constitutional amendment. Family Council supports some of these measures; we oppose others; and we have no position on most of them.

As noted below, it is possible Family Council’s position on some measures could change as proposals are amended or new information comes to light.

Proposed Constitutional Amendments Family Council Supports


H.J.R.1006 by Rep. Frances “Fran” Cavenaugh (R-AR-060)
H.J.R. 1006 amends the Arkansas Constitution to permit voters to recall elected officials and judges in Arkansas. Upon initial review, Family Council supports this amendment.

H.J.R.1010 by Rep. Joe Cloud (R-AR-071)
H.J.R. 1010 amends the Arkansas Constitution to remove authorization of a casino in Pope County. This is a good amendment that will help curtail casino gambling in Arkansas. Family Council supports H.J.R. 1010.

H.J.R.1011 by Rep. Joe Cloud (R-AR-071)
H.J.R. 1011 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It changes the casino amendment that authorizes casino gambling in Pope, Jefferson, Garland, and Crittenden counties. Under H.J.R. 1011, the Arkansas Racing Commission would not issue a casino license in Pope County unless the voters of the county approve conducting casino gaming at a local election. Family Council supports H.J.R. 1011.

H.J.R.1018 by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-AR-087), Sen. Jane English (R-AR-034)
H.J.R. 1018 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It clarifies that proceeds from the Arkansas Lottery may be used to fund scholarships and grants to students at vocational-technical and technical institutes. Currently, lottery scholarships are only available to students enrolled in public or private two-year and four-year colleges and universities. Family Council supports legislation that ensures lottery-funded scholarships are managed responsibly. We support H.J.R. 1018.

H.J.R.1024 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-AR-057), Sen. Jason Rapert (R-AR-035)
H.J.R. 1024 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It prevents the government from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion. The measure is similar to Arkansas’ state Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment to the Arkansas Constitution.

H.J.R.1025 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-AR-057)
H.J.R. 1025 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It says that the sanctity of life is paramount to all other rights protected by the constitution. It states that Arkansas citizens, acting as jurors, have the sole authority to determine the amount of compensation or civil penalty imposed because of injuries resulting in death or resulting from acts that create a significant risk to life. H.J.R. 1025 will help prevent the State of Arkansas from placing a price tag on human life. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment.

S.J.R.14 by Sen. Jason Rapert (R-AR-035), Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-AR-057)
S.J.R. 14 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It prevents the government from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion. The measure is similar to Arkansas’ state Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment to the Arkansas Constitution.

S.J.R.16 by Sen. Alan Clark (R-AR-013)
S.J.R. 16 would amend the Arkansas Constitution to require public schools to designate their athletic teams as “male” or “female,” and require student athletes to compete according to their biological sex. This would prevent boys who claim to be girls from competing in girls’ sports at school — and vice versa. Family Council supports this measure.

Proposed Constitutional Amendments Family Council Opposes
H.J.R.1008 by Rep. DeAnn Vaught (R-AR-004)
H.J.R. 1008 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It requires initiatives and referenda submitted to voters via petition drives to be approved by at least 60% of the votes cast on the measure in order to pass. However, it would not require constitutional amendments submitted by the General Assembly to be approved by 60% of the vote. Family Council opposes this measure.

H.J.R.1014 by Rep. Lee Johnson (R-AR-075), Sen. Missy Irvin (R-AR-018) H.J.R. 1014 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to cap non-economic and punitive damages that courts can award when a person is injured or killed through someone else’s negligence. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, H.J.R. 1014 makes it possible for the Arkansas Legislature to put a price tag on human life. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment.

H.J.R.1015 by Rep. Jim Dotson (R-AR-093), Sen. Bob Ballinger (R-AR-005) H.J.R. 1015 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to set rules about pleading, practice, procedure, and evidence for all courts in Arkansas. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, giving the Arkansas Legislature the ability to restrict evidence that can or cannot be used in court may make it difficult or impossible for people to obtain justice in court. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment.

S.J.R.7 by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R-AR-005), Rep. Jim Dotson (R-AR-093) S.J.R. 7 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to set rules about pleading, practice, procedure, and evidence for all courts in Arkansas. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, giving the Arkansas Legislature the ability to restrict evidence that can or cannot be used in court may make it difficult or impossible for people to obtain justice in court. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment.

S.J.R.8 by Sen. Missy Irvin (R-AR-018), Rep. Lee Johnson (R-AR-075) S.J.R. 8 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to cap non-economic and punitive damages courts can award when a person is injured or killed through someone else’s negligence. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, S.J.R. 8 makes it possible for the Arkansas Legislature to put a price tag on human life. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment.

S.J.R.9 by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R-AR-005), Rep. Jim Dotson (R-AR-093) S.J.R. 9 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to set rules about pleading, practice, procedure, and evidence for all courts in Arkansas. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, giving the Arkansas Legislature the ability to restrict evidence that can or cannot be used in court may make it difficult or impossible for people to obtain justice in court. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment.

Proposed Constitutional Amendments On Which Family Council Has No Position H.J.R.1001 by Rep. Frances “Fran” Cavenaugh (R-AR-060), Sen. Breanne Davis (R-AR-016)

H.J.R. 1001 amends the Arkansas Constitution to let the General Assembly convene itself into session if the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate issue a joint proclamation calling the legislature into assembly. Currently, special sessions of the Arkansas Legislature can only be called by the governor. Family Council is neutral on H.J.R. 1001.

H.J.R.1002 by Rep. David Tollett (R-AR-012) H.J.R. 1002 amends the Arkansas Constitution concerning ad valorem property tax assessments for the benefit of school districts. Family Council has no position on this measure.

H.J.R.1003 by Rep. Michelle Gray (R-AR-062), Sen. James Sturch (R-AR-019) H.J.R. 1003 amends the Arkansas Constitution concerning taxes for the construction, operation, and improvement of public libraries. Family Council is neutral on H.J.R. 1003.

H.J.R.1004 by Rep. Stephen Meeks (R-AR-067) H.J.R. 1004 amends the Arkansas Constitution concerning mill tax on real and personal property. Family Council is neutral on H.J.R. 1004.

H.J.R.1005 by Rep. David Ray (R-AR-040), Sen. Bart Hester (R-AR-001) H.J.R. 1005 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It requires initiatives, referenda, constitutional amendments, and referred measures submitted to voters to be approved by at least 60% of the votes cast on the measure in order to pass. Family Council is currently neutral on this measure, pending amendments that may be made to it.

H.J.R.1007 by Rep. Fredrick “Fred” Love (D-AR-029) H.J.R. 1007 amends the Arkansas Constitution to create the Citizens Commission on the Minimum Wage. The commission would have the sole authority to increase the minimum wage in Arkansas. Family Council has no position on this measure.

H.J.R.1009 by Rep. Jim Dotson (R-AR-093) H.J.R. 1009 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It amends the name, membership, powers, and duties of the State Highway Commission. Family Council has no position on this measure.

H.J.R.1012 by Rep. John Payton (R-AR-064) H.J.R. 1012 amends the Arkansas constitution to revise the duties of certain constitutional officers. Family Council has no position on this measure.

H.J.R.1013 by Rep. John Payton (R-AR-064) H.J.R. 1013 amends the Arkansas constitution to revise the duties of certain constitutional officers. Family Council has no position on this measure.

H.J.R.1016 by Rep. Jim Dotson (R-AR-093) H.J.R. 1016 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It is a “shell” amendment at this time, and it does not contain any actual provisions. Family Council will take a position on this measure if and when provisions are added to it.

H.J.R.1017 by Rep. Jim Dotson (R-AR-093) H.J.R. 1017 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It is a “shell” amendment at this time, and it does not contain any actual provisions. Family Council may take a position on this measure if and when provisions are added to it.

H.J.R.1019 by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-AR-087), Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-AR-006) H.J.R. 1019 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It clarifies that candidates for the Arkansas Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Circuit Court, and District Court shall be elected on a partisan basis rather than on a non-partisan basis. Family Council has no position on this measure.

H.J.R.1020 by Rep. Josh Miller (R-AR-066) H.J.R. 1020 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It is a “shell” amendment at this time, and it does not contain any actual provisions. Family Council may take a position on this measure if and when provisions are added to it.

H.J.R.1021 by Rep. Vivian Flowers (D-AR-017) H.J.R. 1021 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It repeals language in the state constitution permitting slavery or involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime. Family Council is neutral on this measure.

H.J.R.1022 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-AR-057) H.J.R. 1022 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It is a “shell” amendment at this time, and it does not contain any actual provisions. Family Council may take a position on this measure if and when provisions are added to it.

H.J.R.1023 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-AR-057), Sen. Jason Rapert (R-AR-035) H.J.R. 1023 amends the Arkansas Constitution to say that Arkansans have a fundamental right to keep and bear arms. Family Council supports the Second Amendment, but we currently have no position on this measure.

S.J.R.1 by Sen. Alan Clark (R-AR-013) S.J.R. 1 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It lets municipalities use short-term financing options to acquire fire trucks. Family Council is neutral on this measure.

S.J.R.10 by Rep. Frances “Fran” Cavenaugh (R-AR-060), Sen. Breanne Davis (R-AR-016) S.J.R. 10 amends the Arkansas Constitution to let the General Assembly convene itself into session if the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate issue a joint proclamation calling the legislature into assembly. Currently, special sessions of the Arkansas Legislature can only be called by the governor. Family Council is neutral on S.J.R. 10.

S.J.R.11 by Sen. Greg Leding (D-AR-004), Rep. Jay Richardson (D-AR-078) S.J.R. 11 is a proposed constitutional amendment. It would change Arkansas’ laws governing rental agreements, landlords, and tenants. Family Council is neutral on this constitutional amendment.

S.J.R.12 by Sen. Greg Leding (D-AR-004) S.J.R. 12 would amend the Arkansas Constitution concerning the qualifications to vote in an election. The measure is a “shell” bill, and it currently does not contain any provisions. Family Council is neutral on this measure at this time.

S.J.R.13 by Sen. Jason Rapert (R-AR-035), Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-AR-057) S.J.R. 13 amends the Arkansas Constitution to say that Arkansans have a fundamental right to keep and bear arms. Family Council supports the Second Amendment, but we currently have no position on this measure.

S.J.R.15 by Sen. Alan Clark (R-AR-013) S.J.R. 15 amends the Arkansas Constitution to require the governor to call a special session of the Arkansas Legislature when issuing an executive order or proclamation declaring an emergency. The special session would give the Arkansas Legislature an opportunity to consider legislation related to the emergency. Family Council is neutral on this measure.

S.J.R.17 by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R-AR-005), Rep. Justin Gonzales (R-AR-019) S.J.R. 17 would amend the Arkansas Constitution concerning the review of the constitutionality of certain federal actions before the federal actions are implemented in Arkansas. The measure is a “shell” bill, and it currently does not contain any provisions. Family Council is neutral on this measure at this time.

S.J.R.18 by Sen. Alan Clark (R-AR-013) S.J.R. 18 would propose an amendment to the United States Constitution limiting the U.S. Supreme Court to nine justices. Family Council is neutral on this measure at this time.

S.J.R.2 by Sen. Alan Clark (R-AR-013) S.J.R. 2 amends the Arkansas Constitution to make it possible for the Arkansas Legislature to convene itself into special session if a majority of the legislators sign a petition submitted to the governor calling for a special session. Currently, special sessions of the Arkansas Legislature can only be called by the governor. Family Council is neutral on this measure.

S.J.R.3 by Sen. Alan Clark (R-AR-013) S.J.R. 3 amends the Arkansas Constitution to permit the State of Arkansas to be sued just like any other entity and taken to court. Family Council is currently neutral on S.J.R. 3.

S.J.R.4 by Sen. Mark Johnson (R-AR-015) S.J.R. 4 amends the Arkansas Constitution to require the General Assembly to provide laws establishing, maintaining, and supporting free public schools. Family Council is neutral on S.J.R. 4.

S.J.R.5 by Sen. Jason Rapert (R-AR-035) S.J.R. 5 amends the Arkansas Constitution concerning the manner in which primary elections are conducted. The measure is a “shell” bill, and it currently does not contain any provisions. Family Council is neutral on this measure at this time.

S.J.R.6 by Sen. Clarke Tucker (D-AR-032), Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-AR-057) S.J.R. 6 would amend the Arkansas Constitution. It requires the Arkansas Legislature to enact laws revising the election process for primary elections, special primary elections, and general elections. It also requires the legislature to enact laws establishing the process for choosing delegates that will nominate presidential candidates and electors for the President and Vice President of the United States. Family Council currently has no position on this proposed constitutional amendment.
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Jerry Cox is the Chairman of Arkansas Family Council.
Tags: Arkansas Legislature, Casino Gambling, Constitution, Religious Freedom, Religious Liberty, Tort Reform, Arkansas Family Council, Jerry Cox To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Will Senate Democrats Eliminate the Filibuster Just to Nationalize Election Laws Under H.R. 1?

by Robert Romano: After sweeping the trifecta of the House, Senate and White House in 2020 with the slimmest of majorities, Democrats have a diminishing window of opportunity to enact their agenda and keep their political base happy.

After all, majorities do not last forever, and in midterm elections from 1906 to 2018, the party that occupies the White House usually loses on average 31 seats in the House, and about three seats in the Senate. And with just a 10-seat majority in the House and a zero-seat majority in the Senate with it all tied, 50-50, the odds Democrats lose at least one legislative chamber in 2022 is exceptionally high.

President Joe Biden and Democrats ran on a platform of enacting a public option for health insurance, raising taxes, moving to net-zero carbon emissions in energy production by 2035 and by 2050 for everything else including transportation, legalizing millions of illegal immigrants including a pathway to citizenship, passing his $1.9 trillion Covid stimulus relief legislation and election law reform.

Now, to get some of those things done, Democrats are resorting to the use of budget reconciliation, in this case on the $1.9 trillion Covid spending bill, which averts the use of the Senate filibuster and allows legislation affecting the budget to pass the Senate with a simple majority. Next year if not sooner, it is likely the same procedure will be utilized to eliminate portions of the Trump tax cuts.

On carbon emissions, Biden can partially achieve his agenda through more regulations that would kill off the last of the coal-fired electricity-producing power plants or oil home-heating furnaces. Re-entering the non-binding Paris Climate Accords was an executive action, and more symbolic than anything else.

But on other items to do with the public option, creating a path to citizenship for illegal aliens and changing election law would be subject to Senate cloture rules, requiring 60 votes to get much of anything accomplished. The problem for President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is that would mean they need at least 10 Senate Republicans to pass any meaningful legislation.

So, either Democrats are going to eliminate the Senate filibuster, or else they are not going to get much done legislatively in time for the 2022 Congressional midterms, including on H.R. 1, House legislation being considered that would nationalize federal elections, or other ideas including amending the Judiciary Act of 1869 to pack the Supreme Court by increasing membership beyond nine justices.

H.R. 1 would require states to automatically register residents to vote, turn the Federal Election Commission into a partisan entity controlled by the White House party, require the use of absentee ballot drop boxes, eliminate state restrictions on mail-in voting, require same-day voter registration and gut state voter identification laws.

Almost all of those provisions would appear to favor Democrats in elections, with disproportionate majorities of immigrants favoring Democrats and Democrats making greater use of absentee and mail-in balloting in the 2020 elections than Republicans did. In short, there would be almost no political incentive for Republicans to support such legislation.

Therefore, the only way for Democrats to pass it would be to abolish the Senate filibuster. But Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kirsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) appear to have already foreclosed that possibility.

“I will not vote in this Congress, that’s two years, right? I will not vote [to abolish the filibuster]… And I hope with that guarantee in place he will work in a much more amicable way,” Manchin said in an interview last month.

Sinema for her part through her office said she is “not open to changing her mind” about abolishing the filibuster, which would facilitate consideration not only of legislation to pack the court but also other issues.

For some, given the likelihood of Republicans reclaiming the House and maybe even the Senate in 2022, that is the reason for Democrats to just go ahead and eliminate the filibuster—to get as much of their agenda enacted as possible.

On the other hand, Democrats would then have to hope they’d stay in power forever, and given the likelihood that the GOP gets either the House or Senate or both in 2022, that would be the reason not to.

Because then, the next time Republicans have the House, Senate and White House — as soon as perhaps 2025 — they could, for starters: repeal Obamacare, eliminate family-based preferences in immigration law, build the wall, pass national concealed carry laws for firearms, implement a national voter identification law, remove illegal aliens from voter rolls, enact entitlement and welfare reform, repeal or reform the Administrative Procedures Act, pass laws against automatic union dues deductions, reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or repeal or reform the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Acts — and so forth.

Nothing lasts forever, and certainly not Congressional majorities. Republicans will win elections again — very soon. Meaning, Democrats wishing for Senate Majority Leader Schumer to simply eliminate the filibuster, thinking they can never lose, should be careful what they wish for.
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Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.
Tags: >Robert Romano, Americans for Limited Government, Will Senate Democrats, Eliminate the Filibuster, Just to, Nationalize Election Laws, Under H.R. 1 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

The Mounting Cost Of School Closures, Estimated $14 To $28 Trillion Loss

by Catherine Mortensen: A new report by the McKinsey consulting group finds that the longer that schools remain closed or only offer virtual learning the more catastrophic the cost will be for students, parents, and teachers.

On average, American students from kindergarten to fifth grade have missed out on 20% of the reading and 33% of the math skills they would have learned in normal times, according to the McKinsey report which analyzed test scores from around the country.

As for the long-term impact on the U.S. economy from deprived education, McKinsey estimates a $14 to $28 trillion loss.

“Nobody’s paying attention to this absolutely stunningly large economic cost that just keeps piling up,” says Eric Hanushek, a Stanford economist and one of the authors of an international Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) study on the economic impact of COVID-19 learning loss.


“The main thing that drives both individual earnings and the economy is the skills of the people.” Hanushek warns policy makers that the main thing that drives both individual earnings and the economy is the skills of the people. Lower test scores translate to lower individual earnings to lower economic growth in the future. Thank you, teacher unions.
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Catherine Mortensen is Vice President of Americans for Limited Government.
Tags: Americans for Limited Government, Catherine Mortensen, Mounting Cost Of School Closures, Estimated $14 To $28 Trillion Loss 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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