Mid-Day Digest

May 18, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” —Thomas Jefferson (1816)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

How Much More ‘Relief’ Can We Afford?

Nate Jackson

Despite a brief show of mild disagreement among Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi successfully wrangled her caucus into passing another round of coronavirus relief on Friday. The $3 trillion HEROES Act is the most expensive legislation in U.S. history and would bring this year’s total federal spending to a staggering $10 trillion. Yet it didn’t go through a single committee, and it had only Democrat input. No wonder just one Republican — New York’s Peter King — voted for it.

The Wall Street Journal lays out some of the spending: “The House bill includes about $1 trillion in direct aid to states and localities, including grants and education assistance, to deal with the effects of the pandemic. It would put a new round of one-time cash payments into Americans’ bank accounts, extend the duration of enhanced jobless benefits, help cover some rents and mortgages, forgive some student-loan debt and send premium pay to essential workers in fields such as health care.” That last item is $200 billion for a “heroes fund” to give hazard pay to medical workers, hence the bill’s name. It’s a nice sentiment but, frankly, it’s a misuse of the word “heroes.”

Our economy is in desperate straits. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell cut short any hope of a “V”-shaped recovery, warning that getting back to where we were will “stretch through the end of next year.” Thus, the desire for more relief is palpable. The first major round was one thing; spending 50% more in this round is another, especially given that much of the $3 trillion is for left-wing goodies that will continue a terrible trend of massively expanding government.

One-time cash payments (for the second time) will surely be welcomed by millions of Americans, but the extension of enhanced jobless benefits ensures that some number of the 36 million unemployed Americans will find that remaining without a job will pay better than taking one — assuming there are jobs to return to, given the more than 100,000 businesses permanently shuttered thanks to the lockdown. That’s also not to mention that employers who stayed afloat with Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans must rehire laid-off staff in order to qualify for loan forgiveness. That’s harder to do when businesses are competing with unemployment payments for workers.

Another part of the deal: sending relief payments to many illegal aliens. According to Democrats, we can’t deport illegals, but we can redistribute income to them.

Even the relief for states is an unjustified bailout for those suffering from the preexisting condition of irresponsible Democrat governance. In fact, one of the other provisions is Pelosi’s desired tax cut for wealthy Democrat donors in those high-tax blue states.

As perhaps the most absurd illustration of Democrat priorities, however, the bill pushes a massive mail-in voting plan that would leave American elections ripe for fraud. Anyone think that would be there if it helped Republicans?

“We’re putting our offer on the table,” Pelosi said. “We’re open to negotiation.”

Negotiation? wondered Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Heroes Act “reads like the speaker of the House pasted together random ideas from her most liberal members and slapped the word ‘coronavirus’ on top of it.” He added, “It’s a parade of absurdities that can hardly be taken seriously.”

Unfortunately, Republicans need to take it seriously and stop the nonsense in its tracks.

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Obama’s Unbecoming Shots at Trump

Perhaps you noticed it on social media this weekend: the return of Barack Obama, and the nostalgic yearning among certain of your friends for a “real” president of the United States. On Saturday, we were treated to a contrast between our supposedly “we”-centric former president and our current “me”-centric Orange One. The composure, the class, the character — these attractive attributes were in sharp relief at two virtual commencement speeches to our nation’s 2020 graduates.

Or were they?

Former presidents, from Washington on down, have traditionally held fast to a fundamental courtesy: that of declining to criticize one’s successor in the Oval Office. It makes sense, too, since only a former president can truly fathom the weighty challenges of the office. Recently, though, this protocol had begun to be breached. It started with Jimmy Carter, who never seemed to get over his trouncing at the hands of Ronald Reagan. And last week, we saw Barack Obama, whose legacy of failure has been laid bare by President Donald Trump, take a cheap shot at his successor amid a national crisis.

“An absolute chaotic disaster,” Obama called it, referring to the Trump administration’s handling of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. He went on to lament the “selfish” and “tribal” mindset of Donald Trump and his followers, and “seeing others as an enemy.”

Perhaps our 44th president has forgotten his infamous comments to Latinos in 2010: “We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends,” he said.

Never mind that Obama uttered last week’s remarks during a private call with roughly 3,000 former staffers; they were meant for far broader consumption, and they were leaked accordingly.

Which brings us to this weekend’s virtual commencement addresses, the first to a gathering of graduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the second to graduates generally from across the land. Here Obama was more restrained, but he couldn’t resist taking another swipe at our current president in front of what he must’ve assumed was a more friendly crowd, those graduates from the HBCUs: “More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” he said. “A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”

The irony? Trump’s work on behalf of Historically Black Colleges and Universities has won the praise of blacks across the country.

Donald Trump is a lethal counterpuncher, of course, and he didn’t waste much time in firing back. “Look,” he said, “he was an incompetent president. That’s all I can say. Grossly incompetent.”

The gloves are fully off now, and the stakes are high. Barack Obama has invited a vicious war of words between now and November, and we suspect he’ll have his hands full.

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Cuomo’s COVID-19 Response Failure

Thomas Gallatin

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was hit with some well-deserved criticism after last week brought news that at least 5,400 COVID-19 deaths in the state have come from nursing homes. Back in March, in the early days of the China Virus pandemic, Cuomo issued an order mandating that nursing homes accept patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 rather than send them to hospitals. It was well known at the time that in Washington, one of the earliest states to experience the COVID-19 outbreak, nursing homes were hit especially hard. Cuomo’s mandate was counterintuitive and deadly.

Ironically, back in April, Cuomo labeled nursing homes as “ground zero” for the pandemic, but he also used that label to criticize those nursing homes. “If they cannot provide that care, then they have to transfer the person to another facility,” he said. “Those are the rules. They get paid to take care of a resident.” And yet the governor’s standing order required these same facilities to continue accepting infected patients, which resulted in a least 19 infected patients being sent from the hospital back to nursing homes.

The latest news is that New York officials have been fudging the statistics on the number of nursing-home patients that have died from the virus, as only deaths that occur at these long-term-care facilities are being recorded as nursing-home deaths. Any nursing-home resident who was infected at the facility and was then moved to a hospital and died within 24 hours has not been included in nursing-home death totals. New estimates of nursing-home deaths, including those sent to the hospital, add at least 1,700 to the total number. Cuomo’s order spread the virus to the most vulnerable.

Cuomo’s responses to the new criticism has been nothing but deflections. “People died. Older people, vulnerable people are going to die from this virus. That is going to happen despite whatever you do. You can have a situation where everyone did the right thing and everyone tried their best, and people still die,” he lectured. “Look, people rationalize death in different ways. I don’t think there was any logical rationale to say they would be alive today.”

Interestingly, New York data also indicates that, far from preventing the spread of COVID-19, Cuomo’s lockdown order did little to stop the spread at all. Some 66% of the new infections in the state came from people who were sheltering in place. Maybe Cuomo should have done more to focus on protecting and quarantining the most vulnerable rather than issuing a one-size-fits-all shutdown order.

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Dispelling the Lie of Lawlessness While Being Black

Grassroots perspective by Patrick Hampton

At the apex of the Trayvon Martin case, progressives were on the edge of their seats in anticipation for President Barack Obama’s sentiments about the situation. After all, this was America’s first black president, so surely he would be the voice of reason and guidance in light of racial reconciliation.

Instead of reasonable conjecture, Obama waxed poetic about how, if he had a son, he’d look like Martin. Though his words pulled at the heartstrings of black progressives, the statement was particularly condemning for the so-called “people of color” — painting any random black male as a person who would likely find themselves in the same scenario as Martin did when he encountered George Zimmerman.

Let’s then fast forward to the Amaud Arbery situation that transpired earlier this year. While a nationwide consensus has yet to be achieved, a light of criminal activity has been cast upon Arbery, who people claimed was just taking a jog but we now understand to be trespassing. And as reports suggest, Arbery found himself in a gun-involved struggle with a white father and son that ultimately cost Arbery his own life.

As developing information emerges, the public eye is still fixated on Arbery’s innocence, that he had every right to be where he was. I’m then told by the due process dissenters that any one of my four sons could have been Arbery.

There is so much untruth in that statement.

No, not a single one of my sons, nor Barack Obama’s hypothetical son, would find themselves where Arbery did. The chances are far too slim.

In fact, far more black men will go on to live productive lives than will find themselves in such perilous predicaments. No, the media will never share this. Their cameras stay focused on stories steeped in controversy, ambiguity, and few facts. Hardly will you ever see the black male in the light of success or positivity.

Most black men are like myself mind our own business and are concerned about ourselves and raising our families, just like any other upstanding, red-blooded American. Following the mold are my sons, who keep their noses in the books and the Bible, and who strive to be productive men someday.

The reality is that white men from fatherless homes account for the majority of these criminal encounters involving a gun or a mass shooting. The reality is that black men raised by both their mother and father are more docile and law-abiding than the media will ever admit. The source of reckless behavior is more likely than not the result of fatherless homes.

Knowing this, Obama couldn’t possibly have a son like Trayvon, nor could I. Because we, as fathers, are present. That makes the difference.

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More Great Analysis

Arnold Ahlert explores the history and rationale for the long transition period between presidential administrations. Obama did a lot of damage in a little over two months.

Robin Smith argues that mission creep can be devastating for true leadership.

Thomas Gallatin reviews the candidates for Joe Biden’s running mate — the woman who may be president.

NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

Above the Fold

  • Late on Friday, The Daily Caller reported, “The Trump administration will shortly resume funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), but it will be at the same level as China, according to a Fox News report released Friday on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight.’” But Axios subsequently revealed that “President Trump is leaning toward preserving his total funding cut for the World Health Organization after being on the brink of announcing he’d restore partial funding to the global health agency.” Whatever the case, WHO funding won’t be returning to the status quo — nor should it.

  • Gallup polling indicates that, 1,209 days into his presidency, Trump’s approval rating is at 49%. The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard explains the polling’s significance: “Despite a wave of critical news coverage and Democratic catcalls, President Trump sits at his ‘highest’ approval in the latest Gallup survey, and above where four of the last six presidents, including Barack Obama and George W. Bush, were at this point of the first term.” Some 48% of respondents to a McLaughlin & Associates survey opined that the media has behaved unfairly toward the Trump administration, whereas 42% say the media has been fair-minded. So, not only has coronavirus failed to blemish Trump’s approval rating due to his overall satisfactory response, but the media’s biased coverage — bias it claims doesn’t exist — is backfiring.

Government & Politics

  • House passes massive $3 trillion bill chock-full of socialist policies (The Hill)

  • It’s a work from home Congress as House approves proxy vote (AP)

  • Trump fires State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, an Obama appointee who briefed Congress on Biden-Ukraine ties (Fox News)

  • DOJ and state attorneys general to sue Google for antitrust violations (National Review)

Business & Economy

  • Fed Chairman Jerome Powell says GDP could shrink more than 30%, but he doesn’t see another Depression (CNBC)

  • Retail sales plunge a record 16.4% in April, far worse than predicted (CNBC)

  • Manufacturing output in the United States dropped by a record 13.7% in April (The Daily Caller)

  • 100,000 businesses have permanently collapsed under pandemic lockdowns (The Federalist)

National Security

  • “COVID-19 should be a wake-up call”: Border wall construction has sped up amid coronavirus crisis, CBP chief says (Fox News)

  • The president strikes back: Trump blocks shipments of semiconductors to China’s Huawei (The Washington Times)

Culture & Heartland

  • Who’d a thunk it? Over 100 inmates released from Rikers Island busted for new offenses (Bearing Arms)

  • Arlington National Cemetery will be closed to the public this Memorial Day due to coronavirus restrictions (Fox News)

Other Notables

  • Trump receives flag of new Space Force for Oval Office (The Washington Times)

  • Italy — one of the nations hit hardest by COVID-19 — looks to reopen borders next month as lockdown measures ease (Reuters)

  • Chinese official confirms the ChiComs ordered labs to destroy coronavirus samples (The Daily Caller)

Closing Arguments

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

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VIDEOS

Video: Why Obamagate Is Such a Huge Scandal — Michael Knowles simplifies the details of this deep-state conspiracy.

Video: CNN Spent Two Years Lapping Up Schiff’s Collusion Lies — Making matters worse, any apology for peddling his deceit will remain elusive.

Video: The Death of the College Experience — Cal State to stay shuttered in Fall 2020. But could it actually be the salvation of a college education?

Humor Video: Surfin’ USA (Beach Boys Lockdown Parody) — Remy hangs ten but could be out in five with good behavior.

Humor Video: Sports Commentator Holds Zoom Meeting With His Dogs — Andrew Cotter provides us a good belly laugh via a canine “conference call.”

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.” —Ronald Reagan

For the record: “Everything does not depend on a vaccine.” —Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar

Upright: “We already have more compelling evidence that the Obama administration engaged in misconduct than we ever did for opening the Russian-collusion investigation.” —David Harsanyi

Non compos mentis: “The Green New Deal is a non-binding resolution of values. It does not have a price tag or CBO score and costs us $0 if passed.” —Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Demo-gogues: “Doing what feels good. what’s convenient, what’s easy. That’s how little kids think. Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grownups with fancy titles and important jobs still think that way. That’s why things are so screwed up.” —Barack Obama

Never let a crisis go to waste: “To tell you the truth, that if there is any silver lining in this midst of this terrible, terrible, and unprecedented moment in American history, in terms of the economy and in terms of the pandemic, it is that maybe we start rethinking some fundamental tenets about the way our government and society work.” —Bernie Sanders

Cry us a river: “So yeah it really hurt to have my old seat flip back to Republican — for a ton of people & also for me. In fact, it was pretty f—ing devastating. I went offline & cried for a few days but, as always, getting ready to stand back up & keep fighting. Hope you are too.” —Katie Hill

And last… “So I ask the FBI again: How is your leak investigation going? I know how your Michael Flynn investigation went. I know the time and effort you spent to try to catch someone in a lie. How is your 10-year felony investigation going? It has been four years now.” —Trey Gowdy

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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.


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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

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