The Patriot Post® · Mid-Day Digest
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- The Senate passed tax reform. It’s not the prettiest bill but better than the status quo.
- Flynn pleaded guilty to lying about something that wasn’t a crime. No smoking gun.
- ABC suspends Brian Ross for another episode of fake news.
- The Leftmedia and entertainment industries know how to circle the wagons.
- Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.
“If duties are too high, they lessen the consumption; the collection is eluded; and the product to the treasury is not so great as when they are confined within proper and moderate bounds. This forms a complete barrier against any material oppression of the citizens by taxes of this class, and is itself a natural limitation of the power of imposing them.” —Alexander Hamilton (1787)
By Nate Jackson
In the wee hours of Saturday morning, Senate Republicans managed to pass their tax reform package. It’s a “yuge” political win for both the congressional GOP and for President Donald Trump. The bill will now go to conference with the House, as both chambers have passed reform along the same broad outline and compromise before Christmas is quite doable.
There are some caveats to everything we just said, however. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) was the lone Republican “no” on the Senate’s bill; he objected to how much it would add to the deficit. We share his concerns about our national debt, but our problem is with the spending side of things. Meanwhile, 13 House Republicans voted against that chamber’s bill, and Democrats, who know how to march in lockstep, were unified in both House and Senate. Thus the lack of any bipartisan consensus, the rushed and opaque work outside regular order, and the middle-of-the-night vote is all somewhat reminiscent of ObamaCare. Will tax reform similarly end up as a Pyrrhic victory for the GOP? Democrats and their media mouthpieces will continue to attack it as “tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the poor,” perhaps costing the GOP control of Congress in 2018.
We’ve certainly done our share of reporting on the mixed bag of the GOP’s reform efforts, and we’d prefer any number of different prescriptions. But politically it’s the overall perception of the bill among the electorate that will matter next year. So Republicans hope that people see through Democrats’ class warfare rhetoric, that biased realtors are wrong about the damage to home prices, and that the Keynesians are underestimating economic growth generated by more Americans keeping more of their money. Leftists are wrong, of course. For one thing, just wait until the lower corporate tax rate results in a stock market boost, adding more money to the 401(k)s of millions of American workers. The economic effect will be good, even if it could be better with policy tweaks.
In short, Republicans are hoping that far-from-perfect tax reform is better than the status quo.
By Thomas Gallatin
On Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged Michael Flynn, former national security advisor for Donald Trump, with lying to the FBI. The charge states that Flynn “willfully and knowingly” made “false, fictitious and fraudulent” statements to the agency while it was investigating Russian election meddling. David French of National Review points out that “the sharp-eyed reader will note that Flynn is being charged with lying to the FBI about activity that isn’t criminal.” Flynn has pleaded guilty to the charge and has now promised full cooperation with Mueller’s investigation.
What does this mean? The mainstream media outlets are speculating that Flynn is prepared to testify that Trump directed him to “make contact with the Russians.” While the Democrats and their Leftmedia mouthpieces are wildly playing this up to be the smoking gun of Russian collusion they have long been clamoring about, it’s not even remotely that. The devil is in the details — or in this case the timing — if in fact Trump directed Flynn after the election and during the transition to contact the Russians. Thus, this has nothing to do with the fake collusion charges. Moreover, there was nothing illegal about Flynn’s contact with the Russians.
Responding to the news of Flynn’s plea, the White House issued the following statement:
Today, Michael Flynn, a former National Security Advisor at the White House for 25 days during the Trump Administration, and a former Obama administration official, entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the FBI.
The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year. Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn. The conclusion of this phase of the Special Counsel’s work demonstrates again that the Special Counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears the way for a prompt and reasonable conclusion.
So, why has Flynn been the target of both the FBI and then the Mueller investigation? Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy believes the answer to be threefold, hinging upon Barack Obama’s desire to handicap Trump’s ability to reverse his policies both foreign and domestic. McCarthy writes that Obama aimed to “(1) to punish Flynn, and derivatively the incoming Trump administration, for opposing Obama’s anti-Israel legerdemain in the Security Council; (2) to promote the political narrative that Russia–Trump collusion had cheated Clinton out of her rightful election victory; and (3) to tie this collusion narrative to sanctions relief, thereby making it politically impossible for Trump to roll back Obama’s sanctions once he was sworn in — a boon for the Democrats’ collusion narrative since the sanctions stand as a reminder of Russia’s election meddling.”
This latest news is reminiscent of the special counsel railroading of Scooter Libby. And this is once again a reminder that Mueller’s investigation is free to go almost anywhere. For Democrats and their cohorts in the mainstream media, the endgame is the removal of Trump, because his election victory amounted to a massive refutation by the American people of Obama and his leftist policy agenda. Refusing to stand by and allow Trump to reverse their political achievements, Democrats have essentially opted for a resistance plan that seeks what McCarthy calls the “criminalization of politics.” Hence the call by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) on Sunday for pursuing a case against Trump for obstruction of justice.
ABC News’ Brian Ross had a Dan Rather moment Friday. Jumping at the apparent opportunity to make a name for himself as he laid the ax at the foot of Donald Trump’s presidency, Ross erroneously reported that Michael Flynn had made a plea deal in Robert Mueller’s investigation to testify that candidate Trump had directed him to contact the Russians. Ah ha! The smoking gun of the Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy had finally been unearthed! … Except for the matter of one massive detail — a detail that would temporarily send the stock market into a downward spiral negatively impacting the pension funds of millions of Americans. Then came the correction. It was not “candidate” Trump, but President-elect Trump who had directed Flynn to contact the Russians.
ABC News, feeling the blowback for Ross’ clearly biased spin, suspended the reporter for four weeks. Why didn’t they fire him? This isn’t the first instance of Ross peddling fake news. He has been responsible for several “misreports” over the years. What does it say about ABC News that they are unwilling to let go of an obviously biased and repeat offender reporter. #Resistance?
Exit quote: “My job is to hold people accountable,” Ross said, “and that’s why I agree with being held accountable myself.” Wrong. Your job is to report, as best as possible, the truth — irrespective of political ideology.
House Republicans prepare contempt action against FBI, DOJ (Bloomberg)
FBI agent removed from Russia probe had key role in Clinton email investigation (Paywall — The Wall Street Journal)
Election law loophole let Democrats fund foreign national’s sketchy dossier against Trump (The Washington Times)
Fusion GPS scandal implicates media in possible pay-to-publish scheme (The Federalist)
Lawmakers seek end to taxpayer-backed sexual harassment settlements (The Hill)
Mexican man convicted of sexual assault was deported from U.S. 20 times (Daily Mail)
HIV-positive school aide charged with sexual offenses against 42 kids — Leftmedia silent (CNS News)
James Levine suspended by Met Opera after accusations that he sexually abused three teen boys (Fox News)
NFL taking money from breast cancer, veterans funds, to pay for “social justice” settlement (The Daily Wire)
Policy: If a Christian baker’s rights are violated, we all lose (The Daily Signal)
Policy: Secretary DeVos should remind colleges of their First Amendment obligations (National Review)
For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.
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Managing Editor at The Patriot Post
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST
- The Media/Political Fraternity Protects Its Own — “Everybody knew” has been the go-to term attached to the despicable behavior of elite low-lifes.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
- Jeff Jacoby: What the Constitution Says About Cakes and Compelled Speech
- Kathryn Jean Lopez: Set Your Sights on Joy
- Tony Perkins: Happy Holy Days From the Trumps
- Todd Starnes: DC Transit Bans Christmas Messages From Catholic Church
- Burt Prelutsky: Coming to Grips With Groping
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Jeff Jacoby: “On Tuesday, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission — the case of the same-sex wedding cake and the baker who refused to make it. … In Obergefell, the high court emphasized that dissent is entirely legitimate. ‘Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here,’ Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion. While same-sex couples would no longer be barred from marrying, he added, nothing should impede the continuation of ‘an open and searching debate.’ Were the justices serious about that? If so — if they truly don’t want the legalization of same-sex weddings to become an excuse to persecute ‘decent and honorable’ Americans who oppose gay marriage — they will use this case to say so. They’ll reverse the decision of the Colorado courts and uphold Phillips’s right not to support a practice he believes is wrong. … One needn’t share Phillips’s opinion of gay marriage to support his right to unmolested freedom of expression. Indeed, some groups that vigorously oppose his beliefs about matrimony have filed amicus briefs on his behalf. The right to have views that others don’t share, they know, is a quintessential American liberty. And the right not to be prosecuted for expressing those opinions is another.”
The Gipper: “Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere.”
Non Compos Mentis: “The US will soon face the consequences of a #TaxBill that takes money from the poor to give to the rich. Those who voted for it will face consequences later, when they are judged. Do you think Jesus’s words about being judged on how we care for the poor don’t apply? Think again.” —Jesuit priest James Martin (“The Bible is crystal clear on Christ’s views on the exact right American marginal tax rate, but super fuzzy on sexuality and killing babies.” —The Federalist’s Sean Davis in a sarcastic response)
Hyperbole much? “Voters fooled by propaganda and tribal hatred. Millenials: move away if you can. USA is over. We killed it.” —Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald on the GOP tax cuts
But we repeat ourselves… “Is there any going back after this #TaxBillScam? To America? Does it matter now if Trump is impeached? There’s no America now. Not the one we knew. Sorry, feeling real despair this morning.” —
tax expert actor Patton Oswald
To the dark side: “ Maybe [Republicans] think that the poor have it so easy that they need to have to pay more taxes to force them to go out and work more. … It’s really akin to rape.” —Bruce Bartlett, economic adviser to Ronald Reagan and Treasury official under George H.W. Bush
Proving Republicans right out of spite: “Any tax savings that i [sic] might get from this unfair and mean spirited gop [sic] tax bill i [sic] will donate to charities to help the poor and vulnerable. Who is with me?” —ABC’s Matthew Dowd
Still chasing: “The [Senate] Judiciary Committee has an investigation going as well and it involves obstruction of justice and I think what we’re beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice.” —Dianne Feinstein
And last… “In a harsh and stinging rebuke, ABC News forcing Brian Ross to take a Christmas vacation and return to work after New Year’s.” —Twitter satirist @hale_razor
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher