Best in the Press: July 5 -12

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Dakota Wood:  Iran Relief from Maximum Pressure “Incentivizes” More Threats from Regime

Riley Walters: China Tariffs “Are A Cost Paid For By Americans”

Kelsey Bolar on Mueller Hearing: Democrats Want to Avoid Talking about Good Economy

James Carafano: Iran’s Threats Show the Iran Nuclear Deal “Wasn’t Really A Restraint”

James Carafano: “Iranians Got Everything They Wanted” With Pres. Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal

Joel Griffith: Middle Class Americans Are Better Off Than in Other Countries Worldwide

Commentary and Quoteables of the Week:

­­­­58 total print mentions and op-eds


Hans von Spakovsky, “Misrepresenting themselves at the border,” Washington Times

It’s not just the number of individuals crossing our Southwest border illegally that’s surging; it’s the number of families. But many of those “families” turn out not to be families at all, but frauds trying to exploit loopholes in federal immigration laws that allow families to avoid detention and deportation back to their native countries.

Hans von Spakovsky and Greg Walsh, “Antifa is dangerous and it’s time for the feds to step in,”

Federal law enforcement has an obligation to stop extremist groups from organizing and precipitating violent attacks, especially if state and local authorities seem reluctant to take action against what has all the makings of a domestic terrorist organization.

Rachel Greszler, “NIMBYism in Montgomery County threatens opportunities for families and low-income residents,” Washington Post

Excessive zoning laws are just a less ostensible form of economic segregation. We all have a lot to learn by opening our doors to family members, friends, strangers and especially the less-advantaged.


Rachel Greszler and Travis Nix, “Taxing Inheritances Won’t Fix Social Security,” National Review

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) has a new proposal to hike the estate tax and shift all the tax’s revenues into Social Security’s notional trust fund. This would impose economic consequences and punish successful Americans trying to pass down their assets and businesses to their children, yet would get nowhere close to ending Social Security’s massive shortfalls.

Adam N. Michel and Joel Griffith, “The big fib about ‘Opportunity Zones’ and your tax dollars,”

On paper, the idea behind the Opportunity Zones program – a lesser-known provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act– seems sound: help economically distressed areas around the country by delivering special tax advantages for certain investments. But targeted development programs similar to Opportunity Zones fail to help those in need. In fact, they have a history of unintended consequences and corruption.

Adam Michel and Travis Nix, “Want ‘free’ programs and bigger government? Expect higher, European-style taxes for all,” Chicago Tribune

Italy’s Tax Freedom Day falls almost three months after taxpayers in the United States paid off their tax bill. Workers in France have to labor more than half the year to pay the taxman. The United Kingdom has one of the lower tax burdens in the European Union, but its Tax Freedom Day still comes 43 days after America’s. These countries have such high tax burdens due to one policy choice: expansive government welfare systems.

James Carafano, “Defense bill in trouble thanks to partisan political games and posturing,”

For 52 years, Congress has managed to hammer out an annual defense authorization bill, regardless of how contentious the political infighting raged under the dome of the Capitol. This year, that record run of achievement may be broken.

Steve Moore, “Washington has a big spending problem,” Washington Times

The Congressional Budget Office has just released its mid-year update on the federal fiscal situation, and it portends a debt avalanche. It is vitally important to understand how we got into this mess and how we can start to bend the debt curve down.

Tom Callender, “Completing the Pivot to Asia,” The National Interest

The U.S. Navy is outnumbered in the Pacific. If it wishes to stay competitive, then it must move ships from the United States to Japan and the Philippines.

Tom Spoehr and Fred Bartels, “The House NDAA Puts the Mighty U.S. Military at Risk,” National Interest

Hopefully, the House of Representatives will not go further down the road of politicizing defense through a partisan National Defense Authorization Act.

Bob Moffit, “What the left gets wrong about health spending and outcomes,” The Hill

“Progressives” in Congress promise that full government control over health care, through a closed system of single payer insurance, would secure universal access to higher quality health care at much lower costs. Experience in other countries, with long wait lists and health care denials, does not support such extravagant promises. 

Robin Simcox, “Open Borders Mean Closed Opportunities for National Prosperity,” American Spectator

The concept of open borders is increasingly mainstream. But is it wise? The European Union, where frictionless travel exists between dozens of countries, provides some insight. At first glance, it is wonderful. But as the body count grew on Nov. 13, 2015, it became clear that open borders also have downsides. And there are more.

Carson Holloway, “Liberalism, Originalism, and the Constitution,” American Greatness

No one would mistake the Supreme Court’s liberal justices for adherents to the concept of “originalism,” or the belief that one should consider—first and foremost—the Founders’ intent when ruling on constitutional issues. And yet their opinions in the Maryland “Peace Cross” case suggest that they, at least implicitly, support the idea.

Justin Bogie, “Future generations will pay the price for runaway national debt,” Washington Times

America’s national debt is out of control, and the youngest Americans and future generations will likely pay the biggest price. That’s one takeaway from new Long-Term Budget Outlook report by the Congressional Budget Office.

Olivia Enos, “Could the Violent Protests in Hong Kong Backfire?” The National Interest

The earlier, peaceful protests had delivered results. Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, had tabled the proposed extradition law. But on July 1, the protest turned violent, betraying the original purpose of the June protests: to safeguard and uphold the rule of law.


James Carafano, Pompeo unveils human rights commission, critics suggest it may roll back protections, CNN

“It’s as logical to have a debate about how you rank, order rights as you have a debate about how you rank, order interests,” said James Carafano, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, who drew a comparison to the way the US defense “constantly” debates what constitutes a vital US national security interest. “The reason why you debate those things is that it defines your level of interest; that defines how much resources you’re willing to invest,” Carafano said. “A government can’t do everything, so differentiating between what’s truly vital and what’s nice to have is important.”

James Carafano, Obama’s ‘original sin’ led to Iran’s uranium enrichment, James Carafano says, Fox News

Iran revealed the “deep flaws” in its nuclear deal with the United States when it threatened to further enrich uranium as a response to heightened sanctions, James Carafano, a scholar at the Heritage Foundation, argued on Friday.

Bruce Klingner, North Korea and nuclear gamesmanship, Washington Times

“Despite two U.S.-North Korean summits and repeated efforts at engagement, there is still not even an agreed-upon definition of ‘denuclearization,” says Bruce Klingner, a North Korea specialist at the Heritage Foundation.

Hans von Spakovsky, Fact-Check: Expert Debunks Claim Citizenship Question Reduces Census Accuracy, Breitbart

Contrary to left-wing news media claims, restoring the “citizenship question” to the national census will yield more accurate data related to both legal and illegal immigration, explained Hans von Spakovsky, a Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow, in a Wednesday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour and special guest host Dylan Gwinn.

Hans von Spakovsky, Twitter Ruling on Banned Trump Critics Points to Larger Problem, VOA News

Hans von Spakovsky, a legal affairs fellow with the conservative Heritage Foundation, said the appeals court made “a very basic mistake of law and a basic factual mistake” and that the Justice Department should appeal the decision.

Hans von Spakovsky, The War to Empower Rural White Voters Is Bigger Than Trump, The New Republic

The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky, who later served on Trump’s ill-fated voter-fraud commission, wrote favorably about a potential victory for the plaintiffs, noting that “legislative districts would probably get redrawn in parts of the country with large non-citizen populations, with a noticeable shift towards Republicans.

Tom Callender, ‘A form of extortion’: Iran to charge foreign ships a toll to cross Strait of Hormuz, Washington Examiner

That assertion doesn’t jibe with clearly defined international agreements, former Navy officer Thomas Callender says. “There’s no question whatsoever about the rights of commercial vessels and tankers transiting the Strait of Hormuz and that they have this right to transit unimpeded,” Callender, a senior fellow for defense programs at the Heritage Foundation, told the Washington Examiner.

Tom Callender, House Democrats set the stage for a $17 billion showdown with Senate over defense policy bill, Washington Examiner

“There’s no question whatsoever about the rights of commercial vessels and tankers transiting the Strait of Hormuz and that they have this right to transit unimpeded,” Tom Callender, a senior fellow for defense programs at the Heritage Foundation, told the Washington Examiner. “To be trying to charge essentially tax to pass through this is a form of extortion.”

Tom Callender, Moran’s Abrupt Retirement ‘Significant Loss for the Navy;’ No Clear Successor for CNO,

“I completely understand the sensitivity of future CNO having a somewhat professional relationship with a disgraced former naval officer with significant sexual harassment allegations,” said Thomas Callender, a retired submarine officer and defense fellow at the Heritage Foundation. “It would not look good for the new CNO to have the appearance of even implicitly condoning his behavior by maintaining a professional relationship.”

Tom Callender, What happened? Defense News

 “I don’t think the U.S. is going to respond with some kind of military strike on mainland Iran. I think more likely would be something closer to what we did during the Tanker War in the 80s, where maybe the U.S. and – I’d like to see – a combined task force with Europeans and others’ together with maybe frigates and minesweepers and mine countermeasures capabilities to escort and otherwise facilitate commercial traffic through the strait.”-Tom Callender

Dakota Wood, UN Confirms Iran Enriching Uranium in Excess of Nuclear Deal Limit, Voice of America

But retired U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Dakota Wood, a senior defense researcher at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, said Iran’s latest moves demonstrate the viability of its perceived nuclear weapons program. “Because [Iran] didn’t have to dismantle any of its infrastructure under the [2015] deal, it can quickly continue exceeding the [low-enriched uranium] quantity limit of 300 kilograms and then further enrich [to higher purity],” Wood said in a separate VOA Persian interview Monday. “So going to 4.5% purity, being on a track to 20% and then ultimately to 90% if they decide to go down that path, really reveals the organic, inherent capabilities [Iran] has in its nuclear program.”

Justin Bogie, The national debt is one big problem nobody’s doing anything about., Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Justin Bogie, Senior Policy Analyst in Fiscal Affairs at The Heritage Foundation, addressed this problem in an article last month. “Despite the strong economy, the nation remains in a precarious and unsustainable budget position, just as it was last year,” he wrote. “Debt held by the public is set to rise to nearly one and a half times the size of the economy in the coming decades.”

John Venable, House Defense Bill Would Fail to Rebuild the Military, Truly Right View

As stated by John Venable, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, the aircraft will be inadequate against the advancing technology of surface-to-air missiles, and will be restricted to use only in the continental United States.

Nick Loris, Trump’s energy talk: Here’s what it means, E&E News

Similarly, Nick Loris of the Heritage Foundation said, “When it comes to oil and natural gas, we’re fat and happy, and that equates to a satisfied voter.”

Joel Griffith, Critic explains why Sen. Warren’s newest proposal will fail to solve the gender pay gap, Yahoo News

“For gender, once you account for differences in education, experience, and lifestyle choices, the gap almost completely disappears,” Joel Griffith, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation told Yahoo Finance’s The Ticker. And when it comes to race, “when you adjust for education and experience or performance on cognitive tests, that takes care of the gap. It’s not racism that’s the primary factor.”

Thomas Spoehr, No Grunts Under 26, $250K Bonuses: DoD’s Most Radical Ideas to Transform the Infantry,

“There is truth in this fact that we have not paid great attention to this idea of specially selecting people and incentivizing infantrymen and giving them the right skills,” retired Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, who serves as director of The Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense, told “I think we can do a lot better in the Army … about getting the right people into these positions.

Tom Spoehr, Defense budget anxiety trends upward as GOP senators break with White House, Inside Defense

Tom Spoehr, a former Army budget official who is now a defense analyst at the Heritage Foundation, said planning for a yearlong CR with anomalies for defense is a “terrible idea.” “It freezes DOD at $716  billion and — unless there are a ton of exceptions — limits all the changes to adapt to the [National Defense Strategy],” he said.

John Cooper, Trump Salutes America, Triggering Leftists, USA News

Finally, U.S. Air Force veteran John Cooper, writing for The Daily Signal, summed it up well when he observed that the “‘Salute to America’ is about one thing: reminding our nation of those who stand vigilant in defense of our liberty. It’s about honoring those who have given, and continue to give, so much for our nation. And it’s about remembering why we can celebrate this day year after year.”

Derek Neal, Bernie Sanders’ Education Plan is Rife With Deceit, Education News

Consequently, school districts with high portions of non-white students have spent about the same amount per student as districts with mostly white students since the early 1970s. This is confirmed through studies conducted by the left-leaning Urban Institute, the U.S. Department of Education, Ph.D. economist Derek Neal from the University of Chicago, and the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Nile Gardiner, Battle for leadership: Britain will boom under Boris, Express

Mr. Duncan Smith’s comments were echoed by Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation- the USA’ most influential think-tank. Mr. Gardiner said: “There is a lot of optimism on this side of the Atlantic and a belief that Brexit will strengthen the special relationship bringing the countries closer together, economically and politically.”

Nina Schaefer, States grapple with Medicaid work requirements, Roll Call

Nina Schaefer, senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a former senior counselor to the secretary at HHS during the Trump administration, said the administration has been stressing promoting outcomes with its work requirements. She said federal officials hope to show “that people are better off in the end because of these.”

Michaela Dodge, The Pentagon’s updates war plan for tactical nukes, Military Times  

Michaela Dodge, a missile defense and nuclear deterrence expert with the Heritage Foundation said the ­geographic combatant commanders have to be aware that with Russian, Chinese and North Korean doctrine, planning for their use of nukes is a reality.


James Phillips, Qatar’s Emir Silent on US-Iran Mediation After Talks with US Leaders, VOA News

Iranian intransigence is another barrier to mediation, in the view of James Phillips, a senior researcher at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. “I doubt that Qatar could play a significant role in easing tensions between the U.S. and Iran, because Iran does not want tensions to be eased right now,” Phillip said in another VOA Persian interview. “As long as Tehran wants to continue escalating this slow-motion crisis, I doubt third party efforts will make much of a difference. But if Iran should change its mind, there may be an opening for such a role,” he said.

John Malcolm, The Clarence Thomas Effect, 10z US Politics

“It happens that a lot of the people in the White House counsel’s office are Federalist Society members, and as a result of having been Federalist Society members, they have their own set of contacts,” said John Malcolm, who works on judicial issues at the Heritage Foundation and is chairman of the Federalist Society’s criminal-law practice group.

Norbert Michel, Pro-Trump Economist Art Laffer Unknowingly Boosts Bitcoin Bull Bias, News BTC

According to Norbert Michel, a data analyst at the Heritage Foundation, the Federal Reserve has always remained a pseudo-independent body.

Ed Feulner, Int’l forum on China-U.S. economic relations calls for continued dialogue, Xinhuanet

Ed Feulner, chairman of Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation, said China and the United States should regard the negotiations as an opportunity to reach the “shared goal” of remodeling and upgrading the economic relationship between the two sides.

Rob Bluey, Trump v. Big Tech: Social media summit will snub tech titans, Associated Press,

Rob Bluey, vice president for communications at the Heritage Foundation, said that “if the government were to get involved, it would lead to more problems.” He said market pressures can produce positive changes.

Rob Bluey, Facebook Wasn’t Invited to Trump’s White House Social Media Summit, Bloomberg

“We’re not sure what to expect,” said Heritage Foundation spokesman Rob Bluey. “I think it’s valuable to get people to get together in the same room and have these conversations.”

Heritage Foundation, The census, veterans and the value of citizenship, USA Today

As The Heritage Foundation notes, from Germany to Indonesia, national governments do not shirk from counting their citizens. Why do we? 

Heritage Foundation, Social media summit will snub tech titans, Associated Press

Among the conservative organizations that are expected to participate in the White House meeting: Turning Point USA; PragerU, short for Prager University, which puts out short videos with a conservative perspective on politics or economics; and the Washington think tank Heritage Foundation.

Heritage Foundation, White House Prepares for Social Media Summit Amid Criticism of Facebook, Google and Twitter, VOA News

While the guest list has not been released, people reportedly invited includes Florida Republican Party Vice Chair Christian Ziegler and people from conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation and Turning Point USA.

Heritage Foundation,  Budget and Appropriations Brief: Appropriations on pause, PoliticoPro

Switzerland has a budget surplus. Here’s how, and what the U.S. could learn. The Heritage Foundation.

Heritage Foundation, Does Crypto Gravitate Towards “Economically Free” Countries?, Crypto Briefing

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., produces an annual Index of Economic Freedom. The index ranks countries along a spectrum of free, mostly free, moderately free, mostly unfree, and repressed. The 2019 index has just six countries in the “free” category. Unsurprisingly, three of those are cryptocurrency hubs, and another two crypto-tolerant, with a regulatory framework around digital assets and exchanges.

Heritage Foundation, Big Tech Is a Likely Target at White House Social-Media Summit, Wall Street Journal

Attendees include the Claremont Institute think tank, media company Prager University and the Media Research Center, a nonprofit critical of national news organizations. Also expected to attend are more familiar conservatives, including the Heritage Foundation.


Heritage Foundation, Trump’s ‘Social Media Summit’: All the President’s Memes, New York Times

The group will have “a robust conversation on the opportunities and challenges of today’s online environment,” according to Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, who said last month that Mr. Trump would speak at the summit. Conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation and Turning Point USA have also said they would attend.

Heritage Foundation, Artist accused of ‘blatant anti-Semitism’ disinvited from White House, Washington Examiner

Rumored guests include prominent conservative groups such as Turning Point USA, the Heritage Foundation, PragerU, and James O’Keefe of Project Veritas. The president has been outspoken in his criticism of social media for allegedly biased censorship that targets conservative voices.

Heritage Foundation, Climate Change Denialists Dubbed Auto Makers the ‘Opposition’ in Fight Over Trump’s Emissions Rollback, The New York Times 

The latest emails also show Trump administration officials in contact with other free market groups like the Heritage Foundation and FreedomWorks, both of which have supported the rollback, as well as the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization run by mostly Republican state legislators and corporations that work together to write and promote model legislation for the nation’s statehouses.

Heritage Foundation, America’s safety net needs a new vision, Washington Examiner

According to a 2018 report by the Heritage Foundation, our current public safety net is an aggregation of more than 80 individual programs, each addressing a singular aspect of human need. 

Heritage Foundation, The Iranian Showdown, Epoch Times

According to a Heritage Foundation policy paper, if an EMP caused widespread failure of the electric grids, “almost nothing will work, which means that millions of people will die as a result of not being able to refill medical prescriptions, millions more will be without food, and predictable rioting and looting can quickly create a state of anarchy.”

Heritage Foundation, The great divide: The civil wars gripping America’s political parties, The Globe and Mail

“The elites have done a terrible job taking care of America,” said former GOP representative Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma, a onetime chairman of the American Conservative Union and a founding trustee of the Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative Washington think tank. “They have ignored the Pittsburghs and the Oklahomas, and globalization has left a lot of people behind, and that has produced legitimate reasons for liberals like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – and Donald Trump on the Republican side – to speak to these needs.”

Heritage Foundation, No Such Thing As a Free Lunch: On Food Insecurity in Small-town Maine, Literary  Hub

The Heritage Foundation issued a statement in 2016 claiming school meal debates arise out of federalism and government control, not nutrition. They also complained funding children’s nutrition has doubled since 1990, which from what I’ve seen at this school, is largely positive. Underlying these think tank protests, however, is a conviction that poor children don’t necessarily require free food at all.

Heritage Foundation, Global warming summit doomed by hot air, gridlock, Colorado Springs Independent 

The Heritage Foundation issued a pre-Hague paper (“Squandering the Surplus”) arguing that the issue is predicated on “faulty science” and that a climate treaty would sacrifice U.S. sovereignty to “an international version of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

Heritage Foundation, Why aren’t Democrats publishing a list of Supreme Court nominees? The American Thinker

I’m sure you remember the uproar when it became public that Mr. Trump had worked with The Federalist and the Heritage Foundation to create the list of names.

To view the last edition of “Best in the Press”, click here.