Mid-Day Digest

Jan. 24, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” —Thomas Jefferson (1801)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

Venezuela Tries to Shed Socialist Dictator

Thomas Gallatin

Venezuelans have finally had enough of the failed promises of socialism. Once again that siren of the Left has proven only to rob people of Liberty, replacing it with the misery of poverty, high crime, and starvation at the hands of an elitist, authoritarian despot. On Wednesday, the anniversary of the ousting of military dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez in 1958, the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Juan Guaido, took the presidential oath before a massive crowd filling the streets of Caracas. Guaido now stands in direction opposition to Nicolas Maduro and his authoritarian grip on power.

This action was a long time coming, as we have long noted the inevitable collapse of Venezuela after Hugo Chavez aggressively implemented a socialist takeover of what was at the time South America’s wealthiest country. And since Chavez’s death it has only gotten worse. As Daniel DePetris of the Washington Examiner observes, “Venezuela under Maduro’s leadership has fallen apart at the seams. Inflation surpassed 1 million percent at the end of last year (not a typo!), a figure that makes former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe look like an economic genius. Most of Venezuela’s population is in poverty, roaming the streets for dumpsters in the hope that food may be mixed in with the rubbish. The situation has gotten so bleak that 3 million Venezuelans have fled to Colombia, Chile, Peru, and Ecuador — better to start over in a new country than stay in Venezuela and starve to death. Medicine is in extremely short supply, the murder rate was the highest in the world in 2017, and many of the crimes that have been committed are the direct result of the Latin American country’s sorry excuse for an economy.”

President Donald Trump was quick to announce his support for Guaido, stating, “The citizens of Venezuela have suffered for too long at the hands of the illegitimate Maduro regime. Today, I have officially recognized the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela.” The U.S. joins at least 13 other nations, most of which are in South America, in recognizing Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate president.

Obviously, dictator Maduro sees things differently, and he responded to Trump’s announcement by cutting diplomatic ties with the U.S. and ordering our diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours. This sets up an interesting showdown, since the U.S. no longer recognizes Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate president. Sen. Marco Rubio was quick to raise the issue, declaring, “U.S. diplomats in [Venezuela] should present their credentials to President [Guaido]. Maduro has no authority to expel anyone. And trust me on this one, if Maduro is stupid enough to test [Trump] by harming any U.S. diplomat, the consequences would be swift & severe.”

Trump’s action puts pressure on Maduro. However, Maduro still has the support of his military, as every dictator does. He installed loyalists to control the military while at the same time revoking citizens’ right to bear arms so that he has control of all the guns. How long will Guaido be able to stay out of Maduro’s prisons? Is Venezuela headed toward civil war? Time will soon tell, but for the sake of Venezuelans we hope for a peaceful transition of power.

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Pelosi’s SOTU Shutdown

Nate Jackson

“Trump caves.” “Pelosi wins.” Those are the types of headlines circulating today after President Donald Trump announced Wednesday night, “As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative — I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over. I am not looking for an alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber. I look forward to giving a ‘great’ State of the Union Address in the near future!”

This back and forth has now continued for more than a week as the two continue to tussle over the 34-day-old partial government shutdown, now the longest in history. (Meanwhile, 800,000 government workers will almost certainly miss another paycheck Friday.) Trump sent Pelosi a letter announcing his intent to accept her original invitation to give the SOTU on Jan. 29. She responded with a letter denying the president access to the House chamber.

Trump’s concession was, for him, remarkably magnanimous. He entertained suggestions to give the speech from the Oval Office, the Senate chamber, the border, or some other venue — any of which arguably would have elevated the address by setting it apart from the increasingly pompous spectacle it has become. What better way to “drain the Swamp” than to blow up an unnecessary and vacuous tradition? It would seem, however, that Trump the Showman determined that conceding this battle may help him win the war.

Yet how that victory will come is not at all evident. Democrats are reportedly ready to reopen the government and give Trump $5.7 billion for border security with one huge caveat: The money isn’t for a wall. Given that Democrats have already rejected Trump’s concessions on Dreamers, it’s clear they’re negotiating in bad faith. Perhaps Trump is calculating that the more disruption is caused by the shutdown — like no SOTU — the more likely Democrats are to eventually cave. But Pelosi has called the border wall “immoral” and we’re inclined to think she’d rather not sit behind Trump sucking her teeth in defeat while he exults in his triumph at the podium. So where this goes from here is anyone’s guess.

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GOOD NEWS

Locals Helping Border Agents Survive the Shutdown

“Border Patrol agents are being given free meals, zero-interest loans, and even free yoga classes in an effort to help them get by as they are working without pay during the partial government shutdown, which is now in its fifth week.

"Local businesses, nonprofit organizations, and municipal governments from California to Texas have made available all types of support for Department of Homeland Security personnel to help keep them on the job of protecting the border.

"That kind of support from locals may be working. While the Transportation Security Administration has seen an increase in sickouts during the shutdown, border agents so far appear to be staying on the job, even without pay.”

Read more at Washington Examiner.

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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

TOP HEADLINES

  • More than 10,000 Central Americans bound for U.S. request Mexican visas (The Washington Post)
  • Michael Cohen delays House testimony due to “threats against his family” (ABC News)
  • House Oversight to investigate Trump administration’s security-clearance process (National Review)
  • After failed Cohen “bombshell,” BuzzFeed laying off 15% of staff (The Resurgent)
  • Democrats to advance bill raising age limit for rifle buyers (National Review)
  • New York governor celebrates allowing abortion up until birth, orders World Trade Center lit pink (The Daily Wire)
  • Ohio’s new governor says he’ll sign “heartbeat” abortion bill that Kasich vetoed (Fox News)
  • Michigan Vietnam War hero, Medal of Honor recipient dies (MLive)
  • South Korea breached UN rules by failing to report more than 300 tonnes of petroleum products sent to North Korea (VICE News)
  • Humor: Snopes introduces new “factually inaccurate but morally right” fact-check result (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: Finally, U.S. policy is getting it right on Venezuela (American Enterprise Institute)
  • Policy: There’s no “lost” economic growth during government shutdowns (Foundation for Economic Education)

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 cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Tony Perkins: “The rest of the media continues to see what it wants in the [Covington] footage, which is really not so different from how they treat anything that conflicts with their agenda. Biology, moral law, science, the Constitution — it’s all irrelevant if it doesn’t fit their narrative. To them, these kids will never be innocent because of who they are and what they believe. Real bigotry doesn’t stop to acknowledge truth — which, along with the Left’s deep desire to destroy conservatives, is what keeps the wheels of fake news churning. … When a group of high schoolers behave more grown up than the mobs who come after them, the Left is losing its grip on a lot more than reality. It’s losing its argument for America.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself.” —Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)

Friendly fire: “I think the press jumps the gun a lot because we have so much circumstantial evidence against [Trump] that we’re basically hoping that [Michael] Cohen has the goods, and what have you. It’s wishful thinking.” —Joy Behar on the Covington Catholic High School debacle

Braying Jenny: “When I see the ‘Make America Great Again’ hat now … I am triggered. I’m so triggered. … This Make America Great Again hat is just as maddening and frustrating and triggering for me to look at as a KKK hood.” —CNN commentator Angela Rye

Non Compos Mentis: “No one makes a billion dollars. You TAKE a billion dollars. You take it from your workers… You plunder it from the environment… You strip it using patents/protections.” —Stony Brook University economics professor Stephanie Kelton

Hot air: “I wish there was a lawsuit capacity that could hold people liable for such a[n] insane decision as he has made, which is gonna cost lives. People will die because of the president’s [Paris climate accord] decision.” —John Kerry

D'oh! “Let’s talk about the balance of power. There are two coequal branches of government, the president of the United States and the Congress.” —Elizabeth Warren, who omitted the judicial branch

Hypocrite: “The death penalty is morally indefensible and has no place in the 21st century. Today, in solidarity with [Pope Francis] and in honor of my father, I will be advancing legislation to remove the death penalty from State law once and for all.” —Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Aug. 2, 2018 (“But gleeful abortion until birth is fine, because morals or something.” —Katie Pavlich)

And last… “This is your daily reminder that Planned Parenthood was caught on tape multiple times harvesting and selling baby body parts for cash and they still receive $500 million a year in taxpayer funding.” —Charlie Kirk

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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