Mid-Day Digest

Jun. 1, 2018

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • 3.8% unemployment to go with great news on wages.
  • Are Republicans Nazis? Google and Wikipedia think so.
  • Pleading for prison reform as a conservative cause.
  • Poor people die too soon to vote socialist long enough?
  • John Kasich makes a hypocritical case for entitlement reform.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“When Men are employ’d they are best contented. For on the Days they work’d they were good-natur’d and chearful; and with the consciousness of having done a good Days work they spent the Evenings jollily; but on the idle Days they were mutinous and quarrelsome, finding fault with their Pork, the Bread, and in continual ill-humour.” —Benjamin Franklin (1771)

IN BRIEF

Record Wage Increases, Record-Low Unemployment

Nate Jackson

As we noted last month, a good economy is bad for Democrats. And we got another load of good economic news this morning, regardless of Leftmedia spin.

First up, The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman writes, “The number of small companies raising wages hit a record high in the U.S. this month. That’s according to the latest National Federation of Independent Business employment survey. … A full 35% of owners of small firms report increasing labor compensation, the highest percentage since NFIB started asking about it in 1986.” That trend could get even better, as Freeman notes that “businesses are ramping up spending on the tools that make their workers more productive and therefore able to command higher wages.”

Much of the wage increases are due to a tighter labor market. Employers added 223,000 jobs in May, which was higher than media expectations but not quite as surprising for those of us not blinded by Trump Derangement Syndrome. Headline unemployment dropped to 3.8%, the lowest since 2000. Black unemployment dropped to a new record low of 5.9%. And The Washington Post reports, “Many economists predict it will fall even further this year, potentially dropping to 3.5 percent, which would be the lowest rate since 1969.” It might have physically hurt that poor Post reporter to note such good news under Donald Trump.

Nancy Pelosi called Republican tax cuts “Armageddon” before dismissing them as “crumbs.” Back here in reality, the American economy is enjoying the fruit of good policy, brought to you without a single Democrat vote.

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Google Says Republicans Are Socialists

Thomas Gallatin

Less than a week before the California primaries, Google search lists the state’s Republican Party ideology as “Nazism.” Vice News reports, “In the ‘knowledge panel’ that provides easy access to information next to search results, Google was showing ‘Nazism’ as an ‘ideology’ of the party as of Thursday morning. The word ‘Nazism’ was hyperlinked to a secondary page that shows ‘Nazism’ alongside other ‘ideologies’ of California Republicans like ‘Conservatism,’ ‘Market liberalism,’ ‘Fiscal conservatism,’ and ‘Green conservatism.’”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) blasted Google: “It is disgraceful that the world’s largest search engine has labeled millions of California Republicans as Nazis. This is just the latest incident in a disturbing trend to slander conservatives. These damaging actions must be held to account. The bias has to stop.” McCarthy is correct. The most recent example was Google’s silencing of pro-life ads before the Irish referendum on whether to legalize abortion. But don’t forget the tech giant’s firing of software engineer James Damore last year for his daring to question the company’s leftist dogma, or its use of the hate-mongering Southern Poverty Law Center to police YouTube.

Google responded with a “dog ate my homework” excuse, blaming the “mistake” on Wikipedia vandalism. In other words, “Oops, but it really wasn’t our fault. Can we move along now?”

But aside from Google’s convenient mistake, what may be more frustrating is the regular misrepresentation, even among conservatives, of Nazism as a far-right political movement. The fact is both Nazism and communism are extreme expressions that come out of the same leftist ideological camp of socialism. Both produce totalitarian forms of government that preach the “needs” of the collective over and against individual rights and Liberty. The primary difference between the two totalitarian ideologies is that of race-based nationalism versus collectivist globalism. The term “NAZI” itself was the German acronym for National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

By contrast, conservatism champions the protection of the rights and freedoms of the individual against the encroachment of the collective. Yet the Leftmedia has taken President Donald Trump’s populist message of America First (nationalism) and falsely linked it with racism in an effort to imply that Trump and all Republicans are fascist Nazis. Nothing could be further from reality, but in the age of identity politics, emotions rather than facts are what sell.

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Top Headlines

  • E-commerce retail sales up 95% in five years (CNS News)
  • Trump threatens NAFTA after imposing tariffs on U.S. allies to punish “unfair competition” (The Washington Times)
  • Mueller probe spending tops $17 million (Politico)
  • Federal employees sue Trump over executive order restricting union activity (The Hill)
  • TSA and Border Patrol stole a man’s life savings but never charged him with a crime (Washington Examiner)
  • Samantha Bee to be honored by the TV Academy one day after calling Ivanka Trump a “c—t” on TBS (CNS News)
  • Dick’s shocked to find its gun sales plummeting after anti-gun moves (Hot Air)
  • Virginia Democrat’s ad: After 9/11 the greatest threat to America lived in a cave; now he lives in the White House (Hot Air)
  • Italy finally agreed on a government, ending months of political deadlock (Business Insider)
  • J. Crew markets “gay pride” clothes to little kids (The Daily Wire)
  • Policy: It’s time for Trump to rethink the One-China policy (American Enterprise Institute)
  • Policy: Freezing the Paris climate accord is a job for the Senate (The Washington Times)

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

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

Pleading for Criminal Justice Reform

Brian Mark Weber

The prison population in the United States is exploding.

But this burgeoning population isn’t merely the result of cleaning our streets of violent offenders; it’s also due to overzealous prosecutors eager to tout their toughness in America’s war on crime.

Consequently, the United States has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its incarcerated people, according to National Review’s Conrad Black. “The American conviction rate of nearly 99 percent, 97 percent without a trial,” says Black, is the result of a plea-bargain system that places the U.S. “in criminal-justice matters from the category of its socioeconomic and democratic peer countries and places it, in matters of criminal procedure and conviction rates, disgracefully among the totalitarian states.”

Plea-bargaining is one of the primary reasons why the prison population has risen so dramatically in recent decades. The process gives prosecutors “broad, opaque powers” according to Dylan Walsh at The Atlantic.

Walsh adds, “Judges are not regularly allowed to take part when a plea deal is made, and written records of a deal are almost never required. Though jury trials demand proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, pleas follow no standards of evidence or proof; the prosecutor offers a break in exchange for a guilty plea, the defendant decides whether to take it without knowing the merits of his case.”

Even hard-line conservatives who typically favor tougher sentencing should be concerned about the ease with which Americans are being incarcerated, especially non-violent offenders and the drug-addicted.

But what’s being done on the political front to address the issue?

Until recently, not a lot. Proposals that call for tougher sentencing or building more prisons often fail to consider the vast majority of incarcerated individuals who will one day return to society.

What’s interesting is that a leading voice for prison reform is our tough-talking president, Donald Trump, who just last week hosted a prison reform summit at the White House. (The president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, has also taken up the issue because his father spent a year in federal prison.)

And it looks like the proposal is picking up steam. This week, the House passed the First Step Act by a vote of 360-59. Some of its features include providing training programs for ex-inmates to reduce recidivism, allowing inmates to build “good time” credit each year, banning the shackling of pregnant inmates, allowing for the release of terminally ill patients, and requiring prisoners to be placed in facilities within a reasonable distance of their families.

“I will sign it,” said President Trump, “and it’s going to be strong, it’s going to be good, it’s going to be what everybody wants.”

The bill’s supporters are hoping that the president can use the bully pulpit to push hesitant Republican senators to take up the measure, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is at the moment reluctant due to deep divisions among party members.

Meanwhile, criminal justice advocacy groups such as Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the U.S. Justice Action Network, the Equal Justice Initiative, Koch Industries, and the American Civil Liberties Union are divided over the First Step Act for reasons ranging from potentially discriminatory practices to the lack of halfway houses for inmates to make the transition back into their communities.

Highlighting the division over prison reform, Reason’s C.J. Ciaramella writes, “Democrats are split on it, old-school conservatives are drumming up opposition from law enforcement groups, and progressive advocacy groups are attacking it from the left. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Republican pointman on criminal justice reform, says the bill is dead in the water unless it includes major reforms to federal sentencing law as well.”

To his credit, Grassley has successfully recruited 13 Republicans to join the bipartisan effort. Yet despite the promising efforts of House members on Capitol Hill, the future of the bill doesn’t look promising. And that’s unacceptable.

Politicians have long ignored this complex issue, often seeking a quick fix to appease their own interest groups. And while Republicans need to realize that aggressive sentencing is not appropriate in all situations, or good for society in the long-term, Democrats need to stop looking at ex-cons merely as potential voters (yes, then-Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe did unilaterally restore voting rights to 200,000 felons before the 2016 presidential election).

