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Denver Riggleman: Representing Washington’s next-door neighbor, Virginia

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Denver Riggleman Representing Washingtons next-door neighbor Virginia

“For me, it’s a natural fit—to support Israel in just about everything. I believe that they’re so important in that region.”

 Editor’s Note: A number of incoming members of Congress, including those in the upcoming Democratic House majority, will bring new faces to the Jewish and pro-Israel community. JNS will introduce some of these elected legislators as part of its “Meet the Newbie” series.

Denver Riggleman, a Republican, won the race with in Virginia’s 5th congressional district to replace the retiring Republican Tom Garrett on Nov. 6 by defeating anti-Israel Democrat Leslie Cockburn, who “galvanized the pro-Israel community to raise around $1 million for the Riggleman campaign,” a source in the pro-Israel community previously told JNS. This is significant because he fundraised a little more than $1.4 million overall, while his opponent raised some $2.7 million.

Cockburn and her husband Andrew’s book, Dangerous Liaisons: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship, “is largely dedicated to Israel-bashing for its own sake. Its first message is that, win or lose, smart or dumb, right or wrong, suave or boorish, Israelis are a menace. The second is that the Israeli-American connection is somewhere behind just about everything that ails us,” according to a New York Times review.

The Republican Jewish Coalition played a major role in that alongside the Riggleman campaign being one of the largest recipients from the RJC board of directors and leadership committee, between $500,000 and $600,000 was raised for Riggleman by a “loose functional of pro-Israel donors,” with Cockburn’s anti-Israel past a major factor, according to RJC spokesperson Neil Strauss.

JNS talked with Riggleman by phone. The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Q: You won the race against someone who wrote a book demonizing the relationship between the United States and Israel. Additionally, the pro-Israel community stepped up in a big way for your campaign especially in terms of fundraising. What’s your overall stance on the U.S.-Israel relationship?

A: It’s actually unbelievable the support I had from the pro-Israel, pro-Jewish community. I think a lot of it had to do with my background.

I was in Israel during the bus bombings in 1996. I was Air Force enlisted, at the age of 26. When I saw the strength of the Jewish people there, when I saw what they were going through, it gave me a new appreciation for some of the challenges in that area. When I went into Air Force intelligence, it was sort of immediate that there was that support for Israel based on my background in military technologies and in foreign policy.

For me, it’s a natural fit—to support Israel in just about everything. I believe that they’re so important in that region.

Q: What’s your reaction to some of the anti-Israel verbiage coming from incoming Democrats Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who are decidedly on the far-left spectrum of the Democratic Party?

A: It seems like that’s the movement of the Democratic Party and for progressives at this point. My opponent, based on what she wrote, it just seems ridiculous to have those types of views toward Israel.

Q: What is your stance on BDS?

A: Not a big fan. Completely against that; it’s ridiculous.

Airbnb’s announcement last week it would not allow its listings in Judea and Samaria is just ludicrous. I probably could use a harsher term, but it’s just ludicrous.

Q: What is your position in terms of funding for Israel’s military, especially in the aftermath of last week’s Israel-Hamas conflict, in which more than 450 rockets were launched at southern Israel by Hamas in Gaza?

A: I think just based on the last National Defense Authorization Act, we need to continue to have that relationship with Israel, especially with technology transfer. That has been my expertise on and off for the last 26 years; that also [works in] building quick-reaction capabilities. With me in office, there isn’t going to be any difference in going forward to make sure Israel is funded with what they need to do and to help in any way necessary for Israel.

Q: There have been Democrats, such as Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum, who have called for defunding U.S. taxpayer dollars towards Israel’s military, and even on the Republican side, such as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who has called for decreasing assistance to Israel over time. What are your thoughts on these positions?

A: The assistance has to be comparable to what we do with Israel, so it’s something that I support, to continue funding for Israel with at least the current levels.

Q: What is your view on American funding for the Palestinian Authority?

A: The Palestinian Authority has some issues and challenges that we need to address. But as far as funding for them, that’s not something I would support.

Q: What are your sentiments on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal?

A: Not a fan. I’m happy that U.S. President [Donald] Trump withdrew the United States from it.

I’ve dealt with terrorism based on what I’ve done in the counterterrorism field. Knowing that some of those funds that went to Iran could be used for actual activities involving terrorism or activities across the world that are detrimental to the U.S. and Israel, I believe President Trump made the right move.

Q: Do you support the reimposition of sanctions on Iran? 

A: Yes.

Q: Even with the waivers issued for eight countries, such as Turkey, over importing Iranian oil?

A: If we’re going to have sanctions on Iran, it’s pretty hard to execute with waivers in place. I would say, initially, I would be against any waivers on sanctions specifically.

Q: How would you respond to the argument that these waivers allow for the price of oil to stay relatively low?

A: Relatively low for whom? If we look at energy production across the world, my guess is that we have other allies that can increase production, or we can do other things for supply and demand.

Q: What allies specifically?

A: When you’re looking at, sadly, some of our allies are having issues, like Saudi Arabia. There are other places around the world that we can tap into when you look at production, and even in South America, but also in the United States. If there’s something that happens where we have to look at waivers based on the world economy as it stands, then that’s something I’d have to research because I haven’t looked into that specifically. But right now, initially, you can’t have sanctions with waivers. It defeats the purpose.

Q: Would you be for importing oil from Saudi Arabia even in the aftermath of the Jamal Khashoggi killing?

A: Tough decisions need to be made by the United States, and it’s something I need to look at. I’d like to see what happens first with the Khashoggi affair, to see who’s been identified specifically. I’d like to see more on that. It’s a tough decision we’d have to discuss and make.

Q: And would you say that it’s tough decision if the United States can rely on Saudi Arabia to combat Iran?

A: It is. You look at the activities going on in Yemen. Based on what I know, if Saudi Arabia was complicit all the way to the top in the Khashoggi affair, we’d have to look at not only sanctions, but also stopping weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. We have to come to a point where there’s a moral compass for the country. It’s an interesting question. I’d have to look more into this as we go forward.

Q: What’s your reaction to America moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, along with recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital?

A: I support that completely. Some of these questions are easy; some aren’t. I would reject moving it back out of Jerusalem.

Q: What is your reaction to national and international anti-Semitism, especially in the United Kingdom with the rise of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn?

A: We need to identify who those actors are, and we need to stop them as soon as possible.

Q: How do we stop those actors?

A: For me, it’s about law enforcement. But it’s also about education. You look at some of these activities … I was at this religious freedom conference [last week]. If someone does something like that, I think the punishment needs to fit the crime. We need to ensure, based on our investigative technologies, that we identify who is doing this type of behavior and squash it before it comes to a head. And a lot has to do with identifying these bad actors, perhaps through domestic-terrorism entities, which is something I’ve done throughout my career.

Q: Do you have any specific plans in Congress regarding the U.S.-Israel relationship? For example, the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act would require the Department of Education to adopt the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism in evaluating such incidents on college campuses and at other educational institutions.

A: If we need to change those definitions to ensure that people understand what anti-Semitism is, I’m all for it. I just find it amazing that kind of behavior is in the U.S., and anything we can do to stomp that out, we need to do. And that goes for all religious groups. It’s something that’s near and dear to my heart based on what I’ve done in my military career. What I’ve fought for here in the U.S. and what I’ve fought for in other countries, I think we need to have that same type of tolerance for everyone.

For example, I came out with an op-ed in response to what happened in Charlottesville, Va., last year. The alt-right is not a big fan of me based on my positions. It’s something we need to stomp out. But any type of activity, whether it’s white supremacy or this sort of white nationalist movement is something that we need to keep an eye on. I believe the alt-right is the scum of the earth.

Q: What else should readers know about you?

A: I own a distillery in Virginia, and I am also just leaving being a senior consultant at the Pentagon for electronic warfare and counter-measures, so I have a lot of experience in not only building businesses, but also in supporting the military. Hopefully, I can use my background in what I’ve done with my life and living the American dream to be a great congressman for the fifth district, and to thank the Jewish community and the pro-Israel community for all the assistance because I would not be here without them. And that is the truth.

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Democrats

Even Tulsi Gabbard thinks Kamala Harris is unqualified to be president

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Even Tulsi Gabbard thinks Kamala Harris is unqualified to be president

Representative Tulsi Gabbard has a lot of poor policies in her playbook that she would unleash if elected president. Moreover, she is missing important experiences both in life and politics that one might expect from a Commander-in-Chief. But one thing she has experience in that she can hang her hat on is foreign relations. A few of her ideas on the subject are quite Libertarian, if not somewhat conservative.

One candidate who has no foreign policy experience is Senator Kamala Harris, and Gabbard let everyone know just how little the top tier candidate actually knows about the geopolitical atmosphere today. It’s one of the few attacks being leveled on or by someone other that Vice President Joe Biden.

“I think one of the things I’m most concerned with is Kamala Harris is not qualified to serve as commander in chief, and I can say this from a personal perspective as a soldier,” Gabbard said. “She’s got no background or experience in foreign policy and she lacks the temperament that is necessary for a commander in chief.”

Gabbard: ‘Kamala Harris is Not Qualified to Serve as Commander in Chief’

Gabbard frequently criticizes America’s foreign policy.

In a May fundraising email, Gabbard blasted a Daily Beast article for stirring “up hysteria that makes it easier to push our country into war.” A February email warned that “our freedoms and democracy are being threatened by media giants ruled by corporate interests who are in the pocket of the establishment war machine.”

Left-wing publications such as the Nation and Jacobin have criticized Gabbard. The Daily Kos hit Gabbard for meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and developing ties with Hindu nationalists in a piece which endorsed her Democratic primary opponent in her congressional race.

Having a strong foreign policy has been a hallmark of President Trump’s. He reversed many of the poor decisions made by his predecessor. Now, he’s fighting for another term to keep proper foreign policy in the Oval Office.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Democrats

Justice Democrats vs. DNC: Group behind AOC looks to shake up the Democratic Party

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Justice Democrats vs DNC Group behind AOC looks to shake up the Democratic Party

Are they unified or are they at odds? The Justice Democrats and the Establishment Democrats are still at odds despite being temporarily unified by President Trump’s “racist” Tweet recently. It doesn’t matter how much the Establishment Democrats like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi defends them. They don’t like here and will do everything they can to subvert her power.

But little is known about the Justice Democrats, not because the information isn’t out there but because legacy media refuses to give them much attention. In many ways, they’re worried that if too much attention is given to the radical progressives, it will harm the party as a whole in the upcoming 2020 election. So the media is stuck between a rock and a hard place – supporting the people they like without allowing those people to harm the party they like. It’s a conundrum all Democrats are going to have to face soon as establishment-backed candidates like Joe Biden take on hyper-leftists like Elizabeth Warren.

One America News did a nice job of talking about the Justice Democrats and the direction they’re headed within the party itself. They’re not just after the Republicans. They’re after the Democrats, Independents, and anyone who isn’t a card-carrying social justice warrior.

As in-fighting in the Democrat Party escalates, one organization says that was the plan all along.

With a voting demographic at odds with typical establishment politics, one group is looking to capitalize on the disarray in the Democrat Party. Justice Democrats is a group that looks to promote progressive causes by advocating for change within Congress itself.

It was founded in 2017 by Kyle Kolinsky of Secular Talk and Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks with the goal of redefining the direction of the Democrat Party.

“We’re going to try to save the soul of the Democratic Party by boarding the Democratic Party ship and taking it over,” Uygur said. “How are we gonna do that? We’re gonna run strong progressives so from now on there will be a new wing of the Democratic Party and it will be the Justice Democrats. We will seek social justice, economic justice, racial justice, and plain old justice justice.

Justice Democrats was successful in its first operation, elevating candidates like a Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Alexandria Ocazio-Cortes to the House of Representatives after the 2018 midterms.

“We’re gonna run hundreds of candidates and we’re gonna primary all the establishment Democrats,” Uygur continued. “So we’re not gonna be like ‘is a Chuck Schumer maybe yes maybe no,’ right? No, it’s a hard no. But wait a minute, now, are you really going to primary vulnerable Democrats. Yeah that’s the whole point.”

The group doesn’t just support candidates, it recruits them, finding individuals that can act as a vessel for its progressive agenda, candidates who don’t only align with the values of the organization but can propel them into Congress.

“Back in 2016 we put out a call for nominations, trying to capture the diversity of background of experience of the American electorate, the people that aren’t currently represented, and we got over 10,000 nominations,” said Justice Democrats Executive Director Alexandra Rojas. “Out of those 10,000 nominations we found Alexandria.”

Much like Representative Ocasio-Cortez, candidates are recruited to run for office with justice Democrats fundraising, organizing, and creating the agenda for the individuals they put on the ballot with the goal of overtaking the party.

“We want to actually create that grassroots funded machine that can be a real opposition to the current institutional powers,” said Saikat Chakrabarti, AOC’s Chief of Staff and co-founder of the Justice Democrats. They’re the group behind the polarizing Green New Deal.

Chakrabarti recently told The Washington Post the green New Deal is not a climate change proposal. The statement corroborates claims made by Rojas, “But really I think a big anchor piece is the Green New Deal and talking about it in a frame of social, racial, and economic justice, and a mobilization of our economy in our society at the scale of what we did during World War II.”

This, of course, has been echoed by Ocasio-Cortez herself.

As dangerous as “The Squad” is, they’re the tip of the Justice Democrats’ iceberg. Perhaps a better way of putting it is they’re the tip of the spear. The Justice Democrats represent the greatest threat to America’s future we’ve seen since the Cold War.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Democrats

Rashida Tlaib says $15/hr minimum wage is too low. She wants $20/hr.

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Rashida Tlaib says 15hr minimum wage is too low She wants 20hr

There is nothing more progressive than taking something radical and destructive and doubling down on the spirit of the proposal. That’s what Representative Rashida Tlaib did today when she said the movement that’s pushing for $15 per hour nationwide may be behind on the times. $15 per hour is what whey needed before, but since the costs of milk and eggs have gone up, the new minimum wage should be $20 per hour.

It has already been established by the non-partisan CBO that $15 per hour would kill off 1.3 million jobs. While most Democrats balked at the number and said it was too high, the radical progressives saw it as an opportunity – there’s plenty of room to kill off even more jobs, from their reckoning.

Costs of many items are going up, but as the Washington Free Beacon pointed out, eggs and milk are actually lower than their peaks in 2015 and 2014, respectively, around the time when the “fight for $15” started ramping up. As usual, Tlaib is making things up to support her points.

The real minimum wage is zero, as anyone unemployed knows. But jobs have been rising across the board since the President took office. The economy is humming. In many industries, there is a shortage of workers able to fill positions, forcing many companies to raise wages organically. That’s how it should be. We don’t need Washington DC placing a blanket minimum on the country, especially considering the economic norms in West Virginia are very different from the economic norms in California. Leave it to the states to regulate the economies properly.

This is just further evidence that Rashida Tlaib and “The Squad” aren’t interested in helping America. They want to tear it down and rebuild it in the Justice Democrats’ image. This is no longer a secret, but it’s an under-reported fact.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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