Mid-Day Digest

Jan. 6, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“It is a principle incorporated into the settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute.” —James Madison (1816)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

Bullet Points: U.S. Counters Iranian Threats

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is apparently trying to retain the Democrats’ control of the impeachment news cycle. She announced Sunday that the House will vote to limit President Donald Trump’s options for retaliation if Iran attacks after Thursday’s killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani. Pelosi’s move came only a day after Trump gave Congress a formal defense of his decision, arguing that the strike was justified because Soleimani was responsible for hundreds of American deaths and was plotting even further. For those reasons, it was not an assassination as is the characterization in much of the media. And while more congressional involvement in military action would be welcome, Pelosi managed to find just the wrong time to assert herself.

Meanwhile, what is Iran doing?

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened, “The great nation of Iran will take revenge for this heinous crime.” That apparently includes placing an $80 million bounty on Trump’s head. We suppose the mullahs are using the cash Barack Obama gave them to back that up.

Speaking of Obama, Tehran announced it’s officially abandoning his 2015 Iran nuclear deal — as if the mullahs were ever truly abiding by it. Besides, President Trump kept his promise to ditch the deal in 2018.

What is the U.S. doing?

Trump issued a counter threat to Iran: “If Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets …. we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!” This sent leftists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar caterwauling about Trump’s “war crimes” instead of presenting a united front against Iran, which should be a common enemy. Trump Derangement Syndrome is incredible.

What is Iraq doing?

Iraq’s parliament, over objections by the Trump administration, passed a nonbinding resolution demanding the remaining 5,300 U.S. troops in Iraq leave the nation. President Trump doesn’t want to do so until “they pay us back” for our “very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there.” If the Iraqis don’t pay up, Trump threatened “sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever.” We suspect that’s Trumpian bluster. Parliament’s move is a political facade giving some politicians cover with Iraqi factions; material changes in actual Iraqi policy are unlikely.

Trump did the right thing by taking out a murderous terrorist ringleader who had more power and influence than Osama bin Laden or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at the time they were terminated. That doesn’t mean there won’t be reprisals, but it does mean an American president just stood up for America in an important way.

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Conservative Christians Rally for Trump

Following the anti-Trump article penned by Mark Galli, Christianity Today’s now-retired chief editor, in which he essentially declared that Christians who support President Donald Trump are violating their biblical beliefs and compromising their religious witness, hundreds of conservative Christian (and a few “Christian”) leaders responded to that false dichotomy. In an effort to set the record straight, last Friday a group of conservative Christians calling themselves “Evangelicals for Trump” held a rally in Miami to express their political support for the president. Their aim was to challenge the political straw-man narrative that many on the Left (as well as many anti-Trump conservatives) have sought to cultivate — the false claim that a biblically consistent Christian cannot in good conscience support Trump.

An example of this underhanded and dubious political tactic to chip away Christian support for Trump is Vote Common Good. The organization’s executive director, Doug Pagitt, a liberal who has long pushed against historical Christian orthodox beliefs, states, “There are many reasons why people have lost their faith in Donald Trump. We are not telling people to stop being Republicans; we are asking Republicans to not vote for this one. We are not trying to turn everyone into a Democrat. We are asking people to consider voting for one this time.”

Notice the lack of any concern for the views expressed by any of the current Democrat candidates. The argument begs the question of a false binary in which Trump is assumed to be the greatest evil and therefore the only “righteous” choice remaining is anyone other than Trump. Based on this lazy and downright idiotic logic, Pagitt would rather Christians toss their vote to a hypothetical Adolf Hitler if he were the one running against Trump.

Fortunately, conservative Christians — like many conservative Americans in general — aren’t so simplistic or easily duped into voting for candidates who aim to destroy Liberty. Conservative Christians know that all leaders are sinful and flawed, and that the choice of who to vote for more often than not comes down to a question of a lesser of two evils. It’s a question of determining which political party and candidate’s policy platform fits more consistently with a Christian worldview.

The “Evangelicals for Trump” rally in Miami loudly confronts the efforts of Democrats and the Leftmedia to stoke the false narrative that support for the president is morally indefensible. In fact, as Trump 2020 senior campaign adviser Jenna Ellis notes, “Evangelicals for Trump are quite soundly embracing our moral witness because this November, one candidate will advocate infanticide, abortion on demand, socialism, penalizing churches, the redefinition of marriage and family, destruction of individual freedom, greater reliance on welfare, censorship, and the entire bucket list of the anti-American, anti-Constitution, anti-freedom-loving liberal agenda.” That candidate won’t be Donald Trump.

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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

SOLEIMANI FALLOUT: President Trump threatens Iraq with sanctions, says U.S. won’t leave unless “they pay us back” for air base (USA Today)

SERIAL CHEATER WITHDRAWS: Iran “abandons” limits of 2015 nuclear deal after top general killed in U.S. airstrike (Fox News)

ON ALERT: Three Americans killed in terror attack on African military base; rockets fired at U.S. embassy in Iraq (The Daily Wire)

ABOUT THOSE FOREIGN-POLICY CREDENTIALS… Joe Biden sided with terror leader Qasem Soleimani in handing control of Iraq to Iran (The Washington Free Beacon)

D'OH! Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters appeared to have been tricked by Russian pranksters into thinking she was speaking on the phone with Greta Thunberg and that the teenage climate activist had dirt on President Trump (Fox News)

OIL FUTURES: Why the oil market rally on elevated U.S.-Iran tensions may be short lived (MarketWatch)

SITTING ON A KNIFE’S EDGE: The $250 trillion burden weighing on the global economy in 2020 (Forbes)

“YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE REAL WORLD”: Golden Globe Awards host Ricky Gervais tears into Hollywood elite (Fox News)

INEVITABLE RECKONING: United Methodist Church is expected to split over gay marriage, fracturing the nation’s third-largest denomination (The Washington Post)

POLICY: With a small step and a big one, Iran just escalated against America (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: Trump is quietly winning bigly at the border (Issues & Insights)

HUMOR: Democrats furious that Trump used the powers they expressly gave him (Genesius Times)

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

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Michael Doran: “To see just how significant [Qasem] Suleimani’s death truly is, it helps to understand the geopolitical game he’d devoted his life to playing. In Lebanon, Mr. Suleimani built Lebanese Hezbollah into the powerful state within a state that we know today. A terrorist organization receiving its funds, arms and marching orders from Tehran, Hezbollah has a missile arsenal larger than that of most countries in the region. The group’s success has been astounding, helping to cement Iran’s influence not just in Lebanon but farther around the Arab world. Building up on this successful experience, Mr. Suleimani spent the last decade replicating the Hezbollah model in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, propping up local militias with precision weapons and tactical know-how. In Syria, his forces have allied with Russia to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad, a project that, in practice, has meant driving over 10 million people from their homes and killing well over half a million. In Iraq, as we have seen in recent days, Mr. Suleimani’s militias ride roughshod over the legitimate state institutions. They rose to power, of course, after participating in an insurgency, of which he was the architect, against American and coalition forces. Hundreds of American soldiers lost their lives to the weapons that the Qods Force provided to its Iraqi proxies.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.” —Ronald Reagan

Upright: “If you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech, right? You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.” —Golden Globe Awards host Ricky Gervais

Total lack of self-awareness: “In the entertainment industry many who have known/worked w/ Trump think that while his reality show was fun and ran a long time, he’s a self-serving, dishonest, morally bankrupt ego maniac who doesn’t care about anything or anyone but his Fame & bank account & is hustling the US.” —Ron Howard (Sounds like “Opie” needs another lesson from Pa.)

Grand delusions: “We are the only developed country where the idea of a shootout in a church is even conceivable. What do you suppose God thinks of that?” —Pete Buttigieg (Maybe God is as offended by this concept as He is by those who defile the natural order he created between men and women.)

For the record: “If you call the [Qasem] Soleimani strike an ‘assassination,’ you are disseminating Iranian propaganda. Soleimani was an aggressor and illegal actor who was killed in a lawful strike by the nation whose embassy he’d just attacked. That’s not an assassination, by definition.” —Matt Walsh

The BIG Lie: “The question moving forward is whether the administration has given any thought as to how to manage the fallout that comes from such a drastic action. This is the equivalent of the Iranians assassinating the U.S. secretary of defense.” —Sen. Chris Murphy

Non compos mentis: “There is nothing new about American terrorist attacks against Black and Brown people for the expansion of American imperialism.” —Colin Kaepernick on the U.S. killing Iranian terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani

Alpha jackass: “We’ll do it for half.” —"comedian" George Lopez responding to Iran’s $80 million bounty on Trump

Somebody did something? “The President of the United States is threatening to commit war crimes on Twitter.” —Ilhan Omar

And last… “Barack Obama routinely droned terrorists abroad — including American citizens — who presented far less of a threat to Americans and American interests than Soleimani. So spare me the hysterics about ‘assassination.’” —Ben Shapiro

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TODAY’S MEME

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TODAY’S CARTOON

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