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Mid-Day Digest

Jan. 14, 2020


“Born in other countries, yet believing you could be happy in this, our laws acknowledge, as they should do, your right to join us in society, conforming, as I doubt not you will do, to our established rules.” —Thomas Jefferson (1801)

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100 Miles of New Border Wall, Illegal Crossings Down

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced last Friday that “a milestone” had been reached in President Donald Trump’s promise to secure the nation’s southern border. “I am proud to report that the Trump administration has now constructed 100 miles of new border-wall system on the southern border,” Wolf stated. “This is a milestone achievement for the president, the department, and more importantly for our country.”

Wolf also pushed back against critics who have asserted that it’s not new wall going up but just replacements of old wall. “One thing I want to emphasize: Every inch of the 100 miles that we have constructed is new border-wall system. It’s not so-called ‘replacement’ wall as some of our critics claim.” He justified his declaration with the example that replacing a one-bed shack with a new five-bedroom house would be called a “new” house, not a “replacement” house.

This milestone represents just the first step in the Trump administration’s plan to build an additional 900 miles of border wall. The Washington Post reports, “Pentagon funds would be extracted, for a second year in a row, from military construction projects and counternarcotics funding. According to the plans, the funding would give the government enough money to complete approximately 885 miles of new fencing by spring 2022, far more than the 509 miles the administration has slated for the U.S. border with Mexico.”

Meanwhile, this past December, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol apprehended or turned away 40,620 individuals attempting to illegally enter the country. That total is down a whopping 70% from a high of 144,000 last May and marks the seventh consecutive month of declining illegal crossing. Much of this can be credited to Trump’s multi-faceted approach to addressing the border crisis, which includes deals with Mexico and Central American countries to actively engage and deter illegal immigration in their countries, the new “remain in Mexico” asylum policy, and miles of new border wall.

In spite of all the Left’s opposition, Trump has clearly made significant headway on his signature campaign agenda.

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Warren Knifes Sanders Ahead of the Debate

As Democrats prepare for the all-white presidential debate tonight, Elizabeth Warren chose a slightly different tack for identity politics. On Monday, a claim leaked — almost certainly from her campaign — that Bernie Sanders had privately told her back in 2018 that a woman couldn’t win the White House in 2020.

Given that the anonymously sourced report came from CNN, which is less factually reliable than the satirical Babylon Bee, you can take this with a grain of salt. But the network reports, “The two agreed that if they ultimately faced each other as presidential candidates, they should remain civil and avoid attacking one another, so as not to hurt the progressive movement.”

“She could make a robust argument about the economy and earn broad support from female voters,” CNN noted, adding, “Sanders responded that he did not believe a woman could win.”

Sanders called the CNN story “ludicrous,” turning his fire on Donald Trump, calling him “a sexist, a racist, and a liar.” But Warren said, “Among the topics that came up was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate. I thought a woman could win; he disagreed.”

The other part of Warren’s broadside came from Politico, which reported that the Sanders campaign is distributing volunteer talking points undermining Warren with phony kindness: “I like Elizabeth Warren. In fact, she’s my second choice. But here’s my concern about her.” She is the “candidate of the elite.” Feel the Bern.

This media hit job was such an obvious setup for tonight’s debate that it’s hard to take it seriously, especially when Warren’s autobiography is so littered with victimis falsehoods. But a couple of things bear mentioning. For one thing, Warren peaked too soon and has been steadily losing traction in the polls in recent weeks. She needs something — anything — to generate some buzz in advance of not only the debate but the February 3 Iowa caucuses, where she’s running fourth. The candidate most occupying “her lane” is Sanders, which makes him a target despite whatever detente they agreed to two years ago.

The other notable thing here is the reminder that Democrats have nothing of substance to offer beyond socialism. If it’s not failed policy ideas, it’s Trump Derangement Syndrome and identity politics.

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Why Two-Parent Homes Are Still Better

A family built around two parents has many advantages. Two-parent families are statistically less likely to be poor. They are also less likely to suffer addictions or engage in criminal behavior. Children who grow up in homes where both mom and dad live under one roof have a greater chance to live successful, well-adjusted lives and create stable familial relationships for themselves.

This is not to say that children who grow up in one-parent homes are doomed to miserable lives, but it’s hard to deny that the opportunity for a better life takes a lot more work. One-parent households are predominantly lower income, less educated, and more susceptible to crime and drug problems.

Sociologists, economists, and politicians have struggled for years to find ways to alleviate the inequities dealt to one-parent households. Potential solutions abound, but those suggested by Dr. Christina Cross, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, ignore the core issue and risk making matters worse.

In a shockingly obtuse New York Times op-ed last month, Cross claimed that for black Americans the problem is not a lack of two parents under one roof, but, rather, it’s a lack of access to resources compared to white one-parent families. In other words, more taxpayer money will fix it.

Cross points out that black one-parent households have a tougher time than white one-parent households when it comes to getting and maintaining jobs, obtaining a good education, owning property, and so forth. She then makes the cognitive leap that access to resources alone is the problem for one-parent black families because one-parent white families perform statistically better in these areas. The power of a two-parent household among blacks is “a myth” according to Cross. Rather than stepping back and looking at the larger issues that face all one-parent families, Cross chooses to make a racial divide and drive home the tired leftist narrative about a racist system that has it in for black families.

Perhaps one-parent white families do perform statistically better than one-parent black families across all of Cross’s data points, but what difference does that make? White or black, they are still more likely to be poor, less educated, and more susceptible to a tougher life.

Ian Rowe, senior visiting fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, takes Cross to task for her misguided analysis. Rowe points to data from the National Center for Education Statistics that shows the proportion of black children living in poverty decreases from 45% for mother-only households and 36% for father-only households to 12% for two-parent households.

Rowe also questions how Cross narrowly cites evidence to play down the importance of two-parent households for blacks while ignoring the broader issue of family structure for children of all races. Why does the problem have to be confined to one race? Non-marital births among white women under 24 numbered 238,000 in 2018, far higher than any other racial cohort.

Cross is right to be concerned about the issue of single-parent families, but by choosing to make a racial argument, she makes it that much more difficult to implement the real solution: A more stable family structure benefitting all children, no matter their skin color.

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Iran Shows Difficulties of and Need for War on Terror

The takedown of Qasem Soleimani has caused a major shift in the Middle East. It also has managed to reinforce the necessity of fighting the War on Terror, as well as illustrating why this war is a very difficult one to fight.

In the wake of the termination of the notorious Quds Force commander, Iran retaliated by targeting two American bases with 15 or so ballistic missiles, four of which failed, making the regime look like a paper tiger. President Donald Trump had authorized a strike to take down Soleimani should an American be killed and if the conditions were right. Obviously, earlier this month, they were.

However, shortly after the ineffective missile barrage, some Iranian troops near Tehran who were manning a SA-15 Gauntlet launcher apparently forgot a basic safety rule involving weapons — be sure of your target. As a result of that negligent discharge of an air-defense system, the Iranian regime downed a Boeing 737 with 176 people on board. There were no survivors. Somehow, at least if you listen to Democrats and the Leftmedia, the Iranian regime’s inability to follow a commonsense rule that anyone would learn at an NRA firearms safety course is Donald Trump’s fault.

Of course, in the wake of the Soleimani takedown — one that is no less justified than the takedowns of Isoroku Yamamoto, Osama bin Laden, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — Iran has been spouting its usual “Death to America” nonsense. Some of the leaders also reiterated their desire to wipe Israel off the map, and threats were made to the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Iran’s actions show why we still need to fight the War on Terror. Countries will sponsor terrorist groups as a way to land blows against the United States — and even hit Americans on American soil. Or, failing that, they will lash out at American allies. If you want a sustainable long-term peace, Jihadistan must be fought.

Saying that, of course, is the easy part. The actual takedown of the bad guys isn’t hard, relatively speaking, either. The very hard part when it comes to winning the Global War on Terror comes after that. America has to somehow find and keep friendly governments in the region, and that takes long-term commitment. That, though, is arguably the biggest question America needs to answer, and America’s biggest difficulty. Just look at the situation in Afghanistan.

To see just how America’s commitment to winning fades, consider the dishonorable treatment of the Patriots who interrogated Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Aby Zubaydah, and other hard-core al-Qaida terrorists. America asked people like Gina Haspel, Jose Rodriguez, Bruce Jessen, and James Mitchell to find ways to get that information. When enhanced interrogation techniques were proposed, they were reviewed and found to be legal. Yet instead of being honored for accomplishing this difficult task and saving lives, these Patriots were left to fend for themselves. Then, grandstanding politicians proceeded to stab them in the back again with new restrictions.

It’s ironic that many of those who demand we believe the “intelligence community” about Trump-Russia collusion have been dismissive at best when that same “intelligence community” told the truth about what it took to get hardened terrorists to talk.

In any case, if America wants to win the Long War, it needs to find the long-term commitment needed for victory.

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American Spirit: Mechanic Creates Prosthetic for Girl So She Can Play Violin

“Fourth grader Valerie Romero is just like most nine-year-old girls in the area. She goes to St. Johns Middle School, plays with her friends, paints her nails, and she plays violin in music class. But, until recently, no one knew just how good of a violin player she really is. That was because Valerie was born a little differently and did not have the availability of both of her hands, which is necessary to play the instrument. But that all changed this month, thanks to local resident Nate Kellogg.”

“Kellogg’s children — Carter, Emily and Clara — came home from school one afternoon and told him about a special little girl with one arm who needed help holding her violin and bow at the same time. During class, she could only practice the fingering of the notes, but could not play along like everyone else could due to this limitation. Kellogg, an apprentice mechanic at the Tucson Electric Power plant, knew he had to find a way to help Valerie.”

“Kellogg began to look at his various tools at work and asked his coworkers for help on the project.”

“‘I got to talking to the guys at work, and there is an instrument holder that would work perfect. It was already made and something you could buy online,’ Kellogg said. The device was adjustable, requiring only the turn of some knobs and it would hold a violin bow tightly.”

Read more at White Mountain Independent.

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AT LONG LAST: House prepares to vote Wednesday to transmit Trump impeachment articles to the Senate, where it will be disposed of (CNBC)

376 MILES OF NEW FENCING: Trump planning to divert additional $7.2 billion in Pentagon funds for border barriers (The Washington Post)

BROKERING: U.S. drops designation of China as currency manipulator ahead of trade agreement (National Review)

THE TRUTH ABOUT POVERTY: Child poverty in the U.S. is at an all-time low, and saying otherwise does not help American families (Institute for Family Studies)

DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT: Stocks are up 495% in the past decade — here’s why you probably aren’t (MarketWatch)

TERRORISM IN THE HOMELAND: NAS Pensacola shooting was an “act of terrorism,” Attorney General William Barr says; U.S. to expel 21 Saudi nationals in training program (Fox News)

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: According to Fox News, “Barr says DOJ was consulted before Soleimani strike as Trump goes on defensive.” The Leftmedia spin regarding Trump’s comments is a distinction without a difference, and it’s meant to make it look like this was a conspiracy to kill some innocent Iranian without justification.

PREEMPTION: Here’s a setup story from The New York Times to undermine anything about the Bidens and Burisma so that if something emerges on Joe, it can be written off as “Russian meddling”: “Russians Hacked Ukrainian Gas Company at Center of Impeachment.”

DEZINFORMATSIYA: TV’s Trump news: three-fourths impeachment and 93% negative (NewsBusters)

FOR THE RECORD: Hillary Clinton vindicated on corruption charges? Hardly. (Issues & Insights)

POLICY: Obama’s midnight regulations, lawsuits still hamper the U.S. economy (Issues & Insights)

POLICY: The why and how of market-driven medical care (RealClearPolicy)

HUMOR: Mitch McConnell sends Pelosi shirt reading “I impeached the president and all I got was this lousy T-shirt” (The Babylon Bee)

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

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For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.


Insight: “Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.” —Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

For the record: “On December 6, Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force, entered a building on the grounds of Pensacola Naval Air Station and killed three U.S. sailors and severely wounded eight other Americans. He was killed during the attack. This was an act of terrorism. The evidence shows that the shooter was motivated by jihadist ideology.” —Attorney General William Barr

Upright: “During the Obama administration, the faster wage gains were among the top 10% of earners. We’ve flipped that now. The fastest wage gains are among the bottom 10%. And when you look at number of different measures of how the economy is doing, it’s some people who had less opportunity historically who are some of the really big beneficiaries right now.” —Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia

The bottom line: “The imminent threat was Soleimani having a pulse.” —Dan Bongino

Game, set, match: “I’m glad [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi] finally realized she never had any leverage in the first place to dictate Senate procedure to senators and is giving in to bipartisan pressure to move forward.” —Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Pelosi’s delay with articles of impeachment

Non compos mentis: “There is no better candidate than Cory Booker. There is no better man than Cory Booker. He will continue to do great things. He just doesn’t know any other way. He leads with love. He leads by service. I am always inspired by him.” —Alyssa Milano

Grand delusions: “People are afraid of not just what he can do, but what he’s doing to people, what he’s bringing out in people, the kind of people he’s surfacing in the United States. You have swatting happening and Nazis walking around. It is a scary time. And you look at the polling on what Donald Trump has just done, and rather than make people feel more confident, it’s made people more anxious.” —MSNBC’s Joy Reid

And last… “Bernie Sanders once called for a 100% tax on anyone earning ‘more money than they can spend in a lifetime.’ He defined that as $1,000,000. Despite never working a real job in his life, Bernie Sanders’ net worth today: Over $2,000,000. I wonder if he still supports that tax.” —Charlie Kirk

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