“The legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex.” —James Madison (1788)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- Impeachment Trial Day 1: The Senate Begins
- Virginia 2A Rally Peaceful, Democrats and MSM Disappointed
- Bloomberg’s Attack on Man Who Stopped Church Attack
- Refugees From Socialism Give a Needed Warning
- Man Returns $43K He Found in Secondhand Couch
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
The Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump begins today. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released his proposed rules on Monday evening, which predictably had Democrats immediately crying foul. The biggest curve ball in McConnell’s proposal is a rule requiring that all evidence collected by House Democrats be approved via a vote before being admitted into the trial — and then only after opening arguments by both the House Democrats and Trump’s legal team. McConnell’s rules allow for a vote on whether to call witnesses, which Democrats insist on doing.
It’s clear that McConnell wants to avoid a drawn-out process, which is exactly what Democrats are aiming for. McConnell allotted 24 hours over two days for partisans on each side to present their case, starting with House Democrats. Then, following the Trump team’s rebuttal, senators will have up to 16 hours to submit questions in writing to both sides. Only after that process is complete will the Senate consider “the question of whether it shall be in order to consider and debate under the impeachment rules any motion to subpoena witnesses or documents.”
Furthermore, if the Senate votes to call witnesses, “no testimony shall be admissible in the Senate unless the parties have had an opportunity to depose such witnesses.” And any deposing of witnesses will be done behind closed doors.
Also on Monday, Trump’s legal team released its blistering 110-page brief against the Democrats’ articles of impeachment, calling them “an affront to the Constitution and our democratic institutions.” Team Trump adds that the “two flimsy Articles of Impeachment,” which “allege no crime or violation of law whatsoever — much less ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors, as required by the Constitution,” will “permanently weaken the Presidency and forever alter the balance of power among the branches of government in a manner that offends the constitutional design established by the Founders.”
Trump’s acquittal is almost a foregone conclusion given that it would take the votes of 67 senators to convict, though the Democrats’ real ploy is not conviction but political damage. To that end, their aim is to paint Republicans as unfair if they vote against calling witnesses — witnesses House Democrats didn’t bother to call. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and company do hold the advantage of needing only a simple majority vote to get their witnesses, whom vulnerable Republicans will feel compelled to vote in favor of calling. By getting witnesses called, Schumer hopes to drag out the trial for as long as possible with the hope of damaging Republicans and aiding the Democrats’ bid to gain control of the Senate in the 2020 election. As we grow tired of noting, the Democrats’ whole despicable exercise is purely partisan political theater.
Monday’s Second Amendment rally in Richmond, Virginia, drew thousands of citizens from around the state and the country, and, despite breathless predictions of violence by the national media, it was a peaceful affair.
“Lobby Day” is an annual event in Virginia sponsored by the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) so that people may gather at the state capitol to register their support for the Second Amendment. In previous years, the event has always gone without a hitch, but this year’s rally took on special significance.
Democrats passed a series of restrictive gun laws that were specifically designed to roll back Virginians’ Second Amendment rights. Once they took control of the state assembly and senate in November’s elections, they immediately set about to infringe upon the Second Amendment.
One bill gives municipal governments the power to prohibit the possession of firearms and ammunition in public spaces, and another prohibits private citizens from purchasing more than one firearm in a 30-day period. These two bills cleared the state senate by party-line vote. A third bill that mandates stricter background checks received the support of two Republicans.
Gov. Ralph “Blackface” Northam crowed his support for the legislation, which immediately met opposition from across the state. Nearly 90% of the state’s 95 counties have already stated they will not enforce the new laws, declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries. Some Virginia Democrats issued veiled threats to those who opposed their gun grab, and the situation quickly grew tense.
In advance of the rally, Northam issued a “state of emergency,” claiming to have intelligence that white supremacists were planning to crash the rally and stir up violence. He also issued a temporary ban on carrying firearms on capitol grounds during the rally. The VCDL filed a lawsuit to overturn the ban, but its request was summarily dismissed by the Richmond Circuit Court with the flimsy excuse that VCDL could not prove it was being harmed by the injunction. The Virginia Supreme Court upheld the decision.
The media did extra work to carry Northam’s anti-gun message, filling the airwaves with stories that predicted “another Charlottesville” because the protesters were racists who would inevitably become violent. NBC posted a story quoting several people who feared that the rally was going to be violent. Vowing to stay away, or close their businesses for the day, these folks were the perfect sounding board for the anti-gun crowd. CNN, CBS News, and the Associated Press also did their part to smear the event’s attendees.
Northam did everything he could to stymie people’s efforts to attend the rally. Road closures and funneling people through a single checkpoint ensured long waits to reach the capitol, and the state police warned people of hours-long security lines.
None of it stopped more than 22,000 people from attending and remaining entirely peaceful.
Of course, Northam claimed credit, saying his security efforts “successfully de-escalated what could have been a volatile situation.” How pathetic.
There probably won’t be many stories about how well the rally went since that doesn’t fit the Leftmedia’s anti-Second Amendment narrative. But that doesn’t change the fact that the vast majority of legal firearms owners are law-abiding citizens, and they are a heterogeneous group that transcends race, ethnicity, and demographics. And that may be what terrifies leftists the most.
Loyal Patriot Post readers are familiar with the heroism of Jack Wilson, recently honored by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for taking down a murderous psychopath in the West Freeway Church of Christ last month. Richard White, an armed member of the church’s security team, and church member Tony Wallace were killed, but Wilson’s quick response and accurate aim ended the would-be mass killer’s rampage after six seconds.
Yet Democrat presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg, a staunch anti-gun activist with an armed security detail, criticized Wilson, saying that Wilson shouldn’t have been armed.
This is despite the fact that the caught-on-video incident in that church was held to only six seconds due to Wilson. Contrast this to the Naval Air Station Pensacola terrorist who had as long as 10 minutes — a window of opportunity 99 times longer.
Why is that? Because Bloomberg’s preferred “gun-free zone” policy was in place at NAS Pensacola per U.S. Navy regulations. While the death toll was lower there, we have seen higher death tolls in other “gun-free zones” like Parkland and Sandy Hook.
We have also seen this pattern after those horrific events. Bloomberg and his well-funded gun-grabbing organization demanded bans on the AR-15 and other modern, multi-purpose semiautomatic firearms. This is despite the fact that such bans do nothing to prevent those atrocities. In fact, there is a strong case to be made that Bloomberg’s preferred policies actually make these attacks worse.
That truth, as well as support for the Second Amendment and a determination to ensure that millions of law-abiding Americans are not punished for crimes and acts of madness they did not commit, lead Patriots to oppose those bans. For fighting such injustices, they’re called all sorts of names. “White nationalists” was the Leftmedia smear from prior to Monday’s march on Richmond. Other slurs include “child killers” and “domestic terrorists.”
Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats complain that gun control has failed due to “corrupt lawmakers” and the NRA, on whom Warren at least wants to sic the IRS. Incidentally, Warren also declared opposition to concealed carry, the very policy that halted the West Freeway Church of Christ shooting in only six seconds.
It wasn’t the only case, either. As we have noted over the years, the immediate introduction of armed resistance prevented or mitigated other tragedies in St. Cloud, Minnesota; Clackamas, Oregon; and Garland, Texas, among others.
In the face of this evidence, we cannot help but marvel that Bloomberg and Warren dismiss Jack Wilson. Why do they want to create more helpless victims? Because they are would-be tyrants bent on gathering power rather than defending God-given rights.
Presidential candidate and self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders was recently introduced by actor John Cusack with the declaration, “We have a 10- to 12-year window to radically transform our energy systems, or climate change, predatory capitalism, and endless war economies will rob us of the right to any future at all.”
The race is on: Which will happen first — the end of the world due to manmade climate change or the destruction of capitalism?
While Democrats are on message for their base, their steadfast hatred of the Liberty that created the greatest economy in the world should put every American on high alert. It’s America’s economic engine that provides opportunities for individuals to be self-reliant, own private property, work, and use those private earnings for their growth, their family, and their futures. Yet the entire Democrat Party is running on policies that erode the very foundation of Liberty.
Among the leading Democrat candidates, Sanders finds his appeal among the 18- to 44-year-olds. But what if the contrasting message hailing the virtues and values of capitalism and consumerism was carried by Millennials from a nation destroyed by socialism, rather than by hated Republicans?
Meet Jorge Galicia, who traveled to the U.S. in October 2018, and Andrés Guilarte, who arrived in January 2019. Both 20-somethings are asylum seekers born and raised in Venezuela, and they now speak to American college students about their firsthand experience with socialism’s destructive power. The college-educated gents are convinced that today’s indoctrinated intellectuals either simply don’t know what’s happening in Venezuela or need to be confronted with what they will lose.
Addressing their peers on college campuses in the Fund for American Studies program, Guilarte stressed, “We are eyewitnesses of the falling of the country. … We used to have rights like you have here. You can go to the supermarket, buy everything. You can have money for the month. … We used to be just like everybody else.”
Galicia chimes in, “Who in the world wouldn’t want to have free healthcare, free college tuition, free whatever? The thing is those kinds of offers are not sustainable in the longterm.” Then came the warning: “I know it is tempting, but do not fall into that trap. You need to learn from other people’s experience. Keep your Liberty protected, because what you have — it’s a beautiful country.” By contrast, with socialism in Venezuela “you started to see the scarcity of medicine, food supplies,” and other staples.
What Galicia cited as unsustainable offers that come at the expense of Liberty are all the enticing bait of the 2020 Democrat Party. They will, according to the survivor of socialism, yield “a horrible future for America.”
The pair’s warning about socialism in Venezuela reminds us about the Soviet Union. Democrats fear “Russian influence” but embrace the failed economic policies that Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn warned of after surviving as a political prisoner in the Soviet Gulag for eight years. Seeing the blood of millions slaughtered by totalitarianism, Solzhenitsyn wrote of “an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man’s noblest impulses,” and a “tilt of freedom in the direction of evil … evidently born primarily out of a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which there is no evil inherent in human nature.”
Americans can listen and learn from Galicia and Guilarte — and the late Solzhenitsyn before them — or we’ll learn firsthand that socialism destroys the Liberty that makes us unique and great.
“A mid-Michigan man found more than $43,000 in cash hidden in a couch he bought from a secondhand store, and though he had no apparent legal obligation to do so, he decided to return the money to the family who donated the item.”
“Ovid resident Howard Kirby recently bought a set of furniture for $70 from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Owosso. After the couch spent a few weeks in his ‘man cave,’ he started to think something was off. ‘The foot cushion always seemed kind of hard,’ Kirby said Friday, Jan. 17.”
“His daughter-in-law finally opened the cushion and was surprised to find a box containing tens of thousands of dollars in cash — $43,170, once they counted it up.”
“Surprised at his good fortune, Kirby considered how the cash could change his life: He could finish paying his house off and fix his roof and still have some left over. He contacted a lawyer and learned he had the legal right to keep the cash.”
“But Kirby felt his faith called him to do the right thing and try to return the money to the family who donated the couch.”
Read more at The Oregonian.
NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
FLIMSY CHARGES: McConnell proposes swift impeachment trial with long days (AP)
CUT TO THE CHASE: The Senate impeachment trial: eight things you need to know (The Daily Signal)
FINANCIAL AID IN THE CROSSHAIRS: Supreme Court takes up church-state separation in Christian schools case (NBC News)
INDIVIDUAL MANDATE PUNTED: Supreme Court won’t rule on ObamaCare before Election Day, declines to fast track (NBC News)
AMBIGUOUS FUNDRAISING NUMBERS: Trump outraises individual Democrats but is behind the pack (The Resurgent)
NO FREE SPEECH (OR FACTS) ALLOWED: Denver Post columnist fired after arguing there are two sexes (The Washington Free Beacon)
FOR THE RECORD: Illegal border crossings fall a staggering 90% in Arizona following Trump policy change (The Daily Wire)
AND WHAT DOES SANDERS WANT? Sanders floats “moratorium on 99%” of deportations, demolition of border wall (National Review)
“NO PLANS TO SEND THEM OUT”: Iran backtracks on plan to send flight recorders to Ukraine (AP)
FAILED “REFORMS”: Mexico murders rise to record 34,582 in AMLO’s first year in office (Bloomberg)
POLICY: Yes, Trump deserves credit on black unemployment (Washington Examiner)
POLICY: Let’s not squander the opportunity to increase organ donations and save lives (National Review)
SATIRE: Media offers thoughts and prayers that someone would start some violence at gun-rights rally (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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- Video: How to End White Privilege — How can you be forgiven for something that doesn’t even exist? Brandon Tatum on “the notion of white privilege.”
- Video: Virginia 38th State to Ratify Equal Rights Amendment — But the deadline to make it the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution expired years ago.
NATIONAL DAYS OF RECOGNITION
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “An armed society is a polite society.” —Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988)
Observations: “One of the amazing things in America is there are a group of people known for being armed and what they’re mainly feared for is that they vote.” —Frank J. Fleming
Leftmedia circling the wagons: “Reporter: Trump rhetoric is the reason conservatives no longer trust the media. Conservatives: Actually, no. We have long distrusted the media. Trump just gave voice to it. Reporter: See, look how effective Trump’s attacks have been. They don’t even realize it’s Trump’s fault.” —Erick Erickson
For the record: “Something is missing from the charges against Trump: An impeachable offense.” —Andrew McCarthy
By “gifted storyteller” it means “liar”: “Senator Warren is a gifted storyteller.” —New York Times endorsement of Elizabeth Warren
Non compos mentis: “The Democratic Party is not a left party; the Democratic Party is a center, or center-conservative party.” —Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Courting the coveted DUI vote: “I don’t count drunk driving as a felony.” —Joe Biden
Nothing to see here… “The only purpose in putting [Hunter Biden] on their list is they wish to trade material witnesses, like Mr. Bolton and Mulvaney and others, for immaterial ones that will allow them to continue to attack a political opponent. That’s an illegitimate abuse of the trial.” —House Impeachment Manager Adam Schiff
Village idiots: “Bernie respects us enough to tell the truth, the hard truth: We have a 10- to 12-year window to radically transform our energy systems, or climate change, predatory capitalism, and endless war economies will rob us of the right to any future at all.” —actor John Cusack
And last… “I’m a gun rights supporter but I’m frankly embarrassed by the protestors in Virginia [yesterday]. It’s pretty rude to be so peaceful after the media were rooting for violence. Not fair to make them look stupid like that.” —Matt Walsh
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis