Mid-Day Digest

May 23, 2018


  • GOP revisions to Dodd-Frank add to a good economic record.
  • Obama’s CIA director is at the center of controversy over the Trump investigation.
  • Netflix has given Barack Obama a huge platform for his agenda.
  • Perspective on U.S. energy production — oil vs. solar and wind.
  • No conservative professors wanted in academia, sometimes literally.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.


“I think all the world would gain by setting commerce at perfect liberty.” —Thomas Jefferson (1785)


Rising Income, Dodd-Frank Rollback Yield GOP Support

Nate Jackson

Lower taxes and reduced regulations have been a theme of Donald Trump’s presidency. The result has been a boost to the economy. The latest is a report showing that median household income is steadily rising again after stagnating during the previous administration. In January 2017, it was $59,471; now, it’s $61,483. According to Investor’s Business Daily (IBD), “Household income is now higher than it’s been in at least 50 years — after adjusting for inflation.” The economy is largely about consumer confidence. Rising incomes, more jobs, lower taxes and less regulation all add up to help people feel better about the economy, which then propels even more growth.

So it’s against this backdrop that Congress has accomplished a notable feat — rolling back significant chunks of Democrats’ onerous financial regulations. In 2010, Democrats rammed through the massive Dodd-Frank regulatory package in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, which, by the way, Democrats created with bad policy started in Bill Clinton’s administration. The result of Barack Obama’s regulatory bonanza was years of stagnation.

Tuesday night, the House passed reform legislation, following the Senate’s lead back in March. The bill falls short of dismantling Dodd-Frank, but it will substantially help smaller banks that weren’t big enough to cope with Democrats’ massive regulations. Republicans raised the threshold for many of those regulations from $50 billion in assets to $250 billion, meaning just 12 banks will be subject to onerous oversight instead of 38.

“You take what you can get,” said economist Stephen Moore. “If I can get half a loaf, I take that over no loaf at all.”

Meanwhile, one final measure of the economy may actually be the “generic ballot” poll between Republicans and Democrats. “As recently as March,” IBD notes, “Democrats had an average 9-point lead on this question — which is seen as an indicator of the enthusiasm for the two parties going into the midterm elections in November.” Now? Republicans are up by six points, their first lead in this election cycle. Perhaps voters are putting two and two together — Trump’s economic policies are directly benefiting the average American. Why go back to the Democrat malaise?

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Spygate: Brennan Was the Deep-State Boss

Thomas Gallatin

More news has come to light that implicates Barack Obama-era officials for involvement in a plot that President Donald Trump has dubbed “Spygate.” Mounting evidence suggests that leadership within U.S. intelligence agencies, specifically the FBI and CIA, secretly orchestrated a surveillance operation against the Trump campaign soon after he won the Republican primary. As we noted last week, it appears that part of this joint CIA-FBI program, codenamed “Operation Crossfire Hurricane,” was the placement of a mole within the Trump campaign. That spy is widely believed to be Stefan Halper, a professor with dual U.S.-British citizenship who has deep connections with both U.S. and British intelligence.

However, it’s those individuals behind any plot who are the most responsible. And a name that has been rapidly rising to the top of the Spygate suspect list is that of Barack Obama’s former CIA director, John Brennan. Brennan has been one of the loudest Obama-era officials in criticizing Trump, regularly blaming him for “threatening America’s democracy.” Typical of this hyperbole was his message to congressional Republican leaders on Sunday, in which he warned, “If Mr. Trump continues along this disastrous path, you will bear major responsibility for the harm done to our democracy. You do a great disservice to our Nation & the Republican Party if you continue to enable Mr. Trump’s self-serving actions.”

But what makes Brennan rise to the top of the list are questions regarding his involvement with the infamous Christopher Steele dossier — you know, the one funded by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. It appears that Brennan lied to Congress when he testified that the Steele dossier had nothing to do with the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russian election interference was intended to help Trump. As Investor’s Business Daily notes, “Brennan also lied when he said he didn’t know who was behind the Steele dossier, even though both the Justice Department and FBI knew a year earlier that Hillary Clinton, Trump’s foe, had paid for the Steele hit job. The idea [that] Brennan, head of the world’s most powerful spy agency, didn’t know who was paying for the dossier simply isn’t credible on any level.”

Is Brennan in hot water? Was his recent warning to Republicans a calculated attempt to shift focus away from himself and his actions? It remains to be seen.

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Top Headlines

  • Primary results in Georgia, Texas and Kentucky (The Washington Post)
  • House overwhelmingly passes bipartisan prison reform bill (New York Post)
  • House sends “right to try” bill to Trump’s desk (National Review)
  • Conservative Republicans introduce resolution calling for second special counsel (CNS News)
  • Sources: FBI agents want Congress to issue them subpoenas so they can reveal the Bureau’s dirt (The Daily Caller)
  • Trump: There’s no deal with China on ZTE, and I’m not satisfied with trade talks (CNBC)
  • MS-13 gang member nicknamed “Animal” sentenced to 40 years (The Washington Times)
  • Court sides with transgender Virginia student in her fight to use the boys’ bathroom (The Washington Post)
  • Rubio, Diaz-Balart call for U.S. authorities to indict Raul Castro (The Washington Free Beacon)
  • Humor: Democrat leaders call for new investigation to investigate the investigators investigating the investigators (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: Trump’s Iran policy ends disastrous Obama era of nuclear appeasement (Investor’s Business Daily)
  • Policy: Five facts you need to know about criminal justice reform (Real Clear Policy)

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

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Netflix Gives Obama a Huge Platform

Louis DeBroux

For a man so obsessed with income inequality as president, Barack Obama sure has come out on the winning end of the equation since leaving office. He and his wife Michelle are living quite cozily in their $8.1 million DC mansion in the exclusive Kalorama neighborhood (when not at their California or Hawaii vacation homes), having landed a $65 million book deal for their memoirs, which has supplemented the $400,000-a-pop speaking fees Obama has racked up giving speeches to the very Wall Street “fat cats” he so recently excoriated. Perhaps the anti-capitalist progressives might see this as a tad hypocritical of Obama.

Yet apparently this lavish wealth isn’t enough for the former community organizer, as evidenced by the deal he and Michelle just inked with Netflix — a deal reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars. It’s hard not to see this as a kickback from Netflix to Obama for pushing through so-called “net neutrality” rules, bypassing Congress in the process, which prevented Internet service providers from charging a premium to streaming services like Netflix.

Announcing the formation of Higher Ground Productions to produce content, Obama said that their goal is to “cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.” How sweet.

When rumors of the deal surfaced in March, The New York Times reported that the Obamas did not intend to produce shows that “directly respond to President Trump or conservative critics.” However, considering Obama’s farewell promise that he would not follow the example of past presidents in refraining from criticizing his successor, but would instead continue to be a vocal opponent of Trump and the Republicans, one can surmise that his content will likely be partisan.

Still, in the spirit of cooperation, we offer some suggestions for possible documentaries that the Obamas could produce.

Abandoned: The Neda Agha-Soltan Story — this documentary would chronicle the story of Neda Agha-Soltan, a young Iranian woman shot to death in the streets of Tehran for protesting the rigged election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Obama was silent as peaceful protesters were shot to death; it was only later that we discovered Obama’s silence was calculated. He wanted a nuclear deal with Iran and was willing to do anything to get it, including abandon peaceful democratic protesters to the atrocities and brutal repression of the Iranian government, not to mention secretly flying nearly $2 billion in ransom cash to the Iranian government to get around U.S. sanctions of the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism.

Bye Bye Bibi: Rigging the Israeli Elections — with lefty conspiracy nuts desperately seeking evidence that President Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to rig the 2016 presidential elections, most Americans have forgotten (if they ever knew since the media didn’t exactly cover it broadly) that none other than Barack Obama used U.S. taxpayer money to send Democrat operatives to Israel in 2013 with the sole purpose of defeating the sitting Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. It is no secret that Obama loathed Netanyahu, whose strength in the face of evil was an embarrassing contrast to Obama’s appeasement.

Civility: How to Tolerate Gun-Toting Religious Losers — since the Obamas claim they want to “promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples,” maybe they can start by extending an olive branch to the unwashed masses in “flyover country.” You know, those places filled with intellectual and cultural troglodytes who are so stupid that they actually believe in God, the Constitution, and natural rights; people who were proud of America long before Obama was nominated. Or, as Obama described them, people who “get bitter … [and] cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.”

These are just a few suggestions, of course, and there are plenty more. He could do a documentary on how the U.S. leads the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, despite being condemned by other countries for refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol or dropping out of the Paris Climate Accords.

Or maybe a segment on how he became the first president in U.S. history to never record even a single year of 3% GDP growth, despite (read: because of) his nearly $1 trillion “stimulus” bill that never brought the promised “shovel ready” jobs. He could tie that in to the $10 trillion in new debt he added, with anemic economic growth and high unemployment to show for it.

Or an exposé on ObamaCare, which caused 25 million Americans — twice as many as got coverage under ObamaCare — to lose health care coverage they liked, leaving cancer victims and others suffering serious illness with no way to get adequate care.

Yes, the possibilities are indeed endless when you can work in the fertile fields of Obama’s progressive hypocrisy. Candidate Obama’s lofty, unifying rhetoric quickly gave way to slanderous, dehumanizing attacks once he was parked in the Oval Office, routinely describing conservatives and Republicans as an enemy to be destroyed, rather than as fellow Americans with whom differences should be resolved.

Given that track record, we can expect many things from Obama TV, but one suspects truth and civility won’t be among them.

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.



For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.



For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.


Michelle Malkin: “Arne Duncan, longtime pal of Barack Obama and former U.S. Department of Education secretary … called last weekend for parents nationwide to withdraw students from classes ‘until gun laws [are] changed to keep them safe.’ … Note that newly minted parents’ rights advocate Arne Duncan never once advocated boycotting Chicago public schools, which he ran for eight years, for their abject failure to quell rampant school violence. Nor has Duncan called for parents to demand their districts withdraw from the disastrous ‘PROMISE’ alternative discipline program that he helped create. … Nor has Duncan said a peep about systemic coddling of abusers in the classroom by teachers’ union presidents in New Jersey and Ohio, as exposed over the past month by undercover investigative journalists at Project Veritas. Instead, Duncan has won high praise and more media interviews for his phony boycott proposal. ‘My family is all in if we can do this at scale,’ he nobly tweeted. But what his slavering fans in the liberal media won’t tell you is that Duncan’s wife works at and his own children attend the exclusive, private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in tony Hyde Park, which a Lab Schools brochure brags is ‘patrolled by the University of Chicago Police Department and private security.’ Armed, of course, for thine and thee, Arne. But not for we.”


For the record: “We’re at a point where we should be asking what Obama’s top intelligence hacks, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-CIA Director John Brennan, were cooking in 2016. But guess what. CNN hired Clapper, and NBC News hired Brennan. Now they are paid by the networks to tell the folks at home that Trump is nutty for insisting they did anything nefarious.” —L. Brent Bozell & Tim Graham

A colossal backfire? “If [Robert] Mueller truly has nothing, there’s a serious case to be made that the Russia collusion investigation actually helped Trump more than it hurt him. And Democrats might just have to come up with a plan for dealing with Trump’s policies other than praying for an avenging angel to frog-march him from the White House.” —Ben Shapiro

The perennial impeachment gambit: “Every member of the House is accorded the opportunity to bring up impeachment. This is not something that the Constitution has bestowed upon leadership. It is something that every member has the right and privilege of doing. … And I think there is a good likelihood there will be Articles of Impeachment [if the GOP loses the House].” —Rep. Al Green (D-TX)

Interesting choice of terminology: “[Impeachment] will be available only if we don’t use it loosely and ring the bell every time something looks amiss. You can’t be the boy who cried wolf and have a viable impeachment power. You can’t use it over and over again against the same president. If you’re going to shoot him, you have to shoot to kill.” —Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe

Useless grandstanding: “I’m running for reelection to the U.S. Senate here in Massachusetts, and I pledge not to take a single penny from the National Rifle Association.” —Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), whom the NRA would never even consider supporting

And last… “So President Obama, who mocked Trump being on reality TV, just signed with Netflix for an unscripted series. That’s totally different than reality TV, right?” —Liz Wheeler

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Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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