Mid-Day Digest

Jun. 26, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.” —George Washington (1796)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Why Kneel for the Anthem When You Can Replace It?

Nate Jackson

“The Star-Spangled Banner” has been our official national anthem since 1931, but it had been a popular patriotic song since Francis Scott Key wrote it on September 14, 1814. The attorney and amateur poet watched the British bombard Baltimore’s Fort McHenry and U.S. soldiers raise a large American flag in defiance. “The land of the free and the home of the brave” has been America’s calling card for centuries. Naturally, some say it’s time to replace it.

So-called “social-justice warriors” denigrate America at every opportunity. They insist that we are not, in fact, an exceptional nation worthy of celebration or patriotism but a racist and imperialist country of haters and oppressors. They’re tearing down monuments across the country, including those to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. A benched quarterback led a drive to kneel for the national anthem in protest, and leftists around the country began insisting that this music and lyrics, which had united Americans for so long, was suddenly divisive.

Thus it’s no surprise to see the latest dumber-than-parody proposal from “activist and journalist Kevin Powell”: He wants to cancel “The Star-Spangled Banner,” written by a wealthy slave owner, and replace it with John Lennon’s paean to communism, “Imagine.”

Why “Imagine”? Because, Powell insists, it’s “the most beautiful, unifying, all-people, all-backgrounds-together kind of song you could have.” It’s also a song written by an Englishman who dreams of a world with “no countries,” “no religion,” and “nothing to kill or die for.” Lennon himself described the lyrics as “virtually the Communist Manifesto.”

Given that well over a million Americans, the overwhelming majority of whom were religious, found our country worth dying for, it’s insulting to suggest that it could ever be America’s national anthem.

But Powell’s not the first to suggest it as a national anthem. No less than Jimmy Carter once declared, “In many countries around the world — my wife and I have visited about 125 countries — you hear John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ used almost equally with national anthems.”

Leftists would indeed prefer that there was no “America.” They’d prefer to destroy what our Founding Fathers built — the greatest nation the world has ever seen — and replace it with a godless, borderless, socialist slum that they think will be a utopia. Powell’s insane proposal is just another part of the Left’s desired “fundamental transformation” of our nation. They might kneel, but we’ll keep standing for Liberty.

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COVID-19: Stay Very Afraid

Douglas Andrews

If you scan the news headlines these days, it’s likely to dampen your spirits — especially if you’re interested in coronavirus. And that’s the plan. Your mainstream-media tribunes want you to be afraid, to be very afraid, of COVID-19.

“As virus surges,” The New York Times announced, “younger people account for ‘disturbing’ number of cases.” From The Washington Post: “Texas, Florida pause reopening plans; new coronavirus cases hit single-day record in U.S.” And clearly taking its cue from the Post, an NBC News headline blares, “U.S. hits highest single day of new coronavirus cases with more than 45,500, breaking April record.”

In each of these articles, and in virtually all others like them, you’ll see certain adjectives again and again: These are “grim” milestones, after all, and “disturbing” trends.

Even the good news — such as the Post’s report that coronavirus cases in the U.S. may actually be 10 times higher than reported — is treated as somehow ominous and foreboding. But think about it: If the number of people who’ve been infected is an order of magnitude higher than we’ve been led to believe, then the mortality rate is necessarily an order of magnitude lower than we’ve been led to believe. And that’s unequivocally good news. Put another way, would you rather be battling a bug with a 2% mortality rate or one with a 0.2% mortality rate?

There’s more good news out there, but we have to look for it. As The Washington Times reports, “The coronavirus surge across the South and West is concentrated in younger adults, meaning fewer people are dying compared to March and April.”

