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Mid-Day Digest

Sep. 24, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust must be men of unexceptionable characters.” —Samuel Adams (1775)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

Implications of the Trump/Ukraine Timeline

As the news churns around a July 25th phone call President Donald Trump made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky while withholding a promised $391 million in military aid to Ukraine, questions have mounted as to whether the two are connected and if Trump engaged in some kind of quid pro quo. The Leftmedia and Democrats claim there’s a lot of smoke and that it will inevitably lead to Trump’s impeachment. But then again, they’ve been demanding impeachment since his election. The story of the boy who cried wolf comes to mind.

So, do Democrats actually have a legitimate case this time, or is this just another hoax? In an effort to lay out the facts, and in order to avoid falling into the endless speculation game, we’ve endeavored to create a timeline of the events in question.

What came first — Trump’s phone call with Zelensky, or the decision by the Trump administration to withhold the $391 million in military aid to Ukraine? Answer: The decision to withhold military aid came first — more than a week before Trump’s July 25th phone call with Zelensky.

What motivated the Trump administration to withhold the military aid? Answer: According to the White House, the primary concern was corruption within the Ukrainian government. Furthermore, the Washington Examiner reports that the Trump administration wanted time to determine whether the newly elected Zelensky was pro-West or pro-Russia. On Sept. 2, Vice President Mike Pence met Zelenksy, and the following day he said, “As President Trump had me make clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption.”

When were the funds released and what were the circumstances surrounding their release? Answer: The administration released the aid on Sept. 12 as lawmakers led by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) threatened legislation to force Trump to release the aid. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) was also on board with Durbin, stating, “We support Ukraine. Period. End of discussion.” While that effort was bipartisan, it appears to have been Democrat led. Why were Democrats so keen on making sure these funds were given to Ukraine? That’s not yet clear.

Then last week the news broke that a “whistleblower” had contacted the inspector general of the intelligence community to file a complaint over a phone call in which Trump was alleged to have made a problematic “promise” to a foreign leader. It has since been learned that this “whistleblower” came by the information secondhand, though the circumstances surrounding how this individual acquired the information are not yet known.

Just this morning, Trump insisted that he withheld funds in part because other European nations weren’t contributing enough. “I’d withhold again and I’ll continue to withhold until such time as Europe and other nations contribute to Ukraine because they’re not doing it,” he said.

Clearly, there are many questions that need to be answered, and Trump, who has explicitly denied having engaged in any quid pro quo with Zelensky, might do well to preemptively release the transcript of the call in question. Should Trump’s description of the conversation be accurate, it would certainly take a lot of wind out of the Democrats’ impeachment hysteria — even if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is strategically floating the idea.

Thus, a parting question. Why would Trump demand that Zelensky dig up dirt on Joe Biden when dirt on both Joe and Hunter Biden was already public? It would seem that concern over corruption would be a more likely motive. Could the newly elected Ukrainian president’s government be trusted to take $400 million in aid and allocate it to the Ukrainian military, or would it be siphoned off into the overseas bank accounts of various corrupt Ukrainian government officials?

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Climate Policy ‘For the Children’

“Climate activist” Greta Thunberg is a victim … of the ecofascist adults who have proselytized and exploited her to push the socialist agenda of the Church of Climatology. The 16-year-old Swedish girl reprimanded world leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit Monday, where she threw a tantrum accusing them of having “stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words” about climate change. “People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is the money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” she inveighed through her tears. “How dare you!”

“If you choose to fail us,” she concluded, “we will never forgive you.”

Far be it from us to defend anyone at the UN — heck, even they applauded her lines — but Thunberg’s rant was childish nonsense that is no basis for rational policy. Yet ecofascists indoctrinate her and millions of other children with lies and then trot her out as an unassailable moral authority on the only possible solutions. How dare anyone question a child?

In this respect, Thunberg is just like David Hogg, the ever-present “authority” on guns simply because he attended school at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Never mind that Hogg’s policies would strip Americans of their Second Amendment rights. Or that Thunberg’s proposals would impoverish billions of people while leaving them under crushing government control.

They’re children and we must listen to them!

It would be bad enough to exploit a healthy teen, but leftists are using one with multiple mental disorders — Asperger’s syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) — as a human shield for their draconian climate policies. The leftist Daily Beast even recounts stories from the book Thunberg and her parents published that point to her mental problems as the entire reason for her dogged activism.

In October 2018, Thunberg started having anxiety-ridden 3 a.m. nightmares … about the impact of global warming on the planet. … She decided that her anxiety about the climate needed to become everyone else’s, too. One of the aspects of her complicated diagnosis is obsession. Her family says she just wouldn’t let the idea go that the planet was burning up and there was ample science to prove it.

So, instead of helping their daughter, Thunberg’s parents made her famous by exploiting her irrational fear. Other climate activists insist that her paranoia-induced nightmares should inform international policy regarding emissions, energy, food, travel, and any number of other facets of our lives. In fact, they’ve essentially told her that the Green New Deal doesn’t go far enough, which she alluded to in her speech. And then they nominated her for the Nobel Peace Prize for parroting the lies and authoritarian dogma of the cult of Gaia worship.

That is not legitimate activism; it’s shameful child abuse.

Thunberg is indeed a victim here. She’s just not a victim of a change in the earth’s temperature over the past couple of decades.

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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

BREXIT SCHEME VANQUISHED: “The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has declared Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament just weeks before the deadline for Britain to leave the European Union unlawful,” CBS News reveals. “Johnson was accused of suspending, or ‘proroguing’ the legislature to limit the time lawmakers have to debate and intervene in his Brexit policy. … It was a devastating blow to Johnson, as the high court cleared the way for Parliament to reconvene immediately to resume debating his Brexit plans.” The implications are murky — though state sovereignty appears to remain elusive for even longer.

NO MORE “CATCH AND RELEASE”: “The Trump administration will no longer allow migrant families apprehended at the border to enter the U.S. under the immigration policy commonly known as ‘catch and release.’ The policy change was announced Monday by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan in remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. … McAleenan said the end of ‘catch and release’ is a reaction, in part, to the record number of 144,000 migrants apprehended or encountered at the southern border in May. He said that 72% were unaccompanied children or families.” (NPR)

BORDER ENABLERS: “The Marine Corps has charged 13 members with smuggling illegal immigrants into the U.S., in addition to a range of other offenses including failure to obey an order, drunkenness, endangerment, larceny, and perjury, according to a statement released Friday. Lance Corporals Byron Law and David Salazar-Quintero were specifically charged with transporting illegal immigrants into the country for financial gain. The two were based in Camp Pendleton, located between San Diego and Los Angeles, Calif. The other marines included in the indictments, some of whom were charged with distributing cocaine and LSD, were not named.” (National Review)

ATTACK THWARTED: “The FBI has arrested a U.S. soldier who allegedly discussed plans to bomb a major American news network, planned to travel to Ukraine to fight with violent far-right group Azov Battalion and allegedly distributed information online on how to build bombs. He also allegedly suggested targeting Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke.” (ABC News)

PRESS BRIEFINGS INDEFINITELY SHELVED: “White House Press Sec. Stephanie Grisham said Monday that she has no plans on bringing back the daily White House press briefings, saying reporters used them to make themselves famous. ‘Ultimately, if the president decides that it’s something we should do, we can do that. But right now, he’s doing just fine. And to be honest, the briefings had become a lot of theater, and I think that a lot of reporters were doing it to get famous,’ Grisham said on Fox & Friends. … It has been over six months since a press secretary has held a traditional briefing in the White House press briefing room, according to Axios.” (The Daily Caller)

NO RESPECT: “In August, a group of Trump supporters led by conservative activist Scott Presler went to West Baltimore for a massive clean-up operation following tweets sent by President Donald Trump highlighting the dire conditions in the area. Keeping to his promises, Presler has since led clean-up efforts in Newark, New Jersey and Virginia Beach, Virginia. And on Saturday, Presler and some 200 volunteers headed to Democrat-run Los Angeles, removing a stunning 50 tons of garbage, according to the activist. … The impressive feat, however, has gone widely unnoticed by the mainstream media.” (The Daily Wire)

CLIMATE CIRCUS: Twenty-six arrested in Washington, DC, climate-change protests (The Daly Caller)

NOLA CRIME: One in seven adults in New Orleans has a warrant out for arrest (The Washington Post)

ECONOMIC BLUDGEON: Tax backed by 2020 Democrats would hurt retirement accounts, report finds (The Washington Free Beacon)

POLICY: The two most important mental-health reforms the Trump administration should consider (The Hill)

POLICY: The rush to renewable energy defies science, economics, and common sense (Issues & Insights)

SATIRE: Marionette strings clearly visible during Greta Thunberg testimony (The Babylon Bee)

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

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Rich Lowry: “There’s a reason that we don’t look to teenagers for guidance on fraught issues of public policy. With very rare exceptions — think, say, the philosopher John Stuart Mill, who was a child prodigy — kids have nothing interesting to say to us. They just repeat back what they’ve been told by adults, with less nuance and maturity. Much of the climate advocacy of young people boils down to the plaint that all parents know well: ‘I want it, and I want it now.’ As one headline on a National Geographic story put it, ‘Kids’ world climate strikes demand that warming stop, fast.‘ Behind the foot-stomping is the idea that a long-running global phenomenon can be quickly stopped, if only adults cared as much as the kids. This fails to account for such recalcitrant factors as costs and complexity, but when do children ever think of those? (And who can blame them? They’re children.)”

SHORT CUTS

Self-inflicted stings: “No matter how petulant, absurd, or outrageous President Trump’s latest tweet is, the mainstream media will so over-feverishly attack him for it that Trump will somehow end up looking like the sane one.” —Peter Heck

Hypocrisy: “The same people who say we can’t criticize 16-year-old ANTIFA climate activist Greta Von Thunberg spent months shamelessly attacking the Covington Catholic High School kids — just because they supported our president.” —Charlie Kirk

Observations: “When you hide behind teenage kids like David Hogg and Greta Thunberg and use them for human shields like you are now, what you’re really saying is 'Hey my political arguments can’t be made by functioning, well-adjusted adults.’” —Stephen Miller

For the record: “China emits more carbon dioxide than the US, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Italy, and every other EU country COMBINED. Yet somehow Greta Thunberg and her ilk have little to say to China on the matter.” —Matt Walsh

Friendly fire: “We as a country cannot afford to only stand up and fight for our freedoms when we are the targets, but when someone else is a target we turn our backs and walk away. This is a danger for all of us. … Can you imagine if Google’s CEO was a conservative Republican who was shutting down Democrat voices that they disagreed with? Can you imagine how up in arms progressives would be if it were their voices being shut down?” —Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Non compos mentis: “In prison the determination should be that your sexual identity is defined by what you say it is, not what in fact the prison says it is.” —Joe Biden

Non compos mentis II: “When you try to take away reproductive freedom, you take it away from LGBTQ people.” —GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis (We hate to point out the obvious, but two men can’t produce a baby together. Neither can two women.)

The BIG Lie: “I held an AR-15 in my hand. I wish I hadn’t. It is as heavy as 10 boxes that you might be moving. And the bullet that is utilized, a .50 caliber — these kinds of bullets need to be licensed and do not need to be on the street.” —Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee

And last… “The whole idea of holding a protest, march, etc. is to get your message out, draw attention from members of the public who might not be aware of the issue and hopefully win over more support. Short of drowning people’s kittens and puppies in front of them, I can’t think of many other worse ways to win over hearts and minds than to strand someone in their car in a totally unnecessary traffic jam while advertising the cause you are supporting.” —Jazz Shaw

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