Mid-Day Digest

Sep. 11, 2019


“National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.” —John Adams (1815)

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‘Bad Cop’ Bolton Exits

National Security Advisor John Bolton resigned (or was fired, depending on whose version you believe) Tuesday after one too many tussles with President Donald Trump. The key takeaway here is that Bolton was Trump’s “bad cop” — the one who talked exceedingly tough to keep the suspect (or, in this case, the foreign power) on his heels during interrogation, only to back off and let the “good cop” (Trump) step in to make a deal. Perhaps Bolton wasn’t taking his cue to back off, so Trump, ever eager for that deal, forced him out.

Trump is no foreign-policy hawk, so it was somewhat of a surprise to see him hire Bolton in the first place. As The Heritage Foundation’s Nile Gardiner summed up, “Bolton advanced a clear-eyed approach to dealing with the myriad threats facing the United States today and was uncompromising in his view that the U.S. must project strength and resolve in confronting its enemies.” That was true whether it was with China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, or the Islamic State.

It certainly seems the last straw was Bolton’s vehement objection to Trump’s talks with the Taliban, whose negotiators had been invited to Camp David — yes, the same Camp David where George W. Bush and his team huddled to determine the response to the 9/11 assault on our nation launched by al-Qaida from its safe haven in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan — before the president canceled those negotiations.

We only hope Bolton’s ouster on Sept. 10 does not reflect a return to a Sept. 10 mindset in American foreign policy.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who supported and directed Trump’s attempt for a deal with the Taliban, is still generally a reliable voice for American national security. He spoke yesterday of new actions designed to ratchet up pressure on Iran and various terrorist groups such as ISIS. Pompeo warned, “I don’t think any leader around the world should make any assumption that because some one of us departs that President Trump’s foreign policy will change in a material way.”

And yet the revolving carousel of White House personnel continues to spin, and with 14 months to go until the 2020 election, Trump will be looking for his fourth national security advisor. Sometimes Trump’s strategy of governing through chaos works to keep opponents on the ropes. Other times it’s just chaos. Which will Bolton’s departure be?

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The High Cost if Demos Reverse Trump’s Deregulation

As the Democrat presidential candidates run on a platform of essentially banning capitalism and replacing it with massive government-run welfare programs, one factor often overlooked is the hidden regulatory cost on the public at large, beyond government spending. Just how much savings has Trump’s deregulation crusade brought, and what would be the impact if those savings were reversed?

Cornerstone Macro’s Andy Laperriere notes, “The cost of new regulations is down more than 80% since Trump took office, which amounts to close to $100 billion less — each year — in the cost to the private sector of new government rules.” He adds, “The number of economically significant rules, those estimated to impose $100 million or more in costs to the private sector, are down about 75% under Trump. The number of pages in the Federal Register, another measure of the burden of complying with new government rules, has seen the biggest two-year decline since records have been kept.”

Laperriere then observes that Democrat plans such as the Green New Deal would create a regulatory nightmare for all Americans. As a result, the cost of doing business in America would increase exponentially. So, beyond an increase in taxes to pay for all the “free stuff” Democrats promise, and beyond reversing all of the savings Trump’s deregulation has brought, the price of doing business would also increase due to a wave of new regulations. It’s not a pretty picture.

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


GOP SECURES NORTH CAROLINA: “In a major victory for both President Trump and national Republicans, North Carolina GOP state Sen. Dan Bishop was projected to win a fiercely contested special U.S. House election for the 9th District that was widely seen as a bellwether for the president’s chances in the 2020 election,” Fox News reports. “And another Republican House candidate, Greg Murphy, decisively won a separate special election in North Carolina’s more solidly GOP-leaning 3rd District earlier Tuesday evening — frustrating Democrats who spent millions trying to make a splash in the state.” Democrats couldn’t make headway even into marginal Trump territory.

EMBASSY ATTACKED: “A rocket exploded at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan just minutes into Wednesday, the anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the United States. A plume of smoke rose over central Kabul shortly after midnight and sirens could be heard. Inside the embassy, employees heard this message over the loudspeaker: ‘An explosion caused by a rocket has occurred on compound.’ About an hour later the all-clear was given, with no injuries reported. … It was the first major attack in the Afghan capital since President Donald Trump abruptly called off U.S.-Taliban talks over the weekend, on the brink of an apparent deal to end America’s longest war.” (Associated Press)

CNN’S FAKE-NEWS FALLOUT: “U.S. intelligence officials past and present offered harsh criticism Tuesday of a CNN report on the handling of a high-level U.S. informant in the upper reaches of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin, warning that even discussing sensitive details of the case put U.S. security and future intelligence operations at risk.” (The Washington Times)

FEMA FRAUD: “The FBI arrested one of the top administrators of FEMA and the CEO of a contractor on wire fraud and bribery charges, along with a lower-level FEMA official … for fraud and bribery involving Hurricane Maria relief. The contractor got a $1.8 billion contract for rebuilding Puerto Rico’s notoriously unreliable electrical infrastructure, which the Department of Justice says came by way of bribery.” (Hot Air)

OLIVE BRANCH? “China’s Ministry of Finance announced plans to exempt 16 types of U.S. products from additional tariffs on Wednesday, including food for livestock, cancer drugs and lubricants. The exemption, which is scheduled to go into effect from September 17, will be valid for a year through to September 16, 2020. The announcement comes as high-level trade officials from China and the U.S. prepare to meet in Washington next month.” (CNBC)

SEEING THE WRITING ON THE WALL: “Background checks for gun sales, concealed-carry permits, and security spiked in August as congressional Democrats renewed their push for expanded gun control in the wake of several mass shootings. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System recorded a 15.5 percent uptick in background checks last month, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.” (National Review)

UNINSURED RISES: “The number of Americans without health insurance climbed to 27.5 million in 2018, according to federal data that show the first year-to-year increase in a decade, before the Affordable Care Act began reducing the ranks of the uninsured. … The number of uninsured rose by nearly two million people overall, the Census Bureau said, which is about how many fewer people were covered under Medicaid compared with 2017. The number of people covered by private insurance didn’t significantly change.” (The Wall Street Journal)

MONOPOLY GOES WOKE: “Hasbro officially brought the gender pay gap to game night with its new feminist version of Monopoly called ‘Ms. Monopoly.’ The new version of the classic board game comes with new rules: Women players will collect $240 in Monopoly money while male players will only collect $200. Women also collect $1,900 in Monopoly money from the banker player at the beginning of the game while men collect $1,500.” (The Daily Caller)

‘ANGEL MOM’ DISRESPECTED: “Last week, Boston mother Maureen Maloney was booed while testifying about the death of her son Matthew Denice, who was killed in 2011 by a drunk-driving illegal with a criminal history. Maloney was testifying at the State House in opposition to a bill seeking to grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. ‘At the start of her testimony, Maloney held up a photo of Matthew and recalled how he was killed by an illegal immigrant drunk behind the wheel. About halfway into her 3 minutes of testimony, a man behind Maloney booed the grieving mother,’ the Boston Herald reported.” (The Daily Wire)

POLICY: ObamaCare caused premiums to spike. Here’s how states are lowering them again. (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: Congress needs to get its act together for defense funding (The Hill)

HUMOR: Trump cancels Taliban meeting after learning it’s THAT Taliban (The Babylon Bee)

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

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Ben Shapiro: “With time comes forgetfulness. The same period of time has now elapsed since Sept. 11 that elapsed between the end of World War I (1918) and the German re-occupation of the Rhineland in contravention of the Treaty of Versailles (1936). … Forgetfulness is easy, because immediate costs are painful and steep. American foreign policy nearly always vacillates between two poles: isolationism and reactive interventionism. The American people (correctly) don’t like the consequences of isolationism — increased attacks on America and her allies, maximization of influence by our enemies — but we also dislike (correctly) the consequences of maintaining a global military presence. … The problem, of course, is that there are no easy solutions when it comes to foreign policy in the worst parts of the world. Everyone of good heart wants American soldiers out of Afghanistan and home. But how many Americans are willing to risk the increase in terrorism likely to follow such a withdrawal? … Our politicians should be brave enough to recognize that a weaker America on the world stage means a more vulnerable America at home. If we didn’t learn that lesson on 9/11, we’re bound to repeat it.”


Insight: “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which one is true.” —Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

Political gymnastics: “The GOP won a special election billed as a ‘must win’ by the media in NC-09. Congressman-elect Bishop will head to Washington despite Democrats pouring vast resources into the race. Had the GOP lost, the media would have turned it into a defining narrative. Because they won, the press will move on.” —Erick Erickson

A blind squirrel finds a nut: “We really should get back to the way it was when people were examining qualifications of what it takes to be a judge, rather than trying to guess how they would vote on contentious cases.” —Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Friendly fire: “Unless a woman’s life … is at risk, then there shouldn’t be an abortion in the third trimester.” —Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Straight from the horse’s mouth: “Are there socialists in the Democratic Party? You bet. Because we’re a big tent party. We have all of the above.” —Democrat Rep. Donna Shalala

Non compos mentis: “Living close to work shouldn’t be a luxury for the rich. It’s a right for everyone.” —Beto O'Rourke

Non sequitur: “Congress gives hundreds of billions of dollars to fund our endless wars each year, yet making public college and universities tuition-free is somehow ‘too radical.’ I reject that.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders (“One case is national defense, which all Americans benefit from, and the other is a direct transfer of money from hard working Americans to the investment decisions (ie college) of others. Saying they are the same thing is pure intellectual laziness.” —Rep. Dan Crenshaw)

Village idiots: “People need to wake the f—k up. We’re going the wrong direction as fast as possible. I like to say that we’re like Thelma and Louise. We’re driving straight toward the canyon at 90 miles per hour with the radio cranked up and the top down.” —climate crusader and hypocrite James Cameron

And last… “This country is owned by We the People. We wrote a Constitution. We put down what we wanted to put in it. We can amend it when we wish. And it is not up to nine people to tell 330 million Americans how to live.” —Justice Neil Gorsuch

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.



For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

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