Sen Grassley Raises Concern Over Promotion Of Kushner Business Venture Promising Visas To Chinese Investors

So Jared Kushner’s family gives a presentation in China several weeks ago, promoting their new real estate project, and the company sponsoring the event, Qiaowai, makes a few questionable statements about the access investors will have to the presidency, due to Kushner’s name being attached.

Things like that tend to catch the attention of lawmakers, and this was no different.

The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is asking that these “potentially fraudulent” claims be investigated.

“Given all of these concerns, a closer look at Qiaowai Group and the U.S. Immigration Fund are clearly warranted, as reports suggest both companies have long employed questionable practices,” Grassley wrote.

Qiaowai and Kushner Companies are looking for investors to help finance a pair of luxury apartment buildings as part of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program. That program offers visas in exchange for a $500,000 investment in a U.S. business.

The Chinese firm boasted about its connections to President Trump via Kushner and promised clients that Trump would ensure their visas were approved, according to The New York Times.

If this is the case, it could potentially be another instance of someone in the Trump family enriching themselves through the office they hold.

Grassley wrote a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and the Security and Exchange Commission on May 25, seeking to have the issue addressed.

As the senator pointed out in the letter, Qiaowai made the statement to investors, regarding this project, that there was “no chance” it could fail. They also stated that the president would make sure it came through.

After a Reuters report, those statements were deleted from the company website.

A portion of Grassley’s letter reads:

Such guarantees are problematic for several reasons, and the SEC and USCIS have coordinated to halt similar cases of investment fraud in the past.6 It is a fundamental rule of the EB-5 program that an applicant’s investment must remain “at risk” up to the end of the alien’s conditional permanent resident status, and a “guaranteed” investment fails this basic EB-5 test7 ; if Qiaowai is in fact guaranteeing the safety of the investment principal, all related EB-5 petitions should be rejected by USCIS. In addition, a petition submitted on the basis of such a guarantee seems to constitute misrepresentation of “a material fact . . . to procure . . . a visa . . . or admission to the United States or other benefit,” 8 rendering the petitioner inadmissible to the United States pursuant to section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. 9 Further, by guaranteeing green cards and assuring that funds are “safe,” Qiaowai appears to be in violation of laws governing the offer and sale of securities, such as antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. 10 Specifically, Rule 10b-5 states that it is unlawful “for any person, directly or indirectly. . . to make any untrue statement of a material fact. . . in connection with the purchase or sale of any security.”

To be clear, Jared Kushner was not at the early May conference where the project was touted to wealthy Chinese investors. His sister, Nicole Meyer was, however, and she not-so-subtly invoked her brother’s name while presenting the idea of this project.

 

 

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SCOTUS WATCH: Is Gorsuch the Key to a Final Decision on Trump’s Travel Ban?

On Thursday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Maryland District Court decision which placed a nationwide injunction on Donald Trump’s infamous executive order/“travel ban” (“EO-2”), barring its implementation.  The ruling came as a surprise to some, as EO-2 was thought to be a substantial improvement on EO-1  (previously struck down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals), and the 4th Circuit is considered a more conservative court than the 9th. (Interestingly, the 9th Circuit will also rule on the issue shortly.  Oral argument was heard there on May 15th, following the ruling issued by a Hawaiian District Court, but given their previous ruling on EO-1, the odds don’t look to be in Trump’s favor there either.)

In a sharply worded opinion, joined in full by seven judges with three more concurring with the result, Chief Judge Roger Gregory right off the bat signals where the Court is going, by pointedly observing that EO-2, “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”  As a preliminary matter, the Court held that the Plaintiffs had standing to bring the challenge to EO-2.  The Court then considered the proper test to apply to determine whether the Order violates the Constitution.  The District Court applied the Lemon test, a standard which courts traditionally use to assess laws challenged under the Establishment Clause. Under Lemon, government action will be deemed to violate the Establishment Clause unless it: 1) Has a significant secular purpose; 2) Does not advance or inhibit religion as its primary effect; and 3) Does not foster excessive entanglement between government and religion.

The government argued that the proper standard was set forth in the 1972 case of Kleindienst v. Mandel, which sets forth a more limited review on immigration matters, granting significant deference to the executive branch in that area. Under Mandel, an order such as EO-2 merely needs to be “facially legitimate and bona fide” to survive a challenge.

The Court of Appeals ultimately applied an amalgam of the two tests, first examining EO-2 under the requirements of Mandel.  While the Court agreed that the stated interest of national security meets the “facially legitimate” requirement of Mandel, it zeroed in on numerous statements by Trump advisors and Trump himself to conclude that “national security” was merely a pretext for what amounts to a Muslim ban, and that the government was acting in bad faith by issuing EO-2.  This then opened it up to an examination under the more rigorous requirements of Lemon.  The Court found that EO-2’s primary purpose was religious – i.e., “to exclude persons from the United States on the basis of their religious beliefs.” Thus, it fails the first prong of the Lemon test, making it likely the Plaintiffs will succeed on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim, and thereby justifying the injunction.

Though the opinion is lengthy (205 pages!), it didn’t take long for legal scholars and pundits to weigh in with their respective takes on it.  At the Washington Post, Ilya Somin viewed the decision as “an important victory for opponents of the travel ban.”  Somin opines that, “Ultimately, the revised order has most of the same flaws as the original version.”

Over at National Review, David French tears into the 4th Circuit’s ruling, noting that:

“A strange madness is gripping the federal judiciary. It is in the process of crafting a new standard of judicial review, one that does violence to existing precedent, good sense, and even national security for the sake of defeating Donald Trump. We’ll call this new jurisprudence “Trumplaw,” and its latest victim is once again the so-called Trump travel ban. The perpetrator is the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

French chalks the ruling up to a finding that “hurt feelings” trump (no pun intended) “the government’s asserted national-security interest in pausing to reexamine foreign entry from hostile and war-torn countries.”  French is highly critical of the Court’s decision to look behind the Order which, on its face, clearly is lawful, to determine “good faith.”   He concludes:

“The sad reality is that this takes place in the aftermath of an event — the Manchester bombing — that demonstrates that one of the countries on the list, Libya, is in fact a hotbed of terrorist activity. The bomber traveled to Libya and allegedly had help there. He was a British citizen and not subject to the travel pause, but his journey illustrates the very real dangers of lawless regions gripped by jihad. Is it unconstitutional to pause entry from that nation to make sure that we can properly vet and screen for ISIS sympathizers? The Supreme Court has always said no. Today, the Fourth Circuit says yes. Today, the Fourth Circuit has chosen to distort the law and risk our national security to stop Donald Trump.”

Following the Court’s ruling, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement indicating his intent to appeal the matter: “This Department of Justice will continue to vigorously defend the power and duty of the Executive Branch to protect the people of this country from danger, and will seek review of this case in the United States Supreme Court.”  The government has 90 days to file its appeal but is expected to do so sooner.

Now all eyes are on the Supreme Court – what will a Court which now includes Neil Gorsuch do with this particular hot potato?  I imagine most would consider Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Breyer safe bets to uphold the 4th Circuit’s ruling.  Similarly, odds are that Alito, Thomas, and Roberts will rule against it.  That leaves Kennedy and Gorsuch.

While Kennedy does sometimes side with the liberal wing of the Court, in my assessment, he will not do so in this arena.  His prior rulings point to his inclination to limit the courts’ interference with the executive branch when it comes to immigration matters. For instance, in the 2001 case of Zadvydas v. Davis the majority held that the Attorney General did not have the power to indefinitely detain aliens who were admitted to the United States, but subsequently ordered removed.  Though the Court acknowledged the plenary power of the political branches’ over immigration, it maintained that power still “subject to important constitutional limitations.” Kennedy filed a dissent, noting:

“Far from avoiding a constitutional question, the Court’s ruling causes systemic dislocation in the balance of powers, thus raising serious constitutional concerns not just for the cases at hand but for the Court’s own view of its proper authority. Any supposed respect the Court seeks in not reaching the constitutional question is outweighed by the intrusive and erroneous exercise of its own powers. In the guise of judicial restraint the Court ought not to intrude upon the other branches. The constitutional question the statute presents, it must be acknowledged, may be a significant one in some later case; but it ought not to drive us to an incorrect interpretation of the statute. The Court having reached the wrong result for the wrong reason, this respectful dissent is required.”

More recently, in the case of Kerry v. Din, Kennedy concurred with Scalia, Roberts, Thomas, and Alito, who, as the majority, reversed the 9th Circuit holding that the Plaintiff had a protected liberty interest in her marriage that entitled her to a review of the denial of her husband’s visa.  Kennedy concluded there was no need to decide whether the Plaintiff had a protected liberty interest, because, even assuming she did, the notice she was given regarding the denial of the visa satisfied the requirements of Due Process.  In his concurrence, he cited to the Mandel case cited previously,

“The reasoning and the holding in Mandel control here. That decision was based upon due consideration of the congressional power to make rules for the exclusion of aliens, and the ensuing power to delegate authority to the Attorney General to exercise substantial discretion in that field. Mandel held that an executive officer’s decision denying a visa that burdens a citizen’s own constitutional rights is valid when it is made “on the basis of a facially legitimate and bona fide reason.” Id., at 770. Once this standard is met, “courts will neither look behind the exercise of that discretion, nor test it by balancing its justification against” the constitutional interests of citizens the visa denial might implicate. Ibid. This reasoning has particular force in the area of national security, for which Congress has provided specific statutory directions pertaining to visa applications by noncitizens who seek entry to this country.” (Emphasis added.)

Assuming Kennedy stays true to form, that means Gorsuch will be the key. Will he side with the conservatives on this one?  The easy assumption is yes. However, Ilya Shapiro raised an interesting point back in February regarding EO-1, and the irony that Gorsuch would be more likely to oppose it than Merrick Garland would have.  Shapiro pointed out that Gorsuch “has led a campaign against judicial over-deference to the executive.” Gorsuch voiced concern about broad deference doctrines in the case of Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch, wherein he stated, “There’s an elephant in the room with us today….But the fact is [broad deference doctrines] permit executive bureaucracies to swallow huge amounts of core judicial and legislative power and concentrate federal power in a way that seems more than a little difficult to square with the Constitution of the framers’ design. Maybe the time has come to face the behemoth.”

However, with regard to EO-2, Shapiro sees it differently:

I’m inclined to agree.  My hunch is that Gorsuch’s anti-judicial-overreach instincts will hold sway, and the government’s plenary power argument will win the day – because of the specific arena in which this battle is being fought – i.e., immigration.

In the present case the 4th Circuit, seemingly spurred by distaste for Trump, has stretched beyond the Supreme Court’s precedents on immigration matters, using a combination of tests SCOTUS has not previously employed.  Anytime a Court is grafting a new test onto an established one, there is a strong indication they’re engaging in judicial activism, and my read of Gorsuch is that he won’t be keen on that approach.

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The RedState Box Office Report: Holiday Edition

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An ocean theme washed into theaters this week just in time for the sunny season to commence. Memorial Day has traditionally been the kick off of Summer, however Hollywood has been starting the season as early as April, in recent years. This front-loading of the blockbuster session has meant the 4-day holiday weekend has weakened, so to say. This year the overall total came in 15% lower, and marks the third straight year no film has a $100 million opening.

 

With event pictures released early on, and without a “must-see”  component, many audience members engage themselves differently on the holiday. Dare I say, many actually interact with their families and friends?! As such even with the softening of expectations many titles failed to reach projected numbers for the holiday frame. Let’s dig in and see if people were drawn to beach-centric titles, or if they actually went to the beach. (Split numbers are estimates of the 3-day/4-day totals)

 

 

  1.  PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES — 3-Day $62.1million/4-Day $77 million

Disney goes to the Johnny Depp well yet again, despite less-than a pirate’s booty here in North America. The previous entry in the franchise, “On Stranger Tides”, didn’t make back its bloated $250 million budget. However globally it managed to gross over $1 billion, so the motivation for more swashbuckling is evident. Overseas this title has already cleared $200 million, and is expected to earn at least four times that by the end.

 

  1.  GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 — $20m / $24m

About the only title to meet projections this weekend, Marvel’s space epic continues to churn decent figures. Finishing ahead of openings and newer releases, Chris Pratt and Co. are making for one of the few sequels that has been an unqualified success. This second trip has already made more than the original.

 

  1.  BAYWATCH — $18.1M / $22M

It is proving to be a tough time for comedies. Falling well short of expectations this reimagining of the famed show failed to draw people to the sand. Following the formula of recent TV adaptations converting the premise to more comedic content this is coming in more along the lines of “CHiPS” from earlier this year, and not the success like “21 Jump Street”. One saving grace is those that did see the film graded it with an A- CinemaScore, so there may be some long term recovery. Paramount must be hoping the international markets will be the saving grace, considering the popularity the TV show overseas. Few studios want to rely upon “The Hasselhoff Effect”!

 

  1.  ALIEN: COVENANT — $10.5m / $13.1m

In its second week the poorly received sequel plunged a stark 71%, a sign of actual abandonment by ticket buyers. That was AFTER adding a dozen more screens. Look for it to shed many more theaters than that next week.

 

  1.  EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING — $6.2m / $7.8m

Teen angst and love managed to hold decently with a less than 50% drop in its second week. This meager $10 million budgeted release is already making money for Warner Brothers.

 

  1.  DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE LONG HAUL — $4.4M / $5.7M

With little in the way of options for the younger demographic this sequel held respectfully in week 2 – dropping only -38% from its open, albeit a soft opening. However next week it faces “Captain Underpants”, another book-based preteen title. This may have a long trip to turning a profit.

 

  1.  SNATCHED — $4.87 / $5.2

Amy Schumer’s non-comedy will only continue to fade from memory as it was dropped from 850 theaters. This one is going over about as poorly as her Bud Light commercials.

 

  1. KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD — $3.29M / $4.24M

The frontrunner for “Disaster of the Summer”, theaters gave up on this misfire as it dropped 1,200 screens in week #3. The international business, while better, is still not enough to float this bloated bomb. It sits at $120 million globally, and probably needs close $400 million to begin breaking even.

 

  1. THE BOSS BABY — $1.7M / $2.3M

Interesting how no entertainment writers drew a comparison to the cartoon infant type-A executive in the romp to Donald Trump.

 

  1. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST — $1.56M / $1.98M

This monster hit (literally) just crossed the $500 million plateau. Additionally Disney has already earned over $1 Billion this year in domestic releases.

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After the Art of the Deal: Enforcing the Deals You Cut

President Donald Trump became President Donald Trump in no small part because he ran against the very bad deals of all sorts that America has spent the last several decades cutting. He did, after all, write “The Art of the Deal.”

Trump ran on “America First” – promising to rectify the decades of “America Last” deals Washington, D.C. has delivered.

And even if DC did manage to along the way cut an occasional decent deal – it isn’t any good if all parties don’t hold up their respective ends of the bargain. And, of course, that lack of full-on participation makes bad deals – even worse.

Trump the Businessman certainly understood the import of deal enforcement. Trump the President should follow his own lead.

In some instances, Trump already is. He just returned from his first international excursion – during which he admonished the very many North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members who have for decades been shorting us on their defense budget dues.

Regardless of your thoughts on NATO and our continued participation therein – it absolutely doesn’t make any sense if we’re just about the only ones adhering to it. There are 27 NATO countries – only four meet their defense budget treaty obligations. And most of them haven’t – for years, and years and years.

One could argue that at that point it isn’t any longer even an agreement. It’s welfare – and yet another instance in a very long line of DC America Last policies.

Seton Motley | Red State | RedState.com

And so it is with trade. No matter what you think of NAFTA, GATT and a whole host of other trade deals – if you don’t enforce them, they’re awful:

“(I)n 2013,…Mexico – in violation of our existing (NAFTA) agreement – dumped two million tons of their subsidized sugar on us….The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled in 2014 that Mexico was in fact dumping….”

Rulings are one thing – rulings aren’t enforcement. If you don’t enforce…the cheating continues. Is Mexico STILL scamming us?  Of course they are.

And the longer we allow Mexico to get away with their violations – the worse the deal looks. And the worse we look.

Mexico can not be allowed to continue to do whatever they want. Who do they think they are – a NATO member?

But really, is it any wonder Mexico thinks it too can blatantly, serially violate an agreement with us? We have a very long, international track record of being the world’s biggest pushover.

Part of any and every successful negotiation – is being taken seriously by those with whom you negotiate. We’ve spent the last half century – allowing everyone everywhere to run roughshod over us.

That may very well be a contributing factor to the perpetually devolving value of the deals we’ve cut.

It certainly explains why everyone everywhere thinks that no matter what built-in advantages they already have in our increasingly weak deals – they are quite comfortable violating them to press their advantages further still.

Because we have been doing nothing to stop them.

Trump has reminded us with his NATO push – that enforcement matters.

He should do exactly the same with Mexico and NAFTA. And about nine million other things.

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Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s Memorial Day Message (VIDEO)

It’s Memorial Day, and the fact that we here at RedState.com (and most every other media outlet) are free to express our opinions – popular or unpopular – to an equally free nation, rests not with politicians or professors, but with men and women who paid a debt in blood to keep our nation cloaked in liberty.

From the first charge into battle at Lexington and Concord, to every fallen warrior fighting to abroad, it is the U.S. military, with all its branches that has kept us free.

There will be many messages to give thanks and in remembrance of our fighting forces today. Former Texas governor, and current Secretary of Energy Rick Perry delivered his own message this morning.

Being a Perry supporter for some time, I had to bring this to you.

Well said, Sir, and thank you for always taking a stand for our military men and women.

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MIZZOU: From Bad to Worse

What do you do when enrollment is down and your budget has been cut?  Raise tuition and fees, of course! That’s what the Board of Curators for the University of Missouri has opted to do anyway.

MIZZOU has faced a sharp drop off in enrollment in the past two years, due in part to the uproar over on-campus protests in November 2015.  Freshman enrollment in 2015 was 6,000. In 2016, it was 4,700, and it is anticipated to drop down to 4,000 in 2017. That will be its smallest incoming class since the late 90’s.  As a result, the school is shutting down seven dorms.

Faced with the enrollment decline and budgetary reductions by the State, the University has opted to increase tuition 2.1% (the maximum under law) and increase student fees, as well.  I’ll confess I don’t recall all that much from Walter Johnson’s Econ 101 class*, but this strikes me as counterintuitive.  Apparently, I’m not alone in that:

 

 

*Yes, I’m a MIZZOU grad.

 

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A Photo Opportunity With Speaker Ryan Becomes a Chance for Parents to Use Their Kids for Politics

When I was in the 5th grade, our class wrote “get well soon” letters to President Reagan after he was shot by David Hinckley in 1981. I know my parents were not Reagan supporters, having voted for Carter the year before. I remember them being supportive of the efforts and I remember being thrilled when we got a letter back from the President, thanking us for the kind words.

Considering it was an assassination attempt, it’s hard for me to imagine my parents telling I couldn’t write the letter but I also never felt driven by their politics. One thing I do know is if there were an opportunity to be photographed with the President or Congressional leaders I’d be told to behave and be respectful.

Times sure have changed and not for the better.

I read the story in the Washington Post, and it had me shaking my head:

Matthew Malespina, one of the students who stayed away, said in an interview Sunday that he chose not to be photographed with Ryan because he disagreed with the policies the speaker and his party are pushing on health care, among other things. He called Ryan “a man who puts his party before his country.”

He said he and the others stood across the street while Ryan posed with their peers. Their act of civil disobedience was picked up by a local news website, the Village Green, and drew attention from larger media outlets.

“I don’t like to take a picture with somebody that I can’t associate with,” Matthew, 13, told The Washington Post. “Let’s say somebody is not nice to me at school, for example. I wouldn’t take a picture with them, probably.”

Does anybody believe a 13-year-old kid understands the intricacies of what Speaker Ryan does, day in and day out? It’s obvious he’s echoing Mom and Dad’s sentiments, and Mom is happy to brag about it:

Matthew’s mother, Elissa Malespina, a public-school librarian who was not on the trip, said she was surprised but pleased to hear of the students’ protest action. She posted about it on her Facebook page.

“I’m proud of him, and I’m proud of the other students that chose to exercise their constitutional rights and did so in a respectful manner,” Malespina said Sunday.

Her explanation is even more stupefying:

She said that while politics are a frequent topic of discussion in their household, criticism that she or other parents “indoctrinated” the kids involved is unfounded. “Teenagers, honestly, do they listen to their parents anyway?”

First of all, “indoctrination” is a harsh word. Kids just tend to pick up their parents words, not understanding much of the context of what the parents are discussing. My son was ten years old when Barack Obama won in 2008, and he was “disappointed.” Why? Because I was disappointed. It’s natural for kids to react similarly to how Mom and Dad respond to a given situation.

But if my son or daughter were taking a class trip to Washington DC and had the opportunity to be photographed with then-Speaker Pelosi? I’d tell both of them to smile big and be on their best behavior. If they organized a “protest” with other little snots, I’d be sure to make them write letters of apology for being disrespectful to both Nance Pelosi and the office of Speaker of The House of Representatives.

Don’t use kids to express your politics. It’s demeaning to them and makes you look ridiculous.

 

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Memorial Day Honors Men and Women Who Paid The Ultimate Price

Every year as Memorial Day approaches we’re all reminded through various media that we should remember what Memorial Day is really about. That we have this long weekend, not to kick off summer, but to honor those who gave all fighting for our country — and for those of us who haven’t served, on our behalf.

Very few Americans intentionally ignore that aspect of Memorial Day, the memorializing part. It’s likely more to do with the fact that the number of Americans who have lost someone they knew personally during wartime, particularly in the last generation, is a blessedly small number. But whether we knew them or not, this day is the one day a year we set aside to pay our respects to the men and women who died serving their country.

It is truly a blessing we live in a time when the true purpose of the holiday hasn’t touched home for so many of us. For those it has, one day of decoration and remembrance no doubt seems insufficient. Regardless, it is up to us to remember the countless Americans who died in battle, not to pick up more hot dog buns on the next beer run.

Every Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, I go with my mother and her first cousin, Sharon, and usually a handful of other relatives, to lay wreaths and flags at the headstones of family members who served in the military, all during wartime. Not to diminish their service, these men thankfully all made it home and raised families and lived their lives for several decades after returning from war.

I’ve walked through the rows at Woodlawn Cemetery in Ferndale, Washington for as long as I can remember. My sisters and I only ever knew our great grandparents in pictures and as the names on a headstone with “JOHNSON” taking up the entire upper half. Over the years, Edna and Melvin’s children have all buried nearby. A luxury Edna’s own grandparents knew they’d never have with their son, Henry.

Henry Christen was my last relative on either side of my family to die while serving in the military.

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While both sides of my family have traceable roots in America to pre-Revolutionary War days, Henry was the son of German immigrants — not necessarily a desirable thing. His father, Charles, was forced to sign a “Declaration of Intent” in May of 1918, rejecting any allegiance or fidelity to “William II, German Emperor,” despite the fact that he’d immigrated 47 years prior.

Working with his family in the logging industry, Henry left the mountains enlisted in Bellingham, Washington, a month to the day after turning 28 in 1918. By August he was on the frontlines in France. I have yet to research all the details of where the 364th Infantry was fighting in October, but somewhere along the way, Henry was wounded. On October 21, he succumbed to his wounds and was buried 5,000 miles from home in the St. Mihiel American Cemetery in Thiaucourt, France. 

In 1929, his mother, Johanna, was asked by the Mother’s Pilgrimage if she would like to make the trip to her son’s grave. Apparently, at 74, my 4x great grandmother had decided one trip across the Atlantic in her lifetime was enough, as she declined.

These are the men and women we remember and honor today. While it’s human to ignore the things we’re removed from and propensity to relax and celebrate on holidays, that doesn’t mean we’re off the hook for appreciating the real reason we get to do so and those no longer here to relax with us.

There are men and women, like Henry, throughout American history and it’s only right to seek them out, learn their names, and honor them on Memorial Day.

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Is Conservatism’s New Philosophy Just Straight Up Chaos?

A view from the outside in doesn’t look pretty. The anonymous sources for the New York Times and the Washington Post tell us that the Priebus’s are at war with the Bannon’s, and the Bannon’s are at war with the Kushner’s. Everyone is trying to amass their power.

Of course, you look at the sources for the New York Times, and they disagree with the sources for the Washington Post. Different factions leak different things for different results, after all.

In the world around us, liberals attack conservatives and conservatives attack liberals. (Liberals are also attacking neo-Nazis, but shed few tears). #TheResistance is simultaneously growing in strength and dropping in numbers.

Once respected, authoritative voices in the conservative movement get reduced to the very type of water carrying they once shredded liberal commentators for being. Liberal commentators get reduced to being the very type of conspiracy theorists they once shredded conservative commentators for being.

The nation, just like the White House, is in a state of absolute chaos. Morals get abandoned for just a little bit more power, more clicks, more ratings, and more support. Ironically, in an era where very few people will claim that Donald Trump represents them, it is evident now that he is perhaps the perfect representation of the country.

What happened to conservatism that its most vocal leaders, its most influential voices, its authorities are all now supportive of the type of chaos that Donald Trump represents? Why is it that a movement that was once a movement of ideas is now content to water-carry for a near lunatic of a President? The instability and the inconsistency that makes Donald Trump what he is is now reflected in the movement that, for reasons that still mostly escape me, supports him.

The last two weeks are the perfect encapsulation of the type of insane bipolarism in this administration. Two weeks ago, the most chaotic series of news cycles that all stemmed from one meeting with Russian diplomats.  Last week, a terror attack and a foreign tour that, while not gaffe-free, was still among one of the best of his administration thus far.

However, the good vibes abroad do not overshadow the bad at home. Investigations seem to be targeting Trump’s son-in-law. Kushner seems to have sought some sort of private connection with the Kremlim, and if you were to believe half the rumors in and around Washington, there might just be an actual scandal in the making.

Not to mention, the people who are at home while he was away are still fighting among themselves for hours.

And, his supporters cheer him on, defending every little thing as media hypocrisy, media lies/fake news, and “What about Obama/Hillary?!?!” While some of what they say is certainly valid, it is not an absolute defense of the man and his words and actions.

Trump is chaos, plain and simple. The Republican Party has twisted itself into supporting him, and the conservative movement has embraced the chaos. Both of these entities, which until 2016 made up what we called “The Right,” have turned away from being a movement of ideas. As I mentioned last week, there is no moral authority for the Republican Party anymore. It has been thrown away for this new era of chaos, ushered in by a man we knew good and damn well would be this kind of president.

At some point, we decided that disruption was our calling. We decided we wanted to shake up Washington D.C. rather than elect people who could effectively help turn government around. We wanted to “drain the swamp,” without a care in the world as to whether or not the water we pumped back in was fresh.

This disruption, this chaos, has turned what should have been the single greatest opportunity for the Republican Party into its last, failed stand.

Sure, it is early in the Trump Era and he may yet turn it around. There is certainly the potential for that, after all. The Cabinet picks were, mostly, good. His pick for Supreme Court has promise. However, when it comes to the very things that throw his administration into disarray – the in-fighting, the thin-skinned comments on Twitter, the attempts to validate his manhood, and his increasingly alarming compulsion to undermine his own staff – he is time and again shooting himself in the foot, and conservatives rush to his defense without a care for the fact that, yes, some of this is actually bad.

Saying any of this, however, is taboo. We can’t call Trump out on his mistakes. To do so is sabotage, anti-Republican and anti-American. We can’t call balls and strikes anymore because Trumpism (Chaosim?) is the most important thing we can push.

No thank you.

The post Is Conservatism’s New Philosophy Just Straight Up Chaos? appeared first on RedState.

Source: Red State


Memorial Day Through the Eyes of a Green Beret Wife

I lived about 15 miles from Fort Bragg, North Carolina from 1994 to 2012, in a rural area where many Army officers and members of the various Special Forces groups based there made their home. After 9/11, our area was immediately impacted as Fort Bragg forces were some of the first deployed in the War on Terror. We were reminded daily of the sacrifices these families were making – dad wasn’t there to participate in Little League with the kids or read a bedtime story, or any of the hundreds of little things that make up family life. Unfortunately, some of the dads never made it home.

Tiffany and I became friends when our boys were in the same Cub Scout pack. I knew it was difficult for her to hold down the fort at home while her husband was in parts unknown for months at a time – and when there were constant reports on the nightly news of injuries and casualties halfway around the world. But I didn’t realize the depths of the pain and trials she and other military wives experienced until a few years ago. That Memorial Day she wrote about losses her husband’s small unit sustained during one deployment, and with her permission I am sharing it here in full.

In the early days of the war I remember watching the news religiously. I was always shocked at how much information the media would give about the location of our guys. It really bothered me. And, of course, we could find out in almost real time if we had lost another Green Beret.

I remember a particular day when I heard a news bulletin telling of not one but two fatalities from our very small unit. My heart sank. The phone tree was abuzz, with all of us trying to find out. Was it me? Would I hear the knock on the door? As every military wife has done, I imagined my response. What I would say or do? How would I react? Would I cry, yell, tell them to leave? Ask them in? What would be best for my children? Step outside?

Thankfully that knock did not come for me that day. It did for two other wives.

I knew I had to go to their memorial service. I would want other wives to show support if it had been me, so alone I decided to go.

I got up that morning feeling brave. I got dressed and did my makeup, yet thought that seemed strange. I’m not sure why. I drove to the Special Forces chapel alone. I quietly walked inside and found my seat on a pew in the back half. I wasn’t comfortable sitting up close to the family. I was concerned that so many seats were empty, but most of our guys were gone, so I understood.

Looking around at the windows I found it so strange then that the stained glass included soldiers with guns in a church. Guns and church didn’t seem to go together.

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Stained glass window at the JFK Memorial Chapel, Fort Bragg, NC

Now I understand. Those windows show the depth of man’s soul in a battle. There is probably not a place closer to God – or seemingly further from Him – on this earth.

Shortly before the memorial began a very long line of young soldiers entered the chapel, filling every available space. It was standing room only. I later found out they pulled students from the local training unit over as a show of support. I watched these young guys and wondered what they were thinking.

I don’t remember much of what was said that day, but I clearly remember the final roll call. The command calls the name of each soldier on the team. (12) Each soldier answers “Here, Sgt Major” until they get to the fallen soldier. Their name is called, and when there is no answer there is the volley of gun fire.

I will never forget the agonizing wail from the wife of one soldier that day. My heart hurt for her. I feel horrible pain inside just remembering that sound. I realized that volley symbolized the last sound her husband heard before he was killed. What were his last thoughts? That sound is deafening. Did he know that was it? Did he have a chance to think of her? Was he in pain? I figured these might be her thoughts. They were holding her on her feet now. It was so hard to watch I closed my eyes.

I quickly walked away from that chapel, feeling a lot less brave. I got into my car and quietly sobbed.

GreenBeret

I wish I had never gone that day. Fear enveloped my life, fear of that wailing pain. I tried to outrun the fear. I couldn’t run fast enough. I tried to pray my way out of the pain. The sleeplessness clouded my mind. I could no longer eat or drink, certain my knock would come.

Eventually I chose to end my marriage. I couldn’t wait for this certain end. I loved him too much. I wallowed away in a bottle, to the shock and disgust of most I knew. My mind was twisted with the sorrow of the sound of the wife’s cry. It haunted me, and does to this day.

Those months were the longest of my life. I know what I felt, and also knew that my pain could never amount to hers.

I am beyond grateful that Rich made it home that deployment. Many did not. It was a rough year for our unit. He came home, broken himself, to a wife who could hardly hang on.

How grateful I am that together with the blessings of our temple marriage and the power of the atonement we were able to be healed of the wounds inflicted that deployment. But every year on Memorial Day I remember that wife. I remember her pain and her sacrifice. I remember her son, and the loss he must have felt. I remember they gave all.

I think people forget that most soldiers do not join thinking they will fight this particular political foe. They join to protect America. They don’t pick a side. It isn’t about that to these patriots. It’s protecting their home and fellow citizens. Leave the politics to the politicians and hold them accountable. But love the soldier. He loves America.

Tiffany shared with me that the weeks around Memorial Day are extremely difficult for many combat veterans, who are remembering their brothers in arms who didn’t get to come back home. Some replay battle scenes in their mind, second-guess split second choices, or wonder why they were the ones who survived.

When we honor and remember those who gave their lives on Memorial Day, we should also remember the parents, spouses, siblings, and children left behind –  their pain and their sacrifice. They gave all.

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Source: Red State