Mid-Day Digest

Mar. 19, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“We are, heart and soul, friends to the freedom of the press. It is however, the prostituted companion of liberty, and somehow or other, we know not how, its efficient auxiliary.” —Fisher Ames (1807)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

MSM Goes to Bat for ChiComs by Fomenting Faux Racism

Thomas Gallatin

It’s beyond dispute that the novel coronavirus officially known as COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China. In coverage of the growing pandemic, the mainstream media has repeatedly and regularly referred to COVID-19 as both the Wuhan Virus and the China Virus, neither designation being inaccurate. However, as the Chinese communist government seeks to shift blame for its poor handling of the initial outbreak and its subsequent cover-up of its own failure to properly alert the rest of the world, rather than shine a white-hot spotlight on Beijing’s failure, the American media elected to go to bat for the ChiComs.

At Wednesday’s White House press conference, an ABC reporter asked President Donald Trump: “Why do you keep calling this the ‘Chinese Virus’? There are reports of dozens of incidents of bias against Chinese Americans in this country. Your own aide, [HHS] Secretary [Alex] Azar, says he does not use this term. He says ethnicity does not cause the virus. Why do you keep using this? A lot of people think it’s racist.” (By which, of course, she means she and her media pals.)

Of all the practical, urgent, and substantive concerns the American people have during this pandemic, the MSM elects to gin up a faux “racist” controversy over Trump’s referencing the coronavirus as the “China Virus.” Talk about a raging case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Trump responded in a measured and entirely appropriate manner, answering matter-of-factly, “Because it comes from China.” When the reporter doubled down by insisting that “people say it’s racist,” Trump shot back, “It’s not racist at all. No. Not at all. It comes from China. That’s why.”

At another point during the press conference, a PBS reporter once again pushed the “racist” accusation, this time claiming that an unnamed member of the administration had referred to the virus as the “Kung Flu” and asking if Trump thought that was wrong. Trump then asked who specifically had called it that, to which the reporter had no answer but continued to ask if using the term “Chinese Virus” put Asian Americans at risk. Once again Trump bluntly answered, “No, not at all. I think they probably would agree with it 100%. It comes from China. There’s nothing not to agree on.”

What the MSM is doing is acting as the propaganda arm of the ChiComs. Criticism that Trump has gone out of his way to mendaciously label COVID-19 the China Virus is false — and it’s not him simply trolling the Leftmedia. In fact, his rationale for doing so has everything to do with combating Beijing’s state-media disinformation campaign that the U.S. military seeded the virus. “That can’t happen,” Trump emphasized. “It’s not going to happen — not as long as I’m president.”

The truth is that the Chinese communist government is to blame for this global pandemic, not the Chinese people at large. In fact, those who have suffered the most from the pandemic are the Chinese people, thanks to their communist overlords’ malpractice and attempted cover-up. And now the rest of the world is suffering.

Never have MSM propagandists acted more despicably than they are now, effectively going to bat for those most responsible for unleashing this pandemic and then turning and blaming an American president for accurately and pointedly noting this reality. The degree of hypocrisy and divisiveness displayed by the MSM at a time of national crisis is simply unacceptable.

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Don’t Panic Over the China Flu Testing Spike

Mark Alexander

On our comprehensive resource page on the Wuhan Flu (COVID-19), we noted, “Regarding the dramatic daily revisions for coronavirus infections and deaths … the dramatic increase in cases is not just a reflection of virology, how contagious the virus is, but is also related to increased testing — the more testing, the more cases discovered.”

Common sense, right? But common sense is not so common in the pool of mainstream-media reporters.

The MSM, particularly the TV talkingheads, in their grossly irresponsible coverage of the China Virus in the last six weeks, failed to make the basic arithmetic connection between increased testing and increased diagnosis. But their objective is clickbait ad revenue, which often takes editorial precedence over the facts. That negligence is in large measure responsible for the public panic and, in turn, the dramatic response required to both assuage the panic and flatten the COVID-19 spread curve.

Yesterday, health officials announced that in the next 5-10 days, there will be an enormous increase in the number of infections reported, corresponding to the enormous increase in the number of tests being administered and faster evaluation procedures.

Amazingly, after Fox News commentator Bret Baier noted, “[The administration] predicts a dramatic increase in the number of confirmed infections over the next few days because more tests are being administered and a backlog of tests are being analyzed,” NPRs Mara Liasson correctly concluded: “Yes, we’re gonna have a big explosion [of infections], and then it will also make the fatality rate get smaller!”

That’s right — somebody in the MSM finally made the math connection.

As we noted in the section “Understanding the Threat and Mortality Rate” on our COVID-19 resource page, the MSM “death toll” fatality percentage reports are based on the number of fatalities divided by the number of diagnosed cases, which is the fatality rate, not the mortality rate. The CDC calculates mortality based on the number of deaths divided by the total at-risk population. For most viral outbreaks, that falls in the 0.1%-0.5% range, far lower than the fatality shock figures being promoted by the media.

And that is a major reason why, as the testing increases, the fatality and mortality rates will decline. Furthermore, while COVID-19 death records are reasonably accurate, the actual number of infections, even with increased testing, will remain significantly underreported, because many people with mild cases will go untested.

With increased testing, we are going to learn a lot more about who needs to be isolated, what age groups are most impacted, what age groups are requiring hospitalization, etc. That information is critical. Of course, this will also lead to another round of political and media finger-pointing on the availability of tests.

The good news is about indications that cases may be leveling off in Asia.

For the record, I would certainly not turn to China for information as there is NO reliable information from the nation that has orchestrated a disinformation campaign about the disease, even attempting to blame its origin on the United States.

A much more reliable measure regarding the spread in Asia are the statistics from South Korea, where the fatality and mortality rates may be leveling off — the former being about 1%, and the latter much lower at about 0.2%, in line with bad flu seasons in the U.S.

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‘The Government Is Here to Help’

Nate Jackson

President Donald Trump made a couple of significant moves Wednesday for confronting the coronavirus pandemic. One was signing the second aid package passed by Congress. The other was taking a wartime posture. We’ll start with the latter.

“I view it as … [I’m] a wartime president,” Trump said. “I mean, that’s what we’re fighting.” He then elaborated, “Every generation of Americans has been called to make shared sacrifices for the good of the nation. In World War II, young people in their teenage years volunteered to fight. They wanted to fight so badly because they love our country. Workers refused to go home and slept on factory floors to keep assembly lines running. … The numbers of ships that they built during World War II, to this day … nothing like that has ever been equal. And now it’s our time. We must sacrifice together because we are all in this together and we’ll come through together. It’s the invisible enemy. That’s always the toughest enemy: the invisible enemy. But we’re going to defeat the invisible enemy. I think we’re going to do it even faster than we thought. And it will be a complete victory. It’ll be a total victory.”

One move Trump made along these lines was invoking the Korean War-era Defense Production Act. Fox News summarizes, “The act ensures the private sector can ramp-up manufacturing and distribution of emergency medical supplies and equipment. The move gives the White House the authority to increase production of masks, ventilators and respirators, as well as expand hospital capacity to combat the coronavirus.”

The president has yet to give any indication that he will use the act to mandate anything, but Trump evidently wants it in his back pocket. GM and Tesla have each voluntarily offered their manufacturing capabilities for producing medical supplies if needed.

Back to the aid package, the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act by a vote of 90-8 Wednesday, and Trump signed it yesterday evening. NBC News reports, “The measure provides free coronavirus testing and ensures paid emergency leave for those who are infected or caring for a family member with the illness. The bill also provides additional Medicaid funding, food assistance and unemployment benefits.”

Congress will now turn its attention to “the big one” — a $1 trillion-plus spending bonanza that will almost certainly include multiple sizable payments to Americans, probably at a threshold income of around $100,000. It will also include aid for businesses most affected by “social distancing,” cancellations, and shutdowns. The hotel industry seeks $150 billion, and airlines want $50 billion. Another $300 billion may go toward financing loans for small businesses.

In any case, the economic shockwaves are being felt daily by American workers and their families. There’s no end in sight, so we should do what Americans always do: buckle down and fight.

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In a Time of Crisis, Let’s Stand Together

Arnold Ahlert

For quite some time, aided and abetted by a rapacious media and take-no-prisoners howlers-at-the-moon on social media, “partisanship porn” has been America’s most enduring frame of reference. You’re either with me or you’re the enemy, the idiot, or simply beneath contempt. Thus one must be ridiculed, defriended, socially ostracized, and/or ignored. All of our differences are irreconcilable and civil war inevitable.

Except that it’s not.

This writer is a conservative who finds much of the progressive agenda wrongheaded at best and detestable at worst. But an agenda is not a person and hatred, simply for hatred’s sake, might be the most contemptible default position one can have — in the best of times.

In a time of national emergency, it may prove deadlier than the coronavirus that has precipitated that emergency.

One wants to point out that the Trump administration has done a lousy job reacting to the virus, while someone else wants to counter that there’s a double standard regarding how well the Obama administration handled swine flu and Ebola? Point and counterpoint. Tit for tat. Nah, nah, nah, nah nah.

Toward what end, other than to stoke division in a time when unity is desperately needed?

Columnist Micheal Goodwin reminds us that even during a world war, soldiers on both sides took a respite from the baser aspects of the human condition. “Starting earlier in December and culminating on Christmas Day in 1914, many allied British and French troops on one side and Germans on the other left their trenches and greeted each other on No-Man’s Land,” he writes. “The sudden fraternization happened on many spots along the Western Front, with soldiers swapping souvenirs, raising toasts, singing Christmas songs and playing soccer.”

He believes the same mindset should prevail in Washington, DC. “If warring European soldiers could do it a century ago, surely warring American political leaders can do it today,” he asserts. “God knows our nation needs a truce.”

Indeed.

Nonetheless, there is little doubt the partisanship that afflicts our Ruling Class will play itself out in whatever series of measures politicians attempt to implement during this crisis. Thus, conservatives will complain about possible loss of constitutional rights precipitated by mandatory shutdowns of various economic sectors, while progressives will complain about efforts viewed as sacrificing vulnerable Americans to protect the economy — all while reliably hysterical media pundits exacerbate the differences and fan the flames of panic for their own perceived advantages. Conservatives will rail against nationalization schemes, progressives against tax cuts, etc. etc., ad infinitum.

Here’s an idea: In a nation beset by large philosophical differences, how about inserting a sunset clause into every measure enacted by Congress during the crisis? According to the current worst-case scenarios, we are in for a long period of hard times. Perhaps such sunset clauses could be tied to information regarding when the transmission of the virus peaks and begins to wane. At that point, any measure related to the outbreak will either have to be renewed or it will automatically expire.

A heavy lift? No doubt. But one that would certainly mitigate the paralysis that inevitably arises when one side sees the other as seeking permanent changes, using coronavirus as a pretext. Indications that bipartisanship is already occurring are a welcome sign, and such clauses would further that end.

Perhaps financial markets should be temporarily closed as well. Since panic is the current worldwide default position, and most economies are in some form of suspended animation, it seems sensible to suspend the unprecedented and potentially catastrophic gyrations of financial markets as well. Price discovery, which is the basis of the entire system, can be determined at a later time.

Americans themselves? One hopes that self-quarantining and isolation might induce reflectiveness. Perhaps we might begin to realize that most of the issues we argue about, sometimes to the point of insanity, are reflective of our … luxury. The overwhelming majority of Americans are well fed (even to the point of obesity) and our definition of “poor” is the envy of a world where, for the overwhelming majority of people, simple survival is still a 24/7/365 effort.

And then there’s perspective. “For those who grew up in the 1930s and 1940s, there was nothing unusual about finding yourself threatened by contagious disease,” writes self-described “80-something” columnist Clark Whelton. “Mumps, measles, chicken pox, and German measles swept through entire schools and towns; I had all four. Polio took a heavy annual toll, leaving thousands of people (mostly children) paralyzed or dead. There were no vaccines. Growing up meant running an unavoidable gauntlet of infectious disease.”

In modern day America, “growing up” has become an increasingly heavier lift in an increasingly narcissistic nation. No doubt largesse, coupled with technology, has made “look at me” a national sport. But one suspects a crisis that has likely caused millions of Americans of every generation to contemplate their own mortality may ultimately engender a much-needed “were all in this together” response. At the very least, we may realize just how petty many of our disagreements are, and one hopes that in turn will engender an appreciation of each other that transcends those differences — even if it is only for the duration of the crisis.

We already know where the alternative gets us, and the reality that some people will never get it should not deter the rest of us from seeking common ground, no matter how narrow the parameters. Americans will always disagree, even vehemently, about what is right and wrong for our nation, but the wholesale elimination of mutual respect does not have to be part of the equation.

Moreover, we should be enormously thankful for the legions of unsung, everyday heroes who persevere and often risk their own well-being taking care of the ill, delivering much-needed supplies, and performing other innumerable tasks that may ultimately be the difference between civilization and anarchy. Few of their names will ever be known, but millions of Americans will owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.

America persevered after Pearl Harbor and 9/11. We can do it again. And maybe, just maybe, for the first time since it was coined, there is a phrase Americans can take to heart in an entirely different context than it was first presented:

Never let a crisis go to waste.

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World Economic Freedom Highest in History

Thomas Gallatin

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, good news seems to have become a rare commodity, but in truth there is more good news out there than many of us may realize or appreciate. One example comes from The Heritage Foundation, which recently released its annual Index of Economic Freedom. According to the index, the average level of economic freedom experienced by people living all across the world was the highest in history this past year, continuing a steady positive trend over the past three decades. And this is thanks in large part to the global spread of American-style free-market capitalism.

As The Daily Signal observes, “Since the fall of the Soviet Union and its socialist/communist allied governments in Eastern Europe, the world economy has more than doubled in size. Poverty rates have declined by two-thirds.” This fact makes it that much more mind-blowing that anyone would consider the possibility of socialism offering anything but suffering and economic depravity.

More people across the planet are enjoying longer, healthier, and more economically stable lives than have ever done so in history. Furthermore, as the Signal notes, “The data presented in the index demonstrate conclusively that citizens of freer societies enjoy much higher levels of per-capita income than those who live where governments control most economic activity.”

So, as our own government scrambles to stabilize the economy in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would do well to remember that free-market principles made our economy the envy of the world. Keynesian economic models may be popular because they feed the self-important hubris of those in government, but it’s no substitute for wealth creation via free-market capitalism as demonstrated by the Index of Economic Freedom.

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Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column

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NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

Coronavirus Updates

  • ROUND 2 of 3: President Trump signs coronavirus aid package with paid sick leave, free testing; $1 trillion stimulus package in the works (The Hill)

  • MEDICAL SUPPLIES AT THE READY: Trump invokes Defense Production Act to buoy the manufacturing of medical supplies (The Hill)

  • COVID-19 BESIEGES CAPITOL HILL: Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ben McAdams are first lawmakers to announce testing positive for coronavirus (Fox News)

  • PRECAUTIONARY STEP: New York Stock Exchange will temporarily close trading floors after two positive coronavirus tests (National Review)

  • NO JOKE: Baltimore mayor begs residents to stop shooting each other so hospital beds can be used for coronavirus patients (CBS Baltimore)

  • ENDANGERING THE GREATEST GENERATION: “If I get corona, I get corona”: Miami spring breakers say virus hasn’t stopped them from partying (Washington Post)

  • CDC ANALYSIS: Eighty percent of U.S. coronavirus deaths are people 65 and older (The Hill)

  • DESPITE A LOWER RISK OF DYING: Younger adults make up big portion of coronavirus hospitalizations in U.S. (The New York Times)

  • COMMUNIST MALFEASANCE: Outbreak could have been reduced by 95% if China acted sooner (The Daily Wire)

Business & Economy

  • NOSEDIVE CONTINUES: Dow below 20,000 as stock plunge threatens Trump-era gains (Fox Business)

  • HITTING THE BRAKES: Most automakers shut North American plants (AP)

  • SILVER LININGS: Gas prices could hit 99 cents in some states due to coronavirus and supplies (Fox News)

Other Notables

  • ONLY A MATTER OF TIME: Bernie Sanders deactivates 2020 campaign Facebook ads (Axios)

  • ROCKET-ATTACK RETALIATION: U.S. imposes new sanctions on Iran, seeks release of Americans (National Review)

Closing Arguments

  • POLICY: Plastic bag bans aren’t helping us fight against coronavirus (Washington Examiner)

  • POLICY: Amid pandemic, be jealous of your liberties — and also don’t be stupid (Washington Examiner)

  • HUMOR: In abundance of caution, local teen cancels cleaning her room for one month amid outbreak (Genesius Times)

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

The Patriot Post is a certified ad-free news service, unlike third-party commercial news sites linked on this page, which may also require a paid subscription.

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VIDEOS

Video: How to Keep Your Head When All About You Are Losing Theirs — Bill Whittle deals with the taproot of fear and excoriates the craven acts of opportunistic politicians.

Video: Italian Opera Singer Serenades Quarantined Florence — His nightly ritual provides epic remedy for the sequestered city.

Humor Video: ‘The Office’ Explains How to Prevent the Spread of Germs — Take note if you want to prevent the spread of disease.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

Re: The Left: “Scientists tell us that many species are dying off. Another is on the verge of extinction — the pro-life House Democrat. Tuesday night, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), a genuinely moderate pro-life Democrat, lost his primary to a left-wing candidate endorsed by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. According to Gallup, 29% of Democrats self-identify as ‘pro-life.’ But after Tuesday’s primaries, there may be only one pro-life Democrat left in the House. That doesn’t sound very ‘representative’ to me.” —Gary Bauer

Editorial exegesis: “There is a long history of attaching geographic names to diseases. If the present instances are unfair to the Chinese people, who have suffered massively from the outbreak, a better name would be ‘Xi’s disease.’ Indeed, we do not blame the Chinese people for the fact that a novel coronavirus cropped up in Wuhan. We blame the government in Beijing for making the problem dramatically worse by trying to cover it up, for its ridiculous efforts to try to shift blame for the epidemic onto the United States and others, and for its ongoing attempts to veil its own shameful incompetence by expelling journalists from the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.” —National Review

Non compos mentis: “Can we talk about 1 of the few topics I may actually know too much about: homicide? Specifically, whether Donald Trump may have criminal exposure for some level of negligent homicide or voluntary/involuntary manslaughter for the way he’s mishandled the Coronavirus crisis. … I’m trying to assimilate all available evidence (rapidly developing and being reported every day) to fairly assess whether Trump and his administration may have acted/failed to act in a way that could give rise to homicide liability. … ALL criminal charges will have to be investigated and, if the evidence dictates it, prosecuted come Jan. 2021.” —MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner

Braying jenny: “I think there is nobody here that does not want Donald Trump to be defeated.” —CNN commentator Alexandra Rojas

Alpha jackass: “F—k a National day of prayer, we need immediate comprehensive action.” —anti-Second Amendment leftist David Hogg, whose social-media post was retweeted by Rep. Rashida Tlaib

Race bait: “The president is turning to racist rhetoric to distract from his failures to take the coronavirus seriously early on, make tests widely available, and adequately prepare the country for a period of crisis.” —Hillary Clinton

Big Brother: “A one or two time check isn’t good enough — the government must tell every small and mid-sized business owner that we’ll cover 100% of their payroll if they don’t lay off anyone during this crisis.” —Bernie Sanders

Well okay then: “I’m dealing with a f—king global crisis.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders answering a question about when he might drop out

And last… “China tried to say at one point … that [COVID-19] was caused by American soldiers. That can’t happen. It’s not going to happen — not as long as I’m president. It comes from China.” —President Donald Trump

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TODAY’S MEME

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

TODAY’S CARTOON

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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

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