Mid-Day Digest

Jul. 3, 2018

THE FOUNDATION

“The Declaration of Independence … [is the] declaratory charter of our rights, and the rights of man.” —Thomas Jefferson (1819)

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Are you proud to be an American? Not if you’re a Democrat.
  • Judiciary in crisis — 17% of federal bench is vacant.
  • The Supreme Court fallout for public unions after Janus.
  • Remember: illegal aliens commit a lot of crimes beyond border infractions.
  • Why do we celebrate the Fourth of July?
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

IN BRIEF

Proud to Be an American?

Nate Jackson

“I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.”

So goes the chorus of Lee Greenwood’s hit song, “God Bless the U.S.A.” It’s a particular favorite as our nation celebrates Independence Day.

And what of that independence from the tyranny of the British crown? In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson and the other Founders wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

With those quotes laying the foundation, we turn to a new Gallup poll that holds disturbing results. For the first time in 18 years asking the question, a minority (47%) of Americans are “extremely proud” to be Americans. Gallup notes that’s “down from 51% in 2017 and well below the peak of 70% in 2003.”

The partisan breakdown is most telling. While the number of Republicans saying they’re “extremely proud” has ticked up a few points, Democrats’ sentiments have plummeted. In 2013, 56% of Democrats were “extremely proud”; now it’s just 32%. “Liberals” are even worse at a mere 23%. It’s interesting that the slide began during Barack Obama’s second term, only accelerating with Donald Trump’s election.

Two observations. First, the Obamas regularly disparaged our great nation. Everyone remembers Michelle’s infamous claim after Barack won the 2008 Democrat presidential nomination: “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country.” Clearly, she’d been bitterly disappointed until her country did something for her. Worse, as president, Barack Obama was constantly lecturing the country about something he didn’t like, saying, “That’s not who we are.” That declaration of his deep disappointment in America was a recurring theme. Hillary Clinton continued it with her “basket of deplorables” slur. Is it any wonder that message became embedded in the Democrat voter’s psyche?

Second, we return to the Declaration. Democrats fundamentally do not believe that unalienable Rights are endowed by our Creator. Instead, they believe government — their god — bestows rights on downtrodden identity groups. Witness their panic over Roe v. Wade as Trump considers a new Supreme Court justice. When your god is government and the “enemy” is in power, the feelings of panic, despair and anger are obviously more than many leftists can bear.

For those of us who love our country, as Mark Alexander wrote on this topic in 2013, “No matter what setbacks we face, Liberty is an eternal endowment. Never lose faith, fellow Patriots!”

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Judiciary in Crisis With 17% Vacancies

A year and a half year into Donald Trump’s presidency, nearly one-sixth of federal court seats are still lacking judges — a total of 153 vacancies. Some of the positions have been vacant for so long that it has entered the category of “judicial emergencies,” meaning other judicial caseloads are so overloaded that those cases are no longer handled properly. The situation has become so bad that the only appropriate word to describe it is “crisis,” a term Senate Democrats used once upon a time when the number of vacancies reached just 68. And the situation will only become worse, as 32 more vacancies are set to occur soon, increasing the overall percentage of unoccupied benches to more than 20%.

So where does the fault lie for this judicial crisis? Don’t look at Trump, who has nominated 134 men and women to the bench over the last 18 months — more than any other recent president. Don’t blame Senate Republicans either, as Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has held 97 hearings thus far, which is far more than the average of 62 hearings for nominees of the previous six presidents at this point. In other words, Grassley’s pace is more than 50% higher than for former administrations.

The fault lies primarily with Senate Democrats and their commitment to slowing down the nomination process as much as possible. Even though the minority no longer can filibuster, Democrats have used other procedural games to stymie the process. As The Daily Signal reports, “One tactic is to force the Senate to take multiple votes on each nomination. It takes the same number of votes to end debate as it does to confirm a nomination now, so the only reason for multiple votes is to drag out the process. Senate Democrats have forced the Senate to take these unnecessary votes to end debate on 40 of Trump’s judicial nominations. That compares to two votes, at this point, for the previous 12 new presidents combined.”

Clearly, Democrats are stalling as long as possible with the hope of retaking the Senate come November. Then they can really derail any attempt by Trump to seat solid constitutional conservative judges. By playing this political game, Democrats reveal that they have little concern for ensuring that the needs of the American people are met with timely access to good judges. Why play ball when they can #Resist?

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Top Headlines

  • Trump interviews four Supreme Court candidates as decision nears (The Hill)
  • Meet the six stellar judges leading the pack on Trump’s Supreme Court short list (The Daily Signal)
  • Federal judge rules against indefinite detention of asylum-seekers (CNS News)
  • Quinnipiac: If Democrats retake the House this fall, they’ll have women to thank (Hot Air)
  • Rhode Island becomes first state to sue oil industry, seek damages for climate change (The Washington Times)
  • Trump administration to rescind Obama-era guidelines on race in college admissions (The Wall Street Journal)
  • DeVos agenda on higher education is a new front for Democrat resistance (NBC News)
  • Senators demand an explanation after the F-35 savings estimate is off by $600 million (Reason)
  • House Democrat server went “missing” soon after it became evidence in a cybersecurity probe (The Daily Caller)
  • Investigators broaden focus on Facebook’s role in sharing data with Cambridge Analytica (Chicago Tribune)
  • Policy: Trump’s chance to check the Court (Real Clear Policy)
  • Policy: To shrink budget “deficits,” shrink federal revenue collections (Real Clear Markets)

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.

