Mid-Day Digest

Nov. 30, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • What’s going on at NBC? The history of cover-ups goes back 20 years.
  • Justice is lacking after a Benghazi attacker escapes most serious charges.
  • The economy is slowly recovering, but the birth rate is not. That needs to change.
  • Communism isn’t just a collective way of “sharing.” It’s tyranny.
  • Tom Steyer pledges $20 million for the Trump impeachment effort.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“The eyes of the world being thus on our Country, it is put the more on its good behavior, and under the greater obligation also, to do justice to the Tree of Liberty by an exhibition of the fine fruits we gather from it.” —James Madison (1824)

IN BRIEF

Lauer: Tip of the NBC Iceberg?

By Thomas Gallatin

As that old adage states, appearances are not always what they seem. On Wednesday, the nation learned the shocking news that Matt Lauer, the face of NBC’s “Today” show for the past 20 years, had been fired over multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. Since the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault revelations broke two months ago, the country has witnessed a steady stream of powerful men in media being brought down over allegations of sexual misbehavior. The ones in government just keep trucking along.

When NBC News Chairman Andy Lack announced the firing, he said that this was the first complaint that had been raised against Lauer in over 20 years. However, that claim now seems dubious as news about Lauer’s alleged behavior has begun to trickle out. If anything, it’s beginning to sound like the NBC News office mirrored that of the TV show “Mad Men,” with the regularity of off-color jokes and “a lot of consensual relationships.” A former producer with firsthand knowledge said, “[Lauer] couldn’t sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people, because he’s Matt Lauer and he’s married. So, he’d have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn’t ever complain.”

Earlier this month, Lauer’s longtime booker and close colleague, Matt Zimmerman, whom Lauer had promoted into an executive position, was fired over sexual harassment complaints. Variety magazine reported that employees at “Today” were well aware of rumors regarding Lauer’s behavior, with one former reporter saying, “Management sucks there. They protected the s— out of Matt Lauer.”

In what now is an amazingly eerie interview for its blatant hypocrisy, earlier this year, Lauer grilled Bill O'Reilly, who had been fired by Fox News over allegations of sexual misconduct. Lauer said to O'Reilly, “You were probably the last guy in the world they wanted to fire, because you were the guy that the ratings and the revenues were built on. You carried that network on your shoulders for a lot of years. So doesn’t it seem safe to assume that the people at Fox News were given a piece of information or given some evidence that simply made it impossible for you to stay on at Fox News?” Oh how the tables turned!

But is Lauer the network’s only problem? Donald Trump doesn’t seem to think so, tweeting, “Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for ‘inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.’ But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News. Check out Andy Lack’s past!”

It now appears evident that the network giant has long practiced squashing stories of sexual misconduct allegations against favored individuals. Months ago NBC spiked Ronan Farrow’s investigative story into Weinstein. Along with being friendly with the powerful producer, did the NBC brass worry that the story would expose their own company culture? How about back in 1999, during Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearings, when Juanita Broaddrick was interviewed by “Dateline” over her rape allegations against Clinton. The network then sat on the interview and waited to air the piece until after the Senate had acquitted Clinton on charges related to his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Broaddrick was also frustrated that NBC conveniently edited out the most damaging revelations against Clinton.

Lauer may prove to be just the tip of the iceberg as more questions and accusations are sure to descend on the network news media giant.

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Benghazi Islamist Avoids Conviction on Most Charges

By Jordan Candler

In September 2012, Libyan Islamists killed American Ambassador Chris Stevens as well as Sean Patrick Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty in the infamous Benghazi attack. One of the perpetrators, Ahmed Abu Khattala — the primary facilitator in the attack — remained in Libya for nearly two years after the assault before U.S. Delta Forces apprehended him in the summer of 2014. From there he was shipped to the U.S., where he faced a civilian trial that concluded this week. The outcome of that trial has many people under the reasonable impression that justice didn’t prevail.

According to Fox News, “A federal jury found Ahmed Abu Khattala guilty Tuesday on just four of 18 charges related to the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, precluding him from facing the death penalty. Khattala, 46, was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, one count of maliciously destroying U.S. property and placing lives in danger, and one count of using and carrying a semiautomatic weapon during the attack.”

Former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy believes one of the problems in the upshot of the case revolves around the previous administration’s handling in the immediate aftermath of the attack. He tweeted, “Obama admin, which insisted civilian prosecution always the way to go, tolerated Libya’s 3-week delay in giving FBI access to crime scene. Resulting taint, of course, huge problem in prosecution.” But as the first part of his tweet suggests, there’s also considerable concern over the decision to bring Khattala stateside at all.

Tyrone Woods’ father Charles reacted with justified dismay. He stated, “I am very bothered by the fact the U.S. government gave constitutional rights and due process rights to a foreign national who allegedly killed Americans outside the U.S. This is what bothered me from the very beginning.” He’s right — the civilian court aspect of this situation is contentious and will continue to be, especially with outcomes like Khattala’s. A place like Guantanamo Bay would likely have been more appropriate. The Obama administration sent terrorists away from there. Fortunately, the Trump administration can change that. Perhaps then unbridled justice will be served.

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Top Headlines

  • Trump administration to world: sever all ties with North Korea (CNS News)

  • Mike Lee, Marco Rubio will introduce amendment to expand the child tax credit (National Review)

  • Corporate tax rate in flux as Senate votes to open debate (The Wall Street Journal)

  • NYT goes full Democrat in anti-tax reform campaign (Hot Air)

  • Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren plagiarized “Cherokee” crabmeat recipe from French chef (Fox News)

  • Democrat Rep. John Conyers won’t seek re-election but won’t resign in wake of sexual harassment claims (Detroit’s Local 4)

  • Nancy Pelosi: John Conyers should resign (Washington Examiner)

  • Clyburn: Charges against Conyers might be false because all the complaining women are white (The Washington Times)

  • Garrison Keillor fired by Minnesota Public Radio for alleged improper behavior (USA Today)

  • Humor: Apparently Matt Lauer missed this NBC harassment training video (YouTube)

  • Policy: Social media not the sole cause of polarization, but it is a contributor (Inside Sources)

  • Policy: WOTUS and Clean Water Act fail to provide cost-effective improvements (American Enterprise Institute)

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

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Managing Editor at The Patriot Post

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Tax Reform, Population Growth Key to Fiscal Health

By Louis DeBroux

As Republicans in Congress this week seek to pass a tax reform bill — the most significant overhaul of the tax code since 1986 — it gives us an opportunity to have a broader discussion about our nation’s economic trajectory for the coming decades, and what factors will have the greatest impact on our long-term fiscal health.

To begin with, we must acknowledge tax reform as an absolute imperative for recovering from a lost decade in which Barack Obama became the first president in U.S. history to never achieve a single year of GDP growth of 3% or higher. While Obama certainly inherited an economic mess (as he incessantly reminded everyone), it was actually a mess of the Democrats’ own making. Furthermore, Obama compounded the problem with a combination of a vast expansion of federal spending, higher taxes on producers and anti-business policies.

The GOP’s tax reform proposes a $1.5 trillion tax cut, which seems huge until one considers this is from a CBO-projected $43 trillion in federal revenues over the next decade. While there are provisions that will certainly help individuals and families, the primary goal is to reduce corporate tax rates in order to make the U.S. a more attractive destination for foreign capital (including the trillions held overseas by U.S. multi-national corporations to avoid double-taxation), which in turn will create new businesses, thus new jobs, and thus higher wages as labor demand increases.

Of course, Democrats reflexively claim the GOP’s tax reform will be a disaster, discounting the benefits of pro-growth policies while lamenting an increase (so they claim) in the deficit. Their deficit concerns are grossly hypocritical considering they defended Obama as he racked up $10 trillion in new debt in just eight years while vastly expanding the size and scope of government.

It should also be noted that the CBO, because it uses “static” scoring, has historically missed the mark by a mile when projecting revenue growth from tax cuts. As noted in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, eight months after the 2003 capital gains tax cut, the CBO projected capital gains revenue of $215 billion through 2007. The actual number was $377 billion, so we should take CBO projections and Democrat chicken-littling with a grain of salt.

The fact is the economy is in the midst of resurgence under President Donald Trump, who has restored confidence among consumers and businesses with his pro-growth, regulation-slashing policies, and his push for significant tax reform that would unleash business growth and job creation.

This is especially needed among working-class Americans, who saw manufacturing and retail jobs disappear under Obama, and who now must find work even as industries in their states rely more heavily on automation than ever before. Though overall unemployment rates have dropped most rapidly in “red” states, the workforce participation rate has ticked up. While some of that is due to retirement, enrolling in college, or other factors, some of that is also due to workers simply no longer looking for work.

There is one other factor, however, that is often overlooked, and that is population growth as reflected in fertility rates. In order for a nation to maintain a static population, it must have a “replacement rate” of 2.1 children per woman; below that, the population shrinks as the elderly die but the young have fewer babies. In established nations, there is a generally constant relationship between the economy and childbearing, rising and falling in tandem. Coming out of the Great Depression and WWII we saw a significant increase in childbirths. Conversely, during the Democrats’ “Great Recession,” childbearing rates dropped. Unfortunately, as the economy began to slowly recover, childbearing hasn’t kept pace.

This is a ticking economic time bomb because, as National Review’s Robert VerBruggen notes, “A society with fewer young people is a society with less innovation, less economic activity, and more stress on old-age programs.” VerBruggen identifies the two biggest causes of the drop as fewer unintended (mistimed) pregnancies, and young Americans delaying the onset of marriage and childbirth. And while the decline in teen pregnancies is a great thing, the delayed onset of marriage and childbirth is deeply concerning.

Social Security has been running deficits of tens of billions of dollars annually since 2010, with projected deficits in the trillions for the coming decades. Those projections will get worse as tens of millions of Baby Boomers continue to retire, no longer contributing taxes but drawing benefits. We have the same problem with Medicare, and it is only growing.

We are already witnessing the disastrous effect of population decline worldwide. The importing of millions of Middle Eastern and North African Muslim laborers into secular Europe, to make up for the lack of workers due to declining birthrates, has created a witch’s brew of cultural conflict and violence.

As bad, if not worse, is the case of Japan, where fertility rates have dropped to just 1.35. With a rapidly aging population and fewer children, Japan’s population is predicted to shrink by a staggering 30% by 2060, with half of that population being elderly. That is simply unsustainable.

Tax reform in America is desperately needed, and most welcomed. But our spending is out of control and must be reined in, and a cultural shift away from marriage and families will have dire effects on both the economy and government. It’s time for a national shift. The longer we wait, the more devastating the consequences.

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TODAY’S MEME

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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

Rebecca Hagelin: “Modern feminists not only tolerate the objectification and harassment of women, they encourage it by preaching an ideology that says it is a woman’s ‘right’ to do whatever she wants to with her body, including engaging in prostitution. … We can thank feminists for creating a climate ripe for harassment when they wrongly taught women that equality included the acceptance of and participation in crude behavior. And immoral, liberal men were all too eager to throw gentlemanly manners to the wind, embracing their newfound liberation to behave any way they wanted. As evidenced in recent headlines, hypocrites and bullies of all political persuasions were quick to follow. … Until feminism and progressivism reared their ugly heads, just about every woman in America knew she could go running to a trustworthy man for help when another man sexually harassed her. And the heroic father, husband or boyfriend would quickly rise up to protect her honor by tracking down the abuser and punching his lights out. But the feminist is taught to turn to no man for help. And who would she run to anyway? What progressive male is suddenly going to stand up for a woman who constantly demands to conquer all, all by herself? As we’ve seen in recent confessions from those who knew about ‘open secrets,’ it seems that, in the end, no one was willing to stand up to the predators.”

SHORT CUTS

Observations: “Picture traveling back in time a year, and telling people that by November 2017, sex harassment allegations had not derailed the Trump presidency, but had effectively ended the careers of Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Leon Wieseltier…” —Jim Geraghty

Upright: “It’s a sad day when Hollywood and media executives are doing a better job of punishing sexual harassment than our lawmakers.” —Allie Stuckey

Friendly fire: “I think that we ceded the moral high ground on Sunday when our leader [Nancy Pelosi] said on ‘Meet the Press’ that John Conyers was an icon and we don’t even know who these women are, when she was fully aware that the woman in question was bound by a nondisclosure agreement.” —Rep. Kathleen Rice

For the record: “James Clyburn compared Conyers’ accusers to the child murderer Susan Smith, who initially claimed a black man had abducted her kids. Clyburn said, these are all white women who’ve made these charges against Conyers.” —New York Times’ Robert Draper

Warning signals: “[Matt Lauer] pinches me on the a— a lot.” —Katie Couric in 2012

Non Compos Mentis: “Alcohol is already linked to 88,000 deaths each year. The Senate [tax] bill could add 1,550 deaths to that annual toll.” —Vox’s German Lopez

The BIG Lie: “Incredibly thankful for the determination of Leandra English, the rightful Acting Director of CFPB.” —Nancy Pelosi

Bias? What media bias? “Contact @SenatorCollins, (202) 224-2523, particularly if you live in Maine, and ask her to oppose the Senate tax bill because it would repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate, driving up the cost of health insurance. #thetaxbillhurts” —one in a series of New York Times tweets

And last… “Americans spent well over a billion hours watching porn on Porn Hub in 2016. Gee. I wonder why we have so many perverts?” —Matt Walsh

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher