Mid-Day Digest

Feb. 25, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“Have you something to do to-morrow; do it to-day.” —Benjamin Franklin (1742)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Perspective on Coronavirus

Nate Jackson

As you may have heard, there is global panic about bird flu swine flu ebola coronavirus (COVID-19). We don’t say that to minimize the danger or the very real death toll. In fact, Mark Alexander recently wrote (and has since added updates) about exactly how seriously we should take this outbreak and what people should be prepared to do about it. We do say it to put things in perspective amidst the epidemic of media panic.

To date, there have been more than 2,700 deaths from coronavirus, though 94% of them have been in China’s Hubei province, where the outbreak began. More than 80,000 cases have been confirmed in more than 30 countries, and there have been dozens of deaths (total) in Iran, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Italy, and France. The virus is spreading and serious; it has a long incubation period and may be mutating, but, so far, the mortality rate remains at about 3%. The World Health Organization has not yet declared coronavirus a pandemic.

The economic impact is huge. China alone accounts for roughly a third of global trade, so with many of its factories shut down and a big decline in container traffic, the rest of the world is feeling the pain. The Wall Street Journal warns, “Some economists are predicting that the epidemic could cause China’s GDP to shrink up to 10% year-over-year in the first quarter.” That’s astounding, and if that happens it will impact the United States greatly.

The Journal’s Walter Russell Mead wrote earlier this month, “Given the accumulated costs of decades of state-driven lending, massive malfeasance by local officials in cahoots with local banks, a towering property bubble, and vast industrial overcapacity, China is as ripe as a country can be for a massive economic correction. Even a small initial shock could lead to a massive bonfire of the vanities as all the false values, inflated expectations and misallocated assets implode.” (Chinese officials ejected three Journal reporters after that article because they argued its headline, “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia,” is racist.)

One major effect of coronavirus for millions of Americans already is the stock market, which dropped 1,000 points (3.5%) Monday on coronavirus fears. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 2% for the year.

“The second-largest economy in the world [China] is completely shut down. People aren’t totally pricing that in,” said Larry Benedict, CEO of The Opportunistic Trader, who forecasts a 10% to 15% correction in stocks. “It seems like there’s much more to come.”

The Trump administration has requested Congress authorize $2.5 billion in emergency funding to fight any outbreak here, and it has already taken actions to monitor travel and protect American citizens. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded that President Donald Trump’s request is “long overdue and completely inadequate.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer complained that Trump is “asleep at the wheel.”

Evidently, Trump Derangement Syndrome is also still a threat.

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Justice for #MeToo: Weinstein Found Guilty of Rape

Thomas Gallatin

The guy whose deplorable behavior served to ignite the #MeToo movement was officially declared a rapist on Monday. A New York jury found the former Hollywood mogul and Democrat mega donor Harvey Weinstein guilty on two out of five counts of criminal sexual assault.

Weinstein, however, escaped the most serious charges of predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape, which carried life sentences. Still, due to his age (67) and declining health (he stopped by the hospital on the way to jail) he could very well spend the remainder of his life behind bars anyway. Following the verdict, Judge James Burke ordered Weinstein straight to jail to await his sentencing on March 11 — a sentencing that will be between five and 29 years in prison.

The verdict falls far short of paying for the mountain of sexual abuse Weinstein inflicted upon vulnerable women over his time in Hollywood as a powerful producer — while other Hollywood celebrities turned a blind eye. But he’s not done answering for his crimes, as he also faces separate charges of rape and sexual assault in Los Angeles.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. was pleased with the verdict, stating, “This is the new landscape for the survivors of sexual assault in America, I believe, and this is a new day. It’s a new day because Harvey Weinstein has finally been held accountable for the crimes he committed. The women who came forward courageously and at great risk made that happen.”

Weinstein expressed no remorse following the trial and will appeal the verdict as he continues to maintain his innocence. Defense attorney Donna Rotunna insisted, “Harvey is unbelievably strong. He took it like a man,” while another of his lawyers, Arthur Aidala, noted Weinstein’s remarks upon hearing the verdict: “I’m innocent. I’m innocent. I’m innocent. How could this happen in America?” No, Mr. Weinstein, you are not innocent, and what you did should not happen in America.

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Warren PACs Up

Lewis Morris

Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren announced last week shortly before the Nevada caucuses that she had decided to embrace the support of a super PAC to help fund her campaign. Warren had previously pledged, loud and proud, that she would not accept super PAC money, claiming such cash is a sure path for corporate and elite interests to unduly influence the election. She made it a central tenet of her campaign, using her stance to boost her so-called populist bona fides. She even tried to get her fellow candidates to join her no-super-PAC pledge, but with the exception of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, nobody took the bait. That was before Warren’s campaign hit the skids.

She told a town hall in Nevada, “From the first day I got in this campaign, I said to anybody who runs for president, ‘Let’s do this without super PACs…’ Nobody took me up on it. Not a single other candidate would agree with me. So I haven’t changed my position.” To clarify, Warren has not changed her position on the fact that other candidates shouldn’t accept super PAC money. As for herself, well, a candidate’s gotta do what a candidate’s gotta do.

Warren has yet to make a decent showing in any of the primary contests, and her poll numbers are downright disastrous compared to her front-runner status last fall. Right now, she needs to do anything to stay alive. And she’s hoping that an infusion of cash from Persist PAC will do the trick.

Of course, Warren isn’t the only hypocrite in the race when it comes to super PAC money. All the Democrat candidates have decried unlimited spending in elections, and they have all demonized the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision that lifted restrictions on political donations by corporations, nonprofits, and other organizations. Leftists proclaimed it the beginning of a new political Dark Ages, in which corporations would now buy elections at will. The fact that Citizens United was an organization producing a documentary critical of 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton surely also played a factor in leftist criticism of the Supreme Court decision.

Citizens United did not lead to billionaires buying elections — not yet anyway. Rather, big-money bundlers have been largely outshined by money from smaller donors that have become key to Democrats’ campaign financing in the digital age. In fact, the case could be made that Warren should be thankful for Citizens United because it provides her an opportunity to be competitive against the likes of Mike Bloomberg, who has all but admitted that he is prepared to buy the 2020 election outright.

Nevertheless, Warren’s flip on accepting super PAC money may be too late to save her campaign. This latest stunt may even lose her as much support as it gains, as many of her supporters attached themselves to her campaign because of her self-imposed ban on super PAC funding. She has once again exposed herself as an opportunist who will say anything — including repeatedly lying about her personal experiences — to further her ambitions. She even wants us to believe that it is the fault of the other candidates that caused her to flip her position. As always, she’s the “victim,” but how exactly does that make her fit to lead the nation?

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Damage Control: Bloomberg Will Release Women From NDAs

Thomas Gallatin

“I’ve had the company go back over its record and they’ve identified 3 [nondisclosure agreements] that we signed over the past 30-plus years with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made,” Democrat presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg announced in a statement. “If any of them want to be released from their NDA so that they can talk about those allegations, they should contact the company and they’ll be given a release.”

Bloomberg’s action is clearly aimed at damage control following his disastrous debate performance last Wednesday when Elizabeth Warren blasted him as “a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians” and who hides his behavior behind nondisclosure agreements. Warren challenged Bloomberg, “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?”

It remains to be determined whether Bloomberg’s actions will stop the bleeding. It likely will rest on the content of those NDAs and whether there are more than the three women Bloomberg alluded to. His horrible track record with women would indicate there are.

Warren for one isn’t about to let Bloomberg off so easy. She responded, “If there are only three, then why didn’t he sign a blanket release? If he’s limiting the number, then you can’t know whether there are three, or 30, or 300, and that should not be in the control of Michael Bloomberg.”

It’s clear that Warren’s stop-and-frisk damaged Bloomberg badly. His skyrocketing poll numbers have taken a dive since the debate. Warren herself has enjoyed a slight bounce, though after her fourth-place finish in Nevada and her low polling in South Carolina, it could be the end of the line for Warren by Super Tuesday. We suppose she’s aiming to go out in a blaze of glory by torpedoing Bloomberg’s campaign.

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NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

IT’S GONNA BE UGLY: Democrats unload on Bernie Sanders in Tuesday night debate preview (AP)

GLOBAL RESPECT: President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi got a raucous welcome when they held a rally at the world’s largest cricket stadium (Daily Mail)

PRO-LIFE WIN: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rules Trump admin stripping funding from abortion clinics is constitutional (The Daily Caller)

PIVOTAL DECISION: Supreme Court to hear case on gay “rights” and foster care (The New York Times)

DOUBLING DOWN: Sanders garrisons Castro comments by defending communist China (The Daily Caller)

JEWISH IN NAME ONLY: AIPAC blasts Sanders after 2020 frontrunner says he’ll skip conference (Fox News)

HERE WE GO AGAIN: U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team files $66 million “gender discrimination” lawsuit against U.S. Soccer Federation (MRCTV)

VILLAGE ACADEMIC CURRICULUM: High-school class shows slide of Trump next to Nazi and communist symbols (The Daily Wire)

POLICY: Will the U.S. and India play the long game on trade? (Hudson Institute)

POLICY: Weinstein and the complicated legacy of #MeToo (The Federalist)

HUMOR: Nation’s Bernie supporters frantically cobble together makeshift rafts to paddle to utopian Cuba (The Babylon Bee)

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

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VIDEOS

Video: All My Money on Trump, No Matter the Dem Nominee — “I think Trump has already secured a second term,” journalist Sharyl Attkisson opines.

Video: Use Trans Pronouns or Get Fired, Court Tells Professor — A Christian professor in Ohio was told he must use female pronouns to refer to a male student … or he will be fired.

Video: California Is a Hellhole (And It’s Getting Worse) — Ben Shapiro goes off on California and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent State of the State address.

Video: Is Voter Fraud Real? — What is the greatest threat to free and fair elections in America?

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

For the record: “Many of the news outlets breathlessly covering the [Harvey] Weinstein verdict actually served for years as his enablers by covering up and excusing his bad behavior. They knew, but wanted access to him. Same with Jeffrey Epstein.” —Erick Erickson

Observations, part I: “The irony of Bernie’s beliefs is that socialism ends up empowering the elite and the ruling class. His supporters would end up handing over their freedom and future to the people they detest and distrust. It makes no sense at all.” —Fox News’s Lisa Boothe

Observations, part II: “The challenge for taking on Bernie is that his support isn’t about a specific policy, it’s a movement. The perception is that he’s fighting for those on the Left. The attacks will just elevate him and make him bigger.” —Lisa Boothe

Political futures: “If Sanders wins the nomination, Democrats can kiss Florida goodbye. The state is full of immigrants who fled Castro’s communism and other socialist regimes throughout Latin America.” —Campaign for Working Families founder Gary Bauer

Actually, you made the choice fairly easy: “We know the Russians are continuing to try to choose our next president like they chose our last president.” —Hillary Clinton

Non compos mentis I: “My name’s Joe Biden. I’m a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate.” —Joe Biden

Non compos mentis II: “I’m the guy that came back after meeting with [Chinese leader] Deng Xiaoping and making the case that I believe China would join [the Paris Climate Accord] if we put pressure on them.” —Joe Biden (Deng died in 1997.)

Stop digging: “I have been extremely consistent and critical of all authoritarian regimes all over the world including Cuba, including Nicaragua, including Saudi Arabia, including China, including Russia. I happen to believe in democracy, not authoritarianism. But you know, you can take China as another example. China is an authoritarian country becoming more and more authoritarian. But can anyone deny … that they have taken more people out of extreme poverty than any country in history?” —Sen. Bernie Sanders

And last… “Bernie Sanders is perfectly fine with Castro locking up dissidents, murdering political opponents, and starving their citizens as long as they have literacy tests so the people can read while they get murdered.” —TPUSA’s Charlie Kirk

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