Strikes in Syria: What We Know

By Joe Brown | United States

Who Was Involved?

On Friday night, President Trump announced that a coordinated military strike had been made in Syria by a coalition consisting of American, British, and French forces. In a separate White House address, he said: “Today, the nations of Britain, France, and the United States of America have marshaled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality.”

Following Trump’s statement, UK Prime Minister Theresa May released a statement confirming that she had “authorized British armed forces to conduct coordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their use.”

French involvement was confirmed on Friday night as well, when the country’s President: Emmanuel Macron, said that a “red line set by France in May 2017 has been crossed. So, I ordered the French armed forces to intervene tonight, as part of an international operation in coalition with the United States of America and the United Kingdom and directed against the clandestine chemical arsenal of the Syrian regime.”

What Was Hit?

U.S. officials had previously specified that strikes would be targeting suspected centers of chemical weapon development. The coalition has confirmed that three sites were specifically targeted.

  • A scientific research center located in Damascus
  • A military storage facility west of Homs
  • And a military command post outside of Homs

Multiple Syrian state sources report that the Mazzeh military Airbase and the Damascus International Airport were also targeted, though these claims are denied by the coalition. There are also reports of damage to civilian infrastructure in the capital of Damascus, a city that is home to nearly 2 million people.

Russia’s Defense Ministry stated that the majority of coalition missiles were intercepted by Syrian defense systems. At a news conference in Moscow on Saturday, Lieutenant General Sergey Rudskoy said at least 103 cruise missiles were fired into a number of targets in Syria, with 71 of them being successfully downed by Syrian forces.

Are the Strikes Over?

Trump stated that his administration was “prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.” However, he emphasized that “America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria.”

Senior officials from the Pentagon also said that “this wave of airstrikes is over,” but maintained that the American military was prepared for prolonged involvement in the region.

Russian Response

Russian President Vladimir Putin released a statement on Saturday saying the Kremlin “seriously condemns” the attack on Syria, which he called an “act of aggression against a sovereign state … at the forefront of the fight against terrorism.” He maintained that these attacks were done “without the sanction of the United Nations Security Council, in violation of the UN Charter, norms and principles of international law,” and that Russia was calling for an immediate UN Security Council meeting.

Sweden’s Deputy Ambassador to the U.N. confirmed that an emergency meeting will begin Saturday morning.

Despite the attacks, a Senior U.S. official involved with counter-terrorist initiations in Syria said that Russian and pro-regime Syrians were showing no signs of aggression towards American or coalition forces.

Justification

Members of the coalition, including the leaders of America, the UK, and France, have all claimed that these attacks were done in response to the chemical attacks in Douma just this past weekend. Despite an international uproar regarding the nature of the attacks, there remains to be no substantial evidence that the Assad regime was the true perpetrator. U.S. Secretary of Defense General John Mattis, confirmed this before the coalition attacks, saying that there was “no evidence” connecting the chemical attacks to the Syrian government.

Russian and Syrian forces maintain that the chemical attacks were instigated by members of the rebel insurgency.

An investigation was scheduled to be conducted by United Nations Weapons Inspectors on Saturday, at the same sites demolished by coalition forces.

Government Education Spending Hurts More Than It Helps

By Isaiah Minter | United States

Public school teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Arizona have spent the last month striking for higher wages and better health care. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have much of an issue with this if the students weren’t caught in the crossfire. But they are. While the students are deprived of vital schooling days, they are certainly not deprived of attention: to teachers and progressive politicians alike, the students are political ammunition designed to sway Republican politicians.

I loathe this routine of exploiting groups to achieve desired political outcomes, for it absolutely does more harm than good. However well-intentioned political actions may be, they often harm groups otherwise not involved with the issue at hand.

Nevertheless, whatever one’s opinion on the teacher strikes, it must be made clear that we do not need to deprive our children of schooling to achieve the desired goal. Teachers, like the children they educate, are both victims of the same disease: the bureaucracy of American education. Thus, to deliver a ‘living wage’ to teachers as progressives so often call it, we must do away with the band-aid approach of increased education spending and instead target the institution.

Indeed, most of the dollars in school spending hikes seldom ever reach the classroom. Dating back to 1950, public school administrative positions increased at seven times the rate of the student population and double that of teachers. This trend may explain why, despite an immense increase in public school spending over the last five decades, American education pails in comparison to the developed world.

Similarly, teacher wages fell roughly 2 percent over the same span that per-student spending rose by nearly 30 percent. Perhaps the starkest figure lies in the wide disparity between taxpayer spending on teachers and teacher salaries: Oklahoma taxpayers spend over $120,000 per teacher, and yet the average Oklahoma teacher salary is around $45,000 based on 2016 numbers.

The evidence suggests that the issue is not a lack of resources, but a lack of proper resource allocation. In flooding the system with administrators and non-education positions, we have allowed the ruthless imposition of regulations that siphon money into the bureaucracy and away from the schools that need it. For all the talk on greed in the private sector, people seldom ever concern themselves with it when it surfaces in the public sector.

Teachers’ unions and bureaucracy have American education in a chokehold, and if we are serious about supporting our teachers while delivering a quality education to our children, we need to remove the federal government from the issue altogether. There is no Constitutional authority for the federal government to be involved in education, and our abandonment of the 10th Amendment on this issue has plagued our schooling system for the last five decades. As a clear example:

The American Action Forum (AAF) found that the Department of Education currently imposes 85 million hours of paperwork, and more than 465 federal education forms, including 120 in postsecondary education, at a cost of more than $2.7 billion annually.

By removing the federal government from the issue, we would decentralize and deregulate the education system. This approach of turning education over to the states and promoting school choice through voucher systems would, in turn, promote parental responsibility in the schooling of their child.

The outlined approach contrasts heavily with our current system where we have, in effect, replaced the parent with the state employee and the local community with the federal government. Hardly then should it come as a surprise that education has deteriorated to the extent it has. Washington does not pay any price for being wrong.

It is not the Washington politician who suffers when school administrators saturate their pockets from school spending hikes, nor when teachers go on strike as a result. Instead, our students and teachers pay the price.

It always amazes me how government can be responsible for the disastrous results of a system – education in this case – but we nonetheless demand that this same institution fix the very issue it is responsible for. As this approach seldom proves effective, it is time for an approach of less government power and more market freedom.


For a more elaborate examination of the American education system, I strongly recommend Inside American Education by Thoms Sowell.


Featured image source.

A United States Led Coalition Attack Chemical Weapons Locations In Syria

By Matthew Geiger | @mattg444

President Trump has announced the launching of missiles into Syria, primarily to target chemical weapons stockpiles. Scroll to the bottom of this article for current information.

TIMELINE

AFTERNOON, APRIL 13TH

Signs of a potential strike today became more clear as the press at White House were held in anticipation of an announcement. Since there was no event on the President’s schedule, many interpreted this as a potential missile launch into Syria.

A “lid” is another way of saying that there will be no news reported from White House officials for an indefinite period of time. Usually, these “lids” are attached to time periods, such as a “dinner lid,” which means no news will be announced until after dinner.

The press parking lot at the Pentagon was full this evening, which is a telltale sign that military action is imminent.

EVENING, APRIL 13TH

As time ticked further and further into the night, a United States Airforce intelligence aircraft was spotted on the coast of Syria.

8:19 PM EASTERN, APRIL 13TH

At 19 minutes past 8 PM Eastern, the President was nowhere to be seen in the West Wing.

APPROXIMATELY 8:30 PM EASTERN, APRIL 13TH

The President’s absence was then followed by an announcement that the Vice President was rushed back to his hotel on a state visit in Peru. Sources state that this was not planned.

8:35 PM EASTERN, APRIL 13TH

Pentagon Correspondent Joe R. Tabet has confirmed that a Syrian Missle Strike will happen.

9 PM EASTERN, APRIL 13th

President Trump announces to the Nation that he will launch missiles into Syria.

In his speech, the President called out the nations of Russia and Iran to halt the funding and geopolitical support of Syria.

The United States seeks no indefinite position in Syria.

-President Donald Trump

9:03 PM EASTERN

The first missiles have struck targets in Syria.

Huge blasts were also reported in Damascus, the capital of the Nation.

Video of the blasts:

Syrian forces attempted to shoot the missiles down, as seen here:

9:20 PM EASTERN, APRIL 13TH

British Prime Minister Theresa May makes the first statement of the night regarding the strikes:

A Pentagon briefing has been slated for 10 PM Eastern.

9:25 PM EASTERN, APRIL 13TH

More details on the strikes are coming in:

https://twitter.com/Dalatrm/status/984965691345383424

9:35-9:50 PM EASTERN, APRIL 13TH

Fox News is reporting that the British and French have aided the US in the strikes. Manned aircraft are being used in the attack as well.

Syrian State TV announced that the Government will be launching counter-attacks.

More pictures of the attacks and counterstrikes are being posted on social media:

Russia is reportedly defending Damascus alongside the Syrian Government.

9:50 PM EASTERN, APRIL 13TH

Two massive updates at 10 till 10 Eastern.

  1. Hezbollah HQ hit by US Coalition Strikes

2. Russia is activating planes over Syria. Their purpose has not been discerned yet.

10 PM EASTERN, APRIL 13TH

The Pentagon is currently holding a Press Conference regarding the strikes, as attacks continue in Syria.

Image Source

3 Amazing Replacements For Paul Ryan

By Colin Louis | United States

Paul Ryan recently announced that he would not seek re-election for Congress, leaving the speakership open. Should the Republicans keep the House we need a more conservative speaker (who won’t pass a $1.3 trillion Omnibus.) So here are three true conservatives that would make for excellent replacements to Speaker Ryan.

3. Mark Meadows

 

nc-4-ccff15fa450e9584df79d51f82a585a06379daa8-s900-c85.jpg

 

Mark Meadows, Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus has proven himself a defender of liberty in the House. The Freedom Caucus lead the fight against “ObamaCare Light” in 2017. Meadows was instrumental in preventing conservatives from passing Paul Ryan’s failure at healthcare reform. Meadows also strongly opposed the Omnibus budget deal. Meadows is a strong and capable leader in the House Freedom Caucus and would make a terrific candidate for Speaker. Unfortunately, Meadows has expressed that he has no interest in the speakership. On the other hand, neither did Paul Ryan.

2. Justin Amash

 

o-JUSTIN-AMASH-facebook.jpeg

 

More notably in the liberty movement is Justin Amash. Amash has been consistent as a fighter for liberty in the House. Amash voted against the disasters omnibus. Long has he been a warrior among young libertarians. He’s strongly opposed the two-party system and the Federal Reserve. Amash is a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus and speaker at the Young Americans for Liberty.

1. Thomas Massie

 

gettyimages-475425766.jpg

 

Perhaps the best Representative on this list is Thomas Massie. A Kentucky congressman, Massie has worked closely with perhaps the most famous liberty warrior, Rand Paul. Massie fought hard against the disaster of the American Healthcare Act and the Omnibus. As speaker Massie would be the best candidate for liberty and conservatism.


Featured image source.

California Split: Analyzing The “Three California” Possibility

Nick Hamilton | United States

For some people, one California was enough.

However, after a petition, named “CAL 3” was completed by venture capitalist Tim Draper reached enough signatures, we may see three new states on the West Coast if this motion is on the ballot and it’s passed by voters in November.

The three new states would all be inside California’s current state boundaries, with the Los Angeles area and some surrounding cities to the south being called, “Cal,” the Northern part of California being called “NorCal,” and the southern part being, you guessed it, “SoCal.”

But let’s think about this for a second. While yes, this may intend to give these culturally different places statehood, we must remember something. California is a Democratic state by far, and it’s not even close. While the “NorCal” region (minus San Francisco and Oakland) tends to be more conservative than other areas, it’s not crazy to think that this may strengthen California’s power overall. Instead of having two seats in the Senate, the geographical region of California would hold six. This could be a threat to the Republican Party for sure. Also, we need to figure out how their electoral voting system will work. While NorCal flipping conservative one of these elections is possible, which would be fantastic for the Republicans, these three states shouldn’t have more than 55 electoral votes combined. If they get more, that’s a power surge.

At the moment, this looks to be a huge win for the Democrats if this ends up becoming a thing. However, the Republicans can mold this into their favor as well, if they can manage to express enough influence in the NorCal region to flip it red. Nonetheless, splitting California into thirds has its benefits and its cons. One major benefit, of course, is added power in the US Senate. It’s inevitable. However, the chances of this happening are quite slim. This would require congressional approval, which is unlikely to happen.

Draper argues that one state government controlling this many people is to blame for California’s homelessness, and their awful education system. While again, the chances of this happening are slim to none, it should be very interesting to see how this plays out.

Image Source WikiMedia