Mid-Day Digest

Sep. 29, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Steve Scalise’s emotional return to Congress was a welcome sight and reminder.
  • Where do our rights come from? Not from government, that’s for sure.
  • The damage wrought by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner is astounding.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.” —James Madison (1785)

IN BRIEF

Scalise’s Return Reminds Us What’s at Stake

That Republican Rep. Steve Scalise is alive is a miracle. That he can walk is another, as evidenced in his dramatic return to Congress yesterday. Three months after being wounded by a would-be assassin, Scalise needed two walking crutches to make it to the House floor, and he entered to a long, rousing and emotional standing ovation from his colleagues.

The congressman’s return is a welcome sight during a time of political discord, and it’s also a reminder of that discord. Remember, it wasn’t just some nutcase who attempted to murder Scalise and numerous other Republicans practicing for the congressional baseball game, it was a socialist Bernie Sanders fanatic inspired by left-wing hate rhetoric.

Columnist Gary Bauer puts it in perspective: “After the Charlottesville riots, Congress passed, and President Trump signed, a resolution condemning white supremacist hate groups. The resolution also called on the federal government to investigate groups that are ‘fomenting and facilitating additional violence.’ Scalise’s would-be assassin was a fan of a Facebook page called ‘Terminate The Republican Party.’ Is the FBI investigating this group? Incredibly, that page is still active. Facebook doesn’t hesitate to pull content it finds offensive. But I guess that doesn’t qualify as ‘hate speech’ to the progressives who dominate Silicon Valley and the tech industry.”

Our national politics would be far better if more men like Scalise dominated the discourse instead of antifa thugs and NFL ingrates.

During his inspiring remarks, Scalise spoke of the role of his Christian faith in his recovery, saying, “It starts with God.” Laying bleeding on the ballfield that day in June, Scalise recalled, “I just started praying.” We too are grateful that he can now say, “Pretty much every one of those prayers were answered. [God] really did deliver for me and my family, and it just gives you that renewed faith and understanding that the power of prayer is just something that you cannot underestimate.”

Scalise also thanked the two U.S. Capitol Police responsible for saving his life: David Bailey and Crystal Griner, both of whom were wounded in the exchange with the assailant. President Donald Trump awarded both officers the Medal of Valor in July. Were it not for a couple of good guys with guns, many people would have died that day.

“I’m definitely a living example that miracles really do happen,” Scalise said. He’s right, and it’s heartening to see it.

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MSNBC’s Chuck Todd: Our Rights Don’t Come From God!

MSNBC’s Chuck Todd proved again this week that he’s not so much a reporter as he is a pontificator of leftist talking points. Very wrong talking points, at that. Following Roy Moore’s win over incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, Todd launched into a screed against Moore, who publicly stated, “Our rights don’t come from government, they don’t come from the Bill of Rights, they come from Almighty God.”

Todd says of this statement: “He doesn’t appear to believe in the Constitution as it’s written.” For the record, it’s Todd who doesn’t believe in the Constitution as written (to be fair, he’s probably also never bothered to look at our founding documents). The Declaration of Independence quite clearly proclaims: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Todd’s assertion that Moore “doesn’t appear to believe in the Constitution as it’s written” is in line with the views held by the liberal justices of the Supreme Court. They believe, wrongly, in a “living constitution” — meaning rights aren’t ironclad or inherent. In leftists’ eyes, the government is the facilitator and enforcer of whatever rights it (or jurists) deems citizens are entitled to. Which is totally against what the Founders rightly understood — that we are “are endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”

As Mark Alexander has written: “The eternal assertion that Liberty for all people is ‘endowed by their Creator’ and is thus ‘unalienable’ should require no defense, because ‘we hold these truths to be self-evident,’ and because the rights of man are irrevocable from the ‘Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.’”

Furthermore, he noted, “Recall that our Declaration’s signers were not of one mind on matters of theology and doctrine. They were Christians, Deists and Agnostics, but they did, however, uniformly declare that the Rights of all people were, are and forever will be innate and unalienable, as established by ‘the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.’ This is not an article of ‘faith.’ It is the assertion that the right to ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,’ while enshrined in our Declaration, is inherent and applicable to all humans of every nation, religion, race and ethnicity, for all time.”

Luckily for Todd, it also applies to lefty propagandists.

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Top Headlines

  • Businesses cut ties with NFL, let fans cancel over protests (NewsBusters)

  • Kaepernick donates $25,000 to group honoring convicted cop-killer (The Washington Times)

  • Denver Broncos say they’ll stand for national anthem (NFL.com)

  • California wants to ban all gas-powered cars (Reason)

  • ICE arrests nearly 450 illegal immigrants in sanctuary city raids (Fox News)

  • Tom Price apologizes for private-charter flights, pledges to repay taxpayers nearly $52,000 (The Washington Post)

  • Clemson students given “Heterosexual Questionnaire” in class (Campus Reform)

  • FBI report shows violent crime increase in 38 out of 50 states (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • ATF traced more crime guns so far in 2017 than ever before (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • DC Circuit Court lets stand conceal-carry ruling, cheering gun-rights activists (The Washington Times)

  • Policy: The human costs of the world Hugh Hefner created (The Daily Signal)

  • Policy: If Congress wants to help families, it should reform corporate taxes (The Hill)

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

Good Riddance to the World’s Oldest Playboy

By Michael Swartz

While he didn’t die in complete obscurity by any stretch of the imagination, Wednesday’s passing of Hugh Hefner didn’t mark the end of an era so much as it served as a reminder of where the boundaries once were.

When Playboy magazine began in 1953 — featuring a up-and-coming young actress named Marilyn Monroe — Hefner was blunt about his intentions: “We want to make it very clear from the start, we aren’t a ‘family magazine.’ If you’re somebody’s sister, wife, or mother-in-law and picked us up by mistake, please pass us along to the man in your life and get back to the Ladies Home Companion.” The early content seems almost tame today, but what Playboy did was pull pornography out of the back alleys and off the wrong side of the tracks and bring it into the “respectable” mainstream. As Patrick Trueman, president of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, wrote, “Hefner succeeded in making pornography seem as American as apple pie.”

Yet for all the jokes about only reading Playboy for the articles, the truth is that in its heyday 30 to 40 years ago, some of the best writers and thinkers out there were regular contributors, including William F. Buckley, who called Hefner’s approach to life the “Playboy philosophy.” Moreover, Playboy was certainly pornographic, but less crudely so than its main imitators in that late-1970s era of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll — Larry Flynt’s Hustler and Bob Guccione’s Penthouse.

As Ben Domenech puts it, “What separates [Hefner] from the more lurid members of his industry is an appreciation for manners and a particular form of American masculinity: he advised you to be a gentleman, not a cad, in your pursuit of the centerfold or the girl next door.” Not exactly a compliment.

“Gentleman” or no, however, Hefner’s legacy is one of coarsening American culture. Trueman runs down a number of statistics and provides insights on the effects of pornography on our society, but one doesn’t need any of those to know that once-taboo topics have been flung out into the open, and that which used to be seen only in peep shows in a town’s seedier section is now willingly cycled onto thousands of teenagers’ phones by young participants who don’t consider the consequences.

Those who have their eyes open can see that the decline in morals exhibited in Hefner’s lifetime puts us perilously at odds with what President John Adams warned about in 1798: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Adams also added, “Statesmen … may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. … The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.”

Religion and morality were two casualties of the “Playboy philosophy,” as was, ironically, Hefner’s own business. As the Internet served up ever more explicit pornography, the Playboy media empire began to erode, and the magazine became a parody of itself for a time last year when it stopped featuring nudes. Beginning with local and syndicated television shows in the 1960s, Hefner even branched out into cable television in 1982 with the Playboy Channel before selling off his interest in the network four years later. By his last days, even the Playboy mansion wasn’t his anymore — and he only got half the asking price.

His own decline was something he had coming. As National Review’s David French writes, “It’s hard to calculate the damage he did, but the cultural rubble is all around us.” And The Daily Signal’s Katrina Trinko laments, “His work of mainstreaming porn will likely live on — and continue to hurt men and women — for many years to come.”

Of course Hefner saw it just the opposite. “By associating sex with sin,” Hefner once said, “we have produced a society so guilt-ridden that it is almost impossible to view the subject objectively.” But a truly objective view of modern American society — from its general coarseness to its sobering rates of abortion, illegitimacy and divorce — makes one wonder how much better off we’d be had Hefner stayed with his original avocation as a cartoonist.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

David Harsanyi: “For the first time in American history, the party in power — complete power, mind you — is being asked to bail out the minority’s signature failed reform. Not just any reform: Democrats unilaterally shoved through the system a wide-ranging national restructuring of a vital part of the economy. It was an effort that blew up dozens of governing norms and was built on a giant lie, a manipulated Congressional Budget Office score and a process that, outside a few Kabuki theater hearings and technical amendments, ignored half the country while coercing every citizen’s participation. In fact, many of the people being asked to bail out Obamacare warned that Obamacare would need bailing out. … If Democrats are unwilling to negotiate on truly bipartisan grounds, Republicans should hold tight. Donald Trump, who promised throughout his campaign to overturn Obamacare, could immediately put a deadline on the unconstitutional subsidy payments that the Obama administration concocted to keep the bill from imploding. Yes, liberals will continue to claim that conservatives are ‘sabotaging’ the law, but there is no moral, policy or political reason for the GOP to continue the payoffs. No matter how many welfare dollars Congress ends up pouring into fabricated markets or how much price-fixing they engage in, the ‘exchanges’ are unsustainable.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful.” —Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Upright: “We have a large, active federal government that redistributes a lot of money. Everybody ought to pay a little something in federal income tax if we are going to have a federal income tax. Surely, nobody’s ‘fair share’ is really $0.00. Everybody likes to sit by the fire, nobody wants to chop the wood.” —Kevin Williamson

Observations: “As the Senate stands now, it’s improbable that Republicans will ever be able to cobble together a [health care] bill that will placate both the Susan Collins-John McCain wing and the Mike Lee-Rand Paul wing. In fact, I doubt Collins would vote for a single-payer bill if too many Republicans supported it.” —David Harsanyi

Still grasping for straws: “I rise tonight to make one point. That one point is that the president need not be convicted of a criminal offense to be impeached. … I will call for the impeachment of the president of the United States of America.” —Rep. Al Green

Braying Jackass: “Who’s going to do this cleanup? The white people? I think we should open our borders and bring the Mexicans up; we’ve got a lot of work for them, cleaning up Houston and cleaning up Florida. … And if [Trump officials] want to put this wall up, I’ll tell you what they need to do — take down the Statue of Liberty.” —Jesse Ventura

Braying Jenny: “I would take #TakeAKnee at school board meetings if my doing so would not be disruptive to kids and a distraction to the work we need to do for them. … That flag means nothing more than toilet paper to me.” —Chicago-area school board member Traci O'Neal Ellis

Late-night humor: “Saudi Arabia just announced they will let women drive. Women say that they’re excited, and can’t wait to drive straight out of Saudi Arabia.” —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.