Mid-Day Digest

May 17, 2018

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Marking one full year, the Mueller investigation still has no evidence.
  • Wasserman Schultz: “The NRA is kind of just shy of a terrorist organization.”
  • How tribalism is ruining America.
  • Free markets mean free people. The opposite is also true.
  • Gillibrand’s mythical version of the 2008 financial crisis blames men.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“Let justice be done though the heavens should fall.” —John Adams (1777)

IN BRIEF

Mueller Investigation One Year Old, Still No Collusion

Thomas Gallatin

President Donald Trump marked the one-year anniversary of the Robert Mueller special investigation by writing, “Congratulations America, we are now into the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History…and there is still No Collusion and No Obstruction. The only Collusion was that done by Democrats who were unable to win an Election despite the spending of far more money!” Indeed, the fact remains that after a year of investigating, no evidence of any Trump/Russian collusion has been presented by Mueller’s team of Hillary Clinton donors. Witch hunt?

Clearly seeking to ratchet up the pressure on the Mueller investigation in order to bring it to a quick end, Rudy Giuliani, now Trump’s lead attorney, stated yesterday, “This case is essentially over. … [Mueller’s team is] just in denial.” Giuliani also noted that Mueller acknowledged the investigation would follow Justice Department guidance and not seek an indictment against Trump. That’s really not news, though, as it does not preclude Mueller from recommending that the House pursue impeachment. But over what?

Speaking of Congress, the Senate Judiciary Committee released a report that seemed to contradict last month’s House report. In short, the Senate concluded that the U.S. intelligence community did indeed believe the Russian government ran a sophisticated and extensive effort to interfere in the 2016 election, and that the Kremlin aimed to help Trump and hurt Clinton. However, this report in no way even purports to provide evidence for any collusion conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. Rather it simply agrees with the intelligence community’s assessment that Moscow was working to interfere in the election. There is no news here, despite Leftmedia attempts to drum it up.

But what is more revealing was yesterday’s release of transcripts from the Senate Judiciary Committee’s closed-door hearing with those involved in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian attorney. It’s significant because that meeting was supposedly the smoking gun upon which the collusion narrative hung — that and the Clinton-funded dossier. And what we find is that the meeting was a giant nothingburger. There is no evidence of collusion. In fact, as Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey argues, “If Mueller doesn’t care about this testimony becoming public … it suggests that the Trump Tower meeting doesn’t matter to the Russian-collusion track — and without the Trump Tower meeting, that track seems pretty narrow.”

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Wasserman Schultz Calls Five Million Americans ‘Terrorists’

Nate Jackson

“The NRA is kind of just shy of a terrorist organization,” declared Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “They have done everything they can to perpetuate the culture of violence that we have in our country with the spread of assault weapons across the nation.” She was responding to Oliver North, the NRA’s new president, who said recently of gun-controllers, “They call them activists. That’s what they’re calling themselves. They’re not activists — this is civil terrorism.” He accused them of “intimidation and harassment and lawbreaking.”

North has a point, especially in light of the recent hate-filled boycott campaign against the NRA and the ignorant political pawns marching against our constitutional rights.

But we want to rebut Wasserman Schultz’s gross slander more specifically. The nearly 150-year-old NRA is made up of roughly five million Americans who love our Constitution and stand in particular for the Second Amendment — the right that secures all the others. Those Americans commit crimes at a far lower rate than the general population. In fact, as a subset, concealed-carry permit holders are more law-abiding than the police. No NRA member has ever perpetrated a mass murder, though an NRA instructor did stop the one in Texas last year. When the annual NRA convention comes to any city, that city’s crime rate drops. The NRA spends millions instructing Americans of all ages how to responsibly handle firearms, both for recreational purpose and self-defense. That reduces crime.

By contrast, most crime in America — and particularly gun crime — is committed on urban poverty plantations that Democrats have run for decades. That crime is not committed with what Democrats have misnamed “assault weapons,” either, but by illegally owned handguns often wielded by drug dealers and gangs. Democrats perpetuate the culture of death through their rabid support of abortion. When political violence is committed, it’s usually against Republicans. And as for actual terrorists, well, Democrat Barack Obama funded it with billions of dollars.

“It’s kind of like a spoiled child stamping their feet on the ground, insisting that something right in front of their face isn’t true,” Wasserman Schultz said. Yes. Yes it is. But it’s worse than that. Her hateful slander of law-abiding Americans is utterly contemptible.

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Top Headlines

  • FBI used secret program to gather information on Trump campaign, no judge needed (The Daily Wire)
  • Armed resource officer does his job, stops a would-be school shooter in Illinois (National Review)
  • Since 2002, U.S. has spent $2.8 trillion to fight terrorism (The Washington Times)
  • Senate votes to restore net neutrality rules (ABC News)
  • Speaker Paul Ryan: “The House has prevailed” in court saga over ObamaCare payments (The Washington Times)
  • Michigan State agrees to pay $500 million to Nasser sexual abuse victims (National Review)
  • A new study finds the more people rely on their Facebook feed for news, the less politically knowledgeable they are (Pacific Standard)
  • Chicago community group sues to stop construction on Obama presidential library (The Daily Wire)
  • U.S. births hit lowest number since 1987 (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Humor: Hamas terrorist at Gaza border surprised to hear media describe him as peaceful protester (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: Seattle’s war on business won’t help combat homelessness (Independent Women’s Forum)
  • Policy: California’s solar-panel mandate for new homes will keep the cost of living unaffordable (City Journal)

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

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

My Country or My Tribe?

Arnold Ahlert

“Tribalism, it’s always worth remembering, is not one aspect of human experience. It’s the default human experience.” —columnist Andrew Sullivan in 2017

If one were to believe much of the Leftmedia’s take, America was a reasonable nation until Donald Trump was elected. Yet the tribalism we now call identity politics has been nurtured for decades, engendered by the change from one simple idea to another: a nation once urged to embrace assimilation in all its “melting pot” permutations became one where “celebrating our differences” was deemed the more enlightened approach.

It was a total fraud.

One that is reaching epic proportions. Did we really have a presidential candidate willing to completely dismiss millions of Americans as “deplorables” simply because they disagreed with her political philosophy, and/or disliked her personally? How do Hillary Clinton, her media allies and her legions of supporters account for the fact that many of those same deplorables voted for Barack Obama?

“Trump ran and won as, among other things, a white racial demagogue who mocked and insulted minorities on his way to the White House; while the left, as it has grown more diverse, has become accustomed to periodic spasms of hostility and mutual recrimination among its various minority groups and their white allies,” asserts columnist Paul MacDougald.

Really? A majority of Trump voters embrace racial demagoguery? And the Left’s understanding of diversity consists of sub-tribes jockeying for primacy, largely based on which one can elicit the most guilt from all the others?

Such clichéd cynicism, and the unending torrent of political correctness needed to sustain it, was as much a driver of Trump’s victory as anything else. And adding to leftist despair is the reality that Trump’s coarseness — seen as the antidote to political correctness — was not a bug but a feature of his success.

The real divide in America? The Right believes the Left is wrong. The Left believes the Right is evil.

Thus, leftists believe it is their sacred duty to impose their beliefs on the nation whether it wants them or not. And because of that sacredness, executive orders, court decisions, bureaucratic fiats and everything else that can be used to thwart the constitutional order is perfectly acceptable — when leftists do it.

Thus, a Supreme Court that usurps states’ rights and changes the 5,000-year-old definition of marriage is to be applauded. The same Court upholding an individual’s right to keep and bear arms? A travesty of justice. Barack Obama implementing DACA by executive order? Enlightened. Donald Trump demanding Congress decide the issue? Anti-immigrant bigotry.

Nor is the divide simply about differing worldviews. Many progressives themselves once had traditional beliefs regarding subjects like marriage and gender. But since they’ve “evolved,” every American must follow suit — within a progressive-defined timeline. Those who don’t? As contemptible as those who resist completely.

“When civil rights shifted from punishing mandatory segregation to punishing the lack of integration, it ceased to be a movement pursuing freedom and instead became a totalitarian movement,” asserts columnist Daniel Greenfield.

That totalitarian movement has pushed millions of well-meaning Americans into tribalist enclaves, where safety becomes more important than freedom of expression. And that retreat is often justified by what many Americans perceive is a double-standard with regard to accountability. Did the Trump campaign collude with the Russians, or is a Ruling Class long used to getting its way seeking to nullify the 2016 election? Are we an exceptional nation built on an unprecedented understanding of human rights and the limits of government power, or one built on the “genocide of native people and slavery,” where the “cradle of democracy is "bulls—t,” as filmmaker Spike Lee asserts? In America today, one’s answers to such questions are more often than not determined by one’s tribal allegiance.

As Sullivan reminds us, tribalism is not necessarily a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with “unconditional pride, in our neighborhood and community; in our ethnic and social identities and their rituals; among our fellow enthusiasts,” he writes. By contrast, he warns, when it calcifies and “rivals our attachment to the nation as a whole” and “turns rival tribes into enemies” it ultimately destabilizes the nation.

Of course, Sullivan blames both sides for the divisiveness but holds the Right more accountable — or so he thinks. “One of the great attractions of tribalism is that you don’t actually have to think very much,” he asserts.

The American Right can be blamed for a great many things with regard to tribalism. But dumbing-down public schools and colleges that routinely turn out legions of weak-thinking but well-indoctrinated social justice warriors isn’t one of them.

Is there a truce to be had? Oddly enough, the most recent Supreme Court decision striking down a federal law prohibiting sports betting epitomizes the “live and let live” federalism the Founding Fathers were prescient enough to make an integral part of governing documents. Yet federalism is only part of the equation. “Nurturing your difference or dissent from your own group is difficult; appreciating the individuality of those in other tribes is even harder,” Sullivan explains.

Individual thinking would undoubtedly be fatal for tribalism. But if the Left’s reaction to Kanye West is any indication, tribalism in America will last as long as leftists view a heckler’s veto as a reasonable substitute for debate.

It’s not. Not by a long shot.

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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

Jeff Jacoby: “Since the election of Donald Trump on an explicit ‘America First’ platform, the number of Democrats saying the United States is doing too little to better the world has more than doubled, from 22 percent to 48 percent. Of course it is risky to read too much into public-opinion soundings. Still, Americans … do seem once again to be rediscovering the hard truth that, in world affairs, the United States is irreplaceable. As long as the United States remains the world’s most powerful democracy, it cannot safely shirk the job of global policeman — deterring aggression, upholding the rule of law, defending human rights. When it tries to do so, the planet’s worst actors are emboldened. Americans have changed their mind about Bush. Ten years after he left the White House, a majority now approve of the job he did as president, and his favorability rating has climbed above 60 percent. But Bush’s views haven’t changed. In a speech last week, he reiterated the case for U.S. leadership. ‘America is indispensable for the world,’ said the former president. ‘The dangers of isolation loom.’ He quoted Churchill’s admonition that, as the foremost nation on earth, America could not avoid being ‘convulsed’ by the world’s problems: ‘The price of greatness is responsibility.’ Americans cannot right every wrong, and we have not always acted with prudence. Nevertheless, the world needs a policeman, and there is no realistic candidate for that job except the United States. Retreating into isolation may sound appealing; the results are invariably awful. Americans sometimes forget that lesson, until reality re-teaches it the hard way.”

SHORT CUTS

Upright: “Is [Robert] Mueller investigating a crime or going in search of a crime? One is police work; the other is characteristic of a police state.” —Dinesh D'Souza

For the record: “[Seattle’s] head tax won’t be paid by Amazon. Companies don’t pay taxes. People ultimately pay taxes. That means that this tax will come out of the wages of future employees, the bonuses and wage growth of current employees, the dividends of shareholders, and the pockets of customers, who will face higher prices. It could also lead to the longer-term decision by Amazon to shrink its Seattle operation for the benefit of its second headquarters, the location of which is still being decided. Other cities should take note. Don’t repeat Seattle’s mistake.” —Veronique de Rugy

Race bait: “It’s like pulling teeth to get America to acknowledge and to get any sitting U.S. president, Democrat or Republican, to acknowledge that America is a colonial state built on the theft of indigenous people’s land. That white supremacy is America’s original sin. We have to be able to have that honest conversation. We have to say that America is built on unpaid black labor.” —Marc Lamont Hill

Demo-gogues: “What was the point of the Revolution if subjects of the British Crown get single payer health care and university education at a fraction of what it costs us and we are stuck with a President guilty of treason, bribery and other crimes, and a Congress unwilling to get rid of him?” —Democrat Senate candidate Richard Painter

From the Socialist Democrat Files: “I think [government regulation of executive pay] is a very good idea, and I think we should start talking about it.” —Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), deputy chair of the DNC

And last… “We’re at the point where Hamas are freedom fighters and the NRA is a terrorist organization.” —Twitter satirist @hale_razor

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher