Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: consequences

Questions for President Trump on Venezuela

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, August 16, 2018:

State flag of Venezuela.

State flag of Venezuela.

Inquiring minds are asking: what on earth is the US doing meddling in the affairs of Venezuela? The media has broadcast the rolling and accelerating disaster taking place there, with some even properly blaming it on socialist practices unleased by Marxist Hugo Chavez (they are called “Chavism” and its supporters are called “Chavists”) and his protégé, Nicolas Maduro.

Those policies, enforced with increasing vengeance upon a powerless citizenry, have all but destroyed a country that once was one of the most prosperous in South America.

Grant the point. But does this justify in any way U.S. interference? Does it justify sanctions, freezing of assets of Maduro and his henchmen, and removing the freedom of Americans to do business with him, or them? Notice please that the sanctions only apply to about 30 of Maduro’s people and not to any of the 20 or so American oil refineries currently supporting Maduro’s Marxist regime to the tune of a billion dollars a month.

Here are some other questions:

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Trump Doesn’t Rule Out Use of Military Force in Venezuela

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, August 14, 2017:

Following the issuance of the “Lima Declaration” on Friday stating that “Venezuela is no longer a democracy,” signed by nearly a dozen South American countries as well as Canada, President Trump had the opportunity to back off on previous threats of possibly using military force to oust its Marxist dictator Nicolás Maduro. Instead he ramped them up, declaring: “We have many options.… This is our neighbor. We are all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people … are suffering. They’re dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option, if necessary…. I’m not going to rule out a military option. Venezuela is a mess.”

But as Henri Falcon, the opposition governor of the Venezuelan state of Lara, responded, “This mess is ours! Sort out your own, of which you have plenty.”

Mish Shedlock, a Trump supporter, asked the president a number of questions about why he is threatening Venezuela:

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Additional Sanctions by United States Proving of Little Value in Venezuela

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, August 10, 2017:  

Nicolas Maduro

Nicolas Maduro

The U.S. Treasury Department slapped sanctions on another eight Venezuelan government officials on Wednesday, bringing the total now to nearly 30. This is a partial fulfillment of a promise by the Trump administration to sanction everyone involved in the establishment of the fraudulent Venezuelan “constituent assembly” sworn in on Tuesday.

Included among the eight is Adan Chavez, the late Marxist President Hugo Chavez’ elder brother, who now serves in the new assembly as secretary of its presidential commission.

In making the announcement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said,

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Ferguson Effect Continuing to Drive Gun Violence Even Higher

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, August 2, 2017:

Heather Mac Donald hasn’t been given nearly enough credit. The author of The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe published last summer answers the question: what is the root cause of the increasing gun violence in cities like Chicago, Newark, Detroit, Baltimore, and elsewhere?

It’s the Ferguson Effect: the increasing unwillingness of officers on the scene to intervene for fear of reprisals and bad publicity. Wrote Mac Donald: “Chicago officers have cut back drastically on proactive policing under the onslaught of criticism from the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and its political and media enablers.” The consequences are predictable: “Criminals are back in control and black lives are being lost at a rate not seen for decades.”

Popular Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke praised Mac Donald:

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Chicago Ahead of Last Year in Gun Violence

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, August 1, 2017: 

Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor Chicago...

As of 11 p.m. Monday night, the last day of July, Chicago gun violence is ahead of last year, which was the deadliest in the last 20 years. Citywide, the homicide total was 409, with 74 killed in July alone.

Chicago Police Department officials expressed frustration despite having put “additional resources” on the streets in the areas where most of the shootings are taking place. Over the long July 4 weekend, CPD put out an additional 1,300 officers, with department spokesman saying, “I don’t think lack of resources was an issue.”

A useful measure of the increase in gun violence in Chicago is

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No Need for Federal “Chicago Crime Gun Strike Force” if Police Allowed to Do Their Jobs

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 30, 2017:

Chicago police car

In an early-morning tweet, President Donald Trump decried the violence in Chicago and announced that he was sending in “federal help.” But the rationale for this “help” would not exist if Chicago police were not hamstrung by the war on cops and the “Ferguson Effect.”

President Donald Trump’s early morning Tweet on Friday decried the continuing violence in Chicago and announced that he was sending in “federal help.” Tweeted the president: “Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help. 1714 shootings in Chicago this year!”

As of Sunday June 25 there were 308 murders in Chicago as compared to 311 at the same time last year. President Trump disparaged the continuing violence in Chicago during his campaign and then following his inauguration, calling it “horrible carnage” and “out of control” and threatening to “send in the feds” without defining exactly that he meant.

With the creation of the “Chicago Crime Gun Strike Force” (unfortunately linking crime with guns in the public’s perception) observers are learning more about what he meant:

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Illinois Countdown to Junk Status Continues

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 29, 2017:

English: IL State Rep. Susana Mendoza 2011 Pho...

Susana Mendoza

Despite the clock’s ticking on the downgrade of Illinois’ $25 billion of indebtedness to junk status on midnight Friday, investors remain complacent. True, some mutual funds have offloaded $2 billion of Illinois debt in the last few months, but the Wall Street Journal provided salve to investors’ concerns that those remaining invested will be badly hurt. Unnamed analysts, wrote the Journal, “predict prices would drop only a few cents in the event of a junk downgrade.” They noted that Vanguard Group has $1.2 billion of Illinois bonds spread across seven of its bond mutual funds, with a company spokesman saying that it is “comfortable with the risk/reward” of investing in the state’s bonds.

Besides,

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Gov’t Collects Record $240 Billion in May; Still Runs $88 Billion Deficit

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 16, 2017:

English: Medicare and Medicaid as % GDP Explan...

Medicare and Medicaid as % GDP Explanation: Eventually, Medicare and Medicaid spending absorbs all federal tax revenue.

The U.S. Treasury announced on Thursday that the federal government collected more money in May than in any other month in history: $240.4 billion. In the same breath, it said that the government spent $328.8 billion, creating a deficit of $88.4 billion.

From a wage earner’s perspective, it meant that in May the average worker paid $1,572 in taxes but the government spent $2,149, making up the $577 difference by borrowing. Such deficit spending is making the S&P Global credit rating agency increasingly nervous.

Just a week earlier, the agency affirmed its best rating — A-1+ — for the government’s “short term” debt, which means, in its own parlance, that the federal government’s ability to pay its current bills is “strong.” But in the longer term, the agency is far less sanguine. While holding its current long-term rating at AA+ (one full notch below its best rating), it said it’s unable to give the United States its highest rating (AAA) because of “high general government debt, relatively short-term-oriented policymaking, and uncertainty about policy formulation” for the future. It explained what it meant about that “uncertainty”:

Some of the [Trump] Administration’s policy proposals appear at odds with policies of the traditional Republican leadership and historical base. That, coupled with lack of cohesion, not just across, but within parties, complicates the ability to effectively and proactively advance legislation in Congress, particularly on fiscal policy. Taken together, we don’t expect a meaningful expansion or reduction of the fiscal deficit over the forecast period.

And what does it say about what’s likely to happen over that “forecast period”?

The U.S.’s net general government debt burden (as a share of GDP) remains twice its 2007 level. While, in our view, debt to GDP should hold fairly steady over the next several years, we expect it to rise thereafter absent measures to raise additional revenue and/or cut nondiscretionary expenditures.

What does that phrase “next several years” mean? How much time before the government’s national debt explodes upward? Says S&P:

Although deficits have declined, net general government debt to GDP remains high at about 80% of GDP. Given our growth forecasts and our expectations that credit conditions will remain subdued, thus keeping real interest rates in check, we expect this ratio to hold fairly steady through 2020. At that point, it could deteriorate more sharply, partly as a result of demographic trends.

Translation: Deficit spending will remain “subdued” for three and a half years, and then Katy bar the door!

Here is where S&P bows out of the picture, giving way instead to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which completed the picture in its March report:

Federal debt held by the public, defined as the amount that the federal government borrows from financial markets, has ballooned over the last decade. In 2007, the year the recession began, debt held by the public represented 35 percent of GDP. Just five years later, federal debt held by the public has doubled to 70 percent and is projected to continue rising.

“Continue rising”? By how much? And by when? The CBO is blunt:

Debt has not seen a surge this large since the increase in federal spending during World War II, when debt exceeded 70 percent of GDP. The budget office projects that growing budget deficits will cause the debt to increase sharply over the next three decades, hitting 150 percent of GDP by 2047.

So, that ratio of government debt compared to the country’s economic ability to produce goods and services was 35 percent in 2007, is now 70 percent, and will soon be 150 percent.

And what’s the reason?

The majority of the rise in spending is largely the result of programs like Social Security and Medicare in addition to rising interest rates. For example, Social Security and major health care program spending represented 54 percent of all federal noninterest spending, an increase from the average of 37 percent it has been over the past 50 years.