Of course, our deeply partisan media doesn’t tend to traffic in gloom and doom just for the fun of it. They do it for a reason: They desperately want to remove President Donald Trump from office. And whether the bad news is about widespread civil unrest, or a breakdown of law and order, or a virus that we can’t seem to control, if the propagandists can convince us that our lives are miserable and our future bleak, then they’re that much closer to making November’s election a vote for change rather than continuity.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board won’t come out and say this, but at least it recognizes that we as a nation need to cope with COVID-19 rather than run screaming from it. “Fears of a resurgence of the novel coronavirus are dominating the news and spooking financial markets,” the editors write. “The flare-ups bear watching, and preparing for, but the original lockdowns were never going to eradicate the virus short of unacceptable economic pain. The unhappy but inevitable truth is that Americans will have to learn to cope with the virus, which means trial and error and more individual responsibility.”

The Journal goes on to cite statistics from some of the nation’s hardest-hit areas: “Hospitalizations in Texas have doubled in two weeks and increased more than four-fold in San Antonio and the lower Rio Grande Valley. … Hospitalizations have also doubled in Arizona in two weeks amid flare-ups in rural counties along the Mexican border. Miami-Dade County in Florida has reported a 50% increase in hospital admissions over the past two weeks, and hospitalizations are up a quarter in California over the last week.”

But then we’re treated to some context, some perspective, and a rational way forward: “Public-health officials worry about an exponential rise in cases — that’s their job. But political leaders have to consider overall public and economic health, and locking down again doesn’t seem justified by the evidence. … It will be a long haul, but America has managed through worse.”

And indeed we have. We’ve been through a civil war, a world war, a far more deadly pandemic, a Great Depression, polio, and then another world war.

Despite what the mainstream media would have us believe, powering our way through COVID-19 shouldn’t be all that daunting — especially if we remind ourselves to tune out the nonstop negativity.

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An Immigration Tug-of-War

Michael Swartz

There have been points in this nation’s history where Congress took the lead on the immigration issue. The longstanding 19th- and early 20th-century boom in welcoming foreigners slowed with World War I and all but ceased with the Immigration Act of 1924, which set national-origin quotas for immigration. Four decades later, that act was reversed by the Hart-Celler Act, and in 1986 Congress liberalized immigration still further with the Simpson-Mazzoli Act. All of these were broad, sweeping pieces of legislation that radically reformed then-existing laws affecting those who wished to enter America.

Since 1986, however, Congress has, with rare exceptions, punted on immigration. Now our “representatives” find it more useful as an election-time issue to demagogue the opposition while thousands attempt to find refuge in America, whether as legal visitors or “undocumented” job seekers.

In recent years, the real action on immigration has occurred in two venues: the White House and the Supreme Court. This has absolved the legislative branch of most of its responsibility, and, as an added bonus to those on the Left, has pinned down President Donald Trump from making more progress on an issue he promised to address when elected four years ago. These days, the most important month in Washington isn’t January, when new terms start, or November, when elections take place. It’s June, when the Supreme Court wraps up its annual term and announces its decisions on the most-watched cases.

Given that situation, we had immigration news on two fronts this week. From the Trump White House came an executive order extending a restriction on green cards and slicing the number of H-1B visas made available, among other things. “Under ordinary circumstances, properly administered temporary worker programs can provide benefits to the economy,” wrote President Trump in his order. “But under the extraordinary circumstances of the economic contraction resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, certain nonimmigrant visa programs authorizing such employment pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers.”

Reaction was predictable, with the pro-business Wall Street Journal echoing its Chamber of Commerce friends and calling Trump’s order a “gift to China” that will send jobs overseas. Meanwhile, those more hawkish on the subject, such as the editors of National Review, deemed the move “both legally sound and good policy.” Tellingly, the NR crew also remarked, “We wish Congress would not delegate its powers so extensively. But it has, and therefore it falls under the president’s purview to decide whether the pandemic has temporarily changed America’s immigration needs.”

Needless to say, both sides also count on (or dread) any excesses being adjudicated by the Supreme Court. Pro-immigrant groups got a gift last week when the Supremes twisted legal logic to uphold the Obama-era policy on so-called dreamers, but the border-security side won a victory yesterday when the Court held that asylum seekers initially denied had no right to have their cases heard in federal court. In a 7-2 ruling, the Court agreed that Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, a Sri Lankan national, was properly denied asylum because he could not establish a credible threat of persecution. Even two leftist justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, ruled with the majority, although they believed this was a distinct case and should not be used as policy. Even this one case went too far for Sonia Sotomayor and fellow Barack Obama appointee Elena Kagan. “Today’s opinion handcuffs the judiciary’s ability to perform its constitutional duty to safeguard individual liberty,” complained Sotomayor.

Also important in the case was the expansion of the venue of denial of asylum from the border itself to anywhere inside the border. In Thuraissigiam’s case, he was detained just 25 yards into the United States, but it was beyond the border and the SCOTUS ruling expanded the zone.

Ultimately, the case was in part decided based on congressional action from an era when Congress actually made laws. As Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority, “In 1996, when Congress enacted the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act … it crafted a system for weeding out patently meritless claims and expeditiously removing the aliens making such claims from the country. It was Congress’s judgment that detaining all asylum seekers until the full-blown removal process is completed would place an unacceptable burden on our immigration system and that releasing them would present an undue risk that they would fail to appear for removal proceedings.”

It may seem a foreign concept, but Congress once had its own judgment on immigration. Today, however, we’re saddled with two sides wallowing around in the mud instead of pulling together.

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A Virtual Educational Failure

Brian Mark Weber

When states closed American schools due to the coronavirus pandemic, state boards of education reacted quickly to ensure that students would continue to learn. Online technologies such as Zoom, for example, were implemented so teachers and students could meet in real time. On the surface, it seemed like the perfect solution. We’ve all seen videos or news clips of a computer screen filled with the faces of eager students hanging on the teacher’s every word. Parents walking into the kitchen were likely reassured to see their child staring into the laptop while the teacher explained the lesson in the background. But the reality paints a much less successful picture of the virtual schoolhouse.

For one, a significant number of students never show up for class — which makes sense, given how much easier it is now to hit the snooze button and grab another couple hours of sleep. Just email your teacher later and explain that your Internet was down.

Another issue is that students trained by our modern education system expect a reward each time they scribble down a word or solve an equation. Teachers today know that if there’s no carrot on that stick, students will shut down.

The Wall Street Journal relays the results of a recent report: “Students have an incentive to ditch digital class, since their work counts for little or nothing. Only 57.9% of school districts do any progress monitoring, the report found. The rest haven’t even set the minimal expectation that teachers review or keep track of the work their students turn in. Homework counts toward students’ final grades in 42% of districts. And some schools that do grade offer students a pass/incomplete.”

This is not only a problem in K-12 schools but also in higher education. Many colleges and universities encouraged their faculty to “go easy” on students this semester. A Columbia University professor this spring had a novel idea: pass everyone. As she admitted, “I wrote to both of my classes a week ago to say that I would give everyone an A based on the work they’d done already.” So much for those students who worked exceptionally hard all semester.

Another study finds that online education has several other downsides. The study mentions that “students without strong academic backgrounds are less likely to persist in fully online courses than in courses that involve personal contact with faculty and other students and when they do persist, they have weaker outcomes.”

Few seem terribly concerned about any of this, especially not the companies that provide platforms for online learning. As one might expect, this is now big business. According to Tech Startups, “[The] coronavirus pandemic is a boon to tech companies offering video conferencing software tools. These companies have seen a meteoric rise in the last five months. For instance, Zoom, a tech company that offers a conferencing app, is now worth more than the world’s 7 biggest airlines combined. Zoom is valued at more than $50 billion.”

Some of this money comes from businesses whose employees work from home during the shutdown, but education makes up a significant part of the total.

None of this suggests that online teaching and learning doesn’t have a place. Online education can replicate on-campus courses to a large degree when done the right way, and for independent and self-motivated learners, it can be a good fit. But we can’t pull millions of young students out of school, sit them down in front of a computer, and expect them to learn as before. Younger children, in particular, need social interaction. They need in-person access to their classmates and their teachers.

When it comes to education, this may be the most important lesson of all.

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Doxxing for Dollars

Douglas Andrews

Time was when the press played it pretty straight — when it reported the facts, called balls and strikes, and any movement away from its perch of objectivity was to allow its editorialists to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” The ardent leftists were confined to the op-ed pages, and the thoughtful ones occasionally confessed their liberal intolerance.

