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Morning Greatness: Media Pounce on Trump Promotion of Hydroxychloroquine

Good Monday morning.

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

  • The president has lunch with the Vice President
  • 5:00pm Members of the Coronavirus Task Force hold a press briefing

The media is going bananas over Trump’s support of hydroxychloroquine

Hydroxycholorquine, in conjunction with azithromycin (a z-pac) has been shown in some cases to prevent the Chinese virus from advancing. The president was encouraging people to try it, or rather doctors since people can’t go buy the drug duo, They need a prescription. Yesterday at the daily press conference, several members of the press kept sniping at him, saying the drug is “unproven.” Hydroxychloroquine is already used for other things like Lupus and Malaria and it is contraindicated for people with heart conditions but other than that, what’s the issue with trying it? It’s not an expensive drug.

CNN wants you to know: “Experts do not suggest taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive for Covid-19 because there is no evidence yet to suggest it protects against contracting the virus.” Really? Because it is already being used now…by experts. It’s literally being used. Will it work? I don’t know, I’m not a doctor but it sure looks to be successful in some situations so why is the media freaking out? The FDA has given an “emergency use authorization” and said that “anecdotal reports suggest that these drugs may offer some benefit.”

In a recent French study that supporters of hydroxychloroquine have cited, doctors gave the drug to 26 people with confirmed coronavirus infections, including some with no symptoms. Six also received the antibiotic azithromycin.

Some of the 26 were not counted in the final results because they didn’t complete the study — what’s known as “lost to followup” — but they included three who worsened and were sent to intensive care, one who died a day after later testing negative for the virus and one who stopped treatment because of nausea, the researchers said.

After six days, no patients given hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin had the virus detected in swabs from the back of the nose, versus 57 percent of those given the malaria drug alone and 12.5 percent of some other patients who received neither drug, according to the study.

Again, I’m not a medical professional, but shouldn’t these decisions be left to doctors?

Some states have outlawed the use of the medicine outside of hospitals but that seems sort of stupid since we don’t want people draining our medical resources by going to the hospital.

Axios reports there was a big fight within the the Chinese virus task force about the drug, “pitting economic adviser Peter Navarro against infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci.” This story is clearly a hit on Navarro.

According to the report, Navarro passed around papers, “And the first words out of his mouth are that the studies that he’s seen, I believe they’re mostly overseas, show ‘clear therapeutic efficacy,'” said a source familiar with the conversation. “Those are the exact words out of his mouth.” Fauci responded “saying that there was only anecdotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine works against the coronavirus.”

Navarro started raising his voice, and at one point accused Fauci of objecting to Trump’s travel restrictions, saying, “You were the one who early on objected to the travel restrictions with China,” saying that travel restrictions don’t work. (Navarro was one of the earliest to push the China travel ban.)

Axios reports, “Eventually, Kushner turned to Navarro and said, ‘Peter, take yes for an answer,’ because most everyone agreed, by that time, it was important to surge the supply of the drug to hot zones.” So what’s the big deal about the drug if they are sending it around to hot zones? It’s so annoying in times of crisis that we have to put up with the media trying get anti-Trump scooby snacks.

Related:
Trump Pushes Lupus-Coronavirus Study, But The Evidence Is Mixed

Miscellaneous Chinese virus links:
Oh. Police arrest hospital aide in thefts of equipment, supplies
Trump: ‘Going to be a lot of death’ in U.S. next week from coronavirus
Jerome Adams Predicts Coronavirus ‘Pearl Harbor Moment’ In Coming Weeks
Dr. Deborah Birx warns hotspots will see a spike in coronavirus deaths over next 6-7 days
Fauci: US is ‘struggling’ to get coronavirus under control and to say otherwise would be wrong
Rep. Devin Nunes on Trump considering second task force to reopen economy
China Says it has Sold Nearly Four Billion Masks Abroad
China Donates 1,000 Ventilators to New York
‘Lost The Credibility’: WHO Faces Mounting Backlash For Running Interference For China
Chelsea Handler Questions if It’s Ethical and Safe to Air Trump Coronavirus Briefings
No parties, no problem: Introverts don’t mind sheltering at home
New York state reports 594 coronavirus deaths in past 24 hours
New York governor sees ‘return to normalcy’ with rapid coronavirus testing
Maryland governor issues emergency order in response to coronavirus spread in nursing homes
Kentucky governor says it’s ‘very hard’ to compete with federal government for medical equipment
Feds send ventilators to coronavirus hot spots around country
J.B. Pritzker Still Blaming Trump For GOP Governors Slow To Enact Stay-At-Home Orders
Trump hits Illinois governor after criticism: ‘I hear him complaining all the time’
Was The Stockpile Shortage Under Obama A Result Of The Tea Party? Not So Fast
Louisiana Church Holds Sunday Services Again Despite Pastor’s Arrest
Cuomo evokes Trump in war with Schumer over coronavirus funding
Judges balk at mass release of California prisoners over virus danger
He doesn’t go in public. Biden: I will wear a mask in public
Wisconsin voters still expected to head to polls Tuesday despite coronavirus
White House: Americans should avoid grocery shopping as coronavirus hits apex
Dr. Anthony Fauci says it’s likely coronavirus will become ‘seasonal’
Fauci said he tested negative for coronavirus Saturday
Trump claims ‘Corrected Fake News’ after Germany backtracks on ‘piracy’ claim
Woody Harrelson among stars sharing COVID-19 conspiracy theories tied to 5G
Walmart now limiting how many shoppers can enter stores as part of coronavirus response
Pink says she tested positive for coronavirus and is now negative, pledges $1M to crisis
AG William Barr expediting release of vulnerable inmates at federal prisons swamped by coronavirus
Where to buy the materials to make masks at home
How safe is your takeout food during the coronavirus pandemic?
Clyburn says House committee on coronavirus stimulus spending will not look at past: ‘The crisis is with us’
Nebraska docs urge statewide coronavirus stay-at-home order, predict thousands of cases have gone undetected
Amid coronavirus, George W. Bush’s 2005 pandemic warning resurfaces, may underscore slip-ups by successors
Pentagon mandates all workers wear face coverings to protect against coronavirus
Gimme a break. Companies are making their own safety rules as the federal government stands aside
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted to hospital
Rural hospitals rely on big-city safety nets. Coronavirus means there may be no one to save them
If you want to shut everything down for safety reasons, don’t be surprised about lost jobs. A mounting casualty of coronavirus crisis: Health care jobs
HIT PIECE U.S. ‘wasted’ months before preparing for virus pandemic

Other morsels:
Outgoing U.S. intel watchdog fired by Trump says he acted appropriately
Good, glad this guy was fired. Trump defends decision to fire Ukraine watchdog Michael Atkinson, despite bipartisan concerns
Buh bye. Former intelligence community watchdog addresses recent firing
Esper: Dismissal of aircraft carrier commander an ‘example of how we hold leaders accountable’
AGs Give Conflicting Views On Future Of Antitrust Probe Targeting Google As States Respond To Virus Spread
Two knifed to death in France in what police are investigating as terror attack
Russian man allegedly shot, killed 5 neighbors because they were talking too loudly, reports say
Yikes. Tiger at NYC’s Bronx Zoo tests positive for coronavirus

And that’s all I’ve got, now don’t go to the grocery store!

Greatness Agenda

An American Company Under Siege in South Korea

China simply orders companies to hand over their intellectual property. A South Korean conglomerate is abusing the Korean court system to achieve the same end. Why hasn’t the U.S. government intervened?

We are all familiar with China’s predatory trade practices: intellectual property theft, subsidized exports, state-owned businesses masquerading as private enterprise, and counterfeit products just to name a few.

Beijing’s abuses are so numerous and so long-standing we pretty much expect them to cheat. If you’re China, “It’s what you do,” as the ad says.

But it’s worse when our allies use the same playbook to steal American technology and drive American companies into bankruptcy.

And that’s exactly what’s happening in South Korea right now.

In the 1960s, the South Korean government created POSCO (formerly known as Pohang Iron and Steel Company) and lavished it with grants, loans, and other subsidies.

These special favors, not available in a free-market system, helped POSCO grow into a sprawling conglomerate and the world’s largest steel manufacturer.

But the company doesn’t play by the same rules as American companies.

The Commerce Department found POSCO guilty of dumping steel into the United States at prices far below the cost of production—a tactic China uses regularly.

And dumping is not the only underhanded tactic POSCO has borrowed from China.

The South Korean conglomerate is abusing joint venture partnerships to steal intellectual property from an innovative American company, FuelCell Energy, a U.S. manufacturer based in Connecticut.

FuelCell is the first and only American company to produce industrial-scale fuel cell electric platforms—low-emission power generators. It developed its technology in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy, benefiting from hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and 50 years of American engineering.

FuelCell entered into a licensing agreement with POSCO in 2007 to expand its reach in Asian markets. South Korea is the biggest market for fuel cell technology.

But in 2016, POSCO suddenly began a series of legal actions in South Korean courts designed to force FuelCell to hand over its intellectual property or go bankrupt.

First, POSCO stopped selling FuelCell’s products, and then sued to freeze all of its American partner’s assets in Korea. That made it impossible for FuelCell to service its generators in South Korea. FuelCell still runs a 20-megawatt, $250 million plant in South Korea, but its assets are frozen.

POSCO then moved to block FuelCell from future business opportunities. In an attempt to keep FuelCell out, POSCO asked the South Korean government to bar foreign manufacturers from participating in clean energy programs.

POSCO is doing all this in an effort to grab the rights to FuelCell Energy’s pioneering clean-power technology, its intellectual property. At a meeting with the South Korean government’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, FuelCell was told it should just give POSCO what it wants.

China simply orders companies to hand over their IP; POSCO is abusing the Korean court system to achieve the same end. The South Korean conglomerate that benefits from Korean government protections is employing the same tactics we condemn China for using.

The U.S. government needs to intervene in this ongoing dispute. We’ve already hit POSCO with penalties for dumping steel. President Trump and his top trade officials should consider further penalties to force POSCO to negotiate an agreement with FuelCell Energy.

Great America

Freedom in the Face of the Plague

Going outside, meeting with those we love, and gathering to worship God may come at a cost. The decision to shut down large swaths of our public life by fiat definitely does.

Live free or die!” So cries a noble people in the face of danger. Our forefathers, who prevailed in the War of Independence, were such men. They faced danger with courage and resolute firmness.

Our modern leaders do not.

Instead, they cower. Out of fear, state governors across America dictated draconian shutdowns in response to the spread of the Chinese coronavirus. These acts are contrary to our way of life; we must repeal them.

The preservation of life must include the preservation of liberty. The cure must not inflict more damage than the disease.

I do not deny that the coronavirus poses a serious public health threat. Many thousands have died, and there is much our regime could and should do to confront this scourge.

The federal government could ban the arrival of infected foreigners. State and local officials could provide food and medicine to those who choose to self-quarantine. They could also facilitate the production of medical and protective equipment on American soil.

Each of these measures would mitigate the spread of disease. None of them violates the right of citizens to work, assemble, and worship.

But we didn’t choose those solutions. Instead, state and local leaders turned our country into an open-air prison camp.

In Florida, police arrested a pastor for conducting Sunday services. In New Jersey, officials arrested a couple for hosting a wedding. In Rhode Island, the governor dispatched the police and National Guard to go door to door ordering out of state travelers—sick and healthy alike—into quarantine.

In an especially egregious act, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a blanket order stating that, with little exception, “all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household are prohibited.”

Even the prisoners in Stalin’s gulags had the right to sit and converse in each others’ presence.

Even worse, these draconian mandates result not from legislation but from executive fiat. State governors cast aside the normal political process in the face of 8,000 deaths in one month. To put this in perspective, 7,600 Americans die from other causes . . . every day.

Hurricanes, tornados, heart disease, floods, suicide, cancer, drug overdoses, and car accidents together kill hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. As deadly as these things are, they are not potent enough to destroy our existence as a people. The Chinese coronavirus should not be different! As bad as the worst fearmongers make it out to be, it does not constitute an existential threat to our way of life by itself.

The same cannot be said of these totalitarian lockdowns.

How can we preserve our liberty when our rights disappear at the first sign of crisis?

Having tasted the power this state of emergency gives them, our leaders will invoke such excuses again. The precedent now exists that in times of trouble we must suspend all of our democratic and republican norms. Human activity itself—friendship, love, and worship—must also effectively cease.

Next Sunday is Easter, the holiest day on the Christian calendar. Tens of millions of Christians cannot attend services by law. Even the Soviet Union at the height of its power could not have stripped Americans of this right. And yet our own governments have done so without just cause.

A free people cannot accept this!

Mine is not an argument for government inaction, callous disregard for the elderly, or insipid worship of money-making. Instead, I embrace the right of the people to face this crisis on their own terms.

Going outside, meeting with those we love, and gathering to worship God may come at a cost. The decision to shut down large swaths of our public life by fiat definitely does.

As for myself, I will honor the spirit of my forefathers. I choose freedom—even in the face of coronavirus.

Elections

The Blame-Game Politics of COVID-19

Democrats are poised to blame President Trump no matter how things turn out in this mess.

Absent divine intervention, it will be difficult for President Trump to succeed in his goal of saving American lives and the U.S. economy from the ravages of COVID-19. Even if he does achieve a lot of success and deserves credit for it, it is no more obvious that President Trump will be reelected than it was that David would succeed in slaying Goliath.

The president is up against extraordinarily powerful and implacable foes who are not constrained by strict adherence to the facts. The Trump-hating media, the socialist Democrats and the deep state bureaucracy in Washington will turn the Chinese coronavirus crisis into a weapon in their longstanding effort to politically assassinate Donald Trump.

The raw and difficult politics of federal authority versus state law and authority will complicate both the health crisis and the economic crisis. A plethora of state and local lockdown orders, some seeming to border on martial law, may soon make it impossible to get Americans back to work in an economy where supply chains crisscross many state, county, and municipal lines to serve interdependent businesses.

Add to that the specter of ruinous class action liability suits under state law against any business that reopens and welcomes back employees and customers who might later claim that it was the cause of them being infected with COVID-19.

The commerce clause of the Constitution could permit the federal government to preempt states and localities from unreasonably complicating multi-state supply chains, but that would probably require a degree of cooperation by the Democrats in Congress that is unlikely to be forthcoming.

Despite the nearly existential crisis we may be facing, a “put politics aside” stance by the Democrats on anything other than spending vast amounts of money is hard to imagine.

There are too many Americans who do not at all fit the canonized pattern of God-country-merit-upward mobility American exceptionalism. They hate what does not seem to include them—and what they hate, they seek to destroy. Unfortunately, in the present post-rational age of mass-media mind control and “virtual” everything, the haters seem to have the upper hand.

The Chinese coronavirus invaded the United States on Trump’s watch and his foes will labor mightily to assure that he gets the blame. If the death rate in the United States is less than the scarily high projections shouted from the rooftops by the media, and if the per capita death rate in the United States is not as high as in other places, President Trump will be denied credit—the same way he was denied credit for both his record-setting jobs boom and the historic rise in the stock market over which he was presiding only a short time ago until all was brought low by the Great Panic of 2020.

The longer the media and an array of governors, mayors, and other local officials delay Americans from going back to work, the more will be the damage done to the economy, the more jobs and businesses will be destroyed and the more likely it is that Americans will become permanent dependent wards of the federal government.

Governors and local officials know that President Trump, not they, will get the blame for an economic crash. They also know that he will get most of the blame if their state or their city becomes a COVID-19 “hotspot,” but if they take draconian lockdown measures and if for some reason their jurisdiction does not become a hotspot, they know that they—not President Trump—will get the political credit.

The Democrats have nothing to lose from an economic crash. They know President Trump will get the blame and bear the political pain.

On the other hand, Democrats will benefit from an economic crash in several ways. First, it makes it more likely that President Trump will not be reelected and that they will gain power. Second, a prolonged economic crash that makes jobless Americans and damaged businesses more dependent on the government for survival aligns with their policy goal of establishing a government-run, command economy with extraordinary powers to dictate and control the conduct of all Americans.

The alternative to disaster is for President Trump—like David in the Book of Samuel—to succeed in slaying his own Goliath and for Americans to emerge from the Great Panic of 2020 with their economy and their freedoms intact.

President Trump’s success is America’s success and he should at long last—again like the biblical David—be given credit and rewarded.

First Principles

Tocqueville’s Lessons in a Time of Pandemic

As the crisis continues, and in the aftermath, the activity of the citizens that Alexis de Tocqueville described so well in his book must always include assessing how well their local and state governments have prepared for ordinary and extraordinary events.

The immediate challenge of COVID-19 has been cast as an examination of how individual Americans will fare should they be exposed to the virus. The effort to arrest the spread of the virus has brought unprecedented changes in the daily routines of all Americans. The limitation of activity is apparent when one walks outside. There is a marked silence, regardless of the time of day, almost eerie, that gives one pause.

The check on movement is accompanied by images of field hospitals and graphs showing curves and spreads displayed across news sites. While many are changing their daily routines to comply with the requirements of staying at home and practicing social distancing, a broader concern is the effect on our American democratic foundation.

Alexis de Tocqueville devotes a chapter of his great work, Democracy in America, to discussing the advantages of American democracy. Each of the five parts in the chapter “What Are the Real Advantages That American Society Gains from the Government of Democracy?” encourages thoughtful reflection. The last part, “Activity That Reigns in All Parts of the Political Body in the United States; Influence That It Exercises on Society,” prompts us to think about both the negative and positive effects that the country is facing with respect to halting the exchange between people and their movement.

The beneficial effects of the activity of a people is described by Tocqueville in his chapter on the advantages of democracy. He contrasts the activity in a democracy and the lack of it in a country that is not free. The activity of a people in a free country leads to greater riches and prosperity and pervades the whole. “It is no longer a portion of the people that sets out to improve the state of society; the whole people take charge of this concern.”

In addition to the bettering of one’s condition, happiness is also a result of this activity. Tocqueville contrasts inhabitants of other countries who begrudge time lost to dealing with common interests with the American who revels in it. “From the moment when the American would be reduced to attending only to his own affairs, half of his existence would be taken away from him; he would feel an immense emptiness in his days, and he would become unbelievably unhappy.” During the stay-at-home mandate, the current offers of free online entertainment may suffice for some, but they cannot long sustain those who recognize them for the mere pastimes that they are.

The economic benefits are but one result of the activity that Tocqueville describes. Political activity also reigns, as he witnessed during his nine months of travel in America. He paints a vivid picture.

Scarcely have you landed on American soil than you find yourself in the middle of a sort of tumult; a confused clamor arises on all sides; a thousand voices reach your ear at the same time; each one expresses various social needs. Around you, everything stirs: here, the people of a neighborhood have gathered to know if a church should be built; there, some are working on choosing a representative; farther along, the deputies of a district go as fast as they can to the city, in order to see to certain local improvements; in another place, it is the farmers of the village who abandon their fields to go to discuss the plan of a road or of a school.

With no firm pronouncements on when the restrictions on activities and movements will end, there is increasing debate about the costs of isolation from the standpoint of mental health, economic consequences, and, if we take Tocqueville seriously, the cost to our social and political well-being. The negatives readily come to mind, but Americans may reap benefits from the dramatic events that the nation is experiencing if they reflect upon and recapture the different roles that governments play and the responsibilities of the citizenry.

When the U.S. Constitution was drafted, it included an enumeration of powers that limited the size and scope of the new national government. The local and state governments that had been established long before had specific grants of authority from the people.

The application of the concept of federalism to this new design of government in America was intended to maintain these separate entities while each fulfilled its specific duties and responsibilities. The intention was to work cooperatively but within designated spheres.

America has lost this clear delineation of the true responsibilities of a national government (what Americans call the federal government). The current crisis demonstrates that local and state governments must focus on the needs of their citizens because they can more readily know and address them. The federal government must tend to those needs that are national in nature.

The current pandemic is gripping the nation, and the federal government is performing the role of coordinating efforts to protect the health and well-being of the citizenry, as it should. As the crisis continues, and in the aftermath, the activity of the citizens that Tocqueville witnessed in the 1830s and described so well in his book must always include assessing how well their local and state governments have prepared for ordinary and extraordinary events.

The success of a democratic republic relies on engaged citizens who tend to their own communities and insist that state and local government officials closest to the people be mindful of why they were elected to office.

Great America

A Howard Zinn Pandemic

How the Zinn Education Project is exploiting this crisis and inserting their left-wing propaganda into the education and curricula of even more young American students.

In the midst of a global pandemic, left-wing pundits and politicians spin the blame to comport with the propaganda coming from Communist China, the regime responsible for the virus’s spread in the first place.

And as students are forced to take classes remotely, companies such as National Public Radio, Newsela, and the Zinn Education Project—with the assistance of U.S. taxpayers—are ensuring they get the left-wing version of current events along with their history lessons.

Consider a March 27 email from the Zinn Education Project, the propaganda arm for the late Howard Zinn and his Marxist A People’s History of the United States. It began: “It feels impossible to start any email during this strange and scary time without first acknowledging our shared circumstances: a pandemic, an inept, untrustworthy, racist demagogue in the White House; and the disruption to almost every tiny square of our personal and professional lives.” This, by the way, one day after a two-day campaign that offered free e-books of A Young People’s History of the United States.

The Zinn project’s Soviet-style rhetoric serves to introduce new products for teachers and parents educating children at home. Offered were two lessons on pandemics that made connections between the coronavirus and climate change, and another was “The 1918 Flu: How Information Policing and Nationalist Propaganda Worsened a Pandemic a Century Ago.”

The Zinn Education Project also announced online mini-classes led by “people’s historians.” The first one, “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” was conducted by Jeanne Theoharis, a Brooklyn College professor who specializes in “civil rights and Black Power movements and the politics of race and education,” and by Jesse Hagopian, who teaches ethnic studies at Garfield High School in Seattle, where he also serves as co-advisor to the Black Student Union and an editor for Rethinking Schools, the nonprofit that produces and distributes materials for the Zinn Education Project.

The Zinn project also recommends a number of podcasts as “teaching tools”: The 1619 Project, “Democracy Now!” (a show to the left of MSNBC), Code Switch (which “explores overlapping themes of race, ethnicity, and culture”), Justice in America (on mass incarceration), Reveal (“in-depth stories,” such as on the coronavirus and the environment), Scene on Radio (podcasts calling “into question the United States’ claim to democracy”), School Colors (about “Ocean-Brownsville in Brooklyn where Black and Puerto Rican parents tried to exercise power over their schools”), This Land (how a murder case “opened an investigation into half the land in Oklahoma and the treaty rights of five tribes. . . . the Trump administration’s involvement, the larger right-wing attack on tribal sovereignty. . . .”), and Uncivil (profiles of “everyday people whose current circumstances are inextricably tied to the Civil War and its memory” like “Pa Shed, who escaped slavery, joined the Union Army, [and] led a daring and successful raid with Harriet Tubman”). In the line-up were also two products from publicly funded National Public Radio: Story Corps and Throughline.

NPR is not Big Bird, as proponents for funding, even during a national emergency, claim. NPR, through these two programs, is partnering with the Zinn Education Project. It seems to be a well-suited match: StoryCorps “interviews highlight people’s memories of movements and events in U.S. history, like the Stonewall riot, voter suppression, Japanese American internment, racial profiling, immigration, and more.”

Thoroughline is a weekly series that “explores the history of stories in the headlines today,” with recent episodes covering “the history of vaccinations in the United States, the biography and legacy of [Iranian terrorist] Qasseim Soleimani, LGBTQ activism before Stonewall, Andrew Johnson’s impeachment and more.”

The Zinn Education Project is also one of 100 partners of Newsela, a news gathering source that adapts articles to grade level and offers teachers labor-saving “assignment planning,” “writing prompts,” and “built-in assessments”—with multiple choice quiz questions devised and graded by Newsela staff.

On March 13, Newsela, which is already reaching “90 percent of all schools in the U.S.” (more than “20 million students and 1.8 million teachers”), offered “complimentary access” to help teachers “embrace distance learning” during school closures. As one headline brags, this “content repository” is “replac[ing] traditional textbooks.” And that content, ostensibly created to be “relevant” and to inspire “empathy,” is produced with the help of a “partner,” the Southern Poverty Law Center, which groups discussions around “identity, diversity, justice, and action.” Recently, Newsela added social-emotional learning (SEL) to their list of products and in their March 31 newsletter advertised “SEL content,” along with Distance Learning Collections and Student Reading Clubs, “to help your students adapt, one day at a time, to at-home learning.”

Newsela was founded by Matthew Gross, who today is CEO. Gross, a former Teach for America music teacher, claims he was inspired to found the company when he tried to find content to engage students, and help his son, a struggling reader. But Gross also had some connections: he was “Executive Director of the Regents Research Fund, a privately funded affiliate of the New York State Board of Regents and Education Department that helped lead the implementation of Race to the Top-driven education reforms.”

Recall that Race to the Top was the Obama-era stimulus program that dangled prize money before states in 2009 and 2010 in exchange for accepting the yet-to-be-written Common Core standards. This young music teacher, amazingly, “played a leadership role in the development of the Regents Research Fellows, a team of nationally recognized thought leaders.” These “thought leaders” helped lead “the implementation of the Common Core,” and next-generation assessments. The name Newsela combines “news” and “ELA” (English Language Arts). Under Common Core, ELA standards replaced much of the literary reading with nonfiction, and emphasized listening and discussion skills.

Last year, Newsela raised $50 million, some of it from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Newsela has more than 100 employees, and the highest paid executive makes $490,000; average executive pay elsewhere is around $215,000.

Newsela recently adapted six of the Zinn Education Project’s high school-level lessons for four reading levels—between the third and ninth grades. These are “Columbus Discovered the Taino People, Then Tried to Erase Them,” “Explaining the Summer of 1919” (i.e., the race riots), “What We Don’t Learn About the Black Panther Party—but Should,” “The Other ’68: Black Power During Reconstruction,” “Life in an Internment Camp Drove Yuri Kochiyama’s Commitment to Social Justice,” and “Education Project Aims to Set the Record Straight on Historical Myths,” the last a Washington Post column from 2017 that repeats Zinn talking points (which I have debunked) and describes how local students have used Zinn Education Project lessons for activism.

As examples, SEED Public Charter School students “joined hundreds of other students from throughout the Washington area in a show of support” for a protest against the Dakota access pipeline (#NativeNationsRise march to the White House). They also began a campaign to change the name of the Washington Redskins football team.

At Capital City Charter, students began a petition drive to rename Columbus Day “Indigenous Peoples Day” and asked the Washington D.C. city council to hold hearings (as the Zinn Education Project “Abolish Columbus Day” campaign kit instructs). As it turned out, the council and mayor agreed to change the name to Indigenous Peoples Day for 2019 (a vote by Congress is needed to make it permanent). Thanks to Newsela, third-graders can learn about the wonderful things the Zinn Education Project does!

Other Newsela partners include the Smithsonian (which hosted two ZEP teacher “teach-in” workshops last fall), The Undefeated (“premier platform for exploring the intersections of race, sports and culture”), and news outlets (who no doubt are happy to provide content to future consumers), like the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, Aljazeera, WGBH (Boston public broadcasting), PRI (Public Radio International), The American Prospect, and various local news gathering organizations. Only two—the Council of Economic Education and the Bill of Rights Institute—present non-social justice materials, but their positions rarely find their way into classroom materials. There are no right-leaning news outlets among Newsela’s more than 100 “partners.”

Newsela is no doubt hoping teachers and administrators get so hooked on their product that once schools are back in session, they will keep their subscriptions (paid by tuition and taxpayers, of course). Newsela will offer yet one more means by which the leftist disinformation that is called “A People’s History” can spread, like a contagion, among America’s youth.

Great America

Church and State in Virusland

The guilt-tripping of the religious as not caring about public health is dishonest and dangerous. It is religious persecution in disguise and contrary to the American tradition.

As state governments all over America outlaw “social gatherings” except for “essential services” such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and liquor stores, the implications for religion become obvious. Last Sunday, a minister in Florida was arrested for holding a normal church service and thereby endangering public health.

But a church worship service is not just a public gathering; it is a holy assembly. Our Faith tells us that God blesses and honors the prayers of His people in His House and that may well give comfort, healing, and peace to millions. The current discussion over this virus is almost exclusively scientific and economic, ignoring the psychological and spiritual dimensions of the crisis.

Put simply, in the American tradition of religious freedom, the state is not supposed to close the church. That easily could be an excuse for persecuting Christians, under the devious logic of “saving lives.”

The Aristotelean “golden mean” approach to the issue, which most churches left to themselves would apply, is a moderate, balanced stance between the “blind faith” of taking no precautions and believing in God’s complete protection, and the “no faith” of shutting down all on-site church services, denying the divine direction, protection, and favor of God.

This would mean that churches would allow for social distancing, reduced contact, sanitation, and ventilation. It would leave to individuals and their consciences to choose whether to attend church. But the state dictating complete closure is contrary to American principles of separation of church and state and about 2,000 years of church teaching.

The First Amendment of the Constitution specifically forbids the denying of the right to “assemble”—which referred to congregational meetings as well as political gatherings. This derived not only from historical experience of suppression of worship services, but Christian political theology.

St. Augustine, the earliest Christian theologian on religion and politics defined it in terms of “The Two Cities”: “The City of Man,” or all earthly governments and the “City of God” or the heavenly kingdom. The Church resides, like Christ, “in, but not of,” the world—on earth in buildings, schools, clergy, believers, and so on, but referenced to the kingdom of God and infused with the Holy Spirit. The Church, in this sense, is “above” the State and the government is not to dictate to it. Most Catholic and Protestant churches hold to this part of Augustinian theology.

St. Thomas Aquinas adapted Aristotelean philosophy to Christianity resulting in a Church-State formulation of “The Three Laws: Divine, Natural and Human.” The first is “highest” and encompassing the “lower” laws. If the state presumptuously dictates to the church, it is “out of its place”—like a mouse dictating to a lion. If the government makes human laws that do not conform to natural law and divine law, they will not work and will actually make the problem worse.

In the largely reformed, Calvinist theology of early America, this was presented in terms of two authorities: ministry and magistrate; separate but working together for the common good. The state should seek the advice of the church for just, moral laws, but it must not interfere with the Church.

I understand that the mayor of New York City has banned the gathering in churches and synagogues, threatening Orthodox Jewish congregations with permanent closure if they continue to meet. I can hear the murmurings, “Hasn’t he ever heard about King Nebuchadnezzar or Pharoah?”

One of the saddest aspects of this situation is the anti-religious charge that holding worship services means you don’t care about killing people. It reminds me of the Title IX-driven political correctness in the universities that claimed if you defended due process of law and freedom of speech, you must be for rape. The guilt-tripping of the religious as not caring about public health is dishonest and dangerous. It is religious persecution in disguise and contrary to the American tradition.

Elections

Whose Side Is Nancy Pelosi Really On?

The House speaker’s decision to publicly blame the president for the tragic and unfortunate loss of life was not only reprehensible, it was also un-American.

As people throughout the world continue to fight the coronavirus, some in Congress have used the occasion of the pandemic to . . . attack President Trump. At the forefront of the attacks is a presidential aspirant himself: Joe Biden. His efforts have essentially gone unnoticed, however, as he has become less relevant and seemingly forgotten during this difficult time.

Unfortunately, and to dismay of many, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has not retreated from national attention.

Obviously, personal attacks on this president are nothing new. But Pelosi’s recent comments took things to a new low and exceeded all bounds of human decency. Pelosi blamed the president for the tragic loss of life resulting from this virus. Her statements are not only vile but un-American. They also make it difficult to tell whose side Pelosi is really on.

“As the president fiddles, people are dying,” Pelosi said last Sunday. “We just have to take every precaution.” The vile nature of her comments cannot be overstated. As Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) pointed out:

This is the same Speaker of the House who held up the bill in the Senate for days because she wanted same-day voting. She wanted carbon neutrality for the airlines. She is the one that held up the package in the Senate for days. . . . So it’s the most shameful, disgusting thing I have heard yet, and it needs to stop.

Not only is Pelosi’s comment disgusting; it is also incorrect. Trump’s decision in January to bar travel from China to the United States likely slowed the spread of the virus and saved many lives. As reported by the Federalist, “Trump’s China travel ban reduced arrivals from the hotspot to the United States by 90 percent and ‘prevent[ed] more cases from China coming into the United States.’” His leadership since then has also been exemplary and decisive and has further preserved the lives of American citizens.

Here’s the trouble: Rather than standing with the president and supporting the president’s efforts to tackle the effects of a global crisis here at home, she chose to launch a vile, unsupported, and shameful attack in which she tried to attribute the unfortunate loss of life resulting from this virus to the president’s initial reaction and response.

Pelosi is not just a mere politician. As speaker of the House, she is third-in-line to the presidency. With that role comes responsibility, including the responsibility to represent Congress with dignity and class, maintain the integrity of Congress (or whatever may be left of it), help to unite the country during difficult times, and to stand behind and support the president’s efforts in a national crisis (at least publicly).

For someone who is alleged to be concerned with protecting American lives, her words and deeds raise questions as to where her loyalties lie.

Remember, it was Pelosi who toured San Francisco’s Chinatown on February 24 where she complained about alleged racism against Asian Americans as a result of the Chinese coronavirus. During that tour, Pelosi invited others to join her and to stand together, telling the crowd:

It’s exciting to be here, especially at this time to be able to be unified with our community. We want to be vigilant about what is out there in other places. We want to be careful about how we deal with it, but we do want to say to people “Come to Chinatown. Here we are, careful, safe and come join us.”

It is unclear how she thought these actions might slow the spread of the disease. The hypocrisy here is self-evident. How can Pelosi possibly complain about Trump’s initial response to the virus and blame him for the subsequent loss of life when she encouraged people to get together on the streets of San Francisco a month before her diatribe against the president? Is Pelosi also responsible for the loss of life due to her irresponsible call for people to congregate to support her ridiculous cause?

It was also Pelosi who objected to Trump’s expanded travel ban that was meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus and to protect American lives. As reported by the Hill, Pelosi said:

The Trump Administration’s expansion of its outrageous, un-American travel ban threatens our security, our values and the rule of law. The sweeping rule, barring more than 350 million individuals from predominantly African nations from traveling to the United States, is discrimination disguised as policy.

With this latest callous decision, the President has doubled down on his cruelty and further undermined our global leadership, our Constitution and our proud heritage as a nation of immigrants.

Pelosi’s stance appears to put the interests of others (non-citizens) ahead of the health and well-being of Americans. Clearly, the president’s directive was not un-American, nor did it threaten the nation’s security or the rule of law. On the contrary, it was specifically meant to protect Americans from further exposure to a dangerous virus in the midst of a terrible pandemic. It was meant to save American lives!

Whatever side Pelosi is on, it’s clearly not the side of the American people.

Great America

Why the Shutdown Is Necessary

This is not just a bad flu.

Let me start by saying I’m very hopeful about treatments, which may come any day, reduce all these numbers, and quickly resolve this mess. I hope they do. But since we can’t count on that, we have to make decisions now based on the best numbers we have.

Everyone wants to know what will be the final mortality rate. This is a combination of the attack rate (how many will get it), and of those, the case fatality rate (how many will die).

All of these numbers are in flux but let’s try to tighten our understanding of each:

Attack Rate: The attack rate is doubling every three days. It’s still very low—with only Spain at over 0.25 percent—but it has been doubling unabated in all but a few countries like South Korea (a nation we should be emulating). The current low attack rate is of little solace, however, because in cases where we have had an isolated population, we see much higher numbers. Diamond Princess had an attack rate of 19 percent, the staff at a Washington state nursing home (average age 43.5) had a rate of 29 percent, and a 60-person choir in Washington state had an attack rate of 75 percent. Attack rates in the 20s are common for flu (despite 37 percent of people having been vaccinated each season) and for other coronaviruses like the common cold. We have seen no examples where natural immunity protected people at a better rate. Therefore we must start with 20 percent as a minimum assumption and just hope it doesn’t go to over 50 percent. The nominal case fatality rate (CFR) in the United States, using Worldometer’s numbers, is currently at 2.57 percent. This nominal number is very rough and we have to look at four factors to adjust it. One of these factors will dilute it down but three factors will push it up.

1) Down: Undetected cases, if found, would drive the percentage down. If we really have 10 times the number of cases than we think, our CFR is really only 0.255 percent. But do we? Well, the country with the fewest undetected cases is probably South Korea. They are testing like crazy with over 50 tests per detected case. Plus, they have contact-traced and have almost slowed down new infections so they aren’t hitting a moving target anymore. I would say that undetected cases largely have been baked into their numbers. Their CFR is 1.73 percent and rising (the rising part is explained by the next factors). Their denominator is solid and clearly points to a CFR over 17 times that of the flu.

There has been some talk that the virus has actually already spread undetected widely throughout society and that most people have already gotten over it. This question can and should be resolved over the next few weeks with a new test. The current swab test looks for the antigen (the virus which is present in your nose). A new blood test looks for the antibody (the cure that your immune system creates once it’s beaten the virus and which floats in your blood thereafter). If this conjecture were to prove true, it would be great news—although cases are still rising, the virus would be about to run out of new people to infect. The sick ones we see now would be about all we’d get.

This conjecture likely won’t hold up. Consider the Diamond Princess Cruise. Of 3,700 people, 19 percent got the virus, and eight died (and some are still sick). The conjecture says the virus is already widespread in society, so 19 percent detected on the Diamond Princess is not unusual.

But do similar populations all have 10 pneumonia deaths to match? We’d expect any group of 3,700 Americans with similar ages to have about 0.16 flu or pneumonia deaths per month. Instead the Princess got 10—60 times higher. The Diamond Princess is not typical. It only got 60 times the number of deaths because its 19 percent attack rate was 60 times higher than society’s. Therefore, society may have a long way to go before the virus runs out of victims.

2) Up: Falsely Detected Positive Cases and the “Bayes Theorem.” Many, and perhaps most, of the detected cases don’t actually have the virus and this drives the denominator back down. This is confusing math, but it’s well known among researchers and very common among all tests.

Let’s say you have 1,000 infected people and you mix them with another 100,000 who are not infected. So your universe is 101,000 people.

Let’s say you have a test that is 97 percent accurate. If you test positive, given that the test is 97 percent accurate, you are naturally going to assume there is a 97 percent chance you have the disease. But surprisingly, the odds that you have it are only about 25 percent.

How is that even possible? Here’s how:

  • 100,000 are in fact negative: 97,000 test negative and 3,000 (incorrectly) test positive.
  • 1,000 are in fact positive: 970 test positive and 30 (incorrectly) test negative.

So even though you only have 1000 infected people, you have about 4,000 positive tests (3,970 to be precise).

Thus if you tested positive you have a 25.2 percent chance (1000/3970 = 25.2) of really being infected. Some studies have indicated that the current test is allowing for about half of the positives to be wrong. So if we have 200,000 positive tests reported on Worldometers, we might have found 100,000 infected people. Of course, this plays off the first factor of untested people and so the number goes up again. So if we have 200,000 positive tests with 4,000 dead, what’s the CFR? Well, if only 100,000 of the 200,000 actually have the virus, then our “real” CFR is 4 percent. But if there are 400,000 infected out in the world (which might require 800,000 positive test results to find), then our real CFR is 1 percent. So these first two factors make the denominator hard to know, but just realize that while undetected cases are often cited, they are offset by false positives which are rarely mentioned.

3) Up: Unresolved Cases. Also known as counting chickens before they’ve hatched. Yes, in the United States, only 2.57 percent of the detected people have died, but another 2.2 percent are in serious condition, and 64 percent, were just diagnosed in the last week! They are hardly out of the woods and many will die—only 4.5 percent are listed as fully recovered. This disease kills 1-2 weeks after being detected. You can’t just hand everyone with a positive test at a drive thru an “I survived corona” t-shirt and dump them into the “didn’t die” bucket.

Worldometers distinguishes between active, serious and resolved cases, but people just want to jump to the deaths/cases number to get a quick and dirty nominal CFR. By this nominal method, South Korea was looking great for a while at 0.6 percent—that is, until they stopped getting many new cases to artificially dilute their CFR. Once the cases they already had were given time, the CFR began, predictably, to inch up. It’s now up to 1.73 percent and rising every day.

The same is true of Germany. They looked to be at 0.3 percent as recently as late March, and a Stanford professor claimed that by finding almost all undetected cases, Germany had revealed the “true” CFR of only 0.3 percent. But it was wishful thinking. Germany’s CFR had been diluted by prematurely counting unresolved cases. In just a week it more than quadrupled to 1.40 percent and is rising so rapidly that I had to adjust it up five times while editing this article. Similarly the United States has drifted up from 1.5 percent last week to 2.57 percent today, despite discovering tens of thousands of undetected cases, which otherwise would have brought those numbers down.

Even as I review these numbers, notice that the 0.1 percent CFR of the flu is less than the daily rounding errors. COVID-19 isn’t just a bad flu.

4) Up: Overwhelm—COVID-19 has one of the highest hospitalization rates, longest hospital stays, and requires very difficult PPE. It’s exhausting and nerve racking for medical personnel to suit up, disinfect, go home to the family and hope you aren’t contagious. Even getting a drink of water or going to the bathroom are big deals. This is a war for the medical profession. On April 1, 1,049 people died of COVID-19 in the United States, making it the third leading cause of death at the moment. Heart disease and cancer are at about 1,700 per day but those are nowhere near as taxing on the staff. Remember that 1,049 died from an attack rate at only about 0.1 percent, not the 20 percent or more we might see soon.

Right now we are within our medical capacities and we are growing those capacities. But if we were to let the attack rate continue repeatedly to double, which it surely would absent the shutdown, we would overrun our capacity. To be conservative, I’m actually downgrading overwhelm as a factor in the United States. Recent data is showing that the ventilators, while lifesavers for some patients, aren’t helping as many as hoped. Perhaps one-third of ventilated patients are saved. So, for every two that die today, a third patient might die for lack of a ventilator—a 50 percent jump for that subset. I think that we will be able to keep up with demand for other treatments.

Where does this leave us?

The nominal (not adjusting for any of the above factors) global CFR is 5.37 percent but is too muddled to be predictive of the United State’s final CFR. Our best guides appear to be South Korea and Germany. Having already extensively tested and contact-traced, newly detected cases are unlikely to bring their CFRs down further than their current 1.73 percent and 1.4 percent respectively. In contrast, the other three factors have been and will continue to drive up their numbers. Remember that Bayes Theorem means that we will likely never see a correct denominator and that those two CFRs would already calculate to well over 2 percent if they could be Bayes-corrected. But ignoring that factor (as everyone else will) and looking only at the nominal method that most will use, we will continue to see the South Korean and German CFRs trend higher towards 2-3 percent, primarily because active cases will become resolved.

So, this argues that if treated in modern hospitals and in manageable numbers a 2-3 percent CFR is the “natural” effect of the disease itself. Deviations from that are the result of how a country handles it in bulk.

If we were to fully reopen the economy, we would experience an unchecked attack rate and this threatens to overwhelm the system. The overwhelm factor is an escalating factor. That is, if you have a natural CFR of 2 percent, the overwhelm might jump that to 2.4 percent, but if the CFR is naturally at 3 percent, the overwhelm might kick in even more and jump the CFR to 4.5 percent.

First World countries such as Italy and Spain will probably see their numbers drift down (if they test) because undetected cases are likely a larger factor than unresolved cases. After weeks of quarantine their new infections are trending down, so further overwhelm may not occur, but some overwhelming damage is already done. Their final CFRs will probably be in the 4 percent range—if they figure out how to prevent new outbreaks, stave off civil unrest, and restart their economies (piece of cake).

Undeveloped countries will likely see the overwhelm factor dominate throughout the pandemic and see CFRs of 5-6 percent or more. We are unlikely ever to know their denominators and will eventually switch from CFRs to overall population mortality numbers and won’t allow us to distinguish the CFR and attack rate separately. Sadly, developing countries might be better off accepting a high attack rate, as any methods used to lower it may trigger a famine and an even higher death rate. There may simply be no solution for those countries other than to hope for treatments. For them it may be 1918.

If we were to lighten up our controls and let the attack rate rise to its natural biological level, we easily could end up with 20 percent or more being infected (65 million), with 2-3 percent CFR, plus an overwhelm factor. So 1.5 million to 2.5 million fatalities. To be honest, I’m still being conservative here because there’s no evidence that the attack rate couldn’t be 50 percent if unchecked. Then you are talking about 4 million to 6 million deaths. In the event of 200 million cases with 2 percent CFR overwhelmed to 3 percent and boom—you are at 6 million. That’s hard to think about but it’s in the realm of possibility. But even 1.5 million is too high for the public to accept, just to save the economy.

This is why there is a shutdown. Letting the attack rate hit its natural biological number without quarantine is just not acceptable to most people. I’m very hopeful that effective treatments can drive the CFR way down, but with no guarantee of that, I’m pointing out what I consider to be the most reliable current math, if we were to immediately resume the economy as normal. This is nothing like a bad flu. I notice a lot of shutdown opponents who are comparing predicted fatalities with the shutdown and saying that the shutdown isn’t worth it. But they are mixing apples and oranges. The 100,000-200,000 fatalities that National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci is talking about will not hold if we remove the measures.

What I fear the “don’t panic” advocates are missing is that once people start dying, individuals aren’t going to want to go to Las Vegas or to ballgames, anyway. They won’t want to go out to eat or go to shopping malls. Either we shut down with a plan, or we half shut down by individual decision, ruin the economy anyway, but then don’t stop the spread.

To halt the attack rate now, we are using a full shutdown—a very blunt instrument. We might be able to implement a far more precise instrument and get a decent result with only a partial shutdown. The “flatten the curve” strategy actually assumes we arrive at the natural biological attack rate, just slowly, preventing only the overage deaths from overwhelm.

We are in this predicament because we let the horse get out of the barn. Painful as it is, we have to put it back inside by using this shutdown and testing. Then we can look at how we can partially operate while keeping R0 (the replication number) below it’s “chain reaction” number. That is, the attack rate will grow, but it will not be allowed to engage in regular doublings. We have to do that while we wait for a vaccine or treatments.

How can this be done? South Korea and Japan are already succeeding. What to do next will be the subject of a future piece.

Stay safe and healthy.

Great America

Maybe It’s Time To Unfriend People Who Eat Bats?

What Americans ought to keep in mind is that China is not America and China’s problems don’t warrant Chinese “solutions.”

Remember Bat Boy? He was the mascot of the old supermarket tabloid, The Weekly World News. He’d appear on the cover every now and then, allegedly because he had appeared somewhere again.

He’s been gone for awhile now.

Maybe the Chinese ate him. They eat practically everything else. Cats, dogs, owls, salamanders—and bats (not, apparently, interbed with boys).

Raw—and still alive—fish and snakes, cut-up on the spot and still writhing on the plate. The concept of cooking food—to kill bacteria—is not firmly established in the land of Wuhan, where one can dine on practically anything, cooked or not. Living or not. Served up in back alleys teeming with rats and bugs—also on the menu, if caught—by the anti-matter opposites of Wolfgang Puck and Bobby Flay, sans not only hair nets but sans hand sanitizer, too.

If it moves, it’s what’s for dinner. They would probably eat Bruce Wayne, too.

There is a reason why WuFlu flew out of control in Wuhan—and China, generally. Many digestive reasons, actually.

The first may have to do with the menu of awfulness on the table in China. Not just the awful things that are eaten but the appalling conditions in which they’re prepared and served. A diet of Civet cat, golden retriever, and still-twitching snake is probably not conducive to good health. It is certainly a way to spread a plethora of nasty things and—critically—the way things aren’t spread here in the United States. This is not the South Beach Diet.

You might get the runs from something you bought from a food truck, but the odds of getting dead are right up there with getting polio—which is to say, low.

Americans are much more careful about how they eat—as well as reluctant to eat the things eaten in the Hidden (and not-so-healthy) Kingdom.

There is another reason Americans ought to keep in mind, a compounding factor, for the greater lethality of the WuFlu in China—where several thousand Chinese have died.

It is that many Chinese live in squalor that makes the scenes portrayed in “Deliverance” seem hygienic. The crazed hillbillies in the movie at least had outhouses. In China, there’s a bowl—or a hole in the ground. In their houses.

According to the World Health Organization, 329 million Chinese—equivalent to the entire population of the United States—“lack access to at least basic sanitation.” Imagine the entire population of the United States doing number one and number two in bowls and holes.

The Coronavirus outbreak can be traced to the Huanan Market in Wuhan, China. An aerial view of the place speaks volumes. And leaves one speechless. It is a densely packed warren of shanties with scrap metal roofs, with dirt floors being as common as the absence of bathrooms—or even a place to wash your hands.

Stacked cages and filthy pens crowded with live animals—chickens and hogs, for instance—which are notorious disease-spreaders. Little airflow. No sanitary precautions. And people are surprised that people got sick? I am getting nauseous just writing this.

Many of these Chinese already were. And prone to getting sick.

In addition to the filth all around them, there is an almost unimaginable amount of filth in the air—from pollution—which is much worse in authoritarian countries like China (as well as the old Soviet Union; see Chernobyl) than in free countries like the United States, where the government is restrained from fouling the environment.

This is an irony perpetually lost on the Left, which worships environment-fouling regimes such as the one in China.

There the people have been wearing masks for years—long before anyone outside of epidemiological circles had even heard of “Coronavirus.” They have been doing so to keep the soot and other unhealthy-for-living things out of their lungs. Including the airborne dung and cremated remains of millions of swine-flu-infested swine, burned up in a chimney without filters, the hash allowed to rain like snow upon the populace.

No one knows for sure how many of these infected swine were eaten before they could be cremated. Nor whether the source of the infection which migrated to the human population came from the swine.

Or the bats. Maybe the felines.

What Americans ought to keep in mind, however, is that China is not America and China’s problems don’t warrant Chinese “solutions.”

The government doesn’t control our diets and we are doing just fine.

News

Morning Greatness: Companies Busted Selling Critical Equipment to Overseas Cash Buyers

Good Friday morning.

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

  • President Trump receives his intelligence briefing
  • The president participates in a roundtable with energy sector CEOs
  • 5:00PM  Members of the Coronavirus Task Force hold a press briefing

The latest episode of “Happy Hour” with Julie and Liz is available! This week we talk to investigative journalist, Jordan Schachtel.

What the **** is going on with person protective equipment (PPE)?

On Thursday, Trump used the Defense Production Act to “push 3M and six major medical device companies to produce protective masks and ventilators needed for the coronavirus outbreak, bowing to weeks of pressure to expand the federal government’s use of the emergency statute.” The companies involved include General Electric, Hill-Rom Holdings, Medtronic, ResMed, Phillips and Vyaire Medical. He also signed “an element of the [DPA] against 3M” that would allow FEMA to obtain as many N95 masks as they determine is necessary. We don’t know who was “pressuring” him, we never learn that of course, it seems Trump was trying to make deals with the companies before using the jack boot of the fedgov and when they didn’t play ball, he put on the smack down.

“Today, I have issued an order under the Defense Production Act to more fully ensure that domestic manufacturers can produce ventilators needed to save American lives,” Trump said in a statement.

So what’s the deal with 3M?

“For the last several weeks, we have had a boiler room chasing down 3M authorized distributors [and] brokers representing that they sell the N95 masks, only get to warehouses that are completely empty,” Jared Moskowitz, head of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management said. “[We are] being told that our shipments are on cargo planes and the flights don’t even appear. We are chasing ghosts. I just decided to turn up the heat and tell people what is actually happening in the N95 mask space.”

It appears that 3M is selling their masks to foreign countries rather than American hospitals and heath services in need. “I can’t, other emergency management directors, CEOs of hospitals can’t get this life-saving PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] because a company decided to make a globalist decision and not put America first,” said Moskowitz.

“I thought perhaps maybe what 3M would finally say to me is that they have masks to sell me, but what I actually found out is even more frightening,” he explained. “… Which is that the system is completely broken. 3M has lost total control. What I asked 3M is, are they aware they’re authorized distributors — U.S. companies — are telling me the reason why our orders are being pushed down is because foreign countries are showing up with cash to purchase the orders … not only did they not dispute it, [but] I asked them if they put out any guidance to prevent the behavior and the answer was no,” Moskowitz added.

It seems like depending on foreign revenue has always been the business model for the medical supply industry.

American companies sold more than $17.5 million worth of face masks, more than $13.6 million in surgical garments and more than $27.2 million in ventilators to China during the first two months of the year, far exceeding that of any other similar period in the past decade, according to the most recent foreign trade data available from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“I’m now hearing from distributors that foreign governments are showing up with cash at these factories and bumping everybody else down the line who had orders pending,” Moskowitz told USA TODAY, referencing conversations with brokers who serve as supply chain middlemen.

Related:
Trump administration moving swiftly to address ventilator shortages
New York hospitals rationing ventilators, retrofitting equipment amid crush of coronavirus
FEMA tells lawmakers most new ventilators won’t be ready until June
Fauci and Birx help the dumb orange man with science

CNN has a story describing how our CHINA VIRUS duo Fauci & Birx have helped our poor, stupid president use “science” to make decisions, complete with colorful charts and pictures.

Still, the charts — printed in color and blown up for effect — seemed to work, even as some of Trump’s advisers now question their accuracy. Trump announced hours later he was extending his coronavirus guidelines another 30 days, despite a strong inclination to open the nation for business.

CNN further explains:

But in myriad ways, Fauci and Birx have succeeded where so many in Trump’s ever-rotating cast of aides have not: convincing the President to abandon his instincts, quietly contradicting him in public and remaining — for now — in his good graces. At a post-impeachment moment when the White House appeared intent on elevating loyalists while sidelining careerists, the longtime government officials entered Trump’s orbit and managed to out-argue those with years of experience managing a mercurial boss.

Abandon his instincts? Elevating loyalists? He was elected for his instincts. Do they think Obama didn’t jam loyalists all over the government? All presidents do that. CNN, you are so transparent.

Pelosi, Democrats tired of being side-lined, scheme to dial up resistance with new “task force”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced a bi-partisan task force “to oversee the Trump administration’s distribution of more than $2 trillion in coronavirus relief funds over the next several months.” Croaked Pelosi in a press call, “Congress has taken an important step in meeting this crisis by passing three bills with over $2 trillion in emergency relief. We need to ensure those dollars are spent carefully and effectively.”

“The panel will root out waste, fraud, and abuse and will protect against price gouging, profiteering, and political favoritism,” Pelosi said.

“Where there’s money there’s also frequently mischief,” the California Democrat added, saying, “We want to make sure there are not exploiters out there.”

Riiiiight.

Pelosi has named James Clyburn (D-SC), recently in the headlines for saying the deadly pathogen crisis was “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” So, you see where this is going, right? “I have a couple of concerns about this: one who she’s naming, Clyburn. It’s concerning to me because Congressman Clyburn is the one who thought this crisis was an opportune time to restructure government,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “That’s not what you should be doing,” he said. “You should be taking care of the American public, keeping an economy strong just as it was before and moving forward.”

Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) knows what’s going on. “You would think after three years of failed investigations and a sham impeachment that resulted in an acquittal would be enough for Democrats to learn their lesson and move on, but apparently even a global pandemic and crisis the likes of which our country has never seen before isn’t enough to stop House Democrats from finding any excuse to continue their harassment of President Trump,” he said.

McCarthy also pointed out: “In the bill that we just passed we had the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, now this is a group of IGs [inspector generals] headed by [acting Inspector General of the Department of Defense] Glenn Fine. We also created the special inspector general for pandemic recovery, and Treasury gave it a $25 million dollar budget, we created the Congressional Oversight Commission inside here where you get an appointment by all the leaders,” he said.

But they have to get back into the news cycle, they need to find their fresh new crop of “whistleblowers” and scandal mongers.

Miscellaneous coronavirus news
Trump officials privately question White House coronavirus death toll estimate: WaPo
States are supposed to handle this, not the fedgov. Governors win high marks for coronavirus response, outpacing Trump
Why Trump took another coronavirus test
Samaritan’s Purse NYC field hospital already treating 12 patients, nurse says: ‘We are giving it 110 percent’
University of Pittsburgh scientists believe they found potential coronavirus vaccine
Hydroxychloroquine rated ‘most effective’ coronavirus treatment, poll of doctors finds
Inside the National Security Council, a rising sense of dread
I hope this isn’t a disaster. Banks warn of chaotic launch of small business lending program
Washington gun shops defy coronavirus orders, stay open without ‘essential’ designation
March Sets Record For NICS Background Checks
This is not the time to be a political jerk. ‘Wrong In Every Way’: Trump Sends Vicious Letter To Chuck Schumer Over Coronavirus Response
Trump tangles with Schumer all day over coronavirus response
Fauci says that all states should have stay-at-home orders
Trump administration issues guidance scaling back paid leave requirement for small business employees
Why? Kushner makes first appearance at coronavirus briefing
This better not happen in my state. Michigan restricts veterinary procedures to save medical supplies
Coronavirus forces San Francisco to put homeless into hotels
New York reels at center of pandemic as home-bound Americans feel economic pain
Rikers Island jail officers union sues New York City over coronavirus
Reporters Express Frustration After OANN’s Chanel Rion Attended Briefing Despite Being Kicked Out For Violating Social Distancing Rules
Hospitals and doctors battling coronavirus already bracing for lawsuits
Facebook pledges $40M for small businesses, introduces new fundraising tools and digital gift cards
Trump campaign donating meals to hospitals during coronavirus crisis
USS Theodore Roosevelt commanding officer relieved of duty, acting Navy secretary announces
California’s Newsom says coronavirus provides ‘opportunity’ to push progressive agenda
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos donates $100M to food banks as unemployment soars during coronavirus outbreak
Only 20 patients currently being treated on USNS Comfort in NYC
Some Americans could wait 20 weeks to receive stimulus checks, IRS tells House Democrats
FEMA still pushing back on taking a leading role in coronavirus supply chain
Everybody is locked up, when is this happening?!? Yang says Asian Americans being attacked over coronavirus is ‘a heartbreaking phenomenon’
FDA changes blood donation guidelines amid urgent need for blood during coronavirus pandemic
Cyber criminals are trying to wreak havoc during global pandemic
Ships with coronavirus patients dock in Florida
Colorado AG steps in after Hobby Lobby defies COVID-19 stay-at-home orderDisaster in motion: 3.4 million travelers poured into US as coronavirus pandemic erupted
Colorado hospital calling for donors to help with experimental, ‘promising’ coronavirus treatment

Other morsels:

GOOD. FISA reauthorizations in doubt after findings that FBI surveillance was riddled with major errors

Great America

Petit Tyranny

The drastic measures needed for this “chemotherapy” against a serious disease have unshrouded the suppressive nature of a hearty minority. Watch “Karen” and learn what she’s capable of doing.

It’s perhaps surprising to learn just how many of one’s fellow citizens would thrive in modern-day Belarus or latter-day East Germany.

The Great British lockdown this week has given succor to those inclined to the petit tyrannies common to countries of our curious pity.

Facebook groups have sprung up, leaping with the caps-locked indignations of women named Karen. “My neighbor has been outside TWICE today.” Such statements spin with exclamation marks, and interrobangs—“Should be locked up, if you ask me.”

One gentleman called the police on his neighbor, demanding his arrest for a suspected second jog of the day.

We are allowed out for an hour once per day. It’s like a Danish prison. Our neighbors, some at least, have adapted this lockdown into a Stanley Milgram experiment in which they swing the truncheons.

No, I won’t call it a police state. I’m not a libertarian. This shutdown, if kept short, is chemotherapy for what is a serious disease. Yet, such drastic measures have unshrouded the suppressive nature of a hearty minority.

Why one would be bothered enough to “report” another going for a second run is beyond me. That runner, by the very nature of running, is unlikely to break the six-foot social-distance rule, unless, of course, someone chases him.

Though, I’m sure some would give chase, if only to force-feed their righteous indignation.

Police officers have taken government guidelines and added a dose of North Korea. Derbyshire Police, armed with drone footage, lockdown-shamed a couple walking their dog on the Peak District.

“Nonessential!” shrills the charge. And it’s one too readily chanted by those peacocking their righteousness, and denouncing their neighbors on Facebook groups birthed for purpose.

Humberside Police have taken note. They set up an online portal so Karen can denounce lockdown traitors in a manner more officious to her thickened tastes.

Some police officers are giddy, drunk on what must pose the ultimate dose of their authoritarian inclinations. (Many police officers possess but conceal this trait, much as nightclub bouncers conceal a Freudian daddy issue.)

One lawmaker broke the articles of social pariahdom. Stephen Kinnock visited his father Neil, ex-Labour leader, for a socially distanced birthday celebration.

The police, red-meating the hounds of Twitter, deemed such travel “nonessential.”

Yet British people have listened. Traffic is down two-thirds, three-quarters are complying with guidelines, green shoots are sprouting. There is no need for this Stasi-era tribute act.

A neighbor might have forgotten something he deems essential. Someone buying an Easter basket alongside their essentials is not dicing with lives.

Neither should anyone care if another goes for a drive. Drivers are essentially cocooned in a moving lump of steel and glass.

To break the social-distance rule would be possible only if they, in a mad fit of Corona-jihad, rumbled along the sidewalk, windows and rooftop down. The problem? There’s nobody on the sidewalk.

Everything has changed. And nothing has changed. To charge that lockdown has impulsed authoritarians is to clamp an ether rag around the mouth of cancel culture. It hasn’t gone away. It’s mutated into a novel strain of petit tyranny.

Not long ago, police officers dragged a YouTuber to court for teaching his pug a fascist salute. The same police interrogate for “hate crimes” including “liking” a “transphobic” poem.

Now those same police seethe the streets they hitherto didn’t “have the resources” to patrol, stopping cars, rustling through shopping bags, shaming lone walkers.

They’re bolstered by their gleeful little helpers. Those who in idle times report others for suggesting men can’t morph into women.

We’ve endured for some time with this Salem culture. And it has much greater sway than you’d think.

This is the culture that forced Prime Minister Boris Johnson to change tact from arms-length to lockdown.

His original “herd immunity” strategy dissolved after Imperial College, London, released a doomsday report charging the current course with 510,000 British deaths, and 2.2 million dead Americans.

Boris bottled it. The cries of The Guardian and their ilk slamming shut businesses and effectively placing more than 60 million people under house arrest.

The great irony is those who’ve spent years calling democracy a “coup,” impelled the man they deem a “fascist” to shackle controls on where citizens can go, for how long, and with whom they can congress.

The Imperial College study has suffered its own curious mutations.

The death count first plummeted from 510,000 to 20,000. Then it suggested 5,700 deaths. Now, as it stands, that figure is “wrong.”

Intensive care units, it is hoped, will now not repeat the fate of Italy. This mild dystopia could compare to an average flu season.

Two-thirds of those, Professor Neil Ferguson said, will “likely have died this year anyway.” A remarkable turnaround, or a hasty retreat.

Ferguson’s revision takes account, he says, of our lockdown strategy.

Perhaps his revision also took account of a rival Oxford University study suggesting the Wuhan virus hit these shores as early as December, spreading invisibly for months before the first case recorded itself in late February.

Professor Sunetra Gupta’s model suggests half of us may have had coronavirus, that 1-in-1,000 will need hospital treatment, that most have mild symptoms or none at all.

This would mean significant herd immunity has already taken place, that lockdown was an option for December, not April, and that millions are out of work and locked at home with a hidden immunity to what keeps them there.

Now, I am not a scientist. But, the violent conflicts between these two studies suggest someone has got this drastically wrong.

Which is a charge leveled at the Swedes. They have changed little about their lives. Bars and restaurants remain open, children still stream into school, those with symptoms must stay home for two days before returning to work. As the virus shifts its course, so do the guidelines.

The Swedes haven’t frozen an entire economy or placed an entire nation under house arrest.

Yet, they’ve limboed the ire of Guardian-types for the strategy they pilloried Boris into abandoning.

Of course, nobody knows who is right. A brief shutdown, to me, seems a sensible dose in lieu of a Swedish gamble.

President Trump’s face said it all as he steeled Americans to 200,000 possible deaths. This is no joke.

But we need better options than those presented.

Is it really a choice between the second Great Depression (one in which 10 million Americans in two weeks have signed up for unemployment insurance) or the second Spanish Flu?

Wouldn’t a sensible, moderate course be to ramp up testing, cocoon the vulnerable, and allow the immune back into a cautious and distant normality? Albeit one in which petit tyranny is never cured.

Greatness Agenda

Payback Time for China

Only by taking strong and unprecedented measures can the United States and the world protect their citizens and counter a delinquent and devious country like The Communist People’s Republic of China.

It is war,” we have been told. The number of casualties will only escalate such a war. Even terrorism might not be a proper comparison. It’s the early days of the epidemic, and as of March 31, 2020, the death toll from the Chinese coronavirus has already surpassed that of the 9/11 attacks.

So, if it’s war, let’s treat it like one.

The Chinese coronavirus very likely emerged from the Wuhan Virology Laboratory, according to medical scientists, inside China. It was an experiment. It got out of control and went unreported and then the Chinese authorities lied about it, covered it up, and spent over a month downplaying it and propagating disinformation.

The Chinese government did not effectively manage to control its spread or eradicate the epidemic. In the meantime, the virus was exported to neighboring countries and subsequently to Europe, the United States, and the rest of the world.

Clearly, Communist China has done unfathomable damage to the United States, the West and the rest of the world with this disease.

Aside from its militaristic and aggressive power plays demonstrated in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other neighboring countries, totalitarian China has overtly attempted to dominate the Asian theatre, steal foreign intellectual property, control global supply lines and important future technologies, and generally, through its state-owned enterprises and government-backed trade policies, to seize the global economy.

While we have all suffered economic harm, our patience has expired now seeing the human casualties.

No more.

The world has had enough. President Trump and the United States Congress, along with other world leaders, must now take the lead in a firm and rapid response.

It is called retribution: payback.

The cost of the Chinese pandemic is estimated at around $5.3 trillion and growing. This is tallied by the economic dislocation, unemployment, bankruptcy, medical costs, and deaths that have ensued since the virus was lied about and let loose in Hubei Province, where Wuhan is located.

That number is escalating by the day and could come closer to $10 trillion when this pandemic is finally controlled and abated around the world.

The damages are devastating, widespread, and on-going. Oxford Economics, the world’s leading econometric forecaster has stated, “In recent weeks we have revised down our baseline forecasts as more countries announced draconian policy measures to limit the spread of coronavirus in a deep worldwide recession.”

Nevertheless, one thing is certain, lives are being lost. Human lives are priceless. Unfortunately, the death toll is now projected to be in the tens, and probably hundreds, of thousands worldwide.

The United States alone has already passed the largest emergency aid in history, an unprecedented $2.2 trillion stimulus package. The stock markets in the United States and other countries have lost significant value, indicating massive wealth destruction.

What should be done about it?

The Chinese must pay. The best way to effect that payment is to charge them under international criminal law with intentional and real harm and damages.

Here are the measures we, as economists, suggest be taken immediately to redress the wrong, even as we work in unison to mitigate the loss of life, severe illness, and far-reaching deep and lasting economic impacts.

President Trump and other world leaders should make a unilateral proclamation along these lines.

The United States, along with its allies and other partnering nations should take the following actions:

1) The United States and all other signatory countries will repatriate all critical supply chains, decoupling them from China. This will start with all pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and instruments, protective equipment and extend over time to any material or goods deemed necessary to critical infrastructure and national security.

2) Significant investment will be channeled toward strengthening the resilience and capacity of healthcare and public health, as well as other critical infrastructure during COVID-19.

3) We will expand the provisions of the USA Freedom Act to assess, mitigate, and counter all biological threats. Better intelligence leads to better economic policies and decisions. NATO should advance its chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) and operational capabilities.

4)  The United States, allies, and partners will also strengthen critical information infrastructure so as to ensure information integrity for the fight against COVID-19. Chinese companies, most particularly Huawei and ZTE, should be barred permanently from any and all 5G and related networks for national security reasons.

5) Since the total debt owed by the United States and other countries to China coincidentally totals approximately $5.2 trillion, that entire debt is hereby canceled. Neither the principal nor any interest on it will be repaid. This is the charge for damages incurred.

In total, the Chinese state and its subsidiaries have lent about $1.5 trillion in direct loans and trade credits to more than 150 countries around the globe. This has turned China into the world’s largest official creditor—surpassing traditional, official lenders such as the World Bank, the IMF, or all OECD creditor governments combined. Hidden loans far exceed this official amount which accounts for the discrepancy.

6) The roughly 500 Chinese companies listed on the U.S. and other stock exchanges will comply with international standards and regulations and specifically adhere to strict GAAP accounting and reporting guidelines, as well as national security policies, or otherwise face severe sanctions, including delisting. United States investment and pension funds and those in other signatory countries would be prohibited from buying Chinese securities from companies that do not comply.

7) We will freeze the accounts of all Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses in Hong Kong, Mainland China itself, and any person(s) involved in or related to instigating or prolonging the COVID-19 pandemic.

Only by taking strong and unprecedented measures can the United States and the world protect their citizens and counter a delinquent and devious country like Communist China. They must pay the price for their malignant behavior and spreading COVID-19 and causing vast international harm and deaths.

Great America

A Letter to an Ailing Friend

A few words of gratitude and thanks as a childhood mentor lies sick with COVID-19 in a New York City hospital.

It’s hard to write a story about someone else without injecting yourself into the story. But I feel compelled to write about this: for my mother, for those alone in the hot zones, in hospitals scared to death, and to those who are close to death.

For the candy man in a New York City hospital room alone in and for his wife who prays at home in isolation. Know the candy you offered was just candy to some, but for some like me, it offered a reprieve from our childhood hardships and sadness. You weren’t just offering Lifesavers; you were unwittingly saving young lives. (In the interest of full disclosure you didn’t offer Lifesavers—they weren’t kosher—but I thought it was a good line.)

As you lie in bed alone, I want you to know although you never had your own children, you helped raise many. There were the lentils, the kosher M&M’s—and, yes, they are kosher now. There were the aspirin candies, the lollipops, and the dearth of other treats I have forgotten about. Oh! And the Peanut Chews!

But more than the candy, it was the moments when we were real young sitting on your lap, and as we got older the moments sitting beside you. It was candy you offered, but sanity, love, and safety were the true treats.

Then there was that time of year, Simchat Torah, the giving of the Old Testament that you truly raised your game. There were the big suckers and the candy apples offered, not just to the young but there was always a candy for my mother and her dry mouth. She was your close friend, how close I didn’t realize until a certain fog was lifted from my own life.

You instinctively knew which one of your children needed extra candy, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

I hadn’t seen you in years and sadly, for a while, I had switched the type of candy I consumed and changed the people I sat by for the “comfort” and “love” that I desperately sought. I was newly sober when I saw you again at a family event. I remember the massive smile you had on your face. What I didn’t know was that you and your wife were confidants of my mother’s throughout my struggles, always giving her all the support (and candy) she needed. What I also remember was there was no judgment, no questions, just a silent welcome back. It was never “Oh, Yehuda,” it was always, “Ohhhh, Yehuda.”

It’s been more than 22 years since that day, and we have seen each other only a handful of times. I just want you and your wife to know, you have raised many children, some more difficult than others, and it takes the most special of people to offer the more difficult more candy.

I know many a kid has come in between the time you helped me and today, but just know that all your children are praying for you right now, and it is imperative that you get better because we both know there is so much more candy that needs to be given.

Your name in English means life, you have enriched so many, saved so many, and we in turn at this moment are praying for yours. L’Chaim!

News

Morning Greatness: Schiff Getting Ready for China Virus Response Hearings

Good Thursday morning.

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

  • 5:00PM Members of the Coronavirus Task Force hold a press briefing

Intelligence agency says China lied about the CHINA VIRUS

U.S. intelligence officials sent a report to the White House that said “China’s public record of COVID-19 infections was deliberately deceptive and incomplete.” Really?

Bloomberg reports “three U.S. intelligence officers who they said they alerted the White House last week to Beijing’s misleading numbers. Two of the three sources called the numbers flat-out fake.”

Scarfmaster and CHINA VIRUS taskforce member Dr. Deborah Birx said “The medical community made — interpreted the Chinese data as: This was serious, but smaller than anyone expected because I think probably we were missing a significant amount of data, now that what we see happened to Italy and see what happened to Spain.”

On Wednesday, the shit-for-brains United Nation globalist punks released a report that “praised China for sharing the genetic sequence of COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, President Trump pussyfoots around any China criticism in his press conferences. “We have not received that [intelligence report], but their numbers appear to be a little on the light side,” Trump told a reporter when asked if he had discussed the report with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“We’re in constant communication,” he continued. “The relationship is very good.” Is it very good? It doesn’t sound very good to me! Is Trump playing nice because he has to have a diplomatic relationship with China as they basically control our entire emergency and pharmaceutical supply line? I hope he knows what is really going on here.

Related:
County in China locks down amid concerns of potential second coronavirus wave
‘Subservience To Beijing’: Marco Rubio Says WHO Needs To Be ‘Held To Account’
Chinese Journalists Keep Disappearing. This Congressman Wants Answers

Adam Schiff (D-CA) wants 9/11-style commission on coronavirus response

This guy. “After Pearl Harbor and 9/11, we looked at what went wrong to learn from our mistakes,” Schiff tweeted.

“Once we’ve recovered, we need a nonpartisan commission to review our response and how we can better prepare for the next pandemic,” he continued. “I’m working on a bill to do that.” Of course he is.

Resistance media figure at the WaPo and recipient of derp state leaks during the RUSSIAN collusion hoax David Ignatius wrote in his Slam Blook that:

Schiff and his staff have “already started” working on a commission modeled on the one created after 9/11 and will be “talking about the possibility with others in Congress.”

The column also said that Schiff “has begun reviewing the committee’s intelligence materials on the pandemic.”

“We will need to delay the work of the commission until the crisis has abated to ensure that it does not interfere with the agencies that are leading the response,” Schiff reportedly told Ignatius. “But that should not prevent us from beginning to identify where we got it wrong and how we can be prepared for the next pandemic.”

I guess the resistance doesn’t have many cards to play right now. It’s pretty ghoulish to start undermining the government while they actively fighting a deadly pandemic killing Americans, but hey, why not?

China virus treatment: status update

Several treatments are in use right now for the CHINA VIRUS that came from China. Hydroxychloroquine is being tested in China with promising results if they aren’t lying.

The randomized trial looked at 62 patients admitted to Renmin Hospital at Wuhan University from Feb. 4 until Feb. 28. Half were treated with a five-day regimen of 400 milligrams of HCQ. The study excluded patients with several or critical cases of coronavirus.

Four patients in the study progressed to severe illness, but all of those were in the group not treated with the malaria drug.

Now since we can’t really trust China, Laura Ingraham had two doctors on her show last night talking about their experiences testing hydroxychloroquine.

Drs. Ramin Oskoui, cardiologist and CEO of Foxhall cardiology, and Stephen Smith, founder of the Smith Center for Infectious Diseases and Urban Health, talk about how they have seen promising results treating patients with hydroxycholroquine before they reach the point where they need a ventilator. The treatment seems to stop the progressions of the disease so that patients do not need the ventilator.

Meanwhile, using blood plasma from people who have developed antibodies to the virus is also undergoing testing.

Shaz told MacCallum that the Blood Center had been on a call with the Food and Drug Administration earlier Wednesday and reported that the feds are working hard to expand the program and help as many patients as possible.

Meanwhile, these asshats were selling an antibody test they claimed was approved by the FDA.

Miscellaneous CHINA VIRUS news:
Trump uses coronavirus briefing to unveil new military counternarcotics mission
FBI sees spike in gun sale background checks amid coronavirus pandemic
More than 40 spring breakers who ignored public health advice test positive for coronavirus
What is wrong with people?!? Nation’s top coronavirus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci forced to beef up security as death threats increase
ABOUT TIME. US freezes shipments of protective gear overseas
DOD to provide 100K body bags as coronavirus deaths grow
Helmet ventilators by Texas mom-and-pop business widely ordered for coronavirus
It’s come to this: Liberal San Francisco Bay Area bans reusable grocery bags
Trump considering some domestic air travel restrictions
Newsom: Number of California coronavirus patients in ICU quadrupled in past week
Calif. Gov. Newsom tells CNN Trump has been ‘responsive’ to state’s needs: ‘I’d be lying’ to say otherwise
Amazon warehouse workers protest near Detroit, days after NYC walkout
Japan ‘on the brink’ as it struggles to hold back coronavirus
Trump says U.S. will soon have more ventilators than it needs for virus victims
De Blasio: NYC needs 400 ventilators, 3.3 million N95 masks by Sunday
McConnell: Pelosi trying to ‘jam’ Senate on fourth coronavirus relief bill
People are starting to crack. Man accused of derailing train near Navy hospital ship due to fears over coronavirus
Would love to hear this! Biden campaign: Trump and former vice president will have phone call about coronavirus
Georgia To Be Put Under Shelter-In-Place Order
Inside The Dark Money Dem Group Using An Umbrella Network To Flay Trump Over His Virus Response
Massive toilet paper shipment wiped out in fiery wreck
All the celebrities starting entertainment projects during coronavirus
CNN analyst mocked for claiming it’s a ‘GOP campaign message’ to blame China for virus outbreak
AOC suggests Politico report part of effort ‘to demoralize the left’
ASPCA in NYC opens pet food pantry amid coronavirus outbreak
IDIOTS. Oversight Committee urges FDA to ban e-cigarettes, vaping over coronavirus risks
OANN removed from White House virus briefing rotation after violating policy, WHCA announces
Pelosi pushes ‘SALT shakeup’ stimulus that could reduce her tax bill and enrich her wealthy district
Vice President Mike Pence asks Americans not to attend church services of more than 10 people

Other morsels:
Court won’t review decision siding with ex-felons in Florida who challenged voting requirement
Behaving ‘Like The Political Opposition’: White House Reporter Jonathan Karl Blasts CNN’s Jim Acosta In New Book
Biden ‘doubts’ Democratic National Convention will be held in July

And that’s all I’ve got, now go stay away from people!

Great America

The Wu New Deal

How Democrats intend to use the Wuhan virus crisis to restructure government and society according to their whims.

In his survey of the Great Depression and World War II, Freedom From Fear, historian David Kennedy makes the point that the New Deal—which manifestly failed to end the Depression—was only a failure if you assume that its purpose was, in fact, to end the Depression.

Likewise, the Democrats’ attempt at pushing their wish list of a Wuhan virus rescue bill.

If you assume, instead, that the purpose of the New Deal was to restructure the government’s relationship to the people and to society, then it was certainly a success. This is especially true of the so-called Second New Deal, passed mostly in 1935, which included Social Security, the Banking Act, the Wagner Act, other workplace protections, and unemployment insurance. Designed to provide a measure of security to periodically unemployed workers, it also made sure that people—for the first time—habitually looked to the government as the source of that security.

If you assume that its secondary purpose was to cement an emerging Democratic Party political coalition, then it was potentially an even greater success.

From the outset, Roosevelt had wanted to bring liberal Republicans into the Democratic fold, while marginalizing the more conservative southern Democrats who generally opposed his agenda. The prelude to World War II cut that short, as progressive Republicans from the west and Midwest—most prominently, Hiram Johnson, George Norris, and William Borah—stayed true to their isolationism. Nevertheless, blacks, urbanites, and union workers began voting for Democratic candidates in numbers that persist even to this day, though the current reshuffling of the parties threatens to undo some of that.

And there were people in the Roosevelt Administration who were sorry to see the economy recover because it closed the window on that restructuring.

Do you want to know where Rahm Emanuel got the idea for never letting a crisis go to waste? Look to the New Dealers.

Restructuring to “Fit Our Vision”

Which brings us to the Democratic version of the Wuhan coronavirus stimulus package. Now, the original idea—a payroll tax holiday, bridge loans to small and medium-sized businesses—wasn’t bad.

The eventual idea—trillions of dollars of helicopter money in an economy where there is less and less to spend it on, combined with some side-pork for votes—is less appealing. But at least it’s still geared toward doing something about the problem at hand. It seeks to tide over individuals and small businesses until the restrictions relax, and economic activity recovers.

The House Democrats had their own ideas, however. Via Senator Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark.) Twitter feed, we know that these included:

  1. Corporate pay statistics by race and race statistics for all corporate boards at companies receiving assistance;
  2. Bailing out all current debt of the postal service;
  3. Required early voting;
  4. Mandated same-day voter registration;
  5. A $10,000 bailout for each and every borrower with federal student loans;
  6. For companies accepting assistance, one-third of board members must be chosen by workers;
  7. Provisions on official time for union collective bargaining;
  8. A full offset of airline emissions by 2025;
  9. Greenhouse gas statistics for individual flights;
  10. Retirement plans for community newspaper employees;
  11. A $15 minimum wage at companies receiving assistance;
  12. Permanent paid family leave at companies receiving assistance.

None of this makes any sense if you assume that the purpose of the bill is to forestall or soften the economic effects of government action to combat the virus.

But if you assume that the House Democrats don’t really see the purpose of the bill as aiming at any of those things, but rather as Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said, “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision,” then it all makes a lot of sense.

I admit, I made the mistake myself. I assumed at first that, facing a collapse of in-person retail, a 33 percent drop in the stock market, a mother of all margin calls centered on international banking, and the prospect of the credit of the U.S. government being in play, Clyburn meant that he wanted the bill to fit their vision of economic aid.

No such luck.

Every item on that wish list is geared towards remaking society, directly grabbing political power, or solidifying what they see as their emerging coalition. And just because they didn’t make it into the bill that ultimately passed doesn’t mean those proposals are dead.

Democrats happily would insert the Justice Department into board elections, giving political hacks another tool to extract favors and money. They would replicate the damage caused by public unions, by putting private unions on both sides of the bargaining table. The inevitable green mandates would pay off the Tom Steyers of the world. Elections would become even more suspect. And they would include payoffs to universities (what, you thought unconditional student loan forgiveness was for the students?) as well as to increasingly liberal community newspapers.

In other words, restructuring things to fit their vision.

Great America

How Government Is Standing in the Way of Lifesaving American Innovation

In the race to find a solution to this pandemic crisis, President Trump needs to reject both Washington incompetence and Chinese subversion.

In plague times, politicians and physicians alike need to embrace the fundamental teaching of the Hippocratic Oath: “First, do no harm.” How then are we to understand the harm that a problem, COVID-19,and the “cure”—quarantine and its attendant economic catastrophe—that seems to be worse than the disease?

The current national state of emergency is as revelatory as it is sudden. It shows us both what we should do and what we shouldn’t. Let us be clear, to borrow a favorite phrase of a previous president: America First companies can protect us—if only bureaucrats get out of the way.

President Trump could order his administration to use America’s companies and tell his public health authorities that they’ve done quite enough—which is to say they’ve done far too little to prepare for the crisis.

We should use American companies to do contact tracing of the ill, and allow start-ups that want to administer at-home coronavirus tests to do so. Yet rather than acknowledge that extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary dispensations, our FDA stops U.S. innovators at every turn, preferring to do business with intellectual property thieves like the Chinese Communist-backed Beijing Genomics Institute, a state-owned entity currently in yet another legal fight with an American company.

President Trump Needs To Tell Fauci, the NIH, and the FDA: “You’re Fired!”

Recent history provides too many examples of institutional failure. We have already examined how lacking Dr. Anthony Fauci is now and has been before and during the HIV/AIDS crisis. He is a fraud. Whether he is a crook or a fool is perhaps open to interpretation.

“Despite President Donald Trump’s enthusiasm for the drug hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus, the federal funding powerhouse led by Dr. Anthony Fauci isn’t spending any money on it, and clinical trials for it are lagging behind other drug studies,” CNN reports.

Instead Fauci has been touting Remdesivir from Gilead through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Gilead’s Remdesivir costs thousands of dollars and works less well than hydroxychloroquine—a generic that has worked all over the world. Remdesivir requires intravenous administration and has stronger side effects.

Why is the good doctor pushing a bad cure?

What motivates Fauci, as anyone can see from his many interviews and long career, is fame.

Vanity must be his favorite of the seven deadly sins. And deadly it has been—just not for Fauci.  HIV/AIDS activists wisely picked up on this character trait and shamed Fauci into doing more after years of inaction, as even fawning portrayals of Fauci acknowledge. ACT UP, having bent Fauci to its will, finally got him to act—but not before thousands of gay men perished. Then, as now, Fauci left patients in limbo while he cultivated his ties to the drug manufacturers.

Fauci works closely with Gilead and other drug manufacturers. Once again Gilead has helped advance Fauci’s public persona while he has advanced their drugs, sometimes even against the interests of the U.S. government or HIV/AIDS patients.

Fauci even praised a Gilead television ad for Truvada, or PreP, a $1,000-a-month drug. It’s illegal in most countries for pharmaceutical companies to advertise, but Fauci found much to like in the ad. He had reason to. After all, his organization funded the study with your money.

“What I really liked about the ad is it didn’t just say go get on PrEP; it said get tested,” Fauci told NBC News in 2018. “A, get tested. B, there are more options to protect yourself.”

Fauci has also spoken at events funded by Gilead and other pharmaceutical companies.

Later, President Trump’s HHS sued Gilead alleging that the drug manufacturer had profited from millions of taxpayer funded research dollars against the interests of patients. Gilead lost the suit right around the time it needed a new drug to help it take off. With few drugs available for the coronavirus, Daniel O’Day, Gilead’s new CEO only been on the job months—turned to Remdesivir, a drug marketed toward solving the Ebola virus. Remdesivir failed at that, too. Indeed Congolese officials found too expensive and too ineffective compared to cheaper alternatives.

“The results were most striking for patients who received treatments soon after becoming sick, when their viral loads were still low—death rates dropped to 11 percent with mAb114 and just 6 percent with Regeneron’s drug, compared with 24 percent with ZMapp and 33 percent with Remdesivir,” wrote Wired’s Megan Molteni.

Sound familiar? The same thing has been true of the ultracheap hydroxychloroquine which has proven effective nearly everywhere it’s been tried—if tried early enough.

For this reason alone, it is unconscionable that there are delays in testing results, thanks to the FDA’s byzantine rules that make it easier for Communist Chinese companies to test while hobbling U.S. firms.

Gilead is left with a huge stockpile of Remdesivir that is too expensive and too unnecessary—they’ll have more on the way once they are approved, they promise! Fauci has once again used taxpayer resources to force patients into a lengthy and ridiculous clinical trial process for the drug—only this time its Americans desperate for hope as opposed to Africans. If at first you don’t succeed, fail, fail, fail again.

With Fauci’s credibility invested in Gilead, we ought to ask to see Fauci and his family’s portfolio too, especially after he publicly admitted that he would take hydroxychloroquine.

Then again, it’s amazing how cheaply some people, especially scientists, will sell out.

Indeed, putting politics and press conferences ahead of pharmacology has been the medical establishment’s raison d’être as it offloads the costs of its expensive labs and bureaucracy. Dr. Francis Collins’s NIH, for example, charges the government thousands of dollars for genetic sequencing that costs the private sector just hundreds.

Hard Lessons in Self-Reliance

The success of generic drugs over Gilead’s Remdesivir reveals that Big Pharma—and its handmaiden, the NIH—won’t save us but will happily soak us with ever higher drug prices.

To anyone paying attention it ought to indict both the wastefulness of the National Institutes of Health ($40 billion annual budget) and the pharmaceutical industry (trillions in market capitalization) that wonder drug chloroquine (the typical dose costs $20 in the United States, pennies elsewhere) was developed in Germany in 1934—fully 10 years before the NIH itself was authorized by Congress and an American patient experienced its full effects.

The history of chloroquine and its derivative hydroxychloroquine deserves careful attention and was the subject of a rather amazing address by G. Robert Coatney in the 1960s. Dubbed “Mr. Malaria,” Coatney had explored 16,000 solutions to the malaria problem. During World War II, the War Production Board issued Conservation Order M-131 and heavily restricted the use of quinine. A synthetic had to be found.

“The effort involved scientists from the universities and industry, private individuals, the U.S. Army, the Navy and the Public Health Service, plus appropriate liaison with Great Britain and Australia,” and it also totally and completely failed.

The European powers understood that access to cures or treatments had national security implications. The power to blockade or restrict life saving drugs is the power to enfeeble and kill as both the Communist Chinese and the Food and Drug Administration remind us today. Holland blocked German access to its valuable Indonesian quinine farms so Nazi Germany—lacking any overseas colonies—was forced to innovate.

Autarky meant relying on the German people and their genius. Unlike today’s America, Germany put their best—and crucially, youngest—minds to work. Hans Andersag discovered chloroquine in 1934 at the tender age of 32—an amazing discovery but utterly consistent with all the available research that discoveries are made by the young.

In a gerontocracy like America, the NIH continues to dole out money to aging scientists without anything to show for it—even as its own research shows the persistent Boomer bias against younger scientists receiving funding.

To be sure, Bayer was very much a part of the Nazi regime, which barred Bayer’s scientists from receiving the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physiology after they discovered Prontosil, the first commercially available antibiotic. Germany’s innovations had to stay in Germany. Boomers love throwing around comparisons to the Great Depression and World War II, perhaps to suggest that they, too, would be capable of suffering what their parents endured. How ironic, then, that a company with Nazi ties ultimately made the drug keeping all the Boomers alive and the world economy running. Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us. After all, Wernher von Braun gave us NASA and even Disneyland, after V-2 rockets rained down on London.

Of course, Bayer has rightly apologized for its human experimentation during World War II but we ought to be asking why our own medical system is so sclerotic and well, geriatric, that we rely on foreign science, foreign scientists, and foreign sources of funding. (Fauci is 79 while Collins is 69.)

And is it not human experimentation to force people into clinical trials for drugs that do not work?

Why does it take five, 10, or 15 days for coronavirus tests to be done? Why are people dying waiting for tests?

Why do we need a world war—or a metaphoric reference to it—to make our institutions work? How do you expect to cure a novel virus with old thinking and old institutions?

Beware Chinese Gifts

Technology means doing more with less and yet our government seems to do less with more. Technology means making space for the new and young as the tired and old retreat gracefully from the public stage in a peaceful handoff of power.

Technology has been sorely lacking from America’s response to coronavirus. Our so-called leaders have taken a more low tech approach, preferring to turn all Americans into Uighurs under involuntary house arrest indefinitely.

Zoom, allied with the Chinese facial recognition companies SenseTime and Megvii barred from the United States for their mistreatment of the Uighurs, laughably convince America and her institutions to trust them while they train their datasets on us.

Silicon Valley lamented that it took Zoom CEO Eric Yuan nine attempts to get his visa. What if the U.S. deep state was right about him? How should we think of the British government using Zoom to communicate? The company reported to the SEC that its large data center—an R&D center really—has 500 engineers and personnel in China. This is unheard of. A Silicon Valley CEO friend told me he looked to hire a project manager from Zoom and found he had 100 direct reports as compared to the typical 12. The disturbing behavior and lax user security ought to have us very concerned.

We ignore American ingenuity at our peril as we invite the world into our country, our cell phones, and our screens. Why did an American manufacturer of powerful spy cameras find he could only do business in China after receiving a DARPA grant? Follow the logic through. The U.S. taxpayer subsidized the creation of the Chinese surveillance state. Why do we allow drone manufacturer DJI to sell to every American municipality while Impossible Aerospace has built a better drone?

TikTok has even enlisted the “Governator” Arnold Schwarzenegger to make cringeworthy viral videos telling us to stay at home. Perhaps it would sound less alarming if not for that Austrian accent. That’s easy to do if you are a Boomer and have a home, but so few Millennials have been afforded the income or opportunity to make their house a home. Does Arnold’s Mexican maid stay at home with him or in the home he bought for her? No Muscle Beach for you, citizen!

If technology is meant to do more with less, would it be too much to ask that American-born companies restore America’s freedoms? Where are the America First companies here to protect our liberties while they protect our cell phones? Why is it OK to use American ingenuity to target us with ads but not to help us avoid infection?

U.S. allies—Taiwan, Israel, Singapore, South Korea, and even Czechia—happily use state power to direct its technological advantages without shuttering everyday life. Taiwan built an “electronic fence” to quarantine its people while sounding the alarm about China’s state sanctioned lies about the virus. Israel moved to tap secret troves of gathered cell phone data. Singapore introduced an app—TraceTogether—to help identify if someone crossed paths with the infected. South Korea revealed where the infected lived, when they left for work, what trains they took, and where they tested, according to the New York Times. Low technology solutions work as well. Czechia went from zero mask usage to 100 percent in 10 days and ended the growth of new coronavirus cases.

Our allies understand that privacy is a luxury good that we can ill afford in a pandemic. How long should we stay confined to our homes? At present no one has an answer except possibly for forever.

And yet our health officials force us to queue up where we can be infected en masse. That is, if we are lucky enough to even get a test. Once we take a test we must wait days for the state labs to get around to telling us the results. Some receive their results after dying waiting.

For now, however, the FDA won’t let us test at home. Apparently, the agency was too busy telling us not to worry about the addictive nature of opioids. A drug is a substance that causes a change in physiology or psychology. Food is, well, food. Under what authority do diagnostics fall under the Food and Drug Administration’s purview? The FDA doesn’t want to explore new technology. Peter Thiel rightly notes that the areas of least regulation in our economy have seen the most promise.

There is no way out from politics. The administrative state has not delivered the benefits it promised. In the state of emergency it is ultimately the sovereign who decides who to follow and who to ignore, who to copy and who to reject.

In the race to find a solution to this pandemic crisis, President Trump needs to reject both Washington incompetence and Chinese subversion.

Great America

Social Media in the Time of Quarantine

This coronavirus pandemic should serve as a moment of unity and fortitude in which politics are put aside, and transparency prevails online. Now must be a moment of international cooperation and digital information flow.

The historic sweep of COVID-19 across Asia, Europe, and now the United States simultaneously has gone “viral” digitally and across social media, effectively becoming the biggest news story on the planet overnight.

As is the case with any major developing news story, social media users quickly took to their platforms of choice not only to stay informed but also to share experiences related to the virus and updates from quarantine with their audiences. If the growing pandemic can be seen as one repercussion of globalization’s ubiquity, then the reaction online can and should be seen as a manifestation of Big Tech’s omnipresence in the digital era.

It is imperative in this time of crisis that so-called social media truly be a platform for the people, serving the best interests of users who may have no other way to connect with each other and the rest of the world. While Big Tech has drawn ire in the past for banning users who do not conform to executives’ standards, it is critical that social media actually serve as a platform for all in these trying times.

Politicians, policymakers, journalists, and other public-facing leaders use the major tech platforms not only to find out about breaking news, but also as their chief distribution tools to disseminate official information, statements, and press materials to constituents and stakeholders.

With “social distancing” and quarantine measures in place intercontinentally to contain the further spread of the virus, so-called social media is taking on an even greater importance: serving its primary function of connecting friends and family who may be isolated from one another, either miles or continents apart.

In mainland China, for instance, Hubei province—a region roughly the size of the entire country of France—was under a hard quarantine for weeks on end over the Lunar New Year. At one point in time, Chinese authorities had nearly 700 million people—one-tenth of the global population—under some form of quarantine.

Now, the virus has reached crisis levels across the Atlantic. As of this week, the UK finds itself under a full lockdown for the next three weeks. Still, the number of cases there and throughout Europe continues to balloon, with no end to the quarantine in sight.

In the United States, the virus has spread to all 50 states. Our southern border has been shut off to nonessential travel, and California Governor Gavin Newsom along with New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio have implemented shelter-in-place mandates. Most states are turning to some form of quarantine, if not hard shutdown, and nonessential businesses are shuttered for the time being.

As we have already seen with most universities asking that students not return from spring break, and major corporations such as Walmart and Amazon mandating remote work, there is a very real possibility, for the first time in American history, that citizens will be homebound for the foreseeable future. Real human interaction may forever be altered as a result.

During this time, citizens will be turning to social media not only for news, but also for comfort, solidarity, and connectivity. Big Tech firms should be looking for innovative new ways to streamline remote work for companies, while also providing users with a human experience they may otherwise have to go without.

This coronavirus pandemic should serve as a moment of unity and fortitude in which politics are put aside, and transparency prevails online. Now must be a moment of international cooperation and digital information flow. Big Tech should be leading that push for openness and collaboration.

Companies like Parler are at the forefront of facilitating this crucial transmission of information: history will look back on our role at this time as even more important than that of news and media outlets responsible for reporting fairly on the pandemic. Social media content in this time of “social distancing” is about to serve as the chief record and digital archive for this novel moment.

News • Uncategorized

Morning Greatness: Time to Cancel the World Health Organization

Good Wednesday morning.

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

  • The president receives his intelligence briefing
  • President Trump participates in a phone call with military families on COVID-19 response
  • 5:00pm Members of the Coronavirus Task Force hold a press briefing

Media, blue check mark mafia want networks to blackout China virus task force briefings Why on earth would the media not want the public to watch the daily China virus briefings with key personnel involved in our fight against the pandemic? If you intend to brainwash the public and don’t want them to see and hear the information themselves, that’s certainly something the media would do. And of course, they don’t want viewers to see Trump appearing to “handle” the crisis because it makes him look competent and like a leader. And the “journalists” who ask questions during the press conference aren’t taking the health crisis seriously. The celebrity journalists don’t ask questions about medical, health or epidemiology, they ask questions designed to “get” Trump. CNN clown Don Lemon is a big advocate for keeping the public in the dark and amenable to CNN gaslighting. When are people going to get it through their heads that the corporate media is trying to indoctrinate their viewers rather than transmitting information to the public.

Fox News reports, “CNN raised eyebrows Tuesday after it chose not to air President Trump’s initial prepared remarks at the daily White House coronavirus briefing.”

Media darling, Dr. Tony Fauci, called Jim Acosta on his schtick in yesterday’s conference. Acosta wanted someone, preferably Trump to admit there would be less death and illness if social distancing had been forced upon us sooner. In other words he wanted an admissions they had delayed saving Americans by not cracking down. Fauci responded, “If there was no virus in the background, there was nothing to mitigate. If there was a virus there that we didn’t know about, then the answer to your question is probably yes,” he said. Fauci added, “The only trouble with that is that whenever you come out and say something like that, it always becomes almost a soundbite that gets taken out of context.” He also said, “In a perfect world, it would have been nice to know what was going on there, and we didn’t,” he said. “But I believe, Jim, that we acted very, very early in that.” BOOM.

Related information from the presser:
White House projects 100K to 240K coronavirus deaths as Trump tells US to prepare for ‘very painful two weeks’
Dr. Fauci: Research showing coronavirus can travel 27 feet in air is ‘terribly misleading’
Birx Clears The Air: Governments Were Slow To Respond To Coronavirus ‘Because’ China Covered It Up
White House projects grim death toll from coronavirus

Democrats keep trying sell that Trump was lazy, didn’t act on China virus threat I’m sure my readers here know that while China was imprisoning suspected infectees and watching their bat virus kill its citizens, Trump banned China travel into the U.S. and set up a task force in January. He did this after the despicable WHO was lying and telling people there was no human-to-human transmission of the bat pathogen. What were the Democrats doing, propped up by the media? Impeaching the president. There was almost no coverage of what was happening in China by the Pulitzer blue check mark posse.

Cocaine Mitch, appearing on Hugh Hewitt’s show said yesterday, the crisis “came up while we were tied down in the impeachment trial. And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything, every day was all about impeachment.” He went on to say, “The Democrats, it seems to me, want to turn the President’s handling of all this into a political liability for him. I see he’s getting attacked in campaigns.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy ripped the Democrats as well. “They were preoccupied with impeachment instead of protecting this country,” McCarthy said. “That’s exactly the only thing they focused upon. And then you watch Nancy Pelosi, I watched her sit there and say those words, and it was very upsetting to me as an American, not as an elected official but as an American.”

Clearing out the prisons so there’s room to put China virus outlaws inside So the ACLU and the usual suspects are demanding that prisoners be released because the China virus is ravaging the jail system. At the same time, despotic state leaders are threatening to fine and jail people who are standing too close together or congregating in church or other places. What the hell?

California to release up to 3,500 non-violent inmates amid coronavirus outbreak
Federal prisons ramp up coronavirus precautions, keep inmates in cells for 2 weeks
Coronavirus Jailbreak: California Gov. Gavin Newsom Commutes Sentences for 14 Convicted Killers
Police are arresting and fining people for violating social distancing orders

Masks: yea or nay? At first, we were told not to buy and wear masks because medical professionals needed them and the government didn’t want the freaked out public hoarding them. We were told that masks don’t do anything to prevent the Chinese virus from infecting the mask wearer. Now, we are hearing the government is rethinking their anti-mask position. How will we all get masks? Hospitals don’t even have them.

Should you wear a mask? US health officials re-examine guidance amid coronavirus crisis
Austria to make face masks mandatory at supermarkets
Should we all wear face masks to fight coronavirus? CDC says no, guidelines remain unchanged

The pernicious World Health Organization: It’s time to cancel the clowns over at the WHO. They are in no way a simple outfit, monitoring and coordinating world health situations. They are a China proxy who lied to the world about the deadly China virus, praised China’s handling of the virus (which included forcibly kidnapping people to imprison them with those infected and soldering them inside their houses and of course, lying)  and continue to defend China, who is responsible for releasing a plague on the world.

World Health Organization Spends Twice As Much On Travel As On Medical Supplies
Tucker Carlson blasts WHO leadership as ‘lapdogs’ for the Chinese government
Rick Scott calls for congressional inquiry into WHO’s coronavirus response

General virus news:
OH. Suspected SARS virus and flu samples found in luggage: FBI report describes China’s ‘biosecurity risk’
CHINA VIRUS Susan Rice Bashes Pompeo Over ‘Wuhan Virus,’ Says It’s ‘Shameful For The United States To Be Race-Baiting’
Coronavirus death rate much lower than previously reported, study says
California nursing home sees more than 50 coronavirus infections
Pentagon takes aim at coronavirus with 8,000 ventilators
The poorest will suffer. Safety-net health clinics cut services amid coronavirus epidemic
Worried about paying rent on April 1? What states are doing, and not doing, to help
Give the money back. Kennedy Center boss tells staff $25M coronavirus handout won’t save them
GOP seeks to claw back Kennedy Center’s $25M stimulus payout, as opera house continues layoffs
Pence task force freezes coronavirus aid amid backlash
White House pressures FDA on unproven Japanese drug
Senior Advisor To Anti-Trump Super PAC The Lincoln Project Calls Trump ‘Retarded’
Firearm Industry Focusing Efforts On Safety Through Pandemic
Sheldon Adelson donating 2M masks to first responders: report
Virtual meeting with black University of Texas students cut short by racist ‘Zoom bombing’
Nielsen records 85 percent increase in Americans streaming video
Iran Has Lost 17 Officials, Nearly 15,000 People to Chinese Coronavirus
ESPN and TNT Could Lose Nearly $700 Million if the NBA Season is Canceled
California governor reports total of 6,932 coronavirus cases but expects numbers to rise
Report: North Korea Has Lost over 100 Soldiers to Coronavirus, Still Claims Zero Cases
Trump rejects Obamacare special enrollment period amid pandemic
Alec Baldwin suggests Trump is the ‘virus in the US’: ‘Vaccine arrives in November’
Carnival seeks $6 billion as Covid-19 pandemic devastates cruise industry
After ‘Zoom bombings’, other incidents, FBI warns of videoconferencing hijacking amid coronavirus
Captain of aircraft carrier struck by coronavirus wants sailors off ship

Other morsels:
Not just Trump but everyone! Problems in F.B.I. Wiretap Applications Go Beyond Trump Aide Surveillance, Review Finds
OUTRAGEOUS. ‘This Is Mind Boggling’: Arlington Store Owner Defends Employee Jailed For Shooting Masked Burglars
U.S. outlines plan for Venezuela transition, sanctions relief
Obama slams rollback of vehicle emission standards in rare rebuke of Trump

And that’s all I’ve got, now go stay home and eat junk food!

Great America

Plastic Bags and the Recycling and Reuse Scam

Americans are correct to recognize the perils of reusable grocery “tote bags” during this time of heightened disease risk. May they also realize the entire concept of reusable grocery bags is flawed, along with most recycling programs, and adapt accordingly.

Back in 2014, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 207, which banned grocery stores from offering customers “single-use” carryout bags. Permanent implementation was delayed by a November 2016 voter referendum, Proposition 67, which unsuccessfully attempted to repeal the measure. Today it is well-established law.

The only way SB 207 was sold to the grocery industry was through an incentive that permitted them to keep the 10 cents per “reusable” bag that they would be required to charge customers.

California’s pioneering ban is touted by environmentalists as an example for the nation, and progressive cities and states have enacted similar laws. But in reality, it is a misguided policy that does more harm than good.

Today, instead of reusing the free single-use bags to line their trash cans and dispose of their cat litter, Californians now pay 10 cents every time they exercise that privilege. And how does this help the environment, when reusable plastic bags have 11 to 14 times the mass of disposable plastic bags, and hardly anyone reuses them that many times?

Further evidence of the absurdity of laws banning single-use plastic bags is found in a study commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Environmental Agency, which estimated reusable grocery bags made of cotton fabric to have 131 times greater “global warming potential” than conventional disposable plastic bags.

And now consumers have fewer reasons than ever to reuse their reusable bags, because it turns out they’re germ carriers.

This isn’t new information. Common sense would dictate that when consumers purchase grocery items, and allow them to knock around inside a plastic bag, pathogens will be transferred from the surfaces of the grocery items onto the surface of the bag.

Similarly, when consumers set those bags down, such as on the seat or floor of a bus or subway car, or in a shopping cart that someone else is about to use, any pathogens on that surface or on that bag will transfer back and forth—presumably over and over.

And even among those who reuse these bags more than 11 times, or 14 times, or 131 times, how many people disinfect them, every single time?

A recent article entitled “Greening Our Way to Infection” appearing in City Journal, provides an excellent summary of the disease risks attendant to reusable grocery bags. John Tierney exposes the absurd denial of public health authorities, both before and since the COVID-19 outbreak, to the risks of using reusable grocery bags. He writes:

A headline on the website of the New York Department of Health calls reusable grocery bags a “Smart Choice”—bizarre advice, considering all the elaborate cautions underneath that headline. The department advises grocery shoppers to segregate different foods in different bags; to package meat and fish and poultry in small disposable plastic bags inside their tote bags; to wash and dry their tote bags carefully; to store the tote bags in a cool, dry place; and never to reuse the grocery tote bags for anything but food.

This is the world the green extremists want us to live in. Not only shall we reuse our reusable plastic bags more than eleven times, just to break even on the “carbon footprint” vs. a disposable plastic bag, but we shall “segregate different foods in different bags; to package meat and fish and poultry in small disposable plastic bags inside the tote bags; to wash and dry tote bags carefully; to store tote bags in a cool, dry place; and never to reuse tote bags for anything but food.” And cat litter.

The Irrational Extremes of Recycling and Reuse

While recycling is both profitable and green in certain cases such as with newsprint and aluminum, for most garbage it is neither. Plastics, bags and all, are a compelling example of this. For starters, there is no factual basis for the argument that plastic must be recycled because we may eventually run out of petroleum. This is easily documented.

According to OilPrice.com, in 2012 “plastics production accounted for about 4 percent of global oil production.” Four percent. According to the BP Statistical Review of Global Energy, over the past 20 years, proven oil reserves increased faster than consumption. In 2018, there were 1.7 trillion barrels of proven oil reserves worldwide, up from 1.1 trillion barrels in 1998. Plastic, which can also be made out of natural gas or coal, will never run out of the raw materials required for its manufacture.

As for plastics accumulating in the environment, the ocean in particular, much of it comes from fishing nets. One of the largest accumulations of ocean plastic is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a collection of concentrations of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean created by ocean currents. According to Sea Shepherd Global, nearly half of the plastic in these areas come from discarded fishing nets, and “more than 70% of marine animal entanglements involve abandoned plastic fishing nets.”

As for the source of ocean plastic coming from sources on land, a report in USA Today cites a study published in the journal Science that estimates 242 million pounds of plastic waste are discharged by Americans into the oceans each year, and that the total discharge of plastic waste into the oceans, worldwide, is between 8 to 12 million tons.

A quick, somewhat innumerate read of those numbers might incline one to believe that America is the prime offender, but that would be wrong. Once pounds are converted into tons, it turns out that plastic waste from America, at most, constitutes only 1.5 percent of the plastic trash currently going into the world’s oceans.

This is where it becomes problematic to focus on recycling and reuse, rather than containment in landfills. Because even in America, it is a costly indulgence to recycle most of the waste stream. To emphasize recycling in developing nations is futility. The scarce economic resources of developing nations in Africa and Asia would instead be much better used to develop landfills.

There is No Shortage of Landfill Capacity

One of the earliest serious intellectual revolts against the modern recycling industry came in an in-depth 1996 essay in the New York Times Magazine entitled “Recycling is Garbage.” Authored by the same John Tierney who recently joined City Journal after more than two decades as a reporter and columnist with the New York Times, it exposes how misguided environmentalism and government subsidies corrupted the waste management industry.

In his 1996 essay, Tierney described how environmentalist journalists and activists convinced the nation that if something wasn’t done, and soon, Americans were destined to be “buried alive” under the mountain of trash they were creating. He explained that most materials in garbage are not worth recycling, but that politicians are now afraid to oppose recycling. He explained that modern landfills are now required by federal law to be “lined with clay and plastic, equipped with drainage and gas-collection systems, covered daily with soil and monitored regularly for underground leaks,” but the perception remains that opening new landfills will poison the local populace.

Nearly 25 years later, for most Americans, all of these misconceptions still constitute conventional wisdom. The biggest misconception of all is the claim that there is no room left in America’s landfills. Today more than ever, there are plenty of alarmist reports making that claim.

From Waste Business Journal: “Time is Running Out: The U.S. Landfill Capacity Crisis.” From Global Citizen: “Where Will The Trash Go When All the US Landfills Are Full?” Perhaps the biggest scare story of all appears on the website “How Stuff Works,” where they visualize what America’s roughly 258 million tons of municipal solid waste each year would look like if it was dumped onto one pile, year after year for 100 years. The estimate takes into account a doubling of the U.S. population over this hypothetical century, apparently assuming the annual waste flow would also double during that period as well.

If you keep filling up this landfill for 100 years, and if you assume that during this time the population of the United States doubles, then the landfill will cover about 160,000 acres, or 250 or so square miles, with trash 400 feet deep. Here’s another way to think about it. The Great Pyramid in Egypt is 756 feet by 756 feet at the base and is 481 feet tall, and anyone who has seen it in real life knows that it’s a huge thing—one of the biggest things ever built by man. If you took all the trash that the United States would generate in 100 years and piled it up in the shape of the Great Pyramid, it would be about 32 times bigger. So the base of this trash pyramid would be about 4.5 miles by 4.5 miles, and the pyramid would rise almost 3 miles high.

That sounds like an awful lot of garbage, and an awful burden on the land and the people. But it isn’t. Compared to the size of the lower 48 states, compared to the size of America’s urban areas, compared to the area of America’s reservoirs, or mines, or the footprint of its freeways; compared to pretty much any other major category of American infrastructure, it is negligible. To counter the scope insensitivity of the average American journalist, here are some calculations:

A “trash pyramid” 4.5 miles by 4.5 miles, rising three miles high, if it were to be poured into America’s roughly 2,000 active landfills, would require each of those landfills to accommodate 100 vertical feet of garbage, over a surface area of 341 acres. Altogether, these 2,000 landfills would consume about 1,066 square miles of land. Notwithstanding the fact that some landfills are designed to accommodate up to 500 vertical feet of trash, or the fact that parks and other amenities are often built on the top of landfills once they reach capacity, 1,066 miles is a trivial amount of land compared to other impacts of human civilization.

For example, America’s lower 48 states occupy 3.1 million square miles. This means that if by 2120, 650 million Americans were still producing the same per-capita quantities of garbage that they produce in today’s throw-away society, those 1,066 square miles of landfills would only occupy 0.03 percent of the available land. America’s urban areas consume just over 100,000 square miles; these hypothetical landfills only increase that by one percent.

Just America’s 10 largest reservoirs occupy 2,670 square miles; the entirety of America’s reservoir inventory would occupy a far larger area. America’s open pit and surface mines occupy thousands of square miles as well, and if America is to innovate its way into the electric age, rare earth mining will increase that footprint. As for America’s 46,000 miles of interstate highways, even at a conservative estimated average width of 300 feet, taking into account all interchanges and not counting all the other national and local roads, these interstates consume 2,600 square miles.

Civilization Requires Tough Choices

The evidence supporting containment in landfills versus recycling is unambiguous. Last month in National Review, Kyle Smith pointed out not only the excessive cost of recycling but reminded us that it’s a good time for a fundamental reassessment of our waste management policies.

“It costs $300 more to recycle a ton of trash than it would to put it in a landfill,” Smith wrote. “When the next budget crunch hits New York—and that’s due approximately ten seconds after the next stock-market crash—recycling would be an excellent program to cut.”

That budget crunch has arrived. And even if the markets and the economy come roaring back, New York City taxpayers have better ways to spend their money than supporting a parasitic industry that does nothing, absolutely nothing, to help the environment.

But the moral argument doesn’t end there. Americans who support environmentalist policies need to think about the example they’re setting for the rest of the world.

The message that needs to go out to developing nations—along with “develop clean fossil fuel and quit poisoning your air with genuinely harmful pollutants”—is build landfills and sequester your solid waste. Americans need to show by example how modern landfills are built, not how to painstakingly “recycle” everything regardless of its utility or affordability.

Eventually, just as eventually American innovators will commercialize fusion power, American innovators will commercialize plasma waste converters, turning solid waste into valuable feedstock to generate energy and building materials. When that day comes, not only will waste management no longer leave an expanding footprint, however trivial it may be, but we can mine the landfills if we wish.

In 1996, in his essay for the New York Times about recycling, Tierney arrived at the ultimate reason for its persistence as policy despite its negative economic impact and despite being of dubious environmental benefit. He wrote:

The leaders of the recycling movement derive psychic and financial rewards from recycling. Environmental groups raise money and attract new members through their campaigns to outlaw ‘waste’ and prevent landfills from opening. They get financing from public and private sources (including the recycling industry) to research and promote recycling. By turning garbage into a political issue, environmentalists have created jobs for themselves as lawyers, lobbyists, researchers, educators and moral guardians.

Doesn’t that sound familiar? It’s as true today as it was in 1996, and it applies to so many issues of public policy where environmentalists have formed an alliance with powerful financial special interests. It is wonderful when one may reward his psyche and his pocketbook at the same time, but when delusion and corruption are the prerequisites for such rewards, society loses.

Americans are correct to recognize the perils of reusable grocery “tote bags” during this time of heightened disease risk. May they also realize the entire concept of reusable grocery bags is flawed, along with most recycling programs, and adapt accordingly.