Mid-Day Digest

Feb. 2, 2018


  • The January jobs report contains some good and optimistic news.
  • Two Americas? Try two NFLs — where protesters are paid more than non-protesters.
  • Trump’s four pillars of immigration reform — a look at chain migration and visa lottery.
  • “Repeal and Replace” is the Democrats’ new mantra for tax cuts.
  • U.S. oil production is way up, and that’s great news for our economy.
  • A rogue bureaucracy gets a constitutional pass from the judiciary.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.


“To cherish and stimulate the activity of the human mind, by multiplying the objects of enterprise, is not among the least considerable of the expedients, by which the wealth of a nation may be promoted.” —Alexander Hamilton (1791)


The January Jobs Jump

Thirteen months ago, before Donald Trump had even taken office, we issued a caveat about headline unemployment: It would be pretty tough for Trump to do better than 4.7% unemployment, which is more or less considered full employment. Over the course of 2017, however, the economy did improve, and the first month of 2018 was no exception. Beating expectations, January saw 200,000 jobs created, while the headline unemployment rate sits at 4.1%, the lowest since December 2000.

The Wall Street Journal reports, “A broader measure of unemployment and underemployment, which includes people working part-time jobs because they can’t find full-time employment, ticked up to 8.2% in January.” That’s exactly what we warned would happen 13 months ago — as more people entered the job market because they were encouraged by the economy, that top-level unemployment number would paradoxically increase. The headline rate doesn’t include those looking for work; the so-called U-6 rate does.

One blemish, Ed Morrissey notes: “The U-3 unemployment rate remained essentially unchanged for the third straight month, but not among African-Americans, where it went from 6.8% to 7.7%, its highest level in a year. Donald Trump had bragged during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night about achieving a record low in this metric; expect to see some focus on this reversal from the media, and especially from members of Congress who were already dismissive of this claim.”

But overall it was a good January report, and it includes a big bright spot: Wages rose at a 2.9% annualized rate and grew at the fastest pace in more than eight years. Some of that may be attributable to minimum wage increases in 18 states effective Jan. 1, but more of it has to do with competition. As more businesses (fueled by new Republican tax cuts) compete for fewer workers by paying higher wages, that trend could get even better. In fact, tax cuts likely saved a lot of jobs by helping companies afford those minimum wage hikes. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Federal Reserve expects GDP growth of 5.4% in the first quarter, and we haven’t seen that since George W. Bush’s early years.

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Two NFLs: The Protesters and the Lower Paid

A recent study found that NFL players who have engaged in kneeling protests during the national anthem are some of the league’s highest-paid players. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that players who protested on average earned $3 million more than their non-protesting teammates. The study noted that players who were selected in the earliest rounds of the draft — those most likely to earn higher salaries — were also three times more likely than other players to be engaged in protest. Of all 2,197 NFL players, the study found that 317 protested the national anthem before at least one game during the 2017 season.

University of Cincinnati political science professor David Niven, who was reportedly astonished by the findings, noted, “The idea in popular culture we talk about is there are two Americas — the rich and the poor. This shows there are two NFLs.” Niven continued, “Players who were protesting inequality in society were doing that from a position of being on top of the NFL’s inequality.”

Not surprisingly, a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that the NFL is losing its core audience. The Journal notes, “Adults who report following the NFL closely have dropped 9% since 2014. … Just 51% of men aged 18 to 49 say they follow the NFL closely, down from 75% four years ago.” That is an incredible decrease, to which undoubtedly the NFL protesting players have contributed (something we in our humble shop can attest to). The Journal also points to a significant decrease in parents wanting their children to play the sport, primarily due to health concerns over brain trauma tied to football concussions.

While the NFL still pulls in some of TV’s highest ratings, it’s clear that viewership has dropped and if things don’t change soon, the league may have fewer high-paid players willing to engage in leftist political protests that are proving only to alienate their biggest fans.

Footnote: And since the NFL has refused to run ads encouraging fans to stand for the national anthem, ads will be running in local markets. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) will run a pregame ad in Tennessee markets.

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Top Headlines

  • Washington braces for polarizing Nunes memo (Washington Examiner)

  • New FBI texts reveal Andrew McCabe might have kept Clinton evidence from James Comey for “weeks” (The Daily Wire)

  • Trump: blame Democrats who “just aren’t calling” if DACA fix isn’t reached in time (Washington Examiner)

  • L.A.‘s homelessness surged 75% in six years; here’s why the crisis has been decades in the making (Los Angeles Times)

  • Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow; predicts six more weeks of winter (apparently didn’t get the “climate change” memo) (Fox News)

  • The NFL is losing its core audience, a WSJ/NBC News poll finds (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Politifact hires lying former Rep. Alan Grayson to help “fact check,” immediately fires him after uproar (Hot Air)

  • Seven reasons earmarks are a very bad idea (The Daily Signal)

  • Humor: FBI warns Republican memo could undermine faith in massive, unaccountable government secret agencies (The Onion)

  • Policy: When school choice is too little, too late (U.S. News & World Report)

  • Policy: A Washington state carbon tax: All pain, no gain (National Review)

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

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Defining Chain Migration and Visa Lottery

By Brian Mark Weber

During his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Donald Trump spoke directly to the American people — and bypassed the media — in laying out where the country is and what the future holds. While the president rattled off an impressive array of first-year accomplishments, one of the most anticipated topics was his immigration plan.

The president outlined four “pillars” of his proposal: 1) a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants; 2) securing the border; 3) ending the visa lottery; and 4) ending chain migration. While most Americans understand the concept of a pathway to citizenship (a.k.a. amnesty) and securing the border, two of the president’s pillars are more elusive: chain migration and the visa lottery.

Even those who are well informed about immigration have a hard time getting their minds around the term chain migration. Of course, Democrats like Senators Dick Durbin and Kirsten Gillibrand now claim that the term is racist and hurtful (because of the word “chain” or something), but the reality is that the term simply polls poorly. More on that in a moment. In any case, the Democrats’ phony “racism” charge reveals just how little they care about solving the problem. (Especially given how much they’ve used the term before.)

Chain migration allows green card holders or legal residents to sponsor family members for immigration. CBS News adds that it’s “the most common legal form of immigration to the United States. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 238,087 immigrants were categorized as a ‘family-sponsored preference’ in 2016 and 566,706 came as ‘immediate relatives of U.S. citizens’ (spouses, children, or parents). Between 60 and 70 percent of all lawful permanent immigration to the United States in the past decade has family-based roots.”

Despite what many Americans believe, the president isn’t seeking an end to family-based immigration altogether. Instead, he wants to limit it to immediate family members. As the president stated during his address, “This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security and for the future of America.”

Another of the misconstrued pillars in the president’s plan is the visa lottery. What’s not to like about a lottery? The problem is, this lottery opens the door to just about anyone, including those without skills, a solid work ethic, or a strong desire to contribute to the American community. Not to mention that some of them have proven to be a flat-out threat to public safety.

The president explained, “It’s time to begin moving towards a merit-based immigration system, one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country.”

Who could argue against such a reasonable proposition? Well, just about every grim-faced Democrat who’d rather flood the country with millions of future Big Government voters than look out for what’s best for our nation’s economy, culture and national security.

Remember, this is the party that refused to applaud when the president announced during the State of the Union address that we have the lowest black and Hispanic unemployment in our country’s history. This is the party that was offered amnesty for nearly two million illegal aliens in exchange for a wall and a little border security — and cynically turned it down.

One of the reasons why Americans are so confused about the immigration debate is the language that’s carefully crafted by people like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to make sure most people don’t get what’s really going behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. In the deceptive lexicon of the Left, illegal aliens become “undocumented workers” and “Dreamers,” amnesty becomes a “pathway to citizenship,” and chain migration becomes “family reunification.”

Graham Hillard at National Review touches upon the importance of language in the immigration debate when he writes, “Like other issues that lie uneasily in the borderlands of politics and morality, the immigration debate invites a particularly noxious sort of deception, as partisans weaponize the media’s habit of picking one phrase and sticking with it. … In this instance, the Left wants the words ‘family reunification’ precisely because they appear to refer to a happy state of affairs that cannot be opposed by any decent human being.”

Given the American people’s generally unfavorable view of chain migration, it’ll be interesting to see how long it takes the mainstream media to side with its friends on the Left and adopt the sweeter-sounding, more poll-friendly “family reunification” euphemism.

One of the key concerns among some conservatives is whether Trump’s pillars will actually reduce immigration over the long term. After all, they argue, if we allow nearly two million illegal immigrants to become citizens, won’t the door open up to even more of the same? Republicans have fallen into this trap before.

Yet as the Washington Free Beacon notes, a report by Cato Institute scholars David Bier and Stuart Anderson found “that the administration’s plan, if implemented, would eventually reduce the number of legal immigrants by 490,000 people annually, down from just over 1.1 million to approximately 600,000, a 44 percent reduction.”

The Beacon adds, “Bier and Anderson then expect a phase-out period of between 10 and 50 years for the remaining family-sponsored immigration categories, as the backlogs for those applicants are cleared. All of this adds up, they argue, to an estimated 22 million people who would otherwise immigrate being denied entry into the United States over the next 50 years.”

These findings might ease the concerns of wary conservatives who want decisive action that will stop rewarding illegal immigrants for breaking the law. Of course, the final plan will need to go through the legislative process, so conservatives might want to give the president the benefit of the doubt until they see what if anything lands on his desk.

One thing is clear: As we head toward another possible government shutdown, President Trump and the Republicans have the upper hand. One could argue that their position is even stronger than it was last month when the GOP forced Chuck Schumer and the Democrats to retreat.

This time, thanks to the president’s address to the nation, Americans know what he’s offering on immigration and they largely support what he’s saying. If nothing else, they see Trump as a leader willing to find a real solution to a problem that has divided the country for decades.

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For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.



For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.



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


David Harsanyi: “The idea that intelligence agencies should be immune from oversight is a dangerous one. Even if texts between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page regarding the special counsel investigation were innocent venting that did absolutely nothing to corrode the rigid professionalism of the duo, we’re talking about an investigation that Democrats hope will lead to the impeachment and removal of the president. Logically speaking, you can’t argue that this is another Watergate and then argue that texts pertaining to the investigation of this new Watergate don’t deserve scrutiny. Are Republicans overplaying the potential impact of the memo in the same way Democrats have overplayed the ‘collusion’ card? It’s entirely possible. Nunes might be a hopeless Trump partisan, and the thousands of Trump supporters retweeting #ReleaseTheMemo might have irrational ideas about its importance. None of this makes the memo wholly irrelevant or a distraction. … Even if President Donald Trump is guilty of colluding with the Russians, or whatever crime special counsel Robert Mueller has settled on pursuing, it doesn’t mean the Obama administration was above abusing its power to spy on opponents. It’s highly plausible, in fact, that an administration that had little compunction about spying on journalists and others and then lying about it would feel comfortable dropping standards to snoop on its political adversaries.”


Upright: “The New American Moment laid out a ‘clear vision and a righteous mission — to make America great again for all Americans.’ But not everyone who happens to live in America wants it to be great.” —Daniel Greenfield

Braying Jackass: “Having studied history and having taught history, I can only equate one period of time with what we are experiencing now, and that was what was going on in Germany around 1934, right after the 1932 elections when Adolf Hitler was elected chancellor.” —Rep. James Clyburn

Alpha Jackass: “Wow, between [a] train full of [Republicans] hitting [a] truck and [Trey Gowdy’s retirement], God is working hard today to clean up the stink.” —Bernie Sanders surrogate Jonathan Tasini

Non Compos Mentis: “Whenever [Trump] appears on TV, there should be a disclaimer that says, ‘This may not be acceptable for children.’” —Rep. Maxine Waters

Dezinformatsiya: “It’s ironic that a president who wants to build a wall with Latin America is actually importing a style of cult-of-personality politics that is reminiscent of Juan Peron, or, or actually of, of Hugo Chavez as well. And that’s an irony I don’t think his, his supporters really appreciate.” —New York Times columnist Bret Stephens

Race bait: “There’s a reason the tax bill is so unpopular. It’s a terrible idea — arguably … the worst law to be enacted on Capitol Hill since the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which allowed the return of captured escaped slaves up North to their whip-cracking masters down South.” —Philly.com columnist Will Bunch

Incapable of giving credit where credit’s due: “It’s certainly a victory for both Obama and Trump that they had a strategy that basically worked to shrink ISIS’s territory a lot in Syria and Iraq.” —former Washington Post reporter Perry Bacon

Village Idiots: “[The Trump era] is the natural reaction to the amount of light that came into the world when Barack Obama was the president.” —actor Will Smith

Late-night humor: “Experts said it was a very historic State of the Union. You know, because it marked the first time since taking office that Trump went a full hour without tweeting.” —Jimmy Fallon

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Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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