“A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired.” —Alexander Hamilton (1775)
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- House Democrats usher in the New Year with impeachment legislation.
- Trump’s record of deregulation remained impressive in 2018.
- Daily Features: On the Web, Columnists, Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Opinion in Brief, and Short Cuts.
- Featured Analysis: The personality cult of Ginsburg is dangerous.
In December, the U.S. economy added 312,000 jobs, capping a year of strong economic growth and reaching 2.6 million new jobs in 2018. The bad news has been stock market volatility, for which President Donald Trump blamed Democrats: “As I have stated many times, if the Democrats take over the House or Senate, there will be disruption to the Financial Markets. We won the Senate, they won the House. Things will settle down. They only want to impeach me because they know they can’t win in 2020, too much success!”
Once again, Trump is right on the mark, as was clearly demonstrated by House Democrats on Thursday. Taking over the chamber after their midterm election win, Dems promptly used their new majority to offer nothing but a sequence of anti-Trump legislation and recession-triggering, big-government power grabs.
Cuing the #Resistance, House Socialists under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) passed a spending bill that does not provide any funding for a border wall. In even more futile gestures, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) introduced articles of impeachment against Trump, while Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) proposed a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College. Obviously, House Democrats’ legislative agenda is all about promoting themselves and resisting the president.
Where is the Democrat concern over maintaining the surging economy? Where is the proposed legislation that would provide greater protection for Americans by securing the nation’s borders? With all the Demo fearmongering over the supposed danger Trump poses to the nation’s system of governance, where is the legislation that would limit government abuse of power? Where in the Democrats’ legislative agenda is the commitment to promote and protect Americans’ individual liberty as defined by the Constitution?
The fact is, Democrats offer nothing but a hate-Trump platform of anger, division, and Liberty-stifling, economy-destroying socialism. Their concern is promoting anything that gives them greater power and control over the American people.
As Mark Alexander notes, “Unfortunately for all Americans outside the Beltway, blocking the Trump administration’s agenda may get Democrats the recession they want ahead of the 2020 elections. For the next two years, job and income prospects for tens of millions of American workers will fall victim to the Demos’ politically induced recession.”
The midpoint of President Donald Trump’s first term is fast approaching. One area in which the Trump administration deserves accolades is in its curtailing of government regulations. As the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Clyde Wayne Crews reports, in 2017, the Federal Register — the government’s regulation repository — “concluded with 61,308 pages under Trump; that was the lowest count in a quarter-century (since 61,166 pages under Bill Clinton in 1993).” It’s also significantly below Barack Obama’s 2016 record of 95,894 pages.
“This time,” Crews continues, “2018 Federal Register has topped out at 68,082 pages. … That’s a 10 percent increase for Trump over his first year.” However, some important context is in order: “It’s not as bad as it seems. … Rules and regulations cannot be revoked, only replaced by new ones under the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act’s public notice-and-comment process. … So, for Trump to get rid of a rule … his agencies have to write a rule. So in a perverse sense, he can’t shrink the Federal Register page count and the number of rules, but has managed to do it anyway by writing fewer new regulatory rather than deregulatory ones. Meeting the two for one [deregulation] directive is getting tougher without congressional action as the low-hanging fruit is picked.”
As far as actual rules are concerned, Crews says, “Under Trump, there has also been a substantial reduction in the number of rules and regulations published within all those Federal Register pages. The Federal Register closed out 2018 with 3,367 final rules in all. The only lower count was 3,281 under Trump a year ago, which was the lowest count since records began being kept in the mid-1970s. … Obama’s own lowest count was 3,410, not much more than Trump’s new score. But fewer of Obama’s rules would be expected to have been devoted to rollbacks of prior initiatives, the emphasis of Trump’s ‘one-in, two-out’ executive order.”
The Washington Examiner reports on another important consideration: “In what Crews has dubbed the ‘Unconstitutionality Index,’ Trump has also slashed the percentage of new rules to new laws passed by Congress and signed by Trump, he wrote in a second report issued Monday. Trump’s 2018 index was 12: 3,367 new rules compared to 291 new laws. The Index reached 29 under Obama.”
The bottom line? Trump is swimming upstream, yet he continues to do excellent and historic deregulatory work.
On a related note, December’s job report was exhilarating. An eye-popping 312,000 jobs were added. This was an astonishing 136,000 higher than economists’ expectations. According to CNBC, “Wages jumped 3.2 percent from a year ago and 0.4 percent over the previous month.”
And while the unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.9%, that’s actually good news, as more people are entering the job market. Moreover, CNSNews reports, “The number of employed Americans has now set a 14th record under Trump: When Trump became president in January 2017, 152,076,000 Americans were employed. Last month, that number grew to a record 156,945,000, a gain of 4,869,000 in two years.”
CNSNews adds, “In December, the unemployment rate for Hispanics and Latinos, aged 16 and up, was 4.4%, down from 4.5% in November — tying its record low of 4.4% set in October of this year.” NBC News called the jobs report “whopping,” while the Associated Press described it as “stellar.” Those words provide as good a clue as any of the magnificence of this report, and it’s in large measure thanks to Trump’s agenda of getting the government out of the way.
ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY
- Cortez Is Green on the Outside, Red on the Inside — Her “Green New Deal” is a radical remaking of the American energy sector.
- The New York Times Is ‘Unmistakably Anti-Trump,’ Says… — The paper’s former executive editor calls out the rag for its lack of journalistic integrity.
- Video: Rubin and Peterson Leave Patreon Over Free Speech — Popular YouTubers Dave Rubin and Jordan Peterson discuss their frustrations with the platform.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
- Job growth surges by 312,000 in December (CNBC)
- 2018 ends with record employment; participation rate hits Trump-era high (CNSNews)
- Hispanic unemployment rate hits record low (CNSNews)
- The national debt hit $22 trillion at the end of 2018 (Reason)
- House Democrats overrule Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives, institute “pay as you go” rule (Washington Examiner)
- Washington redefines all semiautomatic rifles as “assault weapons” (Reason)
- Trump’s tariffs are wreaking havoc on farmers (Washington Examiner)
- Russia to deploy precision strike missiles in western Atlantic (The Washington Free Beacon)
- Iran to send warships to the Atlantic, closer to U.S. waters (Reuters)
- Humor: Democrats vow to somehow surpass Republicans in messing everything up (The Babylon Bee)
- Policy: Universal basic income is a (costly) socialist pipe dream (Foundation for Economic Education)
- Policy: Humanitarian assistance has a terrorism problem. Can it be resolved? (War on the Rocks)
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.
Brian Mark Weber
Many Americans lament the demise of the federal judiciary from an independent and objective part of the American system into a branch of government that seems more self-serving and politicized than ever before. But while leftist and conservative justices alike have strayed from the vision of our Founding Fathers, none have eclipsed the cult-like status of the Supreme Court’s oldest justice: 85-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Of course, Supreme Court justices are only human, and they’re just as susceptible to outside influences as any politicians on Capitol Hill. But the very nature of their position demands more discipline in order to fight the temptations of a society that can turn just about anyone into a celebrity overnight.
And even the most independent nominee can become more ideologically hardened after surviving the grind of the nomination process.
Politico’s Peter Canellos writes, “Even if nominees aren’t particularly partisan at the outset, they quickly learn to recognize their friends and enemies; the loyalties forged in the furnace of the confirmation process carry over onto the bench. It’s only human that such anger or gratitude, growing out of a trauma that some compare to a near-death experience, would alter judicial decision-making.”
Canellos adds, “There’s a third element to the politicization of the courts, though. That’s the visceral sense of approval and validation that judges get when they please their fans. The 60,000-member Federalist Society provides conservative judges with a Greek chorus of admirers. And many members of the Supreme Court, such as the late Antonin Scalia, couldn’t resist taking bows before conservative audiences for court rulings that devastated liberals.”
But earning the admiration of a respected organization like the Federalist Society is nothing compared to Ginsburg’s celebrity status among leftists, many of whom weren’t even born when Ginsburg was appointed to the High Court by Bill Clinton in 1993. From the “RGB” documentary of last year to the recent biopic entitled “On the Basis of Sex,” the leftist Supreme Court justice is being turned into a mythical figure. How can fair-minded Americans expect Ginsburg, a former ACLU general counsel, to make independent decisions based on the law when she’s been deified by millions on the Left?
As Ginsburg said in the RGB film, “I’m 84 years old and everyone wants to take their picture with me.”
In 2016, seemingly emboldened by her superstardom, she joked that it’d be time to move to New Zealand if Donald Trump were elected. “I can’t imagine what the country would be,” she said. Later, under intense criticism from both the right and the left, she admitted regret for the comments. But she never apologized — not to the American people, nor to the Republican nominee.
As Stephanie Mencimer writes at the far-left Mother Jones, “Ginsburg has since been tattooed on women’s arms, immortalized in song and a children’s book, and featured on [‘Saturday Night Live.’] She’s had her face plastered on everything from tote bags to water bottles. This merchandising could not have happened without the justice’s blessing; the law gives her a fair amount of control over the use of her image, as she well knows. Rather than start copyright battles, Ginsburg has encouraged her cult following. She assisted Carmon and Knizhnik with their book, appeared in the CNN documentary and makes a cameo in ‘On the Basis of Sex,’ carries an RBG tote bag in public, distributes RBG T-shirts to friends and admirers, and generally has reveled in her celebrity.”
Mencimer adds that Ginsburg’s desire to hang on to her position on the Court actually threatens to undermine the Left’s agenda. For years Ginsburg rejected suggestions by “progressive” supporters that she retire during the Barack Obama years to ensure a like-minded successor. Now, her desire to fight on through various health issues — including recent surgery for lung cancer — at an advanced age may be setting the stage for a conservative replacement if she’s unable to outlast Donald Trump.
But that’s not stopping her.
NPR’s Nina Totenberg writes, “Even as she was secretly undergoing a series of tests and consulting an array of doctors, she made multiple public appearances and was interviewed in front of audiences three times, at one point reciting from memory the words of several arias from an opera about her famous friendship and legal dueling with the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.”
The Left has professed to do just about anything, even offering to donate their own organs to Ginsburg, in order to keep her on the bench.
But should Ginsburg retire or pass away before Trump leaves office, allowing him to replace her with a Constitution-friendly justice, the Left may one day regret the cult of personality that they alone created. And rightly so.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Rich Lowry: “A wall or fencing is relatively mild as far as immigration enforcement goes. It doesn’t involve deporting anyone. It doesn’t separate families. It doesn’t prosecute and detain anyone. It doesn’t deny any illegal immigrant currently working in the United States a job. All it does is seek to avoid getting in a situation where these other things are necessary in the first place. A wall doesn’t close down the border, or close us off to the world. There are still ports of entry. People can still travel to and from Mexico. People can still, for that matter, fly to Paris. It just diminishes illegal entry at certain strategic points. … The wall isn’t the most important immigration enforcement measure. Requiring employers to verify the legal status of their employees would be much more consequential. But the wall has taken on great symbolic significance. What it denotes, perhaps more than anything else, is the growing irrationality of the Democrats on immigration.”
Upright: “Trump, say the Democrats, is ‘unwilling to compromise.’ But when he asks for only $5 billion for a project with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection estimated price tag of $18 billion spent over 10 years, that is already a compromise. … Obama, after insisting he lacked authority, used an executive order to create Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — even though immigration law is up to Congress. But Trump can’t use $5 billion from this year’s $700 billion defense budget for a down payment on a border wall for national security, the principal job of the commander in chief?” —Larry Elder
For the record: “There [are Democrats] saying that a wall doesn’t work. Agents need an enduring capability to slow people down [at the border]. It provides an anchor for them to add technology, access roads, and patrol response to protect our border. We always have a safer border where we have that barrier. People who don’t believe it works — why do they have fences around their homes and lock their doors at night? … Walls work.” —acting ICE Director Ronald Vitiello
Observations: “It isn’t being snarky or arch to stress how inept experts are at predicting the future. It’s being prudent. Because they are deeply knowledgeable in a particular field, experts are more prone than others to view the world through a too-narrow lens, assuming that the current trends they understand so well are indicators of what is to come. Their expertise reinforces their confidence in their own analysis, blinding them to contrary data or disconfirming evidence.” —Jeff Jacoby
Braying Jenny: “We’re gonna go in and impeach the motherf—ker.” —newly sworn-in Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who doubled down later, adding, “I will always speak truth to power.” (Flashback: “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about. That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.” —Hillary Clinton, October 2018)
Non Compos Mentis: “Show us your papers. Release your birth certificate. It’s all part of the right’s disgusting effort to use race-baiting and fear-mongering to distract our country and divide our people while they rig the system for the rich and powerful.” —Elizabeth Warren’s presidential website, comparing “birtherism” with criticism of her phony claims of Native American ancestry
Despicable: “I now call the House to order on behalf of all of America’s children.” —Nancy Pelosi (Well, not ALL children…)
And last… “As I have stated many times, if the Democrats take over the House or Senate, there will be disruption to the Financial Markets. We won the Senate, they won the House. Things will settle down. They only want to impeach me because they know they can’t win in 2020, too much success!” —Donald Trump
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher