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Mid-Day Digest

May 10, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“Public opinion sets bounds to every government, and is the real sovereign in every free one.” —James Madison (1791)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

Time to Break Up Facebook? Cofounder Says Yes

In an op-ed published in The New York Times on Thursday, Facebook cofounder Mark Hughes states unequivocally, “It is time to break up Facebook.” Hughes argues that Facebook has become too powerful and that Mark Zuckerberg reigns over a nearly worldwide monopoly in social media. He points to Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp, noting that “about 70 percent of American adults use social media, and a vast majority are on Facebook products.”

Hughes also notes the aspect of Facebook that has raised the ire of many on the political Right — its censorship of speech. “The most problematic aspect of Facebook’s power is Mark’s unilateral control over speech,” Hughes argues. “There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of two billion people.” Hughes points to the recent banning of several individuals for being “dangerous” even though they did not break any of Facebook’s rules.

Hughes then offers his solution to the problem. First, enforce existing anti-trust laws to break up the monopoly. If he had stopped there, we would have little argument with him. In fact, his quoting of Adam Smith — that “competition spurs growth and innovation” — is a welcome recognition of the problem. However, like so many on the Left, he isn’t content to let the government simply enforce anti-trust laws. No, government must be given even more power to regulate Americans’ speech.

He writes, “Just breaking up Facebook is not enough. We need a new agency, empowered by Congress to regulate tech companies. … The agency should create guidelines for acceptable speech on social media. This idea may seem un-American — we would never stand for a government agency censoring speech. But we already have limits on yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater, child pornography, speech intended to provoke violence and false statements to manipulate stock prices. We will have to create similar standards that tech companies can use. These standards should of course be subject to the review of the courts, just as any other limits on speech are. But there is no constitutional right to harass others or live-stream violence.”

The idea “seems un-American” because it is un-American. Hughes points out examples of “regulated speech,” but they are so regulated because they are directly criminal and are only punished after the fact. Our system is designed to maximize the protection of Americans’ right to free speech — especially political speech — not to prevent criminal speech. Such is the realm of totalitarian systems.

What is interesting about Facebook is that both sides of the political aisle are calling for its head. However, leftists like Elizabeth Warren are doing so not out of a concern for promoting free enterprise but as Big Government anti-corporatists whose goal is socialism.

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Socialists Come for Your Credit Cards

Americans collectively carry more than $1 trillion in credit card debt and $4 trillion in total consumer debt. Most folks don’t pay off their cards each month, and credit card companies charge very high interest rates on that debt, which disproportionately hurts poor and younger Americans. Last year alone, credit card companies raked in $113 billion in interest and fees, a 35% increase from 2012. It’s a massive issue affecting millions of people who would benefit from good financial counseling and planning. But, as usual, the leftist solution is worse than the problem, even if it does — like Democrat offers on college tuition and student loans — have populist appeal across party lines.

Socialists Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have teamed up to introduce the Loan Shark Prevention Act. The legislation would limit credit card interest rates to 15% — significantly lower than the “extortion-level interest rates” Ocasio-Cortez says companies now charge. According to The Washington Post, “For borrowers with high credit scores, the average rate was 17.73 percent last week. … For those with poor credit scores, the average is now about 24.99 percent.” The median interest rate is currently 21.36%.

Those rates have climbed precipitously in recent years. In part, that’s for good reason. People with lower credit scores have a poor track record repaying debt. And the financial crisis of 2008 was driven by banks taking undue risks (mandated by Democrat law) on borrowers with bad credit. Hedging against that is a basic business decision, and the result of the legislation to “fix” the problem is that fewer poor people will be able to get credit cards. It’s reminiscent of Barack Obama’s regulations on payday lenders. Those lenders are distasteful but sometimes necessary options, and enlightened bureaucrats in Washington aren’t going to improve anything.

Speaking of payday lenders, the Sanders-AOC legislation aims to create an alternative “not-for-profit public option for basic banking services” via … the U.S. Postal Service. Yes, the same U.S. Postal Service that has lost $69 billion since 2007. As Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey quips, “The idea that the US Postal Service is a good model for any kind of ‘public option, let alone banking, is an absolute riot.” But Sanders and AOC are totally serious.

By introducing regulation and eliminating options, argues Reason’s Peter Suderman, “What Sanders is actually bragging about is eliminating choices — choices that may seem unfortunate or unpleasant to the sort of people who, say, own three homes and write bestsellers that make them millionaires — but which often benefit the people who make those choices: lower-income people with less stable finances. In essence, Sanders is proud of having eliminated useful financial tools for the poor.” Nonetheless, it will win him and the Democrat Party votes, so they’ll keep doing it.

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Mother’s Day

As we celebrate Mother’s Day Sunday, we’re reminded that among the 10 Commandments there is but one that comes with a promise: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).

Abigail Adams once wrote her son John Quincy, saying, “What is it that affectionate parents require of their Children; for all their care, anxiety, and toil on their accounts? Only that they would be wise and virtuous, Benevolent and kind.”

President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation in 1914 proclaiming Mother’s Day a national holiday, but we certainly don’t need a holiday to express our appreciation to moms everywhere.

May God bless each and every mother among our Patriot readers.

For further reference, see Motherhood: More Than a Full-Time Job, and The Culture vs. Motherhood.

ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • TARIFFS GREEN-LIGHTED: “President Trump on Friday defended his decision to impose steep tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and promised much steeper penalties would follow, putting the rest of the world on notice that he will follow through on his protectionist agenda no matter the blowback.” (The Washington Post)
  • APPEALS COURT METAMORPHOSIS: “The Senate confirmed Michael Park to be a judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, making him the 39th circuit court judge to be confirmed under President Trump in a process on a record pace that is steadily reshaping the bench. … With two more vacancies by this summer as judges take senior status, Mr. Trump will soon have a chance to flip control of the circuit, which currently has seven Democratic appointees. Mr. Trump flipped the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year.” (The Washington Times)
  • PENTAGON GETS A NOMINEE: “President Trump is nominating Patrick Shanahan to be his second secretary of Defense, a position the former Boeing executive has held on an interim basis since December. … Shanahan, who has less than two years of government experience, took over as the top Defense Department official after James Mattis resigned late last year.” (The Hill)
  • NOKO SHIP SEIZED: “U.S. authorities have seized a North Korean ship that was transporting coal in violation of international sanctions, the Department of Justice announced Thursday. The North Korean ship, the Wise Honest, is the first seized by U.S. authorities over sanctions violations. It is now approaching U.S. territorial waters accompanied by the U.S. Marshals and Coast Guard.” (National Review)
  • STUDENTS REBUFF ANTI-GUN ACTIVISTS: “Gun rights advocates posted support on social media Thursday for students who walked out of a gun-control rally in anger and tears over concerns the event inappropriately politicized their grief. … After about 30 minutes, hundreds of students from the STEM School stormed out yelling ‘this is not for us,’ ‘political stunt’ and ‘we are people, not a statement.’” (USA Today)
  • FLORIDA SANCTIONS SELF-DEFENSE: “Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Wednesday that’ll let more Florida teachers carry guns in school, the latest response to last year’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.” (Fox News)
  • ILLEGALS GIVEN FREE REIGN: “ICE has already released 168,000 illegal immigrant family members into the U.S. this fiscal year, and the number is likely to surge as the border situation deteriorates, a top deportation official told Congress on Wednesday. According to the results of a pilot program, a staggering 87% of released families are skipping their court hearings.” (The Washington Times)
  • CHICK-FIL-A PERSEVERES: According to Campus Reform, “The student government at a Texas Christian college passed a resolution to remove Chick-fil-A food from the campus dining hall because of the restaurant’s stances on LGBT issues.” Yet The Wall Street Journal reports that the “company this year is poised to become the third-biggest U.S. restaurant chain by sales.”
  • HUMOR: Attorney General William Barr becomes 257-millionth American to hold Congress in contempt (The Daily Wire)
  • POLICY: China’s not-so-secret weapon against America: capitalism (Issues & Insights)
  • POLICY: End hospitals’ right to a blank check for emergency care (E21)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

The Patriot Post is certified ad-free, unlike third-party commercial news sites linked on this page, which may also be pay-walled.

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OPINION IN BRIEF

David Harsanyi: “Whenever you hear people bellowing about the wealthy benefitting most from across-the-board tax cuts, they always leave out the fact that [the] wealthy pay the vast majority of income taxes: The top 20 percent of income earners paid over 95 percent of individual income taxes in 2017, the top 10 percent paid 81 percent and the top 0.1 percent paid nearly a quarter of all federal income taxes. Supply-side economics isn’t a panacea. We’re racking up debt and continuing spending as if it doesn’t matter. Not all the underlying numbers are positive. There are thousands of economic unknowns that can’t be quantified or computed by economists, which is why the central planners and technocrats are almost always wrong. And yes, when the recession finally comes, as it always does, liberals will once again blame tax cuts and deregulation. But to be this wrong this often deserves recognition.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.” —Khalil Gibran (1883-1931)

Race bait: “Medical Textbooks Overwhelmingly Use Pictures of Young White Men.” —Rose Eveleth in VICE (No wonder Disney is calling its $400 million investment worthless.)

The BIG Lie: “If it weren’t for [Trump] being president, he’d be in prison with Michael Cohen today.” —Rep. Steven Cohen (If Trump weren’t president, this witch hunt would never have even occurred.)

Delusions of grandeur: “I hear the seas will rise. I hear we’ll lose species. I hear there’ll be more storms … [and] there will be parts of the land that will no longer be arable. I have yet to hear one international report … that says if we don’t do something about this, you and your children and your neighbors and your country and everyone you love will die! Is that what it takes?” —NPR’s Joshua Johnson

Belly laugh: “I promise you if we elect a Democrat this time — I predict to you whether it’s me or someone else — but I guarantee you if it’s me, what’s gonna happen is, we’re going to see this country come together like it hasn’t in a long time.” —Joe Biden

Debbie Downer: “Nobody in America succeeds on their own.” —Sen. Elizabeth Warren with the latest Democrat “you didn’t build that” moment

Non compos mentis: “The Justice Department will have to take a serious look at that.” —James Comey speculating on a post-presidency Trump indictment

What could possibly go wrong? “We should have a not-for-profit public option for basic banking services, and we should be piloting these projects through the U.S. Postal Service.” —Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (“I’m confused. Didn’t Twitter suspend the AOC satire account?” —Ed Morrissey)

And last… “The Attorney General has offered to let Democrats view a version of the Mueller Report that is 98.5% unredacted. The only redactions are ones that are required by law. Not a single Democrat has viewed the report, yet they are holding AG Barr in contempt for following the law?” —Charlie Kirk

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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 cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.


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

Extend Liberty To The Next Generation!