9/11 style commission necessary for January 6 incident?

https://townhall.com/columnists/byronyork/2021/02/17/should-a-911style-commission-investigate-the-capitol-riot-n2584833?utm_source=thdailyvip&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl&newsletterad=02/17/2021&bcid=551cbf8791dc14ec523b42d3e4630a2b&recip=19722098

Should a ‘9/11-style’ Commission Investigate the Capitol Riot?
Townhall Columnists Byron York
OPINION
Should a ‘9/11-style’ Commission Investigate the Capitol Riot?
Byron YorkByron York|Posted: Feb 17, 2021 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Should a ‘9/11-style’ Commission Investigate the Capitol Riot?
Source: AP Photo/John Minchillo

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will vote to create an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. There’s no doubt there needs to be an extensive investigation of the events surrounding the riot. But what is striking is that, even as Pelosi calls for an investigation, a number of government agencies are stonewalling the public on some of the most basic information about the events of Jan. 6.

The public should not have to wait for an investigation to learn how many police officers were injured in the riot, and the severity of their injuries. It should not have to wait to find out the cause of death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. It should not have to wait to find out if authorities confiscated firearms from rioters, and, if so, how many and what type. It should not have to wait to learn details of the shooting of Ashli Babbitt.

The public should not have to wait to learn what officials knew about the possibility of violence before the riot. What did the Capitol Police know? What did the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms know? What did Speaker Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy know? Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell? The White House? National Guard officials?

Americans could, and should, know more about these topics right now. But significant parts of the Capitol riot are now shrouded in official secrecy. And the existence of multiple investigations will only make that worse, giving officials an excuse not to speak publicly because there is an active investigation going on. So before the big commission is formed and begins its work, how about Americans learn some of those basic facts about the riot?

Now, a number of top House Republicans — Rodney Davis, ranking minority member on the House Administration Committee, Jim Jordan, ranking member on the Judiciary Committee; James Comer, ranking member on the Government Oversight and Reform Committee; and Devin Nunes, ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, have sent a letter to Pelosi asking for answers for some key questions about security preparations in the days before Jan. 6. The questions have a partisan edge — nothing unusual for Capitol Hill — but they cover things Americans need to know.

For example, the lawmakers want to know about discussions in the days before the riot about using the National Guard to increase security. What did law enforcement agencies tell Capitol Hill leaders about the possibility of violence? And what did those leaders do about it?

Obviously, there are questions about President Trump’s actions before and during the riot. Many of those were touched upon during the recently ended impeachment trial. There is no danger those questions will be ignored, either by a commission or by the media. On the other hand, the questions that House Republicans have posed need answers, too.

Finally, one last word on the description of the still-unformed commission. It is universally referred to as a “9/11-style” commission. Pelosi undoubtedly likes that because it helps cement in the public’s mind an equivalence between the riot and the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. In both, Democrats say terrorists attacked America. But be reasonable. There is simply no comparison in scale, motivation or anything else between Sept. 11 and Jan. 6.

In case anyone has forgotten, the 9/11 al-Qaida attacks killed roughly 3,000 people, brought down New York’s tallest skyscrapers, destroyed part of the Pentagon, crashed four passenger jetliners and changed U.S. foreign policy for decades. The Jan. 6 riot led to the so-far unexplained death of one Capitol Police officer, the death of one rioter at the hands of police, the stampeding death of another rioter and the natural causes deaths of two more. Parts of the Capitol were ransacked, but not seriously enough that Congress could not meet and finish its work on the night of the riot. It was appalling, but nothing like Sept. 11. (To visualize the difference, imagine that, on the night of the 9/11 attacks, there was a convention that went on as scheduled at the World Trade Center.)

So bring on the investigations. They should be exhaustive. And that will take time. But there are things Americans need to know right now, too.

Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.

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“……Know we are Christians by our hate”

https://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2021/02/17/and-they-will-know-we-are-christians-by-our-hate-n2584840?utm_source=thdailyvip&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl&newsletterad=02/17/2021&bcid=551cbf8791dc14ec523b42d3e4630a2b&recip=19722098Townhall Columnists Michael Brown

OPINION
And They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Hate
Michael BrownMichael Brown|Posted: Feb 17, 2021 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
And They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Hate
Source: AP Photo/Mohammed Hakim

Did you ever hear the song that begins with the words, “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord”? The lyrics are very simple, with the repeated refrain, “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, Yeah they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Today, we might want to change that refrain to “they’ll know we are Christians by our hate, by our hate.” We have become terribly disfigured in recent years, in many ways, the opposite of God’s intent. How on earth did this happen?

If you don’t believe me, visit some of our personal, Bible-affirming, Jesus-believing, social media pages, where we savage each other and attack each other and spread hearsay and even lies about one another with reckless abandon. They are hate-filled pages, pages filled with venom and poison, yet pages that ultimately reflect what is in our own hearts. I ask again: how on earth did this happen?

To give one recent, case in point, when my younger colleague Jeremiah Johnson publicly apologized for wrongly prophesying Trump’s reelection, he received a torrent of hate mail of the basest sort, almost all of it from professing Christians.

This is the fruit of the Spirit? This is the result of our fellowship with God? This is what happens when we are changed into the likeness of Jesus? Obviously not.

Yet I see this every day. We are vile. We are vicious. We are mean-spirited. We treat each other with disrespect and disdain. There is little honor. Little humility. Little grace.

Perhaps worse still, we have been taught to hate and we have found justification for our hatred. After all, the Democrats (or Republicans or whatever people have our ire at the moment) are downright demons. They are Satan incarnate. They are pure evil. They deserve nothing but damnation. They are worthy of our ridicule.

To treat them with even a modicum of decency is beneath our high Christian calling, a calling we now demonstrate by our condescending, cruel, mocking, and merciless attitudes. Oh, how holy we have become!

The truth is that we can hate sin without becoming hateful. We can stand against corruption and evil without becoming vile. We can even be righteously indignant without becoming venomous.

Yet we get in the flesh and violate hundreds of scriptural exhortations, all while puffing out our self-righteous chests. This is a stench in God’s nostrils.

At all points, God calls us to speak the truth in love.

At all points, God calls us to exercise self-restraint.

At all points, God calls us to follow the example of Jesus.

Some will say, “I agree. We should follow the example of Jesus – the Jesus who overturned the tables of the money changers in the Temple and the Jesus who rebuked the Pharisees in the strongest possible terms. That’s the Jesus I emulate.”

Sorry friend, but you’re barking up the wrong tree.

First, you’re not the unique Son of God, and neither am I. Yet when He overturned the tables in the Temple, He did so as the Son of God, taking action on behalf of His heavenly Father. Where, in Scripture, did He ever tell us to go and do the same? Where, in the Bible, is it recorded that the apostles followed His lead and repeated His acts?

Second, it was the perfect, sinless Messiah who rebuked the Pharisees, men who were highly respected religious leaders of their day. Today, He might be rebuking some of us. Not only so, but He did more than simply rebuke them for their hypocrisy. He also died for their salvation.

When we have that kind of love, the love that is ready and willing to die for those we rebuke, then our words will sound and feel a lot different. That is the kind of love that weeps in secret before it rebukes in public.

Third, Jesus explicitly told us how we are to conduct ourselves, saying this: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

Listen to those words again: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”

Are we living as children of our heavenly Father? Whose image and likeness do we bear?

Paul wrote, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-24). What kind of fruit are we bearing?

We should analyze everything we post or text or say against this grid. Is it in harmony with the fruit of the Spirit? Do our words and attitudes reflect true love? Or do they reflect the works of the flesh, which include “hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions (Galatians 5:20, CSB)?

According to Paul, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a).

One of my colleagues, the leader of a major, international media ministry, said that everywhere he has traveled in the United States, he has seen Christians angry and divided over politics.

Is that what has infected us? Have we become so consumed with partisan politics to the point that our Christian identity is now completely intertwined with a fleshly, angry, divisive, and accusative spirit – the very spirit of worldly politics?

Or does the problem run deeper still? Could it also be that we have drifted from our first love with the Lord, drifted from intimacy with Him, drifted from the beauty and wonder of the cross, drifted from fellowship with the Spirit, drifted from being transformed by the Word?

Peter exhorted, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22).

John wrote, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:14-15).

Are we getting the message?

Jacob (James) added this: “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”

Does that describe us?

Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

Today, we are better known for our hate than for our love.

It is high time – no, it is way past time – for some deep, serious soul-searching and repentance. It is time for radical change. May we learn to love again.

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4 year long campaign against President Trump: The Epoch Times:


https://www.theepochtimes.com/infographic-the-4-year-long-campaign-against-trump_3582789.html

The Epoch Times: November 25, 2020

The post-election push to pressure President Donald Trump to concede, despite numerous credible allegations of voter fraud and ongoing legal challenges, is not an isolated incident.

It is the culmination of a four-year-long campaign against him, which started during his first run for president in 2016 when the FBI launched a politically motivated investigation of his campaign. During his subsequent four years in office, there have been consistent efforts to remove him from office, first through the Russia-collusion narrative and then through impeachment.

The Epoch Times here provides an overview of some of the main efforts made against the sitting president of the United States.

This is an issue that transcends party lines, as it is not only an assault on Trump, but an assault on the office of the presidency, and with it, an assault on the foundation of America.

The FBI under the Obama administration in 2016 launched a politically motivated investigation of the Trump campaign. Based on publicly available information, we know the investigation was initiated based on the thinnest of evidence: remarks made by a junior Trump campaign adviser to the Australian ambassador in London. In reality, the investigation primarily relied on the discredited “Steele dossier,” produced by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The Trump–Russia Shadow
While the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation itself would not find any evidence of Trump–Russia collusion, the ongoing investigations, including selective leaks to the media, would create the public narrative that Trump had colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. This cast a shadow over the first few years of his presidency and constrained his actions both domestically and internationally. Some members of Congress had gone so far as to call for Trump’s impeachment over the false allegations.

Former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey, speaks via a TV monitor during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 30, 2020. (Stefani Reynolds/Pool/Getty Images)
FBI Under Comey and McCabe
The FBI under Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe pro-actively worked against Trump. McCabe was directly involved in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, working with FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page. After Comey was fired by Trump in May 2017, McCabe actively pushed the agency to further investigate Trump. McCabe’s FBI went as far as suggesting Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr reach back out to Steele, despite that many of the claims in his dossier had been disproven by that time and the FBI had cut ties with him over his leaks to the media.

Perhaps one of the most powerful forces working against Trump during his presidency has been the news media. Over the past five years, they have relentlessly published skewed and inaccurate information about Trump while minimizing or ignoring his accomplishments, seeking to portray him publicly as an illegitimate president. This type of reporting has created a climate of anger, hate, and instability in America. It has resulted in threats made to the president’s life and acts of violence against his supporters.

The House of Representatives on Dec. 18, 2019, impeached Trump along partisan lines. Though the Senate would later dismiss the charge, it left a mark on his presidency and dragged the country through months of public attacks in the media. At the center of the impeachment was a phone call Trump made on July 25, 2019, to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump expressed his hope that allegations of potential corruption involving former Vice President Joe Biden would be investigated. Given even the publicly available information at the time, there were legitimate concerns that American political influence and taxpayers’ funds were misused in Ukraine. At the time, it was publicly known that Biden’s son Hunter had received tens of thousands of dollars a month from a Ukrainian energy giant, while then-Vice President Biden—in his own words—had pressured the Ukrainian president to fire a prosecutor as a prerequisite for receiving $1 billion in foreign aid. That same prosecutor had been investigating the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, as well its board, which included Hunter Biden.

Trump’s opponents have accused the president of mishandling the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus, by acting too late. This, however, is contrary to the events of early 2020. The Trump administration on Feb. 2, 2020, banned all foreign travel from China, the source of the CCP virus. This decision was made by the president against the advice of some of his top advisers and exceeded actions taken by most other nations at the time. Meanwhile, his opponents in politics and media described it as xenophobic and an overreaction. In hindsight, the decision proved immensely valuable in helping to slow the spread of the virus. As the virus spread in the United States, the Trump administration increased testing capacity, coordinated with state governments to provide them with the federal assistance they needed, used the defense production act to compel companies to produce critical health equipment such as ventilators, and provided billions in federal funding and eased federal regulations for major drug companies to push for the development of a vaccine.

Foreign Interference
It would be accurate to say that Trump is communist China’s biggest adversary. The president broke a decades-long U.S. policy toward China that was based on the belief that, through engagement and economic development, the People’s Republic would evolve from a totalitarian regime toward a more democratic country. In reality, this strategy of appeasement merely resulted in trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs going to China. And instead of becoming more democratic, the Chinese regime used this wealth to advance its dictatorship, creating the most technologically advanced tyranny the world has ever witnessed. The CCP has consistently worked against Trump during his presidency, both publicly and behind the scenes. Beijing has used its domestic and overseas propaganda channels—often by relying on the United States’ own media—to vilify Trump, going as far as to suggest that the outbreak of the CCP virus in Wuhan was because of the American military.

Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter (BLM) has been behind the riots that have plagued American cities for much of this year. The group has hijacked the concerns people have over racism and used them to justify its advance of a Marxist agenda. In a 2015 video, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors described herself and her fellow founders as “trained Marxists.” Just like in Russia, China, Cuba, and Venezuela, trained Marxists have hijacked righteous causes to advance the communist agenda. Many of those who lived through the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1960s have commented that the riots in the United States over the summer, which included the toppling of historical statues, were eerily similar. The result is a climate of chaos and insecurity that affects the entire country.

Antifa
Dressed in full black gear including armor, helmets, and masks, and trained in agitation and basic combat, Antifa extremists have been involved in numerous acts of violence during Trump’s presidency. In many cases, these acts of violence, which include the use of weapons, rocks, and Molotov cocktails, were directed at law enforcement and government property. But Antifa members have also directly targeted unarmed common citizens for simply supporting Trump. We saw this happen twice in Washington, where those who had gathered to support Trump were later attacked when alone in the city at night. Antifa’s use of a militia-style force to intimidate and physically attack citizens for their political beliefs creates a powerful climate of fear and stands against the most basic American values.

The Permanent Government
Though Trump as president is the leader of the executive branch, when he came to office he inherited a federal government staffed with hundreds of thousands of employees. It’s no secret that many career officials in the U.S. government have actively sought to undermine or even openly work against Trump. Many in government have been led by false information published by media organizations to believe that they are doing the right thing, and that by working against Trump, they are putting the interests of the country first. In fact, they have done the country a disservice by blocking a rightfully elected president from executing the will of the people.

Mueller Special Counsel Investigation
Following the firing of FBI Director Comey, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein assigned former FBI Director Robert Mueller to continue the FBI’s investigation of alleged Trump–Russia collusion. Mueller would conclude in a final report that there was no evidence of such collusion. But this only came after a nearly two-year-long investigation, giving the media and Trump’s political opponents leeway to portray Trump as an illegitimate president because of his supposed affiliation with Russia.

Illegal Leaks
Throughout the past four years, the Trump administration has been plagued by selective leaks aimed at damaging Trump’s presidency. Some of these leaks have been criminal in nature, such as the leak of the transcripts of Trump’s conversations with foreign leaders—a felony offense. Treasury official Natalie Edwards was found guilty of illegally leaking suspicious activity reports (SARs) on financial transactions by former Trump campaign associate Paul Manafort, among others.

2020 Election Fraud
Following the Nov. 3 elections, dozens of credible allegations of voter fraud or other illegal acts connected to the counting of ballots have emerged. Dozens of poll workers across multiple states have given testimony in sworn statements—under penalty of perjury—detailing irregularities in how ballots were counted, as well as how the workers were instructed to make otherwise illegal changes to ballots, how they were unable to properly observe ballot counting, and how they witnessed new ballots mysteriously appear out of nowhere. The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee launched a number of lawsuits to challenge the process. They’ve argued that in Pennsylvania alone, 600,000 ballots should be invalidated, as Republican election observers weren’t allowed to witness the ballot processing.

Manufactured Narratives
The use of manufactured narratives to attack Trump has been pervasive since he assumed the presidency. Perhaps the most notable is the claim that he defended neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, when in fact he said that that there were “very fine people on both sides,” referring to people who “were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.” Trump specifically added, “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally—but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists.” Yet despite this being on public record, Trump would continue to be asked throughout his presidency, especially during the election season, whether he was ready to “denounce white supremacy,” despite having done so on many occasions, even before becoming president

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President Trump’s Response to yet again another Acquittal

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2021/02/13/president-trump-responds-to-aquittle-n2584703

Search townhall.com….
BREAKING|President Trump Acquitted for Second Time

President Trump Responds to Impeachment Acquittal
Townhall Tipsheet Katie Pavlich
President Trump Responds to Impeachment Acquittal
Katie PavlichKatie Pavlich| @KatiePavlich|Posted: Feb 13, 2021 4:25 PM
President Trump Responds to Impeachment Acquittal
Source: (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump is responding after the U.S. Senate voted 57-43 to acquit him on a single impeachment article of “incitement” Saturday afternoon.

His full statement:

I want to first thank my team of dedicated lawyers and others for their tireless work upholding justice and defending truth.

My deepest thanks as well to all of the United States Senators and Members of Congress who stood proudly for the Constitution we all revere and for the sacred legal principles at the heart of our country.

Our cherished Constitutional Republic was founded on the impartial rule of law, the indispensable safeguard for our liberties, our rights and our freedoms.

It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters, and transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree. I always have, and always will, be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.

This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country. No president has ever gone through anything like it, and it continues because our opponents cannot forget the almost 75 million people, the highest number ever for a sitting president, who voted for us just a few short months ago.

I also want to convey my gratitude to the millions of decent, hardworking, law-abiding, God-and-Country loving citizens who have bravely supported these important principles in these very difficult and challenging times.

Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people. There has never been anything like it!

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We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future.

Together there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

We remain one People, one family, and one glorious nation under God, and it’s our responsibility to preserve this magnificent inheritance for our children and for generations of Americans to come.

May God bless all of you, and may God forever bless the United States of America.

Betrayal of the American People by Biden

American Thinker
February 8, 2021
The Betrayal of the American People by Biden and the Ruling Oligarchy
By Steve McCann

The Biden Administration is willfully and permanently undermining the economy and the future well-being of the citizenry as
well as trampling on the Constitution with an unprecedented avalanche of executive orders, proposed legislation and untenable
regulations. The current leader of the United States, safe in his plush bunker, is without a clue as he and his confederates in the ruling oligarchy are more interested in consolidating power and enriching themselves than they are in the long-term welfare of the nation and its citizenry.
In their mad and childish dash to purge the nation of all things associated with Donald Trump, this cabal is deliberately being oblivious to the fact that there is but one major responsibility of the leaders of a Constitutional Republic. That is to be certain their country is capable, in the both the short and long-term, of successfully weathering a worst-case scenario such as global war, a massive economic downturn, or a catastrophic natural disaster.
Those currently entrenched in the ruling oligarchy are pursuing policies that will leave no margin for error in the event of an apocalyptic natural or man-made disaster. As their fixation on climate change, purported systemic racism, unfettered
immigration and the pursuit of fictitious and unattainable societal equity will permanently damage the economy and destroy any
meaningful growth in the standard of living of the nearly all Americans.
Over the decades, this country’s enormous and ever-expanding Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has allowed government at all
levels to spend or borrow whatever monies were necessary to offset the losses from natural and man-made cataclysms and/or restart the economy after a downturn. They could do so safe in the knowledge that the GDP, thanks to the productivity and
ingenuity of the American people, would always grow and provide a consistent level of tax receipts and, in essence, collateral for borrowing. Thus, the wealth of the United States has always been the nation’s fallback position in order to come through wars and recessions or cope with natural disasters.
The probability of a major natural disaster striking a nation as large and geologically diverse as the United States is high. The country is presently experiencing the deleterious fallout from a historically minor pandemic and every year hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes cause enormous property damage and loss of life.
Over the past century the world has, on average, experienced a pandemic every 17 years. The current Chinese coronavirus
pandemic, while historically minor as compared to many previous pandemics over the centuries, has exposed the enormous cost
that would be experienced if a major viral or other outbreak occurs in the future.
In 2020 the deficit spending, almost entirely due to the coronavirus, was $3.3 Trillion and in 2021 it will be at least $3.0 Trillion, which includes Biden’s current $1.9 Trillion so-called COVID-19 relief legislation. By contrast, the accumulated national debt in the 212 years from 1790 to 2002 was $6.2 Trillion as compared to $6.3 Trillion in 2020-21alone.
If the unprecedented lockdowns and other extreme measures taken as a reaction to the Chinese coronavirus is now the template
for handling all pandemics, then what the United States will have to spend in borrowed monies for future severe pandemics will
be geometrically larger than the Covid-19 experience.
It has been predicted that California has a 99% chance of a major devastating earthquake in the next 30 years. The central part of the United States extending to the east coast, in an area that has recorded four of the largest earthquakes ever in North America, could experience a cataclysmic earthquake in the next 40 years. The cost of these events would be in the tens of Trillions of dollars.
The Chinese Communists can now deal with an American administration filled with compromised Sinophiles who, in order to
protect their personal interests, have signaled to China, that they will be more accommodating and will restore this nation’s
dependence on the emerging Chinese manufacturing monopoly. China, thus, will be emboldened to flex their economic and
military power throughout the globe as they are more determined than ever to dominate a world nearly brought to its knees by the coronavirus. In order to do so they will, in due course, initiate an inevitable military confrontation with the United States. Will this country be able to afford a dominant military and have the manufacturing capability necessary to deal with a belligerent China?
This nation has experienced, on average, a recession every 15 years over the past century. The world is today standing on the
brink of a potentially debilitating double-dip global recession thanks to ill-advised lockdowns by nearly every nation as an
overreaction to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. With this as a backdrop, the job-killing executive orders Joe Biden has
robotically signed, profligate spending by Congress, unconstrained borrowing and de facto money creation will almost certainly
guarantee a prolonged period of severe stagflation (the coexistence of recession and inflation side by side) beginning within the next 12 months.
The U.S. national debt has grown fivefold from $5.6 Trillion in 2000 to $28 Trillion today and is now larger than the annual total value of all economic activity in the U.S. (Gross Domestic Product). It is estimated that by the end of 2025 the national debt will be approaching $40 Trillion and will be 50% larger than the projected Gross Domestic Product. The annual interest payments on this debt by 2025 will be nearly $1 Trillion or 75% of the total income taxes paid by the American people in 2020. Further, based on current spending and revenue streams, by 2040 the national debt will approach $60 to 70 Trillion or more than twice the size of the projected Gross Domestic Product.
The above does not include the impact of prolonged or deep recessions, catastrophic natural disasters, major military conflicts or the negative economic impact of the policies being pursued by the current administration.
It is now too late to solely rely on increasing tax revenue to stanch this sea of red ink. As the level of taxation required would devastate productivity and capital creation thus cratering the economy. The only viable options are severe spending restraints, minimal tax increases and most importantly expanding the economy by pursuing many of the same policies initiated by Donald Trump including confronting China and reinstituting the United States as the manufacturing capital of the world.
However, the Biden Administration, the Democrats in Congress, and their fellow-travelers in the Ruling Class are determined to
permanently stifle economic growth by their infatuation with hypothetical climate change thus undermining energy development
as well as manufacturing. They credulously claim that the theoretical green energy revolution will replace these jobs and wealth, but that will take decades if at all, and will be far too little and too late to prevent national insolvency.
Their determination to raise business taxes as well as dramatically increase job- and business formation-killing regulations is anathema to promoting growth. Their resolve to institute what is tantamount to economic central planning by the bureaucrats in Washington will cause enormous dislocation in financial resources, thus, throttling access to capital for expansion or new
business formation.
Their obsession with curtailing freedom of speech and casting anyone who disagrees with them as potential domestic terrorists
that must be muzzled and ostracized will foment ongoing societal unrest. Their plans for unconstrained immigration as well as
amnesty for millions of illegal aliens will intensify the competition for jobs and demands for welfare subsidies. Taken together these measures will further exacerbate tension within the country and undermine national confidence adding additional strain to an already shaky economy and a nation charging mindlessly into bankruptcy.
How do we pay the recovery costs associated with a catastrophic natural or man-made disaster such as a major pandemic or earthquake? From whom do we borrow the money without paying a usurious interest rate and forcing the country into further decline? Can we expect our traditional allies to come to the aid of a profligate country whose debt today accounts for 40% of all global debt and will account for nearly 60% by 2040 and whose leadership is deliberately undermining its economy?
As to a dramatic economic downturn in the future, many the traditional tools used to make certain a recession does not descend into a depression will not be available.
Would the holders of the bonds of the United States concur with significant tax reductions to spur the economy or would they agree to finance more debt as a stimulus and at what interest rate and collateral?
Would the United States choose as an alternative the printing of vast quantities of dollars? Which would devalue the currency
and, thus, the debt. But risking hyper-inflation and a likely repeat of the devastating experience within the Weimar Republic
(Germany) in the 1920’s. A strategy which could ultimately plunge the citizenry into a dramatically reduced standard of living, massive unemployment and violent societal upheaval.
If the United States continues on its present course, these are the only choices the country will have, yet never in the history of this nation have we had an administration, a political party and a ruling elite willingly placing their self-serving agenda ahead of the survival of the United States. This borders on treachery of the worst sort as it violates the allegiance owed by our elected leaders to preserve and protect the long-term welfare and well-being of the people and the nation.

“One Free Shave……”

One Free Shave Is the Tradition For President Biden
By CONRAD BLACK, Special to the Sun | January 23, 2021

Some have been more vociferous in their criticism of Joe Biden than I have, but few have been more consistent. I’ve never forgiven him for what he did to my friend Robert Bork in 1987, a great man who would have been an outstanding Supreme Court justice. Mr. Biden, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, appeared to be ready to support the former solicitor general until Teddy Kennedy gave his infamous address, including his defamatory accusation that Robert Bork’s America would reduce American women to back-alley abortions, among other conjured degradations.

Click Images for Slideshow

It is hard to take seriously an incoming president when one of his previous campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination folded before he reached the plateau of two percent support because he was caught red-handed cribbing from an absurd campaign platitude authored by one of 20th-century Britain’s least successful opposition leaders, Neil Kinnock.

It is disconcerting that any president-elect manufactures his academic career and invents episodes of arrest in South Africa, especially in the context of attempting to visit Nelson Mandela 600 miles from where his brief alleged detention took place. In 50 years of public life, he has faced in all four directions on every issue and is not strongly identified with any particular major achievement.

No one qualified to do so has contradicted former defense secretary and CIA director Robert Gates, who served presidents of both parties in high office, when he remarked, after writing that Joe Biden, although a pleasant and generous-hearted man, had been mistaken on every foreign and strategic policy subject of the last 30 years.

I respect everyone’s religious views from committed atheism to fervent practice, and almost all sides of the abortion issue, apart from opinions that are insane or sociopathic, but as a devoted but tolerant Roman Catholic I find it annoying that Joe Biden has portrayed himself as a pious co-religionist, even as he approved the prosecution of the Little Sisters of the Poor for declining to pay for the abortions and other birth control requirements of those in their charge or employment.

Before this column metamorphoses into one of goodwill and hopefulness for the president-elect, I must add that Mr. Biden can hardly be completely absolved from what I believe has been a scandalous but successful campaign for the presidency. The Democratic Party elders, to prevent a presidential candidacy of the unfeasibly and abrasively socialistic Senator Bernie Sanders, retrieved Joe Biden from the ditch where the early Democratic primary voters had left him, installed him as the candidate, and placed him, like the groom on the top of the wedding cake, atop a Sanders socialist platform.

The Democratic strategists saw at once the potential to reverse President Trump’s clear lead in the polls after the impeachment fiasco almost a year ago by terrorizing the living Jehovah out of the entire population over COVID-19. President Trump’s tactical bungling of the public relations effort surrounding the virus made their task easier.

But Mr. Biden’s masked self-captivity in his basement, his inarticulation contending with the background noise of what he called “Canadian geese,” while the Democrats’ lackeys in the national political media and the totalitarian czars of the Big Tech cartel conducted his campaign for him and silenced and defamed his enemies, and dismissed a grand jury investigation of the Biden family’s international financial activities as “Russian disinformation” was a shabby campaign.

It was perhaps the least creditable Democratic presidential campaign since General George B. McClellan, whom President Lincoln had fired for his diffident performance as commander of the Army of the Potomac, ran against Lincoln on a defeatist Civil War platform in 1864, even as General Sherman occupied Atlanta and General Grant invested Richmond.

Having got all that off my chest, it is time, while contemplating Lincoln, to “take increased devotion” from Herblock’s famous cartoon of Richard Nixon on the eve of his inauguration in 1969. The political cartoonist had been in the habit of portraying Nixon with a stubbly and rodentine face often emerging from under a manhole cover, because of Nixon’s former zeal as an anti-Communist congressman and senator. As his inauguration approached, and Tom Wicker wrote in the New York Times that the chances were 50-50 that Nixon would blow up the world, Herblock decided every new president of the United States should get a free shave.

Everyone who wishes America well, and even those who only hope that America does well enough to spare the world the terrible challenge of having China as its most powerful nation — potentially the first one with no Judeo-Christian background nor any demonstrated respect for human rights or civil liberties since the rise of the nation-state — all must always hope that an incoming president of the United States is successful.

In this case, there is no doubt that the new president is an amiable personality, a sincerely patriotic American, and fundamentally a man of moderation, ideologically more like President Clinton than President Obama; Vice Presidents Humphrey and Mondale more than Senator McGovern. He is a survivor, and that is a remarkable achievement: as Tennyson wrote, “old age hath yet his honor and his toil.”

Joe Biden has persevered through long years of comparative obscurity, family tragedy, his full share of condescension, disparagement, and setbacks, and the American political system assures that no one moves into the White House without a considerable combination of perseverance, acuity, and good fortune. As Napoleon famously said, “The best generals are the luckiest generals.”

There is some political symmetry in Mr. Biden’s elevation. The greatest single problem with the Trump Administration was the endless controversy; the president was constantly in the face of the public and of the world, all day every day and all night on Twitter. (The czar of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, may have done Mr. Trump a favor dictatorially removing him from his platform — the outgoing president’s popularity will rise if the country can take a rest from him for a while.)

America’s greatest political desire was greater quiet and “normalcy” in Washington. In this way, the system has worked, as we are moving from a human tornado to the most languid chief executive since Calvin Coolidge.

Sometimes a change is as good as a rest. Although Joe Biden is a waffler and schmoozer, all indications are that he is a genuine man of the center comfortable and very competent at negotiating with reasonable people in both parties, and a capable judge of what can be achieved within the system where he has operated skillfully for many decades. Since he is unlikely to covet a second term, he can make arrangements with the Republican leaders in the Congress, most of whom are his friends, without feeling unduly threatened by the far Left within his own party.

It was a terrible campaign following an awful summer of riots, hypocrisy, and fear-mongering, and concluding in the most suspect presidential election result in American history. In its ineluctable fashion, the system has produced the 44th direct successor to General George Washington in what has long been the world’s most influential office. Those who value freedom in every land will wish him well. Hail to the chief and may God renew His blessing on America.

________

CMBLetters@gmail.com. From American Greatness.

The Killing of Soleimani and the Democrats- opinion piece from Joe Liberman

Wall Street Journal January 6, 2020
Joe Liberman

OPINION | COMMENTARY
The Democrats and Iran
Why can’t the party’s candidates simply admit Qasem Soleimani’s death makes Americans safer?

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with a photo of Qasem Soleimani in Tehran, Jan. 3. PHOTO: -/AGENCE
FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

President Trump’s order to take out Qasem Soleimani was morally,
constitutionally and strategically correct. It deserves more bipartisan
support than the begrudging or negative reactions it has received thus far
from my fellow Democrats.
The president’s decision was bold and unconventional. It’s understandable
that the political class should have questions about it. But it isn’t
understandable that all the questions are being raised by Democrats and all
the praise is coming from Republicans. That divided response suggests the
partisanship that has infected and disabled so much of U.S. domestic policy
now also determines our elected leaders’ responses to major foreign-policy
events and national-security issues, even the killing of a man responsible
for murdering hundreds of Americans and planning to kill thousands more.
After World War II, Sen. Arthur Vandenberg, a Michigan Republican who
was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, formed a bipartisan
partnership with President Truman that helped secure the postwar peace
and greatly strengthened America’s position in the Cold War. “Politics stops
at the water’s edge,” said Vandenberg when asked why he worked so closely
with a Democratic president. He added that his fellow Americans
undoubtedly had “earnest, honest, even vehement” differences of opinion
on foreign policy, but if “we can keep partisan politics out of foreign affairs,
it is entirely obvious that we shall speak with infinitely greater authority
abroad.”
In their uniformly skeptical or negative reactions to Soleimani’s death,
Democrats are falling well below Vandenberg’s standard and, I fear, creating
the risk that the U.S. will be seen as acting and speaking with less authority
abroad at this important time.
No American can dispute that Soleimani created, supported and directed a
network of terrorist organizations that spread havoc in the Middle East. In
Syria he made it possible for the Assad regime to respond with brutality to
its own people’s demands for freedom. More than 500,000 Syrians have
died since 2011 and millions more have been displaced from their homes.
During the Iraq war, Soleimani oversaw three camps in Iran where his elite
Quds Force trained and equipped Iraqi militias. According to the U.S.
government, these fighters have killed more than 600 American soldiers
since 2003. In another time, this would have been a just cause for an
American war against Iran, and certainly for trying to eliminate Soleimani.
Within Iran, the Quds Force has worked with the supreme leader to
suppress freedom and economic opportunity, jail dissident politicians and
journalists, and kill protesters in the streets.

From the perspective of American values and interests, it’s impossible to
mourn the death of such a man, and Democrats haven’t. Their response thus
far has been “Yes, but . . .,” adding worries that Soleimani’s death will
provoke a violent response from Iran. Democrats have also suggested that
the Trump administration has no coherent strategy toward Iran or that Mr.
Trump shouldn’t have acted without notice to and permission from
Congress.
Yet if we allow fear of a self-declared enemy like Iran to dictate our actions,
we will only encourage them to come after us and our allies more
aggressively. Some Democrats have said that killing Soleimani will lead us
into war with Iran. In fact, Soleimani and the Quds Force have been at war
with the U.S. for years. It is more likely that his death will diminish the
chances of a wider conflict because the demonstration of our willingness to
kill him will give Iranian leaders (and probably others like Kim Jong Un )
much to fear.
Some Democrats have also refused to appreciate Soleimani’s elimination
because they say it isn’t part of an overall strategy for the region. But based
on the public record, there is a strategy, beginning with the Trump
administration’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, the shift to
maximum economic pressure, and now adding a demonstrated willingness
to respond with military force to Iran’s provocations. The goal is to bring the
Iranian government back into negotiations to end its nuclear weapons
program and rejoin the world’s economy.
The claim by some Democrats that Mr. Trump had no authority to order this
attack without congressional approval is constitutionally untenable and
practically senseless. Authority to act quickly to eliminate a threat to the
U.S. is inherent in the powers granted to the president by the Constitution.
It defies common sense to argue that the president must notify Congress or
begin a formal process of authorization before acting on an imminent
threat.
On many occasions President Obama sensibly ordered drone strikes on
dangerous terrorist leaders, including U.S.-born Anwar al-Awlaki. He did so
without specific congressional authorization, and without significant
Democratic opposition. Mr. Obama also “brought justice” to Osama bin
Laden without prior, explicit congressional approval.

It is possible that anti-Trump partisanship isn’t behind Democrats’
reluctance to say they’re glad Soleimani is dead. It may be that today’s
Democratic Party simply doesn’t believe in the use of force against
America’s enemies in the world. I don’t believe that is true, but episodes like
this one may lead many Americans to wonder whether it is. If enough voters
decide that Democrats can’t be trusted to keep America safe, Mr. Trump
won’t have much trouble winning a second term in November. That’s one
more reason Democrats should leave partisan politics at “the water’s edge”
and, whatever their opinion of President Trump on other matters, stand
together against Iran and dangerous leaders like Qasem Soleimani.
Mr. Lieberman, a Democrat, was a U.S. senator from Connecticut, 1989-
2013, and is chairman of No Labels, a national organization working to
revive bipartisanship.

Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Mr. Lieberman, a Democrat, was a U.S. senator from Connecticut, 1989-2013, and is chairman of No Labels, a national organization working to revive bipartisanship.

President Trump’s remarks on Killing of Qasem Soleimani

Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 3, 2020

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-killing-qasem-soleimani/

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP
ON THE KILLING OF QASEM SOLEIMANI
Mar-a-Lago
Palm Beach, Florida
3:13 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Well, thank you very much. And good afternoon.

As President, my highest and most solemn duty is the defense of our nation and its citizens.

Last night, at my direction, the United States military successfully executed a flawless precision strike that killed the number-one terrorist anywhere in the world, Qasem Soleimani.

Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him.

Under my leadership, America’s policy is unambiguous: To terrorists who harm or intend to harm any American, we will find you; we will eliminate you. We will always protect our diplomats, service members, all Americans, and our allies.

For years, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its ruthless Quds Force — under Soleimani’s leadership — has targeted, injured, and murdered hundreds of American civilians and servicemen.

The recent attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq, including rocket strikes that killed an American and injured four American servicemen very badly, as well as a violent assault on our embassy in Baghdad, were carried out at the direction of Soleimani.

Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London.

Today we remember and honor the victims of Soleimani’s many atrocities, and we take comfort in knowing that his reign of terror is over.

Soleimani has been perpetrating acts of terror to destabilize the Middle East for the last 20 years. What the United States did yesterday should have been done long ago. A lot of lives would have been saved.

Just recently, Soleimani led the brutal repression of protestors in Iran, where more than a thousand innocent civilians were tortured and killed by their own government.

We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.

I have deep respect for the Iranian people. They are a remarkable people, with an incredible heritage and unlimited potential. We do not seek regime change. However, the Iranian regime’s aggression in the region, including the use of proxy fighters to destabilize its neighbors, must end, and it must end now.

The future belongs to the people of Iran — those who seek peaceful coexistence and cooperation — not the terrorist warlords who plunder their nation to finance bloodshed abroad.

The United States has the best military by far, anywhere in the world. We have best intelligence in the world. If Americans anywhere are threatened, we have all of those targets already fully identified, and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary. And that, in particular, refers to Iran.

Under my leadership, we have destroyed the ISIS territorial caliphate, and recently, American Special Operations Forces killed the terrorist leader known as al-Baghdadi. The world is a safer place without these monsters.

America will always pursue the interests of good people, great people, great souls, while seeking peace, harmony, and friendship with all of the nations of the world.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless our great military. And God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much. Thank you.

END 3:18 P.M. EST

United States National Security and Aid for Israel

Democratic Frontrunners Are Wrong About Aid for Israel

Putting America’s annual $3.8 billion of military assistance to Israel on the chopping block makes for good politics.

But it makes no sense for U.S. national security.

 BY JOHN HANNAH

DECEMBER 11, 2019

 https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/12/11/democratic-frontrunners-are-wrong-about-aid-for-israel/

In a jarring moment during last month’s Democratic primary debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, asked about Washington’s complicated relationship with Riyadh, lit into the Saudis for the murder of the U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, condemning the kingdom as a brutal, misogynistic dictatorship that “is not a reliable ally.” Then, without skipping a beat, he pivoted to an attack on Israel for its mistreatment of the Palestinians, particularly in Gaza—a tack that won a spontaneous outburst of applause from the attending audience. Seamlessly lumping together the Middle East’s only stable democracy with its most reactionary absolute monarchy, Sanders concluded, “we need to be rethinking who our allies are around the world.”

Of course, harsh criticism of Israel has long been a staple of the Sanders playbook. A tad more disconcerting was the apparent approval it triggered in the crowd. Condemnations by other candidates earlier in the evening of dangerous U.S. adversaries such as China, North Korea, and Russia didn’t seem to elicit nearly the same level of enthusiasm. Also hard not to notice was the fact that none of Sanders’s nine rivals on the stage rose to push back against the suggestion that the long-standing U.S. alliance with Israel should be up for reassessment. This was especially striking because in the days leading up to the debate, the Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad had fired close to 500 rockets at Israeli population centers, sending tens of thousands of civilians into bomb shelters and shutting down schools and businesses in Tel Aviv, the country’s most important commercial hub.

In fairness, it’s possible that the format and rhythm of the debate simply didn’t allow for that type of intervention. On the other hand, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that, when it comes to Israel, a shift is indeed afoot in the Democratic Party—at least among its more progressive and activist base.

That trend was most visible in October, when several Democratic candidates in succession—including leading contenders such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg—joined Sanders in advocating for the position that the United States should consider withholding military aid if Israel pursued policies that undermined a two-state solution. Only one of the top-tier candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden, spoke out forcefully against the idea, calling it “absolutely outrageous” and a “gigantic mistake.”

Biden is right. It may increasingly be the case in today’s Democratic Party that putting America’s annual $3.8 billion of military assistance to Israel on the chopping block in service to the peace process makes for good politics. But it makes no sense as national security policy. The fact is that Israel’s recent emergence as one of the world’s most powerful industrial democracies has never been more important to the United States. And the value to U.S. interests of Israel’s world-class military, intelligence prowess, and cutting-edge science and technology sector is only likely to grow in the future.

In the last three presidential elections, the U.S. public—frustrated and weary from fighting so-called endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—has consistently supported the candidate (Barack Obama twice, Donald Trump once) who exhibited the greatest enthusiasm for reducing the country’s military commitments in the Middle East.Especially as the United States’ own dependence on oil exports from the region continues to decline, the long-term trajectory of U.S. retrenchment seems almost certain to continue. For its part, the U.S. military is also looking to draw back from the Middle East so it can divert more of its capabilities and energies to higher-priority missions, in particular the need to counter increasingly aggressive great-power competitors, China and Russia.

Yet even as it seeks to reduce its burdens, the United States still has important interests in the Middle East that need defending. It wants the region to be more stable. It wants to avoid significant disruptions in oil supplies that could wreak havoc on the economies of key trading partners. It wants to contain Iranian aggression, combat Islamist terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, deter the outbreak of major war, and ensure Israel’s security. Logic dictates that doing all that with less U.S. involvement means someone else will have to step up to help fill the void. That, in turn, puts a premium on reliable local allies that have both the will and the capability not just to defend themselves without the United States riding to the rescue but also to act effectively on their own across the Middle East to help advance major U.S. interests. With all due respect to Washington’s other longtime partners in the region and even Europe, it’s patently obvious that only one country comes close to meeting those criteria today: Israel.

Israel has, by an order of magnitude, the most powerful and operationally effective military in the Middle East. Its intelligence services rank among the world’s best, far outpacing any regional rival. It’s a technological superpower with leading research and development capabilities in priority national security areas for the United States, including cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, unmanned systems, missile defense, space, and anti-terrorism. Israel’s assessment of the most serious threats to Middle East security is nearly identical to Washington’s. And its government and population are unwaveringly pro-American, ready and willing to lend Israel’s full support to countering shared threats and securing key U.S. objectives.

With little fanfare, Israel in recent years has taken on sustained military missions that extend well beyond its historical preoccupation with the defense of its immediate borders. As Washington’s stomach for wielding hard power against the Middle East’s most dangerous challenges recedes, the new reality is that Israel has become a major exporter of security and extended deterrence to the broader region. Since at least 2017, it has been the only power in the world conducting regular military operations to push back successfully against Iranian forces and their expansionist designs. A kind of de facto division of labor has emerged whereby the United States restricts itself to punishing Iran and its regional proxies with harsh economic sanctions while Israel does the more difficult and dangerous work of directly confronting and containing Iranian power on the ground.

In Syria, probably the Middle East’s most strategically consequential battlefield of the past decade, Israel has reportedly attacked more than 1,000 targets affiliated with Iran. Almost singlehandedly, in fact, Israel has foiled Iran’s ambition to entrench itself militarily in Syria. Iran’s far-reaching plan to establish a series of land and naval bases, command a force of up to 100,000 pro-Iran fighters, and stockpile and deploy thousands of highly accurate rockets and missiles in Syria has been stillborn. Though garnering little attention, Israel has over the past four years inflicted one of the worst defeats ever suffered by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its imperial project to dominate the Middle East’s northern tier from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea. The IRGC’s goal of replicating in Syria the same level of military power and threat that it built in Lebanon through Hezbollah has been almost completely thwarted by a sustained campaign of discreet Israeli military attacks and intelligence activities—all without triggering a larger war and conflagration. The United States—not to mention Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and much of the rest of the region threatened by rising Iranian hegemony—has quietly applauded from the sidelines without having to put any of its own forces at risk.

Though on a far lesser scale, Israel has over the last year extended its targeting campaign against Iran to Lebanon and Iraq as well, as the IRGC seeks to adjust for its failure in Syria by further building up its capabilities in those countries, especially by giving precision missiles to Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite militias. In Egypt, an under-the-radar but extensive program of Israeli military and intelligence support has proved essential to preventing extremist groups loyal to the Islamic State from taking over the strategically vital Sinai Peninsula. Israel has long played a similarly critical role in bolstering the security of neighboring Jordan. Meanwhile, in the eastern Mediterranean, as the region’s massive gas reserves become an increasingly important factor in global energy markets, Israeli defense capabilities will play a leading role in securing the area’s critical infrastructure, in cooperation with other stakeholders including Cyprus, Egypt, and Greece.

There’s every reason to believe that the demand for Israeli security assistance will only increase as U.S. disengagement continues apace. Already, it seems a near certainty that Israel is engaged in unprecedented, albeit covert, cooperation with several Gulf states, including the Saudis, to help them counter Iran and other extremist threats. Given the direct impact on its own interests, it’s easy to imagine Israel taking on much greater responsibilities for policing the Red Sea, or ensuring that Houthi rebels in Yemen don’t become the next repository of long-range Iranian missiles and drones capable of accurately striking strategic targets not only in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, but in Tel Aviv and Haifa as well.

In the 1970s, the administration of U.S. President Richard Nixon, preoccupied with the war in Vietnam, developed a “twin pillars” strategy for the Middle East. It relied on two local allies, the shah’s Iran and Saudi Arabia, to help counter Soviet meddling and enforce regional security. The strategy quickly crumbled when the shah was overthrown and the Saudis proved both unwilling and for the most part incapable of fulfilling their assigned role.

By contrast, Israel today is the real deal, a stable democracy and longtime ally that has consistently demonstrated the will, power, and operational effectiveness to do more to secure the Middle East from common threats, so the United States can do less. From countering Iranian imperialism and Islamist terrorism to protecting energy resources and vulnerable regional allies, Israel’s role in the region has become critically important for the United States. At a time when war fatigue and other global priorities are driving Washington to reduce its involvement in the Middle East, it’s increasingly apparent that Israeli power will be indispensable if the United States hopes to maintain a regional order that favors its interests.

In other words, Israel is America’s new pillar in the Middle East. Truth be told, it’s the only pillar. To jeopardize such a strategic asset on the altar of a Palestinian conflict that has dragged on chronically for decades, with no resolution in sight and the issue’s relative geopolitical significance in steep decline, would be a huge unforced error. Many of Washington’s most important Arab partners are now moving systematically to deepen their security cooperation with Israel, refusing to allow their national interests to be subjugated to one of the world’s most intractable disputes any longer. It would be an odd time for the United States to start moving in the opposite direction, as several of the Democratic candidates suggest, and throw into question its own tremendously beneficial defense relationship with Israel. That’s precisely the kind of strategic indulgence that a superpower bent on retrenchment can ill afford.

John Hannah is a senior counselor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, focusing on U.S. strategy. During the presidency of George W. Bush, he served for eight years on the staff of Vice President Cheney, including as the vice president’s national security advisor.

 

 

 

Factually Weak Impeachment Will Alter The Nature Of Our Government

Factually weak impeachment will alter the nature of our government
Peter J. Wallison
October 30, 2019

The current effort to impeach President Trump is not only factually weak, but if it results in a
House impeachment vote it will endanger the functioning of our government in the future. First,
the Constitution is clear, as Professor Alan Dershowitz has argued, that an impeachable offense
must be a serious crime. Second, if Congress chooses to act without finding such a crime, it will
have created a precedent for removal of a president on a purely partisan basis, weakening the
stability of the presidency and changing the nature of the U.S. government in the future. And
third, Congress will have to overcome the fact that President Trump actually delivered the
requested weapons to Ukraine without any of the actions by Ukraine’s government that he
purportedly sought. In other words, he did not carry through the act for which he is being
charged.
High Crimes and Misdemeanors
Professor Dershowitz makes several arguments for his position. The most powerful and
persuasive is simply that the Constitution’s words exclude actions that are not crimes. In
outlining when an officer can be impeached, the Constitution requires “Treason, Bribery, or
other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” No one doubts that treason or taking bribes are crimes,
but the important fact is that these two very serious crimes suggest the serious nature of the
words that follow: “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
In dealing with statutory language, lawyers often refer to the canons of statutory interpretation,
which describe how statutes or other texts should be interpreted. One of these is: “where general
words follow an enumeration of two or more things, they apply only to persons or things of the
same general kind or class specifically mentioned.” Thus, the meaning of “High Crimes and
Misdemeanors is informed by the earlier use of the terms “Treason” and “Bribery.” The Framers,
who were lawyers, knew that by preceding “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” with the serious
crimes treason and bribery, they were unambiguously signaling that impeachable offenses must
be of equivalent gravity.
This excludes the notion that President Trump can be impeached for withholding weapons from
Ukraine until the newly elected president promises to investigate something. That might have
been a supremely dumb act by the president — properly characterized as using U.S. foreign
policy for his own political advancement — but it is not a crime.
Occasionally one hears the argument that what Trump did was a crime under campaign finance
law, because it is illegal to receive “anything of value” from a foreign source in connection with
a political campaign. “Dirt” on former Vice President Biden would be “something of value,” this
argument posits, but it runs up against the problem that presidents and candidates for president
do this all the time and are not charged with a crime. Let’s consider the benefit that President
Obama received from the German government in 2008, when he was allowed to make a speech
in Berlin (the one about the Earth cooling in the future). Was that “something of value” received
from a foreign source? Yes. Did anyone imagine it was a crime? No. Or when the US
government supports Israel’s position in the UN and the president is then visited and highly
praised as a friend of Israel by the Israeli prime minister. Was this sought by the president? Yes.
Is that something of value from a foreign source? Certainly. A crime? No.
Anyway, even if President Trump’s actions were a technical crime under the campaign finance
laws, they would not rise to the “High Crimes” level the Constitution demands for an
impeachment. If it’s a crime at all, it is one of a very low and technical character, not something
that Congress should be able to use to overturn an election.
The Danger of a Political Impeachment
The Framers’ care in describing the gravity of the offenses necessary for impeachment was
clearly intended to prevent what is happening today — the possible impeachment of the
president by the opposing political party. If Congress could remove a president from office — in
other words, overturn an election — for insubstantial reasons, it will destroy the stability of the
presidential office in the future. Any time that Congress is controlled by an opposing political
party, the president will be in danger of impeachment for some minor offense. Think of what
would have happened if the Benghazi events had occurred after the precedent that Congress now
seems determined to set. The deaths of four Americans, including the US ambassador, and a
clearly flimsy excuse by the Obama administration that this was all caused by a film. An
impeachment effort by the Republicans would have been virtually certain.
Given the precedent the Democrats seem ready to set by continuing the impeachment process on
the basis of a presidential offense of such low quality, cooler heads in Congress, the public and
the media should step in. Most observers, left and right, seem to take it as a given that the House
will eventually impeach President Trump, simply because the House is controlled by the
Democrats. But this is more than a political game; what is actually at stake is the future of the
government structure that has steered this country through innumerable crises for over 200 years.
In his book “Profiles in Courage,” former President John F. Kennedy recognized as heroic the
act of a single senator that prevented the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, the president who
succeeded Abraham Lincoln. There was much wrong with Johnson’s rule, but Kennedy
recognized that if this impeachment succeeded it would set a devastating precedent for the
future. The Democrats should recognize this today, and act accordingly. Holding hearings and
criticizing President Trump for what he did makes great political sense as we enter an election
year, but impeaching him for bad or mistaken judgments or policies would be a grave disservice
to the country.
The Weakness of the Impeachment Case
The argument for impeachment is that President Trump, by withholding a shipment of badly
needed weapons for Ukraine, tried to force the president of Ukraine to investigate that country’s
interference with the 2016 US election and the circumstances associated with then-Vice
President Biden’s son receiving significant compensation from a Ukrainian firm during the
Obama administration. The idea is that the president sought political benefits for himself by
using the lever of US foreign policy.
There is no question that the second of these allegations, if it occurred, is unworthy of someone
holding the highest office in the United States, but at least in its current form it is a fatally weak
argument for impeachment — simply because the president actually delivered the weapons
Ukraine wanted, without receiving the investigations on which he was supposedly insisting.
The telephone conversation between the two leaders occurred in late July 2019, and the arms
were delivered in late September. In other words, there was plenty of time for the Ukrainian
government to start the requested investigations if it thought that President Trump was serious,
but the investigations never occurred and eventually the arms were shipped.
This raises questions about exactly what was in the president’s mind. It doesn’t matter how many
current and former members of the US foreign policy establishment insist that the president was
trying to get the new Ukrainian leader to start an investigation in exchange for the weapons. The
fact is that the president delivered the weapons without receiving what he had allegedly
bargained for.
We should know by now that President Trump is impulsive; he talks about wanting to get a lot of
things done, but he changes his mind frequently. He expresses ideas to advisers, who inevitably
tell others what the president says, and then changes his mind and does something else, or
nothing. In the case of the alleged effort to obtain political benefits from Ukraine, he didn’t get
them, but is on the verge of being impeached simply for allegedly wanting them.
This is no foundation for the House to vote impeachment, or for serious people — who
understand the terrible precedent such a vote will produce — to stand idly by.

Peter Wallison is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He was White House
counsel in the Reagan administration. His latest book is “Judicial Fortitude: The Last Chance to
Rein the Administrative State.