Mid-Day Digest

May 21, 2018

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Trump calls for a probe of the probe, which about sums up the whole thing.
  • China says it will buy more American stuff. That’s a start.
  • Venezuela’s “election” Sunday highlights again what Democrat policies will do.
  • The Leftmedia’s narrative in three glaring stories.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” —Thomas Jefferson (1820)

IN BRIEF

Trump: Time to Probe FBI’s Collusion Probe

Thomas Gallatin

In the wake of recent reports alleging that Barack Obama’s FBI had a secret informant within Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, Trump has called for a new investigation. On Sunday, the president stated, “I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes — and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!”

Seemingly recognizing the seriousness of Trump’s charge, Justice Department Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein quickly responded by requesting that Inspector General Michael Horowitz expand his current probe of the FBI/DOJ’s handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation to include the agency’s surveillance of the Trump campaign. Rosenstein released the following statement: “If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action.” It remains to be seen, however, if Rosenstein’s actions fully meet Trump’s demands. The obvious question here is whether the DOJ can be trusted to objectively investigate itself.

Meanwhile, more information has surfaced narrowing the description of the alleged FBI informant within the Trump campaign. The New York Times published the following three key details:

  • The informant is an American academic who teaches in Britain.
  • The informant sent a “curious message” to Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos, offering to pay him $3,000 to write a research paper on “a disputed gas field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea”; the informant also offered a paid trip to London so they could meet.
  • The informant sent Papadopoulos an email on September 2, 2016, writing: “I understand that this is rather sudden but thought that given your expertise it might be of interest to you.”

The Daily Caller claims to have identified the individual in question as Stefan Halper, a retired professor who had interactions with both Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. While not naming names, The Washington Post’s reporting seems to corroborate both the Caller’s and Times’ stories. A source for The Daily Wire notes that the DOJ and FBI appear to be leaking information to the Post and the Times rather than giving it to Congress, “all for the purpose of spinning an embarrassing story.” The irony here is that the reason the agencies have given Congress for refusing requested documents and information is concern over putting a source at risk.

In short, the trickle of information keeps these stories alive, for better or worse.

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Trade War Ceasefire?

Nate Jackson

From the beginning, we argued that President Donald Trump’s planned tariffs were a negotiating chip with China. That became even more clear over the weekend, as China announced that it would buy “significantly” more U.S. goods and services. According to a White House statement, that will include “meaningful increases in United States agriculture and energy exports” with the goal being to “substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China.” Let’s hope it also brings back some American jobs.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declared that the U.S. was “putting the trade war on hold” as negotiations continue, but U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer insisted tariffs remain on the table if needed to “protect our technology.” Good cop, bad cop.

Keep in mind that trade is tied together with negotiations over the nuclear weapons program of China’s puppet, North Korea. The upcoming June 12 summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un is crucial, and sorting things out on the trade front with China is key. Hence other chess moves like canceling a planned training exercise with South Korea.

In short, this isn’t nearly as simple as the mainstream media sometimes portrays. Trump’s negotiations are all part of a long game.

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Top Headlines

  • Obama’s DNI: If FBI spied on Trump, it was a “good thing” for America (The Daily Wire)
  • Pompeo: U.S. will implement “strongest sanctions in history” against Iran (National Review)
  • Europe plotting to undermine new U.S. sanctions on Iran (The Washington Free Beacon)
  • U.S. scrapped training exercise with South Korea involving B-52s (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Russia makes bold move to try to solidify control over Crimea (The Daily Signal)
  • Trump names Robert Wilkie for VA (CBS News)
  • House rejects farm bill as conservatives revolt (The Hill)
  • Maduro wins as rivals call for new Venezuela elections (AFP)
  • Obama’s former education secretary proposes nationwide school boycott until for gun control (The Washington Times)
  • Texas high school murderer may have had specific targets in mind (The Resurgent)
  • Policy: No, we have not failed in Afghanistan. Here’s why the U.S. should stay. (The Daily Signal)
  • Policy: With the delusion of U.S.-Iran harmony now over, what’s possible? (The Weekly Standard)

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

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

Another ‘Win’ for Socialism in Venezuela

Robin Smith

Venezuela held its national “elections” Sunday, and we’re shocked — shocked — to report that President Nicolas Maduro remains in office.

Food shortages. Parents leaving their children at orphanages to be fed. Military monthly pay at $10. No medicine. No toilet paper. Inflation estimated to by 653% with currency that is virtually worthless. Electrical blackouts. Add to this list a rigged election to keep a corrupt tyrant in power and you have the poster child of socialism’s failure: the country of Venezuela.

Why should Americans care about the implosion of this South American nation whose population of 30 million is smaller than that of California? That’s simple: Venezuela is the result of the policies pushed by American Democrats.

Since 1999, two million Venezuelans have fled. Crime is soaring as the masses suffer overwhelming poverty. The only people who have protections and provisions are those in power.

Venezuela remains rich in one particular resource: oil. But even that’s in serious trouble. In December 2017, America was importing 475,165 barrels of crude oil daily from Venezuela’s state-run oil company, PDVSA. That had fallen from almost 800,000 barrels daily just one year earlier. Venezuela is a nation with a capacity for vast wealth. But corruption metastasized and its government structure is killing this nation and its people.

How does a nation holding the world’s largest volume of oil reserves, as ranked in 2017 by OPEC and the U.S. Energy Information Administration, have such an impoverished people and unstable government?

When that question is posed to American Leftmedia outlets, the answer is “mismanagement” by its leaders. But these “reporters” are purposefully glossing over the real reason. Venezuela is on the verge of collapse due to the disease of collectivism. The Washington Post apologetically defends “a socialist system plagued with mismanagement,” but we can see the proof of failure in the very same piece. It catalogues 7,778 blackouts in three months, the surge of malaria, diphtheria, measles and tuberculosis, and rampant inflation that leaves a dozen eggs costing 480,000 bolívares — the equivalent of almost one week’s salary.

Hugo Chavez was elected in 1998 and established his reign by altering the nation’s constitution, dissolving the democratically elected congress and the nation’s supreme court. Calling for a revolution of popular democracy and equitable distribution of revenues, Chavez consolidated power to himself and to the state rather than restoring the voice to the nation’s citizens as advertised.

Not only did the dictator eliminate term limits and take control of all aspects of the government and the military, Chavez terminated property rights in his self-described “revolutionary socialism.” Private companies were expropriated by the corrupt congress in the name of public interest. Chavez declared his commitment to “the elimination of capitalism” and defined his view of property rights as the ability for individuals to have “their personal belongings, but not control of the means of production.”

Oh, and don’t miss the law implemented in June 2012 that allowed only government officials to own weapons and ammunition.

How does this relate to the current dictator, Nicholas Maduro? He was a bus driver. He became a union leader and Chavez loyalist who was elected to the puppet congress and ultimately appointed foreign minister and vice president.

In his own words, Maduro has declared to the suffering people of Venezuela, “We’re all children of Chavez!”

Given yesterday’s dreadful voter turnout of about 17%, in contrast to over 60% in years past, the 21 million registered voters of Venezuela clearly understand that their votes don’t count. The system has been criminally and corruptly rigged with a system of government that destroys their ability not just to achieve, but to survive.

Keep that in mind when you hear the laughable statements from jabbering parrots of failed policy like comedian John Oliver on his HBO “news” show, “Last Week Tonight.” Oliver, like more serious Leftmedia counterparts, claims that the reason we’re watching our South American neighbors languish is because the greatness of socialism just needs a new manager. No, it’s not “epic mismanagement” killing political foes or holding more political prisoners than China and Cuba. It’s socialist thugs.

American Democrats created the great Nanny State, birthed with Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society.” He knew that replacing the family and the dignity of work and wealth would corral votes to those who promised the goods. After the “fundamental transformation of America” failed miserably with eight years of Barack Obama, Democrats are now peddling the “goodness” of Bernie Sanders — guaranteed jobs, a basic income without work, free college, free health care … and the list goes on and on.

But make no mistake: Socialism fails. Socialism sucks the life out of its citizens and empowers corruption and squalor. Socialism has never worked, and it should be rooted out in the United States. Don’t be fooled or lulled into inaction. It’s an election year. Beat back the policies that fail and defend Liberty.

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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: “What if the total amount the federal government could spend in a given year was directly linked to how well our economy was doing? We could forge that connection if the government’s total budget (including all spending and special-interest tax loopholes) was limited to a fixed percentage of the nation’s wealth (defined as gross domestic product, or GDP). Under such a model, the government could only spend more money if the economy grew. And if the economy didn’t, the government would have to cut back on its spending. That’s the way my family operates, and I bet it’s how yours does too. … Now imagine that if the government ever spent more than was allowed (except in cases of declared economic or military emergency), across-the-board cuts would be imposed — with one important difference: Instead of starting with cuts to the programs we as citizens use, the cuts would begin with the salaries of the president, the vice president, and every member of Congress. That, too, is how the rest of America lives. After all, who among us gets paid if they don’t do their job? Under this model, our elected representatives would face the same workplace pressures those of us with a job do every day — perform or get no pay. … These procedural reforms may seem like a stretch but, as I said earlier, we’re the creditors here. If Americans were to demand such changes, they would happen.”

SHORT CUTS

The Gipper: “Speech delivery counts for little on the world stage unless you have convictions and, yes, the vision to see beyond the front row seats.”

Braying Jenny: “[Abortion] is a right that was established for women in this country more than 40 years ago, and if people don’t support abortion, they don’t have to have one.” —former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards to anyone who opposes $500 million in taxpayer funding for the abortion mill

Belly laugh of the week: “We are going to take back the country we love.” —Hillary Clinton on the misogynist and “deplorable” country she detests

Dezinformatsiya: “Let me say for the billionth time: Reporters don’t root for a side.” —CNN’s Chris Cillizza, which prompted this response from Michelle Malkin: “Let me say for the billionth time: LOLOLOLOL.”

Gun grabbers: “It’s time for America to find the courage to take on the powerful and fight for our own safety. We can’t wall ourselves off from the threat of gun violence — it doesn’t work. Nor can we simply arm ourselves against one another — that makes it more dangerous still.” —former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Gun grabbers II: “Congress must … act now to ensure that no other community or family must endure the unthinkable horror of gun violence. Our children deserve real leadership: a vote to prevent gun violence now.” —Nancy Pelosi

Alpha Jackass: “Let’s call it like it is: the horrifying inaction of Congress, slaughter after slaughter, has become a green light to would-be shooters, who pervert silence into endorsement.” —Sen. Chris Murphy

Non Compos Mentis: “What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe?” —former Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan

Late-night humor: “A lot of celebrities [went to] the royal wedding this weekend, like Serena Williams and the Spice Girls. But Yanni had to RSVP no. He said, ‘I think I got the invitation by mistake. This envelope was addressed to Laurel.’” —Jimmy Fallon

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher