Mid-Day Digest

Mar. 18, 2020


“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” —Thomas Jefferson (1816)

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Coming Soon: Viral Government Checks

Nate Jackson

As coronavirus ravishes the American economy, the Trump administration and Senate Republicans are working on a third aid package that may top $1 trillion. The Senate is likely to first pass the House’s $100 billion aid package, which itself followed the initial $8.3 billion emergency measure earlier this month. Wisdom of the “stimulus” specifics aside, the pressure to “do something” is clearly irresistible.

“We need to directly help American workers and families face this uncertain period, and particularly we’re examining policy tools to put money directly and quickly into the hands of American families,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “We also need to move swiftly and boldly in a major way to help American small businesses survive this disruption and thrive on the other side of it. In particular, we are preparing bold steps to ensure that Main Street can access liquidity and credit during this extraordinary time.”

At the forefront of the package is likely to be an immediate check of at least $1,000 for every adult American (under whatever income level is agreed upon), perhaps followed by a second check in a couple of months. The amount represents about a week’s pay for the typical American worker, but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says the amount “may be a little bit bigger than what’s in the press.”

President Donald Trump initially favored a payroll-tax cut, but that would take months to be realized by workers who keep their jobs. He now says, “We want to do something that gets money to them as quickly as possible.”

That will indeed be popular with the millions of Americans who are losing money in real time due to the economic shutdown, which is meant to “flatten the curve” of the viral spread. Perhaps the government checks will even restore the confidence that fuels the stock market.

Still, we’ve tried direct income redistribution twice before and it’s generally ineffective at stimulating the economy. The difference is the previous two times were tax “rebates.” This would just be a direct payment financed by deficit spending. With a national debt of $23.5 trillion and a projected deficit of $1 trillion before spending another trillion, however, the U.S. can’t afford this ineffectual “stimulus.”

Then again, with a national debt of $23.5 trillion, what’s another $1 trillion among friends?

The real problem is that Democrats are seeding an expectation of Universal Basic Income. “GOP & Democrats are both coming to the same conclusion: Universal Basic Income is going to have to play a role in helping Americans weather this crisis,” declared Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the new face of Democrat economics. Democrats have wanted UBI for years, and they’re not going to let this crisis go to waste. Tulsi Gabbard says she doesn’t want the checks to stop “until COVID-19 no longer presents a public health emergency.” How many trillions of dollars would that end up being?

Compassion for the American workers and their families suffering through what is bound to be a major economic slowdown, if not a recession, is one thing. Bankrupting the country to implement socialism is another.

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With Coronavirus, Leftists Angry Trump Not ‘Literally Hitler’

Louis DeBroux

The cognitive dissonance from the anti-Trump Left regarding the federal response to the coronavirus has been fascinating to watch. It’s a simultaneous display of rhetorical contradictions and civic ignorance.

On the one hand, “progressive” Democrats have screeched for three years that President Donald Trump is “literally Hitler,” a modern-day fascist tyrant consolidating complete federal power into his own hands.

Yet today, those same leftists excoriate President Trump for … not exerting dictatorial powers to deal decisively with the COVID-19 pandemic.

These are, of course, the same people who condemned President Trump in January for shutting down travel from China — a decision they called “racist” and “xenophobic.” Can you imagine the outrage from these critics had President Trump at that same time enforced a nationwide lockdown?

“It might seem hyperbolic to compare the U.S. government to a failed state that cannot project its authority or adequately ensure the safety of its population,” The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson opines. “But for much of the past month, the White House has shown an inability to do either.”

Thompson continues, “It is, above all, a test for the state. Only the national government can oversee the response to a national outbreak by coordinating research on the nature of the disease. Only the state can ensure the national regulation and accuracy of testing. … Throughout the world, the most effective responses to the historic threat of the coronavirus have come from state governments. … But in the United States, the pandemic has devolved into a kind of grotesque caricature of American federalism.”

Yet isn’t the cause of this global pandemic rooted in the fact that the Communist Chinese government, wielding the very kind of compulsive power Thompson advocates, completely bungled handling the virus upon its discovery, and then spent precious weeks downplaying and covering up the severity of the outbreak, while refusing to allow foreign experts to assist in controlling the spread of the virus?

And if what Mr. Trump’s critics claim is true — that his handling of the situation has been riddled with incompetence — then wouldn’t giving him dictatorial power to manage the situation only make the outcome far worse? Isn’t it a very good thing, if the criticisms of Trump are true, that individual governors, mayors, business owners, churches, and citizens have the capacity to act expeditiously in their own wisdom to minimize exposure to the virus and slow its spread?

It should be noted that the primary criticism of President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was the administration having declined to use testing kits that had been quickly approved for use in other countries. In retrospect, that may have saved American lives. More than a month ago BBC News published an article investigating major flaws in the test kits being used by other countries. The BBC reported that “people are having up to six negative results before finally being diagnosed.”

What is worse? Delaying the rollout of test kits by a few weeks in order to ensure accurate results? Or sending thousands of infected people back to congregate among their families, churches, schools, and businesses, infecting countless others, all while thinking they are virus-free?

New York Times reporter Erica Green complained that Trump has “become a bystander as school superintendents, sports commissioners, college presidents, governors and business owners across the country take it upon themselves to shut down much of American life…”

Ignorance of the finer points of pandemic virology can be forgiven in an American journalist. Ignorance of the most fundamental aspects of the American form of republican government cannot.

The Constitution was specifically crafted to deny the president such a level of omnipotence. Green’s rebuke exposes the contempt for federalism she and her leftist cohorts exude.

The fact is that no president possesses the constitutional power to do what these progressive critics are demanding. And thank heaven! Do we really want the same government that couldn’t even manage a working ObamaCare website to have complete control over the response to this virus?

With no sense of irony, Thompson simultaneously demands President Trump act with absolute power in this emergency, condemns him for alleged incompetence, praises the response of the private sector, and says that the private sector should not be depended on in such a crisis.

Over the last week, numerous governors and mayors have taken a range of steps to slow the spread of the virus, from requests for voluntary “social distancing” to mandated closure of schools and businesses. They have done so based on the specific risks and needs of their states and communities. These actions have come from the ground up, demanded by local constituencies.

This is the very essence of federalism. One-size-fits-all policy doesn’t work in a nation of 330 million people scattered across 50 states. Top-down edicts are often counterproductive.

Thank heaven our Founding Fathers understood that, and thank heaven for a president today who respects it.

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China’s Disinformation Campaign to Cover Up Coronavirus Failures

Thomas Gallatin

The coronavirus — Wuhan Flu, Chinese Virus, or COVID-19 as it is officially called — is known to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, located in the Hubei province, itself in the heart of mainland China. Speculation as to the novel coronavirus’s origin has focused primarily on two places: 1. a popular food market known for selling exotic meat; and 2. China’s only high-security bio-research lab that is known to study coronaviruses and that just happens to be located in Wuhan.

During initial news reports of the virus outbreak, it was widely reported that the virus’s origin was tied to the consumption of exotic meats such as bats. However, the rapidity in which the Chinese government was able to isolate and map the genetic sequence of this coronavirus sparked speculation that it was in fact a known entity the Chinese were studying in their bio lab and that it somehow escaped via an infected worker or lab animal.

If the latter explanation is indeed the true origin of the COVID-19 outbreak, then it’s understandable why the ChiComs would want to cover it up. It would explain why Beijing, after now seemingly having gained control of the outbreak ravaging Hubei, has begun a disinformation campaign, going so far as to have the state-run media blame the U.S. military for releasing the virus in China.

In fact, reports have surfaced claiming that Beijing was aware of the coronavirus well before it became an epidemic and sought to silence that information. According to The Times (of London), “Chinese laboratories identified a mystery virus as a highly infectious new pathogen by late December last year, but they were ordered to stop tests, destroy samples and suppress the news, a Chinese media outlet has revealed.” Worse, the Chinese knew about the coronavirus for weeks before it became a problem, but they chose to hide that information from the world.

As White House National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien observed, “This outbreak in Wuhan was a cover-up.” In fact, Chinese doctors who sought to get the information out were subsequently imprisoned or silenced by Beijing. O'Brien further noted, “It probably cost the world community two months to respond, and those two months … could have dramatically curtailed what happened in China and what is now happening across the world.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) blasted the ChiComs for blaming the U.S.: “[It’s a] shameless new chapter in China’s cynical campaign to control its own image. America has worked to assist all countries — China very much included — suffering from this pandemic.” He added, “But we cannot stand by as Beijing’s lies result in economic decline and in lives threatened across the world.”

Back in China, Beijing has begun revoking press credentials and expelling journalists working for U.S. news outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. Furthermore, China has unleashed an army of online bots on social-media platforms to spread its false propaganda campaign that the U.S. is responsible for initiating the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking of unleashing armies, however, The Wall Street Journal reported the inconvenient truth: The Chinese government “let some five million people leave Wuhan without screening.”

Chinese intelligence has also been caught attempting to hack the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services database. It’s clear that the Chinese communist government still has a chokehold on the nation and is ratcheting up its disinformation war in an effort to prevent the truth from getting out to both its own people and the rest of the world. And now China is threatening to restrict critical drug shipments to the U.S. — a weakness in our system that we’ve highlighted previously.

In the meantime, much of the mainstream media is more than willing to pump out the ridiculous and demonstrably false assertion that China’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent pandemic puts U.S. efforts to shame. Of course, this has everything to do with the fact that President Donald Trump is in office. Leftmedia talkingheads are so averse to offering any positive coverage of Trump that they’ll spew communist propaganda so long as it makes Trump look incompetent. Typifying the degree to which the Leftmedia will bow to China is its absurd assertion that Trump’s reference to COVID-19 as “foreign” or “Chinese” is emblematic of racism. In truth, if Trump had actually handled the situation the same way Beijing has, most of these Leftmedia journalists would be sitting in a cell for failing to spout his praise.

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Trump Wins GOP Nomination as Biden Increases Lead Over Sanders

Thomas Gallatin

On the same night that President Donald Trump officially secured the Republican presidential nomination with his overwhelming wins in the Florida and Illinois primaries, Joe Biden unofficially locked in his nomination for the Democrats as he swept the three states holding Democrat primaries — Arizona, Florida, and Illinois. As The New York Times observes, Biden’s “victory over Senator Bernie Sanders effectively snuffed out his rival’s hopes of a comeback.” The only question remaining is when Sanders will concede defeat.

Biden’s success and Sanders’s free-fall can be assigned to a couple reasons. The primary one is that a majority of Americans — and even Democrats for that matter — aren’t onboard with Bolshevik Bernie’s revolution. Secondly, Biden has effectively outmaneuvered Sanders by essentially playing to the party’s hard-left base. Biden has done this by asserting that his real disagreement with Sanders is mostly over “tactics, but we share a common vision.” As The Wall Street Journal reports, “Mr. Biden already is trying to unify the party behind him, endorsing policy proposals related to bankruptcy laws and college tuition in a bid to woo liberals. Mr. Sanders acknowledged last week that he’s losing the ‘debate over electability’ among Democrats.”

So, how long will Sanders hang on? He has thus far remained defiant against calls for his concession and, if 2016 is any guide, he’ll continue to stick it out. In fact, his campaign is accusing Biden’s of lying about coronavirus. Sanders’s national press secretary, Briahna Joy Gray, claimed, “Biden’s campaign has lied repeatedly about the safety of going to the polls. Bernie Sanders is putting the health and safety of the country first. I know who I’m voting for.” Then again, his campaign released a statement that the senator will “assess his campaign” in the coming days. We’re waiting with bated breath.

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Martin Luther on Responding to Pandemics

Sixteenth century Reformer Martin Luther wrote almost 500 years ago about responding to pandemics. When Luther was confronted by questions about how to respond to The Black Death Plague, he responded in words that should serve to inform our approach to the pandemic crisis our nation and the world is now facing today.

In a letter to Rev. Dr. John Hess, found in Luther’s Works, Volume 43 p. 132, as “Whether one may flee from a Deadly Plague,” Luther writes:

“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash no foolhardy and does not tempt God.”

Today in the 21st century, the faithful should go and do likewise.

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March Sadness?

Grassroots perspective by Willie Richardson

The month of March is known to college basketball fans as March Madness. Fanatics fill out brackets to see if their team wins it all. Undergraduate college jocks go head to head to battle in basketball for the prize to be called National Champions. March is also when we “spring forward” in time and go on Spring Breaks. And then came 2020.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) panic, young men who were looking to win a championship won’t get one more shot to beat the buzzer. Teenage girls have new prom dresses in their closets never to be worn. The entertainment industry from Hollywood to the National Hockey League to the NCAA tournament have either shutdown or suspended current events. Movies, concerts, and senior-citizen BINGO games have all been put on a standstill. The education system is being quarantined, as parents will learn soon enough that it’s “not the teacher’s fault.” At home, moms and dads will be teaching their school-age children commonsense arithmetic over Common Core math.

So, what’s the big deal?

With the coronavirus frenzy, none of these things will be taking place and we as Americans are forced to do normal things like having picnics in the backyard or sitting outside on the front porch. Now, married couples will have opportunities to relax and get to know each other deeper. We might even see a baby boom by December 2020! Children will sit at the table, eat dinner, and look their parents in the eyes. Home improvements around the house can be finalized. Board games replace nationally televised basketball games and going to see a movie turns into a family movie night at home.

Here’s a list of things you can do to help “spring forward” with your families:

  • Have each kid pick a topic they’d like to learn about and spend 30 mins each day on that topic

  • Spend one day reading every single picture book you have in the house

  • Go through all the old mail laying around (ok, that one’s not for kids although they do enjoy helping tear stuff up)

  • Bake something every day

  • Have each kid write a letter and/or emails to a different friend or family member each day

  • Wash your hands!

  • Races of various kinds in the backyard (hopping on one foot, crabwalk, walking backwards, etc.)

  • Try stop-motion animation with PlayDough

  • Facetime grandparents

  • Watch everything on Disney+

  • Have the kids help with yardwork in between playing games outside — get the garden ready

  • Board games, card games

  • Legos

  • Lots of reading, playing with the dog

  • Learning to sew using stuff you have on hand

  • Card-making/scrapbooking projects

  • Make tents and reading caves — flashlights, tidy snacks, books, and pillows

  • Have a shadow show in the reading tent (use blankets over chairs or a table)

  • Get binoculars and learn about the birds near your house, look them up on Google and search for their birdcalls on YouTube

  • Many educational websites are waiving fees if your student’s school is closed

  • Watch all the hand-washing videos & vote on your favorite. Discuss why each is good, helpful, funny. The Holderness Family parody is hilarious!

Americans, let us take this time to realize the bigger things in life have been given a small place in our homes. Although I caution about the hysteria around the coronavirus, I do think we need to take a break and take care of family first. Make March Great Again!

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Jordan Candler

Above the Fold

  • “GAG AND VOTE FOR IT ANYWAY”: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Senate will pass House coronavirus bill without changes (The Hill)

  • “WE’RE GOING BIG”: President Trump wants checks sent to Americans within next two weeks (The Daily Wire)

  • WORSE THAN 2008? Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warns virus could yield 20% jobless rate without action (Bloomberg)

  • TAX PAYMENTS POSTPONED: Treasury and IRS to delay tax payment deadline by 90 days (CNBC)

Government & Politics

  • BLOWOUT: Joe Biden crushes Bernie Sanders in primary sweep of Florida, Illinois, and Arizona (Fox News)

  • 2020 VISION: Trump officially secures Republican nomination (The Daily Wire)

National Security

  • CANNOT RISK AN OUTBREAK: U.S. to send back all asylum seekers at southern border (National Review)

  • RULE OF LAW: Border chief won’t hand over criminal illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities (Washington Examiner)

Culture & Heartland

  • AVERAGE OF DAILY ARRESTS DROPS BY 240: Los Angeles releases more than 600 inmates, slashes arrests to “combat coronavirus” (The Daily Wire)

  • FOLLOWING SUIT: Philadelphia police stop some arrests to manage jail crowding during coronavirus pandemic (Washington Examiner)

Closing Arguments

  • POLICY: How coronavirus could change healthcare for the better (Washington Examiner)

  • POLICY: Governance in crisis: A guide to what the states can and can’t do about coronavirus (Washington Examiner)

  • HUMOR: Economic crisis averted as Mike Bloomberg vows to give $1 million to every American (The Babylon Bee)

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

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Are Some Towns Using Coronavirus to Attack Gun Rights? — Increasing anxiety over the spread of COVID-19 appears to be yielding another powerful danger: a clear rise in government overreach.

Video: Four Tips for Dealing With Life Under Social Isolation — Ben Shapiro’s four tips for dealing with life under quarantine.

Humor Video: ‘Cheers’ on Proper Sanitization Protocol — “I’m a janitor at a biology lab…”


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


Insight: “Whatever the individual motives of the censors may be, censorship is a form of social control. It is a means of holding a society together, of arresting the flux which censors fear. And since the fear cannot be appeased, the demands for censorship mount in volume and intensity. And one form of censorship can easily lead to other forms.” —author Carey McWilliams (1905-1980)

Food for thought: “For most of us, the ‘self-quarantine’ being observed across the country (including in my house) involves spending more time with our families, cooking meals in our kitchens rather than eating fast food, making fewer unnecessary purchases, and teaching our kids at home instead of shipping them off to government buildings for the majority of the day. … These practices are also objectively good and healthy.” —Matt Walsh

Upright: “The ChiComs are the problem. If the Chinese government spent as much time working on educating its people and regulating dangerous markets as it does on secrecy and propaganda efforts, maybe it wouldn’t have to worry as much about diseases being named after it.” —National Review’s David Harsanyi

Village idiot, part I: “Trump’s been tooting his dog whistle pretty hard by calling it ‘Chinese virus.’ … It’s a very racist term. If you care so much about naming things where they came from, then call it ‘bat-bite fever.’” —comedian Stephen Colbert

Village idiot, part II: “Look, I understand postponing elections right now. It protects voters and poll workers. But we’ve gotta be careful, because we’ve been socially distancing from American democracy for years. Someone should really check on her. She’s 244 years old.” —Stephen Colbert

And last… “Once this is all over, it’s far past time for Americans to have a serious discussion about the extent to which openness to China ought to be curbed. The Trump administration should consider a travel ban on China until China has verifiably shut down its exotic animals markets, at the very least. The current crisis will cost millions of American jobs, millions more of Americans’ savings and thousands of American lives. To trust the Chinese government after a global betrayal of this magnitude would not only be foolish; it would be immoral.” —The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.



For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

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