“We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in.” —Thomas Paine (1777)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- Pelosi vs. Trump on the Virus Crisis
- Governors Provide a Liberty vs. Tyranny Contrast
- Chinese Influence on American Media
- 2020: Are We Seeing Clearly Yet?
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
A renewed war of words erupted over the weekend as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused President Donald Trump of being a “weak leader” who “doesn’t take responsibility” for his supposed “failure.” Pelosi spread her bile across several media interviews in which she was critical of Trump’s handling of the China Virus crisis — especially his plan for reopening the U.S. economy. She insists that he can’t open the economy “based on falsehoods” and that his plan endangers Americans.
Furthermore, Pelosi attempted to move the goalposts for reopening the economy away from an attempt to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 infections to the development of “a cure” and a “vaccine.” “I don’t know that anybody can give you a timeline,” Pelosi stated, adding, “We’re prayerful that there will be a cure soon, that there will be a vaccine. That will take longer. That’s really the answer. And it is, again, the sooner we commit to shelter in place across the board, testing, shelter in place, treatment, contact tracing — that’s the path to opening the economy and putting people back to work.” In other words, Pelosi wants to keep the economy shut down as long as possible. There is, after all, an election to win.
In reality, Pelosi has been entirely uninterested in ensuring that Americans and their jobs are preserved during the economic shutdown she is pushing to extend indefinitely. She and her fellow congressional Democrats blocked Republican attempts to add $250 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program that ran dry on Thursday. It appears that Pelosi’s definition of good leadership is that which most benefits those in power at the expense of those being governed.
Meanwhile, the availability of testing continues to be an issue of contention. Some governors complain of still not having enough, while Trump insists there is enough testing available to move forward on reopening the economy. “Just like I was right on Ventilators (our Country is now the ‘King of Ventilators’, other countries are calling asking for help — we will!), I am right on testing,” Trump asserted on Sunday. “Governors must be able to step up and get the job done. We will be with you ALL THE WAY!”
Vice President Mike Pence also argued, “There is a sufficient capacity of testing across the country today for any state in America to go to a Phase 1 level, which contemplates testing people that have symptoms of coronavirus, and also doing the kind of monitoring of vulnerable populations in our cities, in our nursing homes, that we ought to be watching very carefully for outbreaks.”
What’s become increasingly clear is that some governors are extremely fearful of moving forward without having the assurance they believe having more widespread testing will provide. No plan is foolproof. However, at what point does the continuing significant damage to the economy outpace the fear of the virus? This week’s jobless claims might once again make that reality more plain.
Governors were in the driver’s seat in terms of setting policies for stay-at-home orders, and they will be the ones deciding when those orders end and Americans can begin getting back to normal. The federalist system America’s Founders designed is as brilliant now as it was then, in part because everyone’s able to see the comparisons and contrasts across the nation.
All but five states issued some level of stay-at-home order, and many of those orders will remain in effect well into May, if not longer. Some orders are more restrictive than others. New York is encouraging citizens to snitch on other citizens for not abiding by restrictions. Some states are monitoring citizens with Chinese-made drones. Others are cracking down on Christians meeting in parking lots.
As we noted last week, Michigan Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s orders are so tyrannical that residents are protesting in the streets. She insists that makes her more likely to extend the orders. Protests have also flared up in Ohio, Minnesota, Virginia, Wisconsin, and elsewhere.
Likely thinking at least partly of Whitmer, who has been floated as a possible running mate for Joe Biden, President Donald Trump observed, “Some governors have gone too far. Some of the things that have happened are maybe not so appropriate.” Effectively ordering stores to rope off certain sections to prevent sales of items Whitmer deems nonessential is definitely an example of something being “maybe not so appropriate.”
It’s not just governors. House Majority Whip James Clyburn infamously said of last month’s massive relief bill that it was “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”
In short, one thing the pandemic has revealed is the authoritarian impulses of many politicians. Well before corona-anything was heard of, some governors, legislators, and bureaucrats — all egged on by a complicit news media — were already geared toward exercising control over the citizenry. The pandemic merely gave them “justification” for things they maybe couldn’t do previously.
Arguably the most revealing quote came from New Jersey Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy, who said of his shutdown order, “I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this.”
It’s still too soon to give a true evaluation of the actions we’ve taken as a nation, but it will serve us well to contrast the heavy-handed crackdowns in Democrat-run states with the easier approach of many Republican-run ones. Several Southern states are banding together to discuss reopening very soon. And, again, five states didn’t lock down in nearly the same fashion. One fundamental question will remain: Are we destroying our republic in order to save it?
Most Americans would like to believe the country is run by representative government acting in their best interests. Yet as we are witnessing right now, the media’s ability to shape the narrative may be forcing government’s hand far more than we want to admit. Who’s forcing our corporatized media’s hand? As always, money talks — and much of that money has its origins in China.
“The companies that own the major news networks, NBC, ABC, and CBS, all do significant business in China,” writes columnist Arthur Bloom.
Bloom further notes that these media entities, which have morphed into shills for the Democrat Party, are hardly alone. Until Fox relinquished its Asia-Pacific operations to Disney over the last two years, former owner Rupert Murdoch made several efforts to ingratiate himself with Beijing, including helping the leading state broadcaster develop a news website and building relationships with the Communist Youth League.
Note that these companies — such as Disney, which owns ABC, and Comcast, which owns NBC News, CNBC, and MSNBC, for example — are not news organizations. Rather they are large multinational conglomerates that own news organizations among a host of other holdings, including entertainment companies. A 2016 article reveals a dozen media companies, including Dick Clark Productions, AMC Theaters, the World Triathlon Corporation (which organizes Ironman Triathlon races), and Riot Games (a video games producer), were sold to Chinese corporations.
Even then, a Washington Post editorial sounded the alarm, noting that despite its deficiencies, the United States’ entertainment industry “is a monument to free expression; as such, it is an element of this nation’s ‘soft power’ and should not be sold off unquestioningly to foreign interests that do not share the United States’ commitment to artistic freedom.”
Maybe newspapers should be equally circumspect about foreign interests. As The Washington Free Beacon reported in 2019, China Daily, an official government mouthpiece, purchased ad space for 500 print pages in six American newspapers over seven years — all of which were designed to look like news stories. Three of those newspapers are The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and … The Washington Post.
That Post editorial appeared in October 2016. Back in January, the paper published an editorial with a decidedly different take. Its title? “Let China win. It’s good for America.”
Apparently not. That same year, 16 members of Congress sent a letter to Gene Dodoaro, controller general of the Government Accountability Office, asking him to examine legal authority regarding foreign investment in America and whether some parameters needed adjusting.
If anything was done, it didn’t amount to much. “Chinese internet giants like Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba are ramping up investments in U.S. tech and media companies,” Axios reported in 2018. “They’re also building data servers and acquiring ad tech businesses in the U.S. that can help them monetize media engagement from citizens living in America, like students or tourists.”
Once again, Congress was ostensibly alarmed. “U.S. lawmakers are weighing ways to clamp down on some investments and acquisitions in light of concerns that they could give America’s biggest rivals access to sensitive technologies that that are crucial to the U.S.‘s economic and national security priorities,” Axios added.
Nonetheless, 2018 was the same year a Chinese-launched phone app called TikTok, which allows users to post quick videos of lip-syncing, dancing, and their own audio, became one of the most popular apps downloaded from the iOS store. And despite terms of service that ostensibly prevent anyone under 18 from using it, an investigation revealed it has virtually no privacy features.
The result? According to Axios, the app offered data-mined info to “third parties and the Chinese government.”
Because these media conglomerates are multidimensional, the idea that their news entities can remain insulated from Chinese influence is a pipe dream. For example, the same Disney that owns ABC has a theme park in Shanghai. It also own ESPN. In turn, ESPN has a multibillion-dollar content-rights deal with the NBA. Thus, when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey incurred Beijing’s wrath for expressing support for Hong Kong protesters, Deadspin reported that Chuck Salituro, the senior news director of ESPN, sent a memo to shows mandating that they avoid political discussions of China and Hong Kong. Reuters reported that an ESPN broadcast showed a map that appeared to endorse China’s claims “to both Taiwan and disputed territories in the South China Sea.”
Comcast? On March 10, the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York expressed the hope that “Comcast continues its efforts to cooperate with China.” Regarding the virus outbreak, it added that it hoped “NBC and other U.S. media will objectively and fairly report China’s efforts to control the epidemic.”
Would that China held itself to the same standards. On Friday, the Communist government “adjusted” its Wuhan death totals — making an utter mockery of NBC reporter Richard Engel’s appearance in a propaganda video released by Global Times, a state-run Chinese tabloid, that touted that nation’s success in containing the virus. CNN’s Chris Cuomo also appeared in the video.
These examples are the tip of the iceberg. This writer has documented the plethora of Hollywood movies “tailored” for Chinese Communist sensibilities. And columnist Larry O'Connor illuminates the bigger picture, revealing the extended Chinese relationships between not only Hollywood and the news media but theme parks, cellular and cable networks, and movie theaters — and all the products they sell that are manufactured in China.
O'Connor refuses to be conspiratorial, insisting the idea that company CEOs direct how stories are to be reported is a “straw man argument.” Yet he paints a damnable reality regardless, insisting any suggestion that “these companies are not aware that their product is viewed, scrutinized and judged by the government of China and [that] there is an incredibly well-documented history of certain accommodations made to placate the Beijing propagandists is dangerously naive.”
Maybe O'Connor is naive. A damning report by NPR reveals that former Democrat presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg killed the second chapter of a story investigating the wealth of Chinese Communist Party elites.
The first chapter angered the Chinese government and that was apparently a tipping point. Bloomberg’s organization not only killed the second story, it worked to silence reporter Mike Forsythe and his wife. Forsythe was initially suspended before being fired, and the couple was forced to sign nondisclosure agreements, leveraged by the threat of a six-figure lawsuit that would have forced them to repay Bloomberg for underwriting their relocation costs to Hong Kong after receiving death threats likely engendered by the first story.
Why would one of the richest men in the world kowtow to China? “After the first investigative project ran in 2012, the Chinese authorities had searched Bloomberg’s news bureaus, delayed visas for reporters and ordered state-owned companies not to sign new leases for Bloomberg’s primary product: its terminals,” NPR revealed, adding those terminals “are the lucrative basis of Mike Bloomberg’s personal fortune.”
In the midst of the current pandemic, it might be worth knowing what forms the basis of integrity and patriotism for all of America’s media conglomerates.
There are many lessons we can learn from the current pandemic and ensuing shutdowns. There are also some things that were predictable because they never change. The first given: Political turmoil in 2020 — it’s an even-numbered election year. The second given: The national media and the Democratic National Committee — one and the same — will find heinous fault with anything proposed by the Right.
Currently, the press vacillates between accusing the Trump administration of “overreacting” to the novel coronavirus and switching to screams that President Donald Trump thinks he’s a king for trying to reopen the economy against the wishes of enlightened Democrat governors.
Go ahead and shake your heads. Yes, we predicted the political Left truly being invested in failure of the American people; but maybe some folks just didn’t realize how disgusting it would be.
But not all things are political. The year 2020 will occupy a lot of written copy for historians. It should also serve as one of those times that Americans can see life in a way that never would have occurred outside the reach of a crisis that touched pretty much everything.
In November 2019, Americans were happily spending their growing paychecks. Business owners were enjoying the Trump economy and Christmas was on its way. Who could’ve guessed that one of the more virulent of coronaviruses being studied in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a biosecurity level 4 facility, would within a matter of weeks have infected the world?
Different from woes like wildfires, tornadoes, or earthquakes that had already hit the lives of Americans in 2020, but on a regional and episodic basis, this novel coronavirus was a contagion that had never provoked an immune response in anyone. COVID-19 was thought to impact the elderly and frail most, but early cases were proving that this pathogen was an equal-opportunity inhabitant. While some had and have no symptoms or only endure mild responses, others succumb to hospitalization and death.
A temporary response was needed to understand the pattern and presentation this virus would make — to save lives we claim to care about as we declare #AllLifeIsPrecious. But now it’s time to bring our economy back online and allow folks to work and adapt.
So, to the lessons learned in these first four months of 2020. We now know:
What a world looks like without a needed vaccine.
What Americans will experience when government controls healthcare, the economy, and our ability to come and go, as well as its surveillance and enforcement of restrictions. It looks an awful lot like socialism.
That we do have rights. But those rights extend to the point at which another’s begins. Those over the age of 55 who have been most susceptible to death with COVID-19 have rights just like the 20-, 30-, and 40-year-olds who want to move freely without restraint.
How important it is to have elected officials in place who may hold the power to operate in extraordinary times with greater enforcement but understand the temporary nature and need for restraint and limits on that power.
The value of spending more time with our own family in our homes, instead of days overly crammed with events and busyness.
That homeschooling can and does work. Distance learning is still education.
That some business can be performed remotely to reduce some critical infrastructure issues in urban areas. Schedules can be managed to allow creative solutions to choked highways.
That today’s culture places excessive worth on celebrities, athletes, and media talkingheads.
That we’ve undervalued doctors, nurses, and the entire healthcare team, as well as law enforcement and first responders. But we’ve also undervalued truckers, grocery-store operators and employees, those tending to our utilities, and so many other American workers who keep supply lines running and are truly essential in times of crisis.
That working and making is much more fulfilling and necessary to the health of individuals, families, communities, and our nation.
The first third of 2020 is almost history. The lessons that some will learn — and use to grow — will separate Americans even more. There will be those with 20/20 vision and those who miss the value of ensuring that we do have our health, our family, our free markets and economy, as well as our Liberty, all intact.
Don’t Miss More Great Analysis
Thomas Gallatin writes of how stress has become one of the unintended consequence of the lockdown.
Patrick Hampton gives his five reasons America should reopen.
And yesterday was Patriots’ Day.
Above the Fold
Trump administration, congressional leaders near $470 billion deal on virus aid (The Washington Post)
Bipartisan breakthrough? Pols unveil “Back to Work” plan for reopening economy with emphasis on mass testing (Fox News)
More than a dozen killed during shooting rampage in heavily gun-controlled Canada (New York Post)
Government & Politics
More U.S. protests call for lifting restrictions as governors push back (Reuters)
Trump says “governors have gone too far” with restrictions (New York Post)
President says he’ll end Obama-era funding to Wuhan lab (The Daily Caller)
U.S. officials confirm full-scale investigation of whether coronavirus escaped from Wuhan lab (Fox News)
Department of Defense travel ban extended to June 30 (Military Times)
What could possibly go wrong? Chinese-made drones are monitoring streets in 20 states to enforce social distancing (The Daily Wire)
Gov. Cuomo hires firm with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party to develop reopening plan (Hot Air)
As we’ve long suspected, antibody research indicates coronavirus may be far more widespread than known (ABC News)
Illinois takes advantage of pandemic, pleads for multibillion-dollar pension bailout (The Daily Wire)
Gov. Abbott issues executive order designed to reopen Texas in waves (KETK)
Ohio, North Dakota, and Idaho to begin reopening on May 1 (The Daily Caller)
Policy: Trump administration should double down on deregulation to relaunch economy (Washington Examiner)
Policy: After repeated failures, it’s time to permanently dump epidemic models (Issues & Insights)
Satire: Blue-state governors promise to briefly release citizens from lockdown on 4th of July for good behavior (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.
Video: Eight Important COVID-19 Studies the MSM Won’t Report — While the virus is unequivocally serious, the data is in conflict with the extremity of current political policies.
Video: Is Your Liberty in Jeopardy During Pandemic? — While it’s always wise to be vigilant about our freedoms, it’s also important to take a clear-eyed view of the situation on the ground.
Video: The BIG Lie: ‘Only White People Can Be Racist’ — Leftists say that only white people can be racist — but is that true? Matt Walsh provides a few pieces of key evidence that discredit this claim.
Humor Video: What Celebrities Are Like During the Quarantine — JP Sears caricatures our Hollywood elitists’ “inspiration.”
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” —Ronald Reagan
Observations: “The somnolent economy is analogous to a patient who is to be brought back from a forced coma. No one quite knows how, or even if, the economy will fully awaken — only that the chances it might not increase the longer it stays comatose.” —Victor Davis Hanson
Braying jenny: “If [President Trump] continues to predicate the action that we take on a false premise, then we’re in further danger, and his earlier delay and denial caused deaths. And so it’s very important that we walk the line that is close to evidence, data, science as we go forward and not whimsy, magic hoax allegations and placing blame instead of taking responsibility.” —Nancy Pelosi on the plan to reopen
Braying jackass: “You are absolutely silent. I’m challenging you to open your mouth. I think I may be the first person in history to challenge Donald Trump to speak up.” —Mayor Bill de Blasio accusing Trump of ignoring challenges faced by cities and states
Alpha jackass: “We deserve better than the family. And the time of corona is an excellent time to practice abolishing it.” —Brooklyn Institute for Social Research scholar Sophie Lewis
Dezinformatsiya: “President Trump … has been warming up of late to his old friend, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. The two leaders have made a record-breaking number of phone calls to each other recently and some of the president’s own former advisers said that Putin may be using the coronavirus pandemic to realize his long-held goal of edging closer to Trump.” —CNN’s Jim Sciutto
And last… “Think about what is the absolute worst news for Democrats. ‘The economy has recovered and we are back to normal.’” —Chuck Woolery
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
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