“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.” —Thomas Paine (1776)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- Democrats Hang 2020 Hopes on Pandemic Fear Recession
- Democrats Misrepresented Intel Claiming Russia Favored Trump
- The Fight Over FISA
- Dems Want to Drill the Economy With Fracking Ban
- Yes, Women and Minorities Should Own Firearms
- Socialism 101 Refresher
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
Demo House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared Thursday, “Lives are at stake. This is not a time for name-calling or playing politics.” But that is all Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have been doing, nonstop, for the last week. They have a sordid and disgraceful history of politicizing suffering and death.
Pelosi claimed that the Trump administration’s request for $2.5 billion in funding was “long overdue and completely inadequate,” adding that she doesn’t “think the president knows what he’s talking about.” Schumer picked up on Pelosi’s viral political play, declaring that Trump is “asleep at the wheel,” dismissing the administration’s response as “too little too late,” and asserting it is “indicative of his towering and dangerous incompetence.”
Regarding Pelosi’s political play, Trump stated the obvious: “She’s trying to create a panic. … She should be saying we have to work together. We should all be working together.” And regarding the Pelosi/Schumer claims that the administration’s proposed funding is not sufficient, Trump responded that the House is responsible for budget allocations and can allocate what it wants.
But, as I noted yesterday in “The Politics of a ‘Fear Pandemic’,” beyond the Beltway banter, the coronavirus fear Democrat Party leaders and their Leftmedia publicists are fomenting is having dire consequences on economic stability, greatly exacerbating the challenges of disrupted economic supply lines between China and the U.S.
The “pandemic of financial fear” resulting in the 10% drop in equity-market values this week could by week’s end be the biggest loss in any week since the 2008 financial crisis. On Thursday, the Dow had its worst one-day point drop in history (-1,191).
The significance of the market drop runs far deeper than the impact on investments and retirement plans of American workers. The financial markets are the most immediate and visceral indicators of business and consumer confidence, and that combined confidence largely influences the direction of the economy.
Two years ago in my column “Will Democrats Get the Pre-Election Recession They Want?” I noted, “More than half of Americans own stocks and other types of investments, including their homes, the values of which are dependent on a strong economy. More than one-third of corporate stock value is held in lower- and middle-income Americans’ retirement plans, such as IRAs and 401(k) accounts.”
I concluded then, “Democrats will do everything they can to set up the pre-election recession they need to defeat Trump. They know the best way to achieve that goal is to undermine confidence in our economy, a model they perfected ahead of Barack Obama’s 2008 election. … The consequence of the Demos’ political games: Caught in the political crossfire are tens of millions of American workers and their families, whose jobs and income prospects will fall victim to the Demos’ politically induced recession — the direct result of having thrown economic confidence under the bus in order to attack Trump.”
And here we go again. The Pelosi/Schumer “viral panic” narrative is undermining consumer and business confidence. They are playing fast and loose with the job stability of all working Americans and their families. Pelosi said, “The market drop is disturbing,” but I can assure you that she and her Democrat ilk are celebrating off camera, knowing that what is bad for American workers is bad for Trump’s reelection prospects.
On Leftmedia partisanship, political analyst Matthew Continetti succinctly notes, “The only predictable fallout of coronavirus? Partisanship.”
According to Continetti: “The pundits are having difficulty settling on a historical analogy for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Will the spread of the disease be President Trump’s Katrina or his financial crisis? Now that it is interested in coronavirus, a familiar pattern will set in. Data will be publicized without the slightest sense of proportion. The most outrageous scenarios will receive the most attention. Speculation will be paraded as fact. And every conceivable negative outcome, from infections to deaths to plunging stock values, from reasonable and warranted travel bans to unanticipated diplomatic and economic fallout, will be related back to the president in an effort to damage his reelection.”
To that end, a New York Times columnist insists, “Let’s Call It Trumpvirus.” And that is exactly what Pelosi and Schumer hope will happen.
So, what will all this look like in three months? I think there will be real and significant health consequences in the U.S. — more or less on par with some of the most significant seasonal viral outbreaks, which in bad years have killed more than 60,000 Americans. One of the flu virus strains this season has taken more than 8,000 lives. But those deaths did not provide political fodder for Democrats.
Finally, for your own preparation, see our COVID-19 analysis, and 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.
Despite the Pelosi/Schumer political play, according to the latest comprehensive Global Health Security survey, here is the United States’ current preparedness rank: Overall: #1, Prevention: #1, Detection and Reporting: #1, Rapid Response: #2, Health System: #1, and Compliance with International Norms: #1. By comparison here is how China ranks: Overall: #51, Prevention: #50, Detection and Reporting: #64, Rapid Response: #47, Health System: #30, and Compliance with International Norms: #141. It is astounding, given the lethality of the COVID-19 coronavirus variant, that the death toll among Red China’s almost 1.4 billion people, most of whom are impoverished, is not already 10X higher than the current count.
Intelligence officials are pushing back against recent Leftmedia claims that Russia was actively working to interfere in the 2020 presidential election to “try and get President [Donald] Trump reelected.” Following a closed-door February 13 House Intelligence Committee meeting in which top election-security official Shelby Pierson briefed lawmakers on Moscow’s interference efforts, The New York Times headlined its report on U.S. intelligence officials’ warning: “Russia Backs Trump’s Re-election, and [Trump] Fears Democrats Will Exploit Its Support.”
That report, which was quickly “confirmed” and disseminated across the Leftmedia landscape, predictably and understandably drew the ire of Trump, who disputed the claims as yet another politically motivated Democrat hoax. Trump likewise challenged a similar report a week later asserting that the Russians were actively seeking to interfere on Bernie Sanders’s behalf.
Now, as has become all too common during the Trump presidency, the Leftmedia’s reporting has been exposed for being nothing more than propaganda for the Democrat Party. You might call it fake news. NBC News reports, “Intelligence officials say that [the report of Russians seeking to help Trump’s reelection] was an overstatement, fueled, they believe, by a misinterpretation by some Democratic lawmakers on the committee.” In other words, it looks like yet another episode of the Schiff Show, as Hollywood wannabe Adam Schiff has pawned off another of his fictitious scripts as more “evidence” in support of the Democrats’ long-debunked Russia-collusion hoax.
Democrats still haven’t come to grips with the fact that Trump won the 2016 election fair and square. And their refusal to admit this reality and learn from it has led Democrats to the disastrous field of current presidential candidates over which they are now panicking. It’s easier to blame the Russians for supposedly “poisoning” Americans’ minds against their economy-killing, Liberty-destroying, big-government policy proposals than to acknowledge the fact that Americans simply don’t want what they’re selling. They still refuse to accept that Trump stands as the American people’s repudiation of their elitist, top-down, control-everything agenda.
When it comes to public awareness about federal policy, the biggest fights often occur at budget time. These high-stakes fiscal poker games make headlines for weeks, particularly when a government shutdown looms.
These battles include periodic reauthorizations of government programs, one of which is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, better known as FISA. Several provisions of FISA and its younger brethren, the PATRIOT Act, will expire on March 15 unless Congress acts to reauthorize them or grant a second extension. These portions of FISA and the PATRIOT Act were originally slated to expire last December 15, but Congress opted to extend the deadline pending the report of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz regarding the Obama administration’s abuse of the FISA process to spy on the Trump campaign, ostensibly for collusion with Russia.
With that voluminous report on the Carter Page saga and the FBI’s 17 instances of abuse now part of the public record, the reauthorization of FISA has set off intra-party bickering on both sides of the aisle.
Democrats in the House reportedly had a carefully crafted compromise, the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020, teed up and ready to go; however, a committee meeting necessary for its passage was scrubbed when Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, a longtime critic of the FISA law, announced she would propose her own amendments to what she termed a “puny reform.” (One key aspect of the proposed bill, however, was the elimination of the call-records data program used to snoop out cellphone data.)
The break on the Republican side, however, is more complex. On one side are civil-libertarian reformers such as Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee, and Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, who have expressed their desire for reform. “Comey’s FBI misled the FISA Court 17 times,” Jordan tweeted. “We can’t simply reauthorize the system that allowed those lies and omissions to happen.” Most Republicans, though, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are open to a “clean” reauthorization, having heard assurances from Attorney General William Barr that he could make the necessary changes internally. Skeptics of that deal argue that Barr “can’t be trusted” and that it would further remove Congress from needed oversight of the executive branch.
In this case, it appears the head of the executive branch is siding with the reformers, in part because he was perfectly willing at one time to eliminate the FISA apparatus entirely. In discussing the pending reauthorization of FISA with Barr last year, President Donald Trump reportedly said, “I trust you, Bill, but if it was up to me, we’d get rid of the whole thing.”
With so many options out there, the most likely outcome will be to kick the can down the road, perhaps eventually hammering out a “reform” too weak to satisfy those lawmakers interested in safeguarding civil liberties.
Absent significant and needed reforms, however, the potential for abuse of the FISA system will remain temptingly close at hand, and the people’s mistrust of their government will increase accordingly.
Many Democrats want to ban hydraulic fracturing — a.k.a. fracking — for oil and natural gas. Their ostensible goal is saving the planet, but their ban would fail to reduce emissions while triggering a recession. Sounds like a typical Democrat “deal.”
The American Petroleum Institute (API) released a study on the consequences of the Democrats’ desired policy. The API summarizes that a fracking ban “would cost up to 7.5 million American jobs in 2022 alone, lead to a cumulative GDP loss of $7.1 trillion by 2030, slash household incomes by $5,400 annually, increase household energy costs by more than $600 per year and reduce farm incomes by 43 percent due to higher energy costs.”
Why the stunning impact? API notes, “More than 95% of U.S. natural gas and oil wells today are developed using hydraulic fracturing. Technologically, fracking is the chief reason the U.S. is the world’s leading natural gas and oil producer.” Cut off the tap, and everyone suffers.
And yet we have Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sponsoring the Fracking Ban Act. “Fracking is a danger to our water supply. It’s a danger to the air we breathe, it has resulted in more earthquakes, and it’s highly explosive. To top it all off, it’s contributing to climate change,” Sanders insists. “If we are serious about clean air and drinking water, if we are serious about combating climate change, the only safe and sane way to move forward is to ban fracking nationwide.”
Elizabeth Warren wouldn’t bother with legislation, declaring she would “ban fracking everywhere” on Day One in the White House.
But their claims are false. The U.S. leads the world in decreasing emissions precisely because of fracking. And there is plenty of evidence that fracking does not cause the harm Sanders and his cadre of ecofascists claim.
Democrats are desperate for recession, however, so their efforts to stoke one through impeachment, coronavirus panic, and various taxes and regulations are not surprising.
Brian Mark Weber
The next time a criminal tries to steal a woman’s purse or assault a seemingly defenseless female walking back to her apartment, he’s more likely to be staring down the barrel of a handgun. And she’s probably well trained on how to use that weapon. It’s the age of the firearm feminist, and it’s driving the Left crazy.
Igor Volsky, executive director of Guns Down America and former vice president of the Center for American Progress, recently complained that “gun makers are softening their image” in order to appeal to “women, children, and members of minority groups.”
But that’s good news, Igor.
Women and minorities should take advantage of their right to self-defense and learn how to protect themselves, especially in leftist-dominated urban centers where Rule of Law takes a backseat to “social justice.” And if children grow up knowing why the Second Amendment is important, they’ll learn how to become responsible gun owners themselves.
“People like Igor Volsky make a good living making a boogeyman out of the firearms industry,” writes Gabriella Hoffman at The Resurgent. “If he placed the same energy on criminals who are solely responsible for gun crimes rather than innocent law-abiding gun owners, perhaps he would be a more effective advocate of true gun safety.”
But logic doesn’t sit too well with gun grabbers like Volsky — those who’d rather deny the Second Amendment rights of all Americans.
Volsky further argued, “The firearm industry realizes that to survive into the future it must ‘broaden its reach beyond the aging white men who have been its core customers’ — and so they’re now trying to sell their products to other demographics. This is incredibly dangerous.”
Did you catch the condescension in that last sentence? Volsky believes it’s “incredibly dangerous” to broaden the appeal of the Second Amendment and thereby allow all Americans to defend themselves.
No, such an appeal would only be “dangerous” to Volsky’s agenda.
Why? Because as gun owners become increasingly diverse, the Left will no longer be able to marginalize them as angry, rural, white, and male — like the “bitter clingers” that Barack Obama once smeared at a posh San Francisco fundraiser.
Indeed, as The Washington Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowski writes, Volsky’s “comments caused a backlash among female and minority gun-rights advocates who said [his] rhetoric harks back to the racist history of gun control in America.”
Blacks, as we’ve noted before, have been targeted by gun-control measures throughout American history. In the antebellum South, racist politicians sought to disarm newly emancipated blacks, leaving them defenseless against lynch mobs and the Ku Klux Klan. And throughout the 20th century, gun-control legislation disproportionately affected black Americans.
Gutowski adds that Mark Oliva of the National Shooting Sports Foundation believes “the gun industry’s efforts to reach out to women and minorities — some of the industry’s fastest-growing customer groups — are nothing new. He said the industry has long worked to accommodate users of every background based on feedback from shooters. The growing popularity of shooting among women has led companies such as Smith and Wesson to shape recoil-spring tension, stock length, and magazine design to meet the demands of female shooters.”
Making guns accessible to well-trained, responsible gun owners of all stripes will do far more to ensure our safety than any government policy or program. Gun confiscation has always been about the power of the state — and about taking away the right to self-defense from law-abiding citizens.
So brace yourselves. We can expect the gun grabbers to turn up the heat as women and minorities begin to realize that carrying a firearm is the best way to protect themselves — and the best way to ensure that our God-given right to self-defense is safe for another generation.
Grassroots perspective by Roger Helle
It was 31 years ago I found myself sitting with a hero of the Communist Revolution in Vietnam. She was also one of the founders of the National Liberation Front (NLF), a.k.a. the Viet Cong — the insurgency in South Vietnam. Her story was shocking and a reminder to all how socialism always produces more than promised. Just not for good.
A medical doctor, she was in charge of the largest pediatric hospital in Saigon. She and her husband were politically connected and knew our ambassador as well as Gen. William Westmoreland. But they were communist. When the Tet Offensive was launched in 1969, their identity became known. While the offensive was a failure, our media gave the communists a media victory. Their cover blown, they fled to the jungle.
In 1975, after our politicians abandoned South Vietnam, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) overran the country, “liberating” the people of the South. The victory was glorious … until it wasn’t. Former soldiers, politicians, and wealthy businessmen were rounded up and sent to “re-education camps.” Hundreds of thousands died in those labor camps. It was horrific, but Cambodia was worse. Possibly two million may have died under the regime of Pol Pot.
As our new friend told us her story, it included being sent to prison! Why would a hero of the revolution be sent to prison? After the communists took over, the result was not what they were told would happen. They fought for unification of their country, but they obtained a brutal dictatorial regime. When she spoke out about the victors abusing their power, plundering their vanquished foes for their own benefit, she was sent to prison.
The public outcry over her imprisonment resulted in her release sooner than most political prisoners. But not before her health was destroyed — she never fully recovered and died early of heart problems developed in prison. She was not the only one I met. I would meet and befriend a number of former Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers who were imprisoned for speaking out on the abuse of power by NVA leaders.
We’ve all heard it before: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!” This is the history of socialism. What’s the difference between socialism and communism? About 10 years.
Bernie Sanders, who honeymooned in the former Soviet Union with his current wife, praised Hugo Chavez, who destroyed one of the most prosperous countries in South America. Bernie thought Fidel Castro was a great leader. Bernie could have corrected this but on “60 Minutes” this past week he praised Fidel’s literacy program. I guess that cancels out his imprisoning more people per capita than any other dictator.
Bernie is successful because he stirs up greed, envy, and entitlement in young people. “Others have more than you and that’s not right!” How do you do that? It’s easier when a generation has never been taught what’s good in America. We are evil and racist and others have more than you, so that’s not right. Bernie, a millionaire, owns three homes and has never held a regular job in his life — he has lived off of taxpayers. Greed and envy of others seems to be working. But be careful of what you wish for. Ask the people of any communist country who will never know the Liberty we have in America.
Something to think about?
MARKET TURBULENCE PERSISTS: After plummeting 1,200 points Thursday, Dow tumbles 900 points early Friday as worst week since the financial crisis continues (CNBC)
TASK-FORCE RECRUIT: White House names AIDS expert Debbie Birx to help lead coronavirus response (NPR)
GOOD NEWS: Israel makes “exciting breakthrough” in race for coronavirus vaccine (The Daily Wire)
INTRAPARTY TURMOIL: Democrat superdelegates say they’re willing to prevent Bernie Sanders from becoming the nominee (The Daily Caller)
“THEY NEED TO INVESTIGATE THIS”: Joe Biden under probe in Ukraine for alleged link to top prosecutor’s 2016 ouster (Fox News)
“IT REMAINS A PRIVATE FORUM, NOT A PUBLIC FORUM”: Federal appeals court rules tech platforms can censor content (The Hill)
TRYING TO THREAD A NEEDLE: Venezuelans seeking asylum present unique challenge to Trump administration (The Washington Post)
FOR THE RECORD: Hillary Clinton took more cash from Harvey Weinstein than any other Democrat (New York Post)
HEADS TO INFANTICIDE-SUPPORTING GOVERNOR: Virginia legislature passes bill rolling back abortion restrictions (National Review)
DEPRAVITY: Viral TikTok shows teenage girls giggling while one gets an abortion (The Federalist)
POLICY: The direct-primary-care solution for America’s healthcare woes (National Review)
POLICY: The Great Recession recovery wasn’t powered by Obama; it was oil and gas (Washington Examiner)
SATIRE: Sanders praises slave owners for free housing program (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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Video: Recapping the Embarrassing South Carolina Democrat Debate — These debates are NOT a good look for the Democrats…
Video: Formerly Leftist Court Upholds Trump’s Ban on Abortion Funding — The case stems from Trump’s March 2019 move to withhold Title X “family assistance” tax moola from medical organizations that also engage in abortions.
Video: Wanna Kneel During the Anthem? The XFL Isn’t for You — The XFL has hardline stances against politics and social issues infiltrating its league.
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “Socialism is the phantastic younger brother of despotism, which it wants to inherit. Socialism wants to have the fullness of state force which before only existed in despotism. … However, it goes further than anything in the past because it aims at the formal destruction of the individual … who … can be used to improve communities by an expedient organ of government.” —German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
For the record: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren is demanding that funding for the border wall be diverted to efforts to fight the coronavirus. What Warren doesn’t understand is that the border wall is protecting us from the coronavirus. There was a surge of Chinese nationals coming across the southern border just a few months ago. The last thing you want to do is slow down efforts to secure the southern border.” —Gary Bauer
Food for thought: “You can tell everything you need to know about a civilization by how it treats its children. Well, we kill our children, exploit them, bring them to drag shows, turn them trans, drug them, expose them to porn. We defile and destroy children. Our civilization deserves to die.” —Matt Walsh
Good question: “If Liberals don’t believe in biological gender then why do they march for women’s rights?” —Charlie Kirk
Braying jackass: “I strongly oppose the limitations on the ability for the United States to contribute to organizations in [poor] countries that, in fact, provide women’s health alternatives for choice.” —Joe Biden
Alpha jackass: “Why is Mike Pence in charge [of the coronavirus task force]? What is his plan to stop the virus — abstinence? I think Trump might be trying to kill him, I really do.” —"comedian" Jimmy Kimmel
Braying jenny: “Mike Pence literally does not believe in science. It is utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response as the world sits on the cusp of a pandemic. This decision could cost people their lives. Pence’s past decisions already have.” —Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
And last… “As long as we’re giving viruses catchy nicknames (Trumpvirus! according to NYT columnist Gail Collins), how about a more accurate name: communismvirus, since authoritarian Chinese communism is responsible for this originally localized outbreak becoming a global pandemic?” —Ben Shapiro
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