Monday, September 06, 2021

H.R. 1: A Cautionary Tale of Unintended Consequences

COMMENTARY  By Ken Cuccinelli II & Dominic Rapini

AP Photo/Susan Haigh


This article first appeared in Real Clear Politics on 4Jun21 and is re-printed here at the request of Dominic Rapini.

For as long as politicians have been passing legislation, there have been measurable consequences to that legislation – both intentional and unintentional. Usually, the final impact is not known for years after a law is passed. We could write a book predicting problems with the proposed federal bill, H.R.1, the so-called For the People Act, but the state of Connecticut has given American taxpayers a timely preview of the burdens and waste we can expect from just one of the bill’s many government mandates. Specifically, the requirement that states must mail out ballot applications to all registered voters will unnecessarily spend, and ultimately waste, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

The 2020 elections in Connecticut provide a cautionary preview of this proposed requirement in H.R. 1 to send absentee ballot applications (ABR) to every registered voter. Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill (pictured) did exactly that, spending $7.1 million in federal taxpayer money sending out unsolicited ABRs for the primary and general elections. A total of 3.6 million applications were mailed, yet only 865,000 were converted to actual votes. That’s a cost of $8.20 per ballot returned – by any measure, a poor yield on that investment.

The sad irony about this waste of taxpayers’ money is that

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Join Us for The End of the Long War in Afghanistan - National September 11 Memorial Museum

 


As we approach the milestone 20th anniversary of 9/11,

the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s public program season will explore

a range of topics reflecting on the ongoing impacts and continued resonance of the attacks, their historical context, and their aftermath.

We are pleased to present

The End of the Long War in Afghanistan

Monday, August 30, 2 p.m. ET

The post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan became the longest war in American history. Now with the total drawdown of American troops after nearly 20 years, the Taliban has retaken control of the country. Ronald E. Neumann, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan (2005–2007) and Edmund Fitton-Brown, coordinator of the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team concerning the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban discuss the rapidly unfolding events in Afghanistan and what the future might hold for the country.

Visit 911memorial.org/watch to attend this live, online event.

Captioning will be provided. 

Op-Ed: America’s Withdrawal From Afghanistan Will Open The Door For Sex Traffickers

 

Funds donated will go towards our efforts to end human trafficking and exploitation around the world.
By Tim Ballard
People are free to debate if it was right for the United States to invade Afghanistan in 2001, or if we should have maintained a presence in the country for over two decades, or even if the timing of our recent and hasty withdrawal was appropriate. However, one indisputable fact that is not open for debate is that the moment the United States entered Afghanistan, we accepted a moral, social, and arguably, legal obligation to care for and protect the country’s most vulnerable people, that being women and children.

The United States’ rapid and slapdash departure from Afghanistan represents a complete abdication of that responsibility and obligation. We are failing the very people we are supposed to protect and, worse, we are doing so despite our own government’s admission that there was still so much work left undone. The U.S. Department of State reported just this year that Afghanistan “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so…” 
Afghanistan was also included on a list of state-sponsored governments that had a “documented ‘policy or pattern’ of human trafficking in government-funded programs, forced labor in government-affiliated medical services or other sectors, sexual slavery in government camps, or the employment or recruitment of child soldiers.” This list, in addition to Afghanistan, includes governments from Burma, China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia to name a few. 

According to the U.S. Department of State in 2001, Afghanistan under Taliban rule had one of the worst human rights records in the world. The regime systematically repressed all sectors of the population and denied even the most basic individual rights. 

The 2002 Trafficking in Persons report noted that “the Taliban, a Pashtun-dominated fundamentalist Islamic movement, controlled approximately 90 percent of the country. Taliban forces were responsible for disappearances of women and children, many of whom were trafficked to Pakistan and the Gulf States.”

Under Taliban control, women were forced into sex slavery, largely prevented from obtaining real employment, forbidden to walk outside alone, denied access to education, and prevented from receiving appropriate health and medical care.

Children were also subjected to unspeakable atrocities, including the practice of bacha bazi, where male children are sexually abused by older men and forced into combat as child soldiers, as well as into marriage and as laborers, domestic workers and in the sex trade.
In an interview with The Atlantic, Manizha Naderi, a co-founder of Women for Afghan Women, said, “Before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, there was nothing, no infrastructure, no legal system, no educational system, nothing there. And in the last 20 years, everything was re-created in the country, from education, to the legal system, to social, to economics … Women have gained everything. Not just women, but the Afghans in general have gained a lot.”

The fact is today’s resurgence of the Taliban, and the ensuing fall of the Afghan government, threatens to almost instantaneously erase the strides meant to aid women and children over the past 20 years and bring the issue to light. And for this, the international community should be disgusted and embarrassed. 

According to recent report from UNICEF, over the previous decade, 2.7 million Afghans left the country in the hopes of finding a better life. We know that from our experience, many individuals, especially children, who flee their homes, communities, and counties are extremely vulnerable and become targets for those who wish to force them into being trafficked for sex or forced labor.

These numbers are staggering, but they are reflective of a time when the Taliban was not in control of Afghanistan. Imagine how much those numbers will increase under the oppressive rule of the new Taliban regime. And the world will never know it, as the Taliban will keep the problem in the dark, or worse, sponsor and condone these abuses.  
Already, reports of fear and uncertainty are streaming out of Afghanistan now that the Taliban are on the verge of complete control. Despite the Taliban’s shallow promises that women’s rights will be honored, women are already being forced from their jobs, girls removed from schools. Some women are even going so far as to hide or destroy any evidence of their personal or professional accomplishments such as diplomas, certificates, and other documents. 

One Kabul resident wrote that men are already making fun of women and girls, seemingly delighting in their terror. “It is your last days of being out on the streets,” said one man. “I will marry four of you in one day,” said another.

Sadly, it was almost a forgone conclusion that this is how things would play out if the Taliban were allowed to regain unfettered power. For example, the United Nations reported that as U.S. and other military groups began their withdrawal from Afghanistan in the first six months of 2021, more women and children were killed or wounded than during any other year since 2009. 
Imagine being a woman or a child in Afghanistan now faced with one of two options, both with potentially tragic outcomes. The first, stay in a country that is ruled by a regime that was known to have one of the worst human rights records in the world. The second, attempt to flee the country and risk falling prey to those who seek to victimize the vulnerable, and force them into being trafficked for sex for forced labor.

We call on the United States and other governments, non-profits, and NGOs to act immediately. At the Nazarene Fund, and at its sister organization, Operation Underground Railroad, we are prepared to do our part, but we can’t do it alone. If the international community fails to step up and respond to this situation, we will see a huge influx in the number of women and children being trafficked. 

The international community should not do what it has done far too often in the past — turn a blind eye to the problem and make an already-tragic situation even worse. We must address this issue head on for the sake of saving the lives of so many women and children who might otherwise be lost. 

Tim Ballard is the Founder of Operation Underground Railroad and the CEO of The Nazarene Fund.
Funds donated will go towards our efforts to end human trafficking and exploitation around the world.
Operation Underground Railroad | 138 E 12300 SSuite C-149Draper, UT 84020

Monday, August 23, 2021

Opinion: The Unfolding Disaster in Afghanistan

Matt Corey
By Matthew Corey, USN Veteran

Republican Candidate for US Senate 2018

News from Afghanistan is unfolding at a rapid pace. The conditions on the ground are heartbreaking.  Politicians are blaming the withdrawal of American troops, before the withdrawal of civilians on incompetence, with each party pointing to the other side of the aisle.  The Commander in Chief must be fully accountable for what is happening in Afghanistan.  His appointed officials at the highest levels should bear the same responsibility for what is transpiring.

I remember my WW II veteran father telling us to be quiet while the news was on. News Hour was Dad’s time and we watched and listened with him.  I was eleven years old; we were watching the evacuation of troops from Vietnam.  We had also watched the protests prior to the end of the War.  I remember the chaos as I watched the last flights out of Saigon.  I looked over and asked my dad if the war was over and did we win?  I don’t remember if he actually gave me an answer.  I soon learned that we weren’t allowed to win because of a lack of political courage and that the war against communism would never end.  Our Veterans started returning home to a not-so-welcoming country, which was devastating for our troops and the country as a whole.

Editor’s Note: The North Vietnamese Communists later admitted they were on the verge of surrendering when America agreed to “peace” terms.  American forces had devastated the Viet Cong army.  They had been pounded down; their capacity to make war was nearly depleted.  Had the US held out for a few weeks longer, countless lives would have been saved and the needless suffering of millions of people would have been avoided.

As I watch the news, I see President Biden blame the last Administration for the agreements that were put in place with the Taliban.  In his position as President, he can override any previous deals.

While it is completely naive to believe former President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo could negotiate with the same terrorist group that helped and harbored Al-Qaeda, I believe they would have handled the withdrawal from Afghanistan in a more orderly, efficient and safe manner.

Surely, the previous administration would have assured the safety of the tens of thousands of Americans and the tens of thousands of Afghans who aided America and her allies.  Surely, the previous administration would not have allowed a vast arsenal of heigh-tech weaponry to fall into the hands of barbarians!  Surely, the previous administration would not have left a humanitarian crisis the likes of which have not been seen since the end of the Vietnam War!

It is my opinion that most Americans have no stomach for endless wars when there isn’t a clear mission.  I understand that we have been there for 20 years, but we also have had troops in Europe and Asia for close to three quarters of a century. Why? To keep the peace and protect the citizens, while also monitoring our interests.

It takes generations to change the hearts and minds of people.  What better way to bring about positive change than to introduce freedom and liberty in a part of the world that hasn’t known them?  That is something to defend at all costs.  It also requires protection of the newly freed, and guidance over time.  No other country knows that better than the United States.

I watched President Bush’s speech to America and our allies before the invasion of Afghanistan.  The purpose of the mission was to rid the country of terrorists and to help the Afghan people. https://youtu.be/osXkym5GHXI   Now, we are witnessing our politicians turn their back on the promises they made, not only to America, but to the world.

In my opinion, keeping a small force, with air support to keep the Taliban out of Afghanistan would have been well worth it.  Was the Afghan Government corrupt?  I believe so.  There are corrupt politicians all over the world, including here in the United States.  The cost of leaving troops in Afghanistan would pale in comparison to the suffering the Afghan people and surrounding countries will have to endure, now that they have been abandoned to the Taliban.

With what has transpired, even we will be less safe in our homeland.

I can only imagine how the brave men and women who made sacrifices to the mission, along with our friends and allies in “Enduring Freedom”, must feel knowing this is the outcome.

I wonder if Gold Star families, who will miss and mourn their losses forever, believe this was all worth it.  It's not our military that has failed us; it’s our political leadership that has failed our military and our citizens, once again.

We can only hope that those in positions of power can come together with honesty to, and for, the American people, and do the right thing.  God bless the United States and our brave men and women who protect our freedoms around the world.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Was it Real?

Last week, I had a visitor. He came into my room as I lay sleeping on my back. The visitor stood at the foot of the bed and pinched my big toes, waking me. It was my brother, Casey!

He was smiling and teasing me. We talked, though I don't remember what was said. He was happy and the whole thing seemed perfectly normal and natural. (Anyone knowing Casey would know there was little “normal” about him.)

When I realized what was happening, I said something like, "Hey, but you have been dead for four years!" (Actually, it will be five, in October.)

That realization startled me and I woke up to full consciousness. He was gone and I was alone in the room. I have no idea if that was a real vision, or just a dream.

It could have been real . . .

One evening some months after Sean died, Mom said she saw him walk down the hall and up the stairs, as she read in the living room.

When my son, Mark, was 11 or so, he woke up to see what he thought was his little brother, Christopher, playing a game on the floor. There was a cat next to him and cat poop, nearby. (They had cats.)

After telling him to go back to bed several times, Mark got down from the top bunk, stepped over the cat poop and turned on the light, only to find Chris asleep in bed; and the child, game, cat and poop, gone! It seems that a young child had died in that house, many years earlier.

When I was about four or five, we went to visit Grampy Brandt, Grandma's father. I remember him giving me and Sean peppermint candies that melted almost frothily in the mouth; his big smile, and the Mickey Mouse and Goofy wind-up toys that waddled across the table.

One morning when I was about seven or so, I looked up from brushing my teeth to see Grampy in the mirror, standing behind me! Though I had only met him that one time, there was no doubt about what I saw.

Almost sixty years later, I’ve not forgotten that smile and what a kind and loving man he was.

It was years before I told anyone about this experience. Mom and Dad were quite surprised that I remembered Grampy; they thought I was too young. Until I asked why we never went to see him anymore, no one told me he had died. (Take it to heart, parents; young children are more perceptive than you might think.)

I’m glad Casey came to visit. It is comforting to know he is happy and no longer bears the burdens he carried in life!

Saturday, July 03, 2021

Connecticut Republican Assembly 4th annual Convention held March 27, 2021


CTRA PRESIDENT
:  Anne Manusky
 FIRST VICE-PRESIDENT:     Mark Mni
SECOND VICE-PRESIDENT:     Jerry Martinez
CTRA SECRETARY:     Matt O’Brien  
TREASURER:     Ed Sorenson
NATIONAL DIRECTORS:     Manny Santos, Dennis Savage
CHAPLAIN:     Dennis Savage

Note: Some time ago, Blogger changed their formatting and it sucks! It is almost impossible to edit, clearly. 

The CT Republican Assembly Comes Out Strong at Its 4th Annual Luncheon and Convention

Wayne Winsley on the right.
On Saturday, March 27, over 75 members and friends of The Connecticut Republican Assembly (CTRA) gathered at Il Monticello Banquet Hall in Meriden for their 4th Annual Luncheon & Convention. The theme of the convention was “A Return to S.A.N.I.T.Y.” and it featured a roster of distinguished Republican speakers, each one addressing one tenet of the theme.

SECURE Your Freedoms…by Learning Your RIGHTS!

AMERICA is Great…Because America is GOOD!

NATIONS Don’t Defund Their Borders…They DEFEND Them!

INSPIRE Your Neighbors…by Being COURAGEOUS!

TEACH Our Children HOW to Think…Not WHAT to Think!

YOU are Responsible…for Your Own DESTINY!

 

The speakers were Martha Dean, Constitutional Attorney and candidate for CT Secretary of



State, 2002 & 2010; Peter Lumaj, Attorney, 2018 Gubernatorial Candidate and 2014 Secretary of State Candidate; Jonathan Hanen, Field Representative, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR); Craig Fishbein, Attorney, State Representative (CT-90) and CGA Conservative Caucus Vice-Chairman; Wayne Winsley, Speaker, Founder of Brave Enough to Fail, and 2012 Congressional Candidate (CT-3); and Robert Ham, Institutional Development for Hillsdale College.

In addition, Dominic Rapini and Linda Szynkowicz of FightVoterFraud.org spoke briefly



during lunch. Fight Voter Fraud has assembled a ‘silent army’ of volunteer and professional investigators who follow leads and data to verify fraud where it rears its ugly head. The aim of their important work is to ensure ‘One vote for each legal voter.’ Interested citizens can contact them at https://fightvoterfraud.org/.

To feature the work of their increasing membership, CTRA recently created an award in honor of their founder and first CTRA president, Mark W. Anderson. They made Mark the first honoree, presenting the award to him at the luncheon. Mark is currently a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, representing District 62. He assumed office on January 6, 2021.

Manny Santos on the left.
The Connecticut Republican Assembly is a chapter of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA), a grassroots movement made up of Reagan conservatives, who believe in small government, lower taxes, free market capitalism, a strong defense, the right to life, and a decent America. President Reagan described the NFRA as “the Republican wing of the Republican Party, the home of the Frederick Douglass Republicans, and the conscience of the Republican Party.” It was founded in 1934 and was called the TEA Party before there was a TEA Party. They support true Republican candidates, endorse in primaries, and work to restore the Republican Party to the values and principles of the Party of Reagan.


If you are interested in supporting CTRA, you can apply for membership, sign up for email updates, attend future events, like/contact them on Facebook, MeWe, or Telegram. For information on all of these opportunities, visit the website at www.ctra.us. 

Don't miss The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz 30th Anniversary Celebration, July 16-18!

 


Thursday, July 01, 2021

Thwarting China on 5G Is Greatest Untold Success Story of the Trump Administration

  AMAC Exclusive by Joshua Charles

Trump

One of the greatest success stories of the Trump administration is one you have likely never heard. It’s the story of how a former business leader turned Under Secretary of State helped prevent what many had assumed was a fait accompli: the domination of the worldwide rollout of cellular 5G wireless by Communist China.

5G represents a quantum leap forward over the current generation of cellular technology—in some cases up to ten times faster.

The implications of this transformation are far-reaching, because whatever country dominates 5G will likely dominate a host of other technologies that will depend on it—technologies like autonomous vehicles, AI, quantum computing, and many others.

In early 2019, the situation was grim for the United States and the western allies. Chinese companies like Huawei were preparing to roll out 5G networks around the world. Like many Chinese companies, Huawei is essentially a corporate arm of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and is subject to its National Intelligence Law, which means the government can demand Huawei hand over any data it has at any time. That means that the CCP could potentially access the personal, private, and sensitive data of people, companies, and governments around the world just like it does with its own citizens. In China, Huawei’s technology has become the backbone of the CCP’s surveillance state and “social credit system.” If they built the world’s 5G networks, they’d essentially be extending that surveillance state around the world. And yet, since the CCP was heavily subsidizing Huawei, the Chinese technology giant was able to outbid most of the competition. That’s to say nothing of the CCP’s theft of US technology and know-how. For decades, they had been using our openness against us, while restricting our access to their markets.

But then President Trump signed an executive order to crack down on Huawei equipment, empowering the federal government to block American companies from purchasing foreign made telecommunications equipment deemed to be a national security risk. In addition, President Trump nominated Keith Krach to be Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment to help carry out his policy of standing up to China. Secretary of State Pompeo gave Krach the specific charge “to develop and operationalize a global economic security strategy that drives economic growth, maximizes national security, and combats Chinese economic aggression.” Krach was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in the summer of 2019.

Read the rest of the story, here: AMAC

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Roots in Ripon - Let's Celebrate!

Roots in Ripon

Chuck Roots
6 August 2018
www.chuckroots.com


Editor's Note:  Roots in Ripon was once a regular feature, here.  Unfortunately, Chuck has not done anything new for some time and this is the last post on his blog.

           One of the prime focal points we find in the Bible is the intentional act of engaging in celebration. This means we are to participate in celebrating every aspect of life as God has ordained it.

           We often run into difficulty when life roles us up in troubles of every kind. We lose perspective on our lives and how Jesus wants us to walk with him. We focus on the problem, the fear, the loss, the pain, or any other difficulty you would like to add. I would recommend you take some time to look through the Bible and see what it says about rejoicing. It will challenge you, trust me!

           In Philippians 4 we are admonished by the Apostle Paul, who was no stranger to physical ailments, beatings, stonings, ship wreck, and the like, to, “Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice!”

           As a minister and chaplain for forty years, I have witnessed the attitudes of Christians who had failed to connect with rejoicing. It was so clear that those who made it a point of rejoicing, especially in the hard times, had a completely different temperament than those who found it difficult to live out the command to rejoice.

           This attitude of rejoicing is never more critical than when the death of a loved one, or close friend occurs. On August 27th, my mother-in-law, Alda Cabral, passed away at age 85. For the past number of years, she has been dealing with a number of physical ailments. Her body had finally given up.

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