“The prosperity of commerce is now perceived and acknowledged by all enlightened statesmen to be the most useful as well as the most productive source of national wealth, and has accordingly become a primary object of its political cares.” —Alexander Hamilton (1787)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- America’s Economic Pandemic
- Biden’s Plan for Reopening the Economy? Don’t
- The ChiCom-Leftmedia Propaganda Loop
- China’s ‘Confucius’ Espionage and Propaganda Institutes
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
Two more pieces of terrible but expected economic news hit this week: GDP dropped in the first quarter by an annual rate of 4.8%, ending the longest expansion on record, while jobless claims exceeded 3.8 million, bringing the six-week total to 30.3 million. Ouch.
Drilling down, it gets even worse. We’ll start with the jobless claims. Though 3.8 million is actually the fewest in a week since the pandemic shutdown began, it’s still roughly six times as many as the worst week on record before March. And the real number is higher still. CNBC reports, “The Economic Policy Institute earlier this week estimated that the current claims level probably undercounts by as much as 12 million those who are eligible for benefits but not getting them due to the inability to file or other roadblocks.” In other words, the real jobless number could be north of 42 million, all in a span of about six weeks.
April’s jobs report comes out tomorrow, and it will likewise be appallingly bad, with a double-digit unemployment rate. Recall that we warned the abysmal March report did not actually reflect most of the damage.
That same warning holds true for Wednesday’s report on first-quarter GDP. The U.S. economy shrank by 4.8% … by March 31. Most of the economic contraction actually happened in April, which means that unless there’s the biggest “V-shaped” recovery you’ve ever imagined, the drop in second-quarter GDP could dwarf the first quarter. “Economists vary in their estimates of how much more the economy will shrink through June,” says The Wall Street Journal. “The optimists say 20%-30% year over year, but minus-50% isn’t an outrageous bet.” The Congressional Budget Office projects a decline of 40%. By definition, a recession is at least two consecutive quarters of economic decline.
Virtually every sector of the economy contracted, led by the healthcare sector, which seems rather ironic until you consider that all “elective” procedures were halted. The contraction did not apply to government, however, which contributed 0.13% growth to the economy in Q1 with its nearly $3 trillion spending spree. The Beltway is abuzz with grandiose ideas for even more. Bigger government is, after all, always here to stay.
Three weeks ago, presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden released his plan for reopening the nation’s economy in an op-ed published in The New York Times. In that plan, Biden laid out three vague standards for reopening: a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases, more “widespread, easily available, and prompt testing,” and ensuring that hospitals are well equipped to handle any flare ups that might occur. Effectively, Biden’s plan was simply a reiteration of the broad goal of “flattening the curve” that already had been well established by President Donald Trump when the nation was advised to engage in social distancing and shutdown measures.
Now that the curve has been flattened, President Trump has been pressing the urgency of the need to get the economy back to “the way it was.” Trump argued, “We can’t have somebody with half a restaurant. That’s not going to pay the rent.” And with recent jobless numbers and the economy shrinking by at least 4.8% in the first quarter, the economy is quickly becoming a crisis.
So, with the curve flattened and essentially all three of Biden’s general goals having been achieved, is he also pressing for the economy to reopen quickly? Nope.
The Democrats are banking on an economic downturn being their best chance of defeating Trump, so their candidate is moving the goalposts. He has reiterated his calls for shutdown measures to continue because, as he claimed this week, there still remains a “massive shortfall” in testing. He says, “We want our country to get moving and healthy again,” but only after taking “the necessary, rational steps, grounded in science, to do so safely.” In other words, Biden has no real plan for reopening, just a bunch of vague platitudes about following “science.”
It’s important to note that, unlike Trump, Biden never references the role the states play. Constitutionally, of course, the authority over initiating and ending these shutdowns resides with the states, not the federal government.
Frankly, if Biden is opening anything up it should be to answer questions over the sexual-assault allegations that have been raised by his former staffer, Tara Reade. Thus far, Biden has remained coy, colluding with Leftmedia outlets to downplay and discredit his accuser, while he remains mum on the topic.
The Leftmedia mainstream outlets consistently report as fact and without caveat the CV19 disease data from Xi Jinping’s communist Chinese propaganda machine, despite the overwhelming evidence that China’s SARS-CoV-2 cover-up last year launched the global China Flu pandemic, which has now killed 58,000 Americans and severely depressed our economy.
It’s bad enough that China’s World Health Organization puppet, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, facilitated its obfuscation. But now, as President Donald Trump has rightly begun discussion of sending China the bill for consequential damage, American media outlets are promoting China’s defense propaganda. The most condemning evidence of China’s abject negligence is pandemic researchers’ estimate that had Xi informed the world three weeks earlier than his regime did, it would have reduced the spread by 95%.
A case study in the well-established ChiCom-Leftmedia loop of lies regards China’s denial that the SARS-CoV-2 virus might have come from the Wuhan Institute of Virology Pathogen Level 4 super laboratory — despite mounting evidence it did originate there.
While researching China’s denials this week, I came across a report from Reuters, which it feeds to thousands of media outlets. Reuters “journalist” David Stanway authored a report titled, “China lab rejects COVID-19 conspiracy claims, but virus origins still a mystery.”
In that report, without qualification, Stanway writes: “Claims that the coronavirus pandemic originated in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan have no basis in fact, the head of the lab told Reuters, adding that there were still no conclusive answers as to where the disease started. Conspiracy theorists have claimed SARS-CoV-2, now responsible for more than 200,000 deaths worldwide, [originated in the] Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), based in the city where the disease was first identified.”
So, Reuters, via Stanway, propagated Chinese assertions about facts and “conspiracy theories” because the Communist Party’s “head of the lab,” Yuan Zhiming, told them so.
“I hope everyone will put aside their prejudices and biases in order to provide a rational environment for research on tracing the origin of the virus,” Zhiming wrote in a prepared statement for Reuters.
In the circular propaganda act, China.org.cn then republished the Reuters story as bona fide affirmation from an American media outlet confirming that the lab was not the source.
In other words, Xi Jinping’s web portal for the China Internet Information Center, which is controlled directly by the State Council Information Office and the China International Publishing Group, which undoubtedly prepared and approved Yuan Zhiming’s original letter to Reuters and any other words from his mouth, has completed the loop. Its editor-in-chief, Wang Xiaohui, who is also a vice minister of the Publicity Department for the Communist Party of China, is a master of mass-media lies.
As for Reuters’ role in distributing this propaganda through its network, we’re told that its reporting is trustworthy because of Reuters’ “Trust Principle” ensuring that its scribes only report the truth: “That the integrity, independence, and freedom from bias of [Reuters] shall at all times be fully preserved” and “That Reuters shall supply unbiased and reliable news services to newspapers, news agencies, broadcasters, and other media subscribers and to businesses, governments, institutions, individuals, and others with whom Reuters has or may have contracts.”
Yes, with all the “integrity, independence, and freedom from bias” of Red China’s propaganda ministry.
On April 21, the London Times reported that Sweden closed the last remaining Confucius Institute in that country. “The Chinese government in 2004 launched Confucius institutes at various foreign universities, with the stated goal of promoting Chinese language and culture,” explains columnist Zachary Evans. “However, U.S. officials have stated that the institutes are a propaganda tool meant to enhance China’s ‘soft power.’” Really? Then why are we still allowing 86 Confucius Institutes to operate in the United States?
That’s the most recent number compiled by the National Institute of Scholars, and a list provided by that website reveals a number of high-profile universities have embraced Chinese propaganda for years. Among them are UCLA, Purdue, Stanford, George Washington University, Wesleyan, Michigan State, Tufts, UNC Charlotte, Rutgers, Oklahoma, Temple, Columbia, several campuses of the University of California (UC), and a host of others.
Even more insidious, numerous K-12 public school systems around the nation have also embraced these propaganda mills. In addition to Confucius Institutes, there are “Confucius Classrooms” that ostensibly teach language, operating in more than 500 elementary, middle, and high schools.
These entities remain embedded in American educational institutions despite the alarm having been sounded at least two years ago. “With more than 100 universities in the United States now in direct partnership with the Chinese government through Confucius Institutes, the U.S. intelligence community is warning about their potential as spying outposts,” The Washington Post reported in 2018.
A year later, the Senate issued a scathing bipartisan report by a Homeland Security subcommittee stating that, without major changes, Confucius Institutes operating on American college campuses should be shut down.
The report asserted that Chinese expansion of the aforementioned K-12 Confucius Classrooms is a top priority for the regime. Moreover, it noted that, despite an Education Department mandate requiring that colleges and universities report foreign gifts of $250,000 or more from a single source, nearly 70% of schools that received such amounts from Hanban — a Chinese Ministry of Education affiliate that runs Confucius Institutes — didn’t comply.
The report further noted that Hanban provides colleges between $100,000 and $200,000 in start-up costs, and a large amount to teaching supplies. It also chooses a director and teachers at no cost to the university. Those teachers sign contracts pledging not to undermine China’s national interests, and the Chinese government gets to approve approve every teacher, event, and speaker at the institutes. “Such limitations,” the report says, “attempt to export China’s censorship of political debate and prevent discussion of potentially politically sensitive topics.”
No kidding. Nonetheless, and despite the reality that China has “stifled” U.S. efforts to establish “American Cultural Centers” on Chinese college campuses, the report concluded that American schools should continue to partner with China. “Partnering with foreign universities offers students unique international learning experiences and enhance research opportunities,” it stated. “U.S. schools, however, should never, under any circumstances, compromise academic freedom.”
Earlier this year, this writer documented one of those “research” opportunities involving Harvard professor Charles Lieber, who was arrested for lying about payments he’d taken from yet another China-enhancing effort known as the “Thousand Talents Plan.” That researcher-recruitment effort paid Lieber hundreds of thousands of dollars to help China become proficient in cutting-edge science.
As for compromising academic freedom, who’s kidding whom? On far too many American campuses, academic freedom is a sham and has been for quite some time. Moreover, in a long, detailed article for the Harvard Crimson, columnist Matteo N. Wong makes it clear China is part of the mix: Harvard was willing suppress a speech by Chinese dissident and human-rights lawyer Teng Biao to accommodate China’s Communist government.
The most important sentence in the Washington Post’s 2018 article? The paper noted the threat Confucius Institutes “pose to the ability of the next generation of American leaders to learn, think and speak about realities in China and the true nature of the Communist Party regime.”
Last Sunday, Americans got a great indication of that threat. That was the day Microsoft founder Bill Gates defended China’s response to the Wuhan virus, pushing back against allegations that the Communist regime covered up the threat. “That’s a distraction,” Gates insisted. “I think there are a lot of incorrect and unfair things said.”
What about America? “Some countries did respond very quickly and get their testing in place and they avoided incredible economic pain,” Gates said. “It’s sad that even the U.S., where you would expect to do this well, did this poorly.”
The overwhelming majority of countries have been economically devastated, Bill. And isn’t a “distraction” when whistleblowers in China sounding the alarm were arrested, censored, and “disappeared,” or when a study reveals that a more honest approach by the regime might have prevented approximately 95% of the infections that have spread worldwide?
Gates is hardly an outlier. Ever since the pandemic began, a wholly corrupt media has moved heaven and earth to blame President Donald Trump, not just for his administration’s response to the virus but for the virus itself. The Democrat Party has taken the same approach, accusing the president of “xenophobia” and “racism” for enacting a travel ban and then accusing him of not enacting an effective enough one. Even spineless Republicans are getting their pound of flesh: The National Republican Senatorial Committee released a strategy memo that seeks to blame China for the pandemic, but tells candidates “don’t defend Trump, other than the China Travel Ban.”
In 2019, former FBI Director Christopher Wray testified to Congress that Confucius Institutes “offer a platform to disseminate Chinese government or Chinese Communist Party propaganda, to encourage censorship, to restrict academic freedom.” Yet they remain welcome in America’s educational institutions.
In October 2019, this writer asked a simple question: So, when it comes to America and China, who’s changing whom? That column documented the myriad of interests, from the NBA and academia to multinationals and Big Tech — and everything in between — for whom patriotism and national security take a distant back seat to profits and power. How many of those same entities are either headed for bankruptcy or attempting to garner government bailout funds for themselves? How many will even consider completely cutting ties with Communists thugs — as opposed to obfuscating or making phony promises about business and cultural “realignment?”
“We cannot outsource our independence,” President Trump stated on April 20. Oh yes we can, if enough Americans are indoctrinated by Chinese propaganda masquerading itself as “cultural exchange.”
It’s time we recognized entities like the Confucius Institutes for what they really are: The most devious part of a globalist agenda that no longer hides its contempt for American exceptionalism. That’s a pandemic far worse than the Wuhan flu.
Here’s hoping a majority of Americans will demand an equally determined eradication of it.
More Great Analysis
Harold Hutchison explains why there’s No Doubt the Left Hates Grassroots Americans.
Thomas Gallatin writes about how social-media outlets are using the pandemic to justify censorship.
And our team takes on Adam Schiff’s COVID commission.
Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column
Read Cuomo’s CV19 Cover-Up — Killing High-Risk Patients. “My mother is not expendable, and your mother is not expendable…”
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Above the Fold
Following yesterday’s news that first-quarter GDP suffered a 4.8% contraction, “First-time filings for unemployment insurance hit 3.84 million last week,” CNBC reports, which “bring[s] the rolling six-week total to 30.3 million.” Citing an Economic Policy Institute survey, however, CNBC this week also reported: “For every 10 people who successfully filed for unemployment insurance benefits over four weeks in March and April, an additional three to four people tried and failed to make claims.”
“The Food and Drug Administration is moving to quickly authorize the use of Gilead’s experimental anti-viral drug remdesivir as an emergency treatment for coronavirus, following news that a preliminary trial of the drug showed positive results.” (National Review)
Government & Politics
According to Fox News, “Explosive new internal FBI documents unsealed Wednesday show that top bureau officials discussed their motivations for interviewing then-national security adviser Michael Flynn in the White House in January 2017 — and openly questioned if their ‘goal’ was ‘to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.’” As we stated yesterday: If the court still elects to sentence Flynn, President Donald Trump will have more than ample justification for pardoning him. On a related note, Roger Stone is formally appealing his criminal conviction.
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned: “The next pandemic coming will be the lawsuit pandemic in the wake of this one.” Which is why, National Review explains, “McConnell indicated this week that he would ‘insist’ the next coronavirus-relief package include liability protections for companies and health-care workers.” But obstructionist House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says, “We would not be inclined to be supporting any immunity from liability.” If that’s the case, responsibility for the lawsuit pandemic will lay at the Democrats’ feet.
That said, McConnell may be seeking a compromise. The AP reports: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday he is ‘open’ to considering additional funds for state and local governments. … While saying he’s willing to consider new funds, McConnell insisted the next package must also include federal liability protections from what he warned will be an ‘avalanche’ of lawsuits against businesses that reopen during the pandemic.”
The voter-enthusiasm gap between Joe Biden and Trump is nearly 20% in the president’s favor, based on an Emerson College survey. Moreover, “Voters from both camps generally believe that Trump will win in November,” The Daily Wire notes. “According to Emerson, 57% of voters believe Trump will win reelection in November versus just 43% of voters who think Biden will hold the office next year.”
A man claiming to be a Silicon Valley entrepreneur gets $69 million to produce ventilators — but has failed to deliver even one (UK Daily Mail)
Meat plant workers say they’ll refuse to go back to work despite Trump’s executive order to keep them open (UK Daily Mail)
Cunning Democrats snuck a $15 minimum wage into the CARES Act — and we’ll all pay the price (Issues & Insights)
Bad idea: Trump administration set to offer oil companies emergency loans involving government stakes (Washington Examiner)
Woman who blamed Trump after giving her husband fish-tank cleaner now under murder investigation (National Review)
Dozens of bodies found in unrefrigerated U-Haul trucks outside New York City funeral home (Fox News)
Policy: Now is the time for substantive pension reform — or else (Issues & Insights)
Policy: Letting states declare bankruptcy isn’t a dumb idea (American Enterprise Institute)
Satire: Judge dismisses sexual-assault allegations against Biden on grounds that he is not a Republican (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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Video: Facts About Homeschooling That Harvard Doesn’t Want You to Know — There are major incentives whether it’s staving off abuse, socialization, or academic success.
Video: Stay at Home in Sharia Zone: Public Whippings Hardest Hit — Watch how easily journalists adapt to “cultural norms” in a place where drinking and gambling gets you caned before a live audience.
Video: Blue Angels, Thunderbirds Honor COVID-19 Fighters With Flyovers — Thanks to the Department of Defense for assembling “Operation America Strong.”
Video: When the World Stopped — A COVID-19-inspired look at the world right now.
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “The unity of freedom has never relied on uniformity of opinion.” —John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)
Upright: “If Democrats want to work from home, they should find a job where they can do that. Otherwise, Nancy Pelosi should find some courage, show some leadership, and bring the House back to Washington. We’ve made ample modifications to keep members safe. No excuses. Duty.” —Rep. Dan Crenshaw
Political futures: “If House Democrats are so nonessential that they don’t need to return to Washington, why are they still being paid when  million Americans are out of work? Perhaps our representatives should feel the same pain that the American people are experiencing. I hope voters decided to send a lot of left-wing Democrats to the unemployment line this November!” —Gary Bauer
For the record: “Those of us who called the Me Too movement a farce have been completely vindicated. The most prominent cheerleaders of Me Too have nothing to say about Biden. A bunch of cowards and frauds. We were right all along.” —Matt Walsh
If not for double standards, Democrats wouldn’t have any: “I know Joe Biden and I think he’s telling the truth and this did not happen.” —Stacey Abrams, who on September 28, 2018, said: “After the courageous and compelling testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford yesterday, it is shameful that Kavanaugh’s nomination is being rushed forward. I believe women, and I believe survivors of violence always deserve to be supported and to have their voices heard.”
The BIG Lie: “[Joe Biden] and his campaign urged that these allegations be fully investigated. They have been. The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press have dedicated weeks of reporters’ time to digging in, calling people, contacting people, researching. And they all three have concluded that there was no substance to these allegations.” —Sen. Chris Coons
Glitterati ignoramus: “Does Mother make him wear sleep mask so he can’t see other women in his dreams?” —Bette Midler on Mike Pence
And last… “Corrupt FBI conspiring to set up a high-level presidential advisor as a domino to take down a president would be a great story for MSM to investigate if they weren’t so busy actively colluding with gov’t and cheering for it to happen.” —Twitter satirist @hale_razor
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