These days, however, our nation’s most influential newspapers have it exactly backward. They’re out to get the little guy.

Take The New York Times, for example, which decided to publish the name of a single pseudonymous tech blogger without any good reason for doing so. As National Review reports, “The popular pseudonymous blogger behind Slate Star Codex claims that he’s been forced to delete the blog after a New York Times reporter threatened to reveal his identity. It is the latest example of the paper’s willingness to grant anonymity according to inconsistent, ideologically self-serving criteria.”

What’s the big deal, you ask? Well, put yourself in this blogger’s shoes: “I’m a psychiatrist, and psychiatrists are kind of obsessive about preventing their patients from knowing anything about who they are outside of work. … I think it’s plausible that … my patients … wouldn’t be able to engage with me in a normal therapeutic way. I also worry that my clinic would decide I am more of a liability than an asset and let me go, which would leave hundreds of patients in a dangerous situation as we tried to transition their care. The second reason is more prosaic: some people want to kill me or ruin my life, and I would prefer not to make it too easy.”

Speaking of ruining people’s lives, did you hear the one about the woman who wore blackface to a Halloween party thrown two years ago by a Washington Post cartoonist? Apparently, it wasn’t enough for her to have been chased from the party in tears. No, an offended partygoer — again, from a party two years ago — badgered a pair of Post reporters into outing this otherwise-anonymous woman in an article last week titled “Blackface incident at Post cartoonist’s 2018 Halloween party resurfaces amid protests.” Her name is now public, and she’s been fired from her job.

These people — these party-going snowflakes and these two Post reporters — are sick.

Anyway, back to our pseudonymous blogger: Tough luck, said the Times, whose reporter claimed it’s the paper’s policy to use real names. It’s the policy, that is, unless you’re an anonymous source with dirt on the Trump administration, or, say, a “street artist” named Banksy — in which case the Times will bend over backward to protect your anonymity.

“I’m not sure what happens next,” said Dr. Slate Star Codex. “In my ideal world, the New York Times realizes they screwed up, promises not to use my real name in the article, and promises to rethink their strategy of doxxing random bloggers for clicks. Then I put the blog back up … and we forget this ever happened.”

If only it were that simple. If only the Times were that decent. Perhaps our blogger could claim protected status by grabbing a can of red spray paint, taking a stroll down Eighth Avenue, and hitting the Times building with a bit of his own Banksy-style graffiti. Perhaps a ginormous “WILL DOX FOR CLICKS” sprayed directly atop the building’s iconic Fraktur font façade would do the trick. Okay, probably not.

Still, there might be a happy ending here yet. “I’ve gotten an amazing amount of support the past few days as this situation played out,” says our blogger. “You don’t need to send me more — message very much received.”

And, as National Review notes, even those in the tech community have rallied to his defense — one of them calling out the culprits in the process: “Journalism as the non-consensual invasion of privacy for profit,” tweeted Silicon Valley entrepreneur Balaji Srinivasan. “Shame on you, @CadeMetz @puiwingtam!” Cade Metz and Pui-Wing Tam, eh? Let’s see how they like it.

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The Left’s Declaration of War

Roger Helle

Whether we realize it or not, we’re in a state of war. The war has not been declared by any of our geopolitical enemies; it has been declared by the radical Left. There is a deliberate attempt to overthrow our current form of government and introduce a socialist/Marxist government. You may not have been aware, but since you’re aware now, you have a decision to make. Do you ignore it or join the fight?

After WWII, General Douglas McArthur spoke at West Point and outlined what he called “Needed Elements for Success in War.” There were only four. They are 1.) You must have a cause worth dying for. 2.) Troops must be properly trained and adequately equipped. 3.) There must be an adequate means of support. 4.) You must know your enemy.

I can’t go into detail, but let me share some bullet points we need to understand. First, defending the freedom that once made America the envy of the world is a cause worth dying for. You only have to look back over our history to see how many American military personnel laid down their lives for our freedoms (over 1.4 million).

Second, troops must be adequately trained. For decades now, the Left has been playing the long game while we have been asleep. Our schools and places of higher education have been indoctrinating our children in socialist/Marxist principles while most parents ignored the obvious. Our children are being taught to reject their parent’s principles, especially their faith. As a result, they are NOT adequately equipped to be successful after their education in most of our universities.

Third, the means of support for our civil society are being destroyed while we watch. Our military has always been despised by leftists, but now they want to do away with law enforcement in many cities around the country. Rioting and targeting of police officers has been taking place since the previous administration with no word of condemnation from the Left. The media has become so corrupt and biased that you cannot believe them most of the time. They constantly pound the drum that this is a racist, evil, and corrupt nation as they destroy as many elements of our shared history as possible while the Left cheers them on and conservatives are too often silent.

Finally, you must know your enemy. Leftists know their enemy. We hear it every day in the media. We’re the Left’s sworn enemy. Far too many “conservative politicians” try to walk the path of political correctness so leftists will like them. Wake up! It’s not going to happen. They will only allow you into their circles when you cast off all of your principles and accept their offer of unconditional surrender to their demands. But it will never work because they will ALWAYS demand you give up more of what you believe.

This next election could very well bring about the destruction of all we hold dear if we refuse to fight. You may not like Trump or his tweets, but is that a good enough reason to vote for far-left policies, or worse, not vote at all, as millions of conservatives have done in the past two presidential elections? Doing nothing is no longer an option.

Something to think about?

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NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

Above the Fold

  • “House Democrats passed a reform bill aimed at ending police misconduct and racial bias, but few Republicans supported the measure, and it faces little chance of consideration in the Senate,” the Washington Examiner reports. “Democrats blocked debate on a GOP-authored police reform bill Wednesday in the Senate, rejecting an offer by Republican leaders to try to amend the measure. The House bill passed easily on Thursday by a vote of 236-181, with all Democratic support and three GOP votes, but party leaders did not allow debate or vote on any Republican amendments.” The Hill explains why: “The gridlock, paired with the looming election, raises the prospects that lawmakers will fail to send a police bill to President Trump’s desk this year.”

  • According to Fox News: “The Supreme Court ruled Thursday for the Trump administration in a key immigration case, determining that a federal law limiting an asylum applicant’s ability to appeal a determination that he lacked a credible fear of persecution from his home country does not violate the Constitution. The ruling means the administration can deport some people seeking asylum without allowing them to make their case to a federal judge. The 7-2 ruling applies to those who fail their initial asylum screenings, making them eligible for quick deportation.” As the Washington Examiner editorial board deduces, the ruling rectifies “a misguided decision by the 9th Circuit” by “recogniz[ing] that not everybody who crosses the U.S. border for any reason instantly enjoys all of the same rights as U.S. citizens.”

Government & Politics

  • Trump administration urges end to ObamaCare, which the media inevitably links to a heartless view of pandemic sufferers (AP)

  • Joe Biden campaign to limit contact with foreign governments now that Hunter Biden’s windfall from foreign governments is politically injurious (Washington Examiner)

  • Government watchdog finds over one million relief checks were sent to dead people (National Review)

  • At Mayor Bill de Blasio’s behest, “Black Lives Matter” will be painted on Fifth Avenue outside Trump Tower (The New York Times)

National Security

  • CBP chief says 95% of illegal immigrants are being returned rather than detained (Fox News)

  • “Tide is turning against Huawei”: Companies eschew Chinese telecom over espionage fears (Washington Examiner)

  • Russian criminal group finds new target: Americans working at home (The New York Times)

The Latest on COVID-19

  • Major implications for the death rate: CDC says coronavirus may have infected more than 20 million Americans — 10 times more than reported (Reuters)

  • Governors of Texas, Florida, and New Mexico pause reopening amid surge in cases (Washington Examiner)

  • In Washington State, not wearing a face mask will be a misdemeanor (People)

  • Pregnant women are five times more likely to be hospitalized (USA Today)

Business & Economy

  • Verizon joins list of companies pulling adds from Facebook over its failure to crack down on “hate speech” — which is ultimately about silencing conservatives (UK Daily Mail)

  • Americans rush to start businesses, stoking optimism for a rebound (Bloomberg)

  • Microsoft is permanently closing its retail stores (CNBC)

  • The Fed said in a release that big banks will be required to suspend share buybacks and cap dividend payments at their current level for the third quarter of this year (CNBC)

  • Oil and gas firms suffer “significant contraction” in second-quarter activity (Fox Business)

Culture & Heartland

  • Keeping the narrative alive: NASCAR shares picture of noose from Bubba Wallace’s garage, says search at all tracks found only one pulldown rope in noose (USA Today)

  • Colorado reexamines black man’s 2019 death in police custody (AP)

  • “Police are a real risk,” claims Washington school district severing ties with law enforcement (The Daily Wire)

  • Racism solved: The Dixie Chicks officially change their name to The Chicks (AP)

  • Racism ultra solved: John Lennon’s “Imagine” tops list of woke national anthem alternatives (The Washington Free Beacon)

Other Notables

  • BET cofounder Robert Johnson: “Black people laugh at white people” who topple statues (The Washington Times)

  • Four out of every five Americans reject spending “taxpayer money to pay damages to descendants of enslaved people in the United States” (Reuters)

  • Protesters plan to topple Emancipation Memorial Friday evening despite new protective fence (Washington Examiner)

  • It’s estimated that 6% of adults have attended a protest in the last month (Pew Research Center)

  • China, Russia rank as worst offenders in human trafficking (The Washington Free Beacon)

Closing Arguments

  • Policy: Supreme Court gets one right on immigration (Washington Examiner)

  • Policy: Public education has gone “woke” (Newsweek)

  • Humor: Trump promises to replace all torn-down monuments with statues of himself (Genesius Times)

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

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VIDEOS

Video: Speaking Up — Why It’s Now or Never — We have everything to lose if we don’t speak up and push back.

Humor Video: BLM Lies to You — Black Lives Matter makes sense as a preposition. As a movement? Not so much. Here’s why.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have it.” —Edwin Way Teale (1889-1980)

Upright: “Admittedly, the legacy of slavery did shape, to some extent, the struggles and progress of Blacks in this country. But so does the legacy of freedom passed down from the founders — arguably, to a far greater extent.” —Armstrong Williams

Friendly Fire, Part I: “Look, the people who are basically tearing down statues … are basically borderline anarchists, the way I look at it. They really have no agenda other than the idea we’re going to topple a statue.” —BET cofounder Robert Johnson

Friendly Fire, Part II: “Black people laugh at white people who do this the same way we laugh at white people who say we got to take off the TV shows. White Americans seem to think … that black people are going to say, ‘Oh my God. White people love us because they took down a statue of Stonewall Jackson.’ Frankly, black people don’t give a damn. It falls into that — an attempt by white Americans to assuage guilt by doing things that make them feel good.” —Robert Johnson

Class warfare: “Here in the United States, it’s going to be black people who really should get [the COVID vaccine] first and many indigenous people, as well as people with underlying symptoms, and then elderly people.” —Melinda Gates

Leftmedia psychosis: “I’m wowed by what you did and, more importantly, I’m wowed by how you did it.” —CNN’s Chris Cuomo to his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (“It remains astonishing that CNN thinks it’s appropriate for the governor of New York — who has presided over more than ten times as many deaths as Florida, a more populous state — to be interviewed as a matter of course by his own brother. And now this.” —Charles C.W. Cooke)

Braying jenny: “President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty.” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Braying jackass: “It’s like a child who can’t believe this has happened to him. All [Trump’s] whining and self-pity. This pandemic didn’t happen to him. It happened to all of us. His job isn’t to whine about it. His job is to do something about it. To lead.” —Joe Biden

Non compos mentis: “A lot of people, you have unnecessarily, now we have over 120 million dead from COVID.” —Joe Biden

And last… “Destroying history will not make you feel good about the present. Studying and learning from it might.” —Victor Davis Hanson

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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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