Mid-Day Digest

Feb. 13, 2018

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • McConnell is handing Schumer’s Demos the rope with which to hang themselves.
  • Susan Rice sent a last-minute CYA email to help Obama over Russia collusion.
  • Trump’s budget shows that caring about spending is “so yesterday.”
  • The Obamas’ official portraits are out, and one of the artists is a vile racist.
  • Jeff Sessions talks about “Anglo-American heritage” and the Left goes nuts.
  • Our military tech is being cloned by our adversaries.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“On every question of construction carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” —Thomas Jefferson (1823)

IN BRIEF

McConnell’s DACA Strategy: Let Demos Look Extreme

By Nate Jackson

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made a rare move Monday, opening the floor for debate on immigration. Other than a general proposal based on President Donald Trump’s four pillars of reform — 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 — the debate is wide open for amendments from all quarters. “Whoever gets to 60 [votes] wins,” McConnell said. That’s because McConnell promised Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that he’d allow such debate in exchange for Democrats ceasing to hold the budget, including military personnel and their families, hostage to their duplicitous DACA demands.

We use the word “hostage” for a reason. Democrats generally despise Trump’s generous compromise offer, and as Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) lectured, “Dreamers should not be held hostage to President Trump’s crusade to tear families apart and waste billions of American tax dollars on an ineffective wall.” Think about that for a moment: According to Durbin and his Democrat cronies, people who are here illegally, in violation of American Rule of Law, are being “held hostage” to demands that the law be enforced.

Indeed, such “logic” motivates McConnell’s strategy. He knows all too well that Democrats will rabidly oppose any Republican plan because of both their Trump Derangement Syndrome and their hope to rally their own base with the immigration issue for the 2018 election. By all means, Democrats should counter Trump’s America First agenda with their platform of putting illegal aliens first. Or, as Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw put it, “It looks to me like McConnell is throwing Chuck Schumer as much rope as he’s willing to take and inviting the Democrats to go hang themselves with it.”

That isn’t to say a path to citizenship for DACA recipients is especially controversial; we don’t think it is. (Expanding it beyond the initial 800,000 or so is another matter.) But it is to say that the vast majority of Americans see Trump’s proposal as eminently reasonable, while Democrats’ steadfast refusal to take “yes” for an answer is exposed as the fanatical and divisive partisanship that it is.

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Susan Rice’s Last-Minute CYA Email

At 12:15 p.m. on Inauguration Day 2017, Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice sent herself a fairly important and unusual email (see below). It came to light Monday, thanks to the work of Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham — the same pair that affirmed the House FISA memo findings.

In the email, Rice made notes about a meeting that occurred two weeks prior on Jan. 5, 2017, involving Obama, then-FBI Director James Comey, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Joe Biden and Rice. The subject of the conversation was Obama’s supposed desire that the FBI’s investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia go “by the book.” According to Grassley and Graham, the meeting also covered the phony Christopher Steele dossier — you know, the one funded by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. No wonder “one source familiar with the meeting” denied it covered the dossier.

That date is significant because this meeting took place the day before Comey and the FBI visited Trump Tower to brief the president-elect on the investigation and the dossier, which had already been used to justify surveillance of Trump’s campaign. As Rice indicates, the meeting participants debated what and how much to tell Trump — Obama wanted to hide some things.

Rice’s emphasis on Obama’s “by the book” instruction particularly stinks of covering his rear, whether he actually said it or Rice embellished the recollection. Literally on the way out the White House door for the last time, Rice made it a priority to leave a paper trail confirming Obama’s careful handling of the investigation. If anything had gone wrong — which we now know in great detail just how wrong it did go — that record would supposedly prove it wasn’t Obama’s fault.

Grassley and Graham wrote their own letter to Rice demanding answers to a few questions by Feb. 22. Those questions include some that are of the “what did you know and when did you know it?” variety. The answers — if Rice bothers to provide them — will be key in understanding more about the whole affair.

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Top Headlines

  • Lead Senate immigration hawks introduce Trump immigration plan as bill (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Trump budget proposal projects deficit spending for the next decade (The Daily Signal)

  • Administration proposes cutting all federal funds for NPR, PBS (Fox News)

  • Dossier’s 10 core collusion accusations remain unverified (The Washington Times)

  • Good news for Republicans: Stealth Hillary planning to campaign invisibly in 2018 (National Review)

  • AG Jeff Sessions used the phrase “Anglo-American” and the Left is melting down (Hot Air)

  • Obama’s portrait artist has also painted black people beheading white people (The Daily Wire)

  • The Education Department says it won’t act on transgender student bathroom access (NPR)

  • Humor: Bigoted Olympics separates events into men’s, women’s (The Babylon Bee)

  • Policy: Our national debt and government spending are a moral abomination (The Federalist)

  • Policy: Trump infrastructure plan: privatization, deregulation, and spending (Reason)

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

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

The Next Budget Boondoggle

By Paul Albaugh

President Donald Trump on Monday released his $4.4 trillion budget proposal for 2019. As The Daily Signal adds, Trump “is proposing a 10-year spending plan that never produces a balanced budget, and increases deficit spending by $7.2 trillion over the next decade.” Did someone say “Tea Party”?

No, apparently not.

Most conservatives have longed for the day when our elected officials would cut taxes, rein in spending and produce a balanced budget. We will have to long some more because from the looks of Trump’s proposal and the actions of Republicans in Congress, the days of working for any semblance of fiscal sanity are past. Instead of reducing spending, Trump’s latest proposal would add to the national debt even more because it makes little effort to control deficit spending.

“Talk about an afterthought,” says The Wall Street Journal. “Congress just passed a two-year budget outline that supersedes nearly everything Mr. Trump is proposing.” Indeed, presidential budget proposals never pass Congress, but they provide a guide to the administration’s priorities.

Among the many problems in Washington, one of the biggest is that there are too few fiscally conservative politicians. And it’s not just Democrats who have a spending problem — it’s the majority of Republicans in Congress as well. And, oh, by the way, the GOP currently has the majority in the House and the Senate. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul perhaps said it best when he declared, “When the Democrats are in power, Republicans appear to be the conservative party, but when Republicans are in power, it seems there is no conservative party.”

The budget Trump signed last week adds $320 billion in spending to an already bloated budget. Republicans caved to just about every one of the Democrats’ spending proposals, which will of course add to the national debt. Trump’s 2019 budget proposal sets a goal of $3 trillion in spending cuts, but it doesn’t balance the budget because those cuts aren’t cuts — they’re reductions in anticipated growth. Trump is counting on an improving economy due to the tax cuts to help with narrowing the gap. Thus his administration assumes that by cutting funds in certain government programs but spending more in others, the debt will shrink relative to the economy. That has not worked out well in the past.

Republicans have campaigned for years about cutting taxes, cutting spending and balancing the budget. So far we’ve seen action on the first plank, but little on the other two. Of course, Donald Trump did not campaign as a small government conservative — he campaigned as a businessman, a dealmaker who could “drain the swamp.”

For example, Trump’s two budget proposals keep his campaign promises to not touch Social Security and Medicare, but those programs account for an enormous part of the U.S. budget and are not sustainable. As the Journal notes, “Look at ‘payments for individuals,’ which encompass such income transfers as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and food stamps, among other things. This category was 47.7% of outlays in 1989 and has steadily climbed to reach an estimated 69.2% in 2019.”

To be sure, there’s a big difference between food stamps and Social Security, but that’s astounding — nearly 70% of the budget is straight up income redistribution.

Still, seniors in particular view Social Security and Medicare, not without reason, as something they are due and that shouldn’t be messed with because they paid into the system for decades. Despite the fact, however, that both programs are funded by today’s workers, and that the fiscal future for these government programs looking very bad, people who pay in don’t want the government intervening to “fix” it, because most realize that government fixes usually turn into greater problems. Trump knows this too.

That leads to the primary factor here. Most voters — from both major political parties — just don’t care about the budget or deficit spending. The issue doesn’t even crack the top 10 list of concerns for most voters. Most voters despise politicians and during election years cry out for smaller government. But when elected officials start talking about spending cuts for this or that program, many of their constituents cry out for the program to remain in place — or demand that more funds be allocated for the particular program.

Washington politicos know this, which is why both parties, particularly the “centrists” on both sides of the aisle push, pull and compromise on each other’s principles to spend money on pet projects that they think will benefit the majority of their constituents get the most votes. The focus becomes not on fiscal restraint but on pleasing constituents so that those in power can remain in power. The end result, as we have witnessed time and time again, is more of the same.

That’s why getting a balanced budget passed or actually reducing federal deficit spending may not ever happen because in the end neither party cares enough about the deficit enough to cut money from their favorite programs. Unfortunately, we will continue to get more of the same until the old guard politicians from both parties who have clung to their power for so long are voted out of office and replaced with people who understand the importance of constitutional government run with fiscal restraint.

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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

Dennis Prager: “One of the most important differences between the Right and the Left … is the difference between unhappy liberals and unhappy conservatives. Unhappy conservatives generally believe they are unhappy because life is inherently difficult and tragic, and because they have made some unwise decisions in life. But unhappy liberals generally believe they are unhappy because they have been persecuted. Ask unhappy leftists why they are unhappy and they are likely to respond that they are oppressed. This is the primary response given by unhappy leftist women, blacks, Latinos and gays. … The Left cultivates unhappiness by cultivating anger. It does this for the same reason wine growers cultivate grapes: No grapes, no wine; no anger, no Left (and no Democratic Party). And angry people are not happy people. … Unhappy Americans on the Right blame the problems inherent to life, and they blame themselves. Unhappy Americans on the Left blame America. That alone goes far in explaining the unbridgeable differences between Right and Left.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies, becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and for others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest form of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal in satisfying his vices.” —Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)

Worshipping Mother Earth: “Forging a coalition between the environmental movement and the women’s rights movement will not only fundamentally advance women’s rights but also do a world of good for the planet, which is bearing an environmental burden because of population growth. … Population projection experts estimate a worst-case scenario in which we grow by 70 percent and reach a population of 13 billion people by the end of the century. But if we continue to invest in sensible international family-planning programs and accept the challenge of meeting the needs of women and families, we could potentially stabilize the population at below 10 billion.” —John Podesta and Timothy E. Wirth

Non Compos Mentis: “The Dutch are really, really good at speed skating. … ‘Why are they so good?’ you may be asking yourself. Because skating is an important mode of transportation in a city like Amsterdam. [The city] has lots of canals that can freeze in winter. So, for as long as the canals have existed, the Dutch have skated on them to get from place to place, to race each other and also to have fun.” —NBC’s Katie Couric

Village Idiots, part I: “I thought that Mike Pence said that it was inappropriate to make political statements at sporting events? Wasn’t he that guy who walked out of the football game because people were kneeling and not standing?” —Sunny Hostin of “The View”

Village Idiots, part II: “We have to be respectful because what we do know about politicians is they end up sitting with people that you and I say, ‘Well, why are they sitting with them?’ So if you’re in Korea, you need to stand up. You need to stand up and show respect!” —Whoopi Goldberg

And last… “The liberal media praise a murderous regime and laugh off poison attempts on the First Family and then blame Trump when people question their credibility.” —Allie Stuckey

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher