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Where is the international outcry as Saudi Arabia appears to hold Lebanon’s Prime Minister captive?

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Where is the international outcry as Saudi Arabia appears to hold Lebanons Prime Minister captive

In Saudi Arabia, whatever the crown says is accepted as truth. Because of their influence over much of the world, the House of Saud has nearly the same forced credibility internationally. They’re putting that credibility to the test by allegedly forcing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to resign.

An exclusive report from Reuters paints a pretty strong case against Saudi Arabia’s claims that they’re not interfering with Lebanese politics and that Hariri is free to go whenever he chooses:

Exclusive: How Saudi Arabia turned on Lebanon’s Hariri

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lebanon-politics-hariri-exclusive/exclusive-how-saudi-arabia-turned-on-lebanons-hariri-idUSKBN1DB0QLThere was no line-up of Saudi princes or ministry officials, as would typically greet a prime minister on an official visit to King Salman, senior sources close to Hariri and top Lebanese political and security officials said. His phone was confiscated, and the next day he was forced to resign as prime minister in a statement broadcast by a Saudi-owned TV channel.

The move thrust Lebanon back to the forefront of a struggle that is reshaping the Middle East, between the conservative Sunni monarchy of Saudi Arabia and Shi‘ite revolutionary Iran.

No other nation, not even the United States, could fly in another world leader, hold them captive, and write up a resignation letter for them to read on television without a dramatic international outcry. Where is the outcry against Saudi Arabia? Why isn’t this being publicly condemned by anyone other than Lebanon and Iran?

The U.S. response has been soft. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged “caution” in how Saudi Arabia handles Lebanon. Caution? They’re being accused of kidnapping a world leader and forcing his resignation. How can “caution” at this stage change anything?

At the heart of the problem is that America backs Saudi Arabia unquestionably. Ever since President Trump took office, he has made it clear that King Salman and his successor, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have his full support. The U.S. shares the Saudis’ opposition to Iran and Hezbollah, so they’ve essentially been given a free pass to handle the Middle East situation as they see fit… even if that means holding a world leader captive.

U.S. signals caution to Saudis despite shared concern about Iran

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-saudi-iran/u-s-signals-caution-to-saudis-despite-shared-concern-about-iran-idUSKBN1DB0TY?il=0The Trump administration, which shares Saudi Arabia’s view of Iran as a regional menace, has strongly backed the Kingdom in the wake of a failed missile attack from Iran-aligned forces in Yemeni territory that demonstrated an ability to strike the Saudi capital.

Trump has cultivated much warmer ties with the Saudis after a fraught relationship with the Obama administration – the president made Riyadh his first stop on his maiden international trip – and has vowed to take strong action to confront Iran. Nevertheless, Washington, which has U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq, is telegraphing a more tempered stance toward the confrontation in a region beset with turmoil.

Don’t read too much into the headline. These signals of caution hold no weight. The State Department is wiping its hands clean in case the Saudis get even more aggressive while the President enjoys cheering them on through Twitter. He even went so far as to practically endorse the strange and troubling actions last week when Crown Prince Mohammed purged many Saudi leaders.

This entire situation smells nasty. Saudi Arabia is acting like a nation with no accountability for its actions and most of the world is pretending not to see what’s going on here. Their opposition to Iran and Hezbollah cannot be treated as a “Get Out of Jail Free” card whenever they choose to commit crimes.

Carl is a gaming fanatic, forever stuck on Reddit and all-around lover of food. He writes about food, politics, and cars for several publications and lives in northern California.

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Media

Jim Acosta is building his own celebrity, not seeking the truth

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Jim Acosta is building his own celebrity not seeking the truth

The press shouldn’t be part of the news. It happens from time to time based upon proximity; because they have to be close to situations, they occasionally get drawn in. What a good journalist should never do is intentionally insert himself into the news, but that seems to be exactly what CNN’s Jim Acosta is doing.

He doesn’t care about reporting. It’s as if he now enjoys being the news. That’s the only logical conclusion one can come up with when viewing his actions over the past several months. Once an obscure media figure during the Obama era, Acosta has found true celebrity status by going after the President and his staff.

He tasted blood and he liked it. Now, it seems he’s addicted to it.

The latest “outburst” against him came from the President himself. It happened during an event with the President of Kazakhstan in which Acosta asked an unrelated question:

‘OUT!’ Trump orders CNN star Jim Acosta to leave Oval Office after reporter’s newest outburst

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2018/01/16/out-trump-orders-cnn-star-jim-acosta-to-leave-oval-office-after-reporter-s-newest-outburst.html“Did you say that you want more people to come in from Norway? Did you say that you wanted more people from Norway? Is that true Mr. President?” Acosta frantically shouted.

“I want them to come in from everywhere… everywhere. Thank you very much everybody,” Trump responded as Acosta continued to bark questions.

That’s all acceptable, albeit slightly inappropriate considering the reason for the event. Acosta took it up several notches with his followup question:

“Just Caucasian or white countries, sir? Or do you want people to come in from other parts of the world… people of color.”

This was intended to insert himself into the news once again. It’s a ridiculous question to ask and embarrassed the President and the nation on an international stage. “Journalists” like Acosta are willing to harm the country and its people as long as they can harm the President at the same time.

I’ve treated the President fairly since he was elected. When he pushes a big-government agenda, I voice my concerns. When he does well, I give praise. I would never attempt to shame him (and the nation as a result) with petulant outbursts of absurd questions. Jim Acosta apparently doesn’t hold such standards.

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Foreign Affairs

With ISIS defeated, it’s time to bring the troops home

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With ISIS defeated its time to bring the troops home

In the lead up to the 2016 presidential election, much was made of the threat of ISIS.  Wild threats abounded as candidates fought each other over who would come down harder on the then-thriving Islamic State.

Sen. Ted Cruz threatened to “carpet bomb (ISIS) into oblivion”.

Now-President Trump promised to “bomb the (expletive) out of ‘em.”

Former Secretary of State and presidential participation trophy winner Hillary Clinton added the possibility of war with Russia by insisting on a no-fly zone over Syria.

And who could forget neocon mascot Senators Rick Santorum and Lindsey Graham engaging in what amounted to a bidding war over who would dump more American ground troops into the Middle East?

But since the Trump administration clunked into gear a year ago, news about ISIS has grown more and more sparse, with the latest revelation buried under coverage of the President’s latest Twitter meltdown:

ISIS is gone.

Over the course of the last year, ISIS has been destroyed by increased airstrikes, and coalition armies have systematically liberated ISIS-held territory across Iraq, to the point that both the Iraqi and Iranian governments have declared victory over the self-appointed caliphate.

Of course this is wonderful news for Iraqis, Iranians, Kurds, and everyone else oppressed by the brutal black-flagged regime.

But will it mean good news for American families?

Out of 1.3 million active US military personnel, about 450,000 are deployed overseas.  That’s right – nearly half a million Americans are deployed at over 600 bases in at least 130 different countries, at a time when we have exactly zero declared wars.

When are they coming home?

The victory over ISIS, while encouraging, doesn’t remotely put the War on Terror to bed.  Aside from the thousands of soldiers still fighting America’s longest war in Afghanistan and mopping up ISIS in Iraq and Syria, we have hundreds of even thousands of American troops in places like Norway and Poland, and a large Air Force presence in Somalia.  

The last time the United States actually fought a Congressionally-declared war was in WWII, and that’s important because in the absence of a congressional declaration, we have slowly built up a perpetual military presence around the world, with no end in sight.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

The Constitution vested the power to declare war with Congress alone, so that the people’s representatives would get a say in our decision to send Americans to die. A quick review of the last sixty years will show that, as Congress has deferred that power to the President via authorizations for use of military force (AUMFs), conflicts have started more frequently and dragged on much longer, with no defined scope or condition of victory.  As I pointed out in a recent column about Presidential Emergency Powers, ceaseless foreign conflicts and undefined potential threats have removed virtually all accountability from executive power. If the President wants a war, the President gets a war – Congress be damned.

As much as we have been conditioned to accept the presupposition that a persistent, global American military presence is necessary for our security, that’s really not the case at all. President Eisenhower’s famous warning about the “military-industrial complex” has been largely unheeded, and it’s undeniable at this point that there are a lot of folks in both the public and private sectors who profit, either directly or indirectly, from the massive and perpetual show of American force. That profit is at least part of the reason that the United States currently spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined, nearly three times the second-place nation on the list, China.

But the $610 billion we spend for defense each year pales in comparison to the cost in human life and limb precipitated by our consistent propensity for foreign adventurism.  Since 2001, 6,930 Americans have died fighting the War on Terror, and over 52,566 have been wounded.

And that’s without factoring in the tragic epidemic of veteran suicide.

Outside the states, the death toll has been exponentially greater, with estimates ranging between one and two million dead in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan alone.

The longer a war drags on, the greater the danger that these numbers will become mere statistics, and that’s why the defeat of ISIS presents a great opportunity to change course on our reckless foreign policy. With the rise of antiwar sentiment on the conservatarian right and its slow integration into the pro-life movement there should be plenty of common ground and political will to draw down our foreign involvement.

It’s time to take advantage of the opportunity to bring our people home, before more Americans come home in body bags.

____________________________________________________________

 Article originally published in the Des Moines Register.

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Culture and Religion

Kevin Swanson: Christian persecution is a good thing

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Kevin Swanson Christian persecution is a good thing

On the January 5, 2018, Generations podcast, Kevin Swanson points to the recent Oregon Court of Appeals ruling in favor of a lesbian couple who were emotionally distraught that Sweet Cakes By Melissa would not honor their same-sex wedding by making them a wedding cake. As a means of business transaction, the state of Oregon basically told its citizens that they must enter a private contract with certain parties just because they happen to be gay and want them to honor their marriage or anything LGBTQ related because they have “rights.” If someone wants to honor God’s Law and God’s Holy Word, you should not have the power to force them to sin against God which the state wants many Christians to do. The LGBTQ jihad have successfully destroyed a family-run business in Oregon.

As we all know, Christian persecution is nothing new but especially in America. It just seems to be magnified thanks to the LGBTQ/Rainbow Jhaid being the progressives ‘imperial stormtroopers.’ Swanson points out the times in which Samuel Worcester (who sided with the Cherokee Indians who did not want to abandon their lands thanks to President Andrew Jackson who wanted the lands to mine for gold and helped usher in “The Trail of Tears.” Lest we forget that Jackson used blacks as slaves and as his own prostitutes), Everett Siliven (a Nebraska Baptist pastor who had to shut down his church-run private school for children because it was not “licensed” by the state), and Randy Alcorn (a pastor sued by Planned Parenthood for “transpassing on their property” because they wanted to encourage women not to murder their unborn babies) lived in the persecution they had to deal with.

They may be footnotes in history, but they really should not be. It is the testimony of how the State wants to take God’s place in this world, and do whatever it wants regardless of who it harms for their respected personal gains. Compared to what? Jackson and company getting rich at the expense of displacing Native Americans? Giving up Christian education because you’re not licensed by the state and sending children to the government-run monopoly to become the next useful idiots for the pagans that rule the world? Or being able to murder pre-born babies so you need not worry about the procreation part of sexual relations?

Christians can’t be cowards in any day and age. If we don’t stand for God, then the pagans would have then and now scored victories against God and his Holy Law, in their attempts to break free of God himself and earn salvation on their own. Many people have died for the faith and they have been allowed by the Grace of God to be remembered. Other people have come to Jesus because of the people that gave their lives and freedoms for the Lord. In that sense, persecution is a good thing.

Reference

Inevitable Persecution for U.S. Christians

https://www.generations.org/programs/836The family bakery in Oregon lost their appeal, and now they are forced to surrender $135,000 to a lesbian couple for not supporting their wedding. Christians who believe even the most rudimentary Christian truths have fallen into the very slim minority, and are persecuted as such.  We go through the history of Christian persecution in the United States from Samuel Worcester in the 1830s to Everett Siliven, Randy Alcorn, and other familiar names of those who have suffered for the faith.

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