Mid-Day Digest

May 18, 2018

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • The Leftmedia’s BIG lie on Trump and “animals.”
  • Trump uses Reagan rule to block abortion funding.
  • The cultural shift against free speech is worrisome.
  • Taxpayers get a half-billion-dollar bill for Nassar’s crimes.
  • Truth vs. fiction on the farm bill.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors?” —Thomas Jefferson (1781)

IN BRIEF

‘Animals’: The Leftmedia’s Latest BIG Lie

Thomas Gallatin

Here we have yet another case study in the mainstream media’s practice of dezinformatsiya in the era of #Resistance to Donald Trump. It was a classic example of how deviously removing context can be used to create an alternative narrative that is then presented as fact. In this case, the MSM went out of its way to bolster its narrative that Trump’s motivation for enforcing America’s immigration laws is his own racism.

The context the MSM intentionally ignored: Trump was involved Wednesday in a roundtable discussion with law enforcement from across the country seeking to address the problems sanctuary cities pose for immigration enforcement. At one point, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims thanked the president for recognizing and seeking to address the problem. But she also complained about the law: “There could be an MS-13 member I know about [but] if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it.”

Trump responded:

We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It’s crazy. The dumbest laws — as I said before, [we have] the dumbest laws on immigration in the world. So we’re going to take care of it, Margaret. We’ll get it done.

Cue the Leftmedia’s spin. Here are a few of the headlines:

The Washington Post: “Trump compares illegal immigrants to ‘animals’”

The New York Times: “Trump calls some unauthorized immigrants ‘animals’ in rant”

Huffington Post: “Trump refers to immigrants as ‘animals.’ Again.”

USA Today: “Trump ramps up rhetoric on undocumented immigrants: ‘These aren’t people. These are animals.’”

Vox: “Trump on deported immigrants: ‘They’re not people. They’re animals.’”

NPR: “During roundtable, Trump calls some unauthorized immigrants ‘animals’”

What utterly contemptible lies. Trump responded to the propaganda in his usual fashion, stating, “Fake News Media had me calling Immigrants, or Illegal Immigrants, ‘Animals.’ Wrong! … I referred to MS 13 Gang Members as ‘Animals,’ a big difference — and so true. Fake News got it purposely wrong, as usual!”

Once again, the Leftmedia has been exposed as a lying spin machine for Democrat talking points. It’s no wonder so many Americans have lost trust in the media.

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Trump Uses Reagan Rule to Block Abortion Funding

Nate Jackson

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan used Title X regulations to prevent organizations that receive federal dollars from promoting or referring for abortions, or from sharing physical space with abortion providers. After all, the 1970 law establishing Title X states: “None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” Nevertheless, abortion proponents sued. Though the Supreme Court ruled in Reagan’s favor, the policy never actually went into effect because neither President Bush followed his lead, and, naturally, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama opposed it. President Donald Trump, however, plans to resurrect that rule in an announcement today. Stand by for Planned Parenthood to sue in three, two, one…

Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion mill, kills more than 300,000 unborn babies every year, and it receives $500 million in taxpayer funding to do so. Of course, the organization insists that it’s complying with federal law preventing taxpayer dollars from being used directly for abortions. As Yuval Levin explained in 2015, “Planned Parenthood gets around the legal prohibition by formally separating its abortion clinics and its other family planning services, even when those are located in the same facility and essentially funded jointly.”

But let’s be honest — abortions are what Planned Parenthood does. Other health services are a mere fig leaf designed to obscure that fact. Pouring water in the shallow end of the pool is the same as pouring it in the deep end.

Given that Republicans in unified control of Washington have failed to defund Planned Parenthood as promised, Trump’s move is a welcome one. But does it go far enough?

Well, the rule only affects $260 million in federal funding for contraception and other “family planning” services, of which Planned Parenthood receives part. The bulk of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding comes from Medicaid, and only legislation can stop it.

Furthermore, “This proposal does not necessarily defund Planned Parenthood, as long as they’re willing to disentangle taxpayer funds from abortion as a method of family planning, which is required by the Title X law,” said an administration official. “Any grantees that perform, support, or refer for abortion have a choice — disentangle themselves from abortion or fund their activities with privately raised funds.” Planned Parenthood has no shortage of private funds, either.

In other words, it seems that semantics and accounting gimmicks may still suffice, and, contrary to the Leftmedia narrative, this does not amount to “sweeping new abortion restrictions.” Even so, Trump has yet again acted where congressional Republicans (and two previous GOP presidents) failed. Let’s hope it leads to further action to stop funding mass slaughter.

By the way, on Wednesday, former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards was presented with the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Just a reminder that she oversaw the demise of 3.5 million babies in her 12-year tenure.

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Top Headlines

  • Multiple dead, unknown injuries in shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, perpetrator in custody (ABC News)
  • DOJ’s inspector general finally completes probe of Hillary Clinton (The Washington Times)
  • Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief (The Washington Post)
  • Democrats: Trump judicial nominees care too much about being impartial (National Review)
  • California’s second Gilded Age, bigger mansions, more homeless (USA Today)
  • U.S. resettling more refugees than the population of Philadelphia (The Washington Free Beacon)
  • Warren reveals her plan to fundamentally transform America (The Western Journal)
  • Two in five top-ranking liberal arts schools have no full-time Republican professors (Reason)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale” now suggests Christians want child brides (The Daily Wire)
  • Humor report: Someone’s dad not attending royal wedding or something, or wow, who cares, seriously (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: Tax reform: Growing our economy and creating jobs (American Action Forum)
  • Policy: CDC neglect is killing Americans (Hudson Institute)

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

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

The Cultural Shift Against Free Speech

Brian Mark Weber

At first, Twitter seemed like a great idea: quickly and concisely communicating our thoughts with just a few keystrokes, rather than babbling on and on. Still, something didn’t seem quite right about that 140-character limitation, even when it was doubled to 280 characters last year. Somehow, it still seemed a restriction on our speech.

But that was just the beginning. This simple social media platform is now going far beyond limiting our character-count to controlling what we think and how we interact with our fellow citizens.

One of the core problems created by social media behemoths like Twitter and Facebook is not that their policies are posing any serious legal threat to the First Amendment. As David French writes at National Review, “The law of free speech has mainly improved. Americans might have more legal defenses against government censorship now than they ever have before. If the government moves against your speech based on your viewpoint and you fight back, you’re likely to win.”

But social media platforms can bypass the Constitution altogether by creating a paradigm shift in the way current and future generations understand the important role free speech plays in our society. French adds, “The culture of free speech has decayed. Individuals and organizations are far more sensitive and far less tolerant of dissent than they were even in the recent past.”

Twitter thinks it has the answer, but its users won’t be freer to speak their minds.

In 2016, Twitter launched an Orwellian “Trust & Safety Council” made up of more than 40 organizations, some of which have a history of suppressing free speech. Having thus created a council with representation from a very limited range of ideological perspectives, the company tipped its authoritarian hand.

Twitter explained that in order for users to “express themselves freely and safely on Twitter, we must provide more tools and policies.”

Somehow we’ve managed to build a thriving civilization without having our social interactions with others flagged by an intrusive authority, but now Twitter thinks we need just that. After all, society itself has embedded cultural norms and practices over time to ensure civil discourse. But these cultural norms are actually threatened by the advent of technology and the pervasive use of social media by millions of Americans.

Sure, some of Twitter’s changes seem benign on the surface. For example, the latest push by CEO Jack Dorsey purports to focus on people who are routinely blocked by other users, those who send tweets to accounts they don’t follow, and those who launch multiple accounts from a single IP address. But how far will this go? Dorsey himself said that “this is a step, but we can see this going quite far.”

Indeed, it may well go too far.

This week, The Verge posted an internal Google video imagining a future in which social media is used not merely to referee online interaction, but to socially engineer our entire society.

If that doesn’t send chills down your spine, then maybe we’re already closer to that world than we realize.

For now, Twitter asserts that it’s merely trying to rid the platform of “spammy behavior.” But earlier this year, James O'Keefe’s Project Veritas revealed (via The Daily Wire) “Twitter employees admitting that they ‘shadow ban’ right-leaning accounts, which essentially bans them from the platform without letting them know that they have been banned while allowing left-leaning accounts to slip through without the same scrutiny.”

That wouldn’t be so bad if Twitter were merely trying to filter out inappropriate or abusive online behavior without regard to ideology. But while middle-of-the-road conservative groups and individuals are being shadow-banned, Twitter has no qualms about allowing groups like Hamas to freely express their hatred and their calls for violence simply because Hamas is a democratically elected government entity that claims to be part of the Middle East “peace process.” Remember, Hamas was deemed a foreign terrorist organization by none other than President Bill Clinton in 1997, and it orchestrated the recent violence on the Gaza border that lead to the deaths of dozens of its soldiers.

Our Founding Fathers wisely protected us against government’s intrusion into what we say and how we say it. Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms, however, are subversively changing the very way Americans think about communication.

And these changes are also occurring in academia and in the workplace, where the anti-free speech culture being fostered online is also part of the broader culture. The result is that we’ve become conditioned by social media to accept environments in which simply sharing an opinion can lead to being flagged, suppressed or outright banned from a social community. This is having a ripple effect on the way Americans interact with one another away from social media.

Of course, no one is suggesting that the government take action against private companies. As Reason’s Robby Soave writes, “Twitter is a private company. It is free to make whatever speech rules it wants. Forcing Twitter to permit more kinds of speech would not actually be pro-free speech — in fact, it would violate the First Amendment.”

And that’s why one of the greatest challenges our society will face in the 21st century is maintaining a culture of free speech when so many of us discuss politics and social issues not in the public square where everyone can speak freely, but in the privately-run realms of the Internet.

The time has come for Americans to speak up, before it’s too late. This is no longer a discussion about cleaning up social media, but about preserving a civilization whose great strength has always derived from its First Amendment.

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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

Marc A. Thiessen: “Trump and his national security team have put Kim in a corner, offering him peace, security and prosperity, but only if he first denuclearizes completely, verifiably and irreversibly. Little wonder that North Korea is lashing out. Kim might be looking for a pretext to get out of his meeting with Trump, and the military exercises provide a perfect excuse. He may also be testing Trump to see how badly he wants the summit. Or he may be trying to drive a wedge between the United States and South Korea in advance of the talks. He knows South Korean President Moon Jae-in is deeply invested in his ‘Sunshine Policy’ with Pyongyang. If the North threatens a little rain, perhaps the South — which desperately wants the summit — will pressure Trump to cancel the military exercises or be more flexible at the bargaining table. Trump needs to show Kim that he won’t respond to threats by refusing to call off the exercises. Through back channels, he needs to reaffirm his willingness to provide North Korea with security and prosperity in exchange for immediate denuclearization but also make clear that if North Korea refuses, the alternative is not the status quo. Sanctions will be ramped up, and military action is possible. Above all, Trump should take North Korea’s recent outburst as a signal that Pyongyang is feeling the heat. A cornered animal roars, precisely because it is cornered. Stand firm, Mr. President, and don’t let up the pressure.”

SHORT CUTS

For the record: “The fact is that if Hamas were to drop its claim on Israel proper and stop using every opening provided to instigate violence, not a single Palestinian would ever have to die in this war.” —David Harsanyi

Perspective: “Yes, Trump is cutting Planned Parenthood funding, and should be praised for doing so. However, it’s only about a tenth of the $500 million in funding he just gave them in the omnibus last month. It’s a positive step, yes, but this is not keeping a promise. This is a first step.” —Steve Deace

Braying Jenny: “I think this [Planned Parenthood funding] is an issue that should enrage the American public, particularly women, because it’s an attack on them. I don’t know why members of Congress think it’s their job to tell women what to do with their health care.” —Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (The issue is taxpayer funding, not “telling women what to do.”)

Hypocrite: “We are all God’s children. There is a spark of divinity among every person on earth, and we all have to recognize that as we respect the dignity and worth of every person.” —Nancy Pelosi on “the spark of divinity, dignity and worth” of children in their mother’s womb. No, wait, she was talking about MS-13 gang members…

Missing the point: “However repugnant their actions, MS-13 gang members are human beings.” —CNBC’s John Harwood

Village Idiots: “We should particularly interrogate the role of American policy in helping to make MS-13 the organization it is now.” —John Legend

Belly laugh of the week: “Listen, when I covered Barack Obama, I was just as tough on him.” —CNN’s Jim Acosta

And last… “The sexual revolution has been a catastrophic failure, having wrought only disease, abortion, divorce, unwed pregnancy, and other miseries, with none of the advantages it promised. Maybe it’s time to cut our losses and go back to the old way, which is the only way that works.” —Matt Walsh

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher