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News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. Content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this site - no paid ads - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used.
Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, March 23, 2018

Why Is This Obama/Kennedy Amnesty Zealot Handling DHS Data on Illegal Immigration?

by Matt Margolis: You probably haven’t heard of Marc Rosenblum, but he’s a name you should become familiar with. Rosenblum is an Obama administration alum and amnesty advocate. He also happens to be the deputy assistant secretary at the Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS) at the Department of Homeland Security, a position he has held since January 2016 with a starting salary of $170,500 a year. Rosenblum “is among the highest-paid ten percent of employees in the Department of Homeland Security Headquarters.”

Prior to his current gig at DHS, Rosenblum was at the Migration Policy Institute, a liberal D.C. think-tank where he was deputy director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program. According to his biography:
Previously he was a specialist in immigration policy at the Congressional Research Service, and before that a Senior Policy Analyst at MPI. Dr. Rosenblum was a Council on Foreign Relations Fellow detailed to the office of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy during the 2006 Senate immigration debate and was involved in crafting the Senate's immigration legislation in 2006 and 2007.

He also served as a member of President-elect Obama's Immigration Policy Transition Team in 2009. From 2011-13, he served on the National Research Council’s Committee on Estimating Costs to the Department of Justice of Increased Border Security Enforcement by the Department of Homeland Security.
The late Senator Ted Kennedy, you might recall, was a big advocate of amnesty. Throughout his career he made several attempts to open up America’s borders and pass amnesty for illegal immigrants.

During the Obama years, Rosenblum was a strong advocate of executive amnesty -- even at the expense of the truth. On October 21, 2014, Rosenblum gave a pro-amnesty presentation at the Migration Policy Institute. During this presentation, Rosenblum attempted to justify President Obama’s forthcoming executive amnesty by citing five previous examples of executive actions on immigration. The only problem with the examples, according to Ian Smith of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, “was that of the five executive actions picked, four were illegitimate power-grabs by federal agencies which were later restricted or completely culled by Congress and the other wasn’t even an executive program at all, but one implemented by Congress.”

According to Smith, “Rosenblum’s presentation was close to fraudulent.”

On December 2, 2015, Rosenblum testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, where he argued against using resources to deport “unauthorized immigrants” from the country. “Is increasing the number of deportations more important than protecting the wellbeing of communities, employers, and immigrant families?” Rosenblum asked the committee. “What can be done to ensure that immigration enforcement does not violate Americans’ civil and constitutional rights? These questions have only become more difficult in the last decade as ICE has developed more powerful tools to deport non-citizens from the U.S. interior.”

Rosenblum has argued that illegal immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans, but a recent study shows that is not true. According to a study from Crime Prevention Research Center, the crime rate for illegal immigrants in the state of Arizona is double that of native-born residents and legal immigrants.

“The type of person who goes through the process to legally immigrate in the United States appears to be very law-abiding versus even the U.S.-born population,” says John R. Lott Jr., author of the report. “The reverse is true for undocumented immigrants -- they are committing crimes, and more serious crimes.”

Rosenblum has publicly criticized Trump’s immigration policies. One key element of Trump’s immigration policy is the border wall, which Rosenblum believes would be too costly and ineffective. Howewer, a study by the Center for Immigration Studies concluded that -- due to the costs of illegal immigration -- even if a border wall only managed to deter 9 to 12 percent of expected illegal crossings over the next decade, the wall will have paid for itself.

Why does Rosenblum’s position at the DHS Office of Immigration Statistics matter? Because of what OIS is tasked with doing. According to their website:
[OIS] leads the collection and dissemination to Congress and the public of statistical information and analysis useful in evaluating the social, economic, environmental, and demographic impact of immigration laws, migration flows, and immigration enforcement.This means that Rosenblum is in a position of influence with our nation's statistics on illegal immigration. Should an amnesty advocate be deputy assistant secretary at DHS Office of Immigration Statistics? Especially one with a history of using false or misleading data to justify unconstitutional executive amnesty?

President Trump needs to purge Obama-era partisans out of positions of influence. If there’s any hope of fixing our immigration system and curbing illegal immigration, pro-amnesty radicals must be purged from the Department of Homeland Security.
Matt Margolis writes for PJMedia. He the co-author of the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama and the author of the forthcoming book The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama, due out in April 2018.

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National Security First, Bolton's Back, Trump's Tariffs, Guns Are Good

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: National Security First - President Donald Trump today signed the massive $1.3 trillion spending bill that was approved by the Senate in the wee hours of the night.  He clearly was not happy about doing so.

There are some good things in the bill.
  • The Pentagon is getting a significant boost, which it needs as we stare down Iran, North Korea, Russia and China. 
  • It also fully funds the largest pay raise for military personnel since 2010. 
  • The Taylor Force Act, which cuts off $125 million to the Palestinian Authority due to its subsidies for terrorists who kill innocent Israelis, was included in the bill.
And there are a lot of bad things in it.  In fact, more than 20 Senate Republicans voted against it.
  • Planned Parenthood is funded.
  • Domestic spending increased dramatically.
  • The border wall is not funded.
  • There is no money for hiring additional Border Patrol agents.
Democrat leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are happy, and they should be.  It is hard to imagine how the spending bill could have been any better for the left.

I understand that major legislation in Washington is often the result of compromise.  But
Rush Limbaugh has been making the point that this spending bill is not a compromise at all.  It is, as he put it, "the Washington establishment dissolving the Trump agenda."

One of things Rush pointed out is that in the additional funding for the Pentagon, there is money to help build border walls for countries in the Middle East.  But there is no money for a wall to secure our border.  That is clearly not reflective of the president's America First agenda.

This morning, President Trump indicated that he was less than pleased.  In a tweet just before 9:00 AM, Trump declared that he was "considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill."  As you can imagine, that set the swamp creatures scrambling.

At a press conference this afternoon, the president explained the situation he faced.  Trump said:

"For the last eight years, deep defense cuts have undermined our national security. . .  They have hollowed our readiness . . . and put America at really grave risk.  My highest duty is to keep America safe.  The omnibus bill reverses this dangerous [lack of defense spending]. . .

"Therefore, as a matter of national security, I have signed this omnibus budget bill.  There are a lot of things that I am unhappy about in this bill. . . [that] we were forced [to have] if we want to rebuild our military. . .

"But I say to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again.  I am not going to do it again."

The president again urged the Senate to get rid of the filibuster rule so the majority can govern with 51 votes.  He also called for a line-item veto.

What the president didn't say is that between Iran, Russia and North Korea, we could find ourselves in a major war at any moment.  It takes months, and in some cases years, to build and deploy new weapons systems.

Bolton's Back - President Trump announced yesterday evening that former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton will replace H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser next month.  Bolton's appointment is bad news for Iran, North Korea and Russia.

The president has now assembled a very strong team with Mike Pompeo at the State Department, Jim Mattis at the Defense Department, John Kelly as White House Chief of Staff and John Bolton as National Security Adviser.

Needless to say, the left is having fits. It has been humorous watching many of the same liberals who have accused Trump of being too weak on Russia and who have criticized him for elevating Kim Jong Un, now fretting about how much of an "ultra/extreme hawk" Bolton is.

As I noted yesterday, the left is not interested in policy.  It is only interested in creating controversy and panic.

Trump's Tariffs - As you know, President Trump hit the Chinese with $50 billion in tariffs due to their ongoing theft of our intellectual property.  Media commentators lashed out at the president for launching a trade war.

What they don't understand is that China has been waging a trade war against us for decades.  And we've been losing.  Seven million manufacturing jobs have been lost since the 1970s and more than 50,000 manufacturing plants have shut down.

The Chinese have made it part of their national policy to compromise companies that want to do business in China.  They demand to know how our products are made or they just steal the technology.  Meanwhile, the Chinese government is stepping up its infiltration of the United States, especially on our college campuses.

Finally, we have a president who is fighting back!  And he got China's attention.

Beijing announced that it is prepared to respond by targeting 128 American products with sanctions totaling $3 billion. $50 billion vs. $3 billion?  I think we win that fight.  We have the biggest market on the planet.  Where else is China going to sell its products?

At the end of the day, I don't believe President Trump wants a trade war.  I do believe he wants a better deal for American workers.  Now that the Chinese realize we are serious, let's see how the negotiations go.

Guns Are Good - The March For Our Lives takes place in Washington, D.C., tomorrow.  There will be non-stop coverage by the left-wing media as it continues to exploit the Parkland shooting in order to attack the Second Amendment.

But before the left gets too excited by the Hollywood celebs and the speeches denouncing Trump and the NRA, it might want to look at the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

According to this survey 58% of Americans agreed with the statement that gun ownership increased safety by allowing law-abiding citizens to protect themselves.  Just 38% felt that gun ownership reduced safety by allowing too many people to have access to firearms.

So by a 20-point margin, the American people believe that guns are good for safety.

Conservatives shouldn't be afraid of this debate.  Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell should expose the left's extremism by forcing as many Second Amendment-related votes as they can between now and November.
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

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A Glimpse of the Future

by Newt Gingrich: I had the opportunity to glimpse a large part of the future this week.

Dr. Kiron Skinner, a remarkable scholar, hosted me at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

According to the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” rankings, Carnegie Mellon has the nation’s top graduate level artificial intelligence (AI) program and one of the top five undergraduate computer engineering programs. On Wednesday, the people at Carnegie Mellon showed me a few of the reasons they are held in such high regard.

Before I get into what I saw this week, let me better explain what I mean by seeing a glimpse of the future.

Years ago, while serving as Commanding General, Training and Doctrine Command for the US Army, General Fred Franks told me he looked for “glimmerings” of the future. He said “glimmerings” were ideas, events, or developments that were not yet clear but might evolve into something important.

I was intrigued with glimmerings because of two earlier developments in my life.

First, in 1965, as an undergraduate student at Emory, I began working with Pete Jensen at what would later become the Rich Computer Center at Georgia Tech. Pete was one of the great pioneers of computing and in a few years introduced me to ideas (glimmerings), which evolved over the next half century into the internet and modern computing. My own activities had been dramatically enriched by Pete’s ideas and teaching.

Second, I had been privileged to work with Alvin and Heidi Toffler as their thinking evolved from their bestselling book, Future Shock, to their even more important book, The Third Wave. The observations and insights they developed for The Third Wave are still valid over three decades later. They gave me an entirely different perspective on the scale of change our civilization was going through. The Tofflers and their work were very influential in the thinking which led to the Contract with America in 1994.

With this background, I have always been looking for the breakthroughs that will dramatically change our way of doing things. Starting in 2001, I began looking at nanoscale science and technology, quantum computing, and the revolution these two systems would bring about – a revolution that is still only in its infancy.

Around 2007, I began talking with oil and gas experts about the revolutionary breakthroughs in fracking, and its inevitable impact on our ability to produce oil and gas. In 2008 that led me, in collaboration with my former colleague Vince Haley and Sean Hannity, to launch Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less. Callista and I also made a documentary, We Have the Power. The Left, led by President Obama, ridiculed the whole idea of using America’s resources to become energy independent.

Influenced by the growth of fracking, in 2012, I wrote the book, $2.50 a Gallon. Again, President Obama singled it out and attacked me as a demagogue who was suggesting the impossible. Of course, he was totally wrong, and the fracking revolution has made America dramatically better off.

On Wednesday, in Pittsburgh, I saw another powerful glimmering of technologies that will change our world.

The ability to develop intelligent systems that can learn and adjust is rapidly evolving.

These systems will give us new capabilities and new insights in ways we have never imagined.

In a few brief hours at Carnegie Mellon, I saw a voice analysis system which could be combined with cell phone technology to enable remote medical analysis of virtually everyone on the planet. It would create an extraordinary new approach to early diagnostics and constant monitoring at an astonishingly low cost.

I watched a robotic assistant reduce the invasiveness of heart surgery so that instead of patients taking 14 days to recover, they could leave the hospital after one day.

The potential for 3D printing and robotics, combined with reusable rockets, to totally change how we think about space is just astonishing.

Every aspect of government procurement will have to be replaced (not just reformed – replaced) given the speed of new capabilities inherent in the artificial intelligence revolution.

We will also have to rethink adult education.

Artificial intelligence will displace many traditional service jobs, while also creating new jobs. The challenge will be helping adults make the transition from outdated skills to the new, higher-paying and more interesting skills made possible by artificial intelligence.

Of course, during this development, we must constantly work to improve these systems to make sure they are safe. This constant development in itself will require advancements in both human and machine learning.

We must learn from and continuously work to prevent tragic accidents like the one this week in Tempe, Arizona where a woman was struck and killed by an autonomous car.

It is also clear that we have to invest heavily in artificial intelligence if we are going to maintain our competitive and national security advantages in the face of massive Chinese investment in the artificial intelligence field. We already know Chinese companies are working to build a huge fleet of self-driving vehicles. You can bet they will use and apply everything they learn in this endeavor in their military programs.

As I learn more over the next few months I will report in this newsletter on the exciting new developments.

The future is going to be amazing, and we should be optimistic that as a free people we can lead the world into that future – just as we led the world with new developments in cars, airplanes, computers, and the internet.

There is much more to come.

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

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A Teachable Moment . . .

. . . If liberals really cared about the children they would focus less on gun control and more on school security including armed security.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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Border Patrol Fights Back . . .

. . . U.S. officials are refusing to hand over criminal aliens to California.
by Matthew Vadum: The U.S. Border Patrol is reportedly fighting back against California’s openly seditious statewide sanctuary laws by refusing to hand over illegal aliens with felony warrants to police in California.

This makes perfect sense, according to the law of unintended consequences. It is an appropriate, tactically innovative way to counter California’s ridiculous laws that seek to nullify federal immigration legislation.

Rodney Scott, the chief patrol agent in the Border Patrol’s San Diego sector, previously said that the Golden State’s sanctuary laws were making normal cooperation between his agency and local law enforcement difficult.

This is because California now largely forbids cooperation with federal immigration authorities, a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. State law there now imposes draconian restrictions on communication between local police and federal immigration enforcement, including information regarding when criminal aliens are scheduled to be released from local jails.

According to the Daily Caller, Scott recently entered into evidence a declaration in support of the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit aimed at California’s reckless sanctuary state laws.

In the declaration Scott recounted several instances in which San Diego sector border agents determined that they could not hand over custody of a criminal alien to local law enforcement because local officials could not be trusted to return the alien to federal custody after processing by the courts.

According to the news report:“In each instance, the Border Patrol Agent determined it was not appropriate, consistent with his or her federal responsibilities to ensure the enforcement of immigration law, to release a criminal alien to the state and local law enforcement,” Scott said in a court declaration. “This was because, although the alien was subject to removal, if released to California law enforcement, the alien would ultimately be released into the public.”So now Border Patrol agents, unlike California officials, are putting the public interest first. This effort aimed at the lawlessness of sanctuary jurisdictions is something that patriotic Americans should applaud.

For years jailers in California and other liberal states have been refusing to honor detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE), often with disastrous results.

Felon and serial deportee Jose Inez Garcia Zarate killed Kate Steinle, 32, on July 1, 2015, after then-San Francisco sheriff Ross Mirkarimi (D), a wife-beating, driver license-suspended, gun permit-revoked, illegal alien-loving radical leftist ignored a detainer notice and put the Mexican national back on the streets.

Since Steinle’s untimely death, others have been killed by illegal aliens freed by detention centers that refused to respect ICE detainers, according to a long list compiled by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

For example, in July 2016, Marilyn Pharis, 64, was raped, tortured, and murdered in her home in Santa Maria, Calif., allegedly by illegal alien Victor Aureliano Martinez Ramirez, a Mexican national, after a detainer was ignored and he was released from jail.

Two months later Danny Centeno-Miranda, 17, of Loudoun County, Va., was murdered by illegal alien Jose Espinosa De Dios, a citizen of Mexico, after the perpetrator was set free when a detainer was ignored.

Meanwhile, some local governments are revolting against California’s sanctuary laws.

After Los Alamitos in Orange County preliminarily approved a local ordinance defying the state law and filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit against California, officials in Orange County and other cities say they may also opt out of the sanctuary state law. Officials in Aliso Viejo and Buena Park and up to another dozen localities are also considering opting out.

This is important for us, for our city, for our community," Warren Kusumoto (R), the mayor pro tempore of Los Alamitos and author of the ordinance said. "We are a little city in Orange County, but we're tired of things coming out of Sacramento that just don't make sense, and now others are telling us they feel the same way."

Thursday on Fox News Channel, Michelle Steel (R), an immigrant from South Korea who is now a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, blamed Democrats for causing the problem. “Left-wing legislators” in the state capital “created this chaos,” she said.

Kusumoto said state lawmakers are “bullying” city leaders. Outside groups are having people call him at home from Washington, D.C., Wisconsin, and Florida and read from a script, he said.

Antsy Democrats have been slinging invective and abuse at Los Alamitos officials for days. California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon (D) said the move by Los Alamitos was "a symbolic vote in favor of President Trump's racist immigration enforcement policies."
Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, an author at the David Horowitz Freedom Center's FrontPage Mag, an award-winning investigative reporter, and author of the book,Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.

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Hidden Enemy

by Kirby Anderson: In his new book, The Hidden Enemy, Michael Youssef warns us that we face both external threats and internal threats.

We face an external threat from radical, political Islam. That does not mean that all Muslims are an enemy. He has great concern and passion for Muslims, having been born in Egypt. His broadcasts go into Muslim countries to proclaim the gospel. But he is well aware that radical Muslims want to sweep away Western civilization and impose a global caliphate.

The internal threat we face is from a coalition of secular humanists, atheists, and leftists. They want to erase America’s Judeo-Christian values and replace them with relativism, sexual liberation, and hedonism. He calls this the great American delusion. Humanists and atheists have been successful in transforming much of America through the media, the courts, the education system, and popular culture.

He also recognizes that these two groups could not be more opposed to each other in theory. But there is a surprising alliance that sometimes has developed between Muslims and humanists. His book provides some interesting details and examples of how this has happened in the past.

Near the end of the book, he also talks about another enemy inside the church. He reminds us that some believers in the past opened the door to the false religion of Muhammad. He sees a similar accommodation today where church leaders in certain denominations are preaching a false gospel. It is another warning that we should stay true to the gospel and reject those who want to try to make the Bible relevant to society by making the church and the Bible conform to society.

This book will help you understand the threats we face and encourage you to take a bold stand for the gospel.
Kerby Anderson is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service

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Desire To Be Free.

by John Porter, Contributing Author:: Since the beginning of recorded history, we have read about and learned of the struggle of man's desire to be free,.  Free to live his life as they wish (without harming others).  Free to pursue their own happiness,free from government control.  Free from others who think they know best about how others should live. I believe that struggle can properly be addressed as a war. A war between those people desiring to be independently free and the people who want to force them into the bondage of Socialism; a war between freedom and slavery. This war has raged from Cain killing Abel to the present day and it will never end. Why?  Because there will always be men and women trying to bend others to their will even to the extreme of placing them in slavery (extreme control of their lives).

In a Socialist nation, the government leaders prosper while all others share in the misery. They take from those who "can" and "do" and have earned much, and give  it to those who could but "won't" and "don't," or have earned little or nothing resulting in all having little or nothing,. The goal is  sharing of the misery. As a result, the natural human incentive to be competitively ambitious and prosper dies. This is precisely what people like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi's "redistribution of wealth" intends.  It  promotes the destruction of  peoples' spirit with their sharing in the misery,.  While the Socialist leaders remain fat and in power.

Most wars, The American Revolution, the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, and others, are tragic examples of men willing to die by the hundreds of thousands to remain free from those who would make them slaves. As was true in these wars, and in all wars, battles are won and battles are lost.

The congressional fight over the government run Health Care Bill, aka Obamacare, serves as a good example of a battle in which the forces of individual freedom lost to the forces of Socialist slavery.

We must keep in mind, this is a war and battles are won and lost.  This is not the end. There will be many more battles and they will not be easy to win, but we must continue the fight. I believe Obamacare can still, and must, be repealed in it's entirety, just as many of his Socialistic Executive Orders have or are being overturned by President Trump.

But In order to win these constant and continuing battles ,we must erase Barack Obama's Socialistic impact and atmosphere and influence in our congress as we have in our White House,.  And, it must be done this year in November . We must keep out Democrat leadership of Pelosi and Schumer taking over Congress.  We must elect as many Conservative Constitutional people to congress as humanly possible. If we fail to do this, and they take power, they will stop President Trump in his efforts to turn the country back to the people and away from government control of our lives.

WE MUST NOT LET THIS HAPPEN!! As I just said, this will not be easy, but it can be done. Do not lose hope. We must not lose faith in ourselves. I believe the Socialist Progressive Democrats have lost the high ground in the battle for the hearts of the American people. I believe the American people are now understanding their intentions were and still are to Socialize this country, and to make us slaves to a Socialist government.

Let us not allow them to retake the high ground in this war. Let us stand tall and die on our feet fighting for principled leadership and not on our knees in subjugation to a Socialist government. Send people to Washington from your state and congressional district who will help President Trump in his efforts to give us our country back and keep us a safe and independent people.
John Porter is an Americans first, constitutional conservatives second. His allegiance is to the Constitution. He seeks to help save America from the grips of socialism and an all powerful, intrusive government, and from the evil of Islam. He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service.

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Bipartisan Planks

by Paul Jacob: When a partisan discovers that opposition leaders engage in blatant, bald-faced lying, do you find it charming . . . or sad?

Donald Trump and his “administration are gaslighting us,” writes Ariel Leve. “It’s a term we are hearing a lot of right now.”

Of course we are. “The term ‘gaslighting’ refers to when someone manipulates you into questioning and second-guessing your reality,” explains The Guardian’s helpful reality guard.

By way of explanation, she discusses some vague abuse* her family directed towards her as a child, and then asserts that her mother’s denial of the issues, the “erasure of the abuse,” was, to her, “worse than the abuse.”

I can see that. But what if “your reality” — what you defend — is irreal itself?

Sure, she thinks Trump and the Republicans are “gaslighting” her. Well, welcome to the club, Ms. Leve. I thought Bush and the Republicans were gaslighting me — as were, in the previous century, the Clintons and all those Friends of Bill, and, more recently, Obama and Pelosi and the incredibly fawning media.

The problem sure looks like the proverbial protesting about the mote in the other guy’s eye while not seeing the two-by-four in one’s own. But it is worse when the lumber juts from most eyes on both sides of the partisan aisle — enough to build a McMansion with all the spare wood.

Leve advises the reader to do like she did — trust in her “version of reality. Not allowing it to be altered on demand. Resistance.”

Good advice, but only if you aren’t deluded.

And could politics be too often an avenue for wounded people to lash back at (or make up for) childhood grievances? That would explain a lot.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

* Ms. Leve helpfully expands upon the chaos of her childhood elsewhere. Sounds horrifying enough to me. She is convincing.

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Omni-bust: Congress Fails To Secure Border ...

... President Trump risks heading into 2020 without any new concrete wall being built
Editorial Cartoon by AF Branco
by Robert Romano: A year late, Congress has finally approved the President’s supplemental request to begin construction of the southern border wall at $1.6 billion.

The supplemental was requested in March 2017. It was supposed to be included in the May 2017 omnibus spending bill affecting spending levels for Oct. 1, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2017.

This would have paved the way for the full funding for the wall being included this year.

Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Because Congress did not get started with the supplemental last year, the odds they were going to get to full funding for the wall for fiscal year 2018, that is, spending levels for Oct. 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018, dropped markedly.

Now those who were warning of precisely this outcome have been vindicated.

This was a broken promise from the get-go. After the election, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were promising $12 billion to $15 billion for the wall.

On Jan. 27, 2017, Ryan told the American people that, “This is something, [the wall], we want to get on right away. And so we do believe this is urgent. We believe this is one of the most important promises the President made running for office. It’s a promise he’s going to keep and it’s a promise we’re going to help him keep.”

Ryan added, “We anticipate a supplemental coming from the administration on defense and the border” and “I’m hoping in the first quarter we can get this done. But again, it’s getting [Mick Mulvaney confirmed as Office of Management and Budget Director and] up and running so they can send us the supplemental.”

Mulvaney was confirmed on Feb. 16 and the supplemental request was proposed on March 14 by Mulvaney and then formally put in on March 16 by President Trump to Speaker Ryan. So far, so good.

Unfortunately for the President and his supporters, by March 30, Ryan had kicked the can down the road, telling CBS News, “The big chunk of money for the wall really is… next fiscal year’s appropriations because they literally can’t start construction even this quickly.” So, the wall, which Ryan had described as “urgent” was now being put off at least a year.

But then that was wrong, too. Instead, the spending bill Congress approved this week only includes the supplemental that was supposed to pass last year. The down payment includes bollard fencing and some levees and some secondary fencing, plus replacing some existing fencing. No concrete walls like the prototypes the President was surveying earlier this month.

Meaning, not only is the wall part of the wall still not fully funded, it’s not even been begun. To be fair, the supplemental request last year was always going to be that fencing. It was thought that the wall portion would be passed this year. That was Congress’ failure.

It was not for a lack of opportunities. Both the supplemental and the fully funded wall could have been included in the September 2017 continuing resolution. Didn’t happen.

Or they have been included in the December 2017 continuing resolution. Didn’t happen.

See a pattern? Because Congress waited a year to approve the President’s initial down payment on the wall, the American people are still waiting for the “big chunk of money for the wall” Ryan promised a year ago.

Now, there are one, maybe two vehicles left to get the wall funded before the 2018 midterm Congressional elections. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30. So the full funding for the wall could be done there. But it doesn’t seem likely.

Where is the urgency Ryan spoke of? Are Republicans trying to lose the midterms?

Most likely, Congress will just pass a continuing resolution that would put funding into the lame duck period after the election but prior to the swearing in of the next Congress. Assuming Republicans lose the midterms, what will the Democrats’ incentive be to allow funding for the wall then?

Meaning it’s do or die in September, which literally could be President Trump’s last chance to get the wall done. Why? Because come Jan. 2019, he might not be dealing with a Speaker Ryan, but instead, a House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and perhaps even a Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, both of whom are emphatically opposed to any southern border wall.

Optimists might say that Republicans could still get it all done in 2019, because they might not lose either house of Congress this year. Maybe. Unfortunately, the omnibus spending bill also failed to defund sanctuary cities. It did not expand funding for interior enforcement. It passed an expansion of the FBI’s criminal background database but did nothing to advance reciprocity and concealed carry. And it spends so much money it is possible we’ll see a $1 trillion budget deficit this year.

In addressing illegal immigration, protecting gun rights and the $20 trillion national debt, issues Republican voters deeply care about, the record in this Congress is less than stellar. This could make it difficult for Republicans to turn out their voters for the 2018 midterms, which are already tough enough for incumbent parties.

Now, Republicans are less likely to keep the House and Senate in November, making it far less likely that the wall will be ever fully funded. The GOP should be running scared right now. It’s their majorities that are at stake.

Trump could have avoided this by vetoing the bill. Earlier this morning, the President had issued a veto threat of the omnibus bill via Twitter, “I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded.” But in the end, Trump signed the bill, citing the need to fund the military first as overriding all other concerns.

What does all this mean? Headed into 2020, Trump could be coming back to voters empty-handed on his signature campaign promise of the southern border wall. There is still time to get it done by September, but in reality, the President has a rapidly diminishing window of opportunity to get the wall built. It may be now or never.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

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Mercedes Schlapp on What the Media Doesn’t Tell You About Trump

Mercedes Schlapp, the White House director of
strategic communications, speaks to Rob Bluey
about the media’s coverage of President Trump
and the administration’s top priorities in 2018.
by Rob Bluey: Mercedes Schlapp, the White House director of strategic communications, speaks to The Daily Signal’s Rob Bluey about the media’s coverage of President Donald Trump and the administration’s top priorities in 2018. Schlapp attended the White House’s Generation Next event with millennials Thursday. An edited transcript of her Daily Signal interview is below.

Rob Bluey: You work in communications at the White House. You see every day how the press corps is covering this president and the work that you’re doing in this administration. What’s the one thing our audience should know that isn’t getting covered?

Mercedes Schlapp: First of all, I have to say the president is the communications director for all intents and purposes. What I think is very important is that there’s so much of this source, that source, palace intrigue, and the reality is that what the president is accomplishing from a policy standpoint is so historic and outstanding, even through the conservative lens.

You look, for example, at what the president was able to accomplish with the tax cut legislation last year that has gone into effect and the immediate impact that we saw through thousands of businesses coming out, rising wages for workers, and really having a significant impact on American lives. We’ve created 4 million jobs; that is significant. This is an economy that is fueled and ready to go and ready to launch and I think what we’re seeing is a very strong economy as we continue through the year.

Bluey: Let’s take some of those policy issues and talk about them. You brought up the economy and jobs. Where do we go from here? Obviously, tax reform was a huge accomplishment in 2017. What are some of the things that you have in your sights here at the White House about how you take the next steps?

Schlapp: As we look at the economic success story, there’s three buckets to it. There’s the tax cuts, we’ve just talked about, there’s a deregulation agenda, which as we know, the president, his administration, has superseded what they thought we were accomplishing. They went from two to one in removing regulations to over 13, 14 regulations they’ve taken out per regulation that’s in. So, there has been significant progress made in these agencies and that has impact.

It has an impact in our business community, especially our small businesses and, quite frankly, it saves the government billions of dollars, as well. In addition to that third bucket of infrastructure, that’s been one of the priorities for the president. It’s actually now going through Congress in terms of where it’s going to end up.

As we know, one of the key things that the president is pushing is that of public-private partnership. We don’t want to spend trillions and trillions of dollars like the Democrats want to do. We want to do this is in a cost-effective manner, but, at the same time, have streamlined processes in place so that projects don’t take 10 years, they take two years to get approved and get done. There is a real need to have investment in our infrastructure because that’s what helps us to compete globally and also it’s been neglected for so long.

Bluey: One of the president’s other priorities is giving the military a big boost in funding. At the same time, this bill that’s going through Congress, the omnibus, a lot of conservatives today in the House voted against it. How does the White House view it?

Schlapp: Let’s remember that Congress, it’s just dysfunctional in terms of its budgeting process. For way too long, the president, last year he submitted his budget, they didn’t end up voting on it. This is time and time again, they’ve gone from short-term spending after short-term spending.

That just creates so much instability, especially when it comes to our military. So, when we were able to negotiate on the budget caps, now we’re obviously going through the omnibus bill. It’s a painful process. It’s ugly. It’s a lot of spending. But, at the same time, there’s so many of these priorities that are being funded, that being of the national military.

As [Defense Secretary James] Mattis has said, as the president has said, we need to ensure that our military is ready. We need to ensure that our intelligence communities have what they need to do their jobs here and abroad.

So, it’s very clear for the president that one of the things that the military needs to know is that they’re able to spend time planning long term and when they don’t have these funds when they go from short-term spending bill to short-term spending bill, they’re not able to plan and really be prepared for the global threats that we’re experiencing.

I mean, you’re talking about North Korea, we’re dealing with a very sensitive international issue where we want to get to a point that we can denuclearize North Korea. That’s also assuring that we continue on our fight against ISIS. Those are priorities to ensure that we can stop terrorism dead in its tracks.

Bluey: One of the other areas where there has been some dysfunction in Congress has been Democrat obstructionism of the president’s nominees. There are well over 100 who are waiting for confirmation, obviously a lot of judges in that mix as well. What is the White House planning to do to ratchet up the pressure to get those done?

Schlapp: The president has talked about this. This is a priority for the administration. Our Cabinet secretaries are going on the Hill, talking to Democrats, saying we need our nominees to be confirmed. It’s taken way too long.

This is something that is why the president has talked time and time again. Get rid of the filibuster, he just mentioned it in the millennial event today, which is the idea that the Senate can just be controlled by these small groups of Democrats and not allowing our nominees to go through.

As we know, the president has been a champion in terms of ensuring that we have conservative judges in place, starting with our Supreme Court justice pick of Neal Gorsuch, but also being able to pass through so many and get confirmed so many of our nominees, our judicial nominees, as we know, it’s a long-term investment for our courts.

Bluey: We are here at the White House for the Generation Next event with millennials. What is the message that this administration has for this millennial generation?

Schlapp: The president is providing a message of hope. And saying that America is strong. It’s not only about the “America first” message but is that of having so much pride in America. I think millennials get a lot of bad raps in a lot of ways. Oh, do they work hard? Do they not?

And I think the president wants to say, “Listen, we need you a part of our economy, we want you to contribute and do great things and accomplish your dreams here in America. And I’m here to ensure that you have the economic opportunities, the social opportunities, to be able to succeed in America.”

I remember back in the Obama years when we were talking about the kids moving in their parents’ basement and the president is saying get out of the basement, let’s get to work, we are creating all these jobs. We want to make sure that we’re able to match your skills with what is happening in our economy, and we’re also saying, “You know what, you may not go to college for four years. It’s not just one track.”

We’re talking about vocational education in general. We’re saying that every millennial matters. That whether you’re gonna go to college or not, that there’s opportunities and training for you that we want to make sure are available to you. And that’s why the president is ensuring that we’re investing in workforce development, which is one of his priorities.
Rob Bluey  (@RobertBluey) is editor in chief of The Daily Signal, the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.

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Red Flag Laws Mean Red Flag Rising

Dr. Chuck Baldwin
by Dr. Chuck Baldwin: It took the State of Florida all of one week after a Republican house, senate, and governor passed one of the most draconian gun control bills in U.S. history to begin implementing the so-called red flag portion of the law that allows law enforcement officers to confiscate the firearms of any individual “suspected” of suffering from mental illness. The 56-year-old man was given no trial and no due process. The gentleman had committed no crime, no act of violence—not even the threat of violence. The State said the man MIGHT be crazy, so they confiscated his guns. Of course, all we have is the government's version (and that of their lackeys in the mainstream media) of the man's behavior that they say warrants his guns being confiscated.

As I have previously reported in this column, Washington State, Oregon, Indiana, California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island (the governor of Rhode Island issued a “red flag” executive order) are doing the same thing Florida did, as is Illinois, where a “red flag” law has already passed the Democrat-controlled State House of Representatives and Senate. And the Republican governor is sure to sign it into law.

In addition to the above 8 states, 22 other states have "red flag" laws pending—as does the federal government.

I note the individual states that have either already passed or are currently in the process of passing these Marxist “red flag” laws in this column. Read it to see if your State is currently proceeding with “red flag” laws:

Folks, this is a HUGE step on the slippery slope toward totalitarianism. Allowing the government to decide who is mentally unfit to own a firearm without due process is patently Stalinesque.

Really? We are going to let the government tell us who is crazy?

Politicians and government officials are already on record as saying that people who believe in the New World Order or the Second Coming of Jesus Christ are mentally ill. Police agencies in the State of Missouri (and other states too—Missouri just got caught) are on record as saying if you oppose the Federal Reserve, the United Nations, the North American Union, abortion-on-demand, illegal immigration, etc., you might be a “dangerous extremist” and other such labels of mental instability. Christians, conservatives, and constitutionalists are often labeled as crazy by various people in government. Some even say that ANYONE who simply owns a gun is mentally ill.

Face it: In the states that pass these “red flag” laws, police can confiscate the guns of anyone they want. Period. Constitutional due process is absolutely dead in those states. And if the federal government passes a national version of a “red flag” law, constitutional due process is dead in America.

The former Soviet Union was famous for declaring people who opposed Stalin’s brutal dictatorship as being mentally ill, and, on that pretense, had them sent to prison or forced labor camps. Communist Chinese officials under Mao Tse-tung did the same thing. In fact, the communists in China STILL use this tactic today to help squelch public dissent.

The passage of “red flag” laws in the United States means the Red flag is rising in America.

Imagine, too, the can of worms this opens up. Angry ex-wives (or ex-husbands) give false testimony about the “Ex” acting weirdly with a gun or other charges of mental instability. Bam. Guns confiscated. Anti-gun liberals see a lawfully armed citizen in public and call authorities, accusing the armed citizen of acting crazily. Bam. Guns confiscated. Neighbors accuse someone they don’t like in the neighborhood of acting in an unstable manner. Bam. Guns confiscated. Someone doesn’t like a person praising Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson or founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Bam. Guns confiscated. Or even someone who is contemplating doing harm against a person they know to be armed accuses the intended victim of behaving irrationally. Bam. Guns confiscated—and an innocent citizen made defenseless.

You don’t believe that will happen? Talk to the tens of thousands of American citizens who have already lost their right to keep and bear arms over an accusation of some form of domestic abuse. Oftentimes, the accusation ALONE is all it takes for a person to have his or her guns confiscated by authorities. Talk to the 260,000+ U.S. military veterans who have lost their right to keep and bear arms over accusations of having PTSD.

Florida’s “red flag” law also includes a section that is absolutely monstrous. Here is the section verbatim:
Training opportunities in Mental Health First Aid or other similar nationally recognized evidence-based training programs for all school personnel who have contact with students. The training MUST [emphasis added] cover risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for providing assistance to individuals in both crisis and non crisis situations, and the use of referral mechanisms that effectively link individuals to appropriate treatment and intervention services in the school and in the community. Topics covered should include depression and mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, psychosis, substance use disorders, and suicide prevention.(Florida Statutes, Section 1006.05 — Mental health assistance allocation specifications (1) (b) 2)

What this means, folks, is that teachers—and “all school personnel”—in Florida will be given “training programs” (i.e., “crash courses”) on how to monitor every child in the public school system for “mental health” issues such as depression, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, psychosis, etc. These kids will then be referred to mental health agencies for required continued evaluation.

Mark it down: The kids that wind up in these referral programs will NEVER be allowed to purchase a firearm when they grow up. They will be stigmatized as having mental health problems as a matter of their official school record and will be adjudicated as being unqualified to own a gun. Yes, just like in Communist Russia or Nazi Germany, school teachers will become spies for the state with the power to ruin a kid’s life forever over whatever perceived “mental health” issues they determine the kid suffers from.

Can you imagine where this is going? Come on! We are talking about kids here.

Depression? I got depressed every time I had to take a test that I hadn’t prepared for. Mood disorders? I could go from happy to sad or vice versa depending on the subject of the class I was about to walk into. Anxiety? Are you kidding me? My football and wrestling coaches made sure I stayed anxious. Psychosis? Psychosis can include hang-ups, phobias, or obsessions.

Obsession? There was a little blonde girl in my fifth grade class that I was absolutely obsessed with. Phobia? Yeah. I had a fear of feeling the edge of the ruler on the back of my hand (that would be called child abuse now) for my misbehavior from my fourth grade teacher. Hang-ups? Are you kidding? I was hung-up on a ton of stuff in school, including trying to figure out how to arrange my desk in such a way that the teacher couldn’t tell that I was sleeping.

Thousands of normal kids will be thrown into a government system that will forever brand them as having a mental disorder, with all of the educational and vocational ramifications that will result—not to mention the lifelong denial of his or her Natural, constitutional right of self-defense—by control freak, big-government, liberal school teachers (how many public school teachers do you know that are NOT liberal?) out to save the world by using the new-found power of these Orwellian “red flag” laws that augment the power of the state over people’s lives. Plus, think of all of the drugs these kids will be forced to take.

I will say it straight out: These “red flag” laws are CRIMINAL, and any State or federal legislature that passes them are CRIMINALS.

Again, these “red flag” laws allow police officers to confiscate the guns of any citizen who is merely “suspected” of having a mental health issue, without the individual committing any crime or even threatening to commit a crime. Such was the case in Florida—and in the State of Washington that I previously reported on. These fellows had their guns confiscated WITHOUT DUE PROCESS.

The Fourth Amendment to our Constitution says:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.The Fourteenth Amendment to our Constitution, Section 1., states:All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.Authorizing police agencies to deny someone their Natural and constitutional right to keep and bear arms on the basis of “suspected” mental illness and NOTHING else—no crime committed, no act of violence, no threats of violence, etc.—violates everything the Bill of Rights protects. Such action is the mark of a communist-style Police State in the making.

I'm telling you, folks, these "red flag" laws are going to create much more violence than they are pretending to prevent. Government gun confiscation will only be tolerated so far. With the propensity of government and police to overreact and presume a person guilty until proven innocent, thousands of law-abiding Americans in the near future are going to begin being subjected to these tyrannical tactics—and they WILL begin fighting back.

Furthermore, mentally ill people are still American citizens and, as such, have the same constitutional rights as anyone else. There are ways to respect lawful due process in making these determinations by relying on genuine medical professionals using thorough scientific investigative analysis. To turn the process of taking away constitutional liberties over to Police State tactics that rely on the testimony of untrained (or half-trained), second-hand, and often vindictive people is the mark of a totalitarian state—NOT a constitutional republic.

Disingenuous politicians, both Republican and Democrat, who pass these Orwellian backdoor gun control laws (which is exactly what “red flag” laws are all about) are only using Marxist-style incrementalism to further destroy the Second Amendment—along with the rest of our Constitution.

If our civil magistrates (local, State, and federal) were truly serious about preventing mass shootings, there is one simple way to do it: ELIMINATE GUN-FREE ZONES. Anything short of that is nothing but self-serving, big government politicians creating more laws to make it easier for government police agencies to take away our constitutional liberties.

In a free country, liberty is more important than safety. In an enslaved country, safety is more important than liberty. Benjamin Franklin rightly said, "They that would give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Amen!

Any government demanding that citizens surrender their Natural and constitutional right to keep and bear arms (or any other Natural, constitutional right) without due process, without any crime being committed, or without any act of violence or any threat of violence being made is a government that is waging war on liberty.

Rightly are these tyrannical laws called “red flag” laws, because that is exactly what they are.
 Dr. Chuck Baldwin is the Pastor of Liberty Fellowship in Kalispell, Montana. Dr. Baldwin is Talk Radio Show Host for " Chuck Baldwin Live.” He addresses current event topics from a conservative Christian point of view. Chuck Baldwin is a writer/columnist whose articles and political commentaries are carried by a host of Internet sites, newspapers, news magazines and the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Chuck Baldwin, Red Flag Laws, Mean Red Flag Rising, 2nd Amendment, gun rights To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Is Guyana Prepared For An Oil Boom?

by Viktor Katona: Guyana's story shares many similarities with the story of the ugly duckling. One of the poorest countries in South America, it has historically been entirely dependent on oil imports. In the past three years though, Guyana has sprung up as one of the hottest oil spots in the region, with ExxonMobil alone accounting for seven hydrocarbon discoveries in one single exploration block, Stabroek. However, the pace of discoveries will only highlight the deficiencies of the Guyana's political system, and there remains a serious risk that these world-class finds might be jeopardized by politics, either by means of renegotiating commercial terms or by bringing legislative powers to a painful impasse. By anybody's yardstick, the achievements of ExxonMobil and its partners (Hess, CNOOC) in the Guyanese offshore block of Stabroek (6.6 million acres or 27 000km2) have surpassed expectations. Almost every exploration well adds new barrels to the already hefty 4 billion barrels of recoverable reserves found in the area, a trend that is bound to continue over the next months. So far only one exploratory well turned out to be dry (Skipjack-1), whilst the following discoveries were made:

- Liza (May 2015; to a total depth of 5.5km, in water depth of 1.7km)

- Liza Deep (October 2016; located below the Liza field)

- Payara (January 2017; to a total depth of 5.5km, in water depth of 2km)

- Snoek (March 2017; to a total depth of 5.2km, in water depth of 1.5km)

- Turbot (October 2017; to a total depth of 5.6km, in water depth of 1.8km)

- Ranger (January 2018; to a total depth of 6.5km, in water depth of 2.7km)

- Pacora (February 2018; to a total depth of 5.6km, in water depth of 2km)

If one is to exclude the Liza field, the recoverable reserves of which are now estimated to stand at 1-1.4 billion barrels of oil, the rest is likely to be in the 400-500 million barrels of oil interval. A phenomenal development for a country that until recently (2015) had participated in Venezuela's oil-for-rice program, whereby Caracas provided it with 10 000 bpd of oil in exchange for agricultural goods. Taking into consideration that the Liza field is expected to start production in 2020 (its Phase I output plateau will reach 120 000 bpd), the risk is that this sudden boon might kick-start a political witch hunt, in which all sides will accuse each other of giving away "under value" the nation's "immense hydrocarbon riches".

That Guyana is set to tap into its coveted reserves is undoubtedly a positive development – petroleum scientists have long suspected that oil formations extending beyond neighboring Venezuela might provide oil for the country. The first well was drilled onshore in 1916 and wielded no results, afterwards oilmen tried to appraise the potential of Guyana's shallow-water offshore, yet the magic only happened when they ventured out into the deep-water part, some 120km away from the coast, thus proving the USGS estimates that the offshore Guyana-Suriname basin holds up to 15 billion barrels of oil and 850 Bcm of gas. That's a lot for a country that leads the world's suicide ratings and tops South America's migration stats.

On paper, what the Guyanese government has done so far is laudable – in concertation with the IMF, it has committed itself to managing oil wealth effectively, by creating a Sovereign Wealth Fund, by strengthening the fiscal regime, putting out a long-awaited Petroleum Law after having successfully established a Petroleum Commission. The terms that Georgetown has offered to ExxonMobil and other shareholders might be perceived as attractive – under the production sharing agreement, until the shareholders recover their initial upfront investment, the government will take in 12.5 percent (afterwards this rate will gradually increase). Here's where political infighting kicks in.

Firstly, Guyana's political parties more or less follow ethnic lines, with the opposition People's Progressive Party-Civic (PPP-C) being the representatives of the Indo-Guyanese people, whilst the ruling Partnership for National Unity-Alliance for Change that of the Afro-Guyanese. Secondly, the political system tends to favor those in power - 2015 saw the first change in governing forces since 1992, bearing testament to the fact that political movements in Guyana are by no means automatic (and voluntary). In such a power landscape it is by no means surprising that the opposition has made a rallying cry of the government's handling of its oil resources, the factual enabler of Guyana's brighter future.

In a country where corruption is rampant and deeply engrained in the way matters are solved, the opposition is calling for the full disclosure of the oil production license concluded with ExxonMobil. Opposition figures also allege that ExxonMobil managed to carve out favorable conditions by bribing government figures (unsubstantiated talk has been about an $18 million signing bonus being siphoned off to officials), moreover, they claim that ExxonMobil secured the inclusion of a clause in the PSA that prevents the government from imposing any new taxes or fees on the shareholders. With the next Parliamentary elections coming up in 2019, one should expect more belligerent oil-related rhetoric to appear in the upcoming months. No one will go as far as to antagonize ExxonMobil and others (i.e. Total has just joined others in its quest to join the Guyana rally) directly, but the pressure will be high.

The stakes are quite high because of the revolutionary force of oil revenues. The IMF estimates that in 2020-2021, when the first barrels of oil are to be produced, GDP growth should be around 25-30 percent per year (as opposed to the current 3-3.5 percent per year). To put the oil profits into an even wider context, it should be observed that the IMF expects Guyanese oil revenue to reach 56 billion GYD (roughly $270 million), 20-25 percent of government revenue at that juncture in time. If increasing oil production will entail the appreciation of the Guyanese dollar, other sectors of the economy which have been crucial heretofore (most notably, exports of sugar and rice) will start to falter – thus further magnifying the role of oil in Guyana's economy and politics.

For oil companies, the consolidation of ruling powers would be the ideal outcome – it would lower the risk of renegotiations, allowing the companies to bring the oil of Guyana's offshore zone to market. The Guyanese population, however, are largely fed up with the lack of transparency and the omnipresence of corruption within ruling elites and so may see things differently. For now, we can only wait and watch to see if an oil boom will transform the nation.
Viktor Katona authored this article contributed by James Stafford the editor of, the leading online energy news site, to the ARRA News Service.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Navy: No Destroyer of the Chaplaincy

by Tony Perkins: If Jason Heap is one thing, it's persistent. The D.C.-based humanist had already lost his bid to join the Navy chaplaincy under the Obama administration. He had to know that his application was an even longer shot under President Trump. Still, Heap filed again, hoping Navy officials would be more lax the second time around. Thanks two of the Hill's conservatives, they weren't.

Heap's push to become the military's first atheist chaplain started back in 2013. He made a big splash with the idea, even taking the military to court when they refused to change the tradition that George Washington started more than 240 years ago. "The Defense Department won all the cases against Jason Heap," FRC's Chris Gacek told reporters, "so you'd think that they would leave well enough alone and, therefore, there wouldn't be a problem in the future. But there is a board called the Chaplain Appointment and Retention Eligibility Advisory Group that is recommending that the Navy accept him as a chaplain." So, he went on, "even though he couldn't get it through the courts or through other processes, there's another group of faceless bureaucrats that have an agenda and are trying to push it..."

The news stunned Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) and Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who both serve on their Armed Services Committees. Neither could believe the military was even having this discussion, let alone under a conservative commander-in-chief. To head off a politically correct disaster, they rallied their troops, firing off letters to the Secretary of the Navy and its Chief of Chaplains with dozens of members' signatures. Not only would it violate the Defense Department's own guidelines, but it would open the floodgates to the complete erosion of the unique spiritual tradition of our military.

While neither letter mentioned what the two chambers could do -- forcing the Navy's hand through appropriations riders or other pressure points -- branch leaders got the message. This week, Lamborn and Wicker got the news they'd been waiting for: Heap's request was denied. "The very definition of the chaplaincy was at stake here, so I'm relieved to see the Navy's response," Lamborn said. "Appointing an atheist to a historically religious role would've gone against everything the chaplaincy was created to do. It would open the door to a host of so-called chaplains who represent philosophical worldviews and NOT the distinctly religious role of the Chaplain Corps. I applaud the Navy for upholding the truth."

Wicker was just as relieved. "The Navy's leadership has done the right thing," he told reporters. "The appointment of an atheist to [a]... religious position is fundamentally incompatible with atheism's secularism. This decision preserves the distinct religious role that our chaplains carry out."

If the military wants to create specific programs for atheists or humanists, it can. There's no need to hijack the Chaplain Corps to serve them -- unless, as I suspect, the real goal had nothing to do with service to begin with. Either way, we salute the Navy for protecting the integrity of the chaplaincy, "For God and Country."
Tony Perkins is President of the Family Research Council . This article was on Tony Perkin's Washington Update and written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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Left-wing Hypocrisy, Deep State Sabotage, About That Deal

by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author:: Left-wing Hypocrisy -  President Trump called Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday, and the left is in complete meltdown. Why? Because Trump congratulated Putin on winning reelection. The president's critics insist that Putin stole the election, and they are not wrong.

But are we to believe that the left is really going to get tough on world dictators?

This is the same crowd that spent decades trying to accommodate the Soviet Union. Ted Kennedy begged the Soviets to interfere in the 1984 election to undermine Ronald Reagan.

And exactly when did the left's new sensitivity on human rights begin?

In the recent "showdown" between Vice President Mike Pence and Kim Jong Un's sister, who runs state propaganda for her brother's brutal regime, liberal media commentators gleefully took the side of Kim's sister.

When Trump played hardball with "Little Rocket Man," the left screamed that Trump was risking nuclear war.

When Obama ended the embargo on Cuba with no concessions on human rights, the left hailed it as a major breakthrough. Cuba, by the way, is Russia's major ally in the Western hemisphere.

The left was silent as the mullahs of Iran pushed Obama around, and as he rewarded that repressive regime with billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

The media said nothing when Obama promised to prove his "flexibility" for Putin. Nor was Obama criticized for congratulating Putin after winning his third term in 2012.

As President Trump has gotten tough with China (he's announcing new tariffs today to stop its theft of intellectual property), the left has sided with China and warned that Trump is starting a trade war.

There is only one way to explain all of these inconsistencies: The left is so desperate to regain power and finish its transformation of America that it will always take the opposite position of whatever the Trump/Pence Administration does in order to continue its critical drumbeat and undermine the confidence of the American people.

One last point: The president does not work for the staff of the National Security Council. The national security adviser and the NSC staff work for the president.

Everyone in the White House who saw the president's talking points regarding his call with Putin should be given a polygraph test immediately. Whoever leaked that information should be frog-marched out of the White House for exposing classified material.

More Hypocrisy - Silicon Valley has been in bed with the left for years. Some of the best minds in the tech world joined the Obama and Clinton campaigns to help them effectively use social media for advertising and data mining.

Remember when all the political analysts were so impressed with the left's social media juggernaut? (Here, here and here.) Maxine Waters said she wasn't worried about the 2016 election because of the social media database Obama had built.

In fact, a top Obama campaign official bragged that Facebook "was on our side" and allowed the Obama team "to do things they wouldn't have allowed someone else to do."

Well, after years of conservative frustration, the Trump campaign caught up. Suddenly data mining is evil and must be stopped. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is profusely apologizing for the "scandal," and offering to testify on Capitol Hill.

Once again, the left's hypocrisy is absolutely amazing.

Deep State Sabotage? I saw two stories yesterday that have not gotten the attention they deserve.

ABC News reported that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe launched a criminal investigation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year. According to sources, McCabe initiated the investigation at the request of Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Al Franken (D-MN), who accused the attorney general of lying about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

The probe was reportedly shutdown after Sessions was interviewed, and obviously cleared, by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Sessions never knew about the probe until after McCabe was fired.

Keep in mind that Republicans in Congress have had to repeatedly threaten the FBI with contempt charges in order get information. Yet one letter from two Democrats results in a criminal probe of the attorney general? Did it ever occur to McCabe to investigate Eric Holder for lying?

Just more evidence of the "Deep State's" efforts to sabotage the Trump Administration.

The second story involves McCabe's firing, which the left insists is evidence of Trump's obstruction of justice and political interference at the Justice Department.

In an interview with NBC News, FBI Director Christopher Wray forcefully rejected that assertion. Wray stated that he is "utterly unyielding" when it comes to ensuring that all decisions are free of "political or partisan influence." Wray added that McCabe's firing was done "objectively and independently and by the book."

About That Deal. . . Congressional leaders have reached a deal to avoid a government shutdown this week. It is very frustrating to see another of these late-night, last-minute, budget-busting bills.

My friends, the House did its job. It passed a budget and a dozen routine appropriations bills. The Senate did not due to the filibuster, which is why we are in this mess with Democrats exercising so much influence over the process.

As frustrating as that may be, the worst possible reaction conservatives could have is to give up and walk away. That is exactly what the left and the media want you to do -- to blame the conservatives you elected for the lack of progress.

As I have argued before, Republicans do not effectively control the Senate. We need more conservatives in Congress, not more liberals.

It's also another reminder that the Senate majority must reform its rules in order to ensure that our agenda prevails. I am pleased to report that some conservatives are trying to do just that.

White House Legislative Director Marc Short last week accused Chuck Schumer of "weaponizing Senate rules," and subjecting Trump nominees to a record 79 filibusters, compared to just 17 filibusters against the nominees of the previous four administrations.

Democrats are forcing 30 hours of debate and useless votes on almost every single appointment. "At this rate, the United States Senate would take 11 and a half years to confirm our nominees," Short said.

The time Senate Democrats are wasting on these pointless filibusters is time that cannot be used on other important legislative issues, like the budget and spending bills.
Gary Bauer 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, Left-wing Hypocrisy, Deep State Sabotage, About That Deal 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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