Of course, the most serious offenders should receive harsh sentences and should be locked up long-term. But those who’ll eventually leave prison to again become our co-workers and neighbors need a system that prepares them for life as productive citizens in a free society rather than creating a revolving door of convicts. Our society will be safer for it, and we can spend less money on incarceration.

Reforming the plea bargain process, revisiting mandatory sentencing laws, and even admitting that the Drug War has failed are all steps in the right direction.

In the end, this isn’t about getting soft on crime, but recognizing the flaws in the current system. With millions of prisoners and tens of millions of felons, Republicans and Democrats need to find common ground and do what’s right. President Trump is moving the country toward a broader conversation about prison reform, and the First Step Act is truly a step in the right direction.

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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

L. Brent Bozell & Tim Graham: “Who knew we would look back at Roseanne Barr’s crotch-grabbing massacre of the national anthem in 1990 and see a mere flesh wound on her career? She embarrassed herself, mocking America in front of America, but her hit show rolled along. But one egregiously racist tweet destroyed the ‘Roseanne’ reboot of 2018 in a Hollywood minute. Tweeting that former Barack Obama top aide Valerie Jarrett is a mixture of the Muslim Brotherhood and ‘Planet of the Apes’ put an abrupt end to the top broadcast television program of the year. ABC made the right decision — and the obvious business decision. You cannot compare blacks to monkeys. That is an old, dehumanizing trope. It is viciously mean-spirited to compare President Donald Trump to an orangutan, as many leftists have. But that is a mockery of one man’s hair and intelligence, not the rhetorical equivalent of a burning cross. In retrospect, everyone said ABC should have known this was going to happen. Barr has always been a loose cannon, and her politics have zigzagged from running on the presidential ticket of the nutty-left Green Party all the way over to backing Trump. But the network thrived with the original formula of ‘Roseanne,’ and it saw a win-win with a reboot: The show’s old audience would tune in, and ABC could sell itself as reaching out to the red states after mysteriously dumping Tim Allen’s hit show. The ratings were terrific. Then Roseanne drove the reboot over a cliff.”

SHORT CUTS

For the record: “I saw no smoking-gun evidence of collusion before I left the government, and I still haven’t.” —former Obama DNI James Clapper

Re: the Left: “Is Trump wrong to say Pelosi ‘loves MS-13’? Sure. But with her deceitful attack, she gave him the pretext to make that claim. There is a lesson here for Democrats: Trump says enough outrageous things that Democrats shouldn’t have to make them up. When the president has you defending the ‘dignity and worth’ of MS-13 members, you’re doing something wrong.” —Marc A. Thiessen

Self-evaluation: “Trump gave his critics reason to associate him with [Roseanne] Barr by calling her to congratulate her on her show and eagerly trumpeting its success. Trump’s boosterism was typical of him — it’s all about the ratings — but also reflects an endemic weakness of the Right. Conservatives disdain celebrities, but dangle a C-list celebrity with a few rightward leanings in front of us and he’s immediately awarded a speaking slot at the next Republican convention. We have low regard for pop culture, but crave its validation.” —Rich Lowry

Food for thought: “You know, I meet young people, and they want to act and they want to be famous, and I tell them, when you get to the top of the tree, there’s nothing up there. Most of this is nonsense. Most of this is a lie. Accept life as it is. Just be thankful to be alive.” —Anthony Hopkins

Alpha Jackass, part I: “You know, Ivanka, that’s a beautiful photo of you and your child, but let me just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad’s immigration practices, you feckless c—t. He listens to you. Put on something tight and low-cut and tell your father to f—ing stop it.” —Samantha Bee

Alpha Jackass, part II: “I like Samantha Bee a lot, but she is flat wrong to call Ivanka a c—t. C—ts are powerful, beautiful, nurturing and honest.” —Sally Field

And last… “The Roseanne and Samantha Bee scandals aren’t comparable. Roseanne wrote something on Twitter and her show was immediately cancelled. In the case of Samantha Bee, an entire network’s legal and editorial team knew exactly what Bee would say, approved it, and broadcast it.” —Sean Davis

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor Mark Alexander, Publisher