Mid-Day Digest

Dec. 14, 2018

THE FOUNDATION

“It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives.” —John Adams (1756)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

Bankrupting the Boy Scouts of America

Mark Alexander

As a former Scout, a Scout leader, the father of two Eagle Scouts, a BSA Executive Council member, and a Scouting supporter for decades, it grieves me to report that, according to The Wall Street Journal, the National BSA board is considering Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to the Journal, the consideration is due to “dwindling membership and escalating legal costs related to lawsuits over how it handled allegations of sex abuse.” It is the latter issue — protection against legal action from Boy Scouts who have been the victims of homosexual predation and assault — that is the primary motivation for bankruptcy consideration.

The national board noted in its latest the annual report that it was “aware of threatened and expanding litigation” regarding sexual abuse. Recently, other organizations have sought bankruptcy protection regarding primarily cases of homosexual predation, including more than 20 Catholic dioceses and religious orders.

According to national BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh, “We have a social and moral responsibility to fairly compensate victims who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting. … We care deeply about all victims of child sex abuse … [and] we sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in our programs.”

I have been a critic of the national BSA board since 2013, when, under the leadership of wealthy corporate execs who had no connection with grassroots scouting, they removed membership restrictions against homosexuals. In an open letter, I wrote, “While all homosexuals are not molesters of teens and pre-teens, where same-sex molestation occurs, homosexuals are almost always the perpetrators. So, why would the national BSA board consider a motion to remove its restrictions on homosexual members and leaders?” The answer: “Several corporations have pulled their support for the BSA because of its sexual-orientation policies…”

I concluded that this was a “Faustian bargain” — that compromising the high moral standards upheld by the Boy Scouts since its 1910 inception would trade one problem for another bigger one. And now, the BSA is considering bankruptcy because of declining membership associated with this policy change, and lawsuits related to sexual assault in recent decades. Moral bankruptcy leads to monetary bankruptcy.

In a follow-up column, “The ‘Gay Pride’ Merit Badge,” I noted, “In May of 2015 the BSA’s national board announced that it was surrendering to the ‘gay lobby’ and would open its ranks to adult homosexual leaders, a self-destructive policy which the board approved two months later.”

Apparently the national BSA board was unable to discern any lessons from the horrendous record of predatory sexual abuse by homosexual priests in the Catholic Church. Even Pope Francis recently declared, “The Church urges that persons with this rooted [homosexual] tendency not be accepted into ministry.”

Let me emphasize that local BSA councils across the nation are separate entities from the national organization. They are 501(c)(3) entities incorporated in their respective states, and their assets are owned and controlled by their local executive councils. But the actions of the national BSA board have caused local councils to suffer membership and funding drops.

The Boy Scout oath is as follows: “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

But for those of us who have devoted so much time, energy, and resources to Scouting in order to strengthen the next generation of young men morally and spiritually, and in all other respects noted in the Scout oath, the national BSA board’s bankrupting of those values by adopting policies contrary to that oath is disgraceful. It also has a predictable consequence: The decline of a once-great and singular institution.

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Did the FBI Set Up Michael Flynn?

Thomas Gallatin

Did the FBI mistreat former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn by intentionally setting up a perjury trap and pressing him to walk into it unawares? That appears to be what U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan is seeking to determine after he surprisingly demanded that Robert Mueller and the Justice Department provide additional documents related to the FBI’s January 2017 interview of Flynn.

Flynn’s legal team’s argument is that the FBI failed to alert Flynn to the criminality of lying to investigators and that then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe pressured agents to set up an interview that precluded Flynn from having an attorney present. That was enough to prompt Sullivan to seek answers before sentencing Flynn for lying to the FBI.

The actors in this whole event should raise a few eyebrows. The now-fired anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok was one of the two agents in the interview that the also now-fired McCabe set up. Clearly, Flynn believed the meeting was not intended as an interrogation of any sort, as he quickly agreed to meet with the agents the same day as he received the call from McCabe. Flynn even gave them a tour of the West Wing. And, of note, those agents described Flynn as “unguarded,” “relaxed and jocular,” as well as saying they “didn’t think he was lying” and that he “clearly saw the FBI agents as allies.”

Importantly, Flynn was never found to have committed any crime related to collusion with Russians. Instead, as Mark Alexander notes, Mueller has only “accumulated some ‘process crimes,’ most notably perjury charges related to the testimony of George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. … There is nothing that remotely establishes Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Nothing.”

Of most significance is the different treatment Flynn received to that of Hillary Clinton, who showed up with nine lawyers to her interview with FBI agents. Or consider George Papadopoulos, who was given explicit warnings by agents of the criminality of perjury and was allowed to have attorneys present.

Interestingly, The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland points out, “The most recent iteration of Sullivan’s standing entered in the Flynn case required Mueller’s office to produce ‘any evidence in its possession that is favorable to defendant and material either to defendant’s guilt or punishment.’ The order further required the government to submit to the court any information ‘which is favorable to the defendant but which the government believes not to be material.’” Sullivan may smell a rat.

Mueller and the DOJ have until 3:00 p.m. today to produce for the court the requested documents. Hopefully, those documents will shed a little more light on this twisted web of legal gotcha. And for Flynn, who has lost almost everything in this politically motivated witch hunt, there could be at least a little redemption in the end.

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ON THE WEB TODAY

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

TOP HEADLINES

  • Senate votes to end American military assistance for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen (Washington Examiner)
  • Prosecutors probing Trump inauguration spending (The Hill)
  • China suspends tariff hikes on $126 billion of U.S. cars, auto parts (Associated Press)
  • Budget deficit hits widest on record for month of November (Bloomberg)
  • Republicans examine accusations of “pay to play” at Clinton Foundation (Fox News)
  • The DOJ inspector general found 19,000 “lost” Strzok and Page texts (Townhall)
  • North Carolina congressional candidate sought out aide despite warnings over tactics (The Washington Post)
  • Tipster thwarts potential mass shooting at Indiana middle school (ABC News)
  • Teachers need guns, schools need security, Parkland shooting panel concludes (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
  • Humor: U.S. military honors sacrifices of NFL players by wearing jerseys throughout December (The Onion)
  • Policy: Why our country needs the wall, and now (The Daily Signal)
  • Policy: Coaxing reluctant states to take on health reform (RealClearPolicy)

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.

Update:

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Christy Chesterton
Director of Advancement
The Patriot Post

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Challenging the Bureaucratic State

Brian Mark Weber

One of President Donald Trump’s core pledges during the 2016 campaign was to drain the Swamp, but taking on the Washington bureaucracy will require far more than cutting back on spending or making government more efficient.

For well over 100 years, our nation operated without a monarchical executive. Then along came Woodrow Wilson, an academic and a “progressive” who believed that an enlightened administrative state was superior to government “by the people.” Franklin D. Roosevelt then “perfected” this bureaucratic governance with his “New Deal” programs, which resulted in soaring deficits, a tripling of the federal budget between 1933 and 1941, and a needlessly prolonged Great Depression.

Thus, modern presidents, including Trump, and their executive agencies have enjoyed carte blanche without having to worry too much about that pesky separation of powers. Ironically, Trump’s conservative appointments to the Supreme Court may be just what’s needed to finally curb the power of the executive branch and its myriad agencies that have run roughshod over the Constitution.

Here’s the good news: Just this week, The Wall Street Journal opined, “The Supreme Court announced that it will hear a legal challenge to two of its precedents that defer to agency interpretations of ambiguous regulations.”

Defer to agencies may not sound as threatening as the border caravan, ISIS, or a turbulent stock market, but for those of us who still believe in the quaint constitutional principles of separation of powers and limited government, it’s right up there with the most pressing issues of our time. And these agencies have had a detrimental impact on Liberty for far too long.

For the monster of bureaucratic overreach, we can partially thank the Supreme Court, which in 1984 reached a decision in Chevron U.S.A vs. Natural Resources Defense Council that the judiciary will defer to an agency as long as Congress has not “directly spoken” to the issue and the agency has engaged in a “permissible construction” of the statute.

The result of this seemingly innocuous ruling is that the president and his executive branch agencies now have tremendous power to operate as an autonomous government. In other words, they can make, interpret, and execute their own policies without deferring to Congress or the Supreme Court. In fact, it’s Congress and the Supreme Court that now defer to the agencies, thanks to the Chevron ruling. The Constitution is pretty clear about the separation of powers, and how those powers should function. But when one branch of government tells another that it’s basically free to act without oversight from the other branches, it’s no wonder we have the Swamp.

The late Justice Antonin Scalia did not participate in Chevron, but he did seem to throw up his hands and give in to the growing power of the federal government when he stated not long after the ruling that “broad delegation to the executive is the hallmark of the modern administrative state.”

Compare this to Justice Neil Gorsuch, who, in 2016 as a member of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, stated in reference to Chevron, “There’s an elephant in the room with us today. We have studiously attempted to work our way around it and even left it unremarked. But the fact is Chevron … permit[s] executive bureaucracies to swallow huge amounts of core judicial and legislative power and concentrate federal power in a way that seems more than a little difficult to square with the Constitution of the framers’ design. Maybe the time has come to face the behemoth.”

National Review’s David French writes, “This Supreme Court … has the opportunity to begin the arduous process of paring back the powers of the president. The Court can’t, however, work miracles. It can push the president back a bit and reassert its own authority, but it can’t make Congress step forward and reassert its rightful lawmaking primacy. If the presidency recedes, the legislative branch must step forward.”

Despite many attempts to erode its relevancy and authority, the Constitution of the United States is the single most important document we have to protect and defend Liberty. We can only hope that President Trump’s Supreme Court appointments of Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh will begin to push back against the Court’s previous ruling in Chevron and restore the important constitutional balance among the legislative, judicial, and executive branches.

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OPINION IN BRIEF

David Limbaugh: “Contrary to liberal media reporting, the Oval Office meeting with President Trump, Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was a win for Trump, both in substance and in tone. … How can anyone believe that the Democrats support border security — wall or no wall — when they have repeatedly broken their promises to work with Republicans on it, when they demonize all opponents of illegal immigration and amnesty as racists, when they oppose all reasonable measures to guard the border, and when many of them actually advocate the elimination of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement? … I applaud President Trump for bringing this issue front and center and exposing the fraudulent and reckless position of the Democratic leadership on border security.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” —Steve Biko (1946-1977)

I blind squirrel finds a nut: “I wish that the press would spend a lot more time on what we need to do here to meet the needs of the American people instead of morning, noon, and night allegations against the president. … I think you’d have more viewers and readers if you address concerns that people have rather than just this ongoing … coverage of what’s current with the president from one day to the next.” —House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

Braying Jackass: “The weakness of the Republican Party has let the Democratic Party … get further out than I think the majority of people want.” —California Gov. Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown on Demos going off the rails

Non Compos Mentis: “We’re at this moment in time right now where we have enough information to sit and wonder: Might this be the greatest crime in American history? The subversion of an American election by a foreign power; colluding with and conspiracy with the president’s campaign. It’s extraordinary to consider it.” —MSNBC’s Steve Schmidt

Identity politics: “If you want to win in the Midwest, there may not be a better man than [Sen. Sherrod Brown]. So if Democrats want to play, this is an interesting guy for them. I will point out though, another white male. I am very suspect of that this year going into a Democratic primary with women doing well and the African-American face of the Democratic Party. I am not sure it’s the time to nominate a white man.” —CNN’s Harry Enten

And last… “Disgraced FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe alongside biased agent Peter Strzok lured Flynn into a casual sit-down, encouraged him not to bring attorneys & never warned of false statement penalties. But Hillary gets to bring 9 attorneys & claim ignorance of classification levels?!” —Kayleigh McEnany

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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