Mid-Day Digest

Jan. 31, 2018

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Trump’s State of the Union: A picture of leadership in the face of intractable opposition.
  • Jimmy Kimmel’s looking for ratings, but his effort fell a little flat.
  • America is making progress on an index of economic freedom. Wonder why?
  • Rabidly pro-abortion Democrats kill a 20-week abortion ban.
  • Education spending booms, while results are stagnant.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“We are not to consider ourselves, while here, as at church or school, to listen to the harangues of speculative piety; we are here to talk of the political interests committed to our charge.” —Fisher Ames (1789)

IN BRIEF

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned after lunch for Mark Alexander’s comprehensive analysis of Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address.

SOTU: WE Make America Great Again

By Thomas Gallatin

“Over the last year, we have made incredible progress and achieved extraordinary success,” President Donald Trump stated early in his State of the Union address last night. “We have faced challenges we expected, and others we never have imagined. We have shared in the heights of victory and the pains of hardship. We endured floods and fires and storms. But through it all, we have seen the beauty of America’s soul, and the steel in America’s spine.” The president maintained this unified theme throughout his speech, which was more impressive than his speech last year to Congress. He used the pronouns “we” 129 times and “our” 104 times, while referencing “I” only 29 times — that’s essentially the opposite of what Barack Obama practiced — and the unifying optimism was palpable.

Trump’s speech was also well received by the American public, with a CBS News poll showing an approval rating of 75% among viewers. However, congressional Democrats were clearly having none of it. While historically Republicans don’t stand and applaud statist policies and Democrats don’t stand and applaud free enterprise and individual liberty policies, generally both will stand and applaud clearly bipartisan issues such as good employment numbers and a growing economy. But it appears that Trump Derangement Syndrome has so infected congressional Democrats that it precludes them from even acknowledging objectively good news. They simply sat on their hands and pouted like little children who didn’t get their own way.

Our Mark Alexander will have more analysis on Trump’s speech later, but a quick observation to note here. The contrast between Democrats and their extreme anti-Trump crusade versus Trump’s sensible, inclusive, positive and pro-America agenda is striking. One wonders if the non-stop rabid partisanship among Democrats and their Leftmedia sycophants — the relentless #Resist campaign against peace and prosperity — is wearing thin on average Americans, especially since Trump’s and Republicans’ accomplishments are proving to benefit the vast majority of the American working class. Trump’s America First realism versus the Democrats’ hard-leftist and globalist ideology may only drive working class Democrat voters toward Trump. Democrats, by being so blindly committed to resisting Trump, are unwittingly alienating what used to be their base. As Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s, Trump is successfully appealing to working-class Democrat voters whose party has left them behind to join him in making America great again. Last night’s speech was just another example of why so many Americans voted for Trump.

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The Stormy/Kimmel Ploy for Attention

By Nate Jackson

Stormy Daniels made the news again last night, courtesy of a lame publicity stunt by late-night “comedian” Jimmy Kimmel. Daniels is the pseudonymous name of the adult film star alleged to have had an affair with Donald Trump back in 2006. Timed, of course, to coincide with Trump’s first State of the Union address, Kimmel invited Daniels onto his show last night clearly hoping to having a ratings bombshell revelation.

The storm dissipated quickly.

In fact, Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, issued a statement before her appearance again denying the affair ever happened. “I am not denying this affair because I was paid ‘hush money’ as has been reported in overseas owned tabloids,” she said. “I am denying this affair because it never happened.” Trump, through his lawyer, has also denied it.

Then again, her statement is carefully worded, especially regarding the Wall Street Journal’s report of $130,000 in “hush money,” which she doesn’t deny having been paid. And of her signature on the statement, she told Kimmel, “That does not look like my signature, does it? I don’t know where [the statement] came from.” Yet her lawyer insists she’s signed two denials. But that’s after previous interviews saying it did happen. So which is it? Daniels has been on a publicity tour to cash in on the notoriety — her statement even encourages people to follow her on Instagram — and she has played coy in multiple interviews, declining to, on camera, flatly deny anything happened. That continued with Kimmel. Why kill the golden goose?

Indeed, the whole thing stinks of a publicity stunt. Stormy seems to be in it just for the attention, and Kimmel’s craven attempt at a ratings coup didn’t ferret out any facts. Meanwhile, Democrats are just happy to use it as part of their anti-Trump strategy to incite female voter outrage ahead of the 2018 election.

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Top Headlines

  • State of the Union: Trump extends “open hand” to Dems on immigration, touts tax cuts (Fox News)

  • Well, they are the Jackass Party: Democrats scoff, boo, groan, glower at Trump’s State of the Union (NBC News)

  • Trump calls for end to “dangerous” budget caps on defense spending (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • FBI officials review surveillance memo, could not cite “any factual inaccuracies” (Fox News)

  • Border wall prototypes virtually impassable, pass rigorous testing (Fox News)

  • Hillary Clinton responds to sexual misconduct allegations minutes before newsrooms shift all attention to Trump’s first SOTU (Washington Examiner)

  • FBI examining a second Trump dossier written by someone close to Clinton camp (Washington Examiner)

  • Trump signs order to keep Guantanamo Bay prison open (Associated Press)

  • Hawaii civil defense employee mistook drill for actual missile attack, has been fired (Reuters)

  • Satire: After killing 20-week abortion ban, Democrats resume lecturing people about compassion (The Babylon Bee)

  • Policy: Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan show how health care reform should work (Investor’s Business Daily)

  • Policy: What Trump got right in his State of the Union (The Daily Signal)

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

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

Under Trump, America Rises on Global Freedom Index

By Louis DeBroux

When it comes to freedom in America, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that, in global rankings of economic freedom, the United States is only #17. The good news is that in 2016 we were #24, so we have moved solidly toward freedom in just one year.

So what changed?

It’s safe to say that unlike Barack Obama, President Donald Trump has been the change we can believe in. Despite the hyperbolic, lunatic rantings of the media and progressive Democrats (but we repeat ourselves), Trump has not become America’s Hitler or Stalin; quite the opposite, in fact.

In one sense, Liberty is a zero-sum game; when the size and power of government expands, the liberty of the individual contracts. The more power accumulated by government, the more it infringes on the rights of the individual. This is why the Founders created a government of limited, or “enumerated” powers.

Since 2008, the Cato Institute and the Fraser Institute have collaborated to develop the Human Freedom Index, ranking the nations of the world from most free to least free, scoring them on the presence of indicators of personal and economic freedom, such as the Rule of Law, the security and safety of citizens, freedoms of religion and speech, the size of government, property rights, sound money, taxation and regulation.

President George W. Bush started the Wall Street bailouts and ramped up spending, which contracted freedom by expanding government. Candidate Obama criticized Bush’s $4 trillion debt run-up as “unpatriotic,” yet during his own eight years in office, Obama vastly increased federal spending, rammed through a nearly $1 trillion “stimulus” law that actually increased headline unemployment from under 8% up to 10% (real unemployment was nearly twice that high), and doubled the national debt. He and his Democrat accomplices initiated a federal takeover of health care, which drove up costs and reduced access. He approved government spying on every American without a warrant. He used the power of the federal government to stifle religious freedom and force Americans to act in violation of their deeply-held religious beliefs or face punishment by the government.

For decades, the United States ranked in the Top 3 most free nations in the world, gradually declining as government expanded more and more, and in the process confiscating more of the fruits of our labors through massive spending and increased taxes, and infringing upon personal liberties. Thanks to the Obama administration, we dropped to 24th place. That’s one way to “lead from behind.”

President Trump’s first year has been an incredible catalyst for freedom. Early in his administration, he issued an executive order stipulating that for every new regulation implemented by a federal agency, two must be repealed. That EO has far exceeded expectations, with a staggering 22 regulations having been repealed for every one passed. The reining in of the abusive EPA alone has had a tremendous positive impact on property rights.

Likewise, the Republican Congress recently passed (without a single Democrat vote) and President Trump signed a huge tax reform bill into law, slashing corporate tax rates and lowering personal income tax rates, weighted heavily to the poor and middle class. Within weeks of passage, hundreds of companies had announced wage increases and bonuses, and expansion of operations in the U.S., which will create tens of thousands of jobs.

Democrats are vehemently opposed to this prosperity.

President Trump also reversed Obama-era policies hostile to people of faith, expanding exemptions to the “contraceptive mandate” of ObamaCare that forced American taxpayers to fund contraception, including abortifacients. His Department of Justice issued a memo detailing ways in which the Trump administration will protect those who act in accordance with their religious beliefs.

All of these changes have been a catalyst for substantial economic prosperity, driving confidence in our future as the stock market seems to hit a new record high weekly. It has also been a boon for individual liberty, repealing burdensome regulations that turn unsuspecting citizens into criminals and crush the entrepreneurial spirit under a mountain of bureaucratic red tape. And for those persistent enough to climb that mountain, there was always a capricious and arbitrary government bureaucrat eager to kick you in the teeth and send you tumbling back down, just to show you who’s boss.

All of this good news puts Democrats in a very awkward position. After eight years of economic stagnation under Obama, they are now left to criticize the rapidly increasing prosperity under Trump as “crumbs,” and the $1,000 to $2,500 employer bonuses and the extra money in the wallets of American workers as a result of the tax cuts as “doggy doo.”

At last night’s State of the Union, Democrats sat on their hands while Trump lauded rising wages and record-low black and Hispanic unemployment. What a visual.

Leftist Democrats for years have praised socialist Venezuela, next to last on the 2017 Freedom Index, as the country we should emulate. This is a country where much of the population is starving and without medicine, and even without toilet paper. They are killing zoo animals for food.

What a miserable position for Democrats to be in, trying to convince Americans — suddenly seeing bigger paychecks, pay raises, bonuses, job creation, and 401(k) growth — that they are being deceived, and that Democrats will lead them back to the Promised Land of … sub-2% GDP growth, wage stagnation and higher taxes.

The collective political wisdom, and historical trends, say Republicans will get killed in the 2018 mid-terms. But Donald Trump has already stunned prognosticators and rewritten history, and with a nation whose economic engine is revving up after a decade of stagnation — gaining freedom on the index by leaps and bounds — history may be rewritten again.

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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

Walter Williams: “In the debate about illegal immigration, there are questions that are not explicitly asked but can be answered with a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’: Does everyone in the world have a right to live in the U.S.? Do Americans have a right to decide who and under what conditions a person may enter our country? Should we permit foreigners landing at our airports to ignore U.S. border control laws just as some ignore our laws at our southern border? The reason those questions are not asked is that one would be deemed an idiot for saying that everyone in the world has a right to live in our country, that Americans don’t have a right to decide who lives in our country and that foreigners landing at our airports have a right to just ignore U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. Immigration today, even when legal, is different from the immigration of yesteryear. People who came here in the 19th century and most of the 20th century came here to learn our language, learn our customs and become Americans. Years ago, there was a guarantee that immigrants came here to work, because there was no welfare system; they worked, begged or starved. Today, there is no such assurance. Because of our welfare state, immigrants can come here and live off taxpaying Americans. There is another difference between today and yesteryear. Today, Americans are taught multiculturalism throughout their primary, secondary and college education. They are taught that one culture is no better or worse than another. … We should not fall prey to people who criticize our efforts to combat illegal immigration and who pompously say, ‘We’re a nation of immigrants!’ The debate is not over immigration. The debate is over illegal immigration.”

SHORT CUTS

Braying Jenny: “When the president comes to make the State of the Union address, he will try to characterize his initiatives as something positive. But 2017 was a very bad year for the American people because of the failure on the part of the Republicans in Congress to get the job done.” —Nancy Pelosi

The BIG Lie: “President Trump was handed an already healthy economy by his predecessor. Like many things in his life, he inherited the healthy economy. … Obama created more jobs in the last year of his term than you created in the first year of yours. So if you’re going to pat yourself on the back, give a shout out to Barack Obama.” —Chuck Schumer

Time to look in the mirror: “While I am always willing to work with my colleagues across the aisle, the president’s call for bipartisanship and unity rings hollow. You cannot reject bipartisan plans to improve health care and protect Dreamers or sow hate and division — and then turn around the next day and say you want to work together.” —Sen. Kamala Harris

Braying Jenny: “I went to the #SOTU. I wanted it burned into my eyes. If there’s ever a moment when I’m too tired to keep fighting, I just have to close my eyes & see [Donald Trump], [Mike Pence] & [Paul Ryan] applauding themselves for punching working families in the gut, & I’m back in this fight.” —Elizabeth Warren raging over the fact that Americans can now keep more of their money

Alpha Jackass: “President Trump said the word ‘America’ more than 80 times in his speech. Yet, after a divisive first year, we hear and feel how exclusionary that ‘America’ is, with policies that have harmed so many vulnerable American communities. The ACLU stands ready to protect these communities, both in the courts and at the polls.” —ACLU national political director Faiz Shakir

And last… “The Democrats certainly did themselves no favors by refusing to applaud job growth and higher wages.” —Jonah Goldberg

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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