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Daily Digest

Oct. 20, 2015

THE FOUNDATION

“[T]he people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.” —Zacharia Johnson, 1788

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Clinton Mulls Australia-Style Gun Confiscation

The results of a 2013 New Jersey gun buyback

During a town hall event in Keene, New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton said that she’d be willing to consider gun control for the United States of the caliber of Australia and UK’s gun bans. “Several communities have done gun buyback programs,” Clinton said. “I think it would be worth considering doing it on the national level, if that could be arranged. … I don’t know enough details to know how we would do it or how it would work, but certainly the Australian example is worth looking at.” This is not the “common sense” gun control Clinton hawked in the past — this is an extreme stance, and a few, ahem, details get in the way of her plans. Sure, after a mass murder in 1996 that left 35 people dead, Australia banned some guns it deemed politically incorrect and implemented a buyback program that netted a million firearms. As Varad Mehta writes for The Federalist, Democrats talk nostalgically about a peaceful buyback program, but the reality would be that the buyback would be accompanied with the iron fist of the government making the program mandatory. How would you take millions of guns from millions of Americans? “Armed men would be dispatched to confiscate guns,” Mehta writes, “they would be met by armed men, and blood would be shed. Australia is a valid example for America only if you are willing for that blood to be spilled in torrents and rivers. To choose Australia is to choose civil war.” For the sake of the nation, hopefully Clinton flip-flops on this — for the right to self-defense, codified in the Second Amendment, is also intertwined into the very culture of the United States.

Still, we know her campaign has its eyes on the polls, and while most everyone wants a better background check system, banning or confiscating guns is deeply unpopular. So it’s little wonder that her spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri, tried to walk back Clinton’s remarks and claim that all Clinton wanted was “a very common sense proposal” about background checks and gun manufacturer liability. Wrong. Clinton was pretty clear about buybacks and confiscation. But go ahead — run on gun confiscation in the general election.

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Canada’s Liberal Government Will Be a Lesson to Us

Oh, Canada. The Liberal Party swept Canada’s elections last night, placing Justin Trudeau in the prime minister position, and snatching up 184 of the 338 seats in the country’s parliament. This will allow the party to rule without the help of any other political factions, and the new policies will affect the United States. For example, Canada’s old leadership supported and lobbied for the Keystone XL pipeline. But banish that dream, as Trudeau, 43, has been likened to a young Obama. The Canadian leader said his goal is to improve relations with his southern neighbor, and he is less invested in the project than the last Canadian leader. Furthermore, The Wall Street Journal noted that Canada will pull out from the fight against the Islamic State — probably a policy Obama wishes he could adopt. In fact, Trudeau has vowed to employ the laundry list of liberal policy wishes, including raising taxes on the rich, running deficits in the budget and legalizing marijuana. Hasn’t Canada watched the U.S. economy flounder because of a liberal-run economy for the last seven years? Now, it will be the case study of the fruit of a liberal government.

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Obama Greets Clock Bomb Kid at White House

It almost didn’t happen. On Monday, the White House announced that Barack Obama might not have time to meet with Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old Texan who was arrested for making a clock that resembled a bomb. “I don’t believe that the president will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Ahmed Mohamed,” Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said ahead of the meeting. Ahmed was invited to attend Astronomy Night at the White House Oct. 19 along with several hundred other guests. It might have been political cover to mitigate the chief executive’s invitation after the news first broke about the incident at MacArthur High School. “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House?” Obama tweeted Sept. 16. “We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.” That was before Ahmed got a tableful of Microsoft products and met with Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan who is wanted by the international criminal court for genocide. The kid and his father knew what they were doing from the beginning — not making a clock but a scene to prove “Islamophobia.” Indeed, Ahmed said, “I’m pretty sure if I was a Caucasian male I wouldn’t have got arrested. … Pretty sure I would’ve been awarded the smartest kid in class if I was a Caucasian male.”

Ahmed’s father is politically active and ran for office in Sudan a number of times, and the photo-op with Bashir was Ahmed’s 15 minutes of fame. The optics of an Obama-Ahmed visit didn’t look as good for Obama, though he did personally greet the boy Monday night. But Ahmed didn’t bring the clock. Pity, because it would have been very, very interesting if the Secret Service didn’t let it pass through security.

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

Clinton Does Drug Companies

By James Shott

Hillary Clinton recently declared a war on drug prices. At a forum in Iowa, she said that asking people to pay thousands of dollars for pills they need to stay alive is not how the market is supposed to work and is instead a sign of “bad actors making a fortune off of people’s misfortune.” Her prescription is bad actors in Washington dictating prices.

She has, however, tapped into populist sentiment. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll showed that more than 70% of Americans think drug costs are unreasonable and want limitations on what drug companies can charge for medicines that treat serious illnesses.

Real events feed this sort of thinking. Turing Pharmaceuticals, for example, has come under fire for a dramatic hike in the price of Daraprim, which has been used for decades to treat toxoplasmosis and more recently to treat AIDS and cancer. Turing purchased a quantity of the drug along with marketing rights, and hiked the price to $750 per tablet from $13.50. Such a steep increase appears to defy reason — and to make Clinton’s case — although the economic factors involved in the price hike are not discussed when Turing is getting run through the ringer.

Clinton concludes that high prices are routinely due to price gouging, as appears to be the case with the Turing price hike. That is the populist’s first response. But Clinton either lacks understanding of how businesses work, and in particular the realities of developing needed pharmaceutical products, or she uses this emotional response to her benefit, or perhaps both.

It takes years, sometimes decades, to develop drugs for market, and those drugs make it to patients only if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives its bureaucratic seal of approval. Just a handful of every thousand drugs even makes it to human testing, meaning companies have to recoup research and development cost through a fraction of the drugs with which they experiment.

Does Clinton have even the slightest inkling of the huge investment pharmaceutical companies have to make in the one drug in 5,000 that actually gets to market?

Forbes reported that the Eli Lilly company blog contained a post noting, “The average drug developed by a major pharmaceutical company costs at least $4 billion, and it can be as much as $11 billion.”

And Clinton thinks the cost of pills is too high? How many pills must be sold to recoup that investment? The lower the price, the more pills have to be sold to pay for developing a drug to help people with serious health problems.

Her solution, predictably, is more involvement by the federal government — the Democrat solution to nearly everything.

However, more than a little bit of these incredibly high investments is due to the federal government. “Regulating pharmaceutical drugs to a certain extent is important to prevent dangerous medicines from being released on the market, yet the current amount of regulation is stifling competition,” according to the National Center for Policy Analysis. “The FDA has increased the security on the manufacturing process and as a result several U.S. drug plants have closed their doors. The time intensive process of approval and the recent shutdown of plants is creating drug shortages and monopolies, causing the prices of drugs to skyrocket.”

The reality is that the cost of drugs amounts to about 10% of health care spending, and the amount of health care spending used on drugs has not changed in 50 years. Thanks to ObamaCare, that could be changing.

If Clinton was really interested in bringing down the price of drugs, she would acknowledge the role over-regulation and slow approval processes play, and pledge to streamline the process instead of demonizing drug manufacturers and proposing even more government intervention.

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MORE ORIGINAL PERSPECTIVE

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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TOP HEADLINES

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Dennis Prager: “Unlike in most societies, for most Americans being poor is not a fate. The only time being poor becomes permanent is when noneconomic factors render it so. These factors include not having a father in one’s life, growing up with no family or social emphasis on education, women having children without a man, and men having children without committing to the mother of those children. The left, with its materialist view of life, refuses to concede these nonmaterial producers of poverty and that changing behavior is therefore the only way to raise the majority of the poor out of their poverty. Of course, when bad luck — such as chronic illness or being the victim of a violent crime — is the reason for one’s impoverished condition, societal help is a moral imperative. Instead, the left believes that the focus of attention must be on reducing the wealth of the wealthy — again, as if the wealth is a pie. Thus, the left demands a redistribution of wealth in society — taking money (that was honestly earned) from those who are wealthier and giving that money to the poor. But all that does most of the time is prolong the poverty of the poor, as they are not only not forced to engage in productive behavior, they are actually paid to continue whatever unproductive behaviors they are engaged in. All this should be obvious to anyone with common sense. But incorrect ideology always distorts common sense.”

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SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Laws to suppress tend to strengthen what they would prohibit. This is the fine point on which all legal professions of history have based their job security.” —Frank Herbert (1920-1986)

Upright: “The Democrats’ dirty little secret is that the inequality they complain of is most common in places where they have put policies like minimum wage increases and paid leave into place. California has the highest poverty rate (compared to living costs) in America, New York City the most economic inequality. … One thing you didn’t hear the Democrats talk about [in the debate] was how to increase overall growth above the anemic Obama levels of 2 percent. Do they have anything to say about that?” —Michael Barone

Oops: “Biden to launch a presidential campaign” —a premature Washington Post headline its editors say was “inadvertently published”

The BIG Lie: “I think that [regarding] Benghazi, most of the questions have been answered. I think that we haven’t heard enough about the fact that this really was a CIA station there, not so much a consulate, and those guys should be able to protect themselves in most circumstances. … [Y]ou got to remember that diplomats get killed in every administration.” —Joe Klein

“Bad things happen on every president’s watch — also, every secretary of state’s — and the proper place to lay blame is on the perpetrators.” —Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson defending Hillary Clinton on Benghazi with a statement he would never make about mass murderers, gun owners and the NRA

It’s all Bush’s fault, part … oh forget it: “[T]he Republican Party is trying to blame Hillary Clinton for the deaths of four Americans serving in Libya in 2012. Three years later, they continue to hunt her, hunt her down you can say, on the groundless argument that someone must be to blame. Well, you follow that argument and the trail of 9/11, and you end up with George W. Bush.” —Chris Matthews

Late-night humor: “Analysts are saying that Joe Biden was actually the biggest loser in the debate, and that he missed his chance to enter the race. Yeah, they said entering now would be awkward and inappropriate — or as Biden put it, ‘Those are my two middle names! I’m in!’” —Jimmy Fallon

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