Mid-Day Digest

Aug. 29, 2017


  • It’s heartening to see some of the best of humanity exhibited by our fellow Americans.
  • And Houston certainly serves as a contrast to the worst of humanity in Berkeley.
  • Trump’s recent address on Afghanistan is both encouraging and prompts questions.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.


“It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a People always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.” —George Washington (1796)


Scenes From Houston

The devastation in Houston is astounding, and most Americans are riveted and appalled by the damage, chaos and death created by the storm that’s just parked over Texas and Louisiana. There are stories of failed leadership, of course — poor planning regarding developments and reservoirs and the like — but there are also stories of bravery, rescue and provision. It’s heartening to see some of the best of humanity exhibited by our fellow Americans at a time when divisiveness is the typical story of the day.

Law enforcement has taken the lead in doing what’s necessary to help people reach safety from flood zones. Citizens are helping the officers too, providing food and water as they perform rescues. Additionally, FEMA, the Texas government and big organizations like Red Cross are playing a critical role. But one aspect that jumps out to us is how many residents are helping themselves and those around them, without waiting on the government and without regard for race or creed. One of the officers on duty, Jocelyn George, said, “These are residents taking action on their own. It is very typical of the area. I have been here for 13 years, and every time we have had an issue, the residents step up and they try to take care of themselves.”

This was on display when a small group of men simply gathered trucks and boats to help evacuate people. Another group exists almost solely for that purpose — the Cajun Navy, a private Louisiana organization specializing in boat rescues of people trapped by floodwaters. Three of its members resuscitated a 73-year-old woman in the midst of the flood. “We’re all sportsmen around here,” said the Cajun Navy’s John Bridgers. “Pretty much every other person has a boat. So we got going.” That’s the American spirit at its best.

A final note: Hurricane Harvey is “unprecedented” in its incredibly slow speed, but not necessarily in the rain it’s dropped. The storm’s intensity — it was Category 4 at landfall — isn’t unprecedented either. Dr. Roy Spencer, a former NASA scientist and climatologist, writes, “The U.S. has had only four Category 4 (or stronger) hurricane strikes since 1970, but in about the same number of years preceding 1970 there were 14 strikes. So we can’t say that we are experiencing more intense hurricanes in recent decades. Going back even earlier, a Category 4 hurricane struck Galveston in 1900, killing between 6,000 and 12,000 people. That was the greatest natural disaster in U.S. history. And don’t forget, we just went through an unprecedented length of time — almost 12 years — without a major hurricane (Cat 3 or stronger) making landfall in the U.S.”

In short, disasters are indeed horrible, and Harvey is a particularly bad one. But don’t buy the hype of those selling climate change alarmism via “nature hikes through the book of Revelation” and so forth. Mankind never has been able to tame nature entirely. But we can help each other cope.

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Antifa Is Anti-America

On Sunday, violence erupted again in Berkeley, California, when around 100 masked, black-clad antifa members jumped a police barrier and attacked a small group of peacefully protesting Donald Trump supporters. The violence resulted in 13 arrests and injuries to six people. Joey Gibson, the Japanese-American leader of Patriot Prayer, one of the pro-Trump protest groups, called out Democrat leaders for their failure to speak against the violence perpetrated by leftist groups like antifa, even as they eagerly condemn the violence of white supremacists. Gibson said, “I’m asking Mayor [Ed] Lee and I’m asking Nancy Pelosi to speak against this violence and speak against this hatred, and be consistent with your message.”

Even as Republicans and Trump spoke out against the violence perpetrated in Charlottesville, and condemned racism specifically, the reality is that many Democrat leaders have failed to disavow and reject the violence and violent rhetoric espoused by groups like antifa and Black Lives Matter. At the violent protest in Berkeley, antifa members were heard chanting, “No Trump! No Wall! No USA at all!”

Frank Somerville, a news anchor in the San Francisco Bay area, witnessed the Berkeley violence and wrote, “I have experienced hate firsthand today. It came from these people dressed in all black at a protest in Berkeley. Ironically they were all chanting about no hate.” Somerville continued, “It’s one thing to read about hate. It’s another thing to be right next to it. In my opinion, these people dressed in black are just as hateful and intolerant as the people they are protesting.”

The real threat to American freedom isn’t coming from small fringe racist groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis but from those who are actively seeking to silence the free speech rights of others through violence. It’s coming from the intolerance espoused by leftists who fail to guard — and in many cases flatly reject — America’s most foundational and cherished constitutional rights. Antifa does not seek to promote the U.S. and the freedoms Americans hold dear, rather these hoodlums seek to destroy our nation based on the false premise that the U.S. is an oppressive and racist nation. The irony is that the real oppressors are those masked, black-clad thugs who seek through violence to silence those with whom they disagree.

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Top Headlines

  • North Korea’s “reckless” missile launch over Japan sharply escalates tension. (Reuters)

  • Trump signs VA reform bill, following through on campaign promise. (Fox News)

  • Attorneys general from 21 states ask Supreme Court to hear suit against Maryland’s assault weapon ban. (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Trump reverses Obama, reinstates program sending military surplus to local police. (The Washington Times)

  • All Cleveland Browns players, coaches stand for national anthem after Hall of Famer Jim Brown tells them not to “disrespect your flag … [or] your country.” (WKYC)

  • Border patrol: 23 Chinese nationals caught crossing underground tunnel from Mexico to California. (Washington Examiner)

  • China: Don’t sanction our friends in Venezuela. (Hot Air)

  • Your government at work: FDA deems MDMA, banned since 1985, a “breakthrough therapy.” (Reason)

  • Missouri rolls back minimum wage in St. Louis. (Washington Examiner)

  • Humor: Antifa changes name to just “Fa.” (The Babylon Bee)

  • Policy: Why Houston flooding isn’t a sign of climate change. (Dr. Roy Spencer)

  • Policy: The case for skills-based immigration. (National Review)

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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The Need to Define ‘Winning’ in Afghanistan

By Todd Johnson

Last week, in a packed Conmy Hall at Joint Base Myer-Henderson, President Donald Trump made his long-awaited announcement about the United States’ future role in Afghanistan.

After hearing Trump’s remarks, we’re heartened by a few of his comments. First, it was good to finally hear Trump acknowledge that making life and death decisions about national security issues as president is a lot different than following his instincts as a private citizen. While some may see this as a low bar to clear, it is still significant to note because it shows Trump publicly acknowledging the gravity of the office he holds.

Second, he made a clear distinction about separating his administration from his predecessor when he articulated that his national security team will be focused on implementing a conditions-based approach rather than a strict timeline. This significant deviation from the previous administration is a positive first step in sending a message to the Afghan government, as well as to the governments of Pakistan, Iran and Russia, that America is committed to fighting the Taliban and al-Qaida, now and in the future.

However, after ruminating on his speech the next day and examining the transcripts, we recalled the lyrics to “We Won’t Get Fooled Again,” penned by Pete Townshend of The Who. The last two lines of that song, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” perfectly encapsulates Trump’s failure, much like Barack Obama, to set the strategic context of America’s future involvement in Afghanistan.

As we wrote a few weeks ago, the purpose of war is to serve national-interest objectives and Trump failed to articulate that in his speech. He said, “Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win.”

But what does that mean?

Many years ago, the famed military theorist Carl von Clausewitz wrote, “We see, therefore, that war is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse carried on with other means.” In other words, wars are meant to further political goals, not just kill bad guys.

When President Trump says we aren’t nation-building, he is missing the point of our presence in the region. In order for any country to function, it must have institutions that cater to the needs of the populace. The reason why any state becomes a safe haven for terrorists, from Somalia to Yemen to Afghanistan, is because of the central government’s inability to serve the people. Like it or not, by committing more American troops to Afghanistan, Trump is implicitly nation-building.

Which made Trump’s conspicuous omission in his speech about the role of his State Department in Afghanistan more troubling. While he did state, “A fundamental pillar of our new strategy is the integration of all instruments of American power: diplomatic, economic and military,” he never elaborated about how his administration will fuse these efforts into one cohesive strategy.

And that is a major problem with Trump’s speech, and by extension, his policy for the region. There are no clear-cut objectives. That ambiguity may serve to keep jihadis off balance, but it doesn’t help our nation commit to win.

While Trump talks about “winning,” his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is saying that U.S. efforts are “intended to put pressure on the Taliban to have the Taliban understand you will not win a battlefield victory.” Yet he added, “We may not win one, but neither will you.”

Talk about mixed messages.

If President Trump wants to be serious about American efforts in Afghanistan and South Asia, he needs to oversee a series of measures that should be a combination of pragmatism and resolve.

He and his team need to make a case about why we need to stay involved in the region. They need to explain to the American people, and the rest of the world, why the United States is committed to this fight and why it’s in our best interests to continue pouring blood and treasure into this part of the world.

As America begins its 16th year of war in Afghanistan this fall, it’s time to reflect upon what has been accomplished and what still needs to be achieved. President Trump has the chance to make a difference but only time will tell if he is serious about committing the vast resources and leadership needed to achieve success on the ground.

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For more, visit Right Opinion.


Rich Lowry: “One of the least safe places to be in Berkeley, California, is in the vicinity of someone holding a ‘No Hate’ sign. So-called anti-fascist, or antifa, activists bearing shields emblazoned with those words assaulted any of the handful of beleaguered Trump supporters they could get their hands on at a small political rally over the weekend. All in the cause, mind you, of demonstrating their supposed opposition to hatefulness. Too many people were willing to perfume antifa in the wake of Charlottesville, where it clashed with Nazi thugs who caused, and deserved, a wave of national revulsion. But Berkeley demonstrates once again the true nature of this left-wing movement, which is thuggish in its tactics and totalitarian in its sensibility. Anyone who at this point makes excuses for antifa — or worse, justifies it — is participating in its moral rot.”


Insight: “It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.” —Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658)

Upright: “Colin [Kaepernick] has to make up his mind whether he’s truly an activist or he’s a football player. If you’re trying to be both — football is commercial. You have owners. You have fans. And you want to honor that, if you’re making that kind of money. … I’m going to give you the real deal: I’m an American. I don’t desecrate my flag and my national anthem. I’m not going to do anything against the flag and national anthem. I’m going to work within those situations. But this is my country, and I’ll work out the problems, but I’ll do it in an intelligent manner.” —Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown

A no-win situation: “[Trump is] going to Texas [today] and there’s real concern that his going there is going to have to divert at least a little bit, some resources away from the rescue effort and toward him.” —MSNBC’s Katy Turn (This isn’t an irrational concern. But if Trump were to postpone his trip even a day, the media would argue his visit came too late. There’s no winning.)

For the record: “Both the white nationalists and Antifa are moral degenerates who use political violence to advance their agenda. Antifa and the white nationalists are, in fact, kissing cousins, just as the Nazis and communists were. … One has a swastika. The other has a hammer and sickle. Both are symbols of repressive, murderous regimes. The only significant difference is that members of the media and much of the political left give Antifa the veneer of moral crusade that no one gives the white nationalists. … The truth is that if the left does not do a better job of vocally condemning Antifa, there really well be less people on the right willing to condemn the white nationalists. And both will, as a result, have breathing room to grow when both should be stamped out.” —Erick Erickson

And last… “All my life, I have known this rule about people: Those who don’t fight the greatest evils will fight lesser evils or make-believe evils. This happens to be the morally defining characteristic of the Left.” —Dennis Prager

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

Join us 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.