Mid-Day Digest

Nov. 17, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Franken’s photo is awfully incriminating. What happens next?
  • Lost amidst sex scandals galore, the House just passed major tax reform.
  • Now that the Clintons are useless politically, leftists begin to admit Bill’s wrongdoing.
  • There’s still some “there” there regarding Hillary Clinton’s Uranium One deal.
  • Corruption: Bob Menendez’s mistrial is likely a miscarriage of justice.
  • The Boston Globe wants your guns. There are a lot of reasons that’s bad.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“The standard of good behavior for the continuance in office … is certainly one of the most valuable of the modern improvements in the practice of government.” —Alexander Hamilton (1788)

IN BRIEF

Franken Hypocrisy and Objectification of Women

By Nate Jackson

Another day, another accusation of sexual assault. This time, it’s Democrat Comedian Senator Al Franken in the crosshairs — and on camera. Radio talker Leeann Tweeden finally had enough of Franken’s hypocrisy on the subject and told her story. On a 2006 USO Tour to entertain U.S. troops in the Middle East, she says Franken pushed her to kiss him for a skit, and, while rehearsing it, he finally “came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.” She angrily told him to never do it again, but otherwise avoided him and didn’t speak up. On the trip home, she fell asleep and he took the above photograph of himself fondling her breasts (or at least pretending to) through her flak jacket. She didn’t see the picture until arriving back home and still held her tongue. Until now.

Franken responded, “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

In some jurisdictions, what Franken did was a crime. Will Democrats hold him to account? Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have called for an ethics investigation.

At best, this wasn’t Franken’s only line-crossing. Back in the 1990s, he proposed a “Saturday Night Live” skit about raping a news anchor: “And, ‘I give the pills to Lesley Stahl. Then, when Lesley’s passed out, I take her to the closet and rape her.’ Or, ‘That’s why you never see Lesley until February.’ Or, ‘When she passes out, I put her in various positions and take pictures of her.’”

And it wasn’t just boorish behavior but hypocritical grandstanding. In March 2017, while defending a resolution on labor laws and government contractors on the floor of the Senate, Franken berated Republicans for supposedly forcing “vulnerable women” who were victims of sexual assault “into the dark.”

“The Al Frankenstien [sic] picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps?” tweeted the man caught on tape boasting of grabbing women by the genitals. Perhaps that was Donald Trump suffering from an utter lack of self-awareness — or perhaps he was using the irony to highlight Franken’s hypocrisy. Trump added, “And to think that just last week he was lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women.” After all, Trump got caught talking about it; Franken was photographed doing it.

Nevertheless, the behavior of both men — and any other man guilty of objectifying, groping, harassing, assaulting or raping a woman — is totally unacceptable and in some cases criminal. In a perfect world, it wouldn’t happen. In a better one, they’d all be justly held to account.

This leaves us pondering something that few seem willing to discuss — the responsibility women bear. Do not misunderstand: This is not victim blaming or offering any exculpatory defense for the men at fault. Men must always exercise self-control. But it’s worth noting that Leeann Tweeden was a former model for FHM, Maxim and Playboy. In choosing to bare all for magazine spreads — or even just dressing scantily or behaving overly flirtatiously — women contribute to their own objectification. Most women simply do not understand just how powerful the visual is for men. Sometimes, men like Franken act out their fantasies.

Finally, food for thought: Franken says he decided to run for Senate on that very USO trip. He won by a mere 312 votes, and, without him, Democrats would not have had the 60th vote to pass ObamaCare.

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House Passes Major Tax-Cut Plan

By Thomas Gallatin

On Thursday, the Republican House passed its nearly $1.5 trillion tax-cut bill. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) stated, “This country has not rewritten its tax code since 1986. The powers of the status quo in this town are so strong. Yet 227 men and women of this Congress broke through that today.” While Ryan’s sentiment is indeed understandable, it may prove to be moot if Republicans in the Senate are unable to pass their own comprehensive tax reform. However, this should at least be an encouragement to Senate Republicans, as the Senate Finance Committee voted 14-12 on Thursday to send the GOP’s tax bill to the Senate floor for a full vote, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) plans to hold after Thanksgiving.

The House bill aims at several main goals that include streamlining and simplifying the tax code, cutting taxes on businesses, creating jobs and increasing wages for American workers, and providing relief for middle class families. The legislation drops the corporate tax rate down from its current 35% to 20%, lowers the estate tax and would eventually phase it out entirely, and reduces the number of tax brackets from seven to four. Republicans estimate that a typical middle class family of four would see their taxes drop by an average of $1,182.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), highlighting the tax plan’s benefit to small business, said, “Everybody starts getting a tax cut as you move forward. Small business will have the lowest rate since before World War II. And think of this: We lowered it even further after it came through committee. They will only pay 9% on the first $75,000. So for everyone who has ever dreamed of being an entrepreneur — here’s your chance; here’s your opportunity.”

The Tax Foundation scored the tax plan and estimated that it would create 975,000 new full-time jobs and grow GDP by 3.9%. The Council of Economic Advisers estimated that the legislation would increase GDP by 3% to 5% and that Americans could expect to see their incomes increase by an average of $4,000.

Now Americans will wait to see if Senate Republicans are able to maintain the positive momentum their House colleagues have created.

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Top Headlines

  • Senate Finance Committee advances Republican tax plan on party-line vote (The Washington Times)

  • Corruption trial of Democrat U.S. Senator Menendez ends in mistrial (Reuters)

  • New gun bill urges everyone to obey the other gun bills (Reason)

  • Resistance royalty: Pelosi, Soros headline Left’s biggest dark money conference (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Congressional Hispanic Caucus rejects Congressman Curbelo for being Republican (National Review)

  • Clinton voters say economy biggest challenge to families, Trump voters say culture (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • FCC plans December vote to kill net neutrality rules (Bloomberg)

  • Keystone oil leak in South Dakota as Nebraska weighs XL Permits (Reuters)

  • NFL steps into politics (again), fights tax cut bill with no stadium bond breaks (The Washington Times)

  • Humor: In grievous spelling error, child sends Christmas letter to Satan (The Babylon Bee)

  • Policy: Don’t pick a new head for CFPB — close it down instead (Investor’s Business Daily)

  • Policy: Zimbabwe’s coup, Venezuela’s default, and the ongoing failure of socialism (Investor’s Business Daily)

For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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We have only a few more weeks to raise the remaining half of our annual budget. Please support The Patriot Post today. Thank you, as always, for all you do for Liberty. —Mark Alexander, Publisher

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Leftists Finally Throw Bill Under the Bus

By Brian Mark Weber

The recent effort to upend the Senate candidacy of Alabama Judge Roy Moore is dominating headlines these days. The charges against Moore are troubling, serious and credible, while his denials are less than persuasive. But the speed with which Democrats and Republicans alike have demanded Moore’s exit from the race presents a high ethical standard that never seems to apply to Democrats.

Just yesterday, in fact, Minnesota Democrat Sen. Al Franken was accused of committing sexual assault against a woman in 2006, and it looks like other victims might be coming forward. But the outrage toward Franken, a sitting U.S. senator, has been timid compared with the treatment that candidate Moore has had to endure. And buried beneath the Franken headlines was the news that a hung jury had spared another sitting senator, New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez, from a deserved corruption conviction.

We’ve been down this road before. Republicans are always quick to destroy their own (deserved or not), while Democrats circle the wagons around the sleaziest politicians and public figures. This hypocrisy has paved the way for sexual predators on the Left to assume vast amounts of power and wealth without ever having to face their accusers, while those on the Right are cut off at the knees.

Case in point: Bill Clinton. For years Americans have waited for the convincing allegations of sexual abuse and even rape by Clinton to get the attention they deserve. Sure, Clinton was impeached (along party lines), paid a fine, and lost his law license, but Democrats never stopped embracing him or his enabling wife. Indeed, once he escaped conviction in the Senate (nearly along party lines), even Republicans seemed to forgive and forget.

Ironically, the person who broke the radio silence on Bill Clinton was none other than Donald Trump.

After the notorious “Access Hollywood” tape nearly derailed his bid for the White House, Trump held a press conference in which the women who claimed to be Clinton’s victims were given the collective attention they deserved. And then, in a brilliant move, Trump seated the women at the presidential debate right near Clinton himself. Trump did more to hold Bill Clinton accountable for his actions than any Republican had done since the former Arkansas governor moved into the White House in 1993.

When Trump put the spotlight on Clinton, Democrats had a perfect opportunity to make things right and condemn Bill’s predatory behavior. After all, they were poised to take down Trump over alleged groping, not rape. But those on the Left couldn’t bring themselves to be critical of a man they’d forgiven for actually engaging in behavior that was far worse than what Trump was only caught describing.

Now, nearly 20 years after Juanita Broaddrick went public with her credible accusation of Bill Clinton raping her, and with the Clintons having failed in their party’s most urgent mission — defeating Trump — the Left is suddenly emboldened. Indeed, some are even opportunistically admitting that Clinton should have resigned from office 20 years ago.

Too little, too late. The societal damage has long since been done.

Caitlin Flanagan writes in The Atlantic, “It was a pattern of behavior; it included an alleged violent assault; the women involved had far more credible evidence than many of the most notorious accusations that have come to light in the past five weeks. But Clinton was not left to the swift and pitiless justice that today’s accused men have experienced. Rather, he was rescued by a surprising force: machine feminism. The movement had by then ossified into a partisan operation, and it was willing — eager — to let this friend of the sisterhood enjoy a little droit de seigneur.”

Perhaps the parade of “progressive” sexual predators in the past year made it difficult to continue ignoring Clinton’s past — difficult to self-righteously condemn the likes of Weiner and Weinstein and Franken while continuing to dismiss Clinton’s decades of depravity.

But don’t take this as a sign that progressives are suddenly holding their own accountable. They just couldn’t keep their dirty little secret any longer. There have been plenty of moments when Democrats could have taken a stand to end sexual abuse post-Clinton.

Matthew Yglesias contends, “The United States, and perhaps the broader English-speaking world, is currently undergoing a much-needed accountability moment in which each wave of stories emboldens more people to come forward and more institutions to rethink their practices. Looking back, the 1998 revelation that the president of the United States carried on an affair with an intern could have been that moment.”

If only leftists like Yglesias had shown the courage of their convictions when it really mattered.

Yes, the feminist movement could have become legitimate instead of selectively allowing the very behavior that it proclaims to detest. It could have been a pivotal moment in which the nation reasserted its values and principles, and took a stand against the moral degradation of the past. It could have been the moment for us to enforce the ethical standards that we have long expected of our public figures, and the moment for the media to put the plain truth ahead of its agenda.

It could have been, but it wasn’t. And they’re now reaping what they sowed.

One of the more troubling aspects of the 1998 Clinton-Lewinsky affair is that mainstream media outlets had all the information they needed in 1998 but chose largely to ignore the very serious accusations of Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and especially Juanita Broaddrick.

As David Harsanyi writes, “However reluctant editors might have been in moving forward with these stories, the fact is that most of them were ultimately brought to the public’s attention by established news organizations, not shady right-wing outlets. Still, Democrats weren’t merely skeptical of these women, they often treated them with disdain and smeared them for political expediency.”

Yes, they were smeared by just about everyone on the Left including Hillary Clinton. Remember her vicious and dismissive “bimbo eruptions” comment? That a female politician was willing to shame and degrade other women in order to advance her career mirrored the soullessness of the Democrat Party.

Sadly, the cover-ups from the Kennedys to Clinton to Harvey Weinstein allowed scores of women to be abused by powerful men — so long as these monsters were publicly supporting leftist causes.

Since the 1960s, Democrats have pushed a culture of unbridled sexuality on American society while at the same time calling for men to respect women. It’s not possible to have both.

Had Bill Clinton and others been held accountable, perhaps we could have saved a lot of women some serious pain and suffering. Perhaps we could have prevented another generation of sexual perverts from preying on innocent victims. And perhaps we could have emerged as a nation dedicated to ethical and moral behavior in personal and public life.

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TODAY’S MEME

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

TODAY’S CARTOON

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For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Jonah Goldberg: “Forget about America for two seconds. [Vladimir] Putin’s social-media army has been mucking around in Western Europe for years. He supports fringe radical groups — or creates fake representatives of them — on both the Left and the Right. They use WikiLeaks, and the useful idiots who love it, to undermine Western governments in the name of democracy and transparency. The goal isn’t primarily to get a particular politician in power but to sow chaos and doubt, to heighten the contradictions, and to weaken the strong countries and alliances that Putin thinks are holding down Russia. The Russians helped push for Brexit, not because Brexit was good for Britain (which I think it might be) but because it was bad for the European Union. Some want to believe that Putin saw in Trump a useful ally, and that Trump volunteered for service. Again, that’s possible. But I think the answer is more straightforward and obvious. The Russians just wanted to cause trouble and wound the presumptive winner, Hillary Clinton. That’s why WikiLeaks encouraged Donald Trump Jr. to claim the election was stolen. But then the elder Trump won. Trump believes that every country should follow its own narrow self-interest. That’s a defensible position. The only problem is that Russia’s — or at least Putin’s — definition of self-interest is at war with ours.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive.” —Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

He’s done it now! “The worst crime for which [Trump] can never be pardoned is that he dared [to] malignantly hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership. … [Trump] should know that he is just a hideous criminal sentenced to death by the Korean people.” —state-sanctioned North Korea editorial

Race bait: “Certain elements of the FBI and of our state cannot stand, or even worse, accept that the Latino kid from Union City and Hudson County could grow up to be a United States senator and be honest.” –Sen. Bob Menendez

Revenge: “To those who were digging my political grave so they could jump into my seat, I know who you are, and I won’t forget you.” —Bob Menendez

Stating the obvious (and 20 years too late): “Yes, I think that [resignation] is the appropriate response.” —Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on what should have been Bill Clinton’s plight

The BIG Lie: “[Bill Clinton] didn’t get away with anything. … The country forgave him.” —CNN’s Paul Begala

Hypocrite: “According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, at least 25 percent of American women say they have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. And recent high profile revelations about abuse … demonstrate that we are far from addressing this issue on a broader scale. So I urge my Republican colleagues to reconsider their support for this resolution. I urge them to not force vulnerable women who have been wronged into the dark and into forced arbitration."—Sen. Al Franken in March

And last… "If a senator drove a car into a river and left a woman there to drown and didn’t notify the police, would that be considered resignation-worthy now? Or are we still not to that point?” —Frank Fleming

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Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher