Mid-Day Digest

Jul. 31, 2017


  • What’s going on in Trump’s White House? Priebus’s exit brings change.
  • As if we needed another retread of excuses, Clinton’s new book is coming.
  • The real single-payer system that’s worth pursuing — consumers pay providers.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.


“The natural cure for an ill-administration, in a popular or representative constitution, is a change of men.” —Alexander Hamilton (1787)


Trump Rinses Himself of Priebus

A whirlwind of change occurred over the last 10 days at the White House, starting with the hiring of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director and the immediate departure of Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Scaramucci’s hiring — and profane tirade to the media — now appears to have precipitated the resignation of Reince Priebus as chief of staff. Donald Trump quickly named the current director of Homeland Security, Gen. John Kelly, as Priebus’ replacement. After months of an administration troubled with staff infighting and the seemingly unending problem of West Wing leaks to the press, Trump’s frustration reached the breaking point. And heads rolled.

The ouster of Priebus was more a question of “when” than “if” for Trump. It’s now all the more clear what Trump’s longtime friend Christopher Ruddy observed back in early February: “I think there’s a lot of weakness coming out of the chief of staff. I think Reince Priebus [is a] good guy, well-intentioned, but he clearly doesn’t know how the federal agencies work. He doesn’t have a really good system. He doesn’t know how the communications flow.”

Priebus may have been in over his head. He was clearly never able to rein in all the competing factions or bring any discipline to the administration’s messaging. Too often the White House appeared more like a three-ring circus than a tightly run ship. This was made all the more challenging with the hostile media taking every leak as an opportunity to spin the narrative against Trump and his agenda. In fact, Trump himself often made things all the more difficult with his propensity to go off message himself.

So why did Trump choose Priebus for his chief of staff in the first place? Two words: loyalty and establishment. Once Trump had secured the Republican presidential nomination, Priebus, as head of the Republican National Committee, stepped up and resisted the cavalcade from many establishment Republicans to work to remove Trump. Thus, after Trump’s surprise election victory, he chose Priebus because of loyalty. Second, Trump may have calculated that he needed a Beltway guy to help sway establishment Republicans into getting on board with his agenda.

For his part, Priebus maintained his support for Trump after his firing and gave no hint of bitterness, stating, “It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve this president and our country. I want to thank the president for giving me this very special opportunity. I will continue to serve as a strong supporter of the president’s agenda and polices. I can’t think of a better person than General John Kelly to succeed me and I wish him God’s blessings and great success.”

On a final note, it may say a great deal about the calamitous state of the leaky White House that Trump thinks the guy to fix it is a military man who heads the Department of Homeland Security.

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‘What Happened’ — Clinton’s Still in Denial

Hillary Clinton’s latest book, entitled “What Happened,” is due to hit bookstores in September. Word is that Clinton will explain why she lost the election, as if we haven’t already heard that load of garbage from her every other month since the election. Has Hillary finally come to grips with the fact that she lost because most Americans didn’t trust her and her crime syndicate? Will she finally concede that she was selling something Americans weren’t buying? No, from the sound of it, Hillary has yet to get off the blame train.

The Hill describes Clinton’s upcoming book as follows:

Hillary Clinton’s upcoming book will double down on Russia’s interference and James Comey’s involvement in her stunning election defeat, according to sources familiar with the memoir.

Privately, Clinton has told friends and longtime associates that she “wants the whole story out there” as she rushes to tweak and put the finishing touches on the book due out in September.

“She really believes that’s why she lost, and she wants to explain why in no uncertain terms,” one longtime ally said, “She wants the whole story out there from her own perspective. I think a lot of people are going to be really surprised by how much she reveals.”

Surprised that she would shift blame anywhere and everywhere but her own severe likability deficit, criminal behavior and bad campaign decisions? Don’t be. Indeed, the only real question remaining is whether the sales of this book will improve upon her previous flop, “Hard Choices.” If not, one wonders if Clinton will again lay the blame on Comey and the Russians.

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Top Headlines

  • This should fix it: Democrats pivot to offering ObamaCare “improvements.” (The Hill)

  • Republicans reject Trump’s call to let ObamaCare implode. (Washington Examiner)

  • Trump warns of ending health care “bailouts” for Congress, pushes Senate for majority rule. (The Washington Times)

  • 10 states ready legal action to undo Obama amnesty for “Dreamers.” (The Daily Signal)

  • State Department slams Venezuela’s “sham” elections. (Fox News)

  • More collusion — NOT: Putin says U.S. will have to cut 755 from diplomatic staff in Russia. (CBS News)

  • OPEC has a crippling problem: Its members can’t stop pumping. (Paywall — The Wall Street Journal)

  • U.S. coal floods Europe despite continent’s fear about climate change. (Washington Examiner)

  • Elizabeth Warren again calls for “equal pay,” but she ignores the pay gap in her own office. (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Apple is set to remove apps that allow Chinese customers to communicate without being supervised by censors. (Newsweek)

  • Policy: Transforming the science used for climate regulations. (The Heartland Institute)

  • Policy: Generic drug competition equals consumer price relief. (Real Clear Policy)

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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False Health Care Choices Prevent Real Reform

By Arnold Ahlert

“Even when Republicans control the White House and both houses of Congress, liberalism remains the default ideology of the federal government.” —Washington Examiner columnist W. James Antle III

Nothing proves Antle’s assertion better than the GOP’s futile and apparently final attempt to pass “skinny” ObamaCare repeal. Unsurprisingly, reliably liberal Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were joined by “maverick” John McCain of Arizona and every Senate Democrat in a 49-51 defeat of the measure. “I regret that our efforts were simply not enough, this time,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, following the debacle. “This is clearly a disappointing moment. It’s time to move on.”

What remains infuriatingly elusive to McConnell and his equally myopic colleagues is that it was always time to move on. Instead, America endured a frustrating exercise whereby the party that ostensibly espouses limited-government, free-market principles was determined to replace a Democrat, government-run health care plan … with a Republican, government-run health care plan.

It’s time for some clear thinking. And no one illuminates the “false dichotomy between doing nothing and passing a fake repeal that accelerates the death spiral without creating an alternative to the insurance cartel” better than Conservative Review’s David Horowitz. Like progressives, Horowitz embraces the idea of “single-payer” health care. Unlike progressives, Horowitz envisions a transaction directly between the consumer and the provider, not the government and the myriad number of middlemen that are the primary drivers of health care’s skyrocketing costs.

“Rather than trying to fix the insurance cartel, it’s time to leave them in the dust and reduce the price of health care itself,” he declares. “It’s time to get the government out of any third- or fourth-party payer scheme and to stop manipulating statutes, subsidies, and the tax code in order to line the pockets of third-party payers.”

OpenSecrets.org provides tremendous insight regarding why members of both political parties have focused primarily on lining the pockets of those third-party payers. It’s because senators and House members were getting their pockets lined in return during the 2016 election cycle. On the Senate side, the top three recipients of insurance company campaign contributions were Republican, including Ohio’s Rob Portman, whose vote in favor of ObamaCare repeal in 2015 — when it faced a certain veto — became a “no” vote last week when it really mattered. On the House side, the four top recipients were also Republican, led by “mercurial” House Speaker Paul Ryan, who garnered $666,849.

This dynamic reveals why Americans have endured the default ideologies and false dichotomies both parties contemptibly pitch as “reform.” ObamaCare was built on a foundation of lies and foisted on a “stupid” American public. The GOP “repeal and replace” effort?

Titanic deck chair rearranging.

Horowitz cuts through the bipartisan obfuscation with some essential guideposts. The first one is apparently as elusive as it is obvious: Medical insurance is not health care. Thus the cost problems of health care itself must be solved before the cost of insurance is determined.

When poverty necessitates government involvement? “The best way to offer a hand out is to give a direct handout — to empower the poor consumers to pay their bills directly rather than creating a market-distorting government program or lining the pockets of the venture socialist insurance cartel to administer a convoluted third-party program,” he explains.

For the rest of America, currently enduring the increasingly catastrophic permutations of ObamaCare’s death spiral, we begin with price transparency. A system where “all health care providers, from hospitals and surgery centers to doctor’s offices, medical labs, and pharmacies, post their prices online,” Horowitz states.

The far more critical component? Once again, sending the bill directly to the consumer, not the insurance company. “Consumers would then be able to decide whether they want to submit the claim or negotiate with the insurer to cover a certain percentage, just like they do with auto insurance claims,” he explains. “Except now they would be negotiating from a position of strength, because they are not flying blind without prices. Watch the dominos of government-run health care fall and the heads of big-insurance lobbyists explode.”

One additional component is equally critical. No provider should be allowed to “charge a different rate for each patient,” explains former hospital president Steven Weissman.

Another cartel-busting idea that already exists should be expanded. A section of the “Affordable” Care Act “allows ministries to get together and form non-profit health-sharing organizations that are exempt from Obamacare’s regulations and subsidies and immune to the crony capitalist greed inherent in the insurance cartel,” Horowitz reveals. Non-religious organizations should be able to form similar sharing organizations and receive “the same tax benefits through the individual and employer tax scheme as the insurance cartel has enjoyed for 60 years,” he adds.

On to the proverbial elephants in the room. The cost reductions arising from making a private sector approach the root of health care reform would make Medicare and Medicaid reform far simpler to accomplish.

In fact, Medicaid could be eliminated. “Instead, we can directly pay most of the bills of the indigent and chronically ill without a government insurance program,” Horowitz writes. For those who can’t even afford reduced rates, “regulated escrow accounts” that directly pay medical bills, much like food stamps pay directly for food, could be created.

Such a system would not only eliminate the middleman but fraud as well — fraud that ranges somewhere between $68 billion and $230 billion every year, according to the National Healthcare Anti-Fraud Association.

Conservative Review offers an additional list of 20 other ideas that would radically reduce health care costs. They include ending the malpractice boondoggle, making more drugs available without prescriptions, and breaking up the AMA monopoly on medical school accreditation and physician licensing that fuels the nation’s doctor shortage, to name a few.

Why should Americans endure a system that empowers insurance cartels and government bureaucrats when they can have one that empowers patients and health care providers? If anything should die — with or without dignity — let it be the “default ideology” of false health care choices.

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For more, visit Right Opinion.


Burt Prelutsky: “For not being able to agree on a bill with which to replace ObamaCare, some Republican senators, including Rand Paul, Jerry Moran, Lisa Murkowski, Mike Lee and Susan Collins, deserve to lose their next elections. As everyone knows, the original 10,000-page piece of legislation was studded with landmines set to explode the second the Republicans tried to dispose of it. But that was a given. The fact that so many holier-than-thou Republicans couldn’t bring themselves to agree on a compromise bill proves once again that they don’t know the first thing about governing or supporting their president so that he can proceed with his agenda to lower taxes, build a wall and renew the nation’s infrastructure. I understand these hold-outs like to think that they’re principled and therefore above the fray. However, if their dream is to hover above the common herd and remain squeaky clean, I suggest they leave Washington and pursue a career in the ministry. As I see it, if you’re afraid of getting a little muck on yourself, you are clearly unsuited to work in the slaughterhouse we call the U.S. Senate.”


The Gipper: “I was 21 and looking for work in 1932, one of the worst years of the Great Depression. And I can remember one bleak night in the thirties when my father learned on Christmas Eve that he’d lost his job. To be young in my generation was to feel that your future had been mortgaged out from under you, and that’s a tragic mistake we must never allow our leaders to make again.”

For the record: “I don’t know if any Republican could have won in 2008. But John McCain surrendered any chance he had when he decided it would be too divisive to make an issue out of Barack Obama’s attendance at a church led by an America-hating, bigoted pastor. That decision guaranteed Obama’s election and the senator has now guaranteed that Obama’s legacy will survive.” —Gary Bauer

Non sequitur: “Well I think that [Russia and Comey] had an influence [on Hillary Clinton’s loss]. There is absolutely no question about that. But when you have a campaign, you’re responsible for your campaign. I don’t even want to go into that.” —Nancy Pelosi

“Look, taking on the insurance companies and the drug companies, taking on Wall Street, taking on a lot of very powerful forces that make millions of dollars a year from the current health care system is not going to be easy.” —Bernie Sanders’ explanation for why blue states have been unable to implement single-payer health care

Non Compos Mentis: “Let’s work together to improve our health care system in the way our Founding Fathers intended us to improve it.” —Chuck Schumer

The BIG Lie: “Obamacare is not hurting people. In fact, what would have really hurt people was if we would have passed Trumpcare.” —Sen. Chris Van Hollen

Late-night humor: “The publisher of Hillary Clinton’s upcoming memoir announced … that the title of her book will be the statement ‘What Happened.’ Well, that’s the censored version.” —Seth Meyers

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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