Mid-Day Digest

Sep. 14, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Was there a DACA deal or not? Trump and Dems send mixed signals.
  • Another look at the Benghazi failures we can pin on Hillary Clinton.
  • America is growing more secular, and that could have implications for Liberty.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“The policy or advantage of [immigration] taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for, by so doing, they retain the Language, habits and principles (good or bad) which they bring with them. Whereas by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures and laws: in a word, soon become one people.” —George Washington (1794)

IN BRIEF

Mixed Messages on the Demo/Trump DACA Deal

Donald Trump tweeted early Thursday morning before heading down to Florida, “No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?” He followed that tweet by re-emphasizing his commitment to building the border wall, tweeting, “The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built.”

Trump’s tweet seemed to contradict what Democrat leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi said following their dinner meeting with Trump on Wednesday. “[We had] a very productive meeting at the White House with the President,” the pair said in a statement. “The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.”

Following Trump’s Thursday tweets, Schumer and Pelosi released another joint statement saying that Trump’s message was “not inconsistent with the agreement reached last night.” After all, Trump also said, “The wall will come later,” so who knows.

So, was a deal reached? It seems the deal reached was a decision to work together toward developing legislation on DACA and bolstering border security. What that legislation would look like is still up in the air.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind as the wheeling and dealing happens. All so-called “Dreamers” were not innocent five-year-olds brought to America by their parents. Democrats love to use broad brush strokes in painting an overly simplistic portrait of these Dreamers with the goal of including as many illegal aliens as possible in this protected class. In so doing they aim to build their future constituency, while branding themselves as the only party that really cares for the underprivileged.

As for Trump’s wall, it needs to be understood more as a metaphor for border security and immigration enforcement rather than a literal unbroken wall running east to west across the southern border. In any case, the haggling is only getting started and both sides are angling for the best political posture.

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Insiders Confirm State Dept’s Benghazi Cover-up

Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions (TAES) security contractors Brad Owens and Jerry Torres (company CEO) told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson of their dealings with Hillary Clinton’s State Department both before and after the deadly 2012 Benghazi attack. By these two men’s account, safety protocols were botched from the get-go. Moreover, Fox News reports, “Asked if there was a specific effort by a senior State Department contracting officer to silence them, Torres said, ‘Absolutely, absolutely.’”

Some background: In 2012, TAES was among the groups vying for the State Department’s security contract in Benghazi, but the contract was initially given to The Blue Mountain Group due to its more appealing operating costs. According to Owens, “Blue Mountain U.K. is a teeny, tiny, little security company registered in Wales that had never had a diplomatic security contract, had never done any high threat contracts anywhere else in the world that we’ve been able to find, much less in high threat areas for the U.S. government. They had a few guys on the ground.” Moreover, Fox News reports, “The Blue Mountain Group hired guards through another company who were not armed.” What could possibly go wrong?

It didn’t take long to figure out. The terrorist threats escalated shortly thereafter. The State Department was warned by Ambassador Chris Stevens that the compound lacked the resources needed to fend off a coordinated attack, and in late August 2012, the State Department came back to TAES requesting its security services. Unfortunately, by then it was too late. According to Fox, “Torres emphasized that time was against them, saying it would have taken two-to-three weeks to get set up. Twelve days later, the ambassador was killed. Torres learned of the attacks by watching television. He called the circumstances leading up to the tragedy ‘bad decision-making from top to bottom.’”

Subsequently, Torres says he was ordered by a State Department official to “not speak to the media” and “not speak to any officials with respect to the Benghazi program.” Torres added that this official stated, “Guards should not be armed at U.S. embassies. She just made that blanket statement. … And she said that they weren’t required in Benghazi. So I was kind of confused about that. And she said that she would like my support in saying that if that came up. And I looked at her. I just didn’t respond.”

This is yet more demonstrable proof that the Obama administration was more than just callous. It was resolutely deceptive about Benghazi. This was always a cover-up ahead of the 2012 election and, from our perspective, it was the biggest factor of Barack Obama’s re-election. Now a couple of insiders are confirming the State Department’s gag order. Yet you won’t hear Hillary Clinton blaming the Benghazi debacle for last year’s electoral loss.

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Top Headlines

  • Obama holdovers are slowing Trump’s agenda in key agencies (Washington Examiner)

  • August sees record gun sales (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • ICE: 14,000 detained illegal aliens getting free health care at 21 facilities in 10 states (CNS News)

  • Trump blocks Chinese deal to buy U.S. chips with military uses (The Washington Times)

  • One-star reviews of Hillary Clinton’s “What Happened” disappear on Amazon (The Washington Times)

  • Last-chance ObamaCare repeal bill includes waivers from insurance regulations (Washington Examiner)

  • North Korea nuclear test may have been twice as strong as first thought (The Washington Post)

  • Hurricane Irma’s wrath will mean higher grocery bills (USA Today)

  • Stunning testimony: Voting machines can be hacked without a trace of evidence (The Washington Times)

  • Facebook to clamp down on who can cash in on ads (Reuters)

  • Policy: Kim Jong Un must go. It’s time for a Korean democratic unification. (The Weekly Standard)

  • Policy: How Congress can restore fiscal sanity. (The Daily Signal)

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column

Read China’s Nuclear Puppet Gambit — Kim Jong-un. The Kim/NoKo nuke threat is a subterfuge to contain Trump’s threatened trade sanctions against China.

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

Americans Are More Secular — What That Means for Liberty

By Thomas Gallatin

Are Americans becoming less religious, or, more specifically, are we becoming less Christian? The answer seems to be yes. As we approach Constitution Day this Sunday, this new reality has implications for American Liberty.

According to data from a new survey released last week by the Public Religion Research Institute, a study of more than 100,000 Americans across the nation found that the number of those who call themselves “religious and spiritual” has declined from 59% in 2012 to 48%. Currently, just 43% of white Americans claim to be Christians and only 30% Protestants. In 1976, the numbers were 81% Christian with 55% Protestant. That’s clearly a significant drop in one generation.

PRRI found that the decline in religious observance among Americans is highest in young Americans. The non-religious or “nones” now make up 34% of all Americans under the age of 30. And young Americans who are religious and identify as Christians are a shrinking percentage. Interestingly, among religiously unaffiliated Americans, a minority (only 27%) claim to be either agnostic or atheist. It’s interesting that most Americans who identify as secular and non-religious aren’t willing to entirely reject religious beliefs.

Part of the problem with surveys like this is the fact that people’s definitions for what makes someone a Christian are constantly evolving. Hence the common delimiters such as Protestant vs. Catholic, mainline vs. evangelical, denominational vs. non-denominational, and so on. To make matters even more confusing, racial delimiters have been added.

So, the bigger question is what’s the point behind publishing this data? Why is it important to track America’s religious trends? Much of the answer lies in America’s unique religious history — a Christian religious history — and its significant impact upon the foundation of this great nation.

Looking back on America’s historical roots, one theme becomes quite evident early on. America was a place — the place — of refuge for the persecuted. It is well documented that the Pilgrims traversed the Atlantic in the Mayflower out of a desperate hope to make it to the New World where they would have the opportunity to worship God freely in accordance with their religious convictions. This spirit of religious liberty was in many ways the spark that ignited the nation’s founding. Even though not all the Founding Fathers were Christians, they all acknowledged the central, significant and important role religion played in establishing a stable and enduring republic. And not just any religion, but Christianity in particular.

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people,” wrote John Adams. “It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

When the 13 colonies declared their independence from British rule, they justified their rebellion by appealing to an authority greater than that of the king — the highest authority of all, God. There is no question that the Declaration of Independence overtly appeals to religious truth as the key to our human rights. It’s a truth our Founding Fathers held to be “self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Those Rights were eloquently summarized by three concrete concepts: “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Founding Fathers recognized that the rights of people are not a creation of government, rather they are a manifestation of common human dignity and value endowed by our Creator. The government’s role first and foremost is to protect its citizens by protecting their rights. The whole reason these rights were enumerated in the Constitution was to explicitly limit the power of government to strip citizens of their God-given rights.

We can break down our concern about the decline of religious affiliation into two categories. First, it leads to a loss of human freedom. By necessity the more secular a society becomes, the larger and more authoritative and restrictive the government becomes. We have glaring examples of this truth over the past century in countries where communism took control. When God is removed from a recognized place of ultimate moral authority, then all that’s left to fill that void is human power, resulting in some form of totalitarian government — rule of men rather than Rule of Law.

As evidenced by the rise of groups like antifa, there are those who would seek to shut down the free speech of others as a means of gaining greater power and authority over them. They wouldn’t flinch at limiting the rights of those with whom they disagree.

Second, it leads to an increasing loss of human dignity. We see this in America’s culture war over abortion and the celebration and forced acceptance of deviant behavior like homosexuality and transgenderism. Truth about humanity is also increasingly becoming a scarce commodity, where people are taught to value their feelings above objective reality. This lends itself to ridiculous notions like having “safe spaces” to protect people from ideas with which they don’t agree.

In short, the reason for concern about a growing secularism in America is the implications it has on our cultural understanding of “unalienable rights.” The fewer number of people believing in and recognizing the authority of God, from whom we all receive our rights and dignity, the more imperiled our Liberty becomes.

The reality is that Christianity is in America’s DNA. It’s the country’s moral backbone. The nation as we know it and the individual freedoms that we are privileged to enjoy would soon collapse and disappear should that moral foundation be removed. That is why the survey numbers are troubling. But as all Christians know, our ultimate hope rests not in men. We pray for our nation, we love neighbors and help those in need, we speak the truth and we entrust ourselves to our Savior, Jesus Christ.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Larry Elder: “My uncle Eddie, a barber in Chattanooga, Tennessee, immersed himself in local Republican politics. He died 20 years before Obama got elected. He would’ve been stunned that the country of segregation in which he was born could evolve so that his nephew would see the election of a black president. But he would likely have been even more astonished at how quickly Martin Luther King’s dream of a colorblind society has turned into a quest to purge the town square of Confederate statues. He would have been shocked that a group called Black Lives Matter, given credibility by the Obama administration, issued a ‘list of demands’ of white people. In eight years, we’ve gone from the election of the first black president to a call for campus ‘safe spaces’ to combat alleged racist ‘microaggressions.’ Uncle Eddie would have called this moving the goal post.”

SHORT CUTS

Upright: “The truth of the North Korea missile crisis is not the boilerplate assumption that China is the key to the solution, but rather that China is by design the root of the problem. China did not fail to realize that North Korea was developing a nuclear arsenal. Rather, it calculated that North Korea would do exactly what it is now doing, and that such nuclear roguery would serve China’s strategic interests both on the Korean peninsula and in its rivalries with the United States and with America’s allies in Asia. In other words, if China were in America’s position, we would have likely witnessed a tragically destructive war a long time ago.” —Victor Davis Hanson

The BIG Lie: “[Alliance Defending Freedom] is a group that fights against equal treatment of LGBT people; this is a group which calls for the sterilization of transgender people abroad.” —Sen. Al Franken

When you’ve lost “Caitlyn”… “I apologize to all of the trans community. I made a mistake. I will never do it again and I’m getting rid of the [Make America Great Again] hat.” —Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, regretting support for Trump

Non Compos Mentis: “[Muslims] could teach many white British people many a good thing. And if my community, such as it is, learned more from your community, this country would be a better country.” —British MP Anna Soubry

Belly laugh of the week: “We don’t control media the same way the right does; it’s harder for our message to get out. … I don’t think the press did their job in this election, with very few exceptions.” —Hillary Clinton

Oh please: “The more professionally successful a woman becomes, the less likable she is.” —Hillary Clinton

For the record: “We all know what happened, Hillary: you’re a loser! Now get over it and give the rest of us a break.” —Piers Morgan

Late-night humor: “Hillary Clinton’s book ‘What Happened’ came out … and I heard that it’s almost 500 pages long. Unfortunately, the only person with enough time to read it is Hillary Clinton.” —Jimmy Fallon

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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