“Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression. Without law, liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness.” —James Wilson (1790)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- Policing Ends, Minorities Hardest Hit
- Black Lives, Businesses, Neighborhoods, and Monuments Matter
- Playing Favorites Is How Science Loses Credibility
- The Silly Science of COVID-19 ‘Experts’
- Was the Shutdown Worth It?
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
Yesterday in the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall, a group of House and Senate Democrats took a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds “in remembrance of George Floyd,” the troubled black man whose wrongful death at the knee of a Minneapolis cop sparked nationwide protests and riots. Then, with that bit of craven and kowtowing theater behind them, House Democrats dutifully unveiled their plan for overhauling our nation’s system of policing.
And to this we say: Beware of Democrats bearing gifts.
First, let’s remember that kneeling will never be enough for the mob. Beyond that, let’s remember that Nancy Pelosi and Company were for the police before they were against them. Just three weeks ago, in fact, House Democrats passed a $3 trillion big-city bailout package called the HEROES Act. As Gary Bauer points out, “It was intended to prevent police officers, fire fighters, and nurses from losing their jobs due to urban budget cuts.” But since then, Democrats have been beguiled by Black Lives Matter, whose nationwide call to “defund the police” is both dangerous and destructive. “Cops,” as Bauer points out, “went from being heroes to zeroes in three weeks.”
Neither presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden nor House Democrats have taken the bait and called for the fiscal elimination of our police forces, but even an incremental encroachment on policing budgets and policies will have harmful effects. And those effects will be felt most acutely in the inner-city communities whose citizens are most in need of police protection.
Take New York, for example. As truth-telling researcher Heather Mac Donald points out, “The people who live in high-crime neighborhoods understand more about policing than the anti-cop agitators. Since the early 1990s, when the homicide toll in New York City topped 2,000 per year, tens of thousands of lives have been saved, thanks to the NYPD’s highly responsive, data-driven policing. That policing model, known as Compstat, holds precinct commanders ruthlessly accountable for crime in their jurisdiction; it has driven homicide down 86 percent from 1990, to only 319 in 2019. Most of the lives saved by suppressing crime since then have been black and Hispanic.”
Or take Chicago, which just experienced its deadliest day in 60 years. Is it merely a coincidence that this bloodshed occurred at a time when police officers nationwide are so thoroughly under siege?
Or take this, from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal editorial: “Crime in Minneapolis has been climbing since Mayor Frey entered office in 2018 and started pushing more relaxed law enforcement. As police have eased up, violent crime has increased nearly twice as much in the minority third precinct in Minneapolis as city-wide since 2018.”
To be clear, certain reforms might make sense, and the Trump administration is looking into them, having created the first Commission on Policing since the 1960s. As Attorney General Bill Barr noted Sunday, “I think the reform is a difficult task, but I think it is working and progress has been made.” Barr rejects the notion that policing is “systemically racist” but also acknowledges the “distrust” that many blacks have “given the history in this country.” He also pointed to the U.S. military as an institution worth emulating in terms of “bringing the races together and providing equal opportunity.”
In a separate interview yesterday, Barr noted, “It’s important to understand that there are approximately 900,000 police officers in the country, and that it would be a mistake to view all police forces as a monolith.” He also reflected on his two stints as attorney general, and the very real progress we’ve made in policing during that time.
Compare Barr’s perspective, which is balanced and thoughtful, with the current defunding approach being pushed by at least a dozen cities around the country. One is sensible. The other is lunacy.
And where would this progressive urge to defund and demonize stop? Would we merely deplete our nation’s protective ranks by discouraging talented and principled young people from pursuing careers in law enforcement? Or would it spiral out of control as it has in Mexico?
These are questions well worth pondering.
Apparently, for some “protesters,” the irony of their unmitigated ignorance knows no limits. As Peter Heck notes at Discrn, “Exactly 123 years to the day that it was dedicated, the Shaw Memorial, a monument honoring the first all-volunteer black regiment of the Union Army in the Civil War, was defaced by rioters demanding justice for African-Americans.” Heck recounts, “One of the soldiers, Sgt. William Harvey Carney, carried the American flag throughout the battle, never dropping it despite being shot 7 times. Carney was the first black American to [receive] the Congressional Medal of Honor for action.”
The 54th Massachusetts Regiment of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw was memorialized in the 1989 movie “Glory.” According to Derrick Wilburn, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives, “They’re out there defacing the memory of the original Black Lives Matter crusaders. They gave their life’s blood for black lives.” Perhaps these “peaceful” protesters should learn some history.
Vandals in Washington, DC, weren’t any better. The U.S. ambassador to India issued an apology after “protesters” defaced the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Clearly, they don’t believe, as Gandhi did, in peaceful protesting.
Historical ignorance and criminal vandalism is certainly bad, but it only scratches the surface of how riots over black lives have mostly devastated — and taken — black lives. Black-owned businesses have been burned to the ground, costing the life’s work of those entrepreneurs. Black neighborhoods were torched, destroying the homes of poor blacks. At least 17 people have been killed during rioting, and the vast majority were black.
In Chicago, the weekend after George Floyd’s death was the deadliest in the city since at least 1961 (murder data doesn’t go further back than that), as there were 18 murders in 24 hours and 24 dead throughout the weekend. The victims (and perpetrators) were predominantly black. Ironically, the race-baiting and gun-grabbing Reverend Michael Pfleger, one of Barack Obama’s Chicago cronies, said it was “open season” because, as people told him, “There’s no police anywhere.” Remember that Democrats want to defund police in Democrat-run cities that will become even more dangerous killing fields without any presence of law and order.
Robert Woodson, a conservative civil-rights leader and founder of the Woodson Center, says, “The contradictions and the hypocrisy of these so-called social justice warriors — they are more concerned about their own virtue-signaling, even if it means the continued destruction of black Americans.”
Black lives DO matter. So do black businesses, neighborhoods, and monuments to past achievements and sacrificial service. Someone should clue in the rioters, vandals, arsonists, and murderers.
One thing has become crystal clear in recent days: Public health and science are not so much about actual health and science. On the contrary, “public health” and “science” are really code words for telling people to shut up and do what supposed “experts” — usually with left-wing agendas — tell us to do. Overly restrictive shutdowns based on this agenda denote a massive betrayal of trust that is perhaps worse than Spygate and the IRS scandal.
Why? Because while those abuses of power were limited in scope, the lockdowns to contain the COVID-19 pandemic — lockdowns urged by experts like 35-year Beltway resident Dr. Anthony Fauci — were arguably the most massive regulatory taking in American history. These measures didn’t come without costs of their own.
To stop a pandemic, many addicts who needed support went without. Some have likely relapsed and are back in the throes of their disease. Others are in the morgue after a fatal overdose. Those people are no less dead than George Floyd, the 17 people killed during rioting, or the 111,000 Americans who died of the Wuhan coronavirus.
To buy time to stockpile medical equipment and build ventilators, we shut down many small businesses — and people saw their dreams die. For some, rebuilding will be very difficult. For others, the total loss of a dream will send them spiraling into a mental-health crisis that could very well end with a death of despair in the form of suicide. They, too, will be no less dead.
In short, many Americans made sacrifices in the fight to minimize the pandemic. We took public-health experts at their word that those measures were necessary, even when fellow Americans were hurting and desperately trying to draw the country’s attention to their plight, much to the disdain of the political and Hollywood elites. When those wealthy elites criticized desperate Americans, many went along, even as serious questions arose about the accuracy of the models.
Then came the riots after the death of George Floyd. We were greeted by 1,300 public health experts who literally blessed those protests — “a perfect setup,” in the words of Dr. Fauci, for spreading the virus like mildew — all the while taking potshots at those who protested the lockdowns.
In other words, public health was used as the pretext to discriminate on the basis of politics. There had been warning signs (see the perversion of “public health” to target our Second Amendment rights), but that research was just an effort to change policy. This time, we locked down the country.
A rightfully angry Jonah Goldberg pointed out that if the Wuhan coronavirus doesn’t make a major comeback after these protests, “no one will ever take these people seriously again, and for understandable reasons.” We’ll get lectured about denying science, but the scientists who played favorites will be the ones who will deserve the blame for the loss of credibility.
Like journalism before it, science experts are quickly losing their credibility as they have become more beholden to promoting biased narratives over the unvarnished truth. The COVID-19 pandemic is serving to expose this sad reality.
“From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” stated Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit. She further explained, “We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing. They’re following asymptomatic cases. They’re following contacts. And they’re not finding secondary transmission onward. It’s very rare.”
The implications of this claim could be significant given the fact that one of the primary arguments for the mass lockdowns was predicated on the notion that COVID-19 was being widely spread by asymptomatic carriers. If this latest claim is accurate, then it calls into question the extremity of the shutdowns, social distancing, and mask-wearing protocols government leaders have implemented. Still, note the source — the WHO’s track record with the China Virus should give everyone pause before accepting any of its conclusions.
In fact, Kerkhove later clarified that “asymptomatic” did not include those individuals who were “pre-symptomatic.” If that’s the case, Kerkhove’s claim doesn’t actually negate the apparent high rate of virus spread by people prior to becoming sick. This important distinction may explain the findings from a recently published study in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluding that 40% to 45% of infected individuals spread the virus without realizing they were sick.
Further adding to the “science” confusion is the fact that states reopening early — like Florida, Georgia, and Texas — have not experienced the so-called experts’ widely predicted massive spike of infections or significant rise in hospitalizations. While the numbers of infections did indeed increase, they have not come anywhere near overwhelming these states’ healthcare systems. Remember when “flattening the curve” was the original goal for the shutdowns?
Given the results from these reopening states, one would think others would follow suit. However, politics clearly determines the “science” of these “experts,” as notably most Democrat-run states have still doggedly maintained their shutdown measures … except, of course, for anyone joining the Black Lives Matter protests. This nonsense was typified by a letter signed by more than 1,000 health “professionals” who literally argue, “As public health advocates, we do not condemn these [BLM] gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in the United States. We can show that support by facilitating safest protesting practices without detracting from demonstrators’ ability to gather and demand change. This should not be confused with a permissive stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders.” So, according to these “health experts,” COVID-19 is only a problem for those who express the “wrong” political opinions.
This isn’t science; it’s pure propaganda. As City Journal’s John Tierney astutely observers, “However scientific they try to be, they’re swayed by some of the same irrational biases and perverse incentives that afflict politicians and journalists. In creating their models and presenting their data, they’re rewarded for skewing negative, because scary predictions will bring them more attention, more funding, and more power. Their worst-case scenario may be utterly implausible, but it’s newsworthy, and it guarantees that no one will blame them for not anticipating every possible death from the virus.”
A leaked report out of Germany is causing all sorts of problems for its government and media because it portrays the handling of the coronavirus shutdown as a failure. The 93-page report, “Analysis of the Crisis Management,” was written by a team of scientists from several German universities appointed by the Interior Ministry.
The scientists take the German government to task on several points. Among them:
The danger posed by COVID-19 was overestimated and did not cross a threshold that went beyond normal levels for a new virus.
People who died from COVID-19 were statistically more likely to die this year anyway due to poor health and ancillary conditions.
The (now 400,000) deaths worldwide due to COVID-19 is eclipsed by the 1.5 million deaths caused by influenza in 2017-18.
The COVID-focused German healthcare system has postponed life-saving surgeries and treatments, making the overall health picture in the country worse, not better.
The embarrassed German government and its friends in the media there have closed ranks to minimize the damage done by the report. The first move in its damage-control strategy was to shoot the messenger, figuratively speaking. Stephen Kohn, who is identified with leaking the report to the press, has been suspended from duty and is currently having his name dragged through the mud by willing members of the media. Isn’t it telling how we’re seeing more instances of journalists in Western societies gleefully operating as the lapdogs of government?
The report is out there, though, and while German politicians remain committed to burying it and moving beyond the issue, citizens have grown irate about the news, taking to the streets to voice their concerns. This is part of a larger international backlash against governments’ imposition of national quarantines and economic shutdowns to contain the virus.
The accusation that the total shutdown was an overreaction, or even a government power grab, is one that the federal and state governments are facing here in the United States. Around the country, states have begun shedding draconian virus restrictions, allowing people to move about more freely and businesses to open. Responses to the reopening have been predictable on a scientific and political level.
Georgia and Florida, among the first states to ease their quarantine rules, have seen an uptick in the number of confirmed positive cases but a drop in the number of hospitalizations. In both Republican-run states, there are plenty more available hospitals beds than virus patients. Texas has experienced a bigger jump in confirmed cases, but its medical system is currently equipped to handle the case load.
All but seven states have rolled back or completely abandoned their quarantine lockdowns. Leftist politicians, who would prefer the lockdown to run indefinitely or at least until President Donald Trump is out of office, have attacked decisions to ease restrictions. The New York Times did its part by producing a hit piece that claimed Georgia’s rollback was equal to a racial attack on the minorities who ostensibly would be hardest hit. As one might imagine, no such racial genocide has materialized in Georgia, or elsewhere for that matter.
The rise in confirmed cases post-lockdown was widely predicted and expected as people began emerging from their homes and congregating in public again. The surge, however, also comes in the wake of broader testing to identify cases, so it’s difficult to determine just how much of a rebound the virus is having.
Two separate reports released by the journal Nature and by the Imperial College London put forth the idea that the shutdown prevented an additional 60 million infections in the U.S. and elsewhere. Scientists did find that school closures did not have an appreciable impact on preventing the spread of the virus, but claimed that further study was needed.
The timing of these additional reports that essentially praise the quarantine efforts of the federal and state governments is a bit suspect, as much of the data reached in the reports is still in play. There may be a time when we can accurately determine whether the lockdown and the price we paid for it was worth it, but it’s too early to tell that now. Leftists are mainly looking for any vindication in their efforts to close down the country, and maybe even an excuse to go back to that at some point.
The question that will be on many minds, and already posed here, is this: What do we do if there are no significant spikes in COVID-19 cases after opening the states? How should we interpret that information? Were we overly cautious? Was it a government power grab in disguise? Is government capable of handling a major national emergency? Only time will tell.
Above the Fold
Political theater: Congressional Democrats kneel as they unveil Justice in Policing Act to rein in cops (The Daily Wire)
Economy entered recession in February, the National Bureau of Economic Research says, concluding a historic 128 consecutive months of growth (Washington Examiner)
Government & Politics
Joe Biden rejects calls to defund police departments, plans increased investment in “community policing” (National Review)
CBS deceptively edits William Barr interview, leaving out key details on violent riots and police oversight (The Federalist)
Fox News apologizes for preposterously showing graphic of stock-market gains following the deaths of black men (Time)
Aide says the New York Times’s claim that former President George W. Bush won’t support Trump is “completely made up” (The American Spectator)
The Latest on COVID-19
Asymptomatic spread of coronavirus is “very rare,” the ever-shifting World Health Organization says (CNBC)
The WHO just gave us another great reason to end the lockdowns right now (PJ Media)
Coronavirus may have been in China in early fall, satellite data suggests (ABC News)
Business & Economy
China May exports slip back into contraction, imports worst in four years (CNBC)
Pandemic accelerated decline in church funding and membership (Washington Examiner)
Why GDP metrics won’t tell us much about the post-COVID recovery (Mises Institute)
Culture & Heartland
Illiterate rioters deface monument honoring all-black regiment of Union Civil War soldiers (Disrn)
Virginia judge halts Governor Ralph Northam’s decision to remove Robert E. Lee statue (National Review)
Eighteen murders in 24 hours: Inside the most violent day in 60 years in Chicago, where the outrage mob wants to defund the police (Chicago Sun Times)
“It isn’t hate to speak the truth”: J.K. Rowling defies political correctness by criticizing “people who menstruate” orthodoxy (The Daily Signal)
If you want to know what disbanding the police looks like, look at Mexico (The Federalist)
Iran says it will execute man who allegedly provided U.S. with information on Qassem Soleimani (Fox News)
Policy: There are no good narratives on race (National Review)
Policy: Joe Biden’s bad foreign-policy ideas (American Enterprise Institute)
Humor: Utopia breaks out in Minneapolis after police replaced with Chick-fil-A workers (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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Video: Who Is Booker T. Washington? — While his ideas were never fully embraced in his time, today, more than a century later, they remain strikingly relevant.
Video: America’s Failed Social Experiment — Are you on Team Red or Team Blue?
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “The ideal type of the Communist is a man in whom all individual, emotional, and unconscious elements have been reduced to a minimum and subjected to the control of an iron will, informed by a supple intellect. That intellect is totally at the service of a single and compelling idea, made incarnate in the Communist Party: the concept of History as an inexorable god whose ways are revealed ‘scientifically’ through the doctrine and method of Marxism-Leninism.” —Frank Straus Meyer (1909-1972)
For the record I: “Three weeks ago, House Democrats passed the HEROES Act. It was a $3 trillion bailout for bloated, Democrat-run big cities. They called it the ‘HEROES Act,’ claiming it was intended to prevent police officers, fire fighters and nurses from losing their jobs due to urban budget cuts. Fast forward three weeks and a big part of the Democrat Party is now demanding that we abolish police departments. For many progressives it seems cops went from being heroes to zeroes in three weeks.” —Gary Bauer
For the record II: “You know who else supports defunding the police? Domestic abusers, rapists, pedophiles, and every other grimy criminal who is very much looking forward to hurting people with impunity. Good work, everyone. Justice!” —Allie Beth Stuckey
No kidding: “It must be exhausting for those who believe that anyone who disagrees with them in the slightest is evil and racist. What a horrible way to live.” —Tristan Justice
Upright: “[The claim of ‘systemic racism’ is] a corruption. It’s a corruption because the truth of the matter is, blacks have never been less oppressed than they are today. Opportunity is around every corner.” —civil-rights veteran Shelby Steele
Braying jenny: “Don’t ever, ever let anyone tell you that you’re too angry, or that you should keep your mouth shut.” —Michelle Obama
Grand delusions: “I know that [calling the police for help] comes from a place of privilege.” —Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender (“I remember when I was being gang-raped & beaten by a mob in Egypt, would have been great to have a police force to call then. Would that have been my white privilege talking? I’ve stood against racism all my life, don’t have a racist bone in my body. My heart breaks.” —veteran journalist Lara Logan)
Non compos mentis: “We would not be giving local police departments who are undertrained a tank if we didn’t give the military too much money to have extra damn tanks lying around to begin with.” —Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Dezinformatsiya: “President Trump will hit the campaign trail this month — despite the deadly coronavirus pandemic, which continues to impact the lives and livelihoods of households across the country.” —NPR (“The threat represented by the coronavirus varies depending on which side is engaged in mass gatherings.” —Rich Lowry)
The BIG Lie: “Trump inherited the longest economic expansion in history from the Obama-Biden administration, but like everything else he’s inherited, he has squandered it.” —Joe Biden
Lacking self-awareness: “Senator Cotton certainly has the right to write and say whatever he wants in this country, but we as a news organization should not be running something that is offering misinformation to the public unchecked.” —The New York Times’s Nikole Hannah-Jones, architect of the fraudulent 1619 Project
And last… “Kneeling in African scarves will never make up for the damage Democrats have done to black America for the past 175 years.” —Charlie Kirk
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