Mid-Day Digest

Aug. 30, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • A handful of Ivy League professors show that not all of academia is clueless.
  • No one seems willing to answer questions about funding the Russia collusion delusion.
  • With North Korea threatening Japan, “all options” are on the table — but options are few.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“For I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men.” —Thomas Jefferson (1813)

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Ivy League Profs Letter to Students: ‘Think for Yourself’

Several Ivy League professors from the universities of Harvard, Princeton and Yale sent out a letter of advice to all incoming college students this week. Their message: “Think for yourself.” In the letter they challenge students to avoid “the vice of conformism” and to avoid the trap of “what John Stuart Mill called ‘the tyranny of public opinion.’”

Over the years, the once-high ideal of America’s institutions of higher learning being bastions of tolerance for the expression of freedom in thought and speech has eroded into them being little more than “safe space” echo chambers of leftist ideology and propaganda. In the past couple of years in particular Americans have witnessed various university and college campuses produce some of the most intolerant policies, voices and behaviors. The list includes the banning of various religious and social groups based on their supposed “bigoted” (non-leftist) ideology, the dis-invitation of various conservative speakers and the creation of “safe spaces” designed to prohibit and limit the freedom of speech in public places on campus. And finally, the growth of leftist social justice warriors who have advocated and engaged in violence in places like UC Berkeley and Middlebury, and most recently the takeover of Evergreen State College by a mob of these leftist SJW students.

The sad thing is that only 15 professors signed the letter. This letter should have garnered near universal support from Ivy League faculty. When concerns over offending another individual’s feelings prohibit someone, specifically one whose career is based on educating and challenging others to learn about and engage new ideas or concepts, from honestly expressing their knowledge and thoughtful opinions without fear of reprisal, we have a problem. The concept that equates unpopular speech to literal violence against individuals with opposing views is a fallacy that has unfortunately gone unchallenged by many on the Left.

Leftists’ argument for engaging in physical violence against others (like “punching a Nazi”) because they find their views repugnant or bigoted is the antithesis of tolerance and objective reasoning. Just yesterday a visiting assistant professor at the University of Tampa was fired for tweeting that he believed residents of Texas suffering from Hurricane Harvey were getting what they deserved because they voted for Donald Trump. His tweet read, “I don’t believe in instant karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas. Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn’t care about them.” It is this type of what might be best described as anti-logic that elevates emotion over and against rational thought. It seeks to limit the freedom of speech because it simply cannot objectively justify the irrational over the rational. It cannot logically support the anti-scientific over the scientific and still refer to it as “science.”

Popular opinion does not create or establish truth; it simply sets cultural precedent that should never be immune from challenge. Thankfully, at least 15 professors are brave enough to point out this reality to incoming college students. We hope many more embrace this truth.

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Who Paid for That Dubious Trump/Russia Dossier?

Last week, Fusion GPS founder Glen Simpson gave his written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the phony dossier about Donald Trump the company produced. The question that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has asked repeatedly and has yet to receive an answer to is simple: Who originally paid Fusion GPS to investigate Trump? When the story came out last year, it was reported that a “wealthy Republican donor” was Fusion GPS’s original client. It was not until later that Hillary Clinton’s campaign then hired the firm. Simpson, however, is still refusing to identify this client.

So, who is this mysterious individual? It’s looking less likely than ever that one of Trump’s Republican primary opponents is responsible. In fact, the “wealthy Republican donor” description doesn’t necessitate that the individual in question was actually a card-carrying member of the GOP, as it is a well-established practice that those with various business interests often donate to both parties to build political favorability. Trump has admitted to doing so himself.

A second curious angle to the dossier mystery regards the FBI’s involvement and use of the discredited document. The Senate Judiciary Committee has sent repeated requests that the FBI make two of its top agents available for questioning on matters regarding the dossier. The FBI has so far refused. The question Grassley wants answered is whether the FBI used the dubious dossier as a pretext to gain FISA approval for surveillance of Trump campaign personnel.

There are many questions remaining that need answering before the truth behind the whole Russian election interference is fully understood and known. But what is pretty clear is that there is still no evidence of collusion.

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Top Headlines

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

The North Korean Conundrum

By Lewis Morris

Kim Jung Un continues to stir up trouble in Asia and danger for the entire world. The attention-starved North Korean dictator fired off another missile, sending this one over northern Japan and warning that it was a “meaningful prelude to containing Guam.”

Japanese were startled by the launch and were sent running for cover by air raid sirens. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump both condemned the action. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called upon the Security Council to take strong action. What that might look like is still unknown, though the UNSC did issue a condemnation of North Korea’s “outrageous” launch.

The Security Council heaped sanctions on North Korea already for its missile launches earlier this month. Keeping China on board for tougher measures will be vital, as Kim’s fellow communists are pretty much the only friends he has — well, besides the Iranian mullahs.

PJ Media’s Claudia Rosett recaps the history briefly: “North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday, an act that all by itself qualifies as a stunning provocation. This followed a bout of North Korean threats earlier this month to girdle Guam with missile strikes. Those threats followed North Korea’s successful tests last month of two intercontinental ballistic missiles. Those tests followed an 11-year span from 2006-2016 in which North Korea conducted five nuclear tests, prepared to conduct a sixth — which could come anytime now — and in 2010 unveiled a uranium-enrichment program to complement its production of plutonium for bomb fuel.”

Some have speculated that Kim is trying to push the U.S. and its allies to sit down for negotiations, though he almost certainly won’t come to the table without first sufficiently demonstrating his capability of striking the U.S. mainland. It’s hard to see anything coming of negotiations, though — at least not anything better than has come out of a quarter century of such dialogue. Trump has vowed to keep North Korea from developing long-range nuclear capability. And Kim has sworn he won’t give up his nuclear program. Beyond that, what else is there left to discuss?

We’ve been to this rodeo many times. The stakes are higher now, though, with North Korea’s growing nuclear capability. As The Wall Street Journal observes, “The intermediate-range missile test will further roil the politics of security in Northeast Asia and is another prod toward Japan acquiring its own nuclear deterrent.” Trump recognizes that, but what’s to be done about it?

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was short-sighted enough to say just days before this latest launch that we were actually making progress with North Korea. “I am pleased to see that the regime in Pyongyang has certainly demonstrated some level of restraint that we’ve not seen in the past,” he said last week. “We hope that this is the beginning of this signal that we’ve been looking for that they are ready to restrain their level of tensions, they’re ready to restrain their provocative acts, and that perhaps we are seeing our pathway to sometime in the near future having some dialogue.”

His boss was little better. Trump declared last week that Kim was “starting to respect” the U.S.

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon went so far as to say there is no military solution to the problem in North Korea because of the inevitable damage to Seoul, South Korea, just 30 miles from the border. Bannon may be right that it’s at least a costly option, but it’s one of those things an administration shouldn’t say out loud.

Trump has noted that “all options” remain on the table, and in order for that threat to deter Kim, he has to believe it. Force is the only language dictators understand. A display of power in Asia will let North Korea know that we will protect our allies. Trump standing side by side with South Korea and Japan will also demonstrate that we will protect our allies. After eight years of “leading from behind” and apologizing for American greatness, the international community needs to be reminded that we will not tolerate acts of aggression.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Ben Shapiro: “Whenever disaster strikes, we’re always inspired by images of human beings helping one another. Disaster often brings out the best in us: our capacity for care, our bravery in risking our lives to help others. Then we’re inevitably disappointed in our unending ability to leave those qualities behind the moment disaster ends. We’ll rush into burning buildings to save each other, but we’ll club each other on the head at political rallies. Why? Because there are certain enemies we hold in common. We hold death in common; we’ll help all but our worst enemies escape the grave. We hold natural disasters in common as an enemy; we’ll react to them by helping out our neighbors. And we hold civilizational threats in common; we’ll fight together against the Nazi scourge or the Soviet threat. But what about when there is no civilizational threat? What about when we’re so powerful that serious threats seem unserious? Former President Obama informed us routinely that radical Islamic terrorism didn’t threaten our civilization. It’s no wonder, then, that so few Americans see radical Islam as a threat worth unifying against. President Trump tells us that Russia isn’t a civilizational threat, and neither is global warming. Without a credible existential threat, Americans don’t unify. But there is a credible existential threat to Americans. The problem is that it’s internal.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “A man’s admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him.” —Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Non Compos Mentis: “Hurricane season, if you want to say there is a hurricane season any longer because we see these things in all seasons, lasts for a couple more months.” —MSNBC’s Katy Tur (Yep, the hurricane that struck the East Coast last January was just horrible.)

Dezinformatsiya: “Houston doesn’t showcase ‘America at its best.’” —Slate headline

Grasping for straws: “There was no acknowledgment from the White House that the first lady’s storm attire was at all off-key.” —Politico taking issue with Melania Trump’s decision to sport stilettos during her trip to Texas

Braying Jenny: “I am no longer sorry [for holding a faux severed head of Trump]. The whole outrage was BS, The whole thing got so blown out of proportion. … Stop acting like my little picture is more important than talking about the actual atrocities that the president of the United States is committing.” —"comedian" Kathy Griffin

A blind squirrel finds a nut: “The question is whether [Trump] can learn and change. If so, I believe he can be a good president.” —Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Hell hath frozen over: “Our democracy has no room for inciting violence or endangering the public, no matter the ideology of those who commit such acts. The violent actions of people calling themselves antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.” —Nancy Pelosi

And last… “Antifa chants, ‘No Trump, no wall, no USA at all.’ The label ‘anti-American’ is not a pejorative, it’s just descriptive.” —Jim Geraghty

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Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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