Mid-Day Digest

Mar. 3, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“All see, and most admire, the glare which hovers round the external trappings of elevated office. To me there is nothing in it, beyond the lustre which may be reflected from its connection with a power of promoting human felicity.” —George Washington (1790)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

A Biden-Buttigieg Ticket?

Mark Alexander

At a Super Tuesday Eve rally last night, Joe Biden declared he was ready to win on “Super Thursday,” and then attempted a reference to the Declaration of Independence, saying, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: all men and women created by — go — you know — you know, the thing.” Biden reminds me of how much I miss George W. Bush’s creative speaking skills. You know, astute observations like, “I think we agree, the past is over,” “They misunderestimated me,” and “Fool me once, shame on … shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

Bidenisms notwithstanding, it was a big night of endorsements for the 77-year-old former veep in his contest with 78-year-old socialist Democrat Bernie Sanders.

Biden picked up endorsements from former Senate leader Harry Reid and three of his former Demo primary opponents — Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, and, most significantly, Pete Buttigieg.

In recent weeks I have taken the lonely position of insisting that rumors of the imminent demise of Joe Biden’s campaign were greatly exaggerated. Now, I am certainly NOT a political prognosticator or bookmaker, but I do have some time-tested instincts. Almost a year ago I declared that Biden would be the nominee after other contenders tossed their constituents his way.

The Super Tuesday primary results will provide a good indication of how much steam Biden has left. But I still believe he will be competitive against Sanders through the Demo convention in July, and he is the Demos’ best shot at defeating their arch nemesis, Donald Trump.

Having said that, however, while the conventional Democrat political consensus is that Sanders can’t beat Trump, keep in mind that Trump demolished the conventional Republican political consensus in 2016. And as I wrote last year in “Take Sanders’s 2020 Campaign Seriously and Literally,” don’t underestimate the threat Sanders poses if he wins the Demo nomination.

Responding to the primary departures, Sanders said, “Tonight, I want to open the door to Amy’s supporters, to Pete’s supporters. To all of Amy and Pete’s millions of supporters, the door is open. Come on in!”

However, I am revising my estimate last year that Biden’s running mate would be Kamala Harris. As our analyst Thomas Gallatin concluded Monday, Buttigieg withdrew because Biden made him an offer he couldn’t refuse — and I think that was likely the bottom of the Biden ticket. Buttigieg was Biden’s most ardent defender through the primary debates, taking on Sanders, Klobuchar, and Mike Bloomberg. In fact, this “deal” may have been cut before the first debate.

Thus, on the eve of Super Tuesday, Buttigieg delivered a glowing endorsement of Biden and, if you watched Biden’s followup remarks, he all but declared Buttigieg his VP choice.

Klobuchar’s endorsement will be helpful, but Biden no longer needs Harris or Klobuchar to balance his ticket. Buttigieg’s gender disorientation will lure legions of Demo female voters to the Biden ticket.

A Biden-Buttigieg ticket will be enthusiastically supported by billionaire leftist Mike Bloomberg, who may actually broker the ticket and who will provide Biden-Buttigieg up to a billion in advertising graft against Trump in the general election. Bloomberg said he spoke with both Klobuchar and Buttigieg, and he “thought both of them behaved themselves.” Apparently he has not spoken with the other vanity campaign member of the billionaire leftist club — his sidekick Tom Steyer, who spent $250 million for no delegates and has yet to endorse Biden. I guess he is misbehaving.

As for Biden’s campaign, Trump got in a typical sucker punch: “For sleepy Joe, he doesn’t even know where he is, what he is doing, or what office he is running for. Maybe he gets in — because he is a little more moderate — so maybe he gets in, but he’s not going to be running it. They are going to put him into a home, and other people are going to be running the country, and they are going to be superleft radical crazies.”

Of course, the biggest endorsement hurdle for Biden remains that of Barack Obama, who is far more ideologically aligned with Sanders and is keeping his powder dry for a potential Michelle Obama run in 2024. He may also still be agitated at Biden for his 2007 description of Obama: “I mean, you got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” They never had a beer summit to resolve that one.

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China, Nike Team Up With Forced Labor

Nate Jackson

This just in: China uses forced labor. But the latest report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) brings a twist: “The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of [more than 80,000] Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen.”

First of all, remember that whenever you’re told that the “free market” led to China’s rise as one of the world’s most dominant economic powers.

But second, note that the list of companies supplied by these factories includes such “woke” brands as Apple and Nike. The latter in particular might raise your ire, because the athletic-equipment company two years ago paid big bucks to make America-hating ex-quarterback Colin Kaepernick the face of its brand, even yanking a Betsy Ross shoe when he whined about it.

On his refusal to stand for our national anthem, Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” But he has no problem taking a huge paycheck from a company supplied by actual minority slave labor in an oppressive communist country.

ASPI notes, “Local governments and private brokers are paid a price per head by the Xinjiang provincial government to organise the labour assignments. The job transfers are now an integral part of the ‘re-education’ process, which the Chinese government calls ‘vocational training.’” More than a million people have “disappeared into a vast network of ‘re-education camps.’” And, the report adds, “A factory in eastern China that manufactures shoes for US company Nike is equipped with watchtowers, barbed-wire fences and police guard boxes.”

Naturally, Nike denies there’s a problem. “We are committed to upholding international labor standards globally,” insisted spokeswoman Sandra Carreon-John. Suppliers are “strictly prohibited from using any type of prison, forced, bonded or indentured labor.”

If there’s one thing the world’s socialists have always had in common — from the Nazis to the Bolsheviks to the Chinese — it’s forced labor and “re-education.” Nike’s response? It’s all about the money, so just do it.

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The Endless Stalemate Ends

Harold Hutchison

The news that a peace agreement has been reached with the Taliban after 18 years of war has drawn some criticism of President Donald Trump from Patriots concerned about national security. We in our humble shop agree with Rep. Liz Cheney and former National Security Advisor John Bolton that this deal comes with risks.

That said, we also have long thought that Afghanistan had reached a point where there were no good options. As we also have noted, there was no clear idea of what victory looked like and how it would be achieved. Thus, the war effort became a mess that was largely passed off to Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

Even under George W. Bush, who was serious about winning, America pulled punches that should have been allowed to go full-force. Dalton Fury revealed in 2008 that requests to use modern GATOR mines were rejected during the Battle of Tora Bora. These mines would have self-destructed or gone inert within 40 days. But micromanaging from Washington allowed Osama bin Laden to make it into Pakistan, where he hid out for nearly a decade.

The betrayal of Patriots who served — like James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who played crucial roles in getting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to spill his guts — also raised questions about how serious those in Washington were about winning.

Yet we were supposed to let SOCOM send its highly trained operatives on numerous deployments to that region with no clue about how to win or what winning looked like? How numerous were those deployments? Here is one indicator: The first military casualty during President Trump’s administration had been sent on 12 deployments.

We should not dismiss what was achieved: Afghanistan has a freely elected government. We have killed or captured a lot of the senior leadership of al-Qaida. We have not seen anything like another 9/11. We have trained an Afghan military that is capable of defending that country. We should be proud of what our troops, including those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, accomplished.

But we should also keep some things in mind. We have lessons to learn from this war. We should, as a country, resolve that when we do ask our troops to fight and risk being maimed or killed, they be allowed to win.

Whether this peace agreement will hold is an open question. Could the Taliban merely be using this as a chance to re-arm and gain strength to go after the Afghan government? We can’t rule that out. If that should happen, then the Taliban must pay a fearsome price for breaking the deal.

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Matthews Out at MSNBC After Offending Socialists

Thomas Gallatin

In a surprise moment on Monday during his long-running MSNBC “Hardball” show, host Chris Matthews announced his sudden and immediate departure from the Leftmedia network. And we do mean immediate — he walked off the set during a commercial break.

After my conversation with MSNBC, I decided tonight will be my last “Hardball.” So let me tell you why. The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins. We see them in politics, in the media, in fighting for their causes. They are improving the workplace. We’re talking here about better standards than we grew up with — fair standards. … A lot of it has to do with how we talk to each other. Compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were okay, were never okay. Not then and certainly not today, and for making such comments in the past, I’m sorry.

Matthews’s announcement obliquely referenced a recent GQ article blasting the host for his “long history of sexist comments and behavior.” The article was timed in response to Matthews’s interview with Elizabeth Warren last week, in which he pressed her as to whether she believed Michael Bloomberg was lying when he denied having engaged in sexist behavior toward a former employee. A clearly perturbed Warren shot back that she believed the woman, asking, “Why would she lie?”

However, Matthews pressing Warren was unlikely the real reason for his ouster. In fact, his comments following Bernie Sanders’s win in Nevada sealed his fate:

It looks like Bernie Sanders is hard to beat right now. I’m with [James] Carville all the way in terms of the dangers of what lurks, what lies ahead in November. … I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940, and the general, Renault, calls up Churchill and says, “It’s over.” And Churchill says, “How can it be? You’ve got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?” He said, “It’s over.” So I have that suppressed feeling. I can’t be as wild as Carville, but he is damn smart, and I think he’s damn right on this one.

Comparing Sanders’s presidential campaign to Nazi Germany’s invasion and conquering of France in World War II immediately raised the ire of Sanders supporters and the brass at MSNBC. At the hard-left network, calling Republicans and President Donald Trump Nazis is fair game but daring to equate a Jewish socialist taking the lead in the Democrat presidential primary with the Nazi blitzkrieg of France was a bridge too far. Thus, while Matthews referred to his departure as “retirement,” it’s all but certain that he was forced out. And it was done easily due to the network having amassed an archive of lewd comments and sexist behavior from Matthews over the last couple of decades. Matthews was to MSNBC what Bill O'Reilly was to Fox News, but chalking up Matthews’s departure to #MeToo misses the mark. This had little to do with his long history of workplace sexual harassment and everything to do with his having offended the Bernie Bros who bring in the ad revenue to MSNBC.

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NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

EMERGENCY CUT: Fed reduces rates by half a percentage point to combat coronavirus slowdown (CNBC)

SCANDAL REOPENS: Federal judge orders Hillary Clinton to give sworn deposition for first time in server scandal (The Daily Wire)

NOT BACKING DOWN: Senate Republicans plan first subpoena in Burisma-Biden probe (The Washington Post)

ROLLERCOASTER OF EMOTIONS: Dow roars back from coronavirus sell-off with biggest gain since 2009, surges 5.1% (CNBC)

MOTHER NATURE’S WRATH: Nashville tornado leaves at least nine dead as severe weather strikes Tennessee (Fox News)

THIRD ELECTION IN UNDER A YEAR: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defeats Benny Gantz, but is still short a majority (The Jerusalem Post)

TIT FOR TAT: U.S. places new restrictions on Chinese journalists following China’s expulsion of three Wall Street Journal reporters (Axois)

POLICY: Want to improve performance in public schools? Let school choice flourish (E21)

POLICY: How the plastic panic hurts us — and the planet (City Journal)

HUMOR: Joe Biden drops out of race, endorses Biden (ScrappleFace)

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

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VIDEOS

Video: Two Adult Migrants Charged With Raping 11-Year-Old Girls — Our current immigration system is about as useful as a poncho in a hurricane.

Video: Why So Many Young People Are Unhappy — The biggest reason is the loss of values and meaning, says Dennis Prager.

Video: Surge of Chronic Non-Voters Could Sway Election — Fifty percent of once-apathetic non-voters are certain they’ll turn out for the presidential election.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “I have no respect for the passion of equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy — I don’t disparage envy, but I don’t accept it as legitimately my master.” —Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841-1935)

Re: The Left: “It was a Democratic president who told Americans, during World War II no less, that ‘we have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ He is a liberal idol, in part for saying that. That is more or less exactly what Trump has been saying. Yet he’s an ‘existential threat’ to our country.” —columnist Dennis Prager

Observations: “Nike almost seems to be taking a page from the playbook of their foreign partners, the Chinese Communist Party. The company launched an all-out war against religious liberty in places like Tennessee, where the brand argued that letting adoption groups live by their beliefs was somehow bad for business. If it were up to the shoe giant, they’d kick men and women of faith right out of the public square. When it comes right down to it, Nike has a lot more in common with China’s dictatorial regime than anyone cared to admit.” —FRC President Tony Perkins

For the record: “[Hillary Clinton’s answers in deposition were] either incomplete, unhelpful or cursory at best. Simply put her responses left many more questions than answers.” —U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ordering Clinton to be deposed again over her private email server

Friendly fire: “That was my authentic opinion then. It’s my authentic opinion now.” —Hillary Clinton reaffirming her “baloney” assessment of the Bernie Sanders campaign

Tone-deaf: “Let’s follow the rules. We had rules last time. We have rules this time. Everybody knew when they got into it.” —Hillary Clinton, whom the DNC colluded with in 2016

D'oh! “We hold these truths to be self-evident: all men and women created by — go — you know — you know, the thing.” —Joe Biden

Hot air: “The answer is that I spend an awful lot of time flying around the country, flying around the world working on climate change. We have closed an awful lot of coal-fired power plants, and worked to try and train coal miners to get other jobs.” —Michael Bloomberg after being confronted about his private-jet hypocrisy

And last… “Super Tuesday? More like ‘Pooper Tuesday’ because all the candidates stink!” —The Babylon Bee’s Frank J. Fleming

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