Mid-Day Digest

Oct. 31, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Podesta resigns from his own lobbying firm the same day that Mueller charges Manafort.
  • The iconoclasts come for Washington at his own church.
  • The Reformation at 500 — a look back at how Martin Luther changed the world.
  • The Clintons wrote the book on greed, as Hillary’s book tour displays.
  • Bergdahl has “apologized,” but the judge shouldn’t fall for it.
  • Irony alert: MLB anthem kneeler arrested on gun charge.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“ The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all citizens.” —Thomas Jefferson (1816)

IN BRIEF

Mueller Has Democrats Sweating Bullets

By Political Editors

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is far from over. Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and two other men were indicted Monday on charges unrelated to “colluding with Russia.” There are now rumors of up to four more pending indictments, but the identity of those individuals is still a mystery. As we warned when the special counsel was announced, Mueller can take this investigation wherever he wants. Recall that after the Whitewater investigation, Bill Clinton was eventually brought before Congress on perjury charges that were unrelated to the reason for initiating that investigation in the first place. As for Mueller’s investigation, National Review’s Andrew McCarthy notes, “After all these months of investigation, the much-anticipated Manafort charges turned out to be unrelated to Russian meddling in the 2016 election, let alone to any purported Trump-campaign collusion therein.”

What is an interesting development is the fact that after news broke of Manafort being charged, Democrat lobbyist Tony Podesta resigned from his own lobbying firm, the Podesta Group, which he started with his brother and Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta. As the ship begins to sink, the rats start to flee. As previously noted, Manafort has a long history of working for the Podesta brothers. Last year, Tony Podesta admitted to the Justice Department that he had failed to disclose meetings in 2014 he had put together between the Indian government and John Podesta, who was at the time a senior counselor to Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, what should be made of the third person charged by Mueller on Monday? That would be George Papadopoulos, a low-level policy adviser on Trump’s campaign team who pleaded guilty for making false statements to the FBI. Well, since Mueller went after Papadopoulos it may suggest that he has not extracted from Manafort the information he’s seeking, be that a conspiracy of a Trump/Russia collusion, or another as yet undisclosed target. It’s worth repeating that the original impetus for empowering these special counsels rarely ends up being where their investigations conclude.

Comment | Share

The Iconoclasts Come for Washington

By Thomas Gallatin

Historic Christ Church in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, suddenly found itself in the national news after its leaders’ recent decision to remove plaques honoring its most famous parishioners, George Washington and Robert E. Lee. “The plaques in our sanctuary make some in our presence feel unsafe or unwelcome,” the church’s leaders explained. “Some visitors and guests who worship with us choose not to return because they receive an unintended message from the prominent presence of the plaques.”

Since it’s all the rage today to take down monuments honoring Confederate leaders, the church’s decision to remove Lee’s plaque, while regrettable, is at least somewhat understandable. But why also take down Washington’s plaque? Were Church leaders fearful that an unhealthy degree of idolizing of the plaque had taken hold of the congregation to venerate Washington over Christ? If fear for the health of members’ souls was the impetus, then by all means remove these stumbling stones. Of course, that was far from the reason. Instead, the decision was made out of deference to the vacillating opinions of mere mortals. Christ Church leadership was afraid of offending someone because of the historic fact that George Washington owned slaves — the unforgivable sin of today.

To be clear, Christ Church has every right to remove this plaque honoring its past members, even when one of those members just happens to be the first president of the United States. But Christ Church’s rationale for removing the plaques speaks more about a troubling spirit of our modern age, where those individuals of the past who accomplished great achievements are condemned for accepting that which was culturally common within their own day. Our inability as a modern culture to judge with a nuanced understanding those from the past says more about our own prejudice than it does our forefathers.

And of all places a Christian church is built upon the foundation of recognizing that people are sinners who are saved by faith in the only perfect sinless individual, the God-man Jesus Christ. The parable of the woman caught in adultery comes to mind. The leaders of Jesus’ day brought the guilty woman before him saying that according to the law she deserved to be stoned. Jesus didn’t deny her guilt but made a simple and yet profound statement: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Beware of overstating the sins of those in the past while ignoring the sins of the present.

Comment | Share

Top Headlines

  • Trump vows justice after suspected Benghazi attacker captured by U.S. forces in Libya (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Tony Podesta stepping down from lobbying giant amid Mueller probe (Politico)

  • Former Trump adviser pleads guilty to lying to FBI in Russia probe (CNS News)

  • Judge halts Trump’s transgender troop ban (The Washington Times)

  • House GOP tax plan would now allow Americans to deduct property taxes (The Washington Post)

  • FBI says all JFK assassination files cleared for release (CBS News)

  • The danger behind Google’s free speech monopoly (Washington Examiner)

  • ObamaCare on shaky ground as re-enrollment begins (Washington Examiner)

  • Netflix cancels “House of Cards” after allegation against Kevin Spacey (Hot Air)

  • Another hate crime hoax: Racist graffiti, arson at south KC church were cover-up for theft by employee (The Kansas City Star)

  • Policy: Is it time to break-up big tech? (Hudson Institute)

  • Policy: What nation has reduced carbon emissions more than any other? (American Enterprise Institute)

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

Comment | Share

FEATURED ANALYSIS

500 Years Later, Martin Luther’s Legacy Lives On

By Louis DeBroux

Today marks the 500th anniversary of one of the most transformational and contentious days in all of Christendom. It’s the day that a lowly German monk, Martin Luther, nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle Church, challenging many of the teachings of the Catholic Church and creating a schism in the church that would launch the Protestant Reformation, reverberating throughout the centuries.

To Catholics, the teachings of Luther were and are a heresy that challenged the power of the universal church, sowing confusion and disunity, leaving factions where there was once a unified body of Christ. To Protestants, it was a needed challenge to a Catholic hierarchy that had grown decadent and abused its power, corrupting the pure doctrines of Christ as revealed through Holy Scripture, growing wealthy and powerful by making its priestly class the sole conduit through which the will of God was revealed to mankind.

Martin Luther was an unlikely candidate to be the catalyst for such a monumental change. Born in 1483 in Eisleben, Germany, Luther was the son of a businessman who sent his son to law school so young Martin could return to assist in the family’s business endeavors. As the story goes, the boy Martin was one day trapped in a terrible storm and prayed that if God would spare him, he would dedicate his life to serving God by joining the priesthood. Martin kept his word and became a monk.

As Luther studied the Bible with deepening intensity, he struggled more and more to reconcile what he read there with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Especially egregious to him was the Catholic practice of issuing indulgences; essentially purchasing forgiveness for sins, whether one’s own or one’s already deceased relatives. It was the zealousness with which a local priest, Johann Tetzel, sold indulgences to the poor in exchange for promises of salvation of the souls of their families from purgatory that led Luther to write his 95 theses. He declared the supremacy of the Bible and expounded his views of salvation through grace alone.

The Protestant Reformation rejected many of the teachings of the Catholic Church, including the claim of the inerrancy of the papacy. To Catholics, this led to theological and moral chaos because the infallibility of papal proclamations was replaced with an individual search for truth through the study of the Bible and prayer.

Luther’s influence extended far beyond these 95 theses, however. While in hiding from Catholic authorities, he accomplished his greatest work — translating the Bible into German for the first time. In doing so, he unified the various German dialects into a common language, making the Word of God accessible for the first time to the common man, and in doing so stripping the Catholic priesthood of its aura of primacy and mystique as intermediaries with God. The invention of the printing press in 1453 helped Luther to spread his message throughout Germany, and eventually throughout Europe.

The Catholic Church, which dominated Europe in almost every way, did not take lightly Luther’s teachings, which undermined its authority and therefore its power. It persecuted Luther for the rest of his life, along with other reformers like William Tyndale, a British priest and scholar who translated the Bible into English after having been denied permission to do so by the Bishop of London (who claimed such translations were illegal). For this disobedience Tyndale would pay with his life, strangled and then burned at the stake in 1536, even in death praying for enlightenment for his executioner.

The schism between the Catholics and the Protestants would rend Europe with violence for centuries. In 2016, Pope Francis asked for forgiveness from Protestants and other Christian churches for the Catholic Church’s persecutions.

Ironically, in Western Europe, the home of the Protestant Reformation, today the schism between Protestant and Catholic has given way to apathy, or even antagonism, toward Christianity. While the majority of Europeans still identify as Christian, it’s only nominally so. Ever more they reject Christianity as the moral foundation of their society. Whereas faith was once the dominant force in German life, and European life more broadly, that has now been replaced with an almost totally secularist view. This trend is evident, for example, in the policies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a self-professed Lutheran who allowed in roughly a million refugees from the Middle East on the basis of her Christian faith, who nevertheless tends toward secularism in policy matters.

Interestingly, it is immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East who are providing resurgence in the faith. In Amsterdam, for example, the majority of the 350 churches in the city are led by immigrants who, having fled persecution in their native lands, now embrace Protestant Christianity in their adopted homelands.

This illuminates an interesting parallel with the birth of Christianity itself. The gospel of Christ was first brought to the Jews, who rejected it and persecuted its followers, and was then taken to the Gentiles. Likewise, in our day, even as Europeans, heirs to the Protestant Reformation, have largely turned their backs on their inheritance, immigrants to their lands are adopting the Christian faith as their own, and in doing so, transforming one soul at a time.

The Bible oft reveals that the Lord works in mysterious ways. The history of the world was transformed by the teachings of a humble Nazarene carpenter’s son. Even for those who doubt the divinity of Christ, His impact on the world is beyond dispute.

Fifteen hundred years later, Martin Luther, a humble monk, sought to better understand the true nature of the teachings of Christ, rejecting what he saw as errors in Catholic teachings. In publishing his thoughts, he transformed the world yet again, even laying much of the intellectual foundation for the American embrace of individual liberty. Though many may dispute whether his legacy is one of good or ill, none can dispute that, like his Master, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther’s influence has been felt long after his death.

Comment | Share

TODAY’S MEME

Share

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

TODAY’S CARTOON

Share

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

Don’t Miss Patriot Humor

Check out Cultural Appropriation.

If you’d like to receive Patriot Humor by email, update your subscription here.

MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

OPINION IN BRIEF

Cal Thomas: “It should surprise no one that when it comes to sexual harassment, members of Congress and their staffs are treated differently from the rest of us. The Washington Post notes a law in place since 1995 under which anyone accusing a lawmaker of sexual harassment can file a lawsuit, but only if they first agree to go through counseling and mediation, possibly lasting several months. If you think that’s a double standard and outrageous, it gets worse. Should a settlement occur — and many don’t for the same reason women are fearful of accusing bosses in every profession — the member doesn’t pay. You and I do. The money comes from a special U.S. Treasury fund, and the payments are confidential. In other words, taxpayers are subsidizing boorish, even criminal behavior to protect the reputations of our great leaders, who can’t be bothered with the standards they set for the little people they are supposed to serve. The Post found that while most settlements are small — compared with the tens of millions paid by Fox News — the amount still totaled $15.2 million paid to 235 claimants from 1997 to 2014. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) had it right when she told the newspaper, ‘It is not a victim-friendly process. It is an institution-protection process.’ Is there any member of Congress who can defend this? If so, they should be voted out of office. If not, the members should be subject to the same laws as everyone else and forced to pay settlements out of their own pockets, and then voted out of office.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “One evening, when I was yet in my nurse’s arms, I wanted to touch the tea urn, which was boiling merrily… My nurse would have taken me away from the urn, but my mother said ‘Let him touch it.’ So I touched it — and that was my first lesson in the meaning of liberty.” —John Ruskin (1819-1900)

Upright: “With special counsel Robert Mueller unveiling his first indictments and a plea deal in the Russia case, President Donald Trump should do what’s hardest for him — nothing. … Trump is at more peril from his own reaction than from any of the facts that have been uncovered by Mueller, congressional investigators or the press to this point. If he were to fire Mueller, he’d endanger his presidency — and perhaps over nothing.” —Rich Lowry

Case closed? “We know everything we need to know, we just have to make sure that members of Congress do their jobs and hold the president accountable.” —Hillary Clinton declaring the Russia investigation over now that it’s turned inconvenient for her

Delusions of grandeur: “I think I will maybe come as the president.” —Hillary Clinton on what she’ll dress up as for Halloween

Dumb and dumber: “The Economy Can’t Grow Without Birth Control.” —Bryce Covert in The New York Times

Village Idiots: “If you’re a white person who says they’re engaged in dismantling white supremacy but you’re forming a white family [and] reproducing white children that ‘you want the best for’ — how is that helping [and] not part of the problem?” —City University of New York professor Jessie Daniels

Braying Jackass: “I love a cheap shot.” —Jimmy Kimmel on his philosophy of comedy

And last… “The vestry of Christ Church, a 244-year-old Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Virginia, has voted to remove two large plaques honoring George Washington and Robert E. Lee. Both men worshiped at Christ Church. … Here’s my suggestion for Halloween: If you live in a liberal neighborhood, dress your kids up as Washington and Jefferson and watch your neighbors run and hide!” —Gary Bauer

Comment | Share

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