There is much to praise and agree with in National Review’s cover editorial, “Against Trump.” Donald Trump is no friend to limited government proponents. Indeed, his flip-flopping on key issues of concern to libertarians and conservatives make it unclear whether a President Trump would govern from his current perspectives or be the Trump who is a dear friend of the Clintons. But National Review misses a key part of the Trump phenomenon. It isn’t an aberration, but is a natural outgrowth of conservatism abandoning its core values of limited government and a strict national interest foreign policy during the Bush years. It may even be an expression of an underlying worldview of fear and defeatism present in conservatism ever since National Review led the Cold War break with the antiwar, anti-New Deal Old Right.

Trump isn’t killing conservatism. It already died over a decade ago. It died in the torture chambers of Abu Ghraib, on the battlefields of unnecessary and counterproductive wars, in the secret meetings that created an unprecedented domestic surveillance program, and in the spending spree to pay for it all that turned a budget surplus into record deficits. It clung to life support on some domestic economic programs, but died again when political capital that could have been spent on Social Security reform went to promoting war instead. It died every single time the Bush Administration pursued policies contrary to American values and the principles of limited government – and it died whenever Bush’s cheerleaders in what passed for the conservative movement championed his policies.

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Hey, did you wake up today wondering what was going on in Afghanistan, America’s 51st state, you know, the one we’ve been occupying for over 14 years, that one where thousands of Americans have died and where thousands still serve? Yeah, that Afghanistan.

The truth? Things kinda suck donkey over there.

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So, yep, thanks for asking, this war is going well.

Especially now, as we learn some Sunnis are far more afraid of Iraqi government-supported Shiite militias than they are of anyone from Islamic State. This will not end well, especially since the United States still hopes to get those same Sunnis to turn on ISIS and support the same goals as the Shiite Iraqi government.

Fear of those Shiite Muslim militias is driving many locals in Diyala Province, where the population is mixed, to change their names to more neutral formulations.

The reason is simple survival. “Just over the past two months our department has received between 150 and 200 applications for a name change,” said an official working for Diyala’s Directorate of Nationality. “Most of the applications are being submitted by people whose names reveal their sect or the areas from where their family or tribe comes.”

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In Trump’s Absence, Republicans Had Something That Resembled a Debate
By Lucy Steigerwald

There is a pre-packaged narrative that says Donald Trump won the final, pre-Iowa Caucus debate by virtue of his not even showing up. Google searches confirm that frontrunner Trump was on the minds of many, even if he was busy staging his own rally down the road. His – to put it politely – pet cause of immigration was one of the prominent topics on stage.

And yes, the opening question Fox News co-moderator Megyn Kelly tossed first at Sen. Ted Cruz was about “the elephant not in the room” and what Trump was saying to Iowa by not attending the debate like the good boys all had.

Everyone said their piece. There was a weasely-sounding quip from Cruz and an awkward one from former Gov. Jeb Bush about leaving the stage like you-know-who. Sen. Marco Rubio called him “the greatest show on earth” but said the proceedings were not about Trump. Later Cruz tried and failed to start a Trump-ish squabble with Fox News but abandoned that tactic when co-moderator Chris Wallace gamely fought back with “it is a debate, sir.”

After a spirited round of pandering to Iowa (“Iowa in 2017 will not be fly-over country. It will be fly-to country,” vowed Cruz, in one of the night’s weird lines that almost worked but totally didn’t) the night moved on to less Trump-as-Voldemort topics. And it worked. Every candidate besides the somnambulant Dr. Ben Carson seemed to be stretching their legs and picking up speed without Trump there to trip them up.

Read the rest at Playboy.com

ISIS, or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is a group of radical fundamentalist anti-Western Islamists who believe that Muslims must follow strict Sharia law and forsake cultural perversions such as capitalistic greed and social liberty. A very moralistic lot, ISIS believes that human beings should be guided by a strict and literal reading of the Koran – which is to say, what they interpret it to mean. The highest calling is jihad, to do Allah’s work on earth, for which a soldier will be rewarded in heaven. Making the ultimate sacrifice of his life will yield the greatest reward. Just as in Christianity, whatever happens on this planet is relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Eternity lasts forever, while life on earth is transitory.

After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, radical Islamists coalesced under the name ISIS and collaborated with Al Qaeda. Both Iraqis and foreigners joined the ranks of the insurgents as militants and civilians were being slaughtered by the Western occupiers. ISIS eventually separated from Al Qaeda (apparently not radical enough) and went on to establish outposts in other lands, including Syria, where their aim has been to oust President Bashar al-Assad and establish a caliphate.

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Many people watching the Democratic presidential debate on Sunday likely considered United States Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) advocacy that the US “move as aggressively as we can to normalize relations with Iran” as a welcome call for replacing decades of US hostility and sanctions toward Iran with peace and trade that would benefit people in both countries. Many viewers may also have noticed that Sanders’ stated opinion shares much in common with former Republican and Libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul’s long-expressed aspiration that US antagonism toward Iran be replaced with peaceful and prosperous relations.

Paul again expressed his aspiration regarding US-Iran relations in his latest weekly editorial that concludes with the following:

Let’s hope that this new opening with Iran will allow many other productive Americans to grow wealthy through trade and business ties. Let’s hope many new productive jobs will be created on both sides. Peace is prosperous!

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