Mid-Day Digest

Apr. 20, 2018

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • The Comey memos reveal a lot more about Comey than about Trump.
  • The president has done well to drastically cut regulations, but more needs to be done.
  • Academics say the NRA’s dystopian view isn’t coherent. They’re wrong.
  • Should the kids vote? There’s a move afoot to lower the voting age.
  • Colin Kaepernick can’t even get a tryout, much less a job.
  • Cuomo’s parolee voting decree is a good politics (for him) but bad policy.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.” —James Madison (1788)

IN BRIEF

Comey’s Memos Prove to Exonerate Trump

Thomas Gallatin

On Thursday, after months of foot-dragging and threats of subpoena and impeachment, the Justice Department finally handed over to Congress memos written by former FBI Director James Comey. They contain no bombshell revelations; rather they provide greater details of Comey’s meetings and conversations with President Donald Trump. And as Trump expressed via his favorite social media site, “James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?”

So what do we learn from the Comey memos? First, Trump is correct that there is nothing in them that supports any suspicion of Russian collusion. In fact, what may be most revealing about the memos is just how little support Comey was willing to offer Trump. For example, Comey brought to Trump’s attention the dubious and salacious dossier, ostensibly in order to warn the president about its existence, not because Comey was saying it was true. However, Comey failed — over multiple meetings — to inform Trump that the dossier had been paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Clearly, from the very beginning Comey chose to view Trump as a potential criminal suspect rather than president-elect, even though he had no solid evidence supporting this suspicion.

Second, it’s clear from the earliest meeting that Trump desired to work with and trust Comey. Trump expressed sympathy for the “impossible positions” Comey was in during the campaign, obviously alluding to the Clinton email investigation. It’s not until later meetings that Trump brought up “loyalty,” which Comey found so off-putting, even though we now learn that he essentially agreed to “honest loyalty.” Why would Trump have felt the need to question Comey on his loyalty? The answer seems obvious — Trump sensed (correctly, as it turns out) that Comey was not on board with his presidency and was seeking to determine if he could trust his subordinate.

Finally, as has been the case before, these memos reveal more about Comey’s character than they do Trump’s. Specifically, in the second meeting Comey had with Trump on Jan. 28, 2017, the president expressed concerns about stopping leaks and appeared to press Comey on his reliability. Comey wrote, “I explained that he could count on me to always tell him the truth. I said I don’t do sneaky things, I don’t leak, I don’t do weasel moves. But I was not on anybody’s side politically and could not be counted on in that traditional political sense.” No leaks? No weasel moves? One wonders if Comey was lying at the time or changed his mind later.

The memos add more weight to the conclusion that the former FBI director was a political hack. Comey chose to follow his personal high-minded “values” rather than the Rule of Law, and in so doing he justified decisions aimed at undercutting support for the president. Comey admitted as much in his Senate hearing after having been fired. Comey confessed to leaking to the press, stating, “I woke up in the middle of the night Monday [thinking] that there might be corroboration for our conversation. And my judgment was that I needed to get that out in the public square. So I asked a friend of mine to share the content of [my memos] with a reporter.” Trump was the only president for whom he felt he needed to keep his own memos. Why? Comey was clearly opposed to Trump and thought it might come in handy one day to have a record of his side of the story to use against the president.

On a final note, Comey’s oft-repeated refrain that he wanted to guard the integrity of and public trust in the FBI rings hollow. His decisions and actions indicate a man more focused on promoting his own partisan desires than objectively enforcing the Rule of Law no matter who was in office.

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Trump Oversees Biggest Cuts to Regs in Quarter-Century

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has released its Ten Thousand Commandments, an annual report on the scope, size and cost of federal regulations. Those regulations amount to a “hidden tax” on Americans, as well as a severe limit on Liberty. The good news is that President Donald Trump has followed through on his campaign promise to cut federal regulations, and his initial efforts have produced the most significant cutting of government red tape in more than 25 years. Here are some of the highlights thus far per the CEI:

  • Federal regulations and intervention cost Americans $1.9 trillion in 2017.
  • Federal regulation is a hidden tax that amounts to nearly $15,000 per U.S. household each year, more than Americans spend on any category in their family budget except for housing.
  • In 2017, 97 laws were enacted by Congress during the calendar year, while 3,281 rules were issued by agencies. Thus, 34 rules were issued for every law enacted.
  • If it were a country, U.S. federal regulation would be the world’s eighth-largest economy, ranking behind India and ahead of Italy.
  • Many Americans are concerned about their annual tax burden, but total regulatory costs exceeded the $1.88 trillion the IRS collected in both individual and corporate income taxes in 2017.
  • Some 67 federal departments, agencies, and commissions are currently working on 3,209 new regulations in various stages of development.
  • The five most active rulemaking entities — the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Transportation, Treasury, and the Environmental Protection Agency — account for 1,359 rules, or 43 percent of all proposed regulations currently under consideration.
  • The 2017 Federal Register contained 61,308 pages, the lowest count since 1993 and a 36 percent drop from Obama’s 95,894 pages in 2016, the highest level ever recorded.

Clearly Trump is off to a good start, but as Wayne Crews, CEI’s vice president for policy, says, “There are warning signs.” Crews explains, “President Trump’s own apparent affinity for strong antitrust enforcement and protectionist trade policies threaten to undermine the economic gains from his regulatory reform efforts.” However, the greatest factor in controlling government regulations lies largely with the Congress, as the legislative branch ultimately has the most authority and responsibility to make the rules. Congress did use the Congressional Review Act to eliminate 15 onerous Obama-era rules in 2017, but Congress has in recent years and in certain areas delegated too much of its authority to non-elected federal bureaucrats.

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Top Headlines

  • Democrat Party files lawsuit alleging Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks conspired to disrupt the 2016 campaign (The Washington Post)

  • DOJ watchdog reportedly sends criminal referral for McCabe to federal prosecutor (Fox News)

  • Court rules against Trump effort to hit sanctuary cities (The Hill)

  • Raul Castro, 86, stepped down Thursday as president, handing the reins to his hand-picked successor, the much younger Miguel Diaz-Canel (National Review)

  • This just in: White working-class voters may not care about Trump scandals (New York)

  • Students walk out across United States in yet another call for gun control (Reuters)

  • Obama pens ‘TIME 100’ tribute to Parkland students pushing for gun control (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Wells Fargo to be slapped with $1 billion penalty by regulators, just after teachers union severs ties over guns (USA Today)

  • Arizona teachers vote to strike, sparking first-ever statewide walkout (NPR)

  • College Republicans get in huge trouble for posting “I.C.E. I.C.E. Baby” signs (Reason)

  • Policy: The Renewable Fuel Standard’s policy failures and economic burdens (American Action Forum)

  • Policy: Despite Trump’s cutbacks, federal regulatory monster still consumes $1.9 trillion (Investor’s Business Daily)

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

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

The Kids Should Vote, They Say

Brian Mark Weber

The 2020 presidential election could get very interesting. Think about it: A whole slate of ancient leftists and unknown upstarts will likely battle it out to be their party’s standard-bearer. Bernie Sanders might try again to win the nomination stolen by Hillary Clinton in 2016. Or we could see Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren going head-to-head against Donald Trump. And if Democrats get their way, your neighborhood 16- and 17-year-olds might be standing in line with you on Election Day. But they won’t just be handing out “I Voted” stickers. They’ll actually be voting.

The Washington, DC, city council is considering a bill introduced by Ward 6 council member Charles Allen lowering the voting age to 16. But unlike other small cities around the country that have passed similar measures, the District of Columbia is treated in some ways as a state — which would allow these DC adolescents to cast a ballot for our next president. That would require congressional approval.

This isn’t the first time the Left has tried to tap into the frustrations of young people in order to advance its agenda. In 1971, fresh off the Vietnam War protests across the nation, Congress passed the 26th Amendment, which gave citizens 18 and older the right to vote.

The argument at the time was that anyone old enough to be sent off to fight in an unjust war ought to be able to vote. In the 1960s, when leftist politicians saw the lengths to which young people were willing to protest against the establishment, they just couldn’t wait to bestow political power upon their draft-dodging brethren and like-minded fellow travelers.

Today’s argument for allowing 16-year-olds to vote is based on the same premise. If the Parkland school shootings taught us one thing, it’s that George Soros-funded teens can be just as rebellious as their 1960s counterparts. But today’s youth protesters are willing to go even further than the Woodstock generation: They’re perfectly willing to trash constitutional rights if it means forcing their policies and ideology on the rest of us.

The Washington Post thinks adults failed the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and that “maybe it would make sense to give them and their cohort a bigger say in their future.”

Would it make sense? As David Davenport writes at Forbes, “If it is a question of maturity, researchers generally agree that the brain is still developing until the mid-20s, with moral reasoning and abstract thought coming later in the cycle than previously thought.”

More problematic is that studies show a significant number of high school students lack proficiency when it comes to U.S. history, civics and the Constitution. Some can’t name a senator or member of Congress in their home districts, or even the president of the United States for that matter. So why push voting rights for kids who don’t know the first thing about government?

The Leftmedia is drooling over the possibilities.

Joshua Douglass at CNN suggests, “The students are fed up with our politicians and are using their voices to demand change. Imagine if they could also vote and turned out in significant numbers. Would meaningful gun reform legislation be more likely to pass? Would our politicians actually be more responsive to the public will?”

Well, the cat’s out of the bag. This isn’t merely about opening the door for today’s passionate and thoughtful youth to participate in our democracy. Nor is it about ensuring that future citizens will stand up for freedom of speech or constitutional rights. Quite the opposite, in fact. This is about using the Parkland tragedy to infiltrate the impressionable minds of young people to repeal the Second Amendment. Period.

And make no mistake: David Hogg and his Twitter-savvy acolytes will be further trained to fight for a broad range of causes and issues in the future. Democrats don’t view these kids as thoughtful citizens but as loyal soldiers in an army ready to tear apart the fabric of our Constitution. Think about it: No one would be pushing voting rights for 16-year-olds if they were marching for the protection of the unborn, defense of the Second Amendment or preservation of traditional marriage.

The media tell us that no generation of youth has ever been so poised to make an impact at the ballot box as Millennials. But that generation can already vote, so what about those behind them? If these budding leftists are given voter ID cards in time for the next presidential election, chances are they’ll have lost interest in this whole citizenship thing.

Heck, with Donald Trump’s roaring economy, these kids might actually have to show up for work and pay taxes by 2020 — at which point they’ll find out that not all bosses allow their employees to walk out of work to join a protest. And by then maybe they’ll understand that shouting down alternative ideas or trampling upon constitutional rights makes one a left-wing agitator, not a responsible citizen.

To all those 14-year-olds hoping to vote in two years, here’s some advice: Read the Constitution, study history and learn about our political system. You’ll see right through those adults currently using you to push their leftist agenda, and you’ll earn the right to one day cast your vote for president.

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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

Kay Coles James: “Nineteen years ago today, Americans turned on the news. And we saw it: The harrowing footage of students running out of Columbine High School. I learned later the Columbine attackers tried to prevent those students from leaving. They planted a powerful bomb in the school cafeteria and set it to go off when the room would be full of kids. The bomb didn’t explode, thank God, but if it had, police say hundreds would have died. As it was, the attackers took 13 precious lives, injured 24 other students and teachers, and left a scar in our nation’s soul that remains with us still. … This solemn anniversary needs to be a day for both mourning and commitment. Nothing can bring back the lives and innocence lost 19 years ago, but we can — and must — resolve to take the action that has yet to be completed. … That means taking real action on the many warning signs of danger that tend to come to light only after an attack has occurred. It means recognizing and proactively treating mental illness, which has afflicted so many of those involved in mass public attacks. It also means putting an end to bullying, which the Secret Service says was a factor in two-thirds of America’s premeditated school attacks. It means taking concrete steps to secure our schools and improve law enforcement. And it means taking a hard look at the crises in our culture — including media violence, broken families, and the absence of faith — that are present in so many of these attacks. … Let’s not let another 19 years — or even another 19 days — go by without getting serious about school safety.”

SHORT CUTS

Upright: “It is far more plausible that the FBI director believed he was insulating the future president from criminal charges, as well as preserving his reputation by being tough on her. There was certainly no way the partisan attorney general was going to prosecute the person most people assumed was going to be the next president of the United States. Comey did the best he could navigating these turbulent political waters. And what’s become clear is that rather than engaging in the pursuit of justice, Comey was engaging in the age-old Washington pursuit of self-preservation.” —David Harsanyi

Observations: “One could also say that the Democratic Party lost the presidency because it nominated a candidate under investigation for committing a felony. And it seems as certain as these things can be that if Hillary Clinton had followed the law and regulations, there would be today no President Trump, no Attorney General Sessions, no EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, no Justice Neil Gorsuch. The blame ultimately belongs to Barack Obama, who knew of Clinton’s private email system and who could have ordered her to follow the law. But that’s one bit of collusion that didn’t occur.” —Michael Barone

Braying Jenny: “RIP Barbara Bush, the only woman who was 92 for 30 years.” —"The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" writer Jen Spyra

Hot air hyperbole: “We’re going to have widespread disruption, more conflicts, more terrorism, more insecurity because of climate disruption. The prospect is three billion people on this planet will be subject to fatal lethal heat events — three billion — and one billion will be subjected to vector diseases that they’re not now subject to now. This is a horror.” —California Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown

And last… “The story at Starbucks isn’t racism but entitlement. The two men felt entitled to loiter on private property without buying anything. They decided that the rules didn’t apply to them. And apparently they were correct.” —Matt Walsh

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
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