The Patriot Post® · Mid-Day Digest
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- American workers are already reaping rewards from GOP tax reform.
- The FBI’s deputy director is under scrutiny for conflicts of interest.
- Is Christmas still a religious holiday? A look at its history and evolution.
- Fake news on Trump’s “word bans” reminds us who the language tyrants really are.
- Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.
“There is no part of the administration of government that requires extensive information and a thorough knowledge of the principles of political economy, so much as the business of taxation. The man who understands those principles best will be least likely to resort to oppressive expedients, or sacrifice any particular class of citizens to the procurement of revenue.” —Alexander Hamilton (1788)
By Thomas Gallatin
President Donald Trump got his first-year signature achievement yesterday, and it is a huge win for the American people. Congressional Republicans passed the nation’s first major tax reform package in over 30 years, and almost immediately Americans began to witness the positive effects.
AT&T announced that it will be giving out $1,000 bonuses to more than 200,000 of its non-executive employees, as well as investing $1 billion into its U.S. networks. Several other corporations followed AT&T’s lead, with Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bancorp pledging to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour. Fifth Third also plans $1,000 bonuses to 13,500 employees. Comcast also jumped on the bonus band wagon, announcing $1,000 bonuses to more than 100,000 employees. And Boeing said that it would be giving $300 million in charitable endeavors and company investments.
Americans can expect to see more of these good news stories as the real impact of tax reform is felt and as more companies respond to their corporate tax burden being reduced so drastically. Expressing his joy over Republicans’ tax reform passage, Trump said, “It is always a lot of fun when you win.” He added, “It’s the largest tax cut in the history of our country, and reform, but the tax cut — really something special.” That’s typical Trumpian exaggeration, but it’s still a great boon. And Vice President Mike Pence added to the jubilance, saying, “Merry Christmas, America. This will be remembered as a pivotal moment in the life of our nation. We made history today.”
Meanwhile, Democrat Grinches were bemoaning the bill’s passage — even as they struggled to express why they opposed a bill that lowers taxes and benefits the vast majority of Americans. As our own Mark Alexander explains, “Democrats frame tax reductions with ‘class warfare’ rhetoric. Their real objection is because reducing the amount of income they can seize and redistribute to their dependent constituencies undermines their statist power and agenda.”
By Nate Jackson
As Americans celebrate the good Christmas news of huge tax cuts, it’s worth noting that another of the year’s biggest stories continues to slowly unfold. That would be the rampant corruption infecting the FBI. Fox News reports, “FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testified behind closed doors for nearly eight hours Tuesday on Capitol Hill, amid calls for his firing over allegations of conflicts of interest and anti-Trump political prejudice at the law enforcement bureau.” House investigators were led by the imminently capable Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). While the testimony was not public, there was some indication of discrepancies with previous witness testimony, and there could be subpoenas handed down next week for personnel at the FBI and Justice Department.
McCabe is under fire for conflict of interest in three areas. He is believed to be the “Andy” referenced in texts between FBI agent Peter Strzok and his FBI mistress Lisa Page — texts that slam then-candidate Donald Trump as a “menace” and “loathsome human,” as well as discuss an “insurance policy” in case Trump won. House investigators are interested in determining the role McCabe played in what Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) worried might be “a plan to take action to make sure that Donald Trump does not get elected president of the United States at the highest levels of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
Investigators also likely questioned McCabe regarding demoted Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and his wife, Nellie. Ohr, who is likely to be subpoenaed, had undisclosed meetings with Fusion GPS, the firm that produced the phony “dossier” — paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC. At the same time, Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS on Trump-related matters. McCabe reportedly told the congressional intelligence committee that he couldn’t recall when he first learned that Clinton and the DNC funded the Fusion project, “despite the reported existence of documents with McCabe’s own signature on them establishing his knowledge of the dossier’s financing and provenance,” Fox News adds.
Finally, McCabe’s wife ran as a Democrat for a state Senate seat in Virginia and took nearly $700,000 in contributions from donors like Terry McAuliffe linked to the Clinton machine. That was at the same time McCabe supervised the “probe” into Clinton’s illegal email server. He finally recused himself — one week prior to the election.
McCabe, Ohr, Strzok and a host of others lurking in powerful government positions are the very kind of “deep state” folks loyal to Barack Obama who are busy undermining Donald Trump at every turn.
Don’t worry, lower taxes are coming: U.S. third-quarter growth revised down to 3.2% pace from 3.3% (Bloomberg)
Inspector general: IRS employees found “harassing or abusing taxpayers” (CNS News)
Forget what they say — House Democrats are readying for impeachment (The Washington Post)
In related news? DNC raised $5.7M last month, lowest November since 2007 (Washington Examiner)
Democrat IT aides ran car dealership with markings of a nefarious money laundering operation (The Daily Caller)
Single-vote victory in Virginia race not valid, could end in a coin toss (The Washington Times)
Socialist paradise Venezuela’s brutal crime crackdown: executions, machetes and 8,292 dead (The Wall Street Journal)
Confederate statues removed from Memphis parks after city council sells land (ABC News)
Humor: Nation furious over giving government less of their money (The Babylon Bee)
Policy: The renewable fuel standard belongs on the naughty list (The Daily Caller)
Policy: Suspension reform is tormenting schools (City Journal)
For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.
By Caroline Camden Lewis
The Pew Research Center recently released data revealing changing attitudes toward Christmas as a religious holiday. While 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas, only 46% consider it a primarily religious holiday (down from 51% in 2013). As the secular aspects of Christmas begin to replace its sacred origins, will Christmas eventually become irrelevant?
To answer this question, we should examine the contributing factors in this decline: the law and literary culture.
In terms of the law, those who attempt to legally sterilize Christmas from its religious origins perhaps contribute the most to its growing irrelevancy. Misappropriating “separation of church and state” and ignoring the “free exercise” clause, legal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have forced communities to take down a cross from a Christmas tree, cease performing live nativities, stop religious Christmas carols and even attempted to prohibit children from passing out candy canes with religious explanations of Christmas.
Interestingly, the “War on Christmas” uniquely applies to Christianity. There have been few successful efforts to remove menorahs from public Hanukkah celebrations. Nor has there been a push to transform Ramadan into a holiday appealing to people of “all faiths.” Why? Because to take Judaism out of Hanukkah or to take Islam out of Ramadan makes the holiday meaningless. The legal assault on religious connotations of Christmas has been an attempt to render it a meaningless month of stress, overspending and overeating, bolstered by “tradition for tradition’s sake.”
In addition to the legal aspect, consider also the changing literary trends regarding the “meaning” of Christmas. The term Christmas originated from “Cristes Maesse,” the late Old English term for “The Mass of Christ.” This mass celebrated the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ as a baby born in Bethlehem who lived a sacrificial life as the atonement for sin. The feast of Christmas originally and still celebrates the generosity of God to the human race.
Later, the legend of St. Nicholas emerged from the life of a bishop born in Patara (modern day Turkey) in the third century AD. When his parents both died during an epidemic, St. Nicholas inherited a great fortune, which, following the words of Jesus, he sold and gave to the poor. Later, he became a bishop and though imprisoned for his faith for a time, St. Nicholas continued to live a generous life in heart and spirit. The legends of his generosity include the story of three young girls, whose poverty and lack of a dowry would have prevented a good marriage and most likely would have meant being sold as slaves. Mysteriously, three bags of gold were tossed through the window, landing in the socks and shoes that had been placed there to dry. Thus began the legend of what the Dutch called Sint Nikolaas, or Sinterklass for short. Sinterklass became known in English as “Santa Clause.”
In the 19th century, the literature of Charles Dickens began affirming the “Christmas Spirit” of goodwill toward others. In 1843, Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, the story of a miser named Scrooge whose visits by three ghosts cause him to change his ways and to be charitable to his fellow man and to “honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.”
Dr. Seuss’ classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957), follows a similar storyline of a grumpy creature turned kind. Eventually, the Grinch comes to understand that “maybe Christmas … doesn’t come from a store! Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
However, contrast these stories with the words of Greg Lake’s 1974 song (given more recent attention due to recordings by Susan Boyle and Sarah Brightman). His song, “I Believe in Father Christmas,” articulates the death of belief in both the fiction and facts of Christmas.
They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
‘Till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in Father Christmas
And I looked to the sky with excited eyes
'Till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise.
The song ends with this melancholy line:
Hallelujah, Noel be it heaven or hell
The Christmas we get we deserve.
Christmas began as the biblical account of God’s generosity in sending Jesus Christ. Through the years, cultures have also celebrated the legendary generosity of St. Nicholas. “Christmas Spirit” later began to mean the gifts of kindness and charity granted to Scrooge and the Grinch. Greg Lake’s cynical and disenchanted view reveals a major attitude shift toward both the religious and cultural aspects of Christmas.
Yet acknowledging Christmas as the “Christ Mass” gives understanding to the true meaning behind St. Nick’s generosity and the Santa Clause legend. It sheds light upon the “Christmas Spirit” implicated in Scrooge and the Grinch’s transformation. It even gives meaning to the disenchanted and grants purpose to the traditions we continue to experience. The generosity of God in sending Jesus Christ illuminates all the pieces of Christmas from fact to fiction.
The legal attempt to sterilize Christmas of its religious meaning combined with the literary and cultural concepts of a “secular” Christmas could lead some to believe that Christmas will one day become irrelevant. Yet Christmas will only become irrelevant to those who strip it from a “holy day” to simply a “holiday.” It will continue to be relevant to those who honor the Christ in Christmas and seek to replicate the generosity of God in their celebrations and traditions.
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column
Read Happy Christmahanakwamadanice?. We began this year with gratitude, renewed purpose and enthusiasm — and it has been a great year for America!
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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST
- CDC Word Ban Bunk and Leftist Hypocrisy — Fake news on the Trump administration overshadows the tyranny of political correctness.
- The Baby Who Was 24 at Birth — Sanctity of life: Upwards of a million frozen embryos from IVF procedures await adoption.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
- Victor Davis Hanson: Christmas Lessons From California
- Cal Thomas: The Ultimate Christmas Gift
- Jeff Jacoby: Canadians Wait — and Wait — to See the Doctor
- Larry Elder: Suppose President Barack Obama Spent Year 1 Battling 'Collusion’?
- Todd Starnes: Ho! Ho! What?!? Children’s Book Depicts Santa as Gay, Black Man
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Victor Davis Hanson: “What are the lessons for the nation from … 21st-century California? Fix premodern problems before dreaming about postmodern solutions. Loudly virtue-signaling about addressing misdemeanors does not excuse quietly ignoring felonies. Learn how an entire culture is fed, housed and fueled before faulting those who address such needs. Adopt a little humility in admitting that most of the state is an artificial construct of affluent millions living in a delicate ecosystem where nature never intended them to cluster — impossible without constant multibillion-dollar investments in water, agriculture, housing and transportation. Remember that voting progressively in the abstract does not automatically translate into living progressively in the concrete.”
Insight: “We must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. … We have the right as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.” —Davy Crockett (1786-1836)
Upright: “While the world is not perfect, and never will be, we live in a wildly prosperous nation with unprecedented political freedoms. We have much to be thankful for. More importantly, not everything in life is about politics. The sooner we recognize that, the better 2018 will be.” —Heather Wilhelm
Village Idiots: “Patriotism is perverted. We’re not on the same page of what it means. To me, being patriotic is loving your country — being a citizen, having a voice, being e pluribus unum. How perverted it is to go from ‘We are one’ to ‘We are number one,’ which is such a childish idea.” —Sarah Silverman
Broken clock… “If you’re a working-class family, a lot of people say, ‘Oh, it’s only $200, oh it’s only $300.’ If you’re a working-class family living paycheck to paycheck, $200, $300 is damn good money and you are grateful for it.” —CNN’s John King
Delusions of grandeur: “As Republicans head to the White House for their backslapping and high fives to celebrate passage of a bill against the will of the American people, we have a simple message for our Republican friends: Republicans will rue the day they pass this bill, and you can bet Democrats will make sure of that.” —Chuck Schumer
Braying Jenny: “It’s just delivering one gut punch after another to hardworking people.” —Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the GOP’s tax cut for all Americans
And last… “Condolences to the families of those slain … by the tax bill. I personally lost a brother. Well, I mean, I never had a brother, technically, but he probably would have died from keeping more of his money, so same thing.” —Ben Shapiro
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