Mid-Day Digest

Jul. 14, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.” —Samuel Adams (1749)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Officers Down

Douglas Andrews

They’re called peace officers for a reason: because they keep the peace. But lately, in big city after big city, the good guys are increasingly taking fire and the bad guys are running amok. The American people will thus face a choice this November: between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, between lawfulness and lawlessness.

As The Washington Times reports, “President Trump stood up for hero police officers on Monday, criticizing an ‘anti-cop crusade’ by Democrats that he said is causing a crime wave in major cities, and vowing to send in federal reinforcements to cities where violence is out of control.”

The president hasn’t yet made good on his threat to send in the troops, but how much more will our urban centers tolerate? “Violent crime is spiraling in their cities,” Trump said. “It’s all far-left cities where they have no understanding of what has to be done. If that’s what you want for a country, you probably have to vote for ‘Sleepy’ Joe Biden, because he doesn’t know what’s happening. But you’re not going to have it with me.”

Call it cause and effect or, more precisely, The Ferguson Effect, but it’s been seven weeks since George Floyd was wrongfully killed while in police custody, and seven weeks since rioting started in Minneapolis and spilled out across the country. We’ve had time to review the data during this stretch and, for starters, six big American cities have seen a significant spike in violence. The common thread? Each of these cities has at least entertained a diminished police presence.

Minneapolis has seen a 47% increase in armed assaults since the Floyd killing and twice as many homicides as this time last year. In New York, where lawmakers slashed the NYPD budget by a whopping $1 billion, shootings are up 130% and homicides are up 21%. In Chicago, murders are up 22%, and at least 87 people were shot over the July Fourth holiday weekend. In Louisville, murders are up 40%. In Los Angeles, violent crime and murder are both up. And in Atlanta, shootings and murders more than doubled during the past month. There, a cop was wrongly charged with felony murder for having shot and killed Rayshard Brooks after he resisted arrest, punched the officer, stole his taser, and fired it at him while attempting to flee. (Who one earth would want to be a cop under such conditions?)

One fact in all these cities is most stubborn: When police pull back, people die. And all too often, sadly, children die, too — with nary a whisper from the virulently anti-cop Black Lives Matter crowd.

Another awful reality seems evident in recent days: Cop killers are becoming increasingly emboldened. One officer was killed and another injured in Washington state last night during a traffic stop. Over the weekend, two cops were ambushed and murdered in McAllen, Texas. And recently in Detroit, only a miracle saved an arresting officer from being shot at point-blank range.

Those who think demonizing and defunding our law enforcement officers is a good idea had better think again. Cops save lives. Social justice warriors don’t.

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Rebuking Beijing Over the South China Sea

Thomas Gallatin

Over the last decade, China has been waging an aggressive campaign to assert control over the South China Sea, spurning long-established international maritime law in the process. In 2016, an international arbitral tribunal declared Beijing’s claim to the region as baseless, though at the time the U.S. did not officially weigh in on the controversy. Instead, the U.S. has made its stance clear by regularly sailing Navy patrols through the region’s international waters, much to the annoyance of Beijing.

On Monday, that changed when the U.S. State Department issued a statement condemning China’s attempt to take over the South China Sea and officially aligning the U.S. position with the 2016 arbitral tribunal. The statement pointedly notes, “Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them.”

This is yet another classic instance of President Donald Trump’s willingness to buck the establishment and stand up to bullies. As The Wall Street Journal editorial board notes, “This is one of those Trump-era diplomatic moves — like moving the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem or pulling out of failing arms accords — that a more risk-averse Administration would not have tried. China won’t be happy. Yet the decision brings official U.S. policy in line with international law and geopolitical facts. No matter who wins the White House this year, a key priority of U.S. foreign policy in 2021 will be deterring Chinese lawlessness and expansion. This is a necessary first step.”

But challenging Beijing over its illegal attempt to take over the South China Sea is just the latest in a series of moves made by the Trump administration to step up efforts to confront America’s number one geopolitical rival. Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo directed another salvo at the ChiComs when he warned that the U.S. was “certainly looking at” banning the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform TikTok due to its threat of “Chinese surveillance.” Pompeo warned that the ChiComs were threatening international free speech online.

And just today the United Kingdom announced it’s banning the Chinese state-run telecommunications company Huawei from its 5G high-speed network. That’s a big win for Trump, who had been pressuring the British government for months to prevent the Chinese company from gaining access to the UK’s network over the threat to national security such a deal would present.

Finally, over the weekend, Trump stated that phase two of a trade deal with China, which would have removed billions in tariffs on Chinese goods, is “severely damaged” and not a priority due to Beijing’s having unleashed COVID-19 onto the world. “They could have stopped the plague,” Trump pointedly asserted. “They didn’t stop it.” Clearly, Trump is more than willing to confront and ratchet up the pressure on Beijing, and it’s about time an American president did so.

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Obamagate: Clemency for All Involved?

Harold Hutchison

This past Friday saw the release of more documents to attorneys representing former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Among those documents were notes from a readout of Flynn’s fateful interview with FBI agents at the White House just days after the Trump administration took office.

The readout shows that the FBI determined Flynn was not a Russian agent, that his allegedly misleading responses were not borne from any criminal intent, and that the agents themselves believed he was being truthful. In short, a rogue operation framed an innocent man. Those notes make it clear that the only crimes that took place during the interview were those concocted by the FBI personnel who devised the infamous anti-Trump “insurance policy” mentioned in text messages between agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

Yes, there was corruption involved in the Flynn case, but not where Trump critics think it was. The FBI’s behavior here calls into question the entire Robert Mueller probe, and it suggests there may have been misconduct in other cases, like that of 67-year-old Roger Stone, whose sentence President Donald Trump recently commuted. Indeed, a fair reading of those Flynn notes makes it hard to fathom the outrage over Trump’s decision on Stone.

Like Flynn, Stone was charged with process crimes — that is, crimes unrelated to the overarching “Russia collusion” charge. The FBI’s arrest of Stone following a heavily armed predawn raid of his home generated plenty of controversy, not least of which because a CNN crew just happened to be there with cameras rolling. Stone’s case is not as clear-cut as Flynn’s, but the well-documented pattern of abuse in these cases is reason enough for deep suspicion.

Contrary to the assertions of the Never-Trump cadres, the president’s commutation of Stone’s sentence seems perfectly reasonable given the increasing taint of the Mueller probe. Were the subject of this investigation anyone other than Donald Trump, many more Americans would be troubled by what took place.

As we’ve said before, our resilient nation can withstand its share of discord and controversy, but it cannot survive a two-tiered system of justice. When those charged with enforcing our laws are found to be at fault, it’s perfectly reasonable for the president to set matters right. Given the known abuses we’ve seen during the Mueller probe, both Michael Flynn and Roger Stone (and perhaps others) are deserving of such consideration. Their greatest “crime,” it seems, is their association with President Donald Trump.

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Pinocchi-Joe’s Trouble With Truth

Douglas Andrews

With everyone so keenly focused on Joe Biden’s cognitive decline, too little time has been spent on the man’s character — or lack thereof. But even before he came to Washington 47 years ago, the Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee had a troubled relationship with the truth. Put another way, Scranton Joe is a lying, dog-faced pony soldier from way back.

It’s not clear when Biden told his first lie, but the ease with which he does so leads us to believe he got an early start. While it isn’t true that he coined the phrase, “Dog-faced pony soldier ate my homework,” Biden has a penchant for lying about his academic prowess. In 1987, for example, when he first ran for president, the candidate was politely asked by a man at a New Hampshire event where he’d gone to school and what his class ranking was. An indignant Biden bellowed, “I think I have a much higher IQ than you do, I suspect. I went to law school on a full academic scholarship — the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship.”

And he was just getting warmed up.

“The first year in law school,” Biden continued, “I decided I didn’t want to be in law school and ended up in the bottom two-thirds of my class. And then decided I wanted to stay, went back to law school, and, in fact, ended up in the top half of my class. I won the International Moot Court Competition. I was the outstanding student in the political science department at the end of my year. I graduated with three degrees from undergraduate school and 165 credits. I only needed 123 credits.”

Every word of this is true — every word, that is, except the part about him going to law school on a full academic scholarship, and the part about him graduating in the top half of his class (he was a dismal 76th out of 85), and the part about him obtaining three undergraduate degrees.

If lies were darts, those three whoppers would be a tight grouping. But PolitiFact actually missed one: Biden wasn’t named the school’s outstanding poli-sci student, either. So in the space of just 124 words, he managed to lie for the cycle. (We could probably find falsehood in that “moot court” claim, too, but that’d be piling on.)

“I exaggerate when I’m angry,” said Joe when questioned about his falsehood, “but I’ve never gone around telling people things that aren’t true about me.” (Except when he does.)

What’s more, Biden actually got caught plagiarizing a paper during that same freshman year at Syracuse Law School — and Syracuse flunked him out for it. So while Biden eventually groveled his way back into school, it’s yet another lie for him to say he controlled his own destiny that year.

As for pilfering five pages of someone else’s work, Honest Joe says it was “much ado about nothing.” The dean ultimately vouched for his high character, he claims, and any lingering doubts about Biden’s integrity were quickly dispelled when he said of himself, “If anyone tells you Joe Biden isn’t a straight arrow, I’d be very surprised.”

It’d be uncharitable to invoke Mary McCarthy here — to say that every word out of Biden’s mouth is a lie, including “and” and “the” — but he clearly has a knack for it. His plagiarism of British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock is documented in this Washington Post article, which also notes that he lifted the words of Bobby Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey, and that he lied about having been “shot at” in Iraq’s Green Zone in 2007.

“There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible,” said Thomas Jefferson some 235 years ago, “and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual.”

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De Blasio’s Socialism Is Wrecking New York City

Lewis Morris

Being mayor of New York City, America’s largest metropolis and one of the world’s true international cities, is a high-profile job. Yet it rarely leads to higher office, and no sitting mayor of any city has ever become president of the United States. In fact, no mayor has ever even come close to winning the White House. Even Rudy Giuliani, whose solid leadership following 9/11 earned him the nickname “America’s Mayor,” failed in his 2008 bid after leaving office at the end of 2001. And only Grover Cleveland and Calvin Coolidge had even previously served as mayors.

Nevertheless, New York City mayors wield political influence beyond their municipal borders. They live and work in the media capital of the world, they manage government budgets that are larger than all but a handful of states, and they govern a population of 8.3 million that dwarfs that of other American municipalities. In a city that prides itself on producing brash, even egotistical, people, it’s virtually impossible to be a New York mayor and be low profile.

And so it is with the current mayor, Bill de Blasio. Entering the halfway point of his second term, de Blasio has been part of the national political conversation since first taking office in 2014. Being a mayor of a major city, it’s safe to assume that de Blasio is left of center; that is the nature of big-city politics in modern America. Few people outside of NYC know who he is, even after his pathetic 2020 presidential run, which lasted all of four months. It would be a mistake to underestimate de Blasio, though, or the harm he can do to the country through the ideas that he champions. See, Bill de Blasio is no ordinary liberal mayor. In fact, the case could be made that de Blasio is a stone-cold Marxist.

De Blasio was born Warren Wilhelm Jr. in 1961 to parents who worked for the federal government but had to leave their posts after being accused of having communist sympathies. His alcoholic father abandoned the family when Warren Jr. was young and later committed suicide while suffering from lung cancer. Because of this, Warren Jr., who was raised along with his siblings by his mother, later changed his name to Bill de Blasio. De Blasio was his mother’s maiden name; Bill was a nickname he had since he was a kid.

De Blasio spent most of his young life in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but moved to NYC to attend New York University and later Columbia to pursue his interest in politics and government. Always holding close to his parents’ leftist ideals, de Blasio went to Nicaragua in the 1980s, presumably on a relief mission to aid refugees of that nation’s civil war. At the time, the Soviet-backed communist Sandinista regime had an iron grip on the country, imprisoning and murdering civilians and fighting the U.S.-backed Contras. De Blasio was impressed with the socialist style of government.

In 1989, de Blasio entered NYC politics, joining the mayoral campaign of Democrat David Dinkins and later becoming an aide in his administration. The Dinkins term was marked by a sharp rise in crime and a drop in public services. His failed four years paved the way for Rudy Giuliani in 1993 and a historic metropolitan turnaround that extended for 20 years through Giuliani’s two terms and Michael Bloomberg’s three terms.

Along the way, de Blasio married hardcore leftist and former lesbian Chirlane McCray. McCray had already gained fame in leftist circles for coming out as a black lesbian when she met de Blasio in the Dinkins administration. They were married in 1994 and spent their honeymoon in Cuba, the Caribbean communist paradise that was off-limits to Americans before Barack Obama unilaterally lifted the ban in 2011.

De Blasio then joined Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection effort, which ingratiated him with the Clinton mafia. He was rewarded for his work with a regional directorship with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which put him in charge of the New York-New Jersey region. In 2000, de Blasio managed Hillary Clinton’s successful U.S. Senate campaign and parlayed that into a New York City Council seat that he held for two terms. He then served as the city’s public advocate during Bloomberg’s last mayoral term, which gave de Blasio citywide name recognition and a platform to run for mayor.

New York City is now a one-party town where politics is almost exclusively dominated by the Democrat Party. This means that the only political competition de Blasio had during his rise to power was among other Democrats. And like other Dems, all he ever really had to do was survive the party primary. General elections are usually a blowout, as was de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral win and his 2017 reelection.

After being sworn in by transplanted New Yorker Bill Clinton in 2014, de Blasio immediately set to work unraveling the work of Giuliani and Bloomberg. He ended the city’s stop-and-frisk policy, a policing tactic that helped keep crime in check. He fought against charter schools, campaigned for a $15 minimum wage, reduced punishments for misdemeanor arrests, and then went so far as to back a policy that eliminated bail for all but the most heinous crimes. The city’s jails emptied out, and lifelong criminals began plaguing the streets. It’s easy to see why de Blasio has strained relations with the New York Police Department, which, thanks in part to recent leftist attacks on law and order, has led to reduced patrolling and a slew of early retirements in the NYPD. Misdemeanor crimes have been ticking upward for much of his term and violent crime has risen dramatically in recent weeks.

De Blasio is now presiding over a nearly $100 billion city budget, a number that is virtually impossible for the public to support thanks to high taxes and fees that hit every sector of the economy. Businesses are moving out of New York City or are going under altogether. But de Blasio remains undeterred.

He told New York magazine in 2017, “If I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed. And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents. That’s a world I’d love to see.”

De Blasio can at least be credited for being honest about his Marxist bona fides. Most other leftists aside from Bernie Sanders still hide behind the Democrat banner in a vain attempt to fool the public. But de Blasio knows that the leftists in America are on the march, and he’s counting on the movement gaining strength and on himself being one of its national leaders.

The damage de Blasio has wrought over New York City demonstrates what one proud socialist can do in just six years, wiping out decades of prosperity and sending thousands of people fleeing to other states (this writer included). Bill de Blasio is the poster child for socialism at work in America. Remember him well.

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Leftmedia Nazi ‘Fact-Checking’ Fail

Thomas Gallatin

A recent media “fact-check” story serves to reinforce the reality that the Leftmedia has become so infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome that it has lost any ability for objectivity and journalistic integrity, or even the inclination to differentiate between fact and opinion.

On Saturday, USA Today pushed an article “fact-checking” a claim that President Donald Trump’s campaign was producing T-shirts with a design similar to the Nazi eagle. Despite noting the fact that the U.S. has a long history of incorporating various eagle-based symbols into almost every element of government, including the official seal of the president of the United States, the Leftmedia rag still concluded that the Trump campaign is using a Nazi eagle, saying the charge is “TRUE, based on our research.”

So, how did USA Today come to its dubious conclusion that the Trump campaign’s eagle was Nazi inspired rather than American inspired? Well, basically because of circles — or at least that’s what USA Today’s opinion-checkers assert. Trump’s eagle is depicted holding a circular American flag, just like the Nazi eagle is depicted holding a circular swastika. Oh, the humanity!

In truth, the only reason for this ridiculous and stupid story was purely for the sake of concocting yet another anti-Trump propaganda hit piece. Ironically, USA Today thus took a page right out of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels’ playbook. As Goebbels famously advised, “Not every item of news should be published. Rather must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose.” And for USA Today and its Leftmedia comrades, that purpose is to do everything in their immense power to paint such a negative and monstrous caricature of Trump that nobody in their right mind would vote for him.

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NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

Above the Fold

  • “The federal government incurred the biggest monthly budget deficit in history in June as spending on programs to combat the coronavirus recession exploded while millions of job losses cut into tax revenues,” CNBC reports. “The Treasury Department reported Monday that the deficit hit $864 billion last month, an amount of red ink that surpasses most annual deficits in the nation’s history and is above the previous monthly deficit record of $738 billion in April.” CNS News’s Terence Jeffrey adds, “During the October-June period, the government spent a record $5,004,372,000,000 while it collected $2,260,069,000,000 in total taxes. The resulting deficit of $2,744,303,000,000 was the largest the federal government has ever run in the first nine months of a fiscal year.” It’s little wonder the GOP is apprehensive toward yet another relief package.

  • According to The Washington Post, “The Trump administration on Tuesday morning carried out the first federal execution since 2003, following a series of court battles and a Supreme Court order, released shortly after 2 a.m., clearing the way for the lethal injection to take place. Federal officials executed Daniel Lewis Lee, 47, who was convicted in 1999 of killing a family of three, at a penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind. Lee was pronounced dead at 8:07 a.m. Tuesday, the Bureau of Prisons said.”

Government & Politics

  • Mainstream media mocks rise in crime, victims (Boston Herald)

  • Los Angeles County’s black DA blasts Black Lives Matter for targeting her, showing up at her home, and speaks out against abolishing police (The Blaze)

  • Wisconsin’s vote-by-mail looked bad. It was actually worse. (Hot Air)

  • California rejected 100,000 mail-in ballots because of mistakes (AP)

  • Judge gives green light to book by notoriety-seeking Mary Trump (NBC News)

The Latest on COVID-19

  • Governor Newsom orders closure of indoor activities across California (Fox News)

  • The WHO, which suppressed early information, sounds alarm as coronavirus cases rise by one million in five days (Reuters)

  • CDC’s “best estimate” is 40% of infections are asymptomatic (Fox News)

  • Out-of-touch Beltway dweller Dr. Anthony Fauci says U.S. coronavirus cases are surging because nation didn’t totally shut down (CNBC)

  • Asia ramps up coronavirus curbs as new clusters erupt (Reuters)

Education

  • Los Angeles and San Diego will not reopen classrooms in the fall (National Review)

  • Orange County Board of Education votes to support return to school without social distancing and masks (The Orange County Register)

Business & Economy

  • Banks stand to make $18 billion in PPP processing fees (The Intercept)

  • NBA bans custom jerseys with “FreeHongKong,” but allows “Burn Jews” and “KillCops” (The Federalist)

  • Local governments weigh major tax hikes to plug coronavirus-induced shortfalls (Fox News)

  • Record numbers of Americans try to buy guns (Fox Business)

Culture & Heartland

  • At least 17 people shot in NYC on Monday as lawlessness soars (New York Post)

  • Washington state police officer killed, another injured by assailant (Fox News)

World

Other Notables

Closing Arguments

  • Policy: The cost of China’s intellectual-property theft (National Review)

  • Policy: Using face masks is still a good idea. Mandating them isn’t. (The Heritage Foundation)

  • Quasi-humor: Genius Trump wears mask causing media to question effectiveness of masks (The Babylon Bee)

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

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VIDEOS

U.S. Must Honor Indian Treaty, Says SCOTUS — Bill Whittle and Scott Ott discuss the fallout of a ruling involving an Oklahoma tribe.

Minimum Wage Cost Me My Job — Simone Barron, a lifelong restaurant worker, recounts how “helping” her impacted her wallet, her career, and her life.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Let us not be deceived by phrases about ‘Man taking charge of his own destiny’. All that can really happen is that some men will take charge of the destiny of the others.  They will be simply men; none perfect; some greedy, cruel and dishonest. The more completely we are planned the more powerful they will be.” —C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)

For the record: “It barely gets a headline these days, but we thought readers might like to know that federal spending for the first nine months of fiscal 2020 hit a record $5.005 trillion. Congratulations to everyone, and especially young Americans. You’ll be paying for it the rest of your lives.” —The Wall Street Journal

Race bait: “As the Washington football team finally gives up its racist slur of a name, there is one major sports team that has avoided the spotlight and resisted meaningful engagement with the violent and racist implications of its name. To know the full history of the Texas Rangers is to understand that the team’s name is not so far off from being called the Texas Klansmen.” —The Washington Post’s Karen Attiah

Non compos mentis: “Republicans are all upset that I’m connecting the dots between poverty and crime. I know most of them haven’t experienced or seen these issues first hand, but I have. This may be hard for them to admit, but poverty and crime are highly linked, both violent & nonviolent alike.” —Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez

Braying jackass, Part I: “I think it is a fair point to raise as to whether or not, if [Trump] loses, he’s going to go quietly or not. And we have to be ready for that.” —Hillary Clinton

Braying jackass, Part II: “Republicans have two prongs to their strategy to try to win. The first is: Try to prevent many people who they think won’t vote for them from voting. So, make the lines really long… Try to make vote by mail as difficult as possible, when in fact that is how Donald Trump votes.” —Hillary Clinton

Braying jackass, Part III: “Look, I want a fair election. If people get to vote and they, for whatever reason, vote for Donald Trump, OK, we’ll accept it. Not happily. But I don’t think that’s what will happen, because I think the more people who can actually get to the polls, whether by mail or in person, and get their votes counted, then we are going to have the kind of election we should have. And then it will be a win both in the popular vote and the Electoral College.” —Hillary Clinton

And last… “Competition is enormously important, because human beings are so fallible. If you insulate people from paying the price of being wrong, you’re going to get a lot of wrong things done.” —Thomas Sowell

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