Thursday Top Headlines

by Media Editors: Shutdown showdown: Pulosi says “no,” Trump says “bye-bye” (NBC News)

Trump to visit border to push for wall as government shutdown talks crumble (USA Today)

Record number of families apprehended at southern border in December (National Review)

Trump says emergency declaration coming without border deal (The Hill)

House passes spending bill to fund IRS, other agencies through Sept. 30 (The Washington Times)

Trump, California spar over money for wildfire relief funds (Associated Press)

U.S. oil export boom sparks a battle to build Texas ports (Reuters)

New York City’s minimum-wage increase is crushing small businesses (The Daily Caller)

Chicago State University settles First Amendment lawsuit, agrees to change policies (The Washington Free Beacon)

Greens begin push for nationwide 100% renewable energy mandate (Washington Examiner)

Only two Democrat senators will publicly oppose the anti-Israel BDS movement (The Federalist)

PragerU lawsuit claims Google, YouTube violated California law on free speech, discrimination (PJ Media)

Humor: “Good evening,” says President Trump, drawing immediate flurry of fact checks (The Babylon Bee)

Policy: The two energy futures facing America (Foundation for Economic Education)

Policy: Three myths about privacy in tech (American Enterprise Institute)

~The Patriot Post


House GOP Leadership Press Briefing on Border Issues

by sundance

{} ~ Following a meeting between Vice-President Mike Pence, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and acting WH chief-of-staff Mick Mulvaney… the House leadership team Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise and Liz Cheney deliver remarks to the capitol press: White House – We are no longer in a status quo situation at the Southern Border but in a crisis situation. Status quo funding is not enough…



Where walls work

by Michael Rubin

{} ~ Two years ago, I listed the growing number of countries which have come to embrace walls or fences along their borders in order to deter illegal immigration or to secure their borders from terrorism… The list then was already long: Algeria, Bangladesh, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen. At the time, I had omitted Ireland, which has committed to bring down its separation walls with Northern Ireland by 2023, and China in 1997, I drove along the China-Tajikistan border fence high in the Pamirs. Egypt has built a border wall with Gaza, and continues to destroy tunnels beneath its border with Gaza. In 2015, Slovenia built a fence specifically to slow the tide of illegal migrants, which it now plans to expand. Iran is building a border barrier with Pakistan to curb drug smuggling. Since my last compilation, the list has only grown. Iraq has now built a fence along its border with Syria, and France has also joined the club, specifically to control illegal immigration. Lithuania has built a barrier along one of its borders with Russia. Estonia, too, is joining the club. Norway, too, has built a border barrier along its frontier with Russia in order to stem illegal immigration. Part of this is motivated by fear of Russia but, especially in the case of Norway, controlling illegal immigration is also a factor. None of this is meant to suggest that a border barrier with Mexico would be a panacea or would substitute for a more holistic policy to stem an illegal immigration problem. A wall with our southern neighbor might be an extreme solution but, to be blunt, had Democrats recognized the seriousness of the illegal immigration problem and the fact that many migrants are motivated not by fear but by economics, the impasse never would have become so polarized. Whether the cost of an enhanced border wall for the US-Mexican border would provide the most bang for the buck is a political decision. But, as argued in my 2017 post, it is simply counterfactual to suggest walls don’t work, a willful subordination of facts to the politics of the day. Put another way: Take Trump out of the equation, and a growing number of countries and, in the case of Cyprus, even the United Nations are weighing evidence and facts and concluding that border walls very much serve their stated purpose.


Trump Admin Denies Making Secret Overtures to Iran

by Adam Kredo

{} ~ The Trump administration on Tuesday denied claims by senior Iranian officials that the United States has been making secret overtures to Tehran in pursuit of back channel talks… the Washington Free Beacon has learned. A senior aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei claimed earlier this week that the Trump administration approached Tehran late last year in Afghanistan to seek high-level meetings with Iran amid a flurry of regional issues concerning Tehran’s continued support of terrorism and its expansionist foreign policy pursuits. “During my visit to Kabul last month, the Americans … asked to hold talks,” Ali Shamkhani, a top official in Iran’s Supreme National Security Council who enjoys close ties with Khamenei, was quoted as saying in multiple regional reports carried by Iran’s state-controlled media. U.S. officials quickly slapped down the reports when approached by the Free Beacon for comment, but said President Donald Trump remains open to renewed negotiations with Iran…


Can the U.S. Military Build a Border Wall Even as It Struggles to Rebuild Itself?

by Joe Sexton

{} ~ In late March 2018, President Donald Trump and then-Defense Secretary James Mattis discussed the idea that the U.S. military could help the president achieve one of his cherished aims… The Pentagon would build a wall across the country’s southern border. “Securing Americans and securing the nation is of paramount importance to the secretary,” the Pentagon press secretary at the time, Dana White, said of the discussions with Trump. “They have talked about it, but I don’t have any more details as to specifics.” In the weeks and months that followed, a variety of reports seemed to raise questions about whether the U.S. military was in any position to be dedicating money or personnel to a border wall. There was, for instance, an April 2018 Government Accountability Office report wondering whether the military even had adequate data to assess its own state of combat readiness. In October, there came a more sweeping report from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. In its 2019 “Index of U.S. Military Strength,” what the foundation bills as its comprehensive annual assessment of America’s military power, the organization concluded: “As currently postured, the U.S. military is only marginally able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital national interests.”…


Beware of Erdogan

by Aaron Kliegman

{} ~ It is no coincidence that President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from Syria last month after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan… The two men evidently reached some sort of understanding, even if the details remain murky. One thing is clear, however: an American withdrawal will cede more power to Turkey in Syria. Some people may shrug their shoulders in response, or even applaud another country taking a burden off of America’s strained shoulders. But, if the Trump administration’s responsibility in Syria is to protect America’s security interests and be a moral actor on the world stage, then trusting Erdogan is sure to backfire. When Trump’s decision on Syria became public, it appeared that the withdrawal was imminent. Since then, however, the timeline appears to have been extended, and top officials in the Trump administration have put conditions on America’s departure. Most recently, Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, said Monday during a trip to Israel that the U.S. will not leave Syria until the Islamic State is defeated and Washington receives guarantees that Turkey will not attack its Kurdish allies. Bolton has also said that the U.S. will not withdraw its forces from Syria until Iran withdraws its own soldiers, a demand that other administration officials have echoed in recent days. Apparently Erdogan took great offense to Bolton’s demand about the Syrian Kurds, who have fought and bled alongside American soldiers fighting ISIS. Speaking at the Justice and Development Party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Erdogan said that “Bolton’s remarks in Israel are not acceptable,” and called them a “serious mistake.” Turkey considers the People’s Protection Units, also known as the YPG along with other Kurdish groups, to be a terrorist organization. The YPG makes up the core of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the main U.S. partner fighting ISIS on the ground. The Kurds control swaths of northern Syria near the Turkish border, a situation that Ankara views as a severe threat…


The Economy’s Roaring, Stupid

by Lewis Morris: Leftists will tell you that 2018 was the worst year ever if for no other reason than Donald Trump is still president. They will also tell you that the economy is tanking because of a bad December in the stock market. Some media voices reported, with a bit of schadenfreude no doubt, that it was the worst year for stocks in a decade, and the worst December for the market since the Great Depression.

If that sounds dramatic and a bit of a stretch, it’s supposed to. To Democrats, any sign of a troubled economy is one more negative thing that can be pinned to Trump. So, when the markets hiccuped last month, we were treated to a deluge of doom and gloom.

There were some notable points missing in all this reporting and the endless speculation in which TV economists and pundits love to engage.

One reason the markets may have dropped is investor fear of Democrats taking over Congress. Democrats in power means reckless spending (though, unfortunately, Republicans weren’t enough different in that regard), burdensome regulations, and policies that stifle innovation and crush small-business investment and growth. Investors know this to be the case, and not because they are Republicans. When it comes to money, a good investor is dispassionate about politics. He calls it as he sees it, and many seasoned investors see a shaky economy when Democrats are in charge.

Thankfully, Dems only took control of the House, but they can still do plenty of damage. That is one reason why we witnessed a stock market course correction in December, some sell-offs and repositioning to prepare for what lies ahead.

Has the market hit bottom yet? It depends on who you listen to. Democrats certainly hope not. They’ll have a much stronger case against Trump in 2020 if the economy tanks. But there is more to the economy than just the stock market. After all, Barack scumbag/liar-nObama loved to tout the roaring markets during his second term, but working people everywhere knew that those gains weren’t making one wit of difference in their wallets and weren’t creating jobs.

A big indicator of a healthy economy is jobs and wages. The country added 312,000 jobs in December, far more than expected. November and October’s jobs numbers were amended to show greater gains as well. And 2018 as a whole turned out to be strong year with 2.6 million jobs added.

There is more good news to be found by diving deeper into the jobs data. The labor participation rate was at 63.1% for December. This means that people who had left the job market during the Great Recession and the scumbag/liar-nObama “recovery” are getting back in the game. So, remember, if unemployment rises in the near term, it’s most likely because of the greater number of workers in the market for a job, not because companies are laying off workers.

Job gains were particularly strong last year among small businesses, according to a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. And virtually every sector of the economy gained jobs, including health care, construction, manufacturing, retail, and professional services.

Wages were also strong in 2018. Average hourly earnings grew by 3.2%, the fastest growth since 2008. This is a trend that may continue for the time being since there are still more jobs than workers, which gives workers leverage in negotiating salaries.

We should hold the applause, though, and temper expectations. Reduced taxes and deregulation under Trump have given this country the robust economic rebound we’ve needed for years. Fortunately, Republicans still hold the Senate, but the incoming Democrat House majority will be pushing an agenda that could send the economy into a tailspin. Get ready for “Medicare for All,” the “Green New Deal,” “free” college, “living” wages, and all sorts of snake oil that leftists try to sell.

Minimum-wage hikes are also a favorite for leftists on the state and municipal level, with scores of states and cities raising — in some cases doubling — their minimum wage. This will not put more money in workers’ pockets, but it will put more low-income people out of work as businesses can’t afford to hire as many people or even shutter entirely.

The full impact of the trade war with China has also yet to reach its conclusion. While it seems that Trump currently has the edge in this fight, the cost to American business is real. No one ever really wins a trade war; they just lose less than their opponent.

The economy is subject to a variety of factors, some of which are beyond our control or ability to predict. Right now, the generally pro-business, pro-worker policies of the Trump administration are paying off. It will be important to make sure we stay the course. There are those who would like to see America fail, and unfortunately, many of them are inside our own country. Let’s disappoint them in 2019. ~The Patriot Post  


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