Mid-Day Digest

Mar. 23, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“There is a just God who presides over the destines of nations … who will raise up friends to fight our battle for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave… Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.” —Patrick Henry (1775)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Democrats Derail Senate’s $1.8T Relief Bill

Thomas Gallatin

At a moment when all Americans need to unite to address the China Virus pandemic and its economic impact, congressional Democrats have elected to play partisan politics.

On Sunday evening, as the Senate was preparing to move forward via a procedural vote on a $1.8 trillion stimulus bill, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer threw a last-second wrench in the works. Democrats lined up to vote against moving the bipartisan bill forward, offering the ridiculous excuse that it did too much to help corporations and not enough to help workers. That argument simply doesn’t hold water, as moving the legislation forward would have allowed continued debate.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted as much when he blasted Democrats for obstructing the relief bill. “We had a high level of bipartisanship in five different working groups over the last 48 hours, where members who were participating were reaching agreement,” McConnell said. “And then all of a sudden the Democratic leader and the speaker of the House shows up, and we’re back to square one.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had conferred with Schumer hours before the Senate vote in a clear effort to derail the bill, as she and Schumer work to create the false narrative that Democrats are the ones most looking out for American interests. The truth is they are still seeking to exploit a crisis to tank the economy with the hopes of reaping political benefit.

McConnell noted the negative economic toll the Democrats’ obstruction play would have, pointing to the fact that the market was almost certain to suffer another terrible day Monday. He concluded, “The notion that we have time to play games here with the American economy and the American people is utterly absurd.”

While the growing economic pain is hitting home for millions of Americans, Democrats are exploiting the crisis to push their own political agenda. And don’t forget that these lawmakers, many of whom are millionaires like Pelosi and Schumer, continue to collect their paychecks. How about Congress forego their paychecks until the China Virus crisis has passed?

Even The New York Times was surprised by the Democrats’ sudden obstructionist move, worriedly noting, “In voting to block action, Democrats risked a political backlash if they are seen as obstructing progress on a measure that is widely regarded as crucial to aid desperate Americans and buttress a flagging economy.”

What may have ignited the Democrats’ gambit is recent polling showing President Donald Trump’s approval rating rising as he has worked tirelessly and in a bipartisan effort to address the pandemic. As Power Line’s Steven Hayward observes, “[Democrats] are in a panic about the fact that Trump’s approval ratings are rising at the moment, and they are desperate to keep Trump from having a ‘win’ on policy amidst this crisis. A package will pass, probably soon, and while it may have many defects and require many sequels, the political interests of Democrats demands that they delay and degrade the process as much as possible to diminish Trump. I doubt this would be happening if it was a year ago, or a year from now. But it’s election year, and deranged Democrats are desperate.”

McConnell plans to hold a second vote to move forward on the Senate’s stimulus legislation later today, but the markets already plunged this morning, which is exactly what Schumer, Pelosi, and company wanted.

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‘We Can Meet the Moment,’ Trump Declares

Nate Jackson

President Donald Trump delivered powerful remarks over the weekend, as the nation continues to reel from the sudden and devastating effects of the China Virus pandemic.

“This is a challenging time for all Americans,” Trump solemnly said. “We’re enduring a great national trial, and we will prove that we can meet the moment. I want to assure the American people that we’re doing everything we can each day to confront and ultimately defeat this horrible, invisible enemy. We’re at war. In a true sense, we’re at war and we’re fighting an invisible enemy.”

But sounding a note of hope, he added, “For those of you who are feeling alone and isolated, I want you to know that we’re all joined together as one people, eternally linked by our shared national spirit. We love our country — the spirit of courage and love and patriotism. No American is alone as long as we are united, and we are united. We’re very united. People are saying things now that three weeks ago — they didn’t talk that way. We’re very united. No force is equal to the strength of a unified America, united America, an America like we have it right now.”

“For those worried and afraid,” Trump concluded, “please know as long as I am your president, you can feel confident that you have a leader who will always fight for you and I will not stop until we win. This will be a great victory, this is going to be a victory, and it’s going to be a victory that in my opinion will happen much sooner than originally expected.”

Perhaps Trump thought it necessary to offer these comments because Friday’s White House briefing included a tiff between him and NBC correspondent Peter Alexander. “What do you say to the Americans who are scared?” Alexander asked. “Nearly 200 dead, 14,000 who are sick, millions, as you witnessed, who are scared right now. What do you say to Americans who are watching right now who are scared?”

Trump unloaded: “I say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I say.” He accused Alexander of “doing sensationalism,” and scolded, “You should be ashamed of yourself.”

Trump’s assessment of the Leftmedia talkingheads has been correct since day one, and particularly so in this exchange. We are fighting two warfronts — one the China Virus and the other “journalists” who ask questions as if they are part of China’s state-run media.

Veteran journalist Brit Hume likewise unloaded on Alexander. “Legitimate question my a**,” Hume wrote. “It was the kind of bullsh*t gotcha question which hack WH reporters have been asking for decades. But instead of going off on the reporter, Trump should have said the whole briefing in all its particulars was a message to people who are scared.”

Clearly, Trump decided it was wise to offer a message of hope and encouragement. His actions, too, have been measured and taking in the full counsel of advisers.

One of his recent actions includes giving the green light to Ford, General Motors, and Tesla to use their manufacturing capability to make ventilators, though he will not nationalize any business. He also declared that the federal government would fund “100%” of National Guard activation and deployment in California, New York, and Washington, all states that he says “have been hit the hardest.” Words paired with action — that’s what the American people should expect from their chief executive.

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China Virus: A Threat to Liberty?

Thomas Gallatin

How far can government go in limiting our liberty by invoking emergency powers? At what point has the state outstripped our constitutional protections and become authoritarian? When does the sacrifice of our individual rights in the name of “safety” or “security” yield neither?

The China Virus pandemic has made these theoretical concerns a reality. On the one hand, the threat posed by the highly contagious virus demands widespread action from all Americans. Public warnings and calls for isolation and self-quarantine have proven effective. Yet not all members of the public heeded the instructions, as evidenced by spring-break partiers on the beaches in Florida — at least until Florida’s governor finally closed the beaches.

Several state and local governments have issued mandatory isolation directives, including the closing of restaurants, bars, and other private business open to public gatherings.

On Thursday evening, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s 40 million residents to stay home indefinitely, allowing for only essential trips out to grocery stores, banks, laundromats, food banks, and take-out restaurants. California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy wondered if Newsom “consulted with a lot of experts before he decided to shut down 12% of the nation’s population.”

Following Newsom’s lead, on Friday New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order “mandating that 100% of [the] workforce must stay home, excluding essential services.” While the order excluded “pharmacies, grocery stores and others,” Cuomo warned that his order “will be enforced.” He stated, “Your actions can affect my health. That’s where we are.” But isn’t that always the case? Furthermore, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that a “shelter-in-place” order may be coming soon.

Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Ohio have also ordered varying degrees of shutdown, while Philadelphia, St. Louis, Kansas City, and several counties around the country have done likewise.

Perhaps most alarming, Champaign, Illinois, Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen banned the sale of firearms and ammunition after declaring a state of emergency due to the China Virus. And her reason for suspending the citizenry’s Second Amendment rights? To “protect the welfare and safety of our community,” said the mayor’s communication director.

But what about the fundamental human right of self-defense? This is the type of heavy-handed overreach that we must always be vigilant against. As Founder Patrick Henry warned, “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force.”

By all means, we should take seriously the public health threat posed by the China Virus. But let us also remember that the greater threat may be in the damage done to our individual Liberty.

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Pandemics Reorder Priorities

Arnold Ahlert

“The eight states where lawmakers have imposed plastic bag prohibitions are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont, according the National Conference of State Legislatures,” columnist Patrick Gleason writes. “Six of those statewide bag bans were enacted as recently as 2019. Hundreds of cities, towns, and counties have also imposed a bag ban or tax. All of these laws seek to force or encourage the use of reusable shopping bags, which pose a public health risk at any time and especially during the current pandemic.”

Not just during a pandemic. A 2011 study was undertaken by researchers at the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University. They collected reusable bags at random from grocery shoppers in California and Arizona, after which they conducted interviews with their owners.

What they discovered was problematic, to say the least. First, most owners seldom, if ever, washed their reusable bags. Second, many used them for multiple purposes.

The result of such practices? “Large numbers of bacteria were found in almost all bags and coliform bacteria in half,” the research stated. “Escherichia coli were identified in 8% of the bags, as well as a wide range of enteric bacteria, including several opportunistic pathogens. When meat juices were added to bags and stored in the trunks of cars for two hours, the number of bacteria increased 10-fold, indicating the potential for bacterial growth in the bags.”

It gets worse. A 2012 study revealed that nine members of a soccer team contracted the norovirus, described by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as a “very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea” simply by touching a reusable bag, or eating the food contained in it. In what might be seen as the essence of unthinking behavior, the bag had been stored in a bathroom. “That might seem like an outlier,” columnist Angela Logomasini explains, “but people cart these bags all over the place, touching surfaces on public transportation, taking them into public bathrooms, and other places, creating lots of opportunities for the bags to pick up bacteria and viruses.”

Such opportunities were not limited to picking up bacteria and viruses. A 2018 study published by the National Environmental Health Association used a non-infectious proxy virus to assess the probability of norovirus transmission related to reusable bags. It revealed that shoppers with such bags transmitted that virus all over the store, including high concentrations of it on the hands of the shoppers themselves, as well a grocery checkout clerks.

According to the 2011 study, washing such bags would remove more than 99.9% of the bacteria on them. A survey conducted at the University of Arizona, however, revealed that only 3% of bag owners ever wash them.

Now add coronavirus to the mix. Any questions?

New York has seen the light — sort of. The ban the state enacted has been pushed back from the initial enforcement date of April 1 to May 15. Yet almost unbelievably, there is resistance to the idea from the state’s Department of Conservation commissioner Basil Seggos. “DEC continues to encourage New Yorkers to transition to reusable bags whenever and wherever they shop and to use common-sense precautions to keep their reusable bags clean,” Seggos. “We have consistently said since the beginning of our outreach campaign that we will focus on education rather than enforcement.”

Such zealotry is unsurprising. The entire environmentalist movement has a cultish aspect to it, which brings us to the central aspect of that cult, namely global warming. For decades, a transnational movement promoted by elites as “settled science” and aimed at supplanting national governance has morphed into a full-blown campaign replete with the hysterical prediction that the world has less than a dozen years left between now and planetary armageddon.

Whether that brand of hysteria will take a back seat to the current pandemic remains to be seen. Yet all along, the underlying assumption of this movement is that higher global temperatures will be catastrophic. That many of the movement’s predications have yet to materialize is largely irrelevant. Yet perhaps even more inconvenient, it is quite possible that it might be our best hope for containing coronavirus.

A study posted on March 10 and revised on March 20 asserts that “high temperature and high relative humidity significantly reduce the transmission of COVID-19, respectively, even after controlling for population density and GDP per capita of cities.”

It’s only one study, and pushback will be inevitable as such assessments are antithetical to the globalist agenda. Thus, entities like the World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that climate change will cause about 250,000 additional deaths per year by the 2030s. That would be the same WHO whose dubious relationship with China likely exacerbated the spread of coronavirus. Instead of holding the ChiComs accountable for their pathetic and secretive response, the organization’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, praised Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “political commitment” and “political leadership.”

That would be the same Dr. Tedros who tried to appoint former Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe as one of the organization’s … goodwill ambassadors.

The real tell regarding this seemingly corrupt group of bureaucrats? As reported by NBC News, WHO spends more money on travel, including first class and business flying, than the combined budgets for tuberculosis, AIDS, and malaria. “This may just speak to how misplaced international priorities are, that WHO is getting so little for these disease programs,” stated Michael Osterholm, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Minnesota.

Moreover, here’s a question few ever ask: How many lives will be saved by global warming? Studies conducted in the UK in 2009 under the aegis of Professor William Keatinge of the University of London revealed more people die from excess cold than excess heat, yet such studies are rarely, if ever, part of any debate about global warming. Moreover one rarely hears about studies that show global warming could increase the amount of arable land for farming.

Proof positive? Certainly not, but one should be quite suspect of any agenda aimed at concentrating power beyond national borders to organizations accountable to no one but themselves.

Speaking of borders, an agreement between the United States and Mexico on banning all nonessential travel between the nations was implemented last Friday. Illegals attempting to cross the border will be returned — even those asking for asylum. Apparently both nations now recognize the necessity of border enforcement. So does the European Union, which not only has closed national borders, but erected barriers in an effort to contain the virus.

However the latest crisis plays out one thing is certain: We will never be the same nation again, and all agendas will be reassessed. Here’s hoping those which elevate politics — especially transnational politics — above all other considerations will be the first casualties.

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An Even Greater Pandemic Threat — Fear

Grassroots perspective by Patrick Hampton

As Americans hunker down in their homes to protect themselves and their loved ones from the pandemic threat, let’s not lose our grasp on reality. Let’s also hang tight to a simple concept most used by Christian believers — faith.

Isolated and afraid, many young Americans are in panic. Their parties and gatherings disrupted. Many have been laid off or are going without work for days with no means to pay their bills.

But in this unfortunate unfolding of events, one thing has spread faster than any viral contagion could: Fear.

In absence of faith, fear has led local and state officials to issue mandates in a state of overreaction that’s inconsistent with what the Centers for Disease Control recommends. The media, serving as a megaphone of mortality, are only making it worse.

According to the CDC’s Guidelines, Americans are urged to do the following to protect themselves and others:

  1. Clean hands often
  2. Avoid close contact
  3. Stay home and wear a facemask if you’re sick
  4. Cover coughs and sneezes
  5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily

(As a minister, I’d like to throw in a number 6, which is to pray, know God, and acknowledge Christ to alleviate all fear and confusion.)

The guidelines did not say to do the following:

  1. Buy truck beds full of toilet paper, groceries, and hygienic foods
  2. Avoid society altogether
  3. Don’t work or maintain a livelihood (if possible)
  4. Go to the E.R. to get tested (even though you don’t have symptoms)
  5. Cower in fear and hopelessness

Sadly, many businesses have been forced to close down by municipal powers, which I understand to be incongruent with what official sources recommend. This confusion is fueling the fear, causing some people to tune out and bow out of socialization entirely — hardly a healthy response in my book.

So ask yourself: Is this how we respond to a crisis? Are we so unprepared and without faith that we can’t be trusted to follow the CDC’s reasonable recommendations? Do we exist in a parent state that absolves us of responsibility to the degree that we are locked inside of our homes?

My appreciation goes out to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, who issued a common sense statement to mayors that I believe the faithful would appreciate. “On closures, utilize [the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance, we’re not issuing orders, we’re issuing guidance and strong suggestions,” Lee says. “We don’t have to mandate people not do certain behavior because Tennesseans follow suggestions. They follow guidance. So when we do that we’re going to see that Tennesseans come together.”

Lee ends his statement in a way that only a leader and man of God would, encouraging us all to pray — for the citizens affected by the economic challenges AND the illness passing through our state.

So in line with Lee’s request, I ask my lawmakers to understand that our nation is made up of millions of God-fearing people who have faith that this plague will pass and that our economy will rise again. And if there’s anything we as a nation can put our faith in, it’s in the reality that God’s people are praying for the best outcome possible.

I close my statement with reassurance only the Holy Bible can offer. If we are to read any guidelines, then may God’s word be a priority for all believers:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 4:6-7

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Abortion Demands Grow on Left

Robin Smith

Politics is downstream of culture. As the mores, standards, and lack thereof change, so do our politics. Look no further than the definition of life in the womb.

Leftists’ demand for abortion is now just to be safe (for the mother), not rare. That’s in contrast to the stance from 28 years earlier. In 1992, the Democratic National Committee Platform referenced abortion twice. In the 2016 DNC Platform, the mentions of abortion increased to six with a great deal more copy devoted to demands of reproductive choice and “justice.”

Back in the days of Bill Clinton, Democrats promised affordable health care that included “the full range of reproductive choice — education, counseling, access to contraceptives, and the right to a safe, legal abortion.” They argued, “The goal of our nation must be to make abortion less necessary, not more difficult or more dangerous.”

But in the 2016 DNC Platform, the desire to see a reduction in the practice of ending the life of the preborn child in the mother’s womb is anathema for militant feminists. They now say, “We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion.”

As the 2020 presidential election approaches, both the DNC and the Republican National Committee will publish their newest platforms that provide the ideological framework for the respective partisan organizations. Don’t be surprised to see even more radical language from Democrats who equate life-ending abortion with healthcare.

Still in doubt?

Just last week, Illinois Democrats defeated their last pro-life member of Congress, Congressman Dan Lipinski. Representing the more moderate but still Democrat 3rd Congressional District, Lipinski suffered a defeat at the hands of a more “progressive” Marie Newman, who had backing from all the big-monied abortion industry: Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Emily’s List, and Pro-Choice America. This bloodthirsty coalition spent over $1.5 million to aid the campaign aimed to defeat the incumbent Lipinski. It wasn’t just the big money of the abortion industry. The Who’s Who of hard-left politics joined in. Endorsements of Newman included Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.

Sanders, along with other presidential hopefuls on the Left, has declared that abortion support be a “litmus test” to be deemed a Democrat. As time has passed, Democrats have become galvanized in their determination to support abortion as part of the modern Democrat Party.

Newman ran previously against Lipinski and lost in 2018. Her success in 2020 is due to any number of factors, but one that can’t be overlooked is that the new Democrats have no tolerance for any who define life as beginning at conception, or who say that the life of a preborn child should be protected.

Despite the decline in morals, universal support of abortion is not the mainstream opinion of Americans.

As few as 13% of Americans support abortion during the last trimester and more than 75% want restrictions on abortion — anything from limiting it to the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, allowing it only in the case of rape or incest, or not permitting it at all. Even registered Democrats show limited support of abortion in the last three months before delivery, with just 18% supportive and up to 30% of Democrats being pro-life.

What does this mean? Are our politics becoming more radical? Are women really more likely to support abortion rather than motherhood?

Politics is downstream of culture. Our society has embraced less of God and more of self, which leads directly into the narrative that one’s life is all about one — the Me, Myself, and I Holy Trinity of the religion of Secularism. When the entity of secular deification is looking at any event or life choice, even pregnancy, one of the key factors is whether an event or action is convenient as well as whether said event adds to or takes away from the rights and independence of the individual involved.

Abortion is performed less today than in years past thanks to the improved technology around ultrasound imaging and laws that honor the rights of the preborn. But on the political front, the facts are that beliefs have shifted due to cultural indifference to truth that masquerades as tolerance and that which is now accepted as a societal good. Most alarming should be the latter. Abortion accepted as some societal good reflects our tendency toward selfish existence with no ability to understand legacy or the need for family — only convenience. The trouble with our politics reveals the trouble with our culture.

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NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

Above the Fold

  • POLITICAL THEATER: Senate fails to move forward with “Phase 3” bill amid Democrat machinations (Fox News)

  • A NEW CHAPTER: Federal Reserve pledges asset purchases with no limit to support markets (CNBC)

Coronavirus Updates

  • “WE’RE ALL UNDER QUARANTINE NOW”: Gov. Andrew Cuomo orders most New Yorkers to stay inside (CNBC)

  • VALID UNTIL END OF APRIL: Illinois issues stay-at-home order (NBC Chicago)

  • VALID UNTIL APRIL 7: Massachusetts under stay-at-home order (CNBC)

  • APPROVED BY FDA: At-home tests now available, companies say (Fox News)

  • FIRST SENATOR TO CONTRACT THE VIRUS: Rand Paul tests positive (Axios)

  • WHO’D A THUNK IT? Five Florida college students test positive after spring break trip (Fox News)

National Security

  • TRADE AND COMMERCE EXEMPTED: Trump administration announces U.S., Mexico limiting nonessential travel across border (Fox News)

  • SILVER LININGS: Pandemic measures cut illegal border crossings by half (AP)

Government & Politics

  • THE PARTY OF DOUBLE STANDARDS: Michael Bloomberg exploits campaign-finance loophole to funnel $18 million to DNC (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • NO WONDER BERNIE SANDERS HASN’T FOLDED: Five more states suspend Democrat primaries, sending nomination race into chaos (The Daily Wire)

Closing Arguments

  • POLICY: We have the technology to address climate change and still use fossil fuels (RealClearPolicy)

  • POLICY: It shouldn’t take a crisis to deregulate healthcare (The Federalist)

  • HUMOR: Chik-fil-A drive-through to provide coronavirus testing; expect to have 300 million tested before lunch (Genesius Times)

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

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VIDEOS

Video: President Trump Destroys Biased Reporters — “This is no chaos. I have no chaos. I’m the one telling everybody to be calm.”

Video: Many Things Are Canceled — But Not Our Values — Compassion, empathy, love, caring for one another, a helping hand, charity — these are eternal values.

Video: Should We Be Doing More to Stop the Spread of COVID-19? — Matt Walsh begs the question: Are we all overreacting in our response to the coronavirus?

Video: Leftists to Trump: Be the Dictator We Say You Are! — These coronaphobics want Trump to seize power, nationalize industries, and lay down mandates.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Some may try and tell us that this is the end of an era. But what they overlook is that in America, every day is a new beginning and every sunset is merely the latest milestone on a voyage that never ends. For this is the land that has never become but is always in the act of becoming.” —Ronald Reagan

For the record: “We had a high level of bipartisanship in five different working groups over the last 48 hours where members who were participating were reaching agreement. And then all of a sudden the Democratic leader and the speaker of the House shows up, and we’re back to square one. So, we’re fiddling here — fiddling with the emotions of the American people, fiddling with the markets, fiddling with our healthcare. The American people expect us to act [today]. And I want everybody to fully understand if we aren’t able to act [today], it will be because of our colleagues on the other side continuing to dicker when the country expects us to come together and address this problem.” —Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Food for thought: “Far-left liberals like Sanders and Biden not only want open borders — as do the rest of their out-of-touch party — they’ve also pledged to give health care to millions of illegal immigrants. How is that even possible when the current U.S. health care system is already stressed to the max and struggling to provide adequate medical care for its own citizens?” —Adriana Cohen

Non compos mentis: “BTW, Trumpers was this worth the tax cut? (Your 401K is now obliterated). Were the deaths and suffering of Americans that could have been prevented by competent leadership worth ANYTHING?” —Jennifer Rubin

Now do abortion: “I want to be able to say to the people of New York — I did everything we could do. And if everything we do saves just one life, I’ll be happy.” —New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

And last… “It’s time for government officials to share in the sacrifices that have been forced down the throats of the American citizenry. None of these government officials should be collecting so much as a dime in pay while they deny their own communities the right to earn a living.” —Sean Davis

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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.


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