MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Today—with the Supreme Court still in summer recess—I’ll tell you about some other cases bubbling up from the lower courts.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket.
Also today the Monday Moneybeat: unemployment claims hit a milestone low in the continuing COVID crisis.
We’ll also touch on how the markets seem to be shrugging off the congressional impasse over new COVID relief spending.
Plus the WORLD History Book. Today, the first publication of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
And Kim Henderson remembers when patriotism was fashionable.
REICHARD: It’s Monday, August 17. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: House Democrats demand USPS leaders explain budget cuts » House Democrats are demanding that leaders of the U.S. Postal Service testify at an emergency hearing one week from today. That as Democrats accuse the White House of trying to undermine the agency and limit mail-in voting.
Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell…
DINGELL: We have been hearing from postal workers that they’ve been told that they can no longer work overtime. We are witnessing post office boxes being picked up. We’re being told of equipment being removed, and what we want to ensure is that the post office is working as we know it now during COVID.
The House Oversight Committee wants to hear from new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and from the chair of the Postal Service board of governors.
DeJoy is a major Republican donor and ally of the president who took control of the agency in June. He has pledged to modernize the money-losing agency. And President Trump said that’s exactly what he’s doing.
TRUMP: The steps that he’s taken are trying to stop the tremendous losses that have taken place for many, many years. He’s trying to streamline the post office and make it great again.
The postal service is now requesting a temporary pre-election rate increase, from mid-October through Christmas, though probably not for first-class letters.
On Friday the Postal Service warned states that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted.
Virtual Democratic National Convention begins » The Democratic National Convention kicks off today at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee—sort of.
AUDIO: How are you going to be watching the Democratic Convention? I’m watching on Amazon Fire TV! I’m Watching on ROKU!
Due to the pandemic, there will be no live audience. And while the production will be based in Milwaukee, speakers will deliver speeches from home and delegates will send in their votes virtually.
The convention will feature four nights of programming each evening from 9 to 11 p.m. Eastern Time.
Tonight’s speakers include Senator Bernie Sanders, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the former Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, a vocal critic of President Trump.
Former democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barak Obama will speak later this week, and Joe Biden will deliver his nomination acceptance speech from his home in Delaware on Thursday.
UAE opens phone lines to Israel following diplomatic deal » Telephone calls began ringing Sunday between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. That marked the first concrete step of a diplomatic deal brokered by the Trump administration. The UAE has blocked direct telephone calls to and from Israel since its founding in 1971.
U.S. National security adviser Robert O’Brien called the new deal a “historic accomplishment” and he told NBC’s Meet the Press…
O’BRIEN: We think there’s some momentum for some additional parties to join and to normalize relations with Israel.
Israel and the UAE announced Thursday that they were establishing full diplomatic relations. The deal requires Israel to halt its plan to annex the occupied West Bank, which is land sought by the Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted the annexation plans are only on “temporary hold” at the request of the United States.
NETANYAHU: President Trump’s peace plan is the only realistic proposal that has been put forward for many, many decades. But the Palestinians aren’t coming around. So I think it’s actually not that if we have a breakthrough with the Palestinians, we’ll break open to the Arab world. I think maybe the other way around. We have a breakthrough with Arab states and the Palestinians will come around.
The agreement makes the Emirates only the third Arab nation to currently recognize Israel.
Robert Trump dies at 71 » Robert Trump, the youngest of the president’s four siblings, died Saturday at age 71. President Trump described his younger brother as kind and agreeable and called him “my best friend.”
TRUMP: We’ve had a great relationship for a long time, from day one.
Robert Trump began his career on Wall Street but later joined the family business, managing real estate holdings in the Trump Organization. He was a strong supporter of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.
Texas judge intervenes in dispute over child’s gender » A Texas judge has intervened again in a couple’s dispute over their child’s gender. WORLD’s Katie Gaultney has the story.
KATIE GAULTNEY, REPORTER: Dallas judge Mary Brown last week overturned a ruling that granted James’ divorced parents equal decision-making authority for James and his twin brother Jude.
That after more than a year of back-and-forth between parents Anne Georgulas and Jeff Younger.
Georgulas says James has told her since age 3 he wants to be a girl. She has affirmed him in that, dressing him as a girl and enrolling him in school as “Luna.” In 2019, she sought an injunction that would have required James’ father to treat him as a female.
Now, Brown’s reversal gives James’ mother full power over his medical and psychological treatment.
An update on the Save James Facebook page says last Tuesday’s ruling was handed down without a hearing, and that a “special evidentiary hearing” will take place in September.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Katie Gaultney.
Women accuse House candidate of inappropriate behavior » A rising Republican star is coming under scrutiny after a WORLD investigation revealed accusations of sexual misconduct.
Madison Cawthorn—who just turned 25 this month—is set to become the youngest member of Congress in history after winning a surprise primary victory in June. He’s seeking to replace former North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows, who is now White House chief of staff.
Cawthorn campaigns on a conservative platform of “faith, family, and freedom,” but several women say his past behavior doesn’t line up with the Christian values he now espouses.
Two women say he forcibly kissed them and one woman said he grabbed her upper thigh. WORLD has corroborated each woman’s account with at least one other person.
Cawthorn’s campaign responded to one of the allegations, saying he had previously reached out to the woman and—quote—“apologized if his attempt to kiss her when he was a teenager made her feel uncomfortable or unsafe.”
The Cawthorn campaign has not accepted multiple WORLD interview requests.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: Legal Docket.
Plus, Kim Henderson with a trip down memory lane.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD: It’s Monday morning and a brand new work week for The World and Everything in It. Today is the 17th of August, 2020. Good morning to you, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. It’s still summertime, and that means the U.S. Supreme Court is not in session. So that gives us the opportunity to explore what’s going on in the lower courts. That’s what we’ll do today on Legal Docket.
Speaking of which: Tomorrow on the Legal Docket podcast, you’ll want to hear a deep treatment of the Espinoza case on school choice. That was one of the big Supreme Court cases this term. A fresh, new episode of the Legal Docket podcast releases tomorrow. Search for “Legal Docket” and subscribe free wherever you get your podcasts. Or you can just wait for Saturday and we’ll release it in this feed. But why wait? It’s really good.
REICHARD: First though: an update on the skirmish between Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church and Los Angeles County.
On Friday, a trial court judge granted a temporary order to permit indoor church services with no attendance cap, singing allowed. But on Saturday, the California Court of Appeal issued an emergency order to overrule that trial court judge.
EICHER: The Court of Appeal said Grace Community Church could hold outdoor services, but not indoor services while litigation is pending.
Pastor MacArthur held an indoor worship service anyway as he has for several weeks. A full hearing on the matter is set for September 4th.
REICHARD: Well, as you mentioned, Nick, it’s summertime and that’s when I call up lawyers who work to protect religious liberty and get some updates for ongoing litigation. It’s a testament to the long and winding road litigation often entails.
Now, you’ve likely heard of most if not all three of these cases.
One of the firms dedicated to that cause is First Liberty Institute. The firm represents Coach Joe Kennedy.
EICHER: He was an assistant football coach at Bremerton High School near Seattle for seven years.
The trouble came when the school took issue with Coach Kennedy’s praying. He’d take a knee after a football game and offer a prayer of thanks or to pray if a player had gone down with an injury. Several students and staff would join in.
The school district told him to stop doing that because they thought that looked like state endorsement of religion, and thought it violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
REICHARD: Eventually, the school suspended him and didn’t renew his contract. Kennedy sued for violation of his free-exercise rights also protected under the First Amendment.
I asked First Liberty Institute’s general counsel, Michael Berry, to expound on that.
BERRY: As an American citizen, as a public school employee, he doesn’t lose or shed his rights as an American simply because he works for the government. In this case, a public school district. Beyond his free exercise rights, we were also talking about his free speech rights, you know, because prayer is a form of expression. It’s a form of speech and those were also taken away. And so and, and of course as a public employee, those rights are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So there’s also a statutory violation at risk here. So that’s what we’re fighting for and obviously we’re hoping the Ninth Circuit reverses the lower court.
I made the comment that some people feel that Christianity is constantly put in the hot seat while other religions are left alone by these sort of government actions.
BERRY: There’s actually evidence in the record that there were other coaches at the time who actually did engage in other forms of religious expression. And in this case, it was a coach who happened to be a Buddhist and would do a Buddhist chant after the games. And the school district took no action against that coach, but they did fire coach Kennedy.
So again, this is a matter of people of faith being treated differently, which was what the Constitution forbids.
This case has gone up and down the court system. I asked Berry where the case is in the process now.
BERRY: You know First Liberty Institute, we represent Coach Kennedy and we represented him all the way back in 2015. We filed a federal lawsuit in the Western District of Washington. And we had to fight our way through the district court, then through the infamous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court told us that they weren’t quite ready to hear the case just yet. And so they sent it back down. And so back down we went to the district court, and we lost on what’s called a motion for summary judgment there. And we have just recently appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit.
So we are back again at the Ninth Circuit and we are fighting for Coach Kennedy’s rights to be a football coach who is able to express his faith openly.
Case two has also been around a long time now. Aaron and Melissa Klein ran a bakery called Sweet Cakes by Melissa, just outside Portland. This case is similar to that of Jack Phillips in Colorado, who politely turned down a request to create a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple. That, because of their sincerely held religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.
But then Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries came after them for discrimination.
BERRY: The Bureau of Labor and Industry actually went after Aaron and Melissa and they fined them $135,000. They took that money from them and they wiped them out and put them out of business, you know, this one started in the state court. And then it went to the Oregon Supreme Court. And then from there, obviously you get to go to the U.S. Supreme Court and we brought it to the U.S. Supreme Court.
And they did something called a GVR, which is known as a “grant, vacate, remand.” So they actually granted the case. So we actually had a case at the U.S. Supreme Court, but the facts were so egregious that they sent it back down to the state of Oregon and said, “Hey, you guys need to redo this.”
OK, third and final case today: war memorials.
If you’ve been at a Veterans Administration facility or military installation, you’ve likely seen a simple table set up to honor those declared missing in action or prisoners of war. They’re called POW/MIA remembrance tables.
Thousands of these tables are set up around the country. One of them is at the VA medical center in Manchester, New Hampshire. The display is under attack because a Bible is part of the display.
I asked Berry to catch us up from there.
BERRY: And in this case, the Bible itself that’s part of the display in Manchester was donated by this former World War II POW, who also recently passed away, sadly.
But this Bible was donated by this former WWII POW and it sat there undisturbed for many years, but then lo and behold, an activist group who opposes religious freedom, they saw this Bible and they filed a lawsuit and the lawsuit was filed against the VA in order to try to have the Bible stripped away from this table and removed.
And so First Liberty Institute actually represents the veterans organization that helped put the table there. It’s the Northeast POW/MIA network. And we are fighting. We are currently in the district court. So we’re still at the trial level.
And I’ve got to tell you, this case really makes me angry as a veteran myself. Because if there’s one thing veterans should be able to do? We should be able to honor and remember those who have served and gone before us. And as I’ve said before, I will say again: if they want to remove that Bible from the POW/MIA Remembrance table? They’re going to have to come through us.
And that’s this week’s Legal Docket.
MARY REICHARD: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: The Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER: Good morning to financial analyst and adviser David Bahnsen.
DAVID BAHNSEN, GUEST: Well, good morning, Nick. Good to be with you.
EICHER: Well, good to be with you on a Monday after new claims for unemployment benefits have fallen below the million mark.
That’s the number you’ve been waiting for.
BAHNSEN: Yeah, I think there’s sort of a symbolic marker in it. You have both the absolute number that went below a million, as you say, and then you also had the number versus expectations because it was expected to be a little over 1.1.
And so if it had gone below a million and they were planning on it being below a million, that would have still been symbolically good to see. But I think the fact that it was so much better than folks were expecting—and even better than I was expecting, relative to what is sort of taking place this summer. I’ve been very curious what the second surge of job losses would have been in the food and hospitality business in light of some of the partial re-shutdowns of the summer. And more and more it is looking like it is not as significant as it could have been.
EICHER: I want to run through a couple of the other data points, the retail sales report: 1.2 percent in July. According to the Wall Street Journal, sending sales above pre-pandemic levels.
Is that a symbolic marker for you, as well, or less so?
BAHNSEN: The retail sales number being 1.2 percent up in July and then back to pre-pandemic levels is not a particularly significant deal for me and here’s why: First of all, on the same day that it came out, the industrial production number came and was up 3 percent, which was a far bigger marker for me.
But, again, I’m not a Keynesian, Nick. And what I mean by that is I don’t subscribe to the economics that center around demand, but rather I subscribe to economics that center around what we would call supply. Another way to say it is production.
And the theological argument for it is that production must come before consumption. So, when we have an economy that there’s a lot of people who want to spend money, I think that’s great. I also think it is about as obvious and unexpected as the fact that the sun will come out the next day. So, in this particular case, people could say, “No, but it’s still encouraging because we’re in an economic contraction. People are finding a way to spend money.”
But as I’ve said on this interview many times, we’re in an economic contraction that is largely limited to a small number of people and what you’re in fact seeing is a lot of people with more free time that are living their lives in front of a computer screen or a mobile phone and so that e-commerce would go higher and therefore retail spending would go higher doesn’t surprise me at all. But as far as it is encouraging me, it’s not sustainable if it’s not coming from a productive part of the economy.
So, it’s great that there’s going to be spurts of retail consumption here and there. There always has been and there always will be. I don’t ever lack faith in the American people’s ability to spend money.
My question is do we have the productive capacity of an economy to be able to afford continuing spending money, to find new things to spend money on, to find things that whet our appetite. Production has to drive any healthy economy, so I’m very sorry for my long answer to your question about a benign retail sales number, but there’s a little bigger picture perspective on it.
EICHER: And you did touch on the industrial production number: 3 percent for July. That’s three months in a row, so that has to be big-time encouraging.
BAHNSEN: It is big-time encouraging. Now, of course, you had to get the industrial production number off of the depths of where it was three months ago. But it looks to me to be more and more sustainable.
Why is the industrial production number more impressive? Because it shows businesses willing to go produce and make and manufacture despite their long-lorm questions about economic growth and viability.
So, it is a signifier and then the virtuous cycle is such that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You get a healthy economy when you have productivity.
EICHER: Let’s talk now about the politics of stimulus or recovery spending, however you want to term it. President Trump responded to the political impasse in Congress. He issued executive orders (1) on unemployment payments, (2) deferring payroll taxes, (3) protecting some renters from eviction, (4) some student loan relief. Just seemed to short-circuit the process. Did you see it coming and what do you think it all means?
BAHNSEN: Yeah, no, I certainly did and it made it very clear. I didn’t know that all four of them would happen. It was, you know, President Trump took a gamble.
Now, I’ll say two things. Politically, I actually suspect he’s going to end up winning on it, but constitutionally and in terms of the propriety of it, it’s appalling. But he basically passed four things that are the job of legislatures to pass: tax law and disbursement of money through the extension of unemployment. But it’s certainly, had President Obama done it—in fact, when President Obama did do it—it was considered to be appalling.
But here’s the biggest thing, the stock market doesn’t care about any of it. The market has, I believe, been up 12 of the last 14 days. About 2,000 points since the stimulus negotiations broke down. So, best case, it appears that the stock market doesn’t care about the stimulus, which provides very little incentive for them to go get it done.
You recall I was on your show as CARES Act was getting negotiated. The market was dropping 1,000 points a day because they weren’t completing it and it put on the sort of aura of urgency. But I actually think it’s even possible the stock market is not going up despite a lack of a deal, but because of a lack of a deal. The market might be saying, hey, the numbers are good enough. There are certain targeted things that probably still need to get done—a PPP refill, restaurant support, at some point the Fed is going to have to buy some of the debt of the states.
There’s little things that are specific that will end up having to get done, but I think the market might be saying, if we can kind of go to the next stage without another two or three trillion dollars of debt, let’s do it. So, usually the market loves all the stimulus it can get. I’m not totally convinced of that, but it’s certainly behaving that way.
EICHER: David Bahnsen, financial analyst and adviser. Thank you, David.
BAHNSEN: Thanks so much, Nick.
NICK EICHER: Today is Monday, August 17th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD History Book. Today, the 75th anniversary of a satire that criticizes Stalin’s Russia.
Plus, the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
EICHER: But today we begin with the first known sighting of a mythical creature in Scotland. Here’s Paul Butler.
AUDIO: [LOCH NESS WAVES]
PAUL BUTLER: The year is 565. An Irish abbot and missionary named Columba is stranded on one side of a freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands. He orders one of the monks traveling with him to swim across the lake to fetch a boat. The monk obliges.
Tradition says that about half way across, an unknown creature suddenly emerges from the deep and rushes the swimmer—roaring as it approaches.
Much like Tolkien’s standoff between Gandalf and the Balrog in Lord of the Rings, St. Columba is said to have cried out to the monster: “Go no further, nor touch the man. Go back!”
A biographer writes: “At the voice of the saint, the monster was terrified, and fled more quickly than if it had been pulled back with ropes.” It is the first known sighting of the supposed Loch Ness Monster.
The first published photograph of the creature was taken by a London surgeon in 1933. The fuzzy photograph, later proven to be a hoax, features what looks like a Plesiosaur with a long neck and large body. A local circus owner offers a large reward to anyone who captures the creature, and “Nessie tourism” is born.
NEWSCLIP: [FACTS ABOUT NESSIE]
In the years since, adventurers, amateur naturalists, and renowned scientists have tried to explain the existence of the Loch Ness creature—leading to dozens of possible explanations: including a freshwater sea snake, a large catfish, and most recently, a giant eel.
We may never know, and those who live around Loch Ness don’t mind, as long as people keep coming to try and figure it out.
Next, August 18th, 1920. Tennessee becomes the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. Audio here from a 1940s retrospective newsreel.
NEWSREEL: Three years after Congress was first presented with the proposed amendment, women all over the nation took their place at the polls. Here in Boston, victory parades before then-Governor Coolidge and members of his staff…The long fight was officially over. Born in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, the suffrage movement, in the words of Carrie Chapman Catt, was a long story of hard work and heartaches, that was crowned with victory.
And finally, 75 years ago today: August 17th, 1945. A London publisher releases the first edition of the novella Animal Farm—written by Eric Arthur Blair, known by his pen name George Orwell.
The story is an allegory about the events leading to the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the rise of Stalin.
CLIP: He has various characters that represent either real people, or classes of people
Christendom College Professor Patrick Keats from an educational video on YouTube.
CLIP: So let’s start with farmer Jones. Farmer Jones is clearly supposed to be an allegorical symbol of the czar of Russia, Czar Nicholas…in the case of Napoleon, he is clearly Joseph Stalin….the might makes right mentality…
George Orwell, was a democratic socialist, critical of dictatorships and the brutal expression of Stalinistic communism.
The book received mixed reviews. The American New Republic magazine called the story “dull and clumsy.” But The Guardian said it was a “humorous and caustic satire on the rule of the many by the few.”
CLIP: In this particular case, what Orwell is writing is a sharp satire of the Soviet Union. The lies, the injustices, the massacres—really, the lack of respect for human life, and also the tendency of the Soviet Union—to rewrite history—Orwell in his characters, and in his writing of what’s going on, is satirizing the Soviet Union.
U.S. intelligence agencies dropped millions of copies of the book into Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia by balloon from 1952 to 1957. For decades, many high school and college literature classes required their students to read the book, though Animal Farm has fallen out of favor in many modern universities.
On the 60th anniversary of the first publication, Time magazine chose the book as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
That’s this week’s WORLD History Book, I’m Paul Butler.
MARY REICHARD: Today is Monday, August 17th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Here is WORLD commentator Kim Henderson.
KIM HENDERSON, COMMENTATOR: My wardrobe essential the summer of 1976 was a red- and-white striped seersucker number with navy buttons down the front. It was the nation’s bicentennial, and even sober-faced bankers in my hometown were donning flag-emblazoned ties and Statue of Liberty socks.
I was 10, so my recall is limited to the big stuff, like hoarding Bicentennial quarters and watching Philadelphia’s fireworks on a TV in our sunken den. (Sunken dens were a big deal in the ’70s).
I do remember it seemed as if the whole country was in birthday party mode. Restaurants advertised Spirit of ’76 combos, states offered special commemorative license plates, local libraries called quilters to a collective effort. The post office issued new 13-cent stamps bearing images of battles like Bunker Hill. Fire hydrants and ice cream alike wore red, white, and blue with pride.
And there’s a whole generation that owes part of their high school credits to CBS. Their wildly popular “Bicentennial Minutes,” featuring celebrity narrators like Charlton Heston and Leonard “Spock” Nimoy, taught more in 60 seconds than a whole semester of American History could.
One of the vintage segments features Jessica Tandy describing the demise of our Liberty Tree.
TANDY: For 10 years patriots met there to denounce British tyranny. Then the British came with axes to chop their living symbol down.
Then, the actress raises her eyebrows somewhat, and her chin, then proceeds to tell of a 14-cord yield of wood.
TANDY: But one Red Coat, hacking away at a high branch, slipped and fell to his death. The Liberty Tree died, but not without a struggle. I’m Jessica Tandy, and that’s the way it was.
Imagine that. A time when Hollywood was actually concerned with how it was.
Another Bicentennial brainchild was the American Freedom Train, a 26-car museum in motion. During its tour of the United States, more than 7 million ticket holders rode airport-style conveyors through display cases containing everything from George Washington’s copy of the Constitution to lunar rock.
Organizers said that at the train’s first stop at Wilmington, Delaware, the line of those waiting to step into the past stretched three miles. Too bad it missed my side of the tracks. I would love to have seen Dorothy’s ruby red slippers.
On the big day—July 4th—a majestic flotilla of foreign ships sailed down the Hudson, parade-style. Ironically, vessels from Romania and the USSR came to celebrate our democracy in the heat of the Cold War. Even England’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip decided to make a Bicentennial visit. I wonder what defeated King George would have thought of that?
Of course, in 1976 our nation was still reeling from assassinations and another war and something called Watergate. But a 10-year-old like me didn’t understand all that. I only knew I was part of a unique time in history, an era when patriotism was definitely in style.
These days, it can be good to remember such things.
For WORLD, I’m Kim Henderson.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: We’ll tell you about the economic devastation in the travel industry and some school teachers who’ve resigned over fears of the coronavirus.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
The Apostle Paul encourages us with these words: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Amen. We’ll talk to you tomorrow!