“A wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” —Thomas Jefferson (1801)
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- Trump makes an important move regarding regulatory transparency.
- Turkey’s incursion into Syria presents problems.
- Daily Features: More Analysis, Columnists, Headlines, Opinion in Brief, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed two executive orders aimed at ensuring that Americans are not left in the dark regarding regulations. As he signed the two new directives, Trump stated, “We are reforming the bureaucracy to make it lean, responsive, and accountable. And we are ensuring our laws are enforced fairly.”
The first order, entitled “Bringing Guidance Out of the Darkness,” mandates all federal government agencies publish all regulatory-guidance documents on easily searchable websites to allow Americans better access and input. The order further requires that the government “permit citizens to give their input on these guidelines,” and insists that the public “will have the ability to ask agencies to withdraw guidance they believe is wrong.”
Trump’s second order, titled “Transparency and Fairness,” prohibits government agencies from enforcing regulations “that have not been made publicly known.” Furthermore, citizens cannot be prosecuted based upon an agency’s interpretation “of how a statute or regulation applies to particular circumstances.” Instead, citizens are legally liable only regarding the actual law or regulation. This is an important feature of this executive order. As The Wall Street Journal editorial board observes, “Recall how the Obama Administration relied on guidance as a substitute for regulation. Why take the trouble to issue formal rules, with all that pesky public comment, if the agency can post a memo setting out the policy it plans to pursue?” In other words, an agency’s regulatory guidance cannot supersede or replace the actual law or rule with which it is intended to help the public comply.
In short, there’s still a long way to go to rein in the bureaucratic apparatus that has far too much influence over our lives. But Trump’s executive orders bring a measure of fairness and accountability back to government regulation. This is a big win for all Americans, as Trump continues his march to cut down to size the regulatory nightmare that is Washington red tape.
Few moves by President Donald Trump have been as universally condemned as his abandonment of our decades-long Kurdish allies in Syria. In fact, many of the loudest criticisms have come from Trump’s supporters. After pulling out a small number of U.S. troops from northern Syria, Turkey no longer had any deterrent from an incursion into the region. Predictably, it happened almost immediately.
“The Turkish military began an offensive in Syria to seize territory held by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Turkish authorities kicked off the operation on Wednesday despite U.S. warnings that it would punish Turkey if it attacked the Kurdish militants, Washington’s partner in the fight against Islamic State in northeastern Syria.” The Journal then explains, “Turkish officials said their twin goals in the offensive, Turkey’s third in Syria since 2016, were to drive armed Kurdish groups it views as terrorists back from its border and to create a safe zone to relocate millions of Syrians who have fled the eight-year conflict.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the European Union, “If you try to frame our operation there as an invasion, our task is simple: We will open the doors and send 3.6 million migrants to you.”
For his part, President Trump offered, well, indefensible comments. While he called Turkey’s incursion “a bad idea,” he didn’t threaten much more than “tougher sanctions.” Regarding the Kurds, he says they “are fighting for their land,” but “they didn’t help us in the second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy as an example.” That’s after he explained we didn’t owe the Kurds any continued alliance because we have previously paid them and will continue to help them financially and with weapons. His transactional view of alliances is problematic to say the least, and it will cause other U.S. allies to rethink how much partnership they’re willing to offer. That’s especially true given how critical the Kurds were in defeating the Islamic State — and they gave 11,000 lives to do it. Now, it seems Trump got what he wanted, so he’s dropped the Kurds like… well, fill in your own analogy from Trump’s previous dealings.
Memo to the president: Normandy wasn’t our land either. And notably, the only land we’ve taken in foreign wars over the last century was that needed to bury our dead.
Because of the way Trump speaks about his decisions, they seem impetuous. We’re not convinced that was the case here. After all, the U.S. has been debating troop presence in Syria for the better part of the last decade. And it was disagreement over strategy there that led to the departure of former Secretary of Defense James Mattis in December. Trump obviously hasn’t listened to his advisers, but that doesn’t mean he’s acted impetuously.
We’ll reiterate a strategic point we made Tuesday: The U.S. is not withdrawing from Syria entirely. The shift of a relative handful of U.S. troops from one part of northeastern Syria is nowhere near as significant a move as Barack Obama’s total abandonment of Iraq (also a campaign promise), which led directly to the creation of the Islamic State.
But that also leads to another problem with Trump’s move. The Kurds currently hold about 12,000 ISIS fighters (and 70,000 members of their families), but are redirecting personnel toward fighting Turkey, prompting concerns over what happens to those prisoners. Trump bizarrely argued, “They’re going to be escaping to Europe. That’s where they want to go. They want to go back to their homes.” He also says those detainees are Turkey’s responsibility. Maybe he should review Erdogan’s threat about refugees to see how seriously Turkey will take that responsibility — particularly given Turkey’s ties to ISIS.
ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY
- Featured Analysis: SCOTUS Takes on Transgenderism — Will the Supreme Court “reinterpret” the original meaning of the Civil Rights Act?
- American Spirit: Presidential Medal of Freedom for Former AG Edwin Meese — “You are an inspiration to liberty-loving citizens everywhere,” said Trump.
- Video: Why We Need Stigma — Push back against a whole range of self-destructive behaviors and you get attacked.
- Humor Video: Mid-Day News — News anchors report the local news while trying not to react to the race of each subject.
Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column
Read The Demo Double Standard When Digging for Dirt on Trump. Democrats embrace hypocrisy as if it was the highest of political character traits.
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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
LEAKER ARRESTED: Defense Intelligence Agency worker arrested on charges of leaking top-secret information to reporters (CNBC)
BIPARTISAN REPRIMAND: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joins Ted Cruz, Ben Sasse, and others in letter to NBA condemning league for “betrayal of American values” (National Review)
WOKE PLATITUDES: ESPN bows to China, posts illegitimate propaganda map of communist Asian nation (The Daily Wire)
JUSTICE FOR KAVANAUGH: “Republican senators are pressing the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges against women who made false rape accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing last year.” (The Washington Times)
TERRORISM REAWAKENED: After a lull, Islamist terrorism in Europe returns with a vengeance (The Daily Signal)
DISTRICT OF CONFORMITY: “Is this the last time we can celebrate Columbus Day? A wave of cities have decided to remove the holiday from the calendar and replace it with ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” reports The Daily Signal’s Jarrett Stepman. That now includes Washington, DC, which was named after … Christopher Columbus.
POLICY: Major threat to the U.S. economy — unfunded retirement deficits (The Heritage Foundation)
POLICY: School choice can bust government’s education monopoly (The Heartland Institute)
HUMOR: Haunted house for progressives just normal conservative man’s home containing Bibles, guns, and a copy of the Constitution (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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OPINION IN BRIEF
Ben Shapiro: “If it takes kowtowing to the Chinese communist government to earn a quick dollar, corporations will do it. Ask Google. Or Hollywood studios. Or the NBA. All of which gives the lie to the bizarre notion that corporations are handmaidens for capitalist exploitation. They’re not. They simply follow dollars. If they can grab those dollars through cronyism with governments, they will. In fact, that’s easier than retaining a competitive advantage in a free and open marketplace. There’s another, more important point at stake. When corporations virtue signal to the left, they’re doing so for the same reason the NBA just bowed to China: dollars. The NBA understands that American leftists are far more censorious than conservatives — and that means that openly pandering to the American left earns product loyalty from that political contingent, without serious consequences from American conservatives. … It’s about the green. It always is.”
Insight: “If everyone were clothed with integrity, if every heart were just, frank, kindly, the other virtues would be well-nigh useless, since their chief purpose is to make us bear with patience the injustice of our fellows.” —Molière (1622-1673)
Upright: “If you are serious about wanting to improve education, do not vote more money for the education establishment that has been dumbing down the schools for years. Vote for vouchers, tax credits, or anything else that will transfer decision-making power to parents.” —Thomas Sowell
Observations: “We are in a virtual civil war, and the Left believes that it can win over the hearts and minds of 20 to 30 percent of the swing voters in the United States with therapeutic tales of racism, sexism, unearned white privilege, and right-wing greed and selfishness, and also by destroying the elected president.” —Victor Davis Hanson
For the record: “Planned Parenthood just announced that they will spend $45 MILLION to defeat Trump and flip the Senate in 2020. If they have that kind of money, why the hell are taxpayers subsidizing them every single year?” —Charlie Kirk
Nailed it: “So Twitter is banned in China and China is punishing the NBA for a view expressed on a platform that literally no one in China can access.” —Erick Erickson
Demo-gogues: “Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation, and committed impeachable acts. To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached.” —Joe Biden
From the Lack of Self-Awareness Department: “We all laughed when he said he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and get away with it. It’s no joke! He’s shooting holes in the Constitution and we cannot let him get away with it.” —Joe Biden
And last… “Hillary Clinton says there’s ‘no evidence’ that Joe and Hunter Biden ‘did anything wrong.’ Right — I’m sure she also saw no evidence of wrongdoing in: Selling our Uranium to Russia. Deleting 33,000 emails after a Congressional subpoena. Not protecting our embassy in Benghazi.” —Charlie Kirk
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis