Mid-Day Digest

Jan. 16, 2018

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • From global warming to socialism, leftists appropriate MLK for their gain.
  • A lot of accomplishments could be more if Trump would fill hundreds of positions.
  • Flake’s comparison of Trump to Stalin is utterly absurd for a number of reasons.
  • Martha McSally makes for an interesting Senate race in Arizona.
  • What are U.S. objectives in and with Pakistan? It’s convoluted, to be sure.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all citizens.” —Thomas Jefferson (1816)

IN BRIEF

Leftists Make MLK Whatever They Need Him to Be

By Nate Jackson

Yesterday was, of course, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. That means the annual ritual of leftist attempts to culturally appropriate his legacy for their modern political ends. Here are two examples:

First, the NAACP, in its endless efforts at justifying its continued existence, wants to turn King’s legacy toward fighting climate change. “We see climate change as a civil rights issue,” insisted Jacqueline Patterson, head of the NAACP’s environmental and climate justice program. See? Put “justice” in the department or job title, and anything can be used for leftist political gain. Indeed, that’s exactly what Patterson went on to say, noting that ecofascists, er, environmental activists see the climate as an “environmental justice” issue, since “minority and low-income populations are disproportionately affected by global warming.” Patterson is merely taking a cue from Barack Obama’s former EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, who declared in 2014, “If we want to protect communities of color, we need to protect them from climate change.” What McCarthy and Patterson neglect to inform their audiences is that leftist climate policies disproportionately hurt poor blacks due to increased energy prices. But, you know, “justice” or something.

Second, according to CNN’s John Blake, MLK wasn’t just an “environmental hero,” he “was a socialist before it was cool.” Wait a minute — socialism is cool? It’s true that King’s associations with communists have been the subject of a lot of disagreement over the years. A 1968 FBI file on King characterized him as a “whole-hearted Marxist who has studied it [Marxism], believes it and agrees with it, but because of his being a minister of religion, does not dare to espouse it publicly,” though one could be forgiven for doubting FBI dossiers. Still, King did say, “The country needs a radical redistribution of wealth,” and “America must move toward a democratic socialism.” He was a socialist, but that’s not why our nation celebrates him.

In any case, Democrats have long denied that King had communist leanings because socialism wasn’t yet “cool.” In the age of Bernie Sanders, however, socialism has enjoyed an unfortunate but real surge of popularity, particularly among ignorant Millennials who know nothing of even the modern horrors of socialism.

Barack Obama wrote of himself in The Audacity of Hope, “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” Leftists do much the same with Martin Luther King, whose true legacy was not socialism or “environmental justice,” but legitimate and needed racial reconciliation — something they’d now prefer not to have.

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Lack of Administrative Picks Is a Thorn in Trump’s Side

By Jordan Candler

In just a few days, Donald Trump will officially mark one full year in the Oval Office, during which time his impressive list of accomplishments has blossomed, with conservative policy reforms and judicial nominations. If there’s one area the president is coming up short, however, it’s in neglecting to fill important administrative posts.

The Daily Signal reports, “Trump has no nominee for 252 of the 633 key positions requiring Senate confirmation, according to the Partnership for Public Service, which tracks presidential appointments. That’s well behind every predecessor going back to at least President George H.W. Bush, each of whom had the bulk of nominees confirmed by this point in their administration, according to the organization.” To name just a few, key appointments are lacking in the Justice Department, Internal Revenue Service and State Department.

In fairness, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders last month pointed out, “The president has said before he doesn’t think that every single position in the government needs to be filled. He’s going to cut back on some of those positions. We’ve been focused on some of the top priority places and we’re going to continue filling out individuals. But, we’ve also seen a massive slowdown and obstruction by the Democrats.”

Here’s the problem with that argument: Every second that ticks by only exacerbates the issue of the deep state, and it actually detrimentally handcuffs Trump’s broader agenda. Why? Because career politicians will jump at the opportunity to continue fulfilling Barack Obama’s statist agenda, or at least blocking Trump’s. As The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Moffit observes, “If you are going to drain the swamp, you need the people to do it. You either control the federal bureaucracy or the federal bureaucracy controls you.”

In related news, turnover is disproportionately high in the Trump White House. According to a Washington Post analysis, Trump’s first-year turnover rate sits at 36%, which dwarfs that of previous administrations. For example, of the previous five presidents, the second-highest on the list, Ronald Reagan, had a first-year turnover rate of 17%, while George W. Bush had the lowest at 6%.

Trump is certainly largely to blame for the chaotic atmosphere in the White House, but Steven Bannon, Reince Priebus, Michael Flynn and others hurt themselves and created a lot of their own problems. The bottom line is that Trump needs to get busy filling critical positions. But he also needs to be methodical about it. The wise vetting he deployed to pick Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch should be applied to his entire administration to mitigate turnover and avoid needless distractions.

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Top Headlines

  • The adolescent boycott: Democrats ramp up efforts to boycott Trump’s State of the Union address (Fox News)

  • U.S. military members receive biggest pay bump since 2010 (Fox Business)

  • Another leftist-run corporation praises tax cuts (2nd Vote)

  • Trump attacks “Dicky Durbin” over “s—thole” deceit (The Hill)

  • Obama achievements could fit in a closet — Move to shut down Obama’s presidential center (Washington Examiner)

  • Obama’s administration didn’t follow procedure for checking illegal immigrants’ ties to terrorism (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • School district pays gender-confused teen $800,000 after refusing to let her bunk with boys (The Federalist)

  • Navy SEAL battling for U.S. House seat (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • NFL’s kneeling comes to abrupt halt: Protesters miss playoffs (The Washington Times)

  • Humor: Mass panic erupts as Heaven accidentally sends out rapture alert (The Babylon Bee)

  • Policy: The return of earmarks won’t solve congressional irresponsibility (National Review)

  • Policy: The surprising truth about income inequality (The Hill)

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

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

Trump Is Like Stalin? Not Even Close

By Thomas Gallatin

This Wednesday, President Donald Trump plans to present his much-discussed “Fake News” awards. Trump postponed the presentation last week, tweeting, “The Fake News Awards, those going to the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media, will be presented to the losers on Wednesday, January 17th, rather than this coming Monday. The interest in, and importance of, these awards is far greater than anyone could have anticipated!”

From the very moment Trump won the election, much of the mainstream media began spearheading the #Resistance effort against his presidency. Recall that much of the MSM believed it had helped Trump win the Republican primary, and in so doing presumed to have provided Hillary Clinton with the easiest opponent to beat. Trump has been feuding with the MSM ever since.

On Monday, retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announced that he would be giving a speech prior to Trump’s Fake News awards. In released excerpts of his planned speech, Flake states, “It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase ‘enemy of the people,’ that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of ‘annihilating such individuals’ who disagreed with the supreme leader.”

Flake’s assertion that Trump is essentially Stalinist due to using the phrase “enemy of the people” when referencing grossly biased news reporting is simply asinine. Even though this is the age of snowflakes, the fact still remains that hurting people’s feelings is not equivalent to killing (millions of) them. Flake, of course, knows this, but he’s after his 15 minutes of fame — ingratiating himself with the Leftmedia — on the way out the door.

Other than call out the press for dispensing fake news, when has Trump engaged in any real suppression of speech? The answer is never. In fact, when compared with his predecessor, Trump has been downright congenial.

Even though most of the MSM were sycophants of Barack Obama, with the exception of Fox News, they learned quickly his vindictive distain for bad press. Indeed, Obama was a far greater threat to freedom of the press than Trump has ever dreamed of being. As The New York Times noted in December 2016, “If Donald J. Trump decides as president to throw a whistle-blower in jail for trying to talk to a reporter, or gets the FBI to spy on a journalist, he will have one man to thank for bequeathing him such expansive power: Barack Obama.”

Recall that it was Obama who had his “Justice” Department spy on reporters. The DOJ went after Fox News’ James Rosen, targeting and labeling him as a co-conspirator in a criminal case simply for doing his job. In a 2013 report, Leonard Downie, a former executive editor of The Washington Post, called Obama’s war on journalism “the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration, when I was one of the editors involved in The Washington Post’s investigation of Watergate.”

One of Obama’s favored tools in his battle against the press was the Espionage Act of 1917. Between 1917 and 2009 only one person had ever been convicted under the act for leaking information to a news organization. Obama changed that by directing then-Attorney General Eric Holder to aggressively prosecute government employees who leaked information to the press. In so doing, the Espionage Act, originally designed to prosecute those acting against the United States, was regularly applied, resulting in a record number of reporters’ sources being jailed.

As The Washington Post noted last June, “Trump rages about leakers. Obama quietly prosecuted them.”

But Obama’s war against the media really wasn’t all that quiet. While it is obvious that Trump’s favorite media whipping boy is CNN, and deservedly so, Obama aggressively and regularly derided Fox News. Starting back in the 2008 election, Obama said that if it wasn’t for Fox he might be two or three points higher in the polls. Throughout his time in office, he regularly attacked the news organization, and even sought to have Fox excluded from the press pool coverage of interviews with key officials.

And just days ago, on a newly premiered David Letterman show on Netflix, Obama ripped Fox News and its viewers, saying, “If you watch Fox News, you are living on a different planet.” Clearly, Obama’s animosity for the news network hasn’t abated, nor has his disdain for anyone who disagrees with his “right side of history” condescension.

What is actually ironic about Flake’s faulty and childish comparison of Trump to Stalin is the fact that the mainstream media is far from being silenced; indeed, it is thriving. Trump has proven to be a windfall for the major news media outlets, and none more so than The New York Times, which has witnessed its digital subscriptions explode from fewer than a million before the election to 2.5 million since. And much of this new growth can be attributed to the MSM self-designated resistance to Trump. In other words, “democracy” in America is far from “dying in darkness.”

Flake is doing nothing more than expressing sour grapes for a man he clearly doesn’t like. This amounts to one last spiteful parting swing as he leaves office, and it’s a far cry from any thoughtful contribution to the party or the conversation.

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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

Heather Mac Donald: “‘Dangerously outdated gender norms’ are not what make it difficult to say no to sexual advances; contemporary gender norms have confused these already fraught situations. Traditional mores set the default for premarital sex at ‘no,’ at least for females. This default recognized the different sexual drives of males and females and the difficulties of bargaining with the male libido. The default ‘no’ to premarital sex meant that a female did not have to negotiate the refusal with every opportuning male; it was simply assumed. She could, of course, cast aside the default assumption; that was her power and prerogative. But she did not have to provide reasons for shutting down a sexual advance. Sexual liberation reversed those default settings. The default is now ‘yes’ to premarital sex; it is a ‘no’ that has to be extricated in media res. No cultural taboos remain around premarital sex; those represented a repressive version of female sexuality, declared the liberationists. Males and females are now assumed to pursue sexual conquest with equal zeal. … Feminists cannot acknowledge the divide between men and women when it comes to sex and sensibility.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.” —Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)

Upright: “What [NFL player-protesters] missed is a simple truth that is both obvious and unutterable: The oppression of black people is over with. This is politically incorrect news, but it is true nonetheless. We blacks are, today, a free people. It is as if freedom sneaked up and caught us by surprise.” —Shelby Steele

Hypocrisy Award: “The American people spoke out clearly and, thanks to President Obama’s leadership, 160 million Americans will continue to receive their payroll tax cut — nearly $40 per paycheck in the pockets of the average family.” —Nancy Pelosi in December 2011 (Today she belittles the Republican tax cut windfall as “crumbs.”)

Braying Jenny: “Donald Trump is an embarrassment and a national disgrace. Members of Congress have a responsibility to the American people and our democracy to impeach him.” —Maxine Waters

Race bait: “The president of the United States is tired of so many black people coming into this country. Tired of immigrants from Haiti and Africa being allowed in. … Perhaps the White House feels the president’s remarks will be well-received in some parts of this country, among some parts of the president’s base, and perhaps that is true but it doesn’t make what he said any less ignorant or any less racist. Not racial. Not racially charged. Racist.” —CNN’s Anderson Cooper

Non Compos Mentis: “A young woman texted us … and said, ‘I have no one to talk to.’ And we texted back and said, ‘We’re here to help you.’ And then she told us her story. … She said, just like a teenager would, ‘You have been a lifesaver’ … That, to me, is what Planned Parenthood is all about.” —Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, whose abortion mill clearly specializes in ending lives

And last… “If women are so vulnerable to advertising and manipulation, why should we be bootstrapping them into positions of economic and political authority? In fact, the fashion and cosmetics industry responds to consumer demand; it is women who, irrespective of the alleged patriarchy, try to attract male desire.” —Heather Mac Donald

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher