News

Morning Greatness: No Spike in Chinese Virus Cases for Places Ending Lockdowns

Good Monday morning.

Here is what’s on the president’s agenda today:

  • The president participates in a roundtable with Restaurant Executives and Industry Leaders
  • The president and first lady participate in a Governors’ Video Teleconference on COVID-19 response and ensuring the well-being of all Americans

Trump fires State Department Inspector General, freak out follows

President Trump fired the Inspector General at the State Department on Friday night. OH NO!

CNN wants you to know that it’s because the IG was investigating Secretary of State Pompeo use of staffers to conduct personal errands according to a CNN source who is a Democrat (LOL) aide. Senator Mitt Romney, a feckless schmuck chimed in with tweet that said, “The firings of multiple Inspectors General is unprecedented; doing so without good cause chills the independence essential to their purpose. It is a threat to accountable democracy and a fissure in the constitutional balance of power.”

Sit down and shut up, Mitt. The president can fire anyone he wants and he should be firing MORE people. MORE.

Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson wrote a letter to President Trump, asking for an explanation for the firing. CNN selectively quotes some of the letter and leaves out of a whole bunch of important information:

“Here again, inspectors general are crucial in correcting government failures and promoting the accountability that the American people deserve,” Grassley said on Saturday. “Although he failed to fully evaluate the State Department’s role in advancing the debunked Russian collusion investigation, those shortcomings do not waive the President’s responsibility to provide details to Congress when removing an IG. As I’ve said before, Congress requires written reasons justifying an IG’s removal. A general lack of confidence simply is not sufficient detail to satisfy Congress.”

Grassley, along with Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, sent a two-page letter to Linick in September, questioning the watchdog’s decision-making in his inquiry into a key October 2016 meeting between Steele and top State Department officials. Grassley and Johnson pointed to Linick’s failure to talk to former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec, who took notes, and former Special Envoy Jonathan Winer, who organized the meeting. Linick also did not speak with former Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who received Steele’s meeting request and who Kavalec believed Steele wanted to meet with in his broader effort to disseminate the dossier’s findings. Kavalec knew by October 2016 that portions of Steele’s dossier were inaccurate, and Winer and Nuland were involved in spreading Steele’s information within the U.S. government.

The Republican senators said their staffs were briefed by Linick and learned the watchdog reviewed whether State Department employees violated the Hatch Act and whether Winer broke classified information protocols.

“The briefing also disclosed that the [inspector general] determined that a State Department employee may have engaged in anti-Trump political conduct in violation of the Hatch Act and referred that individual to the Office of Special Counsel for investigation,” Johnson and Grassley wrote. “Despite this recommendation, however, the [inspector general] did not publish a written report about its review.”

It sure seems like this IG didn’t do a very good job.  This isn’t the first IG Trump has fired, he got rid of the very corrupt Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community IG and Christi Grimm, the acting HHS IG. Buh-bye.

Related:

Ron Johnson ‘not crying’ over Trump’s firing of State Department watchdog

OH. Obama Had No State Department Inspector General for More than Four Years

Dream on. Firing State Dept Inspector General may be a crime

No spike in Chinese virus cases for places ending lockdowns

Health and Human Services Alex Azar said on a Sunday political snuff show, “We are seeing that in places that are opening, we’re not seeing this spike in cases.” Uh oh, that’s not the ticket we were/are being sold. We were told it was asking to HUMAN SACRIFICE to open. But some states are opening up even though those states haven’t met the fedgov’s guidelines to open. “We have no idea the size of this challenge to our country because we have not sufficiently tested,” Pelosi said on a Sunday show.

Well, Nancy, we can’t test all 350+ million Americans every 5 minutes but if the hospitals start filling up, we will have some idea, won’t we? Are the hospitals filling up? We were told we all needed to stay home and pause our lives so we didn’t overwhelm our hospital system but now the terms have changed from safeguarding the hospital system to no one can get the virus. Ridiculous.

Coronavirus news:

Obama criticizes leadership on coronavirus response, gives three pieces of advice in virtual commencement addresses

Trump rips ‘grossly incompetent’ Obama following coronavirus criticism

Elon Musk stirs the pot with cryptic ‘red pill’ tweet

CDC ‘really let the country down’ on COVID-19 testing, says White House adviser Peter Navarro

Senior CDC official rebukes White House trade adviser’s criticism as tensions escalate over reopening strategy

Vaccine is possible by end of year, Johns Hopkins expert says

Trump to tour Ford ventilator assembly plant in Michigan

Federal Government Buys Riot Gear, Increases Security Funding, Citing Coronavirus Pandemic

Trump Calls Whistleblower Dr. Bright a ‘Creep’ and Lashes Out at Norah O’Donnell For 60 Minutes Interview

Obviously. Eric Trump accuses Democrats of “milking” coronavirus lockdowns to win the election

Biden campaign calls Eric Trump’s coronavirus comments ‘unbelievably reckless’

Tourist Arrested After Posting Pics On Social Media Of Hawaiian Beach Visit During Quarantine

Ohio Gov. Aghast At So Many People At Bar Not Wearing Masks: ‘We’re Going To Do Whatever We Have To Do’ To Stop This

‘I’m Not Too Pleased With The Mayor’: Former NYPD Commissioner Slams De Blasio Over Coronavirus Response

NOPE. De Blasio: NYC needs billions in federal aid or city economy ‘won’t come back’

UK: Over 1,000 Illegal Boat Migrants Brought Ashore During ‘Lockdown’

Central California Town Declares Itself a ‘Sanctuary City’ from Lockdown: Open for Business

Trump Confirms Considering Partially Restoring Funds to the W.H.O.

Whoops. CNN’s Kaitlan Collins spars with Trump after video shows her removing mask in WH briefing room

So stupid. President Trump co-opts inspirational ‘Independence Day’ speech; Bill Pullman vetoes effort

Other morsels:

Soros-Funded Group: Vote-By-Mail ‘Must Become the Default Option’

Hacked celebrity law firm says it has not worked with Trump

Pompeo warns China after revealing it ‘threatened to interfere’ with work of US journalists in Hong Kong

Iran tankers sailing to Venezuela in effort to undermine US sanctions

Iran Supreme Leader says Americans will be expelled from Iraq and Syria

Israel Swears In Fragile New Government, as Friction Looms

YAY! Meet Dr. Moose: Virginia Tech awards one of its therapy dogs an honorary doctorate degree

Thousands defer plans to leave the military during crisis

US Navy grants first waiver for transgender service member to serve under their preferred gender

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!

News

California Gym Owner Re-Opens Days After Being Arrested for Opening

The Daily Caller reports, “A California gym reportedly reopened Wednesday after its owner was arrested Sunday for defying closure orders.”

On Sunday, Oceanside Police arrested Lou Uridel, the owner of Metroflex Gym and cited him for reopening his gym Friday. He was eventually released and is now talking to lawyers.

“They decided to come and arrest me and shut us down,” said Uridel, owner of the gym since 2017. “They did threaten if we reopen that they would arrest every single member in the gym who is working out and cite them with the same citations.”

“If we don’t open, we won’t survive,” he said during a rally. Afterwards, he opened up shop.

According to county and state mandated orders, most gyms are among businesses that are not allowed to open until stage three of the COVID-19 reopening phase.

Oceanside Police Department spokeswoman Bonnie Stauffer said that “he will be cited every day that he has got the gym open, and he will be fined every day,” according to the Associated Press.

Stauffer said that police were working with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office to figure out their options for enforcing the closure order.

“I don’t know what other enforcement can be done at this point,” she said.

Local supporters and Oceanside city councilman Christopher Rodriguez agrees with Uridel, and believes he should have the right to open his gym.

“There is a disconnect in my opinion all businesses are essential.  A lot of veterans use this gym and without the gym you’re not relieving stress a lot of these veterans have been to combat they need this environment,” said Rodriguez.

Business owners around America have been arrested for defying stay at home orders. In May, a salon owner in Texas was sentenced to seven days in jail after refusing to close her business.

Business owners other states including Wisconsin, North Carolina, New Jersey, Florida, and Colorado have also been arrested for refusing to close their businesses.

News

China Threatens to Meddle in Upcoming U.S. Election

The Washington Free Beacon reports, China is furious over coronavirus lawsuits brought by American politicians, which seek financial restitution for the destruction Covid-19 has had on U.S. lives and the economy.

The Chinese state-run newspaper The Global Times, reveals that “China won’t just strike back symbolically, but will impose countermeasures that will make them feel pain.”

The threats came after US President Donald Trump billed COVID-19 as “the Plague from China” in a tweet that’s bound to draw ire from Beijing.

China threatened to sanction leading Republican senators, including Tom Cotton (Ark.) and Josh Hawley (Mo.), who have been particularly critical of its response to the coronavirus pandemic, an unprecedented move that comes as Beijing pushes back on international condemnation about its handling of the virus’ spread.

“Republicans who have been groundlessly accusing China and inflaming the ‘holding China accountable’ political farce will face severe consequences, sources said, noting that the aftermath will also impact the upcoming November elections, while business and trade between Missouri and China will be further soured,” the paper reported.

Missouri filed a lawsuit against China last month, accusing it of “lying to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19.” Mississippi said a day later it was also preparing to sue Beijing for similar reasons.

News

Anderson Cooper Defends Greta Thunberg’s CNN Coronavirus Town Hall Appearance

Anderson Cooper defended his network, CNN, for putting 17-year-old Greta Thunberg appear alongside a lineup of coronavirus experts in a Coronavirus town hall.

Cooper rationalized Thunberg’s appearance in a lengthy monologue after the town hall, taking aim at the “phony online outrage machine” he said generated a false narrative that Thunberg was to appear in the town hall as a public health expert herself, The New York Post reports.

“Apparently somebody with a blue check on Twitter saw the initial ad,” Cooper said, referring to an ad promoting Thursday night’s town hall, “and was outraged and claimed that we had booked Greta Thunberg to be an expert on a coronavirus panel with other health experts.”

The town hall lineup titled Coronavirus – Facts and Fears, hosted by Cooper included Dr. Sanjay Gupta, 50 former acting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Richard Besser,60, and former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, 71. Both officials served in the Obama administration.

But Cooper noted a late addition to Thursday’s lineup, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred, 62, who’s notably also not a medical health expert but is considerably older than the teenage Thunberg.

Cooper then named other famous guests on past CNN coronavirus town halls who also lack medical expertise.

“We had Alicia Keys, a few weeks ago debuting a video for a song she released for front line workers. Nobody thought she was on a panel,” Cooper said.

“The FDA commissioner [Stephen] Hahn, Governor Cuomo and [Chef] Jose Andres, none of them were on panels, they were all individual,” he added.

Last week’s segment, Cooper pointed out, featured Spike Lee, former Vice President Al Gore and journalist Laurie Garrett.

“I just find it fascinating to watch the phony online outrage machine generate content based on Twitter based on something that was never real to begin with,” he said.

Thunberg earlier Thursday explained she was invited onto the panel to talk about a new campaign supporting UNICEF during the pandemic.

News

Money and Politics Behind Anti-Hydroxychloroquine Bias, New Report Suggests

Remdesivir, an antiviral medication that was developed by the biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, has been widely touted as the most promising drug to treat COVID-19, even though—so far—the new and expensive drug does not seem to be terribly effective at fighting the disease.

The anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, on the other hand, is cheap, has been used safely for decades, and has shown great promise as a weapon in the fight against the coronavirus—yet after President Trump mentioned it as a promising potential treatment for the disease, the media immediately blasted him for touting an “unproven” and potentially unsafe drug.

As Full Measure reported Sunday night, the two camps have divided along political lines, with conservatives siding with hydroxychloroquine and the left-leaning media backing remdesivir.

The FDA seems to have taken a side too, green-lighting emergency use of remdesivir for severely ill coronavirus patients, while warning that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine should only be taken in the hospital or as part of a formal study due to reports of “serious heart rhythm problems.”

Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson spoke with a doctor and several scientists who told her that the anti-hydroxychloroquine bias in the media has been “unwarranted,” “harmful,” and has even “cost lives.”

Attkisson also “followed the money” to find out why the two drugs are being treated so differently. Not surprisingly, she found that many of the people promoting remdesivir have major conflicts of interest.

She first spoke with cardiologist Dr. William O’Neill, a medical director at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan, where both remdesivir and hydroxychloroquine are being studied.

O’Neill told Attkisson that the media’s attempts to “disprove and discredit” hydroxychloroquine has been “very harmful.”

“I think those of us that are actually involved in the scientific endeavor feel that there is some value to it and it has to be tested,” he said.

Joining many other doctors who have gone on the record to praise hydroxychloroquine as a promising treatment for coronavirus, O’Neill said that he’s seen improvement in every coronavirus patient to whom he has prescribed the drug.

Remdesivir, on the other hand, leaves him cold.

“There’s a lot of hype for the drug,” he said. “I saw the original new England Journal article study and I saw the Lancet study and to me it’s just like a big Ho Hum. I just don’t see a big benefit to it,” O’Neill told Attkisson.

Attkisson noted that “a draft version of a study was accidentally published last month showing remdesivir did not help most coronavirus patients and caused such serious side effects, 18 test subjects were taken off the drug.”

O’Neill is currently leading a hydroxychloroquine study in Michigan, but says the media’s bias against the drug is making things difficult for him.

“Now people are scared to use the drug without any scientifically valid concern,” he explained. The doctor characterized the media’s hostile coverage of hydroxychloroquine as “fake news and fake science.”

We’ve talked with our colleagues at the University of Minnesota who are doing a similar study, and at the University of Washington. We’ve treated 400 patients and haven’t seen a single adverse event. And what’s happening is because of this fake news and fake science, the true scientific efforts are being harmed because people now are so worried that they don’t want to enroll in the trials.

Attkisson also talked to Dr. Steven Hatfill, a biomedical scientist who studies pandemic responses and medicine.

“Why are the press running medicine in the United States?” he asked. “This is not right.”

Hatfill told the reporter that there’s an unwarranted campaign against hydroxychloroquine.

“You think lives were lost because it wasn’t used?” Attkisson asked.

“Yes, lives were lost,” he answered.

The scientist said the drug should be used as a prophylaxis for healthy critical workers going back to work, as well as high risk populations such as people with “chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, ex-smokers, diabetics, obesity.”

A third scientist Attkisson spoke to said hydroxychloroquine has been unfairly disparaged, and had a pretty good theory as to why.

is Dr. Jane Orient, head of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

“How do you account for the difference in medical and scientific opinion about this drug?” Attkisson asked Dr. Jane Orient, head of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

“That’s a very good question,” Orient replied. “But the ones who have the most experience are very enthusiastic about the possibilities.”

And we do have naysayers that we suspect may have a little conflict of interest because they are so enthusiastic about remdesivir, which is a new drug that hasn’t been approved for anything. And that so far is showing a really very equivocal or even negative results.

All three scientists criticized a recent VA report that denigrated hydroxychloroquine, saying it was “little more than a list of cases with crucial details missing.”

And one of the report’s authors, Attkisson found, received major research funding from Gilead, the company that makes remdesivir, “including a 247-thousand dollar grant in 2018.”

“I think we have to look at the money,” Orient said. “There’s no big profits made in hydroxychloroquine.”

It’s very cheap, easy to manufacture, been around for 70 years. It’s generic. Remdesivir is a new drug that could be very expensive and very lucrative if it’s ever approved. So I think we really do have to consider there’s some financial interest involved here.

Dr. Hatfill told Attkisson that some of the decisions being made concerning the drugs “do not seem to be rational” and that when what seems like a clear path is not taken, “very often, money is somehow involved.”

The experts on a government panel that devised the coronavirus treatment guidelines talked up remdesivir but downplayed hydroxychloroquine. Full Measure checked into their financial ties to see if there were any conflicts of interest there.

“We found that of 11 members reporting links to a drug company, nine of them named relationships to remdesivir’s maker Gilead,” Attkisson said.

Seven more, including two of the committee’s leaders, have ties to Gilead beyond the 11 months they had to disclose. Two were on Gilead’s advisory board. Others were paid consultants or received research support and honoraria. Nobody reported ties to hydroxychloroquine which is now made by numerous generic manufacturers and is so cheap, analysts say even a spike in sales would not be a financial driver for the companies.

Attkisson asked Dr. O’Neill if it’s possible that both drugs could be helpful in the right settings.

O’Neill answered that that “absolutely” could be.

“I think that it’s just still very early in this disease process that we’re going to learn lot,” he explained. “There’s 600 studies that are being done in the United States right now on Covid to see all sorts of different kinds of infections and combinations. We’re going to be a lot smarter at the end of the summer. So I think what I would just say to everybody, just hold your powder.”

 

News

Robberies Involving Thieves Wearing Surgical Masks Spike Across the Country

Robberies involving suspects donning medical-style face masks have exploded across the country, prompting some stores to close early to keep employees safe.

Normally, walking into a store wearing a mask anywhere in the United States would arouse suspicion, but because face-coverings are required in many areas to help curb the spread of COVID-19, criminals using surgical masks and gloves to disguise their faces and fingerprints are able to blend in with other shoppers.

For the past couple of months, thieves from coast to coast have been taking advantage of the situation.

According to police in Santa Ana, California, robberies have increased by a staggering 50 percent since the lock-down orders there were put in place.

Elias Khawan owns a gas station in Santa Ana that was recently robbed at gunpoint.

“We’re sitting here not knowing who’s going to walk through that door,” Khawan told CBSN Los Angeles.

The thieves, who did not initially raise the clerk’s suspicion due to local orders for face coverings in light of the coronavirus pandemic, took off in a silver Nissan Altima last Friday at 2 a.m.

Khawan said he has never seen anything like it the 17 years he’s run his Santa Ana gas station and convenience store. He said local face covering requirements put his staff in danger.

“It’s horrible,” he said. “I mean, I know we have to take certain measures because of what’s happening with COVID-19, but it’s the perfect script or manual for a robber — the mask, the sunshade and a hoodie. You don’t know who’s coming, who’s walking in.”

Khawan and his staff feel so unsafe that he has cut his hours from being open all night to closing at 10 p.m., a 25% hit to his bottom line. He has also added signs at his store prohibiting hoodies, backpacks and handbags.

“They’re very scared,” he said. “I have two employees who said, ‘No, we don’t want to work at nighttime.’”

In King County Washington this week, the Sheriff’s Office also said that it is seeing more cases where thieves are wearing medical masks during robberies and burglaries.

“The way that it is now, everybody has masks and the criminals are trying to take advantage of it in hopes that they won’t be identified as quickly or identified at all,” said Sgt. Ryan Abbott.

Police in Georgia say a man wearing a surgical mask knocked off six banks in three counties.

In New York City, a couple obtained face masks and gloves and used them while robbing multiple businesses at gunpoint.

When Solimar Rodriguez Gonzalez messaged her stepfather on Facebook last month asking for surgical masks and gloves, he assumed she wanted them—like just about everyone else in the world right now—for protection against coronavirus.

Gonzalez and her boyfriend, William Rosario Lopez, were finally arrested on April 9 after an eight-day crime spree.

Shortly before 10pm on March 18, a clerk at a Connecticut gas station was cleaning a coffee pot when Lopez, wearing a surgical mask and blue latex gloves, entered the store. According to a criminal complaint filed in Connecticut federal court, Lopez pointed a silver gun at the clerk, grabbed him by the collar, and marched him over to the cash register, hitting him in the back of the head with the weapon along the way. After the terrified clerk handed over $1,188, Lopez fled in a dark-colored Honda Accord.

 

Because wearing a mask in public can be seen as an act of intimidation and/or a threat of violence, it’s illegal to do so in many cities, although exceptions are made for special occasions like Mardi Gras and Halloween. Obviously, because COVID-19 is seen as a greater threat, those laws are not currently being enforced.

A former FBI agent said that the increased anonymity the masks provide has encouraged more people to engage in criminal behavior.

“Being anonymized has always been associated with more deviant and criminal behavior,” ranging from bank robberies to the Ku Klux Klan, the former agent, Bryanna Fox, told WTOP News.

Fox said studies have found “people who wear masks feel more enabled and empowered to do things that they normally wouldn’t have done if their face was seen in public.”

News

NYT and LA Times Reject NSC Advisor O’Brien’s Column on Ventilators Because it ‘Didn’t Fit Their Narrative’

National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien revealed in an interview Friday that the New York Times and Los Angeles Times declined to publish his recent column on American ventilator diplomacy because it “didn’t fit their narrative.”

Back in early March, many experts feared that a shortage of ventilators in America could be a public health catastrophe because there would not be enough of the life-saving machines in hospitals to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients.

The column describes in detail how the Trump administration became a world leader in the fight against the coronavirus by ramping-up production of ventilators.

The piece, which had high praise for Trump’s handling of the crisis, was published at Fox News.

Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt asked O’Brien why his column was rejected by the Times.

“Well, first of all, I want to say I couldn’t be more pleased to have been published by Fox News. I’ve written for them for many, many years, and always honored when they publish something,” the NSC advisor replied. “I’m not sure why the mainstream press is not interested in good news, our accomplishments of the administration of fighting the virus.”

When asked if he had offered his column to the New York Times, O’Brien said, the New York Times, L.A. Times, had a chance to run the piece, and I don’t think it fit with their narrative of how the administration is responding to the virus, which has been really outstanding. And so I think they took a pass on it.”

In the column, O’Brien describes how the president used the Defense Production Act to encourage private sector companies such as General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. to get into the ventilator production business. Existing ventilator companies like General Electric Co., Vyaire Medical Inc., ZOLL Medical Corp., and others, were encouraged to expand their production, he said.

Thanks to the Trump administration’s quick action, the United States will produce over 100,000 high-quality ventilators by the end of July 2020,” O’Brien noted in the column. “Despite irresponsible reporting to the contrary, the mechanisms put in the place by the administration to create and deliver ventilators were so successful that every single patient who needed a ventilator got one,” he wrote.

Now that the supply of ventilators has exceeded the demand here in the United States, the president has reached out to allies around the world to provide them with the life-saving machines, the NSC advisor said.

“I have been with President Trump as he has spoken with leaders from countries on six continents, including Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and many more,” O’Brien wrote.

The president has ensured that these nations can purchase high-quality America-made ventilators to meet their medical needs. And, for countries that cannot afford ventilators, the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development are providing foreign assistance to fund their purchase. All told, President Trump has committed to providing over 14,000 high-quality ventilators for purchase and donation to nations around the globe.

Like the early China travel restrictions in January, President Trump’s quick action on ventilators is saving lives at home and around the world. Ramping up our production of ventilators represents one of the most powerful weapons in America’s public health arsenal.

O’Brien told Hewitt that the Trump administration will be able to ship over 6,000 ventilators by the end of May.

“And the great thing, Hugh, about the United States, we don’t ask for anything in return like China does. Or you know, there’s no attempt to bully these countries, he said.

The American people out of their own generosity for countries that can’t afford to order them, donate them through USAID, and for the countries that can afford them, we allocate them and let the manufacturers know that they can ship these ventilators overseas. It’s really a wonderful project.

The national security advisor said that despite what the American people hear from the mainstream media, the president has great rapport with these other foreign leaders.

“President Trump, there’s no question about it, is the best diplomatic tool we have in the country,” O’Brien declared.

And for those who have seen the back and forth with what the President calls the fake news and press conferences and that sort of thing, you know, you’ve got to see the side of the President talking to foreign leaders. He encourages them. He gives them advice. He listens to them and their stories, and what’s happening in their countries, their successes and failures. With some of the younger foreign leaders, he mentors them. He’s always telling countries, whether it’s South Africa or Paraguay or, you know, even some countries that might be adversaries how much the U.S. supports them, how much the American people love them, that want their people to get through this COVID virus.

O’Brien noted that “the whole world is waking up to the fact that we’ve had just plague after plague come out of China” in the past 20 years, including SARS, Bird Flu, Avian Flu, H1N1 and probably MERS.

“Almost uniformly, I think we’ve had either 45 or 50 calls, most of those with the President, but in some cases, because there’s been so many, he’s delegated them to me to speak with the prime ministers or presidents,” he said. “But in almost every case, the countries have expressed dismay at how China handled this, how the World Health Organization handled this virus outbreak.”

In contrast, Trump’s “bold and decisive actions saved lives,” O’Brien said.  “He ensured our citizens have what they need first, and created new avenues for American ingenuity to thrive so that our supply of ventilators now exceeds demand.”

The LA Times and the New York Times didn’t think that was a story worth telling.

 

 

 

 

News

PBS Teams up with Chinese Media to Produce Propaganda Film

PBS, the television network that is primarily funded through taxpayer dollars, is working with a media outlet that is owned by the Chinese government in order to release a propaganda film that portrays China in a positive light, as reported by the Daily Caller.

Numerous PBS affiliates across the country, which in total receive millions of dollars of federal funding, are working with CGTN, the Chinese-owned outlet, on  a nationwide premiere of the film “Voices from the Frontline: China’s War on Poverty.” The film is produced by Robert Kuhn, who has ties to officials at the Chinese State Council Information Office.

PBS’s affiliate in southern California, KOCE, worked on the production of the film, which highlights Chinese president Xi Jinping’s alleged efforts to curb poverty in his country. At least one KOCE employee is listed in the film’s credits as an executive producer. The film does not disclose the fact that it was produced by the Chinese government.

The controversial decision comes as China has been facing worldwide criticism for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, from pressuring the World Health Organization to not issue warnings, to arresting and persecuting Chinese citizens who speak out about the government’s misconduct. Among other wrongdoings, China has been frequently spreading propaganda and false statements about their handling of the situation, including distortion of the numbers and falsely claiming that the virus originated in the United States.

News

At Least 40% of Families May Continue to Homeschool their Children, Even After Pandemic Ends

A poll by RealClearOpinion shows that at least 40 percent of American families may decide to continue homeschooling their children, even after the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end, as reported by Breitbart.

In response to the question of whether or not parents are likely to enroll their children “in a homeschool, neighborhood school co-op, or virtual school once the lockdown ends,” 40.8 percent of respondents said yes while 31.1 percent said no. Interestingly, the poll found that slightly more Democrats than Republicans were likely to do so, at 45.7 and 42.3 percent, respectively.

Along racial lines, the poll found that among those who said yes, 53.8 percent were Asian, 50.4 percent were black, 38.2 percent were Hispanic, and 36.3 percent were white.

Although homeschooling was already a pre-existing, though uncommon, practice in America, it immediately became one of the default options for many parents when their children’s schools were forced to shut down. Some have continued to “attend” classes with their regular teachers via Zoom and other online chat features, while others have turned to homeschooling by their parents.

News

Aspen Institute Announces the Return of $8 Million PPP Loan

The non-profit think tank Aspen Institute announced on Thursday that it had received an $8 million loan from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and that it will return the funds, according to The Hill.

“We believe that our application, which was made in the first week of the PPP,” the think tank’s official statement explained, “was consistent with the goals of the program. Upon listening to our communities and further reflection, we have made the decision to return the loan.”

The think tank is the latest organization to make such a high-profile return of federal funds, which were doled out by the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill, also known as the CARES Act. Others that have similarly returned loans include the L.A. Lakers, and – after much pressure from President Donald Trump and others – several Ivy League schools such as Harvard.

News

NYC Health Commissioner: ‘I Don’t Give Two Rats’ Asses About Your Cops’

New York City’s health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot blew off an urgent NYPD request for 500,000 surgical masks as coronavirus cases were surging through the police force.

Barbot made the cavalier remark during a phone conversation with NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan.

Monahan asked Barbot for 500,000 masks but she said she could only provide 50,000, claiming she needed the masks for others, and told him, “I don’t give two rats’ asses about your cops.”

However New York City quickly became a coronavirus hot zone and it became clear that was not going to be enough. By the end of the first week in April, nearly 20% of the police department was out sick with coronavirus symptoms. Additionally, 500 firefighters had tested positive for the virus and a total of about 3,000 firefighters and paramedics were sick, the Daily Caller reports.

According to figures released Wednesday evening The NYPD has recorded 41 deaths.

After the exchange Monahan sent an  “SOS” email to White House officials asking for protective equipment. Peter Navarro, who is serving as Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy and the national Defense Production Act policy coordinator quickly responded.

Upon learning of Barbot’s heated exchange, police officers and several police unions are calling for her to be fired.

News

Reality Star Used $2 Million PPP Loan to Buy Diamond Jewelry, Rolex, Feds Claim

The Daily Caller reports, “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” star Maurice Fayne also known as Arkansas Mo, allegedly tried to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic and took a small business loan which was meant to help employees and small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic relief – but used it to bankroll his lavish lifestyle.

The reality star allegedly embarked on an epic spending spree and used the $2 million loan to buy a Rolex and diamond jewelry, according to a report published by the Daily Beast.

Fayne “allegedly stole money meant to assist hard-hit employees and businesses during these difficult times, and instead greedily used the money to bankroll his lavish purchases of jewelry and other personal items,” according to Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski.

The PPP was launched on April 3 as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act. The program was designed to give loans to small businesses to help lessen the economic burden caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The funds reportedly ran out after less than two weeks.

Fayne, 37, applied for a PPP loan through his trucking company Flame Trucking. He originally applied for a $3,725,500 loan to pay the 107 employees he claimed he had on his payroll, court documents obtained by the Daily Beast showed.

Instead, Fayne used the roughly $2 million loan he received to buy a Rolex watch, a 7.73 carat diamond ring and a diamond bracelet, federal authorities alleged.

Federal authorities also alleged he spent the cash on child support and the lease on a 2019 Rolls Royce Wraith.

“At a time when small businesses are struggling for survival, we cannot tolerate anyone driven by personal greed, who misdirects federal emergency assistance earmarked for keeping businesses afloat,” FBI Atlanta Special Agent Chris Hacker said.

News

Biden: ‘I Don’t Have Any Problem Comparing my Energy Level to Donald Trump’

Former Vice President Joe Biden hit back at President Trump’s “Sleepy Joe” nickname for him, saying, “I don’t have any problem comparing my energy level to Donald Trump.”

Trump, as well as many other commentators in the media, have raised questions about Biden’s fitness for office and stamina.

“In terms of energy, I don’t have any problem comparing my energy level to Donald Trump, who I’m really resisting giving a nickname to,” Biden told host Peter Hamby in an interview on “Good Luck America,” Snapchat’s daily political show aimed at younger voters.

Trump has long branded Biden as “Sleepy Joe” in social media posts and at rallies, raising questions about the 77-year-old politician’s cognitive abilities.

Biden’s efforts to battle Trump’s “sleepy Joe” nick name are complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced him to campaign remotely from his basement in Delaware while the president has begun to tour sites outside the White House related to the pandemic.

Biden described the president as a “master at laying nicknames on people,” and said he “can hardly wait to get onto the stage” with Trump during the televised general election debates.

“What I’m trying to do is play by the rules — the rules set by the governors and others that I not be out, that we be socially keeping ourselves back right now,” he said. “But I’m looking forward to the time, as this begins to loosen up, to be able to go out and campaign and hold rallies and do the rest.”

Biden has so far not been tested for the virus, however Trump, in an interview Friday on “Fox & Friends,” said that if Biden asked for rapid coronavirus testing, he’d quickly make it available to him because “I’d love to see him get out of the basement so he can speak. He’s locked in a basement somewhere.”

News

Gowdy: Members of Trump’s Family Were Unmasked on Inauguration Day

Besides General Michael Flynn, many Americans on President Trump’s transition team, as well as members of the president’s family were unmasked during the transition period in late 2016 and early 2017, Republicans say.

The publication of a list of top Obama officials who sought to unmask retired General Michael Flynn sent shock-waves throughout Washington on Wednesday, and Republicans are making it clear that the incriminating list is only the tip of the iceberg.

Unmasking refers to the disclosure of names of Americans whose communications are incidentally picked up in U.S. intelligence surveillance.

While it is not illegal for members of an administration to make unmasking requests, the unprecedented volume of unmasking requests made by Team Obama during the 2016 election year strongly suggest that they were engaging in political espionage.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) released the list of Obama officials who requested to “unmask” the identity of Trump’s incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn during the transition period. In one instance, Flynn’s phone call with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak was intercepted by U.S. spies, and his identity in the call was unmasked and illegally leaked to the media.

It is a felony to leak classified information from intercepted material to the media, which is what was done with the Flynn phone call.

Declassified documents show that 16 senior Obama officials made 49 requests to unmask Flynn during the transition, including then-Vice President Joe Biden, then-FBI Director James Comey, then-CIA Director John Brennan, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Obama’s then-chief of staff Denis McDonough.

“It’s even worse than this,” said Rep. Devin Nunes on Fox Business Wednesday evening. “You’re only seeing the folks that unmasked General Flynn. The reality is, there were a whole lot of other Americans on the Trump transition team that were unmasked, and those need to be made public also.”

Former congressman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) echoed Nunes’ point on Fox News Thursday, and went even further. 

“It’s not just Michael Flynn,” Gowdy told host Sandra Smith. “There was an unmasking request made the morning of the inauguration. The morning of the inauguration. President Trump’s family members were unmasked,” he said.

Gowdy added that the newly declassified documents provide “a very nice witness list to start investigating the leak of classified information.”

“I’d be curious how many people on this unmasking list have been interviewed by the FBI over the leak,” Gowdy added, referring to the felony leak about Flynn’s infamous December 29, 2016 phone call with the Russian Ambassador to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius.

In March of 2017, Nunes—then chairman of the House Intelligence Committee—announced that he had learned about the “unmasking” of Trump transition officials by the outgoing Obama administration.

As Byron York noted at the Washington Examiner, Nunes’ announcement was immediately dismissed as a “stunt,” a “charade,” and a “fiasco.”

“The unmasking stunt was completely fabricated,” said former Obama Justice Department official Matthew Miller. “Devin Nunes is dangerous,” pronounced the New York Times’ Frank Bruni.

“Nunes’ Fake Scandal” declared the New Yorker. Similar sentiments echoed across the hallowed halls of the Washington Post, the Times, CNN, and MSNBC.

Nunes didn’t get much respect from members of the Republican establishment either.

During an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show on March 28, 2017, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said  Nunes’ had taken his committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election “off track,” and compared him to the hapless Inspector Clouseau from the “Pink Panther” movies.

“If he’s not willing to tell the Democrats and Republicans on the committee who he met with and what he was told, then I think he’s lost his ability to lead,” Graham said. “My belief is the House is off track and probably can’t get back on track.”

Nunes, who also took a massive amount of heat when he released his (now proven correct) FISA abuse memo, has been completely vindicated once again on the unmasking scandal.

“I sounded the alarm on this in March 2017,” he said in a statement Wednesday night. “It’s an outrageous abuse of Americans’ civil liberties for an administration to exploit our intelligence capabilities to spy on its political opponents. And that’s exactly what happened.”

 

News

Graham Throws Cold Water on Trump’s Call For Obama to Testify in ObamaGate Hearing

President Donald Trump on Thursday strongly urged Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to call former President Barack Obama to testify before his committee about the unmasking scandal that has become known as “ObamaGate,” but the senator quickly threw cold water on the idea.

Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell this week declassified a list of Obama officials who asked to “unmask” the identity of the president’s incoming national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, and on Wednesday, Senators Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) released the bombshell information.

The roster implicates top Obama officials, including then-Vice President Joe Biden, then-FBI Director James Comey, then-CIA Director John Brennan, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Obama’s then-chief of staff Denis McDonough.

As American Greatness’ Julie Kelly reported on Wednesday, McDonough requested his unmasking on the same day Obama held a key meeting at the White House with “all the perpetrators of the Russian collusion hoax.” It was recently revealed that during the meeting, Obama himself brought up Flynn’s infamous December 29, 2016 phone call with the Russian Ambassador. It now appears likely that McDonough was Obama’s source for the Flynn phone call information.

During a two-month period that began on election day, Nov. 8, 2016, senior Obama administration officials made 49 requests to unmask Flynn, and according to former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), those requests were only the tip of the iceberg.  As Nunes first noted in March of 2017, Flynn was only one of many other Trump transition team members who were under surveillance by Team Obama.

For over a year now, Graham, the chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee, has been promising to hold hearings to examine the spy scandal, as well as other Democrat scandals, but for some reason or other, he has been largely missing-in-action.

The last straw for the president apparently came when Graham vowed to “get to the bottom of” the unmasking scandal on Fox and Friends, Thursday morning.

“If I were a Senator or Congressman, the first person I would call to testify about the biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA, by FAR, is former President Obama,” President Trump wrote on Twitter. “He knew EVERYTHING.”

He added: “Do it @LindseyGrahamSC, just do it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more talk!”

Graham shot down the president’s tweet, telling Politico, “I don’t think now’s the time for me to do that. I don’t know if that’s even possible.”

Later Thursday, the senator released a statement saying the Judiciary Committee will hold “multiple in-depth hearings” in June “regarding all things related” to the FBI Russia investigation (dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane”).

“No president is above the law,” Graham said in the statement. “However, the presidency has executive privilege claims against other branches of government. … As to the Judiciary Committee, both presidents are welcome to come before the committee and share their concerns about each other. If nothing else it would make for great television. However, I have great doubts about whether it would be wise for the country.”

Obama will get away with community organizing the biggest spy scandal in American history because Republicans like Graham fear that calling a former president to testify before congress would set a bad precedent.

The senator told Politico that he was “greatly concerned by the precedent that would be set by calling a former president for oversight.”

“I understand President Trump’s frustration,” he added. “But be careful what you wish for.”

 

 

 

News

New York Attorney General Demands NYPD Stop Enforcing Social Distancing Rules for Minorities

New York State Attorney General Letitia James (D-N.Y.) has publicly called on the New York Police Department to stop enforcing social distancing measures for African-Americans and Hispanic Americans, claiming that there is a disparity between punishments for minorities and punishments for white Americans, according to Fox News.

James cited statistics released by the NYPD the previous day showing that 90 percent of such violations were committed by black or Hispanic citizens. Out of 125 people arrested from March to May, 83 were black and 30 were Hispanic.

“The apparent unequal enforcement of social-distancing policies,” James said, “is deeply troubling and deepens the divide between law enforcement and the people they are tasked to protect.” James also claimed that “it is inherently wrong to aggressively police one group of people,” and that “the NYPD must ensure that a New Yorker’s race, color, and neighborhood does not determine how they are patrolled.”

James demanded that the NYPD hand over a number of materials and documents to her office by Friday, including “demographics of people who were arrested or issued summonses, as well as officer training material.” NYPD spokeswoman Jessica McRorie confirmed in a statement that “the NYPD will of course work with [James] in any way.”

News

China Arrests Hundreds of its Own Citizens for Speaking out About Coronavirus

While the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, the Communist government of China has continued to arrest its own citizens who are daring to speak out against the government for its poor handling of the disease, as reported by Fox News.

The most recent example is Zhang Xuezhong, a 43-year-old constitutional lawyer who posted a letter online criticizing the government for its “long-term tight control society,” which “has almost completely destroyed the organization and self-help capabilities of Chinese society.”

Zhang is one of many to be arrested for simply stating the truth about the government’s failure to adequately contain the virus or to warn the world about its contagiousness. Others who have been arrested include doctors, nurses, lawyers, and journalists. One study from China Digital Times showed that at least 500 people were arrested for criticizing the government during the months of January, February, and March.

The earliest and most infamous case was Dr. Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old doctor in Wuhan who saw the earliest signs of the coronavirus’s lethality and tried to warn about its possible spread as early as December. He was arrested, forced to apologize to the government, and coerced into denouncing his own observations. He was later found dead, supposedly of the virus, but rumors have circulated that he may have been assassinated instead.

News

Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down Governor’s Stay-at-Home Extension

In a major victory for anti-lockdown advocates, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Governor Tony Evers’ (D-Wisc.) attempt at extending the statewide stay-at-home order, as reported by Breitbart.

The court ruled in a narrow 4-3 decision on Wednesday that when Evers attempted to extend the lockdown by another month, he was overstepping his constitutional boundaries by doing so without consulting the legislature. Both houses of the state legislature are controlled by the Republican Party.

As a result of the ruling, the state of Wisconsin is unofficially reopened for business on a statewide basis. However, the ruling does allow local governments such as counties to impose their own rules in the absence of a statewide mandate.

Evers angrily denounced the decision in a conference call, falsely accusing the Republicans of “convincing four members of the state Supreme Court to throw the state into chaos.” He also falsely claimed that “They have no plan” for reopening, and that if the disease spikes again in the state, “Republicans own that.”

In writing the majority opinion, Chief Justice Patience Roggensack wrote that state health secretary Andrea Palm’s order involved making a decision that she did not have the power to make on her own. “Rule-making exists,” Justice Roggensack explained, “precisely to ensure that kind of controlling subjective judgement asserted by one unelected official, Palm, is not imposed in Wisconsin.”

With Wisconsin now forced to reopen, the vast majority of states in the country have already either partially reopened or are set to reopen this week, with most adhering to a deadline of early- or mid-May. The only states that currently remain locked down indefinitely are California, Washington, Illinois, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland.

News

Morning Greatness: Flynn Unmaskers Named and Shamed

Good Thursday morning.

Here is what’s on the president’s agenda today:

  • The president tours Owens & Minor, Inc. Distribution Center in Allentown, PA
  • President Trump delivers remarks at Owens & Minor, Inc. Distribution Center

10amET “Whistleblower” to testify before unilateral Democrat House Energy and Commerce Committee echochamber

Flynn unmaskers NAMED AND SHAMED

Well, my goodness, a motley crew of 16 partisan scumbags make up the list of people who unmasked Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn between the time of the Trump victory and the time Trump was inaugurated. Some are of no surprise: Clapper, Brennan, Samantha Powers and Holy James Comey. But a whole lotta treasury officials, ambassadors, Obama’s Chief of Staff and one Joseph R. Biden are on the list too.

Why were all these people looking at Flynn? Ambassadors? Treasury officials? And, notably, sleepy Joe Biden.

The resistance will say that it is normal and routine to unmask American citizens in the course of foreign snooping but it is a felony to publicly reveal classified information and someone leaked Flynn’s identity to the Washington Post which ran an article on January 12, 2017 naming Flynn. The people who requested “unmasking” on or after Dec. 29, 2016, the date of the Kislyak call, include: Power, Clapper, Lew, McDonough, Dempsey, O’Sullivan, Biden, and an unnamed person. Biden requested the unmask on January 12, the date of the WaPo article, and McDonough, Obama’s Chief, requested an unmasking on the day of the “by the book” meeting. Developing.

Related:
Sen. Ron Johnson to Request Biden, Other Obama-Era Officials Testify on ‘Unmasking’
Gaetz says Flynn unmasking presents ‘political Chinese finger trap’ for Biden
Samantha Power appears on Flynn unmasking list seven times, despite testifying she had ‘no recollection’ of doing so
Grenell won’t testify despite Rand Paul request in wake of Flynn ‘unmasking’ revelations
Hemmer confronts DNC spokesperson over Flynn ‘unmasking’: ‘I was asking for collusion and I haven’t heard it’

So I guess we can just have third parties pop into a criminal cases and prosecute stuff the authorities won’t

The latest development in the Flynn case is absolutely mind-blowing. The nutty judge Emmet Sullivan, after the DoJ moved to drop the case, is not only allowing external briefs when he previously refused to do so, but he has invited a PARTISAN THIRD PARTY to play the role of prosecutor. The pretend prosecutor is retired federal judge John Gleeson who has openly criticized the Trump administration’s handling of the Flynn case.  Sullivan is also looking to introduce a new perjury charge to the mix. The move is kind of interesting because in a fake-leaked conference call with Obama, he mistakenly(?) claimed that Flynn had plead guilty to perjury.

What is going on here?

A retired federal judge has been tapped to challenge the Justice Department’s bid to abandon the prosecution of Michael Flynn and to address whether the former national security adviser committed perjury after claiming innocence from a crime he had earlier admitted.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Wednesday appointed John Gleeson, a former federal judge in New York’s Eastern District in Brooklyn, to challenge the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the case against Flynn.

Gleeson,who recently criticized the Justice Department’s handling of Flynn’s case, will also examine whether the parties should be forced to persuade Sullivan that the former adviser to President Donald Trump should not be held in contempt for perjury

Outrageous.

Related:
Federal judge mulls contempt charge against Michael Flynn
Flynn Judge Taps Retired Clinton-Appointee To Rebut DOJ’s Call For Dismissal
Tucker shreds Obama officials as ‘amoral creeps’ who ‘destroyed Michael Flynn’s life’ and ‘should be punished’
LOLGF. House Judiciary chairman hints at subpoenaing Barr

Feds seize Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr’s cell phone

Burr is a bad hombre. The feds seized Burr’s cell phone as part of the investigation into some unusually prescient stock trades suggesting insider information about the coming Coronavirus pandemic.

According to ProPublica, “Burr sold between $628,000 and $1.72 million worth of stock from his portfolio on Feb. 13, shortly after he received a briefing about the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic.” The Los Angeles Times has an anonymous source that revealed the feds also got access to his iCloud account.

“Sen. Burr participated in the stock market based on public information and he did not coordinate his decision to trade on Feb. 13 with Mr. Fauth,” attorney Alice Fisher said in a statement to ProPublica.

Of course.

Coronavirus news:
CREEPY. Diners at this reopening restaurant can get social with dressed up mannequins
Pandemic has spawned ‘record-breaking’ cybercriminal activity: Report
Covid-19 infects intestines, kidneys and other organs, studies find
Samaritan’s Purse field hospital sent to Central Park in coronavirus fight packs its bags
NY AG urges NYPD to reform social-distancing enforcement to ensure equal treatment for black, Hispanic people
Oh. China has arrested hundreds for speaking out about coronavirus, reports show
AMEN. Matthew McConaughey says coronavirus has been ‘hijacked’ by ‘partisan politics,’ calls for unity
Coronavirus could take up to 5 years to get under control, WHO chief scientist warns
Trump says Fauci wants to ‘play all sides’ after coronavirus reopening cautions
Today’s coronavirus update: Kawasaki-like condition found in NYC kids, new airline rules
White House to tap former pharmaceutical exec as ‘therapeutics czar’
Nice. REPORT: ‘I Don’t Give Two Rats’ Asses About Your Cops’: NYC Health Commissioner Blew Off Desperate Plea For Masks
‘Love And Hip Hop: Atlanta’ Star Used $2 Million PPP Loan To Buy Diamond Jewelry And A Rolex, Feds Claim
Texas AG seeks to block election officials from allowing absentee voters to cite fear of COVID-1
New Mexico mandates masks in public, inside and outside, as state begins to reopen
Los Angeles residents must wear masks outside home, Garcetti says
Maryland to lift stay-at-home order starting Friday
Washington, D.C. extends coronavirus stay-at-home order through June 8
Terrible. U.S. Senate blocks bid to curb surveillance of Americans’ internet habits
Pentagon awards $134 million for medical supplies for U.S. nursing homes
GOP Rep. Pete King to buck party, vote for Democrats’ coronavirus relief bill
‘Please Don’t Misgender Me’: Reporter Apologizes After Calling Transgender PA Health Secretary ‘Sir’
Some Democrats concede $3T House coronavirus bill is DOA
Cats can infect other cats with coronavirus, researchers find
Washington state directs restaurants to log all eat-in customers in order to reopen

Other morsels:
Good luck with that. George Conway group launches campaign to gin up GOP and independent support for Biden
Undercover Journalist Sues Planned Parenthood, Kamala Harris For ‘Brazen’ Conspiracy
Right. Biden: ‘I don’t have any problem comparing my energy level to Donald Trump’
Fantastic! Justice Clarence Thomas name-drops Frodo Baggins during SCOTUS oral arguments
Remains of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife will be removed from a Memphis park

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!

News

NY Sales Tax Revenue Plunged 24 Percent in April

New York City sales tax collections dropped 24.4 percent in April compared to April 2019, leaving many of New York’s local governments grappling with shortfalls amid the state lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, according to figures released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

The New York Post reports, plummeting sales tax collections were widespread, leaving counties, cities and some other local governments short by about $327 million compared to 2019. The city experienced a 23.1 percent decline, amounting to $141.8 million in lost revenues for a single month. Every county in every region of the state saw a large drop in April collections – averaging a combined drop of 24.4 percent. Data was not available for e-commerce taxes.

The report is bad news for state government. The new fiscal year began April 1.

The drop in revenues is not a surprise given Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency stay-at-home and social distance orders to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, which triggered the closing of many retail stores, restaurants and hotels — major generators of sales tax collections on consumer purchases.

The coronavirus-fighting orders also caused massive unemployment.

The comptroller’s analysis comes as Cuomo and other New York pols lobby the federal government for a COVID-19 disaster relief bailout.

“The coronavirus has hurt household finances, and the April sales tax figures show how deep it is cutting into municipal finances,” DiNapoli said.

“Sales tax revenues are vital for the counties and cities that are on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. They are the first responders and provide a safety net of services for New Yorkers. The federal government needs to provide assistance to those hit hard by this virus or the budget cuts could be severe in some communities.”

Cuomo said New York state needs $61 billion in federal aid to avoid substantial government cuts and layoffs.