Friday, August 17, 2018

Contrary To Democrats Like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, America IS A Great Country


Commentary

By Frances Rice


America is not, has never been and will never be a utopia. However, America has been from its founding the land of unprecedented opportunity, the greatest and most exceptional nation in the world.

If our nation were nothing more than a racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted place then people would be fleeing our country, not clamoring to get here, sometimes risking their lives.

Alarmingly, Democrats want to turn America into their version of a socialist utopia, blind to the fact that socialism has failed wherever it’s been tried. The most startling example is Venezuela.


PHOTO: Children in Venezuela pick through trash in search of food. (AP)

Democrats turn a blind eye also to the fact that the slavery and inequality stains on our country they complain about were perpetuated by their own party.

As author Michael Scheuer wrote, the Democratic Party is the party of the four S’s: slavery, secession, segregation and now socialism. 

For details, see the article “The Parties Did Not SwitchSides - Update: The Republican Party is The Party of Civil Rights” posted on this blogsite.

The below article provides insight into why socialism does not work.

Here is the most important point made in the article:

"The next stage after socialism isn't communist paradise, as Marx predicted. It is death, as our Founders predicted."

___________________


Democratic socialism is an oxymoron



A society which is socialist cannot also be democratic, in the sense of guaranteeing individual freedom. – Milton Friedman

With all the folks recently declaring themselves "democratic socialists," I thought it would be worthwhile to examine why this is another assault on language by the barbarian left.

Some of us live in reality, and try to understand our experiences through the template of reason. 

More and more are trying to live in a fantasy world. 

Logic and honest language are enemies of that world. 

The fundamental building block of logic, as Aristotle laid it down, is that a thing can't be both itself and its opposite in the same way, at the same time.

The phrase "democratic socialism" violates this basic principle of rational thought. 

Here, courtesy of Dictionary.com, are the definitions of our root terms.

Democracy: government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

Socialism: a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

Here are some of the ways that democracy and socialism are inherently contradictory:

Locus of power

Socialism, as defined above, puts control "in the community as a whole." 

But in a democracy "the supreme power is vested in the people." 

This may seem like two ways of saying the same thing if you've spent your formative years under socialist indoctrination. 

In principle, however, they're opposites. 

The "community" of the socialists means everyone, collectively. 

But the ultimate rulers of the democracy are individuals, not the group. 

In practice, since rule by everyone is impossible (a fantasy), socialist countries invariably are ruled by a few central planners, who often oppose the group's wishes.

Ownership of property

A democracy is set up to protect the rights of individuals, particularly property rights. 

Socialism is set up for the express purpose of nullifying property rights. 

Its motto is "You didn't build that!" 

The state owns everything, and the state will determine what, if anything, you get.

Yes, a democracy can degenerate into a rights-violating mob (more about that later), but that is not its purpose, whereas the purpose of a socialist government is to relieve you of the fruits of your labor by means of violence.

Concept of citizenship

If democracy means "rule of the people," in practice it must be the rule of the citizens. In ancient Athens, it was the adult males of the polis; in early America, it was the landowners. 

The implementation of democracy, including the republican variety, requires a clear delineation between citizen and non-citizen.

"Who may vote?" is a burning question.

"Who may exercise this personal political power?" 

Certainly not foreigners or potential enemies of the society. 

Only those who have attained a certain age, perhaps who have a personal stake in the well-being of the community.

The fantasy of borderless political zones that make no distinction between citizens and trespassers may be compatible with socialism, but it is inimical to democracy.

Value of free speech

Democracy requires an uninhibited exchange of ideas. 

Socialism (because it is a failed fantasy) requires opposing ideas to be squelched. 

Exhibits 1 through infinity: suppression of conservative speech and speakers on college campuses, currently the temples of socialism.

Other rights protected in democracies are turned upside down where socialism dominates. 

To give just one more example, my God tells me, "You shall not steal." How safe are my religious rights in a political system based on theft?

"But what about countries with socialist 'safety nets,' run by the will of the people – like America? Can we not correctly call them both democratic and socialist?"

Let me put the question to you: What if I were to say, "Here is a healthy man with cancer?" "Wait a minute," you would say. "Is he healthy or does he have cancer?" 

You would not call him a healthy-sick fellow. 

Just as cancer is not compatible with health but drives out health, so the malignancy of state robbery drives wellness from the body politic. 

Yes, it's undeniable that the U.S. is afflicted by many socialist lesions, and as they continue to grow they must eventually kill the patient. 

That does not make America a hybrid democratic-socialist state. 

It makes us a former republic, a sick and wasting society.

One of the problems with schemes of popular rule is that they're susceptible to the contagion of covetousness. 

Hear wise old Ben Franklin: "When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." 

The next stage after socialism isn't communist paradise, as Marx predicted. It is death, as our Founders predicted.

Here in the real world, there are no sunshiny nights, no Christian atheists, and no democratic socialists. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Vatican responds to Pennsylvania priest abuse scandal with 'shame and sorrow'




The Vatican responded Thursday to the report of hundreds of Pennsylvania priests abusing children, saying in a statement: "There are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow."

"The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible," the statement read. "Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith."

More than 1,000 children were allegedly abused by more than 300 "predator priests" and church officials were accused of covering up the allegations, a grand jury's report released Tuesday said.

"The Church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur," the Vatican said.

Pope Francis himself wasn't quoted in the statement, and there was no mention of demands in the United States among some Catholics for the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington.

Tuesday's report accused Wuerl of helping to protect some child-molesting priests while he was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006.

Over the course of a two year investigation, launched by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro's office, a grand jury heard several witness statements and reviewed documents from six dioceses in the state.

Most of the Pennsylvania victims were boys, but girls were abused, too, the report said.

The abuse ranged from groping and masturbation to anal, oral and vaginal rape. 

One boy was forced to say confession to the priest who sexually abused him.

A 9-year-old boy was forced to perform oral sex and then had his mouth washed out with holy water. 

Another boy was made to pose naked as if being crucified and then was photographed by a group of priests who Shapiro said produced and shared child pornography on church grounds.

In nearly all of the cases, the statute of limitations has run out, meaning that criminal charges cannot be filed. 

More than 100 of the priests are dead, and many others are retired or have been dismissed from the priesthood or put on leave.


"The cover-up was sophisticated. And all the while, shockingly, church leadership kept records of the abuse and the cover-up," Shapiro said at a Tuesday news conference. "These documents, from the dioceses' own 'Secret Archives,' formed the backbone of this investigation."

It's possible that the "real number" of abused children could be "in the thousands" due to missing records or other victims who feared speaking about the allegations, according to the grand jury's report.

The report is taken "with great seriousness," the Vatican said Thursday, adding that they "unequivocally" condemn "the sexual abuse of minors."

"Victims should know that the Pope is on their side," the statement continued.
"The Holy Father understands well how much these crimes can shake the faith and the spirit of believers and reiterates the call to make every effort to create a safe environment for minors and vulnerable adults in the Church and in all of society."

Fox News' Frank Miles and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Trump Campaign to Cuomo: The President Has ‘Eternal Optimism’ For The Country, You Should Get Some


By Matt Vespa | Townhall


So, we appear to be having a contest this week between the Cuomo brothers concerning who can outdo the other in saying the dumbest thing. 

CNN’s Chris Cuomo defended Antifa’s violence against police and reporters last weekend, which held a counter-rally to the Alt-Right’s pathetic gathering in Washington D.C. 

Only around 30 of these white nationalist pieces of trash showed up. 

With no one to fight, Antifa turned on the press. 

In Cuomo’s eyes, both sides are wrong to engage in violence, but “It's not about being right in the eyes of the law, but you also have to know what's right and wrong and immoral…That's why people who show up to fight against bigots are not to be judged the same as the bigots, even if they do resort to the same petty violence.”

Oh, so there are bad people on both sides? 

Remind me who said that again?

It was a mess of a commentary, wholly subjective, and could easily lead to some insufferable liberal in Hillary-land to view a pro-life American, or any person with a differing point of view, as a bigot who deserves to get punched in the face. 

It was total nonsense, but the Cuomo ring on insanity was not done. 

Chris’s brother, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, trashed America yesterday, saying it was never great because that’s a real winner in political messaging. Cortney has more:

"We're not going to make America great again," Cuomo said at an event for women and girls. "It was never that great."

[…]

"We have not reached greatness," he continued. "We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged. We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women, 51 percent of our population, is gone."

The pandering is pathetic, but America was never great? Are you kidding me?

This perfectly captures how liberals feel about America, and why it’s refreshing that for the first time in nearly a decade we have a cheerleader for the country in the Oval Office; George W. Bush was the same way when he was in office.

So, when scores of volunteers cleaned up the debris around ground zero after the 9/11 terror attacks, wept for the fallen, and came together as a nation to show that no act of radical Islamic terrorism could splinter us, we weren’t great.

When our forces stormed Normandy and drove the Nazis across Europe in the name of freedom and liberty, America was not great? 

When America continually clinches the top spot in which nation is the most charitable, that’s not great?

In the minds of liberals, we’re living on the verge of the apocalypse. Why? 

It’s because their side lost the 2016 election. 

You guys lost.

Get over it. 

For the rest of us, just because you lose doesn’t meant we’re in the throes of a constitutional crisis, you petulant, condescending cancers of society. 

With the economy growing, and paychecks rising, things are pretty great.

Three million jobs created, the highest consumer and small business confidence ratings in years, and the largest worker pay increase in a decade.

Over three million workers from working families got a bonus check averaging $1,000 and over 250 companies have benefitted from the Trump tax cuts.

 Unemployment is at an 18-year low; black unemployment hit historic lows.

The Trump campaign surely didn’t let Gov. Cuomo’s remarks slip under the radar. Lara Trump, Senior Adviser to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., released a statement saying:

Andrew Cuomo showed his true, pessimistic colors when he defamed America as a country that was ‘never that great.’ 

Yet, the vast majority of Americans believe in America as the ‘last best hope of earth.’ 

America is not only the most prosperous and generous country to ever exist; it has lifted millions out of poverty and continuously sacrifices for the freedom of others. 

And President Trump is leading us on the path to greatness like we’ve never seen before, with a booming economy that’s creating millions of jobs, record unemployment and wage growth, the lowest female unemployment in 65 years; as well as new paths to peace, and so much more. 

Donald Trump’s eternal optimism about America is what people value in a leader committed to delivering real solutions for our country

Three words, folks: Keep America Great!

One Of The Alleged New Mexico Terror Suspects Lived In The U.S. Illegally For 20 Years


By Matt Vespa | Townhall


It’s a story that would have been all over the media if it had been a conservative, an anti-IRS activist, an NRA member, or any organization liberals think are right leaning. 

In early August, authorities raided a compound in New Mexico, where three women, a man, and 11 children were found in deplorable conditions.

One child’s remains were also found. 

They were reportedly being trained by Siraj Wahhaj to commit school shootings. Siraj’s father, same name, was an unindicted conspirator of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. 

To make things more controversial, the judge in the case, Sarah Backus, granted four of the five potential terror suspects to be released on bond


Defendants, from left, Hujrah Wahhaj, Lucas Morton, Siraj Wahhaj and Subbannah Wahhaj enter district court in Taos, N.M., for a detention hearing, on Aug. 13, 2018.Roberto E. Rosales / The Albuquerque Journal/Pool via AP

Siraj remains in custody since he was an outstanding warrant from Georgia regarding the alleged kidnapping of his son, who may or may not be the deceased child police found at the compound. 

Backus is a Democrat and known for setting low bail for violent offenders. 

And while the Left lusts to abolish of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal law enforcement agency announced that one of the possible terror suspects has been living here illegally for two decades (via Fox News):

Jany Leveille, 35, was detained by immigration officials Tuesday and soon must appear before a judge to resolve her immigration status, which could lead to her deportation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials said in a statement.

“Leveille has been unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than 20 years after overstaying the validity of her non-immigrant visitor visa,” ICE said.

Leveille moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., from Haiti in 1998 after her father died, Von Cehelet Leveille, the woman’s brother, told Reuters. She has moved several times since coming to the U.S., living in Georgia, Philadelphia and New York after separating from her husband, the brother said.

Leveille lived at the New Mexico compound with her current husband Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and their children since January, prosecutors said. She has six children, ages 1 to 15, her brother told Reuters.

[…]

The children discovered at the compound earlier this month were both trained to use firearms and taught multiple tactical techniques in order to kill teachers, law enforcement officers and other representatives of institutions they found corrupt, state prosecutors said on Monday.

So, for those of you wondering, yes—ICE also works to protect us from terror threats.

________________

Boy died in religious ritual at New Mexico compound, prosecutors say

By Alex Johnson 

Two other children were being trained to attack schools, law enforcement and banks, prosecutors allege.

The young boy whose remains were found at a compound in New Mexico died in a religious ritual conducted because his father believed he was possessed by demons, prosecutors alleged Monday.

The boy's remains were discovered Aug. 6 after Taos County authorities raided the ramshackle compound near Amalia, where they found five adults and 11 children, ages 1 to 15, at least two of whom prosecutors said Monday were being trained to attack schools, banks and other institutions.

The boy hasn't officially been identified, but Siraj Wahhaj, a well-known imam at the Al-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn, New York, has said the child was his grandson, Abdul-ghani Wahhaj.

Abdul-ghani, who would have turned 4 years old last week, disappeared from his home in Georgia in December. A nationwide search eventually led authorities to the compound in Taos, which was set up by the imam's son, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, who authorities allege had kidnapped his son.

At a detention hearing for the younger Wahhaj and the four other adults on Monday, prosecutor John Lovelace indicated that the remains were those of Abdul-ghani, saying the death occurred in February during "a ritual intended to cast out demonic spirits from Abdul-ghani Wahhaj."

Prosecutors said the other children were told that Abdul-ghani would be resurrected as Jesus and would identify corrupt institutions and people for them to attack, teachers, military and law enforcement officials and financial institutions. The children were given tactical training on how to clear rooms and how to shoot firearms, prosecutors alleged.

Prosecutors said that Wahhaj and a second man arrested at the compound, Lucas Allen Morton, 40, his brother-in-law, were heavily armed when they were taken into custody and that some of the children were carrying ammunition.

All of the adults are charged with 11 counts of child abuse. Wahhaj is also charged with interfering with a parent's custodial rights, while Morton is also charged with harboring a fugitive. Bond was set at $20,000 apiece.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe testified that an AR-style rifle, a five-shot Smith & Wesson revolver, a 9mm Kimber semiautomatic pistol, a 9mm Glock pistol and body armor were found at the scene. In a 100-foot-long tunnel on the property, authorities found a .308-style sniper rifle, a .30-30 lever-action rifle and another Glock, he said.

Hogrefe agreed with the defense's argument that it would be prudent to teach teenagers how to use firearms safely in the remote desert. But he said one of the boys at the compound, who was found with a holster, told investigators that Siraj explicitly ordered him to arm up during the raid.

FBI agent Travis Taylor testified that one of the children said the family ended up in New Mexico because they believed they had received a message from God. They started traveling west after Wahhaj returned from a visit to Saudi Arabia last year and told his wife that he wanted a divorce, Taylor said
.
Court documents say Abdul-ghani struggled with seizures and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a birth defect caused by lack of oxygen and blood flow. Taylor said one of the other children told investigators that Abdul-ghani was possessed by demons and that the suspects believed he was dead and was able to walk only because the demons kept him alive.

They believed that when the last demon was exorcised, Abdul-ghani would come back as Jesus, Taylor said.

Initially, the firearms practice was intended only to train the children to defend the compound from the government, Taylor quoted one of the children as having said. Eventually, however, the plan changed to one of preaching to others — and kidnapping or killing them if they didn't accept the message, he said.

In urging 8th District Judge Sarah Backus to hold the defendants without bond, Lovelace warned that they were capable of "future violent actions," alleging that they were in the thrall of "magical thinking."

"This family was on a mission, and it was a violent one, and it was a dangerous one," he said.

The Ellison factor


By Scott Johnson | POWERLINE


Will allegations of domestic abuse against DNC vice chairman Keith Ellison hurt the Democratic Party ahead of this fall’s midterm elections? 

DNC chairman Tom Perez says “no.” With three contributing to the story, the AP reports Perez’s assurance yesterday that allegations of domestic abuse against Ellison would not hurt the party ahead of this fall’s midterm elections.

“Yet four days after the first public accusation of physical and emotional abuse emerged against Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison,” they add, “other would-be allies across the nation were far less certain.” Warning: Don’t make Ellison mad while we sort this out.

The DNC vice chairman is also the incumbent Minnesota Fifth District representative. Ellison is abandoning Congress to seek the office of Minnesota Attorney General. The office of attorney general is the object of his current efforts and concerns.

Here’s the funny — funny-peculiar — thing. Ellison’s abuse of his girlfriend(s), if it took place as alleged, would be the least of his disqualifications for the office of Minnesota Attorney General. That’s the case I make in the Weekly Standard column “Can Keith Ellison turn lawman?”. Consider:

• Ellison was an active member and local leader of the hate cult known as the Nation of Islam.

• Ellison has persistently lied about his participation in the hate cult. This past June, for example, Ellison told Jake Tapper on CNN, “I worked on the Million Man March and I was proud to do so. That’s it.” This is perfectly representative of the bald lies Ellison has disseminated as necessary.

• Ellison first sought office as a Democrat in 1998 as Keith Ellison-Muhammad — a self-avowed member of the Nation of Islam — and Ellison-Muhammad is just one of three Nation of Islam names Ellison has used over the years. He was proud of the Nation of Islam hate cult and defended the good name of its leader, Louis Farrakhan.

• Ellison first publicly distanced himself from the Nation of Islam in the package of lies he delivered to the Jewish Community Relations Council when he was running for Congress in 2006.

In the Weekly Standard column I go into detail on this salient point:

Ellison has enthusiastically supported cold-blooded cop killers, including the first woman to make the FBI’s Most Wanted list.

Ellison’s support of cop killers and long participation in the Nation of Islam hate cult should disqualify him from the office of attorney general, but they obviously haven’t set him back with the Democratic National Committee.

Aretha Franklin, the Greatest Singer of Our Generation, Passes Away at 76, Leaves a Towering Legacy


By Roger Friedman - August 16, 2018 10:00 am


I am heartbroken to report that my friend, Aretha Franklin, a legend almost beyond description, has passed away in Detroit at age 76. 

The Queen of Soul been suffering from cancer since 2010 but refused to give in or give up. 

Her final performance was for Elton John at the 25th anniversary of his AIDS Foundation in November. 

Prior to that, her last public show was at Philadelphia’s Mann Center on August 26,2017. (I was lucky enough to go with her, watch a historic, off the charts performance.)

She’d recently announced her retirement from touring, knowing that she was getting weaker. 

In last few months, Aretha had been living in a luxury condo in downtown Detroit, where she was attended to by friends and family. 

She’d had several recent hospitalizations, mostly for lack of hydration.

Trump revokes ex-CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance




Former CIA Director John Brennan has had his security clearance revoked by President Trump.  (AP)

President Trump has revoked the security clearance for former CIA Director John Brennan, the White House announced Wednesday, in the first decision to come from a review of access for several top Obama-era intelligence and law enforcement officials.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders read a statement on behalf of the president during the start of the press briefing, saying Brennan "has a history that calls his credibility into question."

The statement also claimed Brennan had been "leveraging" the clearance to make "wild outbursts" and claims against the Trump administration in the media.

"The president has a constitutional responsibility to protect classified information and who has access to it, and that’s what he’s doing is fulfilling that responsibility in this action," Sanders said Wednesday.

In response, Brennan tweeted hours later: "This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all American's, including intelligence professioanls, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent."

Last month, the White House said they were looking into the clearances for other former officials and Trump critics, including former FBI director James Comey; former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe; former director of national intelligence James Clapper; former national security adviser Susan Rice and former CIA director Michael Hayden (who also worked under President George W. Bush).

On Wednesday, Sanders added to the list Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, former FBI agent Peter Strzok (who was fired from the bureau last week) and former FBI general counsel Lisa Page.

"This is specific to Mr. Brennan, and the others are currently under review," Sanders said. 

The White House last month accused the former officials of having "politicized" or "monetized" their public service, and said their clearances gave "inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence."


The White House is also considering revoking the security clearance of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.  (Reuters)

Brennan joined NBC News and MSNBC in February as a contributor and senior national security and intelligence analyst.

But Democrats blasted the administration for the clearance review, saying Trump politicized the process and had gone too far. Wednesday's announcement fueled those allegations.

"In adding John Brennan to his enemies list, Trump demonstrates again how deeply insecure and vindictive he is — two character flaws dangerous in any President," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., top House Intelligence Committee Democrat, tweeted. "An enemies list is ugly, undemocratic and un-American. I also believe this action to silence a critic is unlawful."

And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the move a "stunning abuse of power." 

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, called it an effort to "scare away critics." 

He continued, "This is clearly another effort to silence critics and not allow the Mueller investigation and for that matter the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation to get to the bottom of this."
  
Former CIA deputy chief of staff for Brennan, Nick Shapiro, told Fox News last month that Brennan "hasn’t made one penny off of his clearance."

He added: "This is a political attack on career national security officials who have honorably served their country for decades under both [Republicans] & [Democrats] in an effort to distract from [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller’s investigation."

Comey reacted Wednesday night: "Once again this president is sending a message that he will punish people who disagree with him and reward those who praise him."

Aitan Goelman, an attorney for Strzok, said in a statement late Wednesday that security clearances "should not be suspended or revoked as a way of punishing people who have criticized the President, or coercing others into silence.


Former FBI Director James Comey is also on the White House's list of former officials they are considering revoking security clearances, though a friend of Comey's suggested the former director no longer has a clearance to revoke.  (AP)

"By revoking Director Brennan's clearance and threatening the security clearance of Pete and seven other former officials on Trump's 'enemies list,' the President has taken us down one more step on the path toward authoritarianism," Goelman added.

In his July 26-dated statement, Trump said: "Mr. Brennan’s lying and recent conduct, characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary, is wholly inconsistent with access to the Nation’s most closely held secrets and facilitates the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos."

But despite the ongoing review, several former officials suggested it would have no impact on them.

Following the White House’s initial announcement, Hayden tweeted that he doesn’t "go back for classified briefings. Won’t have any effect on what I say or write."

A friend of Comey’s, Benjamin Wittes, tweeted last month that the former FBI director doesn’t have a security clearance to revoke.

And Strzok, upon his removal from the bureau last month, lost his security clearance.

McCabe’s spokesperson Melissa Schwartz said his security clearance was deactivated when he was fired. 

While Brennan is among the highest-profile on the list in terms of media appearances, Clapper and Hayden also are contributors for CNN. Rice frequently is a guest on news programs, and Comey recently finished a media blitz to promote his memoir, "A Higher Loyalty," in May.

Fox News' Elizabeth Zwirz contributed to this report.