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I finally understand ‘America First’ and it’s not so bad

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I have always struggled with President Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy. Its historical links to Charles Lindbergh and anti-Semitism bothered me. A year ago, then-candidate Trump’s inability to elucidate a clear set of goals frightened me. And as president, Trump’s foreign policy gaffes and flat-out alienation of some foreign leaders is quite troubling.

In his Warsaw speech, I think we’ve finally seen the outlines of what “America First” really means, and to me, it’s not so bad.

To explain, I have to go back into history, and to the roots of our current Western globalist presuppositions.

Four fantasies

On January 6, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stood before Congress and delivered a speech that reverberates in Washington, D.C., and throughout the country, today. It was called the “Four Freedoms” speech, and in it, FDR outlined “four essential human freedoms.”

They were freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. In a speech, these concepts sound absolutely wonderful. In practice, they are impossible to achieve. That’s because of the most troubling aspect of FDR’s speech: These freedoms were not for America—they were for the whole world.

The first three freedoms were postfaced with the words “—everywhere in the world.” The freedom from fear was defined thusly: “translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.”

These “Four Freedoms” were really four globalist fantasies. Even Roosevelt know they were nothing more than rhetoric. He used them in a speech asking Congress for money to pay for armaments!

In FDR’s speech, patriotism was defined as an act of sacrifice to these world principles. Roosevelt called for more defense dollars, raised from taxes instead of war bonds. “If the Congress maintains these principles the voters, putting patriotism ahead pocketbooks, will give you their applause.”

The world has been applauding ever since. Congress, and the military, addicted to tax dollars, has used the “four freedoms” to fight five wars since World War II. America has become the human rights super-hero of the world, and has been held accountable when we fail to live up to the super-hero status.

President Barack Obama was the pinnacle and embodiment of FDR’s globalist fantasies. Obama bought every word of FDR’s vision. “The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society,” Roosevelt said.

It’s impossible.

The great, unsolvable problem of the “Four Freedoms” is that, in scope, and in the human experience, they cannot be fulfilled. In fact, the attempt to fulfill them will result in one or more of those freedoms being consumed by the others. As an example, the freedom from fear where nations are disarmed would make impossible the protection of the freedom of speech and freedom to worship. Standing against evil is a business that requires arms and force.

Roosevelt knew that once the Nazis were defeated, another great evil or threat would rise up. The UN, as wonderful an idea it was for nations to solve their differences without war, was pie-in-the-sky. Within 4 years, the UN flag would fly over hundreds of thousands of American soldiers fighting Communist Chinese. So much for “freedom from fear.”

But the West ate up the “Four Freedoms” and used it as the basis of European pluralistic society. Meanwhile, America footed the bill for 46 years of standing up to the Soviet Union. In Germany, where paying taxes is considered the highest form of patriotic duty, they still yearn for Roosevelt’s vision. They can’t stand our current president.

America First

Thursday, in Poland, citizens heard and understood a vision that marks a break from FDR and Obama. President Trump illustrated the value of American leadership in a way not seen since Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate.

After Trump’s speech, I believe I understand “America First” as Trump intended it to be understood. It’s an undoing of FDR’s four fantasies, and a restoration of America’s freedoms and our leadership among nations that value those freedoms (not try to sell them like snake-oil).

You see, the U.S. Constitution—and the Declaration of Independence that preceded it—never promised Americans FDR’s “Four Freedoms.” The Constitution barred our government from interfering with free speech and freedom of religion. It never promised that other governments would do the same.

Our founders never promised a freedom from want or fear. Those things are part of being human. Charity and comfort cease to be what they are when the recipients of those virtues claim ownership of the fruit and demand the tree. Instead of war bonds purchased by individuals as a patriotic act of sacrifice, a tax is a burden on all.

The world cannot be sold on buying a Coke and singing in harmony. Religious freedom must be defended. Freedom of expression must be defended. Most nations–even in the West–don’t offer those freedoms to the degree America does. The West has been buying FDR’s four fantasies for so long that they believe “just a little more time” and we will see it happen.

Then Brexit. Then radical Islamic terror. Then Russia destabilizing Ukraine and invading Crimea. Then Syria, then Iran, then North Korea–shall I go on?

I believe Trump sees “America First,” at least the way I see it, is to mean that we will run our country in the way that allows America to help others, but not to guarantee their own freedoms. Those freedoms are for their own citizens to purchase, not demand. The Poles who heard Trump’s speech understood this, having paid a high cost.

“Our citizens did not win freedom together, did not survive horrors together, did not face down evil together, “ Trump said, “only to lose our freedom to a lack of pride and confidence in our values.”

Our freedom. Our values. Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness—on these we stand. Unfortunately, speeches don’t govern, or tweet, or make deals with tyrants. But in principle, I support Trump in what he’s finally managed to elucidate to America and to the world.

If Trump’s “America First” succeeds, FDR’s four globalist fantasies may finally cease to ring. And that’s not such a bad thing after all.

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1 Comment

  1. Thomas Cosgrove

    July 7, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    Stop sending me so many emails. You are overwhelming me.

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Media

Our YouTube channel has launched and it’s so much fun

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Our YouTube channel has launched and its so much fun

Everyone discovers something amazing later than they probably should have. I had a friend who was in his late 30s before he tried an In ‘n Out burger despite living in southern California his whole life. He probably never would have tried it until he hired a former manager at the restaurant chain who said he still eats there weekly despite working there for years. This made my friend curious and he kicked himself for passing up on trying the delicious burgers for decades.

When we first launched NOQ Report last year, one of the guys advising me about it recommended accompanying the articles with videos. He thought if we put together a proper YouTube channel and possibly even a podcast, we could add a totally different dimension and reach a separate audience. I declined for over a year because I was worried it would take too much time.

I was right, but it doesn’t matter. After putting out four videos in three days, I’m hooked.

There’s a completely different mentality when researching a topic for video. I’m forced to be more precise with my words because I can’t simply link out to other references as I can with articles. I have to explain it all, and while I thought it would be an announce, it turns out that it actually makes things easier. I can explain the details of something much more easily by speaking about it than trying to write it or reference others. That’s the beauty of video. It’s more of a direct recording of thoughts when speaking into a microphone instead of typing on a keyboard.

Now that we’re producing videos, we need subscribers. Please head over to our YouTube channel, hit subscribe, and be sure to hit the little bell to receive alerts at well.

Here are the four videos we’ve made so far. Please leave us feedback on how to improve as well as topics you’d like us to cover in the future.

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Immigration

Little if any progress as partial government shutdown looms

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Little if any progress as partial government shutdown looms

WASHINGTON (AP) — The fight over President Donald Trump’s $5 billion wall funds has deepened, threatening a partial government shutdown in a standoff that has become increasingly common in Washington.

It wasn’t always like this, with Congress and the White House at a crisis over government funding. The House and Senate used to pass annual appropriation bills, and the president signed them into law. But in recent years the shutdown scenario has become so routine that it raises the question: Have shutdowns as a negotiating tool lost their punch?

Monday brought few signs of progress. A partial shutdown that could occur at midnight Friday risks disrupting government operations and leaving hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed or working without pay over the holiday season. Costs would be likely in the billions of dollars.

Trump was meeting with his team and getting regular updates, said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Trump was also tweeting Monday to keep up the pressure.

Exiting a Senate Republican leadership meeting late Monday, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said, “It looks like it probably is going to have to build for a few days here before there’s a solution.”

The president is insisting on $5 billion for the wall along the southern border with Mexico, but he does not have the votes from the Republican-led Congress to support it. Democrats are offering to continue funding at current levels, $1.3 billion, not for the wall but for fencing and other border security.

It’s unclear how many House Republicans, with just a few weeks left in the majority before relinquishing power to House Democrats, will even show up midweek for possible votes. Speaker Paul Ryan’s office had no update. Many Republicans say it’s up to Trump and Democrats to cut a deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump talk most days, but the senator’s spokesman would not confirm if they spoke Monday about a plan. McConnell opened the chamber hoping for a “bipartisan collaborative spirit” that would enable Congress to finish its work.

“We need to make a substantial investment in the integrity of our border,” McConnell said. “And we need to close out the year’s appropriation process.”

Meanwhile more than 800,000 government workers are preparing for the uncertainty ahead.

The dispute could affect nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks and forests.

About half the workers would be forced to continue working without immediate pay. Others would be sent home. Congress often approves their pay retroactively, even if they were ordered to stay home.

“Our members are asking how they are supposed to pay for rent, food, and gas if they are required to work without a paycheck,” said a statement from J. David Cox, Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the large federal worker union. “The holiday season makes these inquiries especially heart-wrenching.”

Many agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, are already funded for the year and will continue to operate as usual, regardless of whether Congress and the president reach agreement this week.

Congress already approved funding this year for about 75 percent of the government’s discretionary account for the budget year that began Oct. 1.

The U.S. Postal Service, busy delivering packages for the holiday season, wouldn’t be affected by any government shutdown because it’s an independent agency.

Trump said last week he would be “proud” to have a shutdown to get Congress to approve a $5 billion down payment to fulfill his campaign promise to build a border wall.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico has refused.

Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, in a meeting last week at the White House, suggested keeping funding at its current level, $1.3 billion, for improved fencing. Trump had neither accepted nor rejected the Democrats’ offer, telling them he would take a look.

Schumer said Monday he had yet to hear from Trump. Speaking on the Senate floor, Schumer warned that “going along with the Trump shutdown is a futile act” because House Democrats would quickly approve government funding in January.

“President Trump still doesn’t have a plan to keep the government open,” Schumer said Monday. “No treat or temper tantrum will get the president his wall.”

One option for lawmakers would be to provide stopgap funding for a few weeks, until the new Congress convenes Jan. 3, when Pelosi is poised to become House speaker.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who is in line to become the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, suggested a stopgap bill could be one way to resolve the issue or a longer-term bill that includes money for border security.

GOP leaders, though, were frustrated as the clock ticked away. Leaving the weekly leadership meeting, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said any planning was a “very closely held thing. That’s why we should never let this happen. We should pass the bills the way we’re supposed to pass them.”

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Associated Press writer Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.

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Entertainment and Sports

Missouri poacher ordered to repeatedly watch ‘Bambi’

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Missouri poacher ordered to repeatedly watch Bambi

OZARKS, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri poacher has been ordered to repeatedly watch the movie “Bambi” as part of his sentence in a scheme to illegally kill hundreds of deer.

David Berry Jr. was ordered to watch the Disney classic at least once a month during his year-long jail sentence in what conservation agents have called one of the largest deer poaching cases in state history, the Springfield News-Leader reports .

“The deer were trophy bucks taken illegally, mostly at night, for their heads, leaving the bodies of the deer to waste,” said Don Trotter, the prosecuting attorney in Lawrence County.

Berry, his father, two brothers and another man who helped them had their hunting, fishing and trapping privileges revoked temporarily or permanently. The men have paid a combined $51,000 in fines and court costs — but the judge ordered a special addition to Berry’s sentence for illegally taking wildlife.

Court records show he was ordered by Lawrence County Judge Robert George to “view the Walt Disney movie Bambi, with the first viewing being on or before December 23, 2018, and at least one such viewing each month thereafter” while at the county jail.

Berry was also sentenced to 120 days in jail in nearby Barton County for a firearms probation violation.

His father, David Berry Sr., and his brother, Kyle Berry, were arrested in August after a nearly nine-month investigation that also involved cases in Kansas, Nebraska and Canada. The Missouri Department of Conservation said information from the investigation led to 14 Missouri residents facing more than 230 charges in 11 counties.

Investigators say David Berry Sr.’s other son, Eric Berry, was later caught with another person spotlighting deer, where poachers use light at night to make deer pause and easier to hunt.

The investigation into the Berrys began in late 2015, when the conservation agency received an anonymous tip about deer poaching in Lawrence County.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com

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