Mid-Day Digest

Mar. 30, 2020


“Foreign influence is truly the Grecian horse to a republic. We cannot be too careful to exclude its influence.” —Alexander Hamilton (1793)

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Task Force Issues 30-Day Extension of Fear and Misery

Mark Alexander

Last week, regarding the dire need for an exit strategy from the current CV19 shutdown of major economic sectors, I noted that implementing this exit strategy will be the most difficult and complex policy decision by any president in decades. Then, President Donald Trump, endeavoring to remain optimistic, declared, “I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” which is 12 April.

But Trump noted that the CV19 Task Force would reevaluate its 15-day guidelines on Day 14, and indeed, yesterday, the Task Force took the extraordinary measure of extending the guidelines until 30 April.

In a very somber press briefing Sunday, Trump said, “Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before victory is won. It’s very important that everybody strongly follow the guidelines.” He then noted that the Task Force’s objective is to hold the 2.2 million death projection (in the absence of any mitigating efforts) “down … to 100,000 to 200,000,” about twice the fatality range of a very bad flu season.

The president was taking his cues from the Task Force’s primary medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said earlier Sunday that he now anticipates “between 100,000 and 200,000” deaths. But, he added, “I don’t want to be held to that” because this pandemic is “such a moving target.”

Indeed, Dr. Fauci’s estimates have been moving targets.

Four days earlier, in the New England Journal of Medicine, Fauci declared: “If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of COVID-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%).”

Most viral outbreaks in the U.S. have a mortality rate in the 0.1%-0.5% range, much lower than the fatality rates based solely on positive test samples — which do not take into account all those who have had the virus but were not tested because they were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms. The CDC bases its mortality rates on the latter.

Since test-result data was first available, at the end of each day I have been tracking the fatality rate. Initially it was dropping and seven days ago had declined to 1.2%, which basically meant the denominator (the number of tests) was outpacing the numerator (the number of deaths). But that shifted as fatalities outpaced testing, and today it’s up to 1.7%. That number will be higher in the next week or two and should then top out and start to drop again. That is what the Task Force is trying to achieve — and we all pray the measures we are taking now do produce those results.

The majority of U.S. deaths today are limited to New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Washington, and California, meaning the rest of the nation is experiencing fatality rates on an order much lower than an average flu season. But the hard reality is that the rest of the nation is not going to dodge this bullet. Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx made clear, “No state, no metro area, will be spared.”

Meanwhile, as all the “nonessential” government employees in and around the Beltway are still receiving their paychecks, the record 3.8 million jobless spike last week will continue in the coming weeks. On that note, let me again offer a novel viral proposal: How about the House and Senate pass resolutions to stop their government paychecks (with no back-end reimbursement) until all Americans are receiving paychecks again?

As Trump and Congress reluctantly return to the deepening well of national debt to authorize the Treasury to print trillions of dollars for additional checks to be mailed nationwide, recall that as of the end of last year, when China was still concealing the pandemic it seeded worldwide, it held $1.07 trillion in U.S. debt. Forgiveness of that debt is certainly in order as a down payment on the trillions of dollars in debt being heaped on future generations of Americans as a result of CV19. When communist dictator Xi Jinping balks, move to default!

Finally, it’s worth noting again that Donald Trump rose to the presidency campaigning in large measure on how we needed to unhitch our wagon from China. That, and his efforts to do so since, seem more prophetic by the day. And to Trump’s credit, we would be much worse off today if we did not start the partial idling of major economic sectors in response to CV19 in the strongest economy in our nation’s history.

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Weekend Jackass Awards

Thomas Gallatin

Last week, the U.S. surpassed the rest of the world in the total number of individuals tested for the China Virus, an amazing feat that the mainstream media predictably ignored in favor of the more sensationalized headline exemplified by The New York Times: “The U.S. Now Leads the World in Confirmed Coronavirus Cases.” It should go without saying that more testing will mean more confirmed cases. Yet a clearly still bitter Hillary Clinton took a lame jab at President Donald Trump, linking to the above headline on social media along with this obtuse statement: “He did promise ‘America First.’” With thousands dead, hundreds of thousands sickened, and millions of Americans having lost their jobs as the nation has gone to extreme measures to combat this highly contagious virus, Clinton saw only an opportunity to gloat over the country’s misery. This is why she is not president.

Speaking of obtuse comments, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s early response to the pandemic “deadly,” adding, “as the president fiddles, people are dying.” In truth, Trump acted rapidly to shut down travel from China, a move widely condemned by Democrats and the Leftmedia as xenophobic. Furthermore, if anyone is guilty of fiddling during a crisis, it is Pelosi, who delayed and derailed for days the passage of the bipartisan relief bill as she sought to stuff it with unrelated funding for her leftist special interests and Green New Deal regulations. And that’s not to mention the fact that she just concluded the House’s bogus impeachment trial as COVID-19 was ramping up.

“She’s a sick puppy,” Trump responded.

Finally, earning the award for most obtuse commentary (and, dare we say, straight-up fake news) was The Washington Post, which asserted on Saturday that “the coronavirus crisis is exposing how the economy was not [as] strong as it seemed.” So, the federal, state, and local governments mandating that nonessential business shut down in an effort to combat the pandemic exposes a weak economy? In truth, if the economy under Trump wasn’t as strong as it had become — if it had remained in the doldrums as it was under eight years of Barack Obama — Americans would be in far worse shape than they currently are. As one astute Post commenter observed, “I’m sorry… what economy anywhere at anytime would not grind to a halt when customers, employees, businesses, everyone was not ordered under penalty of law by the government to literally grind to a halt?” Or, as another commenter put it, “My wife turned off the hose earlier, exposing how the stream of water pouring out of it wasn’t as strong as we thought.”

That these three political hacks would use death and economic destruction just to score cheap political points is a testament to the acute onset of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

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Tom Coburn, RIP

Nate Jackson

Tom Coburn, the former Republican senator from Oklahoma, died Saturday after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was a fighter who had already beaten melanoma, colon cancer, and a brain tumor, but alas, a fourth bout was not to be won. He was 72.

Coburn was not a career politician, noting, “Our Founders saw public service and politics as a calling rather than a career.” He was a faithful Southern Baptist deacon and obstetrician in Muskogee who delivered more than 4,000 babies. He was first elected to the House in 1994 as part of that year’s Republican wave, winning a district that had gone Democrat for 73 years. The good doctor was specifically motivated to stop Bill Clinton’s version of government healthcare. He retired after three terms as promised, but then ran for Senate four years later, pledging to serve only two terms. He retired two years early due to cancer.

In many respects, Coburn was a father of the Tea Party. His fight against pork-barrel spending known as “earmarks” — including labeling the infamous Alaska highway project the “bridge to nowhere” and producing an annual “Wastebook” — was legendary and eventually led to a wider ban on wasteful earmarks, which he called “the gateway drug to our spending ruin.” The Wall Street Journal editorial board declared, “His investigation of fraud in the Social Security disability program was a model of Congressional oversight.” And that was only one example of his thorough oversight efforts.

Perhaps columnist Kimberley Strassel said it best upon Coburn’s retirement in 2015: “The pity is that history rarely hands out awards to those who stop bad things. Tom Coburn blocked more bad ideas and lousy legislation in Congress than most Americans will ever know.” He will be missed. Rest in peace.

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Trump Has Been Right About China for a Long Time

Arnold Ahlert

“If you look at what China is doing to our country, it’s disgraceful. … They’re making all of our products. We’re not manufacturing anything. They’re making all our products, and they’re selling [them] to us. And then they’re loaning us the money. … They take the money, then they loan it back to us. We should be fighting China.” —Donald Trump during a 2010 interview with Larry King

“[China] is making all our products. They’re taking all our jobs. And then they loan the money back and we pay them interest. It’s an amazing phenomenon. China is an abuser of the United States. China is not our friend.” —Donald Trump during a 2011 CNN interview with Poppy Harlowe

Perhaps the deadliest plague that affects America is the lethal combination of group-think and self-conferred, credential-based gravitas we label as “expertise.” Ever since Richard Nixon’s historic visit to Communist China in 1972, the “irrefutable” wisdom espoused by these Ruling Class elites — in both parties and several administrations — was that contact with the West would “democratize” China.

Nothing has been, or could be, further from the truth. Moreover, presidents from both parties were equally myopic.

“Everything I have learned about China as president and before — and everything I have learned about human nature in a half-century of living — convinces me that we have a far greater chance of having a positive influence on China’s actions if we welcome China to the world community instead of shutting it out,” stated Bill Clinton during his tenure.

“Open trade is a force for freedom in China, a force for stability in Asia, and a force for prosperity in the United States. When we open trade, we open minds. We trade with China because trade is good policy for our economy, because trade is good policy for democracy, and because trade is good policy for our national security,” echoed George W. Bush.

“The United States welcomes the rise of a China that is peaceful, stable, prosperous, and a responsible player in global affairs,” insisted Barack Obama.

During the aforementioned 2011 interview with Poppy Harlow, it was Harlowe, not Trump, who inadvertently confirmed the wisdom of Trump’s assessment of the Chinese Communists’ dangerous ambitions. After Trump warned that China was “going to replace us in 12 years or less as the great economic power of the world,” Harlowe was skeptical. “The [Chinese] economy would have to more than triple to take over ours,” she insisted.

Here’s a graph of Chinese economic growth since then. In 2010, it overtook Japan, nearly tripling that country’s GDP by a $13.6 trillion to $4.9 trillion margin. By 2019, China’s GDP reached more than $16 trillion. More important, in terms of “purchasing power parity” (PPP), an economic theory that compares the purchasing power of various world currencies to one another, China’s economy overtook the United States in 2014.

Much of that rise has to do with currency manipulation. And once again, Trump sounded the alarm years ago. A trade-policy position posted in 2015 on Trump’s campaign website stated the following: “We must stand up to China’s blackmail and reject corporate America’s manipulation of our politicians. The U.S. Treasury’s designation of China as a currency manipulator will force China to the negotiating table and open the door to a fair — and far better — trading relationship.”

In addition, the campaign illuminated the odious status quo. “We have been too afraid to protect and advance American interests and to challenge China to live up to its obligations,” it stated. “We need smart negotiators who will serve the interests of American workers — not Wall Street insiders that want to move U.S. manufacturing and investment offshore.”

In 2016, columnist Bryan Rich revealed that Trump was spot on. “China’s biggest and most effective tool is and always has been its currency,” he explained. “China ascended to the second largest economy in the world over the past two decades by massively devaluing its currency, and then pegging it at ultra-cheap levels.”

The result? “With the massive devaluation of the 1980s into the early 1990s, and then the peg through 2005, the Chinese economy exploded in size,” Rich added. “It enabled China to corner the world’s export market, and suck jobs and foreign currency out of the developed world. This is precisely what Donald Trump is alluding to when he says ‘China is stealing from us.’”

Stealing is only part of the equation. In 2019, China allocated $177 billion to its military budget. Our 2019 trade deficit with China went down to $345.6 billion. That represented a 17.6% decline in the trade deficit. Yet as Americans can clearly see, we still underwrote China’s entire military budget — with billions to spare.

Thus, we didn’t just undermine our economy. We also undermined our national security.

That aforementioned decline was precipitated by Trump’s insistence that we impose tariffs on China — a move that appalled the so-called experts. “President Trump, emboldened by America’s economic strength and China’s economic slowdown, escalated his trade war with Beijing,” asserted The New York Times in 2017. “As a tool of national trade policy, tariffs had long been fading into history, a relic of 19th and early 20th centuries that most experts regarded as mutually harmful to all nations involved,” added CBS News in 2018. “Put simply, these tariffs are bad for the country, bad for the markets, and bad for Trump,” asserted columnist Douglas Schoen.

That China has been engaged in a trade war with America since the 1980s? That “mutual harm” is utterly belied by our massive trade deficit? That millions of American have been downsized out of jobs while a select few made more money than any other group of elitists in the history of the word? That China steals more than $200 billion of tech and business secrets per year, has devastated America’s domestic steel industry with dumping, sold us toxic foodstuffs and drywall as well as toys coated with lead paint? That our current dependency on it for life-saving drugs borders on catastrophic?

All apparently irrelevant — according to the “experts.”

And now that China has precipitated what is arguably the biggest domestic crisis America has ever endured? The globalists and their media apparatchiks, useful idiots of the rankest kind, will side with our enemy.

“Experts” — one and all.

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Don’t Miss More Great Analysis


Jordan Candler

Above the Fold

  • Stopgap checks inbound: Trump signs $2 trillion relief package (The Hill)

  • “The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end”: President Trump extends coronavirus guidelines to April 30 (Washington Examiner)

The Latest on Coronavirus

  • Trump implements Defense Production Act, says “GM was wasting time” (National Review)

  • Estimates show Wuhan death rate far higher than China’s official reports — perhaps in the tens of thousand (The Federalist)

  • New coronavirus test can deliver results within five minutes (Washington Examiner)

  • FDA issues emergency use authorization of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine (The Daily Wire)

  • Meanwhile, Michigan Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer bans hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine (RedState)

Government & Politics

  • Feds rightly add gun companies to “essential” business list (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Hillary “Basket of Deplorables” Clinton under fire for joke about U.S. leading in virus cases: Trump “did promise America First” (Fox News)

  • Predictably, the Kennedy Center tells musicians it will stop paying them hours after $25 million bailout is signed (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Law-enforcement officials are investigating lawmakers’ stock transactions prior to market crash (The Daily Wire)

Rest in Peace

  • A fine example of leadership: Former Sen. Tom Coburn, Tea Party champion and fiscal hawk, dies after years-long cancer battle (Fox News)

  • Joseph Lowery, civil rights leader and MLK aide, dies at 98 (AP)

Closing Arguments

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

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Video: California Didn’t Need the Guns, Until It Did — You are your own first and last line of defense.

Video: Is Donald Trump a Dictator? — Democrats have told us time and time again that Trump is a dictator. Are they right? Here’s the Simple Truth.

Video: Trump Approval Up on CV19 Crisis Management — The president has bypassed the gatekeepers with his daily White House news conferences.

Video: Biased Media Creates Fake Outrage Over Facts — Matt Walsh dissects the Leftmedia’s petty semantics surrounding Trump’s analogy between CV19 and automobile deaths.


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


Insight: “No one who lived through the Great Depression can ever look upon an unemployed person with anything but compassion. To me, there is no greater tragedy than a breadwinner willing to work, with a job skill but unable to find a market for that job skill.” —Ronald Reagan

Belly laugh of the week: “Don’t forget, I was there for the State of the Union Address and did greet the president at that time.” —Nancy Pelosi, who literally shredded the SOTU, on working with Donald Trump

Hyper hypocrisy: “His denial at the beginning was deadly. … His delay in getting equipment to where it’s needed is deadly. … As the president fiddles, people are dying.” —Nancy Pelosi, who delayed Congress’s aid package by several days while she injected it with a political wish list

Braying jenny: “He did promise ‘America First.’” —Hillary Clinton on U.S. cases of coronavirus

Braying jackass: “Who’s the s—thole country now?” —GQ correspondent Julia Ioffe

Alpha jackass: “If you quote the Trump admin you are an enemy of the people.” —Jennifer Rubin

Dezinformatsiya: “Do you think there is blood on the president’s hands considering the slow response?” —NBC’s Chuck Todd to Joe Biden, who decided, “I think that’s a little too harsh.”

And last… “The media has scared everyone by rerunning the worst case scenarios for the virus over and over and over again. I wonder what would happen if they started telling us about the worst case scenario for a full scale economic collapse.” —Matt Walsh coronavirus

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