Mid-Day Digest

Nov. 20, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • The enemies of Liberty gather, shrouded in secrecy.
  • If the Congressional Hispanic Caucus isn’t open to Republicans, it needs a name change.
  • Sexual harassment in Congress is an expensive problem … for taxpayers.
  • In order to enforce gun laws, some folks think we need more gun laws.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“As riches increase and accumulate in few hands, as luxury prevails in society, virtue will be in a greater degree considered as only a graceful appendage of wealth, and the tendency of things will be to depart from the republican standard.” —Alexander Hamilton (1788)

IN BRIEF

The Enemies of Liberty Gather

Over the weekend, wealthy leftists gathered for a secretive conference at the posh La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, California. The event was titled “Beyond #Resistance: Reclaiming our Progressive Future.” The high-dollar fundraising event had donors pledge to give at least $200,000 to approved leftist groups, all for the purpose of opposing Liberty at every turn. Not surprisingly, billionaire George Soros was headlined as one of the featured speakers. Recall that just last month Soros transferred $18 billon — or “the bulk of his wealth” — into his leftist activist arm, and it’s not for charitable purposes.

Other high-profile speakers included several politicians either in person or via video — Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who has been rumored to be preparing for a run for the White House in 2020, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Pennsylvania Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf, Virginia Democrat Governor-elect Ralph Northam, Rep. Ray Lujan (D-MN) and even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

The Washington Free Beacon reported that the “special guests” list also included CNN commentator Van Jones as well as failed politician and feminist activist Sandra Fluke. David Brock, who heads the leftist organization Media Matters (financed in part by Soros), was seen in attendance as was Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards. In other words, it was a who’s who list of leftists representing the greatest threat to Liberty.

Interestingly, the Free Beacon noted, “Guests are instructed not to share members’ names with the press and not to post to any social media sites, to contact Democracy Alliance if ‘the media or a blogger’ contacts them, and to ‘refrain from leaving sensitive materials out where others may find them.’” Clearly, someone didn’t follow instructions, but why the secrecy?

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Congressional Hispanic Caucus Needs a Name Change

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) needs to rename itself after it recently rejected Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s (R-FL) request to join the group. Curbelo, who was born in Miami, is the son of two Cuban exiles who fled to the U.S. after Fidel Castro’s takeover (much like two other prominent Republicans, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz). In other words, there is no question that racially and ethnically Curbelo is Hispanic.

After rejecting Curbelo, the CHC issued the following explanation:

After due consideration, the CHC determined not to accept Rep. Curbelo’s request. The CHC isn’t just an organization for Hispanics; it is a caucus that represents certain values. This vote reflects the position of many of our members that Rep. Curbelo and his record are not consistent with those values.

Curbelo responded to the CHC’s decision stating, “It is truly shameful the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has decided to build a wall around the organization to exclude Hispanic-Americans who aren’t registered in the Democratic Party. This sends a powerful and harmful message of discrimination, bigotry and division. Unbelievably, petty partisan interests have led the CHC to formally endorse the segregation of American Hispanics.”

What this decision makes patently clear is that the CHC is exclusively an organization of the Democrat Party (as if we didn’t already know that). Since this is the case, the CHC should be honest and rebrand as the Congressional Hispanic Democrat Caucus. It would be dishonest for members of the CHC to continue to claim they represent the consensus of Hispanic American political values.

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Top Headlines

  • Trump announces five more judges to be considered for Supreme Court (The Washington Times)

  • Move to curtail “blue slips” gives the president, and successors, wide leeway in picks for federal bench (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Mueller requests DOJ hand over documents related to James Comey firing (ABC News)

  • Border agent killed, another injured during attack near Texas border; Trump renews call for the wall (Fox News)

  • Dying WWII vet laughed at, neglected by caregivers (Hot Air)

  • Hillary praises Bill for staying off Twitter as president — before it was created (The Daily Wire)

  • Patty Murray condemns Franken, but she campaigned for Ted Kennedy (The Washington Times)

  • EPA spending $1.2 million on “environmental justice” (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Humor: Navy’s new recruiting ad promises aviators adventure, ability to draw phallic symbols in the sky (Duffel Blog)

  • Policy: Could porn be one explanation for sexual predators like Louis C.K.? (Institute for Family Studies)

  • Policy: The coming tax-cut boom (Investor’s Business Daily)

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

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

Outing Congressional Creeps Is a Must

By Arnold Ahlert

It has often been said that Washington, DC, is Hollywood for ugly people. As Americans are learning, looks are the least of it. Over the last 20 years, Congress has shelled out more than $17 million to cover sexual harassment, discrimination claims and other cases against its members. And in a double-dose of reality that reeks of Ruling Class privilege, the names of those engaged in wrongdoing remain under wraps — and their settlements are paid for by the American taxpayer, courtesy of a secret slush fund managed by the Office of Compliance (OOC).

“I have had numerous meetings and phone calls with staffers, both present and former, women and men who have been subjected to this inexcusable and often illegal behavior,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) stated during the House Administration Committee’s first hearing to review that chamber’s sexual harassment policy. “In fact, there are two members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, right now, who … have engaged in sexual harassment.”

Who are they? We may never know. In 1995, Congress passed the Congressional Accountability Act, creating the OOC and extending workplace protections to legislative branch employees, giving them the right to file complaints against members of Congress regarding various types of discrimination and sexual harassment. Yet whether by accident or design, the process is so convoluted and arduous, many complainants forego it altogether.

First, a written statement initiating a complaint must be made within 180 days of the incident. After that, victims must agree to go through a 30-day counseling period, during which one must meet with the OOC to learn about one’s rights and the required steps involved in pursuing a complaint. Another 30 days of mandatory “mediation” follows, during which the accuser and the accused, or their representatives, attempt to reach a settlement with a mediator’s help. After that, the complainant must wait an additional 30 days before filing a formal complaint with the OOC, or a lawsuit in Federal District Court.

While this orchestrated ordeal is occurring, the complainant’s employer will be notified, and the resolution of the dispute can only be made public if it is settled in the complainant’s favor.

Note that the resolution itself can be made public. The identity of the guilty legislator? He or she remains immune to public disclosure.

“The so-called process was clearly drafted to protect the institution rather than the most vulnerable,” Speier said in a statement. “Survivors have to sign a never-ending nondisclosure agreement just to start the complaint process, which is unheard of in the private sector, then continue to work in their office alongside their harasser.”

The process was apparently also designed to be obtuse. Because the OOC is not required to divulge information about the number of complaints, defendants, settlements or dollar figures, it’s almost impossible to discern the actual number of harassment reports.

The OOC insists that compiling statistics on settlements by specific claims remains problematic “because settlements may involve cases that allege violations of more than one of the 13 statutes incorporated by the (Congressional Accountability Act).” Moreover, between 40% and 50% of harassment claims are settled following the mediation phase and, according to Speier spokeswoman Tracy Manzer, as many as 80% of people who brought allegations of sexual misconduct to their office chose not to follow up with the OOC. Those who did follow up labeled the process a “nightmare,” and many of them abandoned their efforts midway through.

Alleged victims made political calculations as well. “I need these guys’ votes,” explained an unidentified congresswoman who said she has been sexually harassed by her male colleagues numerous times. “In this body, you may be an enemy one day and a close ally the next when accomplishing something. … So women will be very cautious about saying anything negative about any of their colleagues.”

Such dubious rationalizations resemble the choices made by Hollywood actresses willing to endure harassment in exchange for career advancement. The gigantic difference? Actresses are making movies. Congresswomen are making law.

Now that the Ruling Class’s dirty laundry has become public, both chambers of Congress have decided to “fix” it — beginning with a dose of political correctness. On Nov. 9, the Senate passed a resolution mandating sexual harassment training for senators, their staff and Senate interns. It must be completed within 60 days of the resolution’s passage, and each Senate office must present a certificate of completion for publication on the secretary of the Senate’s website.

Five days later, House Speaker Paul Ryan followed suit with a mandatory training program for House members.

Speier and Senate colleague Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who also claims she has been harassed by an unnamed male colleague, are following up with legislation to reform the process itself. Its provisions include waiving the current 30-day requirements for both counseling and mediation, creating an optional in-house counsel for complainants, eliminating the required nondisclosure agreements for filing complaints (while retaining them as part of any settlement), and creating an online system to initiate complaints.

All well and good, but ultimate reform remains hazy. While public disclosure of the employing office and the amount of a settled claim would be required, and lawmakers would be forced to pay out of pocket for any settled claim where they are identified as the harasser, “other claims” would still be underwritten by the taxpayer.

Moreover, there’s a gigantic element of reform conspicuously missing: naming names. Speier insists the two members of Congress guilty of harassment remain anonymous because the “victims are the ones who do not want this exposed.”

Really? Why? Just as it is with Hollywood, reality suggests the most plausible explanation is because victims believe there will be retaliation. And if a 2003 survey cited by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is even relatively accurate, there will be. It found that “75% of employees who spoke out against workplace mistreatment faced some form of retaliation.”

By the same token, it is not unreasonable to assume many allegations are either outright lies, attempts to game the system for political gain, or the outgrowth of a “guilty until proven innocent” feeding frenzy engendered on college campuses by the Obama administration, mercifully ended by current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Yet if Congress is really serious about ending this nonsense — on both sides of the equation — genuine accountability ought to prevail. If the allegations turn out to be false, those making them should be subject to job termination. On the other hand, if guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt, Congress, not the victims themselves, should be required to publish the names of the offending lawmaker and precipitate efforts to oust him or her from Congress.

For decades Congress has exempted itself from laws it imposes on the rest of the nation. And while some things government does should remain beyond public disclosure, outing congressional creeps isn’t one of them. Not by a long shot.

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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

  • A Law to Enforce the Law? — Lawmakers have introduced a new background check bill to pacify the “do something” crowd.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

OPINION IN BRIEF

Burt Prelutsky: “It is very weird to see Donna Brazile — the former head of the DNC and the person who funneled debate questions to Hillary Clinton and later lied about it, accusing those who accused her of such a dastardly deed of being racist swine — being hailed as the great truth-teller. No doubt her kicking Hillary to the curb will help her sell a lot of copies of Hacks, but somehow the notion that one is not supposed to profit off one’s crimes keeps occurring to me. It just makes me wonder what Bill Clinton will accuse his wife of when he gets around to writing his next book. Actually, if he has his eye on the best seller lists, he would be well-advised to write about his own sexual misadventures, although he better be quick about it, as I’m sure that Harvey Weinstein is already weighing hefty offers from the major publishing houses. Some will insist that Bernie Sanders was cheated out of the nomination because Mrs. Clinton had gained a stranglehold on the DNC by paying off the $15 million debt Obama had run up. But the thing that Sanders couldn’t have overcome is that her nibs also had a stranglehold on most of the party’s several hundred so-called super delegates. … If the Republican Party primaries had been set up that way, the 2016 GOP nominee would have likely been Jeb Bush.”

SHORT CUTS

Upright: “Much has been made … of Louis C.K.‘s public apology for exposing himself and masturbating in front of women. While most of the attention has been focused on the imbalance of power … very little has been said about his rather bizarre behavior and its origins. … Some men have become so used to watching pornography that it is easier for them to handle matters on their own. These men don’t need actual physical contact with a woman — having her sit on the other side of the room works just fine. … Even in a culture where consent is the only consideration in sexual encounters, it is still useful for men and women to have reasonable expectations of one another. And just as most men probably don’t want to be compared to porn stars, most women don’t want to be treated like them.” —Independent Women’s Forum senior fellow Naomi Schaefer Riley

For the record: “I absolutely think the protests are so upsetting, and I blame the commissioner. I know people are going to be angry when I say it, but he should have stopped the protests at the very beginning. … Our flag is very special, and black lives matter, but what we should do is go to Washington after the season and protest there instead. We have young men and women fighting for the flag. And we have to respect the White House.” —former NFL star Herschel Walker

D'oh! “There was nothing fast and easy about [negotiations with Ireland in the '90s]. [Bill] didn’t Tweet about it. He got to work about it and he actually got it done.” —Hillary Clinton (Twitter launched in 2006.)

Braying Jackass: “I’m trying to make up for the fact that I think I was too tough on [Bill] Clinton.” —MSNBC’s Chris Matthews reflecting on the change of heart other media figures are having re: Clinton’s sex scandals

Alpha Jackass: “It’s one of the most dangerous times in modern history. I think that there have always been voices in our country — and particularly in the 19th and 20th century in Europe — that have always tried to take advantage of pain and change. Do you think [Trump] really cares about the kids I grew up with in Scranton, Pennsylvania as far as their economic well-being?” —Joe Biden

And last… “Radio host Leeann Tweeden came forward and said Sen. Al Franken groped her without her consent. And she posted a photo as evidence. In fact, it’s so bad Franken’s already a front runner for president in 2020.” —Jimmy Fallon

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher