Mid-Day Digest

Jan. 2, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“I will not believe our labors are lost. I shall not die without a hope that light and liberty are on a steady advance.” —Thomas Jefferson (1821)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

The Trump Administration’s Record Bodes Well for 2020

The new year is always a good time to reflect on blessings of the past and hope for the future. In that spirit, here’s a highlight reel of good stuff resulting from the Trump administration’s policy achievements.

  • Jobs are plentiful. The White House says seven million jobs have been created since Donald Trump’s election. Record numbers of Americans are employed, and wages are rising as employers compete for workers. The headline unemployment rate is at its lowest in 50 years, with minorities in particular enjoying the fruits of this labor.

  • The stock market has continued to break records, yielding benefits for the investment and retirement accounts of more than half of all Americans. The Dow Jones average rose 22% in 2019, while the S&P was up 29% and the NASDAQ climbed 35%. When Trump was elected, the market was pretty volatile, and New York Times economist Paul Krugman predicted, “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.” Boy was he ever wrong.

  • Consumer optimism is reflected in year-end retail sales. Gary Bauer notes, “Retail sales surged 3.4% over last year, led by record online spending. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a critical time for the economy. According to Reuters, sales during these few weeks can account for up to 40% of all annual sales for many retailers.”

  • Regulations reduced. Economic growth comes when government gets out of the way, contrary to the “stimulus” philosophy of the last administration. The White House says, “Since taking office, President Trump has rolled back nearly 8 regulations for every new one, saving American taxpayers more than $50 billion in the process — with bigger savings still to come.” That includes rolling back a lot of his predecessor’s environmental controls. The Daily Caller reports that Trump “nixed nearly 100 environmental regulations during his first three years in office.”

  • Not only has Trump cut red tape, he’s been slow to add new regulations. According to The Washington Times, “The Trump administration issued the fewest new regulations during 2019 than in any year since the government began keeping track more than four decades ago.” All three of the lowest regulation totals belong to President Trump.

  • Judicial appointments. Not all of Trump’s success has been economic. An astounding 20% of the federal judiciary is now composed of Trump appointments after the Republican-controlled Senate has confirmed 187 of his nominees. For the pace of that success, Republicans at least owe a wink and nod to former Democrat Senate Leader Harry Reid, who nuked the filibuster for judges in 2013. Judges were a big reason for millions of conservative votes in 2016, and Trump has delivered.

  • Defeating terrorists. After Barack Obama fomented the rise of the Islamic State, Trump has spent three years fighting back. It hasn’t been free of controversy, but it’s hard to argue with success like the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

  • Other gains include military funding and rebuilding, immigration policy, and — we hope — trade.

Not bad for a guy Democrats are hell-bent on impeaching. 2020 is, of course, an election year and Americans will choose whether or not they want to stay this positive course.

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Top Foreign Threats Facing the U.S. in 2020

As we enter a new year and a new decade, Americans were reminded anew that our old geopolitical foes still present a significant threat to our nation and our way of life. In Baghdad, Iraq, the U.S. embassy was attacked by Iran-backed “protesters” angered at President Donald Trump’s authorization of air strikes against the Iran-backed terrorist group Kataib Hezbollah — a jihadi group that had killed an American civilian contractor. Trump was quick to send in the U.S. Marines to secure the embassy and prevent another Benghazi fiasco. He also warned, “Iran killed an American contractor wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible.”

Iran continues to be provocative in an effort to get Trump to back off his crippling sanctions, while the regime continues its pursuit of building a nuclear weapon. Thus far, Trump has avoided being pulled into a war with Iran, but as the Iranians get more desperate, expect an increase in the number of attacks against U.S. interests and allies.

At the same time, North Korea has once again ramped up its saber-rattling, with Kim Jong-un claiming to possess a “new strategic weapon” while also suggesting he will end the moratorium against testing long-rang missiles. For the moment, Trump seems content to hold the line on sanctions while continuing his charm offensive. He continues to avoid offering any heated criticism of Kim while effectively calling on Beijing’s puppet to uphold the denuclearization agreement “he did sign.”

Finally, the ongoing trade war with China. There was some recent positive news, as the White House announced that a “phase one” deal agreed to last month would be signed on January 15. The deal would cancel a new round of $156 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods as well as slash current tariffs on another $120 billion in goods. While it is undeniable that the trade war has hurt certain sectors of the U.S. economy, it has been necessary to fight against Chinese cheating. However, this fight is far from over, as Beijing would love nothing more than to see Trump lose his reelection bid with an aim to continue its unfair trade practices.

In short, as 2019 passes into 2020, there are some things that haven’t changed and will require continued American vigilance.

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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

PROXY WAR: Iran-backed militiamen withdraw from U.S. embassy but Iraq tensions linger (Associated Press)

THANKS, OBAMA: In 2011, Obama met with one of the leaders in Baghdad embassy attack (PJ Media)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM: Trump honored with “Bipartisan Justice Award” by black leaders (The Western Journal)

TOO GOOD TO IGNORE: CBS News reporter highlights minority improvements under Trump as most underreported story (The Daily Wire)

MASSIVE: Bernie Sanders tops Democrat field with massive $34.5 million haul in fourth quarter (ABC News)

MORE MASSIVE: Trump camp raises $46 million in final quarter; reelect team says impeachment drove best haul to date (The Washington Times)

MAGA: Trump beats own record for fewest new regulations issued in a year (The Washington Times)

POLITICAL FUTURES: New census data suggests previous report wrong: Republican states gaining seats in Congress (The Daily Wire)

PRESENTED IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: The 24 most absurd PC moments of the 2010s (National Review)

DECADE OF DEBT: Federal debt up more than $10 trillion in 2010s (CNSNews.com)

POLICY: A New Year’s revolution for Iran (Issues & Insights)

POLICY: GOP should “double down” on tax cuts 2.0 (The Heritage Foundation)

SATIRE: Hillary Clinton slams Trump for not taking a more “hands-off” approach to embassy attack (The Babylon Bee)

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

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Victor Davis Hanson: “When the supposed clueless Trump was elected, a number of elites pronounced his economic plans to be absurd. We were told that Trump was bound to destroy the U.S. economy. Former Princeton professor and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman insisted that Trump would crash the stock market. He even suggested that stocks might never recover. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said Trump would bring on a recession within a year and a half. The former head of the National Economic Council, Steven Rattner, predicted a market crash of ‘historic proportions.’ … Yet three years later, in terms of the stock market, unemployment, energy production and workers’ wages, the economy has been doing superbly. The point of these sharp contrasts is not that an Ivy League degree or a Washington reputation is of little value, or that prestigious prizes and honors account for nothing, or even that supposed experts are always unethical and silly. Instead, one lesson is that conventional wisdom and groupthink tend to mislead, especially in the age of online echo chambers and often sheltered and blinkered elite lives. We forget that knowledge can be found at all ages, and in all places. And ethics has nothing to do with degrees or pedigrees.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free.” —Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973)

For the record: “[Joe Biden] was a politician in D.C. for 44 years. But if elected, he’s gonna change Washington…” —Robert J. O'Neill, former SEAL who killed Osama

Observations: “A decade ago, proponents of gay marriage asked the question, ‘How does a gay marriage affect you?’ Well now we know — they will try to shut down Christian businesses, schools, and non-profits for not going along with it.” —Erick Erickson

At least he’s honest: “The genesis of impeachment, to be very candid with you, was when the president was running for office.” —Rep. Al Green

Dezinformatsiya: “Why do people support Trump? It’s because people have been trained from childhood to believe in fairy tales. … The more fairy tales and lies he tells the better they feel. … Show me a person who believes in Noah’s ark and I will show you a Trump voter.” —NBC’s Chuck Todd

Alpha jackass: “I was sure that Trump was gonna get elected the day he announced, and I said it’s gonna be like Hitler and the Mexicans are the new Jews. And sure enough, that’s what he delivered.” —singer Linda Ronstadt

The BIG Lie: “What we’re living in right now is not an advanced society. It is fascism, what we have. What we’re evolving into as well.” —Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Non compos mentis: “Abortion rights shouldn’t matter to men because women are our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends. They should matter to men — to everyone — because women are people.” —Sen. Cory Booker

And last… “We have become so rich as a nation that even most poor families can buy dolls and baseball bats and $100 Nike basketball shoes for their kids, as well as cellphones that have more computing power than every computer used to put a man on the moon. It is nonsense to say the poor and the middle class are worse off than they were 20 or 30 or 50 years ago.” —Stephen Moore

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TODAY’S MEME

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TODAY’S CARTOON

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