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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)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

President Trump Is Delivering

by Star Parker: According to news stories, the Trump campaign fired pollsters who allegedly leaked polling results that show President Trump performing poorly against Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in battleground states.

Regardless of the accuracy of the story, what can polling really tell us now?

At this time in 2015, polls were showing Hillary Clinton 17 points ahead of Donald Trump.

According to Gallup, Ronald Reagan's approval rating was about the same as President Trump's at the same time into his presidency.

In November 1984, a year and a half later, Reagan won a historic landslide victory, winning 49 of 50 states, losing only Walter Mondale's home state of Minnesota.

Turning around the ship of state is not an easy affair, and it takes time.

What happens in November 2020 will reflect three things: the skill with which respective candidates run their campaigns; the extent to which their message resonates; and what actually happens between now and then on the economic, social and international fronts.

Consider Reagan's famous question that propelled him to an upset victory in 1980 and a landslide victory in 1984.

"Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

How do we measure this?

I use my three criteria: the Constitution, Christianity and Capitalism.

On all three fronts, Donald Trump is making America great again.

The Supreme Court now has a solid conservative majority with the addition of Trump nominees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Overall, 107 Trump court nominees have been confirmed, including 40 appeals court nominees.

As a result of a more solidly conservative judicial front, President Trump has improved the environment friendly to the Christian values that we need to restore our respect for life and family.

Aggressive moves in the states to enact anti-abortion laws increase the chances of this vital issue being revisited in the nation's now more conservative high court.

Most recently, new Trump administration rules bring major new constraints on conducting research on fetal tissue using federal funds.

And regarding the third "C," capitalism, Harvard economist Robert Barro estimates that the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act "added 1.1% per year to United States' GDP growth rate for 2018-19." This is a boost in growth almost a third over the average growth rate in the Obama years.

Optimism among the nation's small businesses is surging, according to the most recent National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Optimism Index.

Record-low unemployment among Hispanics and blacks could be paying political dividends for this president.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows President Trump's approval at 32 percent among Hispanics and 17 percent among blacks. Compared with 29 percent of Hispanics and 8 percent of blacks who voted for Trump in 2016, this could be a game changer favoring President Trump in 2020.

President Trump's courage to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has changed the face of the Middle East, and potentially the world, for the better.

Now a historic U.S.-sponsored meeting is scheduled in Bahrain, where Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar will join with the U.S. to focus on capitalism and prosperity as the keys to Middle East peace rather than the political dead ends of the past.

None of these achievements would be imaginable without Donald Trump's conviction that American greatness is unique and based in key principles rooted in my three Cs — the Constitution, Christianity and Capitalism.

Even the market-opening trade demands toward China, which have elicited criticism in some circles, are driven by these principles. Success will make everyone, including China, better off.

Donald Trump, the most unconventional president in American history, is delivering, and the dividends are starting to flow.

Americans will face a clear choice in 2020 between individual responsibility and freedom or, alternatively, collectivism and tyranny.

I anticipate a Donald Trump landslide in 2020 not seen since Ronald Reagan.
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Star Parker (@UrbanCURE)is an author at and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. CURE is a non-profit think tank that addresses issues of race and poverty through principles of faith, freedom and personal responsibility.

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Err Raid: CA Police Storm Christian School, Find Nothing

by Tony Perkins: Imagine standing in front of your class and teaching the day’s lesson. It’s a normal Friday – until suddenly, 16 highway patrolmen burst through the doors with guns and police dogs. In silence, you watch an army of social workers and law enforcement fan out across the school, while your students look on – terrified. To the kids and staff at River View Christian Academy, it felt like a bad dream – which is probably what most of California feels like these days.

What were police looking for? Apparently, they finally got around to following up on a 10-year-old tip from a Left-wing tabloid that claimed the boarding school was sitting on a stockpile of guns and drugs. But instead of knocking on the door and investigating, California officials stormed the campus like it was hiding the world’s most wanted terrorists. “And what’s also alarming,” Pacific Justice Institute’s Brad Dacus told me on “Washington Watch,” is that they actually got a warrant. “Mind you, this warrant was based upon something totally incredible, not even founded. And yet, they were able to find a… state court judge [who was] willing to grant this warrant for them to leave and traumatize the children.”

But what’s worse, he explained, is that even after their search didn’t turn up anything, California officials didn’t apologize. Instead, they doubled down. “They said, ‘Oh, well, we want to require [you] to be licensed -- not with the Department of Education as a boarding school, but with the Department of Social Services (DSS), even though they’re not providing any counseling.” The reason, Brad points out, is that they can force them to go along with their radical mandates on things like sexual orientation on gender. And every day they don’t have this special Community Care Licensing, the state is fining them.

PJI’s lead attorney in this case, Kevin Snider, couldn’t believe it. “In 25 years of practice, I have never seen this level of aggressive, militant, and ideologically-driven conduct by a State agency against a religious institution,” he said. Let’s not forget, Brad told listeners, “This is a private religious Christian school. It receives no money from the government at all. And so this is not only a violation of the religious freedom and freedom of association rights of this Christian school, but an egregious violation of the rights of parents to be able to have their children legally in a Christian boarding school in the state of California.”

For now, the two sides are in a county court showdown. The state is trying to shut River View down completely – even though it’s produced great results with troubled teens. If California wants to worry about something, Brad suggests, how about their public schools? Unlike this academy, they’re actually failing schools.

But then, this has never been about academic success. It’s about controlling children. The Left has held out public education as an enticement to advance their liberal anti-family, anti-moral policy – insisting if parents don’t like it, they can send their kids to private schools. Now that millions of parents are choosing that option, liberals are desperately trying to find ways to access those students. So, they’re imposing those same views and regulations on private and home schools. And they won’t stop – not until they have their radical hooks in every child.

It’s the same reason California is trying to outlaw certain counseling for minors. They don’t want parents or other adults interfering with the destructive message they’re instilling in children. Right now, as we speak, Assemblyman Evan Low (D), the same Democrat who pulled a similar bill last year, is trying to pass a resolution that would call on Californians to “counsel on LGBT matters from a place of love, compassion, and knowledge of the psychological and other harms of conversion therapy…”

Of course, as FRC’s Peter Sprigg points out in a letter to state leaders, there are no such harms. “We are grateful that Mr. Low listened to the concerns of religious leaders up and down the state who expressed grave concern about the threats to personal and religious liberty that such legislation would pose,” he writes. “However, ACR 99 is premised upon the same mistaken characterization of sexual orientation change efforts as AB 2943.”

“It is simply false to assert, as the resolution does, that such therapy is always or generally ‘ineffective, unethical, and harmful.’ On the contrary, the American Psychological Association has never declared such therapy to be unethical; and the APA’s 2009 Task Force Report on the subject acknowledged that there was no ‘valid casual evidence’ of harm. Meanwhile, there is an abundance of evidence that sexual orientation can change over time, including four, population-based, longitudinal analyses. While those analyses did not focus specifically on intentional change efforts, six recent studies (five of them peer-reviewed) have shown that such therapy can be effective and is generally not harmful.”

A lot of people are tempted to roll their eyes and write some of these horror stories off as “just California.” But don’t be fooled. This darkness is coming to your state – if it hasn’t already. And when it comes to protecting children, parents are the first -- and often only -- line of defense.
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Tony Perkins (@tperkins) is President of the Family Research Council . This article was on Tony Perkin's Washington Update and written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author:  Tune In Tonight
Tune in tonight at 8 PM EST. President Trump is set to announce his reelection campaign  in Orlando, Florida. This will be the biggest presidential announcement in history.  As the Trump/Pence team prepares to hit the campaign trail, I believe they have a very strong case to make to the American people for a second term. Below is a brief list of the president's accomplishments thus far.
All this in two and a half years Just imagine what Donald Trump and Mike Pence could accomplish in eight years!

Trump's Tweet
"Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in. Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people long before they get to our Southern Border. Guatemala is getting ready to sign a Safe-Third Agreement. The only ones who won’t do anything are the Democrats in Congress. They must vote to get rid of the loopholes, and fix asylum! If so, Border Crisis will end quickly!"

The choice is clear Trump is doing everything he can to stop illegal immigration while Democrats are inviting in as many illegal immigrants as they can.

Supreme Stakes
Here are two numbers I want every conservative to keep in mind as we begin the 2020 campaign:  80 and 86.  Justice Stephen Breyer is 80 years-old.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 86.

If President Trump is reelected and if Republicans hold the Senate next November, there is a very good chance Trump could make a third and even a fourth Supreme Court appointment.

Replacing just one of the court's left-wing members would cement a conservative majority for decades.  The implications are enormous for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, the Second Amendment, immigration reform and so many critical issues.

These are the stakes, my friends.

Please stand with CWF as we stand with President Trump!

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

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

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

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

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

Register now at valuesvotersummit.org.

I look forward to seeing you there.
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Gary Bauer (@GaryLBauer)  is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

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Making Trump’s Tax Returns Public Could Endanger Privacy of Your Tax Returns

by Hans von Spakovsky: President Donald Trump won a victory Friday when the Justice Department said Congress does not have the right to see his tax returns.

More importantly, all American taxpayers won a victory, because the Justice Department memo regarding Trump’s returns has the effect of upholding the privacy and confidentially of all our tax returns as well.

If Congress is allowed to examine the president’s tax returns, the next step will be demands by lawmakers to examine the tax returns of others—political activists and opponents, members of unpopular groups, religious minorities, and who knows who else.

And if you think this isn’t possible, just think back to the FBI under Director J. Edgar Hoover and the files he kept on many Americans he considered to be dangerous subversives—including civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.

Even if you can’t stand Trump and think he should be impeached, remember that giving government the power to act against someone you oppose also gives government the power to act against someone you support—or perhaps even against you personally.

Importantly, the provision of the tax code that Democrats are seeking to use to get Trump’s tax returns could also be used to get the tax returns of other Americans as well, should Trump lose his fight to keep his tax returns confidential.

The 33-page opinion protecting the confidentially of tax returns was written by Assistant Attorney General Steven A. Engel, who heads the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department. It is based on an appropriate reading of the law.

The Office of Legal Counsel is the office within Justice that provides legal advice to the president and all executive agencies, including on the proper interpretation of laws and the Constitution.

To no one’s surprise, Democrats are attacking the Justice Department memo as a political document designed to protect Trump.

Yet in fact, the reason Democrats want to see the Trump tax returns is blatantly political. They want to use the information in the returns in possible impeachment proceedings against the president and to campaign against Trump’s re-election.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., who has led the fight by House Democrats to get six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns, has indicated Democrats will file a lawsuit seeking access to the tax returns.

The Justice Department opinion concludes that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was legally justified in refusing to turn over the Trump tax returns that Neal’s committee asked for.

As I have explained previously, the Justice Department opinion should come as no surprise, given the privacy protections contained in federal law ensuring the confidentiality of tax returns and the invalid reasons given by Neal for demanding the returns.

The opinion reviews the relevant federal statute, 26 U.S.C. § 6103, which prohibits federal officials from disclosing tax returns.

There is an exception in the law that says the Treasury Department secretary shall provide tax return information upon “written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means.” No reason has to be given for the request.

However, the Justice Department opinion released Friday points out, Congress cannot “constitutionally confer upon the Committee the right to compel the Executive Branch to disclose confidential information without a legitimate legislative purpose.”

The opinion cites numerous court decisions, including by the Supreme Court, that have made this clear.

The opinion goes into great detail examining the background behind the demand for the president’s tax returns.

After reviewing that history, the Office of Legal Counsel says that Mnuchin “reasonably and correctly concluded that the Committee’s asserted interest in reviewing the Internal Revenue Service’s audits of presidential returns was pretextual and that its true aim was to make the President’s tax returns public, which is not a legitimate legislative purpose.”

Neal claimed that the reason for the demand to see the Trump tax returns was to examine the “extent to which the IRS audits and enforces the Federal tax laws against a President.”

But if that was the case, asked the Office of Legal Counsel, why did Neal ask for Trump’s tax returns “for many years before his presidency.”

Furthermore, the Office of Legal Counsel noted that Neal did not ask for “any information concerning the IRS’s actual policies or practices governing presidential audits or the audit histories for any President other than President Trump.”

Based on these “discrepancies in the public record,” it was obvious that Neal had “not articulated the real reason for his request,” the Justice Department opinion found.

The opinion concluded that this is especially true given that Neal’s demand represented “the culmination of a sustained effort over more than two years to seek the public release of President Trump’s tax returns” by Neal and numerous other Democrats in the House of Representatives, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The opinion summed up the “sustained effort” by pointing out that Neal and other members of Congress made “clear their intent to acquire and release the President’s tax returns” throughout 2017 and 2018.

Referring to Democrats, the opinion states:They offered many different justifications for such an action, suggesting that releasing the returns would ‘honor tradition,’ show ‘what the Russians have on Donald Trump,’ reveal a potential ‘Chinese connection,’ inform tax reform legislation, provide the ‘clearest picture of his financial health,’ and expose any alleged emoluments received by the president from foreign governments.But alleged “oversight” of the IRS audit process of the tax returns of presidents “had never been the focus of their demands” until Neal’s letter to the Treasury Department in April, according to the memo from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

Clearly, the effort by Democrats to get Trump’s tax returns is not over.

We can now expect a long and expensive legal battle—financed by your tax dollars—as Democrats continue their singular focus on investigation of the president instead of legislation to improve the lives of the American people and strengthen our nation.
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Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues—including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform—as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative. More ARRA News Service articles by or about Hans von Spakovsky

Tags: Making Trump’s Tax Returns Public, Could Endanger, Privacy of Your Tax Returns, Hans von Spakovsky, The Heritage Foundation, The Daily Signal To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Black Education Decline

Dr. Walter E. Williams
by Dr. Walter E. Williams: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says that the city’s specialized high schools have a diversity problem. He’s joined by New York City Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza, educators, students and community leaders who want to fix the diversity problem. I bet you can easily guess what they will do to “improve” the racial mix of students (aka diversity). If you guessed they would propose eliminating the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test as the sole criterion for admissions, go to the head of the class. The Specialized High Schools Admissions Test is an examination that is administered to New York City’s eighth- and ninth-grade students. By state law, it is used to determine admission to all but one of the city’s nine specialized high schools.

It’s taken as axiomatic that the relatively few blacks admitted to these high-powered schools is somehow tied to racial discrimination. In a June 2, 2018 “Chalkbeat” article, de Blasio writes: “The problem is clear. Eight of our most renowned high schools — including Stuyvesant High School, Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School — rely on a single, high-stakes exam. The Specialized High School Admissions Test isn’t just flawed — it’s a roadblock to justice, progress and academic excellence.”

Let’s look at a bit of history to raise some questions about the mayor’s diversity hypothesis. Dr. Thomas Sowell provides some interesting statistics about Stuyvesant High School in his book “Wealth, Poverty and Politics.” He reports that, “In 1938, the proportion of blacks attending Stuyvesant High School, a specialized school, was almost as high as the proportion of blacks in the population of New York City.” Since then, it has spiraled downward. In 1979, blacks were 12.9% of students at Stuyvesant, falling to 4.8% in 1995. By 2012, The New York Times reported that blacks were 1.2% of the student body.

What explains the decline? None of the usual explanations for racial disparities make sense. In other words, would one want to argue that there was less racial discrimination in 1938? Or, argue that in 1938 the “legacy of slavery” had not taken effect whereby now it is in full bloom? Genetic or environmental arguments cannot explain why blacks of an earlier generation were able to meet the demanding mental test standards to get into an elite high school. Socioeconomic conditions for blacks have improved dramatically since 1938. The only other plausible reason for the decline in academic achievement is that there has been a change in black culture. It doesn’t take much to reach this conclusion. Simply look at school behavior today versus yesteryear.

An Education Week article reported that in the 2015-16 school year, “5.8% of the nation’s 3.8 million teachers were physically attacked by a student.” The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics show that in the 2011-12 academic year, there were a record 209,800 primary- and secondary-school teachers who reported being physically attacked by a student. Nationally, an average of 1,175 teachers and staff were physically attacked, including being knocked out, each day of that school year.

In the city of Baltimore, each school day in 2010, an average of four teachers and staff were assaulted. A National Center for Education Statistics study found that 18% of the nation’s schools accounted for 75% of the reported incidents of violence, and 6.6% accounted for half of all reported incidents. These are schools with predominantly black student populations. It’s not only assaults on teachers but cursing and disorderly conduct that are the standard fare in so many predominantly black schools.

Here are questions that might be asked of de Blasio and others who want to “fix the diversity problem” at New York’s specialized schools: What has the triumph of egalitarian and diversity principles done for the rest of New York’s school system? Are their academic achievement scores better than students at New York’s specialized schools? The most important question for black parents: What has been allowed to happen to cripple black academic excellence?
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Dr. Walter Williams (@WE_Williams) is an American economist, social commentator, and author of over 150 publications. He has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from the UCLA and B.A. in economics from California State University. He also holds a Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Union University and Grove City College, Doctor of Laws from Washington and Jefferson College. He has served on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, since 1980. Visit his website: WalterEWilliams.com and view a list of other articles and works.

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Violence In Buttigieg's Failed City Catches Up With Him On Campaign Trail

Mayor Peter Buttigieg
by Daniel Greenfield: In a 2020 field of odd candidates, Mayor Peter Buttigieg's candidacy may be the strangest because his only actual credential (gay and Obameseque are not actual credentials) is running South Bend. One of the worst failed cities in Indiana. A truly miserable place.

The media has conveniently avoided allowing any scrutiny of South Bend or its huge crime rates. My articles about them have been virtually the only ones in, either the media, or much of the conservative media for that matter.
On March 31, a South Bend grandma brought her grandson to the hospital. The 11-month-old baby boy had been shot. His grandmother’s car had also taken fire. It was another early morning in South Bend.

Around the same time, Mayor Buttigieg, was toting up the $7 million in donations from his charm offensive as his bid for the 2020 Democrat nomination got underway. The national media never bothered reporting the shooting of an 11-month-old boy in the city he was supposed to be running, but instead confined its coverage of South Bend matters to a publicity stunt wedding officiated by Buttigieg.

The horrifying shooting of an 11-month-old boy on the millennial mayor’s watch was not an unusual incident. In the last few days, even as the media was gushing over Buttigieg’s presidential ambitions, two Indiana University South Bend players were injured in a shooting on Notre Dame Avenue, a blind date ended in a shooting, and yet another shooting added to the bloody toll in the real South Bend.

Those are quite a few shootings for a city of barely 100,000 people. But South Bend is a violent place.

While Chicago is notorious for its murder rate, in 2015, Buttigieg’s South Bend actually topped Chicago’s 16.4 homicides per 100,000 people with a homicide rate of 16.79 per 100,000 people. Those numbers put Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s city on the list of the top 30 murder capitals in the country for the year.

In January, three shootings in one week killed two teens and left a woman paralyzed from the waist down. In one summer week, the casualties included a 12 and a 13-year-old. Last year, a man shot 6 people when he opened fire on 50 partygoers in a house and was sentenced to 100 years in jail.

By 2017, shootings had risen 20% on Mayor Buttigieg’s watch. Rapes increased 27% and aggravated assaults rose from 183 in 2013, the year before Buttigieg took office, to a stunning 563 assaults.

By April, the politician whose supporters called him, “Mayor Pete” had been neglecting the city where 8,515 voters in an apathetic city of 102,245 had elected him mayor. While the bodies piled up, Buttigieg and his boyfriend were rushing between upscale fundraisers and media appearances.

By the end of March, as Peter Buttigieg turned into the new Dem crush, 6 people had been shot in his city. A talented baseball player had been paralyzed and an 11-month old baby had been wounded.

"My name is Pete Buttigieg. They call me Mayor Pete," Buttigieg declared in the city he now occasionally visited. "I am a proud son of South Bend, Indiana.”
Now, the escalating violence in the city he has been running into the ground has forced "Mayor Pete" to actually head back to South Bend.

Predictably, it wasn't the multiple gang shootings that did it. Instead, it's the only kind of shooting that Democrats care about anymore.
Authorities say a man has died after a shooting involving a police officer in South Bend, the Indiana city where Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is mayor.

Buttigieg said he changed his campaign schedule to return to South Bend on Sunday and hold a late night news conference. He said that the circumstances of the death would be thoroughly investigated, and called on any witnesses of the shooting to come forward and speak to investigators.

“We will be striving to reach out to community members,” Buttigieg said.
Expect Buttigieg to protect his presidential prospects by trying to throw the book at the officer, regardless of the facts.
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Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist for FrontPage Mag and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

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Suicide Surging

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: Why are suicides surging in America? There is no easy answer to that question, but there are some important clues. Some of the answers have been put forth by the latest CDC reports. We do have a number of deaths of despair that result from intended suicides as well as from opioid overdoses. And we also see suicides that have increased among our veterans that show the relationship between military combat and PTSD.

But there are social, intellectual, and spiritual reasons for the increased number of suicides. In her article in Intellectual Takeout, Annie Holmquist wonders what is driving this mentality of despair. She reminds us that half of the people who commit suicide do not have a “known mental health condition.” That is why looking at other issues is so important.

She takes us back to the seminal book by University of Chicago professor Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind. Even back in 1988, when the book was published, Bloom saw a stark difference between the college students of that day and those just a few years before. They were “superficial” and continually indulged in “clichés.” They didn’t reason on a deeper level and were disenchanted with the world.

Believe me, if that was true of the college students in the 1980s, it is really true of the current generation of young people. They have grown up in a world of memes and clichés. They came of age in a world that long abandoned moral values. The recent discussion about D-Day and the Greatest Generation led many to suggest that the current generation might not be up to such challenges.

Sadly, this generation is growing up without an appeal to moral and biblical values. They don’t have anything to live for because they don’t believe anything would be worth dying for. Suicide becomes an option when life is sterile, superficial, and soulless.
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Kerby Anderson (@kerbyanderson) is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network (@PointofViewRTS) and is endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service.

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Harvard Rescinds Acceptance of Pro-Gun, Conservative Teen Kyle Kashuv

Kyle Kashuv
by Todd Starnes: Harvard University has rescinded its acceptance letter to Kyle Kashuv, a conservative student who survived the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The university cited racist and offensive postings he made in private settings among his classmates when he was 16-years-old. The remarks were made prior to the shootings.

“We have become aware of media reports discussing offensive statements allegedly authored by you,” Harvard wrote to the teenager. “As you know, Harvard reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions, including ‘if you engage or have engaged in behavior that brings into question your honesty, maturity, or moral character.”

Harvard demanded Kashuv explain himself — which he did with complete transparency and an unequivocal apology.

“We were 16-year-old’s making idiotic comments, using callous and inflammatory language in an effort to be as extreme and as shocking as possible,” he wrote. “I’m embarrassed by it, but I want to be clear that the comments I made are not indicative of who I am or who I’ve become in the year’s since.”

He went on to say he was embarrassed by the “petty, flippant kid” he was before the shootings.

Something tells me this has less to do with stupid and racist language of a teenage boy and more to do with the fact he now identifies as a conservative who supports President Trump.

It’s clear that this young man’s political enemies put pressure on Harvard to rescind the acceptance letter.

“Harvard deciding that someone can’t grow, especially after a life-altering event like the shooting, is deeply concerning,” Kashuv wrote. “If any institution should understand growth, it’s Harvard, which is looked to as the pinnacle of higher education despite its checkered past.”

The timing of Harvard’s letter is troubling — especially since Kashuv had been offered scholarships to a number of other schools — scholarships he turned down to attend Harvard.

Let this serve as a reminder to all young people — watch your language and be careful what what you write online no matter if you are in grade school or high school.

The leftist mob takes great pleasure in destroying a person’s life over something that was muttered on a playground by first graders.
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Todd Starnes (@toddstarnes) is A Christian Conservative, the host of Fox News & Commentary and heard daily on 250+ radio stations and on his iTune podcasts.

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Senate Passes Most Significant IRS Reforms in Twenty Years

This legislation is the most thorough package of reforms to the Internal Revenue Service in twenty years. Let me say that again: The Senate just passed the most significant reforms to the IRS in two decades. It will create a new, independent process for appeals to ensure taxpayers receive fair treatment. And during dispute resolution, taxpayers will now get access to the same information the IRS has. There will be more accountability within the IRS when it comes to cybersecurity, careful management of technology, and overall efficiency.

ARRA News Service: Today , U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding passage of the Taxpayer First Act:

I want to celebrate another legislative accomplishment that the Senate notched late last week. On Thursday, the Senate passed the Taxpayer First Act and sent it to President Trump’s desk to become law. This legislation is the most thorough package of reforms to the Internal Revenue Service in twenty years. Let me say that again: The Senate just passed the most significant reforms to the IRS in two decades.

It will create a new, independent process for appeals to ensure taxpayers receive fair treatment. And during dispute resolution, taxpayers will now get access to the same information the IRS has. There will be more accountability within the IRS when it comes to cybersecurity, careful management of technology, and overall efficiency.

There will be a new, streamlined system for addressing identity theft. There will be better procedures for advance notification in the event of an audit or asset seizure. And there will be new steps to make it easier to file your taxes and supporting documents online. So this is a significant accomplishment. These reforms will make one of the least appealing annual tasks for hardworking Americans a little bit less painful.

A year and a half ago, the Republican members of this body joined with House Republicans and President Trump to deliver historic tax cuts and tax reform to the American people. Middle-class families, parents, small business owners, farmers, and job creators across the nation are keeping more of what they earn and sending less to the IRS. And now, thanks to this latest achievement, the IRS will be just a little bit easier to deal with as well.


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In The Bag . . .

. . . Democrats are very excited about their recent poll numbers being higher than Trump’s, but wait a minute, haven’t we been here before? I’m sure Hillary remembers.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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Without Mining There Is No 'Green Revolution'

Stephen Moore, Economist
by Stephen Moore: The recent threats by Beijing to cut off American access to critical mineral imports have many Americans wondering why our politicians have allowed the United States to become so overly dependent on China for these valued resources in the first place.

Today, the United States is 90% dependent on China and Russia for many vital "rare earth minerals."

The main reason for our overreliance on nations such as China for these minerals is not that we are running out of these resources here at home. The National Mining Association estimates that we have at least $5 trillion of recoverable mineral resources.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that we still have about 86% of key mineral resources such as copper and zinc remaining in the ground, waiting to be mined. These resources aren't on environmentally sensitive lands, such as national parks, but on the millions of acres of federal, state and private lands.

The mining isn't happening because of extremely prohibitive environmental rules and a permitting process that can take five to 10 years to open a new mine. Green groups simply resist almost all new drilling.

What they may not realize is that the de facto mining prohibitions jeopardize the "green energy revolution" that liberals so desperately are seeking.

How is this for rich irony: To make renewable energy at all technologically plausible will require massive increases in the supply of rare earth and critical minerals. Without these valuable metals, there will not be more efficient 21st-century batteries for electric cars or modern solar panels. Kiss the Green New Deal and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders' utopian vision of 100% renewable energy goodbye.

Yet, for decades now, environmentalists have erected every possible barrier to mining for critical minerals here in America -- which we have in great abundance.

Search far and wide through the grandiose Green New Deal plans and you will not find any call for additional domestic mining for battery-operated electric vehicles and electrified mass transportation systems, nor the underlying energy infrastructure.

Thanks to the extreme environmentalists, we import from unfriendly and repressive governments the critical minerals needed to produce rechargeable batteries (lithium and cobalt), wind turbine motors (dysprosium), thin films for solar power (tellurium) and miniature sensors that manage the performance of electric vehicles (yttrium).

Another irony in the left's anti-mining crusade is that these same groups have long boasted that by eliminating our need for fossil fuels, America won't rely on cartels such as OPEC that have in the past held our nation hostage to wild price swings and embargoes. Greens also complain that fossil fuel dependence requires a multibillion-dollar military presence in the Middle East and around the world to ensure supply. Now we can substitute OPEC with China and Russia.

Here is one simple but telling example of the shortsightedness of the "no mining" position of the environmentalists. Current electric vehicles can use up to 10 times more copper than fossil fuel vehicles. Then, additional copper wire networks will be needed to attach convenient battery chargers throughout public spaces and along roads and highways. Do we really want this entire transportation infrastructure to be dependent on China and Russia?

Of course, it is not just green energy development that will be imperiled by our mining restrictions folly. Innovation and research on new lightweight metals and alloys -- such as those used in life-saving medical devices and tiny cameras in smartphones -- could also become stalled if foreign prices rise prohibitively.

Also, because our mining laws (the ones that don't prohibit mining outright) protect the environment far more than those in places such as China and Africa, by importing these minerals, we are contributing to global environmental degradation.

So, there you have it. The "keep it in the ground" movement demanded by environmentalists against use of almost all of America's bountiful energy and mineral resources is blocking a green future and a safer planet. Do they know this? Do they care?
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Stephen Moore, (@StephenMoore) is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with Freedom Works. He is the co-author of "Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy." Moore encouraged the ARRA News Service editor at SamSphere Chicago 2008 to blog his articles. His article was in Rasmussen Reports

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War With Iran Would Become ‘Trump’s War’

by Patrick Buchanan: “Who wants a U.S. war with Iran? Primarily the same people who goaded us into wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, and who oppose every effort of Trump’s to extricate us from those wars…”

President Donald Trump cannot want war with Iran.

Such a war, no matter how long, would be fought in and around the Persian Gulf, through which a third of the world’s seaborne oil travels. It could trigger a worldwide recession and imperil Trump’s reelection.

It would widen the “forever war,” which Trump said he would end, to a nation of 80 million people, three times as large as Iraq. It would become the defining issue of his presidency, as the Iraq War became the defining issue of George W. Bush’s presidency.

And if war comes now, it would be known as “Trump’s War.”

For it was Trump who pulled us out of the Iran nuclear deal, though, according to U.N. inspectors and the other signatories — Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China — Tehran was complying with its terms.

Trump’s repudiation of the treaty was followed by his reimposition of sanctions and a policy of maximum pressure. This was followed by the designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a “terrorist” organization.

Then came the threats of U.S. secondary sanctions on nations, some of them friends and allies, that continued to buy oil from Iran.

U.S. policy has been to squeeze Iran’s economy until the regime buckles to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s 12 demands, including an end to Tehran’s support of its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Sunday, Pompeo said Iran was behind the attacks on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman and that Tehran instigated an attack that injured four U.S. soldiers in Kabul though the Taliban claimed responsibility.

The war hawks are back.

“This unprovoked attack on commercial shipping warrants retaliatory military strikes,” said Senator Tom Cotton on Sunday.

But as Trump does not want war with Iran, Iran does not want war with us. Tehran has denied any role in the tanker attacks, helped put out the fire on one tanker, and accused its enemies of “false flag” attacks to instigate a war.

If the Revolutionary Guard, which answers to the ayatollah, did attach explosives to the hull of the tankers, it was most likely to send a direct message: If our exports are halted by U.S. sanctions, the oil exports of the Saudis and Gulf Arabs can be made to experience similar problems.

Yet if the president and the ayatollah do not want war, who does?

Not the Germans or Japanese, both of whom are asking for more proof that Iran instigated the tanker attacks. Japan’s prime minster was meeting with the ayatollah when the attacks occurred, and one of the tankers was a Japanese vessel.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal Monday were Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a neocon nest funded by Paul Singer and Sheldon Adelson.

In a piece titled, “America Can Face Down a Fragile Iran,” the pair make the case that Trump should squeeze the Iranian regime relentlessly and not fear a military clash, and a war with Iran would be a cakewalk.

“Iran is in no shape for a prolonged confrontation with the U.S. The regime is in a politically precarious position. The sullen Iranian middle class has given up on the possibility of reform or prosperity. The lower classes, once tethered to the regime by the expansive welfare state, have also grown disloyal. The intelligentsia no longer believes that faith and freedom can be harmonized. And the youth have become the regime’s most unrelenting critics.

“Iran’s fragile theocracy can’t absorb a massive external shock. That’s why Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has, for the most part, adhered to the JCPOA (the nuclear pact) and why he is likely angling for negotiation over confrontation with the Great Satan.”

This depiction of Iran’s political crisis and economic decline invites a question: If the Tehran regime is so fragile and the Iranian people are so alienated, why not avoid a war and wait for the regime’s collapse?

Trump seems to have several options:

—Negotiate with the Tehran regime for some tolerable detente.

—Refuse to negotiate and await the regime’s collapse, in which case the president must be prepared for Iranian actions that raise the cost of choking that nation to death.

—Strike militarily, as Cotton urges, and accept the war that follows, if Iran chooses to fight rather than be humiliated and capitulate to Pompeo’s demands.

One recalls: Saddam Hussein accepted war with the United States in 1991 rather than yield to Bush I’s demand he get his army out of Kuwait.

Who wants a U.S. war with Iran?

Primarily the same people who goaded us into wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, and who oppose every effort of Trump’s to extricate us from those wars.

Should they succeed in Iran, it is hard to see how we will ever be able to extricate our country from this blood-soaked region that holds no vital strategic interest save oil, and America, thanks to fracking, has become independent of that.
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Patrick Buchanan (@PatrickBuchanan) is currently a blogger, conservative columnist, political analyst, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He has been a senior adviser to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000.

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Cuban Slave Doctors

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: Did Cuba and Brazil just prove Sen. Rand Paul right . . . about socialism?

Eight years ago, the ophthalmologist-turned-politician raised progressive ire in a subcommittee hearing.

“With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have to realize what that implies,” the junior senator from the state of Kentucky said. “It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery. It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses.”

To many, this seemed preposterous. Doctors would be paid! They wouldn’t be forced to work.

Well, consider Brazil’s socialized medical service.

In his campaign for the presidency, Jair Bolsonaro promised to make “major changes to the Mais Médicos program, an initiative begun in 2013 when a leftist government was in power,” the New York Times explains. “The program sent doctors into Brazil’s small towns, indigenous villages and violent, low-income urban neighborhoods.”

But there was a catch: “About half of the Mais Médicos doctors were from Cuba.” Brazil paid a hefty price tag for those doctors — to the Cuban government, not the doctors.

None too pleased with Bolsonaro’s talk of “freeing” the doctors, the Communist dictatorship pulled them out.

Maybe Kentucky’s senatorial physician was right. When a government seizes the control of the means of production, as socialists want and communists demand, at some point somebody in charge will notice that labor is a means of production.

Slaves don’t set the terms of their own employment.

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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Polls 17 months out did not predict the outcome of the 2016 election . . .

. . . and they won’t predict the outcome of 2020, either
by Robert Romano: Don’t count your chickens before your eggs have hatched.

To read some of the alarmist headlines pointing to the latest polls, you might conclude that the 2020 election is already over and President Donald Trump has been ousted.

After all, the latest Fox News poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden ahead of Trump, 49 percent to 39 percent, and Sen. Bernie Sanders similarly leads Trump, 49 percent to 40 percent.

When you take out supposed undecideds or non-responses, that takes Biden up to 56 percent of the vote and Sanders to 55 percent, with Trump at 44 percent and 45 percent, respectively, a modern day rout.

But does anyone really expect such a lop-sided outcome come Nov. 2020? The largest landslide in recent history was 2008, but even with the economy completely collapsed and Democrats on their way to winning a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, the worst possible conditions for Republicans on the ballot, Barack Obama only garnered 52.9 percent of the popular vote.

That is not to say that Biden or Sanders could not defeat Trump, but by 10 points or 9 points? It seems not only unlikely, but exceedingly improbable.

The news came amid separate reports that the Trump campaign has fired its internal pollster after results leaked to NBC News, which stated, “In Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan — three states where Trump edged Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by narrow margins that proved decisive in his victory — Trump trails Biden by double-digits… He’s also behind the former vice president in Iowa by 7 points, in North Carolina by 8 points, in Virginia by 17 points, in Ohio by 1 point, in Georgia by 6 points… In Texas, where a Democratic presidential nominee hasn’t won since President Jimmy Carter in 1976, Trump leads by just 2 points.”

For starters, polls 17 months out from an election may not be reliable. They do not take into account unknown quantities, such as voters feeling the same about Biden or Sanders now versus when they find out more about the candidate during the course of a competitive campaign. Or third party candidates. Or how the economy might be doing. Or who will end up doing well in the Democratic primaries, and what it will mean for their election chances. These are all very important, if not determinative factors in re-election cycles, and they’re not even on the table yet.

Looking back at the same point in the cycle, a May 2015 Quinnipiac poll confidently suggested that Hillary Clinton would beat Donald Trump in a hypothetical matchup, 50 percent to 32 percent. When undecideds or non-responses are removed, it comes out 61 percent to 39 percent.

A June 2015 Fox News poll had Clinton at 52 percent and Trump at 34 percent, or 60 percent to 40 percent with undecideds and non-responses removed.

As far as the state-by-state contests are concerned, it is worth noting that Nate Silver’s Fivethirtyeight.com model looks at state-by-state polling and found that Hillary Clinton would most certainly win the election, with a 70 percent probability on the Nov. 8, 2016. Clinton was supposed to receive 300 Electoral College votes and win the election.

None of it turned out to be true. Trump won the Electoral College in 2016, not Clinton, 304 to 227, in spite of the state-by-state polls and head-to-head matchup polls. As for the popular vote, Clinton received 48.2 percent, and Trump 46.1 percent. Given Clinton’s favored status in the polls, it was one of the greatest upsets in American political history and helps explain much of the shock on the left that followed the election.

On Twitter, Trump suggested on June 17 that “Polls are always bad for me.” He is not wrong.

Trump got elected with a favorable rating of only about 40 percent and unfavorable of almost 60 percent. It is also worth noting at this point in both the Reagan and Obama presidencies, both were upside down on job approval.

In fact, Trump under-polled what his actual favorability number was in 2016 and the current polling may be doing the same thing just be serving as a proxy for job approval and under sampling Trump supporters, or alternately, Trump supporters being reluctant to respond to polls.

Granted, other pollsters were far more accurate in their readings of the electorate. Rasmussen Reports springs to mind, which had the most accurate polls down the stretch to reality on the ground.

Which, by the way, is a giant grain of salt for Democrats. The most recent job approval from Rasmussen shows Trump at 48 percent.

When you break it down, President Trump is in a far more commanding position than the early polls suggest at the moment, which are almost assuredly wrong about the state of the race. So, watch for national polls to tighten naturally as we approach 2020 and the actual primary contests to follow, and then tighten even more once Democrats determine their eventual nominee. Happens every time.

What was that about counting chickens?
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Robert Romano is the Vice President of Pubic Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

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Why Study War?

Dr. Victor Davis Hanson
by Victor Davis Hanson: Try explaining to a college student that Tet was an American military victory. You'll provoke not a counterargument—let alone an assent—but a blank stare: Who or what was Tet? Doing interviews about the recent hit movie 300, I encountered similar bewilderment from listeners and hosts. Not only did most of them not know who the 300 were or what Thermopylae was; they seemed clueless about the Persian Wars altogether.
It's no surprise that civilian Americans tend to lack a basic understanding of military matters. Even when I was a graduate student, 30-some years ago, military history—understood broadly as the investigation of why one side wins and another loses a war, and encompassing reflections on magisterial or foolish generalship, technological stagnation or breakthrough, and the roles of discipline, bravery, national will, and culture in determining a conflict's outcome and its consequences—had already become unfashionable on campus. Today, universities are even less receptive to the subject.

This state of affairs is profoundly troubling, for democratic citizenship requires knowledge of war—and now, in the age of weapons of mass annihilation, more than ever.

I came to the study of warfare in an odd way, at the age of 24. Without ever taking a class in military history, I naively began writing about war for a Stanford classics dissertation that explored the effects of agricultural devastation in ancient Greece, especially the Spartan ravaging of the Athenian countryside during the Peloponnesian War. The topic fascinated me. Was the strategy effective? Why assume that ancient armies with primitive tools could easily burn or cut trees, vines, and grain on thousands of acres of enemy farms, when on my family farm in Selma, California, it took me almost an hour to fell a mature fruit tree with a sharp modern ax? Yet even if the invaders couldn't starve civilian populations, was the destruction still harmful psychologically? Did it goad proud agrarians to come out and fight? And what did the practice tell us about the values of the Greeks—and of the generals who persisted in an operation that seemingly brought no tangible results?

I posed these questions to my prospective thesis advisor, adding all sorts of further justifications. The topic was central to understanding the Peloponnesian War, I noted. The research would be interdisciplinary—a big plus in the modern university—drawing not just on ancient military histories but also on archaeology, classical drama, epigraphy, and poetry. I could bring a personal dimension to the research, too, having grown up around veterans of both world wars who talked constantly about battle. And from my experience on the farm, I wanted to add practical details about growing trees and vines in a Mediterranean climate.

Yet my advisor was skeptical. Agrarian wars, indeed wars of any kind, weren't popular in classics Ph.D. programs, even though farming and fighting were the ancient Greeks' two most common pursuits, the sources of anecdote, allusion, and metaphor in almost every Greek philosophical, historical, and literary text. Few classicists seemed to care any more that most notable Greek writers, thinkers, and statesmen—from Aeschylus to Pericles to Xenophon—had served in the phalanx or on a trireme at sea. Dozens of nineteenth-century dissertations and monographs on ancient warfare—on the organization of the Spartan army, the birth of Greek tactics, the strategic thinking of Greek generals, and much more—went largely unread. Nor was the discipline of military history, once central to a liberal education, in vogue on campuses in the seventies. It was as if the university had forgotten that history itself had begun with Herodotus and Thucydides as the story of armed conflicts.

What lay behind this academic lack of interest? The most obvious explanation: this was the immediate post-Vietnam era. The public perception in the Carter years was that America had lost a war that for moral and practical reasons it should never have fought—a catastrophe, for many in the universities, that it must never repeat. The necessary corrective wasn't to learn how such wars started, went forward, and were lost. Better to ignore anything that had to do with such odious business in the first place.

The nuclear pessimism of the cold war, which followed the horror of two world wars, also dampened academic interest. The postwar obscenity of Mutually Assured Destruction had lent an apocalyptic veneer to contemporary war: as President Kennedy warned, "Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind." Conflict had become something so destructive, in this view, that it no longer had any relation to the battles of the past. It seemed absurd to worry about a new tank or a novel doctrine of counterinsurgency when the press of a button, unleashing nuclear Armageddon, would render all military thinking superfluous.

Further, the sixties had ushered in a utopian view of society antithetical to serious thinking about war. Government, the military, business, religion, and the family had conspired, the new Rousseauians believed, to warp the naturally peace-loving individual. Conformity and coercion smothered our innately pacifist selves. To assert that wars broke out because bad men, in fear or in pride, sought material advantage or status, or because good men had done too little to stop them, was now seen as antithetical to an enlightened understanding of human nature. "What difference does it make," in the words of the much-quoted Mahatma Gandhi, "to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?"

The academic neglect of war is even more acute today. Military history as a discipline has atrophied, with very few professorships, journal articles, or degree programs. In 2004, Edward Coffman, a retired military history professor who taught at the University of Wisconsin, reviewed the faculties of the top 25 history departments, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. He found that of over 1,000 professors, only 21 identified war as a specialty. When war does show up on university syllabi, it's often about the race, class, and gender of combatants and wartime civilians. So a class on the Civil War will focus on the Underground Railroad and Reconstruction, not on Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. One on World War II might emphasize Japanese internment, Rosie the Riveter, and the horror of Hiroshima, not Guadalcanal and Midway. A survey of the Vietnam War will devote lots of time to the inequities of the draft, media coverage, and the antiwar movement at home, and scant the air and artillery barrages at Khe Sanh.

Those who want to study war in the traditional way face intense academic suspicion, as Margaret Atwood's poem "The Loneliness of the Military Historian" suggests:

Historians of war must derive perverse pleasure, their critics suspect, from reading about carnage and suffering. Why not figure out instead how to outlaw war forever, as if it were not a tragic, nearly inevitable aspect of human existence? Hence the recent surge of "peace studies".

The university's aversion to the study of war certainly doesn't reflect public lack of interest in the subject. Students love old-fashioned war classes on those rare occasions when they're offered, usually as courses that professors sneak in when the choice of what to teach is left up to them. I taught a number of such classes at California State University, Stanford, and elsewhere. They'd invariably wind up overenrolled, with hordes of students lingering after office hours to offer opinions on the battles of Marathon and Lepanto.

Popular culture, too, displays extraordinary enthusiasm for all things military. There's a new Military History Channel, and Hollywood churns out a steady supply of blockbuster war movies, from Saving Private Ryan to 300. The post†Ken Burns explosion of interest in the Civil War continues. Historical reenactment societies stage history's great battles, from the Roman legions' to the Wehrmacht's. Barnes and Noble and Borders bookstores boast well-stocked military history sections, with scores of new titles every month. A plethora of websites obsess over strategy and tactics. Hit video games grow ever more realistic in their reconstructions of battles.

The public may feel drawn to military history because it wants to learn about honor and sacrifice, or because of interest in technology—the muzzle velocity of a Tiger Tank's 88mm cannon, for instance—or because of a pathological need to experience violence, if only vicariously. The importance—and challenge—of the academic study of war is to elevate that popular enthusiasm into a more capacious and serious understanding, one that seeks answers to such questions as: Why do wars break out? How do they end? Why do the winners win and the losers lose? How best to avoid wars or contain their worst effects?

A wartime public illiterate about the conflicts of the past can easily find itself paralyzed in the acrimony of the present. Without standards of historical comparison, it will prove ill equipped to make informed judgments. Neither our politicians nor most of our citizens seem to recall the incompetence and terrible decisions that, in December 1777, December 1941, and November 1950, led to massive American casualties and, for a time, public despair. So it's no surprise that today so many seem to think that the violence in Iraq is unprecedented in our history. Roughly 3,000 combat dead in Iraq in some four years of fighting is, of course, a terrible thing. And it has provoked national outrage to the point of considering withdrawal and defeat, as we still bicker over up-armored Humvees and proper troop levels. But a previous generation considered Okinawa a stunning American victory, and prepared to follow it with an invasion of the Japanese mainland itself—despite losing, in a little over two months, four times as many Americans as we have lost in Iraq, casualties of faulty intelligence, poor generalship, and suicidal head-on assaults against fortified positions.

It's not that military history offers cookie-cutter comparisons with the past. Germany's World War I victory over Russia in under three years and her failure to take France in four apparently misled Hitler into thinking that he could overrun the Soviets in three or four weeks—after all, he had brought down historically tougher France in just six. Similarly, the conquest of the Taliban in eight weeks in 2001, followed by the establishment of constitutional government within a year in Kabul, did not mean that the similarly easy removal of Saddam Hussein in three weeks in 2003 would ensure a working Iraqi democracy within six months. The differences between the countries—cultural, political, geographical, and economic—were too great.

Instead, knowledge of past wars establishes wide parameters of what to expect from new ones. Themes, emotions, and rhetoric remain constant over the centuries, and thus generally predictable. Athens's disastrous expedition in 415 Before the Common Era against Sicily, the largest democracy in the Greek world, may not prefigure our war in Iraq. But the story of the Sicilian calamity does instruct us on how consensual societies can clamor for war—yet soon become disheartened and predicate their support on the perceived pulse of the battlefield.

Military history teaches us, contrary to popular belief these days, that wars aren't necessarily the most costly of human calamities. The first Gulf War took few lives in getting Saddam out of Kuwait; doing nothing in Rwanda allowed savage gangs and militias to murder hundreds of thousands with impunity. Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, and Stalin killed far more off the battlefield than on it. The 1918 Spanish flu epidemic brought down more people than World War I did. And more Americans—over 3.2 million—lost their lives driving over the last 90 years than died in combat in this nation's 231-year history. Perhaps what bothers us about wars, though, isn't just their horrific lethality but also that people choose to wage them—which makes them seem avoidable, unlike a flu virus or a car wreck, and their tolls unduly grievous. Yet military history also reminds us that war sometimes has an eerie utility: as British strategist Basil H. Liddell Hart put it, "War is always a matter of doing evil in the hope that good may come of it." Wars—or threats of wars—put an end to chattel slavery, Nazism, fascism, Japanese militarism, and Soviet Communism.

Military history is as often the story of appeasement as of warmongering. The destructive military careers of Alexander the Great, Caesar, Napoleon, and Hitler would all have ended early had any of their numerous enemies united when the odds favored them. Western air power stopped Slobodan MiloÅ¡ević's reign of terror at little cost to NATO forces—but only after a near-decade of inaction and dialogue had made possible the slaughter of tens of thousands. Affluent Western societies have often proved reluctant to use force to prevent greater future violence. "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things," observed the British philosopher John Stuart Mill. "The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse."

Indeed, by ignoring history, the modern age is free to interpret war as a failure of communication, of diplomacy, of talking—as if aggressors don't know exactly what they're doing. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, frustrated by the Bush administration's intransigence in the War on Terror, flew to Syria, hoping to persuade President Assad to stop funding terror in the Middle East. She assumed that Assad's belligerence resulted from our aloofness and arrogance rather than from his dictatorship's interest in destroying democracy in Lebanon and Iraq, before such contagious freedom might in fact destroy him. For a therapeutically inclined generation raised on Oprah and Dr. Phil—and not on the letters of William Tecumseh Sherman and William Shirer's Berlin Diary—problems between states, like those in our personal lives, should be argued about by equally civilized and peaceful rivals, and so solved without resorting to violence.

Yet it's hard to find many wars that result from miscommunication. Far more often they break out because of malevolent intent and the absence of deterrence. Margaret Atwood also wrote in her poem: "Wars happen because the ones who start them / think they can win." Hitler did; so did Mussolini and Tojo—and their assumptions were logical, given the relative disarmament of the Western democracies at the time. Bin Laden attacked on September 11 not because there was a dearth of American diplomats willing to dialogue with him in the Hindu Kush. Instead, he recognized that a series of Islamic terrorist assaults against U.S. interests over two decades had met with no meaningful reprisals, and concluded that decadent Westerners would never fight, whatever the provocation—or that, if we did, we would withdraw as we had from Mogadishu.

In the twenty-first century, it's easier than ever to succumb to technological determinism, the idea that science, new weaponry, and globalization have altered the very rules of war. But military history teaches us that our ability to strike a single individual from 30,000 feet up with a GPS bomb or a jihadist's efforts to have his propaganda beamed to millions in real time do not necessarily transform the conditions that determine who wins and who loses wars.

True, instant communications may compress decision making, and generals must be skilled at news conferences that can now influence the views of millions worldwide. Yet these are really just new wrinkles on the old face of war. The improvised explosive device versus the up-armored Humvee is simply an updated take on the catapult versus the stone wall or the harquebus versus the mailed knight. The long history of war suggests no static primacy of the defensive or the offensive, or of one sort of weapon over the other, but just temporary advantages gained by particular strategies and technologies that go unanswered for a time by less adept adversaries.

So it's highly doubtful, the study of war tells us, that a new weapon will emerge from the Pentagon or anywhere else that will change the very nature of armed conflict—unless some sort of genetic engineering so alters man's brain chemistry that he begins to act in unprecedented ways. We fought the 1991 Gulf War with dazzling, computer-enhanced weaponry. But lost in the technological pizzazz was the basic wisdom that we need to fight wars with political objectives in mind and that, to conclude them decisively, we must defeat and even humiliate our enemies, so that they agree to abandon their prewar behavior. For some reason, no American general or diplomat seemed to understand that crucial point 16 years ago, with the result that, on the cessation of hostilities, Saddam Hussein's supposedly defeated generals used their gunships to butcher Kurds and Shiites while Americans looked on. And because we never achieved the war's proper aim—ensuring that Iraq would not use its petro-wealth to destroy the peace of the region—we have had to fight a second war of no-fly zones, and then a third war to remove Saddam, and now a fourth war, of counterinsurgency, to protect the fledgling Iraqi democracy.

Military history reminds us of important anomalies and paradoxes. When Sparta invaded Attica in the first spring of the Peloponnesian war, Thucydides recounts, it expected the Athenians to surrender after a few short seasons of ravaging. They didn't—but a plague that broke out unexpectedly did more damage than thousands of Spartan ravagers did. Twenty-seven years later, a maritime Athens lost the war at sea to Sparta, an insular land power that started the conflict with scarcely a navy. The 2003 removal of Saddam refuted doom-and-gloom critics who predicted thousands of deaths and millions of refugees, just as the subsequent messy four-year reconstruction hasn't evolved as anticipated into a quiet, stable democracy—to say the least.

The size of armies doesn't guarantee battlefield success: the victors at Salamis, Issos, Mexico City, and Lepanto were all outnumbered. War's most savage moments—the Allied summer offensive of 1918, the Russian siege of Berlin in the spring of 1945, the Battle of the Bulge, Hiroshima—often unfold right before hostilities cease. And democratic leaders during war—think of Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, and Richard Nixon—often leave office either disgraced or unpopular.
---------------------
Victor Davis Hanson (@VDHanson) is a senior fellow, classicist and historian at the
and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution where many of his articles are found; his focus is classics and military history. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. H/T The Jewish World Review for sharing this article.


Tags: Victor Davis Hanson, Why Study War, Jewish World Review 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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