Mid-Day Digest

Mar. 9, 2016


“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” —Thomas Jefferson (1800)


‘I Do Solemnly Swear…’ to What?

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Several presidential candidates are still campaigning to be the one to take that solemn oath of office next January, as prescribed by our Constitution. Yet Donald Trump is on the stump demanding oaths from his supporters.

Indeed, Trump had people at a rally raise their right hands and repeat, “I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions — if there’s hurricanes or whatever — will vote on or before the 12th for Donald J. Trump for president.” And then he immediately reminded them, “Don’t forget you all raised your hands. You swore. Bad things happen if you don’t live up to what you just did.”

Now, surely this is all in good fun, right? In a telephone interview with the “Today” show, Trump said innocently, “[U]ntil this phone call, I didn’t realize it was a problem,” but “I’ll certainly look into it because I don’t want to offend anybody. It’s been amazingly received.” (Doesn’t want to offend anybody? Please. That’s what he lives for.)

We’re not here to draw any comparisons with any other right-hand-raising regimes, but stop and think for a minute: Isn’t this worrisome? There’s no doubt Trump has some devoted followers — we’ve heard hateful, profanity-laced tirades from plenty of them in response to our well-reasoned opposition to Trump. Nevertheless, we’re going to stand for principle, as we have for 20 years. Even if that means having the audacity to say it’s not the man we owe allegiance to; it’s the Constitution.

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The Populists Win Michigan

The big news from Michigan’s Tuesday primary was that socialist Bernie Sanders blew away expectations. Clinton led by 20 points in the polls, and she still lost. She was supposed to have the black vote shored up, what with her political gift giving in Flint. Instead, Sanders squeaked into first place with 50% of the vote to Clinton’s 48%. Sanders won on the strength of votes from whites and Millennials, but exit polls also showed 30% of blacks supported the man. The Michigan result raises questions about the accuracy of polling in other Rust Belt states, most notably Ohio. In the grand scheme of things, the “inevitable” Clinton still has more delegates, but the win brings more validation to a Sanders campaign that was likely supposed to be merely political theater.

Meanwhile, as predicted, Donald Trump appealed to Rust Belt Republicans, picking up 36.5% in Michigan. In the other primaries held yesterday, the real estate mogul also won Mississippi and Hawaii, and he’s doing it with broad appeal to several seemingly disparate demographics. Ted Cruz picked up a modest win in Idaho. As we wrote yesterday, if Cruz finished with strong seconds in Mississippi and Michigan, and possibly a win in Hawaii, it could have been a sign that the Trump Train is running out of steam. Instead, the results show Trump’s populist appeal isn’t losing ground. Then again, 35% of the vote across the board doesn’t entitle him to the nomination, either.

Blogger Rod Dreher notes that the Republicans’ response to Trump’s rise is akin to the eve of World War II, when the French military brass thought the trenches of The Great War were here to stay. Trump is shattering the assumptions the old Republican politicos held about its base — they’re still fighting the previous war. With the rise of Sanders, its something that could be said of the Democrat Party, too.

Next week, the races move to Florida and Ohio. If Marco Rubio and John Kasich do poorly in their home states, it will be the end of the road for the two. And by then, it may be too late for a consolidated Cruz surge.

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Record Warm Winter: What Alarmists Overlook

Meteorological winter is now in the books, and if you live anywhere in the U.S. you won’t be surprised to learn it was a warm one. Virtually every region experienced warmer, and in many cases much warmer, than normal conditions. In fact, persistent intrusions of mild air, promulgated by a super El Niño, pushed Winter ‘15-16 temperatures to their seasonal warmest in at least 121 years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the mean temperature for December, January and February was an impressive 4.6 degrees Fahrenheit higher than average, and satellite measurements confirm that February’s warmth dwarfed all previous records. However, that’s not to say it was “America’s year without a winter,” as stipulated in a Washington Post headline.

For example, numerous cities in the Mid Atlantic broke record snowfall during January’s epic blizzard — humorously nicknamed “Snowzilla” — and in February the Boston Globe reported, “Valentine’s Day in Boston was the coldest on record for more than 80 years, as temperatures plunged to levels that could even keep an intrepid Cupid indoors. Sunday morning, the temperature plummeted to minus 9, with a windchill of minus 36, shattering the record by 6 degrees.” That’s a remarkable feat in any winter, but even more so considering the strength of El Niño. And let’s not forget history. The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang notes, “The warmth of this winter marked a stunning reversal from the previous year in New England, when it witnessed one of its harshest winters on record.” Extreme temperature swings are more common than we realize. Yet how quickly we forget them…

There’s no question El Niño drove much of this past winter’s warmth. The question, as always, is to what extent. Meteorologist Joe Bastardi stipulates that we’re now in a test period. What comes up must come down, and with La Niña looming, these trends should go the opposite direction in the years ahead. But regardless of what the next few years bring, what we’ll never know conclusively is how today’s trends compare to the past thousands of years. Are we experiencing climate change? You bet. Is it something to be so concerned about that we rearrange the entire economy to combat it? Probably not.

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For more, visit Right Opinion.


Clinton’s Ecofascist Fracking Play

By Lewis Morris

People on the Left may think they see a difference between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders as the two duke it out for the Democrat nomination, but those of us with common sense and constitutional principles only see two peas from the same pod.

Sanders has made no bones about his desire to grow the government to such an extent that it basically runs the means of production in this country. He’s a socialist, and that’s how socialists think. Clinton has pretended to embrace a (slightly) more laissez faire view of the economy that would allow business to take more care of itself. But that’s coming from a candidate who advocates lavish corporate welfare through the Export-Import Bank. Poor Boeing can’t compete without massive taxpayers subsidies, don’t you know.

Sunday’s debate was a good example of the commonality that exists between the two leftists. Sanders was asked about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” — the process by which American energy companies have produced a glut of oil and natural gas, thereby saving individual consumers hundreds of dollars a year. Sanders didn’t miss a beat, saying he does not support fracking and would ban the practice outright. Clinton’s answer was more nuanced on its face, but came out the same way.

Take a gander at this tripe from candidate Clinton: “You know, I don’t support it when any locality or any state is against it, number one. I don’t support it when the release of methane or contamination of water is present. I don’t support it — number three — unless we can require that anybody who fracks has to tell us exactly what chemicals they are using. So by the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place. And I think that’s the best approach, because right now, there are places where fracking is going on that are not sufficiently regulated.”

In short, after a bizarre and half-hearted paean to federalism, Clinton went on to conclude she intends to regulate fracking out of existence just like Barack Obama has done with the coal industry. But that is an utterly foolish move.

The low gas prices that Obama has taken credit for are largely a result of fracking. Again, the practice makes natural gas and oil cheaper to extract and energy more affordable. The Wall Street Journal reports that the average price of natural gas dropped close to 60% between 2008 and 2012. Furthermore, consumers have saved between $63 and $248 billion in 2013 alone, according to the Institute for Energy Research, and the savings continue to add up. The IER reported that without fracking, crude oil would cost $12 to $40 per barrel more. Not to mention that we’d be paying foreign countries for more oil.

These savings have been most beneficial to the poorest families in the country because they spend a larger part of their income on energy and transportation than wealthier families do. At a time when energy prices, like health care costs, are rising so fast they threaten the financial well-being of millions of families, any relief is welcome. And that’s particularly true of the relief at the gas pump coming from fracking.

Even the EPA, the ungodly monster that has become the principal tool for the Left’s forcible conversion of the American economy, has obliquely supported fracking. A draft report the agency published in June last year states, “We did not find evidence that [fracking] mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water sources in the United States.”

Clinton is having none of it. She has decided to go after the ecofascist vote and drive yet another clean, economical energy source into oblivion. Her proposals will drive up energy costs, but she doesn’t care. After all, it suits her politically, and she’s not exactly dead broke either. When was the last time she drove herself anywhere or filled up her gas tank? Or worried about whether she could pay her heating bill?

She remains shockingly unconcerned about the impact her policies would have on one of the constituencies she is supposedly looking out for. But, then again, it’s not about how Clinton can help. It’s about what her supporters can do to help her.

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For more, visit Patriot Headline Report


Walter Williams: “[Claude Frederic] Bastiat argued that when making laws or economic decisions, it is imperative that we examine not only what is seen but what is unseen. … Americans who support tariffs on foreign goods could benefit immensely from Bastiat’s admonition. A concrete example was the Bush administration’s 8 to 30 percent tariffs in 2002 on several types of imported steel. They were levied in an effort to protect jobs in the ailing U.S. steel industry. … A study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics predicted that saving those 1,700 jobs in the steel industry would cost American consumers $800,000 per job, in the form of higher prices. … [H]ow much sense did it make for American consumers to have to pay $800,000 in higher prices, not to mention lost employment in steel-using industries, to save each job? It would have been cheaper to tax ourselves and give each of those 1,700 steelworkers a $100,000 annual check. Doing so would have been far less costly to Americans than the steel tariffs, but it would have been politically impossible. Why? The cost of protecting those steel jobs would have been apparent and hence repulsive to most Americans. Tariffs conceal such costs. When Congress creates a special privilege for some Americans, it must of necessity come at the expense of other Americans. Then Americans who are harmed, such as the steel-using auto industry, descend on Congress asking for some kind of relief for themselves. … I think Congress ought to get out of the miracle business and leave miracle-making up to God.”

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Insight: “Liberty is not collective, it is personal. All liberty is individual liberty.” —Calvin Coolidge (1873-1933)

Observations: “Americans are tired of the pieties that prevent our leaders from addressing problems honestly. They see, for example, their president refusing to utter the words ‘Islamist terror’ even after bloody terrorist rampages that leave Americans dead. … So when Mr. Trump vows to kill not just the terrorists but their wives and children too, it doesn’t follow that this is what his supporters are in fact cheering on. More likely what they hear Mr. Trump saying is this: I am going to keep you safe, and I’m not going to let political correctness get in the way. At a time when two out of three Americans are telling pollsters that political correctness is a huge problem for our country, Mr. Trump is tapping into a powerful sentiment.” —William McGurn

Make speeches great again: “I don’t think I’ve heard such a stream of disconnected ideas since I quit psychiatry 30 years ago.” —Charles Krauthammer on Donald Trump’s victory speech

Uh, no: “I think that whoever is leading at the end should sort of get [the nomination]. That’s the way that democracy works.” —Donald Trump (First of all, GOP rules require a majority of delegates for the nomination, not just “whoever is leading.” Second, we’re not a democracy; we’re a republic.)

Definition of insanity: “I’ve always voted Democratic — always. I don’t know why. I’m trying to figure out exactly what they’ve done for us.” —former NBA star Charles Barkley

Narrative fail: “There’s no question the economy is doing better under the president of the United States. … [But] I don’t think anyone is saying the economy is great. I don’t think President Obama is saying the economy is great.” —Obama adviser Robert Wolf (“America is pretty darn great right now, and making strides right now. And small businesses and large businesses alike are hiring right now, and investing right now, and building this country…” —Barack Obama on Friday)

And last… “There is no Republican Establishment, you guys. It’s now just the term for the Republicans you don’t like.” —John Podhoretz

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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