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.
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.
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!
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is being advertised in some circles as the heir to the Ron Paul libertarian movement, yet one look at his foreign policy and it is immediately evident that he is anything but. His advisors are Bill Kristol, John Bolton, James Woolsey, Elliot Abrams and other washed-up neocon has-beens. No wonder he screams about “carpet bombing” the Middle East and making the sand glow in the dark. The libertarian movement is essentially built around rejection of wars of aggression and against interventionism. Ted Cruz, neocon, in today’s Liberty Report:
Nobody spent a f*cking penny to help Americans at home start businesses like that.
Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Brian McKeon told the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support that maybe all that money wasn’t wasted. McKeon said that the costly effort “had mixed results, with some successes and some failures.” He urged patience before branding the whole project as entirely misguided. “It’s a little early to say,” he offered, adding that “the jury is still out” on the fate of various projects.
McKeon, however, listed no specific projects that succeeded and gave no information on why it may be too early to tell how things will work out in Afghanistan. He did not say out loud, but knew, that this sh*t has been going on in Afghanistan for more than 14 years already, so how can it still be too early to tell? Dude, you’re not aging whiskey here.
What did you get for Christmas these last six years?
The U.S. government was nice enough to gift our loyal friends the Afghans $17 billion of your tax money, and, in the true spirit of giving, asked nothing in return for itself.
What that means in actual dollars and nonsense is that the U.S. government wasted $17 billion in taxpayer money in Afghanistan on various projects that never made it off the ground or were doomed to fail because of incompetence or lack of maintenance, according to a new report.
ProPublica looked at over 200 audits conducted by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) over the last six years and tallied up the costs for the wide range of failed efforts to reach the $17 billion price tag. This greatest hits study only scratched the surface of the estimated $110 billion spent to rebuild the country (the U.S. spent some $47 billion in rebuilding Iraq, and how’d that work out?)