For a minute, forget politics. That’s not easy these days, but in this case it’s important to try. People across the country tend to look at the US drone attack on Qasem Soleimani as if it were a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency. For a moment, forget who made the decision and just look at the decision.
We do not yet know the repercussions of Soleimani’s death. But we can look at it in the context of history. We know Soleimani was a bad man. While doing The Hal Lindsey Report, I talked about him on several occasions. Iran is considered the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism. And Soleimani led their terrorist efforts.
He tortured and murdered his own people. He destabilized nations. He destabilized the Middle East. His actions led to civil war and severe famine in Yemen and in Syria. He propped up evil dictators and did his best to destroy emerging democracies. Hundreds and probably thousands of members of the US military were killed or injured due to his actions.
But will his death do more harm than his life? Regarding the future, we only know what God has chosen to show us in His word. When the Ezekiel 38 and 39 war begins against Israel, Iran will still be a nation with influence and power. That probably means that this will not provoke an all-out war with the United States. In other words, don’t expect Iran to attack the US power grid or water supplies.
Sometimes leaders must choose between several bad alternatives. While running for office, politicians can tell us everything is clear, obvious, and easy. But actual leadership means making choices even when none of the alternatives are completely safe. I believe President Trump was in that position regarding the attack on Soleimani.
To kill him meant at least a temporary ratcheting up of Middle East tensions. And that’s not good. It means reprisals against the United States or Israel. We don’t know what form those reprisals may take. They could be face-saving token strikes. Or they could be severe.
But doing nothing would also have been risky. Through the decades of its existence, Israel has learned that they must deal with radical Muslims from a position of strength. And make no mistake, Iran is run by radical Muslims – terrorists. These are not the nice Muslim neighbors you may say “hello” to every morning on your way to work. Generally speaking, the Iranian people are not radical. But their leaders are. Any time you let those leaders get away with military escalation, it encourages them to do more.
We’ve seen it repeatedly. The Iran nuclear deal was supposed to turn the Iranians into friends. Instead, it seemed to encourage them to increase their exportation of terrorism. Iran has attacked and seized oil tankers, attacked Saudi oil fields, continued their nuclear and ballistic missile development, continued to ship massive numbers of missiles to Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon and Syria, and to Houthi terrorists in Yemen. And Soleimani stood at the center of all that.
Last summer, after Iran shot down a US surveillance drone, several news outlets reported that President Trump had ordered a retaliatory strike. Minutes before the operation was to begin, he reversed his decision. No American lives had been lost, so he chose not to kill Iranians in response.
But Iran seemed to take the President’s restraint as a license to kill. In late December, a Shiite militia supported and directed by Iran, sent a barrage of 30 rockets into the K-1 Air Base in Iraq. It killed one American contractor and wounded several other Americans. The US retaliated with an attack on the militia involved. Iran then directed an attack and siege of the US embassy in Iraq. In other words, it was an attack on sovereign US soil.
American intelligence discovered that Soleimani and some of his cohorts had landed in Iraq, and they were planning a major attack on US forces. In 2015, the United Nations banned Soleimani from any travel outside of Iran. He regularly ignored the ban. To me, it’s easy to believe that Soleimani was planning something deadly for Americans in Iraq because that’s the kind of man he was and the kind of thing he did. If he wasn’t up to no good, then what was he doing in Iraq?
I don’t know of any Americans who want war with Iran or more troops in the Middle East. I certainly do not. It’s a lot easier to get into such wars than it is to get out. But that’s part of the dilemma. Iran has missiles that can hit Israel and other parts of that region. They are fast developing the ability to strike Europe and will soon have missiles that can reach the United States. Meanwhile, their nuclear program marches forward. As technology makes the world smaller, it brings Iranian weapons of mass destruction closer to us every day.
This is exactly the situation prophesied in the Bible. Conflict in the Middle East will be like a tar baby to the nations of the world. Turmoil there will eventually engulf them all. Bringing a brief peace to the region will catapult the Antichrist from a regional leader to a global one. Much more could be said here. But the bottom line is that Bible prophecies written thousands of years ago are still proving true. And we are coming closer and closer to the return of Jesus.
NRA 📢 Bloomberg Dismisses Texas Hero, Insists It Wasn’t His “Job” to Have a Gun or Decide to Shoot
NRA-ILA GRASSROOTS VOLUME 27, NUMBER 1
NEWS Bloomberg Dismisses Texas Hero, Insists It Wasn’t His “Job” to Have a Gun or Decide to Shoot Jack Wilson – a 71-year-old congregant of the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Tex. – is a hero to most Americans. When a deranged man savagely murdered two of Mr. Wilson’s fellow worshippers during a service at the church on Dec. 30, Wilson took swift action. He exposed himself to danger to deliver a single shot from his lawfully carried handgun that instantly ended what undoubtedly would have been even more terrible carnage among the hundreds present.
NEWS Crime in Virginia is Falling – Governor Focuses on Making You a FelonDisgraced Governor Ralph Northam and his anti-gun allies in the newly elected legislature have made it clear they are hell-bent on enacting gun control. They want to take your guns and they want taxpayers to fund it. They’ve seen the same research that has shown that gun control doesn’t work.
NEWS Virginia Gov. Northam Wants Millions in Tax Money to Ban Guns and Jail Gun Owners!In recent weeks NRA-ILA informed Virginia gun owners about gun control funding included in the state budget bill. The budget legislation, HB30, included a $250,000 appropriation to the Corrections Special Reserve Fund in order to provide for the “increase in the operating cost of adult correctional facilities resulting from the enactment” of Governor Ralph Northam and the Michael Bloomberg-bought General Assembly’s gun control measures. In other words, $250,000 of taxpayer money that will be used to lock up gun owners who don’t comply with Northam and Bloomberg’s unconstitutional gun laws.
NEWS Forget Gun Free Zones, Virginia Gun Controllers Want Ammunition Free ZonesThere is no such thing as a gun free zone. A person intent on criminal violence will not be deterred from bringing a gun to a location because of a “no guns” sign or an anti-gun statute. The only consequence of such measures is to ensure law-abiding citizens are disarmed and vulnerable. As demonstrated by Texas churchgoer Jack Wilson and the other armed congregants of West Freeway Church of Christ, allowing law-abiding citizens to carry for the defense of themselves and others can prevent harm. HUNTING NRA-Defended Lawsuit Preserves Predator Hunting in AlaskaGreat news for hunters in Alaska: Predator hunting, in accordance with Alaska law, can continue on the nearly 77 million acres of National Wildlife Refuge land in Alaska. And the National Rifle Association (NRA) helped make this happen.
House Democrats have yet to file articles of impeachment in the Senate against President Donald Trump. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump is only the third president to be impeached because impeachment is a rarely used tool that the Founders intended to be a serious and fair process. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says he is concerned that Trump hasn’t gotten the due process he deserves. I spoke with him about the impeachment process and how it will likely play out in the Senate. Listen to the podcast or read a lightly edited transcript below.
Rachel del Guidice: We are joined today on The Daily Signal Podcast by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Senator Cruz, thank you so much for being with us today.
Sen. Ted Cruz: It’s great to be here.
The demand for socialism is on the rise from young Americans today. But is socialism even morally sound? Find out more now >>
del Guidice: Even though it’s a new year, it’s no secret that impeachment will continue to overtake the news and even Congress. Even though this is something we’ve been hearing about for actually four years now, what should Americans know about this impeachment that maybe they’re not hearing on mainstream media?
Cruz: What we saw in the House of Representatives was really a sad display. It was a one-sided show trial. It was the culmination of three years of hatred and partisan venom.
House Democrats had been calling to impeach the president literally since Election Day 2016. This impeachment was not driven by facts. It was not driven by evidence. It was driven by partisan rage because the far left hates the president.
What we saw in the House was a one-sided show trial where the White House was denied the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, and Republicans were denied the opportunity to call witnesses. Even so, even after setting up a kangaroo court of only one-sided prosecution witnesses, House Democrats’ case fell apart.
Compare what the Democrats were saying in November to the ridiculous articles they ended up voting on. In November, you had House Democrats all saying, “Bribery, bribery, bribery. We’re going to prove bribery. We’re going to prove obstruction of justice. We’re going to prove all these crimes, extortion.”
Now look, bribery, obstruction of justice, extortion, those are serious crimes. Then, after they actually heard evidence, the evidence didn’t back up any of that. Everything they alleged, they got to and said, “Well, we can’t.” And there’s a reason. All of those are federal crimes. Federal crimes have things called elements, elements of the crime.
If you’re a prosecutor, and you’re proving a crime, you’ve got to prove the elements. The testimony came in and they couldn’t prove the elements of a crime. For example, bribery requires agreement. Testimony was undisputed. Ukraine didn’t even know this was going on. You can’t have agreement if the testimony is clear the other side doesn’t even know about it.
The Democrats’ problem was everything they’d promised collapsed, but they hated the president and wanted to impeach him anyway. They voted on articles of impeachment that on their face don’t meet the constitutional standards.
The Constitution specifies what has to be proven for impeachment of a president, that is treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. On its face, the House articles of impeachment don’t meet that.
Now here’s the good news. In the Senate, we’re going to see a very, very different proceeding. We’re going to see a fair trial in the Senate.
What is a fair trial? It means both sides are going to have the chance to present their case. We’re going to allow the House managers to present their case. They can argue whatever they want to argue. They can rely on whatever evidence they can. But you better believe we’re also going to allow President [Donald] Trump to present his case.
del Guidice: He wasn’t able to do that in the House.
Cruz: He wasn’t able to do that.
We’re going to respect due process. We’re going to give the president an opportunity to present a full defense on the merits, on the facts. And then at the end of that process, this entire charade is going to be thrown out.
Why is it going to be thrown out? It’s going to be thrown out because it doesn’t meet the constitutional standards. On its face, the House didn’t even allege high crimes or misdemeanor. The result of the fair trial, if hearing both sides, will be that the case will be thrown out at the end of the trial.
del Guidice: You were just recently at The Heritage Foundation and you said something really interesting that a lot of people aren’t talking about. You said that this impeachment cycle that we’re seeing with President Trump, it’s now being used as a political tactic and really nothing else. Can you talk to us about that?
Cruz: Sure. This is something actually the Framers of our Constitution … worried about a great deal. They didn’t want to see impeachment just used as a political weapon.
At Heritage I talked at considerable length [about] some of the constitutional history of where the language of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors came from. There were a couple of early iterations. Then, going into the Convention, the language for impeachment of the president just said treason or bribery.
George Mason, one of the most well-respected of the Framers, stood up and he made a motion to add the word “maladministration” so that the phrase would have read “treason, bribery, or maladministration.” James Madison, widely recognized as the Father of the Constitution, stood up and objected to Mason’s suggestion. He said, “This is a bad idea because maladministration is such a general, such a broad and capacious term.”
del Guidice: It could mean anything.
Cruz: He said, “What it would mean is any time Congress disagreed with the president, they could impeach the president, so let’s not put maladministration in there because this shouldn’t be a tool just when you have a political or policy disagreement with the president.”
Madison came back and said, “How about instead of maladministration, let’s add ‘other high crimes and misdemeanors.’” That’s what they ended up doing.
The consequence of the Democrats doing this [is], if this is the standard for the House of Representatives, every president from now to eternity will be impeached any time the House is of an opposing party.
The media will never point this out. Barack Obama was president for eight years. I disagreed with Barack Obama profoundly. I think he advocated, I think he implemented policies that were enormously damaging to this country, that hurt Americans, that hurt Texans.
Yet, despite my very strong disagreements with Obama, I didn’t advocate impeaching Obama. I wasn’t out there arguing we should impeach Obama. Why? Because if you disagree with someone on policy or politics, the Constitution has a remedy for that. You go and win at the ballot box. You go make the case to the American people that the policies this guy is implementing are bad policy.
Here’s the Democrats’ problem. We’ve got a roaring economy. We’ve got the lowest unemployment in 50 years. We got the lowest African American unemployment ever recorded. We had the lowest Hispanic unemployment ever recorded.
They can’t make the case on policy. They’re looking at it and saying, “Well, if we actually have to argue on substance, we lose, so let’s impeach him.” That’s an abuse of the Constitution. Sadly, it is where today’s extreme, radical Democratic Party is.
del Guidice: You’ve seen arguments on Twitter and even mainstream news outlets. I saw an article last week saying that, “Oh, this Trump impeachment is similar to the Clinton impeachment.” They’re two very different situations. Can you detail that real quickly for us?
Cruz: Sure. Most fundamentally, Bill Clinton was impeached for committing high crimes and misdemeanor. In particular, he was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice. It’s quite clear that perjury and obstruction of justice are high crimes and misdemeanors. They’re felonies. They’re serious felonies. If you or I commit perjury or obstruction of justice, we could face years in prison.
The House Democrats haven’t alleged that, and it’s interesting if you contrast. There are two articles that the House Democrats voted on. No. 1, where they were threatening bribery, extortion, they didn’t impeach on any of that. They made something up called abuse of power and their argument is they don’t have to allege any violation of criminal law. They don’t have to allege any federal law whatsoever was violated. That they don’t have to argue, in their view of the world, that Donald Trump had a speeding ticket. They just disagree with his foreign policy and how he implements it. That’s Article 1.
Let me tell you, as weak as Article 1 is, Article 2 is orders of magnitude weaker. Why is that? Because Article 2 is obstruction, but it’s not obstruction of justice. It’s obstruction of Congress.
Now, it’s interesting, because for months Democrats have been saying that Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice—obstruction of justice is a high crime or misdemeanor—but the facts don’t back it up. They couldn’t meet the elements and prove obstruction of justice.
They backed away, and here’s their argument. Their argument is because administration officials claimed various forms of privilege, primarily executive privilege, that the mere act of claiming a legal privilege is obstruction of Congress, and it is a high crime or misdemeanor that is impeachable. That is a ludicrous, laughable standard.
If that were a standard, and this is not hyperbole, every single one of the 45 presidents we’ve had would have committed high crimes and misdemeanors that can be impeached. Going back to George Washington, every president has asserted executive privilege and other privileges.
Let’s dive down a little bit more because I want to show just how ridiculous this is. Let’s take the case of John Bolton.
John Bolton was the national security adviser to President Trump for a year and a half. House Democrats wanted John Bolton to testify in the House. John Bolton did something I think very clever and very wise. Through his lawyer, he went to federal district court in D.C. and he went to the judge and he said, “Judge, I’ve got a demand from the House of Representatives to testify, and I’ve been instructed by the White House not to testify, based on executive privilege.” And John Bolton said—
del Guidice: What do I do?
Cruz: “Judge, you tell me what to do. I’ll follow the law. I’ve got two conflicting legal obligations here, so I’m going to you, judge, asking for what is the right answer under the law.”
You know what House Democrats did?
del Guidice: What did they do?
Cruz: They said, “Never mind.” They literally just said, “Never mind. OK, we’ll go away.”
“The fact that you went to court to ask for an answer,” they said, “that’s obstruction, going to court.”
del Guidice: Unbelievable.
Cruz: Contrast that say to the Nixon case. Nixon, there was a grand jury subpoena for the White House tapes. Remember, Richard Nixon had a secret tape-recording device in the Oval Office, very stupid, by the way, bad, bad idea, but he did.
Grand jury issued a subpoena. That was litigated all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. [The] U.S. Supreme Court issued an order to the Nixon White House, “Handover those tapes.” Nixon resigned, I think, two days later.
That’s actually how these issues are typically resolved. If the House wants to get testimony, they could issue a subpoena. They can go litigate it. They can take it to the court. They can take it to the Supreme Court. Their position is, “Nope, we’re not going to do any of that. Any president who asserts any privilege, that is “obstruction of Congress and impeachable.” It is difficult to find a more ludicrous argument and support of impeachment.
del Guidice: I think you’re right that we’re going to keep seeing this unless we reel this in somehow. Sen. Cruz, thank you so much for joining us on The Daily Signal Podcast.
Cruz: Always a pleasure, thank you.
del Guidice: Thank you so much.
A Note for our Readers:
With the demand for socialism at an all-time high among our young people—our future leaders and decisionmakers—the experts at Heritage stopped and asked a question that not many have asked:
Is socialism really morally sound?
The researchers at The Heritage Foundation have put together a guide to help you and our fellow Americans better understand the 9 Ways That Socialism Will Morally Bankrupt America.
Rachel del Guidice is a congressional reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel.
You might’ve thought Yum Brands owned the three pillars of American fast food: KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. But the Kentucky restaurant group was missing the backbone of American cuisine…until yesterday, when it announced plans to buy the parent of Habit Burger Grill for $375 million.
CA-based Habit has ~280 restaurants serving up char-grilled burgers, ahi tuna sandwiches, and milkshakes. But what Yum’s really getting is a “fast-casual” play it can scale across the U.S. and international markets.
It’s Yum’s first acquisition of a standalone fast-casual chain since its 1997 IPO, according to the WSJ.
Yum’s coming off a three-year transformation that included selling off its China portfolio and focusing on delivery. With Habit, it went one step above fast food because 1) McD’s has that on lockdown and 2) elevated burger chains that use aioli instead of mayo have been a sweet spot for the restaurant industry.
How’d we get here?
Over the previous, decade fast-casual cuisine became a mainstay in American dining. Between 2009 and 2018, the sector went from $19 billion in U.S. sales to $47.5 billion, according to Technomic data cited by the WaPo.
Chains like Sweetgreen popularized customization and mobile-first ordering.
They promised fresh, organic, or locally sourced ingredients and adjusted menus seasonally.
Let’s throw avocado at it and see what sticks
Other restaurant groups are adding fast-casual chains to their portfolios or testing out concepts under legacy brands.
Last month, Applebee’s began a fast-casual pilot in Alabama, and Flip’d by IHOP is betting on breakfast fast-casual. We’ve never had a “pancake bowl,” but for the sake of responsible journalism we’re down to try.
Even Sweetgreen, queen of the premium fastcas salad, is experimenting with new store concepts and delivery outposts.
But before you get too stuffed on Guacamole Greens, remember it was a fast-food chicken sandwich that caused an internet and IRL meltdown last summer.
“Starlink Mission” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by Official SpaceX Photos
While you ate cheese and watched the Bachelor premiere last night, SpaceX sent a batch of 60 satellites into space. The launch is part of the space company’s Starlink program, which intends to beam high-speed internet across the globe.
After yesterday’s launch from Cape Canaveral, SpaceX…
Is trying to make peace with astronomers who think these satellites are disrupting #science. One of the 60 spacecraft is coated with a less reflective material to minimize interference with astronomical observations of the night sky.
Will that keep Neil deGrasse Tyson from complaining on Twitter? Unclear, but they need to work out a solution because SpaceX wants to send a total of 42,000 of these satellites into space. If all goes to plan, CEO Elon Musk thinks the company can grab 3% of the $1 trillion internet connectivity market.
When the going gets tough, investors buy yellow metal. Yesterday, the price of gold rose to its highest level since 2013 over fears of escalating conflict between the U.S. and Iran. It was gold’s ninth straight day of gains.
Gold is considered a “safe haven” asset. Safe havens aren’t correlated to broader stock prices, so investors often seek them out when politics throw markets a curveball.
And during this current predicament, analysts are pretty bullish on gold. In a note, Goldman Sachs said that gold presents a better hedge opportunity than oil during geopolitical flare-ups.
While the U.S. is becoming “less sensitive to oil disruptions and price spikes”…
“Gold performed well, even controlling for real rates and dollar weakness, during the beginning of both Gulf wars and during the events of September 11, 2001.”
Bottom line: Rising gold prices show investors consider the recent U.S.-Iran tensions a reasonably sized threat to markets.
You might not know them by name, but David and Tom Gardner are two legendary investors. These guys are masters; when they decide to buy, you can bet your bottom dollar you’re gonna wind up with more dollars in your bottom (pocket).
Once in a blue moon, and after a heck ton of research, David and Tom land on the exact same stock. And when this (ultra-rare) thing does happen, The Motley Fool gives the stock the “All In Buy Sign.”
That’s what occurred with this stock: David and Tom agreed, big time. The average return on this company is 646%. This company stands to profit as more people ditch cable for streaming TV. And they’re not even competitors to the big streaming players; they sit in the middle of the ad market, which is 10x the size of the streaming industry.
Yesterday, Amazon said there are “hundreds of millions” of Alexa-enabled devices—more than double the number a year ago. This week, the company’s using the flashy CES stage to show its voice assistant is not slowing down.
Samsung and LG unveiled new TV models that can be powered by Alexa. Apple TV+, Disney+, YouTube TV, and Peloton are on the Alexa-compatible Fire TV platform (which has 40+ million monthly users).
On the go
Alexa’s coming to the Lamborghini Huracan Evo and electric trucks from Amazon-backed Rivian. If the Huracan isn’t in your 2020 budget, Alexa is already integrated into models from Audi, BMW, Ford, and Toyota.
For your fur child in the backseat, Fire TV will soon partner with automakers like Fiat Chrysler for rear-seat entertainment.
Later this year, Amazon will debut Echo Auto features and in-car Alexa skills that allow you to pay for gas with your voice at more than 11,500 Exxon and Mobil stations.
Big picture: Amazon is pushing what Amazon execs described to Reuters as a “One Amazon” view, weaving together novel experiences for customers and blurring the lines between Amazon’s business units.
Tech Tip Tuesday: This one’s for readers who have both a Dell computer and an iPhone. Now, you can access iMessage on your computer. Hopefully, other PCs get on board soon. Learn more.
2020 sales, by month: You don’t need an expert to tell you to buy animatronic reindeer the day after Christmas, but did you know January is also the best time to buy sheets? See the best months for sales in 2020.
BY TRAVIS PIKEJohn Browning was a simple man with a brilliant mind when it came to arms design. He created dozens of weapons that became legendary. Picking 5 wasn’t easy, but I managed to use some bias to help me decide. My goal was to choose 5 designs that weren’t just great guns, but guns that changed the…READ MORE