Mid-Day Digest

Jul. 29, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“I suppose, indeed, that in public life, a man whose political principles have any decided character and who has energy enough to give them effect must always expect to encounter political hostility from those of adverse principles.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Barr Eats the Democrats’ Lunch

Douglas Andrews

“I’m surprised at your lack of respect for a member of Congress,” huffed Pennsylvania Congresswoman Madeleine Dean.

It’s unclear whether Keystone Staters knew they were sending a comedic genius to Congress, but that’s exactly what they did. How else to explain her straight-faced delivery of such a howler, a side-splitter, a spit-takingly hilarious remark?

Dean was addressing Attorney General William Barr yesterday during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. And she, like every other Democrat on the committee, was far more interested in rubbing rhetorical feces on herself than in having a civil question-and-answer session. But that’s understandable, because each time they allowed Barr to speak, he left no doubt about who the adult in the room was.

(For context, this is the same Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee on which Rep. Hank Johnson sits — the same Hank Johnson who once questioned a U.S. Navy admiral about the possibility that Guam will “tip over and capsize” due to the deployment of too many troops.)

“The Barr hearing wasn’t very edifying,” wrote National Review’s Rich Lowry, “in large part because Democrats were utterly committed to keeping him from saying anything. One of them would make a sermonette, pause to ask Barr a hostile question, and then angrily interrupt him when he started to answer, accusing him of taking up valuable time. Then, the sermonette would start up again. … It’s a tribute to how good he is that Democrats were desperate never to get caught up in a genuine back-and-forth with him.”

Clearly, the committee’s Democrats were coached up on how to interrupt a thoughtful witness who’s smarter than they are. “Reclaiming my time!” they explained. And explained. And explained. Take a look:

Still, William Barr easily outclassed them. His six-page opening statement is masterful, a synopsis of which we provided yesterday. As for the hearing itself, the New York Post’s Michael Goodwin opined, “He came, he saw, he ate their lunch.”

Throughout the day, one theme kept recurring: Barr’s interrogators doggedly tried to blame him and President Donald Trump for the utter breakdown of law and order in Democrat-controlled cities across our nation. As John Hinderaker pointed out at Power Line, “The Democrats are committed to the view that what is happening in Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Atlanta and other cities is mere ‘peaceful protest.’ Thus, the Trump administration is unjustified in sending in federal officers to protect federal property, like courthouses. And to the extent that anything untoward happens, it is Donald Trump’s fault. This was the main theory that the Democrats tried to advance through their ‘questioning’ of Attorney General Barr.”

Can we blame them? As a recent Harvard CAPS/Harris poll indicates, 77% of registered voters say they’re concerned about rising crime in our nation’s cities, while 46% said they’re concerned about rising crime in their own communities. So law and order is a campaign issue, and no one in their right mind views the Democrats as the law-and-order party.

(Quick: Name a Republican-controlled city or town that’s currently under nightly siege by antifa or Black Lives Matter. We’ll wait.)

“Excuse me, Mr. Barr, this is my time and I control it,” snapped Washington’s Pramila Jayapal in a typical exchange. “You are aware of certain kinds of protesters, but in Michigan, when protesters carry guns, and Confederate flags, and swastikas, and call for the governor of Michigan to be beheaded and shot and lynched, somehow, you’re not aware of it.”

Setting aside the difficulty of lynching someone after they’ve been beheaded, Jayapal was being thoroughly dishonest in trying to compare more than 60 straight nights of very real leftist rioting in Portland to a couple of hours of peaceful afternoon protesting in Michigan. In the former instance, a federal courthouse is in danger of being torched; in the latter, a thin-skinned Caitlyn Jenner-looking governor’s feelings are in danger of being hurt.

Somewhat lost amid all the rancor were the other issues covered during the hearing. The Daily Signal lists six highlights here, including Barr’s revelation of a separate probe into the Obama administration’s unmasking of former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and others connected with the Trump campaign, and the disgraceful comments of Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen, who blamed Barr for the jailhouse death of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and then hung the threat of impeachment over the AG.

Also lost was an ongoing issue that seems obvious and yet isn’t being discussed: the relentless assassination by Democrats and their media henchmen of Barr’s good name and character. This concerted effort, it seems, is modeled after the Clinton administration’s treatment of Whitewater Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr: Destroy the messenger, and you’ll destroy the message.

One day in the future, Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham will deliver a report on the findings of the criminal inquiry into the phony Russia investigation and all its components. And that report won’t reflect well on the Obama-Biden administration.

If yesterday’s Barr hearings reminded us of any one thing, it’s that we’ll have a clear choice to make in the upcoming election: a choice between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. So when you see antifa hoodlums and Black Lives Matter thugs wrecking our cities, think “Biden voters.” Because that’s what they are.

On November 3, it’s President Trump or the Mob. That’s the choice.

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Big Tech’s Socialist Media Censors Block Viral COVID Video

Thomas Gallatin

A video released by a group called America’s Frontline Doctors featured several doctors and medical professionals espousing their professional opinions on COVID-19 treatments, including positive claims on using the drug hydroxychloroquine. It received millions of views on social media before it was suddenly removed yesterday by the Big Tech censors.

The social media — or rather socialist media — giants Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all removed the video for, as a Facebook spokesman put it, “sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19.” Twitter temporarily suspended Donald Trump Jr.‘s account for sharing the video, and it similarly justified its censorship by claiming the video violated its “COVID-19 misinformation policy.”

Whether the video presented “misinformation” is really not the issue. The actual issue is that leftist-run Big Tech, which has what essentially amounts to monopolistic control of social media, is regularly engaging in blatant censorship. Having corned the market, these progressive “do-gooders” are using their power to infringe on Americans’ free speech. And no matter their justification of seeking to “protect” Americans from “misinformation” or “hate” speech, their aim is obviously politically motivated. Put simply, Big Tech censors do not believe in free speech; they desire to control speech.

Regarding the tired claim that Big Tech’s censorship doesn’t infringe upon Americans’ free-speech rights because these are private companies and not the government, Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson cogently notes, “Censorship is always bad, whether it’s imposed by Congress or whether it’s imposed by monopolies that only exist because they receive special carve-outs granted to them by Congress.” And as we regularly argue, Big Tech’s monopolistic control of social media is the crux of issue, in large part because these companies have been able to play themselves off as a mere public platform, while at the same time claiming the right to control content under the status of publisher.

Meanwhile, Big Tech’s leaders appeared before the House Antitrust Subcommittee this morning over concerns that their monopolistic power is preventing fair and genuine competition. “They are doing it in a way that’s designed to reduce competition,” argued Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO). “As it appears to me now, there’s a need for action and for updating the law.”

The struggle will be getting Democrats and Republicans to agree on what measures to take. Both sides are critical of the fact that these companies are essentially monopolies, but Democrats complain of Big Tech not doing enough to stop the spread of “misinformation” and online “hate,” while Republicans argue that censorship is the problem. Therefore, trust-busting may be the only solution both can agree to implement.

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BLM Demands Democrat Allegiance

Nate Jackson

Black Lives Matter cofounder Patrisse Cullors insists that the Democrat Platform isn’t radical enough. “Without the sea changes our movement recommended for the 2020 Democratic platform,” Cullors said this week, “any claims to allyship and solidarity with our work to fight for Black liberation are for naught.” The DNC didn’t yet take up her demands, but don’t underestimate the power of this radical group to drive an even more extreme leftward shift for Democrats — a party already largely directed by the Bernie Sanders wing.

Remember, Cullors recently declared, “We are trained Marxists. We are super versed on ideological theories.” Her BLM partner, Alicia Garza, self-identifies as “a queer social justice activist and a Marxist.”

Indeed, the Black Lives Matter organization is thoroughly Marxist, which is what makes the otherwise noncontroversial phrase “black lives matter” such a poison pill for anyone who’s thinking instead of feeling through race issues.

So what does BLM want from Democrats? According to The Daily Wire, “Cullors and others … are pushing a radical party reformation agenda called the ‘BREATHE Act,’ which demands not only a full defunding of law enforcement but the elimination of the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, and most federal prison programs. The proposal calls for an end to life sentences, [a] timeline to close all federal prisons, and a plan to repeal ‘federal laws that criminalize human movement and border entry.’ It demands that states repeal all existing juvenile offenses, that police be stripped of search and surveillance powers, and removing police from most community posts, including from schools. … The measure also demands reparations.”

That is a remarkably radical agenda, and if Joe Biden brings a Democrat Senate along with him in November, America may indeed undergo a fundamental transformation.

This also puts to rest the lie that Black Lives Matter has anything to do with black lives. It’s about securing black votes — for Democrats.

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Hysterical Left Ignores CDC, Demands Schools Stay Closed

Louis DeBroux

In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has been excoriated by Democrats and teachers unions for demanding that schools reopen this fall. He stands accused of ignoring the science and putting America’s 57 million school children in mortal danger.

Yet now that the CDC has issued new guidelines for opening schools, the outcry from Democrats and teachers unions has only become more hysterical.

“It is critically important for our public health to open schools this fall,” CDC Director Robert Redfield argued. “School closures have disrupted normal ways of life for children and parents, and they have had negative health consequences on our youth. CDC is prepared to work with K-12 schools to safely reopen while protecting the most vulnerable.”

Having previously stated that he would “absolutely” send his grandchildren back to school, Redfield’s statement is also in line with the 67,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics, which last month issued a public statement “strongly advocat[ing]” for reopening schools.

The wisdom of the CDC and the AAP’s position is obvious to anyone who has bothered to look at the data on the coronavirus and children. According to the CDC, “As of July 17, children and adolescents account for under 7 percent of COVID-19 cases and less than 0.1 percent of COVID-19-related deaths.” In other words, less than 1/1000th of COVID deaths are children and adolescents.

Though scientists don’t know why yet, the data also show that even when infected with COVID, children rarely die from it. Children rarely transmit it to adults either, so teachers are at very low risk of infection from children.

Yet Democrats and teachers unions continue to be science deniers, fighting vigorously against a return to in-person schooling.

That doesn’t, of course, keep them from making ridiculous, extortionist demands, from an additional $116 billion in federal education funding (more than the U.S. spent to rebuild Europe after WWII), to reduced class sizes, reduced work hours, banning new private schools, to defunding the police, Medicare For All, and new taxes on the rich.

Clearly, Democrats and teachers unions have taken to heart former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s admonition to leftists to “never let a crisis go to waste.”

Leftists see a golden opportunity to hold the American economy hostage to their demands. After all, if schools don’t reopen, tens of millions of Americans can’t return to work, depending as they do on schools to watch their children during work hours.

Showing just how deeply political the Left has made this decision, NBC News published an op-ed by high-school teacher Anne Lutz Fernandez, who repeated the false claim that White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that “science should not stand in the way of” schools fully reopening. That lie was so blatant that CNN anchor Jake Tapper felt compelled to publicly rebuke his media colleagues for repeating it — before NBC did it again.

After melodramatically declaring “teachers did not enlist to die at work,” Fernandez says, “The federal government can make schools safer and help students learn, whatever form their learning must take, by researching the effects of COVID-19 on children, maintaining science-based guidelines, filling pandemic-related budget gaps and providing additional funding needed to meet safety guidelines.”

Except, as we mentioned, the research on COVID-19 and children is clear and overwhelming.

As for the alleged “budget gaps,” the Census Bureau reported last year that per-pupil spending in America had increased for the fifth consecutive year, with state and federal spending on education at $694.1 billion in 2017, up 3.7% from the year before. For perspective, the U.S. spends more on education (second highest in the world in per-pupil spending) than the entire GDP’s of Hong Kong and Ireland, though we get horribly mediocre academic results for all that spending.

Amazingly, Democrats and teachers unions don’t seem to grasp the damage they’re doing … to themselves. The longer they refuse to open schools, the more parents are forced to turn to private and religious schools or homeschooling. In fact, since the initial lockdowns, millions of parents have realized that homeschooling is a much better option.

How ironic would it be if leftist extortion tactics became the catalyst for parents to finally demand school choice en masse?

In the long run, this could be a tremendous benefit for the nation. Far too many of our “public” schools have become little more than government-run progressive indoctrination centers, churning out legions of academically incompetent social justice warriors who can’t read, can’t spell, and know no history, but who are marvelously self-assured that they know best how to run the economy and public policy.

Maybe, as the satirical Babylon Bee writes, “A concerning rise in test scores, independent thinking, and intelligence has been attributed to public schools being shut down across the nation.”

Imagine that — children learning reading, writing, arithmetic, and an accurate history of the United States, rather than the radically anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-religious pablum they are current force fed in public schools.

What a marvelous change that would be.

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Yesteryear’s Propagandist Is Today’s ‘Journalist’

Thomas Gallatin

The Left has long glorified and lionized journalists as the nation’s cultural truth-tellers. Starting with the muckrakers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, however, came the rise of the activist journalist. This type of person sees the role of journalist as not merely that of accurately informing the public of news, but also that of cultural reformer. To be fair, the journalists of yesteryear believed in the power of the truth to bring about reform and a more justice society, but they had nothing on today’s activists.

Somewhere along the way, these activist journalists lost faith in the power of truth to evoke the kind of progressive reforms to society they believed in. Therefore, they increasingly aim to direct and limit what information is reported.

Fast forward to today’s news media and it becomes patently clear that this activist journalism has produced anti-journalism.

As National Review’s Jim Geraghty observes, “Major institutions of American journalism have decided that certain viewpoints must not be expressed within their pages, and certain factions and narratives must not be questioned, challenged, or opposed. Certain arguments must not be heard, certain supporting evidence must not be examined; certain ideas are simply too dangerous or malevolent to be brought to a wider audience. We are instructed that the very expression of them in any form makes certain staffers ‘feel unsafe’ and thus must be treated as akin to a physical assault.”

Geraghty continues, “This is not the pursuit of knowledge; this is the avoidance of knowledge. This is not curiosity; this is an ironclad certainty that everything that is needed to be known about any given subject is already known. This is not informing the audience about what is going on in the world; this is making sure they don’t hear what is going on in the world, because it might run counter to a preferred narrative.”

So committed are today’s mainstream journalists to seeing society transformed into their idealized leftist utopia that they will ignore or downplay any news that fails to support their biased political and cultural views.

David Burge joked a few years back, “Journalism is about covering important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.” Today’s “journalism” also means weaving false narratives that advance the leftist agenda. Again, that’s not journalism; it’s anti-journalism.

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The Obama-Biden ‘Scandal-Free’ Lie

Douglas Andrews

Every once in a while, we stumble onto a story that sticks with us — a story whose component parts seem so outrageous as to be fictional but whose description of raw Big Brotherly power being used against a single law-abiding citizen makes us fear for our republic.

You’ve likely never heard of Catherine Engelbrecht, and that’s understandable; she hasn’t been in the news in years. But as then-National Review’s Jillian Kay Melchior wrote back in 2013, “Catherine Engelbrecht’s tale has all the markings of a classic conspiracy theory: She says she thinks that because of her peaceful political activity, she and her family were targeted for scrutiny by hostile federal agencies. Yet as news emerges that the Internal Revenue Service wielded its power to obstruct conservative groups, Catherine’s story becomes credible — and chilling. It also raises questions about whether other federal agencies have used their executive powers to target those deemed political enemies.”

Melchior then chronicles this law-abiding Patriot’s ordeal from her founding of an election-integrity organization called True the Vote to her years-long harassment through a series of menacing and punitive visits from various agencies of the Obama administration.

Engelbrecht’s story is one of toughness, though — and ultimately of vindication. As the True the Vote website notes, the organization won a legal victory just last year against the IRS for its unconstitutional discrimination and unethical behavior. “This decision marks the end of a nearly decade long battle that first began in 2010, when federal government agencies including the IRS, DOJ, FBI, ATF, OSHA weaponized against True the Vote and its founder, Catherine Engelbrecht. Under Obama Administration leadership, the agencies leveled a barrage of attacks, including twenty-three audits, investigations, and inquiries, against the group in an attempt to stop their work in election integrity.”

From the beginning until her legal victory, Engelbrecht never wavered. “I testified before Congress and swore that I would never retreat or surrender,” she said. “Today I have fulfilled that oath. Thank you to all the citizens across the country who stood steadfastly beside us. We could not have done it without your support.”

Aside from serving as a cautionary tale of raw government power run amok, Engelbrecht’s story puts the lie to the laughable myth of the “scandal-free” Obama-Biden years. Not that she needed any help. As Kevin Williamson and Victor Davis Hanson (among others) have pointed out, that claim didn’t age well. We now know, beyond any doubt, that those eight years reeked of scandal.

Just imagine the media uproar, for example, if Donald Trump had snubbed and stonewalled the nation’s independent inspectors general the way his predecessor did.

“There is nothing left of the Obama creed of the ‘most scandal-free’ administrant in memory,” wrote VDH. “Before the collusion/obstruction hoax, the Horowitz report, the failed Mueller investigation, and the release of classified information, the public knew well of Fast and Furious, the data surveillance of the AP reporters, the GSA and VA messes, the weaponization of the IRS, the Benghazi mythologies, the Bowe Bergdahl swap, and the echo-chamber silence about the hidden details of the Iran deal. Each time Susan Rice was wheeled out to swear the truth, the public assumed it was a lie. The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Perhaps worse than all that documented malfeasance, though, was the media’s abdication of its traditional watchdog role. By continually and willfully looking the other way, by failing to hold the Obama-Biden administration to account, the vaunted Fourth Estate failed miserably to protect the Catherine Engelbrechts of the world.

And that’s the sorriest scandal of all.

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NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

Above the Fold

  • As reported by The Daily Wire: “More than 100 law enforcement agencies have reportedly pulled out of security agreements to send personnel to help with security at the Democratic National Convention next month in part because they are concerned about recent efforts to limit law enforcement’s use of tear gas and pepper spray in responding to violent riots.” Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson observed: “I understand that use of chemical irritants and pepper spray is serious and those are to be used only when legally justified. But when you take that out of the continuum that doesn’t leave the officers much other than getting harmed or using deadly force and that’s not good for any officer or the public.”

  • “The Trump administration on Tuesday announced that it was halting applications to an Obama-era program that shields some illegal immigrants from deportations as it considers the policy’s future — just weeks after the Supreme Court shut down efforts to halt the program,” Fox News reveals. “The Supreme Court ruled last month that the administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was done in an "arbitrary and capricious” manner although they did not rule on the merits of the program itself. As a result, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Tuesday that as it considers the future of the program, it will reject all initial requests for protection, as well as applications for Employment Authorization Documents.“ Moreover, "It is also renewing existing protections for only one year, rather than two.”

Government & Politics

  • Democrats make mockery of William Barr “hearing” (National Review)

  • Six big takeaways from the attorney general’s Capitol Hill testimony (The Daily Signal)

  • Hidin’ Biden hits Trump’s “law and order” message: He’s trying to “scare the devil” out of people (The Hill)

  • Declassified Senate report details “bitter argument” between CIA and FBI over bogus Steele dossier (The Daily Caller)

  • Twitter and Facebook delete viral video on hydroxychloroquine promoted by Trump (The Daily Wire)

  • Twitter partially suspends Don Trump Jr. for sharing hydroxychloroquine video (Washington Examiner)

Annals of the “Social Justice” Caliphate

Health

  • MLB temporarily suspends Miami Marlins’ season over coronavirus cases (The Federalist)

  • When it comes to COVID deaths, Florida is no New York (The Daily Signal)

  • Twenty-eight states issue warnings about residents receiving unsolicited seed packets from China (NBC News)

  • Scientists get closer to blood test for Alzheimer’s disease (AP)

World

  • EU levels sanctions over Hong Kong security law, inching toward tough U.S. stance on China (The Wall Street Journal)

  • New Zealand suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong (Reuters)

  • Vatican computers hacked in Chinese espionage effort (Washington Examiner)

Other Notables

  • Chicago deputy police chief dead in apparent suicide soon after promotion (Fox News)

  • Colleges are increasingly going online for fall 2020 semester (USA Today)

Closing Arguments

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

The Patriot Post is a certified ad-free news service, unlike third-party commercial news sites linked on this page, which may also require a paid subscription.

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VIDEOS

SpaceX Does What Government Won’t — Private enterprise makes good things possible.

Woman Maces Maskless Couple Enjoying Picnic — Michael Knowles on an encounter between delusion and reality.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “I believe there is a limit beyond which free speech cannot go, but it’s a limit that’s very seldom mentioned. It’s the point where free speech begins to collide with the right to privacy. I don’t think there are any other conditions to free speech. I’ve got a right to say and believe anything I please, but I haven’t got a right to press it on anybody else. … Nobody’s got a right to be a nuisance to his neighbors.” —H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

Upright: “There is nothing so good that politicians can’t make it bad and nothing so bad that politicians can’t make it worse. Compassion is good but politicians have turned compassion into the welfare state. Crime is bad but politicians have made it worse by going easy on criminals.” —Thomas Sowell

For the record: “It was a moral absurdity. The Democrats resembled nothing so much as a bunch of corgis attempting to schtup a basketball while going after William Barr.” —Ben Shapiro on the behavior of House Judiciary Democrats

The bottom line: “This was not a hearing. This was a cancellation. They just wanted to cancel Bill Barr. They were not interested in hearing or listening to anything he had to say.” —Fox News’s Jesse Watters

Non compos mentis: “When you … brought your top staff, you brought no black people. That, sir, is systemic racism.” —Rep. Cedric Richmond to William Barr

Someone install the “Find My Candidate” app: “Good afternoon everyone. Welcome to Kingswood Community Center. Actually, that’s the one down where I used to work. That’s a joke. I didn’t know where we were.” —Joe Biden

The BIG Lie: “[Trump’s ads are] all about trying to come up with a bizarre ‘law and order’ 2020 campaign thing to try to scare the devil out of the American people.” —Joe Biden

And last… “A great clue that Trump is not a fascist dictator is that you all have been able to call him a fascist dictator for 4 years with impunity.” —Allie Beth Stuckey

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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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