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Mid-Day Digest

Aug. 15, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.” —Thomas Jefferson (1781)

IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

China, Tariffs, and Recession Fears Amid Strong Economy

On Tuesday, the markets were up on the news that President Donald Trump’s third round of tariffs on $300 billion more of Chinese goods would be delayed until December. Added to this was the positive news of a restart of U.S.-China trade talks. However, the U.S. markets on Wednesday had one of their worst days in over a decade. Stocks fell 3% over bad economic news out of Germany and China, sparking fears of a possible global recession. Then came Thursday morning, with news of U.S. retail sales in July increasing well above economists’ expectations, once again propelling the markets skyward, relieving recession fears.

The truth of the matter is that market ups and downs are normal and to be expected. Furthermore, if properly managed, massive negative impacts on the economy can be avoided. A future recession is inevitable; the questions revolve around when it comes and how bad it will be. Interestingly, unlike the last two major recessions to hit the U.S., The Wall Street Journal notes that “with unemployment low, incomes rising and household saving rates higher than in the late 1990s or mid-2000s, many consumers are in better shape to weather a storm.”

Politically speaking, Democrats are hoping a recession comes sooner rather than later, as they know a strong economy makes the possibility of defeating Trump that much slimmer. Others have criticized Trump for walking a dangerous line with his tariff levies against China. As we have regularly noted, Beijing would love to wait Trump out with the hopes that he loses in 2020. The question is, can China afford to wait?

With the weeks-long Hong Kong protests — which are capturing more and more of the world’s attention — showing no signs of ending, coupled with China’s slowing economic growth, Beijing is clearly feeling the pressure. China’s communist government relies on a strong economy to placate the masses and dissuade civil unrest. If the Chinese economy further slows, Hong Kong’s freedom movement could easily spill out into the mainland.

Going forward, expect more interest-rate cuts from the Federal Reserve and the real possibility of Trump getting a trade deal worked out with China before the year is up.

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Senate Dems Give SCOTUS 2A Ultimatum

In 1833, Joseph Story touched on the importance of the judicial system when he noted: “Personal security and private property rest entirely upon the wisdom, the stability, and the integrity of the courts of justice.”

The judicial system is obviously profoundly important — and also extremely susceptible. It’s under constant siege by those who abhor the Rule of Law, which is why Thomas Jefferson in 1819 wrote, “The Constitution … is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”

The Supreme Court is the last line of defense — or, in social activists’ minds, the last line of offense — which makes it extremely powerful, for good or ill. Thomas Jefferson was especially concerned about the latter. In 1821, he wrote, “It has long, however, been my opinion … that the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal Judiciary; an irresponsible body … working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States, and the government of all be consolidated into one.”

Whether in the past or in the present, too many jurists have used their roles not to enforce constitutional rights but to implement their own objectives — the consequences of which are plainly obvious. Such dereliction is especially true of leftist judicial activists who think of our charter as a “living constitution.” In fact, upholding the Rule of Law is considered unfashionable by their standards. Ironically, it’s those who defend the Constitution who are most viciously assailed today.

This was intimated with scary brazenness this week. According to Fox News, “Several high-profile Senate Democrats [Sheldon Whitehouse, Richard Blumenthal, Mazie Hirono, Richard Durbin, and Kirsten Gillibrand] warned the Supreme Court in pointed terms … that it could face a fundamental restructuring if justices do not take steps to ‘heal’ the court in the near future.”

Fox News adds, “The Democratic senators’ brief was filed in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of New York, which dealt with legal limitations on where gun owners could transport their licensed, locked, and unloaded firearms. They are urging the court to stay out of the case brought by the NRA-backed group, claiming that because the city recently changed the law to ease restrictions, the push to the Supreme Court is part of an ‘industrial-strength influence campaign’ to get the conservative majority to rule in favor of gun owners.”

The brief fumes, “Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’” But as Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw observes, “What [its] actually threatening to do is the most politically driven and drastic action imaginable in this scenario.” It wreaks of political malfeasance. How else can you parse the demand to, as The Daily Wire’s Paul Bois says, “vote liberal or else have conservatives rotated off the court”?

The Second Amendment is the palladium of liberties, therefore the Left rightly sees it as the biggest hindrance to the rule of men. So expect Democrats to use whatever “influence of politics” they can in their attempt to encroach on it — including by overhauling the Supreme Court for protecting the all-important Second Amendment.

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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

PROTECTING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: “The Labor Department on Wednesday announced a new rule to grant the ‘broadest protection permitted by law’ to religious organizations contracting with the federal government. The proposed rule to clarify civil rights protections for religious groups will be added to the Federal Register on Thursday, but is now open to public comment.” (The Daily Signal)

FAUX FAUXCAHONTAS POLL, OR LEGIT HEADWAY? “Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren are polling within just one percentage point of each other as Warren catches up to the former vice president, who has led the pack of Democratic presidential candidates nationally for weeks. Biden stands at 21 percent support, while Warren is right behind him at 20 percent, up four points from last week, according to the latest national Economist–YouGov poll.” (National Review)

CONSTITUENTS MIA: “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has outraised all other freshmen representatives so far in 2019, but nearly all of her reported contributors to her reelection campaign live outside her congressional district… Ocasio-Cortez’s reelection campaign has reported receiving contributions from just 10 individuals living within her district in the first half of 2019, according to its Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings.” (The Daily Caller)

COLLUSION: “Nellie Ohr kept tabs on dozens of Trump associates and Russian businessmen as part of her work for Fusion GPS, according to government documents released Wednesday. Ohr’s husband, Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, provided the documents to the FBI for its investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.” (The Daily Caller)

COMEY MEMOS UNTETHERED: “A federal judge ruled against the FBI’s efforts to keep some redacted documents related to former FBI Director James Comey’s memos hidden from the public. The ruling comes after the FBI asked Judge James Boasberg to reconsider a district court ruling earlier this year that CNN and other media organizations and watchdog groups were entitled to information related both to Comey’s memos and to how those memos were used in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation, which concluded earlier this year. But the FBI battled against disclosure.” (Washington Examiner)

SUBTERFUGE REJECTED: “A federal judge on Wednesday rejected House Democrats’ attempt to try to pick the judge who will hear their lawsuit to compel former White House lawyer Don McGahn to testify, arguing the case is different from Democrats’ other impeachment-related lawsuits.” (The Washington Times)

ICEBREAKERS: “The FBI is investigating a ‘targeted attack’ in which shots were fired into an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office and another facility associated with the agency in San Antonio, Texas early Tuesday. … Last month, a man was killed by Washington state authorities when he threw incendiary devices at both an immigration center and nearby propane tanks. In Colorado, protesters demonstrating outside an ICE facility replaced the American flag with the Mexican flag.” (Fox News)

NO DEAL: “A Guatemalan immigration agreement signed with the Trump administration won’t work because the Central American nation does not have the resources, the country’s new president-elect says. Alejandro Giammattei, a conservative who was chosen overwhelmingly by voters in a weekend runoff election, said … that Guatemala is too poor to tend to its own people, let alone those from other countries.” (Associated Press)

THE CONSEQUENCES OF OPEN BORDERS: “Two illegal immigrants have been charged with second degree rape of the same 11-year-old girl in Maryland. Montgomery County Police arrested Mauricio Barrera-Navidad, 29, of Damascus, Maryland, and Carlos Palacios-Amaya, 28, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, for allegedly raping the same under-aged girl on multiple occasions.” (The Daily Caller)

OFFICERS DOWN: According to Fox News, “The suspect linked to Wednesday’s hours-long standoff in Philadelphia surrendered to authorities just after midnight Thursday, exiting the residence with his hands in the air and with a police light shining on him, surrounded by a cloud of tear gas. The dramatic shootout in Philadelphia stretched on for hours as six officers were shot — and two officers and three hostages were later freed, apparently unhurt.” Fox News also reports, “Onlookers were seen taunting and throwing things at Philadelphia police Wednesday night amid a wild shootout and subsequent standoff … and video posted online shows one woman shoving a police officer making his way to the scene.” This New York Post report reveals what these kind of anti-police attitudes can lead to: “A veteran cop became the ninth NYPD officer to commit suicide this year when he shot himself in the head at his Queens home Wednesday evening.”

POLICY: No, wages are not rising because of minimum-wage laws (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: Can nuclear power be saved? (National Review)

HUMOR: America offers to trade all of its communists for democratic protesters in Hong Kong (The Babylon Bee)

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

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

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Ken Blackwell: “It is certainly no secret that President Trump is playing very tough with China these days by enforcing a series of hard-hitting trade sanctions, all with a goal of establishing fairer trade between China and the U.S. But the president might be eroding his own hard-fought progress with China if he allows the Chinese government to gain direct control of the world’s largest oil reserves that are located in Venezuela. The president can prevent these vast oil supplies from falling under Chinese control if he allows American energy companies to continue operating in partnership with Venezuela, as they have done for decades. … It’s imperative the president protect American interests in Venezuela, and forfeiting trillions of dollars to the Chinese is surely no way to win a trade war. Pulling American energy companies out of Venezuela now is not only a strategic mistake, it would also jeopardize American energy security and it would leave Venezuela with no real hope for economic and social recovery.”

SHORT CUTS

For the record: “There’s no doubt that President Trump is not a racist. The facts are very simple that the same folks that voted for me voted for President Trump because President Trump made promises to the voters and he’s keeping the promises. … The more you use the concept of racism, the more we grow ‘ism fatigue’ in this country, and that is a terrible place for us to be. And so the greatest threat by overusing racism is that when there is an actual challenge, you cried wolf in the wilderness one time too many.” —Sen. Tim Scott

Braying Jenny: “I think we should ban assault weapons as well as large magazines, and as part of passing that ban do a buyback program across the country so that those who own them can be compensated for their money that they spent. … You don’t want people to retain them because if you make them illegal, you don’t want to grandfather in all the assault weapons that are all across America. … If you are arrested for using an assault weapon, you’re going to have an aggravated felony [charge].” —Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Non sequitur: “[Our] society … has surrendered basic freedoms. Freedom from violence. Freedom from gunfire. Freedom to live without this kind of constant cortisol in the back of your brain being released that undermines our quality of life. We are losing our well-being as a nation because so many of these guns now are on our streets, so easily gotten by people who intend to do massive amounts of harm.” —Sen. Cory Booker (*The Second Amendment is the palladium of liberties.)

Never let a crisis go to waste: “Our officers deserve to be protected and they don’t deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with an unlimited supply of weapons and an unlimited supply of bullets. It’s disgusting and we have to do something about it.” —Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney

Braying Jackass: “We all want to invest in building our democracy and saving it from any enemies, foreign and domestic. We’ve sent our legislation to the Senate. Moscow Mitch says that he is the Grim Reaper. Imagine describing yourself as the Grim Reaper, that he’s going to bury all this legislation.” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Non Compos Mentis: “What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” —Rep. Steve King, who overshadowed his point regarding abortion and rape/incest with more dull-wittedness

What could possibly go wrong? “I would be honored to be considered [as a veep] by any nominee.” —Stacey Abrams

And last… “One of the most dishonest little tricks the media pulls is when they ask someone a weird and irrelevant question, get an answer, and then report the answer as if it was a point made entirely unprompted.” —Matt Walsh

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TODAY’S MEME

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TODAY’S CARTOON

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