Mid-Day Digest

Apr. 16, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“To cherish and stimulate the activity of the human mind, by multiplying the objects of enterprise, is not among the least considerable of the expedients, by which the wealth of a nation may be promoted.” —Alexander Hamilton (1791)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

22 Million Jobless Claims, but Hope Lies Ahead

Nate Jackson

Today is National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day. We note that light-heartedly, given that many of your humble Patriot Post staff are wearing rather casual clothing as we work from home. At the most, however, an estimated 37% of Americans have the luxury of working from home, leaving the roughly two-thirds of workers who must go to a job site vulnerable to layoffs. Sadly, that’s exactly what’s happening — at an alarming rate. Another 5.2 million Americans filed jobless claims this week, bringing the four-week total to an astonishing 22 million. We’d wager those 22 million would be thrilled to work and forget the pajamas.

“Most economists expect the jobless level to be in the neighborhood of 10% when the April tally is completed,” CNBC reports, “and there are forecasts it could rise above 15%.” In fact, there are far worse projections than that.

All of this comes along with news that the small-business aid program for forgivable payroll loans — to keep people employed — has run out of money, in large part thanks to Democrat obstruction of GOP efforts to supply more. Democrat leaders would rather have people directly dependent on the government anyway, so they blocked the expansion of funds with political poison pills.

The jobless report also comes on the heels of delays in relief checks to individuals due to IRS backlogs and lack of information, including money going to the wrong bank accounts or to people who died years ago. The website for Americans to check their status has crashed. (Meanwhile, Democrats want to send Americans $2,000 every month “until employment returns to pre-COVID-19 levels.”)

And jobless filings come as reports indicate U.S. retail sales plummeted 8.7% in March — by far the worst single-month decline since records began in 1992. Some industries fared far worse. National Review reports, “Auto sales sank 25.6 percent, while clothing store sales dropped off by more than 50 percent. Sales at restaurants and bars suffered a crippling 27 percent drop.” April numbers will certainly be even more abysmal. Consumer spending comprises roughly two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, and if these trends to reverse course soon, it will bring a serious recession — or worse.

Yet there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are key indicators that the spread of coronavirus has slowed. Reducing the rate of infection and death is one of the benchmarks decision-makers will look for in beginning to reopen the economy. Many nations in Europe, including economic powerhouse Germany, will begin sending many people back to work next week. In the U.S., President Donald Trump has made efforts — however haphazard — to lay out a path for reopening the economy, and he’ll release further guidelines today.

On a more personal note from our little shop, we’re more grateful than ever for the blessings we enjoy as we’re made painfully aware how precarious those blessings can be. We’re indebted to our faithful supporters, who have answered our calls for funding despite a terrible economic downturn. We’re thankful for the resilience of the American people, who always engage in vigorous political debate but rise to every challenge. Most of all, we’re grateful to our Creator and Sustainer, who numbers even the hairs on our heads.

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Michigan Residents Protest Extreme Lockdown Orders

Thomas Gallatin

In Lansing, Michigan, thousands of people descended on the state capital to join in “Operation Gridlock,” a drive-in event aimed at shutting down traffic to protest Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extreme lockdown orders. “Our governor and her allies are infecting all of us with their radical progressive agenda,” asserted the Michigan Conservative Coalition, which organized the protest. “Dope stores? Open. Abortion clinics? Open. Churches? Shut down. Local businesses? Going broke! People always say: ‘Conservatives never protest because they are too busy working.’ Well guess what. You’re not working — so it’s time to protest.”

The organization’s founder, Marian Sheridan, argued, “We can get this rally done and stay within social-distancing guidelines. Citizens are quite frankly tired of being treated like babies. As adults, we now know what needs to be done to stay safe.”

The fact of the matter is Gov. Whitmer brought this protest upon herself. Whitmer perhaps hoped to make a splash after being floated as Joe Biden’s possible running mate, so she enacted an especially heavy-handed lockdown order, clearly crossing over constitutional boundaries protecting individual freedoms and rights. So extreme and arbitrary have been Whitmer’s orders that four sheriffs in the state publicly announced their refusal to enforce them.

Like many other state governors, Whitmer early on ordered social-distancing restrictions with the goal of flattening the curve of infections. As weeks have passed, state residents have become increasingly concerned and agitated about the lack of any plan to address the economic consequences of the prolonged shutdown and the failure to issue a timeline for starting up again. In response, Whitmer doubled down and expanded her original lockdown restrictions. She banned the sale of “nonessential” goods such as clothing, seeds, and car seats, prohibited boating, and restricted visits to other residences. For example, under her new orders, retailers are required to block off sections of the store selling what she has deemed “nonessential” items.

Her tyrannical orders evoked a rebuke from Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), who argued, “Several recent measures provide marginal benefits at best, while substantially heightening frustration and resentment. Sensible instructions to practice social distancing, wear masks, and stay at home already do most of the work to reduce the virus’s spread. By pushing too far, the governor undermines her own authority and increases the likelihood people will not follow reasonable guidelines.” He added, “As a federal official, I do my best to stay out of state politics. But I have a constitutional duty to ensure states don’t trample on the rights of the people. Whitmer’s latest order goes too far and will erode confidence in her leadership. She should immediately reassess it.”

Michigan hasn’t been the only state to see protests, either. Residents of Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, and Virginia have also begun protesting the China Virus shutdowns. The longer these state-mandated shutdowns continue, the more Americans will grow disgruntled — especially as they’re forced into the unemployment line because they’re not allowed to work. What many of these governors may not appreciate or realize is the ticking time bomb they’re sitting on. If people aren’t allowed to go back to work soon, these currently small protests could quickly explode into a wildfire.

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Profiles of Valor: Marine Raider Benjamin Carson

Charles Paige

Another of the Greatest Generation, Marine Raider Benjamin Franklin Carson, passed away last month, having lived a long, full life that exemplified the Marine Corps’ motto of Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful). Although he doesn’t fit the description that usually comes to mind when we talk about the military and heroes — he didn’t lead a battle-determining charge or receive a major award for valor in combat — he fits our definition: someone who consistently put others’ interests ahead of his own and did his part to make the world a better place.

Eighteen-year-old Ben Carson enlisted in the Marine Corps shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was selected to join 2nd Marine Raider Battalion (a.k.a., Carlson’s Raiders) and fought in several of the Marine Corps’ and Raiders’ signature battles in WWII, including Midway, the Makin Island raid, Guadalcanal, and Iwo Jima. After being overseas for 39 months, he returned home to Minnesota and wed his high-school sweetheart, Helen, to whom he would remain married for 75 years. Read that last part again — 75 years!

After graduating from Iowa State University, Carson worked for the Forest Service with assignments throughout the United States. When he retired from the Forest Service, he started a family farm/ranch and continued sharing his love of agriculture in settings ranging from agricultural education programs in local high schools to development work for the State Department in Central Asia. His lifetime of service following “retirement” included mediation work with the court system, teaching English as a second language, and participating in a local veterans historical program.

One of his final acts of service was to spearhead (along with Louis Zamperini of “Unbroken” fame) efforts to repatriate the remains of nine fellow Raiders who had been missing in action since the Makin raid early in WWII.

What a different — and better — world this would be if more of us emulated even one phase of this remarkable, faithful life. Rest in Peace, Raider Carson. Thank you for your lifetime of service. We have the watch.

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Help Us Finish Strong

We regularly request your support at this time each year and appreciate your patience with us during this current campaign. The most challenging part of being a donor-supported organization is asking for your help, especially during such a difficult time for our nation — but we must if we are to forge ahead. The deadline for meeting The Patriot Post’s operations budget needs for the second quarter is Sunday. Your donation in any amount — large or small — is put directly toward this need. Thank you for standing alongside us as we work to keep the timeless message of Liberty in front of conservatives around the nation. —Christy Chesterton, Director of Advancement

Barr Warns Durham Investigation Findings Are ‘Troubling’

Harold Hutchison

Attorney General William Barr is saying the right things about U.S. Attorney John Durham’s criminal investigations into the deep state over the Russia-collusion hoax. For the moment, that’s all he can do.

“My own view is that the evidence shows that we’re not dealing with just mistakes or sloppiness,” Barr said. “There is something far more troubling here, and we’re going to get to the bottom of it. And if people broke the law, and we can establish that with the evidence, they will be prosecuted.”

However, it takes more than words to get the one thing we’ve been looking for from Spygate: Accountability.

The fact of the matter is that the spying on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign during 2016 and the later Russiagate probe that proved to be a big nothingburger with a side order of dubious convictions on process crimes may prove to be one of the most massive abuses of power we have ever seen in this country’s history. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was used to spy on the political campaigns of the opposition party. Action must be taken to ensure it never happens again.

Imagine if George W. Bush had turned the FBI on the “Gitmo Bar.” How would the same press outlets that rushed to defend the likes of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, and others have reacted? Somehow, we doubt the press would have been defending Bush’s efforts — even with the clear evidence that al-Qaida was receiving a level of aid and comfort that makes Hanoi Jane’s North Vietnamese photo-op look like peanuts.

If intelligence investigators had come up with concrete evidence of what had been claimed by the likes of lead Democrat witch-hunter Adam Schiff, it would have been a completely different story. Had such proof emerged, it would have been evidence of serious wrongdoing. The problem was, after all the hype and the phony claims, there was no evidence of collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign.

Turning the FBI on political opponents should not happen unless there is an exceptionally grave threat to national security. Yet the only “evidence” was a DNC-funded dossier — tainted by Russian disinformation, no less. Worse, those investigating knew it, but the investigation still continued.

The FBI spying on Trump was not the only deep-state abuse. We can look at Lois Lerner and the IRS targeting the Tea Party. There were the “John Doe” investigations in Wisconsin. We can look at the threats from Democrat state attorneys general to use RICO on opponents of the Left’s environmental agenda. We also cannot forget the actions of Andrew Cuomo and Letitia James against the NRA. In none of these cases have those abused seen any measure of justice for the wrong inflicted on them.

If that is not bad enough, here’s what is really frightening: Joe Biden is running to defeat Donald Trump. Does anyone seriously think Biden was out of the loop on the misuse of the FBI’s counterintelligence powers during his time as vice president? We wouldn’t be surprised if the abuses of the Obama administration come back — only this time on steroids.

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Don’t Miss More Great Analysis

Mark Alexander takes on CNN for deliberately spinning comments from Dr. Anthony Fauci in a transparent effort to hit Donald Trump.

Thomas Gallatin considers the example of Sweden, which had a far less strict economic lockdown.

Arnold Ahlert strongly advises against allowing China to continue with its 5G network in the UK.

Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column

Read Mr. President, Don’t Be the Poster Child for CV19 Misery. There are three reasons the president is at high risk of bearing blame for the current economic crisis.

If you’d like to receive Alexander’s Column by email every Wednesday, update your subscription here.

NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

Above the Fold

  • “These developments have put us in a strong position to finalize guidelines for states opening the country, which we will be announcing [today]:” Trump says coronavirus pandemic has peaked, some states to reopen before May 1 (New York Post)

  • From Michigan to Kentucky to Ohio to Utah to North Carolina to Virginia, protests draw thousands over state stay-at-home orders (USA Today)

Business & Economy

  • Weekly jobless claims hit 5.245 million, raising monthly loss to 22 million (CNBC)

  • IRS relief-check tracking system crashes — but officials insist website is operating “smoothly and effectively” (Daily Mail)

  • 8.7% plunge: U.S. retail sales see biggest drop ever in March, shattering the previous record in 2008 by 4.8% (New York Post)

  • Small-business relief fund runs dry amid Democrat-driven standoff (The Washington Free Beacon)

National Security

  • “Increasing confidence” China blamed coronavirus on wet market to deflect from Wuhan lab escape (Washington Examiner)

  • China may have conducted low-level nuclear test: “Beijing is modernizing its nuclear arsenal while the United States handcuffs itself with one-sided arms-control restrictions” (The Guardian)

  • Iran taunts U.S. Navy ships in Persian Gulf (Fox News)

Government & Politics

  • House Democrats propose $2,000 monthly payments to Americans (The Hill)

  • The AP says, “China didn’t warn public of likely pandemic for 6 key days.” National Review’s Jim Geraghty elucidates, “It is more accurate to say the coverup lasted about six weeks.”

  • Gov. Cuomo announces executive order requiring face masks in public (Hot Air)

Other Notables

  • Conflict of interest? Rep. Omar funnels nearly $300,000 more to her husband’s firm (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Universities and colleges across the United States failed to report nearly $1 billion in foreign gifts from 2013-2018, despite legal requirements from the Department of Education (Campus Reform)

Closing Arguments

  • Policy: Investigate the Wuhan lab (Washington Examiner)

  • Policy: Trump is right about the World Health Organization (National Review)

  • Humor: Obama: “I’m so proud to endorse Joe Biden — that’s who they went with, huh? — for president” (The Onion)

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: NYT Says Biden’s Lead Over Trump Is Weak — Nate Cohn warns Democrats about the weakness of Biden’s polling lead over President Trump.

Video: Some Good News With John Krasinski — David Ortiz surprises healthcare heroes, and AT&T covers medical workers’ bills.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “The great inlet by which a colour for oppression has entered into the world is by one man’s pretending to determine concerning the happiness of another.” —Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

Editorial exegesis: “Some argue that withholding our funding of the WHO — $400 million a year — will hinder its international relief efforts. This is a legitimate concern, but the WHO’s missteps themselves hindered the fight against the pandemic at a critical stage. In any event, U.S. funding of pandemic relief does not depend on any single multilateral bureaucracy. In fact, the U.S. has already spent more than $500 million on foreign aid to combat the pandemic — roughly 25 percent of the WHO’s annual budget — on top of existing contributions to multilateral and nongovernmental organizations. … The more the World Health Organization capitulates to Chinese soft power, the less effective — and the less deserving of our support — it will be. The White House is right to bring serious pressure to bear to try to check this trend.” —National Review

Upright: “The PPP program is going to run out of funding soon — the Senate should approve add'l funding by unanimous consent ASAP. Small businesses need our help to survive during this emergency.” —Sen. Kyrsten Sinema

Alpha jackass: “The reason that we’re in the crisis that we are today is not because of anything that China did. It’s not because of anything WHO did. It’s because of what this president did.” —Sen. Chris Murphy

Now do welfare: “You all realize that check Treasury is sending you with Trump’s name scribbled on it is your money, right? It’s your tax dollars that Congress appropriated. Trump is basically the guy who ‘lends’ you back your own lawnmower he borrowed and has had at his house for months…” —MSNBC’s Joy Reid

Non compos mentis: “I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this. … We looked at all the data and the science and it says people have to stay away from each other.” —New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

Exactly — it’s a slippery slope toward dependency: “It is a funny moment because everyone wants to fight against these [socialist] policies until they have been personally impacted, and we’ve seen this not just economically, but we’ve also seen it in terms of social rights as well.” —Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

And last… “I think it is reasonable, given the new data showing people were already self-locking down, to put in place a plan to start reopening parts of the country on May 1st and trust people to use their best judgment.” —Erick Erickson

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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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