Obama’s Refugee Crisis

Earlier this month, the world, and likely all Americans as well, were repulsed by the images and tale of a 3-year-old Syrian boy whose lifeless body was retrieved from a Turkish beach. The boy and his family were among the millions of displaced refugees fleeing war-torn Syria and surrounding nations. And while foreign policy may not be of great interest to some during the current presidential campaign cycle, the refugee crisis clearly illustrates how critical sound policy is to our national interests and global stability.

The 3-year-old boy, Aylan Kurdi, his 5-year-old brother Galip, and his mother, Rehan, all died along with nine others when the small boat carrying them from Turkey to the Greek island of Kos capsized. Only the boys’ father survived. They were fleeing the Syrian town of Kobani near the Turkish border that has been embroiled in the war between ISIS and Syrian military forces.

The grieving father, Abdullah Kurdi, said, “My kids have to be the wake-up call for the whole world.” It should serve as a wake-up call, not just for the plight of the refugees fleeing unstable nations and communities, but also for a reasoned and rational foreign policy.

A large part of the culpability for the current refugee crisis, the worst since WWII, rests on us, and our abysmal and destructive foreign policy. From the early days of the Arab Spring which started with the Tunisian Revolution in 2010, the Obama administration backed the revolutionary parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, in overthrowing the despotic regimes in the Middle East.

The administration has been actively engaged in toppling Middle Eastern regimes: Khadafy in Libya, Mubarak in Egypt, and Assad in Syria. In fact, at one time, the president was requesting $500 million to help the “freedom fighters” in Syria topple the Assad regime. The majority of those “freedom fighters” now go by the name ISIS, and the president was poised to fund them.

Even worse, according to CNN in August 2013, CIA sources revealed that the Benghazi consulate attack of 9/11/12 was directly linked to a clandestine administration operation providing arms to the rebels in Syria. It wasn’t just the consulate compound in Benghazi that was demolished by the marauding jihadists, but the CIA facility two kilometers away that housed the cash and weapons caches being smuggled into Syria. Jihadists got all of it.

By 2012, the regimes of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen had been overthrown by revolutionaries. Civil uprisings and major protests had spread to Bahrain, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Sudan, and Syria. But the administration’s final objective, the collapse of the Assad regime in Syria, never materialized after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intervention, leaving the warring factions to fight Assad on their own.

The vacuum created by the withdrawal of troops from Iraq played directly into the hands of the Islamic State, or ISIS, that was continuing the fight against the Assad regime. Despite recommendations from the military, the Obama administration refused to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq prior to the 2011 deadline established by the Bush administration. This suited the president’s objective to get out of Iraq, regardless of the consequences of retreat. He kept his promise to “end the war,” but the vacuum significantly enhanced the ability of ISIS to cross the Syrian border and occupy large swaths of territory within Iraq, again destabilizing a nation we spilt precious blood to save.

All of the mayhem in the region has created the refugee crisis, with the majority coming from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Ivory Coast, and Albania. The humanitarian element is not the only concern with this migration. There’s ample evidence that the crisis is being utilized by ISIS as a hijrah, which is the Islamic doctrine of migration to form a stealth jihad. Quran 4:100 says, “And whoever emigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many locations and abundance.”

According to Robert Spencer of FrontPage, “Evidence that this is a hijrah, not simply a humanitarian crisis, came last February, but was little noted at the time and almost immediately forgotten. The Islamic State published a document entitled, Libya: The Strategic Gateway for the Islamic State.’ Gateway into Europe, that is. The document exhorted Muslims to go to Libya and cross from there as refugees into Europe. This document tells would-be jihadis that weapons from Gaddafi’s arsenal are plentiful and easy to obtain in Libya – and that the country ‘has a long coast and looks upon the southern Crusader states, which can be reached with ease by even a rudimentary boat.’”

A British paper reported in February that a Syrian operative affiliated with ISIS claimed they had already used the refugee crisis to “form a fifth column of Muslim fighters inside Western nations.” He claimed that more than 4,000 trained ISIS fighters have already been smuggled into Europe, hidden among innocent refugees.

And still the Obama administration will not be honest about the mess they’ve created. We learned just last week that over 50 intelligence officials have filed formal complaints alleging that their superiors have been inappropriately altering intelligence reports on ISIS to make it appear as if the administration was making more progress than it actually was.

The consequences of an ideologically driven, acquiescent foreign policy implemented by incompetents are becoming increasingly evident on a nearly daily basis. The next administration will have its hands full trying to undo the damage wreaked by eight years of ineptitude. It’s impossible to judge whether the damage is irreversible, for the hijrah genie is already out of the bottle.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

Constitutional Illiteracy Facilitates Constitutional Abuse

This past week was Constitution Week, and justifiably so. For if ever there was a time in our nation’s history when we needed to be constitutionally literate, it is now. The spirit of apathy, and ignorance of our founding documents including the Constitution, plagues too many of our fellow citizens. But it is a rectifiable malady.

By joint Congressional Resolution, and the signature of then President Dwight D. Eisenhower, September 17th was declared Citizenship Day; and September 17-23 of each year would be designated Constitution Week. That was reaffirmed in 2002 by then President George W. Bush. September 17, 1787 marked the historic signing of the Constitution for the United States of America.

Thomas Jefferson obviously knew of mankind’s inclination toward apathy and ignorance when he said: “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of Constitutional power.”

Over the course of the past few years, the abuses of Constitutional power have increased exponentially. There has never been a time in our history when remedial education of citizenship and the Constitution have been more requisite.

That is the objective of Constitution week, to 1) emphasize our responsibility of protecting and defending the Constitution to preserve it, and our freedoms, for posterity; 2) to understand the unique and binding nature of the Constitution in our heritage as Americans; and 3) to study and more fully comprehend the historical events surrounding the founding of our country.

As a word of warning, Jefferson said: “I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries, as long as they are agricultural. When they get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become as corrupt as in Europe.” Our government has reached that point much sooner than Jefferson envisioned.

Abraham Lincoln said: “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.” As soon as some of the rights or government limitations advanced by the Constitution are questioned, all of them are subjected to similar scrutiny and selective application, eventually. Each right curtailed or impinged upon opens the door for similar abuses of any and all of the others enumerated in the Bill of Rights, comprising the first ten Amendments to the Constitution.

Albert Einstein, an immigrant to America, recognized the need for all citizens to be informed, educated, and resolute in preserving our rights, which include limitation of the powers of the state. Said he: “The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure.” With so many of our fellow citizens more concerned about getting their share of government largesse at the expense of their taxpaying neighbors, the determination to defend and support the Constitution and our liberties is commensurately diminished.

With all of the recent expansion of the federal government infringing on our constitutional rights, we as citizens must take note of what Lincoln said of those who seek to trample our liberties. He said: “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

It’s difficult for us as a citizenry to stand collectively and individually against those who seek to subvert our liberties if we suffer from abject ignorance of what those rights are, and what our government was constructed to do and not to do. It is readily apparent from blogs and social media that great numbers of our fellow citizens suffer from acute ignorance of our founding documents, as they opine based on assumptions rather than what the Constitution authorizes or allows.

Hence, the primary objective of Citizenship Day and Constitution Week is to increase our understanding and knowledge of our founding documents and the rights and privileges assured thereby. Ignorance, apathy, and selfishness are pitiful excuses for citizens in a constitutional republic that was founded upon principles of individual liberty and limited governmental power!

Regardless of the dearth of public observances or opportunities for constitutional edification this past week, it’s incumbent upon each of us as citizens to avail ourselves the opportunity to become more informed, more educated, and more proactive citizens by reading our Constitution and studying the history surrounding its ratification. I’m convinced most of those who are critical of our Constitution will be amazed at what is in it–but perhaps even more, what is not.

For some, those who believe the country should not be based on liberty but on centralized government, the Constitution is presumed to be an anachronism, unfit to serve as the foundational contractual document between our government and the people. This concept is invalidated by the fact that every political official, every policeman, every judge, and every soldier takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. That such an oath, taken every day across the land, could be thought anachronistic is logically, legally, and morally untenable.

As Benjamin Franklin portended after the signing of the Constitution, we have a republic, if we can keep it. And to any quasi-objective observer of our contemporary political environment, we’re not keeping it, but letting it slip away, one constitutional precept, right, and principle at a time. Now is the time to remedy our constitutional illiteracy, and to uphold those who take their oath to support the Constitution seriously.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

Why Is America Institutionalizing Mediocrity With ‘Participation Trophies’?

Certain traits seem characteristic of the different demographic generations of Americans. From the “Greatest Generation,” those who experienced and survived World War II, to Generations X, Y, and Z, the demographics ascending over the last few decades, certain traits seem endemic. There’s some evidence that societally, and parentally, we may be contributing to some of the more pejorative characteristics of the later generations.

The less desirable traits of the later generations could well be created and perpetuated by some of our societal customs. And one prominent NFL (National Football League) player may have either intentionally, or unintentionally, identified one of them.

James Harrison is a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers. A couple weeks ago, Harrison posted a picture on Instagram of two “participation” trophies his sons (ages 8 and 6) had received. He said he was sending back the trophies until “they earn a real trophy.”

He explained: “I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better…not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy.”

Jason Dorsey is widely recognized as an authority on Millennials and Gen Y. He’s an author and consultant with major Fortune 500 companies, and a frequent guest on numerous news programs. He identifies a few of the least desirable traits of his generation. As he explains it, “Gen Y often has a feeling of entitlement…Gen Y loves instant gratification…Gen Y is known for having big expectations but not always knowing or valuing the steps involved to reach those expectations.”

One can’t help but wonder if “participation” trophies, ribbons, accolades, ad infinitum, contribute to these deficiencies. Participation in sports or other extracurricular activities is commendable and to be encouraged. But it’s not an end in and of itself. Just showing up is not something to be rewarded. The real benefits come from expending energy, developing talents, and growing character, by striving to do one’s best.

The growth and maturation achieved from successful participation and involvement is what should be rewarded. It seems to me the best award that a child can earn is “Most Improved”; for it rewards those who may not have had the best raw talent, but have worked hardest to improve upon what they had. When we award children just for showing up or participating, we are in essence institutionalizing reduced expectations for their performance.

Harrison himself is a Gen X-er, born in 1978, and may have a unique perspective on this issue since he himself nearly didn’t make it in the NFL. This was in large part due to his attitude and work ethic in the league in his early years.

Teammate and fellow linebacker James Farrior has said that Harrison “was a knucklehead that didn’t know the plays. We’d be in practice, in training camp, and he might not know what he was doing so he’d just stop and throw his hands up and tell the coaches to get him out of there. We thought the guy was crazy.” That’s likely the reason Harrison remained on the practice team for the Steelers for two years before making it to the Sunday roster. But due to his hard work and determination, he’s a 13-year veteran with the league, and a five-time pro-bowler.

Is this the reason so many of the later generations rack up so much debt going to college, and then end up living at home, expecting high-paying jobs to land in their laps, in their “failure to launch”? After all, they’ve been told for years how wonderful, how special, and how talented they are, whether they really provided empirical evidence of it or not. They were praised and lauded for simply showing up, whether their efforts merited accolades or not. They could well be harvesting the fruits of our misplaced “participation awards.”

Ashley Merryman, a mentor to Olympic athletes and co-author of Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing, has said: “The benefit of competition isn’t actually winning. The benefit is improving…I’d much rather have a 6-year-old cry because he didn’t get a medal than have a 26-year-old lose it because they realized they weren’t as special as they thought they were.”

More and more studies indicate that the most accurate predictor of success in life is “grit.” University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth has documented over a decade of data indicating that passion, perseverance, and stamina – or “grit” – can outweigh talent, IQ, and socioeconomic status in predicting success in life. And “success” includes family, professional, social, and economic attainment.

Author Paul Tough’s book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and Hidden Power of Character, confirms Duckworth’s conclusions. Tough writes: “What matters most in a child’s development is not how much information we can stuff into her brain in the first few years. What matters, instead, is whether we are able to help her develop a very different set of qualities, a list that includes persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence.”

And simply “showing up” does not develop those traits They are developed by hard work, resilience, perseverance, and “grit.” Precisely the kinds of things we should be rewarding. Come to think of it, they are precisely the things that life itself rewards.

Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at rlarsenen@cableone.net.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Here’s Why It’s Idiotic To Conflate Fascism With Right Wing Ideology

There are many logical incongruities that are maintained on a populist level, especially when it comes to politics. Not least of these is the composition of the political spectrum in identifying ideologies and systems of governance. The most common fallacy is identifying fascism as a right-wing ideology, even though its ideological roots originate in the left-wing extremist models of communism and socialism.

The most pervasive political spectrum is loosely based on a left/right orientation, and attempts to place political models somewhere along the continuum. But for a political spectrum to have any meaningful representation, it must be based on some set of absolute values. Since every system of governance has unique characteristics, those can hardly be used for the absolute reference points from which to measure.

Since a spectrum is in fact a continuum, the absolute extremes must be established so that all variations and deviations from those extremes can be accurately charted. For example, light and dark, heat and cold, the band of waves of the electromagnetic spectrum, all measure from one extreme to the other. So it is with the political spectrum. Since governments establish order based on the regulation of the activities of the members of their respective societies, the correct extremes for the political spectrum delineate the degree of individual freedom allowed. And traditionally, that has been demarcated as left to right; least freedom, to most freedom; totalitarianism to anarchy.

And because the spectrum is a continuum, from one extreme to the other, it is a straight line. It doesn’t curve around, or circumvent the scale at any point. It is a continuous, single-dimensional range from one extreme to the other. And with individual freedom, there are only two absolute points of reference: maximum freedom (anarchy), or no freedom (totalitarianism). With those absolutes established at the ends of the spectrum, all systems of governance can be effectively placed on the spectrum, and scaled based on the degree or level of individual freedom–or conversely, the degree of state control over the individual.

Some political scientists have maintained that a single left-right axis is inadequate, and have consequently often added biaxial spectra distinguishing between varying issues. This is unnecessary when broadly identifying systems of governance based on a continuum of individual freedom; for ancillary factors and characteristics inevitably integrate into the dominant ideological model.

On the political spectrum, the furthest to the left, the more totalitarian the government is. Centralized planning and governmental control over the lives of individuals is characteristic of all forms of socialism, whether Communist or the Nationalist variety (fascism); and the state assumes preeminence over individual rights when taken to the extreme.

The furthest to the right on the political spectrum, the more individual liberty is advanced. Taken to its extreme is anarchy. When analyzed logically, then, National Socialism and fascism are wholly incongruent philosophically and practically to the right of the spectrum. Those who refer to Nazism as “right-wing” are politically ill-informed and have fallen for Stalin’s tactic of referring to them as such. One scholar makes the point that Nazism is to Communism what Pepsi is to Coke: basically the same but with a little different flavor.

Economically, fascism advocates control of business and labor, not ownership of it as communism advocates. In fact, Mussolini called his system the “Corporate State.” Even the term “totalitarianism” derives from Mussolini’s concept of the preeminence of the “total state.”

Indeed, European fascism is an offshoot of Marxism, the theoretical framework for communism and socialism. The founding father to fascism, Benito Mussolini, in 1919 established the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento, which by 1921 became the National Fascist Party. He was born and raised a socialist. His father was a member of the same internationale as Marx and Engels. His father read him Das Kapital as a bedtime story. He was kicked out of the Italian Socialist Party in 1914 for supporting World War I, which he believed would save socialism, and stubbornly declared that he’d die a socialist.

This all makes much more sense logically, when the destructive and pejorative elements to Nazism, which was fascistic, are considered. The Brown Shirts, SS (Schutzstaffel), Gestapo, pogroms, anti-Semitism, genocide, eugenics, etc. ad nauseam are all products of oppressive, totalitarian ideology, not one that believes in more freedom.

Disturbingly, there is an American statism based ideologically on similar principles to European fascism. Our statist movement has the same ideological connections with those in Europe, reliant on philosophical components of Hegel, Weber, Marx, Kung, and Sartre. It’s harmonious in principle to Joseph Goebbels’, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, statement that “To be a socialist is to submit the I to the thou; socialism is sacrificing the individual to the whole.”

America’s version also seeks to concentrate power in the state at the expense of individual liberty. As philosopher Leonard Piekoff states, it “does not represent a new approach to government; but is a continuation of the political absolutism — the absolute monarchies, the oligarchies, the theocracies, the random tyrannies — which has characterized most of human history.” It seeks to suppress criticism and opposition to the government. It denounces and eschews individualism, capitalism and inequity in compensation. It seeks out and targets enemies of the people like corporations and those not supportive of their collectivist objectives. Clearly, even American statism is fascistic, and distinctly characteristic of the political left.

Historically, ideologically, and etymologically, fascism is a stepchild to Marxist theory. While differences exist between these isms, they are all oppressive, and are among the most totalitarian forms of government in the 20th century.

Any attempts to describe the political spectrum as “circular,” rather than “linear,” are logically untenable. Any attempt to conflate fascism with the American right on the spectrum is historically revisionist and wholly illogical. It only fits with an inane and politically motivated model for casting aspersions; for it has no basis in historical, logical, or ideological fact.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Democrats And Socialists – A Distinction Without A Difference

Sometimes what’s not said in response to a direct inquiry is more noteworthy than what is said. When the chairman of the Democrat National Committee was asked recently what the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist was, she sidestepped the issue and went a totally divergent direction. It would have provided a valuable service if she’d answered the question directly; for there seems to be no substantive distinction.

“What is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist?” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. The DNC chairman started to laugh, so Matthews tried again. “I used to think there was a big difference. What do you think?” Wasserman-Schultz started to sidestep the issue again, so Matthews tried a third time. “Yeah, but what’s the big difference between being a Democrat and being a socialist? You’re the chairwoman of the Democratic Party. Tell me the difference between you and a socialist.” Intentionally avoiding Matthew’s question, she responded, “The difference between—the real question is what’s the difference between being a Democrat and being a Republican.” Her dogmatically superficial and fallacious explication ensued.

A little later, NBC’s Chuck Todd, on Meet the Press, asked the same question, which she responded to very similarly, choosing to answer a question not asked. But when the Matthews interview is looked at contextually, she may have already answered the question when she called Bernie Sanders “a good Democrat.”

That’s a significant statement even at face value; for Bernie Sanders, the junior senator from Vermont and a Democrat candidate for president, is a self-avowed socialist. He’s officially an Independent, but caucuses with the Democrats and votes with them 98% of the time, according to Socialistworker.org.

The significance increases further when Sanders’ burgeoning popularity in the Democrat presidential polls is analyzed. Having started out in single-digit support just two months ago, Sanders has significantly reduced frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s lead. In Sanders’ neighboring state of New Hampshire, one of the early voting states, Sanders now leads Clinton by 7%. Considering only 38% of Americans feel Clinton is “trustworthy,” it’s surprising the former Secretary of State has any lead in any polls, anywhere.

Sanders is attracting larger campaign crowds than any of the other presidential candidates. Last week, he attracted nearly 28,000 in Los Angeles, 28,000 in Portland, Oregon, and over 15,000 in Seattle.

When looking at his proposals, it’s difficult to identify any substantive differences from mainstream Democrat Party doctrine. Sanders is pushing for universal single-payer health care; supports redistribution of wealth; advocates “free” college; fosters an antipathy toward corporations and “big business”; wants military spending cut by 50%; opposes natural resource development for energy; advocates government control and solutions for all economic or cultural challenges; and emphasizes egalitarianism rather than merit and achievement.

These tenets fit comfortably under the socialist umbrella, which, in general terms, is “An economic and political system based on public or collective ownership of the means of production. Socialism emphasizes equality rather than achievement, and values workers by the amount of time they put in rather than by the amount of value they produce. It also makes individuals dependent on the state for everything from food to health care. While capitalism is based on a price system, profit and loss and private property rights, socialism is based on bureaucratic central planning and collective ownership,” according to Investopedia.

There are some distinctions that should be made, however. The American variety of socialism (liberalism and progressivism) has a democratic component that doesn’t require a revolution, as many of the European and Asian models featured, but rather relies upon a democratic vote to incorporate. This necessitates the means to organize communities and proliferate propaganda, in order to effect electoral change. Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals rose in direct response to that need, as a playbook for societal polarization and proliferation of socialist objectives. And perhaps not coincidentally, Hillary Clinton wrote her senior thesis at Wellesley College on the Alinsky model; and President Obama taught it as a community organizer and has implemented it to perfection nationally.

Jason Riley, a Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow, wrote in the Wall Street Journal this week: “Mr. Sanders’s socialism appeals mainly to upper-middle-class professionals and fits neatly within the parameters of mainstream, income-inequality-obsessed Democratic politics in the 21st century. He may have an affinity for a political ideology that has given the world everything from the Soviet Gulag to modern-day Greece, but in this age of Obama, the senator is just another liberal with a statist agenda.”

Founded in individual liberty, America has always been the one nation under heaven where equality of opportunity has taken precedence over equality of outcome. The whole concept of the “American Dream” is based on the individual freedom to become, to achieve, to build, sell, and succeed. This requires individual freedom (which is diminished proportionate to expanded governmental power) and a free market economy (not centralized planning, or government control over the means of production). Consequently, socialism is philosophically, morally, and pragmatically antithetical to American values. Deductively, it is clearly anti-American.

Which brings us back to the chairman of the DNC. With the apparent inability to make any substantive distinction between the major tenets of socialism and the contemporary Democrat Party, it’s perfectly understandable that Wasserman-Shultz would not attempt to note any contradistinction. For as Riley observed in his WSJ piece, “These days, it’s largely a distinction without a difference.”

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth