Mid-Day Digest

May 21, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual — or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” —Samuel Adams (1781)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Mail-in Voting: Dems Go for a Tammany Haul

Douglas Andrews

Boss Tweed may have said it best: “As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it?”

Tweed’s comment, of course, goes directly to the cornerstone of a healthy republic: the citizenry’s faith in free and fair elections. Absent that fundamental guarantee — that only honest votes will be counted — a nation’s elected leaders lack legitimacy and moral authority, and the nation itself lacks the consent of its people. And this is what separates the United States from the tyrannical regimes and the banana republics.

This electoral season, however, will see that guarantee tested to its fullest. In their zeal to defeat Donald Trump in November, and in their utter refusal to let a good crisis go to waste, Democrats at the national and state levels are using the China Virus as an excuse to promote and enact a nationwide vote-by-mail system.

One of the battlegrounds for this push is Michigan, a state whose 16 electoral votes went to Trump by a razor-thin margin in 2016. Yesterday, Trump took aim at the state’s secretary of state, Democrat Jocelyn Benson, whose office has sent 7.7 million absentee ballot applications to Michigan voters. As the president noted, “This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!”

We’re not yet sure of the legal ramifications of Benson’s decision, but the action of the former Wayne State University Law School dean no doubt pleases Michigan Governor and possible Joe Biden running mate Gretchen Whitmer, whose infringements upon the liberty of the people we noted last month.

Another state currently under siege from the absentee-ballot activists is Texas, where a U.S. district judge has ruled that all the state’s residents must have access to vote by mail. We know what you’re saying: Texas is a reliably red state. But is it? A buffoon like Beto O'Rourke came too close for comfort in the Senate race with Ted Cruz there two years ago. And with judicial activism as alive in Texas as anywhere else, the Lone Star State’s must-have haul of 38 electoral votes may soon be up for grabs. If Republicans lose Texas, it’ll be a long time before they see the White House again.

Absentee voting, of course, exists in all 50 states, and for good reason. It’s for the elderly and the disabled, and for those serving in the military or currently out of state or overseas. But it was never intended to replace the age-old practice of voting in-person and within one’s community, and that too is for good reason: because it introduces serious vulnerabilities into the electoral system.

In short, the easier it is to vote, the easier it is to defraud the voting process.

Those on the Left continue to reflexively reject the notion that voter fraud even exists. But it does exist, and it’s been well documented. And remember: Voter fraud doesn’t have to be widespread to make a difference. As John Fund brilliantly pointed out back in 2014, a few fraudulent votes in a tightly contested election can ultimately saddle an entire nation with … ObamaCare.

Think about your spiraling healthcare premiums the next time someone tells you that voter fraud isn’t a thing and that mail-in ballots are no big deal.

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Biden’s Ukraine Dealings Suddenly Get Hot

Thomas Gallatin

In recent days, Joe Biden’s shady dealings with Ukraine have again come to the forefront via a couple of new developments. On Wednesday, Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted to subpoena records from Blue Star Strategies “related to work for or on behalf of Burisma Holdings or individuals associated with Burisma.” Blue Star Strategies is a PR firm that has worked for Burisma, the Ukraine gas company that featured a woefully unqualified Hunter Biden on its board.

Democrats cried foul, claiming that Republicans are politically motivated to damage President Donald Trump’s likely opponent, further arguing that Blue Star had already been supplying requested records to the Senate committee. However, committee chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) noted that Blue Star had been dragging its feet in releasing records.

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) argued, “We need to get to the truth about the Bidens’ relationship with Burisma, and these hearings will provide the Senate with the full picture.” Tellingly, even Mitt Romney (R-UT), who was highly critical of Trump throughout the Democrats’ failed Ukraine impeachment gambit, sided with his Republican colleagues in voting for issuing the subpoenas.

Also on Wednesday, several phone conversations between then-Vice President Joe Biden and Ukraine’s then-President Petro Poroshenko were leaked, and they appear to show Poroshenko following through on Biden’s demand to fire Ukraine general prosecutor Viktor Shokin in order to secure a promised $1 billion loan from the U.S. You might call that a quid pro quo. While much of this information is already known, as Biden himself publicly bragged about it, a very significant point is made during the course of the conversations that directly counters Biden’s claim that Shokin was fired for being corrupt.

Here is the relevant portion of the phone conversation, with Poroshenko speaking in somewhat broken English:

I have some positive and negative news. I will start with positive news. … I met with the General Prosecutor Shokin. And despite the fact that we didn’t have any corruption charges, we don’t have any information about him doing something wrong … I specifically asked him to resign … his position as a state person. And despite of the fact that he has a support in the power and as a finish of meeting with him, he promised me to give me the statement on resignation. And one hour ago, he bring me the written statement of his resignation. And this is my second step for keeping my promises.

No matter what the Leftmedia and Democrats may claim, there is clearly more to this story that needs investigating. The great irony here is that Democrats were willing to take a nothingburger of a phone call between Trump and current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a pretext for impeachment, while they cry foul over any attempt to investigate Biden’s behavior as a purely politically motivated attack that’s off limits. Democrats are acting like the child who has stuck his fingers in his ears and is repeatedly shouting “nah, nah, nah” to avoid hearing unwanted information. In short, their objections to investigating Biden are simply childish, and the smoke of an apparent scandal isn’t dissipating.

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Poisonous ‘Resistance Journalism’

Nate Jackson

Is Ronan Farrow Too Good to Be True?” wondered New York Times media columnist Ben Smith. “He has delivered revelatory reporting on some of the defining stories of our time. But a close examination reveals the weaknesses in what may be called an era of resistance journalism.”

“Resistance journalism” is one way to put it, although we’d argue most of what Leftmedia reporters engage in these days is roughly 90% resistance and 10% journalism.

Glenn Greenwald, a leftist reporter who still generally cares about facts, picked up on that theme: “What is particularly valuable about Smith’s article is its perfect description of a media sickness borne of the Trump era that is rapidly corroding journalistic integrity and justifiably destroying trust in news outlets. Smith aptly dubs this pathology ‘resistance journalism,’ by which he means that journalists are now not only free, but encouraged and incentivized, to say or publish anything they want, no matter how reckless and fact-free, provided their target is someone sufficiently disliked in mainstream liberal media venues and/or on social media.”

How does this play out? “It is this ‘resistance journalism’ sickness that caused U.S. politics to be drowned for three years in little other than salacious and fact-free conspiracy theories about Trump and his family members and closest associates,” Greenwald says. “Mainstream media debacles — all in service of promoting the same set of conspiracy theories against Trump — are literally too numerous to count.” He concludes, “Whether it was true or supported by basic journalistic standards was completely irrelevant. Responsible reporting simply was not a metric used to assess its worth.”

Speaking of basic journalistic standards, it should be noted that Smith was previously editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News, the tabloid-style outfit that originally published the full but “unverified” Christopher Steele dossier. Smith defended doing so, saying a year later that he was “proud we published” it. So Smith knows a thing or two about resistance “journalism” — otherwise known as fake news.

Even so, he appropriately takes Farrow, the New Yorker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, to task for getting key stories very wrong, or, at best, failing to prove his provocative assertions. Farrow, as Greenwald put it, is guilty of “peddling unproven conspiracy theories.” We won’t spend time on the details here, but Smith’s three prime examples of bogus Farrow stories include those on Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former attorney; Harvey Weinsten, the Hollywood producer whose takedown initiated the MeToo movement (for which Farrow won his Pulitzer); and NBC’s Matt Lauer, who was fired from NBC after similar accusations. Interestingly, Smith neglects to mention Farrow’s role in advancing the false accusations of Deborah Ramirez against Brett Kavanaugh. And, by the way, this is the same MeToo movement that abruptly ended the moment Joe Biden was accused by Tara Reade.

So where’s the accountability? NewsGuard, the ostensibly unbiased but clearly partisan arbiter of media reliability, still laughably grades The New Yorker, The New York Times, and BuzzFeed News with its highest ratings. Someone should ask NewsGuard if Smith’s report on Farrow’s fake news — or Greenwald’s more sweeping indictment against any number of other Leftmedia outlets for the whole Russia-collusion fiasco — will result in knocking the New Yorker’s grade a bit. Or, for that matter, BuzzFeed’s. Currently, NewsGuard’s “Nutrition Label” for The New Yorker notes Farrow’s Pulitzer Prize as a way of boosting its credibility, though we know how little Pulitzers are worth these days. As for BuzzFeed, NewsGuard matter-of-factly recaps its publishing of the “unverified dossier” in its section on BuzzFeed’s credibility, without mentioning that Robert Mueller’s probe proved the Hillary Clinton/DNC-funded dossier to be utter garbage.

Obviously, we won’t hold our breath for this incestuous gaggle of leftist ideologues to even feign holding each other accountable for their total lack of honesty or integrity. But the fact that the Leftmedia is composed so heavily of resistance activists is exactly the reason why it remains the true enemy of the people.

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Believe ‘The Science’?

Mark Alexander

In Pennsylvania, Demo Governor Tom Wolf is competing with New York’s Andrew Cuomo and Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer for the title of most guilty of government overreach and malfeasance in response to the CV19 medical and economic disaster.

Last week, Wolf declared his contempt for those who want to go back to work, insisting they “have decided to surrender to this enemy.” According to Wolf, “These are politicians who were elected to serve their fellow citizens. Others are business owners who have chosen to serve their customers by putting them in harm’s way. These folks are choosing to desert in the face of the enemy.” That’s some tough military rhetoric for a wealthy leftist who avoided military service as a Peace Corp beatnik and then student deferments.

Like Cuomo and Whitmer, Wolf is taking some much-deserved heat, particularly as it relates to the fact that he and his secretary of health, Dr. Rachel Levine, have not adequately demonstrated the scientific data backing up their extreme measures. In a recent editorial, Matthew Brouillette laments: “[Governor Wolf] assures us his decisions are ‘data driven’ and that we need to ‘believe the science.’ … Believe the science means you can specify the science driving full-scale economic shutdown. Where is it?”

There is a coming debate over “the science,” as our analyst Arnold Ahlert hinted today in “Lies, Damned Lies, and COVID-19 Statistics.” The price of Liberty and a functioning Republic during a viral epidemic will include increased illness and death, despite the safety measures.

Dr. Levine, who is also a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine, is likewise taking fire for the state’s extreme measures. Levine insists, “We’re very confident in our data,” but says, “the science takes time.” But that “data” increasingly points to malfeasance and negligence.

Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano has called for Levine’s resignation, noting, “Both the Governor and the Secretary of Health continue to move the goal posts regarding the COVID-19 health crisis, while thinking of new and creative ways of violating the civil liberties of our citizens.” State Representative Russ Diamond has also called for Levine’s resignation, citing “the horrific results of the department’s COVID-19 policy,” particularly nursing-home deaths.

The great irony of charges against Levine for not producing the “data” based on “the science” is that Levine can’t provide a shred of evidence refuting another matter that is supported by the most well-established science in the history of science. Rachel Levine was born Richard Levine. He divorced his wife and family years ago and now insists he is a so-called “transgendered” person. But where is the science supporting Levine’s claim he has transitioned genders? There is no such thing as “transgender.”

Levine is a celebrity among homosexual advocacy groups and was featured recently by the Washington Blade, which bills itself “America’s top LGBT news source.” The Blade asserts: “As Pennsylvania health secretary, she’s the highest ranking openly transgender health official — in health or other areas — in the United States.” The Blade would like to see Levine have “a future in the Biden administration, potentially as secretary of health and human services.” Based on Levine’s record in Pennsylvania, that would be a disaster.

In a recent health briefing, after being referenced (correctly) by a Pittsburg reporter as “sir,” Levine protested, “Please don’t misgender me,” insisting it was “really insulting.” Of course, that reporter, who apologized twice, is now paying a price for using the right pronoun.

For the record, I have no contempt, only compassion, for Levine’s gender disorientation. And he can refer to himself in whatever way he prefers, but expecting the rest of the world to comport with his altered state of reality, and the errant notion that he is “transgendered,” is contemptuous. Compliance with that absurdity is now the Leftmedia standard and daring to suggest otherwise will subject this column to ridicule. But my point is, if Levine can’t produce “the science” to show he has transitioned genders, that tends to undermine his credibility when dictating what Pennsylvanians can and can’t do without likewise producing the science.

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UN Virtue Signals on PC Gender-Neutral Language

Thomas Gallatin

In a silly effort to promote the obviously false notion that gendered language is indicative of societal inequity, the United Nations recently released a social-media memo with the heading “What you say matters.” However, the admonishment is not about taking care regarding what one communicates; rather, the focus of the memo is on literal words. These UN busybodies have set themselves up as the “woke” word police.

Included in the memo is a list of common terms that should not be used if one does not know someone’s gender or if one is talking to or about a group. For example, instead of “mankind,” the UN recommends “humankind.” Don’t say “businessman,” but rather use “representative” (which doesn’t even come close to conveying the fundamental definitional root of the activity — “business”). And instead of “landlord,” one should say “owner.” Just imagine the confusion that would create. “Who called?” “Oh, it was just my owner.”

Witness the abject hypocrisy in the very memo itself, as the source of this nonsense is @UNWOMEN. Someone please explain how that is not gendered language.

As noted above, this push by the UN to police people’s language has everything to do with advancing a globalist political agenda, made even more ironic by the fact that the UN sees no problem with allowing nations with some of the worst human-rights records to sit on its Human Rights Council. As observed by U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft, “That one of the world’s worst human-rights abusers would be granted a seat on a body that is supposed to defend human rights is utterly appalling. … [Its] an embarrassment to the United Nations and a tragedy for the people of Venezuela.” And yet we’re supposed to take its advice on the English language.

In the end, one wonders if this politically correct virtue signaling is designed to distract from the fact that the UN’s World Health Organization has so grossly failed in responding to the global China Virus pandemic.

As usual, we prefer the Babylon Bee’s recommendations:

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More Great Analysis

Arnold Ahlert takes on Lies, Damned Lies, and COVID-19 Statistics.

Harold Hutchison recaps The Left’s Growing Abuse of Government Power.

Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column

Read What ‘Hero’ Really Means. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

If you’d like to receive Alexander’s Column by email every Wednesday, update your subscription here.

NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

Above the Fold

  • House Democrats were unsuccessful in strong-arming the Supreme Court into permitting the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury documents. Yesterday, the motion was provisionally blocked by the justices. “Wednesday’s order, called a stay, will remain in place until the Trump administration files its formal appeal of a lower court ruling directing the Justice Department to share the grand jury files with the House Judiciary Committee,” The Washington Free Beacon reports. The Beacon adds, “If the Court decides to hear the Trump administration’s appeal, the stay will remain in place well past the November election, depriving Democrats of still another campaign cudgel against the president.”

  • On Wednesday, Joe Biden, who Tara Reade alleges sexually assaulted her in 1993, gave the virtual commencement address to graduates of Columbia Law School. The school’s dean, Gillian Lester, declared in a pre-ceremony announcement letter that Biden’s “enduring and exemplary career as a leader, lawyer and public servant sets an example for our students as they prepare to begin their own course as legal professionals.” But as The Daily Wire reminds us, “Columbia law faculty and administration were among the most vocal opponents of [Justice Brett] Kavanaugh’s nomination, leading both in-person protests, and organizing 2,400 other law professors to sign a letter calling Kavanaugh unfit to serve on the nation’s highest court.” The hypocrisy is bad enough. Even worse is the fact that the allegations against Biden are far more credible than anything leveled at Kavanaugh.

Government & Politics

  • Senate committee authorizes subpoena in GOP’s Hunter Biden-Burisma investigation; even Mitt Romney voted in favor (U.S. News & World Report)

  • Kamala Harris, oblivious to the 17 diseases named after places or people, pushes bill condemning the term “Chinese Virus” as racist (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Pompeo on Inspector General Steve Linick’s firing: You’re darned right I ordered the code red — and bribe-taking Senator Menendez should stop leaking (Hot Air)

  • House Speaker Pelosi touts $3.6 billion vote-by-mail bill after Trump warnings to Michigan and Nevada (Fox News)

  • Michael Flynn’s name wasn’t masked in FBI report, presenting another conundrum for Republicans chasing the leaker (Washington Examiner)

Business & Economy

  • Recovery at stake as Congress battles over extending $600 unemployment benefit boost (Washington Examiner)

  • Corporate discrimination: Google sides with Greenpeace over American oil companies (The Resurgent)

  • Jobless claims total 2.4 million — still elevated but a declining pace from previous weeks (CNBC)

National Security

  • Senate passes bill that could block Chinese firms from U.S. securities exchanges (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • China warns proposed U.S. arms sales to Taiwan threaten regional peace (Newsweek)

  • U.S. slaps sanctions on Iranian interior minister for human-rights abuses (The Hill)

  • Aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt returns to sea after coronavirus outbreak (NBC News)

Culture & Heartland

  • More than 1,200 California pastors vow to hold services in defiance of state order (Fox News)

  • New York’s tax collections plunge nearly 70%, mostly due to deadline postponement; economic wreckage rivals Great Depression (Fox Business)

Other Notables

  • CDC now subtly says coronavirus “does not spread easily” via contaminated surfaces (Fox News)

  • Lori Loughlin, husband to plead guilty in college admissions scandal, agree to serve prison time (NBC News)

  • Tornado Alley in the Plains is an outdated concept. The South is even more vulnerable, research shows. (Capital Weather Gang)

Closing Arguments

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

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VIDEOS

Video: Can States Force COVID-19 Vaccination? — Alan Dershowitz claims, “You have no constitutional right to endanger the public and spread the disease.”

Video: For Some, the Truth Is Hard to Swallow — MRCTV’s Beau Davidson weighs in on the “red pill, blue pill” debate on social media.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “The production of wealth is the result of agreement between labor and capital, between employer and employed. Its distribution, therefore, will follow the law of its creation, or great injustice will be done.” —Leland Stanford (1824-1893)

For the record: “The president has the unilateral right to choose who he wants to be his inspector general at every agency in the federal government. They are presidentially confirmed positions, and those persons just like all of us serve at the pleasure of the president of the United States. In this case, I recommended to the president that Steve Linick be terminated. I frankly should have done it some time ago.” —Mike Pompeo

Observations: “In Minnesota, retail establishments can open up at 50 percent capacity. Churches can only have ten people. Hopefully even the bootlickers who’ve so far defended the government’s non-existent right to shutdown churches will admit that this is an assault on religious liberty.” —Matt Walsh

Braying jenny: “It’s like a child who comes in with mud on their pants… He comes in with doggy doo on his shoes and everybody who works with him has that on their shoes, too, for a very long time to come.” —Nancy Pelosi continuing the schoolyard taunts about Trump’s weight and rhetoric

You would definitely know! “As we know, power corrupts.” —Joe Biden

Non compos mentis: “Anyone who wants to ask, ‘Why did the state do that with COVID patients in nursing homes?’ it’s because the state followed President Trump’s CDC guidance. They should ask President Trump. I think that will stop the conversation.” —Gov. Andrew Cuomo (“Cuomo is not only incompetent and corrupt but also a total coward. The fact that the media prop him up as a hero is humiliating for all involved.” —Allie Beth Stuckey)

And last… “Donald Trump is a rough individual. He is vain, insensitive, and raw. But he loves America more than any President in my lifetime. He is the last firewall between us and he cesspool called Washington. I’ll take him any day over any of these bums.” —James Woods

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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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