Mid-Day Digest

Apr. 15, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

WHO’s Money Put on Hold

Nate Jackson

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been under well-deserved scrutiny during the current coronavirus pandemic. Two weeks ago, our Thomas Gallatin explained how WHO kowtows to the Communist Chinese by parroting its propaganda. For example, the WHO repeated China’s denial of human-to-human transmission, and its officials have gone from refusing to even acknowledge Taiwan for its progress in fighting the epidemic to outright hostility toward the island nation China still claims as its own. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus won the job in 2017 with Beijing’s backing, so this behavior is little wonder.

In light of all this, we made the case last week for why WHO shouldn’t keep getting the bountiful piles of cash given by the U.S. Yesterday, President Donald Trump pulled the plug.

“The world depends on the WHO to work with countries to ensure that accurate information about international health threats is shared in a timely manner,” President Trump noted at his task-force briefing. “And if it’s not, to independently tell the world the truth about what is happening. The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable.” He added, “So much death has been caused by their mistakes.”

Holding WHO accountable means stopping U.S. funding. “American taxpayers provide between $400 million and $500 million per year to the WHO. In contrast, China contributes roughly $40 million per year, and even less,” Trump said. “As the organization’s leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability.”

Thus, Trump halted U.S. funding pending a review of the WHO’s worthiness and response to the China Virus. That review won’t look good. As Trump observed, “The WHO willingly took China’s assurances … at face value and defended the actions of the Chinese government, even praising China for its so-called transparency.”

Tedros himself provides Exhibit A: “We appreciate the seriousness with which China is taking this outbreak, especially the commitment from top leadership, and the transparency they have demonstrated.” That was January 28, well after anyone paying attention should have at least suspected that China was lying and covering up the true numbers. Indeed, his comments came at least two weeks after Chinese strongman Xi Jinping knew the truth. But let’s be frank: Xi knew almost certainly as early as December.

Moreover, as we have noted on numerous occasions, had the ChiComs acted or alerted the world sooner, it would have reduced the viral spread by 95%. The WHO bears some responsibility for that.

It is indeed unfortunate the Trump himself often heaps praise upon Chinese leaders, including, er, applauding “their efforts and transparency.” Flattery is a sometimes incredibly distasteful part of his deal-making. Yet Trump took early action to restrict travel from China, despite vehement objections from the WHO. He’s also now taking action to hold accountable the WHO for its own complicity in the outbreak. To put it mildly, we’d welcome rhetorical consistency from the president. Still, we’ll give him credit for moving the ball in the right direction.

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Leftmedia Reversal: China Virus Lab Origin Maybe Not Conspiracy Theory

Thomas Gallatin

The Leftmedia has finally begun to admit that the theory of the China Virus pandemic having originated from a bio-research lab in Wuhan rather than a wet market is more than the musing of tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy nuts. On Tuesday, The Washington Post ran a story titled, “State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses.” Talk about a 180-degree turn. Back in mid-February, the Post lambasted GOP Sen. Tom Cotton for “repeating a coronavirus conspiracy theory that was already debunked.” And what was Cotton’s “conspiracy theory”? Well, as the Post then reported, it was “a fringe theory suggesting that the ongoing spread of a coronavirus is connected to research in the disease-ravaged epicenter of Wuhan, China.”

Well, evidently Cotton’s not quite the nutter the Post smeared him as. If anything, Cotton is looking downright prescient. However, as the Post notes in its Tuesday story, the evidence supporting Cotton’s suspicions were easily available for any diligent investigative journalist to uncover. As the Post reports:

Two years before the novel coronavirus pandemic upended the world, U.S. Embassy officials visited a Chinese research facility in the city of Wuhan several times and sent two official warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety at the lab, which was conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats. … The cables warned about safety and management weaknesses at the WIV lab and proposed more attention and help. The first cable … also warns that the lab’s work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic.

Furthermore, suspicion of the novel coronavirus’s Wuhan lab origins were far from dispelled Tuesday by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. In response to a question as to whether evidence exists supporting the lab-origin theory, Milley stated, “There’s a lot of rumor and speculation in a wide variety of media, the blog sites, etc. It should be no surprise to you that we’ve take a keen interest in that and we’ve had a lot of intelligence take a hard look at that. I would say at this point it’s inconclusive although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural. But we don’t know for certain.”

Translation: If U.S. intelligence is taking this theory seriously enough to “take a hard look,” that means they are seeing something there, even if Milley’s still using the term “inconclusive.” The fact that this virus appears to be of natural origin in no way precludes the possibility or probability that it originated from the Wuhan lab. Indeed, the lab in question was engaged in the study of bat coronaviruses — a fact Beijing has gone to great lengths to cover up.

One thing’s for certain — the Post owes Cotton an apology, though we’re not holding our breath.

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Dems Picked Biden; Now They’re Stuck With Him

Louis DeBroux

The Democrat Party is in trouble. After starting the 2020 presidential primary with approximately 300 candidates, the herd slowly thinned, eliminating the black, Hispanic, Jewish, female, and homosexual candidates, leaving two wealthy, septuagenarian white men — former VP Joe Biden and avowed socialist curmudgeon Bernie Sanders — as potential standard-bearers for the party of “diversity.”

After the radical socialist Sanders jumped out to a delegate lead in early primaries, the powers that be quickly twisted arms, coercing the remaining candidates to drop out and endorse Biden.

Last week, Sanders suspended his campaign, making Biden the presumptive nominee. Now many Democrats want to dump Biden for a better candidate.

Though arguably the most palatable candidate for the general election, Biden is actually very problematic for Democrats. Some of that is Biden himself, and some pertains to a schism within the Democrat Party.

As for Biden personally, his long history of verbal gaffes and awkward and unwanted touching of women and girls will be under greater scrutiny now that he is the presumptive nominee.

The unwanted touching takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to recent accusations by Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer who filed a criminal complaint alleging Biden sexually assaulted her while serving in the Senate. The New York Times finally covered the story but downplayed the accusations, writing that it “found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.” After the print edition was published, the online version was stealth edited, removing that reference at the request of the Biden campaign.

Unlike accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, for which there was not a scrap of evidence, these allegations against Biden are more damning. For example, the Times admits later in the article that two of Reade’s friends corroborated her account at the time of the assault.

You also have the looming scandal of Hunter Biden (who received $83,000/month from a Ukrainian oil and gas company despite no background in oil, gas, or Ukraine) and his involvement as a director for BHR, a private equity firm backed by several Chinese state-owned companies. Shortly after a 2013 trip to China aboard Air Force Two with his then-VP father, Hunter’s company closed a $1.5 billion deal for the equity firm. Questions have arisen as to what influence Joe Biden may have used at the time to secure the deal. Hunter is still listed as a board member despite promises to resign.

And while the media may downplay or cover up the sexual assault and corruption accusations against Joe Biden, you can be absolutely sure that President Donald Trump will hammer his rival with these accusations during the general election campaign. In fact, he has already released an ad highlighting Biden’s habit of defending the corrupt Communist Chinese government.

Another major problem Biden must address is shoring up support among Sanders supporters, who make up a sizable and vocal minority of the Democrat Party base.

In the days since Sanders dropped out of the race and endorsed Biden, Biden has worked hard to attract Sanders supporters, who see Biden as a corrupt establishment moderate. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the darling of the radical socialist faction, has openly expressed contempt for Biden.

In order to lure radical progressives, Biden has tacked hard to the left, coming out in support of Bernie’s “Medicare for All” plan, elimination of student-loan debt, a $15/hour minimum wage, and other far-left fantasies that come with astronomical price tags and no plan to fund them.

This is highly problematic for Biden, as the radical policies he needs to embrace to secure his left flank will hurt him during the general election, when he is trying to win over moderates and independents.

Finally, Biden has raised questions about his mental fitness in recent weeks. With Trump constantly on TV, holding daily press briefings while managing the national emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden has struggled to remain relevant. He’s been relegated to doing interviews from his basement, and the result has been disastrous. He has often seemed disoriented, and his responses to even softball questions are often rambling and incoherent, prompting many to openly suspect that Biden may be dealing with progressing dementia.

At other times, when he is more lucid, he has shown a complete lack of leadership. His “plan” for dealing with the coronavirus has been essentially to say that he would have done what Trump has already done, only better.

Despite relentless media hostility, President Trump is dead even with Biden in recent polling, wiping out a nine-point deficit in just two weeks. Regardless, at this point Democrats are almost certainly stuck with Biden as their presidential nominee.

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NYT Covers for Biden’s Alleged Sexual Assault

Nate Jackson

The Times Took 19 Days to Report an Accusation Against Biden. Here’s Why.” That’s the New York Times headline to explain why the paper waited nearly three weeks to “believe all women,” which is what every leftist (including Joe Biden) screamed ad nauseam two years ago when now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was accused without evidence of sexual assault 30 years prior. That same Joe Biden led the false charge against now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991.

The interview with Dean Baquet, Times executive editor, begins, “On March 25, Tara Reade, a former Senate aide for Joseph R. Biden Jr., alleged in an interview on a podcast that Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, had sexually assaulted her in 1993. The New York Times did not immediately report the allegation.”

Neither did almost any other Leftmedia publication or network.

But it gets worse than that. For one thing, the Times waited until Biden’s only rival, Bernie Sanders, had dropped out of the race before bothering to publish anything about the accusation. The Times also worked verbal contortions to exonerate the presumptive Democrat nominee: “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.” So, other than the pattern of misconduct, there was no pattern of misconduct. Makes perfect sense.

Still worse, the Times stealth edited that sentence after the Biden campaign complained, and the online version no longer includes the phrase “beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.” Baquet explained that Biden’s campaign “thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct.”

As for why the Times regurgitated outlandish accusations against Kavanaugh the same day they were made without so much as a fact check, Baquet dismissed it as “just a different news judgment moment” and admitted it was all “very subjective.” He even argued that Kavanaugh “was already in a public forum in a large way,” as if … Biden’s not?

To be clear, none of this is to say Biden is guilty. There are reasons to doubt Reade’s account. But this isn’t a story about her or even Biden; it’s a story about the Leftmedia’s double standard.

We’ve spent the last two decades labeling the mainstream media the “Leftmedia” for good reason. These outlets exist primarily to carry water for the Democrat Party, and this is as egregious an example as any. (The Washington Post is no better.) Every Leftmedia outlet denies it, of course, but look at the facts. When it came time to destroy a Supreme Court nominee Democrats hated, the Leftmedia dutifully answered the call. When it comes to asking questions about the Democrats’ soon-to-be presidential nominee, they have a few weeks to cool off and think it through. The hypocrisy is nauseating.

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Virginia Lurches Hard Left Under Dems and Gov. Northam

Thomas Gallatin

On Sunday — Easter Sunday, no less — Virginia’s Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam signed into law several pieces of leftist legislation. He and the commonwealth’s legislative Democrat majority (thanks to northern Virginia’s DC suburbs) are clearly determined to turn the once-red Virginia into a leftist cesspool a la California and New York.

Included among the leftist bilge were laws eroding voter and election protections, laws lowering criminal-justice standards, laws targeting energy production in favor of ecofascism, laws aimed at inculcating social-justice sentiments at the expense of freedom of conscience and history, and laws repealing protections for the preborn. It’s clear that Northam and the Democrats are working to get as much of their extremist, individual-liberty-robbing agenda enshrined into law before voters have an opportunity to remove them from office.

On voting and elections, Northam signed into law bills that repeal the commonwealth’s voter-ID law, extend early voting to 45 days, and institute election day as a holiday at the expense of Lee-Jackson Day, a holiday established in Virginia over a hundred years ago.

With criminal justice, Northam signed legislation that decriminalizes simple possession of marijuana, and another law increases the threshold for a charge of felony larceny from $500 to $1,000. Virginia also becomes the first southern state to enact comprehensive protections for the “LGBTQ community,” banning workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Pushing forward the Left’s ecofascist agenda, Northam signed a bill requiring that Virginia’s power supply become 100% renewable energy (solar or wind) by the year 2050. Tellingly, there is nothing in the legislation promoting the growth and development of nuclear power. Further environmental legislation establishes a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program that will fine companies that fail to comply.

While the Democrats pulled back somewhat from their aggressive anti-Second Amendment agenda and did not pass an “assault” weapons ban after tens of thousands of pro-Second Amendment Virginians assembled in Richmond, they still passed laws further restricting Virginians’ firearms rights. As The Resurgent reports, “These new restrictions include reinstalling the one-handgun-a month ban (Senate Bill 69& House Bill 812), an extreme risk protection order/red flag law (Senate Bill 240/ House Bill 674), a duplicitous universal background check law on gun sales (Senate Bill 70 & House Bill 2), a 48-hour period to report stolen firearms (House Bill 9), and preventing those under 14 from accessing firearms on their own (House Bill 1083).”

Northam also signed a law removing protections for the preborn, which comes as no surprise given his infamous defense of infanticide.

Finally, pressing forward with the Left’s historically inaccurate and dubious social-justice agenda, Northam signed a law that gives local communities the ability to remove or alter Confederate monuments. Northam, who was exposed last year for having posed in a photo dressed in either blackface or in a KKK outfit years ago, bloviated, “Racial discrimination is rooted in many of the choices we have made about who and what to honor, and in many of the laws that have historically governed this Commonwealth.” Well, there better be no monuments erected or roads named in Northam’s honor. And here’s hoping that his name is quickly forgotten and erased from the annals of Virginia history.

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NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

Above the Fold

  • Trump rightfully pulls WHO funding, says organization “must be held accountable” (The Daily Signal)

  • Buzzkill: Trump promised a big announcement on an economic task force. Then he read off a long list of names. (Politico)

Government & Politics

  • President’s name to be printed on relief checks, which reportedly could delay their delivery (The Washington Post)

  • According to The Washington Post, two years ago, “State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses.” The Washington Examiner’s Eddie Scarry quips, “Now that the Washington Post reported on it, is it finally OK to say out loud that the China-borne coronavirus may have come out of a science lab in Wuhan?”

  • Meanwhile, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says “weight of evidence” suggests virus arose naturally, but still inconclusive (Hot Air)

  • WaPo-acquired draft shows the CDC and FEMA have created a plan to reopen America (The Washington Post)

  • For the record: Dr. Fauci says U.S. “not there yet” on reopening economy, May 1 target a “bit” too optimistic (Fox News)

  • Hunter Biden still listed as board member of Chinese company he pledged to resign from in October, an apparently unfulfilled decision his father once said “represents the kind of man of integrity he is” (The Daily Caller)

  • Unprincipled Bloomberg News quashed a 2013 China exposé over concerns the Chinese Communist Party “will probably kick us out of the country” (National Review)

  • Now that all the other candidates have dropped out, Obama endorses Biden for president, says he’s the right person to “guide us through one of our darkest times” (NBC News)

Culture & Heartland

  • Not satire: Police in North Carolina arrest peaceful protestors, declare protesting a “nonessential activity” (The Daily Wire)

  • That said, we must be vigilant: Virginia pastor who defiantly held church service dies of coronavirus (New York Post)

  • Trump’s constitutional- and religious-liberty-minded DOJ steps up to defend Christians fined $500 for drive-in church service (PJ Media)

  • Kentucky GOP lawmakers override veto of voter ID measure, instituting “guardrails in our voting procedures that will help cure vulnerabilities that exist” (AP)

  • New unsealed documents show Planned Parenthood did profit from aborted baby body parts (The Federalist)

  • “Believe all certain women”: Women’s groups that condemned Kavanaugh silent on Biden accuser Tara Reade (The Daily Caller)

Closing Arguments

  • Policy: It would be wise for government to not meddle in the oil market (RealClearMarkets)

  • Policy: Why economic freedom matters more than ever (The Heritage Foundation)

  • Humor: Xenophobia on the rise as angry white blood cells target “Chinese coronavirus” (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: Leftists Believe Biden Sex-Assault Accusation. Oh Wait… — “Democrats and the mainstream media believe all women — unless the woman is politically inconvenient for them.”

Video: China’s Tech Totalitarianism — If China really does have coronavirus under control, the dictators will claim their creepy “social credit score” system helped.

Video: State Crackdowns on Churches Aren’t About ‘Safety’ — They’re an attack on religious freedom.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Arbitrary power has seldom … been introduced in any country at once. It must be introduced by slow degrees, and as it were step by step.” —Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773)

For the record: “In New York, the supposed case fatality rate — the number of deaths from coronavirus over the number of confirmed cases — rests at around 5%. But between March 22 and April 4, 215 pregnant women were screened for COVID-19 in New York City, according to The New England Journal of Medicine. Four women had symptoms of COVID-19, and 29 tested positive despite being asymptomatic. This means 13.7% of these women had COVID-19 without knowing it — for every symptomatic woman, there were seven others who were asymptomatic but positive. If applied statewide — a simplistic model but certainly one that would be closer to accuracy than mere confirmed cases — this would drop the case fatality rate from 5% to 0.7%. Needless to say, such a statistic would alleviate some worry, particularly among less vulnerable populations.” —Ben Shapiro

Upright: “I never want to hear people moaning about nurses again. Or porters. These people are doing 14-hour shifts and not complaining, wearing masks, and being left with sores after risking their own health and their families’ health selflessly. But then I see someone complaining about being in a mansion with a swimming pool. And, you know, honestly, I just don’t want to hear it.” —Ricky Gervais

Village idiot: “This may be the time to consider a universal basic wage, which would acknowledge and dignify the noble, essential tasks you carry out. It would ensure and concretely achieve the ideal, at once so human and so Christian, of no worker without rights.” —Pope Francis

Alpha jackass: “The number is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that. That’s how it works. It’s math.” —Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Non compos mentis: “Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever.” —Bill Gates

And last… “The head of WHO is a communist — a member of a violent ‘liberation’ party in Ethiopia. As minister of foreign affairs, he covered up cholera outbreaks. The CCP poured millions into his campaign for director general, which is why WHO repeats Chinese talking points. WHO=no good.” —Allie Beth Stuckey

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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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