Mid-Day Digest

Dec. 15, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Drip, drip, drip for the FBI and its corruption.
  • The FCC ends net neutrality rules, but that’s not all a good thing.
  • Disney buys Fox, which has some major implications for entertainment as indoctrination.
  • Trump’s great regulatory rollback is impressive, but he has yet to repeal “the big one.”
  • Leftists dredge up Sandy Hook to argue for gun control all over again.
  • Is a starving polar bear conclusive evidence of climate change? Hardly.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“The outstretched arm of tyranny … may appear under any mode or form of government.” —Mercy Warren (1805)

IN BRIEF

‘What in the Hell Is Going on With the DOJ and the FBI?’

New documents have come to light indicating that former FBI Director James Comey sought to water down language in his eventual exoneration of Hillary Clinton for her email scandal. It is now apparent that Peter Strzok, who was involved in the Clinton investigation, was responsible for some of the most significant edits. The motivation for this lessening of language severity seems to have been directly related to concerns over implicating Clinton for criminal intent.

On Thursday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) expressed his concerns to FBI Director Christopher Wray, writing that the original drafts “could be read as finding of criminality in Secretary Clinton’s handling of classified material. The edited statement deleted the reference to gross negligence — a legal threshold for mishandling classified material — and instead replaced it with an exculpatory sentence.” Johnson’s letter continued, “This effort, seen in light of the personal animus toward then-candidate Trump by senior FBI agents leading the Clinton investigation and their apparent desire to create an ‘insurance policy’ against Mr. Trump’s election, raise profound questions about the FBI’s role and possible interference in the 2016 presidential election and the role of the same agents in Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation of President Trump.”

Indeed, there are profound questions about corruption in this investigation, which, at least in part, was started because of a phony dossier paid for by Clinton and the DNC.

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Net Neutrality Neutered

By Nate Jackson

Throughout the debate over net neutrality, we’ve been skeptical that Barack Obama’s approach of regulating Internet Service Providers (ISPs) under telecommunications standards from 80 years ago made the most sense. In fact, conservatives didn’t trust Obama to regulate anything with the best intentions for the free market, because he so regularly allocated too much power to the executive branch.

Net neutrality is a good thing, however, whether Obama had the right angle or not. As much as we hate to admit it, the Los Angeles Times editorial board is mostly right: “The [FCC] reclassified internet access as a telecommunications service in 2015, and it’s important to remember why: to bar broadband providers from blocking or throttling data from legal sites and services, from creating fast lanes for sites and services willing to pay for them, and from discriminating unreasonably when managing traffic on their networks. Those protections are all designed to protect the online status quo.”

We still argue that Title II regulations aren’t the best way to do that, as it would be far preferable for Congress to take action to set boundaries appropriate to the technology.

But the FCC’s decision Thursday to return to the prior regime of what Chairman Ajit Pai calls “light touch” regulation is, unfortunately, likely going to lead to some undesirable behavior from Big Business. Half of America has Internet access only through a single broadband provider, and most of the rest has a choice between only two. That means monopolistic providers are free to charge whatever they wish, throttling traffic that doesn’t pay up or belongs to a competitive service.

What happens when Time Warner decides that their competitor shouldn’t get through, or only gets through poorly? It isn’t theory, either. Verizon throttled Netflix in 2017 in contravention of the rules.

Under Pai’s new rules, the Associated Press accurately reports, “the Comcasts and AT&Ts of the world will be free to block rival apps, slow down competing services or offer faster speeds to companies that pay up. They just have to post their policies online or tell the FCC.” The LA Times adds that the problem with this is that “broadband providers could pick winners and losers online and stay out of trouble for it simply by disclosing that they are, in fact, prioritizing traffic for any online site or service that can afford the fee. No deception and no unfairness, but no neutrality, either.” And that’s why it’ll face inevitable court challenges.

The bottom line is really this: Do we think that major media conglomerates are inherently trustworthy? Or do we think that given the opportunity, they will engage in anticompetitive behavior to the detriment of customers who have no recourse? If you’re a conservative who understands human nature, you probably believe in some form of regulation, but ideally only as much as necessary. As we’ve said before, the dilemma is one of trust, and neither an overbearing government nor monopolistic Internet companies are worthy of that trust.

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Disney Buys Fox, Mickey Becomes Mighty

By Thomas Gallatin

The Walt Disney Company has closed a deal to acquire a significant portion of 21st Century Fox Inc. In the nearly $60 billion deal, Disney will get Twentieth Century Fox’s movie and TV studio, cable channels that include sports networks, and international properties. The deal does not include Fox News or Fox Business. Disney assets now include Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel Studios, ABC, ESPN, half of A&E and 30% of Hulu, among other properties. This near-monopolization of media companies by Disney is troubling for a number of reasons.

While the most obvious objections folks may have are concerns over monopolization, that means the even larger issue is one of message control. Execs at Disney will now have greater power to push their own worldview while excluding others. Entertainment as indoctrination. As Jim Geraghty of National Review notes, “More than a few conservatives contend they see some heavy-handed propagandizing in Disney’s entertainment options. The controversies about ESPN growing more political are well-covered. Julie Gunlock recently laid out the increasingly crass and activist tone on the programs of the Disney Channel and Disney XD. Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, has grown increasingly vocal about topics like the DACA program, the Paris climate accords, and gun control.”

If conservatives are opposed to Big Government, they should be equally concerned with the dangers posed by Big Business. Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey writes, “Mega-acquisitions like Disney’s and AT&T’s put far too much control over communications and industry into too few hands. We want a free market, but when consolidation reduces a market to one or two entrants, consumers no longer get free choice and dynamic innovation."


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Top Headlines

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

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The Bill of Rights

Today, Dec. 15, is the anniversary of the 1791 ratification of our Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to our Constitution, and the Rule of Law it enshrines.

The Bill of Rights was inspired by three remarkable documents: John Locke’s 1689 thesis, "Two Treatises of Government,” regarding the protection of “property” (in the Latin context, proprius, or one’s own “life, liberty and estate”); the Virginia Declaration of Rights authored by George Mason in 1776 as part of that state’s Constitution; and, of course, our Declaration of Independence authored by Thomas Jefferson.

Read in context, the Bill of Rights is both an affirmation of innate “unalienable rights” of man, and a clear proscription upon any central government infringement of those rights. As oft trampled and abused as the Bill of Rights is by those who’ve sworn an oath “to Support and Defend” our Constitution, most notably “judicial supremacists,” or the “despotic branch” as Jefferson called the judiciary, Patriots must remain ever vigilant in order to sustain our rights.

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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

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

OPINION IN BRIEF

David Harsanyi: “Four big scoops recently run by major news organizations … turned out to be completely wrong. Reuters, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and others reported that special counsel Robert Mueller’s office had subpoenaed President Donald Trump’s records from Deutsche Bank. Trump’s attorney says it hadn’t. ABC reported that candidate Trump had directed Michael Flynn to make contact with Russian officials before the election. He didn’t (as far as we know). The New York Times ran a story claiming that K.T. McFarland, a former member of the Trump transition team, had acknowledged collusion. She hadn’t. Then, CNN topped off the week by falsely reporting that the Trump campaign had been offered access to hacked Democratic National Committee emails before they were published. It wasn’t. … If we are to accept the special pleadings of journalists, we have to believe these were all honest mistakes. They may be. But a person might then ask: Why is it that every one of the dozens of honest mistakes is prejudiced in the very same way? Why hasn’t there been a single major honest mistake that diminishes the Trump-Russia collusion story? Why is there never an honest mistake that indicts Democrats? Maybe the problem is that too many people are working backward from a preconception.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” —Viktor Frankl (1905-1997)

For the record: “It is troubling, deeply troubling, that the revelations have now come to light that there is extreme bias against this president with high-up members of the team there at the FBI who were investigating Hillary Clinton at the time. We’re a little concerned at what we’re seeing here. Obviously, those text messages give us quite a bit of pause and should be eye-opening at an agency that should be, quite frankly, unbiased.” —Trump spokesman J. Hogan Gidley

Hypocrite: “This is what [Republicans] came here to do: tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the middle class, at the expense of the health and well-being of the American people. Robbing from the future by increasing the debt.” —Nancy Pelosi, who oversaw the sanctioning of $5 trillion in debt as speaker of the House

Misdirected anger: “I’m starting to [blame Trump] because he definitely pushes forward a hateful agenda.” —Susan Bro, who places the culpability of her daughter’s unfortunate death in Charlottesville on Trump

Braying Jackass: “[America’s refusal to participate in the Paris climate accord is] very disappointing. It’s worse than disappointing, it’s actually a disgrace when you consider the facts, the science, the common sense, all the work that’s been done."—John Kerry

Don’t bet on it: "I’m pretty sure that my friend President Trump will change his mind in the coming months or years.” —French President Emmanuel Macron

And last… “You’d think Trump being president would cause people to hesitate more about trying to solve everything by giving the government more power, but not even slightly.” —Frank Fleming

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Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families. We also humbly ask prayer for your Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher