Mid-Day Digest

Mar. 20, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • The rubber meets the road as Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings begin.
  • Did Turkey just threaten to invade Europe with refugees?
  • Trump promises to reevaluate Obama’s emissions standards.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“[J]udges, therefore, should be always men of learning and experience in the laws, of exemplary morals, great patience, calmness, coolness, and attention. Their minds should not be distracted with jarring interests; they should not be dependent upon any man, or body of men.” —John Adams (1776)

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Senate Hearings on Gorsuch Begin

Monday will see the start of the Senate’s confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch. Democrats have promised to raise much resistance to Gorsuch, primarily to placate their leftist base. But with Gorsuch being such a squeaky clean nominee, the real drama will be in witnessing just how desperate Democrat leaders become as they seek to convince fellow Democrats — especially those up for election in red states come 2018 — to hold the line in opposition. The principled “textualist” versus the leftist obstructionists.

For many conservatives, concern over the Supreme Court nominee was the primary reason they voted for Trump. And Trump, staying true to his campaign promise, validated their trust with his choice of Gorsuch.

Democrat opposition has less to do with Gorsuch himself than with resentment over the fact that the Republican majority leadership refused to consider Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, last year. Democrats are simply engaging in a little tit-for-tat sanctimony.

Tom Goldstein, a Washington DC lawyer who regularly argues before the Supreme Court and publishes ScotusBlog, states, “It would be shocking if Neil Gorsuch wasn’t confirmed to the Supreme Court in the coming weeks. The Democrats are committed to opposing him. Their base is insisting on it, because of what happened to President Obama’s nominee. But the reality is, they just don’t have the votes and don’t have the goods.”

It’s certainly true that Democrats simply “don’t have the goods.” Instead, they’ll seek to embellish a narrative that paints Gorsuch as a heartless judge who has consistently sided with the powerful over and against the weak. This narrative proves to be nonsense when the actual cases are examined, but when has that ever stopped Democrats? What will be interesting to see is just how cautious an approach Democrats take in their questioning. It has been well established that Gorsuch is highly intelligent and well-spoken, which may give his interrogators some pause in their attacking tactics out of fear of being made to look foolish. Where’s Ted Kennedy and his viciously disgusting “Robert Bork’s America” speech when you need him?

Ultimately, the only win for Democrats would be to prevent Gorsuch from receiving the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster in an attempt to force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to engage the “nuclear option,” thereby relegating the filibuster to the annals of history. Either way, it seems a pretty sure bet that Gorsuch will become the nation’s next Supreme Court justice.

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Turkey Threatens European Invasion?

It’s no secret — at least to those informed by anything other than Leftmedia propaganda — that jihadis infiltrate the ranks of “refugees” in order to carry out terrorist attacks. Even Barack Obama’s State Department quietly acknowledged that fact. While American judges bemoan Donald Trump’s travel ban because it “targets Muslims,” some Muslims certainly don’t have any trouble making it all about religion.

As Gary Bauer notes, “A diplomatic spat erupted recently when Turkey wanted to send diplomats to the Netherlands to campaign among the Turkish residents there for an upcoming constitutional referendum in Turkey. Dutch officials refused to allow the visit, which coincided with their own hotly contested election, and the Turkish government erupted in rage.”

“Shame on the EU,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan thundered. “Down with your European principles, values and justice.” He wasn’t done, claiming, “They started a clash between the cross and the crescent. There is no other explanation.”

Worse, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu threatened, “Soon wars of religion … will start in Europe.” This might happen because, he added, “We could open the way for 15,000 refugees … each month and blow [Europe’s] mind.”

Now, a brief history lesson. Less than 100 years after Mohammad’s death, Muslims were invading Europe — first Spain and then France before Frankish King Charles Martel defeated them at the Battle of Tours in 732. Hundreds of years of subsequent Muslim aggression led to the Crusades. So no, Dutch politicians did not “start a clash between the cross and the crescent.” Muslims did that 1,400 years ago and they’ve never stopped. The battle just looks different now, and the “army” is a horde of “refugees.”

Did we mention that Turkey is a member of NATO and ostensibly an ally of Western Europe?

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Top Headlines

  • FBI Director Comey: Justice Dept. has no information that supports Trump’s tweets alleging he was wiretapped by Obama. (The Washington Post)

  • Justices on Ninth Circuit feuding over travel ban ruling. (The Hill)

  • Philadelphia cancels Cinco de Mayo parade over deportation fears. (The Hill)

  • Oh no! Illegal immigrants are cancelling SNAP benefits to avoid deportation. (Hot Air)

  • Maryland county’s count suggests noncitizens voting across U.S. (The Washington Times)

  • Trump administration to boycott UN council over anti-Israel agenda. (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Secret Service removes agent who didn’t want to take “a bullet” for Trump (Washington Examiner)

  • Poll: Majority of 18-30 year olds see Trump as an illegitimate president — the American educational system is failing. (Hot Air)

  • Brexit will begin on March 29. (UK Telegraph)

  • Policy: Another federal court of appeals attacks the Second Amendment. (National Review)

  • Policy: Supreme Court needs judges like Gorsuch because America has leaders like Schumer. (Washington Examiner)

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

Reassessing Obama’s CAFE Mandates

By Arnold Ahlert

Last week, President Donald Trump announced his administration will reassess the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) mandates the Obama administration’s EPA tried to lock in before the Jan. 20 transition of power. “We’re going to work on the CAFE standards so you can make cars in America again,” Trump told a cheering crowd of auto workers in Ypsilanti, Michigan. “We’re going to help companies so they are going to help you. We’re going to be the car capital of the world again.”

New EPA chief Scott Pruitt promised his agency will coordinate with the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to decide whether the Obama administration mandates will remain in place. The deadline for making the decision is April 2018.

Why the reassessment? “In 2012 the EPA set ambitious mileage standards that required auto makers to achieve an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, nearly twice the 2011 mandate,” the Wall Street Journal explains. “The increases were backloaded such that manufacturers had to hit 36.6 miles a gallon by 2017 and 46.8 miles a gallon by 2022. In the last three years, car makers would need to squeeze an additional eight miles out of each gallon.”

In a letter sent to Pruitt in February, the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers (AAM) insisted no government agency “had ever set emissions standards so far into the future,” and that the final determination engendered by Obama’s EPA was “riddled with indefensible assumptions, inadequate analysis, and failure to engage with contrary evidence.”

The AAM further explained meeting those standards would cost far more than the $200 billion originally estimated by Obama’s EPA because the “electrified technologies” needed to meet them would raise the price of vehicles and depress auto sales. As the Journal notes, the onerous standards might have been feasible when gas cost $3.60 per gallon and passenger cars comprised more than half of all vehicle sales. But when the price of gas dropped, sales of trucks and SUVs skyrocketed, with trucks gaining a 61% market share in 2016. Moreover, the decline in gas prices mitigated the benefits of customer fuel savings the EPA used to justify the increased CAFE standards.

Those standards also increased vehicle production costs, driving vehicle manufacturers to Mexico in search of cheaper labor.

The Obama administration knew all of this and originally promised the incoming administration would get a “midterm review” of the CAFE standards to be completed by April 2018.

Make that an incoming Clinton administration. When Trump was elected, Obama’s EPA set the 2012 standards in stone, even though their own projections revealed fewer than 1% of gas-burning cars would comply with the 2022 mandate, and none would meet the standards set for 2025.

Trump’s having none of it. “We are going to restore the originally scheduled midterm review and we are going to ensure that any regulations we have protect and defend your jobs, your factories. We’re going to be fair,” Trump said. “That is why I’m proud to say I followed through on my promise.”

Predictably, Democrats and their eco-zealot allies are furious. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) characterized the review as “all-out assault” to “dismantle important environmental protections.” Kristin Igusky, Climate Program Associate at the World Resources, declared “the administration is creating more uncertainty and blocking progress toward cleaner, more efficient vehicles for America.”

Christian Science Monitor columnist Zack Coleman joins the chorus. “Transportation is now the leading sector for greenhouse gas emissions in the United States,” he writes. “The lower the so-called Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard, the smaller will be the reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles.”

Not quite. The expansion of the aforementioned “electrified technologies” necessary to meet the Obama EPA standards have environmental problems of their own as onerous, if not more so, than vehicles themselves. “So we’re chasing the car that is fueled solely by the electricity that comes out of our walls,” writes columnist Rich Cromwell. “That electricity is apparently generated by magic, never coal, so battery-powered options would reduce cars' carbon footprint and create a more sustainable future.”

While environmentalists and their Democrat allies in Congress are quick to tout the transparent benefits of electric cars or CAFE standards, they are rather myopic regarding the unforeseen — or is that conspicuously ignored — deleterious tradeoffs that accompany them.

And not just environmental tradeoffs. As Robert Tracinski explains, one would have to drive a $90,000 electric-powered Tesla for 30 years to equalize the costs between it and a $45,000 gas-powered Lexus, based on the average number of miles most Americans drive, coupled with slightly higher gas costs than they’re currently paying. Thus, many “green energy products” are a long way from being economically viable. On the other hand, Tracinski adds, they remain “very much a plaything or status symbol for the wealthy and upper middle class, the sort of people who uniformly believe in man-made global warming and who can afford to spend tens of thousands of extra dollars just to feel good about themselves.”

One suspects ordinary Americans who can’t afford a Tesla or a Lexus and struggle to make ends meet are less “high-minded.”

And what if CAFE standards are solely about holier-than-thou self-aggrandizement? The benefit touted by the Obama administration — a “decrease global temperatures by 0.007 degrees to 0.018 degrees Celsius in 2100” — would be more than offset by “massive losses” imposed on consumers who would increase the number of miles they drive with more fuel-efficient cars offsetting carbon reductions. Many would also eschew higher-priced new car purchases and “delay upgrades, leaving older vehicles on the road longer.”

Pruitt has assured the nation his review of CAFE standards will engender a program that is “good for consumers and good for the environment.” Such balance is a refreshing change from the Obama administration’s “kill the economy to save the planet” mindset.

Nonetheless, he will face resistance. As columnist Ned Barnett reveals, the EPA is still infested with careerists who “believe their own views on global warming and a host of other environmental issues are the only ‘true’ positions. The president, for his part, is clearly preparing to take the challenge directly to the EPA’s permanent staff.”

Hopefully under a swamp-draining Trump administration, there’s no such thing as administrative permanence.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Jeff Jacoby: “Instead of solving the system’s problems, Obamacare only entrenched them. While Democrats portray repeal of the Affordable Care Act as an assault on baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet, Republicans ought to be reminding voters how Obamacare played out in real life: reminding them, for instance, that it hurt more families than it helped. That it saddled insurers with losses so massive they were forced to pull out of many state exchanges. That it forced millions of Americans off their existing health plans. That it fueled double-digit annual increases in premiums. That it added billions to the national debt. Since 2010, Republicans have been swearing up and down that they would scrap Obamacare. The way to do that is to scrap Obamacare. Scrap the subsidies, the community-rating rules, and the guaranteed-issue requirements. Scrap the employer mandates and the individual tax penalties. Scrap the ‘slacker mandate’ for those 26 and under. Scrap the guarantee of coverage for pre-existing conditions. And then keep going.”

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SHORT CUTS

The Gipper: “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant. It’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”

Observations: “When it comes to nomenclature, it occurs to me that we not only have a general tendency to misname things, but to reverse their meanings. Take ‘social media,’ for instance. Every time I go to a restaurant, I am certain to spot three or four young people sitting in the same booth, each of them engrossed in their electronic toys, communicating with people who have the good fortune to be somewhere else. Or consider ‘civil servants,’ if you will. Not only are they not civil, but if you’ve ever tried to fire one of them, you have quickly discovered that they aren’t your servants; you’re theirs!” —Burt Prelutsky

Upright: “[Chuck] Schumer’s chosen role as demagogue stands in stark contrast to what is demanded of judges and can be expected of [Neil] Gorsuch. Judges and justices are charged with upholding the Constitution and applying justice fairly to everyone. Most of them, liberal or conservative, would never endanger the rule of law with careless comments like those Schumer has made in longstanding and unsuccessful efforts to politicize the judiciary. In the end, politicians such as Schumer are the best reminder that we need more judges like Gorsuch.” —Washington Examiner

Dezinformatsiya: “[Trump] has spent his whole life bulls—ting. He has succeeded by bulls—ting. He has gotten to the presidency by bulls—ting. It is very hard to tell somebody at that point that bulls— doesn’t work, because look at the results, right?” —CNN’s Fareed Zakaria

Non Compos Mentis: “I worry that if half the country wants this guy to be president we do need the UN to step in or the United Federation of Planets, or something.” —Bill Maher

And last… “Hillary is sending a substantive message to serious women everywhere — when you fail miserably, try again with a new hairstyle.” —Twitter satirist @weknowwhatsbest

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Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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