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Mid-Day Digest

Feb. 3, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections.” —John Adams (1797)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Iowa Caucuses: Sanders in Pole Position, DNC Worried

Thomas Gallatin

The Democrat Party’s presidential race will officially begin to take shape with the Iowa caucuses today, but there are clear indications that party leadership is seriously worried that the “wrong” candidate may take the lead. Recent polling indicates that the surging Bernie Sanders has pulled ahead of the party leadership’s preferred candidate, Joe Biden. That is perhaps why the Des Moines Register otherwise inexplicably canceled the release of its final poll. Even with Sanders stuck in Washington and off the campaign trail the past two weeks due to the impeachment trial, Biden’s middling campaign has seemingly failed to gain any advantage.

According to the current polling average from RealClearPolitics for Iowa, the picture that is forming has Sanders now atop Biden by four percentage points, followed by Pete Buttigieg at 16.4% and the fast-fading Elizabeth Warren sinking to fourth at 15.6%. Combined with Sanders’s near-10-point lead over Biden in New Hampshire, by the middle of next week Sanders could be the clear frontrunner. And if recent history is any guide, ever since 2000 the winner of the Iowa caucuses has gone on to win the Democrat nomination. That explains why the Democrat National Committee may be starting to panic.

As in 2016, the DNC appears to be conspiring to prevent an avowed socialist from winning the nomination. The first inkling of DNC shenanigans that has Sanders supporters crying foul is a new rule change that drops a requirement for grassroots fundraising — a change that will allow self-funding billionaire Michael Bloomberg onto the next debate stage. “That’s the definition of a rigged system,” fumes Sanders’s senior advisor Jeff Weaver.

Furthermore, a small group of DNC members is raising the specter of superdelegates as a means of fending off the possibility of a brokered convention and weakening Sanders. Politico reports, “About a half-dozen members have discussed the possibility of a policy reversal to ensure that so-called superdelegates can vote on the first ballot at the party’s national convention. Such a move would increase the influence of DNC members, members of Congress and other top party officials, who now must wait until the second ballot to have their say if the convention is contested.” Should Sanders take Iowa tonight, expect to hear of more rule-tweaking by the DNC.

As a footnote regarding President Donald Trump and the impeachment trial, the Senate will vote to acquit Trump of the House Democrats’ vacuous articles of impeachment charges this coming Wednesday, following Republicans’ vote last Friday against calling new witnesses. If that comes to pass, it will put an end to the Democrats’ charade, though it will only begin the narrative of a Republican cover-up as Dems aim to retake the Senate and the White House.

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The Super Bowl’s Cultural Fumbles

Nate Jackson

Last night’s Super Bowl was quite a game for fans who love good football. But the game is never only about the football, meaning the Kansas City Chiefs’ incredible comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers — scoring 21 points in the last half of the fourth quarter to win 31-20 — wasn’t the only storyline. Here are the ones that caught our attention:

Bloomberg’s deceitful gun ad

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who already has spent over $250 million of his own money on his presidential campaign, ran a $10 million 60-second ad claiming that “2,900 children die from gun violence every year.”

In 2013, the billionaire Democrat started Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-grabbing group that routinely peddles false statistics to conjure up fear and emotional distress, particularly among women, about firearms in America. The group came to the 2,887 number by including all deaths by firearms among any American age 0-19. But if you exclude legal adults ages 18 and 19, the number is 1,499 — barely more than half his claim. (By the way, the son of the woman featured in the ad was 20 at the time of his gang-related murder — which is not to minimize it but to put it in context.) Moreover, if you exclude gang-banger violence between older teens on Democrat urban poverty plantations, the number is drastically lower still, though hard to quantify.

Another inconvenient truth: Nearly two-fifths of the deaths Bloomberg cites are suicides. When all is said and done, Reason’s Jacob Sullum notes, “The number of minors killed each year by ‘gun violence,’ as that term is usually understood, is about 73 percent smaller than the figure cited in Bloomberg’s ad.”

Bloomberg wants $100 million annually for programs dealing with local violence, and that’s all well and good, but he and his ilk should quit infringing the Second Amendment and besmirching its defenders in the NRA and other upstanding, law-abiding organizations — all while exploiting a grieving mother without explaining how his policies would have saved her son or others like him.

Trump’s upbeat ads

By contrast, President Donald Trump painted a favorable picture of America in two key ads. One highlighted the positive impact his push for criminal-justice reform has had on the black community, including an emotional and thankful black mother profusely thanking him.

The other ad celebrated America’s strong economy thanks to his administration’s policies on taxes and deregulation.

What’s Bloomberg’s plan for the economy? A $5 trillion tax hike.

The Halftime Cesspool

For those who don’t use the break to refill the cheese dip and grab another plate of wings, the Super Bowl Halftime Show has been a key feature of the game for a long time. But last night’s version may have reached a new low for depravity and family un-friendliness. Jennifer Lopez (wearing what PJ Media’s Megan Fox called “a two-sided thong and buttless chaps”) and Shakira played a show full of raunchy displays like pole dancing, crotch grabbing, and shaking rear ends in front of the camera.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the hypocrisy is worse. Human sex trafficking remains a big problem at the Super Bowl, and the country has spent recent years in the midst of the #MeToo movement to empower women against sexual assault. Doing so is right and good, even if the movement itself was uber-politicized by feminists. But J-Lo’s vulgar performance in particular was anything but “empowering.”

As for the ad the NFL refused to run? A pro-life ad. Quite a statement of the league’s “values.”

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Energy Policy That Wins

Robin Smith

Every president since Richard Nixon has promised energy independence to Americans as a measure of national security. Promises and pledges have come and gone from the White House since the 1970s — but now, the United States of America is an exporter of crude oil as well as natural gas and, yes, Americans can be declared energy independent.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (USEIA), “In November 2019, the United States became a net exporter of all oil products, including both refined petroleum products and crude oil.”

For the very reasons eight presidents prior to Donald Trump promised this energy autonomy, it’s now evidenced with the stability of oil prices that no longer wildly fluctuate with every world event.

Middle East policy has become more shaped by those drilling in Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and Texas. Yet leftists still declare, “We just can’t drill our way out of the problem.” Well, that’s exactly what happened.

Despite, not because of, the policies of the Obama administration, exploration, drilling, and fracking for natural gas and oil expanded with no appearance of turning back as the Trump administration approved last week the Keystone Pipeline right of way for a crucial 46-mile stretch controlled by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Keystone was first proposed in 2008, but faced repeated rejections during the Obama years. This approval permits the $8 billion construction project expected to move up to 35 million gallons of crude oil every day from western Canada to terminals on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

What does this mean to average Americans?

According to economist Stephen Moore, “At least $1 trillion of U.S. economic output is related to the shale revolution,” with more than 1.5 million Americans working in the industry. A separate study by the American Petroleum Institute cites at least four million jobs connected to the shale oil and gas energy transformation that include work in construction, engineering, pipe fitting, steel production, trucking, and sales jobs.

Specifically, Michigan and Ohio together have more than 400,000 workers tied to the shale industry, with Pennsylvania home to an additional 320,000 alone. Colorado and Florida each have more than 200,000 oil and gas workers. It’s obvious that these states hold not only precious natural resources but critical voters that serve as the fuel for the engine of 2020 politics.

While these states are the heart of the shale industry, Texas has more than two million employees of gas and oil companies. Add to that the coal workers who showed up in 2016 from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio supporting Trump. He embraces an all-of-the-above approach to energy that includes fossil fuels, nuclear, solar, and renewables, but without the subsidies propping up the green industry.

It’s obvious that fossil fuels and nuclear energy are not welcomed in the Democrat Party, as evidenced by the lineup of presidential candidates whose policies would stall the American economic engine, killing millions of jobs while massively increasing prices.

As Salena Zito and Brad Todd wrote in their book, The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics, those who are red-blooded and blue-collared are now the GOP — yes, it’s a Growing Opportunity Party. As the elections inch closer, expect effective reminders that Democrats view those who cling to their God and guns as “deplorable,” as well as disdain all who see the value in America being first in energy exploration and production. That might be called #Winning for conservatives.

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Abetting Chinese Espionage

Arnold Ahlert

Charles Lieber, chair of Harvard University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, was charged last Tuesday with lying about payments he’d taken from Communist China’s “Thousand Talents Plan,” which is an effort to recruit researchers. Two Chinese nationals were also charged. Yanqing Ye, a Boston University robotics researcher, was charged with lying about her position as a lieutenant in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, and Zaosong Zheng, a cancer researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, was arrested in December for allegedly attempting to smuggle research samples out of the country. “No country poses a greater, more severe or long-term threat to our national security and economic prosperity than China,” stated Boston FBI agent Joseph Bonavolonta. “China’s communist government’s goal, simply put, is to replace the U.S. as the world superpower, and they are breaking the law to get there.”

Indeed. And like so many other Americans whose concerns for personal gain apparently transcend concerns for our nation, Leiber had quite a lucrative deal going for himself. According to prosecutors, Lieber was paid $50,000 a month by the Wuhan University of Technology in China and received up to $158,000 in additional living expenses. He was also awarded more than $1.5 million to establish a research lab at the Chinese university. In exchange, Lieber was expected to publish articles, apply for patents on behalf of the Chinese university, and organize international conferences, all with the intent of helping China become proficient in cutting-edge science.

When confronted, Lieber gave “false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements” to both the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) regarding his participation in the Thousand Talents Plan, according to a charging document written by an FBI agent. That would be the same Thousand Talents Plan the U.S. government has designated as a threat to national security.

The DOD and NIH also provided Lieber with $15 million in grant funding, which required him to disclose any ties to foreign funding, and his deception caused Harvard to make false statements to the NIH about Lieber’s work with the Chinese.

Yanqing Ye, who has apparently fled to China, is wanted for acting as an agent of a foreign government, visa fraud, making false statements, and conspiracy. In addition to being a People’s Liberation Army lieutenant (a fact she failed to disclose when applying for a U.S. visa), a search of her electronic devices allegedly revealed Ye obtained information about two U.S. residents with expertise in robotics and computer science.

Zaosong Zheng, who obtained a visa sponsored by Harvard University in 2019, was arrested at Boston’s Logan International Airport in December, while attempting to smuggle 21 vials of cancer-research material out of the country. Zheng, who stole the vials from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, allegedly hid them in a sock in his suitcase. Like Ye, the FBI alleges Zheng was also working for the Chinese government. Deemed a flight risk, he is being held without bail.

Both Harvard and Beth Israel are cooperating with authorities.

“The arrest of Charles M. Lieber, the chair of Harvard’s department of chemistry and chemical biology, signaled a new, aggressive phase in the Justice Department’s campaign to root out scientists who are stealing research from American laboratories,” The New York Times reports.

It also validates a bipartisan report by the Senate investigations committee revealing “how the American taxpayer has, in effect, unwittingly funded research that has contributed to China’s global rise over the past 20 years,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) stated last November.

The American taxpayer? Breitbart’s Neil Munro provides a far more accurate description: “Careless elites in government and in universities help the Chinese government steal U.S. technology and get taxpayer funding for Chinese research.”

The report’s co-chair, Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), also addressed the “lax oversight of federal research grants and the ineffective and mixed messages agencies have been delivering to schools and researchers.” Yet he was as myopic as Portman, further insisting that America should not abandon international collaboration with regard to science and technology. “As China’s aggressive efforts show,” he said, “our scientists, research institutions, and universities remain the best in the world and serve as a magnet for talented people looking to do meaningful, cutting-edge work.”

Not quite, Sen. Carper. China’s efforts show it’s determined to achieve global supremacy — by any means necessary.

Yet, for the American Left, President Donald Trump’s increased vetting is tantamount to racism. “The push to stanch China’s well-documented and costly theft of U.S. innovation and know-how has also raised questions about overzealous prosecutors and racial profiling,” Bloomberg News columnists Janelle Lawrence, Chris Dolmetsch, and Malathi Nayak assert.

Would Americans prefer a more lackadaisical approach toward a nation described by Victor Davis Hanson as one well known for “its gulag-like reeducation camps, its systematic mercantile cheating, its Orwellian surveillance apparatus, its serial public-health crises, and its primitive hinterland infrastructure”?

Unfortunately, for our elitists in government and business, the answer is yes. And in a speech given on October 13, 2016, candidate Donald Trump illuminated exactly why, saying, “There is nothing the political establishment will not do, and no lie they will not tell, to hold on to their prestige and power at your expense.”

Conspiratorial? Ask the millions of Americans living in outsourcing-ravaged communities. The same ones expected to abide poverty, hopelessness, and rampant drug addiction in exchange for cheap consumer goods — while being ridiculed on national television by a trio of elitist hacks.

“Western elites often harangue about misdemeanors when they cannot address felonies — a strange sort of psychological penance that excuses their impotence,” Hanson asserts.

Can’t, or won’t? And what if that impotence — impotence that invariably elevates avarice over national security — is by design?

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Warren’s ‘Disinformation’ Plan vs. the First Amendment

Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren recently released her plan to fight against online disinformation. It’s the boogie man that Democrats have repeatedly — and without evidence — parroted as the determining factor that enabled Donald Trump to win the 2016 election. “Disinformation and online foreign interference erode our democracy, and Donald Trump has invited both,” Warren dubiously asserted. “Anyone who seeks to challenge and defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 election must be fully prepared to take this on — and I’ve got a plan to do it.”

And what is Warren’s plan to end what all American politicians have been infamous for engaging in since the time of our nation’s founding? “I will push for new laws that impose tough civil and criminal penalties for knowingly disseminating this kind of information, which has the explicit purpose of undermining the basic right to vote,” Warren claims.

So, the woman who lied about having Native American ancestry to further her own academic career, and who routinely lies about her biography on the campaign trail to boost her “street cred” now wants to play the role of national “fact checker”? What about that little thing called the First Amendment?

Warren’s plan sparked a fiery response from actor Rob Schneider, who has been outspoken about the Left’s attempts to silence speech. He hit the nail on the head, stating, “Thank YOU Warren for treating Americans like we are so completely f—— stupid that we can’t think for ourselves. Luckily we have leaders like YOU who can tell us what to believe & how to vote. You are right; the stakes are too high to trust the people to decide for themselves.”

Yet again, another Democrat who loudly clamors about the absurd notion that the American people’s election of Trump somehow equates to a threat to the nation’s democratic process. In reality it is politicians like Warren and their tyrannical instincts that present the real threat facing our republic and Liberty itself.

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Kobe Contradictions: Why #GirlDad Isn’t Reality in Black America

Grassroots perspective by Patrick Hampton

The world is numb, saddened, and in mourning for the tragic loss of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, as well as the other passengers and pilot who also perished in the helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. In memoriam, the Twitter-verse is filled with heartfelt tribute for the basketball legend and his 13-year-old child, with posts shared under the now-viral hashtag #GirlDad. Among those sharing photos and telling stories are black socialites and #PretendParents — my term for parents who only exist to brag on children they didn’t raise. These groups band together to celebrate fatherhood in light of this devastating incident. But is a horrible event like this what it really takes for us to praise the value of having a father in the home?

First, let’s define what a #GirlDad is. In summary, a #GirlDad is a father who is actively raising his daughter into womanhood. But how many #GirlDads are there today?

I’m not here to question Kobe’s parenting abilities. It’s clear that he was as present as any celebrity athlete can be for his family. Instead, I call into question the false pride among the African-American community, which has clearly shown that fatherhood is no longer a priority. Statistics suggest that greater than 70% of black people are born to single-parent (mother) households.

It’s as if many woke black people seek to live vicariously through the lives of the rich and famous, but they never work to acquire and redeem any virtues of their own. They tune into Hollywood’s depiction of wealthy, powerful, and successful black families and are satisfied with just watching. The black family has been in television for generations, so how did we end up with fatherless homes at all? I estimate that to these woke black people, seeing their own in television, in headlines, is good enough.

This type of laziness is hard to tackle. For little effort is given because the notion of collectivism prevails. “One black person succeeds, so we all are succeeding,” some people believe. One strong tidal wave lifts all boats.

Sadly, this approach to living keeps black families lacking and unable to realize success for themselves. While Kobe may have had a wonderful relationship with his daughter, this hardly means that all black families are healthy and whole, and no amount of retweets and hashtags will make it so.

  • #GirlDad doesn’t address an alarming abortion rate among blacks.

  • #GirlDad doesn’t speak to the staggering crime rates for black men compared to other races.

  • #GirlDad does little to resolve the educational challenges present in today’s public schools.

  • #GirlDad says nothing about a culture of hateful mothers who pin their daughters against their dads.

  • #GirlDad hardly challenges the judicial biases against men who truly want to be good fathers.

With black families among those pressed up against these obstacles, the last thing we need is another useless #hashtag movement. Generations of television and film depicting a wholesome, successful black family didn’t do it, and neither will this. It’s time we turn away from the computer screen and face the mirror. Looking at ourselves, we must ask if we truly value family.

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NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

MIDWEEK VOTE: Senators will vote Wednesday to acquit Trump (USA Today)

KEEP AMERICA GREAT: Trump’s great Alice Johnson Super Bowl ad reminds us he deserves major credit for criminal-justice reform (Washington Examiner)

A BLIND SQUIRREL FINDS A NUT: NFL airs patriotic tribute to the American flag during Super Bowl (The Daily Wire)

LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND STATISTICS: Michael Bloomberg’s claim about “children” killed by “gun violence” is off by 73% (Reason)

INDIVIDUAL-MANDATE UPDATE: Fifth Circuit declines to rehear ObamaCare severability case en banc (Reason)

CORRUPTION: Ilhan Omar paid additional $215,000 from campaign coffers to alleged boyfriend’s firm (The Washington Free Beacon)

INTRAPARTY SQUABBLE, PART I: 2020 Democrats slam party rule change that could let Bloomberg debate (Washington Examiner)

INTRAPARTY SQUABBLE, PART II: Hillary Clinton blames Bernie Sanders for disunity in Democrat Party (Washington Examiner)

“FOREIGN NATION[S] … MUST SATISFY BASIC SECURITY CONDITIONS”: Trump expands travel ban to six new countries (The Washington Times)

DESPITE THE BAN ON “POINTY KNIVES”: Just-freed terrorist killed by cops after London stabbing spree (The Daily Beast)

POLICY: The coronavirus is a big economic deal (American Enterprise Institute)

POLICY: Why American scientists take Chinese money (National Review)

HUMOR: Time to panic? More Chinese restaurants handing out fortune cookies that just say “Death by coronavirus” (The Babylon Bee)

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

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VIDEOS

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” —Ronald Reagan

Friendly fire: “People like Bernie Sanders who are running on throwing the whole U.S. economy out the window and starting from scratch — he’s running on taking private health insurance away from 180 million Americans. I just think that makes our job so much harder in terms of beating Donald Trump.” —John Delaney

Due process for me but not for thee: “I don’t care what kind of nice, little, legal, constitutional defenses that they came up with.” —Sen. Mazie Hirono

Race bait: “I am very concerned about the racial division that this president has fostered. And I’m meeting a lot of voters who are no longer willing to look the other way on that, looking for a new political home.” —Pete Buttigieg

Alpha jackass: “Of 51 Republican senators who voted to block John Bolton’s testimony in Trump impeachment trial, 25 represent states of the Confederacy during the Civil War. The old Confederacy represents the bulwark of the 21st century GOP.” —CNN’s John Harwood, who subsequently remarked, “Deleted a tweet because I made a tabulation mistake. 23 of 51 Senate GOP votes to block Bolton testimony came from states of the old Confederacy, not 25.”

Non compos mentis: “Coronavirus task force another example of Trump administration’s lack of diversity.” —CNN headline

And last… “The NFL claims they are taking a stand against sex trafficking yet they have a halftime show degrading and objectifying women with pole dancing. A horrendous example to the millions of young women across the world.” —Charlie Kirk

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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 cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.


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