Uneven Precautions

Hot Air posted an article today about some recent comments by New York City Mayor DeBlasio.

The article reports:

“A small number of religious communities, specific churches and specific synagogues, are unfortunately not paying attention to this guidance even though it’s so widespread,” the New York Democrat said Friday at his daily press briefing.

“I want to say to all those who are preparing for the potential of religious services this weekend: If you go to your synagogue, if you go to your church and attempt to hold services after having been told so often not to, our enforcement agents will have no choice but to shut down those services,” he added.

De Blasio said that continued resistance of authorities to close religious services could mean a permanent shutdown.

The last paragraph is an amazing statement. Particularly when you consider the fact that he has not closed down the parks in New York City.

The article notes:

But it’s still interesting to see how selective the Mayor is in the targets he picks for “special treatment” in terms of enforcing his social distancing decrees. As I mentioned above, why threaten to close the synagogues when he still hasn’t closed the public parks? We’re seeing much larger crowds still clogging the parks than you’re likely to find in the average temple on any given Saturday.

The last paragraph of the article reminds us how silly Mayor De Blasio’s statement about closing down the churches and synagogues is:

The last thing I’ll touch on here was de Blasio’s admonishment about potentially closing the buildings “permanently.” That’s hogwash. Or perhaps malarkey, if you’re feeling more Bidenesque. Sooner or later this virus will pass. When it does, the rules about not gathering in large groups will go out the window. And any elected official found trying to shutter churches and synagogues at that point will quickly find themselves on the losing end of a massive court case, if not run out of town on a rail.

At any rate, one thing Americans need to make sure of is that the freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment of our Constitution do not get lost in the fight against the coronavirus.

Good News From France

The Gateway Pundit reported today that France has sanctioned the use of chloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus after 78 out of 80 patients recovered completely from the virus within five days after receiving the drug.

The article reports:

The French government has officially sanctioned the malaria drug chloroquine to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus, France 24 English reported Saturday.

“This ensures continued treatment of patients who have been treated for several years for a chronic condition with this drug, but also allows a temporary authorization to allow certain patients with coronavirus to benefit from this therapeutic route,” France’s Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon said.

The French move came after Didier Raoult, an infectious diseases specialist, reported that clinical results show 78 of 80 patients treated with chloroquine recovered within five days,.

This was Dr. Raoult’s second successful treatment against the coronavirus.

…On Thursday, France’s Minister of Health Olivier Véran said: “Hydroxychloroquine and the combination of lopinavir/ritonavir may be prescribed, dispensed and administered under the responsibility of a doctor to patients affected by Covid-19, in the healthcare establishments which take charge of them, as well as for the continuation of their treatment if their condition allows it and with the authorization of the initial prescriber, at home.”

The liberal Washington Post reported on Thursday that New York is using the drug as treatment.

“New York will use three medications — hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin — contributed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Amneal Pharmaceuticals,” The Post said, citing state officials. “The first wave of patients will receive hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.”

This is great news.

Defective Test Kits Really Didn’t Help Anyone

One America News is reporting today that Spain has returned the coronavirus test kits supplied to the country by China because they are defective.

The article reports:

According to Spain’s prime minister, coronavirus test kits supplied by a Chinese company have been sent back after being deemed to be inaccurate. Pedro Sánchez made the announcement on Saturday and confirmed that the kits would be replaced.

The Spanish government faced immense criticism following the purchase of more than half a million kits, 60,000 of which were found to be only 30 percent effective. This prompted critics to question the process the government followed when it purchased the kits.

…The Chinese company that supplied the kits claimed the incorrect results may be due to a failure to collect samples or use the tests correctly. The Czech Republic also reported a similar situation this week, saying around 80 percent of the 150,000 kits delivered from China were faulty.

There will always be a risk in buying something from a country that employs slave labor and does not allow freedom of information. It is quite possible that the defective kits were sent hoping that no one would notice that they didn’t work. Note that the Chinese company is blaming the user–not the test kits. That lack of taking responsibility has been part of China’s handling of the coronavirus since the virus was first known–probably in November of last year.

Some Of The Problems With The Bill

Heritage Action sent out a brief summary of some of the problems with the stimulus bill passed yesterday.

Here are the highlights:

Unfortunately, the CARES Act missed the mark and included policy provisions unrelated to the epidemic. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) used the suffering of Americans as a bargaining chip in order to push for these liberal policies:

    • $25 million for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
    • $75 million for the Corporation For Public Broadcasting (NPR & PBS)
    • $75 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
    • $75 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities

Schumer also negotiated for an expansion to unemployment insurance (UI) that is harmful to the recovery of our economy—he referred to it as “unemployment insurance on steroids.”

Schumer’s UI expansion will pay many workers significantly more money to be unemployed than they would receive if they were working. This encourages people to become separated from their employers and discourages them from returning to work. This is not going to help the economy recover!

We should be doing everything possible to help people stay employed. If people stay employed, they will keep their health insurance at this critical time and they will be able to quickly return to work after the crisis has subdued.

This is the chart of where the money will go:

This is what happens when you have politicians in Washington who represent special interests and political agendas rather than the American voters who elected them. Let’s clean house in November.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

On Thursday, Just The News posted an article about some of the things the National Institute of Health (NIH) is spending your tax money on.

The article reports:

On a steamy summer day inside the lecture auditorium of the storied National Institutes of Health headquarters, Dr. Michael Bracken delivered a stark message to an audience that dedicated its life, and owed its living, to medical research.

As much as 87.5% of biomedical research is wasted or inefficient, the respected Yale University epidemiologist declared in a sobering assessment for a federal research agency that spends about $40 billion a year on medical studies.

He backed his staggering statistic with these additional stats: 50 out of every 100 medical studies fail to produce published findings, and half of those that do publish have serious design flaws. And those that aren’t flawed and manage to publish are often needlessly redundant.

The article notes where the NIH has spent money instead of researching cures for a coronavirus pandemic:

As you weigh that question, consider this: In the 15 years since evidence first emerged that drugs like chloroquine might help in a coronavirus pandemic, NIH spent:

Just two days ago, in the midst of surging coronavirus deaths in America, NIH released a joint study by its National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Aging that came to a heady conclusion: If you walk more, you are likely to live longer.

If the NIH had investigated chloroquine fifteen years ago, we might not have governors forbidding doctors to use it to treat coronavirus. It really is time to go through the federal budget line by line and get rid of stupid research projects and useless programs. We could probably pay for the stimulus package with what we cut and have money left over.

 

This Is What American Ingenuity Looks Like

The Amateur Radio Relay League (AARL), a group of amateur radio operators, posted the following in their recent newsletter:

Radio Amateurs Team Up to Help University Design Low-Cost Ventilator

Amateur radio volunteers from around the world have volunteered to assist University of Florida Professor Sam Lampotang and his engineering team in their quest to rapidly develop an open-source, low-cost patient ventilator that can be built anywhere from such commonly available components as PVC pipe and lawn-sprinkler valves.

The amateur radio volunteers are developing Arduino-based control software that will set the respiratory rate and other key parameters in treating critically ill coronavirus victims.

Multiple volunteers responding to a call for help from Gordon Gibby, MD, KX4Z, include noted software developer Jack Purdum, W8TEE, and uBITX transceiver maker Ashhar Farhan, VU2ESE. University of Florida physicians are working to address the critical legal aspects as the design moves closer to fruition. The ventilator’s valves would precisely time compressed oxygen flow into patient breathing circuits under Arduino control, allowing exhausted patients with “stiff” lungs impacted by viral pneumonia to survive until their body can clear the infection.

The software design team is also adding simple features such as an LCD display, encoders to choose parameters, and watchdog safety features.

This is the result of the free market being allowed to function.

Rhode Island Has Discovered Border Security

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about a recent policy enacted by Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island.

The article reports:

Governor Gina Raimondo announced. Starting immediately, anyone coming into the state from New York state will be mandated to self-quarantine for 14 days, the governor said.

“No matter how you come to Rhode Island – bus, car, train, plane – you are ordered to quarantine for 14 days,” Raimondo said. “In my judgement this is the most prudent form of action in light of the crisis.”

Members of the National Guard will be stationed at train and bus stations to gather the contact information of anyone coming in from New York. In addition, the Rhode Island State Police will station troopers at the state border to flag down vehicles with New York license plates. The information collected will be used only for contact tracing by the Rhode Island Department of Health, Raimondo said.

“This is different. This is unusual. This is radical,” Raimondo said. “I don’t want anyone to panic. If anything, Rhode Islanders should breathe a sigh of relief. We are doing things to keep ourselves safe.” 

This is unbelievable. How many illegal immigrants has Rhode Island let in that hadn’t been vaccinated for the diseases that Americans are routinely vaccinated for? Were they ever quarantined?

The article concludes:

Keeping tens-of-thousands of migrant travelers from central America and Mexico out of the United States is an abomination to the humanitarian interests of our nation.  However, allowing Americans to cross state borders during a national health emergency is apparently a bridge too far.

One of the under-appreciated benefits of this COVID-19 crisis, is exposing the hypocrisy of the limo-liberal elite.   Notice how quickly a Democrat can turn totalitarian? I digress….

Funny how it was only a few short months ago when Russia, Russia, Russia hype was declared to be influencing the national political conversation, while these same democrat governors were quoting the statue of Liberty.  Alas….

I wonder if anyone will question whether or not this is constitutional.

When In Doubt, Blame President Trump

Sometimes I am just amazed at the chutzpah of some people. Townhall posted an article today about a recent statement by Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans. New Orleans is about to become the next American hot spot for the coronavirus.

The article reports:

Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans refuses to take responsibility for her decision not to call off Mardi Gras over concerns of the Wuhan coronavirus. That decision has caused New Orleans to become the epicenter of coronavirus cases in the state of Louisiana, according to medical experts. So who exactly does the Democratic mayor blame for not canceling Mardi Gras in her own city? Donald Trump. 

In an interview with Wolf Blitzer, Cantrell said she didn’t take the threat of the virus too seriously because President Trump didn’t take it seriously. She then gave herself credit for canceling other events in her city subsequent to Mardi Gras, like the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

I would like to remind the Mayor that President Trump put travel restrictions on China at the end of January (and was soundly criticized for it). Isn’t that an indication of taking the coronavirus seriously? Did the Mayor not see what was happening on the various cruise ships that were impacted by the disease?

New Orleans is an interesting city. The population of the city includes a lot of artists and musicians who are struggling to make a living at their craft. There is a large percentage of the population that lives in poverty. The schools attempted to improve after hurricane Katrina, but fell back into old patterns. The city attracts a great number of tourists at Mardi Gras, and the celebration provides a lot of income for the city. New Orleans is a city that loves to party, but has not been effective in dealing with serious situations. The fact that they are rapidly becoming a hot spot for the coronavirus is a reflection of this.

 

This Is How America Works

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article reporting that Ford Motor Company, GE Healthcare and 3M have started pooling their resources together to make ventilators, respirators and face shields to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.

That is fantastic news.

The article reports:

“We were the arsenal of democracy during two world wars,” Executive Chairman Bill Ford explained during his appearance Tuesday on the “Today Show.” We built iron lungs for polio patients. Whenever we’re called on, we’re there.”

“We’re going into our parts bin to see what can be done,” he added. “We’re a very opportunistic company.”

…“By coming together across multiple industries, we can make a real difference for people in need and for those on the front lines of this crisis,” the statement added. “At Ford, we feel a deep obligation to step up and contribute in times of need, just as we always have through the 117-year history of our company.”

Other manufacturers like General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Tesla have announced it will start repurposing to build medical equipment.

Jim Baumbick, vice president of Ford’s Enterprise Product Line Management team, said the company “wanted to help in any way we could in getting a range of critical protective gear in the hands of these brave men and women in the medical community fighting COVID-19 on the front line.”

“We see the need,” he added. “We just want to jump in and find a way to help.”

This is the sort of thinking that won World War II. It will also win the war against the coronavirus.

In The Long Run, This Would Not Have Mattered, But It Was Still Irresponsible

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the shortage of N95 protective respirator masks. Some of the media have stated that President Obama chose not to replenish the stockpile of these masks after the 2009 H1N1 virus epidemic. That is true, but there is more to the story. At this point I would like to note that the masks have a shelf life of five years–even if President Obama had replenished the stockpile, in order for the stockpile to be any good it would have had to have been replenished again in 2014 and 2019. The responsibility for the shortage of these masks rests of both the Obama and Trump administrations. However, I think that the blame actually rests on the bureaucrats running the CDC and other health agencies inside the government.

The article notes:

H1N1, also known as the swine flu, drew down about 100 million N95 protective respirator masks.

Afterward, an H1N1 task force recommended that the Obama administration replace the masks in the national stockpile, according to reporting by the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg News.

“If the Obama administration didn’t respond to a request for additional masks, and if they did not communicate that need to the incoming [Trump] administration, that would certainly make the present situation more difficult,” Amy Anderson, a registered nurse and co-founder of the Global Nurse Consultants Alliance, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

…The Los Angeles Times reported March 20 that the U.S. government ignored warnings in 2009, making no reference to Obama’s being president at the time. 

The CDC, under the George W. Bush administration, published a “National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza” in 2005. In that case, the government heeded the agency’s advice to stockpile medical supplies. 

…The International Safety Equipment Association and the federal H1N1 task force recommended replacing the N95 masks after the response to the swine flu drew down 100 million masks from the federal stockpile, the paper reported.

However, association President Charles Johnson told the Times: “Our association is unaware of any major effort to restore the stockpile to cover that drawdown.”

The problem with a medical emergency is that you generally don’t see it coming. Blaming any administration for current supply problems is not helpful. Finding a solution to those problems is helpful. It would be nice if the mainstream media would attempt to unite us rather than divide us. The reporting during the Wuhan Flu epidemic has been horrendous and very unhelpful.

I Question The Wisdom Of This Decision

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit reported that Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak (D) issued an emergency order barring the use of anti-malaria drugs such as chloroquine for Coronavirus patients. This seems very odd to me as those drugs have had some success in curing the disease.

The article includes information from the Associated Press (with emphasis added by The Gateway Pundit):

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada’s governor on Tuesday night issued an emergency order banning gatherings of more than 10 people in the state indoors or outdoors, a more aggressive move to try to stop the spread of the coronavrius.

Sisolak said the order does not apply to private homes or the homeless, but includes places like social clubs, parks, libraries and sports fields.

Sisolak signed an emergency order earlier Tuesday barring the use of anti-malaria drugs for someone who has the coronavirus. The order restricting chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine came after President Donald Trump touted the medication as a treatment and falsely stated that the Food and Drug Administration had just approved the use of chloroquine to treat patients infected with coronavirus. Sisolak said in a statement that there’s no consensus among experts or Nevada doctors that the drugs can treat people with COVID-19.

I believe President Trump said that the drug had been previously approved for use as a malaria treatment and was showing promise as a treatment for coronavirus (when combined with azithromycin). We may actually have some test results on the use of these drugs by the end of this week. So far there is valid anecdotal evidence that the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin will slow the progression of the coronavirus and shorten the time a person has the virus.

I think if I contracted the virus in Nevada, I would leave the state quickly in case the virus got worse–I would want to have all options available to me in case I got really ill.

Recognizing A Long-Standing Problem

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about America’s dependence on Chinese manufacturing for inexpensive products.

The article reports:

American companies that produce essential goods in China should plan to shift their operations back to the United States or other Western countries, according to a senior Republican lawmaker.

“We’re staring into a significant, significant crisis of supply chain,” Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner told the Washington Examiner. “Cheap labor or cheap manufacturing be damned if you are reliant on them for your life and livelihood.”

Gardner’s warning was spurred by the shortage of hospital masks in the United States, a dearth driven by Beijing’s refusal to allow American companies that make the products in China to ship them out of the country amid the coronavirus pandemic. And he’s not alone in that sentiment, raising the possibility that anger over China’s self-interested response to the coronavirus outbreak could produce one of the most dramatic alterations of global economics in decades.

“Because of the coronavirus problem, people are recognizing that any supply chain that has single points of failure is incredibly vulnerable,” the Heritage Foundation’s Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow in the organization’s Asian Studies Center, told the Washington Examiner. “China is going to be very concerned about decoupling, offshoring, [or any] redirection of investments out of China.”

Obviously, the coronavirus has caused American companies to rethink outsourcing manufacturing to China, but the threats by the Chinese government have not helped the situation.

The article notes:

That suspicion of China reflects the degree to which the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the tensions between the world’s two largest economies. American officials are angry that Chinese Communist officials censored the early warnings that a new virus had emerged in Wuhan. In response, fuming Chinese diplomats have accused the U.S. Army of starting the pandemic while reminding the West that China controls key parts of the medical supply chain.

“There could be nothing more ham-handed and catastrophic than for the Chinese to talk some more about ‘how the U.S. created coronavirus, and, by the way, maybe we’ll cut off pharmaceuticals,’” Cheng said. “You want to have a situation where there really is that kind of a backlash, where the U.S. actively tries to not only decouple but move specifically away from China? That’s inviting that kind of a backlash.”

America can’t afford to outsource its drug manufacturing to a country that threatens to cut off the supply. It’s time to bring drug manufacturing home and employ American workers.

Solving A Less-Than-Obvious Problem

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today about a recent waiver signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

This is a screenshot of the waiver recently signed by the Governor:

The article reports:

Leadership is often about recognizing the unique landscape and taking ‘outside the box’ action in response to current conditions.  Greg Abbott recognizes there are two distinctly different supply-chains, and this modification can open one distribution valve.

Most consumers are not aware food consumption in the U.S. is now a 50/50 proposition. Approximately 50% of all food was consumed “outside the home” (or food away from home), and 50% of all food consumed was food “inside the home” (grocery shoppers).

Food ‘outside the home’ includes: restaurants, fast-food locales, schools, corporate cafeterias, university lunchrooms, manufacturing cafeterias, hotels, food trucks, park and amusement food sellers and many more.  Many of those venues are not thought about when people evaluate the overall U.S. food delivery system; however, this network was approximately 50 percent of all food consumption on a daily basis.

This will help the shortages that are appearing in the grocery stores. It will also help restaurants with their bottom line while they are closed. I would also like to remind people when possible to do ‘take out’ from the restaurants you normally frequent. This will help those restaurants recover more quickly. I personally had a fantastic quiche for lunch from Carolina Bagel!

Sometimes There Just Aren’t Any Words

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article by Robert Spencer about a recent statement by Khadar Bin Muhammad, the imam of the Masjid Bilal Ibn Rabah in Syracuse, New York.

The article reports:

In a video posted on YouTube last week and reposted by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), the learned imam explains it all for us. Offering us a revelation that the Center for Disease Control and everyone else who is working on the coronavirus crisis have overlooked, the imam explained that “safety comes through tauhid,” that is, Islam’s concept of monotheism. So if you don’t want to contract the coronavirus, turn to Allah. Khadar Bin Muhammad says: “Every destruction and every harm comes through shirk” – that is, having other gods besides Allah – “and through worshipping other than Allah, believing in other than Allah, and thinking that [anything] other than Allah can harm you or have an effect on you. All harm comes through that. That is why you see the kuffar [infidels] are the scaredest people.”

The infidels aren’t just scared when they should be trusting in Allah. They are also the cause of all the trouble in the first place – specifically infidel women. According to Khadar Bin Muhammad, the coronavirus is a manifestation of Allah’s wrath against their outrageous immodesty. “How many women do we see,” he asked, “may Allah guide them and protect them, who walk around and show their ankles? Is this not part of her awra [private parts]?”

According to a statement in the hadith, every part of a woman’s body except her face and hands are private parts.

The article explains:

Khadar Bin Muhammad said that women’s ankles were part of her private parts. As strange as it may seem, this is not an eccentric view in Islam. A hadith depicts Muhammad saying to a woman, “‘O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this,’ and he pointed to her face and hands” (Sunan Abu Dawud 4092).

This is the important quote from the article:

So that’s the imam’s message for women: take off the mask, put on the niqab, and pick up the Qur’an, and the coronavirus will go away. Won’t it? And seriously, while it is easy to laugh at this, isn’t Khadar Bin Muhammad endangering his hearers by preaching this nonsense?

Somehow I don’t think that women covering their ankles is going to stop the spread of coronavirus. Not all cultures and religions are equal.

Skewing The News Can Have Consequences

Bias in news reporting comes in a variety of ways. One way is to leave out critical parts of a story in order to give a totally misleading impression. Unfortunately the news media did that recently in a situation where someone died.

Townhall posted an article that illustrates how harmful and misleading media bias can be.

The article reports:

Media outlets and journalists on social media heavily pushed a story about a woman and her husband drinking fish tank cleaner because it contained chloroquine phosphate after President Trump had mentioned the medicinal version of chloroquine could be used to help treat COVID-19.

After drinking the cleaner, the couple began to feel sick and were rushed to the hospital, where her husband later died and she was put in intensive care. She told NBC News they drank it out of fear of contracting the coronavirus and had heard Trump talking about chloroquine to treat patients.

However, some of the reports and social media left out the fact the couple did not ingest the medicinal form of chloroquine that Trump had said could be used to help cure those infected with the Wuhan coronavirus.

Axios’ story about the incident completely left out the part about them ingesting fish tank cleaner. Their tweet for the original story has been deleted and an editor’s note was added to the story hours after it was first published.

…Journalists on Twitter often left out the part explaining the couple did not use the tablet form of chloroquine, racking up thousands of retweets and likes off of the false premise.

NBC News Correspondent Heidi Przybyla’s tweet about the story went viral, but she did not add the key detail until two hours later and at the very bottom of her thread, which has received far less attention.

The most blatant example of journalistic malpractice was found in a tweet by Axios and the response by Jennifer Rubin:

Understand as you read this that the political left would love to see President Trump’s daily coronavirus updates go away. Why? Because when the President talks to the people directly, Americans see a man handling the situation as well as could be expected. The media spin rooms try to spin what was said, but if people see it for themselves, the spin has less impact.

Please follow the link to the article at Townhall. It shows a number of tweets attempting to blame President Trump for the death of the man who drank fish tank cleaner. While the man’s death is a tragedy, no one told him to drink fish tank cleaner. It was a really dumb thing to do. However, the reporting of this tragedy is only one example of how irresponsible our mainstream media has become.

The Effort Continues

Just The News posted an article today about Congress’ continued effort to pass legislation that will help Americans cope with the financial fallout from the coronavirus.

The article reports:

The Senate on Monday afternoon resumes efforts to pass a trillion-dollar spending bill to help the country survive the severe economic impact of the coronavirus, following a failed vote Sunday that has put financial markets on edge.

The measure in the GOP-controlled chamber failed to get 60 votes to begin debate.

The failed vote has resulted in Democrats and Republicans blaming each other, with the virus rapidly spreading and threatening to inflict severe damage on the U.S. economy – from large-scale unemployment to a recession to businesses across the country shuttering.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after the failed vote pointed his finger at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“The House speaker showed up, and we’re back to square one,” the Kentucky Republican said.

…Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he and fellow Democrats didn’t provide McConnell with enough votes to pass the bill in large part because, he argued, the money to help corporations doesn’t have enough restrictions and because of the lack of money for state and local governments.

The spending measure – now projected at more than $1.5 trillion – failed Sunday on a 47-47 vote. Five GOP senators are in coronavirus quarantine, making passage of the bill even more difficult for McConnell.

At this point, Congress does not represent the American people and is not acting in their behalf. It is time to withhold the salaries of Congress and all Congressional employees until a relief bill for ordinary Americans is passed. If the American people are not being helped in this crisis, Congress should not be paid.

When Regulations Interfere With Solutions

Yesterday The Union Leader, a New Hampshire newspaper, posted an article about the possible shortages of medical supplies and hospital beds during the coronavirus epidemic.

The article notes:

ACROSS the country, state leaders have raised the alarm over the lack of enough beds should the COVID-19 pandemic create a surge in serious and critical cases. They are concerned that they simply won’t have enough hospital beds to care for ill patients and are taking drastic steps to “flatten the curve” – spreading out the timeline of the disease so that the health care system can manage the influx of new cases.

This is just as true in New Hampshire as across the country. However, the prime reason we don’t have more hospital beds is not a lack of demand, but government regulation.

According to U.S. Census data, New Hampshire’s population has grown by 48% since the 1980 census. However, the last new hospital to open in the Granite State did so in 1983.

The reason why our state hasn’t built more hospitals since then isn’t lack of demand. With a growing and aging population, our health care needs have gone up, not down.

The answer why we haven’t seen more hospitals and, thus, more hospital beds is because of government regulations that were intentionally designed to limit competition and choice. Sadly, these regulations have been effective in achieving those goals.

For many years, the prime culprit from new hospital development was the state’s Certificate of Need (CON) board. For someone to get a license to build a new hospital, they would have to go before this board and hope to get a government permission slip to have the opportunity to begin. Unsurprisingly, the CON board became a protection racket for the state’s existing hospitals to stop new development.

Thanks to the work of Americans for Prosperity activists and critical policy champions like Senator John Reagan and former Representative Marilinda Garcia, New Hampshire was able to put an end to the CON board in 2016.

The article cites some other regulations that limit the number of hospital beds:

One regulation forces anyone who wants to open a hospital to have a 24 hour per day, seven day per week emergency department. Given that emergency departments are the most expensive and toughest to staff part of any hospital, this is a huge barrier to opening a new facility.

And, like most cronyism, existing hospitals made sure this requirement doesn’t apply to any hospital that had its license before the law was passed.

Another regulation forces any new hospital to take reimbursement from all payers, regardless of whether doing so makes sense for that hospital’s business model. Across the country, cash-only facilities are thriving, providing lower cost alternatives to patients. But, under state law, they can’t operate in the Granite State.

Finally, one state regulation provides for a 15-mile radius monopoly zone around smaller hospitals in more rural areas. This guarantees that anyone outside of the southeastern part of New Hampshire will never see another hospital being built in their community, or anywhere near them.

While changing these laws won’t help us fight the COVID-19 virus, it’s high time the state legislature begins to remove these barriers to help us deal with the next pandemic. Our public health infrastructure has been unnecessarily hobbled, not by disease, but by special interests.

North Carolina is one of the states with Certificate of Need (CON) laws. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 35 states and Washington, D.C. operate a CON program with wide variation state-to-state. I suspect that number is high–they may be including laws that are not technically CON laws. At any rate, North Carolina has been trying to repeal its CON law for a number of years. CON laws interfere with the free market and artificially inflate medical costs by creating monopolies. One way to lower medical costs without sacrificing quality of care would be to remove CON laws. However, hospitals like their monopolies.

This Is How Media Spin Works

This is a screenshot from The Gateway Pundit illustrating how The New York Times changed its headline to fit the political narrative:

This is how you spin a crisis. I would like to remind everyone that Congress is not losing their income during this crisis. In fact, a number of Congressmen have profited in the crisis. Other than to be re-elected or because they actually care about the fate of average Americans, they have no incentive to pass a relief package. November is a long way away in terms of remembering, but we need to remember the actions of Congress during this crisis when we vote in November. Anyone who held up the package that would provide relief for American workers needs to lose their election bid. Blocking the bill has nothing to do with worker protections–it has to do with funding Planned Parenthood, a major donor to Democrat campaigns. The Democrats are rewarding their campaign donor rather than helping the American people.

In Case You Were Wondering Where The Holdup Was…

Breitbart posted an article today about Congress’ attempt to deal with the coronavirus epidemic. As usual, Washington is playing politics and not getting things done.

The article reports:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on Sunday that she has decided to move forward with her own emergency coronavirus relief package.

Pelosi spokes just hours before the Senate was scheduled to take a procedural vote that would lead towards a final vote on a bipartisan economic relief package. The bill would provide economic relief after the coronavirus epidemic ravaged the country’s economy.

“From my standpoint, we’re apart,” she said.

Subsequently, Senate leaders decided to delay a planned vote to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on the Senate floor on Sunday that he intended for the legislation to be bipartisan and aimed at helping the American people.

“What we have is a compromise product which contains ideas, contributions, and priorities on both sides and which could become law as soon as tomorrow,” he said. “In other words, it’s just about time to take yes for an answer.”

…Pelosi said that Republicans and Democrats are still “talking” but that there is no need to meet McConnell’s Monday deadline for a Senate vote on the coronavirus package.
Senate Republicans and the White House have insisted that they will continue to push for the $1.6 trillion economic relief package, which would include $350 billion in support for small businesses and $250 billion for unemployment insurance. The package would also include direct cash payments to individuals around $1,200 per individual, with additional funds going to families with children.
Politico reported Sunday that “it’s not clear how Pelosi’s plan would work — committee chairs have been frenetically compiling ideas for a legislative package, but are not yet ready for legislative text.”
Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) said this weekend, “The Democrats are getting some of the things they’ve asked for. They’re getting what they wanted on unemployment insurance.”
It seems as if Washington is functioning as usual. Congress will continue to work and get paid while many Americans lose their source of income because of the coronavirus. They are playing politics rather than doing what they can to help Americans in a crisis.

A Small Update On Some Of The Fake News You Are Hearing

PJ Media posted a list today of the top ten lies the news media has told about President Trump’s response to the coronavirus. Please follow the link to the article to read the details–I am simply posting the list:

10. Trump downplayed the mortality rate of the coronavirus

 

 9. Trump lied when he said Google was developing a national coronavirus website

 8.  Trump ‘dissolved’ the WH pandemic response office

 7. Trump ignored early intel briefings on possible pandemic

 6. Trump cut funding to the CDC & NIH

 5. Trump ‘muzzled’ Dr. Fauci

 4. Trump didn’t act quickly and isn’t doing enough

 3. Trump told governors they were “on their own”

 2. Trump turned down testing kits from WHO

 1. Trump called the coronavirus “a hoax”

The sources for this misinformation vary. The sources include MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Politico, Joe Biden, and Michael Bloomberg. If you are still depending on these sources for accurate reporting, you are being mislead. The article at PJ Media lists the source for each lie, so you can see where the lies came from.

Meanwhile stay safe, and be careful who you listen to.