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Daily Digest

Feb. 16, 2016

THE FOUNDATION

“To judge from the history of mankind, we shall be compelled to conclude that the fiery and destructive passions of war reign in the human breast with much more powerful sway than the mild and beneficent sentiments of peace; and that to model our political systems upon speculations of lasting tranquillity would be to calculate on the weaker springs of human character.” —Alexander Hamilton, 1788

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Hillary, Bill and Osama — Fact vs. Fiction

During Saturday’s GOP debate, Marco Rubio made the point that “Bill Clinton didn’t kill Osama bin Laden when he had the chance to kill him.” Naturally, Hillary Clinton took issue with that factual assertion. “Yes, there was an effort to kill him,” she conceded. “Based on the intelligence that was available, missiles struck what was thought to be a training camp. So it wasn’t like there wasn’t an effort.” Then she added, “I see somebody like Senator Rubio just twisting himself into pretzels, trying to appeal to the base of his party — to try to say things that have no common sense or merit to them.”

She is, of course, dead wrong. As Mark Alexander wrote in 2006, “The fact is, during his eight years in office, Clinton had numerous opportunities to capture or kill Osama, but refused. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Patterson, who carried the ‘nuclear football’ codes for the Clinton administration, notes, ‘[W]e could have prevented the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, we could have prevented 9/11 and we could have prevented the bombings of the embassies in Africa if President Clinton had taken one of these opportunities. … We had eight chances at least to either nab bin Laden or to kill him.’ Michael Scheuer, former CIA chief of the team responsible for hunting bin Laden, confirmed that prior to 9/11 SpecOps had two opportunities when Osama was literally in their sights, but Clinton pulled the plug on both operations.

"Additionally, after 9/11, Clinton admitted he turned down an opportunity to take custody of bin Laden: ‘He was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991, then he went to Sudan, and we’d been hearing that the Sudanese wanted America to start dealing with them again. They released him. At the time, 1996, he had committed no crime against America, so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America.’

"Perhaps Mr. Clinton forgot that bin Laden had in 1995 been named a conspirator in the first WTC attack. Later, in his testimony before the 9/11 Commission, Clinton dismissed his own statement as ‘inappropriate’ — which is to say, ‘truthful.’”

Hillary can yammer all she wants about pretzels and lobbing a few cruise missiles, but, if anything, Rubio didn’t go far enough in detailing Clinton’s failure.

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CIA Chief: Islamic State Will Try to Strike America

In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday, CIA Director John Brennan warned the Islamic State (ISIS) will eventually try to strike the American homeland. “I’m expecting them to try to put in place the operatives, the material or whatever else that they need to do, or to incite people to carry out these attacks,” Brennan said. “So I believe that their attempts are inevitable. I don’t think their successes necessarily are. … Paris was a failure of intelligence. All but one of the eight terrorists were French citizens, trained by ISIS in Syria. They returned, unnoticed, and attacked six locations killing 130 people.”

Brennan’s is similar to the threat assessment given by James Clapper, director for National Intelligence, when he told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that the Islamic State would attack within the U.S. He added, “In my 50-plus years in the intelligence business, I cannot recall a more diverse array of challenges and crises that we confront as we do today.” Of course, Brennan is anticipating a scenario where the Americans who traveled to fight with the Islamic State attempt to return to our shores. “We’ve contained them,” Barack Obama once said of the Islamic State — just as the attacks in Paris were underway. But that assessment doesn’t take into account homegrown terrorism, the kind already seen in Chattanooga, San Bernardino and Fort Hood.

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Trump Accuses RNC of Making the Primary Race Unfair

Donald Trump took aim at the Republican National Committee this week, saying the results of the last debate prove that the party is in violation of the loyalty pledge Trump signed in September. Trump performed poorly during Saturday’s debate. While Trump rose in popularity due to his rhetoric on immigration, the recent debate revolved around the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia — and the issue only served to highlight the real estate mogul’s poor record on the judiciary. When Trump tried to attack Jeb Bush for his brother’s handling of 9/11 and the war in Iraq, the audience booed him. To Trump, it meant that the RNC conspired to stack the audience against him, filling seats with “Jeb’s special interests and lobbyists,” never thinking that there might be some voters who realize he’s no friend to the conservative cause and gave him the appropriate response for his foolish comments.

But in Trump-land, that’s not fair, which should absolve him from his pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee, whoever that may be. “I signed a pledge but it’s a double-edge pledge, and as far as I’m concerned they’re in default of the pledge,” Trump said at one of his South Carolina rallies. Commentator Allahpundit believes Trump’s whining is political bluster aimed at drumming up anti-establishment fervor. But if Trump decides to damage the GOP, he could announce a third-party run — something he threatened in the past. Mark Alexander wrote, “This sounds like a set up — ‘I’m being treated unfairly, thus I will run third-party to insure a Democrat victory in 2016!’”

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

GOP Should Follow Democrat Precedent for Once

By Louis DeBroux

“The Constitution is not a living organism. … It’s a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn’t say what it doesn’t say.” —Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

News of Antonin Scalia’s death was like a kick to the gut for conservatives. Scalia long has been the anchor of the conservative wing of the court. He was a champion of “originalism” — the philosophy of interpreting the Constitution according to the intentions of the men who wrote it. His jurisprudential brilliance and his sharp wit were legendary, and even though he spent most of his career on the Court in the minority, he had more influence in the minority than his lesser colleagues had in the majority. Such was the high quality of his legal reasoning.

His loss is devastating and cannot be overstated.

His passing also throws a huge curve ball into the political circus that is the presidential election year. Constitutionally, Barack Obama is well within his powers to nominate another justice to replace Scalia, even if that nominee will inevitably be a far left-wing radical with barely disguised contempt for the Constitution as originally written. After all, it should not be surprising for a radical leftist president to nominate a radical leftist judge who shares his view that the Constitution “reflected the fundamental flaw of this country.”

At Saturday night’s GOP debate, pretty much every Republican frowned on the idea of Obama, with less than a year left in office, nominating another justice, and most said the Senate should block any Obama nominee. Predictably, Democrats are outraged at the thought of Obama not getting his choice confirmed.

What short memories they have.

First, let’s stipulate that Obama does have the power, even the duty some might argue, to nominate a replacement to the Supreme Court. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2, states, “He shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court.”

But maybe angry liberals, furious at expected GOP “obstruction,” should recall the words of a newly elected Barack Obama on Jan. 23, 2009, when at the beginning of a meeting to discuss the “stimulus” bill he arrogantly chided GOP Minority Leader Eric Cantor, “Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won.” Considering that Republicans made historic gains in the U.S. House, Senate, and state governorships and legislatures during the 2010 and 2014 midterms, it would seem that Republicans are well within their rights to demand a Supreme Court nominee that is acceptable to them.

Democrats might also do well to note that Senator Barack Obama voted against George W. Bush nominee and now Chief Justice John Roberts — the same man who saved ObamaCare not once but twice — and filibustered Samuel Alito. In doing so, Obama declared it incumbent upon the Senate to make “an examination of a judge’s philosophy, ideology and record.” It’s worth noting that of the 16 presidents who served in the Senate, Obama is the only one who filibustered a Supreme Court nomination. What goes around comes around.

Furthermore, it was none other than soon-to-be top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who, in 2007, a full 18 months before Bush left office, gave a speech to the liberal American Constitution Society in which he said, “We should not confirm any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court, except in extraordinary circumstances. … They must prove by actions, not words, that they are in the mainstream rather than we have to prove that they are not.”

And then there’s the sordid history of Democrat senators like Chuck Schumer, Ted Kennedy and Obama’s own vice president, Joe Biden, engaging in vicious character assassination of conservative judicial nominees like Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.

Democrats are currently pleading that they confirmed Anthony Kennedy in 1988 — also an election year. But they conveniently neglect to mention why that was necessary. Bork, Ronald Reagan’s first choice for the seat, was so thoroughly pilloried and slandered that a new term — “borked” — was coined to describe the attack. Bork was defeated, leaving Reagan to choose Kennedy instead.

And Thomas referred to his confirmation process, which he narrowly passed after Democrats portrayed him as a sexual deviant, as a “high-tech lynching.”

Several 4-4 decisions now loom, leaving bad results in place for Little Sisters of the Poor, Obama’s immigration actions and forced union dues supporting political causes that workers oppose. And with a series of 5-4 opinions from the High Court in recent years deciding the scope of our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, our First Amendment rights as pertains to political speech, the legal definition of marriage (and in the process putting our freedoms of religion, speech and assembly at risk), it is absolutely imperative that Republicans hold out for a strict constructionist in the mold of Scalia.

Scalia was a legal giant and, though portrayed as just short of the devil by leftists, a good man who quietly lived by his principles, even when he thought no one was looking, which may be why he was able to be “best buddies” with an ideological opposite like Ruth Bader-Ginsberg. Republicans owe it to his memory, and more importantly, to the never-ending battle for the security and sanctity of the Constitution which Scalia spent nearly half a century honoring and defending, to make sure that the next Supreme Court justice shares his respect and reverence for Rule of Law.

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Cal Thomas: “In his victory speech following his New Hampshire primary win, Sanders said America was founded on the principle of fairness. No it wasn’t. You don’t find the word ‘fairness’ in the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution. The word you do find is ‘liberty.’ The Founders wanted Americans to be liberated from oppressive, intrusive, dictatorial government and to be free to pursue happiness, according to their definition of the word. Sanders and Clinton aren’t channeling the Founders, they’re channeling Robin Hood. They want to take from people who have sacrificed, invested, risked and worked hard and give the fruits of their labors to others who have not embraced those noble practices. Listening to some of the younger people who are enthralled by Sanders’ philosophy suggests that they have been brainwashed by their public school teachers and college professors. Maybe we should increase the voting age to 30 when they might be expected to have achieved some modicum of success and will resent having their paychecks gutted by dysfunctional government.”

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SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” —William Pitt (1708-1778)

Upright: “Strangely, the percentage of people who said they had ‘never heard of’ Antonin Scalia increased from 29 percent in 2001 to 39 percent in 2005. … This is a free country, and you’re free to not care, and free to not pay any attention to, say, one-third and arguably our most powerful branch of government. … But if you choose to pay no attention to these things, and refuse to read anything about them, watch anything about them, or learn anything about them … then I’d rather you left the voting to those of us who do care.” —Jim Geraghty

Braying Jenny: “Right now, the fundamental principle of ‘one person, one vote’ is at stake in a case before the Supreme Court.” —Hillary Clinton, who’s currently benefiting from one person, 10,000 votes via the Democrats’ system of “superdelegates”

Non Compos Mentis: “I have news for Republicans who would put politics over the Constitution: Refusing to do your duty isn’t righteous, it’s disgraceful.” —Hillary Clinton (Ambassador Chris Stevens was unavailable for comment.)

Speaking of which… “With respect to the Supreme Court at least, I will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court except in extraordinary circumstances. … I will do everything in my power to prevent one more ideological ally from joining [John] Roberts and [Samuel] Alito on the court.” —Sen. Chuck Schumer in 2007

Flip-flop: “[The Bush administration] lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction [in Iraq]. There were none. And they knew there were none.” —Donald Trump at Saturday’s GOP debate (“Six years of tough talk and U.S. fireworks in Baghdad have done little to slow Iraq’s crash program to become a nuclear power. They’ve got missiles capable of flying nine hundred kilometers — more than enough to reach Tel Aviv. They’ve got enriched uranium. … [I]f we decide a strike against Iraq is necessary, it is madness not to carry the mission to its conclusion.” —Trump in 2000)

It’s all the Bushes fault: “We do know that one [of the 9/11 terrorists] was here on an expired visa. We also know that they trained in Florida under Jeb Bush’s watch to take down those towers.” —Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson

Alpha Jackass: “I think Ted’s a very unstable guy. … I have never, ever met a person that lies more than Ted Cruz. I have never ever seen anything like it. … And he goes around saying he’s a Christian? I don’t know, you’re going to have to really study that.” —Donald Trump

And last… “This could not be simpler: absolutely do not confirm an Obama SCOTUS nominee. Don’t discuss it; just ignore him, as he does the law.” —actor James Woods

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Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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