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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>AUTHORITY: December 4, 2019</p>\n<p>One symptom of a society in crisis is the unreliability or even corruption of its own auditors.</p>\n<p> AFTER ALL, when the watchmen have lost moral authority to watch, who can be believed or trusted? Or, as the Roman satirist Juvenal famously put it, &ldquo;Who will guard the guardians?&rdquo;<br />\n It was recently reported that FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith altered an email to bolster a suspicious FBI effort to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant authorizing the surveillance of Carter Page, a onetime employee of the Trump campaign.<br />\n If true, Clinesmith helped the FBI successfully delude the court into granting what was likely an illegal request to spy on the Trump campaign. Clinesmith was reportedly expelled from special counsel Robert Mueller&rsquo;s legal team for cheering on opposition to the Trump presidency by writing &ldquo;Viva la resistance!&rdquo; in a text message discussion.<br />\n After FBI Director James Comey was fired, he leaked his own memos of private and confidential conversations with the president. Whether Comey would go to jail hinged on how the FBI would categorize his memos post facto &mdash; as merely &ldquo;confidential,&rdquo; or as &ldquo;secret&rdquo; or &ldquo;top secret.&rdquo;<br />\n Two of the adjudicators were Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, former Comey friends and FBI subordinates. The FBI eventually ruled that the leaking of the memos was not felonious. Page and Strzok, who were involved in an amorous relationship, were later dismissed from Mueller&rsquo;s team for exchanging texts that showed bias and hatred toward Trump, the object of their team&rsquo;s investigation.<br />\n We are awaiting the results of investigations being conducted by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz and federal prosecutor John Durham. Both are examining whether the nation&rsquo;s top investigators at the FBI, CIA and DOJ were themselves corrupt.<br />\n Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, recently wrapped up an impeachment inquiry to discover whether President Trump committed impeachable offenses.<br />\n Schiff himself has lied about the prior relationship between the so-called whistleblower and his own staff. He read into the congressional record his version of a transcript of a presidential conversation that was so inaccurate and misleading that Schiff was forced to relabel it a &ldquo;parody.&rdquo;<br />\n In surreal fashion, Schiff stated that he did not know the whistleblower&rsquo;s identity. Then, during the hearings, he claimed that he wanted to protect whistleblower&rsquo;s anonymity by halting all questions about direct communications with the whistleblower &mdash; whose identity Schiff supposedly did not know.</p>\n<p> THE WHISTLEBLOWER, we were initially told, was a civic-minded, nonpartisan civil servant who risked his or her career to report alleged presidential misconduct. Although the whistleblower&rsquo;s identity has not been confirmed, what has been reported in the press suggests the very opposite of such a glowing nonpartisan portrait.<br />\n The whistleblower went first to the House Intelligence Committee staff for guidance on how to lodge a complaint. The whistleblower&rsquo;s lawyer was a known anti-Trump activist who had previously boasted about the effort to remove Trump, which he compared to a coup.<br />\n The whistleblower relied on hearsay and had no firsthand knowledge of presidential wrongdoing. Critics allege that the whistleblower will not come forward to testify, as promised by Schiff, because under cross-examination the whistleblower would have to detail a collaborative association with anti-Trump partisans and Schiff&rsquo;s staff.<br />\n It is easy for our legal and ethical custodians to hound unpopular politicians whom the media despises, and who incur strident political opposition. Investigators and inquisitors know that any dirt they can dig up, even if questionably obtained and of dubious truth, will earn them praise.<br />\n In the case of Trump, our watchmen embraced any means necessary to reach the supposedly noble and popular ends of weakening or removing him.<br />\n But the reason we have auditors in the first place is for precisely the opposite purpose: to examine evidence fairly even if the final conclusions are likely to exonerate someone deemed boorish and crude by most of federal officialdom.<br />\n In other words, our investigatory agencies should function like the First Amendment, which primarily serves not to protect free speech that we all admire but to protect unpopular speech that most prefer not to hear.<br />\n The moral test of our Justice Department, the congressional opposition and the FBI was to give even an often unpopular president some semblance of a fair audit.<br />\n All three so far have flopped miserably.</p>\n<p> THEIR failures remind us why nearly 2,000 years ago Juvenal believed that society could not outsource to supposedly exalted moral officials the final authority to judge others.<br />\n Instead, we must count only on ourselves.</p>\n', created = 1575978532, expire = 1576064932, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:6c0873e2f3e6710c40160228433e94ed' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>UKRAINE: November 25, 2019</p>\n<p>During special counsel Robert Mueller&rsquo;s investigation, his legal &ldquo;dream team&rdquo; tried to make a secondary case that Donald Trump also obstructed efforts to prove Trump-Russian &ldquo;collusion.&rdquo;</p>\n<p> TRUMP was said to have advised his lawyers and other subordinates, past and present, not to cooperate fully with the Mueller investigation. Yet the special counsel did not pursue any actionable cases of egregious interference by the White House.<br />\n Indeed, Mueller would never have concluded his $35 million, 22-month investigation had he not enjoyed cooperation from the White House.<br />\n White House employees were questioned freely by the special counsel. Documents were released. When the special counsel&rsquo;s exhaustive investigation into purported Trump-Russia collusion found no such crime, the fallback claim of obstruction arose. Trump allegedly wanted to curtail Mueller&rsquo;s parameters of inquiry into something that was proven not to be a crime.<br />\n Mueller found no grounds for a criminal referral on obstruction of justice. But he repeatedly hinted that Trump had thought about obstructing the non-crime of collusion.<br />\n In the Ukrainian melodrama, Trump is accused of the thought crime of considering the withholding of military assistance unless Ukraine investigated possible Ukrainian tampering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and also former Vice President Joe Biden&rsquo;s intervention in Ukrainian politics on behalf of his son.<br />\n Biden had bragged at a Council on Foreign Relations conference that his threats to withhold non-military assistance to Ukraine led to the dismissal of a prosecutor, Viktor Shokin. It turns out Shokin may have been considering an investigation of the energy company where Biden&rsquo;s son Hunter had been given a lucrative position on the board of directors.<br />\n Two questions arise from hours of impeachment inquiry testimony before the House Intelligence Committee:<br />\n One, did Trump cut off military assistance, prompting the compliant Ukrainians to launch investigations to ensure that endangered military aid was not curtailed?<br />\n Two, did Trump reverse prior U.S. foreign policy by cutting off military assistance, thus threatening the security of Ukraine?<br />\n Regarding question No. 1, military assistance was delivered to Ukraine after a delay. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy never announced investigations of the Bidens or election tampering.<br />\n In response to question No. 2, the Obama administration&rsquo;s policy was to deny significant military assistance to Ukraine. Even non-military aid was apparently leveraged by Biden to force the Ukrainians to fire a prosecutor whose role in looking into Hunter Biden&rsquo;s company is still murky.</p>\n<p> IN OTHER words, Trump is accused of thinking about cutting off aid as a lever to force Ukrainian investigations. Yet the prior administration never extended significant military aid and threatened to cancel non-military aid over a bothersome prosecutor.<br />\n That disconnect prompts another question: Is thinking about cutting off military aid to Ukraine a greater crime than declining to provide Ukraine with significant military aid?<br />\n Trump is also accused of the thought crime of contemplating bribery. Critics allege that Trump wanted Ukraine to do him a &ldquo;favor&rdquo; of inestimable value by launching those investigations.<br />\n Trump supposedly used the gifting power of the U.S. government to obtain a personal political benefit to his 2020 presidential candidacy.<br />\n But that premise is shaky on a number of grounds. Trump did not receive any such investigatory help from Ukraine. Yet even if Ukraine had announced the investigations that Trump had sought, the fact that Joe Biden chose to run for president in 2020 does not exempt him from government scrutiny of his suspect behavior with regard to Ukraine when he was vice president.<br />\n Both Democrats and Republicans seem to agree that corruption is endemic in Ukraine and demands constant vigilance as a condition for foreign aid. Moreover, the public did not learn about the bad optics of the Bidens in Ukraine from Trump-pressured Ukrainian leaks. Instead, Biden publicly bragged of his own clout in strong-arming the Ukrainians &mdash; and ostensibly about how tough he would be as a future president. Any benefit to Trump of showcasing Biden&rsquo;s bad behavior came not from thinking about pressuring Ukraine, but from Biden&rsquo;s own braggadocio.<br />\n Joe Biden, not Donald Trump, smeared Joe Biden&rsquo;s reputation.</p>\n<p> TRUMP has been accused of thought crimes, not actual crimes. Trump can be indiscreet, even crude, in his speech. But alleged bad thoughts are not crimes &mdash; at least not outside George Orwell&rsquo;s dystopian novel &ldquo;1984.&rdquo;</p>\n', created = 1575978532, expire = 1576064932, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:75096744e57c0ecff37c4c0756fe0439' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>IMPEACHMENT: November 20, 2019</p>\n<p>For most of the last three years, Donald Trump&rsquo;s critics have scoffed at supposed &ldquo;conspiracy theories&rdquo; that claimed a &ldquo;deep state&rdquo; of bureaucrats were aborting the Trump presidency. We have been told the word &ldquo;coup&rdquo; is hyperbole that reveals the paranoid minds of Trump supporters.</p>\n<p> YET ODDLY, many people brag that they are proud members of a deep state and occasionally boast about the idea of a coup.<br />\n Recently, former acting CIA chief John McLaughlin proclaimed in a public forum, &ldquo;Thank God for the deep state.&rdquo; Former CIA director John Brennan agreed and praised the &ldquo;deep state people&rdquo; for their opposition to Trump.<br />\n Far from denying the danger of an unelected careerist bureaucracy that seeks to overturn presidential policies, New York Times columnists have praised its efforts to nullify the Trump agenda.<br />\n On the first day of the impeachment inquiry, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff called his initial two witnesses, career State Department diplomats William Taylor Jr. and George Kent. Far from providing damning evidence of criminal presidential behavior, Taylor and Kent mostly confined themselves to three topics: their own sterling resumes, their lack of any firsthand knowledge of incriminating Trump action, and their poorly hidden disgust with the manner and substance of Trump&rsquo;s foreign policy.<br />\n Oddly, both had little clue that their demeanor and thinly disguised self-importance were a perfect example of why Trump got elected &mdash; to come up with new ideas antithetical to the conventional wisdom of unelected career bureaucrats.<br />\n Taylor and Kent announced that they are simply high-minded civil servants who serve the presidential administrations of both parties without bias.<br />\n But by nature, the huge federal bureaucracy counts on bigger government and more taxes to feed it. So naturally, the bureaucracy is usually more sympathetic to big-government progressives than to small-government conservatives.<br />\n Taylor and Kent cited their anguish with Trump&rsquo;s foreign policy toward Ukraine &mdash; namely that it did not go through official channels and was too unsympathetic to Ukraine and too friendly to Russia. If so, one might have thought the anguished bureaucrats would have similarly gone public during the Obama administration.<br />\n After all, Vice President Joe Biden took over the Obama administration&rsquo;s Ukrainian policy at a time when his son Hunter was knee-deep in Ukrainian affairs. As a consultant for a Ukrainian natural gas company, Hunter Biden made a reported $80,000 a month without expertise in either the energy business in particular or Ukraine in general.<br />\n Also, Trump&rsquo;s policies have been more anti-Russian and pro-Ukrainian than those of the Obama administration. Trump armed the Ukrainians; Obama did not. Trump imposed new sanctions against Russia, used force against Russian mercenaries in Syria, beefed up NATO defenses, pulled the U.S. out an asymmetrical missile treaty with Russia, and pumped more oil and gas to lower world prices &mdash; much to the chagrin of oil-exporting Russia.</p>\n<p> IN CONTRAST, Obama was the architect of &ldquo;reset&rdquo; with Russia that reached its nadir in a hot mic exchange in which Obama offered a quid pro quo, vowing more flexibility on issues such as U.S.-sponsored missile defense in Eastern Europe in exchange for Russia giving Obama &ldquo;space&rdquo; to concentrate on his re-election.<br />\n Trump&rsquo;s critics have also radically changed their spin on &ldquo;coups.&rdquo; To them, &ldquo;coup&rdquo; is no longer a dirty word trafficked in by right-wing conspiracists. Instead, it has been normalized as a possibly legitimate means of aborting the Trump presidency.<br />\n Mark Zaid, the attorney representing the Ukraine whistleblower, boasted in two recently discovered tweets of ongoing efforts to stage a coup to remove Trump.<br />\n &ldquo;#coup has started. First of many steps. #rebellion. #impeachment will follow,&rdquo; Zaid tweeted in January 2017. Later the same month, he tweeted: &ldquo;#coup has started. As one falls, two more will take their place.&rdquo;<br />\n Retired Admiral William H. McRaven recently wrote an op-ed for the New York Times all but calling for Trump&rsquo;s ouster &mdash; &ldquo;the sooner the better.&rdquo;<br />\n No sooner had Trump been elected than Rosa Brooks, a former Defense Department official during the Obama administration, wrote an essay for Foreign Policy magazine discussing theoretical ways to remove Trump before the 2020 election, among them a scenario involving a military coup.<br />\n In September 2018, the New York Times published an op-ed from an anonymous White House official who boasted of supposedly widescale efforts inside the Trump administration to nullify its operations and subvert presidential directives.<br />\n Such efforts to oppose Trump are often self-described as &ldquo;The Resistance,&rdquo; a reference to the underground French fighters resisting the Nazis in World War II.<br />\n Trump&rsquo;s opponents often have praised the deep state precisely because unelected career officials are seen as the most effective way to sabotage and stymie his agenda.<br />\n A &ldquo;coup&rdquo; is no longer proof of right-wing paranoia, but increasingly a part of the general progressive discourse of resistance to Trump.</p>\n<p> IN THESE upside-down times, patriotism is being redefined as removing a president before a constitutionally mandated election.</p>\n', created = 1575978532, expire = 1576064932, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:a4b66f82bb20a28546b272b68f9065ec' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>SOCIALISM: November 6, 2019</p>\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n<p>Multiple forms of socialism, from hard Stalinism to European redistribution, continue to fail.</p>\n<p> RUSSIA and China are still struggling with the legacy of genocidal communism. Eastern Europe still suffers after decades of Soviet-imposed socialist chaos.<br />\n Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea and Venezuela are unfree, poor and failed states. Baathism &mdash; a synonym for pan-Arabic socialism &mdash; ruined the postwar Middle East.<br />\n The soft-socialist European Union countries are stagnant and mostly dependent on the U.S. military for their protection.<br />\n In contrast, current American deregulation, tax cuts and incentives, and record energy production have given the United States the strongest economy in the world.<br />\n So why, then, are two of the top three Democratic presidential contenders &mdash; Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren &mdash; either overtly or implicitly running on socialist agendas? Why are the heartthrobs of American progressives &mdash; Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) &mdash; calling for socialist redistributionist schemes?<br />\n Why do polls show that a majority of American millennials have a favorable view of socialism?<br />\n There are lots of catalysts for the new socialism.<br />\n Massive immigration is changing the demography of the United States. The number of foreign-born U.S. residents and their children has been estimated at almost 60 million, or about 1 in 5 U.S. residents. Some 27 percent of California residents were born outside of America.<br />\n Many of these immigrants flee from poor areas of Latin America, Mexico, Africa and Asia that were wrecked by statism and socialism. Often, they arrive in the U.S. unaware of economic and political alternatives to state socialism.<br />\n When they reach the U.S. &mdash; often without marketable skills and unable to speak English &mdash; many assume that America will simply offer a far better version of the statism from which they fled. Consequently, many take for granted that government will provide them an array of social services, and they become supportive of progressive socialism.<br />\n Another culprit for the new socialist craze is the strange leftward drift of the very wealthy in Silicon Valley, in corporate America and on Wall Street.<br />\n Some of the new progressive rich feel guilty about their unprecedented wealth. So they champion redistribution as the sort of medieval penance that alleviates guilt.<br />\n Yet the influential and monied classes usually are so well off that higher taxes hardly affect them. Instead, redistributionist taxation hurts the struggling middle classes.<br />\n In California, it became hip for wealthy leftists to promote socialism from their Malibu, Menlo Park or Mill Valley enclaves &mdash; while still living as privileged capitalists. Meanwhile, it proved nearly impossible for the middle classes of Stockton and Bakersfield to cope with the reality of crushing taxes and terrible social services.</p>\n<p> FROM 2008 to 2017, the now-multimillionaire Barack Obama, first as candidate and then as president, used all sorts of cool socialist slogans, from &ldquo;spread the wealth around&rdquo; and &ldquo;now is not the time to profit&rdquo; to &ldquo;you didn&rsquo;t build that&rdquo; and &ldquo;at a certain point you&rsquo;ve made enough money.&rdquo;<br />\n Universities bear much of the blame. Their manipulation of the federal government to guarantee student loans empowered them to jack up college costs without any accountability. Liberal college administrators and faculty did not care much when graduates left campus poorly educated and unable to market their expensive degrees.<br />\n More than 45 million borrowers now struggle with nearly $1.6 trillion in collective student debt, with climbing interest. That indebtedness has delayed &mdash; or ended &mdash; the traditional forces that encourage conservatism and traditionalism, such as getting married, having children and buying a home.<br />\n Instead, a generation of single, childless and mostly urban youth feels cheated that their high-priced degrees did not earn them competitive salaries. Millions of embittered college graduates will never be able to pay off what they owe &mdash; and want some entity to pay off their debts.<br />\n In paradoxical fashion, teenagers were considered savvy adults who were mature enough to take on gargantuan loans. But they were also treated like fragile preteens who were warned that the world outside their campus sanctuaries was downright mean, sexist, racist, homophobic and unfair.<br />\n Finally, doctrinaire Republicans for decades mouthed orthodoxies of free rather than fair trade. They embraced the idea of creative destruction of industries, but without worrying about the real-life consequences for the unemployed in the hollowed out red-state interior.<br />\n Add up a lost generation of woke and broke college graduates, waves of impoverished immigrants without much knowledge of American economic traditions, wealthy advocates of boutique socialism and asleep-at-the-wheel Republicans, and it becomes clear why historically destructive socialism is suddenly seen as cool.<br />\n Regrettably, sometimes the naive and disaffected must relearn that their pie-in-the sky socialist medicine is far worse than the perceived malady of inequality.</p>\n<p> AND unfortunately, when socialists gain power, they don&rsquo;t destroy just themselves. They usually take everyone else down with them as well.</p>\n', created = 1575978532, expire = 1576064932, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:d36e5e4936bad56478051ee2dcfa4cc9' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>CALIFORNIA: October 30, 2019</p>\n<p>More than 2 million Californians were recently left without power after the state&rsquo;s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric &mdash; which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year &mdash; preemptively shut down transmission lines in fear that they might spark fires during periods of high autumn winds.</p>\n<p> CONSUMERS blame the state for not cleaning up dead trees and brush, along with the utility companies for not updating their ossified equipment. The power companies in turn fault the state for so over-regulating utilities that they had no resources to modernize their grids.<br />\n Californians know that having tens of thousands of homeless in their major cities is untenable. In some places, municipal sidewalks have become open sewers of garbage, used needles, rodents and infectious diseases. Yet no one dares question progressive orthodoxy by enforcing drug and vagrancy laws, moving the homeless out of cities to suburban or rural facilities, or increasing the number of mental hospitals.<br />\n Taxpayers in California, whose basket of sales, gasoline and income taxes is the highest in the nation, quietly seethe while immobile on antiquated freeways that are crowded, dangerous and under nonstop makeshift repair.<br />\n Gas prices of $4 to $5 a gallon &mdash; the result of high taxes, hyper-regulation and green mandates &mdash; add insult to the injury of stalled commuters. Gas tax increases ostensibly intended to fund freeway expansion and repair continue to be diverted to the state&rsquo;s failing high-speed rail project.<br />\n Residents shrug that the state&rsquo;s public schools are among weakest in the nation, often ranking in the bottom quadrant in standardized test scores. Elites publicly oppose charter schools but often put their own kids in private academies.<br />\n Californians know that to venture into a typical municipal emergency room is to descend into a modern Dante&rsquo;s Inferno. Medical facilities are overcrowded. They can be as unpleasant as they are bankrupting to the vanishing middle class that must face exorbitant charges to bring in an injured or sick child.<br />\n No one would dare to connect the crumbling infrastructure, poor schools and failing public health care with the non-enforcement of immigration laws, which has led to a massive influx of undocumented immigrants from the poorest regions of the world, who often arrive without fluency in English or a high-school education.<br />\n Stores are occasionally hit by swarming looters. Such Wild West criminals know how to keep their thefts under $950, ensuring that such &ldquo;misdemeanors&rdquo; do not warrant police attention. California&rsquo;s permissive laws have decriminalized thefts and break-ins. The result is that San Francisco now has the highest property crime rate per capita in the nation.<br />\n Has California become premodern?<br />\n Millions of fed-up middle-class taxpayers have fled the state. Their presence as a stabilizing influence is sorely missed. About one-third of the nation&rsquo;s welfare recipients live in California. Millions of poor newcomers require enormously expensive state health, housing, education, legal and law-enforcement services.<br />\n California is now a one-party state. Democrats have supermajorities in both houses of the legislature. Only seven of the state&rsquo;s 53 congressional seats are held by Republicans. The result is that there is no credible check on a mostly coastal majority.</p>\n<p> HUGE GLOBAL wealth in high-tech, finance, trade and academia poured into the coastal corridor, creating a new nobility with unprecedented riches. Unfortunately, the new aristocracy adopted mindsets antithetical to the general welfare of Californians living outside their coastal enclaves. The nobodies have struggled to buy high-priced gas, pay exorbitant power bills and deal with shoddy infrastructure &mdash; all of which resulted from the policies of the distant somebodies.<br />\n California&rsquo;s three most powerful politicians &mdash; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Gov. Gavin Newsom &mdash; are all multimillionaires. Their lives, homes and privileges bear no resemblance to those of other Californians living with the consequences of their misguided policies and agendas.<br />\n The state&rsquo;s elite took revolving-door entries and exits for granted. They assumed that California was so naturally rich, beautiful and well-endowed that there would always be thousands of newcomers who would queue up for the weather, the shore, the mountains and the hip culture.<br />\n Yet California is nearing the logical limits of progressive adventurism in policy and politics.<br />\n Residents carefully plan long highway trips as if they were ancient explorers charting dangerous routes. Tourists warily enter downtown Los Angeles or San Francisco as if visiting a politically unstable nation.<br />\n Insatiable state tax collectors and agencies are viewed by the public as if they were corrupt officials of Third World countries seeking bribes. Californians flip their switches unsure of whether the lights will go on. Many are careful about what they say, terrified of progressive thought police who seem more worried about critics than criminals.</p>\n<p> OUR RESOLUTE ancestors took a century to turn a wilderness into California. Our irresolute generation in just a decade or two has been turning California into a wilderness.<br />\n &nbsp;</p>\n', created = 1575978532, expire = 1576064932, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:59ff2fbf78362ff78bf70c4bf6225891' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>TURKEY: October 23, 2019</p>\n<p>There are about 5,000 members of the U.S. military, mostly airmen, stationed at the huge, strategically located air base in Incirlik, Turkey, northwest of the Syrian border.</p>\n<p> THE AMERICAN forces at Incirlik are also the custodians of about 50 B61 nuclear bombs. Data on these weapons is classified, but at their maximum yield each is 10 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, according to Stars and Stripes.<br />\n It&rsquo;s a &ldquo;Dr. Strangelove&rdquo; scenario: No one quite knows how the American contingent could manage to secretly remove the deadly nukes from their concrete vaults, bring them out to the tarmac, load them on planes and fly them out safely over Turkish objections.<br />\n Turkey in the past has threatened to go nuclear itself should the U.S. ever dare to transfer the lethal arsenal. Apparently, Turkey&rsquo;s theory is that possession of bombs in one&rsquo;s territory is 9/10ths of the law of nuclear weapons ownership.<br />\n In the aftermath of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, which led to a U.S. arms embargo, Turkey shut down all U.S. operations at Incirlik. American forces were expelled for three years &mdash; until Washington caved and resumed arms supplies.<br />\n In 2016, Turkey cut off power to the base and forbid U.S. flights, fearing that the dissident Turkish generals of a failed coup attempt might use the American facility as a sanctuary.<br />\n Under Islamist strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has become NATO&rsquo;s only non-democratic nation. It&rsquo;s also NATO&rsquo;s only Muslim-majority member. Erdogan has been trying to re-create Turkey as a new Ottoman imperial power. He feels no allegiance to Western-style democracy.<br />\n During the Obama administration, Erdogan snubbed the obsequious American attempts to promote Turkey as the cornerstone of America&rsquo;s Middle East policy. President Trump should remember that and perhaps reconsider his own sometimes appeasing outreach to Erdogan.<br />\n Turkey opposes, if not detests, almost every American ally in the region, and befriends almost every U.S. enemy.<br />\n It despises Israel, aids its enemies and hopes for its dissolution. Turkey is currently attacking the U.S.-allied Kurds in Syria. It works against the pro-American Sisi regime in Egypt. Turkish violations of Greek airspace in the Aegean are a common occurrence, as are aggressive simulated attacks on Greek aircraft.<br />\n Turkey has frightened and alienated most NATO allies. The European Union has limited arms sales to Turkey. Germany has pulled its small forces out of the country. Recently, Turkish forces &ldquo;accidentally&rdquo; shelled a U.S. Special Forces peacekeeping outpost on the Turkish-Syrian border.</p>\n<p> RUSSIA SOLD Turkey a $2 billion, state-of-the-art S-400 anti-aircraft missile system designed to shoot down the latest NATO aircraft. Yet the U.S. is contracted to sell Turkey F-35 fighter aircraft, the cornerstone of the next-generation air defense of America and NATO. Given that some of the plane&rsquo;s assemblage was outsourced to Turkish companies, it&rsquo;s conceivable that on-site Russian technicians could build into the S-400 system ways to down F-35s.<br />\n Why, then, is the U.S. still an ally of this anti-American rogue nation? There are a number of scary reasons.<br />\n &mdash; The U.S. military has not quite figured out how either to stay in or leave Incirlik in a now-hostile Turkey.<br />\n &mdash; Washington knows that fighters at the valuable Incirlik base can reach any strategic conflict in the Middle East.<br />\n &mdash; American diplomats naively hope that democracy will return to Turkey and that Erdogan is a temporary nuisance who does not reflect a rising Islamist constituency in the Turkish heartland.<br />\n &mdash; America believes a bad ally is better than a bitter enemy. It fears that a hostile Turkey could start and win wars against our vulnerable regional friends and create a formidable nuclear alliance with Russia, China or Iran.<br />\n &mdash; The West in general is blackmailed by Turkey, a gateway to the Middle East that has threatened to unleash a flood of millions of migrants onto European soil.<br />\n &mdash; NATO in general is underfunded and undermanned. In contrast, NATO member Turkey has the second-largest military in the alliance at nearly 650,000 troops. Europe and the U.S. either believe such a force helps maintain credible NATO deterrence or are terrified it will be put into the service of others.<br />\n &mdash; The U.S. fears that fighting against, or failing to aid, a NATO partner might unravel the entire alliance. Turkey has invoked Article IV of the treaty, requiring crisis consultation when a NATO ally claims it is threatened, three times in its regional disputes.</p>\n<p> NOT SINCE the U.S. came to the aid of Joseph Stalin&rsquo;s USSR in World War II has America so disliked and so feared a valuable but utterly untenable ally.</p>\n', created = 1575978532, expire = 1576064932, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:0edb540cf9517e4efbfa1c78b73ee0b9' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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Victor Davis Hanson

12/09/2019 - 3:16pm
AUTHORITY: December 4, 2019 One symptom of a society in crisis is the unreliability or even corruption of its own auditors. AFTER ALL, when the watchmen have lost moral authority to watch, who can be believed or trusted? Or, as the Roman satirist Juvenal famously put it, “Who will guard the guardians?” It was recently reported that FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith altered an email to...
11/26/2019 - 9:25pm
UKRAINE: November 25, 2019 During special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, his legal “dream team” tried to make a secondary case that Donald Trump also obstructed efforts to prove Trump-Russian “collusion.” TRUMP was said to have advised his lawyers and other subordinates, past and present, not to cooperate...
11/25/2019 - 1:04am
IMPEACHMENT: November 20, 2019 For most of the last three years, Donald Trump’s critics have scoffed at supposed “conspiracy theories” that claimed a “deep state” of bureaucrats were aborting the Trump presidency. We have been told the word “coup” is hyperbole that reveals the paranoid minds of Trump...
11/12/2019 - 10:20pm
SOCIALISM: November 6, 2019   Multiple forms of socialism, from hard Stalinism to European redistribution, continue to fail. RUSSIA and China are still struggling with the legacy of genocidal communism. Eastern Europe still suffers after decades of Soviet-imposed socialist chaos. Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea and Venezuela are unfree, poor...
11/03/2019 - 8:26pm
CALIFORNIA: October 30, 2019 More than 2 million Californians were recently left without power after the state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric — which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year — preemptively shut down transmission lines in fear that they might spark fires during periods of high autumn winds. CONSUMERS...
10/28/2019 - 11:29pm
TURKEY: October 23, 2019 There are about 5,000 members of the U.S. military, mostly airmen, stationed at the huge, strategically located air base in Incirlik, Turkey, northwest of the Syrian border. THE AMERICAN forces at Incirlik are also the custodians of about 50 B61 nuclear bombs. Data on these weapons is classified, but at their maximum...
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