“The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.” —Patrick Henry (1775)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- Impeachment Trial Day 8: Dershowitz, Schiff, and Bolton
- What Impeachment? Trump Signs USMCA
- Conservative Cities Better for Minority Students’ Education
- ‘Fairness’ Is No Substitute for Moral Obligation
- DeVos on Slavery, Pro-Choice, and School Choice
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
“If the president does something that he thinks will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment,” Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, a member of President Donald Trump’s defense team, told the Senate Wednesday. Predictably, his statement, which outlines his consistent defense of Trump, was mischaracterized by Democrats and the Leftmedia in service to the impeachment agenda.
Dershowitz certainly could have been clearer, but the Trump team’s argument is this: A lawful quid pro quo in service to U.S. interests is not illegal or impeachable, regardless of whether it benefits the president politically. Thus, even if Democrats’ allegations are true, Trump’s “offense” doesn’t rise to an impeachable one. Of course, there’s also an inconvenient truth: There was no actual quid pro quo, though one was attempted. Ukraine got its military aid and Volodymyr Zelensky got his presidential meeting, all without opening the investigations Trump requested.
In any case, Trump’s request regarding the corruption of a previous and potentially future American administration is absolutely in U.S. interests, though Trump was unwise to ask this of one of Europe’s most corrupt countries.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand exemplified the hyperventilating on the Left, arguing that Dershowitz “essentially said that if President Trump believes his election is for the good of the American people that he could do whatever he wants.” That’s a false representation of what Dershowitz actually argued, and leftists know it.
Patrick Philbin, one of the president’s lawyers, bolstered Dershowitz’s point: “If there is something that shows a possible public interest” in what Trump said, “that destroys [the Democrats’] case.”
Adam Schiff, one of the leading and most dishonest of the Democrat impeachment managers, disagreed. “If any part of the president’s motivation was a corrupt motive,” he insisted, “it would be enough to convict under criminal law.”
To illustrate his preposterous contention, Schiff engaged in another bit of absurd B-movie theater, mockingly saying, “Let’s … see how you feel about this scenario:”
President [Barack] Obama, on an open mic, says to [then-Russian President Dimitri] Medvedev, “Hey, Medvedev, I know you don’t want me to send this military money to Ukraine because they are fighting and killing your people. I want you to do me a favor, though. I want you to do an investigation of Mitt Romney. And I want you to announce you found dirt on Mitt Romney. If you’re willing to do that, quid pro quo, I won’t give Ukraine the money they need to fight you on the front line.”
Do any of us have any question that Barack Obama would be impeached for that kind of misconduct? Are we really ready to say that that would be okay if Barack Obama asked Medvedev to investigate his opponent and withhold money from an ally that needed to defend itself to get an investigation of Mitt Romney? That’s the parallel here.
The especially brazen aspect of Schiff’s latest attempt to win an Oscar is that he comes fairly close to what Obama actually did. Unknowingly on a hot mic, Obama told Medvedev in 2012 that he would have “more flexibility” after his reelection to make changes to U.S. defense policy sought by our Russian geopolitical foes and detrimental to our European allies. Obama was not impeached, of course, though Democrats — four years too late — eventually realized that Russia is in fact a threat to U.S. interests.
No, Romney was not mentioned in the real conversation, but Obama had to defeat Romney before he could give Medvedev’s puppet master, Vladimir Putin, what he wanted: American capitulation on missile defense. Nothing Trump said is even remotely close to being that bad for U.S. interests.
Meanwhile, as John Bolton and his leaked book allegations have dominated the news this week, there’s more misinformation and distortion coming out of even libertarian and conservative news outlets. Without getting lost in the weeds, any book written by a top administration official like Bolton must be reviewed by the National Security Council (NSC) to determine if any classified information is revealed.
In a letter to Bolton’s publisher, the NSC contended that there was indeed classified information — some of it TOP SECRET — in Bolton’s manuscript. That would need to be removed before the book could be published. This was not a ham-handed attempt at “muzzling” Bolton, and it wasn’t a “threat” to block his book entirely, either. The NSC review is standard procedure that Bolton rightly submitted to in order to honor his own nondisclosure agreements.
The NSC letter is dated January 23, three days before the New York Times blockbuster revealing that Bolton says there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine. The Times depended on a well-timed leak of Bolton’s manuscript, leaving us to wonder whether the leaker — one of the Vindman twins? — violated federal law by disclosing classified information.
Democrats still want Bolton to testify before the Senate, though that is increasingly unlikely. But we thought it would be enlightening to highlight Schiff’s long history of denigrating Bolton. In 2005, Schiff complained of Bolton’s “lack of credibility.” And all the way back in 2018, he groused about Bolton’s “love of conspiracy theories.”
Now we have to hear from Bolton? What changed, Mr. Schiff?
And finally, Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the president’s trial, refused to read a question submitted by Sen. Rand Paul because Paul named the whistleblower. The worst-kept secret in the swamp is that Eric Ciaramella is likely the whistleblower. Federal law protects whistleblowers only from retribution, not from being named, so the continued charade of keeping his name a “secret” is absurd. Not only should Ciaramella’s name be spoken, he should have testified before the House.
Even in the midst of the ongoing Senate impeachment trial, President Donald Trump hasn’t taken his eyes off the ball as he continues to press forward in implementing his Make America Great Again agenda. On Wednesday, Trump signed his biggest trade deal to date, a deal that significantly revamps, updates, and improves the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and will now be called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.
In a ceremony on the South Lawn, Trump, surrounded by lawmakers and members of his administration, observed, “Everybody said that this was a deal that could not be done. Too complicated, too big — couldn’t be done. We got it done.” Indeed, it’s an achievement made all the more impressive given the Democrats’ hyper-partisan anti-Trump resistance, typified by their partisan impeachment charade.
Touting his outsider status, Trump added, “Two decades of politicians ran for office vowing to replace the NAFTA. Yet once elected, they never even tried. They never even gave it a shot. They sold out. But I’m not like those other politicians. … I keep my promises and I’m fighting for the American worker.”
The only remaining hurdle to USMCA being fully realized is Canada’s House of Commons, which will need to ratify the agreement. However, there is little concern that it won’t be approved.
For the American worker and the U.S. economy this deal couldn’t come at a more opportune moment in helping to maintain the nation’s robust economic outlook. As the White House 1600 Daily highlights, the USMCA provides:
Broad economic benefits. USMCA is estimated to create nearly 600,000 American jobs — and generate up to $235 billion in economic activity.
Better protection for workers. It has the strongest, most advanced, and most comprehensive labor protections of any American trade agreement in history.
Support for our farmers. The agreement is a massive win for American farmers and ranchers, vastly improving access to Canadian and Mexican markets. U.S. agricultural exports are expected to increase by $2.2 billion under the deal.
A boost for American manufacturers. The U.S. auto industry alone expects to create up to 76,000 new jobs and spur $34 billion in new investments.
Modernized terms. Unlike NAFTA, USMCA has protections for American intellectual property, a first-of-its-kind chapter on digital trade, and provisions to crack down on unfair currency practices.
In spite of all the daily drama coming out of Washington over who said what to whom and when, it’s good to see at least the government can still get some positively impactful things done for the American worker. As Trump explained, “It’s probably the number one reason that I decided to lead this crazy life that I’m leading now instead of that beautiful, simple life of luxury that I led before this happened. But I love doing it.”
A recent study found that, contrary to popular perception, leftist-dominated cities across the country are actually faring much worse than conservative cities at closing the gap between white and minority students in educational achievement.
The study, entitled “The Secret Shame How America’s Most Progressive Cities Betray Their Commitment to Educational Opportunity for All,” observes, “Progressive cities, on average, have achievement gaps in math and reading that are 15 and 13 percentage points higher than in conservative cities, respectively.” Moreover, “Three of the 12 most conservative cities — Virginia Beach, Anaheim and Fort Worth — have effectively closed or even erased the gap in at least one of the academic categories we examined.”
“Meanwhile,” says civil-rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “in our own ‘progressive’ city of Minneapolis, the report showed that the shameful gap in math achievement between black and white students in K-12 is 53 percentage points, while the gap in math between brown and white students is 45 points.” Armstrong continues, “Similarly, in reading, the gap between black and white Minneapolis students is 53, while the gap between brown and white students is 47. Compare that with ‘conservative’ Jacksonville, Fla., where the reading gap between black and white students is 30; and the math gap is 27.”
This educational gap cannot be blamed on a lack of resources, as leftist cities on average spend more per student than do conservative cities.
So, what conclusion do the study’s authors come to? Well, being committed leftists, they refuse to lay the blame for the gap on progressive ideology, though they also can’t deny the data. They write, “We did not consider any policy or practice as a cause for the larger achievement gaps between racial subgroups. But our results demonstrate that there is a negative difference between our most progressive and most conservative cities, and it can’t be explained away by factors such as city size, racial demographics, spending, poverty or income inequality. In cities where most of the residents identify as political progressives, educational outcomes for marginalized children lag at a greater rate than other cities.”
Try examining the worldview behind the competing ideologies and recognizing that the valuing and promotion of individual responsibility and personal development rather than group identity and social justice just might have something to do with closing the education gap. Just a thought.
By now, millions of Americans have seen the exchange between Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren and the angry father who confronted her at a campaign stop in Iowa, regarding her promise to cancel outstanding student-loan debt. Unfortunately, there are also millions of other Americans who either don’t understand or aren’t particularly concerned with why this exchange was taken to heart by so many of their fellow citizens. It’s because moral obligation has, for almost all intents and purposes, been tossed on the ash heap of history.
“I just wanted to ask one question,” the father began. “My daughter is getting out of school. I’ve saved all my money. She doesn’t have any student loans. Am I going to get my money back?”
“Of course not,” Warren answered.
“So you’re going to pay for people who didn’t save any money and those of us who did the right thing get screwed? My buddy had fun, bought a car, and went on all the vacations. I saved my money. He makes more than I did. I worked a double shift. So, you’re laughing at me,” he continued, as Warren shook her head in denial. “Yeah, that’s exactly what you’re doing. We did the right thing and we get screwed.”
“I appreciate your time,” Warren responded before the man briskly walked away.
Sen. Warren might appreciate many things, but the extra time and effort that millions of Americans put in to do the right thing — rather than taking the easy way out — isn’t one of them.
Yet based on the current ethos of the nation, why should she? If there’s one thing Warren and her fellow Democrats know, it’s that there’s a cohort of Americans who have been carefully nurtured to believe they are, above all else, “victims.” Victims of a nation characterized by Democrats — depending on which group of constituents they are addressing — as racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, nativist, or just plain bigoted. One where irredeemably evil rich people made their fortunes solely by screwing over wholly virtuous lower- and middle-class Americans.
Lower- and middle-class Americans who deserve redress, because “fairness” demands it.
Thus, Warren’s plan, estimated to cost $640 billion, would be underwritten by a 2% “wealth tax” on individuals earning greater than $50 million, which Warren claims would raise enough money to fund the cancellation of student-loan debts and universal pre-K. It would forgive $50,000 of student-loan debt for individuals in households earning less than $100,000 per year, while individuals in households earning more than $100,000 would receive a reduced amount of loan forgiveness, based on a sliding scale.
Bernie Sanders also has a plan. He would eliminate all education-related debt underwritten, guaranteed, or insured by the federal government, regardless of the borrowers’ current income.
Fox News columnist Justin Haskins points out some inconvenient truths about the issue, noting that only about 10% of students default on their loans and that the federal government already has several programs for canceling student debt. There are also income-based repayment plans, tying monthly student-loan payments to household income, rather than their total debt amount, and a program that provides loan forgiveness after 10 years of on-time, income-based repayments to those who work for a nonprofit organization or for the government.
Haskins also explains that the status quo fuels the crisis because the federal government ultimately guarantees student loans, allowing colleges to raise their costs with impunity, while various programs of debt reduction or forgiveness incentivize unwise borrowing decisions by parents and students.
Thus, he suggests “reforms” that would mitigate both. “Until we fix the foundational problems at the root of the student debt crisis, this important issue will never be resolved,” he concludes.
In reality, there is only one “foundational” problem here, one that has plagued this nation for decades: the virtual elimination of moral obligation that begets personal responsibility.
Columnist Katherine Timpf gets to the heart of the issue. Even if Warren had offered to pay back the Iowa father, “this man’s own suggestion for how to make things fair would still leave him (in his words) getting ‘screwed,’” she writes. “When he references the sacrifices that he and his family had to make to pay for his daughter’s college, what he’s implicitly saying is that his choice to be financially responsible has cost him things that money cannot replace.”
In Timpf’s case, it meant a series of life decisions that included withdrawing from Columbia University’s graduate school of journalism after she had been accepted, because she realized “I’d never be able to repay the $80,000 loan I’d have to take out out to attend my dream school.”
Instead, she chose to pursue unpaid internships to advance her career. She also made other choices with which millions of her fellow Americans are intimately familiar. They included going “months without a single day off,” “waking up at 4 a.m. and not getting home until after 11 at night,” and living in an apartment building that was “so dilapidated that you could effortlessly break into the front door with a credit card, so poorly run that I’d have no water without warning, and so downright filthy that I once had scabies and fleas in the same week.”
Thus Ms. Timpf, who currently writes for National Review and appears on Fox News, has little patience for the Democrats’ siren song. “I don’t think that I should have to pay for someone else making an irresponsible decision when they could have made a responsible one,” she writes. “What’s more, talking about this issue only in terms of money truly minimizes the fact that, really, it’s about so much more.”
It most certainly is. If freely undertaken contractual commitments with regard to student loans can be tossed aside, what other commitments or promises can be dispensed with when one finds them “problematic?” Mortgages? Car loans?
In a nation where one-third of marriages end in divorce, the out-of-wedlock birthrate is now 40%, more “adults” ages 18 to 34 are living at home with their parents than with a spouse, and 15% of American men between the ages of 25 and 54 still aren’t working despite a good economy, it should surprise no one that shirking obligations and/or avoiding commitments altogether resonates, especially when politicians deliberately obscure the reality of cost transfers — or insist those transfers to Americans with greater wherewithal constitute “social justice.”
Once concepts like “fairness,” “social justice,” or “free” anything are conflated with genuine morality and personal responsibility, all vote-buying schemes become viable. Add the aforementioned embrace of victimhood to the mix, and such concepts are construed as noble.
Does the American electorate wish to continue expanding a safety net — one that’s precipitated the lion’s share of our $23 trillion national debt — already covering a large number of able-bodied people who can rationalize anything and whose entire journey through life is traveled on the path of least resistance? And, with regard to college-loan forgiveness, relatively well-off Americans who don’t wish to abide by their freely made obligations?
President Trump once said a nation without borders is no nation at all. Neither is one where free-riding is promoted as justice and compassion.
Grassroots perspective by Willie Richardson
Slavery, abortion, and education all mixed into one conversation. What a mixture of highly “toxic” politically correctness in one setting; political kryptonite for the Left. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke recently at Colorado Christian University’s annual president’s dinner at the Museum of the Bible. She pulled no punches. DeVos was drawing comparisons between the debate of abortion rights and the abolition of slavery.
I see the comparisons. Slave masters of the South wanted their “choice” to extend slavery into the western regions. They wanted the “choice” to prevent slaves from reading. They wanted the “choice” to use free labor to build their empires.
DeVos exclaimed, “[President Abraham Lincoln] too contended with the pro-choice arguments of his day. They suggested that a state’s choice to be slave or to be free had no moral question in it.” She added, “Well, President Lincoln reminded those pro-choicers that is a vast portion of the American people that do not look upon that matter as being this very little thing. They look upon it as a vast moral evil.”
Leftists use the word “choice” to benefit their own agenda. To minimize the extortion of a woman having an abortion they proclaim “pro-choice.” However, when considering the real power of giving a woman a choice for the education of her child, they oppose school choice.
DeVos called out the “irony” of supporting a woman’s choice to have an abortion but opposing mothers who want to enroll their children in nontraditional public schools, charters, or religious private schools.
Low-income families do not mean low IQ families. If anything, low-income families should be the main ones trying to prepare their children to go down a different road educationally. Parents aren’t stupid. If a mother attended a low-performing school and realizes the potential for her child, shouldn’t she be given a choice?
Leftists have made women believe their “choice” to have abortions is more significant than any other choice. Read that again. Choosing a high-performing school for the education of your child should be what “pro-choice” is about. Instead, leftists say “choice” involves ending a child’s life, legacy, and opportunity to be educated.
DeVos added, “Lincoln was right about the slavery ‘choice’ then, and he would be right about the life ‘choice’ today. Because as it’s been said: Freedom is not about doing what we want. Freedom is about having the right to do what we ought.”
Let’s end the slavery of children being forced to go to low-performing schools because of their zip codes. Let’s end the slavery of children being forced from the wombs of their mothers because of convenience.
Let’s choose what is right for our children. The right to life and education.
Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column
Read Topping My Impeachment Witness List: Adam Schiff. Schiff and his so-called “whistleblower” have scripted this entire inquisition.
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ACQUITTAL IMMINENT? Trump could be acquitted in impeachment trial as early as Friday, according to No. 3 Republican Sen. John Barrasso (Reuters)
WHO’S READY FOR MORE DEBT? House Democrats release $760 billion “green” infrastructure plan (National Review)
SELF-AWARENESS FAIL: Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren proposes criminal penalties for spreading voting disinformation online (CNBC)
“I DID NOT LIE TO THEM”: Michael Flynn takes on “egregious” FBI misconduct, little-known FBI agent in guilty-plea withdrawal (Fox News)
BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER: New York Times hires BuzzFeed News editor who green-lighted the publishing of bogus Steele dossier (Fox News)
BEYOND IDIOTIC: Convicted of sex crimes as a man, felon no longer deemed threat because of gender change (Storm Lake Times)
SLOW BUT STEADY: Fourth-quarter GDP rose only 2.1% and full-year 2019 posts slowest growth in three years at 2.3% (CNBC)
APEX REACHED? Drug deaths fall for first time in nearly 20 years, buoying U.S. life expectancy (Washington Examiner)
THOUSAND TALENTS PLAN: Acclaimed Harvard scientist is arrested, accused of lying about ties to China (NPR)
OPEN BORDERS: MS-13 gang member deported five times found in U.S. again (The Daily Wire)
WHEN THEY CAN’T GO OVER THEY GO UNDER: Feds expose longest illicit cross-border tunnel ever discovered on southwest border (The Daily Wire)
POLICY: Do we even need a FISA Court? (Issues & Insights)
POLICY: Monopoly power isn’t why hospital prices are so high (E21)
HUMOR: Warren wears her ancestral headdress while vowing to criminalize election “disinformation” (Genesius Times)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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- Video: Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan — Ben Shapiro and Mike Pompeo discuss “the most detailed, most realistic plan ever presented.”
- Video: Ilhan Omar Investigated for Allegedly Marrying Brother — Michael Knowles delves into the very curious timeline that now has the FBI’s attention.
- Video: Virginia Lawmaker Has Zero Understanding of Guns — People using verbiage like “you can shoot from each finger” and “grabbed that red-hot magazine” shouldn’t lecture us.
- Video: How Kobe Bryant Changed My Mind — Lessons from his life and death by a Los Angeles pilot.
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “The first duty of a newspaper is to be accurate. If it is accurate, it follows that it is fair.” —Herbert B. Swope (1882-1958)
For the record: “[Hunter Biden] is why we are where we are.” —Sen. Joe Manchin
Fightin’ words: “We need to send a message that if you indulge this kind of politics, you’re not just going to get beat, you’re going to get beaten so bad you can never run or show your face again in public, because we have had enough, absolutely enough, of what we are getting from Donald Trump and his fellow travelers right now.” —Georgia Senate candidate Jon Ossoff
And he’s absolutely right! “All quid pros are not the same. Some are legitimate and some are corrupt and you don’t need to be a mind reader to figure out which is which.” —Rep. Adam Schiff
You hear that, dimwitted voters? “[Impeachment] is not voiding the last election; it is protecting the next election.” —Adam Schiff
Hypocrisy: “Presidents should not be in the business of asking even their own Justice Department to investigate their rivals.” —Adam Schiff
The BIG Lie: “The president is a danger to the United States. He’s tried to rig the next election. He’s abused his power and he must be brought to heel and the country must be saved from his continuing efforts to rig our elections.” —Rep. Jerry Nadler
Braying jackass: “This is un-American. This is what you hear from Stalin. This is what you hear from Mussolini, what you hear from authoritarians, from Hitler, from all the authoritarian people who rationalized, in some cases genocide, based what was in the public interest.” —CNN contributor and former Clinton administration official Joe Lockhart on Alan Dershowitz’s defense of Trump
Where have we heard this before? “If young people come out and vote in high numbers, we can fundamentally transform this country.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders
Braying jenny: “The GOP is now the pro-totalitarian party. It is a clear and present danger.” —faux conservative Jennifer Rubin
And last… “Stunning that Adam Schiff lies to millions of Americans when he says he doesn’t know the identity of the whistleblower. He absolutely knows the identity of the whistleblower b/c he coordinated with the individual before the whistleblower’s complaint! His staff helped write it!” —Rep. Elise Stefanik
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
Join us in prayer for our Patriots in uniform and their families — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way, and for our nation’s First Responders. We also ask prayer for your Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the Spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis