“Men, to act with vigour and effect, must have time to mature measures, and judgment and experience, as to the best method of applying them. They must not be hurried on to their conclusions by the passions, or the fears of the multitude. They must deliberate, as well as resolve.” —Joseph Story (1833)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- The Politics of a ‘Fear Pandemic’
- ‘Berning’ Down America
- A Big Win Against ‘Sanctuary’ States
- Peace in Afghanistan? We’ll See
- Senate Dems Kill Newborn and Preborn Protections
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
Democrat Party leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi are in a quandary. They have to decide which of the headline tragedies today make for better political fodder — do they keep feeding the coronavirus fears, or do they put that on pause and politicize the Milwaukee murders in order to advance their gun-confiscation agenda?
Yes, their political modus operandi is just that causticly crass.
It follows the model perfected by Barack Obama and his then-chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who openly declared, “You don’t ever want a good crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” And that is exactly what they did in 2008, when Obama used a pandemic of financial fear as his ticket to the presidency. At the time, even Bill Clinton admitted that the Democrats were responsible for that crisis because they resisted “efforts by Republicans in the Congress … to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.” Clinton himself had loosened up those standards 10 years earlier, with disastrous financial consequences but fortuitous political consequences.
My point is not to relitigate how the Democrats used that “fear pandemic” to ensure Obama’s election but to say they are experts at converting tragedy into political triumph. Their current “Hate Trump” platform is constructed on their perennial political foundation of fear, anger, and division.
At this point in the 2020 election cycle, Democrats are scrambling for any “opportunity to do things you think you could not do before” to enable them defeat Donald Trump, especially if they can’t dispense with Bernie Sanders. COVID-19, the scientific term for coronavirus, is providing them an election-year crisis that they won’t let go to waste, especially if it becomes a significant domestic health threat.
In January, I wrote a comprehensive analysis, “The Flu and You,” putting the potential for a COVID-19 flu pandemic into perspective and offering helpful links on preparedness and response. At that time, the Trump administration was taking significant steps to prevent a viral spread in the U.S.
Monday of this week, reflecting concern about the economic impact of coronavirus, there was a 3.5% equities-market selloff — a bellwether indicator of economic concerns. Responding to those concerns, Nate Jackson provided an update on COVID-19, noting how Schumer and Pelosi had their coronavirus crisis/fear machine at full throttle. Pelosi claims the Trump administration’s request for $2.5 billion in funding was “long overdue and completely inadequate.” Schumer declared that Trump is “asleep at the wheel.”
On Tuesday, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, an official at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), promoted a panic narrative that ran contrary to the Trump administration’s measured concern and effort to encourage calm. Messonnier, who is the sister of former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (one of the coup co-conspirators), told Leftmedia reporters that the pandemic potential is “bad” and the “disruption to everyday life may be severe.” She declared, “It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen.”
Let me be clear: Messonnier could be right. But her comments were irresponsible and played right into the Demos’ panic narrative — and another market selloff of 3.2%. The selloff continued into Wednesday and affects the wealth and job stability of every working American and their families. And Democrats are quietly high-fiving each other in Capitol Hill cloakrooms, knowing that what is bad for American families is bad for Trump’s reelection prospects.
Messonnier’s dire warnings necessitated an executive press conference Wednesday evening with President Trump and his key administration officials. In that conference, Trump appointed Vice President Mike Pence and Health Secretary Alex Azar to head the White House coronavirus-containment task force. Trump assured the public, “Whatever happens, we’re totally prepared,” adding the infection rates in the U.S. “may get a little bigger, [or] it may not get bigger at all.”
Of note regarding the “reliability” of reports from China’s communist regime, Trump said that China is containing the epidemic: “If you can count on the reports coming out of China, that spread has gone down.”
As outlined in my COVID-19 analysis last month, for the most current information on the viral threat in the U.S., visit the CDC’s page, “What You Should Know,” which provides updates, preventive measures, travel advice, etc. You can review the CDC’s national pandemic-response plan and basic citizen flu-prevention measures.
And finally, as I noted in “The REAL Pandemic Threat” back in 2006, “Clearly, there are significant pandemic threats posed by viral infections that mutate into much more contagious forms and can spread regionally, nationally, and internationally, causing significant loss of life. The primary defense against such contagions is the capacity to shelter in place. What originates in China or Africa one week can be in your suburb the next.”
For that reason, we developed a comprehensive resource page on Disaster Preparedness Planning, including a Two-Step Individual Readiness Plan and a section on how to shelter in place. We encourage you to visit each of these pages, because national preparedness begins with individual preparedness, and individual preparedness is the firewall against a “fear pandemic.”
“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.” —Ronald Reagan
“In many US states, a single high-school history class is the only civics instruction that future voters ever receive. Eight states don’t even make the study of American history a graduation requirement.” —from a column, “Public schools are teaching our children to hate America,” by Mary Kay Linge
Bernie Sanders is what you get when orchestrated ignorance, a cultivated contempt for America, and “an everyone gets a trophy just for showing up” sense of self-entitlement reaches critical mass. On Monday night, the leading Democrat candidate for president released a plan calling for a cornucopia of big-government “solutions” to the nation’s problems that demonstrates exactly that. It is a paean to the idea that there are sufficient numbers of intellectually challenged Americans who believe that massive giveaways are “free” or can be paid for by extracting large sums of money from “greedy” fellow Americans who have “more than their fair share.”
Why did Sanders release the plan? Perhaps it’s because he is as ignorant as many of his followers. Asked how he’d pay for his program, Sanders insists he “can’t rattle off to you every nickel and every dime.” Tuesday’s chaotic debate proved no better, as Sanders had difficulty answering a number of other questions as well.
Yet who’s kidding whom? For legions of “Bernie Bros,” who see the 78-year-old socialist/Marxist as more of a televangelist than a presidential candidate, details are largely irrelevant.
Even more irrelevant? These same followers — who support a plan that envisions raising money by precipitating lawsuits against the fossil-fuel industry, eviscerating the military, massively expanding the power of the IRS, and simply seizing wealth for the sake of “social justice” — somehow presume that behavior is static. In short, they think no matter how much money one extracts from the private sector, people will continue to work, take risks, create new businesses, and live their lives as if nothing has changed.
It doesn’t get more ignorant than that, yet that ignorance is hardly surprising. “Feel the Bern” is a triumph of emotionalism over intellectual curiosity.
And no one champions that useful-idiot dynamic more than Sanders himself. Sanders remains an apologist for one of the most repressive regimes on the planet. “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but, you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad,” Sanders told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who had played a 1985 clip of Sanders extolling Castro’s virtues. “When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did?” Sanders continued. “He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”
For older Americans, idiotic tradeoffs have a familiar ring, akin to the apologist assertions that murderous dictators like Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler were not all bad, because Mussolini made the trains run on time and Hitler restored the pride of a German populace devastated by WWI. In that vein, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) had the perfect response to Sanders’s assertion: “It really makes a difference when those you murder at the firing squad can read & write.”
Sanders’s affection for totalitarian societies isn’t limited to Cuba. The man who honeymooned in the Soviet Union also praised it for providing a “whole variety of programs for the young people, and cultural programs which go far beyond what we do in this country.” He added, “We went to a theater in Yaroslavl which was absolutely beautiful — had three separate stages.”
Columnist Katya Sedgwick, who grew up in the then-Soviet Socialist State of Ukraine, gave the proper context to such an assertion. “My generation of Soviets came of age knowing that the USSR was built on tyranny and lies,” she writes. “We are the most cynical generation in Russian history. Once the country crumbled, our lives spun out of control. As a result, Russian speakers my age suffered through high rates of substance abuse, low life expectancies, and through-the-floor birth rates. On the plus side, we grew up with gaudy chandeliers in public places.”
Desperation is an emotion, and there is little doubt that emotionalism has transcended intellectual rigor in modern-day America. We are a nation where absurd concepts such as “triggering,” “microaggressions,” “intersectionalism,"and "my truth” have supplanted logic and reason as the common currency of younger generations so cynical, many believe the entire planet has only a dozen years left until climate apocalypse ends humanity itself.
Thus an entire reordering of society, a.k.a. “fundamental transformation” — with retribution as a possible part of the “social justice” mix — is the only way forward.
By any reasonable standard, every Democrat still in the presidential race is a radical leftist in a party that has reached “peak progressivism,” as Victor Davis Hanson puts it. Thus it’s hardly surprising that a genuine socialist/Marxist would resonate more than his less honest competitors.
Yet Sanders represents something else as well. For decades, this nation has done a terrible job passing American exceptionalism down to the next generation, and at some point that failure reaches critical mass.
Can Sanders win the nomination? If Sanders maintains his front-runner status, Democrats will likely engender chaos — maybe even a brokered convention — in trying to prevent it. If Sanders still prevails? The 2020 election will be all about revolution or repudiation.
Here’s hoping for repudiation — on a massive scale. A constitutional republic is a terrible thing to waste.
President Donald Trump got a big immigration win on Wednesday when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Justice Department’s decision to condition Byrne Program federal grants to states upon the requirement that they cooperate with federal immigration law. The ruling came after New York, which declared itself an illegal-alien “sanctuary” state in 2017, entered a lawsuit with several other sanctuary jurisdictions against the Trump administration for withholding the grant funding. Under its “sanctuary” policy, New York refuses to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, specifically regarding honoring ICE retainer requests for criminal aliens.
Second Circuit Judge Reena Raggi recognized that other circuit courts had ruled in favor of “sanctuary” states. But in the decision she argued that based upon the plain reading of the law, “we cannot agree that the federal government must be enjoined from imposing the challenged conditions on the federal grants at issue.” She explained, “These conditions help the federal government enforce national immigration laws and policies supported by successive Democratic and Republican administrations. But more to the authorization point, they ensure that applicants satisfy particular statutory grant requirements imposed by Congress and subject to Attorney General oversight.” Raggi also cogently observed that a “state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law.”
This split between the courts will likely result in the Supreme Court weighing in on the issue. This is good news for both the Trump administration and the American people, as SCOTUS has more often than not sided with the Trump administration on cases concerning immigration enforcement. Furthermore, the Second Circuit’s appeal to the “plain language of the relevant statutes” for its decision provides the most compelling argument yet in support of the Trump administration’s position.
The court victories for Trump regarding his administration’s immigration enforcement have been rare but significant, as his administration has slowly but steadily worked to overcome Democrats’ resistance to his enforcement policies. And the administration has recently ramped up its efforts against leftist state governments that have been undercutting federal law enforcement. Just two weeks ago, Attorney General William Barr announced new sanctions in what he is calling a “significant escalation” to combat lawless sanctuary cities.
At the risk of being indecisive and indefinite, the honest answer to whether the agreements that have reportedly been reached between the U.S. and the Taliban are a win for the U.S. is probably “we’ll see.” But that’s not a very satisfying — or politically advantageous — piece of ground to claim. Unfortunately, our foreign policy decision makers’ (over)confidence that they actually see their options and potential outcomes in black and white is a primary contributor to the forever wars. Our diplomats and soldier-statesmen have heard how excellent they are for so long that it’s understandable that they may overestimate their ability to resolve “wicked problems” like those posed by the Graveyard of Empires. That’s not to say that our military and diplomatic leaders and decision makers aren’t better than everyone else’s, just that even the best may not be good enough for a problem set like Afghanistan, particularly given the wrinkles caused by political priorities that change every few years.
With so little to show for the thousands of casualties sustained and billions of dollars spent, why should we keep muddling along trying to find a solution for what may well be an unsolvable problem? Why not just sign the peace deal — any peace deal — walk away and call it good?
For one, although it hasn’t lived up to the promises, we have made progress: Afghan security organizations are larger and more capable than ever; a generation of bureaucrats and technocrats have come up through the ranks of ministries and businesses and have seen and largely bought in to an Afghan version of “what right looks like”; Afghan families have grown accustomed to more liberties and a generally higher quality of life than they enjoyed under the Taliban and aren’t anxious to go back. Given the foundation that has been laid, an enduring Taliban-supported reduction in violence would give the government and people the breathing space they need to cement the progress and keep building. Walking away before we’re sure the mortar has set risks everything coming back down in an ugly crash.
Second, to paraphrase the investing disclaimer, future results aren’t automatically going to track with past performance. Just because the return on our investment over the last dozen or so years has been undermined by bad policies and decisions (with a healthy dose of hubris mixed in) doesn’t mean that we have to keep following that trend line. We need to be realistic and pragmatic about what’s within the realm of the possible — minimize, not eliminate corruption; professional and “Afghan good enough” security services, not scaled down versions of the NYPD or British Army — and translate that into clear objectives. Four more years of a Trump administration would provide much needed stability with respect to the mission and objectives. That stability in turn, would also make it easier to accurately assess future results.
Peace is good thing, as are treaties that foster and ensure it. But we need to remember that it comes at a price. Some of the price has already been paid; some of it won’t come to light until years or decades later. As we negotiate, we can’t let the fact that we have already made an enormous investment lead us to an all-in-with-the-Taliban bet that comes with a big (and TBD) “after the sale” sticker. The people who have borne the brunt of the up-front investment deserve better than simply signing something in order to be able to check a box that a campaign promise was met or to have their efforts tarred with a label like “America’s greatest strategic disaster.” But at this point in the negotiations, the most honest prediction that even a relatively experienced Afghanistan watcher can probably offer is, “we’ll see…”
Senate Republicans failed on Tuesday to garner the 60 votes necessary to override a Democrat filibuster of two separate pieces of legislation, both of which sought to protect the most vulnerable among us — preborn and newborn children.
In a vote of 53 for and 44 against, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act failed to advance to debate. The bill would have made abortion illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases risking the mother’s life and for victims of rape and incest (roughly 1% of pregnancies). Bill sponsor Lindsey Graham (R-SC) pointedly noted, “There are only seven countries that allow wholesale abortions at the 20-week period, including China and North Korea. The United States should NOT be in that club.”
The second Senate bill torpedoed by Democrats was the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would have required an abortion provider to engage in life-saving procedures to “preserve the life and health” of a child born alive after a failed abortive attempt. Ben Sasse (R-NE), a sponsor of the legislation, blasted Democrat resistance. “Nothing in this bill touches abortion access,” Sasse said, adding that it only protects “babies that have already been born.” After only three Democrats crossed the aisle to side with Republicans on the bill, Sasse disgustedly observed, “This body ought to be able to stand 100 to zero against that [infanticide] barbarism.” The three Democrats were Bob Casey (PA), Doug Jones (AL), and Joe Manchin (WV).
Hawaii Democrat Mazie Hirono voted against Sasse’s bill, arguing earlier this month that infanticide was already illegal and that the bill was “a solution to a problem that does not exist.” Yes, “infanticide is indeed illegal in the U.S.” Sasse agreed, “Yet in half of the states, there is no criminalization of walking away from the baby and allowing it to die by exposure. There’s an active-passive distinction and a state-federal distinction, which are both pretty fundamental.”
Predictably, CNN sought to defend Senate Democrats by ridiculously asserting that a “fetus that was born” was not the same as a “newborn baby,” because in the first instance the mother didn’t want the child. In other words, CNN ludicrously claims that a mother’s subjective personal desire rather than objective biological reality is what confers personhood onto a baby. With views this devoid of basic logic, is it any wonder the Left also rejects the biological reality of gender being binary?
On a final note, this all went down in the Senate as three Democrat senators hoping to be president were preparing to debate in South Carolina. None voted on the measures, but it was still exceedingly ironic for Elizabeth Warren to, after repeating her “fired while pregnant” tall tale, slam Michael Bloomberg for allegedly telling a pregnant female employee to “kill it.” Isn’t “kill it” essentially the Democrat platform?
CLOSING IN: Bernie Sanders the favorite to win all Super Tuesday states except Alabama (Bongino.com)
BIRDS OF A FEATHER: Cuba’s Communist Party newspaper gives Sanders a glowing review (MRCTV)
REPORTED “AS FACT”: Trump campaign sues The New York Times for libel over Russia opinion article (CNBC)
SCOTUS REVIEW LIKELY: Court hands Trump win in sanctuary-city fight, says administration can deny grant money (Fox News)
FRANKLY, RULE OF LAW — NOT REFORMS — IS THE ISSUE: Republicans break with Attorney General William Barr on FISA renewal, urge reforms before reauthorization (National Review)
AWAITING A MOTIVE: In one of the worst shootings in Wisconsin history, a man shot and killed five people — and then himself — during a rampage Wednesday afternoon on the Milwaukee campus of Molson Coors (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
SYMBOLISM: House passes anti-lynching bill after 120 years of failure (The New York Times)
POLICY: Trump’s India statecraft is forward-thinking and necessary (Washington Examiner)
POLICY: Electric cars aren’t nearly as green as people think (Foundation for Economic Education)
HUMOR: CDC recommends breathing masks at Bernie rallies to prevent spread of deadly socialism (Genesius Times)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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Video: Unelected Judges or Unelected Bureaucrats: Which Should Interpret the Law? — Justice Clarence Thomas this week failed to get his colleagues to review his own 2005 decision.
Video: Harvey Weinstein Is Guilty … but Still Loved by the Left — Weinstein may have been found guilty, but the Left still loves him!
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Upright: “Conservatives continue to use the word ‘democracy’ when discussing American politics. They need to reclaim the term ‘republic’ and continue to discuss unalienable rights, namely, property rights. The Constitution’s purpose is to protect rights, not popular sovereignty.” —Washington Examiner’s Will Ricciardella
Observations: “Thought experiment: If 100 years ago, universal health care was guaranteed in this country — the best health care at the time magically available for all — but the trade off was medical innovation was slowed by 50%, how many people would that kill? If you slow medical innovation, historical data says you’ll kill a lot of people, but the advantage is you’ll never know you did that.” —The Babylon Bee’s Frank J. Fleming
Non sequitur: “We all treasure our freedom of speech, but nobody here has the freedom to yell ‘Fire’ in this crowded space. It is the same way with religious liberty. We respect, and I will fiercely defend, religious liberty. But not past the point where it is being invoked as an excuse to harm other people through this kind of discrimination.” —Pete Buttigieg, whose idea of “religious discrimination” means fighting against leftist coercion
Nope: “You know, we have a place called Georgetown, Delaware, that was founded in the 1600s.” —Joe Biden (Georgetown, Delaware, was founded in 1791.)
Literally or figuratively? “Sometimes I wake up and I think it’s 1920 and not 2020.” —Joe Biden
Dezinformatsiya: “I’ve covered Cuba for years and there’s a lot of great things to say about their social services, their education, their health system.” —MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell
Village idiot: “We currently have a president who embarrasses this great nation every single day with his incompetence, his unabashed ignorance, his lack of curiosity. Wouldn’t it be so refreshing to have a woman of Sen. Warren’s brilliance replacing him?” —singer-songwriter John Legend
Non compos mentis: “Purging public servants disloyal to a regime is banana-republic stuff. Our federal employees work for the American people, not the president.” —Hillary Clinton
And last… “I’ve seen Democrats be tougher on Trump for his coronavirus response than they’ve been on China, whose communist government censored and hid the outbreak, leading to its unnecessary spread around the world.” —Katie Pavlich
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
Join us in prayer for our Patriots in uniform and their families — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way, and for our nation’s First Responders. We also ask prayer for your Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the Spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis