Mid-Day Digest

Dec. 17, 2018

THE FOUNDATION

“I acknowledge, in the ordinary course of government, that the exposition of the laws and Constitution devolves upon the judicial. But I beg to know upon what principle it can be contended that any one department draws from the Constitution greater powers than another in marking out the limits of the powers of the several departments.” —James Madison (1789)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

A Short-Lived Victory Against ObamaCare?

Nate Jackson

ObamaCare is dead. Long live ObamaCare. Texas Judge Reed O'Connor struck down the laughably named “Affordable” Care Act Friday in a ruling cheered by President Donald Trump and many conservatives. But it’s complicated and that celebration is likely premature.

When Republicans passed tax reform, they repealed the tax penalty that enforced ObamaCare’s individual mandate. In doing so, they intentionally recalled Chief Justice John Roberts’s tortured logic and despotic legal rewrite in saving ObamaCare in 2012. He declared the mandate to be illegal under the Commerce Clause — “The Framers gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it” — but then he rewrote the law to declare the penalty a tax so as to justify it under Congress’s tax authority. Never mind that Democrats spent four years declaring it wasn’t a tax, or that they had drafted the law to specifically avoid that language. Republicans set the tax at $0.

Thus, 20 suing states argued and O'Connor agreed that the law is undermined and unconstitutional since the tax no longer exists and the entire law depends on the mandate. Republicans hoped for this outcome when drafting tax reform, but having repealed the tax while leaving the rest of the law standing, they undermined their own argument. Roberts did get it entirely wrong in 2012, but O'Connor’s ruling is unlikely to stand when it goes before the Fifth Circuit Court and then potentially the Supreme Court.

California led the 17 states opposing Texas and 19 others. The pro-ObamaCare states will challenge the ruling on the grounds that it represents, as California Attorney General Xavier Becerra put it, “an assault on 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, on the 20 million Americans who rely on the A.C.A.‘s consumer protections for health care, on America’s faithful progress toward affordable health care for all Americans.”

The Democrats’ strategy in establishing ObamaCare was politically and practically brilliant. They constructed a new entitlement that could survive legal challenge even when it shouldn’t have, and millions of Americans now depend on the law, making repeal of any kind — via Congress or the courts — effectively untenable. Ask congressional Republicans. And, as we warned from the beginning, the Democrats’ ultimate goal was single-payer health care. ObamaCare was deliberately faulty and incomplete, for which the convenient “solution” is total government health care. Bernie Sanders and his ilk have made this plain with “Medicare for All.”

We hate to play the role of Debbie Downer, but this ruling may end up being little more than a blip on the radar. Congressional Republicans cannot outsource to the courts the work of ObamaCare repeal.

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Left Uses Coffin of Migrant Child as Campaign Soapbox

Sadly, a seven-year-old illegal alien girl died from sepsis shock last week while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The Guatemalan girl had been traveling with her father and was part of a group of 163 migrants who turned themselves in to the Border Patrol shortly after they illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border near the town of Lordsburg, New Mexico. The girl died approximately eight hours after being taken into CBP custody.

CBP agents “took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances,” explained the Department of Homeland Security in a statement. “Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and the best efforts of the medical team treating the child, we were unable to stop this tragedy from occurring.” The DHS also noted, “The initial indication from Providence Hospital is that she passed due to sepsis shock. Her father was with her.”

The CBP said that the girl had evidently not eaten or consumed water for several days. The group of migrants had crossed a very remote and arid region of New Mexico, where there is little access to water and food. DHS also addressed the ultimate culprit, stating, “Once again, we are begging parents to not put themselves or their children at risk attempting to enter illegally. Please present yourselves at a port of entry and seek to enter legally and safely.”

Attorneys representing the migrant girl’s family pushed back against the CBP’s report, claiming that her father “made sure she was fed and had sufficient water.” Yet the Centers for Disease Control describes sepsis as the body’s extreme reaction to an existing infection somewhere in the body that can lead to rapid organ failure and death. In other words, it appears that this girl was already suffering from an infection that was exacerbated by the extreme desert conditions she was subjected to.

Unfortunately and predictably, many on the Left heaped blame for this child’s death upon border agents. Cynthia Pompa, an advocacy manager for the ACLU, suggested that “lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty within the CBP” resulted in the girl’s death, not negligence on the part of her father. Yet he was the one responsible for dragging his daughter across a desert to illegally cross a border he knew he was not allowed to cross.

This tragedy also exposes the problem with accepting asylum requests from migrants who cross the border illegally. Ending the abuse of the U.S. asylum system will help to dissuade migrants from the notion that just making it across the border is a ticket to an indefinite stay.

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ON THE WEB TODAY

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

TOP HEADLINES

  • White House shake-up a retooling effort ahead of Democrats’ House takeover (The Washington Times)
  • Mueller memo says Flynn’s lies were “voluntary and intentional” (NBC News)
  • Mueller investigation cost tops $25 million (ABC News)
  • Comey, dubbed “amnesiac with incredible hubris,” back on Hill for new round of grilling (Fox News)
  • Trump picks OMB Director Mick Mulvaney as acting chief of staff (The Daily Wire)
  • Democrats defy Trump shutdown threat: “He is not going to get the wall in any form” (The Washington Times)
  • Government can’t shut down — because 75% is already funded (CNS News)
  • Nations at UN climate talks back universal emissions rules (NBC News)
  • Gun-related deaths reached 40-year peak in 2017, CDC study finds (Fox News)
  • Humor: Ninth Circuit Court rules border wall must be “short enough that a pregnant woman carrying a child in each arm could be expected to scale it without difficulty” (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: Why a judge ruled ObamaCare unconstitutional, and what policymakers should do next (The Daily Signal)
  • Policy: The right way to overhaul our health care system (The Daily Signal)

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.

FEATURED ANALYSIS

FBI/DOJ Corruption Getting Impossible to Ignore

Arnold Ahlert

The corruption at the highest levels of the FBI is getting impossible to ignore — unless one is a member of the mainstream media.

In what should be one of the biggest stories of the year, 16 FBI agents raided the home of Dennis Nathan Cain on Nov. 19. Cain is a former FBI contractor, and what makes the raid highly questionable is the reality that he is also a recognized Justice Department whistleblower. One, according to his attorney Michael Socarras, who had already delivered documents the FBI was seeking to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who turned them over to the House and Senate Intelligence committees.

Those documents allegedly reveal that federal officials didn’t properly investigate potential criminal activity perpetrated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and a Russian company called Rosatom, which purchased Canadian mining company Uranium One in 2013.

The transactions resulted in Russia obtaining 20% of America’s uranium production capacity.

Which federal officials? The head of the FBI at the time was Robert Mueller. The investigation was supervised by former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. It was centered in Maryland, whose U.S. attorney was Rod Rosenstein. And it ended in late 2015, during the tenure of former FBI Director James Comey.

In other words, the same James Comey who purposefully manipulated Rod Rosenstein into green-lighting an investigation conducted by Robert Mueller to determine if Donald Trump colluded with the Russians.

What does genuine collusion with the Russians look like? The Obama administration “green-lighted the transfer of control over one-fifth of American uranium-mining capacity to Russia, a hostile regime — and specifically to Russia’s state-controlled nuclear-energy conglomerate, Rosatom,” Andrew McCarthy explains. “Worse, at the time the administration approved the transfer, it knew that Rosatom’s American subsidiary was engaged in a lucrative racketeering enterprise that had already committed felony extortion, fraud, and money-laundering offenses.”

That racketeering enterprise was conducted by Vadim Mikerin, the Russian official in charge of Tenam USA, the American arm of Rosatom subsidiary Tenex. He secured the help of since-identified American lobbyist William D. Campbell to facilitate his deal-making. When Campbell became uncomfortable with the illegality of Mikerin’s machinations, he became an FBI informant.

The FBI had proof of Mikerin’s racketeering in 2010, when any disclosure of it would have killed the deal. Yet the agency allowed it to continue for another three years. At that point Rosenstein allowed Mikerin to plead guilty to one count of money-laundering conspiracy, rather than charging him with far more serious crimes with far more serious prison sentences.

The deal was cosigned by the DOJ’s Fraud Section, then run by Andrew Weissmann, one of Mueller’s lead investigators.

The raid on Cain’s residence was permitted by a court order signed Nov. 15 by Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher in the U.S. District Court for Baltimore. According to the special agent from the FBI’s Baltimore division who conducted it, Cain possessed stolen federal property. But the agency refused to explain who authorized the raid on a recognized whistleblower.

That didn’t sit too well with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA). He sent a letter addressed to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz and FBI Director Christopher Wray, requesting that they “produce all documents to the Committee and provide an update with respect to the steps you have taken, or plan to take, regarding the FBI’s treatment of Mr. Cain’s disclosures no later than December 12, 2018.”

Grassley also wanted to know if the FBI was aware of Cain’s lawful disclosures to the IG and the congressional committees, whether it considers them protected, whether any of the information was classified, and if it was when Cain had it at his residence — and on what basis the agency conducted the raid, including a copy of the warrant and all supporting affidavits.

Grassley’s deadline was ignored, and the bombshell report by the Daily Caller two days earlier explains why: “The Department of Justice is requesting that the justification of an FBI raid on a reportedly recognized whistleblower’s home remain secret, according to a letter from U.S. Attorney Robert Hur.”

The letter was a response to the Caller’s request to unseal court documents that would reveal why the raid was conducted and whether the FBI and Gallagher were aware that Cain was a legally protected whistleblower. Hur insisted that releasing such info would “seriously jeopardize the integrity of the ongoing investigation.” He further insisted the department’s opposition to public release was an effort “to guard against possible tampering of witnesses and destruction of evidence, and to maintain the ability of the grand jury to investigate this matter.”

Apparently some efforts by the FBI and DOJ to maintain integrity and guard against destruction of evidence are “more equal” than others. In yet another stunning revelation, IG Horowitz revealed a number of text messages between anti-Trump ex-FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page have “gone missing,” and government phones issued to Strzok and Page by Mueller’s office had been “wiped completely clean” — by the special counsel’s records officer. Americans also learned that form 302 records of the FBI interview precipitating Gen. Michael Flynn’s prosecution were altered — months after the fact.

How long the increasingly transparent corruption can stay hidden remains to be seen. MDA Analytics LLC, a company run by ex-federal criminal investigators turned over 6,000 pages of evidence attached to a whistleblower submission filed secretly more than a year ago with the IRS and FBI. That evidence alleges the Clinton Foundation engaged in illegal activity. Those documents are in addition to the more than 5,000 documents and detailed daily briefs to the FBI turned over by Campbell — also more than a year ago.

Nonetheless, the Russian collusion investigation remains focused on Trump — enabled and conducted by a cadre of people who themselves should be investigated.

And those who dare to expose their malfeasance? Until former Attorney General Jeff Session lifted it, Campbell was issued a gag order and threatened with prosecution by the Loretta Lynch-led Justice Department when he pursued a civil action that would have revealed information about the sale. Cain had his home raided, and the FBI declines to say who authorized it or why it was authorized.

In short, what is being reported by a wholly corrupt, Trump-hating media as an investigation into the current administration’s collusion with Russia is looking more like a counteroffensive, aimed at preventing genuine Russian collusion perpetrated by several members of the Obama administration — and possibly Obama himself — from being exposed.

No one can remotely justify giving the Russians any control whatsoever of America’s uranium production capacity. The stench rising from this deal and the wholly one-sided, see-no-Democrat-evil “investigation” conducted by Mueller is overwhelming.

“So I blow the whistle on the FBI, get raided by the same FBI, and now they want to keep the FBI’s reasons secret? Do we now live in a secret police state? Feels a little like 1984,” Cain tweeted last Monday.

It feels a lot like 1984.

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Ryan T. Anderson: “Does the golden rule ever require bad public policy? That’s the implication of what some political strategists are proposing in the name of fairness. At issue is a proposal among some Christian leaders to strike a compromise with some LGBT activists to balance ‘LGBT rights’ with religious liberty. The proposal would elevate ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’ (SOGI) to protected classes in federal law in exchange for certain exemptions for religious colleges and institutions. They call this approach ‘Fairness for All.’ Compromises can be good, but this particular one is bad. As I explain in a recent issue brief, such proposals would not result in actual fairness for all. Instead, they would penalize many Americans who believe that we are created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other. They would violate the privacy and safety of women and girls, the conscience rights of doctors and other medical professionals, and the free speech and religious liberty rights of countless professionals who find themselves outside the select group of institutions who are exempted. Establishing bad public policy for everyone and then exempting select religious institutions is not acting for the common good — and is certainly not fair for all. And there are better ways forward for those who seek compromise.”

SHORT CUTS

The Gipper: “Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong.”

Upright:“If you’re a campaign-finance lawyer, and a candidate asks your advice on how to buy the silence of a porn star and hide that payment entirely from the American people, your best response should be, ‘Have you considered not running for office?’” —David French

BREAKING NEWS: “I’m not a person of color.” —Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren

Food for thought: “Just imagine the media’s reaction if Mike Pence or some conservative member of Congress had posted a picture of Representative-elect [Ilhan] Omar praying with the caption ‘Allah take the wheel!’ Of course, that would be no laughing matter. Sadly, hundreds of people have been killed by jihadists who were shouting praise to Allah while at the wheel of trucks and vans in Israel, in Europe and even here in the United States.” —Gary Bauer

Delusions of grandeur: “Our federal government is working on behalf of corporations and their bottom lines at the expense of people. So they’re rolling back regulations that prevent pollution and make people sick and make people die.” —Tom Steyer

Tone-deaf: “When our leaders are content on making up whatever facts they want, a lot of people have begun to doubt the notion of common ground.” —Barack Obama

And last… “For the 66th year in a row, Miss Universe is a biological woman. The bigotry is astounding.” —Matt Walsh

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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

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