Mid-Day Digest

Jan. 4, 2018

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • The FBI fixated on Trump and fixed the investigation for Clinton. The story continues…
  • Steve Bannon dumps Trump, but the president hits back with a cannon.
  • Charity, taxes and how Democrats distort language.
  • Democrats plan for 2018: Oppose peace and prosperity.
  • California’s lawlessness has real and sometimes humorous consequences.
  • Is Scott Pruitt using the EPA as a powerful tool, or is he reining it in?
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men.” —John Adams (1775)

IN BRIEF

More Evidence the FBI Fixated on Trump, Fixed for Clinton

By Nate Jackson

The never-ending story of Donald Trump, Russia, Hillary Clinton and the FBI continues. Today’s highlights include some important markers.

On Aug. 24, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray received subpoenas from the House Intelligence Committee to turn over any documents related to the phony anti-Donald Trump dossier produced by British spook Christopher Steele for Fusion GPS. The same dossier that was funded by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. The exceedingly generous deadline for subpoena compliance was yesterday, so, naturally, these officials filled the interim with delays and excuses, waiting until Wednesday evening to agree to a deal with Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes to provide the requested information. Nunes last week threatened the pair with contempt charges if they failed to do so. We’ll see what revelations we learn.

Speaking of Fusion GPS, its founders, former Wall Street Journal reporters Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, penned a New York Times op-ed claiming victim status in Republicans’ “fake investigations.” The pair seek to rebut the charge at the center of it all — that the dossier prompted the FBI’s investigation into Trump/Russian “collusion” in the first place: “We don’t believe the Steele dossier was the trigger for the F.B.I.‘s investigation into Russian meddling.”

However, as former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy outlines in what we consider an indispensable timeline of the dossier and the FBI, their claim is less than believable. While the FBI and Justice Department continue to stonewall on their use of the dossier, McCarthy asserts, “Contrary to what I hoped would be the case, I’ve come to believe Steele’s claims were used to obtain FISA surveillance authority for an investigation of Trump.”

Meanwhile, there’s the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illegal activities with her private email server. Republican investigators say they’ve uncovered hard evidence that the FBI knew Clinton broke the law and that at least one witness lied to the FBI — in this case the technical expert who worked for Bleach Bit and wiped Clinton’s server (“like with a cloth or something”) after a congressional subpoena. His admission of lying came one day after James Comey began drafting his statement exonerating Clinton. That and other outstanding FBI evidence gathering, plus interviews with 17 witnesses including Clinton herself, meant that damning information was still coming to light even as Comey was letting Clinton off the hook. The lying witness wasn’t prosecuted; he was given an immunity deal.

All of the above is how banana republics operate, not republics defined by constitutional Rule of Law. And yet somehow, nothing is surprising any longer.

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Trump Nukes Bannon

By Thomas Gallatin

President Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon, who was fired last August, has found himself in a verbal spat with Trump over recently released excerpts from a new tell-all book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, written by Michael Wolff. In the book, Wolff quotes Bannon as saying that Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer, in which he expected to receive dirt on Hillary Clinton, was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” Bannon’s words in the book imply that there is something to the whole Trump/Russia collusion narrative. However, Bannon was singing a different tune last September. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Bannon said of the whole thing, “There’s nothing to the Russia investigation. It’s a waste of time.” He continued, “Look, I was there. It’s a total and complete farce. Russia collusion is a farce.”

On Wednesday, Trump responded to Bannon as only Trump does, holding nothing back as he unloaded on his former adviser. In an official statement, Trump said that after he was fired Bannon “lost his mind.” Trump then set the record straight regarding who was behind the problem of damaging leaks to the media during the early months of his presidency: “Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was.” Given that the leaks largely stopped after Bannon’s dismissal, this seems right.

Meanwhile, Trump’s attorney warned Bannon “that his actions of communicating with author Michael Wolff regarding an upcoming book give rise to numerous legal claims including defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our client. Legal action is imminent.”

Then, Wednesday evening, Bannon seemed to act as if there was no feud between him and Trump. “The president of the United States is a great man,” he said. “You know, I support him day in and day out.” On Thursday morning, Bannon further commented, “Nothing will ever come between us and President Trump and his agenda. We’re tight on this agenda as we’ve ever been.”

What’s going on here? Well, Trump’s final line in his statement on Bannon seems to hit at the heart of the issue. After referencing how he and Republican members of Congress have worked to make America great again, Trump said, “Like me, [Republicans] love the United States of America and are helping to finally take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down.” Clearly, Trump is pointing at Bannon, who is neither Republican nor Democrat, but a deeply disgruntled man who seeks to lead the anti-establishment revolution. It’s one thing to drain the swamp with an eye toward fixing what’s broken — making it great again — rather than blowing it all up because it doesn’t suit. (Bannon’s support for Roy Moore comes to mind.) The truth is Bannon seems to be a radical idealist, while Trump is a bomb-thrower but ultimately a pragmatist who’s willing to work toward fixing things rather than blowing it all up.

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Top Headlines

  • House Intel committee to get long-sought documents from DOJ on Fusion GPS (Fox News)

  • GOP senator says Comey likely leaked classified information (The Washington Times)

  • Senate easily confirms Pentagon’s No. 3 despite opposition from Elizabeth Warren (Washington Examiner)

  • The Dow hits record 25,000 — What it means for the market overall (Market Watch)

  • 2017 second best year for gun sales (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Food stamp rolls decline by more than two million in FY 2017 (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Trump ex-campaign chair Manafort sues Mueller, Rosenstein and Department of Justice (CNBC)

  • Trump says Bannon “lost his mind” after leaving the White House (Bloomberg)

  • Wonder what burned? Fire breaks out at Hillary and Bill Clinton’s compound in Chappaqua (Fox News)

  • Humor: Citing freezing weather conditions, Al Gore cancels global warming speech (The Babylon Bee)

  • Policy: The critics of proactive policing are wrong (City Journal)

  • Policy: How the U.S. can support Iran’s anti-regime protests (The Washington Free Beacon)

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

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

Democrat Outrage Over GOP Tax Cuts Unfounded, Immoral

By Louis DeBroux

The progressive Democrat outrage over the recently signed Republican tax reform law provides both a fascinating insight into the minds of leftists and a unique opportunity to discuss taxes and spending from a moral standpoint.

Democrats are clearly infuriated at the idea that the federal government will now be prevented from confiscating quite as much of the earnings of tens of millions of Americans as it did last year. In a bizarre twist of logic, Democrats see tax cuts as greedy American citizens stealing from government. That is evidenced in their rhetoric, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calling the tax cuts “Armageddon,” and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accusing Republicans of “giv[ing] the richest few a bigger piece of the pie.”

Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) called it a “looting of the federal treasury,” at least before conceding to CNN’s Jake Tapper that 91% of the middle class he claims to champion will, in fact, benefit from the Republican tax cuts, and then blaming Republicans for not making the cuts permanent. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) brilliantly trolled Sanders on Twitter, inviting him to co-sponsor legislation doing just that.

The common thread in the government-loving leftist narrative is that government has a right to whatever portion of our earnings it deems necessary to achieve its ends, with taxpayers as slaves whose labor provides the necessary funding.

Democrats have hijacked and distorted language and turned it on its face, accusing workers who want to keep more of their money to provide for their families of being “greedy,” while painting government, which takes our earnings by force to give to those who have not earned it, as altruistic. Harvard economist Thomas Sowell captures the essence of this looking-glass logic, stating, “I have never understood why it is 'greed’ to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.”

As to the why of the progressive Democrat pursuit of what renowned economist Frederic Bastiat called “legal plunder,” well, that is a logical political calculation on their part, and it comes down to raw power. For, as socialist playwright George Bernard Shaw smugly noted, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.” Democrats seek to steal greater amounts from a shrinking number of workers, with the clear knowledge that voters benefitting from the redistribution of those ill-gotten gains will keep them in power.

Democrats claim to be horrified at the thought that tax cuts will (allegedly) increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years (as if keeping money in private hands, rather than ever-expanding government spending, is the problem). Yet an astute observer would note these same Democrats happily ran up the deficit during the Barack Obama years, resulting in $10 trillion in new debt.

Tax cuts are good policy. As liberal icon John F. Kennedy declared in 1962, in calling for significant cuts to the corporate and personal income tax rates, “In short, it is a paradoxical truth that … the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now.”

Tax cuts are also morally sound, allowing free men and women to provide for the care of their families, rather than be rendered serfs on a government master’s plantation, retaining just enough of the fruits of their labor to maintain subsistence.

And while leftists claim taxes need to be higher so the so-called “rich” can pay their “fair share,” let’s remind them they can voluntarily donate more of their money to government if they wish. That is, unless they wish to admit their philosophy is not about caring for the needy, but about cultivating envy and justifying theft.

Thus, speaking of benevolence with money, another fear regarding the impact of tax cuts is that, with the standard deductions and child tax credits doubling, it will drastically reduce the number of people who itemize and, therefore, reduce the number of people who give to charity.

Such a thought shows a misunderstanding of the nature of charity, which is a voluntary, individual act (by definition, government cannot be charitable, because it uses force). The American people are empirically the most generous people on Earth, giving twice as much in personal charity as the next closest country, Canada.

People give to charity not for tax breaks (which would be silly; the taxes saved are far less than the amount given to charity), but out of a sincere desire to help their fellow man. Last year alone, individual Americans donated nearly $300 billion to charity, nearly three times more than was donated by foundations and corporations.

The reality is that with more money in their own pockets, there will be more available for Americans to donate to charity. Multiple studies show the more conservative and religious a person is, the more they donate to charity, both in hard dollars and as a percentage of income. (Perhaps that’s tied with the way leftists think about taxes and deductions.) There is no reason to think the tax cuts will do anything but encourage even greater charitable giving, since those who were previously barely making ends meet may now have the means, and the desire, to share.

And voluntary sharing is a very good thing. Government redistribution is not.

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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.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

OPINION IN BRIEF

Larry Elder: “What if, instead of spending more on infrastructure, the government began paying nearly 20 percent less for projects? And how about pushing privatization, where possible, over the inevitably more costly government spending? The Davis-Bacon Act, a Depression-era measure, was designed to thwart black workers from competing against white workers. It requires federal contractors to pay ‘prevailing union wages.’ This act sought to shut out black workers from competing for construction jobs… It is remarkable that Davis-Bacon still lives despite its racist intent and its discriminatory effect — to this day — on black workers. Passed in 1931, two Republicans teamed up to sponsor it. In a labor market dominated by exclusionary unions that demanded above-market wages, blacks, at the time, competed by working for less money than the unionists. Davis-Bacon stopped this by requiring federal contractors to pay prevailing local union wages, causing massive black unemployment. Lawmakers made no secret of the law’s goal. … Davis-Bacon adds as much as 20 percent more to the cost of any federal project. And most states have enacted local Davis-Bacon laws that similarly jack up the price of those government construction projects. This brings us to privatization. Why not encourage more projects to be built and run by the private market?”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Those who are lifting the world upward and onward are those who encourage more than criticize.” —Elizabeth Harrison (1897-1955)

For the record: “As Americans, you need identification, sometimes in a very strong and accurate form, for almost everything you do…..except when it comes to the most important thing, VOTING for the people that run your country. Push hard for Voter Identification!” —Donald Trump

But also for the record: “[Donald] Trump is less an aberration than a leader for his time. In his rhetorical contempt for free speech, his ignorance of basic constitutional facts, his addiction to drama and ratings, his personalization of every political question and conflict, and his uncanny ability to bring out the same qualities in his biggest detractors, he breathes new life into H.L. Mencken’s definition of democracy as ‘the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.’” —Jonah Goldberg

Throwing Hillary under the bus? “I don’t think any Democrat would’ve beaten Donald Trump, aside from President Obama.” —former Clinton adviser Philippe Reines

Braying Jenny: “I don’t want to hear about the silence of me. I want to hear about the silence of Melania Trump. I want to hear from her. She has so much that’s valuable to say. And so does Ivanka. I want her to speak now.” —Meryl Streep on the sexual misconduct scandal in Hollywood

Belly laugh of the week: “I’m sad that [Al Franken] resigned. I happen to know him for decades and decades and I can tell you that all he cares about is the well-being of the lives of his constituents in Minnesota. It’s just all he thinks about, it’s all he cares about — and his wife.” —Sarah Silverman

And last… “Cold weather proves climate change, warm weather also proves climate change, but weather isn’t climate because shut up skeptic.” —Twitter satirist @hale_razor

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher