Mid-Day Digest

Sep. 20, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • “We didn’t know if we were listening to President Reagan in 1982 or President Trump in 2017.”
  • A big news flash: Climate models are only as good as their input allows.
  • Religious liberty is under greater assault than ever.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“I am persuaded that a firm union is as necessary to perpetuate our liberties as it is to make us respectable.” —Alexander Hamilton (1788)

IN BRIEF

Trump’s Reaganesque UN Speech

Donald Trump didn’t pull any punches when he addressed the United Nations on Tuesday. He was honest and straightforward about the nature of the threats the world faces from tyrannical regimes seeking nuclear weapons. He was even unintentionally complimented by Venezuela’s foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, who likened his speech to that of Ronald Reagan. “For a moment, we didn’t know if we were listening to President Reagan in 1982 or President Trump in 2017,” Arreaza complained. He was right, but not as he intended.

While Trump’s message was indeed Reaganesque, his delivery was classic Trump, typified by his referencing North Korean despot Kim Jong-un as “rocket man.” Trump warned that the U.S. has been patient with the rogue nation, but that we would “have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if we are forced to defend ourselves. Trump pointedly continued, “Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully, this will not be necessary.”

Trump encouraged all the nations of the UN to stand together in pressuring North Korea to end its missile and nuclear weapons programs. Trump stated, “No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans, and for the imprisonment, torture, killing and oppression of countless more.”

The president also thanked both China and Russia for joining the unanimous vote of the United Nations Security Council to adopt “hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea.” Trump further encouraged UN unity, stating, “It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior.”

He also targeted Iran, calling its government “a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy.” He called on Iran to stop supporting terrorists. He demanded that Iran release the Americans it currently has detained. He also sent the strongest signal yet that he intends to pull out of Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, insisting, “The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.”

Trump was critical of globalism and its advocating of socialism in world politics. Using Venezuela as an example, Trump declared, “The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.” This was Trump’s most Reaganesque moment and the highlight of his speech. No wonder Arreaza was upset.

In short, Trump said what needed to be said. His message was direct and clear in his typical brash style. He didn’t shy away from calling out other member states by name. Nor did he flinch from applying unequivocally moral language, saying, “If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.” While several world leaders seemed not to know how to respond to the speech, it clearly impressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who tweeted that it had been more than 30 years since he’d heard a UN speech as brave and sharp. That would be about the time of … Ronald Reagan.

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Climate Models Stink

Climate alarmists and “settled science” extortionists have a rather incredulous response to a new study appearing in Nature Geoscience. The study takes a fresh look at the “carbon budget,” or how much emissions the earth can take and still maintain endurable temperatures. According to the study, compiled by a consortium of scientists from all over the world, the doomsday clock remains, but it’s been extended by quite some time.

The Washington Post calls the finding “a potential whiplash moment” that “was published by a number of researchers who have been deeply involved in studying the concept, making it all the more unexpected.” According to the study, contrary to previous disquisitions, it is possible to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), or what most scientists concur is a critical —but largely out-of-reach — global warming threshold. “It had been widely assumed that this stringent target would prove unachievable,” the Post reports, “but the new study would appear to give us much more time to get our act together if we want to stay below it.”

The Post says that, based on new calculations, “We have more than 700 billion tons left to emit to keep warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius, with a two-thirds probability of success.” According to co-author Richard Millar, “That’s about 20 years at present-day emissions.” The hope is that this buys enough time to more robustly mitigate global warming’s effects. Predictably, however, the study is already being downplayed. But it’s important to understand why the researchers came to this conclusion. For us so-called climate skeptics, it’s not surprising in the least.

According to researcher Joeri Rogelj, “The most complex Earth system models that provided input to [the IPCC] tend to slightly overestimate historical warming, and at the same time underestimate compatible historical CO2 emissions. These two small discrepancies accumulate over time and lead to an [sic] slight underestimation of the remaining carbon budget.” Rogelj’s colleague Pierre Friedlingstein echoed this point: “The models end up with a warming which is larger than the observed warming for the current emissions. … So, therefore, they derive a budget which is much lower.” In other words, the models were too rambunctious.

The problem of overly ambitious global warming projections is well known. Climatologists like Dr. Roy Spencer and John Christy have found that climate models are grossly exaggerating future warming. What’s interesting is that some mainstream scientists are finally — perhaps because the facts leave them with no alternative — addressing this reality. How the rest of their peers are likely to respond is less encouraging. It’s also worth repeating that the true effects of global warming are still unknown and probably excessively dramatized. But at least this study tries to incorporate some authenticity.

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Top Headlines

  • Senate Republicans close to pushing through ObamaCare repeal (The Washington Times)

  • States need $645 billion to pay full health care costs (Paywall — The Wall Street Journal)

  • Report: Cutting $2.3 trillion of government waste would balance the budget in three years (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Mexico earthquake death toll surpasses 200 (Fox News)

  • Maria slams ashore in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane (Bloomberg)

  • Right-to-work scores a major win in Wisconsin (Hot Air)

  • Gun-control activists to pour another million dollars into Virginia state elections (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • The Coast Guard has set a new record for cocaine seizures at sea for the second consecutive year (The Washington Post)

  • San Diego State University students get extra credit for calculating their “white privilege” (The Daily Wire)

  • Venezuelan price controls lead to predictable shortages (Reason)

  • Policy: Defanging identity fraud by verifying identities (American Enterprise Institute)

  • Policy: Finally, some common sense Western fire policies (Heartland Institute)

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

Atheist Hypocrisy and the Assault on Religious Liberty

By Caroline Camden Lewis

Knowing the perils of disease, shipwreck and discomfort, the Pilgrims boarded the Mayflower in search of one thing: religious liberty. While many died on the voyage, and half of those who made it here died in the first winter, they knew that their lives were but “stepping stones” for the next generation’s freedom to practice Christianity. Their journey had taken them from an underground church in Scrooby, England, to an escape in Holland. However, as Holland’s secular society began corroding the hearts and minds of their children, they realized that a voyage to the New World was worth the risk. The Plymouth landing in 1620 stands as one of the earliest pieces of our country’s quest for religious liberty.

Today, almost 400 years later, the United States has become an increasingly difficult place for a Christian to work, be educated, and to serve his or her country. This has happened despite the statement found in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

In fact, First Liberty Institute’s 2017 report notes that in the past five years, documented attacks on religious freedom have increased 133%. In the past year, attacks have increased 15%. These attacks take place across broad sectors of the public arena — education, religious institutions and the U.S. military.

A case from the public arena, Barton v. Balch Springs, involved a Texas senior center in which city officials told the senior citizens that they could not pray before meals, listen to messages with religious content, or sing gospel music because public buildings do not allow religion. The senior citizens filed a lawsuit, and the government officials threatened to take away their meals if they won because praying over meals paid for by the government violated the “separation of church and state.”

In Pounds v. Katy I.S.D., a school district in the Houston area banned religious Christmas items and religiously themed Valentine’s Day cards. School officials told one student that she could not answer the question “What does Easter mean to you?” with “Jesus.” A federal court ultimately ruled against Katy I.S.D. for its hostility to religion and for violating the student’s constitutional rights.

In Sterling v. United States, Montifa Sterling, a Marine Corps lance corporal, placed three notes in her cubicle that referred to the Bible verse: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17). While her supervisor allowed the other service members to display personal items, he ordered Sterling to remove the notes. Sterling believed that her First Amendment rights protected her ability to post the notes, so when she found them in the trash the following day, she reposted them. As a result, Lance Corporal Sterling was court-martialed. The highest U.S. military court, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, believed the note to be minor and thus unworthy of religious protection. First Liberty Institute is appealing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

These examples, a small selection of more than 1,400 documented incidents, illustrate the direct assault on the constitutional rights of Americans. A combination of misinformation among the populous and lobbying efforts by atheist groups such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the American Humanist Association and the American Atheists have resulted in prayers being banned, Ten Commandments displays being made illegal and veterans memorials with crosses being torn down or moved.

The American Atheists claim to not be a religion, yet require equal representation of their “non-religion” at interfaith events and councils. Additionally, college campuses routinely list humanists, secularist, free-thinkers and agnostics among other religious groups. They claim to believe in nothing, but in fact believe in a lack of belief and have faith in a lack of faith.

Atheists claim that Christians force their religion on others. Yet atheistic secularism has been forcing students, military personnel, ministers and workers to adhere to their lack of belief standards or suffer the consequences. Far from learning to “coexist,” as many bumper stickers advertise, atheist lobby groups seek nothing less than to persecute and destroy all religions except their own lack of one. Their rejection of religion is their religion and their unrelenting desire to “convert” the rest of us is unconstitutional, intolerant and wrong.

In terms of the quest to totally eradicate religion, the Soviet Union at least communicated its objectives honestly: to destroy religion and establish an atheist, secular state. A state church or a state “non-church” both qualify as an establishment of a religious state. Are atheist lobbyists, then, not the greatest offenders of their own unconstitutional demands of others?

The Pilgrims came here for religious freedom, not freedom from religion imposed on them by atheist lobby groups. The right to “not be offended” does not outweigh the right to practice one’s religion. Ironically, people rarely ask Christians if it offends them to have their child told he cannot pray. Christians have a right to believe in God, just as much as atheists have a right to believe in nothing. The assault on religious liberty only gains victory if people of faith choose fear over courage. As Ronald Reagan stated, “Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid.” While courage may cost social standing, job mobility or favor among others, ultimately standing tall in the face of evil gives others courage and reminds us of our purpose: to do the right thing, despite the consequences.

If you are experiencing religious persecution and need legal representation, contact these non-profit law firms:

Alliance Defending Freedom
First Liberty Institute
Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Jonah Goldberg: “With 52 GOP senators, Graham-Cassidy can only pass if at least 50 of them vote for it, and they must do so before Sept. 30, when the arcane budget window known as ‘reconciliation’ closes. … Heritage Action for America has grumbled, rightly, that Graham-Cassidy doesn’t repeal all of the Obamacare taxes. But the choice for Republicans isn’t between this and a better reform. It’s between this or letting Obamacare continue intact, violating all of those repeal-and-replace promises entirely. That’s what’s so silly about the claim that Graham-Cassidy is as ‘extreme’ as Sanders’ radical and shoddily written proposal (the bill is totally silent on how to pay for any of it). Graham-Cassidy is very close to the kind of legislation we would have ended up with if Republicans had an idea of what they wanted from the get-go and the Democrats were interested in compromise. But we live in a time when extremism is defined as not getting everything you want.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.” —William Hazlitt (1778-1830)

Upright: “A first-trimester fetus has moral value because whether you consider it a potential human life or a full-on human life, it has more value than just a cluster of cells. … There are people who are adults who are alive because of a pacemaker. They need some sort of outside force generating their heartbeat. … The problem is, any time you draw any line other than the inception of the child, you end up drawing a false line that can also be applied to people who are adults. So, either human life has intrinsic value or it doesn’t.” —Ben Shapiro

Non Compos Mentis: “The words ‘totally destroying’ a nation of 25 million people, that borders on the threat of committing a war crime.” —ABC’s Terry Moran (“So do little Kim Jong’s threats to NUKE America count as a war crime too?” —Katie Pavlich)

Non sequitur: “If you ask yourself, ‘What would I do if I was a gentile in 1941 [and] my Jewish neighbors were under attack by the Nazis — would I give them sanctuary?’ you might be about to find what you’d do. Will you pass that moral test, or will you fail it?” —Rep. Keith Ellison on DACA

Double standards: “The EPA has been run by Democrats, by Republicans, but has never … been run by someone who seems to be determined to do the one thing that could destroy its credibility, which is not making it transparent.” —former Obama EPA head Lisa Jackson (“Jackson resigned from the EPA amid accusations that her department was deliberately attempting to circumvent open-records laws.” —Daily Wire’s Aaron Bandler)

Village Idiots: “I thought [Trump’s UN speech] was very dark [and] dangerous, not the kind of message that the leader of the greatest nation in the world should be delivering.” —Hillary Clinton (You know what else is dark and dangerous? Hillary’s Benghazi coverup.)

Late-night humor: “Here in New York City, everyone is at the UN. That’s right, the UN General Assembly kicked off … and I read that 193 countries will be attending. They’re all committed to one goal: making New York City traffic a total nightmare.” —Jimmy Fallon

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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.