Mid-Day Digest

May 1, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd.” —Samuel Adams (1775)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

Venezuela: Cold War Renewed

Following months of gridlock, Venezuelans, encouraged by the rightfully elected and U.S.-backed interim president Juan Guaido and his call for the military to rise up against socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro, heeded his Operacion Liebertad and took to the streets on Tuesday. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo encouraged the action, stating, “The U.S. Government fully supports the Venezuelan people in their quest for freedom and democracy. Democracy cannot be defeated.”

Thus far the Russian-backed strongman Maduro has refused to budge and instead sent military troops still loyal to his regime to forcefully quell the uprising. This resulted in another Tiananmen Square moment, as shocking video footage surfaced of military vehicles intentionally running over unarmed protesters.

While several dozen troops joined Guaido and clashed with other troops still loyal to Maduro, the conflict has not yet escalated into a forced takeover by Guaido. In fact, he is not in a position to do so — not without gaining majority support from the military. It’s a bold yet risky move by Guaido. Should he fail, it would almost definitely lead to his arrest or worse.

According to Pompeo, the only reason Maduro is still able to cling to power is due to Russian and Cuban support. “It’s been a long time since anyone has seen Maduro. He had an airplane on the tarmac. He was ready to leave this morning as we understand it and the Russians indicated he should stay,” Pompeo said. He added, “We’ve made clear all along … that Maduro is surrounded by Cubans and has been supported by Russians there in Venezuela. And we’ve told the Russians and we’ve told the Cubans, ‘That’s unacceptable.’ It’s unacceptable to starve people. It’s unacceptable to not allow sick children to get their medicine.”

The situation is shaping up like a Cold War-era proxy war, and President Donald Trump will have to decide to what degree the U.S. will involve itself in this political conflict beyond offering verbal and humanitarian support. With the Russians, Chinese, and Cubans all backing Maduro, there is much more at stake than merely ousting a socialist dictator.

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Hey Big Spender — $2 Trillion for Infrastructure?

President Donald Trump has wanted an infrastructure deal for his entire presidency. On Tuesday, Democrat leaders visited the White House and agreed in principle to such a deal … for an eye-popping $2 trillion.

“Who says there’s no bipartisanship in Washington?” asks The Wall Street Journal editorial board. “When it comes to spending more money, Washington can always find common ground.” In fact, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, “Originally we had started a little lower. Even the president was eager to push it up to $2 trillion.”

Three questions: What will the money be spent on? Who pays for it? And what secret deals were made as part of this deal?

America’s roads and bridges are indeed crumbling, but Democrats are already touting money for a ton of other stuff — “advancing public health with clean air and clean water” and “addressing climate change” and “expanding broadband to rural, urban and other underserved areas.” Much like Barack Obama’s “stimulus,” the beneficiaries will be favored Democrat constituents. They say it’s about “the imperative to involve women, veteran and minority-owned businesses in construction.”

The annual deficit is already approaching $1 trillion again, and that’s before this boondoggle. What taxes will be raised as a fig leaf to “cover” this bill? In announcing the agreement, neither Democrats nor Trump offered answers to paying for it.

As for the question about secret deals, we may never know the answer. But one thing is likely: The federal government will spend $2 trillion and Americans will still be driving on crumbling roads and bridges.

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Mueller Blames Media, Media Blame Barr

“The collusion truthers have morphed into coverup truthers so the reported Mueller complaint will be with us awhile, never mind that he found no actual inaccuracies in the Barr memo.” So said political analyst Brit Hume in response to The Washington Post’s report on a leaked letter from Special Counsel Robert Mueller supposedly complaining about the way Attorney General William Barr handled his executive summary of Mueller’s final report. Media actors are accusing Barr of a “coverup.”

Before we get to the letter, let’s call the Washington Post’s story what it is: A leak by some deep-state actor (the Post doesn’t reveal how it obtained the letter) politically timed for maximum damage to Barr and the Justice Department ahead of Barr’s congressional testimony today and tomorrow. It’s also part of the plan to churn this whole narrative to keep President Donald Trump on the ropes all the way through the 2020 election. Democrats now have an excuse to clamor for Mueller to testify, as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Intelligence Committee Chairman and Chief Witch Hunter Adam Schiff have already done.

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

However, the two men reportedly spoke by phone after Mueller sent his letter. According to the Post, “When Barr pressed Mueller on whether he thought Barr’s memo to Congress was inaccurate, Mueller said he did not but felt that the media coverage of it was misinterpreting the investigation.” Ah, so it was the media coverage that was the problem. Talk about burying the lede.

As Andrew McCarthy put it, “So [Mueller] wasn’t saying the letter was inaccurate, but was worried about media coverage and whether his narrative would dictate it. Story of the whole investigation.”

And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich concluded, “After all the noise you just shrug your shoulders and say, ‘So what?’ Mueller had every opportunity to come out the day that Barr released his letter. Mueller could have at any point decided to refute it and as I understand the actual key sentences, the distortion is by the news media. The distortion is not by Barr. Think about this. The media that Mueller is complaining about are the people who are now using Mueller’s complaint to further distort what is going on. You couldn’t make this up.”

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ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • FBI SCRUTINIZES ANTIFA: “The FBI has been collecting information on Americans who have been helping the migrant caravans heading to the US-Mexico border, and is now investigating an alleged plot by ‘anti-fascist activists’ to purchase weapons from a Mexican drug cartel,” The Daily Wire reports. The revelation coincided with CNN’s Chris Cuomo christening antifa “a good cause” earlier this week.
  • ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS A LUCRATIVE BUSINESS: “RAND researchers [have found] that drug trafficking-centric transnational cartels ‘control primary smuggling corridors into the United States’ and estimate that the total ‘revenues to all types of smugglers, not just [transnational cartels], from smuggling migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, combined, ranged from about $200 million to about $2.3 billion in 2017.’ In other words, cartels and trafficking rings earned as much as $2.3 billion from human smuggling just in the year 2017.” (The Daily Wire)
  • ANTI-SEMITISM IN AMERICA: “Anti-Semitic assaults more than doubled, and the U.S. Jewish community experienced "near-historic levels” of anti-Semitism in 2018, according to a report released Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League. … Last year was the third-highest year on record for attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions since the ADL, an international Jewish non-governmental organization, began tracking such data in the 1970s. The ADL’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents recorded 1,879 attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions across the U.S. in 2018, representing a 5 percent decline from the 1,986 incidents recorded in 2017. Nevertheless, the number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 still remained 48 percent higher than in 2016 and 99 percent higher than in 2015.“ (Fox News)
  • DEEP-STATE UNMASKING: "The National Security Agency (NSA) disclosed the identities of nearly 17,000 U.S. residents and businesses to American intelligence officials last year through a legal — but controversial — practice known as ‘unmasking,’ according to a report released Tuesday. The number of unmaskings — 16,721 to be exact — marks a 75 percent increase from 2017, which saw the NSA make 9,529 disclosures to intelligence agencies. … The unmasking process has become controversial over the past two years. Republicans have alleged that Obama administration officials abused foreign surveillance laws by making unnecessary unmasking requests of Trump associates during the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as during the presidential transition period.” (The Daily Caller)
  • GOOD NEWS: “A letter carrier from Auburn, Maine, last week won a legal victory when the U.S. Postal Service was forced to reinstate him in a job after he was absent for 14 years while deployed in the ‘Global War on Terrorism.’ … The Postal Service informed him in January 2016 that it would not reinstate him because he had ‘abandoned’ his civilian post. His attorneys saw that as a violation of the 1994 Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.” (Government Executive)
  • SATIRE: Democrats promise to do a better job of hiding their support for infanticide in the future (The Babylon Bee)
  • POLICY: Cut off Nicolas Maduro’s oil exports (Washington Examiner)
  • POLICY: Guess who’s really to blame for Amazon’s zero federal tax bill (Issues & Insights)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Ben Shapiro: “In our new political world, running means having to say you’re sorry for having a record at all. That’s why it was easier for Barack Obama to run than Hillary Clinton — and, in many ways, it was easier for Donald Trump to run than Sen. Ted Cruz. Having a record is a burden. The power of positive thinking trumps years of experience. After all, you don’t have to worry about what Mayor Pete Buttigieg has done since he’s never done anything. But you do have to worry about Joe Biden’s record being rehashed. That’s why Biden’s best weeks may be his first weeks. As his record reemerges, as other Democrats dig into his past for dirt, Biden will have to get used to saying he’s sorry and then hope that Democratic voters choose to take him back.”

SHORT CUTS

Upright: “Remember, every Democrat running for president wants you just as disarmed and defenseless as the Venezuelan people are in the face of their socialist masters. Obey the Founders. Buy guns and ammunition.” —Kurt Schlichter

Non compos mentis: “Do you know how many times the word ‘Woman’ is mentioned in the Constitution? Zero. That is unacceptable. Women must be equally represented and equally protected.” —Rep. Eric Swalwell (Spoiler alert: You also won’t stumble across the word “Man.”)

The BIG Lie: “The truth is that Medicare today is the most popular health insurance program in the country, and all we are doing is expanding it to cover all people, and when we do that, we do something that many private insurance policies don’t allow. We give you freedom of choice.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders

And why do you think that is? “The Democrats’ problem, I think, has been their failure to actually provide results in people’s lives.” —New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Tone-deaf: “Make America moral again. Make America — you know, return to the essence of who we are, the dignity of the country, the dignity of people, treating our people with dignity.” —Joe Biden

Dezinformatsiya: “If you don’t take umbrage with the president of the United States misleading you, the attorney general of the United States misleading you — lying, both of them — then what are you gonna take issue with? What are you gonna have a problem with? When you’re supposed to be the party of the rule of law, when you have a president and the attorney general who are not fighting for the rule of law but who are carrying the water for indecent and inappropriate and possibly even unlawful behavior, what is gonna upset you?” —CNN’s Don Lemon

Braying Jackass: “Not only did [William Barr] write a four-page summary that misled the American people, he was then told by Robert Mueller that he misled the American people, then he lies in front of Congress, and then he does a press conference misleading the American people again. It is incredible the actions he took. He absolutely needs to go, and then he can apply to be White House press secretary where he can lie all he wants.” —Rep. Ted Lieu

And last… “Dems can’t fund a $5 billion wall, but can spend $2 trillion naming roads after themselves.” —Erick Erickson

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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.


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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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