Wednesday Top News Executive Summary

Media Editors: GOD & COUNTRY SLUMPS: What are the consequences of a culture increasingly devoid of principles and spiritual meaning? The Wall Street Journal reveals the ominous corollaries: “The values that Americans say define the national character are changing, as younger generations rate patriotism, religion and having children as less important to them than did young people two decades ago, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey finds.” The rate reductions range from nine to 16 percentage points. The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro deduces, “If you get rid of patriotism … get rid of religion … and then you get rid of even a care for the future … the question becomes: What exactly are the ties that are supposed to bind us together other than watching the Super Bowl on TV once a year?”

COLLEGE QUID PRO QUO: “The company that administers the SAT college admissions test is replacing the so-called adversity score with a tool that will no longer reduce an applicant’s background to a single number, an idea that the College Board’s chief executive now says was a mistake,” according to Time magazine, which goes on to explain that “the revised tool will provide a series of data points from government sources and the College Board that are seen as affecting education.” Dropping the adversity score is good. But replacing it with yet another affirmative-action tool is still beyond the scope of what the College Board’s role should be.

ANNALS OF THE ABSURD: “A federal appeals court has ruled that Idaho must pay for a transgender inmate’s surgery,” reports The Daily Caller. “Thirty-one-year-old Adree Edmo is a convicted sex offender who is scheduled to be released from jail in 2021. The sex offender was diagnosed with gender dysmorphia in 2012, identifies as a woman, and is currently housed in a men’s prison.” According to Edmo’s attorney, “They treat a prisoner with diabetes, or other chronic conditions. So, we have a medically recognized condition that’s very treatable and we have been trying to get her [sic] the treatment that she [sic] very much needs.” In other words, you will be made to care.

ABORTION RESTRICTIONS BLOCKED: “A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked a Missouri law banning abortions after eight weeks, one of the most restrictive proposals nationwide. … ‘The various sections specifying prohibitions on abortions at various weeks prior to viability cannot be allowed to go into effect on August 28, as scheduled,’ U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs, a Carter appointee, wrote in an 11-page opinion. … Sachs wrote in his ruling that the law conflicts with Supreme Court precedent, which said that states could not interfere with a woman’s right to abortion until a fetus is viable after 24 weeks of pregnancy.” (The Hill)

Business & Economy

NEW SECURITIES LEADER: According to CNSNews.com’s Terence Jeffrey, “Entities in Japan have surpassed entities in Mainland China as the top foreign holders of U.S. Treasury securities, according to the latest estimate published this month by the Treasury.” As of June, Japan owned $1,122,900,000,000 in Treasury securities, which is slightly higher than China’s $1,112,500,000,000. “That marked the first time since May 2017 that entities in Japan have owned more U.S. Treasury securities … than entities in China,” Jeffrey notes. Better an ally than an enemy.

SEEING THE WRITING ON THE WALL: “The maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, and its owners, the Sackler family, are offering to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits against the company for $10 billion to $12 billion,” NBC News reports. The timing isn’t coincidental. On Monday, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $572 million over its role in the opioid epidemic.

National Security

IMMIGRATION UPDATE: Twenty miles of new border barriers were authorized this week by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, according to The Hill. “The Army Corps of Engineers determined that lower-than-expected contract costs could allow for another 20 miles of barrier.” Meanwhile, The Washington Free Beacon reports, “Thousands of would-be illegal immigrants are being returned to await asylum hearings in Mexico as part of a program the Trump administration has credited with curbing the recent wave of family migration at the southwestern border.”

RUSSIA’S HARD FEELINGS: “Republican and Democratic U.S. senators said Russia refused to grant them visas for a visit to Moscow next week, amid disagreement within Washington and among U.S. allies over whether the country should be readmitted to the Group of Seven,” Reuters reveals. The two senators are Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson, both of whom sit on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Murphy and Johnson also support levying sanctions on Russia.

Other Notables

SCALIA NOMINATED: “President Trump on Tuesday officially tapped Eugene Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, to be his administration’s next secretary of labor. The president forecast his nomination of Scalia last month, just days after Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta resigned amid criticism of his kid-gloved handling of Florida prostitution charges against the late billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.” (National Review)

TFCC SINKS: CNSNews.com reports that the U.S. Navy’s Task Force Climate Change (TFCC) was surreptitiously shuttered in March. The decade-old TFCC was a pet project of Barack scumbag/liar-nObama tasked with gauging “how climate change affects or could affect Naval and national security operations.” Retired Navy Rear Admiral Jon White, a former TFCC director, groused, “It all goes back to the White House.” Yes it does. Because the Trump administration wants to focus on actual military readiness.

Closing Arguments

POLICY: The racist origins of minimum-wage laws (Foundation for Economic Education)

POLICY: Why climate action flopped at the G7 summit (National Review)

HUMOR: CNN apologizes to Stalin and Mao after comparing them to Trump (The Babylon Bee)

~The Patriot Post

https://patriotpost.us/articles/65106?mailing_id=4496&utm_medium=email&utm_source=pp.email.4496&utm_campaign=snapshot&utm_content=body

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Hezbollah and Lebanese Allies are Building a Case for War

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN

{ jpost.com } ~ Hezbollah and its allies are building a case for war and Lebanon’s media and other officials are fueling the tensions with assertions that drones that crashed in Beirut carried bombs… Whether or not the drones carried C4 explosives or that their aim was to carry out a bombing or target an individual is not particularly important because what matters is the calculations going on beneath the surface in Lebanon. Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun by inferring that the incident marks a kind of “declaration of war” ups the rhetoric and the chances that a green light has been given to Hezbollah to retaliate. The main issue Hezbollah has faced in the past, since Israel’s withdrawal in 2000, is to try to create a legitimate reason for maintaining a massive armed group within a functioning state. It has been able to keep its arsenal, not only because no one can disarm it, but also through claiming it is part of a “resistance” that “defends” Lebanon. As such it claimed after 2000 that it must recover the “Sheba farms” or “Mount Dov” area on the border, a disputed territory with Israel and Syria. Suddenly, a tiny area became the reason for Hezbollah’s existence. This was all a veneer for the real reason of Hezbollah’s existence, which is that as an Iranian proxy and ally which wants the group to continue stockpiling its weapons and building up its infrastructure along Israel’s border to threaten Israel. Hezbollah doesn’t keep secret its regional ambitions. It fought in the Syrian civil war, it has contact with Shi’ite militias in Iraq, it talks about the Houthis in Yemen as if they are a part of its strategy. It shows images of Al-Aqsa as if it is the main champion of the Palestinian case against US President Donald Trump’s Deal of the Century. At every juncture its role is regional and global. Two small drones, one of which apparently caught on video was far from clandestine, sounding more like a flying washing machine on spin cycle, are merely Hezbollah’s icing on the cake justifying its “right” to respond. This is lip service because Israel uncovered Hezbollah tunnels in December 2018 which showed Hezbollah as having violated the 2006 UN Resolution 1701. So, Aoun says that the drone incident also violates the resolution. This is to create a legal pretext and cover should hostilities begin. Hezbollah and its allies in Lebanon, including President Aoun, are thus already creating the context for the post-war scenario. Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, whose father Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was murdered in an assassination likely carried out with Hezbollah’s aid, has seemingly forgotten about the 2005 tragedy. He, too, has condemned Israel but hedged his bets by arguing that it is not in the interest of Lebanon to spiral into a dangerous escalation. He hopes that friends in Washington, or Riyadh, can calm things down. The Lebanese Parliament speaker Nabih Berri, has also spoken with the Kuwaitis and condemned the “Israeli aggression.” Berri is a Shi’ite from the Amal movement. Is this just a lot of posturing designed by Hezbollah to test the Israeli alertness? Hassan Nasralla recalls the last war and he knows what Hezbollah will face…  https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Hezbollah-and-Lebanese-allies-are-building-a-case-for-war-analysis-599827

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The Syria-Turkey Clash

by Joseph Puder

{ frontpagemag.com } ~ As if the civil war in Syria has not witnessed enough conflict and bloodshed, a new element has crept into the ongoing drama… Last week, Turkey dispatched a convoy to Northern Syria to aid the Sunni Islamist rebels holed up in the Idlib province, which has been under attack by Assad regime forces and Russian airpower. The convoy, which carried ammunition, and other military hardware was bombed by the Assad forces, with some casualties inflicted on the Turkish convoy. The Sunni Muslim rebel force – Gabhat al-Nusra (The Nusra Front), which is an affiliate of al-Qaida, has been actively counter-attacking the Assad forces. Turkey’s primary agent in Syria is, however, the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The conflicting interests of Syria and Turkey could lead to a shooting war between the two dictators. The Syrian dictator, Bashar el-Assad, seeks to consolidate his hold on all former Syrian territory, and especially the northwestern region of Syria, which is the home ground of the Alawite sect (sub-sect of Shiite Islam). The region has been the Assad family power base, which Bashar Assad wants to secure at all costs. Given the revenge sought by the majority of the Sunni-Muslim Syrians, who have been the primary victims of the Assad’s Alawites, the northwest region is intended to be their refuge. With southwestern Syria now secured by the regime, and the country’s center as well, Idlib province remains a significant challenge for Assad. Of course, he and his Iranian allies have not yet subdued the northeastern portion of Syria, which is being held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) a primarily Kurdish force, that is allied with the U.S. and other western states (primarily Britain and France). The SDF has been the major contributor to expelling the Islamic State or ISIS from its capital of Raqqa, and the wider region. The Turkish dictator, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s involvement in Syria is grounded on two principles. First, Erdogan has positioned Turkey as the protector of Sunni-Muslims. As he aspires to become the leader of the Sunni world, and being a leading supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, he is compelled to show support for the besieged Sunni-Muslim Arabs, and Turkmen rebels. Both his domestic constituency and the larger Sunni world expect Erdogan to defend the Sunni’s in Syria. The other, more important principle is Ankara’s fear of Kurdish self-determination in Syria. The Kurds are now in control of a large portion of northeastern Syria, which is their natural homeland with its capital, Qamishli. An arbitrary border separating the large Kurdish population in southeastern Turkey from their brethren in northeast Syria has made the Turks nervous. Erdogan fears the creation of the Kurdish self-rule in Syria and envisions Turkey’s Kurds flocking to it, resulting in an eventual Kurdish state that might swallow a portion of southeastern Turkey. Ankara, along with Tehran, both having large Kurdish populations, seek to deny the Kurds their self-determination. In January 2018, Erdogan’s Turkish military attacked the Kurds in Afrin, which was previously controlled by the Kurds. Erdogan has threatened to invade northeastern Syria and destroy the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG). Ankara has accused the YPG of being terrorists and allegedly supporting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey. The PKK has been designated as a terrorist organization. Yet, the hypocritical Erdogan supports the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and has provided these terrorists with offices in Turkey. Erdogan is determined to prevent the YPG-Kurdish-led SDF from forming territorial contiguity along the Turkish border in northern Syria. This is the ostensible reason that Erdogan has moved Turkish troops to the region. Naturally, Assad opposes the Turkish incursion into sovereign Syrian territory…  https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/274737/syria-turkey-clash-joseph-puder

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Netanyahu warns Hezbollah, Lebanon to calm down, be careful amid attack fears

by timesofisrael.com ~ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Hezbollah terror chief Hassan Nasrallah to “calm down” Tuesday… as Israel braced for a possible retaliation from the Lebanese group in the north despite reported efforts by the US to cool tensions between Beirut and Jerusalem. “I heard Nasrallah’s speech. I suggest he calm down,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony in Jerusalem. In a fiery speech Sunday, Nasrallah vowed to exact revenge on the Jewish state following an Israeli strike against a weapons storage facility in Syria on Saturday night that left Hezbollah fighters dead. Israel has also been blamed for the apparent explosion or crash of two drones in a Hezbollah-controlled area of Beirut and an air raid on a Palestinian camp deep inside Lebanon. Israel said the strike inside Syria had thwarted a plot by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps to launch explosives-laden drones into Israel, overseen by powerful Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who heads the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’s expeditionary Quds Force. “Nasrallah knows full well that Israel knows how to defend itself well and pay back its enemies in kind. I want to tell him and Lebanon, which hosts this organization that is trying to destroy us, and I say this to Qassem Soleimani: Be careful what you say and be more careful what you do.”…  https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-warns-hezbollah-lebanon-to-calm-down-be-careful-amid-attack-fears/?utm_source=The+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=daily-edition-2019-08-27&utm_medium=email

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A Look at Homelessness in Democrat-run Cities

by libertyplanet.com ~ People in major West Coast cities are feeling the full brunt of Democratic policy failures as homelessness skyrockets… Reports coming out of Democrat-run cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, among others, indicate the number of homeless people has escalated to crisis levels. The uptick in homelessness in these and other liberal strongholds shows no sign of slowing as Democratic leaders push policies that promote high taxes, drug addiction, and give taxpayer-funded benefits to illegal immigrants that could be put to work for fellow Americans. Reports coming out of media resources such as Seattle’s City-Journal have been highlighting the suffering for years. “The Emerald City has seen an explosion of homelessness, crime, and addiction. In its 2017 point-in-time count of the homeless, King County social-services agency All Home found 11,643 people sleeping in tents, cars, and emergency shelters,” Seattle’s City-Journal reported. “Property crime has risen to a rate two and a half times higher than Los Angeles’s and four times higher than New York City’s. Cleanup crews pick up tens of thousands of dirty needles from city streets and parks every year.” Seattle reportedly spends upwards of $1 billion annually dealing with its homeless crisis. That figure equals approximately $100,000 for every reported street-person in the city limits. The math on that vast sum to combat homelessness appears grossly disproportionate. Just handing these struggle individuals that money would amount to a good salary. Democrats again appear to be squandering resources. In San Francisco, where Democratic leaders proclaimed they were a “sanctuary city,” recent homelessness statistics have jumped off the charts. Since 2017, the number of people living on the streets rose by a stunning 17 percent. But what is even more troubling are reports Democratic officials have changed the way homeless statistics are counted. Had the recent information been calculated in the same fashion as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development standard used in 2017, the data could have been as high as 30 percent. But misleading statistics have not curbed the sentiments of residents or visitors….  https://www.libertyplanet.com/articles/a-look-at-homelessness-in-democrat-run-cities/

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Knight of Forced Labor

by Steven Malanga

{ city-journal.org } ~ Earlier this year, commie-Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign boasted that a deal it cut with its workers to form a union demonstrated a commitment to worker rights… Relations quickly got sticky, however, when the workers complained that they were receiving “poverty wages,” below $15 per hour. Now commie-Sanders, seeking to regain some momentum for his campaign among unionized workers, has released what he calls a comprehensive plan to revive America’s labor movement. It’s a bold agenda, with recommendations to roll back portions of labor law dating back 60 years, impose new restraints on employers, and limit workers’ ability to opt out of union membership—despite polls showing that most Americans believe workers deserve that option. The goal, commie-Sanders says, is to double union ranks, which would mean adding nearly 15 million new members. commie-Sanders proposes to institute “card check,” the process by which unions can organize a worksite just by getting a majority of workers to sign a card saying that they want a union. The last time that Democrats controlled both the White House and Congress, they failed in that effort. Nevertheless, he is trying to resurrect the idea, saying that it would simplify the process of unionizing, which now requires that workers sign a card to authorize a secret-ballot vote on whether to unionize. Critics note that since card-check campaigns are public, workers can be intimidated into signing, which is why secret ballots should remain a key feature of unionization efforts. Indeed, the Supreme Court, in NLRB v. Gissel Packing, described authorization cards as “inherently unreliable” because of a “natural inclination of most people to avoid stands which appear to be nonconformist and antagonistic to friends and fellow employees.” Democrats express support for card check—but only when there isn’t a chance of passing it. A Democrat-controlled House passed card-check legislation in 2007, when members knew that then-president George Bush would veto the legislation if it reached his desk. But when President scumbag/liar-nObama took office in 2009 and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, key legislators backed off their support, effectively killing any chance at passing the legislation. Today, a union can use card check to win the right to represent employees at a workplace only if the employer agrees to the process. commie-Sanders thinks he can finally persuade Congress to make the process mandatory everywhere. commie-Sanders wants to roll back the right-to-work provisions of the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act. Though a Republican-controlled Congress passed the legislation, which allows states to enact labor laws letting employees opt out of joining unions and still retain their jobs, a significant number of Democratic legislators helped override President Truman’s veto of the legislation. Right-to-work has become increasingly popular and accepted, with 71 percent of Americans saying that a worker shouldn’t be forced to join a union that organizes his or her workplace. Since 2012, five states have passed right-to-work laws, making a total of 28 states that now let workers opt out of unions. commie-Sanders would need Congress to invalidate those laws…  https://www.city-journal.org/bernie-sanders-union-proposals?utm_source=City+Journal+Update&utm_campaign=d36767ccfd-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_08_27_01_48&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6c08930f2b-d36767ccfd-109328273

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ISIS Is Not Dead

Political Editors: A suicide bomber blew up a wedding in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 63 people last weekend. The Islamic State claimed credit soon after the attack. “The militant group lost its self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria earlier this year,” The Washington Post reports. “But the bombing showed that the Islamic State remains a potent force beyond the borders it once claimed and fixed a glare on one of its lesser known but growing affiliates: the Islamic State in Khorasan, as the Afghanistan branch is known.” Exactly as we warned in March.

But Afghanistan is not the only place where ISIS is once again seeking to regain regional power. Syria and Iraq remain in the crosshairs. As The New York Times notes, “The Islamic State can still tap a large war chest of as much as $400 million, which has been hidden in either Iraq and Syria or smuggled into neighboring countries for safekeeping. It is also believed to have invested in businesses, including fish farming, car dealing and cannabis growing. And ISIS uses extortion to finance clandestine operations: Farmers in northern Iraq who refuse to pay have had their crops burned to the ground.”

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump declared that ISIS had been defeated and its caliphate destroyed, and it was. However, ISIS’s defeat geographically does not mean that all the members of the terrorist movement are dead. Clearly, like any criminal organization, if the good guys aren’t there to vigilantly police and address any criminal actions, then those groups will inevitably grow. Barack scumbag/liar-nObama infamously shrugged off ISIS as the “JV team” only to have it practically take control of half of Iraq, spreading its terroristic rule over 12 million people. Trump would be wise to act carefully in drawing down U.S. troops so as to prevent a repeat of scumbag/liar-nObama’s folly. ~The Patriot Post

https://patriotpost.us/articles/65037?mailing_id=4492&utm_medium=email&utm_source=pp.email.4492&utm_campaign=snapshot&utm_content=body  

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