Mid-Day Digest

Jun. 8, 2018

THE FOUNDATION

“To prevent crimes, is the noblest end and aim of criminal jurisprudence. To punish them, is one of the means necessary for the accomplishment of this noble end and aim.” —James Wilson (1790)

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • An astonishing one in five federal prisoners is an illegal alien.
  • Trump’s DOJ takes on ObamaCare, partially joining 20 states in a suit.
  • Are we just crying “wolf” on entitlements? Nope, but Americans don’t care.
  • Keith Ellison, the radical’s radical, is leaving the DNC without objection.
  • Obama’s EPA manipulated the cost of regulations by price-tagging inaction.
  • Student loan debt hits another record high.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

IN BRIEF

Illegal Immigration Is a Major Crime Problem

Thomas Gallatin

A recently released Justice Department report reveals that an astonishing one in five individuals incarcerated in federal prisons is an illegal alien, which amounts to a $1.5 million bill every day to the American taxpayer. However, the greater expense of illegal immigration is not measured in dollars. The report notes illegal alien crime statistics from the state of Texas alone between 2001 and 2018 — more than 663,000 offenses were committed, including 1,351 homicides, 7,156 sexual assaults, 79,049 assaults and 44,882 thefts, to name but a few. Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan also said this week that “nine out of 10” illegal immigrants arrested have criminal records.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded to the report, stating, “The illegal immigrant crime rate in this country should be zero. Every crime committed by an illegal alien is, by definition, a crime that should have been prevented. It is outrageous that tens of thousands of Americans are dying every year because of the drugs and violence brought over our borders illegally and that taxpayers have been forced, year after year, to pay millions of dollars to incarcerate tens of thousands of illegal aliens. … Today’s report is yet another reminder that we must continue this [zero tolerance] policy and help fulfill President Trump’s goals of restoring lawfulness to our immigration system and ensur[ing] that immigration serves the good of this country.”

But despite President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration via his “zero tolerance” policy, the number of illegal alien border crossings has steadily climbed. And one of the primary culprits for this increase can be attributed to Democrats and their huge push for lawless “sanctuary cities” that essentially act as giant magnets attracting greater numbers of illegal aliens.

While Democrats and much of the mainstream media like to play up the plight of these illegal aliens as a justification for ignoring U.S. immigration laws, the undeniable fact is that major criminal syndicates have taken advantage of these sentiments to further their criminal enterprises. The drug trade and other nefarious criminal activity such as human trafficking exploit many migrants, often making them the biggest victims of illegal immigration. And sanctuary cities are only proving to supply these criminal organizations with more individuals to exploit — by falsely advertising protection to people who willfully break U.S. immigration law.

Regardless of how Democrats and the Leftmedia portray the issue of illegal immigration, it is first and foremost a crime problem. And the fact is that Democrats, with their sanctuary city policies, are guilty of aiding and abetting criminals. And as this DOJ report demonstrates, Trump’s rhetoric on the problem is much closer to reality on the ground than that of the MSM and Democrats.

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Trump vs. Obama’s Legacy, Again

Nate Jackson

In 2011, Barack Obama’s Social Justice Department decided it would no longer defend Bill Clinton’s Defense of Marriage Act. It was the beginning of the end at the federal level for traditional marriage, and leftists rejoiced. They’re singing a different tune now that Donald Trump’s Justice Department has not only dropped the defense of ObamaCare but requested that a court strike down key regulations.

Led by Texas and Wisconsin, 20 states filed suit arguing that without the tax penalty for remaining uninsured, the individual mandate is unconstitutional. We’d still argue that it’s unconstitutional with or without the tax, but Chief Justice John Roberts rewrote that part of the law in order to save it. Ironically, ruling that the penalty was actually a tax enabled Republicans to undo that tax via their tax reform bill — effective Jan. 1, 2019 — and that undoing is now the basis of the lawsuit.

Reason’s Peter Suderman explains, “The tax reform law passed by Republicans in Congress eliminated that tax penalty, setting it to zero as of 2019. Technically, the mandate remains on the books, but functionally the tax law repealed it. Since the mandate no longer raises any revenue, the states’ argument goes, the saving construction — that is, the notion that it is legal if understood as a tax — no longer applies. And since the mandate is the lynchpin of the entire law, the glue that holds the entire scheme together, all of Obamacare must be struck down with it.”

The DOJ sided with the states in part, arguing that the individual mandate should be struck down, along with two other related ObamaCare provisions — the mandate that insurers cover preexisting conditions and the prohibition on charging more for insurance based on higher health risk. Both regulations result in everyone paying far more for insurance, but they are tied to the individual mandate because insurance companies lobbied for a larger pool of younger, healthier customers to balance the increased cost of covering older, sicker people.

The Justice Department’s move leaves defending the law to a coalition of blue states led by California. Unfortunately, the defense is likely to prevail for two reasons: First, the plaintiff states have little standing to claim harm when the mandate penalty is $0. Second, Congress has already effectively severed the mandate from the rest of ObamaCare, undermining the case of states seeking to strike down the whole law. The administration surely wants to avoid a legal challenge to the tax law, which may explain why the DOJ isn’t fully backing the plaintiff states.

In any case, Democrats are making Republican “sabotage” of ObamaCare a major issue for the November elections. But Democrats passed the unconstitutional law without a single Republican vote, and they still own its devastating economic consequences.

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Top Headlines

  • Americans’ wealth surpasses $100 trillion (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Pelosi scoffs at strong U.S. consumer confidence figures (Fox News)
  • Trump calls for Russia to rejoin G7, exacerbating rift with allies (National Review)
  • Congressional Republicans say they just cut $15 billion in spending, but it’s actually only $1.1 billion. (Reason)
  • Former Senate intelligence committee staffer indicted for lying to FBI about leaks (The Washington Times)
  • Memo to black voters: Alice Marie Johnson thanks Trump for “second chance” after commutation, says faith kept her strong (Fox News)
  • Why Kanye West and more black Americans are supporting Trump (The Daily Signal)
  • Country Time takes on the bureaucrats shutting down your kids’ lemonade stands (Reason)
  • Baby born to transgender “man” could become first person without a legal mother (UK Telegraph)
  • Humor: Man who handed out hundreds of participation trophies can’t figure out why this generation is so entitled (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: Six forces disrupting higher education (Manhattan Institute)
  • Policy: All downhill for Social Security and Medicare trust funds (E21)

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

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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.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Crying ‘Wolf’ on Entitlements?

Brian Mark Weber

Social Security. It’s the metaphorical Third Rail of American politics. But if we don’t act soon, both Social Security and Medicare are heading off the tracks.

“Sure,” you say. “How many times have we heard that before?”

It’s almost as though the American people have become deaf to the repeated calls for Social Security reform. And it’s no wonder. We hear about it ad nauseam every election cycle, and then, when the dust settles, our elected representatives kick that can down the road. All the while, people still receive their monthly checks, so any collapse in the system seems to be a problem for the next generation. After all, why deal with something when it’s not hitting us now?

Well, that “now” moment is looming, and it’s going to be painful if we don’t act soon.

Ben Shapiro writes, “Medicare and Social Security, along with Medicaid, represent a majority of the federal budget each year, and represent mandatory spending. And Social Security has been running a negative cash flow for years. Our gigantic national debt number doesn’t include unfunded liabilities to these programs. According to some studies, if we include expected shortfalls from Medicare and Social Security in the debt, our debt is actually $90.6 trillion.”

And what has Congress done about it? Nothing.

It’s one thing for Democrats to be irresponsible with the federal purse, but Republicans have had plenty of opportunities over the past two decades when they either held both houses of Congress or all three branches of government. In each case, Republicans acted with the same willful neglect.

Or they failed to act out of fear of being demonized.

Every time a conservative politician utters the words “Social Security reform,” Democrats warn that grandma will be thrown off the cliff. No, really. In 2012, the leftist Agenda Project Action Fund launched an ad showing a man meant to look like then-House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan pushing a wheelchair-bound senior off a cliff. If you think those ads aren’t effective, consider that Speaker Ryan hasn’t talked much about saving Social Security or Medicare since.

And while President Donald Trump has been effective in cutting taxes and rolling back federal regulations, he signed more spending into law and, as a candidate, promised not to touch entitlements. If the most brazen outsider ever to win the presidency won’t reform entitlements, who will?

Democrats, of course, have the answer to fixing our entitlement mess: raise taxes on “the rich.”

But what about that Social Security lock box or trust fund that we always hear about?

As the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein reports, “The ‘trust fund’ is actually an accounting fiction that pretends that spending doesn’t ultimately all come from the bank accounts of taxpayers. But the conceit is that because the federal government for decades used money intended for Social Security to pay for other extravagant spending, the Treasury built up IOUs to the Social Security program that enable it to keep up with benefits. By 2034, however, those past program surpluses will be spent, meaning that benefits will have to be slashed by 25 percent for Americans who are around 50 years old right now.”

More immediately, Social Security’s costs are projected to exceed its income this year for the first time since 1982, forcing the government to “unlock” the lock box. Again. Worse, The Daily Signal’s Romina Boccia notes, “Social Security is still considered solvent and able to pay full benefits because it has accumulated a $2.9 trillion trust fund, but since the entirety of its trust fund consists of IOUs, cash-flow deficits must be financed by general revenue taxes or new public borrowing.”

Meanwhile, if nothing is done about Medicare, the program will run out of money in 2026 — just eight years from now. Yes, Democrats promised us that ObamaCare would save Medicare. But according to Investor’s Business Daily, “Despite the 167 changes made by ObamaCare and the $700 billion in supposed savings, Medicare’s doomsday prediction is exactly where it was 18 years ago.”

It seems like the only solution out there involves the government taking more and giving back less to the American people. But real, commonsense solutions have been proposed. For example, private retirement accounts for younger workers just might break our dependency on a troubled government entitlement that’s on its death bed. Such ideas are innovative but complex. Implementing them will take a real effort by members of Congress who up until now have avoided Social Security like the plague.

With Republicans holding more political power in Washington than they’ve enjoyed in a century, the time is now for conservatives to finally show some true leadership. Thirty years ago, 2034 seemed like forever. Now, forever is practically here.

The inconvenient truth, however, is that most Americans don’t want politicians to fix it. Everyone is entitled to the money they paid into the system, after all, lest Social Security be exposed as the Ponzi scheme it really is. Thus, a conservative minority is left to cry “wolf” to a disinterested American people —only this time, the wolf is really out there.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

OPINION IN BRIEF

Marc A. Thiessen: “Republicans on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, led by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), have revealed in a new report that the Obama administration secretly tried to help Iran use U.S. banks to convert $5.7 billion in Iranian assets, after promising Congress that Iran would not get access to the U.S. financial system — and then lied to Congress about what it had done. … [T]he Obama administration: (1) told Congress it would not allow Iran access to U.S. financial institutions; (2) issued a special license allowing Iran to do exactly that; (3) unsuccessfully pressured U.S. banks to help Iran; (4) lied to Congress and the American people about what it had done; (5) admitted in internal emails that these efforts ‘exceeded’ U.S. obligations under the nuclear deal; (6) sent officials, including bank regulators, around the world to urge foreign financial institutions to do business with Iran; and (7) promised that they would get nothing more than a slap on the wrist for violating U.S. sanctions. How bad is this? Remove the words ‘Obama’ and ‘Iran’ and replace them with ‘Trump’ and ‘Russia’ and imagine the outrage that would ensue over the same revelations. Democrats would be holding news conferences, and the story would be front-page news. We hear a lot these days from the media about the danger of presidential lies. Well, when it comes to the Iran deal, the Obama administration took lying to new heights. And no, that’s not Fake News.”

SHORT CUTS

Upright: “The war against energy is over. We have now freed up the animal spirits. You can see that by the confidence indexes. We’re rolling. The U.S. economy is rolling.” —National Economic Council Chairman Larry Kudlow

Gratitude: “I’d like to tell the president … that I am so grateful for everything that you’ve done for me and my family. … This moment right now is happening because President Trump had mercy on me and I’d like to tell him [to] please, please remember … the others who have been left behind because there are so many … like me who need to have … the opportunity that I’ve had.” —Alice Marie Johnson

Shameful rhetoric: “The President and GOP Congress continue to turn their backs on the men and women who have bravely donned the uniform, pushing deep cuts to Medicaid, gutting SNAP and undermining vital protections for servicemembers and families against Wall Street’s greed and abuse.” —Nancy Pelosi protesting the VA Mission Act

Non Compos Mentis: “I know someone who spoke to Donald Trump recently about life in the White House, and Donald Trump’s biggest complaint was that he’s not allowed to watch porn in the White House.” —MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski

Braying Jenny: “I asked for a meeting with @SpeakerRyan … to discuss equality for women and the Equal Rights Amendment — he declined. 96% of Americans believe that women should be protected under the constitution. He is the 4%. … The 14th amendment was included in the constitution before women even had the right to vote so clearly it was not meant to apply to us.” —actress Alyssa Milano

And last… “If you hadn’t noticed, physical beauty is a huge part of our economy and our culture. And before you go on about this showing how sexist or ‘lookist’ American society is, physical beauty is a huge part of literally every culture on earth and has been for all time. Notions of beauty are fluid, sure, but the interest in beauty — or desirability — itself is an expression of human nature. Can it go too far? Absolutely. Can you get rid of it? Nope.” —Jonah Goldberg

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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