It appears to be an unstoppable locomotive. Non-discretionary spending (spending already locked into place by past Congresses and fully expected to be received by its beneficiaries) is on autopilot. And interest rates now coming off historic lows are only going to increase those annual deficits into the future as far as the eye can see.

The CBO is about as close as one can get to a truly non-partisan federal agency — one that has no partisan political agenda and is considered by many as the most reliable forecaster of future economic events. So it’s not only willing to cover, analyze, and present its findings candidly, it’s also willing to tell the truth. It asked, rhetorically, “What might the consequences be if current laws remain unchanged?” It answered:

Large and growing federal debt over the coming decades would hurt the economy and constrain future budget policy. The amount of debt that is projected under the extended baseline would reduce national saving and income in the long term; increase the government’s interest costs, putting more pressure on the rest of the budget; limit lawmakers’ ability to respond to unforeseen events; and increase the likelihood of a fiscal crisis, an occurrence in which investors become unwilling to finance a government’s borrowing unless they are compensated with very high interest rates.

Which brings one to the ultimate rhetorical question: What happens when even those “very high interest rates” aren’t enough to compensate those investors for the risks they are taking by loaning their money to a government that increasingly isn’t able to pay its bills and must continue to borrow increasingly massive amounts to cover its deficits? What happens next?

Democrats Love to Tax the Rich – Except When it’s THEIR Rich

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Tuesday, June 6, 2017: 

The Trump tax reform proposal has put the Democrats into a deliciously difficult position. He wants to eliminate state and local deductions for income and property taxes (but leave charitable and mortgage deductions alone) as part of his attempt to keep his proposal revenue-neutral.

The amounts involved are enormous. The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimates that, if passed, it would cost the rich $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years. The Tax Foundation ran the same numbers and came up with an even bigger number: $1.8 trillion.

The law currently allows state and local income and property taxes to be deducted in calculating an individual’s federal tax liability. But, as both tax groups noted, those benefitting the most from the deductions happen to live in liberal, Democrat-leaning and supporting states. This forces Democrats to face a conundrum:

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Trump’s Plan to Eliminate State, Local Tax Deductions Puts Dems in Difficulty

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, June 6, 2017: 

Tax Foundation

Two tax policy groups — the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and the Tax Foundation — agree on at least one thing in President Trump’s tax proposal: The elimination of favorite tax deductions used by the wealthy would cost them dearly. The Tax Policy Center calculated that it would cost the rich $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years, while the Tax Foundation put the figure at more than $1.8 trillion.

The law currently allows state and local income and property taxes to be deducted in calculating an individual’s federal tax liability. But as both tax groups noted,

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Will Rogers, Meet Andrew McCabe

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 29, 2017:

FBI Badge & gun.

Will Rogers is credited for noting that “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” Andrew McCabe is about to suffer the consequences of not following Will’s wisdom.

When Joe Lieberman withdrew his nomination for FBI Director last week, he claimed it was because of a potential conflict of interest in that he works for the same law firm as Trump’s lawyer who is defending the president against the faux Russia investigation. In reality,

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Is North Korea’s Dictator Insane?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, May 17, 2017: 

According to Ben Cohen, North Korea’s “Supreme Leader,” Kim Jong-un, is certifiably insane. Wrote Cohen: “Kim [is] executing hundreds of officials he deems to be disloyal in extraordinarily brutal fashion … shocking even hardened North Korean elites used to regular purges, random executions, and extreme torture.”

But how would his paranoia, his megalomania, inform his view of America? Would he be willing to launch an EMP attack using one or both of his satellites currently hovering over the US mainland, knowing that the missiles that would be returned from EMP-hardened missile sites here would obliterate his country, turning everything north of the 38th Parallel into glass?

He certainly has the capability to do so.

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Pro-life Agenda Boosted With Charmaine Yoest in HHS

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 10, 2017:

Students for Life of America

The Daily Signal, the Heritage Foundation’s daily Web-based newsletter, took a close look Tuesday at President Trump’s recent appointment of Charmaine Yoest as top communicator at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Daily Signal‘s writer, Rachel del Guidice, liked what she found: Yoest is one more example of the paradigm shift taking place in the Trump administration regarding the value of human life from the moment of conception.

Del Guidice interviewed Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, who told her that “we are going to see a radical transformation occur within HHS. I fully expect us [as a society] to talk about … the consequences of abortion on women.”

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, was equally encouraged:

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Is History About to Repeat Itself – Building the Wall to Keep Drugs Out?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 1, 2017:

Cover of "Last Call: The Rise and Fall of...

As Samuel Taylor Coleridge expressed it, “If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind.”

Those unfamiliar with the lessons history teaches regarding attempts to legislate morality are about to get another one. One of those, surprisingly, is the Republican Senator from Texas who has just introduced a bill to let El Chapo pay for the wall. After all, said Ted Cruz, it’s “only fitting.” Cruz told Tucker Carlson on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Wednesday:

These drug cartels are the ones crossing the border with impunity, smuggling drugs, smuggling narcotics, engaged in human trafficking. They’re the ones violating our laws and it’s only fitting that their ill-gotten gains fund securing the border.

Cruz’s bill specifically targets El Chapo’s assets for use in building the wall:

All illegally obtained profits resulting from any criminal drug trafficking enterprise led by Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera (commonly known as “El Chapo”), which are criminally forfeited to the United States Government as a result of the conviction of [El Chapo] … shall be reserved for security measures along the border between the United States and Mexico, including the completion of a wall along such border, for the purpose of stemming the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States and furthering the Nation’s security.

Cruz sounded very much like another member of Congress who hasn’t read, or remembered, his history: Rep. James Sensenbrenner. In March Sensenbrenner offered his bill, cleverly titled the BUILD WALL (Build Up Illegal Line Defenses With Assets Lawfully Lifted) Act, explaining:

If we do nothing, we put the people of this nation at risk, as well as allow illegal immigrants to take away jobs, opportunities, and social funding from U.S. citizens – all at the expense of the American taxpayer. The BUILD WALL Act is a creative solution to a complex problem.

When quizzed about his bill in March, Sensenbrenner reiterated the case that drug lords should rightly pay for the wall:

This is a way to fulfill the president’s desire to have Mexico pay for the wall. Having the money seized from Mexican drug cartels would mean that bad Mexicans would end up paying for the wall – the bad Mexicans [who] have been terrorizing the good Mexicans with crime and kidnappings and murders within Mexico itself.

But why is no one asking the real question: if the wall is built, will it work in keeping drugs and criminals out of the United States? Or will it, just like the Volstead Act, cause misery beyond measure, with consequences still being felt today nearly a hundred years later?

Films over the last few decades have attempted to answer that question, films such as The Untouchables (1987) or, more recently, Lawless (2012) which just touch on the horrors inflicted upon innocents as those illegal liquor merchants plied their wares, operating as simply businessmen doing their best to “meet a demand.”

As Borderland Beat, the relatively unknown but highly-regarded source of information about the border drug wars, recently noted: “With U.S. support Mexican authorities have been able to kill or capture 33 out of the 37 most dangerous cartel leaders. The recent extradition of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the United States is a testament to the value of high-level cooperation between the two countries. As a result of these notable successes, several larger cartels have fractured and have descended into in-fighting.”

But they haven’t gone away. That have reorganized, are adapting to the new reality, and continue their drug trafficking. First, they consider themselves as businessmen providing a product to meet market demand. Thwarting border protections is an industry in its own right, whether it’s developing tunnels (with electric lights, air-conditioning and motion sensors) under the border, or creating false documentation to get their mules through border checkpoints. They still have immense resources and can buy all the talent they need to counter any protective schemes the Trump administration might dream up.

When they wish to move large sums of cash across the border, the cartels have used “cloned” vehicles that resemble official cars. When that fails, they buy up and ship across the border vast numbers of gift cards, thus reducing law enforcement’s ability to track down the movement of money.

When drones become pesky, they develop countermeasures to defend against them. And they are developing “narco drones” of their own to deliver drugs across the border to the U.S.

In addition, they have the resources to bribe successfully hundreds of Department of Homeland Security employees who have taken in nearly $15 million in bribes since 2006. As Borderland Beat notes, all of this means “that a new border wall will not end or significantly reduce the capabilities and power of Mexican drug cartels. From the days of tequila smuggling into the United States during Prohibition, illicit trafficking across the southwest border has remained a constant.”

As Kyle Smith wrote in his review of “Prohibition,” a PBS special a few years ago:

Banning the sale or manufacture of alcohol made ours “a nation of scofflaws,” as Burns and Novick entitle the second episode of their miniseries. After an initial dip in alcohol consumption, booze sales spiked, with one cop estimating there were 32,000 speakeasies in New York City.

 

No one who backed the 18th Amendment thought much about the additional police needed to enforce it, the ease with which those police would be bought off, the job losses it would cause, or the innocent bystanders who would be shot when the government decided to crack down.

 

Prohibition lessened respect for the rule of law and created a big business in bootlegging, which in turn led to murder and mayhem on the streets. Organized crime barely existed before the Al Capones of the world found their calling in Prohibition, and in order to lessen turf wars the gangland bosses began to carve out spheres of influence on a nationwide scale.

 

“Prohibition was the finishing school, the college and the graduate school for the criminal syndicates of America,” says Dan Okrent, author of “Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition,” in the film.

If the wall is built (regardless of who pays for it), people like Cruz and Sensenbrenner (and others who should know better) are very likely to learn this lesson from history: one cannot legislate morality, and attempts to do so are likely to have painfully negative and long-lasting consequences. Unfortunately, Coleridge’s lantern, for many, shines only on the waves behind.


Sources:

History quotes

The New York Post: What we learned from Prohibition

Fox News: Sen. Ted Cruz: ‘It’s only fitting’ cartel money be used for border wall

Washington Examiner: Jim Sensenbrenner: Make Mexican cartels pay for the wall

Borderland Beat: THE BORDER WALL: MAKING MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS GREAT AGAIN

Background on Borderland Beat

Conservative Tribune: Congressman: Pay for Border Wall by Seizing Money From Mexican Drug Cartels

CNNOfficial: Mexican cartels use money, sex to bribe U.S. border agents

Breitbart: Ted Cruz Calls for $14 Billion Seized from ‘El Chapo’ to Fund Border Wall

Text of Cruz’s bill, S.939

The Untouchables (1987)

Lawless (2012)

Australia’s Second Gun Buyback Likely to Fail

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 13, 2017:  

In announcing Australia’s new federal gun amnesty program, Justice Minister Michael Keenan told the Sunday Mail last week: “This is the first Australia-wide gun amnesty program since 1996, when the Howard government took action following the devastation of the Port Arthur Massacre.” (above: fountain in Port Arthur) The massacre of 35 people and the wounding of another 23 in late April, 1996 at the popular tourist site in southeastern Australia served as the excuse to implement the country’s National Firearms Agreement (NFA). The NFA turned millions of law-abiding gun owners into criminals with its heavy restrictions, and the amnesty program was designed to remove the now-illegal weaponry from their rightful owners with a mixture of carrot and stick.

Those restrictions included

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Debt-ceiling Charade Begins Again

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 10, 2017:

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent an early-warning signal to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday that “on Thursday, March 16, 2017, the outstanding debt of the United States will be at the statutory limit.” He added:

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Interior Secretary Repeals Another Obama-era Second Amendment Infringement

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 6, 2017: 

On his first day in office as Secretary of the Interior, newly minted Secretary Ryan Zinke (shown) issued Secretarial Order 3345 which “revokes Director’s Order 219,” effective immediately.

It’s a small thing, really, but hugely important in confirming that President Trump not only is intent on keeping his campaign promises but is determined to surround himself with people of like mind to help him keep them.

Director’s Order 219 was a parting shot issued by then-President Obama at the very end of his presidency that required the phasing out of the use of lead ammunition for hunting on Federal land. Specifically, it required that the

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The PBGC is Falling. Where is Superman When He is Needed?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, March 3, 2017:

In the 1978 film Superman, Lois Lane is caught mid-air by Superman who says: “Easy, miss. I’ve got you.” Responds Lois: “You – you’ve got me? Who’s got you?

Concerning government agencies making promises, the answer is always and everlastingly: the U.S. taxpayer.

For example, consider the 42-year-old government agency backing up single-employer and multi-employer pension plans:

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Union Influence Fades as Right-to-work Gains Momentum

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, February 21, 2017:  

English: Economic regions of California, as de...

When Rebecca Friedrichs, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the California Teachers Association, learned in June that the Supreme Court denied her petition to rehear her complaint over the union extracting dues from her paycheck without her consent, she declared:

My heart is broken for America’s children and families, as their teachers will continue to be forced to fund policies and highly political collective bargaining processes which place the desires of adults above the rights and needs of children.… I’m optimistic [that] we can continue … to restore First Amendment rights to teachers and other public sector workers. Our kids are worth the fight!

Terry Pell, president of the Center for Individual Rights, the public-interest law firm representing Friedrichs, agreed:

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Blowing Up the Globalists’ Plans

This article was published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 13, 2017:

Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.Version ...

Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.

The Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) grew out of failure. Known alternatively as Chatham House, it was conceived during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 (also called the Versailles Peace Conference). It was decided that, once the so-called “peace” terms were put in place to punish Germany and its allies after the War to end all wars, various insiders decided a one-world government was needed to keep such a catastrophe from occurring in the future. It birthed the

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.