Mid-Day Digest

Aug. 30, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth itself and all it contains rather than do an immoral act.” —Thomas Jefferson (1785)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

Comey Rebuked by IG but Unapologetic for Coup Attempt

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a report Thursday rebuking disgraced former FBI Director James Comey for setting “a dangerous example” by leaking memos to the press in May 2017. Those memos, Horowitz said, contained “investigative information, obtained during the course of FBI employment,” and Comey leaked them “in order to achieve a personally desired outcome” — vengeance against President Donald Trump for firing him.

Comey asserted, contrary to FBI policy and practice, that the memos were his personal property. Horowitz hammered him for that and for keeping those memos in a personal safe at home. Comey perpetrated the leaks by giving memos to others with instructions to pass them to the press. As intended, Comey’s dishonest charade set up his pal Robert Mueller’s bogus $35 million investigation of Trump.

Mueller’s investigation was the culmination of the attempted deep-state coup against a duly elected president — a coup precipitated by the partisan hackery of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and the leadership of America’s intelligence apparatus. Comey, among others, set about taking down the president by using his office and other high-level people in a partisan witch hunt. The whole thing was a far more egregious scandal than Watergate.

As The Wall Street Journal summarizes the report, Horowitz “accused Mr. Comey of placing his personal beliefs over his professional responsibilities by disseminating the memos and failing to safeguard sensitive information.”

Or, if you prefer the more grassroots assessment of Glenn Reynolds (a.k.a. “Instapundit”), “His smarmy act has failed to conceal that he’s a sanctimonious prick. Make that a sanctimonious, dishonest, basically corrupt prick, who subordinated his duty to his country to selfish and shallow political and personal motives.”

Other than that, James Comey’s a real standup guy.

And yet he claims he’s the one owed an apology. Claiming vindication of having leaked classified information, Comey blustered, “I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you’ would be nice.”

Comey was head of the FBI and had years of honorable service under his belt; he knew better than to release any of the information, or to keep it outside the FBI’s internal system. Yet he, like so many others, got power drunk on Potomac water and went off the rails.

Imagine if the other 35,000 employees at the FBI began behaving as their former director? The agency, Horowitz concluded, “would be unable to dispatch its law enforcement duties properly.” That’s putting it mildly.

Next up: The IG report on Comey’s role in securing FISA warrants to surveil Trump’s campaign based on what Comey himself called the Steele dossier’s “salacious and unverified” information, which was paid for by a rival political campaign. After that, U.S. Attorney John Durham will report on whether Comey & Co. violated FBI and Justice Department guidelines by initiating a counterintelligence investigation of Trump’s campaign. Comey’s a long way from being out of the woods.

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Despotic Judiciary Assaults Second Amendment

Another appellate court has failed to defend Americans’ Second Amendment rights. On Thursday, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Cook County, Illinois’s ban on so-called “assault weapons.” Last year, a U.S. district judge dismissed a lawsuit brought against the 2006 Blair Holt Assault Weapons Ban, which means a fine for Cook County residents of up to $10,000 and sentences of up to six months in prison if they are found to be in possession of so-called “large-capacity magazines” or “assault weapons.” The fact of the matter is that the law intentionally misclassifies common semiautomatic weapons like the AR-15 as “assault weapons” and misleadingly labels these firearms’ standard-capacity magazines (20 to 30 rounds) as being nefariously “large capacity.”

In its unanimous ruling, the court’s three-judge panel wrote, “We have stated repeatedly, and recently, that, absent a compelling reason, we will not overturn circuit precedent.” The precedent was the Highland Park ruling, wherein a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that municipalities have the leeway to regulate firearms if it makes people “feel safer.” The majority wrote, “If a ban on semi-automatic guns and large-capacity magazines reduces the perceived risk from a mass shooting, and makes the public feel safer as a result, that’s a substantial benefit” [emphasis added]. So, feeling safe trumps Americans’ Second Amendment right to take action to actually be safe? As Rush Limbaugh famously observed of the Left, it’s “symbolism over substance.”

This ruling once again supports Justice Clarence Thomas’s argument that the Supreme Court needs to stop this erosion of Americans’ Second Amendment rights. As Thomas recently wrote, “The Framers made a clear choice: They reserved to all Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense. I do not think we should stand by idly while a State denies its citizens that right, particularly when their very lives may depend on it.” Justice Thomas may get the opportunity he’s been calling for, as the Illinois State Rifle Association, which sued Cook County over this “assault weapons” ban, plans to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Activist judges are ignoring not only the Constitution but Supreme Court rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago. It’s time for the Supreme Court to rectify that rogue behavior. Thomas Jefferson once warned, “The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves, in their own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.” He was right.

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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

THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM: “Hurricane Dorian hurtled toward the United States and was on track to become a major hurricane Friday before its expected landfall Monday into Tuesday along Florida’s east coast, forecasters say. The storm was slowly turning west on Friday as it makes it way back toward land and is expected to strengthen in the coming days, the National Hurricane Center said. Dorian is then forecast slam the southeastern United States as a possible Category 4 storm.” (USA Today)

GREAT AGAIN: “President Trump revived the U.S. Space Command in a formal White House ceremony Thursday, putting the commander-in-chief a step closer to launching a military branch focused on the final frontier. … Thursday’s action does not establish a separate ‘Space Force,’ which must be approved by Congress. … Reviving the Space Command was an easier lift for the Pentagon. The command existed decades ago, though it was dissolved into the Strategic Command as part of a military reorganization following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.” (The Washington Times)

NOT SO FAST: A few weeks ago, a quintet of Senate Democrats gave the Supreme Court a Second Amendment ultimatum by way of a brief, wherein they bellowed, “Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’” The GOP is now firing back. “Senate Republicans sent a letter to the Supreme Court on Thursday saying it ‘must not be cowed by the threats’ from Democrats who urged the justices not to take up a gun case next term and warned that the court could be restructured to reduce the influence of politics in its decisions,” NBC News reports. The letter states, “It’s one thing for politicians to peddle these ideas in Tweets or on the stump. But the Democrats’ amicus brief demonstrates that their court-packing plans are more than mere pandering. They are a direct, immediate threat to the independence of the judiciary and the rights of all Americans.”

RACE BAIT: “[Racism is] a white man’s problem,” Joe Biden declared earlier this week. “White men are responsible for it — not black men.” This is Biden’s effort to get back in the game — his false war stories notwithstanding — and possibly get Sen. Kamala Harris on the phone.

PURGING THE LEAKERS: “President Trump’s personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout … resigned on Thursday, two people familiar with her exit said. Ms. Westerhout’s abrupt and unexpected departure came after Mr. Trump learned on Thursday that she had indiscreetly shared details about his family and the Oval Office operations she was part of at a recent off-the-record dinner with reporters staying at hotels near Bedminster, N.J., during the president’s working vacation.” (The New York Times)

SETTLED SCIENCE? “An ambitious new study — the largest ever to analyze the genetics of same-sex sexual behavior — found that genetics does play a role, responsible for perhaps a third of the influence on whether someone has same-sex sex. The influence comes not from one gene but many, each with a tiny effect — and the rest of the explanation includes social or environmental factors — making it impossible to use genes to predict someone’s sexuality.” (The New York Times)

THE WAR ON DRUGS: “The Department of Justice has broken up a drug ring allegedly responsible for conspiring to distribute 23 million opioid pills. Federal authorities announced on Wednesday that they had arrested 41 individuals after searching 15 pharmacies and six clinics. The case, which brought together multiple federal law enforcement agencies, highlights both how widespread prescription opioid trafficking still is, as well as the efforts of the government to crack down on it.” (The Washington Free Beacon)

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH: “Climate activists often warn that global warming is stoking forest fires, but it turns out the amount of land burned by wildfires worldwide has plummeted by 25% since 2003, according to NASA. NASA’s Earth Observatory found that the number of total square kilometers burned globally each year has decreased steadily from 2003-19, based on data collected by Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers (MODIS) on satellites.” (The Washington Times)

AFGHAN CONTINGENCY: “President Trump said Thursday that the U.S. would leave 8,600 troops stationed in Afghanistan even if it secures a peace agreement with the Taliban. ‘We’re going down to 8,600 [from the current 14,000], and then we’ll make a determination from there as to what happens,’ Trump said on Fox News radio. "Oh yeah, you have to keep a presence. We’re going to keep a presence there. We’re reducing that presence very substantially, and we’re going to always have a presence. We’re going to have high intelligence.‘” (National Review)

POLICY: Trump’s fight against progressive agenda at the G-7 will pay off (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: The ugly side of the pursuit for “sustainability” (Issues & Insights)

HUMOR: As summer ends, journalists look forward to new season of hysterical lying (The Daily Wire)

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

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OPINION IN BRIEF

The Heritage Foundation’s Nick Loris: “The United States has become the world’s leading oil and natural gas producer, providing affordable, reliable power to families and businesses. But heavy-handed regulations yielding negligible climate benefits threaten the United States’ ability to produce affordable energy. The Obama administration’s methane regulations were a costly, non-solution in search of a problem. Energy producers have an incentive to capture and sell methane, the main component in natural gas, because it has economic value — yielding low cost energy for consumers and reducing the United States’ allies’ dependence on Russian gas. The EPA even notes methane emissions from the industry have fallen despite the fact energy production has skyrocketed. Furthermore, states have implemented their own rules and the private sector is taking voluntary action to capture methane. As noted in Heritage’s Blueprint For Balance, the previous administration’s climate regulations were burdensome, duplicative, and unnecessary; the current EPA is wise to right-size them.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.” —George Orwell

Upright: “When WWII ended, debt to GDP ratio was 114%. Why is it approaching that number today, when we aren’t fighting a global war? Because we refuse to address runaway spending on entitlement programs.” —Rep. Dan Crenshaw

For the record: “So James Comey was — it’s official now — a sanctimonious, self-righteous bureaucrat who believed in holding other people to standards that he himself was free to break when he saw fit. This should surprise no one.” —Buck Sexton

Observations: “We have a small group of unelected conspirators who feel that it’s their moral prerogative to destroy an elected president because they are just morally superior and they have insight that the rest of us don’t have.” —Victor Davis Hanson

Unrepentant: “I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you’ would be nice.” —James Comey

Alpha Jackass: “I’m rooting for a direct hit on Mar a Lago!” —former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell on Hurricane Dorian

Non compos mentis: “Coastal cities will be underwater due to climate change, and we face many deaths if we don’t spend trillions of dollars to address it.” —Ben Rhodes (“Speaking of these coastal cities which will all be underwater soon, didn’t your former boss just spend $15 million on a waterfront mansion on Martha’s Vineyard? He must use a different apocalyptic doomsday weather app.” —Sean Davis)

The BIG Lie: “[Racism is] a white man’s problem. White men are responsible for it — not black men.” —Joe Biden

And last… “Biden has spent almost 50 years as a politician, most of them on Capitol Hill surrounded by armed bodyguards, and yet somehow whenever he talks he makes his life sound like a cross between ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and a Mount Everest expedition.” —Tucker Carlson

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TODAY’S MEME

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TODAY’S CARTOON

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