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

Friday, December 28, 2018

2019 Will be Wilder than 2018

by Newt Gingrich: After four consecutive years of events that have become more and more surprising, you can be sure the momentum will continue. It may be difficult for some people to believe, but 2019 will be even more filled with surprises than the last four years.

This means that all of us should set our assumptions and “expert knowledge“ to one side and approach the new year with a sense of humility and curiosity. The world is bigger than we are, and its potential for surprising us is greater than our potential for understanding enough to predict these surprises.

Start with New Year’s Eve 2015. Who would have predicted that Senator Bernie Sanders would emerge as the “youth” candidate galvanizing college campuses and building an online fundraising machine capable of supporting a serious insurgency? Who would have predicted that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would combine four huge mistakes to undermine her own campaign (building a weak campaign team; developing no new exciting issues beyond the sense that it was her turn; failing to attract new people; and making security mistakes with her email accounts, servers, and devices that would haunt her up to election day)? Who, on that New Year’s Eve four years ago would have confidently predicted that first-time candidate Donald J. Trump would lead in the polls nearly all year, dominate the debates, and end the year as a clear frontrunner over 16 other Republicans?

On New Year’s Eve 2016, who would have predicted that Trump would beating Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in their home state? Who would have predicted Trump could run a successful national convention, pick a solid vice-presidential choice in Governor Mike Pence, and avoid the kind of party split that destroyed Goldwater’s candidacy in 1964 (with enormous effort by RNC Chair Reince Priebus)? Who could have predicted that Trump would build the biggest rally system ever seen in a presidential race? Then, who could have predicted FBI Director James Comey’s weird maneuvers, the Access Hollywood scandal, or Trump countering the scandal by bringing President Bill Clinton’s female accusers to a national debate?

Who could have imagined on December 31, 2015, that Secretary Clinton would win the majority of the vote (only due to an enormous California landslide) and then lose the electoral vote because Trump appealed to blue collar workers and swept Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin? Finally, who could have imagined that the shock of Trump’s victory would immediately lead Democrats to blame Clinton’s loss on supposed Russian interference – since it was inconceivable to them that Trump could have been the better candidate?

By December 31, 2016, who would have guessed that anti-Trump forces would mount a massive rally the day after the inaugural or that Republican Congressional leaders would spend much of the year failing to repeal Obamacare? Then, who could have predicted Republicans would turn around and pass a huge tax cut, that Trump’s tweeting would continue to dominate the political news media (for better or worse), or that the Trump base would remain amazingly loyal despite 92 percent negative news coverage? Who could have guessed that Republicans would lose Jeff Sessions’s Senate seat, and finally that political pressure would lead Attorney General Sessions to recuse himself and create a deep conflict with the President?

On December 31, 2017, who could have predicted a Trump-Kim Jong-un summit, a successful renegotiation of NAFTA, or Senate approval of a huge number of federal judges (including a second Supreme Court nominee, which is perhaps Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s greatest achievement)? Who would have predicted that French President Emmanuel Macron would collapse in popularity and face riots because of his policies? Who could have guessed that China would find itself under increasing scrutiny from most of the world, or that Putin would answer sanctions by becoming even more confrontational and risk-taking?

Who could have possibly predicted that one of Trump’s biggest bipartisan achievements would be criminal justice reform (after eight years of Obama’s failure to achieve it)? Who would have said that Mueller would still be casting a wider investigative net since he could find no Trump collusion with Russia (but apparently not including Reid Hoffman’s $750,000 investment in a group involved in a misinformation campaign to win the 2017 Senate special election in Alabama)? Who could have predicted that the worst Christmas Eve stock market drop in history would be followed by the biggest one-day gain in history (they would surely be rich today)?

I cite these four years to remind all of us that all the year-end predictions you will see, hear, or read are about as likely to be accurate as the last four years’ predictions — meaning not at all.

The entire planet is on a wild ride (ask Macron, Angela Merkle, Theresa May, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, Benjamin Netanyahu, or Xi Jinping).

Be sure: It is going to be a wild, unpredictable 2019.

This is the only prediction I will stand by.
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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.

Tags: Newt Gingrich, commentary, Wilder than 2018, unpredictable 2019, President Trump To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Ohio Lawmakers Override Gun-Grabber Kasich’s Veto

Ohio Gov. John Kasich
by Tom Knighton: I’ve been hammering Ohio Governor John Kasich and his fondness for stomping all over Ohioans’ constitutional rights. Frankly, it’s warranted. The man has turned his back on principles and is instead trying to set up another presidential run by catering to the NeverTrumpers and Democrats, which isn’t going to be a winning strategy. Especially since “NeverTrump” doesn’t necessarily mean they’re anti-Second Amendment.

Recently, Kasich vetoed a bill that would benefit gun owners involved in self-defense shootings. The bill was watered down from the Stand Your Ground bill originally proposed, but even that was too much for Kasich’s liberal sensibilities.

It doesn’t matter for Ohioans, though.A bill broadening gun-owner rights has become law in Ohio, after the Republican-led state Legislature overrode GOP Gov. John Kasich’s veto.

The Senate voted 21-11 on Thursday to reject Kasich’s decision to strike down the bill. That followed a House override earlier in the day.

The legislation expands gun access for off-duty police officers and allows pre-emption of local gun restrictions, among other things.
By stripping the Stand Your Ground language, state lawmakers thought it’d make it far more palatable, but Kasich has gone full-on gun grabber and didn’t want any expansion of gun rights. This includes pre-emption laws which serve to create a unified set of gun laws for the entire state and keeps people from running afoul of laws while driving from Point A to Point B within the state.

Kasich has toyed with the idea of running for a third term, but I think this is a clear message to him that his anti-gun views are out of touch with mainstream Ohio. That’s the look from here, anyway.

Regardless, veto overrides tend to be stiff rebukes of executive branch officials. This is especially true when it’s the governor’s own party overriding the veto. State lawmakers essentially gave Kasich the middle finger while also expanding Second Amendment rights for the residents of their state.

This, I can respect.

Unfortunately, I can’t help but note that if they were potentially going to need to override the veto anyway, they should have left the Stand Your Ground law in place. That would have been the big win for Ohio.

Not that I don’t understand the move. From a political standpoint, that was the most controversial part, and overrides can be uncertain things. People who vote for a law will often be hesitant to override a governor’s veto. Many will do it just fine, but it only takes a few changing their mind to screw everything up.

I doubt that it would have been a problem. It’s Kasich who has embraced gun control, not Ohioans, and he deserved the rebuke he received.

It won’t make any difference as I fully expect him to continue trying to push a gun control agenda in the state.

However, I can’t help but think that doing so will end his political career. Of course, at this point, it may count as a mercy killing.
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Tom Knighton is a Navy veteran, a former newspaperman, a novelist, and a blogger at Bearing Arms. He lives with his family in Southwest Georgia and also contributes to PJ Media.

Tags: Tom Knighton, Bearing Arms, Ohio Lawmakers, Override, Gun-Grabber, Governor John Kasich, veto To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Shutdown Showdown Continues, The Useless U.N.

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Shutdown Showdown Continues - Washington is now in the seventh day of a partial government shutdown. (Have you noticed yet?) And in spite of all the fretting by the media, the fact is Democrats are refusing to talk to President Trump.

According to Politico, "Democratic leaders think the president is playing a losing hand and will be under pressure to relent." As a result of the current impasse, Congress adjourned yesterday with no plans to return until January 2nd.

President Trump, however, shows no signs of relenting. Yesterday, he seized on the assassination of California police officer Ronil Singh to demand funding for the border wall. In a tweet, the president wrote:

"There is right now a full scale manhunt going on in California for an illegal immigrant accused of shooting and killing a police officer during a traffic stop. Time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!"

This morning, the president doubled down, tweeting this:

"We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with."

My friends, let me remind you what this is all about.
  • The president requested $5 billion for additional border security funding to begin construction of a border wall.
  • The House of Representatives passed a bill approving $5.7 billion for wall funding.
  • Senate Democrats offered $1.3 billion, none of which could be used to build the wall.
  • For some perspective, the $5.7 billion approved by the House for the wall is a lot less -- $181 million less -- than the government spends on food stamps in one month!
It is beyond absurd that we can't get this done. But it proves that the left would rather keep the borders open than keep the government open.

By the way, the Los Angeles Times reports that there is another migrant caravan forming in Central America right now. It's even bigger than the last one with at least 15,000 people planning to start marching north in just a couple of weeks.

The Useless U.N. - From time to time, we have pointed out the most glaring examples of the U.N.'s bias against Israel, such as approving resolutions denying the Jewish heritage of Jerusalem. As outrageous as these absurd resolutions are, they are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

According to United Nations Watch, the U.N. approved 27 resolutions condemning various abuses by countries around the world. Some of the nations on the list are no surprise -- Syria, Russia, Iran, North Korea and Myanmar.

But guess which nation was denounced the most by the U.N. in 2018?

Syria? No.

Iran? Wrong again.

North Korea? Nope.

Incredibly, in the collective "wisdom" of the United Nations, Israel ranks as the "worst" nation in the world with a grand total of 21 out of 27 condemnations in 2018.

Highlighting the utter absurdity of the U.N. and why it is so useless, the world body recently failed to condemn the terrorist group Hamas! Nor was the U.N. willing to condemn Hezbollah's terror tunnels. Yet it denounces Israel over and over and over again.
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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, Shutdown Showdown Continues, The Useless U.N. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

FrontPage Magazine's Person Of The Year: Sarah Huckabee Sanders

. . . Recognizing the woman fighting on the front lines of the media war.
by Daniel Greenfield: The struggle for the future of this country is being fought in the hearts and minds of its citizens. The media is the enemy and Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the warrior who takes them on day after day.

The huge media sector easily outnumbers the Ouachita Baptist University grad taking them on.

CNN alone has 4,000 employees. The New York Times has nearly as many. And when she singlehandedly faces off against 49 people in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room and the less than 30 people on her staff take on a mainstream media machine of tens of thousands, it’s a true underdog story.

For a year and a half, Sanders has been reporting for duty as the White House Press Secretary. She’s been shouted at, called names, had her appearance demeaned, and was kicked out of a restaurant. Mainstream media White House correspondents, invariably male, try to talk over her and shout her down. But she’s been so effective that there have been calls by the media to boycott her press briefings.

With Sarah’s success has come a high price. Leftist harassment of Sanders has become so severe that she has become the first press secretary to require secret service protection, including at her home.

"The media has attacked me personally, on a number of occasions, including your own network," Sanders said, responding to CNN's Jim Acosta, who would later get in trouble for manhandling a female White House intern. "Said I should be harassed as a life sentence, that I should be choked."

It was MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace who made the choking remark, saying, live on the air, to an NBC White House correspondent, "How do you resist the temptation to run up and wring her neck?"

"No one is telling them to be violent protesters, but we're not going to go let these people go through life unscathed," the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin had declared on MSNBC. "Sarah Huckabee has no right to live a life of no fuss, no muss, after lying to the press, after inciting against the press. These people should be made uncomfortable.”

Neither MSNBC nor the Washington Post imposed any consequences for this violent rhetoric because murderous fantasies aimed at Trump and his people have been normalized by the mainstream media.

"When I was hosted by the Correspondents’ Association, of which almost all of you are members, you brought a comedian out to attack my appearance, and called me a traitor to my own gender," Sarah noted.

But Sanders pushed back and won.

The White House Correspondents’ Association has revamped its lineup moving away from the Michelle Wolf fiasco to a more civil tone. And Sanders’ determination and resilience in the face of that ugly episode of media harassment even won grudging admiration from members of the media.

"Watching a wife and mother be humiliated on national television for her looks is deplorable," MSNBC's Mika Brezinski tweeted.

"That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive," Maggie Haberman of the New York Times tweeted.

But that’s always been her strength.

No matter what the media throws at her, from insults to death threats, Sarah Huckabee Sanders stays focused and remains on message. The interruptions, tantrums and yelling by the media mob have yet to rattle her. She may have the Secret Service at home protecting her and her family, as she pointed out, "a Hollywood actor publicly encouraged people to kidnap my children", but she’s never let it stop her.

Like other members of the Trump administration, there have been efforts at legal harassment. These attacks also frequently went into the realm of the unbelievably absurd, such as the time that Walter Shaub, Obama’s head of the Office of Government Ethics, suggested that Sanders had violated the Hatch Act when she tweeted about an Amazon Echo ordering a toy because her son shouted Batman into it.

(Meanwhile Shaub had repeatedly abused the OGE Twitter account to attack Trump, before going to work for a Soros funded organization.)

Then a complaint was filed with the Office of Special Counsel over a photo that Sanders took with Kanye West because no angle of attack is too petty and no effort at intimidating Trump’s people too ugly.

But throughout all the harassment, verbal, physical and legal, Sanders has kept right on going.

The New Yorker called the 5’6 Arkansas native, “Trump’s battering ram.” That’s how the flacks of the media, the privileged potentates of the Washington D.C. press corps, see Sarah because she won’t bow to the gargantuan echo chamber of the mainstream media. But Sarah Huckabee Sanders isn’t a battering ram. She’s a fortress. She takes a stand and makes it clear that she won’t be moved.

No matter what.

And she pushes back, not by yelling at the media, but by firmly insisting on correcting its members, on distinguishing between right and wrong, and on demanding standards from her media opponents.

Sometimes Sarah Huckabee Sanders does it by just insisting on plain old-fashioned goodness.

Last Thanksgiving, Sanders insisted that reporters say what they were grateful for before asking her a question. The New Yorker fumed that Thanksgiving was a “degrading ritual”. “I’m thankful that Trump has failed,” the Washington Post shot back.

But the Thanksgiving moment defined what made Sanders so different than other press secretaries.

In Washington D.C. politics, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the spin cycle, to lose sight of basic truths, and to be always reacting to the news cycle with no sense of higher truth or deeper principles. Press secretaries have to build backdoor relationships with the media, undermining their employers by trading secrets in order to plant stories, while thinking about possible media employment down the road. In that environment, it’s easy to forget who you are, what you believe and what you stand for.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has never forgotten that. In a hateful environment of utter indecency, she stands for the simple decency of defying the tide of hatred that washes ashore at every gathering in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room. And she does it with admirable dignity and fortitude.

Media portrayals often depict Sanders as a bully, humiliating and embarrassing the media. The opposite is true. Her stolid dignity and unmovable insistence on telling the truth embarrass the media. Every time Sanders takes on the press corps, they come away looking like deranged, egotistical activists throwing a tantrum. The media, which is built on spinning reality, has smeared her, but it’s never been able to change her. That’s why it’s pondering the idea of just giving up and running away from a 5’6 woman.

And that’s why Sarah Huckabee Sanders is FrontPage Magazine’s Warrior Person of the Year.
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Daniel Greenfield is Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and a New York writer focuses on radical Islam and the radical left. David Horowitz is a Contributing Author of the ARRA News Service

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As in Kipling's Day, Military Deployments Needed to Prevent Unknowable Threats

Michael Barone
by Michael Barone: The numbers are small, the terrain unfamiliar, the cast of characters chaotic and the clash of interest hard to decipher.

Nevertheless, President Donald Trump's sudden, perhaps impulsive decision to withdraw 2,000 American military personnel from northeastern Syria, as well as the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis in response, has raised a question of continuing pertinence in American policymaking.

That question is not about civilian control of the military. Retired Gen. Mattis was as scrupulously respectful of the commander-in-chief's authority as he was when then-President Barack Obama removed him abruptly from head of Central Command in January 2013, apparently without even a phone call.

In his resignation letter this month, Mattis endorsed "treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors." Key sentence: "We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values."

In Mattis' view, "everything possible" includes retaining 2,000 troops in northeastern Syria for some time, perhaps indefinitely. Trump as presidential candidate took -- and as commander-in-chief takes -- a different view.

It's a view encapsulated in the over-simple phrase "we're not the policeman of the world" and in the more sophisticated argument that American interests in many corners of the world are not worthy of any sacrifice of American blood or dollars, particularly when no clear victory is in sight. American forces have been in Afghanistan for 17 years, starting just days after the 9/11 attacks launched by Afghanistan-based Osama bin Laden. As many Trump fans and others point out, American goals in Afghanistan have not been achieved and seem likely to never be fully achieved.

The case for military deployments in Afghanistan and Syria cannot be as attractively and succinctly stated. It is presented by some in terms of cost-benefit analysis. Syria has been, in the words of Washington Post veteran foreign affairs correspondent David Ignatius, a "low-cost, high-impact mission."

But it can be appreciated more vividly by those with some knowledge of history. Andrew Roberts' recent splendid biography of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, for example, recalls the time when British military forces were stationed, indefinitely or for many years, at the margins between lands where the rule of law tended to prevail -- not all of them British colonies -- and lands where it didn't.

The young Churchill in the 1890s fought in cavalry charges in present-day Pakistan and Sudan. As colonial secretary in 1921-22, Churchill created Iraq and dispatched 40,000 troops there to "establish order." They weren't withdrawn until 1928.

There was a significant cost to this policing of much of the world: deaths, injuries and the contempt memorialized in Rudyard Kipling's "Tommy" poem: "For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' 'Chuck him out, the brute!'/ But it's 'Saviour of 'is country' when the guns begin to shoot."

This was a burden, nevertheless, that Britain was willing to bear until 1968, when Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson announced he was ending British military operations "east of Suez." It is no coincidence that in the decade that followed, the Middle East saw major wars and vast increase in oil prices.

The argument for extended or permanent military patrols at the edges of the civilized world is that dangers to the United States and its allies lurk there -- dangers whose character and dimension are unknown and unknowable until the damage is done.

This is not and cannot be fail-safe work. Mistakes will be made in making local alliances and identifying local enemies, in short-term calculations and long-term strategy. In 1842, the British lost all but one solider in a 4,500-man retreat from Afghanistan. In 1885, the British army seeking to rescue Gen. Charles Gordon from the Mahdi arrived in Khartoum days too late.

The Victorian public followed these conflicts but did not regard them as major wars, like those waged earlier against Louis XIV or Napoleon, or the future world wars of 1914-18 and 1939-45. In this perspective, the penchant of American politicians and journalists to treat conflicts like those in Afghanistan and Iraq as world wars seems misguided.

They were never likely to provide clear end points like Hitler's suicide in the bunker or Japan's surrender on the USS Missouri; or optimal results like the establishment of democratic rule-of-law governments there. Critics of these deployments have got this right.

But that doesn't mean they are always useless or not worth the cost. In a world where the costs of dangers averted and disasters avoided are unknowable, it's wise to bet that such deployments are needed to foster, in Mattis' words, "an international order ... conducive to our security, prosperity and values."
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Michael Barone is a Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner and a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel  and co-author of The Almanac of American PoliticsShared by Rasmussen Reports. 

Tags: Michael Barone, editorial, Rasmussen Reports, As in Kipling's Day, Military Deployments, Needed to Prevent, Unknowable Threats To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

2020: Year of the Democrats? Maybe Not

by Patrick Buchanan: If Democrats are optimistic as 2019 begins, it is understandable.

Their victory on Nov. 6, adding 40 seats and taking control of the House of Representatives, was impressive. And with the party’s total vote far exceeding the GOP total, in places it became a rout.

In the six New England states, Republicans no longer hold a single House seat. Susan Collins of Maine is the last GOP senator.

In California, Democrats took the governorship, every state office, 45 of 53 House seats and both houses of the legislature by more than 2-to-1. In the Goldwater-Nixon-Reagan Golden State bastion of Orange County, no GOP congressman survived.

Does this rejection of the GOP in 2018 portend the defeat of Donald Trump in 2020, assuming he is still in office then?

Not necessarily.

For consider. Nancy Pelosi may want to close out her career as speaker with solid achievements, but she could face a rebellion in her party, which is looking to confront and not compromise with Trump.

The national debt may be surging, but Capitol Hill progressives will be demanding “Medicare-for-all” and free college tuition. Trump-haters will be issuing reams of subpoenas and clamoring for impeachment.

Other Democrats, seeing the indulgent attention their colleagues are getting from the media, will join in. Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s House Judiciary Committee may have to accommodate the sans-culottes.

Is this what America voted for?

By the Ides of March, a dozen Democrats may have declared for president. But looking over the field, no prospective candidate seems terribly formidable, and the strongest, unlike Barack Obama in 2008, are too old to set the base afire.

According to a USA Today poll, 59 percent of Democrats say they would be “excited” about “someone entirely new” leading the party in 2020. Only 11 percent say they would prefer a familiar face.

Yet, who did these same Democrats view most favorably? Joe Biden, a 76-year-old white male first elected to the Senate when Richard Nixon was president.

Biden polls better than any of his rivals, with 53 percent of all Democrats saying they would be “excited” about his candidacy, and only 24 percent saying he ought not run a third time for president.

The candidate who comes closest to Biden in exciting the base is 77-year-old Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders. Bernie’s problem?

Almost as many Democrats believe he should not run again as would be excited about having him as nominee.

As for Elizabeth Warren, the USA Poll must be depressing news. Twenty-nine percent of Democrats would be excited about her candidacy, but 33 percent believe the 69-year-old Massachusetts Senator should not run.

Beto O’Rourke, the three-term Congressman from Texas who put a scare into Sen. Ted Cruz in November is less well-known than Bernie or Biden. But those excited about an O’Rourke run outnumber those who think he should not run.

Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, both African-American, are less well-known but have more Democrats excited about their running than are opposed to it.

However, as Harris is from California and Booker from New Jersey, both blue states that Democrats are almost certain to carry in 2020, and both are from a minority that already votes 90 percent Democratic, even their appeal as vice presidential nominees would not seem to equal that of O’Rourke or Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who won re-election while his state was going Republican.

Yet, Brown, too, at 66, is eligible for Medicare.

A Biden-Brown ticket would present problems for the GOP. But could a Democratic Party that ceaselessly celebrates its racial and ethnic diversity and appeal to women and millennials get away with nominating a ticket of two white males on Social Security?

Other problems are becoming acute within the Democrats’ coalition of blacks, gays, Asians, Hispanics, women and LGBT, fraying the seams of the party.

After Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan praised the Women’s March co-president Tamika Mallory, and declared Jews to be the enemy in a speech last February, the Women’s March movement has splintered.

Asian-Americans who vote Democratic nationally are growing bitter over diversity policies in the Ivy League and elite schools that admit black and Hispanic students over Asian students with far higher test scores.

The BDS movement (boycott, divest, sanctions), targeted against Israel, is angering Jewish Democrats while gaining support on campuses.

Elizabeth Warren opposes BDS, but also opposes efforts to punish those who champion BDS. “I think the boycott of Israel is wrong,” said Warren at a town hall meeting, but added that “outlawing protected free speech activity violates our basic constitutional rights.”

In identity politics, loyalty to race, ethnic group and gender often trump the claims of party. The diversity Democrats celebrate is one day going to pull their party apart, as the social, cultural and racial revolutions of the 1960s pulled apart the party of FDR and LBJ.
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Patrick Buchanan is currently a conservative columnist, political analyst, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He has been a senior advisor to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He blogs at the Patrick J. Buchanan.

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Jet Setters . . .

. . . Hypocritical Globalist leaders worldwide are burning a lot of fossil fuels these days trying to get us to stop using them in the name of Climate Change.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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Remembering a Farm Christmas

ARRA News Service Editor: In the following article, we learn much about the character of  Victor Hanson who writes insightful, cogent essays. For many, we will recall our childhood and youth celebrating Christmas. Now in my 70s and having seen much of America and many places overseas after enlisting at age 19, I experience a lot of nostalgia. I am sure my memories lean toward the good times verses the "going without"  times because so many others lived as we did and we were thankful for my parents who worked and struggled to care for us.
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. . . Where old and young blended together, and diversity was natural, not conscious.
by Dr. Victor Davis Hanson: The pre-1968 decade is often written off today as a quaint, if not toxic world of white male supremacy, replete with homophobia, sexism, and racism, and without the material benefits bequeathed to us by Silicon Valley or the secular enlightenment from higher education. I remember life 60 years ago differently, at least as lived in rural America on a small farm, a 135-acre vineyard and orchard southwest of Fresno. The chief cultural differences from today were family intimacy and proximity. We all lived on the same farm on different corners of our small spread and had no notion of boundaries or space.

In a world without smart phones, videogames, and the Internet, old and young blended together, at least in the sense that the role of us in our preteen and teenage years was on a moment’s notice to act as guardians of our grandparents — climbing up trees to pick them persimmons or oranges, or to go under the house to fix a leaky pipe or to chauffer them to Masons and Eastern Star. Their jobs in turn were to caution us of the dangers of too much exuberance — so my grandmother’s “You’ll catch a cold without your coat on,” or “did you say ‘Thank you’ to the host when you left the Christmas party?” Sometimes they reminded us what life on our farm was like before the turn of the century, as in growing up without electricity, indoor plumbing, or gas engines.

I realize today that we kids were what we now call “free-ranged,” in the sense that we had no locks on any of the doors of our farmhouses. Even at seven in the morning we simply took off into the orchard and vineyard and by late afternoon might end up anywhere we pleased on the farm, without much worry about checking in with our parents. Everyone was a guardian of everyone else. Certainly, there then were few of the problems — with gangs, chop shops, and meth labs — that characterize the Central Valley of today.

We instead were terrified as seven- and eight-year-olds about childhood fantasies of large golden eagles and red-tail hawks on the farm picking us off our bikes and whisking us away to huge nests in the cottonwoods near the pond. If we went barefoot and ended up with feet full of goatheads, our collective parents — my grandparents, aunt and uncle, and two hired men, Delmas and Manuel George — would laugh about such “a fool thing to do” or “stickers are a good way to learn to wear shoes.”

Diversity was natural, not conscious. Our farm neighbors were Japanese, Punjabi, Armenian, Mexican American, and German. Stereotypes were far more positive than biased. So my grandfather would say in admiration, “No one can farm as well as the Japanese,” and “The Punjabis work into the night”. My aunt would learn recipes for Armenian food and say, “Why cannot we eat such delicious food?” and so on. So-called WASPs were rare in our rural neighborhood.

Solidarity instead was by class rather than by race. Everyone griped about Sun-Maid’s “final price” for raisins, or the pitiful percentages of government-regulated “free tonnage” that could be sold inside the U.S. We all both worshiped and hated the co-op. The “packers” were stereotyped crooks, taking the place of the black-hat railroads of my grandparents’ day. The neighbors called the local Safeway “the crooked S” because they paid five cents a pound for plums and sold them for 29 cents. Populist anger was unchanged since the days of the Mussel Slough Tragedy, a few miles south of us, and memorialized by Frank Norris’s The Octopus.

I grew up with the dreaded talk of the “mortgage,” and therefore of the need to get along “with the Federal Land Bank,” and with the paranoia to pay all your taxes and your bills within a day or two upon arrival.

My grandfather never quite made the full transition from horse to tractor power. In the late 1950s, the barn and shed were still full of reins, harnesses, and horseshoes. I do not remember my grandfather ever driving a tractor, a task left to us and the hired man. He knew as little about starters and points as he did quite a lot about matched teams. The farm’s avenues and turns were always far too narrow, given they were laid out for wagons, not Cases, Masseys, and Olivers. When I was ten, our Native American hired man Joe Carey taught me how to drive the Ford Jubilee hands-free with my feet on the drive rods, and warned me about “hoop snakes” that could catch their tails in their mouths and roll like wheels faster than my bike — and who knew what they would do when they caught us.

To a small boy it seemed that siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, neighbors, workers, and friends drifted in and out all day long, especially during Christmas holidays. There was no such thing as being unwanted, much less any need for invitations. Fear of strangers was absent. People just showed up and my parents and grandparents shoved coffee and desserts in their faces and pulled up chairs. There was no concept of “private space” or “downtime,” much less “quality time” at all. To the contrary, the worst fate was “living alone” or “having no one to visit” or proving inhospitable.

So on holidays I never found it odd that an array of relatives, friends, and neighbors were at the door or in the driveway. On Christmas Eve, single men and women in their sixties and seventies seemed to appear from out of the air, longtime family friends and friends of friends of friends and with even vaguer connections. My parents often had us in our teen years taxi them from and to their homes with packets of food. I recall a few arrived via bus or train to Fresno from Los Angeles or San Francisco. Most had grown up on farms in the 1920s nearby and regretted “selling” or “losing” “the place”

People, not price, adjudicated commerce. When we died, the undertaker Mr. Page buried us. When sick, “Doc Nielsen” poked us with a huge medieval reusable steel syringe. You called “Ivar Johansen” the rural constable when one of the neighbors got too drunk. Mr. Brightwell (fitted out with green shade hat, elastic-band sleeve supporters, and smelling of strong fruity cologne from large jars on his counter) cut all our hair. When the pump or the power went out, we called the same men, the Sharpses or Coxes — at least if the chatterboxes and snoops on the “party line” of about ten farm families would free up the shared telephone.

Once my grandmother rushed to the phone when the operator rang to announce a “person to person” and “collect” call from a distant relative in extremis. I thought she had gone to heaven. I remember Mr. Thompson, the local Ford mechanic, coming out late at night to fix the fuel pump on the little Ford 8N stuck out in the orchard. He was African American, 6′ 4″, solid muscle, and a mechanical genius. My dad, about the same size, and a good mechanic in his own right, went out to help him. The Thompsons lived a couple of miles away; I think four of his ten children were either valedictorians or student-body officers. Most assumed that the Thompson kids were smarter than most everyone else.

Work was curative, the harder and more, the healthier for all. On Saturdays, we picked up moldy walnuts, or tied vines, or sprayed Johnson grass with “weed oil.” I remember the 1960 smokey, secondhand blue chain saw (“bluey,” we called it) always as a terrifying accident waiting to happen.

Even during the Christmas school break, I cannot remember a day when anyone just “sat.” If you were caught sneaking in to catch a game on the small black-and-white TV during the day or even reading in a chair, my father would roar, “This isn’t the old-man’s retirement club, let’s get to work on the farm.” That usually meant my brothers and cousins did the work that was not hired out, or at least the dirty sort of labor that saved us money, such as pumping out the septic tank far out into the vineyard (illegal now, of course), then climbing down into the empty tank to scrape the grease and stubborn excrement from the bottom and hoisting it up in buckets, or walking down vineyard rows next to the road, picking up cans, bottles, and “wet” garbage. Priming the ancient gas pump could mean an occasional blast of sewage in the face.

In an age before sophisticated medicine, 19th-century folk remedies (my maternal grandparents were born in 1890) ruled during the holiday flu season. Colds came from being too cold, vomiting always from bad food. My grandmother had strange tall dark bottles of things like alum, castor oil, Mercurochrome, iodine, and codeine cough medicine high up in the cupboards, and drawers of hot-water bottles, enema bags, and scary reusable syringes and droppers. I still remember neighbors who “suffered bouts of melancholy” or “had the rheumatism.”

One talked of someone’s “toughness” or “sickliness.” You were judged likely to remain healthy based on your posture or “color” — the presence or lack of blood under the skin. Doctors could not do much other than cut and stitch. My father had about seven major operations, most from old football injuries or wear and tear on the farm. Relatives talked in saintly terms of “Vitamin B-12,” which meant less liver to be forced-fed.

The degree to which these often dangerous surgical procedures were successful hinged on our “will power” and “constitution,” as if by sheer force of nature the patient decided that the removal of a crushed disc, the patching of a bulging hernia, or the fusion of a crushed elbow depended on one’s own choice to get well. When I was five, the older family still talked of having “a cancer”; by 15, we of the modern generation were lectured about the miracle new “chemotherapy.” Either way, it seems most of the women on the Davis side of my family died of cancer before between 30 and 65.

What I remember most, until my two parents landed good off-farm jobs when I was in primary school, was the sense of calm despite the lack of money on the farm, albeit characterized by the constant refrain “If we make any money this year, we will . . .” or “If the harvest is good, then we will buy” this or that. But the harvest rarely proved adequate, it seemed.

One “had” money based on parsimony, not income. My grandfather lectured me at eleven on the need for “responsibility,” defined solely in terms of the need to cut back, hoard money, spend nothing, and then step up generously but stealthily to pay the tab at weddings, funerals, and general catastrophes. That is, to have the wherewithal “to keep it all going” and thereby “to save the farm” for the rest. And he did, too. The point, I guess, was always, as he said, “to last one more day.”

We were born into a 900-square-foot, one-bedroom house, in which the five of us lived until I was eight. Then my father had a grand idea to build by himself a new house next to the existing old one (my father had bought our tiny frame house at an auction and had moved it on to our farm).

He finished half of the new house— at least up one side to the crest of the planned pitched roof — with three bedrooms and a bathroom, but never completed the second half. (In his defense: He fell ten feet off the roof and destroyed his arm on the cement.) So, from then on, we always lived in two houses, eating and talking in the tiny old farmhouse and then walking outside fifteen feet away to the “new,” unfinished half-house to sleep. My twin brother still lives there, I down the road in our grandparents’ house, built by our great-great-grandparents in the 1870s.

To this day, wherever I am in September, whether in Palo Alto, Michigan, New York, or overseas, I seem to become physically sick at the sight of clouds and rain. For most of my life I have grown up with thousands of raisin trays drying on the ground between the vineyard rows (until the late 1950s, on wooden trays, thereafter on paper), an entire year’s work predicated on hot clear drying weather between September 1 and 15. A single unseasonable storm on four occasions ruined everything we had, through torrential downpours that rotted the half-dried raisins (“frog bellies”) and left a hundred acres smelling like distillery. A good Christmas hinged on having all crop saved and the “sweat” boxes of raisins delivered to the co-op.

I still remember the 1958, the 1976, the 1978, and the 1982 tropical storms, when the family ran out into the vineyard to “roll” the half-dried grapes into “biscuits” (rolled up paper trays) to ride out the weather, keep the half-grape, half-raisin fruit dry and perhaps salvageable with the return of good weather, and at least stop the omnipresent mold. In 1982 I scolded my mom, then 60, and one of California’s first female appellate-court justices, for getting in the mud on her hands and knees with my dad to “roll.”

It was only when I was in college that I realized how strange my grandfather had been to mortgage his small farm in the early 1940s to send his three daughters to college. (Two received law and graduate degrees from Stanford). He believed that, without sons, and with various dependents, his daughters must have an education (or as a sort of lifelong dowry, perhaps) to “save” the farm after his demise.

Educational pretension was taboo. Degrees meant nothing if you could not do farm work and fix things. The onus on the college graduate was to prove to others that you were as good as farm workers, not for them to prove that they were as wise as you thought you were. Stupid was not knowing how to weld or to disc 20 acres; smart did mean having read Camus.

World War II still loomed large. I was born eight years after its conclusion. My disabled cousin Beldon who suffered brain damage from Dengue fever while serving in the Pacific biked out from town to help during the harvest. He sometimes talked of his brother Holt, killed in Normandy, and pointed to his head to suggest where the German sniper’s bullet entered. My father began suddenly drinking late in life, when I was in high school. I enjoyed some of that because for the first time in minute detail he just as abruptly began describing 40-some missions in a B-29 over Japan.

Almost every male over 40 in the environs had various war stories. My grandparents often referred to the neighbor “who was at Pearl Harbor,” the banker “who bailed out over Germany,” and the constable “who was with the Marines who took Guadalcanal.” We were outfitted with War-surplus coats and caps, camped out with retractable green shovels and canteens, and stacked up dozens of treated green wooden ammunition boxes full of bolts, nuts, and screws in the shed.

I was taught to keep quiet and learn farming from the two hired men, usually misfits who found a home with our oddball family, which many of our neighbors thought we were. (When I was 26 and farming, an elderly neighbor visited to explain that my misguided family all left the farm to “get schooling” and then came back and made less money than those who never left. Or, as she put it, “Does it take a doctorate degree, young man, to prune vines any better?”)

Christmas seemed to start in early December, when my parents brought out different ancient ammo boxes of handmade ornaments and first-generation ancestral electrical lights, wired to huge fuses, and patched with electrical tape, that often shorted out and sparked when plugged in. We still had to fill brown paper lunch bags with sand and candles, and on foggy nights in December lit them as Christmas beacons along the dirt driveway.

Christmas catastrophes never stymied my mother and father, the cooks, and host at huge family dinners. They were amused by holiday disasters. When the fuse box inevitably blew owing to the Christmas lights (always shorting out) and oven on all day, when three of four burners on the stovetop were out, the cesspool overflowed from too many guests, or one of us threw a baseball or shot a BB through the living-room window, my mother would laugh and say to no one in particular as she pulled out the turkey, “Wouldn’t you know it would all happen on Christmas Eve.”
-------------
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.
.

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Pitfalls Of The Visa Waiver Program . . .

. . . A serious threat to U.S. national security and public safety.
by Michael Cutler: Immigration is a major factor in ever so many of the issues confronting America and Americans, but all too frequently the media neglects to identify or acknowledge the nexus between those issues and immigration. Consequently, many folks fail to recognize just how significant and pervasive the immigration issue is in their lives and why failures of the immigration system have the potential to profoundly impact them and our nation.

On December 23, 2018 the CBS News program, 60 Minutes aired a report, Inside The Corruption Allegations Plaguing Malta.

At first glance, it would be hard to imagine that Malta’s alleged corruption could have relevance to the immigration issue or that Americans should be concerned about the alleged corruption in Malta. Malta is a small, indeed, tiny nation located on an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast with a population of fewer than a half-million citizens (460,297 in 2017 according to Eurostat).

However, diminutive as it might be, Malta presents a serious threat to U.S. national security and public safety because of an ill-conceived program known as the Visa Waiver Program that was first implemented as a pilot program by the Reagan administration.

Over the years this program became a permanent program and the number of countries that participate in this program, which enables the citizens of participating countries to enter the United States as tourists for up to 90 days. Malta is one of those countries that participates in the Visa Waiver Program.

Here is the relevant excerpt from the 60 Minutes report:
Perhaps in that same entrepreneurial spirit, the government (of Malta) has launched a program, some call it a scheme, to sell passports to the world's super-rich. Have a spare million? You too could buy Maltese citizenship, and as this promotional video shows, the European Union passport that comes with it.

Promotional Video: As citizens of Malta, successful applicants can enjoy visa-free access to approximately 170 countries.

Jon Wertheim: Who's buying these passports?

Manuel Delia: Russian tycoons, Chinese tycoons, Saudi tycoons, Nigerian tycoons.

For Manuel Delia, an online journalist and longtime critic of the current government, the program, estimated to have brought in almost a billion dollars, is essentially a Trojan horse, allowing those with dubious aims to breach Europe's borders.

Jon Wertheim: Why would they want a Maltese passport?

Manuel Delia: Because they want to go in the rest of the world, hiding where they're really from. Maltese passports give them not only free movement for themselves through European airports, but it gives their money, their capital free movement throughout Europe.

And free movement to the United States.

Jon Wertheim: American airport, you've got that Maltese passport validated by the EU, you go right through passport control?

Manuel Delia: Visa-free. Absolutely. So, that's a big reason to have it.

Applicants to the "golden passport program," as it's come to be known, are supposed to show that they've established residence in Malta for at least a year, but when we checked the listed address for a Russian tycoon it led us here. To a modest suburb and rundown basement apartment that had been divided in two.

Jon Wertheim: let's just call this what it is. This-- this is a fraud.
It is important to note that on September 11, 2001 citizens of the 26 countries that participated in the Visa Waiver Program were able to enter the United States without first applying for and receiving visas.

During the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama the number of participating Countries climbed to 38 participating countries, in large measures spurred by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Discover America Partnership that blithely ignored that the first paragraph of the preface of the official report known as 9/11 and Terrorist Travel that was prepared by the federal agents and attorneys assigned to the 9/11 Commission stated:
It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country. Yet prior to September 11, while there were efforts to enhance border security, no agency of the U.S. government thought of border security as a tool in the counterterrorism arsenal. Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy. We believe, for reasons we discuss in the following pages, that it must be made one.In 2015, I wrote an article, Inviting Catastrophe Through Our Ports Of Entry, that focused on the deadly threats to the homeland posed by the legal immigration system, including the Visa Waiver Program. My article included the six major ways that a properly administered visa program could help enhance national security, public safety and even airline safety that are all lost to the Visa Waiver Program:1. The Visa adjudications process screens airline passengers flying to the United States, enhancing aviation safety.

2. The inspections process conducted at ports of entry by CBP is supposed to be conducted in one minute or less. The visa requirement requires aliens to be vetted overseas helping to provide more integrity to this process.

3. The application for a nonimmigrant (temporary) visa contains roughly 40 questions and biometric identifiers that could provide invaluable information to law enforcement officials should that alien become the target of a criminal or terrorist investigation. The information could provide intelligence as well as investigative leads.

4. False statements on the application for a visa constitute "visa fraud." The maximum penalty for visa fraud starts out at 10 years in jail and go to a maximum of 25 years in prison when the visa fraud is done to support terrorism.

5. The charge of visa fraud can enable law enforcement authorities to take a “bad guy” off the street without tipping their hand to the other members of a criminal conspiracy or terrorism conspiracy that the individual arrested was being arrested for his involvement in terrorism.

6. Even when an application for a visa is denied, the application and the biometric identifiers provided in conjunction with that application remain available for law enforcement and intelligence personnel to review to seek to glean intelligence from that application.
My article went on to discuss additional materials contained in that staff report, specifically Chapter 3, Terrorist Entry and Embedding Tactics, 1993 to 2001 which included this excerpt:The relative ease with which the hijackers obtained visas and entered the United States underscores the importance of travel to their terrorist operations. In this section we explore the evolution of terrorist travel tactics and organization. We begin with terrorist plots in the 1990s and conclude with the 9/11 attack.

3.1 The Redbook

Since the early 1970s numerous terrorist organizations have provided their operatives with a wide variety of spurious documents. After showing their spurious passports and papers at border control, these terrorist operatives have proceeded to hijack airplanes, plant bombs, and carry out assassinations. These terrorist acts, however, can be stopped. . . .

If we all screen travelers and check their passports, as past experience proves, terrorist will lose their ability to travel undetected, and international terrorism will come one step closer to being stopped!

—The Redbook (1992)

By definition, transnational terrorist groups need to travel to commit terrorist acts. Indeed, without freedom of movement terrorists cannot plan, conduct surveillance, hold meetings, train for their mission, or execute an attack. Terrorists rely on forged passports and fake visas to move around the world unimpeded and undetected. This has been known for more than three decades. It is difficult today to judge with certainty what else was known about terrorist travel methods in the 1970s and 1980s. However, the existence of a CIA training video and manual is evidence of an understanding that terrorists relied on certain tactics when they traveled and that they could be stopped by alert individuals who recognized the use of those tactics.
Finally, consider these paragraphs:The Redbook focused on five types of travel document fraud committed by terrorists: forgeries of some 35 national passports and the travel cachets of at least 45 countries; forged documents terrorists purchased from commercial vendors; stolen blank passports, which terrorists could fill in with biographical data of their choosing; information on genuine altered passports that had been photo-substituted or given an extended validity date (discussed in greater detail in the Passport Examination Manual, a companion to the Redbook); and genuine, unaltered passports, most likely procured with the knowledge of the issuing country or through a corrupt government official.

Thus, abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity. It would remain largely unknown, since no agency of the United States government analyzed terrorist travel patterns until after 9/11. This lack of attention meant that critical opportunities to disrupt terrorist travel and, therefore, deadly terrorist operations were missed.
Nevertheless, the Visa Waiver Program continues and Malta remains a member of this supposedly elite “club” of countries that participates in the Visa Waiver Program while sanctuary cities harbor and shield illegal aliens from detection, and the Democrats call for open borders and an end to interior enforcement of our immigration laws.

In the 1976 thriller “Marathon Man” Dustin Hoffman’s character is tortured and repeatedly asked

“Is it safe?”

That is the question we should be asking our “leaders” where the current state of border security and immigration law enforcement are concerned.

Those leaders betray their oaths of office and their obligations to bow to the special interest groups who see in America’s borders an impediment to their wealth and not the first and last line of defense of our nation and our citizens that they truly are.

Of course, the answer to that question is clearly self-evident.
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Michael Cutler is a retired Senior Special Agent of the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) whose career spanned some 30 years. He served as an Immigration Inspector, Immigration Adjudications Officer and spent 26 years as an agent with half of his career in the Drug Task Force. He has testified before well over a dozen congressional hearings, provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission. His website is michaelcutler.net. He also writes for FrontPage Mag a publication of theDavid Horowitz Freedom CenterDavid Horowitz is a Contributing Author of the ARRA News Service

Tags: Michael Cutler, Pitfalls, VISA waiver program, serious threat, national security, public safety, FrontPage Mag To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Osama Bin Laden Was Right

America’s military brass and DOD Secretary James Mattis
are opposed to unilateral withdrawal from Syria. 
by Cal Thomas: Osama bin Laden predicted it and his prophecy appears to be coming true. In his book, “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11,” Lawrence Wright quotes bin Laden as saying: “Look at Vietnam, look at Lebanon. Whenever soldiers start coming home in body bags, Americans panic and retreat. Such a country needs only to be confronted with two or three sharp blows, then it will flee in panic, as it always has.”

With President Donald Trump’s announcement before Christmas that the United States would leave Syria and withdraw substantial numbers of its forces from Afghanistan, which have been fighting the Taliban for 17 years, that prophecy is about to be fulfilled.

It was President George W. Bush who, after sending more troops to Afghanistan, said, “We are taking the fight to the enemy abroad so we do not have to face them here at home.” The question then becomes for Trump—since he no longer wants to fight them there, will we at some point have to fight them again on U.S. soil, or to be more precise, will more terrorist attacks occur in New York, Washington, and other major American cities as our enemies regroup?

The terrorist organizations never give up and are sure to see America’s retreat as weakness and surrender, enlisting more recruits for their cause. In large part this is due to their religious motivation and belief that Allah has directed them to kill “infidels” and even fellow Muslims who don’t practice their radical brand of Islam.

As Caroline Glick writes in The Jerusalem Post, “Despite their relatively small numbers, the U.S. forces in Syria have had a massive strategic impact on the power balance in the country. Deployed along the border triangle joining Syria, Iraq, and Jordan, the U.S. forces in Syria have blocked Iran taking over the Iraqi-Syria border and so forging a land bridge linking Iran to the Mediterranean through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

“U.S. forces at the border have also prevented Iranian-controlled forces from attacking Jordan.”

America’s military brass and Defense Secretary James Mattis are opposed to unilateral withdrawal from Syria. In a resignation letter, Mattis strongly suggested he is leaving because of the president’s decision. So is Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

At a minimum in Syria, we should provide a way out for the persecuted Christians and do something to help the Kurds, who will again be primary targets of Bashar Assad’s regime, Islamic fanatics, and Turkish troops.

Then there is the question about our allies, who have contributed troops and money for the war effort in Syria and especially in Afghanistan. They apparently weren’t consulted by the president in advance of his announcement and are entitled to feel disrespected.

On the other hand—and there is always another hand—do we stay forever? Is ours the only military force that can successfully deter terrorists? What is the end game as Syria and Afghanistan appear to be endless conflicts that military force has been unable to resolve?

Stay, or leave? Either choice is a bad choice, but unilateral withdrawal is the worst choice. Watching Russia and Iran applaud ought to be evidence enough that the president’s choice is the worst choice he could have made.

That other applause you hear is coming from Osama bin Laden.
-----------------
Cal Thomas (CalThomas) is a syndicated columnist, author, broadcaster, and speaker with access to world leaders, U.S. presidents, celebrities, educators, and countless other notables. H/T The Daily Signal.

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President Trump Urged: Ratchet Up Pressure on Democrats in Shutdown

by Rick Manning: At the beginning of 2017, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell defined fully funding the wall at $12 billion to $15 billion. The President’s current budget request for $5 billion for the southern border wall is a dramatic compromise from the amount originally identified and promised as needed to complete the project.

This shutdown fully and completely lies at the feet of Democrat leadership in the Senate that has refused the one-third, $5 billion compromise offered by President Trump.

It is incredibly bad politics for Republicans to start negotiating with themselves through the media when the Democrats continue to turn a blind eye to the government workers they are furloughing.

President Trump should not only hold firm on the $5 billion compromise, but should insist that Democrat priority spending in other parts of the funding bill be stripped effective Jan. 2, 2019.

Americans for Limited Government urges that non-Department of Homeland Security spending be decreased by 1 percent for every week the Democrats refuse to adequately fund our nation’s border security. What’s more, the President and House and Senate Republican leaders should make clear that furloughed federal workers who are not working will not be paid at the end of the shutdown.

While our hearts go out to those impacted by the shutdown through no fault of their own, a private sector worker in the same circumstance would not be paid for time lost, and the federal workers whose unions have aggressively supported Democrat leadership need to be held to that same standard.
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Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is President of Americans for Limited Government.

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What Kind of Ice Cream Cone?

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: When I wrote about the Donald’s change of troop positions abroad last week, it was less than completely clear that the US President aimed to withdraw troops from Afghanistan as well as Syria. But multiple reports on the day I posted “Strategic Disengagement” make it clearer: about half of America’s 14,000 troops stationed there are scheduled to exit.

Why not all?

Well, you can see how entrenched foreign intervention is for American leaders. While most of the GOP policy establishment howled at Donald Trump’s betrayal of the cause (whatever that cause is, exactly), so, too, did many of the Democrats. And they seem awfully earnest. More earnest than one has reason to expect from the objectors to “George W. Bush’s wars.”

Even Noam Chomsky came out saying that the U.S. should stay in Syria to save the Kurds, and Howard Dean tweeted that American troops must remain in Afghanistan for the sake of women’s rights.
What we are witnessing are eternal programs that do not ever — and cannot ever — fulfill their basic purpose. No amount of occupation of Syria or Afghanistan or Iraq is going to give us what the neoconservatives promised: freedom and democracy and jubilation in the streets.

Freedom and democracy do not work that way.

There is a term for such impossible-to-win/impossible-to-stop policy messes: “self-licking ice cream cones.”

The term means a “self-perpetuating system that has no purpose other than to sustain itself,” which is just standard operating procedure for domestic bureaucracies.

But in foreign military action?

Awfully cold imagery, and too comic . . . for tragedy.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
------------------
Paul Jacob 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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How Compassionate Is the Democrats’ Open-Borders Policy?

David Limbaugh
by David Limbaugh: People are having fun lampooning Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s selective exploitation of Scripture to support the Democrats’ advocacy of open borders, but let’s not allow this mirth to distract us from larger questions.

The incoming congresswoman tweeted: “Joy to the World! Merry Christmas everyone — here’s to a holiday filled with happiness, family, and love for all people. (Including refugee babies in mangers + their parents.)”

Let’s put aside that Ocasio-Cortez is conflating the Nativity story described in Luke’s Gospel, in which Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem to register for the Roman census, with Matthew’s description of the couple’s fleeing to Egypt to protect Jesus from King Herod’s decree to murder every boy age 2 or younger in Bethlehem. The latter example also fails because there was no illegal border crossing into Egypt, as it, too, was part of the Roman Empire and, in any event, because Mary and Joseph were following God’s command for them to flee to protect Jesus; a divine order trumps all man-made laws. Let’s also defer until a later time the bizarre scolding about refugee babies from one whose party virtually supports abortion on demand.

Ocasio-Cortez’s biblical illiteracy is irrelevant. The point is that she is carrying on an unfortunate practice of cherry-picking Scripture for political gain. She’s simply trying to show that conservatives have no compassion for “foreigners” or the lost and that they are egregious hypocrites and frauds for holding themselves out as Christians while declining to model Jesus’ love.

In a less imperfect world, I wouldn’t have to bother refuting this, but Democrats have done a masterful job permeating our culture with these slanders, and far too many people actually believe them — just as they believe their equally wicked mantra that we are hateful racists, sexists and homophobes.

It’s wicked because they know it’s not true. But the Democratic Party’s main recruiting strategy is to show that Democrats care about people and that Republicans don’t. In a world where supposedly good intentions are the yardstick, results don’t matter.

Though I am convinced that the average conservative has as much compassion or more than the average liberal, I realize I’m not going to convince anyone of that just by asserting it.

What might be more helpful would be to examine how compassionate and prudent the Democrats’ policies on immigration and related issues are in practice.

Underlying Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet on refugees is her implied charge that Republicans don’t care about refugees, foreigners or other vulnerable people — that we would deny asylum to those truly fleeing their countries to escape harm and we sadistically desire to separate children from their parents.

These are all malicious lies. Republicans don’t want to repeal asylum laws, but they do want the laws to be applied in an orderly fashion to ensure that we help those truly in need. When Democrats support open borders, sanctuary cities, across-the-board amnesty and a catch-and-release policy, they are incentivizing border anarchy, human trafficking and lawlessness. They are endangering American citizens and discriminating against immigrants who played by the rules.

The question we ought to insist on discussing is whether Democrats even believe in the concept of nation-states anymore — and specifically American sovereignty — as opposed to deferring to some enlightened global entity. Do they even remotely embrace the American idea anymore? Socialism and top-down authoritarianism were hardly contemplated by the Framers. I might tell Ocasio-Cortez that the Apostle Paul said, “From one man (God) made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.”

It is axiomatic that a nation cannot exist without borders and border enforcement. This is especially true of America because its uniqueness is in its founding ideas, which are enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

Our patriotic ancestors knew that our freedom tradition depends on adherence to the Constitution and on a citizenry dedicated to ordered liberty — understanding that freedom is meaningless and ephemeral unless undergirded by the rule of law. They believed that the government’s first duty is to protect its citizens from domestic and foreign threats. They disagreed on whether and to what extent we should export our democratic principles but never on whether we should preserve them for ourselves.

Conservatives fervently believe in ethnic diversity. America is undeniably — and gloriously — an amalgam of countless ethnicities. But we also believe in the assimilation of all ethnicities into a common culture committed to the Constitution and rule of law — as opposed to a Balkanized society of competing groups that are suspicious and hostile toward one another.

This is why the legal path to citizenship and its attendant naturalization process have involved the applicants’ pledge of loyalty to this great nation of which they want to become a part.

Democrats need to explain whether they still believe in the American system itself and in America’s sovereignty — in its right and duty to enforce its immigration laws, as well as the orderly, controlled system of immigration those laws establish. Let them explain how eviscerating these laws would be in the best interest of America and its citizens in any respect, how flooding our borders with people we can’t support or assimilate would help either those immigrants or existing American citizens.

If we care about preserving America as the freest, most prosperous and most benevolent nation in the world, then we cannot continue to ignore border security and thwart the rule of law. How compassionate would the world be without America?
---------------------
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is "Jesus is Risen: Paul and the Early Church." Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at davidlimbaugh.com.

Tags: David Limbaugh, How Compassionate, Democrats’ Open-Borders Policy, freedom, tradition, the Constitution, citizenry dedicated to ordered liberty 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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