Mid-Day Digest

Dec. 8, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • It’s not just the obstruction of a pro-Hillary FBI official; it’s undisclosed dossier meetings.
  • Franken resigns but defends himself, and saves one more chess move for later.
  • The Jerusalem embassy matters as a promise kept, and it could help bring peace.
  • With tax reform within reach, Speaker Paul Ryan turns attention to spending.
  • Bureaucrats rely on juvenile literature for ideas on how to “govern.”
  • Tom Steyer spent nearly $350k per vote on the failed impeachment gambit.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.” —Thomas Jefferson (1813)

IN BRIEF

FBI: Deep State Collusion

By Nate Jackson

If you thought it was bad that an FBI agent involved in the Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Michael Flynn investigations was sending pro-Hillary texts to his mistress, an FBI lawyer, while editing legally vital language regarding Clinton’s email scandal, the latest revelation may be even worse.

Fox News’ James Rosen reports that the FBI’s Bruce Ohr “was demoted this week amid an ongoing investigation into his contacts with the opposition research firm responsible for the anti-Trump ‘dossier.’” That would be the fake Clinton-funded dossier that got the ball rolling with the whole Trump/Russia collusion nonsense, which in turn led to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The same dossier the FBI considered underwriting.

Rosen adds, “Ohr met during the 2016 campaign with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the ‘dossier.’ … Additionally, House investigators have determined that Ohr met shortly after the election with Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS — the opposition research firm that hired Steele to compile the dossier with funds supplied by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.”

Who is Ohr? Byron York notes, “The department’s Bruce Ohr, a career official, served as associate deputy attorney general at the time of the campaign. That placed him just below the deputy attorney general, Sally Yates, who ran the day-to-day operations of the department. In 2016, Ohr’s office was just steps away from Yates, who was later fired for defying President Trump’s initial travel ban executive order and still later became a prominent anti-Trump voice upon leaving the Justice Department.”

So, along with Peter Strzok, Ohr becomes the second FBI official demoted or reassigned for actions during the investigation of Trump. Ohr’s case could be even more significant, however, because these were not interviews that were part of the investigation; they seem to be another kind of meeting. And he was even higher up in the Obama “Justice” Department than Strzok. And, like Strzok’s actions, it was information not disclosed by the FBI to House investigators, despite subpoenas covering such contacts. The House Intelligence Committee now plans to compel Ohr’s testimony.

Barack Obama politicized and weaponized all sorts of executive agencies, from the IRS to the EPA. Now, with such bias and corruption ensnaring even some within the FBI, is it any wonder Americans don’t trust the government?

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Franken’s Real Resignation Strategy

By Thomas Gallatin

Adding yet another classic episode to that long-running dog-and-donkey show known as the Democrat Party, yesterday Sen. Al Franken announced his resignation in a Senate floor speech. Franken both hinted at accepting blame and yet exonerated himself of any guilt. He was railroaded, you see, a victim of the current cultural and political climate. Franken said, “I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator — nothing — has brought dishonor on this institution.” He intended the key words to be “as a senator,” but really, nothing dishonorable? Please. There was no mention of the fact that it was his own party calling for his head.

Franken also opined about the need to “believe women” while insisting that the accusations made against him by several women were “not true,” or that he remembered the encounters “very differently.” Ironically, he sought to paint himself as a champion of women, stating, “I am proud that, during my time in the Senate, I have used my power to be a champion for women — and that I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day. I know there’s been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks. But I know who I really am.”

So if this was true, then why resign?

Franken finally revealed the reason, saying, “I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who bragged on tape of his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office.” Yep, as we wrote yesterday, this is all a calculated strategy by the Democrats to claim the political high ground so as to attack Donald Trump, Roy Moore and all Republicans as immoral hypocrites.

Finally, the biggest and most ironic detail to note. Franken has delayed his resignation by several weeks. Why? We’re betting that if Moore wins in Alabama next week, Franken will suddenly have change of heart. His message will then be something along the lines of needing to stay in order to fight against those corrupt misogynist Republicans and their “war on women.”

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Top Headlines

  • U.S. gains 228,000 new jobs in November in another strong show of hiring (MarketWatch)

  • FBI chief vows to keep politics out of probes after Trump says Bureau’s reputation is in “tatters” (The Daily Signal)

  • FBI has about 1,000 active ISIS investigations in all 50 states (Washington Examiner)

  • John Lewis, Bennie Thompson to skip opening of Civil Rights Museum — because Trump is attending (Hot Air)

  • Harold Ford Jr., ex-congressman and frequent MSNBC guest, fired by investment bank for sexual misconduct (Fox News)

  • GOP Rep. Trent Franks to resign for having “discussion of surrogacy” with female staffers — but it’s not what it seems (The Daily Signal)

  • Congress passes stopgap bill to avert government shutdown (The Washington Times)

  • Trump to make medical exam public after slurring words, White House says (NBC News)

  • Justice Department opens investigation of Planned Parenthood over sale of fetal tissue (Fox News)

  • Humor — or is it? “Our love life is none of your business,” says couple forcing business owner to approve their love life (The Babylon Bee)

  • Policy: Repealing the ObamaCare mandate now makes sense (Bloomberg View)

  • Policy: Study suggests Medicaid is a “persistently inferior” form of health coverage (The Federalist)

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

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

Jerusalem Matters as a Promise Kept

By Brian Mark Weber

President Donald Trump announced this week that the United States will move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something Democrats and Republicans alike have supported for decades. Now that Trump is the one actually keeping the promise, however, leftists are apoplectic.

So why all the outrage and condemnation of the president? Why the stoking of fear that Trump’s decision is somehow encouraging violence?

The difference is that this time we have a president who actually plans to back up his words.

The reaction from the media on both sides of the Atlantic is expected. BBC reported that Trump’s decision risks “a heated reaction from US allies in the Muslim world and, potentially, protests and unrest.” Furthermore, the decision makes it “difficult for the US to be seen as a neutral mediator in the Middle East peace process.”

What peace process? And haven’t we been seeing heated reactions in the Muslim world for centuries? Besides, if the previous approach of appeasing Islamists was such a good idea, why were they so upset before Trump made this move?

One of MSNBC’s bigoted talkingheads, Chris Matthews, declared that Trump’s Jerusalem decision is related to the Senate election in Alabama next week. How? “Because it’s the Christian Evangelicals down there with their crazy ideas about Israel which is, I don’t know, mythical. They don’t understand the situation over there and how tricky it is ethnically and tribally. They don’t care because it’s a religious belief. Trump’s playing into that this week.”

That’s remarkable, even coming from Matthews. These days, Democrats are so obsessed with their inability to destroy Trump that they view everything through this prism. No, Chris, we don’t need to move the capital of Israel to Jerusalem in order to get Roy Moore elected. In fact, the latest polls show he’s doing pretty well on his own. And it’s clear that Matthews hasn’t learned one of the most important lessons from Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton: Attacking Christian evangelicals is not an effective way to win elections.

Matthews didn’t have a problem when other presidents supported moving the embassy to Jerusalem or when Democrats voted for the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act. That’s right, an act of Congress more than 20 years ago that mandated moving the embassy to Jerusalem had the support of 93 senators and 374 House members, but then-President Bill Clinton didn’t follow through. Nor did George W. Bush or Barack Obama, both of whom claimed to support what President Trump is doing now.

All of the condemnation coming from Democrats this week suggests that they’ve long been opposed to moving the embassy to Jerusalem. But this is far from the truth. We only have to go back to June 1 of this year to discover a 90-0 Senate vote marking the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification and calling on President Trump to abide by the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act.

So what’s changed in five months to prompt all this flip-flopping? Only one thing: Donald Trump’s working to keep a promise.

What hurts the peace process is doing what we’ve always done: failing to acknowledge Israel’s chosen capital and allowing a whole industry of so-called Middle East peace experts, politicians and the Palestinians to determine Israel’s future. None of these groups actually has any interest in resolving the issue. No wonder Middle East peace has been so elusive for so long.

The media want you to believe that Trump’s decision will set the world on fire. Turkey claims that Trump “pulled the pin on the bomb,” Hamas is calling for a Palestinian uprising, and a host of European countries including Britain, France and Germany expressed alarm over the move. Isn’t it interesting that some of same people blaming Trump for sparking violence are the ones calling for an uprising?

Everyone seems to think that Middle East peace is lost forever. On the contrary, this move could actually improve its chances.

David Harsanyi writes, “Many of the same people who lecture us to stand up to the authoritarianism in Russia or China argue that we should cave to threats of groups that subsidize jihadists and undermine American interests. Why do Booker, Feinstein, or the experts at the Brookings Institution believe that Hamas or Qatar should dictate where the United States puts its embassy? Yes, the move will generate widespread hand-wringing in the world, and there is a good possibility that there will be a new round of self-destructive violence among Palestinians. But if Arabs are willing to embrace extremism and violence because the United States no longer supports a delusion, perhaps the problem isn’t Israel?”

The question political pundits from both sides are asking is: How is this new approach going to affect the peace process? The real question ought to be, Why did we continue to embrace such a failed approach all these years? And why did Clinton, Bush and Obama each promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, yet fail to do so?

As for Trump’s critics in Europe, their outrage has more to do with an American president forcing them to confront something that they’ve avoided for far too long. Most European pols are crippled by fear, indecision and ignorance over how to address the exploding Muslim populations in their own countries, let alone how to deal with peace in the Middle East.

But European leaders are not alone in their criticism. Saudi Arabia is also taking issue. Yes, the same country that sponsors terrorism and has stoked division in the Middle East for decades doesn’t think it’s a good idea to move the U.S. embassy.

Let’s face it: The hatred and violence have been there for years.

To wit, Jim Geraghty of National Review writes, “We just witnessed roughly a half million people get killed in the Syrian Civil War. Maybe the region generates its own conflicts, disputes, and unrest on its own, regardless of where our embassy is. Nobody makes any faction in the Middle East pick up weapons and start trying to kill each other. Maybe it’s time all the players in the region stopped using the United States as the scapegoat for their own decisions.”

President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy may not solve any of the problems in the Middle East. But the claim that this new approach will make the situation worse is unfounded. The current explosion of rage and anger was there long before Trump was elected. And this is the core of the problem: Peace will be illusory until Israel’s enemies accept its right to exist.

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TODAY’S CARTOON

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

TODAY’S MEME

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

MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

OPINION IN BRIEF

Mona Charen: “Genghis Khan is thought to have left more corpses in his wake than any other invader. The Mongol hordes earned their fearsome reputation. … Roughly 800 years later, his Y chromosome is to be found in 16 million men. Talk about conquests. Let’s just imagine that most of world history is analogous to the Mongol invasions. Great armies or small armies or just neighboring clans sweep in, kill the men and rape the women (or take them as wives eventually, but it’s the same result genetically). Whose genes are we all more likely to have inherited — the conquerors or the conquered? How many of us are walking around with Henry VIII’s genes or Casanova’s? It’s not just that the aggressors raped their way to success, either. Somewhere in our lizard brains, we admire the strongmen, and yes, that means you, ladies. Every woman who is drawn to the ‘bad boy’ or the ‘leader of the pack’ is expressing a primitive preference that has never been quite squelched. So, when it comes to oafs like Al Franken and (insert your favorite reprobate here) and people ask, ‘How could he behave that way?’ the answer has to begin with: Men will do what they think they can get away with. And for the last several decades, in matters of sex, it has been more or less anything goes. That may be changing as we speak.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “The group consisting of mother, father and child is the main educational agency of mankind.” —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

For the record: “A couple of things are going on here: 1) Democrats obviously want to clear the decks to get a clear line of fire on Roy Moore and Donald Trump, and Franken realizes he can’t stand in the way; 2) In the current environment in the Democratic party it is difficult to question the credibility of any accusers, so Franken would have just dug himself in a deeper hole by trying to defend himself.” —Rich Lowry

Nope. Try again: “I suspect in the revolutionary days the founders were looking for people like [Dreamers] to join their fight. They’re — I might get deleted here — badass. There are some politicians who need a little bit of a spine like they have.” —California Attorney General Xavier Becerra

Demo-gogues: “We are not going to turn this country into a reign of terror of domestic enforcement, and have the DACA, the DREAMers pay that price. But I’m optimistic. I always have been. God is with us on this.” —Nancy Pelosi

Non Compos Mentis: “The House on Wednesday passed a bill requiring states that permit individuals to carry concealed guns to allow out-of-state residents to do so as well, if they can legally carry in their home state. It’s an idea long supported by the gun lobby, and it poses real dangers to the public. … Imagine walking through Times Square — or Las Vegas — and wondering if the stranger next to you, perhaps acting oddly, might be carrying a gun.” —Bloomberg editorial

Village Idiots: “I’ve got a pretty good speech [for Donald Trump]. And it ends with a martini to the face.” —actress Jennifer Lawrence, who graciously added that Harvey Weinstein “had only ever been nice to me” and “was paternal to me”

Late-night humor: “Vladimir Putin just announced he’s seeking re-election. Really? Who’s running against him? That’s like running for class president when you’re homeschooled.” —Jimmy Fallon

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher