Three Things You Need to Know - December 19, 2017

Trump's National Security Policy

Forget the new Star Wars movie. If you were on social media yesterday while Trump unveiled his new National Security Strategy, all you’d need was a bowl of popcorn and you’d be set. The best commentary went down on Twitter with two sides clearly drawn. The dark side of the force: the nationalists, Trump supporters, and America First crowd. And the Light side: the globalists, Obama fanboys, and practically everyone in the media.

Obama called his National Security Strategy in 2015 a “rules-based international order.” Trump calls his “America First.” Globalists praised Obama for his rhetoric back then, and they’re eviscerating Trump’s today. I’m about to say something that might sound a little radical: politicians say politician type things… National Security Strategy rarely changes. Let’s stick with the Star Wars references for a second. The force isn’t inherently bad, but people DO occasionally do some pretty messed up stuff with it. Likewise, National Security hasn’t really changed much in the past 50 years, but occasionally a President does do something stupid.

Here’s a tip for the media pundits freaking out over the words “America” and “First.” 9 times out of 10, political rhetoric from a President regarding National Security doesn’t mean squat. Obama stated that he wanted to disengage US meddling in the world, and concentrate on a “rules-based international order.” That political speak mumbo jumbo didn’t stop him from continuing deployments to Afghanistan, helping to cause Libyan regime change, AND arming opposition forces to cause regime change in Syria. He wanted to “reset” relations with Russia, but he also supported the coup in Ukraine. Now, can you describe ANY of the above as “rules-based international order?” To the contrary, he looks more like he was breaking the rules and causing international DISORDER.

Let’s look at Trump. He’s spoken out against NATO, expressed an interest to be friends with Russia (kinda like Obama did), and threatened a trade war with half the planet. His tenure has been brief so far, but what have his actions really shown? Do they match the political speak? We’ve actually increased cooperation with NATO, relations with Russia are at an all time low, and NO trade wars have kicked off. In terms of Russia, the Ruskies were mentioned 25 times in this report. That makes them second to only China who was mentioned 33 times. Russia was called a threat throughout the entire brief. It also called for cooperation with Europe and a balance of power in the Middle East. Sounds kinda like “rules-based international order” doesn’t it?

After comparing actual action of both Obama and Trump, one seems a little less like the dark side, and the other doesn’t seem like he followed the Jedi code quite like everyone says he did. National Security is kinda like the force… it just is. US interests rarely change, just like every other country on the planet. It’s guided by rules and geopolitics, regardless of what the current President says to appeal to his base. Some leaders temporarily throw the force out of balance (Iraq, Libya, Ukraine), but US National Security Policy was the same yesterday, it’s the same today, and it won’t change much in the future.

US Vetoes the UN

The United States is the only country in the world willing to stand up for Israel.

Almost two weeks ago, President Trump announced that the U.S. would finally follow its own 22-year-old law by relocating the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s actual capital city of Jerusalem. The announcement brought round-the-clock anger from Middle Eastern Muslim countries and rock-throwing by Palestinians.

Shamefully, none of America’s allies had the backbone to stand with the U.S.

The next move by the angry Arab world was a UN resolution, initiated by Egypt, which did not technically name the U.S. or Trump, but expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.” The resolution called these “decisions” null and void and received approval from the rest of the 15-member Security Council. It also called on all nations not to move their embassies to Jerusalem.

For all the world’s talk about diversity, inclusion, and rooting out all kinds of isms, there is one form of discrimination that still gets unanimous UN approval – anti-Semitism. That is ironic for a “peaceful” international organization that was born out of the ashes of World War II.

So far, the Trump administration is standing firm. Yesterday, for the first time since 2011, the U.S. used its veto power to veto the Security Council resolution. The U.S. has veto power as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said the U.S. used the veto to defend American sovereignty and its commitment to the Middle East peace process. She called the resolution “an insult,” adding that the rest of the Security Council should be embarrassed for supporting it.

Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to travel to the Middle East today, but the trip has been delayed until January, in part because of the Arab world’s temper tantrum. In a shocking development that no one saw coming, Palestinian officials canceled their plans to meet with Pence. Is it just me, or do moves like that from the Palestinians fail to indicate much interest in an actual peace process?

President Trump has not had a great year domestically, but he deserves credit for sticking by Israel when the rest of the world seems to be against them.

Amtrak's Deadly Derailment

Emma was curled up against the window. As the world rushed past her, she let the train rock her to sleep.

But her slumber did not last long.

She was violently shaken awake. Looking out the window, Emma realized that her coach was dangling at a steep angle toward the highway below.

“It felt like the end of the world,” she remembers thinking.

Emma was a passenger on Amtrak Train N0. 501 yesterday. It was the inaugural run of a new service between Seattle and Portland.

The train was going 80 miles per hour on a 30 mile per hour route when the 132-ton locomotive derailed and careened into traffic on Interstate 5, the Northwest’s busiest travel corridor.

The wreck killed at least three people and injured more than 100.

Emma was one of the lucky ones.

President Trump was quick to politicize the accident, tweeting that “The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!”

I guess he didn’t get the memo that the tracks where the accident occurred were brand new and the result a recent infrastructure investment program.

Today, we are praying for the people affected by the train wreck. It is a devastating thing to lose a loved one this time of year.

This serves as a reminder that tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Every day is a gift to be shared with the people we love.

MORE 3 THINGS

On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck, Stu Burguiere, and Pat Gray discussed the Trump defense team's arguments in the Senate impeachment trial against President Donald Trump.

"This is different than what the Democrats were doing," Glenn said of the Trump team's impeachment defense. "We know the case of the Democrats, they just kept going over and over and over, for three days, the same stuff. The Republicans, at least on Saturday, did not ... and I thought it was really, really good."

Glenn added, "The president's defense was very compelling."

Watch the videos below to hear Glenn's top takeaways from the president's defense team:

Part 1: Why the president's defense is 'very compelling'

Part 2: Top takeaways from president's impeachment defense

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Americans are getting crushed by healthcare costs. In 2018 alone, we spent $3.6 trillion on healthcare — that's more than $11,000 per American and nearly a fifth of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It's on everyone's minds, which is why it has taken center stage in the Democratic party's primary. Of course, the solutions offered by the current crop of presidential candidates would do nothing to help alleviate that enormous spending. In fact, it would only add to it — what with Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All and Joe Biden's proposed ObamaCare expansion.

However, what also deserves attention in discussions about plans that increase the government's role in health care is how religious organizations would be affected. Faith-based hospitals and health care sharing ministries (HCSMs) play an important role in America, often serving as a critical provider and/or facilitator of payments for medical services in many states. If plans like Medicare for All were implemented, these groups would be at risk of going bankrupt or being severely curtailed due to the elimination of choice that comes with these proposals.

Instead of imposing a top-down and expensive health care system overhaul, faith-based providers and groups should be allowed to continue offering a variety of plans that work as high-quality, often cheaper alternatives. And more Americans should consider them.

Instead of imposing a top-down and expensive health care system overhaul, faith-based providers and groups should be allowed to continue offering a variety of plans that work as high-quality, often cheaper alternatives.

As mentioned, one such option is a health care sharing ministry. In this model, individuals contribute money into a pool managed by a religiously or ethically-affiliated organization, and costs for medical treatment are shared by people who adhere to that organization's belief system. Typically, applicants are required to sign a statement of faith in order to be accepted. It's basically like a subscription service: consumers pay a set amount of money into the ministry every month. Then, when they have a medical need or incident, they submit a claim to the ministry. Members whose claims are approved are reimbursed by the ministry from that pool of funds. Note, these ministries don't cover procedures they deem immoral.

Because providers are often getting paid in cash under this model — and typically within 90 days — patients are able to negotiate significant discounts, in some cases slicing procedures' costs to a fraction of the initial price. Insurance companies, by comparison, tend to not pay dollar for dollar on claims, and certainly not in cash. Additionally, insurance companies usually have onerous paperwork requirements, forcing doctors to spend half of their time on electronic health records and desk work. This increase in demand for administrative work is partly responsible for the United States leading the world in administrative costs in healthcare.

There are various types of HCSMs, each offering different benefits depending on what the individual needs — and a lot of savings on monthly plans. Take Christian Healthcare Ministries, for example. It's resulted in enormous savings for its members. Whereas the average healthcare plan can cost about $400 a month on the low end (with high deductibles), CHM plans can run between $78-172 a month for a single person. These kinds of plans are particularly great options for people who are relatively healthy and young, where the need for doctors and prescription drugs is less likely.

HCSMs have seen explosive growth in popularity recently. In 2014, there were only approximately 160,000 members. By 2018, membership ballooned to about 1 million HCSM members around the United States who have shared over $1 billion in medical expenses. But unfortunately, many people still feel locked into the traditional — and expensive — health care insurance model. HCSMs provide a way out, and, depending on their belief system, people should research them and see if there's one that best suit their needs. If more people deviate away from the traditional health care insurance market, insurance companies would be incentivized to adjust their pricing. That won't be possible, of course, if plans like Medicare for All are implemented.

Health care is one of life's biggest expenses, and voters are understandably desperate for a plan that cuts costs without compromising quality of care or access to it. Alternative options to health care insurance such as HCSMs are practical, free-market solutions that saves money. Americans should sift through these options before subscribing to plans that will only break the bank.

James Czerniawski is a Young Voices contributor. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCz19.

Bill O'Reilly: Adam Schiff is in 'wonderland' during the Senate impeachment trial

Image source: BlazeTV video screen save

On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Friday, Bill O'Reilly gave his latest take on the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, and explained why he thinks House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is like "Alice in Wonderland."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

youtu.be


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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Friday to discuss the latest developments in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

According to Cruz, Thursday was a "very consequential day" in the otherwise tedious and redundant impeachment proceedings.

"Yesterday, the House managers effectively threw Joe Biden under the bus," Cruz said. "They doubled down on what they started doing on the first day of arguments, which was making their entire case ... based on the proposition that there was zero evidence to justify investigating Burisma [the Ukrainian natural gas company that paid then-Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, $50,000 a month to sit on the board]."

Cruz went on to explain that every time the Democrats, namely House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), rehash the "zero-evidence" argument, they open the door for Republicans to present the overwhelming evidence that contradicts those claims.

"That proposition, that there's zero evidence to investigate Burisma, is utterly and completely absurd. So, I'm looking forward to Saturday when the president's lawyers will begin presenting his case. Because what the Democrats have done, is they have opened the door to this. And I hope the president's lawyers will stand up and systematically lay out the case," Cruz said.

"They've been arguing that Hunter Biden is completely irrelevant to this case. Well, the House managers have now, through their arguments, made Hunter Biden not only relevant — he was always relevant — but critical now," he continued. "They built the entire case, like a house of cards, on the proposition that there was no reasonable basis to investigate Burisma. And that's just absurd."

The two also discussed Cruz's new podcast, "Verdict with Ted Cruz," which he records with Daily Wire host Michael Knowles each night following the Senate trial.

"Last night's podcast went through systematically ... all of the overwhelming evidence of corruption from Burisma that any president, not only had the authority to investigate, but the responsibility to investigate," Cruz said. "And that, ultimately, is why President Trump is going to be acquitted at the end of this process."

Watch the video below for more details:

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