Mid-Day Digest

Apr. 22, 2016

THE FOUNDATION

“No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity.” —James Madison (1787)

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Clinton Raked in Money From Companies Seeking Influence

More proof that the Clinton Foundation was never anything more than a pay-to-play slush fund for the world’s rich and powerful: After the Associated Press analyzed the places Hillary Clinton delivered paid speeches (for hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop), it found most of the banks and larger corporations were also heavily involved in politics. The AP reports, “Federal records show almost all the 82 corporations, trade associations and other groups that paid for or sponsored Clinton’s speeches have sought to influence the government — lobbying, bidding for contracts, commenting on federal policy or contacting State Department officials or Clinton herself when she was secretary of state.” We’re shocked — shocked.

To date, the Clinton campaign has not released transcripts of those speeches and Hillary has steadfastly refused to do so. That’s not surprising, given that attendees of those speeches have said the remarks were glowing and complimentary of big banks like Goldman Sachs, and in a battle against Bernie Sanders’ anti-Wall Street populism, she can’t have that come out. As Clinton once humble-bragged, she and her husband left the White House “dead broke.” That was an obviously phony attempt to pander to the rest of us commoners, but even if it weren’t, the Clintons have turned their influence into vast wealth thanks to the dozens of corporations who invested in them, hoping to get returns when the Clintons once again returned to positions of power.

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RNC Committee: Convention Rules Won’t Change

When it comes to the rules that will govern the Republican National Convention, no news is news. During its meeting in Hollywood, Florida, the RNC’s Standing Committee on Rules decided that it was too late in the game to be changing the rules of the convention. Randy Evans, a committee member from Georgia, told the group Thursday, “We’re basically in the seventh inning of the ballgame, and I don’t think it’s right to change the rules.” Other members of the committee noted this was one of the most closely watched conventions in recent history. Any tweaks to the rules will be seen as the RNC trying to tip the playing field to one candidate or another, and the GOP can ill afford any more of that perception.

This means the Republican Party will head to the July convention imperfect rules and all. The convention will probably operate by House rules, not the more easily understood Roberts Rules of Order. Morton Blackwell, longtime member of the GOP’s rule committee, criticized Rule 40, the rule that dictates only votes for candidates that have won majorities in at least eight states be counted when the delegates cast their convention votes. In 2012, Mitt Romney’s campaign pushed for the rule to block insurgent candidates — at the time Ron Paul — from gaining traction in the gathering of delegates.

Left unchanged, the rules essentially mean John Kasich — who won only his home state of Ohio — is no longer viable. Some of us have known that for a while now. But it also all but prevents the GOP establishment from introducing a white knight candidate to ride in and snatch the nomination from Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. Some may worry this will lead to a candidate who won’t win against the Democrat nominee. But that’s not the point, columnist Jonah Goldberg writes, as the historical goal of the convention was to help the whole party unify around one candidate. That alone will be a monumental task, given the tone of the primary so far.

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Media Losing Its Grip on Dictating Gun Views

When so-called “assault weapons” were banned by the Bill Clinton administration in 1994, the overwhelming majority of Americans (80%) supported it. Now, not even a majority do. The turnaround is nothing short of remarkable. More Americans disapprove (53%) than approve (45%) today than they did 22 years ago — despite the increasingly vile attitude we see from mainstream media zealots. Yet this also helps explain why Americans are increasingly accepting of guns.

The mass media enjoyed a virtual monopoly over communication in 1994. That effectively gave the Left control over the narrative, and disinformation campaigns were easy to orchestrate. But all that began to change during the Information Age.

As Dean Weingarten of The Truth About Guns observes, “Conservative talk radio had already begun to make inroads into American culture, and the Internet was just starting to become a viable method of mass communication. The opponents of the ban managed to include a sunset to the bill ten years in the future. By the time the sunset came due, enough people had learned the truth about ‘assault weapons’ to prevent an extension of the bill.” He adds, “Clearly emotion-based arguments and lies can sway an electorate to support gun control. But when the facts are disseminated, support diminishes. That’s why the proponents of civilian disarmament push so hard to pass gun control measures quickly.”

We see a similar reaction unfolding on the issue of background checks. Thank heavens we still have an open media. It’s no wonder the marketplace of ideas that has become a hallmark of conservative media is the Democrats’ next point of attack.

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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

Earth Day — Signing the Paris Climate Agreement

By Michael Swartz

For this year’s rendition of Earth Day, the stakes couldn’t be higher. More than 130 nations will gather to formally sign the Paris Climate Agreement at the United Nations in New York. Nothing could better signify Earth Day than a global gaggle of government leaders burning fossil fuels on their way to forcing us to spend a lot of green to preserve a little green, all while expanding their control over our lives.

While Congress has not ratified the agreement — nor are there any plans to — the Obama administration argues that its own assent is all that is necessary. Once 55 or more nations that represent 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions sign, the Paris accord can become effective as early as November 2017. The United States and China, which has also pledged to sign, together make up 38% of emissions. Meanwhile, a number of smaller nations are willing to sign in the hope of becoming beneficiaries of the inevitable wealth transfer the UN is sure to facilitate.

We’ve talked about the racket known as Earth Day many times on these pages, but climate alarmists are now shrieking that 2016 will be the warmest year on record, and that we have to DO SOMETHING before the global average temperature rises more than two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial values. “We are at a critical juncture when it comes to preserving our climate,” warned Michael Mann, the “climate researcher” who’s best known for the discredited “hockey stick” graph of global temperatures over the centuries, and for his omission of relevant data that failed to support his theory.

Unfortunately, no one has conclusively proven that our current climate is the optimal or “normal” one, either. Did you know, for example, as “skeptical environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg points out, that about 0.5% of all deaths are heat-related, while more than 7% are cold-related?

It’s worth noting too that climate alarmists aren’t the only ones predicting a record warm year. Climate “deniers” like meteorologist Joe Bastardi have been forecasting higher temperatures this year because of weather patterns.

Despite all that, Barack Obama is plunging head-first into the Paris agreement as a continuation of his quest to wipe out the coal industry through power plant regulations and keeping other abundant energy sources off limits.

Yet not only is there a cost in jobs lost in the energy sector, but also a real increase in what’s known as “green energy poverty,” an economic condition where families spend more than 10% of their income on heating and other domestic energy costs. While the relatively low price of natural gas helps keep heating costs down, government subsidies and outright mandates for “renewable energy,” such as wind and solar power, bend the cost curve upward — sort of like a hockey stick.

Yet a change in administration, such as one to Ted Cruz, or, to a lesser extent, Donald Trump, will provide little relief from the Paris provisions. Buried in the Paris Climate Agreement is language preventing any nation from withdrawing within the first three years after it takes effect, with a further cooling-off period of one year. In essence, given a possible effective date of November 2017, the next president is stuck with this agreement. One silver lining is that there is little in the way of strict enforcement, as that would make the agreement a treaty requiring Senate ratification, something Obama scrupulously sought to avoid.

So let’s recap: Today we celebrate a completely fabricated holiday (which occurs on the anniversary of Vladimir Lenin’s birth, no less) by signing an agreement of dubious legality and limited enforcement mechanisms in order for do-gooders to try to solve a problem that mankind has little, if anything, to do with. Sounds like a perfect example of liberalism to us.

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MORE ORIGINAL PERSPECTIVE

TOP HEADLINES

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Ryan Anderson: “Curt Schilling has a right to say biological men don’t belong in women’s bathrooms in whatever controversial way he wants. And ESPN has a right to give Caitlyn Jenner the ‘Arthur Ashe Courage Award’ for being a men’s sports icon who now publicly identifies as a woman. And whether we agree or disagree with Schilling’s message or ESPN’s isn’t the point. The bigger issue is that ESPN, like any other company, has a right to control its message, which means it should be generally free to make employment decisions based on its values, not Curt Schilling’s, and certainly not the government’s. The same is true for religious institutions, only more so. While ESPN is committed to being ‘inclusive,’ it’s a large corporation whose main focus is reporting sports in ways that make money. Religious institutions and some family businesses, on the other hand, have more robust substantive commitments driven by faith, not profits alone. … ESPN didn’t want to be associated with Curt Schilling’s message. The same is true for the bakers, florists, and photographers, only more so. They have beliefs about marriage — that it’s the union of husband and wife — and they don’t want to be forced by the government to convey a contrary message. … If you’re cheering ESPN today, remember that freedom needs to be a two-way street. Even if you disagree with the beliefs of religious schools and bakers, protect their freedoms. Respect everyone’s rights — even if, especially if, you disagree with them.”

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SHORT CUTS

Insight: “For liberalism, the individual is the end, and society the means. For fascism, society is the end, individuals the means, and its whole life consists in using individuals as instruments for its social ends.” —Alfredo Rocco (1875-1925)

Dezinformatsia: “Today the story isn’t the election, it’s Prince. The passing of Prince. Does this freeze the race a little bit, and maybe benefit Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump coming off of big wins?” —CNN’s Jon Berman

A vote for Trump is a vote for… “There have been very few complaints the way it is. [Transgender individuals] go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble. And the problem with what happened in North Carolina is the strife, and the economic punishment that they’re taking.” —Donald Trump, who apparently is not all that opposed to political correctness

Tax and spend: “I do — including myself. I do.” —Donald Trump when asked, “Do you believe in raising taxes on the wealthy?”

Demo-gogues: “We should understand that when we are encountering these children at the border, these children are just like our children, with the same hopes. They have the same dreams. They have the same wishes, and we should understand that and treat them with compassion.” —Rep. Eliot Engel

Non Compos Mentis: “For too long, our national parks have ignored important parts of our nation’s story. … Right now, there’s not one national park or national monument focused on the struggle for LGBT rights.” —Interior Secretary Sally Jewell

Village Idiots: “America has portrayed holding a Koran in such a different way to what it actually is. We all believe in something and at the end of the day it all ties to a god or a spiritual adviser. … It’s good to be open-minded.” —Lindsay Lohan

And last… “Today is Earth Day! Tomorrow, at those same event locations, will be Massive Trash Pick-up Day.” —Twitter satirist @weknowhwatsbest

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Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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