by A. Joseph Lynch
THE WEEKLY BRIEF
TRUMP'S NOMINEE, THE DEBATE, AND PRESIDENTIAL ILLNESS
It seems like this week has included a year's worth of news in just seven days. One week ago today President Trump officially nominated Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg during an event held in the White House Rose Garden. We still have our doubts, however, concerning her lifelong involvement with the group, People of Praise. Here is one interview with a former member who considers the group a cult. On a more personal level, Amy Coney Barrett seem like an outstanding woman of character, intelligence, and compassion. We invite our readers to watch this interview with her from a year ago. It gives great insight into her life, faith, and family. In today's hyper-partisan climate, with Democrats willing and ready to say and do anything to keep SCOTUS seats open, we're not surprised the president choose someone who is a woman, is Catholic, and has a large family that includes two adopted children from Haiti (though one prominent "anti-racist" professor has called her a racist for adopting black children). Whether or not she's the best choice for a SCOTUS justice remains to be seen.
On Tuesday night President Trump contended with Joe Biden during the first presidential debate. To say the debate was contentious would be an understatement. Although Trump routinely calls the former vice president "Sleepy" Joe, name-calling during the debate was nearly one-sided. Biden called Trump a "racist," "Putin's puppy," and twice called him a, "clown." For some reason Biden also thought it was presidential to tell the president to "shut up." Biden would have been much better off trying to look presidential rather than trying to "out-Trump" Trump. For his part, President Trump was on full offense, repeatedly interjecting over the voices of both Biden and moderator Chris Wallace. Voters did not, however, see a Biden stricken by dementia - which for some would mean a Biden debate victory. While perhaps less personally offensive than Biden, the president failed to mention several important issues that, in our opinion, would have led to a crushing Biden debate defeat. As it stood, many people thought it was a draw - though C-SPAN viewers and Hispanics gave Trump the hands-down win.
About forty-eight hours after the debate's conclusion, President Trump began showing symptoms of coronavirus - which was confirmed shortly after midnight on Friday. During this time Hope Hicks, Bill Stepien, Kellyanne Conway, Chris Christie, and senators Thom Tillis and Mike Lee have all tested positive for the disease. President Trump has since been admitted to Walter Reed where he plans to work until he returns to the White House. His team of doctors gave a positive report this morning and the president has returned to (limited) tweeting. How it impacts the election remains to be seen. Joe Biden has pulled all negative ads against the president. As it pertains to the president's poll numbers, sicknesses such as this often lead voters to have more sympathy with their more humanized leader. For example, since being diagnosed with coronavirus this summer, Brazil's President Bolsonaro saw his poll numbers flip and now holds his highest approval since April 2019. Something similar was seen in the UK, where Prime Minister Johnson's coronavirus diagnosis led his approval rating jump from 47% to 61%. Time will tell how this impacts the president, but we should all pray for his quick and speedy recovery.
Much has also been said about how the president picked up the virus. Early speculation focused on Hope Hicks, who seems to be the first person to show signs of sickness. While the media has pointed out around a half-dozen people to contract the virus following the president's Rose Garden roll out of his SCOTUS nominee, reports this morning revealed that Chris Wallace and the debate commission decided not to test participants ahead of the debate bur rather rely on an "honor system when it came to the people that came into the hall from the two campaigns" (emphasis ours). While headlines seemingly attempt to - like always - blame the president, Wallace's own words reveal that no testing was done on the members of both campaigns. We find it highly likely that the president was infected during his time at the Ohio debate.
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
BECCHIU UPDATE: More news has been revealed surrounding the recent sacking of Cardinal Angelo Becciu by Pope Francis. It appears Becciu was involved in multiple Vatican loans - some non-repayable - to family projects/organizations. It also seems like he had a hand in a series of property investments that used Vatican funds. Now twenty million Euros has been spent from the pope's discretionary account and Becciu likely had something to do with it. More from Taylor Marshall.
PELL RETURNS: Cardinal Pell is returning to Rome from Australia. It seems more and more likely that the cardinal, who had been in charge of cleaning up the Vatican Bank, was set up for imprisonment in his home nation because he was uncovering corruption in the bank. His chief rival, Bicchiu, has been removed - now is the time for Pell to finish what he started. Before leaving Australia he told reporters: “I hope the cleaning of the stables continues in both the Vatican and Victoria.” We hope so, too.
KANSAS CITY BISHOP & VOTING: Bishop Johnston of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph (Missouri) is calling on all Catholics in his diocese to vote based essentially on pro-life/right to life principles. The message could not be clearer and Republicans could not be happier, yet we must be cautious about framing elections solely in terms of the right to life. Although we wouldn't disagree with the outcome of the bishop's call, an appeal to the rights of the individual is not the argument we would make. There can be no culture of life without creating a culture of protection, yet Catholics - both lay and ordained - struggle in making the case for the masculine protective duties that create a culture of life.
II. PRESIDENT TRUMP AND AMERICA
MAIL IN VOTER ISSUES ROUND UP: As media continues to say that there is "no evidence" to support President Trump's concerns over mail in voting, here is a quick round up of articles and research that clearly supports the president's words (seven voting issues in seven different states):
- Investigating ballot harvesting in Minnesota.
- Illegal ballot collecting in Maryland.
- Discarded mail in ballots in Pennsylvania.
- An election was entirely invalidated in New Jersey.
- Multiple ballots sent to more than 1000 people in Virginia.
- Nearly 100,000 NYC voters sent ballots that did not match return envelopes.
- California sends universal mail in ballot to parents of a voter who hasn't lived in California in over ten years.
- Jimmy Carter's commission document on elections. Page 54 of the PDF reads: "Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud."
THE WINNER IS: Who won the first presidential debate? C-SPAN respondents said Trump - by a whopping 69%. Latino television network Telemundo asked Latinos who won and the response was nearly identical. 66% of Latinos thought Trump won.
THE PLATINUM PLAN: President Trump made outstanding inroads with blacks since 2016. Some polls had him at 36% approval among blacks - which is one reason why Democrats had to back BLM no matter how violent things got. Trump has now unveiled his "Platinum Plan" for blacks, which includes helping blacks gain access to half a billion dollars in capital, declaring the KKK and Antifa as terror organizations, and provide school choice. Trump is promising a lot, but unlike Democrats, he fully intends to keep his promises. Read more from the president's website.
UNEMPLOYMENT DROPS AGAIN: Although most analysts expected the US to have double-digit unemployment through next spring at the least, President Trump continues to lead the country's unemployment numbers in the right direction. Unemployment stood at 13.3% in May, 11.1% in June, 1-/2% in July, and 8.4% in August, the numbers of September - 7.9% - is far ahead of what economists expected.
WHO'S COUNTING? President Trump will be off the campaign trail in the coming days, but a look back at September reveals Biden has a long way to go if he's going to catch up to Trump's attendance numbers. According to the Gateway Pundit, President Trump gathered more than 240,000 people to his rallies since Labor Day while Biden's total attendance during the same period was a measly 84 people. If this is any measure of enthusiasm or election day turn out, Trump has this election in the bag.
THE PROUD BOYS: Contrary to what Joe Biden and the Left thinks, the Proud Boys are not white supremacists. Although even Wikipedia tries to spin the group as such - saying some its members have "ties to white supremacists" - the group describes itself as "western chauvinist." The group is currently led by a black Cuban American of all people. It smacks as something akin to Fight Club with a more robust ideology. Like the Knights of Columbus, the Proud Boys have four degrees of membership (which I've heard have changed over the years): the first degree involves pledging one's self to western civilization, the second degree is a severe physical hazing that involved demonstrating mental acuity, the third degree involves a pledge against masturbation, and the fourth degree required a physical altercation in defense of the Proud Boy values. President Trump rightly denounced them on Thursday night - but we suspect for the wrong reasons. Men do need a brotherhood and sexual self-control - but allegiance to westernism over Christianity makes their efforts flawed from the start.
III. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION
BOARDROOM DIVERSITY: California is mandating diversity in corporate boardrooms. Although common sense would say the best person for the job should be hired, the revolutionaries on the Left have little common sense to be found. But truth be told, California's boardrooms are already radically Left on social issues - so Newsom might just be preaching to the choir as far as California is concerned.
GUTTING AN OATH: The Navy announced it was changing the Navy SEAL oath to use words that were gender neutral. To our knowledge, no woman has made it far enough in SEAL school to ever take the oath - but we're sure the Navy has plans for this to change as quickly as possible. Trump has already said he would quash it, but it would be wise for the President to remove women from combat roles altogether.
NO TEXAS INDICTMENT: When a shooter opened fire in a church containing 250 churchgoers, a named Jack Wilson killed the shooter with one shot. He was later awarded the Governor's Medal of Courage by Greg Abbott. It was just announced that a grand jury decided not to indict Mr. Wilson over the shooting - to which we all must ask: Why would a prosecutor ever convene a grand jury in the first place?