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Mid-Day Digest

Nov. 1, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever character composed, passion never fails to wrest the sceptre from reason.” —James Madison, Federalist 55

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

Dems Pass Impeachment Inquiry on Party-Line Vote

The Democrat-controlled House finally voted Thursday on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s anti-Trump impeachment-inquiry resolution, which easily passed 232 to 196 along party lines. Not a single Republican voted in favor of the Democrats’ “inquiry,” while two Democrats broke with their party in voting against it. In any case, the resolution merely rubber-stamps the coup 2.0 charade Democrats have already been running. Let’s just say it’s ironic that this witch hunt advanced on Halloween.

Following the vote, Pelosi bloviated, “We gather here … to proudly raise our hands to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” What outrageously phony claptrap. She then disingenuously asserted, “This is not any cause for any glee or comfort. This is something that is very solemn, that is something prayerful, and that we had to gather so much information to take us to this next step.”

Following the vote, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy noted the Democrats’ real motivation: “Democrats are trying to impeach the president because they are scared they can’t defeat him at the ballot box. This impeachment is not only an attempt to undo the last election; it is an attempt to influence the next one too. If this approach becomes the new norm, it would be a disaster for democracy. The balance of power between the sovereign people and their representatives will shift further away from the people.”

Irrespective of Pelosi’s almost comical assertions, she and her fellow Democrats have been planning and orchestrating this purely partisan charade ever since they retook control of the House. Impeaching President Donald Trump, regardless of anything he has done, has been the Democrats’ goal since his improbable election victory.

That said, it does appear that Pelosi’s hand was somewhat forced as it became clear that the optics of the Democrats holding an impeachment inquiry without a resolution was damaging the “credibility” of their case. Now Pelosi can somewhat blunt Republican criticism that the impeachment inquiry is illegitimate.

However, Republicans have also gained from this vote. They now have a record of where all House members stand on impeachment. This will certainly come into play in swing districts Republicans lost in 2018.

So, back to the actual impeachment inquiry. What does it do and what does it not do? The inquiry is still controlled by Democrats, with Rep. Adam Schiff retaining his lead position. Greater transparency is positive, as it increases the possibility of due process being respected — a factor that has been sorely lacking to date. But as long as the hyper-partisan Schiff remains the face of this inquiry, it will be transparently partisan. In any case, Republicans need to shift focus away from process complaints and toward defending against the charges being raised.

Speaking of which, the “bombshell” claim from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert — that the transcript of Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had conspicuously omitted further comments about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden — was contradicted in Thursday’s closed-door hearing with former White House official Tim Morrison. He stated that he was “not concerned that anything illegal was discussed” and argued that the transcript did not omit any relevant information or key details. This serves as yet another reminder of why this whole inquiry needs to be as transparent as possible, not held behind closed doors while bits and pieces of information are leaked to an overwhelmingly partisan press.

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$52 Trillion for Medicare for All?

Elizabeth Warren’s much-ballyhooed plan to implement Medicare for All has been released, and it’s a doozy. The estimated cost comes in at “just under $52 trillion” over the next 10 years. Yeah, read that again. All the while, Warren repeats her tired refrain, “We don’t need to raise taxes on the middle class by one penny.” And we have oceanfront property in Arizona for sale.

Suddenly, Bernie Sanders’s version of Medicare for All is a comparative bargain, whether at the initially estimated $32 trillion or his later figure of $40 trillion.

“When fully implemented,” Warren says, “my approach to Medicare for All would mark one of the greatest federal expansions of middle class wealth in our history. And if Medicare for All can be financed without any new taxes on the middle class, and instead by asking giant corporations, the wealthy, and the well-connected to pay their fair share, that’s exactly what we should do.”

When the top 1% already pays the lion’s share of income taxes while the bottom half pays roughly nothing beyond payroll taxes, what exactly does “fair share” mean?

Fox News explains, “The campaign’s detailed Medicare-for-all proposal … insists that the costs can be covered by a combination of existing federal and state spending on Medicare and Medicaid, as well as roughly $20 trillion in taxes on employers, financial transactions, the ultra-wealthy, large corporations and more. This includes what is essentially a payroll tax increase on employers, something economists generally say can hit workers in the form of reduced wages.”

Ah, there it is — tax increases for the middle class. Warren has finagled the numbers to avoid an income tax increase for the middle class, while disguising the real cost in the payroll tax. Those taxes are technically split between employer and employee, though even the leftist Tax Policy Center acknowledges the economic reality of reduced wages: The “employee bears the burden of both the employer and employee portions of payroll taxes.”

Just Tuesday, we added up Warren’s “freebies,” concluding her plans would cost $4.2 trillion on top of the current federal budget of $4.75 trillion. But her new Medicare numbers blow that out of the water, as that alone would add $5.2 trillion per year.

Did we mention that even she admits her healthcare plan could kill two million jobs? We suppose the middle class won’t pay higher taxes if they’re not earning a paycheck.

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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

JOB GROWTH PREVAILS: October job creation comes in at 128,000, easily topping estimates even with GM auto strike (CNBC)

COUNTERING THE NARRATIVE: Latest impeachment witness contradicts Alexander Vindman’s claim that key details were left out of Ukraine call transcript (National Review)

PRIMER: Four keys to understanding a Trump impeachment trial in the Senate (The Daily Signal)

WORLD’S SMALLEST VIOLIN: Katie Hill’s farewell speech: I’m the victim here, America (Hot Air)

“I HAVE BEEN TREATED VERY BADLY”: Trump makes Florida his primary residence, but says New York will “have a special place in my heart” (Fox News)

PLAYING WITH FIRE: Trump admin again gives Iran green light to conduct sensitive nuclear work (The Washington Free Beacon)

NUCLEAR OVERTURES: North Korea launches missile test, prompting escalation fears (U.S. News & World Report)

AID BLOCKED: U.S. withholding $105 million in security aid for Lebanon (Reuters)

“THIS CASE NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED”: Kentucky Supreme Court sides with Christian T-shirt maker in free-speech case (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: The shameless hypocrisy of cities suing for climate-change “damages” (Issues & Insights)

POLICY: States can use funny math on Medicaid expansion economic claims (The Heartland Institute)

HUMOR: Obama canceled after activists dig up old presidential campaign where he opposed gay marriage (The Babylon Bee)

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

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Michael Reagan: “Because [California] has given PG&E and smaller power companies monopolies over their regions, energy consumers like me get screwed again and again. Unlike lucky citizens living in more sensible states like Pennsylvania, we have no energy choices. We pay whatever the monopolies and their political friends in Sacramento tell us we have to pay. Keeping the electricity, gas and water on in my 4,300-square-foot house in the San Fernando Valley, for example, costs me about $1,500 a month — the same as my mortgage. About $400 of my bill goes to underwrite the cost of water and power for those who can’t afford to pay for their own. California, which has been putting the Green New Deal into practice long before AOC thought of it, is becoming like a Third World country. Thanks to our idiotic politicians, we have tens of thousands of homeless people and drug users living in tents on the streets of our beautiful cities. We can’t manage or market our water supply fairly or sensibly. We can’t produce energy that’s affordable, reliable or safe. And after all these years we still can’t prevent wildfires from burning down our homes.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “It must be admitted that the tendency of the human race toward liberty is largely thwarted, especially in France. This is greatly due to a fatal desire — learned from the teachings of antiquity — that our writers on public affairs have in common: They desire to set themselves above mankind in order to arrange, organize, and regulate it according to their fancy.” —Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850)

World’s smallest violin: “I’m leaving because of a misogynistic culture that gleefully consumed my naked pictures, capitalized on my sexuality, and enabled my abusive ex to continue that abuse, this time with the entire country watching.” —Katie Hill (Nobody forced her to make abysmal life choices.)

Grand delusions: “Dear Speaker Pelosi: Do not accept the resignation from Rep. Katie Hill. She is a crime victim. She has been viciously abused by her soon-to-be ex-husband. If you allow a man who uses revenge porn to succeed here, you and the rest of Congress are his collaborators. This is 2019.” —Michael Moore

Braying jackass: “Thank God for the deep state.” —former CIA Director John McLaughlin

Non compos mentis: “The foundation of this country is an extraordinarily brutal one. … [We ought to] mark the foundation of America not on the 4th of July, 1776, but the 20th of August, 1619, the first time someone was kidnapped from west Africa, brought here against their will, made to build the wealth, the success, the greatness of America, which neither they nor their descendants alive today are able to fully participate in.” —R. Francis O'Rourke, who’s taking cues from The New York Times’s revisionist 1619 Project

The BIG Lie: “This is not something that I was eager to undertake. For months and months I resisted the call for impeachment and spoke out about it and, you know, frankly, took a lot of flak from some of my supporters for not supporting impeachment because I thought this should be an extraordinary remedy. It not something we should rush to embrace.” —Rep. Adam Schiff

“[Yesterday was] a solemn day. It’s one that none of us really looked forward to.” —Rep. Eric Swalwell

And last… “I guess it’s only fitting you take this [impeachment] vote on Halloween.” —House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

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TODAY’S MEME

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

TODAY’S CARTOON

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


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