Mid-Day Digest

Dec. 4, 2018

THE FOUNDATION

“[The Judiciary] may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.” —Alexander Hamilton (1788)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

SCOTUS Rejects Ecofascist Challenge to Border Wall

Thomas Gallatin

A gaggle of three ecofascist groups just saw their hopes of preventing President Donald Trump from constructing a border wall based upon their environmental “concerns” rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices refused to take up the case in which California Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel had ruled in February in favor of Trump. Curiel determined that the president had not exceeded his powers and had the legal authority to waive environmental laws based upon a 1996 law that was designed to stem illegal immigration.

In his ruling, Curiel quoted Chief Justice John Roberts: “Court(s) are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” That was Roberts’s opinion in upholding ObamaCare despite clear constitutional reasons to strike it down, so Curiel’s choice of a quote was … interesting.

It’s important to note that it takes the approval of only four justices for a case to be heard before the High Court. Thus, the fact that not even four justices agreed to hear arguments sends the message that this case — obviously aimed at stymying Trump’s immigration-enforcement agenda — didn’t meet muster even for the Court’s left wing.

This is a clear win for Trump. It’s also ironic given that it originated with Curiel, a judge Trump previously criticized in a 2016 lawsuit regarding his now-defunct Trump University. At the time, Trump accused Curiel of being biased due to his Mexican heritage. But Curiel acted as any good judge should — upon the merits of the case as it relates to the law and not upon personal animus or bias.

Whether Trump gets congressional funding to build the wall is another matter entirely, but at least this roadblock cooked up by anti-Trump ecofascists has been removed.

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Demo High Hopes for Mueller’s Nothingburger

Jordan Candler

Congressional Democrats (and Jeff Flake) hold exceedingly high expectations for Special Counsel Robert Mueller — enough to pursue legislation to neutralize President Donald Trump, who can send Mueller packing if and when he chooses. But as National Review’s Rich Lowry reminds us, any kind of pro-Mueller statute devised by Democrats is on dubious grounds:

Mitch McConnell just did our constitutional order an enormous favor by burying the so-called Robert Mueller protection bill, hopefully never to rise again. … The president is the chief executive, and like it or not, Trump is president. … If the president can fire the attorney general (the ill-used Jeff Sessions attests that he can), he certainly can fire Mueller. The attorney general is a much more important position than the special counsel.

Lowry continues:

In compelling Senate testimony, Yale law professor Akhil Amar explained the constitutional problems with the Mueller protection bill. One is that to be constitutional, the special counsel must be an inferior officer. Otherwise, he has to be confirmed by the Senate, which Mueller wasn’t. And if he’s an inferior officer, he can be fired. Mueller can’t be an inferior officer in some respects and a hypersuperior officer in others, enjoying protections from his ouster that even Cabinet officials don’t enjoy.

The other perplexing facet is that Democrats are conspiring to protect what still appears to be a nothingburger, at least in a legal sense. In fact, former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy says, “Special Counsel Mueller is building a report, not a case.” From his legal point of view, “No prosecutor builds a case the way Mueller is going about it. What prosecutor says, ‘Here’s our witness line-up: Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Alex van der Zwaan, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen. And what is it that they have in common, ladies and gentlemen of the jury? Bingo! They’re all convicted liars.’”?

McCarthy adds:

For a prosecutor, like any trial lawyer, what the jury thinks is at least as important as what the law says. If the most memorable thing the jury takes into the deliberation room is that no one should believe a word your witnesses say, you are not going to convict the lowliest grifter, much less the president of the United States of America. As a prosecutor, you build a case by having your cooperating accomplice witnesses plead guilty to the big scheme you are trying to pin on the main culprit. After all, what makes these witnesses accomplices, literally, is that they were participants in the main culprit’s crime. That’s the scheme you’re trying to prove. … In short, you build a case by first establishing the foundational criminal offense. Juries do not convict people because they like or trust the prosecution’s witnesses. They convict because they are persuaded that justice demands redress for a real crime.

McCarthy believes that Mueller “is not going to indict the president, which would precipitate a trial at some point. The convicted liars are not going to be jury-trial witnesses, so Mueller is not concerned about their lack of credibility. The report will detail disturbing — and thus politically damaging — connections between Trump associates and Kremlin cronies. But there will be no collusion crime, and thus no charges and no need for witnesses.”

Unfortunately, Mueller’s conclusion won’t quell the Left’s politicking. Far from it.

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ON THE WEB TODAY

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

TOP HEADLINES

  • In nation’s capital, Bush remembered as “great man” and “gentle soul” (Associated Press)
  • Caravan migrants begin to breach border as frustration with slow asylum process grows (Fox News)
  • Asylum denials hit record high in 2018 (CBS News)
  • Study: 63% of noncitizen households in 2014 used welfare (The Daily Wire)
  • CIA Director Gina Haspel to brief Congress on Khashoggi murder (Hot Air)
  • Pentagon will resume sending green-card-holding recruits to training to comply with court order (ABC News)
  • Wall Street execs too afraid to hire women in wake of #MeToo (The Washington Times)
  • France suspends controversial fuel tax after weeks of unrest (The Washington Post)
  • UN climate summit to emit more CO2 than 8,200 American homes do in a year (The Daily Signal)
  • Humor: Frightening rise in anti-Semitism blamed on the Jews (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: Congress should rethink electric vehicle subsidies (E21)
  • Policy: Worry less about inflation and more about recession (Bloomberg Opinion)

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

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GOOD NEWS

Man Gives $1,000 to Students, Teachers of CA School Ravaged by Wildfire

Real-estate developer Bob Wilson, 90, gave students and staff at Paradise High School $1,000 each in a donation that totaled more than $1 million.

Smiles have been hard to come by for students ever since suffering through the most devastating wildfire in California history. About 900 of the 980 young people attending Paradise High School lost their homes, reports CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas. Wilson, who lives near San Diego, heard about the hardships these students were enduring, and he felt compelled to help.

“For me, high school … was an idyllic time of my life, you might say. And I thought about these kids, and I thought about my experience. And I said, you know, if I could just put a smile on their face,” Wilson said. “And so I decided on the spot I would do this.”

Wilson felt the best way he could have a personal, positive impact was through individual donations. He’s giving $1,000 checks to all 980 students and their 105 teachers and staff members.

Read more at CBS News.

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TODAY’S MEME

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TODAY’S CARTOON

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

China, NAFTA, and the Trade Trump Card

Lewis Morris

During the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce in the “trade war” between the two countries while negotiators attempt to iron out an agreement over tariffs, intellectual property theft, cybercrime, and other matters.

The move came as the U.S. was prepared to enter another level of escalation by raising tariffs on Chinese imports from 10% to 25%. In return, China will purchase a “very substantial” amount of U.S. agricultural, energy, and industrial products “immediately.” No one yet knows how immediately or how substantial China’s purchases will be, but business and political leaders were optimistic about the developments.

The Business Roundtable called on the White House to bring in other trading partners to create an international consensus in dealing with China.

This might be a good idea. China is not known for keeping its word when it comes to trade and protection issues, and it has flouted U.S. complaints about its shady trade practices before. However, if the EU and Japan backed the U.S. in these disputes, the Chinese might think twice about breaking the rules.

The National Retail Federation said it was a good thing that the administration decided to “give diplomacy a chance.” This was a sentiment echoed by the media and other business groups. What these organizations don’t admit is that Trump had to get tough with China for diplomacy to even be considered an option. Many previous presidents have paid lip service to getting tough with China, only to shrug and go back to business as usual once the TV cameras turn elsewhere.

Tariffs are not productive in the long run. In the end, they are just another tax that (American) consumers must pay for goods and services. However, Trump recognized that something had to be done about America’s trade imbalance with China, and he used the tools at his disposal to get Beijing to the bargaining table. By doing so, he was really returning fire in a trade war in which the U.S. had effectively unilaterally disarmed. Trump’s moves did enough to China’s economy to get Xi to agree to a truce.

The tariffs on China are not just about trade alone, which makes it a little easier to appreciate Trump’s actions. He’s using tariffs to put political as well as economic pressure on the Chinese. China has been setting itself up to become a hegemonic power in Asia, but it’s once superhuman economy has been showing strain and frustrating its plans.

Trump has exploited this, reminding the Chinese that the U.S. is still the premier power in the world. He has also encouraged the Chinese to lean on North Korea so that denuclearization efforts will bear fruit. China is the only friend Kim Jung-un has, and going through Beijing to get to Pyongyang increases the likelihood that Trump can get North Korea to give up its nuclear program.

The China tariff truce wasn’t the only good trade news Trump brought back from Argentina. Leaders of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Mexico’s legislature is expected to ratify the treaty right away. Canada promises to do so after the U.S. Congress passes the agreement.

House Republicans have been encouraged to pass the treaty before the Democrats take over in January, as it’s unclear what House Democrats will do with the deal. It’s not above Nancy Pelosi to sink it for no other reason than stick it to Trump. Dems have declared that there are provisions in the trade deal that they do not like, but the changes in the new agreement are in line with what would ordinarily please Democrat constituents. But these aren’t ordinary times.

Meanwhile, Trump suggested that he would formally pull out of NAFTA, forcing Democrats to either take up the new agreement or go back to at least some pre-1994 trade rules in North America. That may be a bluff, but it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Pelosi wouldn’t call it.

Democrats have proven time and again that their hatred for Trump supersedes everything. They will do whatever they can to defeat his chances for reelection in 2020. Trashing a favorable trade deal would be just one more stepping stone toward that goal.

Despite his threat to scrap NAFTA early, Trump claims to be optimistic that he can work out the new trade agreement with Congress. We’ll see.

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Gary Bauer: “Demonstrations across France this weekend turned violent as protestors set fire to cars, tires and some local government buildings. More than 130 people were wounded and more than 400 were arrested. The riots, considered among the worst France has seen in decades, stem from plans by President Emmanuel Macron to further increase taxes in France. The French already pay high taxes to subsidize their socialist welfare state. But Macron, a true believer in the ‘global warming agenda,’ is proposing to tax gasoline even more. Apparently, the French aren’t too keen on paying more than $7 a gallon for gas. It wasn’t that long ago when Macron was lecturing President Trump about patriotism. Now his government is attempting to negotiate with the rioters who have taken over the streets, as his approval rating collapses to 26%. I’m not sure Macron is in a position to lecture Trump on anything.”

SHORT CUTS

Non Compos Mentis I: “Actually, we have for-profit ‘death panels’ now: they are companies + boards saying you’re on your own [because] they won’t cover a critical procedure or medicine. Maybe if the GOP stopped hiding behind this ‘socialist’ rock they love to throw, they’d actually engage on-issue for once.” —Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)

Non Compos Mentis II: “$21 TRILLION of Pentagon financial transactions ‘could not be traced, documented, or explained.’ $21T in Pentagon accounting errors. Medicare for All costs ~$32T. That means 66% of Medicare for All could have been funded already by the Pentagon. And that’s before our premiums.” —Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

For the record: “For those wondering: In the original study, $21 trillion refers to transfers back-and-forth between accounts. So the same $1 can be counted 1000’s of times. It does not mean that $21 trillion in total spending was mis-spent. AOC should have realized $21T spent is crazy.” —Manhattan Institute senior fellow Brian Riedl

Dezinformatsiya: “Lots of people would probably be happy today [if Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in 2016]. Donald Trump would be happy. He could have built his Moscow tower with his bestie Vladimir Putin and no one would have cared.” —Chuck Todd

Ya think? “It’s a very serious decision. Over the holiday, I will make that decision [on a 2020 presidential campaign] with my family. Let’s be honest: It’s going to be ugly.” —Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)

Delusions of grandeur: “I think the field is shaping up to be even more advantageous for someone like me, not less. I think my chances have only gone up, not gone down.” —attorney Michael Avenatti

And last… “In spite of our differences, no matter what divides us, still we all can at least agree that ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ is the worst Christmas song ever produced. As a species, we can bond over this fact. And perhaps another world war may be averted.” —Matt Walsh

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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