Live From New York, It’s the Coronavirus Jihad

My latest in PJ Media:

In light of the fact that the Qur’an says: “Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. Those who follow him are ruthless to unbelievers, merciful to one another” (48:29), it is no surprise that at least one Muslim has issued a call to weaponize the coronavirus against non-Muslims – and he is right here in the United States.

Bahgat Saber, a Muslim Brotherhood activist based in New York, recently said in a video [below] that “whoever has flu-like symptoms – cold, fever, sneezing – should pay a visit to his ‘friends’ who work for Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s government.”

Al-Sisi toppled the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt in 2013, and Saber sees the coronavirus as an opportunity for Muslim Brotherhood members in Egypt to get revenge: “The moment you get flu-like symptoms like a cold or a fever, go to the public prosecution office that is closest to your house. Go to any building where they might illegally incarcerate people. If you can, go to a building of the Security Investigations Service, and if you can’t, just wait for them and sneeze on their cars when they pass by.”

Saber let his imagination run wild, thinking of ways Muslim Brotherhood members could weaponize the coronavirus: “If you want the state to care about coronavirus and start dealing with this disease, whoever among you suffers from influenza, fever, or cold, should just casually walk into a police station, or go to an office of the public prosecution, or to a courthouse. If you are a soldier, you can go into the defense ministry, and shake hands with all the generals of the military and the police. The same is true with the justice system. [People should target] the businessmen and actors who support Sisi. He should go to Media Production City. If there are people who oppose the military coup and work in Media Production City, and who have contracted anything – cold, fever, anything… They should go there and shake hands with everybody.…If you have contracted coronavirus, you should exact revenge! Avenge yourself, avenge the honor of your women, avenge the people who are in prison, and avenge the oppressed people. Go there. Why die alone? When you die, why die alone?”

Allah might take al-Sisi out himself, Saber acknowledged, but encouraged Muslims to give the deity some help: “Perhaps coronavirus will topple Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Our Lord is capable of doing anything. But you have to make proper use of this.”

Nor did he limit his call for murder-by-coronavirus to Egypt alone: “People who are outside of Egypt should go to any consulate or embassy. They are all licentious villains and sons of bitches….Exact revenge!…If you know someone [sick], send him on a visit. You’ll be doing him a favor.…When you talk to people, they say to you: ‘We don’t have machine guns, we don’t have F-16 plans, we don’t have this and that…’ But now you have the coronavirus culture.”

There is much more. Read the rest here.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

PODCAST: How to Do Homeschooling — Practical Advice From an Expert

Choosing to homeschool your child is a big decision, but many Americans just had the choice made for them. Schools all over the country have closed their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic—with some states, such as Virginia, announcing that schools will remain closed through the end of the academic year.

Leigh Bortins, founder of Classical Conversations, a homeschooling curriculum focused on classical education, joins The Daily Signal Podcast to offer practical advice and resources to parents who suddenly find themselves overseeing their child’s education. Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript.

We also cover these stories:

  • President Donald Trump says he’d like to “reopen” the economy by Easter, despite the spread of COVID-19.
  • Vice President Mike Pence says the White House isn’t considering a nationwide lockdown.
  • The International Olympic Committee and Japan agree to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Daily Signal Podcast is available on Ricochet, Apple PodcastsPippaGoogle Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at letters@dailysignal.com. Enjoy the show!


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


Virginia Allen: I am joined by Leigh Bortins, founder of the homeschool curriculum Classical Conversations. Leigh, thank you so much for being here.

Leigh Bortins: Thank you for having me. It’s very nice to get to speak with you, Virginia.

Allen: Yes, we’re all speaking from a distance right now, maintaining that social distancing. But right now, because of social distancing and the Coronavirus, so many parents are finding themselves homeschooling their children and they’re looking for support, they’re looking for resources. I want to pick your brain a little bit and find out what some of those resources are. But first, let’s just talk a little bit about why you chose to homeschool.

Bortins: I chose to homeschool … How much time do we have, you want the whole story or the short version?

Allen: A shorter version maybe for the sake of time.

Bortins: My husband’s 10 years older than I am and when we got married and then I got pregnant with my first born I saw a TV show about homeschooling and those folks struck me as quite weird and I knew I wanted to join them. We didn’t have a TV, I was walking through the mall and saw it on TV at “The Phil Donahue Show,” if anybody remembers that.

And then when I got home I told my husband about it and him being 10 years older, he had been very discouraged by students in our college program or at the University of Michigan getting our aerospace engineering degrees.

He just said, “I’m so happy to hear there’s this way to do this because there’s no way our kids were going to go to school if they’re going to be as unintelligent as you freshmen seem to be to me.”

So he was just relieved for the academic side of it and then eventually we both became Christians and, of course, we stopped wanting to emphasize having our children in college and instead said, “Let’s make sure that they’re in Christ.”

So now I would say we homeschool for the best of reasons so that we can constantly model our love for the Lord and hope that our children will do the same.

Allen: Yeah, I love that. That’s beautiful. But it’s one thing to say, “I want to homeschool my child.” It’s an entirely different thing to decide that you’re going to create a homeschool curriculum. Tell me a little bit about the reasoning behind Classical Conversations and what really drove you to create it.

Bortins: When our eldest, Robert, who’s now the CEO of Classical Conversations, was in middle school, … like so many other homeschooling parents, I thought, “Oh no, can I do high school?”

So I started reading more books on higher level academics and looking around for programs, speaking with our friends, and a lot of them were very nervous also about it.

Just after doing a lot of research, and again, working with my husband, we really came to the conclusion that we were still the best solution for our children. But one thing we really wanted to have was a classical education for them, which very much requires a community.

So my husband and I decided that we would once a week have people into the house, adults and children, and we would work together on rigorous academics that were hard to do on your own, not just because they were rigorous, but sometimes you want other people to do a Shakespeare play with or discuss a chemistry lab or you need debate partners.

So we came up with a curriculum where the families could do the majority of their work at home and then just get together once a week and polish it off and finish in community.

It’s kind of like a weekly PTA meeting for the parents, a weekly training for them to do better in classical Christian education. And, of course, the socialization, which has nothing to do with the children, it’s the mothers who all want to have friends, the kids will naturally.

So it just came out of a lot of different needs and within doing it in the first three years, we had 300 people on the waiting list to get into the program. So my husband quit his job and we worked with some of our friends and that’s kind of how the story all began.

Twenty years later, we’re in 20-some countries and in the United States alone we have over 120,000 children enrolled in our curriculum.

The greatest joy I have is to see how many homeschooling parents just dig in and really want to learn and are so glad for weekly support as well as recommendations and curating of the actual academics.

Allen: Obviously, right now, you all aren’t able to get together and do those larger group meetings. So is a lot of that taking place online or how are you continuing to maintain that connection that you mentioned being so vitally important?

Bortins: Right. A couple of ways, some of our communities are online temporarily for this end of year. But because we always homeschool within the parameters of safety, it’s not a big issue for us because we have a less than 12-to-1 … tutor to family ratio or to student ratio and so we’re in small groups anyways, most of the time.

Now, we do have programs that are in churches and much larger and so those have disband to personal homes, and if they can’t do that, then they do it online right now.

So we’re making do, as all homeschoolers do all the time, we just get the resources the Lord gives you and you just gratefully move forward and so that’s how we’re doing it.

Allen: Yeah, yeah. All right. Well, let’s get practical and talk about what were some of those challenges that you had when you first started homeschooling and how did you overcome them?

Bortins: I would say the one that we all have is, I have never had this day before with the children I have at the ages they are before. His mercies are new every morning for a reason because you don’t know what the day’s going to ever hold for you, and so you can react in fear or you can react in wonder.

During those middle school years where I was talking about where we were trying to explore what would we do with our high school students, we continued through in fear and trembling with the confidence the Lord would help us day by day. And, of course, after getting through your first child, and then your second, and then your third, and so on, you end up realizing that there really was nothing to be afraid of.

Most people I think quit homeschooling in the high school years because of the lack of confidence, not lack of ability. Because, remember, they’re still children and there’s so many good resources out there, parents are quite capable of homeschooling through the high school years.

So we just had to learn that because being the first generation of homeschoolers, I didn’t get to see that. So it’s hard to believe what you don’t see, but then, of course, as Christians, that’s what we’re called to do, is walk in faith and so our faith was strengthened through that. So, practically, it really is trusting the Lord even though that might sound like a platitude at this point.

Allen: Yeah. Let’s talk a little bit more about that because I know so many of our parents out there listening, they do have kids in [high school] that are now at home or even in middle school and they’re looking at the math assignments that they’re supposed to be doing or the science assignments and they’re thinking, “I do not remember this.” So, practically, how can they be helping their kids right now in subjects that they honestly don’t even remember how to do?

Bortins: You have a couple of different ways. If somebody is homeschooling right now because of a short-term reason with the virus, and most homeschoolers actually only homeschool for a short amount of time. They do it because they’re military, or a job loss, or they moved, or a child’s sick for the year, or something sets the majority of folks who homeschool.

So if people are listening to this thinking that all of us have this lifetime commitment like I do, that would not be true. Most homeschoolers are going to do it to get through … a bad situation or maybe a really delightful, great situation. They’ve been traveling, or dad’s home for the year working from home and they want more time with them.

A lot of people homeschool not because of academic reasons but just because of family reasons and here we are one more time having a lot of different family issues to deal with.

So there’s two groups, there’s the folks that are trying to get through this temporary situation and they tend to rely a lot on resources like we have at Classical Conversations. A lot of new people will begin with Classical Conversations also. And as people get more confident in what they’re doing, they start to be able to branch out and figure out a myriad of resources that are … available for homeschoolers.

For those that are just kind of jumping in, a resource I would turn you to for now to finish off this school year is one that we’ve put together called homeschoolingjourney.com. It’s a site where people can download what we call our survival kit and find all kinds of resources from our partners and more.

We’ve put together … a lot of things that are commercially viable that are now free for a short amount of time or highly discounted as well as YouTube videos. Then we have games and we have some of our own products that are for free.

We have one thing that a lot of people don’t know about is this service called Right Now Media, it’s like the Netflix for Christians and that’s free on our website, homeschoolingjourney.com as well as science activities.

There’s even a fitness program. … [If you] can’t get outside, which, it is spring, I would think you’d go outside, but if you want to stay inside and get your kids moving, we even have a fitness program on there.

So there’s a lot of things that we’re doing and I know other homeschooling resources are doing the same. Just trying to pull together things people can do to help their children and stay active for the next three to eight weeks or maybe even finish off the school year.

Of course, what we’re hoping for is people will see those resources and maybe consider homeschooling permanently or for at least another year and then, of course, we would ask them to look at classicalconversations.com.

Allen: That’s so great. That’s such a practical resource to have, That kind of emergency kit package that parents can literally go to right now and start utilizing.

Bortins: Yeah. Because we’re not the only one, right? A lot of people don’t know that there’s thousands of homeschoolers who have curriculum and materials that are for people, they can use it any time and, of course, there’s YouTube. They’ve had a lot of ads lately about how you can go on YouTube and learn anything, so people aren’t without resources.

But all of these I’m talking about right now are online resources, they really are our weakest resources because when you’re working with children, your best resource is a pat on the back and a smile or a word of encouragement. Looking them in the eye and helping them consider why they’re struggling or what they’re interested in or … what kind of homework help they might need.

So we really believe that the idea of social distancing is probably not the best word to describe what’s going on now, we are all social creatures who need a hug. So in this time when we’re trying to not hug our neighbor because we’re worried about passing on various viruses, really a better word is physical distancing because you and I right now are being social together, aren’t we?

Allen: Correct. Yeah, absolutely.

Bortins: Yes. One of the things that we just love about homeschooling is five or six of us can flop on a couch and just read a book together. In fact, we have a new series called “New World Echoes” and it’s a collection of stories that are very short read alouds that are appropriate for the entire family, whether you have a 17 year old or a 7-year-old, they’ll just lay on the couch or flop on the floor and read together.

If you’re able to throw a blanket outside and have a picnic, it would be appropriate to bring them too because they’re small books you can hold in your hand. I really would encourage parents to use as little online resources as possible right now and to just spend time with their children talking face to face and getting to know them in a different way than they had before.

Allen: But what about the parents who are listening and thinking, “Oh, I would love to do that, but I have a full-time job that I’m trying to do online right now”? About how much time should parents who do have full-time jobs and are working online be building into their schedules in order to keep educating their children and making sure that they’re still continuing to learn and get the attention that they need?

Bortins: Yeah. I know one time a grandfather told me he wished his daughter would homeschool, but since she had four children and they’re six subjects, he didn’t see how she could homeschool 24 hours a day. I just kind of looked at him and said, “Nobody does that.”

In general, I think homeschoolers through about eighth grade might spend three hours, five days a week at the most where it’s kind of a sit-down academic situation.

And then once your children are in high school, if you include those three hours, plus, they have, of course, a much more extensive reading time—which a lot of times they’ll do before they get out of bed in the morning and as they’re going to sleep at night. I mean, it’s really rare to have a six-hour day of academics, no matter how many children you have.

One thing homeschooling teaches you to do is to be efficient and picking the best things to do and not being robbed by somebody else’s lists, but being able to look at your children and say, “These are the things that we want to do together.” And make them your priority.

So when it comes to time, this is a quick schedule just to give someone who maybe has to work and still has the kids at home, get up in the morning and do your reading or a Bible study and devotion together and have breakfast and then go off to do what you need to do for the day.

At lunchtime, break and do a math or science lesson, go outside and look at the plants and maybe do a little bit of journaling and writing. Then when you go to bed in the evening, I suggest that you, again, you have like what they used to call the children’s hour and just spend an hour playing board games and doing read alouds, and if you want, watch a movie … something that’s for the whole family.

But break it up into segments that fit into your day and don’t feel like it’s something where you just sit down and work for three hours straight or six hours straight, whatever you think you would need to do.

I can’t say that I’ve ever been in a room doing more than probably two hours straight of academics with my four children. But that doesn’t mean that in their high school years there weren’t days where we did spend five or six hours, but it wasn’t every day by any means.

One of the things that we’ve become accustomed to with the public school system and institutional schools is just having 50 minutes with five or six different people each day. That’s just not how homeschooling works. Mom or dad, whoever’s doing the educating, just spends time with the whole family.

Studies have shown that the average child only gets about 30 minutes of academic instruction in a classroom situation that’s personal. So you really can do it and I suggested everyone find a friend who homeschools and just learn more about what it’s really like rather than probably what you imagine it’s like.

There’s no reason to bring school home, you actually can just have a family life together. And just think about it, if you love your children and there was no such thing as any school, wouldn’t you still teach them basic skills and how to read and do math … how to serve their community and how to take care of their home?

The things that you just do in your average life and then like now helping with homework after school take up about the same amount of time we homeschoolers devote to academics.

The better part of our day is spent with our children doing things we just all enjoy doing. So we travel more, and we have field trips more, and we get together with friends more, and we can work at the community centers and service with seniors and things like that because service is a big part of homeschooling with children.

A lot of people are so worried about the math and science where there’s so much help like we offer and YouTube offers, when really what we’re trying to do is teach our children to be good citizens and have a constant civics lesson of how to behave appropriately in any situation you find yourself in. There’s a lot more to it than I think people think of and it’s a lot easier than they think.

Allen: Yeah. No, that’s really interesting to hear. Because I’m sort of thinking, all right, if you’re a parent who has maybe four kids, they’re all different ages, you’re saying you don’t have to kind of have these individual specific full days worth of work for each child. You maybe have like a little bit of time for each of giving them their own assignments, but then you’re able to actually do a lot together and have more group activities even despite the age differences.

Bortins: If you think about it, they said, “Reading, writing, and arithmetic forever” for really good reasons. You need a child on your lap when you’re teaching them phonics, they need some individual time then, you need your middle schoolers sitting next to you while they’re struggling with difficult material, which is the same as taking them through phonics when they were younger.

So there’s some personal time that’s needed and then there’s quiet time that’s needed. Each of your children should be able to go off and on their own, whether it’s playing Legos or writing an essay, they shouldn’t have to have mom or dad next to them all the time.

On the other hand, some of my favorite things to do was write papers with my children or build Lego castles with them, right? As a parent, it was just my job to assess their needs and our family’s needs and each day do my best to work it out because, again, His mercies are new every morning and who knows if the dishwasher’s going to leak that day or someone’s going to come down with the flu, whatever it is, you just have to learn to roll with the punches.

For those of us who’ve been regulated our whole lives, we’d go to school from day care through college and then we’re at work, … sometimes it’s really difficult to retrench and just say, “Hey, I’m in charge for a little bit. What is it we want to do as a family?”

Allen: Oh, this is so good, I feel like it’s just kind of taking the pressure off, this is great. But are there maybe some do’s and don’ts of homeschooling that you can offer us? Just things that you’ve learned over the year through trial and error.

Bortins: The biggest don’t is to not worry that you’re not doing enough. Because here’s the thing, none of us are doing enough and all of us are doing too much and it depends on what field or area you’re talking about. Not one of us is perfect, so we’re going to have our strengths and our weaknesses.

On those days where you just feel like you are so weak in a certain area, just stop and don’t say, “I failed” or “I quit” or “I’m a bad mom.” Stop and say, “You know what? I might not have done this so well, but I did do this other thing really well and the children are going to get a lot of different experiences from me as an adult and all of them have some sort of value.”

So to not make light of the things that maybe seem unschoolish, they may be where the best teachable moments occur or where your kids are really listening.

So the one thing that I shared a little bit about … earlier was to learn to not be afraid and to just be really joyful and grateful. And then when you just want to kick the kids out of the house or put your husband’s face in the mud, whatever it is, you just have to say to yourself, “OK, this too shall pass and we’re going to start over tomorrow and we’ll have a great day.”

I used to, at the end of the day when I had all four of them home, if I knew I’d opened up with Bible reading with them, did a math lesson, and then read to them at night, my kids were well-educated, that was enough.

Allen: Let’s go back and talk a little bit more about Classical Conversations. You all have come a long way since you first started in the early 2000s, what do you think really led to that success? What was kind of that switch that just people were so hungry and really wanted to learn more and find out more about Classical Conversations that has allowed it to do so well?

Bortins: It surprised me, the answer to that question. About six, seven years into it, I realized that a high percentage of our families were military and that’s what was making us grow because once the families were bought into homeschooling and classical education and saw how easy and approachable our program was—they, of course, get deployed every three years somewhere else—then their attitude was like, “Well, there’s not a CCD here, so I’ll start one and I’ll get together with my military friends there.”

So, of course, that’s why we’re in bases all across the world. And then, of course, the families who’ve started the bases across the world have started to find natural citizens in those countries to take over for them. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if … a third of our families are in the military.

So think what we do for them, and what we do for them they recognize is important. But people need to remember one-third of children move year-round, no matter what situation their families are in, we don’t really have community schools anymore because of all the moving that occurs.

So by being in Classical Conversations, the military families had two things. They had, one, they knew exactly what the curriculum was that they were going to be doing in the following week, no matter how far away they moved. So that was a strain off the parent trying to decide what to do about curriculum.

Then the second one was that they instantly had friends for their children when they moved because of our small communities that we needed.

Again, the moms want the friends as much as the children do. So that’s why they kept starting everywhere because they wanted to have [the] academic community as well as the military community that they were in and enjoying the travel opportunities they had being military families. That was really quite a surprise to me, and now I’m super grateful to all of them.

Allen: Yeah. Well, it’s just incredible to see the success that you have had. I mean, you’ve been in this movement for such a long time. How do you think that it’s changing as we’re hitting a second generation? For instance, there’s now homeschool kids, they homeschooled themselves, their parents homeschooled them, and now they’re turning around and homeschooling their own children. So how has the movement really changed over the years?

Bortins: Yeah, probably my happiest stories are how many grandmothers, mothers, and their children are in Classical Conversations. In other words, I got three generations all working on the material.

So think of the connectivity that we have in the sense of not just laterally with other families, the legacy with the families that stay generation after generation. That’s been really neat to see happen.

For those of you that aren’t aware, we’ve been around for 20-some years now and so if folks came in, you don’t have to start at kindergarten, right? People might have started at high school and been with us for four years and then got married a few years later. So that’s why we’re able to do that in a single generation. That’s just been fun to see.

The thing that I would say would be different is, it’s almost a whole ‘nother conversation. My eldest two children who are in their 30s had a more similar education to my grandmother than … compared to their two brothers.

What I mean is this, they didn’t have technology, the internet was not something in our house, we didn’t have computers when they were going through school. So they learned [with] pencils and paper and books and then going outside and playing and the various things that my grandma and my mom and myself all did.

Versus the second two, we have a 10-year gap between our two sets of kids. The second two were very computer literate and expected a lot of things to be done quickly and didn’t have necessarily the same level of patience as the older two because things were pretty snappy once you’re in the computer age.

So helping them deal with the fact that they don’t always get to have electricity and technology and the things they see in front of them, that it’s important to be outside and to be playing, and writing your own stories and reading books with something hard in your hand that’s not a Kindle was a battle for us, just like it is for all parents—trying to get the Nintendo off and determining whether you’re going to have a TV in your household or not.

I got sort of both worlds there, one where it was kind of easy to homeschool because all families were used to playing together and working together to the place where now everybody can be in their own little silo and not even know what their siblings doing. So it’s something to overcome.

Allen: We want to make sure that all of our parents listening know how they can find out more about Classical Conversations and start utilizing those resources today, so where can they go?

Bortins: Go, again, if you’re a short-term homeschooler who’s just looking into all this, go to homeschoolingjourney.com, and that’s where we have our survival kit. And if those kinds of items interest you, go on to classicalconversations.com and you’ll see the whole universe of what we offer for kindergarten through 12th grade.

We sell books and curriculum as well as information on the communities and the philosophy.

We are a Christian company and so you’ll see things like what we believe in, our statement of faith, and anybody’s welcome to participate in our curriculum, so we encourage everyone to look at it.

I wanted to let you know that we are looking to make a really big announcement on March 28th. We are going to be offering some new services and I’m not allowed to tell you what they are, but I want our listeners to go [on] our website on that day, I’m pretty excited.

Classical Conversations is about to change the face of homeschooling again, and it’s not what any of you would think of. So please go look at it.

Allen: All right, great. That’s Saturday. We’ll mark the calendar. Leigh, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it.

Bortins: Thank you, Virginia. I hope that I was helpful and I pray blessings on everybody and that they will just be healthier and wiser than they ever knew possible when we come up the other side of this.

Allen: Yes, I agree and I echo that. Thank you.

Bortins: You’re so welcome.

COLUMN BY

Virginia Allen

Virginia Allen is a news producer for The Daily Signal. She is the co-host of The Daily Signal Podcast and Problematic Women. Send an email to Virginia. Twitter: @Virginia_Allen5.

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A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

‘Open by Easter’? Trump Wants Nation Shut by Coronavirus ‘Raring to Go’ [Video]

EXCLUSIVE: Trump, Coronavirus task force participate in Fox News town hall.


President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants the U.S. economy back up and running by Easter Sunday on April 12, as the economy has taken a major hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are opening up this incredible country. I would love to have it open by Easter,” Trump said during a Fox News virtual town hall in the Rose Garden, sitting alongside host Bill Hemmer and taking questions remotely from Fox News host Harris Faulkner.

“I would love to have it open by Easter. I will tell you that right now. I would love to have that,” Trump said, repeating himself. “It’s such an important day for other reasons. But I’ll make it an important day for this, too. I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.”

Asked whether that was in fact possible, Trump said, “Absolutely.”


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


While the federal government has provided assistance to state and local governments and has issued guidelines about public health and social distancing, it has been state and local governments that have ordered lockdowns or restrictions on businesses and the closing of schools, businesses, and other public facilities.

However, as president, Trump has a bully pulpit to encourage businesses and state and local governments to reopen.

Trump stressed the consequences for keeping the economy shuttered are more dire than the present circumstances under the coronavirus.

“You are going to have suicides by the thousands” if the economy remains closed, Trump said, noting predictions of a 25% drop in gross domestic product would mean massive job losses, closed businesses, and personal depression resulting from personal isolation.

Trump said that doesn’t mean it will be the same as before when Americans do return to work.

“We can socially distance ourselves and go to work,” he said.

The president discussed how experts told him about the need to take strong action.

“They came in, and they said, ‘Sir, we’re going to have to close the country,’” Trump said. “Are you serious about this?”

He noted that the economy has never shut down to this degree for prior disease outbreaks.

“We lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the flu. We don’t turn the country off,” the president said. “We lose much more than that to automobile accidents. We didn’t call up the automobile companies and say, ‘Stop making cars.’ … We have to get back to work.”

Earlier in the day, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in the state where almost half of all U.S. coronavirus cases are located, complained about not getting enough ventilators from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“I look at actions, not words … FEMA says, ‘We’re sending 400 ventilators.’ Really?” Cuomo said. “What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000? You pick the 26,000 who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators.”

Early in the town hall event, Vice President Mike Pence addressed Cuomo’s remarks, saying that more ventilators are going out.

“We’re doing just that. We’re in the process of literally sending the entire national stockpile out. I want the people of New York to know we’re putting a priority on the state,” Pence said.

Trump responded later, somewhat differently. He said Cuomo had the chance to order 16,000 ventilators in 2015 for a pandemic response in the future, but declined to do so.

“We’re building them hospitals. We’re building them medical centers, and he was complaining about it,” the president said “We’re doing definitely more for them than anyone else. He was talking about the ventilators. But he should have ordered the ventilators.”

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

RELATED ARTICLES:

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My Husband Is a First Responder. COVID-19 Hits Home for the Kids and Me.


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Drug Cartels Switch To Producing Hand Sanitizer

MEXICO—Drug cartels across Mexico and all around Central and South America have announced they are ceasing production of heroin, meth, and cocaine, saying they are now producing a far more lucrative drug with the street name of “hand sanitizer.”

Drug cartels are quickly converting their assembly lines to pump out more and more of the hand sanitizer, saying Americans across the border “can’t get enough” of the addictive substance.

“It’s the hottest product on the streets right now,” said Carlos “13-ball” Lopez, a dealer in Albuquerque. “Everyone’s hooked on it — we got grandmas, housewives, even school kids wanting a taste. Your first hit is free but after that you’re ours, yo.”

“Hey, kid, want a squirt of hand sanitizer?” he then said to a passing youngster. “This one’s on me.”

One cartel has begun producing what the DEA is calling the purest, most addictive hand sanitizer yet, “Blue Sky.” The Blue Sky hand sanitizer kills 99.99999% of germs, while less pure versions of the drug only kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria.

“The spread of this dangerous new gateway drug is an epidemic,” said a DEA agent as he held aloft a small plastic baggy containing a small drop of Blue Sky hand sanitizer. “Just last week, we stopped a truck destined for a chicken restaurant here in New Mexico, but the buckets of chicken actually contained thousands of kilos of hand sanitizer.”

RELATED POLITICAL SATIRE:

Latest Numbers On Coronavirus: 100% Of World Still Under God’s Control

Bernie: ‘We Must Seize The Means Of Toilet Paper Production’

Americans Rejoice As News Finally Not All About Trump

EDITORS NOTE: This political satire by The Babylon Bee is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

U.S. Finally Suspends Refugee Admissions

Finally.

It’s surreal that major cities and states are being shut down, and people ordered to stay in their homes, but the stream of migrants keeps on coming. And there’s a push to have the bailout/stimulus bills include even more immigration.

Finally we’re suspending refugee processing.

The United States is putting a temporary pause on refugee admissions in light of the coronavirus pandemic, according to two sources familiar with a Trump administration call to refugee organizations Wednesday morning.

The move comes after the International Organization for Migration, which is in charge of booking refugees on their travel, and the UN refugee agency announced a temporary suspension of resettlement travel. The agencies shared concerns in a statement Tuesday, saying international travel “could increase the exposure of refugees to the virus.”

At least they’ve got their priorities in order. We wouldn’t want the next Tsarnaev brothers to catch some coronavirus from the infidels.

A State Department spokesperson confirmed the temporary suspension, saying that the pause is expected to be in place from March 19 through April 6. Wednesday is the last day for refugee arrivals.

It’s incomprehensible that we still have refugees coming in. But every single American be have their doorknobs welded shut, but the migrant flow must go on. The Democrats won’t be able to turn more states blue without it while destroying the country.

RELATED ARTICLES:

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Iranian TV: Coronavirus may be “ethnic weapon” that US developed to target Iranians and Chinese

Islamic State calls on Allah to increase coronavirus torment against idolatrous nations

ISIS, Muslim Brotherhood fatwas forbid new churches, allow looting non-Muslim money and say women inferior to men

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

A Free Nation Cannot Long Survive If Its Press Takes Sides.

Pandemics can temporarily set a free society on its heels; a cheerleading press can kill it for good.


Gay lied in saying Trump told governors they are on their own

Gay lied in saying Trump told governors they are on their own, thus misleading readers to think he refused to provide the governors with federal funds for critical medical equipment. Below is what Trump actually said — the part in boldface is what Gay selectively quoted, everything else is what she maliciously omitted:

“We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.”

After unequivocally promising to back the governors with federal help, Trump suggested that some medical supplies could be obtained more quickly if they deal directly with vendors.

What Gay did was journalistic malpractice at its most evil, a fake news political hatchet job against a president she hates in hopes of torpedoing his re-election. Mara Gay is no rookie reporter who made an innocent mistake. She’s a member of the New York Times Editorial Board. Her dissembling brand of destroy-Trump journalism has been practiced non-stop for nearly four years by virtually the entire mainstream media.

Another recent example.  When the coronavirus outbreak hit the news in January, mainstream journalists routinely referred to it as the “Wuhan coronavirus” or the “Chinese coronavirus.” When they noticed Trump was using the same descriptions, and sensing a chance to cripple him politically, they abruptly stopped using those terms, and are now accusing him of being a xenophobic racist for calling the virus what they themselves called it until they sensed a chance to bleed him. Ten days after the first confirmed coronavirus case in this country, Trump took decisive action by restricting flights into the U.S. from China. Rather than applaud the decision, or merely question it, the mainstream media called him a xenophobic racist for that too.

Esteemed admiral slams Trump for complaining about biased media

Now retired, Admiral William McRaven became one of America’s most heralded military commanders for overseeing the SEAL Team Six raid that killed Osama bin Laden. As reported by the Washington Post, McRaven has harshly criticized President Trump for calling the media “the enemy of the American people.”

In opening the door for literalists to say he meant all news outlets, the words Trump used in his initial statement were not well chosen. He since has clarified the remark by saying that fake news is the enemy of the American people, which, as I’m sure Adm. McRaven would agree, it most certainly is, no matter which side propagates it.

Polls show media coverage of Trump is overwhelmingly negative.  But most of the scorched earth press he receives derives from politically slanted reporting by news organizations that loathe him and the party he represents. From the time he won the Republican nomination, mainstream media outlets have savaged him with slanted, anonymously-sourced reports later found to be totally false. To the best of my knowledge, none of those outlets ever apologized for having trafficked in fake news.

An attempt to justify slanted reporting was acknowledged in August 2016, when the New York Times openly abandoned its fairness standards in covering Trump, because, in its hyper-partisan opinion, he is “so abnormal and potentially dangerous” that he doesn’t deserve fair coverage. Thus given a green light by the nation’s leading newspaper of record, other mainstream outlets followed suit by abandoning their own fairness standards in favor of slanted coverage of Trump. How else to explain the 93% negative press he receives?

As the most insidious form of journalistic corruption, politically slanted reporting is known by another name: propaganda. In this day and time it’s also called fake news. Whatever name is used to describe it, slanted reporting is an enemy of the search for Truth, and therefore an enemy of the American people. It’s also an enemy of journalism, a once-respected profession that’s seen its reputation plummet as a direct result of its most prominent members having morphed themselves into willing mouthpieces for one of America’s major political parties.

In an article published on TheHill.com, opinion contributor John Solomon argues that the greatest threat to journalism today is the non-objectivity of many of its practitioners, journalists whose personal views cause them “to stray from the neutral, factual voice their teachers in journalism school insisted they practice.” That the mainstream media have veered sharply away from neutrality is a premise that cannot be intelligently challenged.

In an address to students and faculty of the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas-Austin, Adm. McRaven said that Trump calling the media the enemy of the American people was “perhaps the greatest threat to democracy” he’s ever seen. It’s a good thing he left himself some wiggle room by saying perhaps, because there’s an infinitely greater threat to the constitutional democracy he swore to protect and defend from all enemies, foreign and domestic. That clear and present danger is domestic in nature, and can be summed up in the following nightmare scenario:

A free nation cannot long survive if its press takes sides.

Stuck pigs squeal the loudest

It doesn’t take an esteemed admiral to see the truth in that. When the German press took sides in the 1930s, the German people witnessed firsthand their country’s loss of freedom, as did all others throughout history who suffered ruthless oppression meted out by single-party authoritarian regimes, the misdeeds of which were covered up or defended by a cheerleading press that took sides.

Protect Press Freedom (PPF) is a wolf in sheep’s clothing propaganda arm of the mainstream media. The organization’s website cites this Thomas Jefferson quote: “The only security of all is a free press.” That observation by America’s third president is 100% true, but a non-objective press is not a free press, it’s the polar opposite, an open gate to tyranny, a mortal threat to Liberty. PPF’s website also says this: “Free Press, Free People.” That too is 100% accurate, and so is this: “Cheerleading Press, Enslaved People.”

In a thinly veiled broadside against President Trump, PPF’s website makes this declaration: “The government is responsible for following the First Amendment and upholding our nation’s press freedom principles, but sometimes government officials use their power and platform to intimidate members of the media and chill reporting.”  Trump calling out the cheerleading mainstream media for its non-objective reporting doesn’t intimidate them, nor does it chill their reporting—his opinions have done nothing to change their transparently partisan behavior. Feigned outrage by mainstream “journalists” over being called out for their unprofessional bias is remindful of the saying that stuck pigs squeal the loudest.

EDITORS NOTE: This Canada Free Press column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Senate Democrats Again Block Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Over Desired Additions

RELATED VIDEO: Senator Ted Cruz breaks down coronavirus numbers.


The final shape of the Senate’s bill to limit the economic fallout of the coronavirus remains in doubt as Democrats, for the second straight day, blocked passage of the aid package because they want to spend more.

While President Donald Trump waited to sign some sort of “stimulus” bill into law, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed to include provisions of  Democrats’ Green New Deal proposal as well as other wish-list items.

Shortly after noon Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had harsh words for Democrats’ insistence on tax credits for solar and wind energy initiatives and on tougher fuel emission standards.

“Democrats won’t let us fund hospitals and save small businesses unless they get the dust off the Green New Deal,” McConnell said, adding in an apparent dig at Schumer, D-N.Y.:


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


I’d like to see Senate Democrats tell NYC doctors and nurses, who are literally overrun as we speak, that they’re filibustering hospital funding and more masks because they want to argue with the airlines over their carbon footprint.

The “stimulus” legislation, which requires the votes of 60 senators to advance, mustered only votes of 49-46 Monday.

Republicans hold 53 seats in the Senate, but at least three GOP senators apparently won’t be able to vote: Rand Paul of Kentucky tested positive for coronavirus and Mike Lee and Mitt Romney, both of Utah, have self-quarantined because of close contact with Paul.

Two other Senate Republicans, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Rick Scott of Florida, also reportedly self-quarantined  because of potential exposure to the coronavirus.

Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday that House Democrats would come up with their own bill.

“It’s on the Senate side because that’s their deadline for a vote,” Pelosi said of Monday’s action. “We’ll be introducing our own bill, and hopefully it will be compatible.”

Pelosi unveiled a coronavirus stimulus package Monday that she said includes calling on Trump “to abandon his lawsuit seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act.”

The House speaker’s attempt to use the stimulus package to secure liberals’ own priorities frustrated Republicans, many of whom took to Twitter to voice their perspectives.

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., chairman of the Republican Study Committee, tweeted before the Senate vote that House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., had said the coronavirus package is “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”

Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., tweeted: “Republicans & Democrats in the Senate negotiated a bipartisan deal which includes $75 billion for hospitals & $186 billion for state & local governments. @SpeakerPelosi & @SenSchumer need to stop blocking critically needed funding that will provide relief & keep Americans WORKING.”

“Let’s be clear about what’s happening right now,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., tweeted late Sunday night. “We had a bipartisan deal to deliver critical relief to hardworking families until Nancy Pelosi blew it up so she could play politics.”

“Enough already!” Scalise said in the tweet. “We’re in the middle of a national emergency. Drop the partisan demands.”

Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., tweeted Monday: “There was no need for this to be delayed–sadly @SpeakerPelosi and @SenSchumer hijacked the bipartisan negotiations. We’re covering small business & workers with liquidity & larger businesses with loans – not bailouts or grants – so they can pay their employees. This is urgent.”

The Senate’s aid package, released Thursday by Republicans, would cost about $2 trillion and give monetary relief to airlines and other industries slammed by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as send checks to many Americans.

Among other provisions, couples who make up to $150,000 a year would get checks for $2,400 in the mail and individuals earning up to $75,000 would get checks for $1,200.

Heritage Foundation President Kay C. James said in a formal statement Sunday that the Senate legislation in its current form was economically irresponsible.

“Like everyone, we are deeply concerned for our families, our neighbors, our friends, and the businesses we depend on. We also are concerned by many of the provisions in the CARES Act,” James said, adding:

Legislation to keep workers connected to employers, provide stability for businesses caught in this uncertainty, and mitigate the overall economic effects of this crisis is necessary. To best accomplish these goals, legislation must be targeted, temporary, and directed exclusively at the coronavirus. This bill does not pass those tests.

Generous bailouts for businesses and extremely broad federal assistance programs won’t best help those hit hardest or get our economy back up and running when the time comes. They’ll do what Washington programs often do: hurt the American people through unintended consequences while enriching a select few.

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.

COLUMN BY

Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice is a congressional reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel. Twitter: @LRacheldG.

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RELATED VIDEO: Tucker Carlson: Democrats Holding Up Coronavirus Relief Putting ‘Wokeness’ Over The American People


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Protecting America’s Borders Is Critical to Combating Coronavirus

In mid-March, President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador closed his country’s borders to foreigners. At that point, his country had zero confirmed cases of COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus.

Bukele closed down schools, temporarily shut down the international airport, and banned flights from Mexico when he believed the Mexican government allowed corona-positive passengers to board El Salvador-bound flights.

While these measures might seem extreme, to date El Salvador has only one confirmed case.

El Salvador’s actions demonstrate that borders play a key role in combating against the coronavirus.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


On Friday, the U.S. and Mexico announced a joint agreement to close their shared border for nonessential travel over the next 30 days.

This means that for the next month, the U.S. Border Patrol will immediately return illegal immigrants across the border instead of processing and holding them in immigration facilities. Points of entry across the border are operational only for trade and commerce.

Closing the border to nonessential travel while still allowing trade was the right move by President Donald Trump.

The U.S. and Mexico are each other’s largest trade partners and with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, there are safety guarantees to protect lawful cross-border trade. Americans should be confident that necessary supply chains like food and manufactured goods are well-protected.

More importantly, this travel restriction protects border agents from unnecessary exposure to the coronavirus and reduces the workload they are experiencing from the border crisis.

It is also a smart move as it allows Customs and Border Protection to redirect manpower and sanitary resources that would have gone to inadmissible migrants toward first responders and critical industries.

Border agents are at the front lines and put their lives at risk every day protecting the country. With the coronavirus, they are now unwittingly risking their family, friends, and Homeland Security co-workers. Trump was right to give them this momentary reprieve and, should the crisis continue, the travel restrictions should be extended.

A recent Politico article reported that “nearly 500 Homeland Security employees are quarantined because of the novel coronavirus, and at least 13 are confirmed or presumed COVID-19 positive.”

Despite what partisan pundits in the mainstream media want you to think, travel restrictions are not racist or xenophobic. Currently, 41 countries have implemented travel restrictions or border control policies.

It is important to note that Friday’s border action was a joint agreement with Mexico. Hopefully, the Trump administration is deepening cooperation with Mexico on their domestic efforts to counter the coronavirus.

As cases of the virus increase in Mexico, the Mexican government is seriously falling behind on developing and executing a plan.

The capital city has only prohibited events larger than 1,000 people and recently allowed a concert of 70,000 people to take place.

Flight restrictions from high-risk countries are not in place and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador continues traveling around the country, hugging and kissing supporters.

Recently, around 400 Mexican businessmen chartered private planes to Vail, Colorado, for a skiing trip. Upon return, a few tested positive for COVID-19. The Jalisco government is looking for them and asking them to self-isolate.

Should Mexico’s lack of internal enforcement continue, the U.S. should also consider banning flights.

In the midst of a highly contagious global pandemic, definitions of normalcy are rewritten. Viruses do not respect borders or boundaries. What was extreme a month ago is now prudent and responsible.

COMMENTARY BY

Ana Quintana is a senior policy analyst for Latin America and the Western Hemisphere in The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies. Twitter: .

Lora Ries is a senior research fellow specializing in homeland security at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

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Top WHO Official Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Won Election With China’s Help. Now He’s Running Interference For China On Coronavirus

Josh Hawley Says WHO Sided With China, Needs To Face ‘Consequences’


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Doing Nothing is Doing Something

Helen Freeh on COVID-19 and us: Genesis has a beautiful line in which Joseph says to his brothers, “you meant it for evil but God has turned it to good.”


In the face of an assault, natural disaster, or act of war, humans have an overwhelming desire to do something.  Here in Nebraska, we suffered historic floods last year and our citizens united to work hard in sandbagging, cleaning, donating food and water.  There was something for us to do in response to the catastrophe.  Tornadoes recently struck Nashville, Tennessee, and killed twenty-five people and devastated parts of their downtown.  Thousands of people came out to assist in the rescue and clean up of Nashville. So many, in fact, that the FEMA authorities had to turn people away.

We are hardwired to do something in response to suffering, loss, attacks, and threats to our community.

Yet now in the greatest disruption to global life since World War II, the very thing we are called to do is – nothing. We cannot mobilize to confront the global assault of the Wuhan Coronavirus.  We cannot sign up at the local recruiting office.  We cannot donate our steel and rubber products to the war effort.  We cannot even march in protest to or solidarity with government policy.

Our mobilization is the mobilization of isolation.

To do something now is to stay home, not go to work, school, parties, sporting events, concerts, or – most sadly for many of us – Mass.  Our civic and even moral duty is to do nothing.  Here in the middle of Lent, three weeks before the great Triduum and Easter celebration of the Church, we have been called by our government to enter a cloistered, monastic life within our individual homes. The spiritual significance of this cannot be overlooked.

In his book, God or Nothing, Cardinal Sarah warns against the “heresy of activism” in which we have forgotten that the heart of our life lies only in God.  The activity of contemporary life creates blindness or deafness to the reality of our reliance upon God.  We are wayfarers in this world and most of our life is outside of our control.

The coronavirus situation reveals a reality that always has been.  This virus, like other natural disasters, is beyond our control. But, we are able to control our reactions to the situation.  Our false sense of control has been stripped from us and we are laid bare.  This stripping of power reveals beautiful life hidden beneath our outward trappings.  Our response must be docility, trust, abandonment to Divine Providence, and most of all charity. As Colossians 3:14 and 1 Peter 4:8 declare, charity binds all the other virtues and rules as queen over them.

Our situation is full of ironies with deep symbolic spiritual significance.  To do something against this contagion, we must do nothing.  To strengthen our global alliance, each nation must close its borders to others.  We have never been so globally connected in spirit by physically disconnecting ourselves from each other. Out of love for our neighbors, we must not visit them.  To keep our communities strong, we must break them.  Our very society is now made out of isolated households.  And spiritually, we are drawn closer to God and his body by being kept away from his sacramental presence.  Our greatest offerings at this time are our sacrifices.

The cloistered life has challenges and benefits.  A benefit is we can all be discalced!  Yet we’ve been thrust into our cells unwillingly and without proper preparation.  Even within our cells, however, we are still able to “do” something.   How we mobilize, the ways we can “do” something now are to help our own family and friends be holy monks.  This includes through the encouragement of others, known and unknown, through social media channels.  Build up the body of Christ now, don’t continue to rip it apart.  Our first thoughts towards others should stem from charity and be seen first through charity.

One of the truths this virus emphasizes is the isolation of our older population.  There are practical solutions that we can implement in response. One I am urging my own parish to begin:  Healthy, young parishioners and families should be matched with older or vulnerable ones.  The healthy would contact their adoptees daily to see if they need anything, even if what they need is simply the daily contact with another.

Isolation is difficult enough for a family; consider how more difficult it is for those already alone.  Our parishes can help with this now by beginning “adopt-a-parishioner” programs to reach out to those most likely to be at risk, and thus most afraid right now.  Such charity would itself save lives.

We are all required to experience severe fasting.  Recall, we don’t fast from sinful things but good in order to draw closer to God, the source of all our life.  We must fast from the good of communal life.  Fasts do not last forever, though.  Consider how much we will rejoice as a global community when we can end this fast?

We take our communion with our fellow human beings for granted and we take our spiritual Communion at the Mass for granted.  How much this daily communion meant has been shown to us through this evil of separation.  Genesis has a beautiful line in which Joseph says to his brothers, “you meant it for evil but God has turned it to good.”  The coronavirus and its effects are an evil and our own response can further and worsen its effects, or we can cooperate in God’s turning evil to good.

Social isolation is everyone’s cross to take up now.  But if we embrace our cross, it will lead to a fullness of life we never could have known.

We have been given a great gift within this historic experience of communal suffering – the gift of time to pray, reflect, and – if we can live it as such – leisure.  Let us embrace what we cannot escape and accept that our “doing nothing” is the very something all of us must do.

COLUMN BY

Helen Freeh

Dr. Helen Freeh received her B.A. and M. A. from the University of Dallas and her Ph.D. from Baylor University. She has taught at Hillsdale College, where she met her husband, John. She is now in temporary early retirement, raising and homeschooling their children in Lincoln, Nebraska.

RELATED ARTICLE: Staying Free and Faithful in a Pandemic

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Why Are There Toilet Paper Shortages around the World?

There are a few explanations for the run on toilet paper, but one basic economic lesson explains the shortage.


Americans have seen scarcity, bailouts, price fluctuations, and epidemics before, but one thing seems to set the coronavirus emergency apart:

The toilet paper.

Shelves where the product once was stored are bare—and not just in the US. The United Kingdom has experienced similar shortages, leading consumers to purchase toilet paper substitutes (at the risk of the sewage system), and an Australian newspaper went so far as to print eight blank pages in a recent issue to be used in case of emergency for, you guessed it, toilet paper.

The desire to hoard during a pandemic may be totally natural, but hoarding for some means scarcity for others.

What is a good solution for this problem? Many stores have instigated their own rationing devices (limits of X amount of toilet paper, hand sanitizers, etc., per customer), with others instituting hours of shopping reserved for the elderly or immunocompromised.

These are creative and compassionate ideas, and they may solve some of the problem of hoarding—but the market has another way.

The problem? It’s incredibly unpopular, and, of course, even illegal in many places.

Price gouging” has a particularly negative connotation. It refers to a phenomenon wherein customers at an especially vulnerable time are charged unusually high prices by “greedy” business owners taking advantage of their need.

But think about the incentives of business owners—do you know a single entrepreneur, business owner, or honest employee who wants to intentionally upset their customers? The incentive of business owners is always to provide great service and reasonable prices. To act otherwise is to eventually run out of business.

These incentives do not suddenly change during a crisis—business owners are still judged by the court of public opinion, and those who treat customers unfairly will not go unnoticed, at least not for long.

So why do prices rise during times of need? The answer is found in the basic economic principles of supply and demand.

When demand increases, it’s a signal that customers want to consume more of a certain product.

The graph below demonstrates these changes. The demand line shifts up from D1 to D2—increasing prices, but only temporarily. Prices are a rationing device and signal of scarcity, so this higher price naturally encourages customers to make do with less while simultaneously indicating to producers to expand production.

Though buyers have to pay more for each product, it reduces the risk of shortages by making it easier for suppliers to meet the increased demand for their goods. [See chart]

What’s perhaps more relevant to our current situation is that hoarders are indirectly discouraged from hoarding. A higher price makes consumers think twice before buying a cart-full of toilet paper, leaving more product on the shelves and limiting or delaying, perhaps indefinitely, any shortage.

But that’s not all, remember that the higher price is only temporary, since higher prices will spur production.

Sellers see product flying off the shelves and note that they need to ramp up production to meet the growing demand. Potential entrepreneurs also recognize that there may be room for extra business in this particular market, so they start production.

Once supply is able to catch up, the supply line shifts from S1 to S2, and prices normalize once again. [See chart 1 and chart 2]

Sure these are merely graphs, and it is difficult to appropriately convey the nuances of human behavior and the complexity of the economy in a single graph.

However, we’ve already seen these forces at work in the past few weeks. Distilleries have taken note of hand sanitizer shortages and are helping to meet the increased demand by producing their own—some even giving their product away for free. Last week Georgia-Pacific, a toilet paper supplier, increased production capacity by 120 percent.

Amplified production by existing companies, and the entrance of new business into markets, will lower prices to pre-crisis levels.

Referring to rising prices as “price gouging” will not change the economic fact: in a free economy, prices are a vital signal to producers and consumers alike. It’s incredible that a single number can do so much.

This is the miracle inherent in free markets—no solitary, all-knowing authority is dictating the direction of prices or production in a single market (let alone an entire economy). It happens naturally, as if led by an invisible hand.

So why was there a sudden run on toilet paper? Who knows.

Perhaps in anticipation of long periods of quarantine, shoppers are looking for any necessary household goods to stockpile. One consumer psychologist explained that it could simply be retail therapy; stressed consumers rushing for feelings of security during a pandemic. Others simply blame herd mentality—the idea that if everyone else is hoarding toilet paper, you might as well be too.

The ultimate lesson? Let prices rise and markets do their work. As long as economic freedom exists, ingenuity and innovation will never be in short supply—and neither will toilet paper.

COLUMN BY

Amanda Snell

Amanda Snell is an analytics associate at FEE. She grew up in small-town Idaho and is a recent graduate of BYU-Idaho in Economics. Prior to joining FEE, she completed the Charles Koch Internship Program and interned with The Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom. She enjoys working with entrepreneurs and is passionate about the potential for innovation in the private sector. Amanda was deeply impacted by FEE and the freedom philosophy as a high school student and is thrilled to be part of an organization committed to individual liberty and economic freedom.

RELATED ARTICLE: Flexibility Is Needed for Economies to Cope With COVID-19, Not $2,000 Checks

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Lysol Introduces Shoulder-Mounted Turret That Automatically Blasts Anyone Who Coughs Within Six Feet Of You

SLOUGH, BERKSHIRE—Lysol has unveiled a new shoulder-mounted turret that automatically blasts anyone who coughs, sneezes, or emits mouth droplets of any kind within six feet of you.

The Big Lysol Turret 9000 is especially useful during epidemics and flu season, though many who are fearful of germs and disease say they plan to use the product year-round, just in case.

“COUGH DETECTED. DEPLOYING COUNTERMEASURES,” the system blares as it activates, coating the offender with an entire can of Lysol spray. “DESTROY ALL GERMS. DESTROY ALL GERMS.”

Target, Walmart, and other big box retailers are stocking the device now for the low price of $99.99, though they immediately sold out. Customers mobbed the stores as soon as they opened this morning, gathering in a big crowd to be the first ones to get the turret guaranteed to stop germs and prevent infection. They also bought a bunch of toilet paper for reasons unknown.

“Rest assured, we are working to get more BLT-9000s to customers as soon as possible,” said a spokesperson. “In the meantime, consider just pushing people away with a pool cue.”

For extreme germophobes, the turret can be reprogrammed to blast anyone who simply gets within a certain distance, cough or no.

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EDITOR NOTE: This political satire column by The Babylon Bee is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

White House Coronavirus Task Force Updates and Important Links.

President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force announced additional actions today as part of the ongoing, government-wide response to the global pandemic:

  • To help American families and businesses, the Treasury Department announced that Tax Day will be moved from April 15 to July 15. No interest or penalties will be charged for filing during this extended window, but any American expecting refunds or credits may claim now to get their money sooner.
  • To minimize impact on our nation’s students, the Department of Education is temporarily waiving all interest on federally held student loans. Secretary Betsy DeVos has also directed federal lenders to allow borrowers to suspend their student loan payments without penalty for at least the next 60 days.
  • Early, decisive travel restrictions helped slow the spread of Coronavirus to our country. Today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States and Mexico have agreed to restrict non-essential travel across their border.
  • More help is on the way. The Trump Administration worked with Congress last week on a bipartisan deal to deliver economic relief and support for American families, which the President signed into law on Wednesday. More legislative action is expected in the coming days.
  • As a reminder, this week, President Trump issued a nationwide call to action for every American to help slow the spread of Coronavirus over the next 15 days. We encourage you all to continue to put these guidelines into practice and share them with your communities to help save lives.

Share with us:

  • Know of an inspirational story? We know that Americans have gone above and beyond to serve their communities during this time. If you would like to share with us any inspirational stories in your communities, let us know and send them our way.
  • Who else needs this information? Please send us any names with organizations and e-mails for other faith leaders that would benefit from receiving these updates.

Important Links:

© All rights reserved.

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MINNESOTA: Muslim migrant, former Mayo Clinic researcher, pledged allegiance to ISIS, plotted jihad massacres in U.S.

What’s that? A doctor? Why, how can that be? Everyone knows that poverty causes terrorism, right?

In reality, the idea that poverty causes terrorism, and that showering Muslim countries with money will end it, has been shown to be false again and again — although it is still a core assumption of U.S. foreign policy.

The New York Times reported in March 2016 that “not long after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001…Alan B. Krueger, the Princeton economist, tested the widespread assumption that poverty was a key factor in the making of a terrorist. Mr. Krueger’s analysis of economic figures, polls, and data on suicide bombers and hate groups found no link between economic distress and terrorism.”

CNS News noted in September 2013 that “according to a Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, ‘Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.’ One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, ‘Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.’”

“Pakistani doctor arrested in Minnesota on terrorism charge,” by Amy Forliti, Associated Press, March 19, 2020 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

MINNEAPOLIS — A Pakistani doctor and former Mayo Clinic research coordinator was arrested Thursday in Minnesota on a terrorism charge, after prosecutors say he told paid FBI informants that he had pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State group and wanted to carry out lone wolf attacks in the United States.

Muhammad Masood, 28, was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday by FBI agents and was charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Prosecutors say Masood was in the U.S. on a work visa. They allege that starting in January, Masood made several statements to paid informants — whom he believed were members of the Islamic State group — pledging his allegiance to the group and its leader. He also allegedly expressed his desire to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS and a desire to carry out lone wolf attacks in the U.S.

At one point, Masood messaged an informant “there is so much I wanted to do here .. .lon wulf stuff you know … but I realized I should be on the ground helping brothers sisters kids,” according to an FBI affidavit.

Prosecutors say Masood bought a plane ticket on Feb. 21 to travel from Chicago to Amman, Jordan, and then planned to go to Syria from there. He had planned to leave at the end of March. But on March 16, he had to change his travel plans because Jordan closed its borders due to the coronavirus pandemic. Masood and one of the informants then developed a plan for him to fly from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to meet with that informant, whom Masood believed would help him travel in a cargo ship into Islamic State territory….

Court documents do not name the clinic where Masood worked, but a LinkedIn page for a man with the same name and work history says Masood has worked at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, since February of 2018, first as a research trainee, but has been a clinical research coordinator since May. A profile on researchgate.net says he has done research in cardiology; he was scheduled to present his research for the Mayo Clinic School of Continuous Professional Development in October 2018, according to an online calendar of the event.

Mayo Clinic spokeswoman Ginger Plumbo said Masood formerly worked at the medical center, but “was not employed by Mayo Clinic at the time of his arrest.”…

On Jan. 24, Masood contacted one of the informants on the encrypted platform and said he was a medical doctor with a Pakistani passport and wanted to travel to Syria, Iraq or the northern region of Iran stretching to Afghanistan “to fight on the frontline as well as help the wounded brothers,” the affidavit said.

He explained that he wanted to make the trip because he “hates smiling at the passing kuffar just to not make them suspicios.” The affidavit said kuffar is an Arabic term meaning nonbeliever or non-Muslim. Masood also allegedly told the informant he wanted help getting to the front lines. When the informant said Masood might have to kill people, Masood replied, “i want to kill and get killed … and kill and get killed.”…

Roughly three dozen Minnesotans — mostly men from the state’s large Somali community — have left Minnesota since 2007 to join al-Shabab in Somalia or militant groups in Syria, including the Islamic State group….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

School Closures—and Accidental Homeschooling—Continue. Here Are More Resources for Families

As of today, 91,000 public and private schools in 39 states with more than 41 million students collectively, have closed because of the coronavirus, according to Education Week

As parents continue to navigate their new role as homeschool instructors, resources are being made available online to meet the needs of families.

Some schools have begun live-streaming PE classes. Others are delivering virtual content to students, and at some—such as Success Academy in New York—teachers begin the day with phone calls to each of their students and hold virtual office hours later in the day. Families, schools, and free markets are rising to the challenge of schooling during a worldwide pandemic.

Here are 10 resources to check out for your own family:

In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>

  1. Project Gutenberg is an online library of more than 60,000 free eBooks of the world’s great literature. These great works are available in full online for free because they are older works for which U.S. copyright has expired.
  2. The Ashbrook Center’s Teaching American History Project is a treasure trove of history resources that “explore themes in American history and self-government through the study of original historical documents.”
  3. Mike McShane of EdChoice recommends Brain Pop, which offers online resources, interactive activities, quizzes, and lessons in everything from science and social studies to art and engineering.  He also recommends the Cincinnati Zoo’s page, which offers a Facebook Live safari every day at 3 p.m. Eastern.
  4. The entire Core Knowledge Foundation curriculum is now online for free.
  5. Get a crash course in homeschooling through the Home School Legal Defense Association’s homeschooling through high school page.
  6. The Space Foundation partnered with Peanuts to create 10 free lesson plans, in its “ongoing quest to catalyze the next generation of space explorers, innovators, and entrepreneurs.”
  7. Beginning next Wednesday, Code Break will offer a live, weekly webcast to teach students computer science at home, even offering learning options for students without computers.
  8. The Bill of Rights Institute has a wealth of history curriculum resources.
  9. More advanced students can check-out the University of Dallas’ Arts in Liberty courses in LogicRhetoricGeometry and Arithmetic, and Astronomy.
  10. Open Culture provides access to free online courses from universities worldwide as well as audiobooks and documentaries, and EdX offers free online courses from universities on topics such as language, business management, and engineering.

COMMENTARY BY

Lindsey M. Burke researches and writes on federal and state education issues as the Will Skillman fellow in education policy at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research. Twitter: .


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Coronavirus Is the Chinese Government’s Curse Upon the World

The World Health Organization and other sensitive souls have instructed us to stop referring to the new strain of the coronavirus as the “Wuhan” or “Chinese” flu because of the racist connotations.

I’m disinclined to curb my speech to placate Chinese propagandists, and it seems to me the aversion to those terms is less about racism than about averting blame. But in the spirit of comity, and avoiding disparaging an entire nation, I’m happy to call it the ChiCom Flu moving forward.

There are many traditional naming conventions that don’t really make that much sense. Somewhat weirdly, for example, we often name diseases after the people who “discover” them—Hodgkin’s disease after Thomas Hodgkin, Parkinson’s disease after James Parkinson, and so on.

But naming viral diseases after places—Guinea worm, West Nile virus, Ebola, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, etc.—is probably just intuitive. Viruses “come” from someplace, after all, and thus people gravitate to those names. I doubt we came up with “Lyme disease” because of some deep enmity toward Connecticut.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


Anyway, “COVID-19” or “H1N1” don’t exactly roll off the tongue.

The latter was, until very recently, widely referred to as the “Spanish flu,” a virus that killed around 675,000 Americans and tens of millions of others around the world in the early 1900s.

“Spanish flu” has now retroactively fallen into disfavor as well. And to be fair, there is some historical evidence that the virus may actually have originated in China or France, so if we must call it the French flu moving forward, so be it.

But while the Spanish have a good case to be annoyed, the Chinese government does not.

As Jim Geraghty notes, the communist Chinese have been far more effective in stopping the spread of information about the coronavirus than in stopping the spread of the coronavirus itself. Today, for example, China expelled most American journalists from the country.

Early on, the communists destroyed samples and suppressed vital information that could have helped mitigate the damage of this new strain of the coronavirus.

The government also silenced doctors who warned about the disease. Some were censured for “spreading rumors” or sharing test results with colleagues, and some were forced to write self-critical public letters—a Marxist mainstay—admitting that the warning “had a negative impact.”

The Chinese communists probably let 5 million people leave Wuhan without screening, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Chinese communists, like all communists, hide societal problems. There is no crime, disease, or addiction in the collectivist state. This kind of secrecy and dishonesty can be disastrous, especially in a highly interconnected world.

Though millions of Chinese have been lifted out of extreme poverty through free trade, with modernity comes some basic responsibilities—for instance, not killing everyone in the world with preventable zoonotic diseases.

The Chinese regime is perfectly capable of administering an array of authoritarian policies to suppress the rights of its own people. But it’s apparently unable to exert even mild cultural pressure warning them that their eating habits can be extraordinarily dangerous and hold the potential of creating massive socioeconomic problems.

If reports are correct, it was in Wuhan’s popular “wet markets” that vendors were selling the bats—and possibly snakes—that may have caused the COVID-19 outbreak. “Wet” because the meat sold in its unsanitary stalls was only recently slaughtered.

This kind of thing happens quite often. And not always in China, of course. But the avian influenza was likely transmitted to humans from chickens in a “wet” market.

Scientists have been warning for years that the eating of exotic animals in southern China “is a time bomb.” Acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) also originated in China, and probably jumped to humans through bats. Other coronavirus strains are also likely connected to bats.

I hate to thrust my Western cultural values on anyone, but maybe it’s time to stop eating bats.

It’s important to stress that it’s not the Chinese people who are the problem. Just look at their success in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United States. The ChiComs are the problem.

If the Chinese government spent as much time working on educating its people and regulating dangerous markets as it does on secrecy and propaganda efforts, maybe it wouldn’t have to worry as much about diseases being named after it—or about the catastrophic death and economic pain their negligence helps cause.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

COMMENTARY BY

David Harsanyi is a senior writer at National Review and the author of “First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History With the Gun, From the Revolution to Today.” Twitter: .

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A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.