“We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.” —Thomas Jefferson (1816)
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- As usual, no one is willing to fix the real drivers of American debt.
- Google’s Chinese search engine is entirely consistent with company “values.”
- Foreign policy is a messy thing, as friends and enemies aren’t always clear.
- The man-hating feminism of today has nothing to do with advancing women.
- Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists, and Short Cuts.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The U.S. government has a massive problem with overspending. The numbers are in for the 2018 fiscal year, and the government overspent its revenue by a whopping $779 billion. Recall that last year the deficit came in at $666 billion and the estimates for next year look likely to surpass this year’s. The 2018 deficit is the highest since the heady days of “Hope ‘n’ Change” in 2012, when it topped out at over $1 trillion.
Even as record individual income tax revenue has been collected this year, the overall tax revenue filling government coffers has remained essentially flat. The reason is that while the Republican tax cuts on corporations have effectively ignited a stagnant economy, they have yet to cause enough growth to offset revenue lost to the lower tax rate. That said, even under the previous higher corporate tax rate, the net revenue would only amount to $70 billion more, still leaving a deficit of over $700 billion.
So, irrespective of what Democrats may claim, the real problem is not the Republican tax cut; it’s soaring spending. And the fact of the matter is that Democrats would be even worse on spending with their calls for Medicare for All, free college, and whatever other income-redistributing entitlement they can concoct.
This year’s deficit increase has been primarily due to a couple of factors. First, there was a 6% increase in military spending, per President Donald Trump’s promise to build up a military that Barack Obama decimated. That increase came, as Trump noted, with concessions in other areas for Democrat spending priorities. Second, and far more critical, was a 4% increase in Social Security spending due to the increasing number of retiring Baby Boomers. Social Security currently accounts for 23% of the entire budget. Add Medicare and Medicaid and we’re talking 46% of the budget. So that 4% increase matters a lot.
Did we mention that Social Security and Medicare face a cash deficit of $82 trillion over the next 30 years? Worse, neither party will touch it.
Acknowledging the deficit problem, the administration is also encouraging patience. Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors, states, “The deficit is absolutely higher than anyone would like. [However], as you watch our next budget come out — and you’ll start to see things in the next few weeks — then you’ll see a much more aggressive stance” in tackling spending.
Trump has never been an ideological fiscal hawk, yet due to his business instincts he has been impressive in his efforts to cut waste in Washington via deregulation. He addressed the issue Wednesday, declaring, “I have a Cabinet meeting in a little while and we are going to ask every secretary to cut 5% for next year.” That said, Republicans need to get serious about cutting spending — specifically the entitlement state, which is the true driver of our debt. Ignoring this growing problem will only prove to be disastrous in the long run.
What happens when one of the world’s biggest and most influential corporations, Google, whose former motto was “Don’t Be Evil,” is ameliorating the censorship desires of a communist, evil state? During the days of the Cold War, such a question was likely to be rhetorical. Most Americans knew better and were repulsed by the communists. And those few who dared to capitulate to a communist nation and foe like Russia were at the very least inviting severe reprimands upon themselves. Not any longer. Google now openly admits that it is building a heavily censored search engine for adoption in China.
The search engine goes by the name “Project Dragonfly.” According to The Washington Free Beacon, “The tech giant’s executives are happy with the search engine’s performance and they believe it is in accordance with the company’s values.” If by “values” the executives mean “wherever the money flows,” then yes, they’re in accordance with said values. In fact, the project isn’t contrary to Google’s mission; it’s entirely consistent with it. Dragonfly was already known to exist despite the coyness of Google’s leadership, so CEO Sundar Pichai’s acknowledgement merely makes it official. But it’s disconcerting nonetheless.
Pichai contends, “We are compelled by our mission [to] provide information to everyone, and [China is] 20 percent of the world’s population.” Yet that’s hardly what matters here. As the Beacon points out, “The rule of law in China is in the midst of a historic period of repression, with religious freedom sharply curtailed and the flow of information strictly controlled under President Xi Jinping. Meanwhile, China has continued its work in cyber and information warfare.” The fact that Google, headquartered in a nation that champions the free flow of ideas, is pacifying a communist, tyrannical nation that subjugates its people and despises America apparently doesn’t bother Google executives. Which should bother every American that does business with Google. (That would be most of us, by the way.)
On that note, Americans are also victims of Google’s information manipulation. As USA Today reports, “Google News and Google News search engine results appear to show a ‘strong preference’ for media organizations that are on the left of the political spectrum, a new report finds. The report from the media technology group AllSides, out Tuesday, analyzed Google News’ homepage and search engine results from the news page over a two-week period and determined that news outlets with a ‘left’ bias were more often prominently displayed.” This explains the reluctance of Democrats to condemn what Google — a leftist bastion — is doing not just here but also internationally.
Earlier this year, FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “I think China, from a counterintelligence perspective, in many ways represents the broadest, most challenging, most significant threat we face as a country.” Sadly, Google, by helping to establish a censored Chinese search engine, is undermining our attempts to subvert this dangerous foe. That’s awfully sad when the bottom line is all about the dollars.
- Here’s how much red tape Trump has cut (The Daily Signal)
- Paid Democrat voter fraud ring uncovered in Texas (Hot Air)
- Civility update: Two Minnesota Republican candidates assaulted (The Washington Free Beacon)
- Record number of families crossing U.S. border, as Trump threatens new crackdown (The Washington Post)
- State Department provided “clearly false” statements to derail requests for Clinton docs, “shocked” judge says (Fox News)
- U.S. Treasury official charged with leaks linked to Russia probe (Reuters)
- Student loan debt crisis: The next generation of graduates will include more borrowers who may never be able to repay (Bloomberg)
- Americans now more skeptical of women claiming sexual harassment after year of #MeToo (The Daily Wire)
- Thank fracking for continued decreases in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (Washington Examiner)
- Humor: Mafia requests to no longer be called “the Mob” because of negative association with political activists (The Babylon Bee)
- Policy: Consumers will suffer the hangover from Trump’s ethanol binge (Washington Examiner)
- Policy: Yes, entitlements are a far bigger debt-driver than the recent tax cuts are (National Review)
For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.
President Donald Trump placed the Medal of Honor around the neck of retired Sgt. Maj. John Canley on Wednesday. But, for the Vietnam War hero, it has always been about his Marines.
On Jan. 31, 1968, Canley and about 140 members of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, were charged with taking back Hue City at the start of the Tet Offensive. When their commanding officer was seriously injured, Canley, the company gunnery sergeant at the time, took control and led his men through what would become one of the bloodiest battles during the Vietnam War.
His official citation reads:
The President of the United States, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor to Gunnery Sergeant John L. Canley, United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy while serving as Company Gunnery Sergeant, Alpha Company, First Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division, from 31 January to 6 February 1968, in the Republic of Vietnam. Alpha Company fought off multiple vicious attacks as it rapidly moved along the highway toward Huế City to relieve friendly forces that were surrounded by enemy. Despite being wounded in these engagements, Gunnery Sergeant Canley repeatedly rushed across fire-swept terrain to carry his wounded Marines to safety. After his commanding officer was severely wounded, Gunnery Sergeant Canley took command and led the company into Huế City. At Huế City, caught in deadly crossfire from enemy machine gun positions, he set up a base of fire and maneuvered with a platoon in a flanking attack that eliminated several enemy positions. Retaining command of the company for three days, he led attacks against multiple enemy fortified positions while routinely braving enemy fire to carry wounded Marines to safety. On 4 February, he led a group of Marines into an enemy-occupied building in Huế City. He moved into the open to draw fire, located the enemy, eliminated the threat, and expanded the company’s hold on the building room by room. Gunnery Sergeant Canley then gained position above the enemy strongpoint and dropped in a large satchel charge that forced the enemy to withdraw. On 6 February, during a fierce firefight at a hospital compound, Gunnery Sergeant Canley twice scaled a wall in full view of the enemy to carry wounded Marines to safety. By his undaunted courage, selfless sacrifice, and unwavering devotion to duty, Gunnery Sergeant Canley reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Correction: The citation was originally for the Navy Cross, which was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. The citation had not been updated.
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For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
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What to make of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other American “friends” is a complicated question.
John J. Bastiat
Contrary to the Pollyanna foreign policy of the previous administration that assumed a “reset” was possible with Russia, that a World Apology Tour in which bowing to despots and other morally corrupt leaders was not only appropriate but also long overdue, and that “spreading democracy” (think: “Arab Spring” and the current conflagration in Syria) supersedes U.S. national security interests — to include regional stability in the Middle East and prevention of mass loss of life — the Trump administration actually “gets” foreign policy. This despite the leftover leftist antibodies infesting what ostensibly is known as the “State Department.” Trumpian foreign policy implicitly realizes that unlike the age-old adage, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” that “friend” is more likely yet another enemy. Perhaps it’s the case that we should treat a current enemy-of-our-enemy somewhat better than an enemy, but rest assured this “friend” does not have the best interests of the U.S. in mind.
Nowhere is this fact more apparent than in the unfolding of recent events, in which American pastor Andrew Brunson was released after two years’ unjust imprisonment in a Turkish jail, while at nearly the same hour U.S. resident and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was brutally tortured and slain in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
Neither Turkey nor Saudi Arabia has been the best friend of the U.S. over the years, but the U.S. nonetheless has looked the other way on myriad occasions during the more provocative acts by each, all for the sake of international comity and stability, not to mention the use of both countries’ soil for U.S. basing at various times past. Turkey’s apparent on-again-off-again status as a NATO ally under despotic President Recep Erdogan’s reign, along with Saudi Arabia’s questionable role in events spanning from the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and the 9/11 attacks to the present, both have strained relations with the U.S.
Turkey released Pastor Brunson only after President Donald Trump directed the Treasury Department to apply economic pressure on Turkey under the Global Magnitsky Act, resulting in the precipitous fall of the Turkish lira. President Trump followed up by threatening to impose draconian tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel. The threats and pressure from the U.S. ultimately forced Erdogan to release the pastor.
As for the “disappearance” of dissident Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey, Turkish authorities claim to have a gruesome recording purported to be from Khashoggi’s Apple watch — a recording Khashoggi had set up to be transmitted to his wife, who was waiting for him in a car outside the consulate. While President Trump wisely urged calm until the exact details of the incident are known, Saudi Arabia’s role will undoubtedly be severely scrutinized at least by Congress, among others. Potentially at stake if Saudi Arabia is shown to be holding a smoking gun are an arms deal for upkeep and modernization of the Kingdom’s F‑15 fleet — reportedly worth over $100 billion — and the Saudis’ role in holding Iran at bay as a regional power with hegemonic aspirations. The latter is, of course, far more important. The subsequent lowering of Saudi Arabia’s esteem as a U.S. ally would have grave implications, destabilizing the entire region even further and sending shockwaves throughout world oil markets.
For its part, Iran has shown itself to be a truly capable enemy of Liberty generally and of the U.S. particularly. It is fomenting rebellions in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, funding proxy wars against the U.S. and its allies in Syria and Lebanon, and actively supporting the dismantling of U.S. victories in Iraq. Without strong Saudi support Iran will undoubtedly continue to attempt to establish regional dominance, further complicating attainment of U.S. national security interests in the Middle East.
What’s the moral of the story? Simple: When it comes to the question of whether to impose our value set on other nations, Moral Number One is, “U.S. vital national security interests come first. Period.” President Trump tacitly nodded to this reality in a recent “60 Minutes” interview, telling CBS’s Lesley Stahl that while he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin has likely has been involved in many assassinations and poisonings tied to Russia, “I rely on them; it’s not in our country.” It’s a blunt statement, but in the current world in which each nation is viewed as sovereign and no nation (theoretically, anyway) has the right to intervene in the internal affairs of another, the first priority of every nation is to protect its vital national security interests — the U.S. is no different in this regard from any other. Teeing off into other nations without a clear national security interest at stake and under the ill-fitting guise of World Morality Police helps no one.
The bottom line is that in a world overpopulated with enemy-of-my-enemy “friends,” tolerating localized despotism, state-sponsored dissident assassinations, and a host of other evils is the filthy price the U.S. pays as a part of the larger goal to keep its shores free of state-sponsored terrorists and impacts of worldwide instabilities.
MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST
- #NotMeToo — The enraged, man-hating feminism of today has nothing to do with advancing women.
- Video: Fauxcahontas Hilariously Owns Self — Ben Shapiro laughs hysterically at Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren’s failed DNA test.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Cal Thomas: “John R. Bradley, a British author and journalist who has written on Middle East issues, spent three decades working closely with intelligence services in the West and in the Arab world. In an article for Spectator USA, he decries what appears to have been [Jamal] Khashoggi’s end, allegedly at the hands of Saudi agents, but then corrects the widely held belief in Western circles that Khashoggi is (or was) himself a reformer and a promoter of Western style democracy. ‘We are told he was a liberal, Saudi progressive voice fighting for freedom and democracy,’ writes Bradley, ‘and a martyr who paid the ultimate price for telling the truth to power. This is not just wrong, but distracts us from understanding what the incident tells us about the internal power dynamics of a kingdom going through an unprecedented period of upheaval.’ … It is right to denounce Khashoggi’s disappearance and possible murder. If it can be proved that leaders in the Saudi government ordered his death, it is also right for the U.S. and other nations to make Saudi Arabia pay a heavy price, as President Trump has threatened to do. What Khashoggi really stood for, reportedly, is a separate issue.”
Insight: “Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion… In the long run it will create a generation incapable of appreciating the difference between independence of thought and subservience.” —Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998)
Double standards: “Let me see if I understand Sen Elizabeth Warren’s position: A DNA test can establish that you are part (a teensy part) Native American, but a DNA test cannot establish whether you are male or female.” —Mona Charen
For the record: “It did prove that [Elizabeth Warren] wasn’t the Cherokee Indian that she was claiming to be for so long. I think she’s guilty of claiming she’s an American Indian but has no proof — and then [is] using it for applications for college and for political reasons. She needs to … apologize to everybody for what she has done.” —Debbie White Dove Porreco, a descendant of the actual Pocohantas
Food for thought: “Ironically, the same person who constantly rails against the greediness of ‘the wealthy 1%’ can’t even tell 1% of the truth when it comes to her own heritage.” —Jordan Candler
Braying Jackass: “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-Termite.” —Louis Farrakhan on the Jews (Twitter has not intention of banning him.)
Alpha Jackass: “I’m very worried that the president seems to have a love affair with autocrats. … I just don’t know why this administration seems to feel the need to coddle autocrats and dictators from Putin and Kim Jong-un to, you know, Duterte,” —Joe Biden (Last we checked, Trump hadn’t recklessly shipped billions of dollars on pallets over to a state sponsor of terrorism.)
And last… “When you realize Democrats staying in power is completely dependent on minorities and women doing poorly you wonder how actually determined they are to see progress.” —Allie Beth Stuckey
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher