Trump’s Saudi First Response To The Pensacola Attack

President Donald Trump poses for photos with ceremonial swordsmen on his arrival to Murabba Palace, as the guest of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, Saturday evening, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

It is not my practice to post in entirety someone else’s work, but in this case making any additions or the like would undo the article by Daniel Larison, Trump’s Saudi First Response To The Pensacola Attack (December 7), senior editor at The American Conservative, in which he explains how President Donald Trump refuses to say that the killings inside a U.S. naval base in Florida by a Saudi national was an act of terrorism. The entire of his post is as follows:

 

The president’s response to the Pensacola Naval Air Station shooting reflects his ugly habit of shielding Saudi Arabia from all criticism:

When a Saudi Air Force officer opened fire on his classmates at a naval base in Pensacola, Fla., on Friday, he killed three, wounded eight and exposed anew the strange dynamic between President Trump and the Saudi leadership: The president’s first instinct was to tamp down any suggestion that the Saudi government needed to be held to account.

Hours later, Mr. Trump announced on Twitter that he had received a condolence call from King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who clearly sought to ensure that the episode did not further fracture their relationship. On Saturday, leaving the White House for a trip here for a Republican fund-raiser and a speech on Israeli-American relations, Mr. Trump told reporters that “they are devastated in Saudi Arabia,” noting that “the king will be involved in taking care of families and loved ones.” He never used the word “terrorism.”

What was missing was any assurance that the Saudis would aid in the investigation, help identify the suspect’s motives, or answer the many questions about the vetting process for a coveted slot at one of the country’s premier schools for training allied officers. Or, more broadly, why the United States continues to train members of the Saudi military even as that same military faces credible accusations of repeated human rights abuses in Yemen, including the dropping of munitions that maximize civilian casualties.

The Pensacola shooting was a treacherous attack carried out by a member of the Saudi military against U.S. officers on American soil. The only reason that this man was in the U.S. at all was so that he could receive pilot training that he would probably have gone on to use in the service of the kingdom’s despicable bombing campaign in Yemen. The attack calls into question the Saudi military’s vetting of its own officers and the U.S. military’s scrutiny of the officers that it accepts into its training programs. This Saudi officer should never have been in the U.S., and it is a serious failure by both governments that he was allowed to participate in this program. It is one more example of why providing training to Saudi officers in the U.S. is a mistake. There should be serious consequences for future U.S.-Saudi cooperation, and there must be a thorough investigation to determine what went wrong on our government’s end that this person was accepted into the training program and granted entry into the U.S.

At the very least, we would expect the president and the Secretary of State to express their condemnation and outrage at the murders of American servicemen before they echoed the official talking points from Riyadh, but with this administration the main concern is to cover for the Saudis first. The article quotes Bruce Riedel:

But even stranger, said Mr. Riedel, was “the president’s parroting of the Saudi line” before learning the results of an investigation into whether the gunman acted alone, or had allegiances to Al Qaeda or terrorist groups.

This is the latest in a series of episodes in which the president parrots the Saudi line, because he has been determined to appear subservient before the Saudi government whenever there has been an opportunity to do so. One might think that an attack on a U.S. military base by a Saudi officer would be an occasion when he would make an exception, but it is not. It is all very well that the Saudi government expresses condolences for the attack, but the president shouldn’t be acting as their mouthpiece. The president should be demanding answers from them instead of running interference for them with the press. The article goes on to quote Aaron David Miller:

“If Trump wants to convey condolences from Saudi King Salman, fine,” Mr. Miller wrote on Twitter after the shooting. “But you don’t do it on day — Americans are killed — untethered from a message of ironclad assurances from King to provide” whatever cooperation is necessary to understand the gunman and his motives. “Otherwise Trump sounds like what he has become — a Saudi apologist.’’

There are hardly any foreign governments that the president refuses to criticize publicly, but he won’t say a word against the Saudi government no matter what happens. It was despicable when he recited Saudi propaganda to keep support for the war on Yemen going, and it was outrageous when he tried to help the Saudi government cover up their role in murdering Jamal Khashoggi, and it is disgusting that he still goes out of his way to protect them after this attack. The current noxious U.S.-Saudi relationship should have been ended years ago, and this attack and the president’s shameful rush to side with the Saudis are the latest reminders why it must end.

N. B. This post from Daniel Larison, Trump’s Saudi First Response to the Pensacola Attack (December 7), senior editor at The American Conservative, in its entirety.

Trump’s Islamic Paradox

Donald Trump says “Islam hates us,” but a nine-year-old ...

During his presidential campaign, in an effort to combat the Muslim terrorists, whether from home-grown or from abroad, Donald Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown on Muslims entering the United States,” in addition to an increased surveillance of mosques, which breed hatred toward Americans. In 2016, speaking in Youngstown, Ohio, Trump said that defeating Islamism would require a battle against its underlying ideas: “We must also speak out forcefully against a hateful ideology that provides the breeding ground for violence and terrorism to grow.” He went so far as to say during a CNN interview: “I think Islam hates us.” Trump also vowed to work with genuine Muslim reformers and establish a commission on radical Islam to protect America’s borders from Islamic terrorism. Its proposed mandate included a profound study in order to explain the core convictions of radical Islam, chart how Islamists recruit and deploy jihadists, and to examine political correctness. Three years into his term, what has President Trump done to follow up on these promises?

Trump did implement the 90-Day Travel Ban that was to “temporarily” bar travelers from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Libya and Yemen. Yet none of those countries is the birthplace of terrorists who committed recent attacks in the United States connected to extremist Islamist ideology, unlike Qatar, Egypt, Pakistan, and as America was reminded with the deadly naval base shooting last Friday, Saudi Arabia — incidentally, the kingdom was the only nation among all the embassies in Washington, D.C. that did not lower its flag on 9/11; then-candidate Donald Tump in 2016 suggested that Saudi Arabia was responsible for the 9/11 tragedies.

Donald Trump Bows down To Saudi Arabia’s King Even after ...
President Trump bows before King Salman of Saudi Arabia as he receives the King Abdulaziz al-Saud medal for his meritorious service to the Kingdom. – (Photo: AP)

Putting aside the Travel Ban or the taking out of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — something he claims credit for even though in like manner when Obama had Osama bin Laden killed  Trump said Obama should not have gotten any recogntion — Trump’s war on Islamism has thus far been rhetoric and reneged propaganda as Islamists have only flourished under his watch, especially because of his love affair with the Saudis and his open support and friendship with Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

From the outset of his presidential inauguration, Trump administration officials have met and continue to embrace prominent Islamist groups and operatives. On the second day of Trump’s presidency, a traditional service held at Washington National Cathedral to mark the inauguration featured a sermon from Mohamed Magid, imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) and former head of the Islamist-founded Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

It should be known that in 2002 federal agents raided ADAMS because of its involvement in a terror-financing network. In 2007, federal prosecutors named ISNA an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror finance case in U.S. history, leading the Justice Department to cancel events at which Magid would be present. Although many observers claim the cleric has since moderated, Magid still works closely with some of America’s most extreme Islamist activists. In 2018, at the ADAMS annual dinner, he hosted and shared the stage with Siraj Wahhaj, the imam of the at-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn, who has denounced non-Muslims and “Satanic” America, and has advocated jihad and the killing of adulterers. Yet both ISNA and ADAMS continue to enjoy federal contact.

The U.S. Institute of Peace continues to host Magid. Sam Brownback, the administration’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom, and Mark Green, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, have tweeted their delight upon visiting ADAMS and meeting with Magid. While Brownback and Department of Education officials continue to speak at ISNA events, the Pentagon still requires that clerics applying for its chaplaincy program have secured the endorsement of ISNA — a policy criticized by leading Democratic Party senators Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein as early as 2003.

The White House hosted a “Faith-Based Community Safety and Security Symposium,” attended by Vice President Mike Pence (right) and other officials. Oussama Jamal of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, and a prominent Islamist operative, was invited. – (Photo: metforum.org)

Fast forward to these past few months, in September the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) held its Faith Based Community Safety and Security Symposium at the White House. Oussama Jammal, secretary general of the Islamist U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) attended, along with representatives of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). They were among 180 participants representing faith-based communities, the federal government, and state and local governments who participated. Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the event — the symposium focused on security at mosques and “other” places of worship in the wake of recent white supremacist terror attacks at mosques and synagogues in America.

As reported by John Rossomando of Investigative Project on Terrorism, in May then-Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan last May urged that MPAC be included in a Homeland Security Advisory Council’s Subcommittee on Faith-Based Organization Security. A month later, MPAC promised to work with the terrorist-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other Islamist groups to formulate mosque safety recommendations to DHS.

In fact, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agreed to send its officers to a training session in October hosted by CAIR’s Chicago chapter. The session “gave an overview of Islamic faith traditions, illustrated the rich diversity of the Muslim community, and delved into the rise of Islamophobia and how bigoted policies, including the Muslim Travel Bans, affect Muslims and other marginalized communities,” CAIR Chicago said in a statement.

Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), said: “We’ve been saying for the past ten years these are the last people the U.S. government should be consulting on matters of mosque security because they are dyed-in-the-wool Islamists … This is a denial of the fact that their Islamism is upstream from that of the more militant Islamism.” Islamist support for militant jihadists in Syria, together with their effort to alienate Muslims from the rest of America, make this evident,” Jasser said.

The aforementioned Jammal’s USCMO is an umbrella group that includes groups with links to the Muslim Brotherhood, including CAIR, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the Muslim American Society (MAS), ICNA Relief, Helping Hand Relief and Development (HHRD) and Falls Church, Virginia’s Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, all of which have supported terrorists. But they, too, have participated in Trump administration outreach events, such as when U.S. Customs and Border Protection agreed to send its officers to a training session in October hosted by CAIR’s Chicago chapter — the session “gave an overview of Islamic faith traditions, illustrated the rich diversity of the Muslim community, and delved into the rise of Islamophobia and how bigoted policies, including the Muslim Travel Bans, affect Muslims and other marginalized communities,” CAIR Chicago said in a statement.

President Trump’s Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL James Jeffrey gave the keynote address at a gala dinner last March sponsored by the Syrian American Council (SAC). The SAC helped convince the U.S. State Department that Salafi jihadists in northern Syria were “moderate.” SAC condemned the Obama administration’s 2012 classification of al-Qaida’s former affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist group.

Many of the SAC’s leaders belonged to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, according to Molham al-Droubi, a key Brotherhood leader. A 1992 phone book of the international Muslim Brotherhood seized by federal investigators listed SAC founder Talal Sunbulli as a member. State Department officials also attended a July discussion on Syria co-sponsored by the SAC and the Erdogan-linked Turkish Heritage Organization.

State Department, National Security Council and Department of Defense officials also have met with Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Syrian Emergency Taskforce (SETF), and members of his group. Moustafa advocated that the U.S. embrace a faction called the Islamic Front, an al-Qaida influenced jihadist coalition that sought to replace the Assad regime with an Islamic State. SETF pushed the State Department to engage with the Islamic Front. Obama’s ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, met with the Islamic Front at the end of 2013.

While Islamists remain the beneficiaries of federal largesse, reformist Muslims do not appear to have been embraced at all despite Trump’s 2016 pledge. Simultaneously, as reformist writer and activist Shireen Qudosi said“Since Trump’s presidency, American Islamists have been ascending to political power and winning the cultural narrative [such as U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar] tied to a larger effort to undermine American sovereignty.”

Throughout his presidential campaign Trump promised change on the Islamic front. He even dared state the name of a threat whose very existence the Obama administration preferred to deny. But beyond the welcome change in rhetoric, there has been a consistent lack of action. Yes he has continued his predecessor’s policy in keeping U.S. troops in the Middle East. Yet by simultaneously continuing to seek assistance from “American” Islamist groups, just like Obama, in addition to saliently sustaining that the Saudis act in America’s interest, the Trump administration has given both legitimacy and political clout to those who hate us and seek to undermine Western democratic values, consequently further advocating their theocratic goals of Islamizing our society.

N. B. I invite you to take a look at my book Islam: Religion of Peace? The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up. Everything you want to know about Islam and how to confront the Islamization of society is in it.

 

Another Saudi Attack on American Land

Emergency respondents at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. Saudi national was fatally shot by officers. -(Photo: AP)

Today a member of the Saudi Air Force, Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, visiting the United States for military training was the suspect in a shooting attack at the U.S. Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida in which four people were killed and eight were injured, the state governor and other officials said.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis confirmed that the suspect was a Saudi national attending training at the base as part of long-standing Navy program open to U.S. allies. The motive for the violence was still under investigation. In other words, the political correct position seems to be: because it was a Saudi national, it cannot be jihad. Obviously, Trump’s 90-Day Travel Ban that was to “temporarily” bar travelers from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Libya and Yemen did not work. Why? Because none of those countries is the birthplace of terrorists who committed recent attacks in the United States connected to extremist Islamist ideology, unlike Saudi Arabia.

There has been near-conclusive evidence showing that thousands of citizens from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, not excluding royal family members, were partially behind the 9/11 attacks. While the Saudis have denied any direct involvement, the U.S. Congress overrode Obama’s veto in 2016 which would enable the families of victims of the September 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia, presented by the West as its most valuable ally in the Middle East, over alleged links with al-Qaeda terrorists who carried out the attacks on New York and Washington.

Also, according to Fox News, “The Sunni Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has boasted that key US Middle East ally Saudi Arabia is the top provider of terrorists for the jihadist group in Iraq.” As evidenced by a June 2015 report from the US State Department, Sunni Islamists receive most of their support from Saudi and other Gulf Cooperation Council associates. The report also stated that “[b]ulk cash smuggling and money transfers from individual donors and Saudi-based charities have reportedly been a significant source of financing for extremist and terrorist groups over the past 25 years.” According to the New York Times, the Taliban’s former financial minister, Agha Jam Motasim, regularly travelled to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in order to raise millions of dollars.

After the 9/11 attacks, US senators Jon Kyl of Arizona and Dianne Feinstein of California investigated the risks posed by Wahhabi ideology in the American homefront. While US congressional hearings uncovered the danger of Wahhabism, the Bush administration chose to focus on acts of violence instead of the ideology behind it. In 2015, after President Obama’s Special Representative to Muslim Communities Farah Pandith visited eighty countries between 2009 and 2014, she reported:

“In each place I visited, the Wahhabi influence was an insidious presence … funding all this was Saudi money, which paid for things like the textbooks, mosques, TV stations and the training of Imams.”

According to numerous reports, the majority of mosques in the United States were financed by the Wahhabi sect of Saudi Arabia, many of them linked to Islamic radical terror groups. As per another WikiLeaks cable, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, 

“[D]onors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.” She continues: “More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba] and other terrorist groups.” Other cables released by Wikileaks outline how Saudi front companies are also used to fund terrorism abroad.

In fact, over the last few decades, Saudi Arabia has spent an estimated $100 billion to export its Wahhabi radical Islamic ideology. Some of this money landed in the United States; Saudi Arabia helped finance at least sixteen Islamic and cultural centers in California, Missouri, Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Maryland.

A study by Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom in 2005 found that “Saudi-connected resources and publications on extremist ideology remain common reading and educational material in some of America’s main mosques including Los Angeles, Oakland, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Washington, and New York.” The publications contained anti-American, anti-Semitic, and jihadist ideology, and advocated removing women from the public sphere entirely. Since 2005, a number of overtly hateful materials have been removed from American mosques, but as of 2017 the ideological infrastructure of political Islam in America remains largely intact.

As Pamela Geller said, Trump’s national security ban is not enough. How many people have to die? Answer me. Nineteen of the Muslim terrorists on 9/11 were Saudi citizens. Why would continue to give Saudi nationals flying lessons? 3,000 murdered men, women and children wasn’t enough? I ask myself ask why is apparently Trump solely concerned about Iranians attacking us? Give me a break! It is time, Mr. President to put a halt on the Saudi Kingdom who hates us. If they commit horrendous human rights violations against their own people, what do you think their view on Americans might be?

N. B. Quotations and sources can be found  in my book Islam: Religion of Peace? The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up, unless otherwise noted.

Is it Time to Designate CAIR as a Terrorist Organization?

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Enter a capNihad Awad, Executive Director and co-founder of CAIR calling on people in Tennessee to oppose a bill that would have prevented public schools from teaching the principles of Islam and every other religion until students reach the 10th grade. – (Photo: Public Domain)tion

Last week’s stabbings by Usman Khan, a devout Muslim who murdered two people and injured three others on London Bridge by far overshadowed the arrest of Zachary Clark, 40, of Brooklyn, New York, the day before Americans celebrated Thanksgiving. Clark, who faces up to forty years in prison, was charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, and one count of distributing information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction.

The arrest, as U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman for the Southern District of New York stated, was made possible through surveillance by the Joint Terrorist Task Force. The force included cops (mainly Muslims themselves) going undercover in Muslim areas to become more familiar with them and gain background info for future investigations or leads on possible attacks. While there is nothing wrong with such practices in defense of innocent lives, Islamic advocacy groups such as the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), with headquarters in Washington, D.C., have publicly opposed such programs, ranting that they are religiously and racially motivated to discriminate against Muslims. And there is a reason for this: CAIR is linked to Islamic terrorist groups.

CAIR’s mission is “to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.” Yet, as detailed at length by the Center for Security Policy, since its founding in 1993, CAIR has presented itself publicly as a benign Muslim American “civil rights organization.” But from that time to this, the United States government has known that CAIR actually is an entity founded by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian franchise: Hamas, a group officially designated since 1994 as a terrorist organization.

Evidence of CAIR’s true character as a U.S.-based instrument for political warfare and fundraising for Hamas — and the federal government’s certain knowledge of the truth — did not come to light until the largest terrorism financing trial in the nation’s history: the 2007-2008 Holy Land Foundation prosecution. In the course of that trial, FBI Agent Laura Burns testified about the wiretap and surveillance transcripts of two planning sessions held in Philadelphia in October 1993 and leading up to the organizational meeting of CAIR. Specifically, she presented proof that CAIR’s mission was to assist “Sister Samah,” its founders’ hardly opaque code-name for Hamas, as the prospect of its terror designation loomed.

Some of its employees and board members have also been charged with terrorism, such as Randall (“Ismail”) Royer. An American convert to Islam, served as CAIR’s communications specialist and civil rights coordinator; today he sits in jail on terrorism-related charges.

The Department of Homeland Security, however, refuses to deal with CAIR as a threat to our national security, to say nothing of its sponsor of international Islamic terror groups, despite concerns from notable figures, some of them from the Democrat Party:

  • Senator Charles (Chuck) Schumer (Democrat, New York) describes CAIR as an organization “which we know has ties to terrorism.”
  • Senator Dick Durbin (Democrat, Illinois) observes that CAIR is “unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its associations with groups that are suspect.”
  • Steven Pomenrantz, the FBI’s former chief of counterterrorism, notes that “CAIR, its leaders, and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups.”
  • The family of John P. O’Neill, Sr., the former FBI counterterrorism chief who perished at the World Trade Center, named CAIR in a lawsuit as having “been part of the criminal conspiracy of radical Islamic terrorism” responsible for the September 11 atrocities. Counterterrorism expert Steven Emerson calls it “a radical fundamentalist front group for Hamas.”

Democrat presidential candidates Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, as well as fellow Democrat and Republican lawmakers, however, publicly support this jihadist organization that is in our own back yard. And by the way, CAIR got its first public endorsement from Republican President George W. Bush.

When President Bush visited the Islamic Center of Washington several days after September 11, 2001, to signal that he would not tolerate a backlash against Muslims, he invited CAIR’s executive director, Nihad Awad, to join him at the podium. Two months later, when Secretary of State Colin Powell hosted a Ramadan dinner, he, too, called upon CAIR as representative of Islam in America. More broadly, when the State Department seeks out Muslims to welcome foreign dignitaries, journalists, and academics, it calls upon CAIR.

President Donald Trump, when he hosted the Islamic Iftar dinner at the White House this year, he made sure that CAIR was not invited — and for good reason.  Just as the Muslim Brotherhood, which has yet to be designated as a terrorist group by the Trump administration, it is time the Council of American-Islamic Relations is classified as such. And this is just not an American problem, it is an international one since CAIR continues to support the cause of jihadists’ rights, as well as sponsor global terrorism.

N. B. This article was originally published by the American Thinker on December 4, 2019.

The Trump Impeachment: A Political Hit Job

Speaker Pelosi Delivers Remarks on Trump Impeachment on Capitol Hill
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announces that the House will continue with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Thursday, December 5, 2019. – (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that the House of Representatives will file impeachment charges against President Donald Trump for alleged abuse of power: betraying his oath of office and the nation’s security by seeking to enlist a foreign power to tarnish a rival for his own political gain. All of this because of the complaint of the July 25 phone from the whistleblower — if he or she does actually exist. By the way, Trump has already been impeached by the House and has also been vindicated by the Senate. That being said, it merits to review the evidence provided to the

The July 25 memo is the only primary source in this entire case. Aside from Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who was on the call and has testified (uncorroborated by anyone else on the call) that certain words and phrases he heard were missing from the memo, the so-called witnesses have only talked about what they think happened, or their opinions of what happened, or what someone else told them happened. Remember, NONE of the 12 impeachment hearing witnesses, including Vindman, have testified that they actually heard Trump explicitly tie security aid to an investigation. Another essential factor to look at is the portion of the memo that explicitly ties the security aid to an investigation, which after all is the crime the president is accused of. The House has not been able to prove that as of yet.

And by the way, was any aid actually withheld? Delayed is not withheld. And since no one seems to know when the Ukrainians learned of any delays, even that does not seem to have mattered. There were also no investigations that took place, at least none were provided by the House panel.

In sum, there were no witnesses to “the crime.” The only primary document has no explicit evidence of “the crime.” No aid was withheld and no investigations took place. A smoking gun requires there to be a dead body on the floor. Instead we have accusations backed up by suppositions. Without the media artificially keeping this all alive, you would be left wondering exactly what it is we are still talking about.

As State Department veteran, Peter Van Buren said, it is always easy to forget the basics. First, quid pro quo is not Latin for bribery. The president is to conduct foreign policy with extraordinary latitude to say what the national interest is, not the State Department and its ambassadors, no matter how smart they think they are. Foreign aid is a policy tool and is offered in return for something. As an exasperated Mick Mulvaney told us, of course there is always a quid pro quo — vote our way at the UN, let us have a military base, help us negotiate with your neighbor. Presidents often delay aid to get what they want. An investigation is not meddling. Foreign governments work with us on criminal, financial, and other investigations all the time. The Democrats asked Ukraine to investigate Trump in 2018. Providing information is not interfering in our democracy.

What needs to be looked at is not only at what was done, but whether it was serious enough to warrant impeachment. The Constitution is vague on what exactly is an impeachable act, but we do have precedent.

Just in the last two decades, we have had a president who lied us into war, i.e., George W. Bush, who also set up a torture program, spied on Americans, and sat on his hands while the economy crashed. No impeachment. President Barak Hussein Obama led military incursions into Libya, Syria, and Yemen, thereby creating the worst refugee flows Europe has seen since World War II; he also who illegally spied on Americans, assassinated his own citizens by drone, and gave trillions to Wall Street while Main Street floundered. No impeachment. But an internal power struggle between careerists and political appointees over Ukraine supersized into a made-up crisis, now that is what the American Founding Fathers had in mind?

To quote Peter Van Buren, “That’s where I’m stuck. Because if we can’t resolve those questions, we can only conclude that this is a political hit job by a bunch of sore losers who see impeachment as a way for them to meddle in the 2020 election. Weigh that carefully, ladies and gentlemen of the real jury, as you vote tomorrow.”

Sen. Warren and the Democrats’ Campaign to Eliminate the Electoral College

The Electoral College, Let’s Stay the Course – The Bull ...

This past Monday presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren (Democrat -Massachusetts) reaffirmed her position that the Electoral College should be abolished and U.S. presidents should be elected by popular vote. “My goal is to get elected—but I plan to be the last American president to be elected by the Electoral College. I want my second term to be elected by direct vote,” she tweeted. In early May she stated: “My view is that every vote matters.  And the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College.”

In this video clip, she said, “Call me old fashioned, but I think the person who gets the most votes should win.” According to one poll earlier this year, 60 percent of Democratic voters support abolishing the Electoral College, and much of the mainstream media seems to agree. After the 2016 election, The New York Times attacked the Electoral College as an “antiquated mechanism,” Time magazine published an article arguing the Electoral College was designed to protect slavery, and E. J. Dionne Jr. of The Washington Post compared it to a game of chance in a casino.

This is right in with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ideology, after he said months ago that liberal democracy in America has become obsolete [and] outlived its purpose [since] it has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population.” Both Warren and fellow enemies of American liberalism — the political and moral philosophy that emerged from the theories of John Locke, specifically his Second Treatise on Government, which is to provide people the right to be free from the control of a tyrannical or corrupt government — are effortlessly seeking to undermine the foundation upon which the American Founding Fathers built and what Abraham Lincoln called government of the people, by the people, for the people. 

The efforts to abolish the U.S. electoral college system only became a crusade by Democrats after Hillary Clinton lost the general election to Donald Trump in 2016 while winning the popular vote — prior to 2016, four times in U.S. history a candidate wonderments the presidency despite losing the popular vote: John Q. Adams – the election of 1824; Rutherford B. Hayes – the election of 1876; Benjamin Harrison – the election of 1888; George W. Bush – the election of 2000.

What Warren and others, as inspired by the Russian autocrat, fail to admit that the essence of true democracy does not necessarily include  government by a majority vote by citizens, which is why the Father of the U.S. Constitution James Madison argued for a constitutional republic with protections for individual liberty over a pure democracy. The reason was that in a pure democracy a “passion or interest of will, in almost every case, [would] be felt by a majority of the whole […] and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party.” The Electoral College, as an example of a constitutional republic, gives the same voice and vote to states that do not have highly populated cities, as opposed to those that do. The purpose was to prevent such big states, which normally think homogeneously from becoming despotic — if this is not a true sense of democracy, what would be?

Warren’s opposition to the Electoral College, as political editor for the Federalist John Daniel Davidson explains, although couched in the facile rhetoric of “every vote counts,” she means just the opposite. Under a system of direct democracy, votes in places like Wyoming, Iowa, and every other small state wouldn’t really count at all. The country would effectively be ruled by New York and California — and indeed by the residents of the largest cities in those states. She and the Democrats know that most large cities are blue and that the ongoing urbanization of America would give them a huge advantage if they were able to run their votes up in those districts and ignore the rest of the country.

It certainly would have been enough to put Hillary Clinton in the White House. In fact, the collapse of Democrats’ “blue wall” in 2016 is largely what’s behind the current assault on the Electoral College. Competing for the votes of working-class whites in Pennsylvania and Michigan doesn’t appeal to progressive 2020 candidates like Warren for the simple reason that she’s unlikely to win their votes, and she knows it.

The argument against the Electoral College is therefore really an argument against the role of the states in our constitutional system, and against the scheme of federalism in general. The irony is that federalism is the one thing that might assuage rising political tensions in America.

The alternative, as Davidson again points out, what Warren and the Democrats would like to see, is exactly what what James Madison called the “tyranny of the majority.” In this case, it would be a tyranny whose enormous power was concentrated in Washington, D.C., to an even greater extent than it already is. Under a system based on direct democracy, federalism would wither and die. As the historian Allen Guelzo noted last year in National Affairs, once we eliminate the Electoral College, “there would be no sense in having a Senate (which, after all, represents the interests of the states), and eventually, no sense in even having states, except as administrative departments of the central government.”

Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist Paper 68, which is all about the Electoral College, insisted that while it is “desirable” that the “sense of the people should operate in” the selection of America’s commander-in-chief, it is “equally desirable that the immediate election be made by men [and women] most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station.” [Emphasis added] “Call me an old fashioned,” but being old an old fashioned believer in the Electoral College our Founding Fathers created is what will keep providing a voice to the ones Warren and the Democrats want to make voiceless.

One Small Step for Democracy in Hong Kong: Thank You America!

The Associated Press
Protesters march to up pressure on the Hong Kong government in the disputed former British colony that now looks towards America for a future based on the democratic rule of law. – (Photo: AP via GETTY).

Last week thousands of Chinese nationals in Hong Kong held a mid-evening rally to thank America for supporting the territory’s massive democracy movement. Some came carrying American flags, many held up signs printed with American flags and the words, “Thank You.” They packed a huge plaza near the waterfront, spilled out onto the sidewalks and the ramps of a nearby parking garage, and stood on tiptoe at the edge of the crowd to watch speakers and singers on an open-air stage celebrate their cause of freedom and democracy.

Click and watch video of thousands gathering to thank America

Hong Kong has been rocked by a series of protests by hundreds of thousands of people in recent weeks, many of which have ended in violent clashes between police and pockets of demonstrators. The protests were initially focused on a bill that that would make it easier to extradite people to China from the semi-autonomous city. But the authorities’ harsh policing of the protests, coupled with a refusal by Hong Kong’s leader to completely withdraw the bill, mean protesters have returned to the streets time and again. After six months of protests, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy opposition won a stunning landslide victory in weekend local elections in a clear rebuke to city leader Carrie Lam (Beijing’s puppet leader) over her handling of violent protests that have divided the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

Hong Kong is a special autonomous administrative region of China, located to the east of the Pearl River (Xu Jiang) estuary on the south coast of China. The region is bordered by Guangdong province to the north and the South China Sea to the east, south, and west. It consists of Hong Kong Island, originally ceded by China to Great Britain in 1842, the southern part of the Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutters (Ngong Shuen) Island (now joined to the mainland), ceded in 1860, and the New Territories, which include the mainland area lying largely to the north, together with 230 large and small offshore islands—all of which were leased from China for 99 years from 1898 to 1997. The Chinese-British joint declaration signed on December 19, 1984, paved the way for the entire territory to be returned to China, which occurred July 1, 1997.

Tianasquare.jpg
The iconic photo of a man blocking government tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989 (Image: Jeff Widener/AP)

The Hong Kong protests served as a reminder of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy manifestations thirty years ago when a million Chinese students had both captivated and given the entire world the impression that communism in China was about to fall. Many of us vividly remember our tv screens, while U.S. and the rest of the “free world” sat and watched in silence, the scene of an unarmed man standing in front of a column of tanks—the image of his defiance became a symbol of protest against the corrupt around the world—halting their passage from the Square a day after the bloody crackdown of June 4—hundreds, if not thousands, were killed by the Chinese military; an many thousands were imprisoned. Yet thirty years later not only has this event been practically erased from the memories of the Chinese people, China’s economy has catapulted up the world rankings, while political and religious repression in the country is harsher than many who watched those events would have anticipated. Fortunately, this time the United States came to the aid of democracy.

The inspiration for this was President Donald Trump’s signing into law the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which provides for regular reports monitoring the status of the rights and freedoms that China under treaty promised to Hong Kong, and penalties if these are found to be violated. There is more to it, and plenty of debate over what the effects might be in practice. Maybe the main thing to know right now is that Congress passed it with bipartisan near-unanimity—it passed in the House with a 417-1 margin and unanimously in the Senate—and China’s government and its puppet administration in Hong Kong both hate it. The law will also suspend supplying the Chinese police in Hong Kong with rubber bullets, tear gas, and other anti-protest gear.

Let us keep praying and supporting the pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong, and for that matter, the rest of the world where rogue regimes continue to carry out their slaughters of people who want to live in freedom. President Ronald Reagan once said: “America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.” This is why it is necessary that the U.S. lead the cause against human rights violations in countries such as North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and let us not forget China itself. If America does not do it, who will?

U.S. Resumes Peace Talks with the Taliban: What is the Point?

Taliban Deputy Chief Arrives in Qatar for Talks With U.S ...
U.S.-Taliban peace talks in Moscow in February – (Photo: Pavel Golovkin/AP)

Trump’s reasons for wanting the U.S. to leave Afghanistan are not just understandable but legitimate. Over 2,400 American soldiers have been killed and approximately 20,320 wounded, not to mention the trillions of dollars spent in an 18-year campaign with no end in sight. In a surprise visit on Thanksgiving Day to the 13,000 U.S. troops that remain in Afghanistan eighteen years after the U.S. invaded the country in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, President Donald Trump said the United States has resumed peace talks with the Taliban.

Trump’s first trip to the South Asian country on Thursday since becoming the president came a week after a prisoner swap between Washington and Kabul that had raised hopes for the revival of peace talks. “The Taliban wants to make a deal and we are meeting with them and we are saying it has to be a ceasefire and they didn’t want to do a ceasefire and now they do want to do a ceasefire, I believe. It will probably work out that way,” he told reporters.

Earlier this year, the U.S. reached a deal in principle with the Taliban group to pull out troops from the country and wind down America’s longest war in return for security guarantees. Trump, however, made a shock move in September, describing the year-long talks as “dead” and withdrawing an invitation to the group to meet near Washington due to the killing of a U.S. soldier. The Taliban, prior to Trump’s decision to halt the peace process, had defended a suicide bombing carried out against an international compound in the Afghan capital that killed at least sixteen people and wounded 119.

Violence in Afghanistan has yet to have ceased as both Afghan forces and Taliban militants attempt to increase their leverage in ongoing peace talks. During State of the Union Address, President Donald Trump stated negotiations for peace with the Taliban were underway to facilitate a pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. It is something he said he would never do a year ago. Yet many Afghans worry that Trump’s desire to pull American troops from Afghanistan will override doubts about the Taliban’s sincerity. During the initial talks early this year, Hamdullah Mohib, national security adviser to Afghan Predient Ashraf Ghani, said counting on the Taliban to control other militants could be like “having cats guard the milk.”

The Taliban have refused to negotiate formally with the Afghan government, but diplomatic efforts continue to foster dialogue. Just days before Trump’s visit, a civilian aid worker from San Francisco, Anil Raj — an American citizen — was killed in a weekend attack on a U.N. vehicle in Afghanistan. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, but both Taliban and the Islamic State group are active in the capital and have repeatedly claimed previous attacks. 

And just one day before Trump shared Thanksgiving with the U.S. troops in Afghanistan, in the capital city of Kabul, at least 15 civilians — seven women, eight children six of them girls — all of them guests of a wedding party, were killed and two more were injured in the northeastern Kunduz province, after their car, they were traveling in, was hit by a roadside bomb planted by the Taliban.

Phyllis Chesler, author of American Bride in Kabul, had said: “I do fear for the Afghan people — particularly women and young girls — if and when America leaves, especially those who have shown so much courage in standing up for themselves against incredible odds.”

Despite President George W. Bush declaring victory in the country in 2004, Afghanistan today remains divided, corrupt, volatile and a haven for terrorists. The Taliban maintains its grip on almost 60 percent of the country, the most territory it has controlled since 2001. As in all war-torn societies, women suffer disproportionately. Afghanistan is still ranks the worst place in the world to be a woman. Notwithstanding  Afghan government and international donor efforts since 2001 to educate girls, an estimated two-thirds of Afghan girls do not attend school. It is held that 87 percent of Afghan women are illiterate, while 70-80 percent face forced marriage, many before the age of sixteen. A September watchdog report called the USAID’s $280 million Promote program — billed the largest single investment that the U.S. government has ever made to advance women’s rights globally — a flop and a waste of taxpayer’s money.

Let us not forget that while some may dismiss the Taliban’s demands as merely its hard line initial position that can be whittled down in negotiations, it has held firm on these demands for well over a decade. When the Obama administration attempted to negotiate peace with the Taliban during and after the Afghan surge, the Taliban did not budge on its demands. The Taliban was, however, able to extract concessions, such as the opening of its political office in Qatar and the release of five dangerous leaders who were held at Guantanamo, at zero cost. After extracting concessions, the Taliban walked away, leaving U.S. efforts to cut a deal in shambles.

The Taliban are responsible for the death of thousands of innocent people, the destruction of dozens of schools and hospitals and the oppressing of the Afghan people, now too scared and tired to fight any longer. Metrah Haidari, a fourth year political science and religion major at the University of Toronto, said: “I’d like to bring the world’s attention to all the appalling practices still prevalent in Afghanistan, which is in large part due to the Taliban’s commitment to keeping Afghanistan in the world’s lowest ranks socially, economically, politically and morally. The practices I refer to range from the rape of children younger than 5-years-old, to the killing of young women for “moral crimes,” for which men are not held to the same standard.”

I am sure that there is not a single American who would not want the U.S. troops to finally come home; something Trump has been trying to do since he took office. Yet forging a peace treaty with the Taliban would be as promising as wearing a raincoat for protection from a nuclear fallout. The Taliban is more than happy to negotiate the terms of U.S. withdrawal — but if and only if an accord is reached on their terms. If a so-called peace agreement can be reached, you can be sure it will be one that will not benefit the Afghan people, the U.S., or the region. Not to mention, all the sacrifices our men and women in uniform have made would be in vain.

Citing the U.S. experience in Iraq, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned against a hasty withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in 2011, which had set the stage for the rise of the ISIS and the regional chaos that resulted, “We can want the war over; we can declare the war over,” but the threat of terrorism to the U.S. homeland emanating from Afghanistan will persist and “the enemy gets a vote.”

The Recent Iranian Crisis: Why the U.S. Should Worry

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the US of using the protests to 'send troops' [Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP]
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the U.S. of using the protests to ‘send troops’ – (Photo: AP)

In the latest tension between the United States and Iran, Iranian security agents arrested  eight people linked to the CIA during last week’s deadly unrest over petrol price increases, the official news agency IRNA reported on Wednesday—protests erupted across Iran after an abrupt decision by authorities to hike petrol prices of to 50 percent as part of efforts to blunt the effects of crippling U.S. sanctions on the country’s economy—“These elements had received CIA-funded training in various countries under the cover of becoming citizen-journalists,” it quoted the intelligence ministry as saying. “Six were arrested while attending the riots and carrying out [CIA] orders and two while trying to … send information abroad.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei—in his strongest remarks since the unrest peaked – described the two weeks of violence as the work of a “very dangerous conspiracy.” This came just weeks after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized Iran’s treatment of an inspector with the United Natios’s nuclear watchdog agency as “an outrageous and unwarranted act of intimidation.” The top U.S. diplomat said that Iran had “detained” the inspector, who the International Atomic Energy Agency said had been briefly prevented from leaving the country.

Early this year, CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee saying— in contradiction to President Donald Trump—that Iran is abiding by the nuclear deal it made with the world powers in 2015. Apparently what this trio—as well as the entire European Union—failed to notice was that just a few days earlier Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi disclosed how Iran made a mockery out of the agreement, even to the point of admitting pictures of cement being poured down the Arak plutonium reactor’s core (as required by the agreement) were photoshopped. Iran did pour concrete down the pipes of the heavy water reactor, but only after procuring new replacement pipes, Salehi revealed in a January 22 interview.

Iran announced in November that it breached another term of the nuclear deal, which the U.S. abandoned last year, announcing Tuesday that it will be injecting uranium gas into 1,044 previously empty centrifuges. Under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran was only allowed to operate approximately 5,000 first-generation centrifuges, “widely seen as antiquated and breakdown-prone.” Yet unbeknown to many, Iran poses more of a threat to the United States just south of its border, and it is using the drug cartel for it.

Foreign policy writer Eric Yang recently explained how the Mexican drug cartel—soon to be designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S.—has become the latest instrument of the Iranian regime threatening the American homeland. It in fact nearly succeeded eight years ago in creating the most devastating terrorist attack that would have been the most devastating on U.S. soil since 9/11.

How Would This Have Occurred?

As reported, on October 11, 2011, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller disclosed that a plot to assassinate Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Adel al-Jubeir had been foiled, and one of the suspects, U.S. citizen Manssor Arbabsiar, had been arrested. The other suspect, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force operative Gholam Shakuri, who also wanted sought to bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, was never arrested and remains at large to this day.

According to the Department of Justice, Jubeir’s assassination was plotted from spring to October 2011. Throughout the year, Arbabsiar went to Mexico to enlist the services of someone he believed was an associate of a Mexican drug cartel. Only it was not—his contact was actually an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

In late May, Arbabsiar traveled from Texas to Mexico to solicit the services of the informant—who then notified U.S. authorities—for an attack against Saudi diplomatic personnel or facilities in the United States. Arbabsiar specifically inquired regarding the use of explosives, to which the informant advised him the cartel was proficient in the use of C-4 plastic explosives.

The informant agreed the cartel was willing to execute the hit at a price of $1.5 million. Within days, Arbabsiar and the informant came to an agreement, and the cartel began planning the assassination. This included gathering intelligence. The informant told Arbabsiar he already had a cartel member doing surveillance in Washington, identifying the Saudi ambassador and determining a time, place, and parameters for attack. Jubeir frequently dined at Café Milano, an upscale Italian restaurant in the Georgetown neighborhood, so it was decided this was the ideal location for targeting the ambassador.

All this time, the informant had been recording Arbabsiar. In one of the mid-July conversations, the Iranian agent seemed fully aware of the high risk of American casualties, at one point suggesting the cartel take care not to kill innocents. But by the end of the discussion, Arbabsiar made clear the assassination needed to happen at any cost. In August, a total of $100,000 was wired to the cartel as a down payment for carrying out the operation. It is not clear when the assassination would have taken place, but conversations between Arbabsiar, the informant, and the leadership back in Iran (primarily Quds Force operative Shakuri) indicate it would have occurred in October. On September 28, Arbabsiar boarded a plane at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport for a flight to Mexico, intending to serve himself to the cartel as collateral until the assassination was executed.

When he landed in Mexico, the trap was sprung. Denied entry by Mexican authorities, Arbabsiar was forced to fly back to New York City, where he was then arrested on September 29. In short order, he confessed to investigators his role in the plot. He cooperated with the FBI as they attempted to build a case against Shakuri, who was, until Holder and Mueller’s October 11 announcement, unaware Arbabsiar had been caught.

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis hammered home the gravity of this “act of war.” Mattis, who was the commander of Central Command (CENTCOM) at the time, spoke of the event in great detail in his memoir, published earlier this year. “It would have changed history,” he said, noting he’d also seen incriminating intelligence of Tehran’s direct involvement. “Had the bomb gone off, those in the restaurant and on the street would have been ripped apart, blood rushing down sewer drains,” Mattis gruesomely described the consequences of the attack had it been successful.

Mattis argued Obama should have drummed up public support for a tougher line against Iran, evoking Woodrow Wilson and the 1917 Zimmermann Telegram, laying the groundwork for military action. Having held an adversarial stance toward Iran his entire career (and possibly relieved of command for it), Mattis clearly considers October 2011 a missed opportunity to resoundingly punish the ayatollah and his cronies for their crimes.

President Trump called off a retaliatory strike in June against Iran after it shot down a highly sophisticated American drone flying over the Strait of Hormuz—Washington maintains the drone was flying over international water, while Iran claims it entered Iranian airspace. Notwithstanding Trump’s tough talk, thus far the Iranian regime has called his bluff, as well as stopping in what appears a CIA-plot to overthrow them. On Monday the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said: “We have shown restraint. … We have shown patience toward the hostile moves of America, the Zionist regime (Israel) and Saudi Arabia against the Islamic Republic of Iran. If you cross our red line, we will destroy you. We will not leave any move unanswered.” What will happen next is anyone’s guess.

Happy Thanksgiving

George Washington praying

We as Americans pause from our regular routing once a year, Thanksgiving Day, having the same common meal (turkey) in order to give thanks to God — this naturally does not undo the holy day of the sabbath which Christians celebrate on Sunday.

The origins of Thanksgiving go back to September 1620 when a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers — an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted sixty-six days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving” — although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days.

During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.

In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition.

Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

While Thanksgiving in America is a joyful celebration in which we spend with family and friends, eat turkey, and watch football and Thanksgiving Day parades, amidst this time of great turmoil around the world, and in even in our own nation, it is important that we reflect on the reasons for our Nation’s First Thanksgiving.

Let us make Thanksgiving a daily gratitude to the Almighty who created us in His image and likeness and “so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3, 16

Happy Thanksgiving!