Mid-Day Digest

Oct. 19, 2017


  • What to make of four days of “news” on Trump’s call to a Gold Star family.
  • Don’t touch the ethanol mandate or else, says Chuck Grassley.
  • Explaining Western silence after the slaughter in Somalia.
  • What NFL players should be doing instead of kneeling.
  • Trump and McConnell mend fences, which means it’s time to get to work.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.


“Now is the seedtime of continental union, faith and honor. The least fracture now, will be like a name engraved with the point of a pin on the tender rind of a young oak; the wound would enlarge with the tree, and posterity read in it full grown characters.” —Thomas Paine (1776)


Making Sense of the Gold Star Family Flap

By Nate Jackson

“It might be the stupidest and most unworthy controversy of the year, and that’s saying something,” lamented National Review’s Rich Lowry. He’s referring to the kerfuffle over President Donald Trump’s response to the four U.S. Special Forces soldiers killed in Niger earlier this month. That dustup is now in its fourth day.

In short, the White House team reportedly drafted a message of condolence right away, but it took Trump 12 days to say anything. On Monday, Trump responded to questions about it by complaining about how such calls make for a “very, very tough day” for him and then slamming Barack Obama for not calling families of fallen soldiers. Trump even singled out his own chief of staff, John Kelly, who he says didn’t receive a call from Obama when Kelly’s son was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. Then Democrat Rep. Frederica Wilson insisted that Trump was insensitive to the family of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of the soldiers killed in Niger, when he finally did call. According to Wilson, who says she heard the call on speakerphone, Trump allegedly told Johnson’s widow that “he must have known what he signed up for.”

So here are a few thoughts that will, in our book, put this one to bed. Trump is not ever going to “get it right” when it comes to the decorum of being president. That’s not why he was elected, and everyone knows it. Nevertheless, the Leftmedia must constantly churn this reality TV garbage to generate viewership and advertising revenue. Think of all the articles and television news segments dissecting what the president knew and when he said something and who the offended families are and if Trump actually made a promised donation to another family and whether Obama ever made a phone call. Four days’ worth of “news” over the politicization of the deaths of four Americans.

Perhaps that last bit is why Rep. Wilson went so far as to say, “This might wind up to be Mr. Trump’s Benghazi.” That comparison is utterly absurd and calls into question her version of events.

If Trump said what Wilson alleges, context matters a lot. But don’t take our word for it. Arnold Wright, whose son, Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, was one of the four killed in Niger, had this to say: “My son knew what he signed up for. He signed up to be a Green Beret. He had no illusions about what that meant.” Wright, himself a veteran, continued, “My son came from a military family with a tradition that dates back to 1812. He fully knew what it means to serve and the risk involved.”

Trump is a thin-skinned, unpolished guy, but we’d venture to say most military personnel and their families know they finally have a president who supports them. The rest of us should express our gratitude for the sacrifices made by military Patriots and their families, as well as offer our own prayers and support.

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The Power of King Corn

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, recently hinted at scaling back the onerous ethanol mandate associated within the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). This news prompted Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to threaten that, should Pruitt pursue scaling back the mandate, Donald Trump’s EPA nominees would essentially be prevented from receiving confirmation. An example of cronyism at its worst.

It’s tough to drain the swamp when politicians are more concerned with protecting the special interests of their big money donors than the freedoms of the constituents who have elected them. The ethanol mandate has been a boon for King Corn but little more than troublesome for everyone else, including the environment (which the RFS was ostensibly created to protect). In short, the ethanol mandate is one of the nation’s biggest boondoggles.

But Grassley’s threat was also a veiled threat aimed at Trump’s judicial nominees. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley can effectively sideline any vote on nominees. Grassley has put the squeeze on Trump, and Trump responded. On Wednesday, the White House ordered the EPA to put a hold on any changes to the ethanol mandate. King Corn wins again. Like Barack Obama did with “Clean Energy” and his war on coal, the government picking winners and losers is not what Americans need or want. Sadly, too many Republicans are guilty of playing this same crony game for which they blasted Obama.

End the corruption. End the ethanol mandate. Let ethanol stand on its own in the free market without the government artificially propping it up. As destructive and inefficient as it is, though, its defenders know that’s not possible. Thus the continued cronyism.

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Top Headlines

  • Fusion GPS officials plead the Fifth rather than answer who paid for the Trump dossier (Washington Examiner)

  • Sessions: Justice will review concerns about Russian payments to Clintons before uranium deal with Putin (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Samantha Power: Somebody else must have made those unmasking requests with my name on them (Hot Air)

  • Trump plans massive increase in federal immigration jails (USA Today)

  • Federal judge rules illegal-immigrant minor has right to abortion (The Washington Times)

  • Air Force punishes colonel who refused to affirm same-sex marriage, attorney says (Fox News)

  • Democrats slam door on first-ever transgender DNC member (The Daily Wire)

  • Great moments in single-payer health care: British NHS proposes refusal of surgeries to smokers, obese (Hot Air)

  • CNN reporter makes fun of polio survivor McConnell (The Blaze)

  • Roger Goodell: We did not ask players to stand for the anthem (PoliZette)

  • Policy: The fall of Raqqa is a marvelous, bipartisan American victory (National Review)

  • Policy: The GOP can do better than Alexander-Murray (RealClearPolicy)

For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column

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Slaughter in Somalia, Silence in the West

By Arnold Ahlert

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Last Saturday, the world endured one of the most horrific terror attacks in recent memory. A truck packed with several hundred pounds of military-grade and homemade explosives was detonated on a busy street close to several important government ministries, a hotel and a market in Mogadishu, Somalia. More than 300 people were killed and several hundred more were injured in the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of both the nation and the entire Horn of Africa. Rescue workers believe a definitive death toll may never be established because heat generated by the blast was so intense, the bodies of many people will never be found. By any reasonable standard, this story should have been a bold print, first-out-of-the-box headline piece run by every major media entity around the world.

But it wasn’t.

Only the Al Jazeera news organization noticed — which is somewhat ironic. “Double-Standards: ‘Why Aren’t We All With Somalia?’” asked a headline at its website.

Why indeed? Several of Al Jazeera’s readers weighed in. Some took the media to task. “The world is unfair; social media can attest to that. 276 died in Somalia and we aren’t doing the same thing we did when it was Las Vegas,” tweeted Eke van Victor. “You should be as devastated about the sheer loss of life in Somalia, as you were about the senseless killings in Vegas,” wrote Stacey Dooley, a British television worker. “The # of people killed in Somalia yesterday was 10x more than the # killed in Manchester in May (230 to 22). But it got 100x less coverage,” tweeted law professor Khaled Beydoun.

Others brought up race. “Y'all only care with your little hashtags when it’s rich white people,” tweeted Lucas R. “Perfect example of how global solidarity only comes into play when white people die,” tweeted @lex_looper. “500+ casualties. The West cares about terrorism when a POC [person of color] attacks white people, but is silent when the victims are POC,” stated @InvictaVis. “Judging all brands who peaced when white people died but not today when brown people are in Somalia,” added @SimplyBerry.

Itayi Viriri, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, wondered why the same celebrities who often stand in solidarity with terror victims remained silent. And Twitter user Eugene Cho, in asking for forgiveness, noted that “our tears are often limited to the West.”

There are elements of truth in all of the above assertions, but to a large degree they miss the bigger picture: Western nations in general, and America in particular, are becoming more and more obsessed with trivialities and self-indulgence. While Mogadishu reels, American universities are issuing guidelines on which Halloween costumes constitute “cultural appropriation.” We remain transfixed by the depredations of a Hollywood pig and his army of self-aggrandizing enablers. We are roiled by millionaire NFLers who take knees to cling to a false narrative of an inherently racist America, replete with legions of police officers who ostensibly do little more than terrorize people of color — even as those same NFLers have said nothing about people of color slaughtered by terrorists in Mogadishu.

Some of it is simple human nature. Out of sight, out of mind. But much of it is engendered by a historically unprecedented level of largesse that we far too often take for granted. Simply put, most of us can afford to argue about the little things because the big things — food, clothing, shelter, freedom, law, order and national security, etc. — are bounties we have been able to take for granted for generations.

Somalis? According to 2015 data published by the United Nations Development Program, the average life expectancy is 50 for men and 53 for women. More than half of the population has no access to clean water. Approximately 60% of Somalian children are not enrolled in school, and one in seven die before their fifth birthday due to disease, hunger and lack of proper health care in a nation afflicted with chronic famine.

One in three American children are overweight or obese.

And if we can be brutally honest — a big if — it might behoove us to recognize that nothing is more effective at breeding disunity than our indulgence of petty disagreements.

Moreover, nothing fuels that pettiness more than Americans’ willingness to abandon the concept known as live and let live. If one person in 10,000 disdains a Christmas crèche displayed in the town center, it must be dismantled. Those who believe in same-sex marriage prefer forcing a Christian baker to bake them a cake rather than go to another bakery that would welcome their business. On college campuses around the nation, students prefer shutting down ideas with which they disagree, to the point where a Princeton University student actually asserted that free speech rights don’t apply to conservatives. “For conservatives, I honestly believe they are better off evaluating and reshaping their arguments rather than resorting to the argument of ‘free speech,’” declares Ryan Born. “They are better off without it.”

What Americans would be better off without is orchestrated divisiveness, courtesy of those who profit from keeping us at each other’s throats. For far too long, we have endured the cultivated grievances that reducing the nation to a series of tribalistic subgroups inevitably produces. We have now reached the point where half of America simply assumes the other half is beneath contempt, even to the point where the same kind of national tragedy that united us after 9/11 no longer seems possible.

Yet there is hope. More Americans than ever recognize the status quo is both intolerable and unworkable. And while it may be messy and take more time than most people prefer, the bet here is a national catharsis is proceeding apace. Here’s hoping that’s the real reason for our relative inattention to the suffering in Mogadishu.

Anything else is inexcusable.

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.



For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.


For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.


Gary Bauer: “Some in the NFL realize they have a huge problem on their hands. Mark Lamping, president of the Jacksonville Jaguars, sent a letter to local military leaders in Jacksonville, Florida, which has a large military presence, apologizing for his team taking a knee overseas. Apparently they just didn’t realize how it would look to have players disrespecting our national anthem while standing for ‘God Save the Queen.’ I couldn’t help but think of the incredible irony. These players live in a country that has elected and re-elected a black president. We have had black attorneys general, black Supreme Court justices, black senators and representatives. We have revered black entertainers, business executives and academics. While I love history, I’m really not familiar with the first black prime minister of Great Britain. In fact, I’m not aware of any progressive European nation that has elected a black leader. Who was the first black president of France? Who was the first black German chancellor? America’s record looks good. These players taking a knee because of social injustice in America should have stayed on their knees when ‘God Save the Queen’ was played!”


Insight: “The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of truth — that the error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it is cured on one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one.” —H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

Upright: “When it comes to the controversy surrounding the White House’s tardy response to an ambush in Niger that killed four U.S. Green Berets, there are no winners. Not President Trump. Not the reporters and pundits who’ve piled on to criticize the White House’s long response time. Not the members of Congress who’ve basked in the media spotlight with their passionate denunciations of the administration’s handling of this crisis. The families of the fallen are getting the worst of it as they’re being made into political pawns by both the pro- and anti-Trump factions. We’re all losers, and the men who died serving this country deserve better.” —Becket Adams

For the record: “You Can’t Buy the Presidency for $100,000”: “The fake news about fake news is practically endless. Americans worried about Russia’s influence in the 2016 election have seized on a handful of Facebook ads — as though there weren’t also three 90-minute debates, two televised party conventions, and $2.4 billion spent on last year’s campaign. The danger is that bending facts to fit the Russia story line may nudge Washington into needlessly and recklessly regulating the internet and curtailing basic freedoms.” —former Clinton strategist Mark Penn

Friendly fire: “This is an industry rife with racism, sexism and homophobia. … Oh we’re very quick to point the finger at others and address the issue with social action and fundraising. Yet there is a clear disconnect between how we practice what we preach in our industry.” —actress Jessica Chastain

And last… “There are some surprising similarities in Weinstein’s and Clinton’s scandals, though the journalists reporting on Weinstein have been treated much more respectfully than those reporting on Clinton. It took the reporters who exposed Weinstein about 24 hours to gain respect. I am not clear that those exposing Clinton will ever gain respect.” —R. Emmett Tyrrell

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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. We also humbly ask prayer for your Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher