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Church/State Differences and Interactions

Tuesday, July 28, 2015  |  posted by John Schroeder

The last few days I have found myself in a number of very interesting church/state conversations.  While I have not had a conversation with a liberal I have spoken with many shades of conservatives and found a huge variety of viewpoints on church/state relationship and issues.  While all I have talked to have pointed out how historically church and state have been far more intertwined than they are currently and most long for “the old days,” I was struck by one place where they can seemingly never meet.

American democracy is, by definition, a system of compromise.  Religion is all about absolutes upon which compromise is not allowed.  For example, the founding documents of our democracy have nothing to say about homosexuality or homosexual practice.  Therefore, it allows lots of room for discussion and compromise.  The Bible, on the other hand is pretty explicit – “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads” – which does not leave much room for discussion.  It is the contrast of democracy’s flexibility and religions inflexibility where so much of the conflict between the two arises.  Frankly, it is amazing they mange to get along at all.

And yet, an Arthur C. Brooks piece from the NYTimes this past weekend does so much to bridge this gap.  The title is simply “We Need Optimists.” Continue Reading

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The Server, The Server, The Server: How Hillary Damaged National Security

Monday, July 27, 2015  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

My column this morning at The Washington Examiner and Noah Rothman’s at Commentary both target the same incredible though so-far-largely-ignored story in the background of the noise around Hillary’s server.

The former Secretary of State almost certainly opened a portal for the nation’s enemies into our highest levels of government with her private server. Noah put it this way:

As for national security, the Secretary of State’s emails were likely the subject of intense interest by foreign actors and her improperly secured email account probably provided anyone with the capabilities a way to penetrate American diplomatic information security. Despite being discouraged from doing so, Clinton used at least one of her personal mobile devices while abroad to access emails on her private server, creating plenty of opportunities for foreign agents to compromise her account.

This is no small matter. On the heels of Edward Snowden’s revelations, American informational security has been harmed like never before. “The experts warned that the entire U.S. national security clearance system could be compromised,” read a chilling Fox News report published on Friday in the wake of the hacking of the Office of Personnel Management, “that future senior government leaders and advisors could be targeted even before taking office, and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of government officials might successfully be blackmailed, bribed or otherwise manipulated in the future into handing over still more sensitive information.” How can someone who, through carelessness or indifference, imperiled American national security serve as the nation’s commander-in-chief?

Michael Morell, the retired Deputy Director of the CIA confirmed as much to me ten weeks ago on air, and every serious intelligence and counter-intelligence expert I have talked with since then confirms the same thing: Of course the Russians, the Chinese and the Iranians and probably a few more governments and perhaps even some private organizations —some of HRC’s emails were published on Gawker by “Guccfer”— have all of Hillary’s emails.  What doesn’t seem to penetrate the thickness of the MSM’s protective reflexes when it comes to the Clintons is that the hostile intelligence services almost certainly had the emails –all of them– in real time, giving them an open window into the Obama Administration’s senior appointee’s inner thinking and communications.  In other word’s, an intelligence service’s dream-come-true.

Why are Hillary’s numbers plummeting?  Some portion of it has to be in the recognition by independent voters and even some national security-minded Democrats that Hillary really cannot be trusted to be the Commander-in-Chief, not after such reckless and destructive behavior, criminal or not.

“Obama’s Iran Deal? Blame it on Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush” by Clark Judge

Monday, July 27, 2015  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The weekly column from Clark Judge:

Obama’s Iran Deal? Blame it on Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush

By Clark S. Judge: managing director, White House Writers Group, Inc.; chairman, Pacific Research Institute

Every day the Iran deal looks more and more like an empty shell, actually a fraud. Who’s to blame? How about Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush?

Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, an impatience has infused American foreign policymaking. It hasn’t been enough to hold adversaries at bay or to move step by slow step to minimize their ability to do harm us. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush “solved” the Cold War and Soviet threat problem. Each administration since those two has striven to be as effective with the challenges it has faced – or to be seen as equally effective. This is where the Obama administration’s Iran deal comes in.

A little background: The best and certainly fastest reporting on the various rounds of U.S.-Iran bargaining has come from Omri Ceren of The Israel Project. As the talks moved to a climax, Ceren was issuing what seemed like hourly updates on all that was being said and done in and around the talks. Continue Reading

Blunt Instruments

Saturday, July 25, 2015  |  posted by John Schroeder

Two stories in yesterday’s NYTimes paint a rather unflattering picture of Democrats.  One concerns the fact that the OPM data breach could be used to identify spies in the field.  The other is the “revised” version of the Hillary private server/classified data story.  It seems clear that neither the Obama administration nor the Clinton State Department have a clue about the value of information.

By now most people know the story of code breaker Alan Turing in WWII.  Winston Churchill said he made the single largest contribution to winning the war.  More than guns, ships, tank or aircraft, information is power.  Information enables one to wield power with grace and subtlety.  With the right information a less powerful military can prevail.  Without information power is a blunt instrument, and one must overwhelm one’s opponent with massive amounts of it.  With information only small force need be applied in critical areas to carry the day. That’s why there are secrets.  The less our opponents and enemies know, the more powerful we are.

Clearly Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are blunt instruments.  They let our enemies have information because they do not understand its value.  Obama bluntly forces Obamacare on an unwilling nation – an exercise in raw power.

Problem is our national enemies know how to use information and the hubris that comes with the exercise of blunt raw power usually defines one of the critical areas where the effectiveness of smaller forces can be multiplied.

The national security aspect is something that awaits a new administration to iron out.  But politically they expose their soft naked bellies.  The Republican that prevails in the primary should be the one that demonstrates his/her mastery of information.  This could get very interesting.

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