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Minor victory for 1st Amendment rights in schools, but a bigger victory was missed

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Minor victory for 1st Amendment rights in schools but a bigger victory was missed

Students do not give up their 1st Amendment rights when they enter the classroom. This truth has been challenged in recent years by forces in society who seem bent on making young Americans as delicate and needy as possible by the time they graduate high school and college.

A lawsuit in Oregon put the 1st Amendment to the test. A student was removed from class and suspended for wearing a pro-border wall t-shirt and refusing to cover it up. The school district ended up settling for $25,000 to cover legal fees and an apology by the principle.

A student was suspended for wearing a border wall shirt. It cost the district $25,000 and an apology.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-student-was-suspended-for-wearing-a-border-wall-shirt-it-cost-the-district-dollar25000-and-an-apology/ar-BBL3Tp5?ocid=spartanntpAddison Barnes, who graduated this year from Liberty High School in Hillsboro, Ore., outside Portland, filed a lawsuit in federal court in May alleging that the school violated his First Amendment rights when it punished him for wearing the shirt to a politics class discussion about immigration. The shirt said “Donald J. Trump Border Wall Construction Co.,” and “The Wall Just Got 10 Feet Taller.”

The controversial shirt was likely intended by both the manufacturer and Barnes to stir up feelings on both sides of the political spectrum. Whether one agrees with the message is irrelevant, though. As an American, he has the right to express his opinions in this way.

The settlement is being heralded as a victory for American rights in general and student rights in particular. We’ll take it. However, it would have been nice if it could have come in the form of a ruling rather than a settlement. Setting specific precedent for use in future cases only happens if a judge makes a ruling.

There will always be cases like these popping up as long as liberals continue their attacks on our freedoms. Unfortunately, it isn’t just the liberals nowadays. For the sake of pressing an agenda, even many conservative lawmakers have been attacking our rights when they get in the way of their master plan (see Patriot Act). It is imperative that every freedom-loving American band together to apply a true federalist approach to governance, just as our founders intended.

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Foreign Affairs

Diplomacy and defense

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Diplomacy and defense

In one sense, diplomacy is our first line of defense. It is always preferable to have diplomats in civilian attire working with their counterparts around the world to not only promote trade but moreover to keep countries away from each other’s throats over ideological differences.

But diplomacy has its limits. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain honestly thought he could talk Adolf Hitler out of the military conquest of Europe. He fell for the Fuehrer’s lies hook, line & sinker.

Barack Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry were equally naïve and gullible in negotiating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Donald Trump made the right decision by scrapping this deal which was just enabling Iran to be able to develop and deploy nukes.

Take a quick look at this official U.S. Department of State list of all former Secretaries of State. How many of them do you recognize?

5 of the first 10 plus number 17 went on to become President of the United States. Hopefully you remember Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, John Quincy Adams and Van Buren.

Buchanan was President during the time that led to the U.S. Civil War. No Secretary of State has since become President. The book is not yet closed on #67 Hillary Clinton, but don’t hold your breath.

It would appear that American diplomats are not held in as high esteem nor does being Secretary of State further their political career since the early days of our Republic. In recent decades, the President of the United States far overshadows his top diplomat.

Carter hosted the Camp David Accords with Begin and Sadat. Reagan challenged Russian dictators directly as in Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall [in Berlin]. Obama orchestrated everything for Hillary and John Kerry. Some have already forgotten Trump’s first Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who didn’t make much of an impression on anybody. Mike Pompeo is more high-profile but is faltering somewhat these days. North Korea doesn’t even want to talk to him anymore.

Even with nation states, it is not possible to always sit down and talk out differences. Heck, Republicans and Democrats can’t even work out differences between the two major U.S. political parties. With that kind of negative example, how should we expect anybody else in the world to respect our diplomacy?

But the biggest failure of diplomacy comes with non-state actors. Pretending to be able to talk to the Taliban is a farce. We couldn’t and shouldn’t negotiate with Al-Qaeda or ISIS. Islamic Sharia law demands world domination and the elimination of all human government and man-made constitutions. What could you possibly find negotiable in that stance?

SRI LANKA

Which brings us to the current tragedy on the teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka, once famous for Ceylon tea. Credible reports are that both the United States and India provided very specific intelligence to Sri Lanka as long ago as April 4th which even gave the names of suspects who would commit multiple Jihad attacks on Easter Sunday targeting primarily Christians.

Just in the last 48 hours, it has become obvious that the Sri Lanka government is totally dysfunctional. The Prime Minister was not informed by intelligence and law-enforcement agencies of the intelligence information received. There is no indication that churches and hotels and the public were aware of the threat. No law enforcement or military presence was in place to prevent the attacks.

I say that to say this. Alaina B. Teplitz is the incumbent Ambassador from the United States to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. U.S. Embassy is located in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. She would hopefully have been privy to the intelligence information about the Easter Sunday threat.

Between her and her Chain of Command through U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo all the way up to President Donald Trump, why did no one speak out to warn U.S. citizens and others of the impending danger so they could take proper precautions, especially on Easter Sunday?

Now a U.S. State Department Sri Lanka Travel Advisory has been issued apparently due to the threat of a second wave of attacks. It is dated April 21st which was Easter Sunday. Whatever time of day it was issued, it would not appear to have reached potential victims in time to avoid churches, hotels and public places on that date. Exactly where one traveling in a foreign country could go for safety is also not clear.

The art of diplomacy involves not offending national leaders and other countries. But I submit that is a less crucial concern than providing for the safety of Americans abroad. If anything was in the media about the threat to Sri Lanka prior to Easter Sunday, many of us who follow world events closely did not see it.

When diplomacy fails as it did in Benghazi and again in Colombo, we need to re-examine our priorities. A lot has been said and written about what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton did or did not do on the night of September 11, 2012 when the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was attacked and four brave Americans died. Neither prevention nor response worked as they should have.

Instead of pursuing the Mueller report ad infinitum and ad nauseam, there should immediately be a very serious investigation into how our diplomatic and intelligence channels failed miserably in Sri Lanka this month of April 2019.

DIPLOMACY VIS-Á-VIS DEFENSE

When diplomatic mechanisms fail, then we must resort to our national defense capabilities. We need to take all steps to ensure that Americans in Sri Lanka who have a good reason to be there are safe if there is a second wave of attacks.

We definitely should have sent the Marines into Benghazi. It’s not time to do that into Colombo just yet. But we need to be prepared to do what has to be done if Americans are targeted. We also need to candidly admit that it is American Christians and Christians from other nationalities who are in the center of the bullseye.

Credible reports indicate that Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri who took over after UBL was killed had not long ago declared that A-Q would be looking eastward toward the Indian Subcontinent. As ISIS loses its territorial Caliphate in Iraq and Syria, terrorists will be dispersed into other vulnerable areas.

The dysfunctional Sri Lankan government is particularly vulnerable. It is noteworthy that the majority in the island nation are Buddhist Sinhalese. Islam targets not only Christians and Jews but all non-Muslims of every faith.

United States has to be prepared for further attacks throughout Asia. ISIS was instrumental in the siege of Marawi City in the Philippines.

IRAN

We must not be misled by disingenuous statements by Iranian “diplomats” condemning the Sri Lanka attacks. Iran has long harbored Al-Qaeda. While they found ISIS a competitor for hegemony in the Middle East, mutual hatred for non-Muslims is a far stronger motivating factor than the schism between Shia and Sunni Muslims for domination in the Islamic world. They are both willing and capable to cooperate and work together against the mutual enemy.

The United States Department of State and Department of Defense need to be on the same wavelength. When diplomats succeed, then military conflicts can be precluded. But nothing Neville Chamberlain could have done with Adolf Hitler would have prevented World War II. Frankly, nothing Mike Pompeo does with KJU will dissuade the North Korean madman from doing whatever he thinks he can get away with.

CHINA

Likewise, when our Secretary of State left Hanoi after the Circus Summit between Trump and Kim, he stopped over in Manila to assure Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that the United States has his back in dealing with China in the conflict in the Spratly Islands.

To say that the current Philippine President is unorthodox and undiplomatic, while true, would obscure the fact that he is at least a realist. He knows the tiny Philippines cannot go to war with a mega-power like China.

But right now he has a dilemma to sort out. Was Mike Pompeo just being a diplomat and saying what diplomats say, or would the United States really confront China militarily when Beijing occupies islands long claimed by the Philippines?

One thing is certain. Trump response will be exponentially greater than the Obama response would have been. But nobody is going to risk global nuclear war over a few specks of land in the South China Sea. Not even for the Philippines which is our closest ally in Asia and was our only long-term colony in the region.

That’s why rather irresponsible statements like saying Washington has Manila’s back against Beijing can lead to unanticipated and undesirable consequences. If such things are said at all, they should be behind closed doors and not made public.

So what is the United States doing to deter China’s worldwide ambitions for economic and military influence, if not outright control? China’s debt trap diplomacy is now moving beyond the Pacific Basin into Scandinavia and the Baltics as Beijing offers to finance an undersea tunnel between Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia.

U.S. COAST GUARD

Well for one thing, oddly enough, the U.S. Coast Guard which is part of the Department of Homeland Security now has Coast Guard Cutters in the Western Pacific reporting to the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet, showing up in places like the Taiwan Strait.

South China Morning Post, April 21, 2019, ‘Oversubscribed’ US Navy leans more on coastguard to help counter China

“The coastguard brings some authorities below the threshold of war. We’re US warships, but we look different, with a white hull and an orange stripe.”

While keeping a wary eye on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, United States resources at this point must focus primarily on both the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran. But, those are just the nation states that we must contend with.

TERRORISTS

It’s a lot trickier to deal with non-state actors such as Al-Qaeda, ISIS and an indigenous group from southern India and Sri Lanka that is thought to be responsible for the Easter Sunday Massacre. Our diplomats and other personnel assigned at our embassies abroad need to do their jobs. That obviously would include CIA Station Chiefs under whatever may be their diplomatic cover.

It is significant that the former United States Pacific Command not long ago rebranded itself the Indo-Pacific Command. This was obviously in recognition of the expanding role of the United States military along with the interconnectivity between the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean and the countries around them.

Now, along with U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Defense, the Trump Administration is superimposing U.S. Department of Homeland Security into the picture. New Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenen has his work cut out for him in overseeing the U.S. Coast Guard role in joint patrols with the U.S. Navy to counteract China’s influence.

Oh, yes, plus that other little matter of securing our border with Mexico at the same time. All the while, the U.S. Coast Guard will be hard-pressed to continue drug interdiction patrols in the Eastern Pacific and Latin America as they also shadow China at the behest of the U.S. Navy.

Remember that Coast Guard also does search and rescue missions for boaters in trouble, plus deals with oil spills and water pollution and myriad other non-warfighting duties. It remains to be seen whether using the Coast Guard to augment the Navy is a stroke of genius or whether it is just spreading our resources too thinly.

WHERE THE BUCK STOPS

It all really comes down to the guy at the top and his key advisers. Donald Trump undoubtedly appreciates the requirements of national security far better than his predecessor. So that’s why it’s crucial that he recruit and maintain the right advisers.

John Bolton obviously has the President’s ear. He is more knowledgeable and trustworthy to offer good advice than is Mike Pompeo. Kevin McAleenan would be an excellent choice to be nominated as permanent Secretary of DHS. The President should respectfully consider his recommendations for enforcement posture.

SECOND BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT

Members of Congress need to get their act together. The considerations we’ve been discussing here will have a much greater impact upon the future of our country than anything related to the Mueller report.

Remember, Senators and Representatives, you hold the purse strings to this government. Ponder that when you put your head on your pillow tonight. Cut out the cable talk shows and news conferences. By all means, tweet a whole lot less! Go back to Capitol Hill and do what we sent you there to do. Legislate rather than pontificate!

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Democrats

Stop underestimating the ignorance and gullibility of the left

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Stop underestimating the ignorance and gullibility of the left

As a conservative, I can break down the left vs. right paradigm by using two edited axioms. For the left, it’s “If at first you don’t succeed, double down and make it even worse.” For the right, it’s, “If it ain’t broke, do everything to keep the left from trying to fix it.”

I’m sure my friends on the left (few, but present) would disagree. I do what I can to keep never completely alienate my progressive friends because I need them to help me understand why they react certain ways to different people, ideas, and circumstances. For example, a cordial conversation I had with a former Bernie supporter the other day revealed to me she still likes him, but she’s much more excited about Beto O’Rourke and Elizabeth Warren. I asked her opinion of Pete Buttigieg. She knew nothing about him.

Yesterday, she told me she was all in for Buttigieg. I asked why. She said he seemed more genuine than Beto and a better campaign strategist than Pocahontas (her choice of nicknames).

That’s the state of affairs in the Democratic Party. Every candidate has their share of faithful followers, but outside of Sanders and possibly O’Rourke, the game is wide open for most Democratic voters. They move their preferences up and down, left and right just as Republicans did during the early days of the 2016 primary season. In that regard, the left and right aren’t very different. At this stage, a lot of the popularity of the candidates will be based solely on personality. People like who they like and as long as they check the right ideological boxes, the early days are nothing more than a personality contest.

This is why every candidate is picking and choosing their policies to promote as well as the policies to avoid. You can tell when a candidate believes in a more moderate approach to handle any issue when they’re not willing to say much about it. When they’re radical on an issue, they blast it out there. This is the part that scares me.

Those who were paying attention in the late months of 2014 and the early months of 2015 know something that would probably shock most voters today. There was a topic the GOP wanted to avoid altogether. Strategists said not to bring it up. Analysts said it was a losing issue. Then, Donald Trump announced his intention to run and suddenly the taboo topic was front-and-center. That’s right, before Trump entered the race and gave his famous speech about deporting Mexicans, the GOP consensus stated that immigration was a topic to be avoided through the primaries and possibly onto the general election.

It’s important to understand this because it demonstrates very clearly how election season, especially primary season, sets the stage for not only the topics that will be discussed but also the way the country will be governed based on which side wins. It concerns me greatly that the topics being discussed by the Democrats today are Medicare-for-All, Green New Deal, reparations, higher minimum wages, eliminating student debt, and socialism in general. The presence of these radical ideas in the early days of the primary season tells us these are the topics that will be driven home by the eventual winner of the Democratic nominee.

If the Democrat then wins, they’ll be expected to start implementing these ideas just as President Trump was expected to repeal Obamacare and build the wall. He ran on those ideas, so he’s expected to deliver.

Republicans might think, “Bring it on.” I hear about it when talking to GOP strategists. I see it in the bluster of keyboard pundits on Twitter. I even see it in the posts and statements by the GOP itself. Most are licking their chops at the opportunity to take on these radical progressive ideas. Unfortunately, they’re not doing it right, and by “they” I mean I’ve seen a tiny handful who are even taking it seriously.

What we’re seeing instead is the complacency that goes with underestimating the ignorance and gullibility of the left as well as the malleability of the center. That friend who now supports Buttigieg happens to be a nurse and happens to adore the ideas of both the Green New Deal and especially Medicare-for-All. When one of my other friends (who happens to be a more moderate leftist) asked her the standard question of how they’re going to pay for it, the new Buttigieg fan said, “The rich will pay for it.”

I started to rain on her parade with actual numbers, but stopped immediately. This wasn’t the time to debate anything, let alone the idiocy of believing only the rich would be dramatically effected by such dramatic increases in the budget. After all, I need to keep some progressive friends around and this particular one would never have spoken about politics with me again if I shared the truth with her. I let it go.

It’s anecdotal, but I have a very strong feeling this thinking is common and growing more prevalent every day. After all, this wasn’t a random reasoning. This is what they’re saying among the hyper-leftists in the Democratic Party. It seems every candidate has a variation of the “hose the rich” plan. They know very clearly that the numbers are far too large for the average American to stop and think about. There are sheep on both sides of the political aisle, but the numbers are going up dramatically on the left thanks to the sudden total disregard for fiscal responsibility that is now Kosher to the new Democrats.

And the people will follow. They won’t challenge them. They won’t question them. They won’t do the math. They’ll nod their heads in unison as these candidates promise exponentially more than Bill Clinton or Barack Obama ever had the gall to promise.

The fact that these socialistic ideas absolutely, positively cannot work will be ignored by the candidates and over the heads of the leftist voters. I’m not saying they’re stupid. Many are quite bright. But anyone who believes socialism has any chance of success is willfully ignorant to the facts and gullible to the progressive sales pitch.

It is incumbent on conservatives to do everything we can to educate the population. If you’re as cynical as me, you’ll probably think it’s a nearly impossible task. If you’re as worried as me, you’ll know there’s nothing else we can do but try.

What we MUST NOT do is take jabs at the ideologies and policy proposals with an assumption the voters will get the jokes. Here’s Tweet tonight from the GOP:

As Tweets go, this one is horrible. Imagine a leftist or even a centrist leaning towards Medicare-for-All reading this. Government takeover of the healthcare system, single-payer, and elimination of private health insurance – to someone who doesn’t understand the numbers, this might seem like the GOP is endorsing Buttigieg because none of the negatives they pointed out are negatives in the minds of most leftists.

But it’s worse than that. This Tweet nor anything I’ve seen from the GOP so far on Twitter or elsewhere does anything to teach Republican voters how to counter arguments in favor of Medicare-for-All. Zero. The next election is going to be won or lost based on whether the GOP can demonstrate these “new” ideas are bad. And it won’t just be the candidates and pundits who need to do this. The voters themselves need to be able to make a solid case for why any one of these ideas are horrible.

The GOP needs to step up its game and attack the horrible leftist policy proposals with facts. Right now, it seems like they assume most Americans believe socialism is bad. Come election day, that may not be the case if the GOP doesn’t fix their messaging.

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Culture and Religion

Not even close: Socialism isn’t about social media, being social or ‘sharing’

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Not even close Socialism isnt about social media being social or sharing

Leftists would like their label for organised evil to mean something other than subjugation and mass murder.

We tend to avoid making light of America’s favourite socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [aka ‘AOC’] from the rationale that when someone is making a mistake it’s best to just get out of their way. However in this case, this is not about the women whose antics will cause her ideology of organised evil to be laughed from the pantheon of practical governmental forms. This is about an adorable 8-year-old and perfect her impression of Ms. Cortez, specifically the point that socialism isn’t about being ‘social’, ‘social media’ or ‘sharing’.

For those who haven’t seen this viral video, it’s a perfect rendition of ‘AOC’ and her ruminations on climate change and socialism.

In light of this adorable impression, we will take this occasion to eviscerate what seems to be a very odd understanding of some basic words on the part of the National Socialist-Left.

Socialism is not about being ‘social’

No doubt this partially arose from certain elements who like to weaponize words to maximum effect. First principles hold that politics can be considered to be of the two basic forms: Individualism or Collectivism. With priority given to either the Individual or the collective.

Liberals, Conservatives and Libertarians favour the rights and freedoms of the Individual. Certain civil Liberties such as the common sense human right of self-defence stems from this first principle.
Even though it may at first blush seem counterintuitive, the individual striving to improve themselves and their lot always tends to do the same for everyone else. As stated in The Wealth of Nations:

‘It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our necessities but of their advantages.’ – Adam Smith

Conversely speaking, Collectivism is the other basic form whereby the group is favoured over the Individual. In point of fact, since a group is merely an arbitrary aggregation of individuals with no true form, the result is that it cannot have any true civil Liberties. This is exemplified by the treatment of the common sense human right of self-defence. Whereby the principle ‘collective’ rights is applied, meaning there is no Liberty in this regard.

Individualism is vastly superior to Collectivism

Collectivists like to phrase their construct of one of the labels of their base ideology as simply adding the suffix ‘ism’ to their idea of ‘social’ or group dynamics to make ‘social+ism’. Even though this word has come to signify the worst excesses in authoritarianism.

The problem is that when the ‘rights’ of group are prioritized, the rights of the individual disappear. Despite the window dressing of supposedly being ‘Liberal’, the Collectivist-Left only sees the group as having importance. Individuals become disposable to the whims of the collective. This is how the Left terms idea of self-defence as unimportant and how they end up will millions of dead individuals.

Socialism is not about ‘sharing’

Despite being extremely late to the party of collectivist ideological thought, Karl Marx did imbue one of the lines that epitomises it’s base principles with the saying: ‘From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.’

Sharing has to be a voluntary process. Such is not the case with socialism where that ‘From each according to his abilities’ is done at the point of a gun. This is why the Collectivist-Left obsesses over the disarming of individuals with Liberty control aka ‘Gun Reform’.

The Takeaway

Leftists love to exploit the language to hide their true base ideological intent. This is why they use words like ‘socialism’ or ‘Liberal’. They cannot be honest about what they truly want: control over everyone.

Thus, they have to pretend that ‘socialism’ means being social or sharing instead of an ideology that is truly organised evil at its core.

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