IN TODAY’S EDITION
- Trump’s national security strategy unites security with economic strength.
- A new vacancy on the Ninth Circuit opens up another spot for Trump to fill.
- Victory in Iraq over the Islamic State and why you haven’t heard about it.
- Assessing our military readiness in light of a new report and the latest defense budget.
- Is “Jingle Bells” racist? One social justice warrior professor sure thinks so.
- Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.
“National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.” —John Adams (1815)
By Thomas Gallatin
President Donald Trump released his “America First” national security strategy Monday. The 68-page document sets forth a clear and sober understanding of the genuine threats the nation faces, as well as outlining a strategy for confronting these threats. In short, it represents both a reversal and a repudiation of U.S. policy over the previous eight years. Gone are the Barack Obama-era references to the supposed imminent security threat posed by climate change. So too is Obama’s self-defeating doctrine of “leading from behind.” No more apologizing for American global power and influence. That nonsense has been replaced with a realistic view of the world and America’s roll as the world’s leader.
Trump’s policy is based on four fundamental principles: protecting the American people and homeland, promoting American economic prosperity, maintaining peace through strength, and expanding American influence across the globe. Strategically, the policy focuses on controlling America’s borders, rebuilding the military and taking the lead in both NATO and the UN. The document states:
We must convince adversaries that we can and will defeat them — not just punish them if they attack the United States. We must ensure the ability to deter potential enemies by denial — convincing them that they cannot accomplish objectives through the use of force or other forms of aggression. We need our allies to do the same.
Trump’s national security strategy also doesn’t shy away from naming those nations that pose the greatest threat to the American way of life, namely China and Russia, as well as the “rogue regimes” of Iran and North Korea.
What may be the biggest break from Obama’s foreign policy, however, is Trump’s emphasis on establishing U.S. national security via building up the nation’s economic strength. Trump declared that “economic security is national security,” explaining, “Economic vitality, growth and prosperity at home is absolutely necessary for American power and influence abroad. Any nation that trades away its prosperity for security will end up losing both.” Obama was far more focused on social engineering in the military and redistributing the nation’s wealth to his favored constituents.
In his announcement, Trump summed up his primary national security perspective, stating, “We are calling for a great reawakening of America, a resurgence of confidence, and a rebirth of patriotism, prosperity and pride. And we are returning to the wisdom of our Founders: In America the people govern, the people rule and the people are sovereign.”
By Nate Jackson
Judge Alex Kozinski, 32-year stalwart of the powerful Ninth Circuit Court, announced Monday that he is retiring “effective immediately” after at least 15 women have accused him of everything from showing them pornography to inappropriate sexual comments to groping them. The 67-year-old Kozinski sort of defended himself, saying, “I treat all of my employees as family and work very closely with most of them. I would never intentionally do anything to offend anyone and it is regrettable that a handful have been offended by something I may have said or done.” Well that’s open-ended. Kozinski lamented his “unusual sense of humor” may have been offensive, and he declared his resignation because “I cannot be an effective judge and simultaneously fight this battle.”
Unfortunately for conservatives, the Romanian-born Kozinski, a Ronald Reagan appointee, was a self-described libertarian and “refugee from Communism” who faithfully upheld his oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. That — not yet another man accused of sexual misconduct — is the point of this story.
The Ninth Circuit as a whole is far too leftist, and Kozinski’s loss is a blow. That said, President Donald Trump will appoint his successor, and he has a fairly remarkable record on judicial appointments already. So far in his first year, Trump has had a total of 19 federal judges confirmed, including 12 circuit court judges and, of course, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. There are another 41 nominees pending to fill a portion of the 142 vacancies on the federal bench. If Trump continues apace, his record on the courts alone would be reason to count his presidency a success.
Yet there’s a huge caveat. As the Cato Institute’s Josh Blackman argues, “If the Democrats take the Senate in 2018 — which became more likely after the recent election in Alabama — I fully expect Chairman Dianne Feinstein to deny hearings to virtually all of President Trump’s judicial nominees.” Thus Republicans holding the Senate becomes all the more important.
Amended Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would lift GDP by 1.7%, wages by 1.5%, add 339,000 jobs to economy (The Washington Free Beacon)
In one chart, what’s in the final tax reform bill (The Daily Signal)
Black unemployment rate lowest in 17 years (CNS News)
U.S. vetoes UN resolution rescinding Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (The Washington Times)
White House says North Korea was behind massive “WannaCry” cyberattack in May (Fox News)
House unveils $81B disaster aid package (The Hill)
Derailed Washington state Amtrak train killed at least three, was reportedly going 80 in a 30-mph zone (Seattle Times)
NBC silent on whether MSNBC’s Chris Matthews could face other sexual harassment accusations (Fox News)
Women’s March co-founder Linda Sarsour accused of enabling sexual assault, threatening victim (Washington Examiner)
White privilege: Santa has nine reindeer, the continental U.S. has only 11 (NBC News)
Policy: Trump’s national security strategy boldly reasserts American leadership (The Daily Signal)
Policy: Trump shouldn’t trust Putin on Syria — or anything else (Fox News)
For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.
By Paul Albaugh
Perhaps one of the saddest aspects of the mainstream media today is that most stories have a very negative narrative. Most “news” has to do with a catastrophe somewhere, or a political scandal — whether it’s true or not — or just about anything that captivates the audience into believing that circumstances are far worse than they actually are. There just isn’t a whole lot of good news being presented to the everyday American. In fact, when there is good news, it’s often overshadowed by bad news. Crisis sells.
Last week, there was some outstanding news that either wasn’t reported or was given such short shrift that most people missed it. In case some have forgotten, we are still at war and have been since 2001. Thanks to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s malfeasance in abandoning Iraq in 2011, the Islamic State has been wreaking havoc for more than three years in the Middle East — specifically with its supposed caliphate in Iraq and Syria — as well as globally with so-called “lone wolf” attacks. The United States military has been actively engaged with the Islamic State, and has been helping the Iraqi military and the rebel fighters in Syria take back the cities in which these jihadis had gained a stronghold.
The goal of the Islamic State was to establish a caliphate, in which they would dominate strategic parts of the Middle East. Their objective was to rule by the force of brutality and to commit evil acts of terror against all those who did not submit to their reign. This group, as we have written before, was not the JV team Obama dismissed early on. No, it was a network of evil people who were a lot smarter, more organized, better funded and more sophisticated than Mr. Spike the Football would admit.
Perhaps the news media was so focused on the Alabama Senate race, Donald Trump’s latest Twitter posts, or the avalanche of sex scandal. But the fact is, there was some really good news from Iraq that should have been given higher billing. On Dec. 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider-al-Abadi declared victory in the war against the Islamic State. That’s right, it is defeated — at least in terms of it not having control over any Iraqi cities or territory. This is terrific news, especially for our military and our allies who have been relentless in this long war.
As National Review’s David French, himself a veteran of the Iraq War, puts it, “The caliphate is a smoking ruin. It courted conflict with the great powers. It craved Armageddon, and it got its wish. No one knows ISIS’s exact casualty figures, but its fighters have died by the tens of thousands.” In other words, our fine men and women carried out airstrikes, artillery bombardments and assaults in a highly effective manner, along with Iraqi soldiers and removed control from one of the most evil terrorist regimes in modern history. Again, this should have dominated headlines but it didn’t.
Why? French notes that while Trump is delivering on his promise to defeat the Islamic State, his own posts on Twitter about fake news or various personal feuds overshadowed any good news from the war front that the media should have reported. In a sense, Trump, intentional or not, distracts the public from good news by creating his own bad news.
French further notes that Americans as a whole are partially to blame for the lack of good news that is reported. Stories of panic and fear are read far more than stories about victory and peace; people ignore “good news” stories in favor of “bad news,” so journalists focus on the negative. The old ‘80s motto “if it bleeds, it leads” works for the marketing guys.
Regardless, it seems that with the declaration of victory against the Islamic State, reporters should have been flooding the airwaves with this announcement, but it seems that no one showed up to report on it. Perhaps no one thought that this victory against the caliphate was significant enough. Could it be that because the leadership of the Islamic State is stubbornly hanging on that reporters didn’t see the significance? Or is it because any good news for Trump is a non-starter?
Now, let’s be real, the fight against this foe is not over yet, as there are still thousands of jihadis in the battle, not just in the Middle East, but in other parts of the world. Still, the Islamic State today does not have what it had a month ago. It doesn’t have a caliphate and it doesn’t have control over any cities. Jihadis are on the run, and if we can continue to pursue these evil fighters relentlessly with the help of our allies in the Middle East, then one day perhaps the Islamic State will fully be defeated.
Trump and our military should remain committed to defeating our enemies. But the task will likely be more difficult in the years ahead, as many fighters return to their homelands and seek to reorganize and carry out smaller scale attacks. But for now, we all should be happy with the performance of our military in carrying out this difficult mission. And we should all pray daily for their safety wherever they may be serving.
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST
- Better Preparing the U.S. Military — A recent study on lack of readiness shines a light on the needed changes Trump can bring.
- 'Jingle Bells’ Is Racist? — A Boston University professor asserts that the classic Christmas carol harbors racist roots.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
- Stephen Moore: What John F. Kennedy and Donald Trump Have in Common
- Cal Thomas: A Government ‘Refund’
- Ken Blackwell: Will Republicans Finish the Job for Seniors and Small Businesses?
- Rich Lowry: Give Trump Credit Where It’s Due
- Hans von Spakovsky: The State Government Agency That Spied on Citizens
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Stephen Moore: “Larry Kudlow’s 2016 book, JFK and the Reagan Revolution, documented the post-JFK tax cut growth spurt: ‘The tax payments by the wealthiest filers nearly doubled. We had many quarters of 6 percent growth back then.’ That same effect was duplicated when Ronald Reagan chopped the top income tax rates from 70 to 28 percent and the corporate rate from 48 to 35 percent. The share of taxes paid by the richest 1 percent rose from 19 percent in 1980 to above 25 percent by 1990, according to IRS tax return data. Total tax revenues surged from roughly $500 billion in 1980 to just over $1 trillion by 1990. In 1986, Reagan’s Tax Reform Act passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of — are you sitting down? — 97-3. This included the votes of such prominent Democrats as Bill Bradley, Ted Kennedy, Howard Metzenbaum and Sam Nunn. Where are the pro-growth Democrats today? Are there any? In 1998, Bill Clinton, who had raised taxes in 1993, reversed course and signed into law one of the biggest bipartisan tax cuts in history, which included a slashing of the capital gains tax. The growth and employment boom was so great that the budget reached a budget surplus. Democrats say they wish that Trump had put forward a bipartisan tax plan, but where is the Democratic alternative? The only alternative I’ve seen is Bernie Sanders’ proposal to raise tax rates to 50, 60 or even 70 percent. Can anyone with a straight face argue that this would help the economy?”
Insight: “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
Upright: “It may be easier to kick a drug or smoking habit than to wean some people from government. … Now that the tax code [is being] ‘overhauled,’ the next step should be to overhaul government. It has far exceeded the boundaries set for it by the Constitution.” —Cal Thomas
Dezinformatsiya: “The American isolation over the Israel-Palestinian conflict was on full display Monday at the United Nations Security Council, where a vote was planned to reaffirm the council’s longstanding rejection of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.” —New York Times (“When you’re the New York Times, you’re more upset at Haley’s veto than you are at revelations of Obama admin appeasing Hezbollah.” —Stephen Miller)
Fear-mongering: “I think it’s frankly cheap shots when some of these Republican colleagues would question [Robert] Mueller’s integrity. And if you were to see a firing, I think you would see a constitutional crisis.” —Sen. Mark Warner
Non Compos Mentis: “Consent isn’t always black and white. Sometimes ‘yes’ means ‘no,’ simply because it is easier to go through with it than explain our way out of the situation. … Most of us understand, or at least we should, that a blackout drunk person cannot consent to sex. On some campuses, that inability to consent applies even if someone has had just a sip or two. But what about a woman who doesn’t feel that she can speak up because of cultural expectations? Should that woman be considered unable to consent, too?” —New York Times’ Jessica Bennett
And last… “If this [tax reform] bill passes, Trump-GOP will have: Repealed the ACA individual mandate, cut taxes by $1.5 trillion, opened up ANWR to oil drilling, put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, confirmed a dozen appellate judges, [and] killed a lot of regulations. This is not a trivial agenda.” —Sahil Kapur
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher