Mid-Day Digest

Jul. 19, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • A Canadian terrorist killed an American soldier. The Canadian government paid the jihadi.
  • Scott Pruitt is cleaning up the cronyism at the EPA.
  • Republicans aren’t playing like a team, and are failing to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction.” —John Witherspoon (1776)

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Trudeau’s Treacherous Terrorist Payout

“The measure of a society, of a just society, is not whether we stand up for people’s rights when it’s easy or popular to do so, it’s whether we recognize rights when it’s difficult, when it’s unpopular.” It was with that page taken right out of Barack Obama’s failed terrorism policy legacy that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau justified his official apology and payment of $8 million ($10 million Canadian) to a former Guantanamo Bay inmate.

In 2002, then-15-year-old Omar Khadr, a Canadian-born jihadi in Afghanistan, tossed a grenade in a firefight that killed U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer, a special forces medic, and partially blinded Sgt. First Class Layne Morris. The ensuing saga of interrogation, confession, Gitmo incarceration and legal battles is a long one, but let’s just say Khadr has not yet paid for his deeds. Now he’s being paid by a leftist with apparent contempt for his own nation and America too.

Trudeau’s treachery isn’t limited to a simple apology and massive payout. Morris and Speer’s family had just won a $134 million settlement against Khadr in Utah, but Trudeau’s government rushed the payment to Khadr so as to both subvert the Utah ruling and undermine any appeal by the Speer family.

Peter Kent, a member of the Canadian Parliament, minced no words, writing in The Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Trudeau’s actions are an affront to the memory of Christopher Speer, to Tabitha Speer and her children, to Layne Morris, to our U.S. allies, and to all men and women in uniform. This payout was a cynical subversion of Canadian principles. Mr. Trudeau made Omar Khadr a millionaire, and he didn’t have to.”

Shame on Justin Trudeau. He’s a pathetic disgrace to his nation who’s dragged American Patriots through hell to score some cheap political points.

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Pruitt Is Cleaning Up the EPA

One of the best decisions Donald Trump has made thus far into his presidency was his choice of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA may prove to be a textbook example of how corruption works to twist an ostensibly apolitical government agency into a primary proponent of a political cause. But Pruitt is taking the bull by the horns.

The Wall Street Journal recently noted that Pruitt has been aggressively working on replacing Barack Obama-era science advisers. In the month of June alone the EPA notified 38 advisers that their committee appointments would not be renewed. While the Left has claimed that Trump is engaged in a “war on science,” the reality is exactly the opposite. A bit of context is needed to better understand the issue at hand.

For years, the EPA has relied heavily on several non-government advisory boards because it is required to hear an advisory board’s advice before enacting new regulations. The EPA is not, however, required to heed a board’s advice. According to the Federal Advisory Committee Act rules, all advisory boards are required to be balanced and unbiased. Historically, the majority of committee members have come from academia, with some coming from consulting and activist groups. Very few members have come from industry.

One of the EPA’s most prominent advisory boards is the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). In 1996, the EPA wanted to pass new restrictive regulations on emissions under the guise that these rules were needed to save the lives of thousands of Americans from dangerous air pollution. The problem was that the CASAC countered the EPA’s opinion, saying that research findings did not support the agency’s conclusion. Ignoring the advice, the EPA went ahead with enacting its costly regulations anyway.

Now here’s where the corruption problem begins to rear its ugly head. Ecofascists, frustrated with the independent nature of these advisory committees, worked to stack the deck in their favor. By the mid 2000s two-thirds of all CASAC members were grantees of the EPA. During Obama’s two terms, the number of grantees increased significantly, with hundreds of millions of dollars in research grants being awarded to these “independent” advisers. As The Wall Street Journal describes it, “In effect, EPA-funded researchers are empowered to review and approve their own work in order to rubber-stamp the EPA’s regulatory agenda. This is all done under the guise of ‘independence.’”

By reforming this practice, Pruitt is not working to quash science. On the contrary, he’s promoting it by dismantling a rigged system.

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Top Headlines

  • House unveils budget that balances, achieves $9 billion surplus, increases GDP to 2.6%. (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • House Panel OKs $1.6 billion as down payment for Trump wall construction. (The Washington Times)

  • Seven years of promising ObamaCare repeal leaves Republicans just one option. (The Daily Signal)

  • Democrats celebrate as health care system collapses. (PoliZette)

  • Collusion: Hillary Clinton sided with Russia on sanctions as Bill pocketed $500G for Moscow speech. (Fox News)

  • Trump’s first nominee for federal district court unanimously confirmed by Senate. (CNS News)

  • “Resistance hero” Maxine Waters pulls in only $22K in individual contributions. (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Alan Dershowitz: New York Times won’t publish me because I offer “alternative point of view.” (The Washington Times)

  • Claremont McKenna College disciplines seven students for blockade that shut down Heather Mac Donald speech. (The Washington Post)

  • Policy: Nine key takeaways from the House budget proposal. (The Daily Signal)

  • Policy: It’s not about health care — it’s about control. (Heartland Institute)

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

On Health Care, Congress Needs to Do Its Job

By Louis DeBroux

Benjamin Franklin once wrote that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Had he been around today, he’d add a third: the propensity for Republicans to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

That has been on infuriating display in recent months as Republicans repeatedly fail to pass a free market alternative to ObamaCare. Even worse, rather than get credit for predicting the how and why of ObamaCare’s failure, Republicans look like a bunch of third-graders running in circles, unable to agree on the rules of the game, much less a strategy for victory.

First, let’s not allow a fundamental truth to be obscured by the disjointed efforts of Senate Republicans. Namely, ObamaCare was not sabotaged by Republicans; it is failing because it is a horrible law that ignores economic realities and human nature.

Long before Donald Trump announced his candidacy, ObamaCare was failing. Nineteen of the 23 co-ops are now bankrupt. Premiums, deductibles and co-pays have been skyrocketing ever since ObamaCare took effect. Doctors by the thousands refuse to accept patients with these policies. Insurers are pulling out of entire markets, leaving millions with only one insurer to choose from, or none at all. Republicans have yet to agree on a replacement bill, much less put one on President Trump’s desk, so it is ludicrous to claim that the failures of ObamaCare are Republicans’ fault — unless, as some Democrats have tried to do, you accept the idea that Republicans are responsible because they aren’t fixing the very problems they warned Democrats about in the first place.

For that reason, President Trump is absolutely right to declare that he and Republicans are not going to own the ObamaCare failure; that blame lies solely with Democrats.

At the same time, Vice President Mike Pence was right to blast Congress for failing to deliver the ObamaCare replacement bill promised for the last seven years. After a failure to pass the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BRCA) in the Senate, or bring an alternative bill to a floor vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced he would bring back the 2015 full ObamaCare repeal bill for a vote, and deal with a replacement.

Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) announced earlier this week that they could not support the BCRA because it doesn’t repeal enough of ObamaCare or institute enough free market reforms. Then when McConnell announced the full repeal vote, moderate Republicans Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) announced that they would not vote for a full repeal. Murkowski and Capito voted for repeal in 2015 when Barack Obama was there to veto it. Now that it can succeed, they oppose repeal. (To be fair, their position is the same as Trump’s — don’t touch entitlements — and other Republicans like Rob Portman and Dean Heller almost surely oppose straight-up repeal now too.)

Regardless of which bill came up for a vote, McConnell could not afford to lose more than two Republican votes.

A major hindrance is the inability to resolve diametrically opposed goals. As National Review’s Jim Geraghty explained, “Republicans (and by extension, much of the country) want contradictory changes, changes that Moran lists as his requirements. Americans want lower premiums, but they also want insurance companies to keep covering preexisting conditions. They want to see the cost of Medicaid go down, or at least rise slower, but they also don’t want to throw anyone off of Medicaid. They want the number of uninsured to go down, and they want the mandate repealed.”

This puts Republicans in a very precarious situation. Voters gave them the House in 2010, and the Senate in 2014, and then the White House in 2016. The American people expect results, not whining and complaining about intransigent Democrats. So Republicans need to play team ball instead of every player running his or her own play when the ball is snapped.

That means Republicans like Lee and Moran need to understand that ObamaCare is crumbling and that partisan brinksmanship will leave millions of Americans suffering. The Senate’s BRCA and the House’s AHCA (American Health Care Act) are imperfect bills but they’re a heck of a lot better than ObamaCare, and a very good starting point from which to enact additional conservative amendments going forward.

Likewise, Collins, Murkowski, Capito and any other opportunists who now oppose repeal need to understand that Republicans promised a repeal of ObamaCare if given power, and they are making a mockery of that promise by demanding major provisions of ObamaCare be retained in a replacement bill — provisions that sound laudable but that undermine market stability.

President Trump also needs to keep hammering home the point that Democrats own the disaster that is ObamaCare, and it is their fault that we are in this position. Their refusal to acknowledge that reality and work with Republicans is hurting average Americans. Their refusal to do so is transparently and cynically partisan, and it should come with a price at the polls.

At this point, the best option seems to be a full repeal, with replacement coming in sections. So-called “comprehensive” bills are usually needlessly complex, subject to legal challenge, and chock full of bribes and favors.

Or, as National Review’s Dan McLaughlin exhorted back in April, “Republicans should not hitch their wagon to any single, comprehensive bill, nor should they promise the voters a ‘Republican health-care plan.’ Instead, they should seek to roll out a series of improvements to the health-insurance system, each with its own voting coalitions.”

One way or another, Congress needs to heed the warnings of President Trump and Vice President Pence and do its job. The American people are increasingly frustrated and impatient, and failure will come with a steep price.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Star Parker: “Behavior increasing the likelihood of poverty does have consequences on others. American taxpayers spend almost a trillion dollars a year to help those in poverty, a portion of whom would not be in this situation if they lived their lives differently. But the same liberals who scream when Republicans look for ways to streamline spending on antipoverty programs like Medicaid scream just as loudly at any attempt to expose young people to biblical values that teach traditional marriage and chastity outside of marriage. The percent of American adults that are married dropped from 72 percent in 1960 to 52 percent in 2008. The percentage of our babies born to unmarried women increased from 5 percent in 1960 to 41 percent by 2008. This occurred against a backdrop of court orders removing all vestiges of religion from our public spaces, beginning with banning school prayer in 1962, and then the legalization of abortion in 1973. In 2015, the Supreme Court redefined marriage. Losing all recognition that personal and social responsibility matters, that the biblical tradition that existed in the cradle of our national founding is still relevant, is bankrupting us morally and fiscally. We are long overdue for a new, grand awakening.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “The last stage but one of every civilisation, is characterised by the forced political unification of its constituent parts, into a single greater whole.” —Arnold J. Toynbee (1889-1975)

Upright: “The success of a marriage nearly always depends on the expectations of the parties going in. If you believe marriage is going to be a rose garden of happy trips to the beach interspersed with moonlight dinners and foot massages, you’re more likely to end up cheating on your spouse when that doesn’t materialize. If you believe marriage is a mechanism for changing your potential spouse, you’re likely to end up estranged. If you believe that marriage is about a lifelong union devoted to self-improvement and the creation and rearing of children, you’re likely to make decisions that lead to that outcome. The same is true in politics.” —Ben Shapiro

For the record: “If you always end up arguing that one leader can do no wrong, you aren’t really a member of a party, you’re a member of a cult of personality.” —Jonah Goldberg

The BIG Lie: “We are far past collusion. That’s one of the charges of the Intel Committee, to seek out whether or not there was collusion with the Russian government with respect to the efforts to interfere in our 2016 presidential election. We are far past that, at this stage.” —Rep. Denny Heck

Braying Jackass: “I am delighted to see that the disastrous Republican health care plan will not succeed. This is a great victory for the millions of Americans who stood up and fought back against this dangerous legislation.” —Bernie Sanders, who advocates disastrous single-payer health care

Junk marketing: “Your Business Is Our Business.” —U.S. Post Office’s New Slogan (And we thought that was the IRS slogan…)

Late-night humor: “Over the weekend, it came out that President Trump’s approval rating is at 36 percent. But Trump defended the number, saying that it was ‘almost 40.’ Then he said, ‘And if you read 36 upside down, it looks like 93, which is almost 100. So I’m doing amazing. Almost 100 in Upside Down world.’” —Jimmy Fallon

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