Mid-Day Digest

Feb. 20, 2020


“Here comes the orator! With his flood of words, and his drop of reason.” —Benjamin Franklin (1735)

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Demo Debate: Warren Scalps Bloomberg, Helps Sanders

Because the gloves finally came off at last night’s Las Vegas debate, it could have been called a heavy-weight bout … if any of the fighters on stage were heavy weights. The reality is that the Democrat presidential field at one point had 29 candidates. Just six debated last night, all of whom showed themselves to be woefully wrong for the office of president.

Mark Alexander suffered through the debate on your behalf, and here are some of his real-time observations:

There is a backdrop behind all the candidates with these giant stars on it and they are always in motion, looking like some LSD guy is running the AV console.

OK this actually just happened: Bernie Sanders was listing all the ethnic groups that the Democrats are going to have to get out to vote, and when he mentioned “Native American,” Pocahontas raised her hand.

It’s interesting that everybody is referring to Michael Bloomberg as “mayor” because that hurts Pete Buttigieg’s mayoral status. Predictably, they are all attacking Bloomberg.

Buttigieg had a good shot against Sanders and Bloomberg, saying that Sanders wanted to “burn this party down” while Bloomberg “wants to buy this party out.” Buttigieg insisted, “Let’s put forward somebody who’s actually a Democrat.”

If you ever listen to Sanders for more than five seconds, it quickly becomes evident that he is on another planet. He makes stuff up out of thin air in virtually every sentence.

For pretty much the first 30 minutes, Joe Biden said next to nothing. It seems his strategy is just to let everybody else duke it out.

Forty-five minutes in and Bloomberg is starting to fumble. But with the hundreds of millions of dollars he’s spending on advertising maybe it won’t matter what his stage performance looked like.

These people really hate each other. In the end, I would say Bloomberg was the big loser, but this is generally a confederation of dunces.

Perhaps the most glaring example of the venom in the debate last night was Warren’s broadside on Bloomberg’s demeaning comments about women and nondisclosure agreements to cover them up. “I’d like to talk more about who we’re running against — a billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians,’” Warren said. “I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”

After Bloomberg offered an incredibly lame deflection on the nondisclosure agreements, Warren leveled him. “I hope you heard what his defense was. ‘I’ve been nice to some women,’” Warren said. “What we need to know is exactly what’s lurking out there. He has gotten some number of women — dozens, who knows — to sign nondisclosure agreements both for sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace. So, Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from those nondisclosure agreements so we can hear their side of the story?”

Bloomberg’s reply? “None of them accused me of doing anything other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told.” That didn’t play well with the audience. But again, most Democrat voters won’t know anything about the hits he took; they will only know what his next $500 million in ads tell them.

Other candidates hit Bloomberg too. “I think we need something different from Donald Trump,” declared Amy Klobuchar. “I don’t think we look at Donald Trump and say, ‘We need someone richer in the White House.’”

“We have a grotesque and immoral distribution of wealth in income,” Sanders thundered. “Mike Bloomberg owns more wealth than the bottom 125 million Americans. That’s wrong. That’s immoral. That should not be the case.”

But Bloomberg hit back, especially at Sanders and his socialism. Bloomberg has eight enormous estates around the world, but when challenged about his wealth, he jeered, “What a wonderful country we have. The best known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses.” Sanders responded he does have a “camp,” which you can see here.

“We’re not going to throw out capitalism,” Bloomberg insisted. “We tried that. Other countries tried that. It was called communism, and it just didn’t work.”

Mark Alexander concluded, “It was fascinating to watch and actually get a sense of strengths and weaknesses — and frankly they are all weak. Obviously, Bloomberg never should have gotten on that stage, but like most the insular mega-wealthy, he thought he was bullet proof. And Warren won the debate … for Sanders.”

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Bloomberg and Sanders Want More Government Healthcare

Thomas Gallatin

“If you’re bleeding, we’ll stop the bleeding. If you need an x-ray, you’re gonna have to wait,” stated Democrat presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a now-viral video clip from the past. The clip captures a conversation Bloomberg had over the rising cost of healthcare in which he notes, “All of these costs keep going up. No one wants to pay any more money. And at the rate we’re going, healthcare is going to bankrupt us. So not only do we have a problem, it’s gonna be [unintelligible] and say which things we’re gonna do and which things we’re not. No one wants to do that.”

Bloomberg then asserts, “If you show up with prostate cancer and you’re 95 years old, we should say, ‘Go and enjoy — lead a long life. There’s no cure. We can’t do anything.’ A young person, we should do something about it. Society’s not willing to do that yet.” (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, call your office.)

Predictably, Bloomberg’s comments invited condemnation, though his assessment of the costs associated with government-provided healthcare was accurate. As Sarah Palin warned back in 2009 — to great mockery from the Left — a government takeover of America’s healthcare system would lead to the creation of “death panels.” Bloomberg’s comments simply confirm the reality that in a socialized medical system, cost assessments done by government officials rather than a patient and his doctor would be the ultimate determining factor as to what type and level of care an individual could expect to receive.

This is what makes socialist Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare for All” plan so noxious and dangerous to Americans’ healthcare needs. In fact, not only has Sanders doubled down on his extreme plan but he’s now saying that it represents a “compromise” position. In other words, it doesn’t go as far as he wants. Sanders opined this week, “My view is that Medicare for All … is already a compromise. It is a four-year transition period.”

The problem is that Bloomberg’s plan isn’t much better. He still embraces more government as the “solution,” leading inevitably to government dictating people’s healthcare choices. While he doesn’t advocate Sanders’s plan for a complete government takeover of healthcare, he does call for a public-option plan that essentially amounts to ObamaCare with more price controls.

In the end, the “solutions” both Bloomberg and Sanders offer to rising healthcare costs come from the same big-government ideological perspective. The only difference is a question of degrees of control.

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Democrats Revive FDR’s Court-Packing Agenda

Arnold Ahlert

On February 5, 1937, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced his intention to add six additional justices to a Supreme Court that had thwarted many of his New Deal initiatives. In reasoning that should resonate with millions of Americans, SCOTUS believed those initiatives delegated an unconstitutional amount of authority to the executive branch and the federal government. Nonetheless, for today’s equally rapacious Democrats and their media allies, everything old is new again: Several Democrat presidential candidates have announced their intention to pack the Court, despite the reality that, as The Washington Post put it, the idea “fell into lengthy disrepute after 1937.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s reason for doing so was unintentionally hilarious. “It’s not just about expansion, it’s about depoliticizing the Supreme Court,” she stated.

Others were less amusing. “It’s no more a departure from norms than what the Republicans did to get the judiciary to the place it is today,” asserted Pete Buttigieg. “Bold, ambitious ideas need a hearing right now.” Sen. Amy Klobuchar was more pragmatic, saying, “You always want to look at all ideas, but I think right now the most reasonable thing is to win the elections and to try to stop the bad judges.”

As the Democrats’ orchestrated debacle at the Brett Kavanaugh hearings indicated quite clearly, “bad judges” are seemingly those appointed to the Court by President Donald Trump. Thus, the evisceration of a decent man’s reputation, courtesy of rank political maneuvering and an unprecedented level of media smearing, was perfectly acceptable.

By contrast, Sen. Bernie Sanders would attempt to achieve the same result by a different means. “I do not believe in packing the court,” he said. “We’ve got a terrible 5-4 majority conservative Court right now. But I do believe constitutionally we have the power to rotate judges to other courts and that brings in new blood into the Supreme Court and a majority I hope that will understand that a woman has a right to control her own body and that corporations cannot run the United States of America.”

A “terrible 5-4 majority” is in the eye of the beholder. As George Washington University associate professor Brandon L. Bartels inconveniently pointed out in 2018, swing-vote Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement gave Trump and a GOP Senate “the chance to cement a reliable conservative majority on the Supreme Court for the first time since the New Deal began.”

The New Deal was initiated in 1933. Thus, what Democrats really want is what they had for more than three-quarters of a century, as in a Court willing to implement agendas rejected by state legislatures and/or voters themselves. Toward that end they have no problem whatsoever when a majority of justices “discover” previously undiscovered constitutional rights that align with leftist ideology.

In short, no one is more pleased with a “politicized” Supreme Court than the same Democrats who would pack it when that agenda may no longer be realized.

Moreover, their appetite for judicial supremacy is hardly satiated by SCOTUS. In a speech at the American Law Institute on May 21, 2019, Attorney General William Barr noted as much. “Since President Trump took office, federal district courts have issued 37 nationwide injunctions against the executive branch,” he stated. “That’s more than one a month. By comparison, during President [Barack] Obama’s first two years, district courts issued two nationwide injunctions against the executive branch, both of which were vacated by the Ninth Circuit. And according to the [Justice] Department’s best estimates, courts issued only 27 nationwide injunctions in all of the 20th century.”

There’s a method to the madness of judicial activism favored by the American Left. As columnist Daniel Horowitz has pointed out, SCOTUS only heard 60 cases in 2018. “Meanwhile,” he notes, “the lower courts heard tens of thousands of cases, and their dockets are full of every political issue under the sun.”

Why is that important? Because the sheer volume of cases advantages the activism.

Despite that advantage, it’s still not enough for a party seeking unassailable power. “More and more Democrats are becoming convinced that we cannot resign ourselves to the third branch of government being captive to partisan Republican forces for the next 30 years,” stated Brian Fallon, a former Hillary Clinton advisor who now heads the group Demand Justice.

On the other hand, being captive to partisan Democrat forces is fine, even if it requires stacking the court. “To many leftists and left-liberals, such drastic action is needed if any progressive legislation in the future is to survive,” Vox columnist Dylan Matthews wrote in 2018. “The concerns in question have less to do with hot-button social issues like abortion and LGBT rights and more to do with the constitutionality of economic regulation and redistributive programs.”

Aaron Belkin, San Francisco State University associate professor and executive director of Pack the Courts, echoes that sentiment. “The strategy is to make the 2020 [Democrat] candidates understand that if they don’t come up with an agenda to deal with the courts, everything they are talking about is going to be dead on arrival,” he insists.

Again, note that if “progressive legislation” aligned itself with a majority of Congress or voters themselves, SCOTUS rulings would be irrelevant. That it not only isn’t but also requires court packing to pass a legislative agenda that would otherwise “be dead on arrival” speaks volumes.

Fortunately, Democrats would have to gain complete control of Congress and the presidency to make it happen. The Constitution grants Congress the power to determine the number of justices, and it passed the Judiciary Act of 1869, setting the number at nine.

Democrats assert that packing is justified due to Republicans refusing to hold a vote on Judge Merrick Garland in 2016. Republicans countered that it was not proper to hold a vote during an election year, a position supported by Joe Biden in 1992, when he insisted a “lame duck” president should not be in a position to nominate a justice. (It should be noted that Garland would have changed the ideological composition of the Court, and Republicans wanted voters to weigh in.) Democrats’ fury intensified when Donald Trump beat “sure thing” Hillary Clinton and put Neil Gorsuch on the Court.

Democrats have convenient memories. Prior to 2013, nominees for federal courts and SCOTUS effectively needed 60 votes, meaning a filibuster could thwart a nomination indefinitely. Former Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was incensed by such GOP-led filibusters holding up his judicial picks, so he invoked what is known as the nuclear option, lowering the threshold to a 51-vote majority for all judges except those appointed to SCOTUS. Following Trump’s victory, Republican and current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell extended the nuclear option to SCOTUS justices, paving the way for the appointment of Gorsuch by a 54-45 margin.

Tit for tat? Absolutely. But Democrats have no one to blame but themselves, mostly for assuming Republicans would never behave like … Democrats.

