Mid-Day Digest

Jun. 14, 2018

THE FOUNDATION

“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” —Thomas Paine (1776)

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Trump has a strategy with all of his hyperbole about North Korea.
  • Yes, the Leftmedia often are the enemies of American Liberty.
  • Philosophical trends in our suicidal culture.
  • The GOP faces a stark choice as Congress considers immigration bills.
  • Today is both Flag Day and the U.S. Army’s birthday.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

IN BRIEF

What Did Trump Say? What Did He Mean?

Thomas Gallatin

As that old adage states, “Actions speak louder than words.” But the truth is that words can obscure actions, especially when those words lack context. Such has often been the case with President Donald Trump. There is no question that Trump is prone to bloviating and hyperbole. He uses these verbal techniques to convey either his emotion or his understanding of the significance of an issue. And while there’s much to criticize in what he has said, as has been previously observed, if one genuinely desires to understand and interpret Trump, then take what he says seriously but not literally. Admittedly, this is not always easy to do.

Two of Trump’s recent comments provide a teachable moment. First, in an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier on Air Force One following the Singapore summit, Baier questioned Trump’s complimentary comments on North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, noting that Kim “has done some really bad things.” Trump responded, “Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things. I mean, I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.”

Was Trump suggesting that the horrendous human rights abuses perpetrated by Kim’s brutal regime against his own people are simply to be overlooked? That’s exactly the perspective the mainstream media has taken. But in context, what was Trump trying to accomplish? Put another way, how does needlessly offending an admittedly bad guy — which everyone, Trump included, recognizes is the case — do anything to build diplomatic trust and common ground? Trump’s previous “stick” approach pushed Kim to the negotiation table; now he’s offering a “carrot.” Remember, Trump’s primary objective here is North Korean denuclearization, preferably through diplomatic means rather than military force. Trump is not interested here in merely saying the right things; he’s focused on getting the deal done.

The second example felt eerily similar to George W. Bush’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” statement. After arriving back in the U.S., Trump triumphantly declared, “Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”

In fairness, there’s plenty to legitimately criticize in this statement, as North Korea is still far from being denuclearized and still remains a significant threat. And while the Singapore summit was indeed a good first step, as another adage warns, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” Clearly, Trump is upbeat about the progress thus far with North Korea, and he is communicating his confidence that things are going in the right direction. Secondly, he may be responding to all the negative second-guessing and hand-wringing expressed by much of the MSM (and plenty of conservative media) following the summit. As leader of the free world, Trump desires for Americans to feel optimistic about the future, and that appears to be the heart of his message here. Does anyone not believe that Trump wouldn’t quickly swivel and blast Kim if he begins acting in bad faith?

Finally, despite all the MSM bluster over Trump’s historic summit, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a bottom-line summary: “Let me assure you that the ‘complete’ [denuclearization] encompasses ‘verifiable’ in the minds of everyone concerned. I am confident that [Kim] understands what we’re prepared to do, a handful of things we’re likely not prepared to do. I am equally confident they understand that there will be in-depth verification. We’re hopeful that we can achieve that in the next two and a half years, something like that. We’re hopeful we get it done. There’s a lot of work left to do.”

In short, Trump is surely guilty of hyperbolic bluster, but what he’s doing is far more important than how he says it.

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The Media Enemies of Liberty

Nate Jackson

President Donald Trump’s comments on North Korea aren’t the only thing spinning Leftmedia heads. Wednesday, Trump declared, “So funny to watch the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN. They are fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea. 500 days ago they would have ‘begged’ for this deal — looked like war would break out. Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!”

CNN host Wolf Blitzer protested quite a lot. “It’s one thing not to like the media,” he complained. “Everybody’s always criticizing us and not happy with our coverage. … But it’s another thing to say, ‘It’s not North Korea, it’s not Iran, it’s not Russia, it’s not China; it’s journalists … who are the enemy of the American people.’”

Worse, Blitzer whined, “A lot of his supporters believe that we are ‘the enemy of the American people.’ And that is really, really an awful situation. We are not the enemy of the American people. We love the American people.”

CNN has a funny way of showing it.

The Patriot Post exists because Mark Alexander saw a need to counter the Leftmedia monopoly on public opinion and, in 1996, founded this publication to lead the countercharge. We still eschew any advertising, opting to remain solely dependent on the support of our readers — grassroots Patriots who want news analysis that doesn’t parrot Beltway groupthink and that isn’t dictated by corporate advertisers. In other words, the defenders of Liberty have a voice against its opponents.

Trump’s point about “Fake News” being our country’s “biggest enemy” is broadly true. And CNN is among the worst offenders. Promoting themselves as objective news, CNN and other Leftmedia outlets instead push the leftist agenda, regularly distorting the truth to do it. So yes, when the mainstream media is nothing more than a propaganda arm of one party — a party that wants to “fundamentally transform” our nation into a socialist welfare state — that media has become the enemy of American Liberty.

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Top Headlines

  • Two Norwegian lawmakers nominate Trump for Nobel Peace Prize (The Hill)
  • U.S. preparing to proceed with tariffs on Chinese goods (Fox Business)
  • What to look for in the inspector general’s report about DOJ and FBI election interference (The Federalist)
  • Could Hillary Clinton still face charges over her emails? (Washington Examiner)
  • Never mind the Clinton Foundation: New York files suit against President Trump, alleging his charity engaged in “illegal conduct” (The Washington Post)
  • Fed lifts interest rates and aims for another pair of increases later this year (MarketWatch)
  • Backdoor to illegal immigration closing: U.S. clears more asylum cases than it receives in May (The Washington Times)
  • Irish prime minister: Catholic hospitals must perform abortions to keep government funding (National Review)
  • With no White House invite from Trump, Democrats invite Golden State Warriors to Capitol (ABC News)
  • Humor: Gay man bravely comes out as fan of Chick-fil-A (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: Suicide rates rise in almost every state. What’s going on? (Independent Women’s Forum)
  • Policy: Faith-based adoption agencies are too valuable to shut down (Independent Women’s Forum)

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

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TODAY’S MEME

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

TODAY’S CARTOON

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

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

The Email You Didn’t Get

Today we launch The Patriot Post’s Independence Day Campaign to fund our daily mission and operations through the third quarter. In prior years you would have received a separate email in your inbox announcing this, but a few weeks ago our team decided to cut back on the number of appeals requesting your support.

It’s a risky decision, but we are going to try to make budget with fewer appeals.

As you probably know, The Patriot Post is supported 100% by its readers — avoiding the influence advertisers and special interest groups impose on other publications. We run three fundraising campaigns each year to keep the lights on, and we must raise $275,000 by July 4th to meet our tight budget.

Please consider making a donation to support our vital mission today.

From each of us here, our deepest thanks for your support. —Christy Chesterton, Director of Advancement

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Philosophical Trends in Our Suicidal Culture

Caroline C. Lewis

While the recent string of celebrity suicides brings media attention, the greater concern is that the suicidal epidemic has affected the culture at large. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that suicides across the nation have increased 30% since 1999 in half of the U.S. states. More than half (54%) of those who died by suicide had no known mental health condition. Perhaps the group that is worst off is veterans — roughly 20 veterans commit suicide every day. And the overall situation is so bad that the U.S. may have just experienced a third straight year of decline in life expectancy.

So what’s happening?

The significance of these events leads to a deeper analysis our culture, our communities and our prospects for the future. Many factors lead to each individual suicide, including depression, drugs or a loss of meaning and purpose. Each lost life is due to its own unique challenges. But some philosophical concepts have undoubtedly invaded the modern mind. Men and women of the past faced harrowing wars, hunger and loss, yet they possessed a resilience that eludes our modern culture. Why? There are no simple answers, but at least part of it is that our ancestors believed in a duty to their families and to God while our modern culture has rejected these concepts in favor of extreme individualism and materialism.

According to the philosophy of individualism, personal interests supersede moral responsibilities to family or God. This philosophy has produced a narcissistic culture that prioritizes self-focus above any other communal value.

Consider modern psychology’s chief questions:
“How does that make you feel?”
“Is this decision helping you become your best self?”
“How is this achieving your goals?”

Or the theme of the vast majority of advertisements:
You deserve it.”

Individualistic thinking limits our perspective by considering only the personal effects of our decisions. It does not consider the communal effects of our decisions. Rather than ending personal pain in silence, a suicide magnifies that pain to others. While suicide feels like a solitary act that only affects the person committing it, in reality, it is a communal act that affects everyone else.

Additionally, in a constantly changing world, individualism seeks power and control. Post-modern individualists argue, “I didn’t choose to be born. I didn’t choose my gender. I didn’t choose my parents. I didn’t choose my health issues. I am a result of millions of years of accidents, so why does my life matter? Why do I have to suffer through all this?” And the ultimate act of power and selfish control is taking your own life.

The other philosophy, materialism, believes that the material world (only the things you can see, touch and feel) exists as the only reality. It denies an afterlife or judgement, believing instead that humans, like all of nature, simply go back to the dust.

Yet in a philosophy without God, morality or consequences, life’s only purpose remains to amass fame, fortune and pleasure exemplified by the phrase, “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” Consider the unrestricted pursuit of experiential pleasure in our culture, from sexual experimentation, drugs and alcohol to other experiences like eating Tide pods, Netflix binging and bunny yoga. While some of these experiences certainly qualify as more harmful than others, the point remains that materialism prizes the excess of pleasure. It’s not good enough to sleep with your spouse, you must sleep with many different people. It’s not good enough to just watch a movie, you must watch 10 movies in a row. It’s not good enough to just have a glass of wine, you must have all kinds of beverages and be carted home by a benevolent friend for an “experience” you won’t even remember. It’s not good enough to simply exercise, you must exercise with animals crawling on you for a “new experience.”

When a society can no longer find happiness with the simple things of life, but instead requires lavish entertainment, parties and pleasures to distract and sustain itself, it’s called “decadence.” Yet decadence ultimately proves itself to be empty. When a person has reached the end of the individualist and materialist pursuits, what’s left? Nothing but disillusionment. And that’s the problem.

No human can exist without purpose, meaning or hope. The hope from outside of us must shine brighter than the darkness within us. That hope is found in God. Our culture needs this vision for life. We need duty as our metric for success: duty to our families, to our friends and to our God.

The Pilgrims came to this country amidst grave danger, uncertainty and difficulties. Many died on the Mayflower and half died the first winter. They knew that coming to America would not make their lives easier or happier, but rather it would give freedom to their children and grandchildren. They saw their lives as “stepping stones” to the next generation. If we embrace this generational perspective for our lives, it will refocus our vision away from ourselves and toward planting seeds for the future — seeds that we may never personally harvest. Yet in doing so, we will live sacrificial lives that honor our Creator and leave a legacy for those who follow us. We will give hope to a culture drowning in darkness.

If you or someone you love is struggling with suicide, please reach out for help to the National Suicide Hotline.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

OPINION IN BRIEF

Victor Davis Hanson: “Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, an Obama administration appointee, is scheduled to deliver a report this week on DOJ and FBI abuses during the 2016 campaign cycle. Remember: His last investigation of FBI misconduct advised a criminal referral for fired former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who allegedly lied to federal investigators. … Under former attorneys general Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, the findings of dozens of IGs were snubbed. That raises the question: What good are inspectors general if a president ignores any illegality and impropriety that they have uncovered? Answer: not much good at all — unless an incoming administration is of a different political party than the outgoing administration. Once that happens in our politicized system, there is a rare interest in not covering up or ignoring a damning IG report but in acting on it. We may now be experiencing one of those unusual occasions. Soon, various inspector general reports may appear concerning FISA court abuse and improper behavior at the Department of Justice, FBI, CIA and National Security Council during the 2016 campaign cycle. The investigators are, for the most part, Obama appointees, not Trump appointees. At some point, the idea of toothless inspectors general needs to be revisited. Something is terribly wrong when dozens of IGs found wrongdoing, only to object that their efforts were being thwarted by an Obama administration that had appointed most of them — and claimed to be scandal-free. Finding government abuse and doing nothing about it is worse than not finding any at all.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of ‘em are stupider than that.” —George Carlin (1937-2008)

For the record: “The reason great dealmakers do not OPENLY celebrate a deal, especially one that is not complete, is that it shows weakness to the other side.” —Donald Trump … in 2013

This isn’t love; it’s Trump Derangement Syndrome: “If this country hasn’t broken your heart, you don’t love her enough. If you’re not deeply disturbed by what’s coming, you got to check your own love.” —Sen. Cory Booker

Yes, this is the Demo agenda: “Folks are trying to divide us and cut us up, pin us against each other — poor white folks against poor black folks, poor brown folks against poor black folks.” —Cory Booker

Hyper hypocrisy: “It’s a real lesson to any country; if you’re going to negotiate with Donald Trump it pays to have a nuclear bomb in your pocket.” —Nancy Pelosi, who still defends Barack Obama’s Iran deal

Wait — what about “my body, my choice”? “If you care about queer people ― or you yourself are queer ― you have absolutely no business eating at Chick-fil-A. Ever. It’s really that straightforward. … Yeah, I know, I know ― it sucks that we can’t have waffle fries. But you know what sucks even more? Not having equal rights and contributing to the profits of a company that wants to ensure you never do because it believes you’re fundamentally disordered or unnatural or sinful or some delightful combination of all three. … It’s time to choose where your loyalties lie ― with your community or with your stomach.” —The Huffington Post’s Noah Michelson

And last… “The Left has been having a tantrum over Chick-fil-A for years now. Chick-fil-A has just ignored them and made no effort to apologize or change its ways for the sake of the whining bullies. This is a model we all can follow.” —Matt Walsh

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Join our editors and staff 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