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February 22, 2021 (American Thinker) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has made it absolutely clear that the U.S. military’s top priority is not facing external threats, such as the Chinese or Iran’s aggressive strategy in the Middle East or foreign terrorist groups. Instead, Austin sees the main threat as coming from within the U.S. military. In his confirmation hearings, Austin said that he would make it his priority to combat racism and extremism in the United States military. Once confirmed as defense secretary, he ordered a two-month stand-down of the American military in order to examine the problems of extremism among military personnel.
National defense is supposed to be a bipartisan endeavor, yet never before has a defense secretary made such overt moves to politicize the military. Austin’s order to remove all Trump appointees to the 42 Defense Department advisory boards is unprecedented and downright stupid. I have some experience with advisory boards in a military organization and find them very useful. Advisory boards are a second set of eyes from outside the organization to review policies, planning or course curricula and offer suggestions. Often outside advisors spot a problem your organization overlooked or offer good ideas for better policy implementation. And it’s useful to have a diversity of ideas for policy review. But cutting off all input from anyone connected to Trump (representing 74 million voters) and accepting advice only from Biden loyalists will ensure only party line thinking will be allowed in the military. Two notable defense secretaries were famous for not listening to advice or tolerating debate on policy as they insisted it was “their way or the highway” in defense decisions. Those secretaries were Robert McNamara and Donald Rumsfeld, and both led our armed forces into military disaster. Lloyd Austin seems bent on choosing the worst defense secretaries in our history as his leadership models.
Defense readiness is clearly not a priority for Austin. The deployment of thousands of National Guard troops to Washington, which will last until March, will cost the Defense Budget $483 million. This is an awful lot of money to spend on pure political theater against a nonexistent threat. Yet withdrawing $483 million from the military’s operations and training budget means that in this next year many National Guard unit exercises will be either cut or cancelled completely. Note that higher unit training is a requirement for maintaining unit efficiency and readiness. So, we can expect a major downturn in our military capabilities.
An especially troublesome feature of Austin’s focus on extremism is the preference of the military and the FBI to employ the ultra-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as their authority on extremism. According to the SPLC, numerous groups that hold traditional views on Christian faith, or which lobby on political issues, are classified as extremist. For example, the SPLC describes the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which has a large membership and lobbies for more restrictive immigration policies, as extremist. Yet, according to the latest Rasmussen polls, a strong majority of Americans favors more restrictions on immigration.
Conservative Christian groups such as the Family Research Council, the Ruth Institute, and the Alliance Defending Freedom are listed as extremists. Yet such groups simply adhere to mainstream, 2,000-year-old Christian doctrines concerning human sexuality. Consequently, they oppose gay marriage, argue there are two, not 52, sexes, and oppose homosexual ideology from within the Christian tradition. All the aforementioned groups are completely peaceful, do not advocate violence, and operate within the American democratic system. The positions they hold may be unpopular with the Biden administration, but they represent the core beliefs of tens of millions of Americans including all social classes and millions of minority voters as well.
A very disturbing new tendency is the call by some Democrat leaders to investigate the personal civilian lives of members of the Reserve Forces and National Guard. Ever since the founding of the modern Reserve/National Guard system at the turn of the twentieth century, the relationship between the part-time citizen-soldier and the military has been carefully regulated by the Constitution, by law, and by tradition. It allows for a part-time citizen-soldier to maintain a civilian life separate from life in uniform — including civilian involvement in politics. National Guard and Reserve members of all services have full freedom to run for political office, to make statements, and propose policies in their civilian political lives without either sanction or punishment from the military. It is when they put on the uniform and serve on active duty that they are no longer politicians and must conform to the military regulations and act in a fully apolitical manner. In fact, this system has worked very effectively for over a century.
PETITION UPDATE (2/23/21) -
LifeSite has signed on to a Media Research Center (MRC) letter to all 50 state Attorneys General, calling for an investigation into Big Tech.
Google, Facebook, and Twitter have monopolized the industry, and are using their influence to collect user data, suppress content, and silence those who voice ideas and beliefs counter to their own.
As we urged prior, action must be taken to combat these efforts, and that is why we’ve joined the MRC in this fight.
Please take a couple of minutes to READ this LifeSiteNews article about MRC's initiative: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/lifesite-joins-effort-asking-state-attorneys-general-to-investigate-big-tech-for-deceptive-trade-practices
Then, please SIGN and STOP using Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube) and Amazon to take back your privacy and freedom of speech!
PETITION UPDATE (2/9/21) -
YouTube just completely removed the LifeSiteNews YouTube channel. This isn’t a ban, every single one of our videos is completely gone. Being completely removed from YouTube means we’ve lost access to 300,000+ followers.
This is the latest and appalling affront to free speech which is happening to many conservative and Christian organizations.
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We are not going to take this lying down!
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PETITION UPDATE (1/26/20) -
Twitter has again locked LifeSiteNews out of two of our accounts on the platform for displaying a message noting that President Joe Biden’s newly named Assistant Secretary of Health “Rachel” Levine is a man.
Both accounts displayed a simple message which read: “Biden names transgender ‘woman’ as Assistant Secretary of Health. ‘Rachel’ Levine is a father of two who divorced his wife in 2013 after 30 years of marriage.” The tweets also included a link to LifeSite’s article Biden names transgender ‘woman’ as Assistant Secretary of Health, and contained part of the opening sentence of that article, “Joe Biden has announced his intention to appoint a gender-confused man” as Assistant Secretary of Health.
For stating biological or Biblical truths, Twitter and Big Tech are trying to shut down conservative voices.
Therefore, it is now more important than ever to consider dumping Twitter, Google (who own YouTube) and Facebook. To be clear: LifeSite is still using Twitter and Big Tech to encourage others to migrate away from these illiberal platforms.
This is not the first time that LifeSiteNews has been censored by Twitter. In December 2019, Twitter indefinitely suspended our account for a tweet that linked to an article on transgender activist Jonathan “Jessica” Yaniv.
At the time, Twitter gave LifeSite the option to delete the tweet and reactivate our account right away. LifeSite remained steadfast that the tweet did not violate any of the company’s “rules and policies,” and sought several appeals with Twitter, while looking into legal action against the company.
And, while LifeSite's account was eventually restored, we must now consider what course of action we will pursue in this case, over and above appealing the ban.
Meanwhile, since taking office on Wednesday last week, Joe Biden has already signed an executive order which will force women’s athletic programs, restrooms, and locker rooms to be open to men. He has also turned back the Trump administration’s policy protecting women’s sports programs in schools.
Last week, LifeSite was banned for two weeks from our YouTube channel, after the site determined that one of our videos about vaccines violated YouTube’s “community guidelines.” We are also in the middle of appealing this ban.
Please considering SIGNING and SHARING this petition. Thank you!
Twitter just deplatformed President Trump premanently! And, other conservatives, including General Flynn and Sidney Powell, were also summarily deplatformed.
Conservatives, Christians and freedom-loving Americans of all political persuasions must now take a decision to preserve their free speech AND their ability to peaceably assemble by dumping Twitter and Big Tech, and by finding other good alternatives to communicate with each other and share their opinions.
Please SIGN our petition-pledge to Dump Twitter and Big Tech, and take back your freedom of speech and privacy. [CLICK HERE for our "Goodbye Google" resources page to find good alternatives to Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Google!]
When you use Twitter or Facebook to communicate, and, or, Google and Amazon to search for something online, these companies can stifle your ability to share your thoughts and opinions and manipulate your search results, threatening your privacy, your freedom of speech, and even our democracy.
Evidence suggests that Twitter and Facebook's 'community guidelines' are selectively enforced against conservatives and Christians, while Google rigs their search algorithms to direct traffic away from conservative and Christian websites, effectively choking traffic to those sites.
Simply put, Twitter, Facebook, Google (who owns YouTube) and Amazon appear to be actively suppressing access to pro-freedom, pro-family and pro-life news and opinion.
Don't contribute to this assault on democracy: Stop using Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon as your default social media platforms and search engine! [CLICK HERE to find a good alternative to Google.]
To repeat: a few liberal and completely unaccountable computer programmers in Silicon Valley are dictating what we do and do not see in our Twitter and Facebook feeds, and in our Google searches.
We, here, at LifeSite, also recently had our Twitter account suspended by the company over "misgendering" a man who claims to be a woman.
LifeSite has also experienced a fall-off in Google search-related traffic since the company updated its search algorithms at the beginning of May.
And, since the November election, Twitter and Big Tech appear to have dramatically INCREASED their censorship of conservatives and Christians as the President Trump disputed the results of the election and when evidence of election fraud began to mount.
Now, it seems likely that they are trying to cut-off conservative leaders (like President Trump) from conservatives on the ground, and effectively exclude us from the national conversation.
But, this tactic will not work. Because Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon are not the only game in town! There are a good number of excellent alternatives which we list in our 'Goodbye Google' Resources page.
The great irony is that, while Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon executives talk a lot about maintaining freedom of speech and diversity, in fact, these hypocrites are ATTACKING free speech point-blank!
This kind of manipulation poses a lethal threat to our democracy, but as we see so clearly now, Twitter and Big Tech have shown no hesitation in excluding conservatives and Christians from the public square.
So, at this point, the only way to stop Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon is to quit using their platform.
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Take the example of Senator Barry Goldwater in his election campaign against Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Senator Goldwater, in his campaign literature and speeches, made an issue of President Johnson’s business relationship with Texas con man and big-time crook Billie Sol Estes, and his very close relationship with the incredibly sleazy Robert Gene “Bobby” Baker, who served under Johnson as Secretary of the U.S. Senate. Goldwater’s charges of Johnson’s corruption (and Johnson was a very corrupt politician) were fair and fully within the tradition of United States politics. However, Barry Goldwater was, at the time he ran for president, also a major general in the Air Force Reserve. Goldwater, who had the very tough and dangerous duty of serving as an Army Air Forces transport pilot over the Himalayas to China during World War II, had moved up through the Air Force ranks by merit. He had thousands of flight hours and was by all accounts an exceptionally capable pilot and a competent unit commander. Yet, in the American tradition of the citizen-soldier, when he put on his uniform and carried out his military duties, he left politics behind, as was right and proper. In 1964, despite the heated nature of the election, it would have been unthinkable for the military to have punished or sanctioned Senator Goldwater in his military status for making strong statements against the president as a politician.
But will that tradition of the citizen-soldier, currently allowed under law and the Constitution, be allowed to continue under Secretary Austin? The current use of the FBI to examine the civilian lives and social media of 25,000 mobilized National Guardsmen, and the call by Democrats to likewise investigate the social media and civilian life of prospective military recruits, sends the dangerous signal that one’s political life as a citizen is likely to be cancelled in Lloyd Austin’s Defense Department.
Austin’s steps to politicize the military to a degree never seen before means a culture war on the conservative half of America. That might make Austin extremely popular with Biden, but it will make recruitment and retention for the armed forces pretty difficult. The U.S. military comes disproportionately from the politically/socially conservative states (especially the South) where the military is respected. If Austin bans conservatives from the military under the SPLC definition of “extremism” and takes away the constitutional rights of citizen soldiers in the Reserve and Guard, he’ll never get enough recruits from the liberal states.
James S. Corum PhD is a military historian, author and co-author of 14 books, and is a retired lieutenant colonel in the US Army Reserve.
Published with permission from the American Thinker.