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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

FEATURED ANALYSIS

The Supreme Fallout for Public Unions

Lewis Morris

Last week’s Supreme Court ruling shooting down public-sector unions’ power to charge fees to nonmembers has Democrats and unions wondering what the future has in store for them.

For years, public-sector employees in several states were compelled to pay fees to unions even if they were not members. The unions claimed that these so-called nonmember “agency fees” were used for collective bargaining and administrative purposes that benefited all workers regardless of membership status. While true to a point, the reality was that public-sector unions were putting this money to work for their own political ends and forcing nonmembers to go along.

That came to an end in the 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, stated, “This procedure violates the First Amendment and cannot continue. Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a non-member’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.”

The majority’s support of employees’ First Amendment rights did not sit well with the Supreme Court’s judicial despots. Justice Elena Kagan, choosing to read her dissent from the bench, said, “The majority has overruled Abood for no exceptional or special reason, but because it never liked the decision. It has overruled Abood because it wanted to.”

It’s actually more complicated than that. The 1977 Abood v. Detroit Board of Education decision to which she referred infringed on employees’ First Amendment rights by compelling them to financially support union political stances that they didn’t actually support. Kagan’s dissent seemed less like a reasoned legal counterargument and more like sour grapes.

During oral arguments in the Janus case on Feb. 26, the Court’s left wing seemed less concerned about whether an employee’s constitutional rights were being infringed and more concerned about how a potential reversal of Abood would impact public-sector unions’ membership and ability to collect fees.

Their concern is not surprising. Virtually all political contributions by public-sector unions go to Democrat candidates and causes. Janus will directly impact five million public-sector employees in 22 states and the District of Columbia. This may lead to reduced membership when employees are freed from the yolk placed on them by the unions. It will most assuredly lead to unions’ diminished capacity to support leftist political candidates and causes.

Unions are predicting the end of the world, but all that has really happened is that they can no longer play such a rigged game. For decades, the twisted partnership between Democrats and unions was forged on the unions’ ability to coerce support from their membership and to then use that as leverage so Democrats could craft laws favoring union leadership but not necessarily its members. In return, unions provided financial support and votes to Democrats. All Janus has done is remind unions that they must now work for the support of all their members or face a reduced membership and reduced political power.

Workers have not been silenced by this decision. On the contrary, they have been freed from being forced to support causes with which they do not agree. There will not be widespread abuse of employees by unscrupulous employers. This ruling only impacts public-sector unions, which even a statist like Franklin Delano Roosevelt viewed as dangerous to the smooth operation of government.

The most obvious and realistic change that will come from this ruling is that public-sector unions must work harder to focus on the needs of employees rather than just spending their time rubbing shoulders with Democrat politicians. And that’s what unions were supposed to be about in the first place.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

OPINION IN BRIEF

Ken Blackwell: “We are lucky on July 4, 2018, to have President Donald Trump as our champion. As his critics repeatedly point out, he isn’t perfect. But neither are they. Nor even the Founders, whom most Americans revere. But at this critical moment, when the entire American experiment is at risk, we need a president willing to fight, and fight hard. The aggressive, authoritarian Left has launched Total War for control of the country. Radical forces determined to seize political power plan to impose their totalitarian worldview on the rest of us. We see the pernicious impact of PC on universities, misuse of antidiscrimination laws to attack religious liberty, and transformation of major corporations into weapons of liberal social engineering. This is not the time to be silent or stay home. Our families, communities, liberties, and faiths are at risk. Many conservative activists are battling on our behalf. But who imagined before November 2016 that the toughest one of all would be a New York City millionaire never before active in politics? Because of him, this July 4th we can celebrate several critical conservative Supreme Court victories. Imagine if President Hillary Clinton were in charge! On July 4th every year we remember our history, the creation of our great nation. We also celebrate the fact that the flag flies over an America that is ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave,’ as our national anthem grandly declares. But to ensure that continues in the future, we must fight, today and forever. Have a great Independence Day!”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Life, faculties, production — in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation and are superior to it.” —Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850)

Non Compos Mentis: “We know LeBron James has been outspoken about Trump. So it makes sense to head to California, the heartland of the #resistance. The fact that he will be trying to resist the dominance of the Warriors is an added plot twist.” —fake newsman Dan Rather


Braying Jenny: “Sarah Huckabee has no right to live a life of no fuss, no muss, after lying to the press — after inciting against the press. These people should be made uncomfortable, and I think that’s a life sentence, frankly.” —MSNBC’s Jennifer Rubin

The lady doth protest too much: “Stealing the [Merrick] Garland [Supreme Court] seat … represents the pinnacle of Republican obstruction. With the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch, the court further restricted voting rights, undermined worker rights, and upheld the discriminatory Muslim travel ban. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s replacement could shift the court even further to the right, threatening a woman’s freedom to control her own body, the right of LGBT Americans to marry, and access to health care for millions with pre-existing conditions. … With so much at stake, action on any Supreme Court nominee should wait until after the American people vote in November. It’s the right thing to do.” —Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

And last… “While it is true that the Declaration was a statement of revolt by men of privilege against those with even more privilege, that is hardly the full story, and it elides why we still mark the occasion annually. The argument that the signers made to justify their revolution was an argument against all forms of governmental privilege. And in this way, the Declaration is more radical than the individual men who wrote it or signed it, for it let loose upon the world a new way of ordering society itself.” —Jay Cost

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Join our editors and staff in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families. We also humbly ask prayer for your Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher