“The present Constitution is the standard to which we are to cling. Under its banners, bona fide must we combat our political foes.” —Alexander Hamilton (1802)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- Biden Finally Challenged on Assault Allegations
- FBI Leadership Cabal Targeted Flynn, New Docs Reveal
- Destroy Healthcare to Save It?
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
“It is not true,” declared Joe Biden during an interview with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski this morning. “I’m saying unequivocally, it never, never happened.” That followed a written statement likewise asserting, “This never happened.” It’s the first time Biden has acknowledged allegations that he sexually assaulted Tara Reade in 1993 or that he’s faced direct media questions about a claim that publicly surfaced over a month ago.
“While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated,” Biden said in his written statement. “One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.”
In light of that, Brzezinski directly challenged Biden to explain his comments during the Brett Kavanaugh character-assassination attempt. Back in 2018, Biden said, “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time.”
Biden responded to being reminded of his own comments with deflection: “Believing women means taking the woman’s claim seriously, and then vet it, and look into it, and that’s true in this case as well.”
Brzezinski wouldn’t let go of the glaring Democrat hypocrisy, however, repeatedly asking Biden to explain why his 2018 standard didn’t apply now. “Are women to be believed unless it pertains to you?” she asked. “Why is it different now? Do you regret what you said during the Kavanaugh hearings?”
Biden dishonestly replied, “What I said during the Kavanaugh hearings was that [Christine Blasey Ford] had a right to be heard. And the fact that she came forward, the presumption would be she’s telling the truth unless it’s proved she wasn’t telling the truth.”
That is absolutely not what Biden or any other Democrat said in 2018. Kavanaugh was guilty until proven innocent, which of course they would never allow him to be. Biden’s standard now is that Reade shouldn’t be given the time of day.
Biden even attacked the media in his written statement for using, well, the 2018 Biden standard for Reade’s allegations. It’s a pity Brzezinski didn’t ask him about that.
He made a show of transparency by calling for a search of the national archives for any reference of any complaint by Reade, though he insists he doesn’t remember “any type of complaint she may have made.” However, while he declared he’s “an open book,” he refuses to allow access or any search of his Senate records held by the University of Delaware. In any case, Reade still has far more substantiation for her story than any of Kavanaugh’s accusers did for their vague, uncorroborated, and outlandish charges.
Frankly, Biden handled himself in the face of withering questioning about as well as anyone could expect from someone whose mental acuity has been in doubt. He categorically denied the charges and confidently asserted no one would be able to find any proof. Reade has not proven her case, and Biden should be legally presumed innocent — just as Kavanaugh should have been. It’s almost like due process is important.
All other considerations aside, this leaves one particularly glaring question, not just for Biden but for the Leftmedia: Why did it take so long for him to say anything?
Perhaps Democrats really are “reaping the whirlwind” Kavanaugh warned about two years ago.
Yet another layer of the sinister plot by members of the deep state within Barack Obama’s Justice Department to take down President Donald Trump was exposed on Thursday. Newly released DOJ documents reveal that former FBI leaders targeted and worked to trap Gen. Michael Flynn in a crime even after their investigation found “no derogatory information” to continue targeting him.
It was learned on Thursday that the FBI’s infamous spy/surveillance operation against the Trump campaign over supposed Russian collusion, known as Crossfire Hurricane, had a sub-operation called Crossfire Razor that specifically targeted Flynn for investigation. According to the records, the purpose of Razor was to determine if Flynn “was directed and controlled by” or “coordinated activities with the Russian Federation in a manner which is a threat to national security.”
These documents reveal that the FBI closed its investigation into Flynn after concluding that there was no evidence. According to a memo dated January 4, 2017: “The FBI is closing this investigation. If new information is identified or reported to the FBI regarding the activities of CROSSFIRE RAZOR, the FBI will consider reopening the investigation if warranted.”
However, that same day, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, lead official on Crossfire Hurricane, sent out a text message to the FBI manager handling the case instructing, “Hey don’t close RAZOR.” Strzok then explains that the FBI’s seventh floor, the top leaders, “need to decide what to do with him [with respect to] the [REDACTED].” This occurred roughly two weeks before the FBI’s informal White House interview with Flynn, the interview used by Robert Mueller’s prosecutors to charge Flynn with having lied to FBI agents — one of those agents being Strzok.
As was learned earlier this week, newly released documents contained hand-written notes from the former FBI chief of counterintelligence, Bill Priestap, revealing the true motive behind this White House interview: entrapment. “What is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired? … If we get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to [the Justice Department and] have them decide. If we’re seen as playing games, [the White House] will be furious.”
Furthermore, regarding the infamous Flynn interview, recall that former FBI Director James Comey admitted that agents abandoned normal procedures to take advantage of the chaos of Trump’s team transitioning into the White House. The FBI knew Flynn and others wouldn’t be fully up to speed.
So stunning are these latest revelations that it had constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley nearly dumbfounded. “I have been a criminal-defense attorney for decades. I have seen abusive tactics. However, this is one of the most thuggish records I have seen,” Turley marveled. “Most concerning is that they were trying to create a crime, not investigating a crime. The use of Logan only highlights that bias.” He also cogently observed, “There was a time when networks like MSNBC and CNN argued for civil liberties and against such abuses. Now, because such principles would benefit Trump, there is just a shrug with a common mantra ‘everyone does it.’ Yes, abuses occur but that is not license for their commission.” Indeed, the mainstream media has responded by essentially ignoring a scandal that makes Watergate look like child’s play.
It’s clear that Attorney General William Barr was not speaking hyperbolically when he recently stated, “My own view is that the evidence shows that we’re not dealing with just mistakes or sloppiness. There is something far more troubling here. … What happened to [President Trump] was one of the greatest travesties in American history. … Without any basis [the FBI] started this investigation of his campaign, and even more concerning, actually is what happened after the campaign … to sabotage the presidency.”
Finally, Trump weighed in on the scandal yesterday, stating that he “would consider” bringing Flynn back into his administration. He further observed, “It looks to me like Michael Flynn would be exonerated, based on everything that I’ve seen. I’m not the judge, but I have a different kind of power. But I don’t know if anybody would have to use that power. I’ve never seen anything like it. What they did, what they wrote … it’s just disgraceful. … They did everything possible to destroy him. He’s still breathing very strongly. But they hurt him very badly.”
Brian Mark Weber
Weeks ago, medical experts and politicians warned that our hospitals would be overwhelmed with coronavirus patients. Cities and states across the country turned convention centers and other venues into makeshift hospitals, while the hospitals themselves banned “elective” surgeries in order to prepare for the overflow.
Many hospitals are now empty and have been forced to lay off workers. The 500-bed U.S. Navy ship Comfort that New York City so desperately needed is about to head out to sea, never having been nearly so needed as anticipated. Field hospitals erected at great cost are closing without ever having treated a patient. As The Daily Wire reports, that’s because “forecasts [in New York City, for example,] predicted that 110,000 beds would be necessary. At the height of the outbreak, 18,825 beds, less than 20% of the predicted number, were needed.”
Don’t get us wrong: We’re glad that our hospitals were never pushed to the brink except for some “hot spots.” But these same facilities now face a crisis that may have been even worse than the virus. As President Donald Trump repeatedly states, “The cure can’t be worse than the problem itself.”
Well, it just might be. But our government’s intentions were good.
“One reason that we didn’t want hospitals to get overrun by COVID-19 patients is that we’d crowd out everyone else needing care,” National Review editor Rich Lowry writes, “but we’ve ended up crowding out many people needing care as a deliberate choice — even where COVID-19 surges haven’t happened and probably never will.”
Many patients unable to get care have serious health problems, even though their surgeries may be classified as elective. The low number of COVID patients combined with the outright ban on diagnostic testing and procedures was a devastating one-two punch.
As a result, Lowry adds, “West Tennessee Healthcare, based in Jackson, lost $18 million in March after the state prohibited elective surgeries, and furloughed 1,100 out of a 7,000-person staff, according to Becker’s Hospital Review. Summit Healthcare in Arizona expects as much as a 50% drop in revenue after the state’s ban on elective surgeries. Philadelphia-based Tower Health, also dealing with a 50% drop in revenue, furloughed 1,000 employees out of 14,000.”
This is just a sampling of the ever-growing list of healthcare providers being forced to cut staff to stave off economic disaster. Sure, the CARES Act provided $100 billion in relief, but it’s not enough.
How bad has it gotten for the industry as a whole? As MarketWatch reports, “Spending on healthcare by consumers declined at an estimated annual rate of $110 billion in the first quarter of the year, knocking 2.3 percentage points off gross domestic product,” accounting for nearly half of the nation’s 4.8% drop in first-quarter GDP.
So now that we’ve “flattened the curve,” and more states every week are expected to gradually open up for business, how do we help the healthcare industry recover?
One medical doctor has developed a five-point plan that includes protecting doctors from frivolous lawsuits, providing interest-free loans to doctors with small practices, eliminating the bureaucracy in medicine that’s become so problematic during the coronavirus crisis, expanding telemedicine, and creating more competition in the healthcare industry.
Let’s hope others in the medical field will step forward with more solutions.
Otherwise, the Left is waiting in the wings to implement socialized medicine. None other than Hillary Clinton stated in a livestream exchange with presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden that this would be a “terrible crisis to waste.” Clinton’s solution? You guessed it: universal healthcare.
Unfortunately, Democrats can’t ever solve anything without granting themselves more power. Overzealous governors responded to flawed model predictions by shutting down their states without giving a second’s thought to the economic consequences. And now Democrats want more government control?
Veteran journalist Brit Hume gets it right when he says these mandated shutdowns failed to consider that coronavirus “overwhelmingly affects elderly people and those with serious underlying medical conditions.” He adds the shutdowns have caused serious “collateral damage” to “hospitals all across the country.”
Moving forward, perhaps our collective distrust of government has grown stronger, and perhaps we’ve developed antibodies to ward off the ills of do-good bureaucracies and top-down edicts. As it turns out, an innovative, efficient, free-market healthcare system is the best way to deal with a challenge like COVID-19.
More Great Analysis
Michael Swartz ponders What the U.S. should do with China.
We mark that today is May Day, along with how that relates to communism and unemployment
Grassroots perspective from Roger Helle: Pandemic or Panic-demic?
Around the Nation
“Rather than honoring the legislature’s will, [Michigan Gov. Gretchen] Whitmer signed three executive orders to extend the state of emergency to May 28 and declare a state of disaster,” PJ Media reports. The vindictive governor extended the state of emergency despite (or maybe because of) hundreds of protesters urging otherwise. Republican lawmakers plan to take legal action against Gov. Whitmer.
In Georgia, where commerce is beginning to stir again, Gov. Brian Kemp yesterday revealed: “To protect vulnerable populations, I will sign an order today requiring medically fragile and elderly Georgians to continue to shelter in place through June 12, 2020.” Frankly, isolating the most vulnerable Americans while letting healthy workers prop up the economy as they adhere to CDC guidelines was probably always the best way to address this pandemic.
On the West Coast, NPR reports that “California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all beaches and state parks in Orange County to temporarily close on Thursday, after images in the news showed crowds gathering on beaches there and, according to Newsom, violating the state’s physical distancing rules.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appoints only Democrats to inquisition-chasing coronavirus committee (The Daily Wire)
Sanders and Biden reach convention compromise — the deal helps avoid a potentially messy intra-party fight over delegates (Politico)
Nearly 900 workers at Tyson Foods plant in Indiana test positive for coronavirus (Fox News)
Tiny airports rake in big cash after botched stimulus formula (Politico)
Narrative buster: My Native American father drew the Land O'Lakes maiden. She was never a stereotype. (Robert DesJarlait, The Washington Post)
Taiwan thankfully emerging from pandemic with a stronger hand against the ChiComs (Bloomberg)
Policy: Ten steps America should take now to respond to the China challenge (The Heritage Foundation)
Policy: Bring education into the 21st century with flexibility for families (Washington Examiner)
Humor: Biden campaign fundraising email reminds donors sexual-assault allegations don’t bury themselves (The Onion)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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Video: Dems, Media Continue to Downplay Allegations Against Biden — Ben Shapiro personally finds the allegations dubious, but the hypocrisy on the Left is mind-blowing.
Video: Didn’t Hillary Say Victims Have a Right to Be Believed? — Yet she champions Joe Biden.
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “The highest manifestation of life consists in this: that a being governs its own actions. A thing which is always subject to the direction of another is somewhat of a dead thing.” —Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
For the record: “The FBI framed Flynn for a perfectly legitimate conversation with the Russian ambassador. That fed into the false narrative that ‘Russia stole the election.’ When Trump rightly fired Comey, that led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and a two-year inquisition that produced nothing. But the left bitterly clung to its false narrative of foreign influence and used a leaked phone call with Ukraine’s president to launch another investigation, which culminated in this year’s impeachment trial. While the media and the left are obsessed with Trump and Russia, we should be far more concerned about the meddling of the Deep State. We must not forget about the rampant abuse of the FISA court to illegally spy on American citizens.” —Gary Bauer
Upright: “There is so much to unpack with the new info on Gen. Flynn. The most upsetting is how calculated it was. Letting Gen. Flynn off is not enough. People need to pay for this and the FBI needs to answer to how the public can have confidence that it will never happen again. Shameful.” —Nikki Haley
Observations: “As for liberal commentators/legal scholars saying all this is ‘routine,’ well, let’s sure as hell hope not. The FBI exists to investigate cries — not create them.” —Kimberley Strassel
Hardly “moderate”: “I view myself as a transition candidate. … My job is … to bring the Mayor Petes of the world into this administration … and even if they don’t come in, their ideas come into this administration.” —Joe Biden
Non compos mentis: “This is what unfettered capitalism is all about. Trump demands that low-income workers in meatpacking plants either go back to work and get sick, or lose their unemployment checks and go hungry. The struggle for justice continues.” —Bernie Sanders
Braying jenny: “I’m satisfied with how he has responded.” —Nancy Pelosi on Joe Biden, who had at that time yet to respond to allegations that he sexually assaulted Tara Reade
Braying jackass: “[Trump is] also pushing U.S. intelligence to find evidence for this theory that the virus was accidentally released from a lab in Wuhan. That’s his new angle to feed the wingnuts — to treat this virus like it was a conspiracy of some kind. … Tomorrow, he’ll blame the Spanish flu on Antonio Banderas.” —Jimmy Kimmel
And last… “I’ve said since the Kavanaugh saga that the #MeToo movement lost its way when it went from ‘listen to women’ to ‘believe women.’ That’s not advocacy; that’s injustice. Now it’s worse, as it’s gone from ‘believe women’ to ‘believe Democrats.’” —Allie Beth Stuckey
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis