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Where were you?

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Where were you

ON NOVEMBER 4, 1979?

I was in the day room of the dormitory at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia in the evening after class. We were all enjoying watching the network television broadcast of the classic movie Dog Day Afternoon with Al Pacino when a news alert interrupted our viewing to inform us of a real hostage-taking in Tehran, Iran.

A week later, I graduated from the course and returned home to Hawaii. As an Air Cargo Specialist in the U.S. Air Force Reserve at Hickam Air Force Base, having completed my active-duty time five years previously during the Vietnam era, I fully expected that our Commander-in-Chief, President James Earl Carter, Jr. would have us all called back to active duty to avenge this act of war and rescue the hostages from the Iranian regime.

It didn’t happen.

After a failed rescue attempt went awry, I kept waiting for President Carter’s Plan B. He had no Plan B. He was totally clueless.

Iran released the hostages just as Ronald Reagan was taking the oath of office on January 20, 1981.

In the early days of this crisis, we watched on the news as certain spokesmen for Ayatollah Khomeini assured us that the hostages would be set free any day soon.

One was Foreign Minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh. Whether he was uninformed or deliberately misleading is really now a moot point. Ironically, in 1982, he was executed for allegedly plotting the assassination of the Ayatollah.

The other was President Abolhassan Banisadr. Yes, it is interesting how these names stick in my mind nearly 40 years later. This guy was later impeached by the Iranian Parliament on June 20, 1981.

I go into these recollections to counterpose what it was like for those who were witnessing these events from half a world away with the opinions of some who weren’t even born then but who think they understand Iran better than President Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, who is also a Major in Hawaii National Guard, is basing her campaign for the Democrat nomination for President of the United States upon her anti-war stance.

Ms. Gabbard was born April 12, 1981, several months after Republican Ronald Reagan took office and Iran released the hostages during his inauguration.

ON APRIL 18, 1983?

Toddler Tulsi had just celebrated her second birthday when the U.S. Embassy in Beirut was bombed. Putative perpetrator Hezbollah was and is an Iranian surrogate.

ON OCTOBER 23, 1983?

U.S. Marine Corps Barracks in Lebanon also bombed, attributed again to Iranian surrogate Hezbollah.

JUNE 3, 1985?

U.S. Political Officer and CIA Station Chief William Buckley assassinated in Lebanon under the auspices of Hezbollah with orders from Tehran.

MARCH 17, 1992?

Suicide bombing attack on Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, carried out by Hezbollah for Iran.

JULY 18, 1994?

Attack on Argentine Israelite Mutual Association building by operatives of Hezbollah and Iran.

JUNE 25, 1996?

Bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia which was housing for American and Coalition forces, orchestrated by Hezbollah on behalf of Iran.

Now let’s look at the players within the Iranian regime.

IRGC / QUDS FORCE

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps primarily through its Quds Force has bankrolled and controlled terrorist groups for decades. This includes not only Hezbollah in Lebanon, but also Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza. As rockets are rained down from Gaza by surrogates, Iranians in Syria launch drones over the Golan Heights, all with Israel and Jewish civilians as their intended targets.

It is well substantiated that Iran at one time harbored UBL and other 9/11 terrorists. The Islamic Shia/Sunni schism did not prevent cooperation against their perceived mutual enemies. Today Hamas and PIJ in Gaza are Sunni, whereas Hezbollah in Lebanon is Shia. Hatred of the United States and Israel takes precedence over differences in Islamic dogma.

IRAN’S SUPREME LEADER

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was the first Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran from the revolution in 1979 until his death in 1989. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been Supreme Leader ever since. As an apocalyptic theocracy, all power and all final decisions in Iran are vested in the Supreme Leader alone. Both of these Islamic clerics based their actions upon an ingrained hatred of America and Israel.

RECENT IRANIAN PRESIDENTS

This is an entirely titular position with no real authority. The President of Iran is just a figurehead subservient to the Ayatollah. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a malignant little troll spewing vitriol in our direction. Current President Hassan Rouhani is far less flamboyant and just serves his role as part of the Iranian regime.

Which brings us to our current situation….

IRAN DOES WHAT IRAN DOES BECAUSE IRAN IS WHAT IRAN IS

The recent attack on vessels in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman plus the apparent shooting down of a U.S. Navy drone need to be considered in historical perspective.

Iran has not always been a reactionary and oppressive Islamic theocracy. I am old enough to remember that Iran during the era of the late Shah was friendly towards the United States and the West. In the 1970’s, I had classmates in college from Iran. I tutored one in English and the other in history and other subjects. I even had the distinct honor one Thanksgiving with the upcoming school holiday of explaining the significance of this revered American tradition. This was a Christian University and they were very respectful of their fellow students.

NOQ Report Editor-in-Chief JD Rucker has posted an excellent article entitled “Know thy enemy: Iran is driven by belief in Twelver Shia Islam“. This reveals the status of Iran in the world today.

SO WHEN DOES IRAN’S REIGN OF TERROR END?

That is an open-ended question. For 40 years, Iran has been the primary sponsor of terrorism on a global scale.

Let it not be overlooked that Hezbollah has established a significant infrastructure within the United States. This has involved illegal trafficking and sales of North Carolina tobacco in Michigan. It has also included shipping stolen vehicles and commodities to Lebanon for money-laundering purposes.

Iranian government operatives have been accused of killing activists in the United States who oppose the regime in Tehran. Iran undoubtedly has its assassins as well as surrogates here in this country which it could activate if a war against America ensues. It is likely that the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Forces have already identified and monitored the activities and whereabouts of such individuals.

SO, NOW WHAT?

I have purposely not gone into the scandalous JCPOA and the disgraceful actions of Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett and John Kerry. Donald Trump has ended that one sided deal which only facilitated Iranian nuclear weapons development and deployment. Right now let’s focus on the threat at hand.

Appeasement is seen in the Islamic world as an abject sign of weakness. President Trump obviously had his reasons for calling back the retaliation against Iran over the shooting down of our drone at the last minute. But red lines cannot continually be redrawn in the sand as Obama did with Assad in Syria.

This far and not one bit more must mean exactly what it says. Piecemeal or surgical strikes against Iran are what the mad regime in Tehran wants to provoke. They care not one whit about their own civilian casualties as collateral damage. They want to portray the United States as the aggressor and Iran as the defender against the Great Satan.

Someday an American President is going to have to stand before Congress as FDR did on December 8, 1941 and seek a Declaration of War against an avowed enemy who will never surrender short of absolute and total defeat. As a baby boomer, I don’t anticipate being here another 40 years. But is anybody of any age willing to let Iran spread death and destruction around the world for that much longer?

If Jimmy Carter hadn’t been so clueless, we wouldn’t be facing this threat today. Much of Donald Trump’s legacy is going to be based upon how he handles Iran. The Cold War doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction does not apply to that apocalyptic regime. That is a very important distinction between Iran and our other adversaries in China, Russia and North Korea.

ADMONITION TO DECISION MAKERS

Playing politics with the Mexican border is detrimental to our national sovereignty but playing politics with Iran would be an absolutely existential error of judgment. When Ayatollah Khamenei and General Soleimani have a nuke ready to deploy, they will do precisely that. For America to allow this to occur would be to hasten Armageddon.

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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Foreign Affairs

Two asylum-seekers later discovered to be wanted by Mexico on kidnapping, homicide charges

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Two asylum-seekers later discovered to be wanted by Mexico on kidnapping homicide charges

According to many Democrats, anyone coming to the United States who files asylum claims should be released to the interior immediately. That’s the stance of such notable progressives as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren. Among the people they want released, no questions asked, are two separate Mexican asylum-seekers who, as border patrol later learned, were wanted in Mexico on charges of kidnapping and homicide.

Thankfully, border patrol did their jobs properly detaining the asylum-seekers until their request was denied, at which time they were ordered repatriated to Mexico.

Border Patrol Repatriates Two Wanted Felons

EAGLE PASS, Texas – Within the past two weeks, Border Patrol agents assigned to the Del Rio Sector Foreign Operations Branch worked with the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the government of Mexico to coordinate the repatriation of two men wanted by Mexican authorities on kidnapping and homicide charges.

“The U.S. Border Patrol works closely with the government of Mexico to identify fugitives,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz. “Because of that outstanding level of cooperation, these violent criminals were quickly located and returned to Mexico to answer the egregious charges against them.”

Border Patrol agents at the FOB were contacted by Mexican government officials in July regarding two subjects wanted on kidnapping and homicide charges. One of the men was apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol in November 2018 near Eagle Pass, while the other surrendered to Customs and Border Protection Officers at the Eagle Pass Port of Entry in December 2018. Both men made credible fear claims, and were ordered removed by an immigration judge after those claims were denied.

There was no indication prior to contact by Mexican officials that these men were wanted when border patrol picked them up. Had their “reasonable fear” claims been accepted in their hearings, they would have become legal residents of the United States. Only after their claims were denied did news come from Mexico that they were wanted.

Demands by Democrats for immediate release of all asylum-seekers upon processing is the most blatantly dangerous policy they want to inflict on American citizens. You won’t see progressive media reporting this, so it must be spread by conservatives.

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Economy

Do we need China? Nope.

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Do we need China Nope

My first reaction to news that China was planning on imposing tariffs on $75 billion in American imports was to contemplate whether or not we could actually just stop trading with China altogether. As a free trade hawk, the notion is obtuse to me. But as a patriot who recognizes the multiple threats China represents to our nation and much of the world, I wondered if the economic risks of breaking away from the Chinese flow of products and resources were worth it.

Anyone who claims to know the answer to this question is lying or delusional. You could do a comprehensive study on the pros and cons of elevating other trade partners and dumping China and still not know with a certainty all of the effects. But we have numbers. We have analyses. We have common sense. All three tell us dumping China as a trade partner altogether would be rocky at first, but the end result for American consumers and businesses would be negligible while the crises brought about in China would be catastrophic.

In other words, this might actually be the best way to eventually return to a free trade atmosphere on the world market. Pressure is slow in working against China. Between their own tariffs and devaluing the Yuan, China seems to be preparing for the long battle in hopes the Democrats win the 2020 election. We may need to fundamentally rethink our entire trade infrastructure, one that is more spread around the world instead of reliant so heavily on one Asian nation.

As if President Trump has been reading my mind (new NSA tech?), he Tweeted what can only be perceived as total agreement with my speculation. Okay, so it’s possible he and his staff came up with it without digging into my head, but it eerily coincides with what I’ve been thinking about since yesterday.

The wording of the President’s Tweet is poor. We can’t be “hereby ordered” by the President to do anything outside of the confines of Article 2. But wording aside, the sentiment of the President’s Tweet is sound. We really don’t need China, and while it would be nice if we really could just bring everything home and build it in America, that’s not really what would happen. Some would be brought back to U.S. manufacturing sectors, but much of it will still need to be imported.

But here’s why the President is correct that we might be better off without China. They’ve held the lion’s share of products and resources we import for decades. This is an antiquated and false concept propped up by fears that if we eliminate things with the “Made in China” mark, Walmart’s shelves would be empty and Amazon would have to go back to primarily selling books. Our reliance on Chinese imports is an artificial need in the 21st century. There are plenty of ways to instantly replace China as a producer.

More importantly, there are plenty of countries who will gladly sign free trade agreements with us if China will not.

There’s a secondary, albeit exceedingly important consideration in this equation as well. China is the other world superpower. For years following the fall of the Soviet Union, America enjoyed exclusive status at the top. But over the lest decade, China has emerged as comparable and in many ways superior to us when it comes to specific seats of worldwide power. They have the manpower and natural resources we do not, and in the 21st century they’ve finally learned how to wield this power.

Pulling back heavily on trading with China will adversely affect their government power and international clout. It’s hard to imagine they’d be able to sustain themselves in a real trade war with the United States. They’re simply too reliant on Americans buying their cheap products. Diminishing or eliminating them as a trade partner would rock the financial markets and cause instant turmoil, but it would be a much shorter experience than some believe it will be. Capitalists know how to rebound. We know how to react when the status quo is shaken. China, by its nature as an exporting nation and its cultural adherence to the status quo, will not react as well. They could collapse in a matter of weeks.

China relies on exports. The United States relies on imports. It’s a heck of a lot easier to find sellers than buyers. Other countries will step up to fill our import void if we stop trading with China. But China cannot replace us as consumers.

Update:  And so it begins…

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Foreign Affairs

US officials confirm Israeli strike in Iraq

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US officials confirm Israeli strike in Iraq

Editor’s Note: This story from the Associated Press does not necessarily reflect the opinions of this publication. It contains news that was deemed important. Rather than rewrite fresh content on a story that has already been appropriately covered, we know our audience is capable of seeing through any bias often associated with left leaning news outlets like the AP.

JERUSALEM (AP) — U.S. officials have confirmed that Israel was responsible for the bombing of an Iranian weapons depot in Iraq last month, an attack that would mark a significant escalation in Israel’s years-long campaign against Iranian military entrenchment across the region.

The confirmation comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is strongly hinting that his country is behind recent airstrikes that have hit bases and munitions depot belonging to Iran-backed paramilitary forces operating in Iraq.

The mystery attacks have not been claimed by any side and have left Iraqi officials scrambling for a response, amid strong speculation that Israel may have been behind them. Earlier this week, the deputy head of the Iraqi Shiite militias, known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces, openly accused Israeli drones of carrying out the attacks, but ultimately blamed Washington and threatened strong retaliation for any future attack.

Such attacks are potentially destabilizing for Iraq and its fragile government, which has struggled to remain neutral amid growing tensions between the United States and Iran.

There have been at least three explosions at Iraqi Shiite militia bases in the past month. American officials now confirm Israel was responsible for at least one of them.

Two American officials said Israel carried out an attack on an Iranian weapons depot in July that killed two Iranian military commanders. The U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.

The July 19 attack struck a militia base in Amirli, in Iraq’s northern Salaheddin province, causing a huge explosion and fire. A senior official with the Shiite militias at the time told The Associated Press that the base hit housed advisers from Iran and Lebanon — a reference to the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group. He said the attack targeted the headquarters of the advisers and a weapons depot.

On August 12, a massive explosion at the al-Saqr military base near Baghdad shook the capital, killing one civilian and wounding 28 others. The base housed a weapons depot for the Iraqi federal police and the PMF. The most recent of the explosions came Tuesday night, at a munitions depot north of Baghdad.

There have been weeks of speculation in Israel that the army is attacking targets in Iraq.

In an interview with a Russian-language TV station on Thursday, Netanyahu indicated the speculation is true.

“I don’t give Iran immunity anywhere,” he said, accusing the Iranians of trying to establish bases “against us everywhere,” including Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.

Asked whether that means Israel is operating in Iraq, Netanyahu said: “We act in many arenas against a country that desires to annihilate us. Of course I gave the security forces a free hand and the instruction to do what is needed to thwart these plans of Iran.”

Early Friday, the New York Times, citing Israeli and U.S. officials, reported that Israel bombed an Iranian weapons depot in Iraq last month.

It would be the first known Israeli airstrike in Iraq since 1981, when Israeli warplanes destroyed a nuclear reactor being built by Saddam Hussein. It also steps up Israel’s campaign against Iranian military involvement across the region.

Israel has previously acknowledged hundreds of airstrikes on Iranian targets in neighboring Syria, primarily arms shipments believed to be destined for Iran’s Hezbollah allies.

Israel considers Iran to be its greatest enemy and has repeatedly vowed that it will not allow the Iranians, who are supporting the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, to establish a permanent military presence in Syria.

Striking Iraq would be far more complicated than reaching neighboring Syria.

The Israeli warplanes would likely have to travel through Turkey, a former ally that now has cool relations with Israel, or through Saudi Arabia, to carry out strikes on Iraq.

Israel and the Saudis do not have formal diplomatic relations, but are believed to have established a behind-the-scenes alliance based on their shared hostility toward Iran.

___

Baldor reported from Washington.

___

This story has been corrected to show that the last known Israeli airstrike in Iraq was in 1981, not 1980.

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