Mid-Day Digest

May 9, 2018

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Trump kept his promise and nuked Obama’s Iran deal.
  • That supposed “blue wave” in November looks less likely.
  • Is it wasteful to prosecute criminals for gun crimes? The New York Times says so.
  • Leftists in California allege that the rise in STDs is racist.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“But if we are to be told by a foreign power … what we shall do, and what we shall not do, we have independence yet to seek, and have contended hitherto for very little.” —George Washington (1796)

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Promise Kept — Trump Nukes Iran Deal

Keeping his promise, President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that the United States will withdraw from the “horrible” Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and reinstate sanctions that were suspended as part of the deal. “We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. We will not allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America’ to gain access to the most deadly weapons on earth,” Trump declared. “Today’s action sends a critical message: The United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises I keep them.”

Despite attempts by the Europeans to dissuade Trump, despite John Kerry’s smoke-filled-backroom efforts to save the deal, and despite Iran warning that it would be “a historic mistake” to withdraw, the president reiterated what he has said all along: “We cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement.” Trump reportedly remains open to improving the deal, and he will now have economic leverage to persuade Iran and the Europeans to do just that.

Barack Obama, who paid the Iranians $1.7 billion in ransom cash loaded on pallets as well as over a hundred billion more in sanctions relief, predictably criticized the decision to withdraw — which is tantamount to an endorsement in our book. “Walking away from the JCPOA turns our back on America’s closest allies,” Obama admonished, adding that it’s “a serious mistake.” But the biggest mistake was made by Obama and his feckless secretary of state, Kerry, caving in to one Iranian demand after another and agreeing to the deal. As we said at the time, “You want it bad, you’ll get it bad.”

Obama was so desperate for a foreign policy “victory” that getting a deal was more important than the content of the deal. Having agreed to a deal that he knew would never pass the Senate as a treaty, the minute the ink was dry Obama instead ran to the United Nations, which passed a Security Council Resolution establishing the deal’s terms. But only laws passed by the U.S. Congress, or treaties approved by the Senate, are binding on the actions of the United States. And as “constitutional scholar” Obama and longtime Senator Kerry undoubtedly knew, any deal that really was in the United States’ best interest would have been able to pass muster in the Senate and gain the two-thirds votes needed to ratify a treaty.

Obama and his various minions told us time after time that the deal would moderate Iran’s behavior and help bring it back into the community of nations, but a quick survey of recent events shows the spectacular deception of that claim.

Iran is fighting a proxy war in Syria to keep Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime in power, and it probably has more troops on the ground than any group other than the Syrian Army. It continues flying military equipment into Syria via Iraq, attracting the occasional Israeli airstrike (including one just last night) and risking major escalation of the fighting there. Its proxies in Yemen have fired Iranian-made weapons at U.S. Navy ships in the Red Sea, as well as used one of Iran’s signature weapons, the explosive boat, to hit and severely damage a Saudi warship. Its ballistic missile activity has continued unabated, despite UN Security Council Resolution 2231’s prohibitions on such activity. In addition to missile testing, Iran has actually fired ballistic missiles at targets in Syria, and its Yemeni proxies have fired Iranian-made missiles into Saudi Arabia.

Needless to say, we don’t see much moderating in Iran’s behavior. Worse, Obama helped fund Iran’s increased terror sponsorship.

In the coming days and weeks we expect the various actors that supported the deal — Democrats, the Leftmedia, the Europeans, the Iranians — will all make the most of the opportunity to paint President Trump as a bumptious and warmongering rube. The Europeans will follow Obama’s cue and decry the undiplomatic behavior of withdrawing from a gentlemen’s agreement. The Iranians will shout about the untrustworthy nature of the United States. We even expect Rep. Maxine Waters will ascribe racism to President Trump’s decision, claiming it is an act of spite against his African-American predecessor.

But all the wailing and teeth-gnashing among various Europeans, Iranians, Democrats (and even some short-sighted Republicans) will merely serve to demonstrate the double injury Obama inflicted when he accepted the deal. The first injury was the deal itself. The second, as we said at the time, was that some future president would have to withdraw and harm our standing with friends and foes alike.

That day has now come, and our standing with our European allies may indeed suffer temporarily. Iran may try to create even more mischief around the Middle East. Oil markets and the U.S. and world economies may feel some pain as Iran’s oil market is squeezed.

But the undeniable fact is that the existing nuclear agreement merely kicked the can down the road for a decade, ensuring that Iran would emerge with a full, UN-approved nuclear fuel cycle that would enable very rapid nuclear breakout in the future. Dealing with this problem now, even if painful, is vastly better than dealing with it later, when it may not only be painful but also deadly. Withdrawing from the nuclear deal is a first step in the right direction.

On a final note, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un should take note that Trump isn’t messing around. Perhaps he already has, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo returns home today from Pyongyang with three released American hostages.

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IN BRIEF

Dems’ Tax-Hike Plans Take a Hit

Thomas Gallatin

With the mainstream media salivating over the “real” possibility of Republicans repeating a Roy Moore fiasco in the West Virginia primary — only this time with a much more problematic candidate — the GOP braced for the worst. Then Tuesday night came and, much to Democrats’ chagrin, the most dangerous Republican candidates to Dems’ hopes of a “blue wave” won. In other words, Tuesday night proved to be a good night for the GOP, dimming Democrat dreams for regaining control of the Senate and maybe even the House in November.

The two most significant primary wins for Republicans came in the states of Indiana and West Virginia, both having heavily voted for Donald Trump. In Indiana, Washington outsider and anti-establishment candidate Mike Braun won the primary and will face off against Joe Donnelly, the vulnerable Democrat incumbent senator. Of the three Republicans who ran, Braun was widely considered the best candidate to challenge Donnelly. In West Virginia, coal baron and ex-convict Don Blankenship was defeated by a wide margin, coming in a distant third with just 20%; the victor was state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who was instrumental in blocking Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan and saving the coal industry. That’s huge in West Virginia, and Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin must be sweating it now.

Meanwhile, if Democrat hopes for a “blue wave” are to materialize, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) seems bound and determined to make it as difficult as possible. The House minority leader declared this week (again) that one of Democrats’ primary goals is to raise taxes. On Tuesday, a reporter asked Pelosi to respond to a Republican ad charging that, should Democrats regain control of Congress, they would seek to “institute a single-payer health care program” and raise taxes. Pelosi responded, “I think they mean roll back the tax cuts they passed this year. Well, the second part there is accurate.” She added, “I do think we should revisit the tax legislation in … a bipartisan, transparent way.”

Remember, not a single Democrat voted to reduce anyone’s tax burden last year.

So while the Democrats’ anti-Trump base may be loving the prospect of getting back at the president, there are a couple of warning signs for Democrats. First, polls show that a majority of Americans now view the Robert Mueller investigation against Trump as primarily politically motivated. That may not seem like much, but it’s the spearhead of the #Resistance, and the American people are seriously skeptical. Second, and even more significantly, a good economy is bad for Democrats — and we’re in the midst of a good economy.

Obviously, the midterms are still months away and, as that old adage goes, don’t count your chickens before they hatch. But the Democrats’ strategy of offering little more than Trump-bashing in the midst of a booming economy may prove to backfire.

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NYT: It’s Wasteful to Prosecute Criminals for Gun Crimes

Seeking to inflate the problem of gun violence as a major political issue rather than recognize the wisdom in enforcing existing laws, The New York Times ran an article questioning the effectiveness of increased prosecutions of “low-level” criminals who illegally purchase or possess firearms — an effort spearheaded by President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Times suggests that this ramped-up prosecution of firearms-related crimes is essentially a misplaced focus. The article states, “Mr. Sessions’ approach has touched off a debate about whether he is making the country safer from violent crime, as he and President Trump have repeatedly vowed to do, or devoting resources to low-level prosecutions that could instead be put toward pursuing bigger targets like gun suppliers.”

The Times also notes that the anti-gun agitating Brady Campaign objects. The organization’s co-president Avery Gardiner argued, “It’s a good idea to enforce the existing gun laws. That’s something prosecutors should do. But going only after the people who are purchasing the guns illegally is only part of the story.” And they are a huge part of the story that both the previous administrations essentially chose to ignore. As The Washington Post reported in 2013, “Neither the Bush administration nor Obama administration ever prosecuted even one-quarter of one percent of the people who failed to pass a criminal background check.”

So according to this logic, only “big-time” targets like “gun suppliers” are worth spending the time and effort to apply the law to. Because resources are limited? Since when has the Left ever been concerned about limited resources in regards to government enforcement? No, the real reason for the objection is due to an anti-gun agenda that aims to create more laws limiting Americans Second Amendment rights. National Review’s Jim Geraghty astutely notes, “Of course, this [objection to enforcing the law] is an argument from self-interest. If the problem of gun violence can be addressed sufficiently by enforcing existing laws … then there isn’t much need for a group like the Brady Campaign to push for additional laws, now is there?” It also should be noted that, for the Left, the problem isn’t the criminal; it’s the gun.

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Top Headlines

  • Obama on Iran “deal” exit: This “turns our back on America’s closest allies” (The Washington Free Beacon)
  • Oil soars, dollar roars as Trump dumps Iran nuclear deal (Reuters)
  • Donald Trump to award Medal of Honor to Navy SEAL for gallant rescue in Afghanistan (USA Today)
  • Senate report: No evidence that Russians changed vote tallies in 2016 (USA Today)
  • Haspel promises not to reinstate “enhanced” interrogation as CIA director (NBC News)
  • 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed asks to weigh in on Gina Haspel’s confirmation (National Review)
  • Mormons to end long association with Boy Scouts of America over name change (Fox News)
  • Walt Disney World cancels Christian music festival after 34 years (The Daily Wire)
  • Groups urge Trump to fully repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard (Hot Air)
  • Humor: Local man Googles “What is an Iran deal” moments before posting dogmatic opinion on Iran deal online (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: How to think about the end of the Iran nuclear deal (American Enterprise Institute)
  • Policy: John Kerry’s freelance diplomacy violates U.S. law — so why isn’t he prosecuted? (Investor’s Business Daily)

For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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TODAY’S MEME

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

TODAY’S CARTOON

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For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Star Parker: “As we might expect, food stamp enrollees skyrocketed as the recession set in heavily in 2008. The number of recipients went from approximately 26 million in 2007 to a peak of 47.6 million in 2013. With the economic recovery, the number has dropped off to about 43 million. The Labor Department now reports that unemployment has fallen to 3.9 percent — the lowest since December 2000. Unemployment peaked during the recession at almost 10 percent. Why, when unemployment has dropped by 61 percent, has the number of food stamp recipients dropped by only 10 percent? The number of recipients is about 17 million higher than before the recession. The answer is that it’s a lot easier to get aid recipients onto a welfare program than get them off. Although the unemployment rate has dropped dramatically, the employment rate — the percentage of the population over 16 working — is still far below where it was prior to the recession. The latest jobs report shows the employment rate at 60.3 percent. Just prior to the recession in 2007, it was at 63.4 percent. If today’s employment rate stood where it was before the recession, there would be eight million more Americans working. These eight million Americans are not sitting on the sidelines just because of food stamps. Disability insurance and other welfare programs also leave the door open to not working. How to solve this problem? Start with the Reagan rule: ‘Government is not the solution to our problem; government IS the problem.’”

SHORT CUTS

For the record: “Obama left the Middle East a smoking wreckage heap — a situation so grim that even Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan have been forced to ally with Israel to allay fears of an Iranian regional takeover. … Barack Obama had a peculiar vision of the Middle East remade: Iran ascendant, the power of Israel checked, the Saudis chastened. He achieved that vision at the cost of tens of thousands of lives across the region. President Trump is undoing that legacy. Good riddance.” —Ben Shapiro

Upright: “Far from isolating the United States, President Trump is proving that the United States is the indispensable nation. Nations will be put to a choice: You can have access to the U.S. economy or you can have commerce with Iran — not both. Our European allies know this is not a real choice: They can’t isolate us, they need us, our markets, and the umbrella of our protection.” —Andrew McCarthy

Broken clock: “Impeachment to me is a divisive issue unless there’s something so conclusive as we saw … in Watergate. So I’ve just said to folks, ‘I wish you wouldn’t [push for impeachment]. You can talk about it in your district. In my district, it’s a very popular issue, but it’s not the path we should go on.’” —Nancy Pelosi

The bottom line: “This is a party with cause. The cause is against Donald Trump. That’s not a good enough message to deserve governing.” —former New Jersey Democrat Sen. Robert Torricelli

Braying Jenny: “People ask, ‘Why haven’t you moved on?’ And I say, ‘Well, there are tens of millions of people who haven’t moved on because there are still so many unanswered questions.’” —Hillary Clinton, who followed that up with her usual litany of blame

And last… “To vote down someone so obviously qualified [as Gina Haspel] as political retribution for the CIA’s now-defunct interrogation program would be a travesty. President Barack Obama’s Justice Department concluded that no crimes had been committed. Moreover, as CIA veterans point out, [John] Brennan was himself deeply involved in the interrogation program, and was confirmed 63-34 as Obama’s CIA director, with only two Democrats and one independent voting against him. Why the double standard for the first woman nominated to lead the agency?” —Marc A. Thiessen

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Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher