The Patriot Post® · Mid-Day Digest

· https://patriotpost.us/digests/51369

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Leftmedia outlets drop another dud “bombshell” on the Russia investigation.
  • Trump may not totally exit the Paris climate deal.
  • After eight long years, things are finally looking up for the middle class.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“If by the liberty of the press were understood merely the liberty of discussing the propriety of public measures and political opinions, let us have as much of it as you please: But if it means the liberty of affronting, calumniating and defaming one another, I, for my part, own myself willing to part with my share of it.” —Benjamin Franklin (1789)

IN BRIEF

It Must Be Time for Another ‘Russian Collusion’ Story

President Donald Trump has had a few pretty good weeks. His response to two major hurricanes was laudable, however badly that disappointed a Leftmedia ready to pounce a la George W. Bush and Hurricane Katrina. His new chief of staff, John Kelly, appears to be running a tight ship at the White House. Trump even worked across the aisle with a deal on the debt ceiling — at least the press was good, even if Republicans were jilted.

Thus, combined with last week’s release of Hillary Clinton’s pathetic blame-everybody-else book, the timing is perfect to turn attention back to … what else? Russia.

Think we’re paranoid about the timing? Back in July, Julie Pace, the liberal Washington bureau chief for the Associated Press, observed quizzically, “Every time [Trump and his administration] feel like they found their footing, every time they feel like they’ve had a positive message, something on the Russia investigation overtakes it.”

According to a New York Times scoop, Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, may be facing criminal charges as a result of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. The Times says this relates to possible “violations of tax laws, money-laundering prohibitions and requirements to disclose foreign lobbying.” These may or may not have anything to do with Manafort’s relationship to Trump, and it may or may not have anything to do with the raid on his house in July.

Which brings us to yesterday’s second story. CNN reports that James Comey’s FBI was surveilling Manafort before and after the 2016 election, and may have recorded conversations with Trump last year. It isn’t clear if Manafort was being surveilled while he was serving as Trump’s campaign manager. Either way, it lends a little credence to Trump’s charge that Barack Obama “had my wires tapped.”

There are two things to keep in mind here. First, neither of these stories is the “bombshell” the Times or CNN hope, though it’s true surveilling Manafort would have required some reasonable suspicion countenanced by a FISA court. He may be innocent, or he may not be. Second, and far more important, is as Mark Alexander wrote in July: The most perilous domestic threat to American Liberty is the collusion between Democrats and their mainstream media partisans. What did the Times and CNN know, and when did they know it? How long have they been sitting on what amounts to pretty useless information, meant solely to put Russia back in the headlines and keep Trump on the ropes?

What’s With the Paris Climate Accord?

This weekend The Wall Street Journal published a “bombshell” report in which it alluded to President Donald Trump’s reneging on his previous decision to exit the Paris climate accord. The Journal’s initial headline, “Trump Administration Won’t Withdraw from Paris Climate Deal,” suggested that a major shift had occurred. The truth is that there is less “news” here than what’s implied — yet at the same time, it indicates that more skepticism was warranted when Trump made his initial announcement.

The Journal began its report: “The Trump administration is considering staying in the Paris agreement to fight climate change ‘under the right conditions,’ offering to re-engage in the international deal three months after President Donald Trump said the U.S. would pull out if it didn’t find more favorable terms. During a climate-change meeting Saturday of more than 30 ministers led by Canada, China and the European Union, in Montreal, U.S. officials broached revising U.S. climate-change goals, two participants said, signaling a compromise that would keep the U.S. at the table even if it meant weakening the international effort.”

None of this is inconsistent with the president’s initial proclamation. On June 1, Trump stated: “In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord … but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris Accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers. So we’re getting out. But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair [emphasis added].”

In this sense, Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters is correct in saying, “There has been no change in the U.S.‘s position on the Paris agreement. As the president has made abundantly clear, the U.S. is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country.” Trump is doing exactly what he said he would do in June. The Journal headline now reads less assertively, “Trump Administration Seeks to Avoid Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord.”

Perhaps the lesson here is that conservatives should have been more skeptical from the get-go. As his statement proves, Trump hinted in June that the U.S. wasn’t necessarily walking away from the Paris climate accord. The bigger concern is whether any final decision will contradict Trump’s campaign pledge. In May 2016, he said, “We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to UN global warming programs.” He should be reminded that any U.S. partnership with the UN on this matter would betray his constituency.

Of course, we don’t know what the terms or conditions of a refined deal would look like. But Trump also needs to understand that global accords, particularly environmental ones, are a dangerous game. His advisers need to be very direct and insistent on the fact that partner nations cannot be trusted to fulfill their end of the bargain. The Paris accord’s biggest advocates have their eyes set on the redistribution of wealth, which is what the accord would facilitate. Whatever his end game is, it’s imperative that Trump refuse any “deal” that harms business or uses any tax dollars to fund a statist scheme.

And, oh, by the way, the science isn’t settled. Oxford researchers have released some interesting findings on the so-called “carbon budget,” or how much emissions the earth can take and still maintain temperatures. The Washington Post notes, “Any substantial revision to the carbon budget would have major implications, changing our ideas of how rapidly countries will need to ratchet down their greenhouse gas emissions in coming years and, thus, the very workings of global climate policymaking.” Well, how about that?

Top Headlines

  • In UN speech, Trump warns that U.S. will “destroy North Korea” and other “rogue regimes (The Washington Post)

  • Promise kept: Trump killed two old regulations for every new one, $645 million saved (Washington Examiner)

  • Hillary mulls challenging legitimacy of 2016 election, cites Russian influence (The Washington Times)

  • Complete with gratuitous and hateful Trump bashing, preliminary ratings for Emmys predict new record … low (Hot Air)

  • Hypocrisy alert: Obama raking it in from Wall Street (Daily Wire)

  • Crossing the border illegally is harder than it’s been in 50 years, DHS report says (The Daily Signal)

  • Equifax stock sales are the focus of U.S. criminal probe into possible insider trading (Bloomberg)

  • VA only filling half of its medical appointments while veterans wait for weeks (Washington Examiner)

  • Audit: IRS improperly withheld information after FOIA requests were filed (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Evergreen professor at center of protests resigns; college will pay $500,000 (The Seattle Times)

  • Policy: The GOP’s last-ditch effort to repeal ObamaCare is surprisingly good (Investor’s Business Daily)

  • Policy: Trump should end all speculation on Paris climate agreement (The Daily Signal)

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

Economic Improvement Connects to Conservative Policy

By Robin Smith

America’s working class was a tremendous focus of the 2016 presidential election. Hillary Clinton took for granted voters in the Rust Belt in particular and chose to focus on bicoastal population centers, in keeping with the Democrat Party’s clear and continued leftist direction. Meanwhile, Donald J. Trump’s populist sloganeering stuck. His promises to "Make America Great Again” and to put “America First” not only resonated but created a firm foundation of an intense voter base.

Why?

From 2007 through 2016, the working class was dramatically impacted through a recession that began as a subprime mortgage crisis caused by Democrat policies, with home values tumbling 28% — a drop not seen since the Great Depression of 1929. The widespread foreclosures and the tremendous impact to lending institutions due to bad debt began sinking those whose biggest investment was their home. And, as we all remember, the beginning of massive government spending kicked in with Barack Obama’s “stimulus” of almost $1 trillion and bailouts to rescue companies.

And who bailed out the working class? What “stimulus” made its way into the family budgets of middle America, not just financiers and investment institutions? The unemployment rate spiked to 10% in October 2010 due to six million jobs being eliminated in the previous 12 months, testifying to the fact that the middle class was hurt disproportionately in the recession of 2007-2008.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) review of newly published Census data, real median household income dropped during the Obama presidency with an increase in measurable poverty. Households earned $55,683 in 2009, which tumbled to $54,398 in 2014. Food stamp participation in 2007 was 26.3 million recipients, and that number almost doubled by 2013 with more than 47.6 million Americans enrolled.

Middle-class households are only now seeing their income eclipse 1999-2000 levels. According to a Washington Post analysis on the same Census data, the income of black workers still remains lower than the high reached in the Bill Clinton/George W. Bush years — then it was $41,000, now it’s $39,490. All median household income rose to $59,039 from $54,105 when comparing earnings from two decades ago, 1996 to 2016. In 20 years, an average family had a $5,000 raise during a window of time that energy prices soared, the cost of health care and education exploded, and the value of one’s home was reduced by about a third. Oh, and don’t forget that mandatory government-run health insurance program that was supposed to save each family $2,500 each year but, instead, drove deductibles so high that no one can afford their “affordable” health care.

Compare that $5,000 earnings increase over almost 20 years to a six-year window during the era of President Ronald Reagan: From 1982 to 1988, poverty dropped 2.4% with an increase in real household income of $4,905.

So, when Trump spoke about the need to improve America’s economy after the Obama years with hopes to renegotiate trade deals, prioritize the American worker above illegals, and to repeal and replace ObamaCare, he won. Trump is president today not because of his polished campaign machine or eloquent rhetoric. He inspired workers to see hope down the economic road. He echoed the plans and policies from the Reagan administration.

And, indeed, the U.S. economy, according to Census data, tracked along with the launching of presidential campaign activity beginning in 2015 — perhaps a signal to all of America that the Obama economy would soon meet its end. Furthermore, reforms to food stamp programs permitted by the Republican-controlled Congress freed the hands of states to tie work requirements to benefits, and it clearly worked.

Between 2015 and 2016, according to the WSJ, median income for blacks and Hispanics climbed 5.7% and 4.3%, respectively, with 2.5 million Americans lifted out of poverty by work. The 99 weeks of unemployment benefits came to an end in 2014 with 3.4 million dropping from the program. Social Security Disability rolls also deflated by about 25,000 in 2015 and full-time, year-round workers increased by 2.2 million as many people moved out of part-time jobs between 2015 and 2016.

Americans are indeed “getting richer,” as the WSJ declared in its editorial headline. A recent Gallup poll shows that 64% of Americans think their “standard of living” is improving, the highest percentage since 2007.

Mercatus Center researcher Dan Griswold notes that, in real 2016 dollars, the percentage of Americans earning less than $35,000 has fallen to 30.2% while those earning more than $100,000 has almost tripled to 27.7%.

Now, at a 16-year low in unemployment due to 2.2 million jobs added to the economy, with unquestionable consumer sentiment driving a more favorable economy, any continued growth will come with serious policy changes such as tax reform. That could drive wages even higher.

These figures don’t lie. Americans express more confidence when they’re employed and have hope for more opportunity. With the responsiveness witnessed over the last 24 months to a reduction in government programs and regulations, Congress must act on its promise to restructure the U.S. tax code to incentivize work, savings and investment that creates jobs.

MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Tony Perkins: “Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) think they have the answer to the $3 trillion failure that’s destroying lives, spiking costs, and crushing freedom. Under their measure, which relies heavily on block grants, states would have the autonomy to design their own health care plans. ‘One of the most interesting reforms in Graham-Cassidy,’ Forbes explains, ‘is that, over time, it ends a significant bias in the Medicaid program toward wealthy states like California, Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland. Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal government and the states; on average, Washington foots about 60 percent of the bill. In theory, the federal government is supposed to foot higher proportions of the bill for poorer states; but because the minimum match is set to 50 percent, a number of very wealthy states receive a lot more money than they should.’ It would scrap Obamacare’s individual (and unconstitutional) insurance mandate, a lot of its burdensome taxes, and, most importantly, a major funding stream to Planned Parenthood. … With just two weeks to cycle the bill through the House and Senate, the GOP’s biggest enemy may be the calendar. … Did the American people elect leaders who keep their word — or politicians who make empty promises to win? In 11 days, we’ll know.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Nations and peoples who forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.” —Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988)

The Democrats’ conundrum: “In some ways, Hollywood’s hatred of Trump is his ace in the hole. The more the left-wing elites despise the president, the more Middle America loves him.” —Gary Bauer

For the record: “We know Iran has already violated parts of the [nuclear] agreement. … They’re not just walking up to the line on the agreement. They’re crossing the line at times.” —National Security Adviser H.R. McCaster

Tit for tat: “I think when the president worked for NBC at ‘The Apprentice,’ and he said that Barack Obama was not born here, and he called Barack Obama a racist, if he apologizes for that, then maybe ESPN should apologize.” —CNN’s Don Lemon

Braying Jenny: “To Jeff Sessions, how does it feel to be dragged & humiliated [by Trump]? Now you know how the African Americans you disrespected feel.” —Maxine Waters

A vast right-wing conspiracy: “The optics [of the Bill Clinton-Loretta Lynch tarmac meeting] were not good. I admit that. … [But] the investigation was getting nowhere. There was nothing to find. And [James Comey] was in a position of having to accept the evidence that there was no case.” —Hillary Clinton

Demo-gogues: “I think Catholicism is a great religion. I have great respect for it. I’ve known many of the archbishops who have been in our community. We’ve had dinner together, we’ve spoken together over many, many decades, and I’ve tried to be helpful to the church whenever I could.” —Sen. Dianne Feinstein fumbling her justification for her religious litmus tests

And last… “By posting that golf ball video, Trump is now on par with some of history’s worst leaders: Hitler, Stalin, and Moe from The 3 Stooges.” —Frank Fleming

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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