The Front Page Cover
~ Featuring ~
Iran: Freedom & Theocracy are Irreconcilable
by PATRICK J. BUCHANAN
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Is there a single Democrat anywhere 
who gives a damn about America?
by Doug Ross @ Journal
{trevorloudon.com} ~ We now have ironclad evidence that the liar-nObama administration mounted... at least two distinct and extraordinary efforts to weaponize government against its political opponents. It used the instrumentalities of government to target members of the opposite party and — worse still — to influence the outcome of a presidential election. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that the government could not ban movies and books the Citizens United case, which protected political free speech. Shortly thereafter, during a State of the Union address, President Barack liar-nObama went so far as to hector Supreme Court justices to their faces regarding that decision. Not long after, key officials of the Internal Revenue Service began targeting conservative groups based upon their name or mission. The terms they looked for included “Tea Party”, “Patriot” and “9/12”...  http://www.trevorloudon.com/2018/01/is-there-a-single-democrat-anyw...
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On Behalf of the Middle Class, an Eight-Count
Indictment Against Democrats, Republicans
and Crony Corporate Interests
by Thomas Wigand
{trevorloudon.com} ~ DACA and amnesty generally is again at the top of the news. The outcome of this political battle is is a matter of existential importance for our nation... for if any appeasement toward the immigration aggressors is allowed, those concessions will prove not just irreversible, but consummate a secured beachhead for the invaders; the harbinger of a larger invasion to follow. The stakes are that enormous – thus, it may be not coincidental, but a providential sign that the movie “Darkest Hour” is currently in theaters – for though different in detail and manifestation, the outcome for our nation of decisions currently being made by President Trump are as potentially consequential as those confronting Prime Minister Winston Churchill as he faced the National Socialists the “Nazis” as they were poised to invade Great Britain. This because, amongst other dangers, we confront our own invasion, occupation and then conquer by those who will not assimilate to our way of life and history, whose masters will demand that we succumb to their preferred version of Collectivism...  http://www.trevorloudon.com/2018/01/on-behalf-of-the-middle-class-a...
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U.S. Sanctions Four More 
Venezuelan Military Officials
by Michaela Frai
{defenddemocracy.org} ~ Today, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions on four current or former Venezuelan generals for their involvement in corruption and acts of political repression... These designations are part of an ongoing campaign against the human rights abuses and systematic corruption of President Nicolas Maduro’s faltering regime. The targeting of senior officers indicates an effective direction for U.S. policy: go after the military, Maduro’s strongest support base. Rodolfo Clemente Marco Torres, the Venezuelan minister of food, is an original member of Venezuela’s ruling socialist party. He participated in the failed 1992 coup that launched former President Hugo Chavez’s political rise. After being jailed alongside Chavez, he rose to become a general and then president of the Bank of Venezuela before assuming his current position. Military officers with links to Marco Torres and his ministry diverted food imports and resold them at exponentially higher prices. The profits from these illegally trafficked food contracts were allegedly laundered through the U.S. financial system. Meanwhile, the cost of basic groceries skyrocketed to about five times the minimum wage by the mid-2017. According to some reports, 93 percent of Venezuelans cannot afford to buy food... http://www.defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/michaela-frai-us-sanctions...
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Trump Is Right to Cut Funding to UNRWA
by Gregg Roman
A few days ago, President Trump asked an important question in a tweet... "We pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?" On Friday, Trump answered his question and cut funding to the Palestinians by freezing a $125 million transfer to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Asked about the decision, the State Department said deliberations are ongoing about how to move forward. This presents a tremendous opportunity, but it will take more bold action by the White House. The administration must continue to hold the Palestinians accountable for their rejectionism. Like Trump's December move on Jerusalem, this represents a bold step that is long overdue. UNRWA, the UN's Palestinian refugee agency, long has needed reform, but with Palestinian leadership unwilling to even feign serious commitment to peace, it's probably time to scrap the agency altogether. It stands in the way of peace...  http://www.meforum.org/7147/trump-is-right-to-cut-unrwa-funding?utm...
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Mahmoud Abbas Doesn't Have a Trump Strategy
by Grant Rumley
{jewishworldreview.com} ~ To hear Palestinian leaders tell it, their relationship with the Trump administration has now been simplified... "We will sever all ties with the Americans," Ahmed Majdalani, a confidant of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, told me, "this means the end of the peace process and the U.S. role there." Palestinian leaders once again denounced Trump after he took to Twitter on Jan. 2 to threaten aid to the Palestinian Authority, with one senior official insisting Trump "is not a serious man." Beyond the rhetoric, however, the truth is that the Palestinians still don't have a strategy for how to respond to the American president, particularly after his announcement that the United States considers Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. On paper, the plan is to seek support for statehood from the United Nations: Abbas recently declared that he would again seek full membership at the United Nations — a step he also took in 2011, 2012, and 2014. In addition, Abbas is seeking other ways to garner international recognition: He signed 22 international conventions and treaties on Dec. 11 and threatened to keep signing until the Palestinians have joined over 500 organizations, a strategy that has also been around since 2011...  http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0118/palestinians_no_strategy.php3
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Iran: Freedom & Theocracy are Irreconcilable

by PATRICK J. BUCHANAN
{wnd.com} ~ As tens of thousands marched in the streets of Tehran on Wednesday in support of the regime, the head of the Revolutionary Guard Corps assured Iranians the “sedition” had been defeated.

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari is whistling past the graveyard.

The protests that broke out a week ago and spread and became riots are a fire bell in the night for the Islamic Republic.

The protesters denounced President Hassan Rouhani, re-elected last year with 57 percent of the vote, for failing to curb inflation or deliver the benefits he promised when Iran signed the nuclear deal.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, commander in chief and head of state, in power three decades, was also denounced, as were Iran’s interventions in wars in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen.

In 2009, the uprising of millions in Tehran was driven by middle-class rage over an election stolen by the populist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This past week’s protests began in the working class, in what might be called Iran’s “fly-over country.”

The protesters were red state and tea party types, demanding their own version of “Come Home, Iran” and “Iran First!”

The charge against Rouhani is that he has failed to deliver the good times promised. Against the ayatollah and the mullahs, the charge is that what they have delivered – power and wealth to the clerics, social repression, foreign wars – are not what the Iranian people want.

The greater long-term threat of the protests is to the Islamic regime.

For if the protests are about people being denied the freedom and material goods the young enjoy in the West, the protesters are demanding what theocracies do not deliver. How could the ayatollah and the mullahs, who restrict freedom by divine law, accept democratic freedoms without imperiling their own theological dictatorship?

How could the Republican Guard surrender its slice of the Iranian economy and end its foreign interventions without imperiling its reason for being – to protect and promote the Iranian Islamic revolution?

Half of Iran’s population is 31 or younger. This new generation was not even born until a decade after the revolution that overthrew the shah.

How does a clerical regime speak to a people, 40 million of whom have smartphones connecting them to an outside world where they can see the freedom and prosperity they seek, but their government cannot or will not deliver?

The protesters are also telling Rouhani’s “reformers,” in power now for five years, that they, too, have failed.

Rouhani’s dilemma? To grow Iran’s economy and improve the quality of life, he needs more foreign investment and more consumer goods. Yet any surge in material prosperity Rouhani delivers is certain to undermine the religious faith undergirding the theocratic regime.

And as any transfer of power to the elected regime has to come at the expense of the clerics and the Guard, Rouhani is not likely to get that power.

Thus, he and his government are likely to continue to fail.

Bottom line: The Islamic Republic of Iran was not established to create a materially prosperous and socially free society, because, in the ayatollah’s theology, such societies, like the USA, are of the devil and corruptive of the people.

Social freedom is irreconcilable with Iranian theocracy.

And Iranian hard-liners, clerical and military, are not going to permit protests demanding Western freedom and material goods, to cause them to commit what they believe would be ideological suicide.

Yet the U.S. and President Trump also face a dilemma.

If as Trump says, we wish the Iranian people well, how do we justify scrapping the nuclear deal in which Iranians have placed so much hope and reimposing the sanctions that will restore the hardships of yesterday?

How does America proclaim herself a friend of the Iranian people, if we are trying to persuade Europeans to abrogate the nuclear accord and reimpose the sanctions that impoverish the Iranian people?

Will we urge the Iranians to rise up and overthrow their regime, as we did the Hungarians in 1956, which resulted in their massacre by Soviet tanks sent into Budapest? Ike’s response: He sent Vice President Nixon to greet the surviving Hungarian patriots fleeing across the Andau Bridge into Austria.

After Desert Storm in 1991, George H.W. Bush urged Iraqis to rise up against Saddam Hussein. When the Shiites did rise up, they, too, were massacred, as our Army from Desert Storm stood by in Kuwait.

If there is an Iranian uprising and it results in a Tiananmen Square slaughter in Tehran, do we really want the U.S., which would not likely intervene to save the patriots, held morally accountable?

The Iranian protests suggest that the Islamic revolution, after 40 years, is failing the rising generation. It is hard to see how this is not ominous news for the Iranian regime.

As it was not on the side of the Soviets, time is not on the side of the ayatollahs either.

And as any transfer of power to the elected regime has to come at the expense of the clerics and the Guard, Rouhani is not likely to get that power.

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LIGHTER SIDE

 

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ALERT ALERT

 Will  Tea Party Hand The Liberals Their Ass On Election Day? 

It was this week two years ago that Hillary Clinton’s victory looked assured, when the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape of Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault appeared all but certain to end his campaign.

Jesse Ferguson remembers it well. The deputy press secretary for Clinton’s campaign also remembers what happened a month later.

It’s why this veteran Democratic operative can’t shake the feeling that, as promising as the next election looks for his party, it might still all turn out wrong.

“Election Day will either prove to me I have PTSD or show I’ve been living déjà vu,” Ferguson said. “I just don’t know which yet.”

Ferguson is one of many Democrats who felt the string of unexpected defeat in 2016 and are now closely — and nervously — watching the current election near its end, wondering if history will repeat itself. This year, instead of trying to win the presidency, Democrats have placed an onus on trying to gain 23 House seats and win a majority.

The anxiety isn’t universal, with many party leaders professing confidently and repeatedly that this year really is different.

But even some of them acknowledge the similarities between the current and previous election: Trump is unpopular and beset by scandal, Democrats hold leads in the polls, and some Republicans are openly pessimistic.

FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats a 76.9 percent chance of winning the House one month before Election Day. Their odds for Clinton’s victory two years ago? 71.4 percent.

The abundance of optimism brings back queasy memories for Jesse Lehrich, who worked on the Clinton campaign and remembers watching the returns come in from the Javits Center in New York.

“I was getting texts after the result was clear – including even from some political reporters and operatives – texting me, you know, ‘Are you guys starting to get nervous?’ or ‘What’s her most likely path?’” he said. “I was like, ‘What do you mean, starting to get nervous? What path? They just called Wisconsin. We lost.’”

“People were so slow to process that reality because they just hadn’t considered the possibility that Donald Trump was going to be the next president,” he continued.

Lehrich said he sees similarities between 2016 and 2018. But he said he thought Democrats were cognizant of the parallels and determined not to let up a month before the election, as many voters might have two years ago.

Other Democratic leaders aren’t so sure. Asked if he thought his party was overconfident, Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton responded flatly, “Yes.”

Democrats could win a lot of House seats, he said, or could still fall short of capturing a majority.

“The point is that we’ve got to realize that this not just some unstoppable blue wave but rather a lot of tough races that will be hard-fought victories,” Moulton said.

If Democrats are universally nervous about anything after 2016, it’s polling. The polls weren’t actually as favorable to Clinton and the Democrats as some remember, something 538’s Nate Silver and some other journalists pointed out at the time.

But Clinton’s decision not to campaign in a state she’d lose, Wisconsin, and the failure of pollsters everywhere to miss a wave of Trump supporters in red areas are mistakes Democrats are still grappling with today.

“Clearly last cycle, polling was off,” Ben Ray Lujan, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told reporters last month. “There were a lot of predictions that were made last cycle that didn’t come to fruition.”

Lujan emphasized in particular how pollsters missed the rural vote, calling it a “devastating mistake.” He said the DCCC has taken deliberate steps since 2016 to get it right this time around, but underscored a congressional majority still required a tooth-and-nail fight.

“So I’m confident with the team that’s been assembled, but I’m definitely cognizant of the fact we need to understand these models and understand the data for what it is,” he said.

One Democratic pollster said the data he’s seen makes plain that the party is favored to win a majority — but that it’s still not a sure thing. He said even now it’s unclear if the political environment will create an electoral tsunami, or merely a good year where Democrats might still fall short of a House majority.

“We’ve all learned a lesson from 2016 that there are multiple possibilities and outcomes,” said the pollster, granted anonymity to discuss polling data one month before the election. “And if you haven’t learned that lesson, shame on you. That 20 percent outcome can happen. That 30 percent outcome can happen.”

This year, Democrats have history on their side: The incumbent president’s party historically struggles during midterm elections. That wasn’t the case in 2016, when Democrats were trying to win the presidency for three consecutive terms for the first time in their history since Franklin Delano Roosevelt (The GOP accomplished the feat only once in the same period, with Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.)

Some Democratic leaders say the reality of Trump’s presidency — unlike its hypothetical state in 2016 — changes the dynamic entirely.

“Democratic energy is at nuclear levels,” said Steve Israel, a former DCCC chairman. “Democrats would crawl over broken glass to vote in this election.”

Israel said he still has concerns about November (political operatives always have concerns about the upcoming election). But he waves away the notion that the party might fall short of a House majority.

“Most Democrats and a heck of a lot of Republicans I speak to believe that Democrats will have the majority,” he said. “The real question is, by how much?”

Ferguson is, of course, of two minds: He thinks the push to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the day-to-day reality of Trump’s presidency fundamentally changes how voters will see this election.

But he’s also gun-shy about what could change in the next month, after the multitude of surprises that occurred during the last month of the 2016 race, whether the “Access Hollywood” recording or then-FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the investigation into Clinton’s emails was re-opened.

Many Republicans argue the 2018 election has already seen its October surprise, with the confirmation fight over Brett Kavanaugh finally motivating conservative voters to vote.

“I don’t know what the October surprises will be,” Ferguson said. “But we make a mistake if we assume that what we’re seeing today is what we’ll see for the entire month. We lived through it two years ago.”

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