“I think all the world would gain by setting commerce at perfect liberty.” —Thomas Jefferson (1785)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- Evaluating the Reopening
- Sore Loser Clinton Kept Campaigning Against Trump
- What to Do With ‘Faithless Electors’
- Judge Reveals His Own Bias in ‘Transgender’ Case
- Armed Forces Day Tribute
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
The original stated goal of the coronavirus lockdown was to “flatten the curve” of infections so as to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed. The goal was not to reduce COVID-19 deaths to zero. (Last we checked, preventing death entirely was above humans’ pay grade.) The corollary is something we’ve been among the few clearly stating: Reopening will likely yield more infections and deaths, but it’s something we must do to prevent worse consequences.
Leftmedia-driven panic moved the goalposts for reopening, and, thus, any governors who buck the new “wisdom” are vilified. Well, Republican governors are, anyway.
Georgia’s Brian Kemp became the leading villain, standing accused of running an “experiment in human sacrifice” and of having “blood on his hands” for beginning to reopen the state on April 24. (Remember, Kemp’s accusers are all supporters of Planned Parenthood.) Three weeks later, it’s still too early to definitively conclude much about Kemp’s move, but the news is positive. “Since May 1, the daily count of confirmed cases and deaths have dropped markedly,” reports The Washington Times. “As of Wednesday, the seven-day moving average of new cases was 242, down from 773 on April 29. The seven-day moving average of deaths was 12, down sharply from 34 on April 29, according to the state health department.” This is in part because the state’s businesses have been slow to reopen even though they’re permitted to do so.
Nevertheless, Atlanta-based media outlets joined the national press in driving down Kemp’s approval rating in the Peach State to negative territory.
Many other states are reopening and experiencing similar positive results — notably Texas and Florida. Even the hardest-hit states, like New York and New Jersey, are seeing trends leading to decisions to begin reopening. Few, if any, media outlets are charging those Democrat governors with human sacrifice, and Georgia resident Erick Erickson wants to know, “Where does Brian Kemp go to get his apology?”
When considering the status of infections nationwide, it’s worth noting that the huge and terrifying death tolls are not as geographically widespread as people think. In fact, “The spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. has been extremely concentrated in a small number of states,” reports The Daily Signal. “Just 1% of all counties, representing 15% of the U.S. population, are responsible for almost half of the country’s COVID-19 cases and more than half of the deaths. Of those 30 counties, 24 are in the Northeast corridor between Philadelphia and Boston, the passageway served by a commuter railway system that runs through Manhattan.” Where does much of the national media reside? In that corridor.
Yet, the Signal concludes, “With many state and local governments starting to relax stay-at-home orders, it’s instructive to examine just how concentrated the spread of COVID-19 has been in the U.S.”
To reiterate, none of this is to minimize the suffering and death around the country, or to pretend that nothing bad will happen as a result of reopening. Lifting restrictions and beginning the return to normal won’t be cost-free. We do, however, aim to continue our mission to offer the kind of grounded, grassroots perspective that is sorely lacking in the elitist media echo chamber.
Leading members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, along with Fusion GPS founders, worked to further propagate the Russia-collusion hoax they were responsible for initiating well after President Donald Trump’s election victory. According to newly declassified congressional testimony from former Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, he attended a meeting on February 10, 2017, with Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s former senior foreign-policy adviser; Daniel Jones, a former aide of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein; and Fusion GPS cofounders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, because “they were interested in trying to raise money to continue their efforts to investigate the Russian interference in the campaign.” (Remember, established Russian interference in 2016 isn’t the same as Trump colluding with them to do so.)
Fusion GPS was the opposition research firm hired by Clinton that was responsible for funding and propagating ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s infamous and bogus anti-Trump dossier. The FBI used that dossier to secure FISA warrants to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
During his own testimony, Sullivan was asked about this hour-long meeting and if the Steele dossier was discussed. “I mean not specifically about the dossier,” he answered. “lt was sort of about the effort that they had put in to finding out ties between Trump and Russia and what their belief was based on the accumulation on that.”
RealClearInvestigations journalist Paul Sperry reports, “Just 10 days before the February 2017 meeting, Jones had incorporated a nonprofit called The Democracy Integrity Project (known internally as TDIP) after huddling with Simpson. The goal of their ongoing project is to ‘prove’ the allegations in the dossier, while digging up new dirt on Trump and feeding it to media outlets, congressional investigators and the FBI to derail his presidency.”
Sperry further reports, “Mimicking the Clinton campaign, TDIP hired Fusion GPS and Steele to conduct the new opposition research, paying them millions of dollars. Podesta steered his repurposed partners to donors at a time when the Clinton campaign had not yet closed its books; the campaign was still open. In 2017 alone, TDIP raised more than $7 million with his help.”
TDIP then began a concerted effort to further the Russia-collusion hoax by feeding “information to FBI and congressional investigators, and then [telling] reporters that authorities are investigating those leads. The tactic adds credibility to TDIP’s pitches, luring big media outlets to bite on stories. It mirrors the strategy federal authorities themselves deployed to secure FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign: citing published news reports of investigative details their informants had leaked to the media to bolster their wiretap requests.” In other words, TDIP was a propaganda outfit disseminating disinformation in an attempt to establish the false narrative that Trump was beholden to the Kremlin.
As Sperry concludes, “The Clinton team and other Democrats never stopped campaigning against Trump. Hillary Clinton didn’t just pay for the Russian-sourced opposition research on candidate Trump before the election; her top aides helped bankroll continuing efforts to cast the now sitting president as a Russian agent.” And that effort was built on lies.
Brian Mark Weber
In less than six months, Americans will choose our next president. And while the China Virus is currently sparking a debate over the Left’s push to allow voting by mail, there’s another issue that could affect the outcome of the 2020 election: “faithless electors.”
Traditionally, each of a state’s electors pledges to vote for the winner of that state’s popular vote. This wasn’t a problem until 2016, when Donald Trump shocked the political world by winning the Republican nomination, then shocked the rest of the world by winning the presidency.
Unable to accept the notion of a President Trump, four Democrat electors (three from Washington and one from Colorado) voted for candidates who didn’t win their state’s popular vote. These so-called Hamilton Electors (a name they misappropriated from Hamilton’s Federalist No. 68) wanted to gather enough votes from electors of both parties to choose a Republican alternative to Trump or reduce Trump’s Electoral College vote count below 270 and throw the election into the House of Representatives. In response, Washington fined its electors and Colorado negated the rogue elector’s vote. These electors responded by doing what progressives naturally do: suing.
In all, 10 electors (eight Democrat electors and two odd Texans who voted for John Kasich and Ron Paul) refused to vote for their state’s winner. Three of these 10 votes were corrected by their respective states, but seven were not, which accounts for Trump’s winning total of 304-227. But what if that margin had been tighter?
“Rogue electoral votes could be decisive to the November election if the winner commands a thin margin in the Electoral College,” explains The Washington Free Beacon’s Kevin Daley. This seems more likely with a recent poll showing nearly a quarter of Republicans still wanting someone other than Trump on the Republican ballot in 2020. “While a federal appeals court ruled the electors are free to vote as they please,” Daley adds, “the states say binding electors to the popular vote is essential for ensuring public faith in elections.”
Keep in mind that the Hamilton Electors movement is one of several current leftist assaults on the Electoral College, including the National Popular Vote Movement. Public support for both schemes might possibly surge if rogue electors either overturned an election or let the House decide. Of course, the goal here isn’t about taking a stand for what’s right; it’s about undermining public faith in our institutions.
Rightfully, the Supreme Court is stepping in to deliberate the constitutionality of the issue. “Supreme Court justices voiced concerns Wednesday about the chaos that could ensue if Electoral College’s presidential electors could go rogue,” The Washington Times reports. “The conservative and liberal wings of the high court both appeared skeptical about siding with the faithless electors.”
That’s a good sign. Were the Court to instead rule in favor of faithless electors, Reason’s Keith Whittington argues, “It might have the effect of shifting the political culture and encouraging future lobbying campaigns to influence the electors. It would be a disaster if presidential electors ever took it upon themselves to change the outcome of a presidential election.”
All of this creates a conundrum for constitutional conservatives who support maintaining the integrity of the Electoral College but also realize that some of our Founding Fathers believed electors should have the freedom to vote their conscience.
The problem is that some of today’s electors are agenda-driven ideologues, not the thoughtful and principled statesmen that Alexander Hamilton envisioned. Let’s hope the Supreme Court puts a stop to this nonsense and thereby ensures that the votes of the American people are protected, just as they have been for more than two centuries.
For the past three months, a global pandemic has dominated the news cycle. But in doing so, the China Virus also obscured a number of other important events and issues. This included the cancellation of not just the NCAA basketball tournament and Major League Baseball’s Opening Day but college and high-school winter championships and spring sports. In the latter case, we were thus spared further reports of an ongoing saga that threatens to change the very nature of competitive sports: the inclusion of so-called “transgender” athletes (a.k.a. males) competing in girls’ sports.
We introduced you to Selina Soule just over a year ago, shortly after she was bested in a Connecticut high-school competition by two “transgender” male athletes in a race that determined advancement to a regional championship. Her eighth-place finish left her two spots short, with the two boys finishing one-two in the race.
Since then, with the assistance of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Soule has become the lead plaintiff in a federal case against the Connecticut Association of Schools — a case that already includes some disturbing and frankly biased remarks uttered by the judge, one Robert Chatigny.
According to a transcript of the case obtained by National Review, Chatigny, a senior judge originally appointed by Bill Clinton, advised ADF attorneys, “If you feel strongly that you and your clients have a right to refer to these (transgender) individuals as ‘males’ and that you therefore do not want to comply with my order, then that’s unfortunate. But I’ll give you some time to think about it and you can let me know if it’s a problem. If it is, gosh, maybe we’ll need to do something. I don’t want to bully you, but at the same time, I don’t want you to be bullying anybody else. Maybe you might need to take an application to the Court of Appeals. I don’t know. But I certainly don’t want to put civility at risk in this case.”
Needless to say, ADF attorneys were shocked at this “scolding.” However, they and the judge reached a compromise to call the male runners in question “transgender athletes.” But Chatigny’s remarks suggest an inherent bias in his eventual ruling.
Commentator Matt Walsh wryly observes that the ADF attorneys missed an opportunity during the proceedings, which were handled via conference call. “I wish that the lawyers for the girls had thought to ask the judge to provide a definition of the word ‘female,’” wrote Walsh. “He apparently thinks that a female is someone with XX chromosomes or someone with XY chromosomes. As that pretty much covers the whole gamut of human possibilities, it would seem that the judge actually thinks the word female means nothing at all.”
It would also seem that this courtroom game is rigged, which prompts a number of questions regarding how Title IX will be seen in this new era of 50 shades of gender dysphoria. While several states have adopted stances like that in Connecticut, Idaho recently passed legislation in the opposite direction, protecting girls from having to compete against biological males. Naturally, that state’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act is being challenged in court.
While there are exceptions, there’s a timeless and inarguable reason that most competitive sports separate the sexes: Men are generally bigger and stronger than women. In the same 55-meter girls’ race where Soule finished eighth, the winning male set a state record of 6.95 seconds, with the second-place finisher (also a male) finishing 0.06 seconds behind. The top biological female crossed the line in 7.23 seconds. That may seem like a small margin of victory between the top male and female, but in sprinting terms, it’s a blowout.
Unfortunately, it appears Soule and her co-plaintiffs aren’t just playing catch-up on the track; they’re working at a disadvantage in federal court, too.
Grassroots perspective by Roger Helle
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life.” —II Corinthians 1:7
It was the most chaotic experience of my life, and I was only 18. I remember the sounds of automatic weapons firing nonstop, the screams of wounded Marines and North Vietnamese troops mixed together, grenades going off and mortar rounds dropping into our perimeter. My mind was reeling, but I continued to focus on keeping the attacking enemy troops at bay. I watched acts of self-sacrifice and heroism unlike any war movie I had ever seen growing up.
Wounded Marines died because helicopters could not penetrate the jungle canopy. The stench of death filled the valley as the fighting continued — at times hand to hand. The battle lasted for three days deep in the jungle valley before the enemy retreated. On the fifth day, we marched out of the valley, at least those of us still alive.
The memories of the men who fought, bled, and died around me will always be there. I witnessed firsthand courage unlike anything I had ever seen. The Apostle John described it perfectly in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
This Saturday is Armed Forces Day. Unless you are a veteran or related to one, you may not be aware of it. It’s not on the calendar on my cellphone or even on my Day Timer calendar, but on May 16 we will celebrate all who have served in any branch of the service. Begun by President Harry Truman in 1950, the purpose was to make Americans aware of the great work our military folks do.
Today, less than 1% of Americans are serving in our military. Today’s military is probably the most educated and diverse group to have ever put on a uniform. I meet men and women who are serving and I am impressed by their sacrifice and love of country. That element of patriotism is somehow lacking across our country today.
We know many on the Left have no respect for our military. We know many (not all) educators feel the same way. But to those of us who have worn the uniform and put our lives on the line for freedom, America is the greatest nation on the face of the earth.
When I was asked to join The Patriot Post team, I was honored. I had known Mark Alexander for over 20 years by then. His family has a rich history of patriotic service to this nation going back generations. Mark’s father was a WWII fighter pilot and one of his sons is currently a Marine Corps infantry officer. The Patriot Post team comes from different backgrounds but share a common love for this country.
This weekend, reach out to someone who is serving or has served. Ask them their story. Let them know how grateful you are for putting themselves on the front line of freedom. If they are like the heroes I know, they will deflect the praise and say they are/were “simply doing their job.” Thank them anyway.
Something to think about?
More Great Analysis
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Why the Price of Groceries Is Increasing during the shutdown.
Above the Fold
Republican Richard Burr is one of several senators who, as we previously reported, is suspected of leveraging non-public coronavirus information for insider trading. The North Carolina lawmaker “temporarily stepped aside as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday after the FBI served a search warrant for his cellphone,” according to the AP. Meanwhile, The Hill adds that “Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) spoke to the FBI and handed over documents last month related to recent stock transactions by her husband.” However, Feinstein’s spokesman says “there have been no follow up actions on this issue.” Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler has also furnished trade documents. Unfortunately, Burr’s recklessness in particular could have political ramifications for Republicans this fall.
The House will vote today on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s dreamy debt bomb. According to Fox News, “Pelosi acknowledged Thursday the long odds of the Democrats’ $3 trillion coronavirus relief legislation of becoming law and suggested the massive bill could be a starting point of negotiations with the White House and Senate.” The Hill adds, “Striking a bipartisan deal over a new coronavirus relief bill is becoming increasingly unlikely before June” due to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s legitimate concerns about runaway spending and the Democrats’ statist agenda.
Government & Politics
White House will add to coronavirus task force with an emphasis on reopening the country (Washington Examiner)
PBS stations that received millions in federal funds partnered with Chinese foreign agent on pro-Beijing film (The Daily Caller)
“Hard to capture in words”: Fed survey shows almost 40% of American households making less than $40,000 lost a job in March (The Week)
Trump floats cutting off “whole relationship” with China as punishment (The Daily Caller)
Chinese state media warn country will interfere in U.S. election (The Washington Free Beacon)
Senate passes FISA surveillance bill with new protections, but differences with the House version makes its political fate uncertain (NPR)
Trump administration to extend border restrictions until coronavirus no longer poses a “danger”; just two asylum seekers have been granted access since March (National Review)
Culture & Heartland
Social distancing in U.S. drops significantly from height of COVID-19 pandemic (USA Today)
Of the 5,141 virus deaths in Massachusetts, 3,095 have occurred in the state’s nursing homes — more than 60%, double the percentage even in New York (Boston Herald)
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer slapped with lawsuit over “drastic” lockdown (The Washington Times)
Leaked data from a Chinese military-run university suggests China may have 640,000 coronavirus cases, not 80,000 (New York Post)
Profiles of Valor: Staff Sgt. Ron Shurer, Medal of Honor recipient who saved lives in Afghanistan, dead at 41 after cancer battle (Fox News)
Trump to ask Supreme Court to stop emoluments lawsuit claiming president profits unlawfully from DC hotel (CNBC)
Policy: How much are we spending to prevent one COVID-19 death — millions, billions, trillions? Nobody knows (Issues & Insights)
Policy: Poor savings habits have left Americans vulnerable to economic crises (E21)
Humor: Democrat states deploy Greta Thunberg drones to lecture people who go outside (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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Video: Ben Shapiro Breaks Down Obamagate — “When you spent your entire political career being immune to slings and arrows, it’s pretty easy to throw stones.”
Video: Some Good News With John Krasinski — His friends from “The Office” join in to surprise a newly married couple.
Humor Video: Out of Touch (Kevin James Short Film) — Watch out for snitches who will out you to the Social Distance Police.
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “The great dialectic in our time is not, as anciently and by some still supposed, between capital and labor; it is between economic enterprise and the state.” —John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)
Upright: “Conservatism has long had a healthy foundation in truth and the nature of man. Conservatives have never hoped to build a heaven on earth like progressives because we know we are all sinners and should want as few other sinners in charge of us as possible. But conservatives must want and seek truth to have trust in the public square. We have an obligation to it.” —Erick Erickson
Observations: “Forget burning flags, lynching world leaders in effigy and lying down in the street to stop traffic. The new act of civil disobedience is going to your job. The world has gone completely up-side-down.” —Jon Caldara
Reminder: “Journalism is about covering important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.” —David Burge
Political futures: “House Democrats introduced their latest coronavirus relief bill on Tuesday, and the way to understand its breadth and $3 trillion cost is that it has little to do with fighting Covid-19. This is Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s agenda for 2021 when she expects that Democrats will run the entire government and she’ll be the de facto President.” —The Wall Street Journal
Shooting yourself in the foot: “[Voters] should vote their heart and if they believe Tara Reade, they probably shouldn’t vote for me. I wouldn’t vote for me if I believed Tara Reade.” —Joe Biden
Non compos mentis: “Whether it’s the Post Office, whether it’s the court system, whether it’s the rule of law, whether it’s actually how you respond to a pandemic or public health system, [Trump] is undermining all our confidence. When you look at what Trump’s doing, it’s really not different than what the Chinese and Russians are trying to do.” —Rahm Emanuel
And last… “Quick tip: If you move from a blue state to a red state and continue to vote blue, your problems will follow you.” —Allie Beth Stuckey
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