“National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.” —John Adams (1815)
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- Kamala Harris’s “racist” smear on ICE is ludicrous.
- Democrats are far better at undermining elections than the Russians.
- Daily Features: Columnists, Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, and Short Cuts.
- Featured Analysis: Criminal justice reform wins Trump’s backing.
California Democrat Sen. Kamala Harris certainly showed her penchant for hysterics in the despicable Brett Kavanaugh hearings, but she reached another low Thursday. During a confirmation hearing for Ronald Vitello, a 30-year Border Patrol veteran, to become the permanent director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Harris declared the law-enforcement agency to be just like the lawless and racist KKK.
Prompted by Harris’s questions about Vitello’s years-old social media post about the Democrat Party being “liberalcratic” or “NeoKlanist,” here’s the relevant exchange:
Vitiello: “The Klan was what we could call today a domestic terrorist group.”
Harris: “Why? Why would we call them a domestic terrorist group?”
Vitiello: “Because they tried to use fear and force to change the political environment.”
Harris: “And what was the motivation for the use of fear and force?”
Vitiello: “It was based on race and ethnicity.”
Harris: “Right. Are you aware of the perception of many about how the power and discretion at ICE is being used to enforce the laws? And do you see any parallels?”
Vitiello: “I do not see any parallels between sworn officers and agents…”
Harris: “I’m talking about perception.”
Vitiello: “I do not see a parallel between what is constitutionally mandated as it relates to enforcing the law.
Harris: "Are you aware that there’s a perception? Are you aware that there’s a perception?”
Vitiello: “I see no perception that puts ICE in the same category as the KKK…”
Harris: “I’m not finished. I’m not finished. I’m not finished. Are you aware that there is a perception that ICE is administering its power in a way that is causing fear and intimidation, particularly among immigrants and specifically among immigrants coming from Mexico and Central America?”
Surely, Harris just overlooked the fact that more than half of all Border Patrol agents are Hispanic or Latino.
The senator’s outrageous race-bait badgering is meant for two purposes: One, #Resistance cred for her 2020 presidential bid. Two, showmanship to create the perception of racist law enforcement she insists is already there.
To the extent that the perception of racism at ICE already exists, it is because Democrats have strategically fomented it for craven political gain. Democrats began a small movement to abolish ICE this past summer. While Harris stopped just short of fully jumping on that bandwagon, she attacked the agency anyway, saying, “We need to probably think about starting from scratch.” The abolition movement even led to multiple violent protests. Coincidentally we’re sure, this Demo trial balloon was followed by three caravans from Central America aiming to enter the U.S. illegally and then demand asylum.
Harris wanted to know what Vitiello would do to fix the perception (she helped create). He responded that, for one thing, he’d defend the agency against “misleading rhetoric and misinformation.” That pretty well indicts every elected Democrat.
Democrats in Florida have now lost the machine recount in elections for both governor and senator, yet they refuse to concede and continue to campaign as if the election were still going. The result of the Senate election is that Republican Gov. Rick Scott beat Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson by just under 13,000 votes. By Florida law, this narrow margin trigged a second recount, this one by hand, so one can reasonably argue that Nelson’s waiting for the end of the second recount is at least understandable.
However, in the race for governor, Republican Ron DeSantis maintained more than a 33,000 vote margin over Democrat Andrew Gillum after the machine recount, which is beyond the minimum threshold required for triggering a second hand recount. And yet Gillum still refuses to concede defeat. Why?
Then there’s the Georgia governor’s election, where Democrat Stacey Abrams has no chance of making up the deficit to Republican Brian Kemp, and yet she continues to press the courts to allow the counting of previously rejected ballots. She hopes find enough votes not to make up the mathematically insurmountable deficit to Kemp but to shrink his percentage down below 50% and thereby trigger a runoff.
It is highly unlikely that Democrats will succeed in their efforts to steal the elections in Florida and Georgia, so why all the lawsuits and delay tactics? It’s all designed to create a narrative for the future, while at the same time seeking to diminish the legitimacy of the vote if it goes the Republicans’ way. The narrative? The only reason Republicans won was because they suppressed the vote by refusing to accept “thousands” of votes and therefore they are a danger to the democratic process itself. Never mind that there is not a shred of evidence supporting this spurious accusation, and in fact, that Democrats were the ones caught engaging in lawless behavior. The mainstream media will happily “remind” voters come next election how Republicans sought to suppress the vote and the “will of the people” in Florida and Georgia, while conveniently ignoring Democrat shenanigans. Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election have nothing on Democrat schemes to undermine election integrity.
ON THE WEB TODAY
- Battling Online Smut Is Still a Conservative Priority — Not long ago, both parties gave serious consideration to the destructiveness of porn.
- Jim Acosta and the First Amendment — CNN filed suit, and a judge restored Acosta’s revoked press pass earlier today.
- Video: Republican White Women Are the Problem … Apparently — Allie Beth Stuckey speaks about the problem of Democrat identity politics.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
- Florida orders first-ever statewide hand recounts as legal fights continue (Tampa Bay Times)
- Florida Democrats planned to use altered forms to “fix” mail ballots across state after deadline (Naples Daily News)
- Democrats net 36th House pickup in Maine (Politico)
- Migrant caravan, Tijuana residents clash at U.S. border fence: “You’re not welcome” (The Washington Times)
- The “wall” continues to be built … slowly (National Review)
- Pentagon fails its first-ever audit (Reuters)
- Study: U.S. has spent nearly $6 trillion on war since 9/11 (The Daily Wire)
- Grassley backs Flake, supports Senate vote on Mueller protection bill (Townhall)
- U.S. attorney accidentally reveals feds have charged Julian Assange (Washington Examiner)
- Humor: Citing need to “believe all women,” Avenatti immediately pleads guilty to domestic violence charges (The Babylon Bee)
- Policy: The wrong time to cut defense: A new bipartisan report exposes the dangers facing America (The Washington Free Beacon)
- Policy: How misguided environmentalism is to blame for California’s wildfires (The Federalist)
For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
Three decades ago, crime in America was on the rise and the public was scared — and when John Q. Public is scared, often the first thing that’s said is, “There oughta be a law.” What followed was a “three strikes” law for habitual offenders and mandatory minimum sentencing for certain crimes. These changes helped lower crime levels appreciably, but there was a human toll to this hardline approach, too. People may shake their head in disbelief at a statistic we’ve pointed out, but because of drug-related convictions, our nation, which is home to just 4% of the world’s people, also hosts 25% of its imprisoned population. Not China, not Russia, but the Land of the Free, the U.S. of A.
It’s an issue where thoughtful conservatives have long favored necessary reforms, but one that our previous president addressed by, for example, using his pen and his phone to commute the prison terms of 46 drug offenders. Unfortunately, Barack Obama’s proposals muddied the waters by pulling in unrelated issues such as pre-K schooling and the restoration of voting rights for felons.
But thanks to a softening of public perception on crime, these reforms aren’t the “third rail” they once were. A simpler approach to prison reform, such as that advocated in a 2016 report by the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections, focuses more on rehabilitation and incentives to reduce a prison sentence through cooperative and contrite actions. But it must be combined with sentencing reform, lest the effects of good behavior be thwarted because a federal judge is forced to restore a draconian sentence, such as the Matthew Charles case we documented earlier this year.
In a bitter irony, it was about the time Matthew Charles was re-sentenced that the House passed the First Step Act by a bipartisan 360-59 vote. But as Reason’s C.J. Ciaramella wrote at the time, the bill was only half a loaf: “Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Republican point man on criminal justice reform, [said] the bill is dead in the water unless it includes major reforms to federal sentencing law as well.”
Fortunately, the Senate had a complementary sentencing reform bill already in the process, and over the interceding few months a deal was reached that includes these sentencing reforms in First Step. This revised proposal is a bill that President Donald Trump has already vowed to sign, and in the waning days of the 114th Congress he’s called on First Step to become a priority item. “So far, seven major police organizations, more than 2,700 faith and evangelical leaders, and hundreds of conservative organizations and leaders support this legislation,” said the White House in a press release.
Not that he’ll get any credit for something that would help blacks. The Left, after all, has to maintain the narrative that he’s “racist.”
But even with the support of the president and conservatives like Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee — the former assistant U.S. attorney recently pointed out abuses in the current system as his reason for favoring the First Step proposal — the bill has some tough sledding ahead. “We don’t have a whole lot of time left,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “We need an actual proposal, then we would take a whip count, see where we stand, and then weigh it at that point against the other things that absolutely have to be accomplished.”
Despite the addition of sentencing reform to the original bill, it will be hard to convince politicians who prefer to keep the present system as a political cudgel while stoking the fires of race and class envy.
“Let’s just start with the hard truth about our criminal justice system,” complained probable 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren back in August. “It’s racist. It is. And when I say our system, I mean all the way. I mean front to back.” (In her case, criminal justice reform takes a back seat to “LGBTQ equality.”) Fellow far-left progressive senators (and potential 2020 candidates) Kamala Harris and Cory Booker also came out against reform, co-signing a letter from Sen. Dick Durbin back in October calling First Step “a step backwards,” and warning that “the recidivism reduction plan that is the core of the bill could actually worsen the situation in our federal prisons by creating discriminatory non-evidence-based policies.” However, Booker has since read the tea leaves and yesterday announced his support of the compromise bill.
With this Congress closing out its two-year run, and with Democrats poised to take control, this may be the last best opportunity for some sorely needed reform.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Michael Reagan: “Spirituality, morality, kindness, the better part of our natures, love for your fellow humans no matter what their politics — it’s getting harder and harder to find in our daily lives. Everyone’s angry on TV. Left or right, Fox or CNN, it doesn’t matter what side you’re on. Social media and cable networks overflow 24/7 with hate, not calls for political compromise. They thrive on ratings and clicks and anger — not civility and compromise — to generates their profits. In my father’s time, in the 1970s and 1980s, we debated important political issues, but we did it without trying to destroy our opponents’ careers or reputations. Now everything in politics is personal and nasty. We don’t merely say we disagree with a person’s position. Instead we say, ‘You’re a racist. You hate women.’ There’s hardly anywhere you can go in the mainstream media to hear an uplifting spiritual message or an inspiring leader who rises above petty politics. There’s almost nowhere you can relax and make yourself feel good. I tweeted the other day that people should turn off the news and the cable channels for a night and watch the annual country music awards. That’s what I did. It was just country music and awards. No politics. No anger. No name calling. It was entertaining and pleasant — an oasis of civility in our angry world. It was something all of us could all use a lot more of.”
Insight: “The main evil of the present democratic institutions of the united states does not raise, as is often asserted in Europe, from their weakness, but from their irresistible strength. I am not so much alarmed at the excessive liberty which reigns in that country as at the inadequate securities which one finds there against tyranny.” —Alexis De Tocqueville (1805-1859)
Belly laugh of the week: “I have always believed in the presumption of innocence but I know Michael Avenatti is not a fan of that principle. Out of respect for his preferences, I will therefore assume that he is guilty as hell.” —Matt Walsh
Ouch: “Bad news is because he hit a woman, Avenatti probably won’t be President. Good news is he still has an excellent chance of becoming DNC Co-Chair.” —Stephen Miller
For the record: “Last week, Florida voters elected me as their next U.S. Senator and now the ballots have been counted twice. I am incredibly proud and humbled by the opportunity to serve Florida in Washington. Our state needs to move forward.” —Rick Scott
Oh good grief: “If [Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams] had a fair election, she already would have won.” —Hillary Clinton, who believes her own electoral defeat was unfair
Braying Jackass: “I think people are tired of what’s happening. … We cannot have a truculent child president. We need something serious.” —John Kerry (Donald Trump is serious about putting America first. Barack Obama was serious about putting America last.)
A trip through the echo chamber: “Every place I go, people say … ‘Thank you for saving America.’” —House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
And last… “Here’s an idea. Give Acosta back his press pass. Next time (& every time) Acosta grandstands… End the press conference. Immediately. Until Acosta’s journalist colleagues (whom he disrespects by hogging time showboating), peer pressure him into behaving like an adult.” —Liz Wheeler
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