Mid-Day Digest

Nov. 21, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • As we approach Thanksgiving, the free market is something for which we can be thankful.
  • Lois Lerner, who led IRS targeting, now “fears” for her “safety.” Please.
  • Trump’s Justice League — the president offers five possible Supreme Court picks.
  • An NFL player finally stood for the anthem. The Mexican anthem, that is.
  • Three law enforcement officers killed in the last week share a theme.
  • The trucking industry keeps America rolling, but it has problems.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors.” —George Washington (1789)

IN BRIEF

Giving Thanks for the Free Market

By Jordan Candler

In two days, millions of Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s a predominantly American tradition in which we thank God for blessing us with a comfortable lifestyle. Of course, those blessings would be significantly diminished — and are across many areas of the world — if not for the men and women who promote a free market.

In some nations, it’s not even possible to celebrate Thanksgiving like we do here. Take Venezuela. Statism has so ruptured and paralyzed the nation that most resources that are overflowing here are extremely sparse there. Of course, Venezuela doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. But even if it did, greed, corruption and power grabs have made it tangibly impossible to celebrate it American-style. In America, Thanksgiving generally consists of bountiful amounts of food. In Venezuela, millions of people are literally starving.

Simply stated: The people who most appreciate Thanksgiving are those who understand what life is like without the free market. In many cases, they or a family member have had to sacrifice something. Or at the very least they recognize that it is because of the free market that our tables are chock-full of goodies. And now has never been a better time to further promote the ideals that make it possible.

According to Investor’s Business Daily, “The American Farm Bureau Federation released its latest price survey of items typically found on the dinner table at Thanksgiving. What it found is that the cost of providing all the usual trimmings went down this year. Feeding 10 will run an average $49.12, down from $49.87 last year. The report also notes that the cost of Thanksgiving, when adjusted for inflation, is 23% less expensive today than it was in 1986.” IBD rightly credits the free market.

These statistics probably come as a surprise to most people. But they also offer sage advice. Reuters reports, “Nearly one-third of all adults will actively avoid political conversations when they see friends and family over the Thanksgiving and December holidays, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Friday. About half said they do not expect to discuss politics at all.”

This isn’t surprising when taking into account our polarized society. But the Reuters poll also means there are still plenty of people who are ready to engage in political discourse. (Here are our thoughts on that.) As we stuff our faces on Thanksgiving, it’s worth reminding your family, both liberal and conservative, that food is cheaper today thanks to ingenuity and Liberty. Surely everyone can agree this is a good thing and worth giving thanks for. And maybe, just maybe, it can segue into a civil discussion about our God-given liberties, which make Thanksgiving possible.

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Former IRS Abuser Doesn’t Trust You

By Thomas Gallatin

Former IRS executive Lois Lerner and her deputy at the agency, Holly Paz, are fighting to keep their court depositions regarding the Tea Party targeting scandal sealed. Forever. Attorneys for the women argued that releasing their clients’ testimony would put them in danger, stating, “Whenever Mss. Lerner and Paz have been in the media spotlight, they have faced death threats and harassment.” Lerner and Paz specifically referenced Tea Party leader Mark Meckler, who helped organized the class action lawsuit against the women and the IRS, for his having referred to IRS agents as “criminal thugs.”

Meckler responded, “Four years of harassing innocent American citizens for their political beliefs, and she’s scared of a guy in a cowboy hat talking to a bunch of old ladies at a Tea Party event?” Meckler continued, “The reality is because she knows she is guilty as the day is long and she doesn’t want people to know what she actually did. It’s hard to have any sympathy for the women. And frankly, I don’t believe she’s genuinely scared.” Indeed, it would seem counterintuitive for Lerner and Paz to hide their deposition from the public if their testimony did prove to exonerate their behavior. If the truth shows their behavior to have been legal and above board, then why hide the truth?

But it’s not just offended Tea Party groups who are interested in seeing those deposition court files. The Cincinnati IRS office that Lerner initially blamed for the targeting scandal is also seeking to learn what Lerner and Paz had to say.

With the government having recently reversed course admitting wrong doing and settled lawsuits brought by Tea Party groups over the scandal, there seems to be more of an argument now than ever for having the deposition records unsealed and made public. When a crime has been committed — by the government, no less — the American public has the right to know who was to blame. Justice demands it.

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Top Headlines

  • Trump renews declaration of North Korea as state sponsor of terrorism (USA Today)

  • Judge permanently blocks Trump sanctuary cities order (Associated Press)

  • Keystone XL pipeline gets Nebraska’s approval, clearing a key hurdle in nine-year effort (The Washington Post)

  • Another woman accuses Sen. Al Franken of groping (New York Post)

  • Report: Democrat Rep. Conyers paid thousands to settle sexual misconduct complaint (Fox News)

  • Charlie Rose suspended by CBS, PBS and Bloomberg amid sexual misconduct claims (The Hollywood Reporter)

  • Glenn Thrush suspended by The New York Times for groping women (PoliZette)

  • Democracy Alliance says sexual misconduct may exist “throughout progressive community” (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • State Dept. marks “transgender day of remembrance” (CNS News)

  • Humor: Breaking: Mike Pence confesses addiction to marital faithfulness (The Babylon Bee)

  • Policy: Why we should still celebrate the Pilgrims at Thanksgiving (The Daily Signal)

  • Policy: Let’s restart the adoption movement (American Enterprise Institute)

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

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Nate Jackson
Managing Editor

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Trump’s Justice League

By Paul Albaugh

One of the reasons (for some, the only reason) that millions of people voted for Donald Trump just over a year ago was because he promised to choose people to fill judicial seats who were conservative originalists and would thus “support and defend” our Constitution. So far, he has delivered on that promise — and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.

Trump recently announced a list of five more candidates that he will consider for the next Supreme Court vacancy, and that list is very much in keeping with his promise. This is very troubling for leftists because Trump has already filled twice as many federal judiciary seats on the lower courts as his predecessor did by this point in his term.

“The new list of candidates for the high court includes Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a conservative stalwart on the high-profile U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit who clerked for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, and Judge Amy Barrett of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, an outspoken opponent of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion,” reports The Washington Times. “Rounding out the list are Judge Britt Grant of the Georgia Supreme Court, Judge Kevin Newsom of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick. Judge Grant previously clerked for Judge Kavanaugh on the appeals court.”

These individuals have been hailed by conservatives for having a fantastic track record of judicial experience and are each welcome additions to Trump’s list. Instead of being activists or despots, they are just the kind of constitutionalist judges we so very badly need today. Obviously, there are currently no vacancies on the High Court, but there has been speculation that extreme leftist Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and wild card Justice Anthony Kennedy are set to retire soon. Better not hold your breath on Ginsberg — she’ll probably hold out just to prevent Trump from replacing her with a conservative.

As for Justice Kennedy, however, National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru writes, “It is sometimes thought that Kennedy is more likely to retire if he thinks he will be replaced by someone of whom he thinks highly.” That person could be Kavanaugh, who is the most well-known on the new list of judicial candidates. As the Times notes, Kavanaugh also clerked for Kennedy and is thought of highly by his former boss. The only down side for Kavanaugh is that, at the age of 52, he is the oldest judge on the list.

Trump’s ability to shape the federal courts got a little easier as well following Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s decision to curtail one of the last legislative limits on a president’s power. Last week, Grassley, as head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reined in a tradition that empowered senators to block federal appeals court nominees from their home state.

This move, referred to by members of the Senate as a “blue slip,” is sort of like an individual senator’s filibuster, and Democrats are now decrying its removal as a dirty tactic. Remember all the Democrat outcry when former Majority Leader Harry Reid abolished the filibuster for judicial nominees (except for SCOTUS) for the entire Senate? Neither do we.

On this, Grassley stated, “The Democrats seriously regret that they abolished the filibuster, as I warned them they would. But they can’t expect to use the blue-slip courtesy in its place. That’s not what the blue slip is meant for.”

Nevertheless, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is crying foul. “Taken together,” she complained, “it’s clear that Republicans want to remake our courts by jamming through President Trump’s nominees as quickly as possible.” She might, after all her years in the Senate, actually be correct, though she’s complaining about a feature, not a bug.

Aside from the courts, some say Trump has done a poor job filling other vacancies within the federal government. In this case, it’s not solely the Democrats’ fault for delaying Trump in filling these vacancies — rather, Trump has either not found willing and qualified individuals or he has just decided not to fill those positions. In fact, Trump insisted just last week that this was no accident, but rather that it was his way of shrinking certain agencies.

Trump stated, “I’m generally not going to make a lot of the appointments that would normally be — because you don’t need them. … I mean, you look at some of these agencies, how massive they are, and it’s totally unnecessary.” He is, of course, correct.

This is an additional tactic to drain the swamp in Washington and many conservatives agree with it. On the down side, there are many positions within the various federal agencies still held by people whom Barack Obama put there, and some are fill-ins until they are replaced.

By all indications Trump does not intend to fill or replace those positions, choosing instead to focus on his judicial nominees. This is, after all, what he said he would do and his ability to shape the federal courts may very well be his presidency’s longest lasting impact on our country.

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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.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

OPINION IN BRIEF

Cal Thomas: “Having abandoned what might be labeled a spiritual GPS for guiding us through this life and offering instructions on how to attain a better reward in the next, we are witnessing what unrestrained men (and they are mostly men) are capable of doing. The ‘scandal’ word is used in a way that suggests a standard for measuring what is scandalous. Why is anything a scandal in 2017? If truth is personal and relative, why judge anyone else’s behavior if it makes them feel good? ‘It can’t be wrong when it feels so right’ sang Debbie Boone in what could now serve as an anthem for our time. What we are seeing is an ugly reflection of ourselves. If we don’t like the image we see in the mirror we should ask how we arrived at this place and what can be done to reverse it. I recall evangelist Billy Graham once saying that America is not at a crossroads but a long way down the wrong road and needs to come back to the crossroads and take the right road. That was four decades ago. Things have gotten worse since then. Past spiritual revivals that have touched America (and England) came from repentance and prayer. Who has faith in politicians to fix this when growing numbers of them are having difficulty adhering to a moral code themselves?”

SHORT CUTS

Upright: “Why is it that men would ever presume to take what is not theirs to take? What is it that women would be too afraid to speak up? Could it be that the expectations of the culture have forced both men and women into a desensitization against any kind of respect for the other? Could it be that we’ve been breathing an air that has us believing that the other exists for gratification rather than for awe and reverence?” —Kathryn Jean Lopez

Good: “Harvard and Yale combined sit on a nest egg of almost $60 billion, enough to give every student free tuition at these schools from now until forever. Instead these university endowments act like giant financial trading dynasties, with very little of the largesse going to help students pay tuition. The GOP plan would put a small tax on the unspent money in the endowments if they don’t start spending the money down. My only complaint is that the tax is way too low. But the first shot against the university-industrial complex has finally been fired.” —Stephen Moore

Amazing how revisionist history is suddenly tossed out the window: “I don’t think you can rework history. I think if [Bill Clinton’s impropriety] happened today — if any president did that today — they would have to resign.” —Bill de Blasio

Friendly fire: “Hillary Clinton needs to stop. She needs to stop talking about this topic unless Bill Clinton wants to come forward and apologize for being a sexual harasser, for settling with women, for what happened with — he needs to apologize.” —MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski

A vast right-wing conspiracy: “[Fox News] wasn’t there when Bill first ran. It was one of the reasons he probably survived.” —Hillary Clinton

And last… “Why do politicians escape when private citizens face consequences? There are two main answers: an inflated sense of importance and the reality of the binary choice.” —David French

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher