Mid-Day Digest

Apr. 2, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“A good moral character is the first essential in a man, and that the habits contracted at your age are generally indelible, and your conduct here may stamp your character through life.” —George Washington (1790)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

Biden Learns Democrats Eat Their Own

Joe Biden’s impending entry into the 2020 presidential race has been anticipated by a swirl of stories painting him as an out-of-touch, racist, sexist, dirty old man. And that’s just from the Democrats.

The leftists now dominating the Democrat Party have made plain that they are interested in nominating someone for president who fits a solid socialist profile. That’s not Biden, and therefore a plan has been set in motion to take him out.

Nevada politician Lucy Flores recently wrote a hit piece about Biden for New York magazine describing how he got too close for comfort and smelled her hair at a 2014 event. We’ll probably never know if Flores’s claim is true, though Biden does do such things in public all the time. But proof of such allegations in the #MeToo era is not necessary. Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren has already stated publicly, “I believe Lucy Flores. And Joe Biden needs to give an answer.” Another female presidential candidate, Amy Klobuchar, likewise said she has “no reason not to believe” the allegation.

And as these things usually play out, a second woman — Amy Lappos, a former aid to Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) — alleges that Biden touched her inappropriately.

Some other facts about Flores include that she was a staunch supporter of Bernie Sanders in 2016 (who by the way had his own sexual-harassment trouble among campaign staff) and that until last year, Flores also sat on the board of Our Revolution, a group committed to rallying Sanders supporters for 2020. She was also spotted at a recent Robert O'Rourke campaign rally.

In the current political climate, it’s hard not to be cynical about the timing of the Flores piece, especially when considering her own political allegiances. But, to her credit, there is a long list of similar complaints against Biden going back decades.

Biden’s reputation as a handsy guy in a post-Harvey Weinstein world certainly doesn’t do him any favors, though he swears he’ll “listen respectfully” to any challenges to his behavior.

That doesn’t mean Biden doesn’t have a shot at the nomination. Democrats are experts at demonstrating selective outrage in such matters. In 1998, they rallied around serial sex predator Bill Clinton when it looked like he might get kicked out of office. It wasn’t until recently, as Clinton enters his sunset years, that a few Democrats have had the courage to call him out for his reprehensible behavior.

Similarly, recent credible allegations against Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax went nowhere when it became evident that kicking him out of office might mean a Republican taking his place. For all the grandstanding Democrats do about protecting women from such sleazy predators, they can only be counted on to walk the walk when it’s politically expedient. If Biden represents the best chance at beating President Donald Trump in 2020, Democrats will look the other way again.

Leftists want to smother Biden’s campaign before it even launches, though, and his reputation as a cad is merely one tool they plan to use. Allegations of racism because of his stance on busing four decades ago, his inability to stop Clarence Thomas from reaching the Supreme Court, and other gems from Biden’s long political career are already being wheeled out.

Biden has even been attacked for his civility. He recently criticized Vice President Mike Pence’s foreign-policy statements on Twitter, but made the mistake of referring to Pence as a “decent guy.” Former New York gubernatorial candidate and LGBT activist Cynthia Nixon slammed Biden for the remark, claiming that Pence was not a decent guy because his stance on same-sex marriage doesn’t conform with Nixon’s. A cowed Biden quickly apologized.

This is a glimpse into the Democrat Party in which Biden wants to secure the presidential nomination.

Joe Biden’s future as a candidate is very much up in the air. He’s a touchy-feely, gaffe-prone plagiarist who was veep to a president with no respect for the Constitution. Yet he would still be a formidable challenger to Trump if for no other reason than his connection to middle-class voters. But he still must survive the primary process in a party that has drifted too far left even for Joe Biden.

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Red Flags About ‘Red Flag’ Laws

“Red flag” laws have become all the rage these days among those who want to do something — anything — to stop “gun violence.” Sometimes called Gun Violence Restraining Orders or Extreme Risk Protection Orders, these laws allow family, close friends, or coworkers to petition authorities to temporarily remove firearms from individuals they believe are a danger to themselves or others. Colorado is set to join the list of states enacting such laws.

If — and it’s a big IF — due-process rights are protected, we and other conservatives have acknowledged that, in concept, the idea has some merit because of how many red flags mass murderers tend to display. As our own Robin Smith wrote last year, such orders “empower individuals closest to a potential threat to intervene rather than waiting on layers of systems that … have failed.” National Review’s David French also argued last year, “The GVRO is consistent with and recognizes both the inherent right of self-defense and the inherent right of due process. It is not collective punishment. It is precisely targeted.”

In other words, rather than banning entire classes of guns or infringing on the rights of all citizens, focusing attention at potentially dangerous individuals is preferable, right?

The trouble is leftists have a way of distorting reality. In practice, these laws — as even President Donald Trump foolishly insisted last year — “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

The National Rifle Association too was initially open to the concept of court orders with a high legal threshold for removal of firearms, but said of the Colorado legislation, “Unchallenged statements made by a petitioner before a judge … would be sufficient for law enforcement to enter that person’s home and confiscate their private property.” Only after having their gun(s) confiscated would an individual be able to go to court and work to get them back. Think an aggrieved former lover won’t be first in line to stick it to their ex?

That is not protecting due process; it’s an outright attack on it, presuming guilt of someone who hasn’t even been charged with a crime, and then enacting preemptive punishment. That’s not the way to sensibly restrain people actually bent on doing harm.

In fact, some sheriffs are refusing to enforce such laws, adopting the “sanctuary” language of immigration law, but in this case to defend an actual constitutional right.

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ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY

GOOD NEWS

Singer Gathers 12,000 Letters to Medal of Honor Recipients

“Singer and motivational speaker Janine Stange last month asked Americans to write letters to the 72 living Medal of Honor recipients. They delivered.”

“‘The outpouring was incredible,’ Stange, known as ‘National Anthem Girl,’ said in a press release sent to The Daily Signal.”

“She said letters came from elementary school students, senior citizens, veterans groups, corporations, hospice centers, police departments, and ‘those who served alongside our recipients.’”

Read more at The Daily Signal.

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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • The installment of an “immigration czar” is among the options being explored by the White House to coordinate illegal-immigration matters. The czar front-runners are former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. The details are scarce, but the Associated Press notes that “Trump’s focus on immigration had touched on numerous government agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Defense and Justice. And not all of those departments are always on the same page.” The czar would presumably help cultivate better camaraderie.
  • Meanwhile, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen yesterday announced, “We will not stand idly by while Congress fails to act yet again, so all options are on the table. We will immediately redeploy hundreds of [Border Patrol] personnel to the border to respond to this emergency. We will urgently pursue additional reinforcements from within DHS and the interagency. And we will require those seeking to enter the United States to wait in Mexico until an immigration court has reviewed their claims.”
  • Late yesterday, President Donald Trump stated, “The Republicans are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare. In other words it will be far less expensive & much more usable than ObamaCare.” He then revealed, “Vote will be taken right after the Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House.” This political calculation has both pros and cons. It’s true that the Democrat-controlled House would never vote in favor of a Republican proposal. On the other hand, the GOP failed to pass health-care reform even when it controlled both chambers.
  • According to Reuters, “The U.S. Constitution does not guarantee a prisoner sentenced to capital punishment ‘a painless death,’ a divided Supreme Court said on Monday, paving the way for the execution of a convicted murderer who sought to die by lethal gas rather than lethal injection because of a rare medical condition.” If anything, this ruling provides additional fodder to those who want to abolish capital punishment.
  • Witch hunt continued: “The Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Monday that the Committee is preparing to subpoena Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full report on his Russia investigation on Wednesday and the evidence he used to write it. Representative Jerry Nadler said that he was ‘disturbed’ by Attorney General William Barr’s decision not to release the full report right away, and that the Committee would vote on the subpoenas if the Justice Department fails to deliver the report by the end of the day Tuesday.” (National Review)
  • In 2015, the Center for Medical Progress put Planned Parenthood under immense scrutiny by revealing incriminating evidence discovered via undercover videos, which included the harvesting of baby body parts. Planned Parenthood retaliated with a lawsuit against CMP. Unfortunately, an appeal to the Supreme Court to have the lawsuit dismissed proved ineffective this week. The Washington Examiner says, “Because the Supreme Court will not take up the case, the ruling from the 9th Circuit permitting the lawsuit to proceed remains in place.”
  • “U.S. health officials report that the number of measles cases through the first three months of this year have surpassed the count for all of 2018. There have been 387 cases through March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. There were 372 last year. It’s the most since 2014, when 667 were reported. This year’s numbers have been driven by outbreaks in several states, including New York, California, Illinois, Texas, and Washington. Most people who get measles have not been vaccinated. Measles is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and it is extremely contagious.” (AP)
  • Underscoring the problem with too many factions: “Britain’s Parliament on Monday failed to reach a majority on any one of four new proposals for the country’s exit from the European Union, worsening the disarray over Brexit less than two weeks before the deadline to depart. … The failure to agree on any of them means Britain is facing the deadline with nothing resolved and all the options remaining on the table. It also underscores the stalemate in Parliament where different factions appear unable to compromise enough to swing behind any one vision for Brexit.” (The New York Times)
  • Humor: CNN publishes real news story for April Fools’ Day (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: At National Review, Manhattan Institute senior fellow Robert Bryce writes, “Renewable energy may get the headlines, but … natural gas — and in particular, low-cost natural gas from the U.S. — is playing an increasingly important role in fueling that growth.”
  • Policy: Economist Daniel J. Mitchell says, “Iceland is a tiny little country with just 338,000 people (about the population of Santa Ana, CA), but that doesn’t mean it can’t teach us lessons about public policy.” See why that’s the case at the Foundation for Economic Education.

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Tucker Carlson: “Ilhan Omar’s country collapsed as a child. She lived for years in Kenya in that refugee camp. She may have died there without outside help. But help came, from where? From here, America. And this country didn’t just welcome Ilhan Omar to America, we paid to relocate her family and many others from a foreign continent purely for the sake of being good people, for altruism. Because no country in history has been as generous as we are. To places we have no ties to and no obligation to, we have been kind anyway because that’s who we are. Despite her humble and foreign birth, Omar has been elected to our national law-making body. And good for her. So how does she repay her adopted country, the one that may literally have saved her life? She attacks it as hateful and racist, and for that she is applauded by the Democratic Party because they view this country as hateful and racist too. Maybe our immigration system should prioritize people who actually like this country and are grateful to be here.”

SHORT CUTS

Food for thought: “The movie Unplanned gets an R rating for depicting an abortion. Would a movie get an R rating for showing a gallbladder surgery? No? But I thought abortion is just a normal medical procedure?” —Matt Walsh

An inconvenient truth: “The seeds of the disappointment that many adversaries of Donald Trump felt … were sown in January 2017, with the publication of what would become known as the Steele dossier.” —The Atlantic’s David A. Graham

The BIG Lie: “Other than the people in the media on the left, not on this network, I don’t know anybody who got anything wrong.” —CNN’s Jake Tapper on the Russian-collusion narrative

Non Compos Mentis: “[Republicans] had to amend the Constitution of the United States to make sure [Franklin] Roosevelt did not get reelected.” —Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Non sequitur: “We’re not calling anyone names. People say ‘Tea Party of the left,’ and I find this phrase very interesting … because the grounding of the Tea Party was xenophobia, the underpinnings of white supremacy.” —Ocasio-Cortez

Belly laugh of the week: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s national poll numbers are pretty bad — and conservative media attacks appear to be a key reason why.” —Vox

With friends like these… “Yes. You sacrifice a generation. … Look at the long term, at what you’re doing for the party, because people don’t want to be associated with it.” —Jeff Flake when asked, “Are you willing to lose a cycle for the Republican Party because of the principles that you’re arguing?”

Now do Brett Kavanaugh: “Joe Biden is a friend and a seasoned veteran when it comes to political campaigns. … Certainly one allegation is not disqualifying, but it should be taken seriously.” —Sen. Dick Durbin

And last… “There are so many women suddenly coming out against Joe Biden that you’d think Trump had just nominated him to the Supreme Court.” —Tim Young

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Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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