Mid-Day Digest

Sep. 13, 2018

THE FOUNDATION

“We are, heart and soul, friends to the freedom of the press. It is however, the prostituted companion of liberty, and somehow or other, we know not how, its efficient auxiliary. It follows the substance like its shade; but while a man walks erect, he may observe that his shadow is almost always in the dirt.” —Fisher Ames (1807)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Did you know Trump is to blame for Hurricane Florence? Neither did we.
  • The Demo midterm strategy to lie about Kavanaugh is about female votes.
  • Bureaucracy is intractable at the CFPB.
  • Trump is upending the failed status quo of the Middle East “peace process.”
  • Leftists sure are violent about politics.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists, and Short Cuts.

IN BRIEF

WaPo Fires First Shots in Hurricane Florence Blame Game

Jordan Candler

University of Georgia science professor and 2013 American Meteorological Society President Dr. Marshall Shepherd isn’t sheepish about his notions of man-made global warming. Yet as Hurricane Florence chugs toward the southeast coast, even he is warning against throwing caution to the wind. “I keep getting questions about climate change and #HurricaneFlorence,” he recently tweeted. “Let’s have that conversation another time.” Dr. Shepherd went on to say that while he’s “happy to have” a subsequent dialogue, “this week we need to focus on this significant weather threats, impacts, keeping people updated, and getting them prepared.” This is a very level-headed sentiment. Sadly, though, the Washington Post editorial board didn’t get the memo.

In fact, the Post might as well proceed to renaming this storm Hurricane Donald based on what the editors insinuate in their despicable editorial headline: “Another hurricane is about to batter our coast. Trump is complicit.” Florence hasn’t even made landfall yet (the forecast is still evolving, by the way), and already the Post laments that “when it comes to extreme weather, Mr. Trump is complicit. He plays down humans’ role in increasing the risks, and he continues to dismantle efforts to address those risks.”

“If the Category 4 hurricane does, indeed, hit the Carolinas this week,” the authors write, “it will be the strongest storm on record to land so far north.” That’s true, though it appears increasingly unlikely — the storm has dropped to a Category 2 as of this morning, with some restrengthening possible. (Importantly for those in its path, the effects will be severe regardless of wind strength at landfall). Either way, how does a strong storm unequivocally prove that humans are the culprit? “It is hard to attribute any single weather event to climate change,” the editorial ironically cautions. “But there is no reasonable doubt that humans are priming the Earth’s systems to produce disasters.” Yet to outlets like The Washington Post, every disaster is attributed to climate change.

The Post continues: “Kevin Trenberth, a climate researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, co-wrote a May paper showing that [Hurricane] Harvey’s cataclysmic wetness came from the unusually hot Gulf of Mexico water that fed the hurricane before it slammed into Texas. … Now Florence is feasting on warm Atlantic Ocean water. … Scientists also warn that climate change may be slowing the wind currents that guide hurricanes, making storms more sluggish and, therefore, apt to linger longer over disaster zones.”

Actually, as meteorologist Joe Bastardi explained last year, “Harvey got trapped not by an expansive subtropical ridge … but by an abnormally large-scale trough over the eastern U.S.” Yes, the atmospheric setup is different this time, but the point is that most media are selective about which variables they chose to include. In other words, the variables must help to promote the prevailing narrative, which includes, in the Post’s telling, that “the president has cemented the GOP’s legacy as one of reaction and reality denial.”

In reality, denialists are those who pretend the recent decade-long major hurricane drought never happened. Or that the 1930s, ‘40s, and '50s hurricane apex is fictitious. The climate pendulum is always swinging. And no amount of revisionist history will stop it. It’s almost like, ahem, Resistance is futile.

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Dems Lie About Kavanaugh for Midterm Gain

Thomas Gallatin

Following the Senate hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh last week, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-2020) released a heavily edited video of Kavanaugh wherein she claimed that his response to a question was “a dog whistle for going after birth control.” However, Harris’s allegation was so clearly manipulated and inaccurate that even the leftist Washington Post and Politifact rated her claim as false. But that didn’t stop Hillary Clinton from parroting Harris’s lie.

On Wednesday, Clinton wrote, “When Kavanaugh called birth control 'abortion-inducing drugs,’ he made it clear that safe and legal abortion isn’t the only fundamental reproductive right at grave risk if he is confirmed. Access to birth control is, too.” She then added, “Imagine an America in which women are barred from getting IUDs or birth control pills, and doctors are criminalized for prescribing them. It’s an America in which women would be punished for insisting on being full and equal partners in society.” In other words, confirming Kavanaugh equals instituting a fictional dystopia akin to “The Handmaid’s Tale.” And that is exactly where both Harris and Clinton are living — fantasy land.

The reality is that Kavanaugh has a supremely competent and scandal-free history, and his confirmation is essentially a given. So why are Democrats so committed to this demonstrably false narrative against him, knowing that he will be confirmed anyway? They are eyeing the midterms. This scare tactic is designed to create an issue to push women away from voting for Republicans and supporting President Donald Trump’s agenda.

Recent poll numbers indicate that this scare tactic may be working. Real Clear Politics shows that Trump’s job approval rating has slipped from 43.8% to 40.7% since the end of August. The prior four months had Trump with steady 43% to 44% approval ratings. This drop coincides with the Kavanaugh hearings. Democrats are seeing benefits in drawing out this confirmation process as long as possible — they’ve now delayed the Judiciary Committee’s vote until next week. That gives them more time to lie about what Kavanaugh has said in order to convince their largest voting block, women, that he represents an existential and immediate threat to their standing in society. Democrats may scream about equality all day long, but no one ever accused them of playing fair.

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Top Headlines

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

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GOOD NEWS

Police Officer Adopts Baby of Homeless Woman Battling Drug Addiction

A woman was living on the streets, pregnant and battling a drug addiction. While on patrol, officer Jesse Whitten would encounter her from time to time and check up on her, and on one such meeting last year in August, his wife, Ashley, was alongside. The two women struck up a conversation about motherhood and its challenges.

Read more at CBS News.

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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.

Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column

Read Woodward’s ‘Blue Wave’ Launch Pad: Fear Crazy Trump!. “[Trump] is doing what he campaigned on. Some policies may not work out, but they’re not ‘crazy.’” —Brit Hume

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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

FEATURED ANALYSIS

The Intractable CFPB Bureaucracy

Lewis Morris

Any hopes of seeing the constitutionally dubious Consumer Financial Protection Bureau go away under the Trump administration have been dashed for the time being. The CFPB released its first report under acting Director Mick Mulvaney last week, and it appears that the bureau is chugging along pretty much as before.

The activities report notes that the CFPB has uncovered rules violations and deceptive practices among banks, lending companies, auto and home loan servicers, credit card companies, and debt collectors. The 22-page report indicates that the CFPB is still tracking down and locating bad apples in the financial sector, which for some continues to justify the bureau’s existence.

Ronald Reagan did say that “a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.”

Mulvaney, who is also the chairman of White House Office of Management and Budget, has been the acting director since November 2017. While he has not been successful in shutting down the CFPB, he has been working to rein in the bureau. Mulvaney approached Congress about making the CFPB more accountable in issuing policy initiatives and giving the president unilateral authority to remove the CFPB director for any reason, not just “with cause,” whatever that’s interpreted to mean.

Last year the CFPB’s first director, Richard Cordray, claimed that only he had the power to appoint his successor. Not likely in a Trump White House. Cordray’s pick, Leandra English, sued the Trump administration for instituting Mulvaney, but she was on the wrong side of the law, and the suit went nowhere.

The political dust-up surrounding Cordray’s departure was typical of the CFPB’s bureaucratic nature and pedigree. Created by the Obama administration to be deliberately unaccountable to anyone (Democrats preferred the term “impartial”), even the president, establishing the CFPB was like setting loose a monster on America’s financial sector. The CFPB did not have to report details of its workings to Congress, and it did not have to account for money recovered from illegal financial dealings, which was supposed to go back to consumers but ended up in a slush fund for Democrat causes.

The CFPB may not be going away, but there is a chance that it could be getting a much-needed makeover soon. A possible new permanent head of the bureau, Kathy Kraninger, is eager to follow in Mulvaney’s footsteps and make the CFPB more accountable and effective in doing what it’s ostensibly supposed to do — protect consumers.

Kraninger’s nomination passed the Senate Banking Committee by a party-line vote last month. Kraninger’s Washington work has been mostly in Homeland Security, but she has bureaucratic experience and is considered a protégé of Mulvaney. Democrats consider her unqualified for the role and have tried to hamstring her nomination because she oversaw budgets for agencies connected to the Hurricane Maria response in Puerto Rico and family separations at the border. They will likely try to delay her confirmation vote as long as possible in the hopes of winning the Senate in November.

Regardless of which party controls Congress after November, though, the CFPB could be going to the Supreme Court. The power structure of the bureau is in question in a lawsuit being brought by State National Bank of Texas, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the seniors’ advocacy group 60 Plus Association. Their suit claims that the CFPB’s one-director power structure and its lack of accountability to Congress and the president are unconstitutional.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has already ruled against the CFPB as a judge on the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Even though his panel decision was later overruled by the full court, there is a strong chance that he may have the last word if he is confirmed soon.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

OPINION IN BRIEF

Veronique de Rugy: “The Family Savings Act of 2018 includes some important attempts to ease rules around retirement savings and startup companies, among other changes. One change would simplify retirement savings. Another would create new universal savings accounts (USAs), while two others would expand the use of 529 education savings accounts and let families access their own savings to support parental leave. The most innovative of these measures by far is the USAs — a reform I’ve written about in the past. The idea is to encourage savings by granting taxpayers a tax incentive to save, with total flexibility over the timing and use of the money saved. Many of us are familiar with the different vehicles that currently exist to save money for retirement, college and medical expenses. They all face different tax treatments, limits and constraints on how and when the money can be used without facing a tax penalty, and some of these accounts aren’t available to all workers. Not so with USAs. They circumvent those rigidities by allowing taxpayers to annually contribute up to $2,500 of after-tax income to an account in which the savings would grow over time without any additional taxes paid on interest. Withdrawals would be tax-free, no matter how and when the money is spent. … Let’s hope this flexibility and this new saving options will be available to Americans soon.”

SHORT CUTS

Upright: “9/11 is another reminder of how much is at stake this November. Our military families know it. The survivors of that horrible day know it. And the enemies of this nation know it. … Seventeen years later, there’s no better way to honor the thousands of men and women who lost their lives for being American than protecting the principles that make our country great.” —Tony Perkins

For the record: “It’s much more plausible that [FBI Agent Peter Strzok] was talking about a strategy designed to leak things selectively to the media to achieve the goal [Donald Trump’s election loss] he set up for himself. It doesn’t pass the giggle test.” —Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz

Braying Jackass: “This is a scandal. At the start of hurricane season — when American citizens in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still suffering from FEMA’s inadequate recovery efforts — the administration transferred millions of dollars away from FEMA. And for what? To implement their profoundly misguided ‘zero tolerance’ policy.” —Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

The BIG Lie: “[Brett Kavanaugh] referred to birth-control pills as ‘abortion-inducing drugs.’ That set off a lot of alarm bells for me, and it should for you, too. Kavanaugh didn’t use that term because he misunderstands the basic science of birth control — the fact that birth control prevents fertilization of eggs in the first place. He used that term because it’s a dog whistle to the extreme right. When Kavanaugh called birth control ‘abortion-inducing drugs,’ he made it clear that safe and legal abortion isn’t the only fundamental reproductive right at grave risk if he is confirmed. Access to birth control is, too. Imagine an America in which women are barred from getting IUDs or birth control pills, and doctors are criminalized for prescribing them. It’s an America in which women would be punished for insisting on being full and equal partners in society.” —Hillary Clinton peddling Sen. Kamala Harris’s egregiously false claim

And last… “Space may still be the final frontier, but today, when we talk about boldly going where no man has gone before, we mean the ladies’ bathroom. Progress.” —Mark Steyn

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher