“He tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition.” —Thomas Jefferson (1785)
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- Obama made a bad deal with Iran and then skirted it to make it worse.
- Media conspiracy theories about Melania Trump are just terrible.
- Who is “Juan” Galt? Venezuela sees an exodus of talent.
- “Make Congress Work Again” is working.
- How to make lemons out of a kids’ lemonade stand.
- Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.
As if Barack Obama’s Iran deal wasn’t built on enough lies, a recent investigation concluded that the Obama administration skirted sanctions in order to grant Iran access to billions of dollars via the U.S. financial system, all the while telling the American people and Congress that it remained committed to barring Tehran from access to America’s banks. On Wednesday, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations published its report, which found that Obama officials secretly directed Treasury Department officials to produce a specific license with the aim of giving Iran access to $5.7 billion in hard currency. The report states, “As the Treasury and State Department worked behind the scenes to help Iran access the dollar, the message to Congress remained the same: The [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] did not allow Iran to access the U.S. financial system.”
And we’re not even talking about the pallets loaded with ransom cash.
The report also disclosed that top Obama-era officials essentially gave European countries the green light to do business with Iran, encouraging them to ignore the sanction restrictions. Investigators found, “For example, during a [pro-Iran] roadshow in London in March 2015 with representatives from 10 major global financial institutions, the head of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Compliance [OFAC] assured attendees that ‘95 percent of the time OFAC sees an apparent violation it results in a simple warning letter or no enforcement action.’ He explained OFAC would only take action in egregious situations.”
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, blasted the former administration, stating, “The Obama administration misled the American people and Congress because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran. Despite claims both before and after the Iran deal was completed that the U.S. financial system would remain off limits, the Obama administration issued a specific license allowing Iran to convert billions of dollars in assets using the U.S. financial system.” Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) observed that Obama was trying to “hide a secret push to give the ayatollah access to the U.S. dollar.”
Going back to 2015, Obama wanted his Iran nuclear deal to be his signature foreign policy accomplishment, cementing his legacy as the president who fundamentally changed America’s approach to the Middle East. Obama clearly shunned and loathed the U.S.‘s strongest ally in the region, Israel, and instead made overtures to Israel’s biggest enemy in the region, Iran. To Obama, Israel, not Iran, was the Middle East’s largest problem, and the U.S. had unfairly supported it. Obama’s legacy would be to balance things out — to give the Middle East back to the Islamists. It’s all based on the leftist rationale that blames U.S. meddling for the violence in the region. To Obama, the U.S. was the big bully that had stolen Iran’s money, and as president he was finally in a position to set things “right.”
For Obama, the Iran nuclear deal was never really about preventing the number one state sponsor of terrorism from getting nukes; it was all about making things “fair.” And this latest revelation only further establishes that motive.
Sometimes the “news” isn’t the news; the media’s coverage of it is. Such is the case with First Lady Melania Trump’s “mysterious” absence from the public after she underwent a kidney procedure in May. Media figures advanced wild conspiracy theories including everything from botched plastic surgery to a body double to a mental breakdown to her leaving after spousal abuse at the hands of President Donald Trump. That’s not journalism, it’s a smear campaign, and it was exposed when Melania appeared smiling and apparently well Wednesday at a FEMA briefing.
These Leftmedia hitmen would certainly love to see the president’s marriage collapse after the Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal kerfuffle. We’re not defending his behavior in those affairs, but what better way to advance the #MeToo strategy to undermine Trump’s successful policy agenda and to anger female voters ahead of the 2018 and 2020 elections than to further speculate that Melania is being abused or held hostage?
Another point: Melania is not charging ahead with policy initiatives like Michelle Obama, and she’s not “co-president” like Hillary Clinton. So, as Tucker Carlson put it, “What’s so interesting about this is how much journalists hate Melania Trump. Imagine hating Melania Trump. Whatever else she is, Melania Trump is not an overbearing public figure. She’s not lecturing you about your weight, or trying to control your personal life. She doesn’t weigh in on tax rates or global warming. It’s unlikely she will run for Senate from New York when this is all over.” Indeed, she prefers to work behind the scenes, and part of her desire is driven by exactly this kind of media sensationalism.
Finally, what makes the pitiful episode even more laughable is that when Trump blasted the “Fake News Media” for “unfair” and “vicious” attacks on his wife, some outlets blamed him for the conspiracy theories because the White House had been too quiet about Melania’s whereabouts. Our diagnosis: The media has a serious case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
- Trump signs VA Mission Act into law to give veterans more health care choices (Washington Examiner)
- $119,050,900,000: Merchandise trade deficit with China hit record through April (CNS News)
- “Human rights disaster”: China’s persecution of Christians at highest level since Mao (The Washington Times)
- Federal judge rules anti-sanctuary city law unconstitutional (The Washington Times)
- ACLU files lawsuit to prevent government from asking about citizenship on 2020 Census (The Daily Wire)
- MSNBC, NBC anchors push back on Bill Clinton’s attacks on interview: “Baffling,” making “false allegations” (The Washington Free Beacon)
- Scalise returns to congressional baseball practice nearly one year after attempted murder (National Review)
- U.S. student loan debt hits staggering $1.5 trillion (PJ Media)
- Feds spending $350K to see if lesbians are using the right contraception (Hot Air)
- Feds send $1 million to a study designed to push transgenderism on children (The Federalist)
- Policy: Four key points in the tariffs debate as Trump prepares for G-7 summit (The Daily Signal)
- Policy: Putting American security first in the post-JCPOA order (American Enterprise Institute)
For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
“Ayn Rand was not a fortune teller, not a Nostradamus. She was a logician.” —columnist Marina Medvin
Ms. Medvin is referring to Rand’s epochal novel, Atlas Shrugged. It is the story of a nation overwhelmed by an oppressive socialist government determined to shackle the most productive members of society in service to the “greater good.” As the oppression intensifies, the so-called best and brightest reject their enslavement and begin disappearing, inspired by the question “Who is John Galt?” Unable to function without them, the government collapses.
Venezuela currently epitomizes the inexorability of Rand’s logic.
According to the International Organization for Migration, the number of Venezuelans leaving the nation between 2015 and 2017 increased 900%, from 89,000 to 900,000 people. The UN describes the outflow as the “largest ever” migration from the Americas. Yet just like in Rand’s novel, it’s not just the fact that people per se are leaving Venezuela but who in particular is leaving that matters most.
The nation has lost a shocking one-third of its 66,000 doctors overall, and nearly half of those who worked in public hospitals. That particular disaster is precipitated by the collapse of the health care system to the point where there are shortages of more than 85% of basic medicines, and some patients need to bring their own scalpels to surgery. Moreover, the almost unimaginable 454% increase in prices in the first three months of this year “has condemned medical personnel to a miserable salary that is erased by inflation,” reveals Venezuelan Medical Federation President Douglas Leon Natera. “For doctors in public hospitals, the salaries stand at about $4 or $5 per month. That’s for specialists.”
The doctors are not the sole victims of this ongoing economic catastrophe. According to Se Educa, an educational nonprofit group, 48,000 teachers, representing 12% of all elementary and high school staff in the country, have quit their jobs, and the vast majority of them have joined the exodus out of Venezuela. As a result, some grades have gone without classes for months, and other classes are staffed by unpaid volunteers.
Doctors and educators have been joined by engineers, bus drivers and electricians. Last year in Caracas, 2,226 subway employees, representing more than 20% of the entire workforce, also walked off their jobs.
And as bad as the proverbial brain drain has been between 2015 and 2017, this year it’s verging on catastrophic. According to the Central University of Venezuela, approximately 400,000 Venezuelans have fled the country in the first five months of the year. Yet even those numbers may be a low-ball estimate. Aid workers from bordering nations claim an average of 4,600 Venezuelans are leaving their nation behind each day, putting the total outflow closer to 700,000 since January.
The military has also been decimated, and high desertion rates have forced Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro to rely on retirees and militia to replace them. Soldiers have been joined by a stampede of 25,000 oil workers who resigned from the state-run oil firm, PDVSA, between the beginning of January 2017 and the end of January 2018, according to union leader and government critic Ivan Freites, who cited internal company data as his evidence.
Even more ominous, the trend is likely to be exacerbated by the “reelection” of Maduro. That election was deemed illegitimate by his opponents, the United States, the European Union and several Latin American nations, and at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires on May 21, a joint statement was issued by representatives from Argentina, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Chile, and the United States. It said they were “considering possible political, diplomatic and financial sanctions against the authoritarian regime of Maduro.”
The same day, President Donald Trump signed an executive order prohibiting Americans from buying Venezuelan debt obligations Venezuela has been seeking to raise critically needed cash.
On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged members of the Organization of American States (OAS) to suspend Venezuela’s membership. He needn’t have bothered. Maduro announced his nation was withdrawing from the OAS, a process that takes two years.
In remarks delivered at a White House reception for the OAS the same day, Vice President Mike Pence stated the glaringly obvious. “The regime of Nicolas Maduro has turned a free and prosperous nation into one of the most poorest and most despotic in our hemisphere,” he said. “The once-great Venezuelan economy and government is now nothing more than a failed state.”
In a better nation, the collapse of Venezuela’s so-called “21st Century Socialism” would be an object lesson taught in every American high school and college. In this one, the siren song of socialism has taken root with younger generations of Americans, indoctrinated by an increasingly progressive public school system and the socialist/Marxist “finishing schools” known as colleges and universities. As a result of this contemptuous cultivation, more Millennials prefer socialism to capitalism.
“For months, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and party leaders have been touting their overall plan, called ‘A Better Deal,’ as a response to the ‘raw deal’ that they say President Trump and GOP-controlled Congress has pursued on Capitol Hill,” The Washington Times reports.
Just like in Venezuela, that so-called Better Deal is nothing more than Marxist socialism repackaged. The same kind of better deal the Obama administration pursued for eight years — eight years in which his administration became the only one in history never to achieve a single year of 3% GDP growth, which progressive “experts” insisted would be the “new normal” of American economics.
None of it matters to Democrats because their socialist fantasies are borne of pure hubris. They look at the wreckage in places like Venezuela and come to a singular conclusion:
The wrong people were in charge.
In short, the American Left wants a nation where talent, innovation and risk-taking is conflated with laziness, envy and confiscation. A nation where incentive and coercion are interchangeable terms. Even worse, they frame their agenda as “social justice,” and they couldn’t care less that it ultimately produces the kind of increasing misery Venezuelans are enduring on a daily basis — provided every American is equally miserable.
Venezuela is collapsing and its best and brightest are fleeing. Americans would be wise to remember the essential difference between us and them: They have somewhere else to go.
They don’t call the United States the “last best hope of mankind” for no reason.
MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST
- ‘Make Congress Work Again’ Is Working — With a lot still on the docket, McConnell canceled recess. But keep the pressure on Congress.
- Making Lemons Out of a Lemonade Stand — Somebody called the cops on some kids in Colorado for selling lemonade without a license.
- Video: Why Culture Is Disappearing — YouTuber Chad Prather discusses why it is that our culture is so different now than in years past.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Paul Kengor: “It was 50 years ago that a shocking moment of violence rocked America: the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. The tragedy erupted shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. … After giving a jubilant speech, Kennedy was led from the podium toward the hotel exit via a carefully preselected back route through the kitchen. But someone was lurking along that path. A 24-year-old Palestinian-Jordanian immigrant named Sirhan Sirhan jumped out from behind a cart stacked with trays and began firing a .22 revolver. He lodged three bullets in his intended victim, one directly in the head, entering behind the right ear and piercing Kennedy’s brain. Kennedy went down. He would never stand again. Why did Sirhan pull the trigger? The answer was simple: The young Palestinian was seeking vengeance for the New York senator’s support of Israel in the Six Day War the previous June. … Looking back, this was maybe the first major manifestation of Middle East terrorism in the United States, long before Sept. 11, 2001. And yet it is crucial to understand that this was a deadly act prompted not only by the evil of Middle East terrorism but also — albeit quite forgotten — by the evil of Soviet communism. … Moscow had precipitated the Six Day War in June 1967, which, in turn, had prompted RFK’s assassin in June 1968. And the rest is history. At the time of his death, Robert F. Kennedy was only 42 years old. Had he lived to win the presidency, he would have been 43 at his inauguration, the same age as his late brother at his swearing in. His shooter was 24 years old, the same age as his late brother’s shooter. Today, 50 years later, the shooter is still with us. Bobby Kennedy is long gone. Who knows what might have been?”
For the record: “You ready for this? This is the latest from Rasmussen public polling surveys. Black voters are nearly twice as likely, 28%, to say young black Americans are better off now than they were in the closing year of Obama’s presidency. … That could be big, folks.” —Rush Limbaugh
A blind squirrel finds a nut: “We had never heard anything like this about a president in the White House, in the Oval Office, in the United States. And I believe that [Bill Clinton] set the bar very low.” —Joy Behar
Regrets — she’s had a few (but only a few): “A lot of people were offended and angry that I used an epithet to describe the president’s daughter last week. It is a word I have used on the show many times trying to reclaim it. This time I used it as an insult. I crossed the line. I regret it and I do apologize for that. … Many men were also offended by my use of the word. I do not care about that.” —Samantha Bee
Greasing the political skids: “It concerns me that so many voices within the Democratic Party are going so far to the left. I say to myself, ‘How are we going to pay for these things?’ in terms of things like single payer [and] people espousing the fact that the government is going to give everyone a job. I don’t think that’s realistic.” —outgoing Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz
Midterm forgiveness-seeking: “[Backing Hillary Clinton] was a mistake. It was a mistake politically.” —Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Race bait: “The national anthem is problematic in and of itself.” —CNN’s Angela Rye
Non Compos Mentis: “The Trump Administration policy of taking children from their families is immoral. We as a nation are better than this.” —former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, who oversaw the killing of nearly four million children
And last… “The problem with discourse in our society is not that it is hostile or partisan or divisive. The problem is that it is so fantastically stupid. Willful, gleeful stupidity is the primary thing preventing us from having any kind of fruitful dialogue.” —Matt Walsh
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher