Mid-Day Digest

Oct. 3, 2018

THE FOUNDATION

“Newspapers … serve as chimnies to carry off noxious vapors and smoke.” —Thomas Jefferson (1802)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Fake news strikes again, this time about Trump’s taxes.
  • Amazon raises its minimum wage and will lobby to hike it nationwide.
  • Can you believe Trump isn’t keeping Obama’s policies?
  • California goes rogue with its own net neutrality.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists, and Short Cuts.

IN BRIEF

NYT Launches Anti-Trump Hit Piece Over His Taxes

Thomas Gallatin

On Tuesday, The New York Times published an article accusing President Donald Trump of having “engaged in suspect tax schemes as he reaped riches from his father.” The obviously anti-Trump hit piece claimed that Trump and his siblings used “dubious” tax methods and even “outright fraud” to greatly increase the money they received from their parents’ real-estate empire. But this is a prime example of fake news.

A lawyer for Trump, Charles J. Harder, blasted the Times, saying, “[The] allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory. There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which The Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate.” He further explained, “President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters. The affairs were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves and therefore relied entirely upon the aforementioned licensed professionals to ensure full compliance with the law.” In fact, the Times tacitly acknowledges that the Internal Revenue Service was fully aware of the Trumps’ actions and evidently had no objections at the time — because the Trump family accountants followed the law.

Trump quickly responded to the Times, declaring, “The Failing New York Times did something I have never seen done before. They used the concept of ‘time value of money’ in doing a very old, boring and often told hit piece on me. Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also derided the Times’ story as a “misleading attack against the Trump family” and noted that “decades ago the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions.”

There are a couple of points to be made here. First, the voluminous tax code has all kinds of “loopholes” that afford (especially wealthy) people avenues by which to lower their tax burden. It’s not illegal to take those deductions; it’s simply smart decision-making. So if leftists don’t want people using these tax breaks then they should work to change the tax laws; don’t blame people for legally seeking to keep more of their hard-earned money. The fairest income tax would be a flat tax, and arguably more fair still would be a national sales tax, a.k.a. The Fair Tax. But neither will ever happen because too many lawmakers depend upon advocating for special tax breaks to curry favor with their constituents.

Second, the primary reason for this anti-Trump hit piece is to re-inject one of the Democrats’ favorite talking points into the midterms: crying about Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns. Indeed, the Times explains that these “findings raise new questions about Mr. Trump’s refusal to release his income tax returns, breaking with decades of practice by past presidents.” Democrats want his tax returns so as to cook up more allegations of potential instances of tax fraud by Trump. Never mind the fact that the IRS audits Trump every year. Once again, this is yet another example of the Left’s game of declaring that mere accusations create the cloud of credible suspicion, which therefore demands an investigation. This story is nothing more than another political ploy designed to pressure Trump into releasing his tax returns.

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Amazon’s Real Motivation for Raising Wages

Nate Jackson

A month ago, the socialist senator supreme, Bernie Sanders, introduced the Stop BEZOS (Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies) Act, which would tax large corporations at a rate equal to the amount of federal benefits their employees receive from the government. Never mind Sanders’s own personal wealth or Amazon owner Jeff Bezos’s status as one of the socialist archenemies of Liberty — the bill was an effort to mobilize Bernie’s voters this fall.

So it’s no surprise on a couple of counts to see Amazon raise its internal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Good for Amazon … except there’s a catch.

Bezos, the world’s richest man, gets a little breathing room with his fellow socialists for appearing virtuous, tamping down criticism of working conditions and unionization efforts at Amazon-owned Whole Foods, while also squeezing his competitors as the labor market tightens. A booming Amazon, now with more than $1 trillion in market cap, can — and probably should — afford to pay its workers more, but its local, “mom and pop” competitors don’t have the profit margins to do likewise.

If this was just good old-fashioned market competition, it would be one thing. But Bezos didn’t stop with his own action. No, like any “good” Big Business mogul, he’s also getting in bed with Big Government, simultaneously announcing that Amazon will lobby to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour. All the while, Bezos’s Washington Post can make the media case for a higher minimum wage.

Amazon did essentially the same thing by leading the way advocating for an Internet sales tax. Its massive infrastructure could handle the added burden, so why not foist it onto smaller competitors to damage their bottom line?

As for the minimum wage itself, we’ve always argued that the true minimum is $0 an hour — employers will hire fewer workers if those workers are more expensive to employ. Washington, DC, of all places, has at least partly conceded this reality. The Democrat-run city council of DC, where Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 86 points, took the first step in repealing Initiative 77, which gradually raises the minimum wage in the district even for restaurant servers and bartenders to $15 an hour plus tips. Restaurant workers actually opposed the wage hike. Sometimes a modicum of economic sanity can prevail even in leftist bastions.

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Top Headlines

  • FBI’s Kavanaugh investigation may wrap up as soon as Wednesday (Fox News)
  • Christine Ford’s ex-boyfriend says she helped friend prep for potential polygraph; Grassley sounds alarm (Fox News)
  • Kavanaugh drank beer? He can’t hold a candle to Obama’s pot and cocaine use (CNS News)
  • Hazmat team sent to Cruz campaign office in Houston after white powder arrives in the mail (The Weekly Standard)
  • Packages sent to Pentagon test positive for deadly poison ricin (CBS News)
  • Trump to delay Rosenstein meeting until after Kavanaugh process (The Hill)
  • Mueller shedding more attorneys in Russia investigation (Associated Press)
  • Trump admin seeks investigation into new claims of secret Iran nuclear sites (The Washington Free Beacon)
  • Fraud soars as more men sneak children into U.S. to exploit “family loophole” (The Washington Times)
  • Humor: Everyone waits patiently for FBI investigation that will definitely end all controversy (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are the right thing to do (The Daily Signal)
  • Policy: Argentina’s ongoing crisis exposes flawed economic myths (The Hill)

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

The Anti-Trump Deep State and Climate Hysteria

Louis DeBroux

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” —Joseph Heller, Catch-22

In an earth-shaking new article, The Washington Post has exposed the shocking revelation that — GASP! — President Donald Trump is not following Barack Obama’s agenda! In fact, he is doing the opposite in most cases, and with a vigor and determination that would lead one to believe it’s what the American people elected him to do.

And yet at every turn, anti-Trump Obama holdovers and lifelong bureaucrats attempt to undermine the Trump agenda.

In the Post article, the writers breathlessly reveal that Trump is ignoring an analysis made by his own administration regarding the impact of global warming. The analysis claims Earth will see a four-degrees Celsius increase in global temperatures if we don’t immediately implement economy-crushing environmental regulations. The author of this environmental impact statement? A bureaucrat within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

That’s right … the Post is up in arms because Trump ignored a policy statement on global warming by a traffic-safety bureaucrat. What’s next? Discovering Trump ignored policy statements on food safety by an IRS employee? Trump ignoring recommendations for placement of missile-defense silos from the cashier at the White House gift shop?

The problem for the global warming hysterics is that they have played Chicken Little for so long, and made so many dire prophecies that never came true, that sane people now tune them out as background noise.

In the 1970s we were warned of a coming Ice Age that would doom humanity. Scientist Paul Ehrlich became world famous after predicting four billion people would perish by 1989 in the “Great Die-Off” (which would have been almost 80% of the world’s population at the time). Other scientists predicted that 80% of all species would be extinct by 1995, and the Earth would be a chilly 11 degrees colder by the year 2000.

However, by the early 1980s, the fearmongering over a coming Ice Age had been discarded for fearmongering over “global warming,” claiming man’s industrial activities were increasing CO2 levels to catastrophic proportions. Before long (we were told), ocean levels would rise so high that New York City would be underwater.

Yet despite all of these frenzied warnings, the predictions never seemed to materialize. New York is not underwater, and despite claims of near-extinction, polar bears are thriving. The polar ice caps are not only not melting, they are setting record highs for sea ice levels.

Of course, global warming (oops… “climate change”) was never about saving the environment, it was about the destruction of free-market capitalism in order to usher in global socialism.

This was openly admitted by none other than Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), the global governing body for all things climate change.

Speaking at a 2012 conference in Doha, Qatar, Figueres declared that the entire climate change process was about a “complete transformation of the economic structure of the world.” In 2015 at that same conference, Figueres reiterated that the climate change conference was “not a discussion about the temperature.” No, she said, “That is just a proxy. The discussion is about the decarbonization of the economy.”

This should have been evident to everyone paying attention during the first couple of years of the Obama presidency, when Democrats were pushing the Waxman-Markey “cap-and-trade” bill that would have fined Americans for exceeding government-mandated carbon emissions limitations.

In testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, under questioning by Republican committee members, admitted that the United States could hit every single emissions limitation goal in the bill, at a cost of trillions of dollars to the taxpayers, but only reduce the global temperature by 0.2 degrees Celsius at most.

If the true goal were to reduce CO2 emissions and thus temperatures, rather than transform the world into a global socialist utopia, then environmentalists would be praising the United States. After all, despite widespread condemnation for refusing to sign on to the Kyoto Accord, and even greater outrage when President Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord last year, it is the United States that is leading the world in reducing CO2 emissions, and it’s not even close. In fact, almost every country that signed onto these climate treaties have seen an increase in CO2 emissions.

And at the end of the day, that is why progressives loathe Donald Trump and his conservative policies. Their policies sound wonderful and compassionate and idealistic but are utter failures in practice. Then along comes Trump, by their estimate a hate-filled, bombastic, uncouth idiot, and in less than two years his policies have lowered carbon emissions, jump-started the economy, led to the creation of millions of jobs, and created enormous prosperity for tens of millions of Americans.

If environmentalists truly want to reduce global temperatures, then shutting off all the hot air being blown by progressive Democrats, global-warming alarmists, and even deep-state bureaucrats at the NHTSA might be a good place to start.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

OPINION IN BRIEF

Star Parker: “The efforts by liberals to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination are driven by fear that he could be a threat to Roe v. Wade. It’s all about abortion. The battle cry we have heard and are hearing is that those who see it essential to move forward with Kavanaugh’s confirmation ‘don’t care about women.’ No matter how many women step forward to attest to Kavanaugh’s decency, liberals are convinced that he doesn’t care about women. For them, anyone not supporting legal abortion on demand doesn’t care about women. Conversely, for them, ‘caring’ about women means unrestricted legal abortion. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his famous ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’: ‘A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a law that is out of harmony with the moral law.’ King, in this letter, justified civil disobedience and breaking laws that are unjust. Those disrupting the process to confirm Kavanaugh, by any means possible, are similarly motivated. But the key and massive difference is that the law they see as unjust, one which would protect life in the womb, is exactly what King defined as a just law — ‘one that squares with the moral law, or the law of God.’ So any sense of morality in law, or the procedures to carry out the law, has no meaning for those driven by keeping abortion legal. For them, the law is not rooted in moral traditions. Rather, it’s what they make up for their own convenience.”

SHORT CUTS

Imagine: “I’m not a drinker. I can honestly say I never had a beer in my life. … It’s one of my only good traits. I don’t drink. … Can you imagine if I had, what a mess I’d be?” —Donald Trump

For the record: “I find it hilarious that now if you drank in college it’s disqualifying from seeking any position of power. Not only did most of the people saying that probably have one too many themselves, but you know who didn’t drink in college? Donald Trump.” —Lisa Boothe

Non Compos Mentis: “[Ted Kennedy] stood up and owned moments where he knew he’d stepped over the line … and he wasn’t about to be nominated to a lifetime position. In fact, he said to the people of Massachusetts, if you think I shouldn’t stay here, then, you know — he took those returns and then he was elected another six times.” —John Kerry

Hyper hypocrisy: “You have to ask yourself why would anybody put themselves through this if they did not believe that they had important information to convey to the Senate. I found [Dr. Ford’s] presentation, I found her willingness to say ‘I don’t remember that but I remember this’ to be very convincing and I felt a great swell of pride that she would be willing to put herself out there under these circumstances.” —Hillary Clinton, who couldn’t deride accusations against her husband with enough ferocity

Braying Jackass: “Ultimately [it’s] not whether he is innocent or guilty. … Have enough questions been raised that we should not move on to another candidate? … Move on to another candidate.” —Cory Booker

That’s cute, coming from a flake: “[Kavanaugh’s] interaction with the members was sharp and partisan and that concerns me. And I tell myself you give a little leeway because of what he’s been through. But, on the other hand, we can’t have this on the Court. We simply can’t.” —Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

Political futures: “What I can tell you with certainty — we’ll have an FBI report this week, and we’ll have a vote this week.” —Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination

Hell hath frozen over: “As someone who voted against NAFTA and opposed it for many years, I knew it needed fixing. The president deserves praise for taking large steps to improve it.” —Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

And last… “I’m starting to think maybe Brett Kavanaugh didn’t actually do anything wrong.” —Jim Treacher

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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