Hopefully This Is The Beginning Of The End

On Sunday, Townhall posted an article stating that the number of deaths due to the coronavirus in New York decreased for the first time on Saturday.

The article reports:

The total number of deaths in New York attributed to the coronavirus increased to 4,159 as of Saturday, accounting for nearly half of all coronavirus deaths reported in the United States. But the good news, the governor said, was the daily number of Wuhan coronavirus deaths has fallen for the first time in the state. On Saturday, 594 coronavirus deaths were reported in New York compared to 630 deaths the previous day.

The number of new hospitalizations decreased dramatically, from 1,095 on Friday to 574 on Saturday, and daily ICU admissions fell from 395 on Friday to 250 on Saturday. The number of daily intubations was also down from 351 to 316 during the same two-day period. Cuomo said the decline could be the “beginning of a shift in the data” or could be just an “interesting blip.”

Unfortunately, the news is not good everywhere:

Dr. Deborah Birx said during the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force briefing that New York, Louisiana and Detroit are currently on the upside of their mortality curves, with officials expecting these hotspots to reach their peaks in the next six to seven days.

…President Trump warned on Saturday that the coming week would be on “one of the toughest weeks” in America’s fight against the coronavirus.

“There’s going to be a lot of death, unfortunately. There will be a lot of deaths,” the president said, before adding the situation could be improved if Americans do their part to stop the spread of the disease.

Let’s hope that with some of the successes we have seen with various treatments that the end of the coronavirus is in sight.

The Question Of The Day

Theoretically the purpose of the nationwide lock-down was to insure that the healthcare infrastructure was not overwhelmed by the demand for hospital beds and respirators. Okay. That makes sense. As the coronavirus has continued to work its way through the nation, we have seen American ingenuity come to the forefront with additional hospital beds and respirators discovered or invented to meet the need. We have also seen that  the actual case load is only a fraction of what the ‘experts’ warned us about. Some of that is due to staying home, but some of that is due to estimates that were totally inaccurate. Now it is time to assess the damage the lock-down has done to America’s economy and search for a balance between the health and economic well-being of Americans.

The American Thinker posted an article today titled, “When Should Trump Restart the Economy?” That is definitely the question of the day.

The article reports:

As the world shudders into Easter and the death toll on the China virus continues to rise, the question is: should we quarantine or should we restart the economy before the shutdown kills us?

Or, more exactly, when should President Trump brave the sneers of the White House press corpse and proclaim that America is Back?

The answer, I think, is pretty clear. It will be midway between the point where only crazed libertarians propose a return to work and the point where Nancy Pelosi would announce that she is appointing a House Select Committee to investigate Trump’s criminal delay in restarting the economy.

In other words, effective political leadership is tricky.

The article notes how the media will treat any decision the President makes:

My prediction is that President Trump will issue a back-to-work order about two weeks before the geniuses in the media and left-wing hate groups catch up to reality. There will be two weeks where all the usual suspects are telling us that the walls are closing in on Trump. A couple of Inspectors General will change the rules on whistleblowers and leak to their favorite House committees which will start super-secret investigations in the House basement.

Then it will become evident to all that Trump made the right decision. However, he did it the wrong way.

Whatever the President does, he will be criticized in the press. He might as well do what he thinks is right and take the heat (as he has done all along). Frankly I am very grateful to have a businessman in the White House right now instead of a politician. Businessmen solve problems–politicians extend problems so that they can be re-elected.

Please follow the link above and read the entire article. It makes a lot of sense.

Why?

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about President Trump’s briefing about the coronavirus. I didn’t watch all of the briefing, but I watched most of it. At one point there was a rather strange moment when President Trump realized that the person asking him a question worked for a news agency controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. What in the world was she doing in a White House briefing? Well, The Conservative Treehouse explains.

The article reports:

Remember when President Trump said the U.S. media were the enemy of the American people? Well, consider this… In another clear example of how the U.S. media will do anything in their effort to undermine President Trump, yesterday they held hands with Chinese communists.

ABC News chief Washington DC narrative engineer Jonathan Karl is the current rotating head of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA).  The WHCA has a customary and traditional role of selecting the journalists who will participate in the White House daily briefing.

Yesterday WHCA head Jonathan Karl invited a known propagandist for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) into the briefing room to question President Trump.  However, President Trump immediately pegged the CCP propagandist and asked her directly

…That said, the bigger question should be asked of Jonathan Karl:  Why did the White House Correspondents Association intentionally invite a communist propagandist to attend the briefing?… Asking questions about a crisis the Chinese communists created?

Remember, Jonathan Karl, ABC News, is currently in charge of selecting journalists who will participate in the White House daily briefing. Why in the world would he invite someone from a totalitarian state known for lying and propaganda to participate?

President Trump’s briefings have been informative and optimistic. The questions asked by the press have been largely rude and irrelevant. It is becoming obvious that the press is using these briefings to search for a ‘gotcha’ moment. I am wondering if the President should end the briefings and simply replace them with fireside chats.

Some Good News From New York

The Epoch Times posted an article yesterday reporting some good news from New York.

The article reports:

Hospitals in New York state have discharged more COVID-19 patients than they have added for four days in a row, according to the latest data from the state hit hardest by the CCP virus pandemic.

Hospitals in the state discharged 1,709 COVID-19 patients on April 4, while admitting 574 patients. The number of daily discharges had also surpassed the daily admissions on the three prior days, state data shows.

…New York has been the U.S. epicenter for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus. While New York City has borne the brunt of the outbreak, there has been an increasing shift to Long Island, which now accounts for 22 percent of the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The number of daily deaths in New York state from COVID-19 dropped for the first time on April 4, when 594 people died, down from 630 deaths the day before, with a total of 4,159 people dying from the disease statewide.

“What is the significance of that? It’s too early to tell,” Cuomo said.

New York has been the epicenter of the virus, but reports indicate new epicenters in New Orleans and Detroit. However, it would be nice if New York has truly turned the corner in fighting the virus.

Who Are They Working For?

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the media spin in reporting the news about the coronavirus.

The article reports:

It should not be this easy for Chinese Communist Party propaganda to make its way into major American newsrooms.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, which Chinese lies ensured would become a pandemic, American news media have promoted a number of Beijing-approved talking points, including the one that alleges it is racist to refer to the virus by its country and city of origin. American news media have also accepted at face value a series of dubious claims pushed by Chinese Communist apparatchiks, including the absurd boast that China’s new case numbers have remained essentially flat since late February.

“U.S. has more known cases of coronavirus than any other country,” CNN reported on March 26, its declaration coming in unison with nearly every major news outlet in the United States.

The CNN report, which was published shortly after pandemic trackers placed the number of coronavirus cases in America at more than 85,000, claimed the “U.S. cases piled up … surpassing China and Italy.”

Does anyone actually believe the numbers coming from the Chinese Communist Party reporting the number of coronavirus cases in China?

The article continues:

But the obvious red flags regarding China’s reported data did not slow American newsrooms from declaring the U.S. the leader in reported coronavirus cases without caveats.

This is not the only example of western news media hailing China’s allegedly successful campaign to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Earlier, even before the U.S. had even supposedly passed the case number milestone, the New York Times published a report on March 18 titled “Its Coronavirus Cases Dwindling, China Turns Focus Outward.”

The article, the chief claim of which has been repeated elsewhere by the New York Times, Bloomberg, and NBC News, goes to great lengths to cast China as a thoughtful, meticulous, proactive, and responsible world leader, one whose contributions to fighting the pandemic have made it a more reliable and responsible superpower compared to the U.S. The New York Times article repeats the Chinese Communist Party’s claim that China’s daily coronavirus cases have dwindled “into the single digits.”

No attempt is made to verify these numbers.

…The U.S. intelligence community determined last week that China has underreported both the total number of coronavirus cases and deaths, all of it in an attempt to conceal the full extent of the pandemic in its country.

Early on, China silenced doctors who raised alarms about the virus, denied access to foreign scientists who could have studied the virus, and falsely claimed that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission.

There is a massive public relations campaign going on right now from the Chinese Communist Party to downplay the role China played on releasing this virus on the world. The effort is to change the narrative to show China as saving the world from a virus caused by America. This is simply one part of China’s effort to establish itself as the lone superpower in the world–usurping the role currently played by America. The America media does not need to help China in that effort.

Who Is Doing The Math?

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about the calculations made by government agencies regarding the impact of the coronavirus.

The article reports:

This is quite stunning.
The government models used to predict the extent of the coronavirus pandemic are off by huge margins in the latest coronavirus tracking numbers.

The current government predictions reported by Covid Tracking (https://covidtracking.com/data/ ) for Apr 5th show:

– All beds needed: 179,267
– ICU beds needed: 33,176
Invasive ventilators: 26,544

The actual numbers are significantly different:

– Actual hospitalizations: 22,158
– In ICU: 5,207
– On ventilator: 656

The article concludes:

The actual numbers show:

– Overestimation of hospitalizations: 8 times
– Overestimation of of ICU beds needed: 6.4 times
– Overestimation of ventilators needed: 40.5 times

This is completely unacceptable.
At this time in history and with the technology in place it is absolutely shocking that this could happen!
Millions of Americans will lose their jobs due to these panic-driven lockdowns.
The first people to be fired should be the ones who drove this panic!

We need to look carefully at the basis for these predictions. Although I am sure that Americans staying home has helped the situation, I seriously doubt it is totally responsible for the difference in the numbers.

On A Personal Note

Fifty-two years ago I was working as a temporary employee in Memphis, Tennessee, while my husband was stationed in Millington, Tennessee. There was a lot of tension in the city as the city was in the midst of a garbage strike and Martin Luther King, Jr., had come into the city in the hope of calming things down. Unfortunately that was not what happened. I commuted to work by bus, but was told not to take the bus home because the crowds had become out of control and were flipping the buses over. My husband left the base to come pick me up, and thankfully we arrived at the place where we were staying safely. Later that day, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was not a perfect man, but he was a brave man with a dream. If the leaders of the civil rights movement that arose after his death had pursued his dream, we would be in a very different place. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” That concept should apply to all people. Skin color should never be a part of any decision regarding employment, criminal behavior, admission to any organization, etc. That was his dream. We need to remember that when we see people attempting to use skin color to gain an advantage. We can never fully compensate for the sins of the past, but we can acknowledge them, move on, and not repeat them.

The Slow Drip Of Investigations Into FISA Abuse Continues

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article titled, “FISA court orders DOJ to review flawed surveillance applications and provide names of targets.”

The article reports:

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court demanded answers about whether FISA applications were invalid after a new Justice Department inspector general report found pervasive issues with the FBI not following fact-checking procedures.

Friday’s ruling came days after DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a memo showing FISA flaws were not just limited to the surveillance of Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

The findings of Horowitz’s audit released on Tuesday focused on the FBI’s requirement to maintain an accuracy subfile known as a “Woods file.” Investigators found serious problems in each of the 29 FISA applications they examined.

“We believe that a deficiency in the FBI’s efforts to support the factual statements in FISA applications through its Woods Procedures undermines the FBI’s ability to achieve its ‘scrupulously accurate’ standard for FISA applications,” Horowitz concluded.

The article continues with information that might indicate the FISA court is not happy about being misled:

“It would be an understatement to note that such lack of confidence appears well-founded. None of the 29 cases reviewed had a Woods File that did what it is supposed to do: support each fact proffered to the Court. For four of the 29 applications, the FBI cannot even find the Woods File,” presiding Judge James Boasberg said. “For three of those four, the FBI could not say whether a Woods File ever existed. The OIG, moreover, ‘identified apparent errors or inadequately supported facts’ in all 25 applications for which the Woods Files could be produced. Interviews with FBI personnel ‘generally have confirmed’ those deficiencies, not dispelled them.”

Boasberg said the wide-ranging problems “provide further reason for systemic concern” about the FBI’s FISA process and “reinforces the need for the Court to monitor the ongoing efforts of the FBI and DOJ to ensure that, going forward, FBI applications present accurate and complete facts.” The judge said, “When problems are identified in particular cases, furthermore, the Court must evaluate what remedial measures may be necessary.”

The article concludes:

In a rare public order last year, the FISA court criticized the FBI’s handling of the Page applications as “antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above” and demanded an evaluation from the bureau. The FISA court also ordered a review of all FISA filings handled by Kevin Clinesmith, the FBI lawyer who altered a key document about Page in the third renewal process. He is now under criminal investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham, a prosecutor from Connecticut who was tasked by Attorney General William Barr with investigating the origins and conduct of the Russia inquiry.

I will not be impressed with any of this until people actually go to jail for violating the civil rights of American citizens. I am still not convinced that will ever happen.

 

There’s Always More To The Story

Yesterday President Trump fired Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson. As expected, the mainstream media was very upset. ICIG Atkinson served at the will of the President, so why do you think the media was so upset?

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article yesterday that provides some clues.

The article notes:

The necessary, albeit politically controversial, move comes about two months after President Trump assigned Ric Grenell to lead the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Grenell is ultimately the acting boss of the overall intelligence community. It is likely DNI Grenell provided some key insight into the sketchy background activity in/around Atkinson’s office, and the overall intelligence apparatus writ large.

Additionally, former congressman Mark Meadows is now President Trump’s Chief-of-Staff; and Meadows has been a critic of those within the intelligence apparatus who attempted a soft-coup twice: Once by special counsel (Russia investigation) Robert Mueller; and once by impeachment (Ukraine investigation) using CIA operative Eric Ciaramella and NSC operative Alexander Vindman.

Also, in the recent FISA review by the OIG the DOJ inspector general specifically identified issues with the “accuracy reviews” conducted by DOJ-NSD chief legal counsel.  Who was that former DOJ-NSD chief legal counsel?  That would be current ICIG Michael Atkinson…

The plot thickens:

Additionally, since our original research into ICIG Atkinson revealed he was part of a corrupt deep state effort to cover his own involvement during the FBI operation against candidate Trump, there have been some rather interesting additional discoveries.

The key to understanding the corrupt endeavor behind the fraudulent “whistle-blower” complaint, doesn’t actually originate with ICIG Atkinson. The key person is the former head of the DOJ National Security Division, Mary McCord.

…McCord was the senior intelligence officer who accompanied Sally Yates to the White House in 2017 to confront then White House Counsel Don McGahn about the issues with National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and the drummed up controversy over the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak phone call.

Additionally, Mary McCord, Sally Yates and Michael Atkinson worked together to promote the narrative around the incoming Trump administration “Logan Act” violations. This silly claim (undermining Obama policy during the transition) was the heavily promoted, albeit manufactured, reason why Yates and McCord were presumably concerned about Flynn’s contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. It was nonsense.

However, McCord didn’t just disappear in 2017 when she retired from the DOJ-NSD. She resurfaced as part of the Lawfare group assembly after the mid-term election in 2018.

The article goes on to mention that Mary McCord eventually went to work for Adam Schiff to help with the impeachment efforts.

Please follow the link to The Conservative Treehouse to read the entire article. The firing of Michael Atkinson is a serious blow to the deep state, so expect the media to be totally rabid about it for at least the next week.

Gradually The Truth Emerges

Yesterday John Solomon posted an article at Just The News about some new information regarding the Mueller investigation.

The article reports:

In Robert Mueller’s final report on the Russia investigation, a little-known translator named Anatoli Samochornov played a bit role, a witness sparsely quoted about the infamous Trump Tower meeting he attended in summer 2016 between Donald Trump Jr. and a mysterious Russian lawyer.

The most scintillating information Mueller’s team ascribed to Samochornov in the report was a tidbit suggesting a hint of impropriety: The translator admitted he was offered $90,000 by the Russians to pay his legal bills, if he supported the story of Moscow attorney Natalia Veselnitskya. He declined.

But recently released FBI memos show that Samochornov, a translator trusted by the State Department and other federal agencies, provided agents far more information than was quoted by Mueller, nearly all of it exculpatory to the president’s campaign and his eldest son.

Despite learning the translator’s information on July 12, 2017, just a few days after the media reported on the Trump Tower meeting, the FBI would eventually suggest Donald Trump Jr. was lying and that the event could be seminal to Russian election collusion.

Samochornov’s eyewitness account entirely debunks the media’s narrative, the FBI memos show.

The article continues:

The translator’s detailed account — omitted from the Mueller report — validated most aspects of Trump Jr.’s original story. And the FBI knew it from the start of the controversy.

The belated release of the FBI interview report under a Freedom of Information Act request is likely to raise serious questions among congressional oversight committees about why the information was suppressed in the Mueller report, why the FBI kept it quiet for two years while Trump Jr. was being politically pilloried, and why the news media has failed to correct its own record of misleading reporting.

“The omission from the Mueller report leaves a distorted picture that has been allowed to persist for more than two years,” a Senate staffer involved in the Russia investigation told me on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t approved to talk to the news media. “We are looking into the circumstances of the editing of that report and why DOJ allowed such investigations and false public narratives to carry on in the face of significant evidence of innocence.”

People need to go to jail over this–leaving out exculpatory information in order to feed a false narrative to the American people is inexcusable. These are the actions of a police state. If we do not hold people accountable, we can expect more of this behavior in the future.

Much Of America Is Focused On Solving The Problem Rather Than Politicizing It

On March 30, The New York Post posted an article about the ways that Americans are fighting the pandemic of the coronavirus. The title of the article is, “Answering the coronavirus: exponential American innovation.”

The article reports:

America has long led the world in innovation, and the coronavirus won’t change that. Indeed, US inventors and entrepreneurs are rising to the occasion, jumping in to fill urgent needs.

With ramped-up testing the best way to discover who has the virus and so learn what the fatality rate really is, the news from Abbott Laboratories couldn’t be better. The Food and Drug Administration gave emergency-use approval to Abbott’s new test, the fastest available at the point of care: It can deliver a positive result in five minutes and a negative result in under 15.

…Even more promising are serology tests that can find antibodies in a finger-prick of blood — proving that you had COVID-19 even without any symptoms. That will make it easier to track contacts and clear some people to stop isolating. Biomerica has developed one that can deliver results in 10 minutes at a cost of $10; it’s already shipping kits to Europe but needs emergency-use Food and Drug Administration approval for US use. (Get going, FDA.)

The list goes on. Startup BioIntelliSense has developed the BioSticker, a wearable sensor that can measure vital signs — temperature, heart and respiratory rates and coughing — and transmit it to clinicians in near-real time.

Vici, an InTouch Health robot with a camera forehead, tablet chest and keyboard navel, let docs in Washington state communicate with the first US COVID-19 patient in isolation. And Stanford researchers are using the Crispr gene-editing tool to see if they can stop the coronavirus from hijacking human cells.

Other companies are at work to end shortages of vital equipment: The FDA on Sunday approved the nonprofit Battelle’s request to sterilize N95 masks without limit (after the agency at first tried to set a 10,000-a-day limit — why?). Battelle’s seeking approval to sterilize other equipment, such as ventilator parts, as well.

Here in New York, the Northwell hospital group is converting anesthesia machines and BIPAP devices (used for sleep apnea) into ventilators.

With the pandemic’s peak still ahead, take some consolation in the fact that innovators’ responses are expanding exponentially, too.

The test that can detect antibodies will be a game-changer. Once we can discover who has the disease, who has had the disease, and who is immune to the disease, we can limit our lockdowns to the people and places that are necessary. One of the reasons we are seeing the numbers in New York and some other places is that those places are densely populated and people we out eating, gathering together for plays and music, and generally spending time in close proximity for at least a month without anyone understanding the risk. When we reach the point where we know the risk and can test freely, we should be able to gradually open our economy back up.

A Very Interesting Possibility

Townhall is reporting today that a group of scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine believe that they may have found a vaccine for the coronavirus.

The article quotes The New York Post:

The researchers announced their findings Thursday and believe the vaccine could be rolled out quickly enough to “significantly impact the spread of disease,” according to their study published in EBioMedicine.

The vaccine would be delivered on a small, fingertip-sized patch. When tested on mice, the vaccine produced enough antibodies believed to successfully counteract the virus.

[…]

“These two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2, teach us that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus,” read a statement from co-senior author Andrea Gambotto, M.D., associate professor of surgery at the Pitt School of Medicine.

“We knew exactly where to fight this new virus.”

[…]

Researchers said they sided with using a patch, rather than a traditional needle, to deliver the spike protein to the skin, which elicits the strongest immune reaction.

The patch contains 400 tiny “microneedles” made of sugar and protein pieces. It would be applied like a Band-Aid with the needles dissolving into the skin.

The vaccine would be “highly scalable” for widespread use, the researchers said in a news release.

Stay tuned. This may be the best news we have had since January.

 

Two Very Different Solutions To A Problem

Lifesite News reported yesterday that United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has announced the creation of a fund for addressing the global coronavirus pandemic. Isn’t that nice? He is asking nations to contribute the equivalent of at least 10 percent of the annual income of the entire planet to a massive “human-centered, innovative and coordinated stimulus package” that would be administered at the international level. The United Nations is so well managed that we are going to give them more money? I don’t think so.

The article reports:

Guterres also wants 100 billion USD for the World Health Organization, whose president has been blamed for helping to cause the coronavirus pandemic by repeating in January the Chinese government’s false claim that COVID-19 is not transmissible to humans.

He also wants the same organization to build an “interconnected Global Health Emergency System for data, workforce, and supplies.”

The same WHO that told us that the coronavirus was not transmitted person-to-person and that China has done an excellent job of handling the virus? Again, I don’t think so.

There is, however, another suggestion that I think puts the responsibility where it belongs. Breitbart reported yesterday that Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) believes that China should consider waiving some of that debt given the communist nation’s role in the spread of the COVID-19/coronavirus.

The article reports:

During an interview that aired on Huntsville, AL radio WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” when asked, Blackburn explained ways to hold China accountable for the global pandemic, noting her effort to officially recognize China’s role and the debtor relationship the United States has with China.

“Indeed there is,” Blackburn replied. “One of the things is my Senate Resolution 553, which it expresses the sense of the Senate — that we know this came from Wuhan, China, and that they hid the information and were not transparent, that they blocked the World Health Organization and the CDC from coming into help. They tried to blame it on the U.S. military. And we hold them accountable.”

For the losses accrued from the pandemic, Blackburn called on China to forgive a portion of the debt owed to them.

“I will tell you I think we need to look at the fact that China owns over a trillion dollars of our debt,” she said. “They like investing in us. Why do they like that? Because we are a safe debt for them — a safe place for them to put their money. And knowing that they have made a global pandemic worse than it ever would have been because of their action — they should waive some of our debt. They have caused us a tremendous amount of loss of life, loss of businesses, suffering, inconvenience, shutting down our economy.”

Another component the Tennessee Republican argued for on the accountability front was to bring elements of manufacturing back from China to the United States.

“These are all things that we should take into consideration — bringing our manufacturing back, not only our pharmaceutical manufacturing — I was working with one of my colleagues today,” Blackburn explained. “There are other things we can bring back and put America back in the manufacturing business.”

For those who want to investigate the role of Chinese propaganda in the spread of the coronavirus, today The Center for Security Policy posted a timeline of events surrounding the beginning and spread of the coronavirus. It’s a rather long timeline, but it illustrates the role that the tyrannical Chinese state played in spreading the virus by misstating information and lying about the numbers of people in China impacted by it. The fact that the global migration that occurs around the Chinese New Year went on as usual without any government warnings has a lot to do with the worldwide pandemic we are currently seeing. The fact that the World Health Organization was sharing Chinese propaganda rather than valid health information is also a concern.

There needs to be a financial penalty placed on China for their behavior during the outbreak of the coronavirus. Had the Chinese acted quickly to contain the virus and accepted the help offered to them by other countries, the virus might be a thing of the past by now.

This Doesn’t Exactly Make Me Feel Safe

On Tuesday, The Daily Caller posted an article about an incident at the Detroit Airport in November 2018.

The article reports:

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials prevented a Chinese national from sneaking undeclared biological materials into the United States in late 2018, roughly one year before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

An unnamed Chinese biologist carrying suspected vials of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) arrived at the Detroit Metro Airport in November 2018, according to an FBI tactical intelligence report obtained by Yahoo News.

The individual arrived at the airport carrying vials labeled “Antibodies” in his luggage, the report stated. When questioned by authorities, he claimed that a colleague in China requested the vials be delivered to a researcher at a U.S. institute.

However, upon further inspection by CBP, officials made a startling discovery.

“Inspection of the writing on the vials and the stated recipient led inspection personnel to believe the materials contained within the vials may be viable Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) materials,” read a portion of the FBI’s unclassified report obtained by Yahoo News.

The report was made by the Chemical and Biological Intelligence Unit of the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD). While it does not provide the identity of the Chinese biologist, or the intended recipient of the dangerous vials he was carrying, the report did conclude that the incident exposed a security risk for Americans.

The article notes that this was not an isolated incident and that the FBI report mentions two other incidents involving Chinese nationals entering America with what are essentially biological weapons.

It is to President Trump’s credit that while saying nice things about China in public, his actions paint a very different picture. I believe all Americans need to be skeptical of the Chinese as our friends. I also think that the Chinese government would pretty much do anything to replace President Trump with a President that would go back to the old standard of letting China enjoy a very unequal playing field in the area of trade.

Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste

If you look at the people who oppose voter id laws, they tend to be Democrats. I’m not accusing them of anything, but I do wonder why they would oppose something that would protect the votes of all Americans. Well, the coronavirus crisis has caused those who oppose voter id laws to take things a step further.

Just The News posted an article yesterday with the following headline, “Democrats pushing harder for ‘Vote by mail’ in November election.” I don’t mean to be cynical, but I believe that would be the end of honest elections.

The article reports:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she would like to see “vote by mail” funding of up to $4 billion in Congress’ next coronavirus stimulus package for upcoming elections.

Pelosi suggested on Wednesday that the funding would to help states “expand” their vote-by-mail capabilities and allow voters to cast ballots by mail rather than show up in-person at the polls.

“Vote-by-mail is so important to our democracy so that people have access to voting and not being deterred, especially at this time, by the ammunition to stay home,” Pelosi said on a conference call. “We need at least $2 billion, $4 billion is probably what would really democratize our whole system.”

On Tuesday, Pelosi said she does not know why anyone would oppose voting by mail in the next election.

Aside from the obvious problem of voter fraud, why does Speaker Pelosi think we will still be under threat of the coronavirus in November? I realize that the disease may make a comeback in the fall, but I suspect that by that time enough Americans will have developed immunity to the disease to minimize the problem or we will have learned how to successfully deal with the disease so that ‘social distancing’ will be a distant memory.

Because of their recent strong turn to the left, Democrats have lost a lot of American voters. The party that was previously the party of the working man has totally forgotten its roots. The only hope for a strong Democrat party in the future is illegal aliens voting or election fraud. Until the Democrats turn back toward the center, they will be a dying party. That is the reason voting by mail looks good to them.

Like A Serpent’s Tooth

William Shakespeare said, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.” Well, we have something close to that in the remarks by a New York lawmaker.

Todd Starnes posted an article at Townhall about some recent comments by New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman.

The article reports:

“It’s a shame that the federal government has left New York with no other choice but to accept charity from bigots,” State Sen. Brad Hoylman said. “You know those medical tents being constructed in Central Park? They’re being set up by notorious anti-gay bigot Franklin Graham. Mr. Graham must promise to treat EVERY patient with dignity and respect.”

Graham responded to the senator’s repulsive comments during an interview on The Todd Starnes Radio Show. He urged Americans to set aside politics.

“This virus is a tsunami that is hitting our shores. It’s killing Republicans. It’s killing Democrats. It’s killing independents,” Graham said. “And we just need to say forget the politics right now. Let’s work together to save lives.”

It’s unthinkable that anyone, much less a state lawmaker, would bully a bunch of Christians who simply want to provide medical treatment to critically ill New Yorkers.

Just for the record, I have no doubt that Reverend Graham will treat every patient with dignity and respect. It is a shame that Senator Hoylman is not treating Reverend Graham with dignity and respect. The Senator needs to apologize and gratefully accept the help.

This Is A Really Good Question

Yesterday National Review posted an article with the following headline, “Why Are the Airlines Still Flying Out of New York?” That is a really good question.

The article reports:

I am baffled by the continuation of air travel between New York City and the rest of the country. At the moment, the greater New York area is at the center of the coronavirus crisis in the United States, and yet Kayak confirms that, even today, anyone from the city and its environs can get on a plane and travel almost anywhere within the United States. Why?

As I write, direct flights from Newark to Miami are going for $19 on Frontier and $29 on American Airlines. Given the seriousness of the pandemic — and the number of businesses that have been shuttered as a precaution — this seems downright bizarre. Why, one might reasonably ask, are airplanes not subject to the same social distancing rules as other commercial services? The crab shack on the beach near me is closed because the authorities in my county are worried that its customers may stand too closely together while waiting for their tacos. Is this not an equal risk in Basic Economy on United Airlines?

The federal government enjoys only limited powers — and it should enjoy only limited powers. But even my cramped reading of the Commerce Clause allows the authorities in Washington, D.C. to regulate commercial interstate air travel. President Trump threatened a federal quarantine the other day, and then, on the advice of his team, rescinded the threat. Given the legal questions at hand — and the fact that the national government simply does not have the resources to enforce such a rule — this was likely for the best; thinly tested though the relevant precedents may be, it is not at all obvious that the National Guard is allowed to prevent cars from crossing the state line between New York and Pennsylvania. But do you know what the federal government is allowed to do — and, indeed, what the federal government already does? Regulate commercial air travel. Why is it not doing so here?

Air travel should be suspended until we see the number of cases level off. Until then, the airlines are just allowing the virus to move freely around the country.

How To Navigate The Media Spin

The Epoch Times posted an article yesterday about the report of the Justice Department Inspector General. The report found that the FBI failed to document facts correctly in 29 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications that were reviewed. A rational person would take that as an indication that all was not well at the FBI and that Americans were being unlawfully surveilled. However, the mainstream media did not necessarily see it that way.

Eli Lake posted the following comments at Bloomberg News:

In the twisted politics of the Trump Era, some of bureau’s defenders might actually view this report as good news: It shows that the investigation of the Trump campaign was not necessarily politically motivated. The bureau made the same kinds of mistakes with suspects who were not connected to the Trump campaign.

That’s hardly reassuring — and the malpractice that the report uncovers is a much larger problem than the FBI and its defenders may wish to admit. So far, the response to Horowitz’s December report has been a series of administrative reforms, such as a requirement that FBI field offices preserve their “Woods files” and a mandate for new FISA training for FBI lawyers and agents. That’s all well and good. But one need not go back to the bad old days of J. Edgar Hoover to see that the bureau has been careless in its monitoring of U.S. citizens.

The Woods procedures were issued in 2001 after Congress obtained a memo from the FBI’s counterterrorism division detailing surveillance abuse in the late 1990s. One target’s cell phone remained tapped after he gave it up and the number was reassigned to a different person. Another FBI field office videotaped a meeting, despite a clear prohibition on that technique in its FISA warrant. In 2003, an interim report from the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded that the 2001 memo showed “the FBI was experiencing more systemic problems related to the implementation of FISA orders” than a problem with the surveillance law itself.

Very little has changed in the intervening 17 years. That’s why it’s foolish to expect new and better procedures will work this time. A better approach would be an aggressive policy to prosecute FBI agents and lawyers who submit falsehoods to the surveillance court. The best way to prevent future violations is to severely punish those who commit them in the present.

Scott Johnson posted an article today at Power Line Blog that included the following quote (follow the link to the article for the audio of the answer to the question):

The New York Times is illustrative of “the twisted politics of the Trump era.” Daniel Chaitin covers the Times angle in his Examiner article “‘Biased and out of control’: Devin Nunes rips New York Times reporting on FISA memo.” Chaitin reports on Rep. Devin Nunes’s interview with Larry O’Connor:

Radio host Larry O’Connor read a passage from the [Times’s] report [on the Horowitz memo] to Nunes during the Examining Politics podcast on Tuesday. It said DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report “helps the FBI politically because it undercuts the narrative among President Trump and his supporters that the bureau cut corners to surveil the adviser, Carter Page, as part of a politically motivated conspiracy.”

“So, the good news for the FBI is that they trampled on people’s rights all over the place, not just people who worked with Donald Trump’s campaign,” O’Connor said. “Is that the takeaway we should have here congressman?”

I agree with Eli Lake–severe punishment for those guilty of illegal spying on American citizens is the only way to prevent future abuse by the FBI.

 

We Have Lost Critical Thinking (And Civility) In America

I did an experiment on Facebook yesterday. I posted the following observation:

To all of my liberal California friends who are constantly bashing President Trump. Has it occurred to you that if President Trump had not restricted air travel from Chine at the end of January (despite being called a racist by the Democrats for doing it) if you live near an airport that is a point of entry from China, he might have saved your life.

That is a statement based on comments by the medical experts on the coronavirus task force–it is not an original thought. The response the statement got was unbelievable–there were close to fifty comments, many of which (on both sides) used language that caused me to eventually delete the post.

There really are not two sides of that argument–the statement is based on scientific evidence about the virus and how it spreads. There should be nothing controversial about the statement.

So what did I learn? Critical thinking and civil debate are not doing well in America. By the time the comments thread was half way over, the word racist was used, President Trump was accused of acting like a king, the people who supported President Trump in his handling of the coronavirus were simply ignoring facts, and the people who opposed President Trump were simply stupid and uninformed. The basic fact of the statement was totally ignored in the discussion.  I mention this because it is dangerous for America. I wasn’t around for Pearl Harbor, so I don’t know if America came together at that point. I was around for 9/11, and I remember the leaked Democrat memo that suggested a strategy to undermine President Bush by supporting the war in Iraq and then pulling the rug out from under him. That is not the way to unite America, and may have been the beginning of the political games we see now. Just for the record, The New York Times ran an article in 2014 stating that our soldiers found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but somehow the rest of the media didn’t pick up the story.

My point is very simple. We are facing a crisis in America. Because a country without freedom chose to lie to the world about a new virus, we are challenged by a pandemic. Everyone has been told to stay at home for at least the past week, and some of us are going stir crazy. Insulting each other and bashing the President does not help the situation. Some of the statements made by our political leaders would be considered treasonous in a different time. It’s time to work together and ignore those who are using this crisis for political gain. We need to bring back critical thinking and civility.

Be Careful Out There (Or Better Yet, Stay Home)

It’s hard to fight an enemy you can’t see, yet that is what Americans are being asked to do. We can debate the seriousness of the coronavirus if we choose, but we can’t debate that it is here and that it is killing people.

MSN posted an article yesterday about the death of two people in Washington state. I realize that compared to the growing number of coronavirus deaths in America, two people may seem insignificant (not to their families), but their story is significant.

The article reports:

With the coronavirus quickly spreading in Washington state in early March, leaders of the Skagit Valley Chorale debated whether to go ahead with weekly rehearsal.

The virus was already killing people in the Seattle area, about an hour’s drive to the south.

But Skagit County hadn’t reported any cases, schools and business remained open, and prohibitions on large gatherings had yet to be announced.

On March 6, Adam Burdick, the choir’s conductor, informed the 121 members in an email that amid the “stress and strain of concerns about the virus,” practice would proceed as scheduled at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church.

“I’m planning on being there this Tuesday March 10, and hoping many of you will be, too,” he wrote.

Sixty singers showed up. A greeter offered hand sanitizer at the door, and members refrained from the usual hugs and handshakes.

…After 2 1/2 hours, the singers parted ways at 9 p.m.

Nearly three weeks later, 45 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or ill with the symptoms, at least three have been hospitalized, and two are dead.

The outbreak has stunned county health officials, who have concluded that the virus was almost certainly transmitted through the air from one or more people without symptoms.

The fact that the virus was transmitted at the rehearsal raises questions about the virus.

The article notes:

In interviews with the Los Angeles Times, eight people who were at the rehearsal said that nobody there was coughing or sneezing or appeared ill.

Everybody came with their own sheet music and avoided direct physical contact. Some members helped set up or remove folding chairs. A few helped themselves to mandarins that had been put out on a table in back.

Experts said the choir outbreak is consistent with a growing body of evidence that the virus can be transmitted through aerosols — particles smaller than 5 micrometers that can float in the air for minutes or longer.

The World Health Organization has downplayed the possibility of transmission in aerosols, stressing that the virus is spread through much larger “respiratory droplets,” which are emitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes and quickly fall to a surface.

But a study published March 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that when the virus was suspended in a mist under laboratory conditions it remained “viable and infectious” for three hours — though researchers have said that time period would probably be no more than a half-hour in real-world conditions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has not behaved well during this pandemic. There is a video of an official of the organization obviously avoiding a question about helping Taiwan. There are also indications that the WHO has made statements based on Chinese propaganda rather than actual facts (misinformation that has helped spread the virus).

At any rate–STAY HOME. Choir practice is fun, but when you sing, you may be projecting more than your voice. Normally that is not a problem–right now it is.

Stay safe.

What Were They Thinking?

Right now, New York is a hot spot for the coronavirus. Samaritan’s Purse has erected a hospital in Central Park, and the USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds for patients, has arrived in New York harbor. New Yorkers have been asked to stay home to avoid further spread of the virus. So have they listened?

Yesterday The U.K. Daily Mail posted pictures of New Yorkers celebrating the arrival of the USNS Comfort.

Here are some pictures:

Obviously the arrival of the ship is a historic moment, and represents hope for the city. However, how many of the people in the crowd that came out to watch will be in New York City’s hospitals within the next two weeks? We need to learn to follow directions. At this point in time, that is a critical skill.

 

Fake News Isn’t Helping Anyone

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted pictures that CBS News aired as pictures of New York City hospitals. The pictures were actually pictures of Italian hospitals.

These are the pictures:

Showing this picture while discussing the coronavirus in New York City was both irresponsible and misleading.

Unfortunately there is a lot of fake news being reported in the mainstream media right now. Be careful who you believe.

How Certificate Of Need Laws Endanger Americans

The Federalist posted an article today about Certificate of Need (CON) laws and how they are hindering America’s response to the coronavirus.

The article reports:

During a Tuesday press conference, Cuomo lashed out at the federal government for not sending enough ventilators as the Wuhan coronavirus continues to rattle the state. “Four hundred ventilators? I need 30,000 ventilators,” Cuomo said. “You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators?” The state is projecting it will need approximately 140,000 beds in 14 to 21 days, which is higher than its previous estimation of 110,000 beds by early to mid-May.

However, New York, along with 35 other states and the District of Columbia, have in place what are known as certificate-of-need (CON) laws. According to Reason, “Their stated purpose is to keep hospitals from overspending, and thus from having to charge higher prices to make up for unnecessary outlays of capital costs. But in practice, they mean hospitals must get a state agency’s permission before offering new services or installing a new medical technology. Depending on the state, everything from the number of hospital beds to the installation of a new MRI machine could be subject to CON review.”

The article notes the impact of CON laws on patient mortality rates:

In addition to causing a lack of proper equipment, these rules harm patients. According to a study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, states with CON laws have a 2.5 to 5 percent higher mortality rate than those without. Wait times have also been affected, with the average delay in New York City emergency rooms ranging from seven to 10 hours before the virus outbreak added strain to an already poorly operating medical system.

The article concludes:

Luckily, efforts to eradicate this onerous red tape have already begun, as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order suspending CON law enforcement in the state. Governors like Cuomo would be wise to follow suit and slash these burdensome regulations to allow for the expansion of new medical facilities and COVID-19 treatments.

More government control of our health-care industry is the exact opposite of what should be happening in Washington, D.C, and states around the country. Instead, lawmakers across the nation should be focusing on getting rid of these big-government barriers that make it more difficult for doctors and medical experts to treat patients. Letting the market solve its own problems is the answer to many of our problems in health care. The government needs to know when to step out of the way.

On March 23, I posted an article about how CON laws are impacting New Hampshire’s response to the coronavirus. Hopefully the problems caused by these laws during this health crisis will cause states to revisit them. Unfortunately, hospitals like the monopolies the laws give them and are willing to put forth massive lobbying efforts. Lawmakers need to rise above the politics and lobbyists and do what is best for the people they are supposed to represent.