Hence, court packing becomes the next “logical” step in a dangerous game of one-upmanship. Leftists’ real agenda? Like their desire to eliminate the Electoral College, abolish or reconfigure the Senate, and give voting rights to felons, 16-year-olds, and illegal aliens, court packing is about what it has been since FDR first attempted it: the acquisition and maintenance of power, by any means necessary.

Americans should remember that agenda next November.

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Jordan Candler

COUNTERATTACK: President Donald Trump slams Michael Bloomberg at Phoenix rally, pushing MAGA message during Democrat debate (Fox News)

ECONOMIST/YOUGOV SURVEY: Trump takes 2020 lead, 52%-48%; all Democrats “probably lose” (Washington Examiner)

REMINDER: Denmark tells Bernie Sanders it’s had enough of his “socialist” slurs (Investor’s Business Daily)

NEW DNI: Trump taps U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as nation’s top intel official (AP)

PURGE CONTINUES: John Rood, top Defense Department official who contradicted Trump on Ukraine, latest to be ousted after impeachment saga (The New York Times)

TWO OLD MEN DEBATE HEALTH: Bloomberg, Sanders teams squabble over medical records (Politico)

DEFAMATION: A group of Covington Catholic High School students are suing nine media personalities over tweets and commentary about the incident at the Lincoln Memorial last year (Cincinnati Enquirer)

SCOTUS BOUND? A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday it was unconstitutional to force Florida felons to first pay off their financial obligations before registering to vote, siding against state Republican lawmakers who imposed the restriction last year (Tampa Bay Times)

SOME 200 VICTIMS: Pennsylvania diocese, facing more abuse claims, files for bankruptcy (The New York Times)

POLICY: A blueprint for the U.S. response to China over the next decades (The Heritage Foundation)

POLICY: Reconciliation with Turkey should only come with a price (Washington Examiner)

HUMOR: Disheveled and covered in $100 bills, Bernie Sanders claims he was attacked by a group of billionaires (The Babylon Bee)

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

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


Insight: “In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king.” —author Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

For the record I: “There’s this enormous cohort of black and Latino males, age, let’s say, 16 to 25, that don’t have jobs, don’t have any prospects, don’t know how to find jobs, don’t know what their skill sets are, don’t know how to behave in the workplace where they have to work collaboratively and collectively.” —Michael Bloomberg in 2011

For the record II: “If your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she, or it can go to the locker room with their daughter, that’s not a winning formula for most people.” —Michael Bloomberg in 2019

For the record III: “If you show up with cancer and you’re 95 years old, we should say, ‘Go and enjoy. There’s no cure. We can’t do anything.’ A young person, we should do something. Society’s not willing to do that yet.” —Michael Bloomberg, who appears to be endorsing death panels

That doesn’t justify indulging in your own sin: “My marriage never involved me having to send hush money to a porn star.” —Pete Buttigieg

Non compos mentis: “I think for those who haven’t quite found their way all the way to the right side of history, it’s important to beckon them in the right direction.” —Pete Buttigieg on the issue of homosexuality

Disgusting: “We are all lifted up when we honor individual freedom and support women’s reproductive rights.” —Pete Buttigieg

Alpha jackass: “African American unemployment is not the lowest it’s ever been, unless you count slavery. We were fully unemployed during slavery, so it all depends about how you measure this up.” —Rep. James Clyburn

Braying jenny I: “It’s not enough for [William] Barr to resign. I want him out of DOJ, disbarred, disgraced, & investigated for obstruction of justice. Barr sabotaged Mueller report, was in on Ukraine plot, & now he wants to free Trump’s criminal friends. In my estimation, they ALL belong in jail!” —Rep. Maxine Waters

Braying jenny II: “The only patriot on the Right … to me is [Mitt] Romney. He’s the only one who stuck his neck out. The rest of them are trash.” —"The View’s" Joy Behar

And last… “It’s kind of amazing that Bernie [Sanders] has been a major presence in our national politics for the last 4 years and no one mentioned until [last night] that he has three houses.” —Rich Lowry

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