Saturday, February 8, 2020

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8

by A. Joseph Lynch


Democrats just had a very bad week. It began with Iowa caucus, which turned out to be a chaotic, controversial, and nearly week-long fiasco. Fears of corruption began last weekend when Pete Buttigieg successfully had the Des Moines Register pull its final, and most prestigious, poll ahead of the caucus. It was later revealed Bernie Sanders had polled ahead of the rest with Mayor Pete in a distant 3rd place. The next day, on the eve of the caucus, John Kerry was overheard talking about joining the 2020 race over "the possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party — down whole." 

Total chaos ensued when the caucus took place Monday night. Democrats decided to report caucus numbers through an app, whose nefariously-sounding name was Shadow. Its total failure, inconsistencies in official numbers, irregularities at caucus sites (especially in the coin tosses) and utter disconnect from poll data, has led to many conspiracy theories and recount calls. In one case, Sanders won 111 votes to Buttigieg's 47, yet both received two delegates. It then appeared that the Iowa Democratic Party was allowed to tally votes from Buttigieg strongholds while the DNC - which cheated Sanders in 2016 - reserved the right to count the final votes from areas in support of Sanders. It was further revealed that Pete Buttigieg - who has now been declared the winner - had given some $42,000 to the Shadow app company. Some are now calling him "Mayor Cheat" instead of Mayor Pete. 

The facts are still forthcoming, yet given the history of the 2016 race AoA would not be the least surprised if the Democrat establishment is playing more games in 2020. What is certain is that the chaos surrounding the Iowa caucus has divided Democrats voters, with many on all sides questioning democratic process within the Democratic party. With Democrat turnout this year down from 2016, some Iowans do not plan to attend future caucuses. The drama was also a jarring image of Democrat incompetence, with some wondering how the party could govern a nation when it couldn't govern a state caucus. 

For President Trump, however, Iowa was a huge success. He took 97% of the vote and had a higher voter turnout this year than Obama did when running for re-election in 2012. In a year that demands historic turn out for Democrats if they hope to win, Monday was not a good sign. 

Tuesday night brought the nation one of President Trump's best speeches. At his State of the Union address, the president highlighted the nation's record economy, declaring: "The State of our Union is stronger than ever before!" Under his leadership unemployment of minorities, non-college educated, and disabled Americans reached historic lows, seven million jobs have been created, seven million are off food stamps, ten million are off welfare, and the markets are up 70%. The president also featured the moving stories of many guests in attendance, including the 100 year old Tuskegee airman and veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, Charles McGee, who the president promoted to Brigadier General. Speaking to all Americans, the President reminded us: "...we must never forget that the only victories that matter in Washington are victories that deliver for the American people. The people are the heart of our country, their dreams are the soul of our country, and their love is what powers and sustains our country. We must always remember that our job is to put America first!"

While Trump was at his presidential best, setting aside any mention of the partisan impeachment efforts, Nancy Pelosi was at her worst. For three years the Democrats declared they were adults in the room, yet Pelosi, in tearing up the president's speech, played the part of the petulant child. She didn't realize that what she really tore up were her party's chances of holding any power in Washington next year. Indeed, soon after the speech concluded, CSPAN received many angry calls from Democrats, some stating they would never vote Democrat again. While Pelosi drew disdain, the president's speech drew high approval numbers - 75% approval overall and 87% approval from independents.

On Wednesday Trump received his full impeachment acquittal in the US Senate. Neither the abuse of power charge nor the obstruction of Congress charge survived the final votes. Mitt Romney was the sole GOP Senator to vote in favor of removal (for abuse of power). We suspect his vote cleared the way for every moderate Democrat to vote for removal. Not even red state senators Doug Jones (AL) or Joe Manchin (WV) voted to acquit - and why would they when the GOP couldn't keep its full caucus together? But Romney didn't vote as a Republican. He voted as an angry neocon. He's angry at Trump's non-imperial foreign policy, angry for receiving no role in the Trump White House, and angry that Trump has called him out for his political failures. It was not a vote made in good conscience but rather made in vengeful spite. It likely cost the president a bi-partisan acquittal. Romney is now justly facing a recall threat in Utah and has been barred from attending CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee) later this month.

On Thursday Trump delivered a rollicking acquittal speech.

Friday night's next Democrat debate was a preview of things to come. One might even call it Trump's final win of the week. The Democrats are hopelessly out of touch. Biden,Warren, and Klobuchar are falling the polls. Buttigieg's pyrrhic victory in Iowa is alienating voters. Sanders may be best poised to win overall yet lead Democrats to annihilation in November. Bloomberg - the Democrats' final hope - has yet to appear on a debate stage.

Meanwhile Gallup now has Trump at 49% approval while Rasmussen shows Trump winning an astounding 42% approval from African Americans. By week's end, the Democrats are in disarray as Trump stands triumphant.


SEMINARY CLOSING: Christ the King Seminary of Buffalo, New York is being shut down. Its closing comes after the shocking revelation that it was one of several seminaries used for the now uncovered gay seminarian pipeline from Latin America. The Diocese of Buffalo may soon be join around twenty other dioceses in declaring bankruptcy. More from Church Militant.

GANSWEIN SACKED: Archbishop Gänswein has spent nearly seven years attending to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI each morning and Pope Francis each afternoon and evening. The papal go between and head of the Papal Household, however, has been indefinitely suspended of his duties in service to Pope Francis. This comes not long after his involvement in the Cardinal Sarah-Benedict XVI book controversy. The two events are undoubtedly connected.

WOMEN'S SERMON DAY: Although they call their work the "Synodal Path" the German bishops continue to betray the fraternal character of episcopal collegiality as expressed in synods of brother bishops. Oldenburg, Germany is turning over the pulpits to lay women for a Mass in Lent. Despite calling it a move away from clericalism, using their authority to hand over the pulpit to the unordained is the an abuse of power that is the epitome of clericalism. The German church is running far afield of the Gospel and the apostolic brotherhood that is the foundation of the Church itself.

COLLEGE OF CARDINALS LEADERSHIP: Cardinals Re and Sandri have been elected as dean and vice dean, respectively, of the college of cardinals. Conservatives fear Francis' approval of the election solidifies a liberal bent in the next papal elections. We at AoA, however, believe the Holy Spirit will have the final say. We suggest this article for more information on the election process and the role of the college deans.

BARR ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: In an interview by Cardinal Dolan, William Barr gave his defense of religious liberty, again asserting the Founders connection of religion upholding democracy while making the following statement: “To me the problem today is not that religious people are trying to impose their views on nonreligious people, it’s the opposite — it’s that militant secularists are trying to impose their values on religious people and they’re not accommodating the freedom of religion of people of faith.”


EMOLUMENTS - TRUMP WINS AGAIN: This week also witnessed another resounding win for President Trump. On Wednesday Trump won in a 3-0 ruling against a Democratic-backed lawsuit regarding the Constitution's anti-corruption emoluments clause. It is becoming increasingly obvious that Democrats must win on policy, not on faux Trump scandals and fake news.

SWIFT - AND JUST - RETRIBUTION: EU Ambassador Sondland and Lt. Col. Vindman have been sacked. Although neither offered any evidence in favor of impeachment, both men provided key testimony against the president during the House impeachment investigation. Now fully acquitted, Trump has rightly fired both men. We hope more firings are forthcoming.

JAMES CARVILLE SPEAKS OUT: Former Clinton strategist, James Carville, is sounding off against the current Democrat strategy going into November. Democrats would be wise to heed his words.

THE SENATE TO STEPS UP? Although the president won another victory against the Democrats in impeachment, we can be rest assured that the Democrats will not give up on fake Russian collusion scandals, dirty dossiers, and unsubstantiated abuse of power claims unless Republicans in the Senate step up to launch investigations of their own. Many were disappointed that Joe and Hunter Biden did not testify during impeachment. Such testimony would have revealed Trump's rationale for investigating them in connection to Ukraine. It now appears, however, that the US Senate will finally begin their own investigations into the Bidens and into the origins of the impeachment farce. In the end, it might have been wise to separate this from impeachment. We hope enough is uncovered to dissuade Democrats from further faux investigations that do nothing to further the needs of the nation.


INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ALLIANCE: Hours before his post-acquittal speech on Thursdsay, President Trump gave another great speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. At the prayer breakfast, the president announced the creation of the International Religious Freedom Alliance. The alliance, aimed at protecting religious freedom around the world, consists of twenty-seven nations: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Gambia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Togo, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the US. At its first meeting this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rightly declared: "...freedom of religion or belief is not a Western ideal, but truly the bedrock of societies" (emphasis ours). As we have argued in the past, the future of American alliances must not be based in "Western civilization" or in mere self-interest but rather in terms of nations and religions. The president is headed in the right direction with this alliance.

AQAP LEADER KILLED: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) came into existence as President Obama took office. The terror organization was co-founded by bin Ladin personal secretary, Nasir al-Wihayshi, and Qasim al-Raymi. After al-Wihayshi was killed in a US drone strike in 2015, al-Raymi took over as full leader of AQAP. It was announced this week that al-Raymi has been killed by American forces in Yemen. This is good news and a return to Trump's original form in Yemen, where his first attack was not against the Shia Houthis but against AQAP - America's real enemy in the region. The Saudis, at war with the Houthis, are ideologically aligned with the Wahhabi theology of AQAP. Both are share a mutual hatred of the Shia, and thus the Saudis are highly unlikely to give much attention to fighting the real terrorists in the peninsula.

BATTLE FOR IDLIB: Assad continues his advance on the rebel stronghold of Idlib. The Turks have troops in the area and are threatening war if Syrian forces do not withdraw in three weeks. Is the war in Syria about to intensify anew? Russia may make the final decision.

TWO-STATE SOLUTION? President Trump unveiled his new plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The plan proposes anew the failed idea of a two state solution. Yet is it really a two state solution? A brief look at the proposed map of Palestine reveals a disjointed hodgepodge of enclaves connected by miles of tunnels. These borders are a non-starter for any nation-state. Ultimately the proposed peace plan is further evidence that there can be no two state solution.

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