Monday News Executive Summary

Jordan Candler  Above the Fold

MOMENTUM SHIFT? loose lips liar-Joe Biden wins bigly in South Carolina, giving much-needed boost to campaign (CBS News)

FIELD NARROWS: socialist-Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer exit 2020 presidential race (NBC News)

FIRST U.S. DEATHS: Second man in King County, Washington, dies of coronavirus (KIRO 7)

National Security

OBSTRUCTING AN EFFECTIVE POLICY: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocks Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy (Fox News)

ADMIN TO APPEAL: A federal judge has ruled that Ken Cuccinelli was unlawfully appointed to lead the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency and therefore lacks authority to give asylum seekers less time to prepare for initial screening interviews (ABC News)

DNI NOMINEE: Trump picks John Ratcliffe to lead intelligence community (CBS News)18 YEARS LATER: U.S., Taliban sign controversial peace deal for Afghanistan (The Daily Signal)

Government & Politics

ROUND 3: Supreme Court will once again consider fate of Affordable Care Act (The Washington Post)

“NOW WE’RE COMING AFTER THEM”: Trump goes nuclear on Democrats at CPAC (The Daily Wire)

NO AUTHORITY: House Democrats lose appeal to force White House counsel Don McGahn testimony (Axios)

TAWDRY BEHAVIOR: MSNBC political pundit Chris Matthews absent from air amid sexual-harassment allegations (The Hill)

Closing Arguments

POLICY: The European welfare state is small compared to what commie-Bernie Sanders is proposing (Foundation for Economic Education)

POLICY: Here’s how to prepare if the coronavirus comes to a quarantine (The Federalist)

HUMOR: loose lips liar-Biden confident he can win “after taking South Korean primary” (Genesius Times)  

~The Patriot Post   . 

Israel’s Sheba Medical Center named world’s ninth best hospital

By EYTAN HALON{ } ~ Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer has been named the ninth best hospital in the world by leading US magazine Newsweek… climbing one place since last year’s rankings. The hospital, located east of Tel Aviv, is Israel’s largest medical facility and cares for approximately 1.6 million people annually. The hospital is also home to more than one-quarter of all Israeli clinical research.  The weekly magazine cited the hospital’s collaborations with biotech and pharmaceutical companies worldwide to develop new drugs and treatments, in addition to research specialities including cardiology, cancer, brain diseases and genetics.  The Rochester-based Mayo Clinic led the global rankings for a second year, followed by Cleveland Clinic and Massachusetts General Hospital. Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center, also known as Ichilov Hospital, was named the world’s 34th leading hospital. Tens of thousands of medical  professionals were invited to participate in the survey ranking the world’s best hospitals, which also took into account results from patient surveys and other medical performance indicators. Other leading hospitals included Toronto General Hospital, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Johns Hopkins Hospital, University Hospital Zurich and Singapore General Hospital. “The selection reflects another year of excellent and advanced medicine, breakthrough research and world-leading innovation,” said Sheba Medical Center director-general Prof. Yitshak Kreiss, a former IDF Surgeon General who has headed the hospital since 2016…  

Two Syrian war planes downed as Turkey begins operation against Assad

By REUTERS and IDAN ZONSHINE{ } ~ Two Syrian fighter jets were downed by Turkish fighter jets on Sunday in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province… as Turkey began a wide-scale military operation against the Assad regime in response to last week’s killing of 34 Turkish soldiers, according to Syria’s SANA state news agency. The two Syrian pilots managed to deploy their parachutes and land safely, according to the Syrian military. SANA reported earlier on Sunday that the Syrian army had downed a Turkish drone over the town of Saraqeb in the Idlib region of northwest Syria. Turkish Defense Minister Şule Akar announced the operation, named Operation Spring Shield, vowing retaliation against any attack on Turkish forces or observation posts in Idlib under Turkey’s right to self-defense. “Some 2,200 Syrian regime troops, a drone, eight helicopters, 103 tanks, tens of howitzers, and three air defense systems were neutralized,” Akar said of the newly announced operation. “We do not aim to face off with Russia. Our only aim is to stop the Syrian regime’s massacres, radicalization and migration,” he added. Akar continued his plea for Russian assistance, saying that “Turkey expects Russia to use its influence to bring an end to the Syrian regime’s attacks, and its withdrawal to the Sochi-deal borders.” Earlier, Syria’s army declared the airspace over northwest Syria closed to planes and drones, pledging to down any aircraft that violates it, state media said on Sunday, shortly before reports of the downed drone began surfacing. “Any aircraft that violates our airspace will be dealt with as an enemy aircraft that must be brought down,” state news agency SANA said, citing a military source…  

Imported Antisemitism and Those Who Support It

by Denis MacEoin{ } ~ On March 6, 2019, Britain’s Equalities and Human Rights Commission launched a probe into claims that the country’s Labour Party, currently led by the lifelong Trotskyite Jeremy Corbyn, is “institutionally anti-Semitic”… We are all too familiar with the development that the conflation of antisemitism and antizionism may be found today within politics. Challenging this distortion remains a priority in Western countries. Fortunately, as recent events within Britain’s Labour Party have shown, many constituents are rejecting the overt antisemitism and anti-Israel extremism of the groups who have often underhandedly taken control of their party. It increasingly seems as if one source of antisemitism — as shown by more than one survey in Europe and in the United States — is that there often seems to be widespread antisemitism within Muslim communities. Islamic hatred of Jews is deeply rooted. It can be seen in the later verses of the Qur’an, in Muhammad’s expulsions, mass executions, and enslavement of the Jews of Medina, or in the attack on Jews in the oasis of Khaybar. Islamic antisemitism continued to have a largely negative impact on Jews living under Muslim rule in the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe down the centuries. Sometimes Jews were treated better than they were in Christian countries, for instance during the Inquisition; at other times, there were massacres; but in all instances, Jews suffered a variety of humiliations as second-class “dhimmis”: people with a scripture who were due protection by Muslims but demeaned for their failure to recognize the prophet Muhammad as the true Messiah…  

Seven Israelis have tested positive for coronavirus

By MAAYAN JAFFE-HOFFMAN{ } ~ Seven Israelis have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Health Ministry, which is asking anyone who encountered the patients to enter isolation and get themselves checked… The seventh Israeli is Roni Bargill from Migdal HaEmek, who posted on Facebook over the weekend that he had returned from Italy last Saturday and was told by health officials that he could continue his routine as usual. Then, on Thursday, he was instructed to enter isolation, but by then he had come in contact with many people. “I apologize in advance for any harm I caused anyone,” he wrote on Facebook. “It was obviously done without my knowledge.” The Health Ministry over the weekend released an emergency report of Bargill’s whereabouts, which include his local Shufersal and a restaurant in Afula. Israelis who suspect they might have coronavirus should call the Magen David Adom hotline for consultation. Israelis who have thus far been diagnosed with the virus have entered isolation at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, including Bargill. The seven Israelis are as follows: Three who returned from Italy last week have tested positive for the virus, plus one of their spouses. In addition, there were two Israelis who returned under close supervision from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, who were diagnosed with COVID-19 while they were already in isolation at Sheba. In addition, an Israeli who contracted the virus while aboard the ship, and was treated in Japan and then released to Israel on Friday, tested positive upon arrival in the country…  

IL Gov puts illegal alien felons in communities to protect them

By M. Dowling{ } ~ The Illinois governor is putting felon illegal aliens in communities to protect them from ICE and deportation. It’s his “firewall” against Trump’s fake attacks on immigrants… Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has backed out of an agreement to turn illegal immigrants over to immigration officials. As a result, some violent felons facing deportation are now being released into local communities, the  Associated Press reported. The Illinois Department of Corrections has stopped cooperating in efforts to transfer custody of inmates who have completed their sentences over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey and Livingston County Sheriff Tony Childress said during a press conference on Tuesday. “This is just plain wrong,” Sheriff Downey said, according to The Southern Illinoisan. “These convicted felons do not deserve to be given a head start or assistance from the state of Illinois in evading our federal law enforcement partners.” He noted that releasing convicted felons facing deportation will make communities less safe, WGN reported. Stating the obvious!!! “This is unconscionable. Dangerous. And puts our most vulnerable citizens, our children, at risk,” said Sheriff Childress, who also heads the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association (ISA). He said he is particularly concerned about convicted sex offenders. “Individuals with no legal status in this country do not register on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry. And if they flee Illinois, they don’t register themselves anywhere else, either,” Sheriff Childress declared. “We urge Governor Pritzker to reverse this policy.” The sheriffs said no one even bothered to notify them of Pritzker’s policy change. “I am dumbfounded that we had to learn that dangerous felons were simply being released into our county and into our community without notice, coordination or even a courtesy call to local law enforcement,” Sheriff Childress railed… 

.Gene sequencing tells us the Black Death, The Plague, traces back to China

By M. Dowling{ } ~ Gene sequencing gives scientists the hereditary data of organisms. From that, they now know that the disease, also known as The Plague, which killed about 100 million, came from China 2000 years ago… Several scientists wrote about it in the medical journal Nature Genetics as they study plague pandemics from the Black Death to the late 1800s. The Black Death was caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. It was one of the deadliest and most widespread in history and peaked in Europe between 1348 and 1350. It reached Crimea in 1346 and probably spread via fleas on black rats travelling on merchant ships. From there it hit the Mediterranean and Europe. It destroyed between 30% to 60% of Europe’s population. The Plague took 150 years for Europe to recover its population size. It came back until the 19th century when it left Europe forever. Victims died within 2-7 days after the infection appeared. It evolved around China over 2000 years ago and spread several times as deadly pandemics. Scientists compared genome sequences, 933 variable DNA sites of plague isolates from around the world, and were able to trace their path as they worked out the age of them. The Yersinia pestis is seriously restricted and it’s not easy assembling a collection, but a team from around the world were able to assemble a collection. Pandemics have always been and they have shaped civilizations. About 50% of China’s population perished. It spread with Chinese travelers. The last plague pandemic of 1894 spread to India and many parts of the globe…   

.Peace in Afghanistan? We’ll See

Charles Paige  Note from the author: I served four years in Afghanistan over the course of several deployments and several more years preparing myself and others for deployments by studying Afghan history, language, and culture, as well as reams of lessons learned from unsuccessful British, Soviet, and — thus far at least — American efforts to tame South Asia. I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but I believe that experience makes me at least as qualified to comment on the news and rumors surrounding peace talks with the Taliban as some of the pundits who have saturated the Web with articles that range from praising President Donald Trump for leading boldly and fulfilling his campaign promise to end “forever wars” to describing our efforts in Afghanistan as “America’s greatest strategic disaster.” While articles like those satisfy readers’ demand for decisive and definitive assessments, foreign policy in general — and Afghanistan in particular — doesn’t lend itself to binary and linear conclusions. It’s shades of grey, not black and white.

At the risk of being indecisive and indefinite, the honest answer to whether the agreements that have reportedly been reached between the U.S. and the Taliban are a win for the U.S. is probably “we’ll see.” But that’s not a very satisfying — or politically advantageous — piece of ground to claim. Unfortunately, our foreign policy decision makers’ (over)confidence that they actually see their options and potential outcomes in black and white is a primary contributor to the forever wars. Our diplomats and soldier-statesmen have heard how excellent they are for so long that it’s understandable that they may overestimate their ability to resolve “wicked problems” like those posed by the Graveyard of Empires. That’s not to say that our military and diplomatic leaders and decision makers aren’t better than everyone else’s, just that even the best may not be good enough for a problem set like Afghanistan, particularly given the wrinkles caused by political priorities that change every few years.With so little to show for the thousands of casualties sustained and billions of dollars spent, why should we keep muddling along trying to find a solution for what may well be an unsolvable problem? Why not just sign the peace deal — any peace deal — walk away and call it good?For one, although it hasn’t lived up to the promises, we have made progress: Afghan security organizations are larger and more capable than ever; a generation of bureaucrats and technocrats have come up through the ranks of ministries and businesses and have seen and largely bought in to an Afghan version of “what right looks like”; Afghan families have grown accustomed to more liberties and a generally higher quality of life than they enjoyed under the Taliban and aren’t anxious to go back. Given the foundation that has been laid, an enduring Taliban-supported reduction in violence would give the government and people the breathing space they need to cement the progress and keep building. Walking away before we’re sure the mortar has set risks everything coming back down in an ugly crash.Second, to paraphrase the investing disclaimer, future results aren’t automatically going to track with past performance. Just because the return on our investment over the last dozen or so years has been undermined by bad policies and decisions (with a healthy dose of hubris mixed in) doesn’t mean that we have to keep following that trend line. We need to be realistic and pragmatic about what’s within the realm of the possible — minimize, not eliminate corruption; professional and “Afghan good enough” security services, not scaled down versions of the NYPD or British Army — and translate that into clear objectives. Four more years of a Trump administration would provide much needed stability with respect to the mission and objectives. That stability in turn, would also make it easier to accurately assess future results.Peace is good thing, as are treaties that foster and ensure it. But we need to remember that it comes at a price. Some of the price has already been paid; some of it won’t come to light until years or decades later. As we negotiate, we can’t let the fact that we have already made an enormous investment lead us to an all-in-with-the-Taliban bet that comes with a big (and TBD) “after the sale” sticker. The people who have borne the brunt of the up-front investment deserve better than simply signing something in order to be able to check a box that a campaign promise was met or to have their efforts tarred with a label like “America’s greatest strategic disaster.” But at this point in the negotiations, the most honest prediction that even a relatively experienced Afghanistan watcher can probably offer is, “we’ll see…”   ~The Patriot Post  


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