Mid-Day Digest

Sep. 9, 2019


“It is a principle incorporated into the settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute.” —James Madison (1816)

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Trump Tells Taliban Negotiators to Rethink It

Over the weekend, Americans learned that President Donald Trump had been planning a secret meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David to continue negotiations for ending the 18-year war in Afghanistan after he announced via social media that he had decided to cancel the meeting. Trump explained:

[Taliban leaders] were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. … Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations. What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position? They didn’t, they only made it worse! If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway. How many more decades are they willing to fight?

Clearly, Trump, like many Americans, is tired of the unending war in Afghanistan. He has regularly noted not only the war’s financial cost but its continued toll in American lives. And like the businessman that he is, Trump’s instinct is to cut his losses on a seemingly futile endeavor and move on to greener pastures. But Afghanistan is not some business deal, and evaluating a just return for all the human and financial capital the U.S. has invested is not easily calculated or dismissed. That said, this war needs a clearly defined goal.

And that lack of a clearly defined objective is why both Trump and Barack Obama struggled in bringing about an acceptable resolution to the war. The Wall Street Journal reports, “Trump’s decision to suspend talks with the Taliban stemmed from opposing views within his administration, the group’s refusal to meet certain conditions and growing bipartisan criticism of an emerging deal to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.” Trump’s advisers are divided over the issue, with National Security Advisor John Bolton “consistently opposed [to] making a deal with the Taliban.”

The proposed deal would have brought about a 5,000-troop withdrawal within the first 135 days following its signing, with the remaining 9,500 Americans drawing down in several subsequent phases, assuming the Taliban upheld the agreement.

For the moment, the current Afghan government is breathing a sigh of relief, as Afghan officials’ fears were mounting that the U.S. was about to sign a deal that would have effectively handed the country over to the Taliban. A spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani noted that Trump’s decision “reflects the concerns raised by the Afghan people and government about a process that would make a group that is behind the killings of so many innocent people, both Afghans and otherwise, look victorious, rather than lead them to halt violence.” There is still no end in sight for the Long War.

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It’s Time to Re-Segregate College Sports?

Sports writer and commentator Jemele Hill has long been more interested in peddling leftist race bait than, you know, commenting on sports. For years and in multiple instances, Hill has made controversial remarks mixing race and politics with sports. But because Hill is black, people like Joe Biden say she can’t be racist.

Nevertheless, writing for The Atlantic, Hill argues for segregation at the nation’s colleges and universities.

It’s Time for Black Athletes to Leave White Colleges,” reads her title. She argues this re-segregation should happen because “black athletes have attracted money and attention to the predominantly white universities that showcase them.” Instead, she says, they should redirect their talents to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

She’s not entirely wrong about some of the disparity among blacks and whites, or about how colleges rake in major profits from unpaid athletes. And in one sense her argument is thoroughly American — she advocates for the underdog to prevail against the giant.

Yet Hill is also both utterly clueless and downright mendacious. For starters, Hill — a graduate of predominantly white Michigan State and now a staff writer for the historically white Atlantic magazine — wistfully pines for a time when blacks attended HBCUs because that was their only choice. Ah, the “good old days” of segregation.

Segregation, as with slavery before it, was a tragic evil that did much lasting harm. Even so, there’s an irony: Black families were better off before the government stepped in to become “daddy.” The word “family” never appeared in Hill’s article, however. Another irony: Black athletes have it far better now — if by better we measure it as professional fame and fortune. While Hill is right to exhort black celebrities in all walks of life “not just to enrich themselves but to help strengthen and empower black communities,” she’s seemingly arguing for young black athletes to choose a path that would reduce their future income. In any case, money alone will prove woefully inadequate if it’s not accompanied by fundamental cultural change. Blacks must focus — as must we all — on crumbling families and on the pursuit of individual effort, excellence, and responsibility.

Politically, Democrats are the ones “profiting” from subjugating blacks as a slavish voting bloc. Hill cheers that on, while, again ironically, blasting President Donald Trump for being “a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.” What is Hill but a black supremacist arguing that all blacks should segregate themselves with other black supremacists? Worse, she’s shaming those who disagree.

What’s next — separate drinking fountains for black athletes?

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


CONGRESS RECONVENES: Congress’s August recess comes to a conclusion today. The legislative chambers “face a broad array of issues, with spending, trade policy, guns and an expanded border wall all potential flashpoints,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “Adding to the complication: Lawmakers are already keeping an eye on next year’s elections.” That will be the primary calculus for the two parties’ leadership in the lead up to the 2020 election — meaning more bulwarks, more obstruction, more rhetoric, and more grandstanding are the only sure bets.

IRAN INFRACTIONS: Via Reuters: “Iran said on Saturday it was now capable of raising uranium enrichment past the 20% level and had launched advanced centrifuge machines in further breaches of commitments to limit its nuclear activity under a 2015 deal with world powers. … The 2015 pact curbed Iran’s disputed nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions, but has unraveled since the United States pulled out of it last year and acted to strangle Iran’s oil trade to push it into wider security concessions.” Importantly, Iran was already violating the nuclear deal even before the U.S. abandoned it. Iran is now exploiting the U.S. withdrawal and twisting its own machinations as vindication for more blatant violations. On a related note, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is admonishing Barack Obama for pacifying Iran.

SEAL LEADERS DISMISSED: “In a highly unusual move, three senior leaders of a SEAL team were dismissed Friday due to a loss of confidence in their leadership skills only weeks after a unit in Iraq was sent home accused of sexual assault and the platoon chief of another unit was convicted for posing with a casualty. Naval Special Warfare Command said Rear Adm. Collin Green relieved them because their leadership failures caused a breakdown of order and discipline within two units while deployed to combat zones. The men will remain in the Navy and they are not accused of any misconduct themselves.” (Associated Press)

HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION: “The number of migrants caught crossing the southwest border continued a sharp decline in August… Border Patrol arrested roughly 51,000 migrants in August, a 30 percent drop from the previous month. The latest figures signal that counter-migration measures instituted by the Trump administration may be reducing the number of border crossers. Border arrests rose from July to August in eight of the last 10 years, which suggests the current drop is not related to recent historical patterns.” (Politico)

SANFORD CHALLENGES TRUMP: “Former Gov. Mark Sanford on Sunday said he will mount a primary challenge to President Trump in 2020, jumping into the race after publicly toying with the idea for several months,” according to The Washington Times. However, the odds are greatly stacked against Sanford and other Republican challengers. As CBS News reports, “The Republican parties in South Carolina and Nevada announced Saturday that they would not be holding their presidential nominating contests in 2020, and all Republican delegates will be committed to President Trump. They join the Kansas Republican Party, which confirmed on Friday that it will not hold its caucuses in 2020.”

ALARMING PRECEDENT: “Own a rifle? Got a scope to go with it? The U.S. government might soon know who you are, where you live and how to reach you. That’s because the government wants Apple and Google to hand over names, phone numbers and other identifying data of at least 10,000 users of a single gun scope app, Forbes has discovered. It’s an unprecedented move: Never before has a case been disclosed in which American investigators demanded personal data of users of a single app from Apple and Google. And never has an order been made public where the feds have asked the Silicon Valley giants for info on so many thousands of people in one go.” (Forbes)

GOOD RIDDANCE: “ThinkProgress, the influential news site that rose to prominence in the shadow of the Bush administration and helped define progressivism during the Obama years, [has shut] down. The outlet, which served as an editorially independent project of the Democratic Party think tank Center for American Progress (CAP), [ended] current operations on Friday and [will] be converted into a site where CAP scholars can post.” (The Daily Beast)

POLICY: The hate-crime spike in New York City has nothing to do with white supremacy (National Review)

POLICY: The long-term benefits of corporate tax cuts are undeniable (Foundation for Economic Education)

HUMOR: Democrats propose mandatory free-speech buyback for dangerous ideas (The Babylon Bee)

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

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Gary Bauer: “Famed New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is under attack by the radical left and its media allies. Why is Brees suddenly the subject of so much attention? Did he protest the national anthem? No. Did he tweet something nasty about Donald Trump? No. For those things, he would be applauded by our cultural elites. No, Brees’s sin was recording a brief video encouraging kids to take their Bibles to school, encouraging them to ‘live out your faith … and share God’s love with friends.’ Oh, the horror! The video was produced by our friends at Focus on the Family. And for that Brees is being accused of promoting hate and being ‘anti-LGBT.’ Nothing could be further from the truth — about either Drew Brees or Focus on the Family. … Unlike the left, Focus isn’t trying to force its values on anyone else. It doesn’t force anyone to follow its advice. It offers it freely to anyone who seeks it. The attack on Brees is just the latest indication of the left’s growing intolerance for men and women of faith. It is a reminder of what is at stake in the culture war raging over the values we will pass on to our children and grandchildren.”


For the record: “We’re going to kill a lot of poor people in Africa so rich Americans can feel good about their environmentalism. The mining for precious metals for our electric cars, etc. will end badly, but rich progressives will sleep well at night.” —Erick Erickson

Upright: “Climate change is not the hoax that some claim it is. But to the extent that it’s a crisis, people like Sanders, Cortez and Warren want to use it as an excuse to radically transform the American economy and political system along lines that have less to do with climate change and much to do with their ideological animosity to the status quo. And when the fight against climate change conflicts with their fight for ‘social justice,’ it’s climate change that takes a backseat.” —Jonah Goldberg

What could possibly go wrong? “On my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that puts a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases for drilling offshore and on public lands. And I will ban fracking — everywhere.” —Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Demo-gogues: “What I know is this: We cannot have assault weapons in our society. We’ve seen the devastating impact. They need to be banned. And that means by definition you don’t leave millions and millions of them out there. The buyback’s the obvious approach. How we deal with someone who doesn’t want to participate in the buyback, that’s something we’ll have to resolve going forward.” —New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

Amazing lack of self-awareness, part I: “A society is judged based on how it treats children. This Administration will be judged harshly.” —Sen. Kamala Harris, who supports the slaughter of millions of in-utero babies

Amazing lack of self-awareness, part II: “The size of your body doesn’t define your worth.” —Planned Parenthood

The BIG lie: “I don’t get wrong things like, we should lock kids up in cages at the border.” —Joe Biden, whose administration devised said cages

And last… “Notice that Walmart still plans to sell the remainder of its AR-15 ammunition. This couldn’t really be about saving lives, obviously. It’s about the money. It’s only about the money.” —Tucker Carlson & Neil Patel

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