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Wednesday Top News Executive Summary

New National Security adviser, Israeli election, witch-hunt flub, Sanders's rent control, and more.

Media Editors · Sep. 18, 2019

Above the Fold

NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER NAMED: “President Trump on Wednesday named the State Department’s hostage envoy Robert C. O'Brien as his fourth national security adviser, replacing John Bolton who was ousted from the administration last week. … O'Brien joined the administration in May 2018 and serves as the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department. O'Brien, who served under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, led the U.S. government’s diplomatic efforts on overseas hostage-related matters, working closely with families of American hostages, as well as working with the administration on developing and implementing hostage recovery policy and strategy.” (Fox News)

ISRAEL’S PIVOTAL ELECTION: Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival, Benny Gantz, are headed for a deadlock following Israel’s second election in five months (BBC)

Government & Politics

WITCH-HUNT FLUB:** “House Judiciary Democrats’ first ‘impeachment hearing’ fizzled Tuesday as a fiery and combative Corey Lewandowski dodged their questions,” The Washington Times report. “Pressed for details about his personal conversations with President Trump, Mr. Lewandowski was defiant. The hearing dissolved into a shouting match at times as Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager visibly frustrated Democrats with his refusal to answer.” CNN pundit Amanda Carpenter concluded that “Lewandowksi owned the Judiciary Committee.”

BIRDS OF A FEATHER: “Prominent Democrat donor Ed Buck was arrested and charged in California on Tuesday for allegedly operating a drug house after three men connected to Buck have overdosed on methamphetamines over the last two years. … The Los Angeles Times notes that Buck is a prominent LGBT political activist whom prosecutors previously declined to charge due to a lack of evidence.” (The Daily Wire)

SANDERS’S RENT CONTROL: “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) has released an ambitious housing plan that stays true to the candidate’s interventionist brand of democratic socialism. In a speech to trade union members in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, Sanders laid out his vision for tackling high housing costs, homelessness, and gentrification through a mix of nationwide rent control, increased federal spending on housing vouchers and public housing construction, and higher taxes on the wealthy.” (Reason)

SNOWDEN LAWSUIT: “The Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday against former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden for violating his non-disclosure agreements with the CIA and the NSA by writing a new book about his leaks. … The filing alleges that Snowden violated his non-disclosure agreements by failing to submit his manuscript to the agencies for pre-publication review, as is a standard process for former employees and contractors of the agencies. The DOJ aims to ensure that no funds are transferred to Snowden or at his direction while the court is resolving the United States’ claims.” (Fox News)

Culture & Heartland

FREE SPEECH & RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: “The free speech rights of two Christian artists who make wedding invitations were violated by an anti-discrimination ordinance in Phoenix that makes it illegal to refuse service to same-sex couples for religious reasons, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Monday. The 4-3 decision reversed lower-court rulings favoring the city.” (Associated Press)

ABORTION RATE TUMBLES: The Washington Post says, “A new Guttmacher Institute report released on Wednesday outlines dramatic changes in the abortion landscape between 2011 and 2017. The U.S. abortion rate hit an all-time low — again. … The report estimated the abortion rate in 2017, the most recent year studied, at 13.5 per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. That compares with 14.6 in 2014 and 16.9 in 2011 and is the lowest rate since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion through the landmark decision Roe v. Wade in 1973.” Unfortunately, that’s still nearly a million abortions too many: “In total, 862,320 abortions took place in 2017 at health-care facilities. About 339,640, or about 39 percent, of those were medical abortions, which involve taking pills to induce miscarriage as opposed to traditional surgical abortion.”

MERRIAM-WEBSTER GOES WOKE: “Merriam-Webster announced Tuesday that it has added the nonbinary pronoun ‘they’ to its dictionary. The nonbinary pronoun is now listed as one of four definitions of the word by the online dictionary company. Merriam-Webster defines ‘they’ as "used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary.” (The Hill)

Closing Arguments

POLICY: “Autonomous weapons” — the real robot threat (National Review)

POLICY: Should failing schools be closed? What the research says (Manhattan Institute)

HUMOR: Hypocrisy: Right-wingers who love it when The Babylon Bee makes stuff up suddenly get mad when The New York Times does it (The Babylon Bee)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

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