Mid-Day Digest

Sep. 1, 2017


  • Leftists are scandalized that conservatives Christians believe what the Bible teaches.
  • The fix was in — James Comey decided early on not to prosecute Hillary Clinton.
  • Hurricane Harvey is going to cost a lot of money, and some of it was avoidable.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.


“Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck.” —Thomas Jefferson (1822)


Christians Sign Statement of Christian Faith, Left Goes Nuts

Christians aren’t supposed to believe what the Bible teaches; Christians are instead supposed to believe what 21st century social justice warriors allow them to believe. That’s essentially the message of progressives in the wake of the signing by many prominent Evangelical Christians of the Nashville Statement.

National Review’s David French, who was among the signers, sums it up: “It’s a basic declaration of Christian orthodoxy on sexuality, sexual orientation, and sexual identity. Its 14 articles can be boiled down to a simple statement: We believe the Bible is the word of God, and the word of God declares that sexual intimacy is reserved for the lifelong union of a man and a woman in marriage. It acknowledges the reality of same-sex attraction as well as the reality of transgender self-conceptions, but denies that God sanctions same-sex sexual activity or a transgendered self-conception that is at odds with biological reality. In other words, it’s basic Christianity.”

Naturally, that’s vile bigotry to many on the Left. In addition to the leftist Christians whose politics often trump their belief in the Bible’s teachings, Nashville’s Democrat Mayor Megan Barry weighed in, tweeting, “The @CBMWorg’s so-called ‘Nashville Statement’ is poorly named and does not represent the inclusive values of the city & people of Nashville.” But given the large conservative Evangelical presence in Nashville, we’d say that the statement is in fact a fair and accurate representation.

But as French notes, Barry’s proclamation, as representative of Nashville’s government, is “a declaration of state against church.” It’s the mayor telling many of her own citizens that they do not represent their city. This line of totalitarian thinking is exactly what drove the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, among other things. Americans are being told what to think by the Rainbow Mafia and its Big Media enablers. Or should we say feel? Because that’s what this is — emotion-driven, “love wins” policymaking that subjects those who disagree to disdain, mockery and even criminal penalty. Is that the kind of religious liberty the Pilgrims came here to establish?

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Comey Had Hillary’s Back the Whole Time

Well, well, well, it looks like James Comey decided to let Hillary Clinton off the hook for her home-brew server months before the FBI had concluded its investigation. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday revealed in a letter sent to current FBI Director Christopher Wray: “According to the unredacted portions of the transcripts, it appears that in April or early May of 2016, Mr. Comey had already decided he would issue a statement exonerating Secretary Clinton. That was long before FBI agents finished their work. Mr. Comey even circulated an early draft statement to select members of senior FBI leadership. The outcome of an investigation should not be prejudged while FBI agents are still hard at work trying to gather the facts. Conclusion first, fact-gathering second — that’s no way to run an investigation. The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy.” The letter was signed by Republican Senators Chuck Grassely and Lindsey Graham.

As we long suspected, the fix was in before the investigation even got rolling. Continuing the investigation for months merely served to provide the façade of a non-biased effort. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the FBI rejected an open-records request by lawyer Ty Clevenger on the Clinton investigation, stating, “You have not sufficiently demonstrated that the public’s interest in disclosure outweighs personal interests of the subject.” This response from the FBI is flat-out ridiculous. One of the biggest stories of last year is not in the public’s interest? Please.

In a related story, on Thursday, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ordered the FBI to disclose the details on how it handled its investigation into Clinton. Boasberg stated, “After reviewing the document in camera, the court concludes that it largely rehashes information already made public, thus obviating any need for secrecy.” Slowly but surely the truth behind what all went on in the FBI’s investigation into Hillary’s server-gate is finally coming to light.

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Top Headlines

  • A photo essay of Americans helping each other — this is who we really are. (The Daily Signal)

  • U.S. adds 156,000 jobs in August; unemployment 4.4%. (MarketWatch)

  • There is new fundraising fodder at the Southern Poverty Law Center — 1,503 “Confederate place names” now being targeted. (CNS News)

  • More than 70% of voters want lower taxes … no shocker here! (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Trump administration retaliates against Russia, forces closure of U.S. posts. (Fox News)

  • How the administration is “draining the swamp” at the State Department. (The Daily Signal)

  • Trump rolls back Obama’s costly and onerous diversity regulations. (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Settled science? Yet another comprehensive study casting doubt on conventional wisdom about fat and carbs. (PBS)

  • Cornell encourages students to report peers for “negative reactions” to LGBT “Safe Place” project. (Washington Examiner)

  • Fraternity and sorority retreat canceled after banana peel found in tree — seriously, this happened. (Campus Reform)

  • Policy: Trump’s reversal of Obama pay gap rule is good news for women, minorities. (The Daily Signal)

  • Policy: The cost of inaction on tax reform. (American Action Forum]

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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A Costly Hurricane

By Brian Mark Weber

There’s nothing more heartwarming than seeing strangers risking their lives to help their neighbors and fellow citizens after a natural disaster. It’s one of those rare moments when people put aside whatever differences they may have for the greater good. But now that Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters are receding, it’s time to start focusing on the recovery efforts and their associated costs. And the costs are tremendous.

The Houston Business Journal reports, “Moody’s Analytics, a New York-based financial analysis company, has pegged the destruction to southeast Texas, which includes the Rockport area where Harvey made landfall, as of mid-morning Aug. 29 at about $75 billion, covering homes, vehicles, businesses, infrastructure and lost economic output. Homes and vehicles alone in the region are expected to suffer about $30 billion to $40 billion in damage, according to an email from a Moody’s representative. Regional businesses could see up to $15 billion in damage.” Other estimates place the cost closer to $200 billion.

Natural disasters cannot be prevented, but their impacts can be reduced if cities like Houston would take the threat from these storms seriously and act proactively. Data from the National Weather Service show that Texas has been hit by 64 hurricanes and 56 tropical storms since the 1850s. So it’s not like Hurricane Harvey was an anomaly.

Worse, Ralph Vartabedian writes in the Los Angeles Times, “[Houston] has been deceiving itself for decades about its vulnerability to flooding, said Robert Bea, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and UC Berkeley emeritus civil engineering professor who has studied hurricane risks along the Gulf Coast. The city’s flood system is supposed to protect the public from a 100-year storm” that is “based on a rainfall total of 13 inches in 24 hours.”

Clearly, the system wasn’t designed to protect Houston from a storm the size of Harvey. Had various levels of government directed resources into Houston’s infrastructure, the costs incurred would have certainly been less than those the city is now facing. Another way the costs of these powerful storms can be reduced is to fix the flawed and bankrupt National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Government programs always sound good, but there’s always more to the story.

The editors of Investor’s Business Daily write, “[NFIP] owes close to $25 billion to the U.S. Treasury, which means it owes you, the taxpayer. How could that be? The fact is, as with so many government programs, the very name of the agency is false. It is not providing ‘insurance’ in any true sense, but rather a taxpayer guarantee. Big difference.”

Unlike insurance programs in the free market, the NFIP does not charge premiums that are high enough to cover the costs of a natural disaster. They’re simply taking taxpayer monies and subsidizing government payouts from other agencies as well as private-sector donations. But it gets worse. The very existence of programs like NFIP results in developers and individuals building homes in flood areas and earthquake zones knowing full well that they’re going to be covered when disaster strikes. Sure, it’s a great deal for the homeowner, but not so much for American taxpayers or the nation’s economy.

And what’s all this talk about how the devastation in Houston will ultimately boost the country’s GDP? On the surface, this appears true. Billions of dollars will be needed to clean up and rebuild Houston, and this money will boost all sorts of recovery industries. But that only tells part of the story.

Tim Worstall of the Washington Examiner reminds us, “Opportunity costs matter and there are problems with net and gross. So, we will record ourselves as being richer as a result of the storm — but we’ll actually be poorer, by exactly the amount of what we’ve not got, which we should have had if the storm hadn’t happened, plus the damages themselves, which we’ve not accounted for either.”

In other words, all of the services and resources needed to help southeast Texas recover and rebuild will boost the economy in some ways, but these same services and resources being funneled into Houston are thus not going elsewhere. Essentially, the increase in GDP falls short of the tremendous costs involved in such a large recovery operation. And this is money that could instead have become part of a vital infrastructure project, such as the border wall.

Yet another problem we’re seeing in the wake of these ferocious storms is price gouging. $42 for a case of water at Best Buy? That’s not a typo. Now, to be fair, Best Buy doesn’t usually sell cases of water. A company spokesperson claimed that one of its employees mistakenly added up the cost for each bottle, and an apology was issued. Mistakes aside, some people are willing to take advantage of the most vulnerable citizens in a time of tragedy. But we shouldn’t think that everyone is getting away with it, or that there isn’t some market-driven supply and demand at play.

USA Today reports, “The office of the Texas State Attorney General said that as of Wednesday morning, it had received 684 complaints about excessive pricing. They included a convenience store in Houston selling gasoline for $20 a gallon. Such acts can lead to a $20,000 fine, or a penalty of up to $250,000 if the victim is at least 65 years old. The state attorney general has so far notified nine alleged offenders that they have violated the law, and what fines they could face if they don’t stop the gouging.”

But there’s gouging, and then there are natural market forces. John Stossel explains, “Suppose a disaster devastates your town, and your local store is not allowed to raise the price of bottled water. People rush to buy all the water they can get. The store sells out. Only the first customers get what they need. The storeowner has no incentive to risk life and limb restocking his store. He wants to get to safety, too. So he closes his store. But if the owner can charge $99 for a case of water, you will buy less water, and other customers get what they need. More importantly, entrepreneurs have an incentive to move heaven and earth to bring water to the disaster area. They soon do, and the price drops again. That’s economics — supply and demand. It works pretty well.”

In other words, sometimes the high costs associated with disaster ensure that relief goes where it’s needed most. Moreover, numerous charitable organizations and businesses are giving away water and such. The real lesson might be that morality and capitalism must go hand in hand.

Now that the people of southeast Texas and Louisiana are beginning to put their lives back together, it’s time to look at a range of issues associated with the government’s role in natural disasters. This doesn’t mean we should leave our fellow citizens to fend for themselves. The outpouring of support from across Texas and the entire U.S. clearly shows that we’re a compassionate country. But it’s time to get serious. It’s time to get the government out of the disaster insurance business and to be more proactive about infrastructure.

Editor’s note:

Patriots, please send financial support to Texas — and make sure your support does the greatest good! If you want 100% of your donation to benefit hurricane/flood victim relief, consider supporting the following:

The Salvation Army

The North American Mission Board

Samaritan’s Purse

United Way of Houston

Of course, there are other good organizations, including regional food banks. Note that we do NOT recommend supporting the Red Cross, now a huge bureaucracy which has a declining record for effective assistance.

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For more, visit Right Opinion.


Erick Erickson: “Reflect for a moment, if you will, on a gathering of Christians in Nashville, TN, a week ago. A few hundred of the most prominent Christian leaders in the country across all denominations came together to sign what is being called ‘The Nashville Statement.’ … The devil’s silence is coming most noticeably for the church in America. Cultural revolutionaries assail orthodoxy Christianity as hateful and bigoted. If you adhere to the faith, you must be one of those hicks or rubes bitterly clinging to guns and religion. What these cultural revolutionaries will not say, but know, is that you are a hopeless cause. They are, instead, targeting your children. That is why you have an obligation to speak up. They only win in silence. The lie only stands in the absence of truth. That is why they try to make it costly for you to speak up. At a minimum they hope to convince you, your spouse, your pastor, and your friends that it is not worth it to speak up. But speak up you must. The secular Left in America is increasingly angry and increasingly violent. But both are just weapons with which they will intimidate you into silence. So speak up. The statement merely reaffirms two thousand years of orthodox Christianity.”


Insight: “How should it happen that the individual should be without rights, but the combination of individuals should possess unlimited rights?” —Auberon Herbert (1838-1906)

Braying Jackass: “You had two factions in the White House. You had one faction that actually had some of the policies that we would have supported on trade, on infrastructure, but they turned out to be racist. And on the other hand, you had people who weren’t racist, but they were Wall Streeters.” —AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka

Friendly fire: “The media never ever gives up, and instead of focusing on real issues they keep talking about never-ending campaigns. … We never stop elections. People are sick and tired of it.” —Bernie Sanders

Non Compos Mentis: “The historical record is unambiguous in documenting the horrors Christopher Columbus and his men exacted on the native peoples he encountered. As statues aggrandizing the Confederacy topple across the South, so too should this symbol of oppression and genocide.” —Los Angeles councilman Mitch O'Farrell

Braying Jenny: “May I suggest that, among your donations for #Harvey relief, you consider also donating to a Texas abortion fund? This, too, is needed.” —feminist wonk Verónica Bayetti Flores

Is Taylor working with THE RUSSIANS? “Taylor Swift said nothing last year. While America started to buckle under the weight of the rising political candidacy of an unhinged narcissist named Donald Trump, the wildly famous and influential singer remained silent. … There’s no way of guaranteeing that a Swift condemnation would have singlehandedly changed the course of the election, but her All-American image could have reasoned with the heartland in a way the Big City Liberal Celebs couldn’t.” —Vice’s Dan Ozzi

And last… “After hurricane: ACT NOW ON CLIMATE! After mass shooting: ACT NOW ON GUNS! After jihadist attack: just a part of life and the new normal.” —Twitter satirist @hale_razor

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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.