Mid-Day Digest

Sep. 16, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” —Thomas Jefferson (1801)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

Russian Puppet Iran and the Saudi Attack

Saturday’s drone attack on the Abqaiq oil facility in Saudi Arabia, the largest oil-processing plant in the world, temporarily cut off an estimated 5% of the world’s oil supply — about 5.7 million barrels per day. Oil prices spiked nearly 20% before settling back down a bit on Saudi promises to dip into reserves. Could there be a clearer illustration of the need for American energy independence?

President Donald Trump said, “I have authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if needed, in a to-be-determined amount sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied.” He also warned that the U.S. is “locked and loaded” for a response against “the culprit … depending on verification.”

Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, who have been battling the Saudis in a proxy war, claimed responsibility for the attack, while Iran itself denied any role. But U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded that there was “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” and he instead pointed to Tehran: “Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

If Iran was indeed the culprit, the timing is noteworthy. National Security Advisor John Bolton, a hawkish and staunch critic of Iran, left the White House last week amidst disagreement on policy, particularly pertaining to Iran. President Trump, who did rightly nuke Barack Obama’s bad deal with Iran, has sent numerous signals of late that he wishes to soften policy toward Tehran. That includes floating a personal meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at this week’s UN General Assembly confab, as well as contemplating support for a possible $15 billion bribe to the mullahs from the French. Iran is testing Trump.

Iran may also hope to boost its struggling economy with higher oil prices. An unstable oil market would pressure the U.S. to lift sanctions on Iranian oil exports. The Iran-supporting Russians may also benefit from higher prices given that well over half of Russia’s exports are oil and gas, as would their socialist fellow travelers in Venezuela. In any case, Shia Iran most certainly seeks regional hegemony, and Sunni Saudi Arabia is the most sizable and capable Islamic opposition. As Behnam Ben Taleblu of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies put it, “This competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia is a struggle for both the sacred and profane: for leadership of the Muslim world, for individual Muslim hearts and minds, for the Middle East regional balance, and for oil.”

Going forward, there are a lot of questions. Primarily this from National Review’s Jim Geraghty: “Nobody — or perhaps its more accurate to say few Americans — want a war with Iran, but the Iranians get a say in that, too. Assume the coming days bring proof that Iran launched an attack that shut down half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production. What would the appropriate response from the United States be?”

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NYT Spins Another Anti-Kavanaugh Yarn

Vindictive motives will often result in bending the truth or even peddling outright lies in an effort to inflict maximum damage on a target. Following the election of President Donald Trump, most mainstream-media outlets exposed themselves as Democrat partisans who vindictively attack Trump and conservatives because their preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, was soundly defeated. In this era of Leftmedia vindictiveness, The New York Times served up yet another piece of propaganda aimed at propping up the fallacious and discredited smear campaign against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

This latest hit piece claims — without any supporting evidence and in fact with statements from the alleged victim denying any memory of the supposed event — that back when Kavanaugh was at Yale, he drunkenly sexually harassed a fellow student at a party. In its original story, the Times failed to mention an important detail that it only reluctantly added later in an editors’ note that stated in part, “The female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident.”

So, the entire premise of the article is based upon a non-memory of a supposed drunken sexual assault that no one can verify ever occurred, most significantly not even the alleged victim. The Times sought to pass off a steaming pile of bovine excrement as “evidence” to support its vindictive claim that Kavanaugh is unfit for the highest court in the land. The strategy: to rally Democrats to the anti-Kavanaugh lynch mob.

It worked like a charm. Democrat presidential candidates immediately grabbed their virtue-signal torches and demanded Kavanaugh’s impeachment.

The timing of this latest salvo against Kavanaugh appears to be strange, though, as it is months away from the primaries and over a year away from the 2020 election. But it may be less about timing and more of an attempted counterpunch to shore up the #MeToo narrative against Kavanaugh after recent revelations have further eroded the credibility of Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford. For example, Ford’s longtime and closest friend, Leland Keyser, who was supposedly at the party in which Ford claimed she was attacked, stated that her story “just didn’t make any sense” and that she didn’t “have any confidence in the story.” Furthermore, Ford’s own father didn’t believe her story. In fact, write The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino, “It wasn’t just Ford’s father. The national drama played out on a decidedly local scale as the D.C.-based family and friends of Ford’s quietly apologized to friends and family of Kavanaugh, even as the toxic political environment made it punitive for them to speak up publicly.”

The real reason for this whole leftist charade is the same as it was the moment Kavanaugh was nominated: abortion. Don’t take our word for it. Here’s Ford attorney Debra Katz: “I believe that Christine’s testimony brought about more good than the harm the misogynist Republicans caused by allowing Kavanuagh on the Court. He will always have an asterisk next to his name. When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade we will know who he is, we know his character and we know what motivates him. It’s important that we know and that’s part of what motivated Christine.”

Democrats and their Leftmedia cohorts have grossly smeared Kavanaugh in an effort to at the very least impact his rulings in any abortion-related case, and their long-term aim is to create a sufficiently negative narrative to provide grounds for a future Democrat-controlled Congress to impeach him. In other words, this latest play by the Times is not designed for any immediate impact but simply to put another story on the record against Kavanaugh.

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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

AUW STRIKE: “More than 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers walked off General Motors factory floors or set up picket lines early Monday as contract talks with the company deteriorated into a strike. Workers shut down 33 manufacturing plants in nine states across the U.S., as well as 22 parts distribution warehouses. It wasn’t clear how long the walkout would last, with the union saying GM has budged little in months of talks while GM said it made substantial offers including higher wages and factory investments.” (Associated Press)

PURDUE PHARMA BANKRUPTCY: “Purdue Pharma, the drug manufacturer accused of triggering the nation’s epidemic of opioid addiction through its sale of the profitable but highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy Sunday. The Chapter 11 filing is expected to lead to the ultimate demise of a company that sold a fraction of the opioid prescriptions in the United States but nonetheless is most closely identified with the epidemic because of its pioneering role in the sale of narcotic pain pills.” (The Washington Post)

GUN-CONTROL TALKS: “President Donald Trump talked on the phone with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Sunday morning as pressure mounted for Congress to act on gun control. In a statement released Sunday afternoon, Schumer and Pelosi said they told Trump that any gun control package that did not include the background check legislation passed earlier this year by the House would ‘not get the job done.’ … They promised Trump a ‘historic signing ceremony at the Rose Garden’ if he endorsed the legislation and had Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell act on the legislation.” (USA Today)

EMOLUMENTS-CLAUSE LAWSUIT REVIVED: “A federal appeals court on Friday breathed new life into a lawsuit that claims the financial relationship between President Trump’s properties and foreign officials violates the Constitution, ruling that a lower court had erred in dismissing the suit. By a two-to-one vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected the lower court’s 2017 ruling, which had dismissed the case brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). CREW’s suit alleges that foreign governments’ patronage of Trump’s businesses violates the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits federal officials from receiving benefits from foreign governments without Congress’s consent.” (National Review)

ANOTHER JUSSIE SMOLLETT: “Former NFL star Edawn Coughman was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of vandalizing his own restaurants. … Police alleged that Coughman scrawled ‘MAGA’ and racial epithets on the walls of his businesses, alleging that he was trying to collect on an insurance scam by staging a hate crime.” (Washington Examiner)

STOMACH-CHURNING “Family members discovered 2,246 medically preserved fetal remains on the property of an abortion doctor who passed away on Sept. 3, authorities said Friday. … Klopfer, who died at 75, reportedly performed 30,000 abortions since 1974, according to Heavy. The Indiana Medical Licensing Board indefinitely suspended Klopfer’s medical license in August 2016, NBC affiliate WNDU reported.” (The Daily Caller)

POLICY: Trillion-dollar deficits don’t make America great (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: The myth that the polar bear population is declining (Foundation for Economic Education)

SATIRE: In surprise 5-4 ruling, Supreme Court holds that Second Amendment requires mandatory gun ownership (IMAO)

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

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Jeff Jacoby: “By unleashing vast quantities of clean-burning natural gas, fracking dramatically changed the economics of electricity production. As natural gas grew more and more affordable, fewer and fewer power plants continued to burn coal. Indeed, more than half of all US coal-fired plants have closed over the past 10 years. According to the Energy Information Administration, 35 percent of America’s electricity in 2018 came from natural gas; just 27 percent was from coal. No one would have thought those percentages were possible in 2000, when half of the nation’s electricity was generated by coal-fired plants and less than one-sixth came from natural gas. Because natural gas releases only half as much carbon dioxide as coal, the sweeping shift to gas-fueled plants has led to a dramatic reduction in America’s greenhouse gas emissions. … For anyone who worries about climate change and is intent on carbon reduction, all this should be cause for rejoicing. Fracking, which has made it possible, should be extolled as a boon to environmental progress.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid.” —Ronald Reagan

For the record: “You know who hasn’t had to change their story once, not one time, not one correction, not one apology, over the course of all the [Brett] Kavanaugh allegations? Every single American who has believed in his innocence from the start.” —Buck Sexton

Upright: “To this very moment slavery continues in parts of Africa and the Islamic world. Very little noise is made about it by those who denounce the slavery of the past in the West, because there is no money to be made denouncing it and no political advantages to be gained.” —Thomas Sowell

The BIG Lie I: “We have more African Americans under criminal supervision today than all the slaves in 1850.” —Sen. Cory Booker

The BIG Lie II: “[Gun confiscation] is something that we’re able to do through the Commerce Clause… So this is constitutionally sound.” —Beto O'Rourke

Friendly fire: “If you want to throw 149 million people off of their insurance — and that’s the Sanders/Warren bill … well, then I’m not your candidate because I don’t think you should be throwing people off their current insurance in four years. If you want to have a $16 trillion plan in a $20 trillion economy, I’m not your candidate.” —Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Victimitis: “It’s important for us to make sure that we are not forgetting the aftermath of 9/11, [when] many Americans found themselves now having their civil rights stripped from them, and so what I was speaking to was that as a Muslim, not only was I suffering as an American who was attacked on that day, but the next day I woke up as my fellow Americans were now treating me as suspect.” —Rep. Ilhan Omar responding to criticism of her “some people did something” remarks about 9/11 by claiming extra special victim status

Braying jenny: “I certainly hope that the people of Israel make a different decision. And my hope is that they recognize that [Benjamin Netanyahu’s] existence, his policies, his rhetoric really is contradictory to the peace that we are all hoping that that region receives and receives soon. … I think what is really important is for people to understand that you have to give people the opportunity to seek the kind of justice they want in a peaceful way. And I think the opportunity to boycott, divest, sanction is the kind of pressure that leads to that peaceful process.” —Ilhan Omar

Stranger than fiction: “I’m only controversial because people seem to want the controversy.” —Ilhan Omar

Jumping the gun: “I sat through those hearings. Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people. He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice. He must be impeached.” —Sen. Kamala Harris

And last… “Always, always remember that the people jumping on every absurd and transparently fabricated Kavanaugh allegation are mostly the same exact people who to this day will not even listen to Juanita Broaddrick’s very credible story about Bill Clinton. Disgraceful frauds, all of them.” —Matt Walsh

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TODAY’S MEME

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TODAY’S CARTOON

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