ADF

Commentary

Time to Invoke the “Reid Rule” Again

U.S. Senate

How did the United States end up without an ambassador to the most important non-nuclear nation in the world—Germany? Richard Grenell was nominated to be the U.S. ambassador in Berlin in September, but the New Year opens without a U.S. ambassador in Berlin, as there wasn’t enough time for a floor “debate” of 30 hours on Grenell in November or December. Who is to blame? Senate Democrats, of course. So much of the current confirmation crisis—scores of nominees are in Grenell’s boat, but his delay is one of the most risible and destructive—and its many consequences go back to the rule change implemented when Harry Reid was running the Senate: the infamous “Reid Rule.”

The Democrats are running out the clock on every nominee, demanding 30 hours of “debate” on each one of them, in hopes that, come 2019, they will return to the majority and block them the old fashioned way – in committee.

The New Year should begin with Mitch McConnell laying down the law on the basic duties of the Senate with another deployment of the Reid Rule and get these nominees their vote.

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Michael Medved: 2017: A Breakthrough Year for Hollywood Heroines?

Opioid

Hollywood’s so desperate to get past harassment scandals that industry insiders have proclaimed 2017 “the year of the strong woman.” Box office returns show that the three top moneymakers in America all featured female protagonists: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Wonder Woman.” “Women truly emerged as the giants of cinema this year,” said box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

 

Of course, it’s also noteworthy that this trio of top films, as skillful and enjoyable as they were, all counted as sequels or remakes of properties dating back more than 40 years—hardly triumphs of daring originality!

 

Somehow, these rehashed projects got new life by casting glamorous new actresses: Daisy Ridley of “Star Wars” is 25, Emma Watson of Beauty and the Beast is 27, and Wonder Woman Gal Gadot is 32. It’s hardly a shock to see moviegoers happily investing their money to gaze up at youthful screen goddesses with striking good looks.

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Hugh Hewitt: The Iranian People Take to the Streets

U.S. Senate

The Iranian people have taken to the streets in the largest mass protests since 2009, demanding freedom and economic change. There simply is no bigger story in the world right now-and the media establishments ought to covering it more extensively.

There are several options available to the United States as we consider how to respond.

We can assist the Saudis and the Arab states in providing satellite WiFi services to the protestors who are currently blocked from using social media by the Iranian government.

If the Iranian government attempts to brutally repress the protests in the style of the infamous Tiananmen Square crackdown in China, the United States can consider instituting a blockade. Individual and trade sanctions are also a possibility.

There are even reports that the United States has given the okay to Israel to assassinate General Soleimani who is commander of the Iranian Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Whatever action is taken, we must praise the decision of President Trump to support publically the Iranian people in their effort to live in a country that is stable and offers them and their children a decent standard of life.

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Michael Medved: A Vote Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Opioid

When legal wrangling concludes, control of the Virginia legislature will be decided by drawing lots, or pulling names from a bowl—because of a tie vote in the 94th District. Republican incumbent David Yancey and challenger Shelly Simonds both got 11,608 votes but if the Democrat wins the draw, the legislature’s lower house will split 50-50, ending an era of Republican dominance. Imagine: if a single Virginia Republican had gotten off his apathy to go to the polls, the conservative—who won the district last time by 15 percentage points—would still hold the seat and, with it, the legislature.

 

On Election Day, a little-known Libertarian candidate who barely campaigned drew 675 votes. If this fringie had gotten a hundred fewer votes it would have changed nothing; but if just one of his deluded followers had backed the Republican it would have changed everything.

 

Remember: your vote is too precious, too powerful to waste on laziness or feckless gestures.

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The Tax Bill Needs Follow-On Spending Cuts

Compromise

Although a tax cut may have been a nice Christmas gift, it needs some follow-on spending cuts to work.  At best, Republicans have eaten their dessert first, waiting to eat their spending cut vegetables later; at worst, they will have increased the federal deficit by another trillion dollars or more.

 

By most estimates, even stimulating economic growth will not fully pay for the tax cut.  Republicans will now have to undertake the politically courageous step of cutting federal spending.

 

It will be difficult to make spending cuts without touching Medicare or Social Security, which President Trump has said are off limits. Meanwhile there is pressure to undo the sequester, automatic cuts on spending no one liked, but which have at least kept spending growth down.

 

Ideally, Republicans would have disciplined themselves to do tax and spending cuts at the same time. Tax cuts may come and go, but the federal debt remains forever, it seems. And—without spending cuts—it grows.

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Michael Medved: Trump Wins as a Mainstream Conservative

Opioid

Donald Trump’s first year in office delivered an array of important achievements: confirmation of conservative judges, including Neil Gorsuch; more support for oil pipelines and oil drilling; dramatic progress against ISIS; deregulation and enhanced border security; the end of meddlesome net neutrality; the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; and, most importantly, sweeping tax cuts and a new pro-business approach. What’s striking about these accomplishments isn’t how extraordinary they are but how normal: how consistent with well-established Republican goals and values. It’s easy to imagine that much the same policies might have been pursued by President Trump’s primary rivals—or by Mitt Romney, the last GOP nominee.

 

The two initiatives that caused most substantial disagreement with many conventional conservatives—canceling the Trans Pacific Partnership and unilaterally leaving the Paris accords—hardly defined ​Trump’s presidency or brought about the calamitous results his critics feared.

 

At year’s end, President Trump found historic success not as a radical outsider but as a sensible, determined, mainstream Republican.

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Albert Mohler: And What a Year it Was!

Headlines

It was the year that Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, and the year that Democrats declared “the Resistance.” The stock market continued to soar and the winds roared—it was the year of three devastating hurricanes.

 

Neil Gorsuch became the newest justice on the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, threats loomed in hot spots around the world, and the hottest of all was North Korea.

 

Controversy in U.S. sports centered on who did and who didn’t stand for the national anthem.

 

Harvey Weinstein was toppled in a sex abuse scandal, and was then followed by over 100 others, including a U.S. senator and several congressmen.

 

Those who died in 2017 included Charles Manson, Helmut Kohl, Glenn Campbell, Mary Tyler Moore, David Rockefeller, and R. C. Sproul. Meanwhile, just in the U.S., a new baby was born every 8 seconds.

 

May your house celebrate a happy New Year, in 2018.

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