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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Some Thoughts On One Long-Term Effect Of The Coronavirus

On March 1, Forbes Magazine posted an article about the long-term impact of the coronavirus. Obviously the article was written before America went on lockdown and the stock market felt the full impact of the epidemic.

The article reports:

The new coronavirus Covid-19 will end up being the final curtain on China’s nearly 30 year role as the world’s leading manufacturer.

“Using China as a hub…that model died this week, I think,” says Vladimir Signorelli, head of Bretton Woods Research, a macro investment research firm.

China’s economy is getting hit much harder by the coronavirus outbreak than markets currently recognize. Wall Street appeared to be the last to realize this last week. The S&P 500 fell over 8%, the worst performing market of all the big coronavirus infected nations. Even Italy, which has over a thousand cases now, did better last week than the U.S.

So who wins as China loses its place as the world’s leading manufacturer?

The article notes:

Yes. It is Mexico’s turn.

Mexico and the U.S. get a long. They are neighbors. Their president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wants to oversee a blue collar boom in his country. Trump would like to see that too, especially if it means less Central Americans coming into the U.S. and depressing wages for American blue collar workers.

According to 160 executives who participated in Foley & Lardner LLP’s 2020 International Trade and Trends in Mexico survey, released on February 25, respondents from the manufacturing, automotive and technology sectors said they intended to move business to Mexico from other countries – and they plan on doing so within the next one to five years.

“Our survey shows that a large majority of executives are moving or have moved portions of their operations from another country to Mexico,” says Christopher Swift, Foley partner and litigator in the firm’s Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations Practice.

Swift says the move is due to the trade war and the passing of the USMCA.

The article points out one of the major problems with manufacturing in Mexico:

Safety remains a top issue for foreign businesses in Mexico who have to worry about kidnappings, drug cartels, and personal protection rackets. If Mexico was half as safe as China, it would be a boon for the economy. If it was as safe, Mexico would be the best country in Latin America.

“The repercussions of the trade war are already being felt in Mexico,” says Miralles.

Mexico replaced China as the U.S. leading trading partner. China overtook Mexico only for a short while.

A strong Mexican economy would solve a lot of problems for America if the drug cartels and other illegal activities could be stopped. A strong Mexican economy would provide incentive for migrants from poorer South American countries to remain there and work. It might ebb the flow of illegals into America that burden the American welfare system and negatively impact the wages of Americans on the lower end of the wage scale.

There will always be drawbacks to outsourcing manufacturing to a country that is controlled by a group of tyrants. American companies who scream about civil rights in America have been willing to overlook sweatshops in China. It is time to add the concept of conscience to the corporate decision-making process.

Changes Needed

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about legislation sponsored by Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.). The legislation would bring back pharmaceutical manufacturing from China to America, aiming to reduce a dependency that could seriously limit the U.S. coronavirus response.

The article reports:

Cotton’s is just the latest proposal to onshore pharmaceutical supply chains, including a similar one from Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and rumblings from the White House about a “buy American” executive order. Prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, many are beginning to see the cost-savings from Chinese-made pharmaceuticals as not worth the risk of undersupply during another pandemic, or during a potential conflict with America’s main geostrategic rival.

“China unleashed this plague on the world, and China has to be held accountable,” said Cotton during a Fox News interview Wednesday evening. “It’s too grave a threat to let our health rest on Chinese drugs.”

The Cotton bill would directly target Chinese API producers, requiring the FDA to track the point of origin for APIs and drugs made outside of the United States, as well as requiring drug companies to list the country of origin for APIs on their products. It would also prohibit all federal entities—including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and Defense—from purchasing drugs that use APIs made in China.

The bill also aims to bolster domestic pharmaceutical production capacity. It would allow domestic manufacturers to immediately expense the costs of expanding production capacity, giving such businesses a major write-off on their taxes. If successful, that provision could help U.S.-based manufacturers compete with lower-cost Chinese ones, keeping drug prices low even as production moves back to the United States.

The really positive aspect of this is the tax break–unless drugs manufactured in America have a lower price than those manufactured in China, Americans won’t buy them. Any bill that aims to bring manufacturing back to America needs to consider the cost of making whatever is manufactured. We have cheap energy right now, and our corporate tax policies generally make America a good place to do business. Both of these factors are the result of having a businessman in the White House.

The article concludes:

Perhaps, in part, because of these profits, discussion of repatriating pharmaceutical production appears to have spooked Chinese authorities. In a Tuesday tweet, the country’s ministry of foreign affairs claimed that “trying to move medical supply chains back to the U.S. from China is unrealistic and unhelpful,” adding that it would be “a wrong remedy for #COVID19 pandemic.”

What We Should Call The Coronavirus

Yesterday The Epoch Times posted an editorial giving their opinion on what to name the coronavirus. Their suggestion is a common-sense approach to placing responsibility where it belongs.

The editorial states:

The Epoch Times suggests a more accurate name is the “CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus,” and calls upon others to join us in adopting this name.

The name holds the CCP accountable for its wanton disregard of human life and consequent spawning of a pandemic that has put untold numbers in countries around the world at risk, while creating widespread fear and devastating the economies of nations trying to cope with this disease.

After all, CCP officials knew in early December that the virus had appeared in Wuhan, but they sat on the information for six weeks. They arrested those who tried to warn of the danger, accusing them of spreading “rumors,” and employed the regime’s rigorous censorship to prevent media coverage and to delete any mentions of it from social media.

What might have been contained was allowed silently to spread, showing up in all of China. Individuals who might have protected themselves became victims, in numbers far greater than the CCP has admitted. By late January, there were reports that all of the crematoria in Wuhan were operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week to deal with the crush of dead bodies.

The editorial notes the price of getting too cozy with dictatorships:

In any case, as questions about the origin of the virus have gone unanswered, the CCP has begun throwing out wild charges that the United States is responsible. This will be met around the world with perplexity, if not ridicule. President Donald Trump has pushed back by referring to the “Chinese virus.”

But the CCP likely intends these charges of U.S. responsibility for its domestic audience. The CCP has victimized the Chinese people in its first denial of the virus and now seeks to victimize them again by shifting responsibility for its actions to others.

And this points out why the name “CCP virus” is needed, to distinguish the victims from the victimizer. The people of Wuhan and of China are the victims of the CCP’s arrogance and incompetence, expressed in this viral pandemic.

The name CCP virus also sounds a warning: Those nations and individuals close to the CCP are the ones suffering the worst effects from this virus, as is seen in the raging infections in the CCP’s close ally Iran and in Italy, the only G-7 nation to sign onto the Belt and Road Initiative. Taiwan and Hong Kong, which are highly skeptical of the CCP, have had relatively few infections.

The editorial concludes:

Finally, the CCP virus reminds the people of the world that the source of the virus is itself evil. This is a communist virus, and with the name CCP virus, The Epoch Times reminds the world of the cure: ending the CCP.

When Personal Interests Overrule Good Legislation

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit reported that two House of Representatives Democrats have proposed lifting tariffs on imported Chinese goods. The two Democrats are Florida Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy and Democrat Joe Cunningham of South Carolina. Oddly enough, Representative Murphy’s husband manufactures sportswear in Chinese factories. She also owns a patent on one of the products manufactured by her husband. What an amazing coincidence.

The article reports:

Murphy and Cunningham’s plan does not provide any insight or plans on how they would make sure said imports, which include everything from food to construction supplies, would be properly tested to make sure they are not carrying the Wuhan Virus. Furthermore, the individuals involved in loading, shipping, and unloading said imports have no requirements to be tested by American officials to determine if they are also carrying the Wuhan Virus. To say that this is reckless would be an understatement.

…Jamison Johnson, who is a graduate of the The Citadel in South Carolina, also served three tours of duty as a marine in the Middle East. He is running for the GOP nomination in South Carolina’s 1st District to take on incumbent Congressman Joe Cunningham, the co-sponsor of Murphy’s pro-China legislation.

“The Wuhan Virus came from China. If they would’ve been open and honest with us from the beginning, far less people would’ve gotten sick and far less people would have died. As a marine with three combat tours, I understand all too well how to deal with bullies like China. You have to show resolve and not back down,  just like how President Trump is remaining firm and steadfast in handling them. At the end of the day, it is quite clear that “Smoking Joe Cunningham” simply lacks the moral compass or courage to unite and lead us in any capacity,” Johnson told TGP in an exclusive statement Wednesday afternoon.

It is unclear how much support this effort has, but Murphy and Cunningham are pushing to have this placed in the Coronavirus aid package being considered and developed by President Trump. This is a breaking news story and we will update you as more happens.

I suspect that the obvious conflict of interest Congresswomen Murphy has between the interests of her husband’s business and the well being of America is only one example of something that is rampant in Washington. It is time to look at the business interests of both our Congressmen and their spouses. Some of their business interests may be in conflict with the interests of America. When that is the case, they need to be removed from office.

I Suppose This Is Good News

Fox News reported yesterday that ISIS is advising terrorists not to travel to Europe for jihad. It’s a little ironic to me that ISIS is protecting its members from the flu while instructing them to engage in suicide missions.

The article reports:

ISIS’ al-Naba newsletter contains “sharia directives” urging its healthy members not to enter “the land of the epidemic” to avoid becoming infected, the New York Post reported Sunday.

But any sick jihadists already in Europe should stay there — presumably, to sicken infidels, the paper reported. The Sunday Times of London first reported on the newsletter, according to the paper.

The “healthy should not enter the land of the epidemic and the afflicted should not exit from it,” the ISIS newsletter advises, according to the Post.

…Ten people have died from the coronavirus in Iraq, where 110 cases have been reported, according to John Hopkins University which is tracking the endemic. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Europe is now the virus’ epicenter.

Iran has also become an epicenter for the coronavirus.

On February 28, The New Yorker reported:

Iran, a country of eighty-three million people, has now become one of the global epicenters of the coronavirus—with the highest mortality rate in the world. Based on official numbers, the mortality rate in Iran has fluctuated daily, between eight and eighteen per cent, compared to three per cent in China and less everywhere else. Iran is also unique, because a disproportionate number of confirmed cases are senior government officials. On Thursday, the Vice-President, Masoumeh Ebtekar—who gained fame in 1979 as Sister Mary, the spokeswoman for the students who seized the U.S. Embassy and took fifty-two Americans hostage—announced that she, too, had contracted the coronavirus. The day before, she had attended a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet. Two members of parliament, including the chairman of the Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, have also been infected, as has the mayor of a district in Tehran and a senior cleric who had served as Iran’s Ambassador to the Vatican. One of the lawmakers, Mahmoud Sadeghi, tweeted on Tuesday, “I send this message in a situation where I have little hope of surviving in this world.” The former Vatican Ambassador, who was eighty-one, died on Thursday.

The article in The New Yorker notes:

The first mention of the disease by the government was a report of two deaths in the city on February 19th. Initial reports indicate that the carrier of the virus may have been a merchant who travelled between Qom and Wuhan, in China, where COVID-19 is believed to have originated. The outbreak is estimated to have begun between three and six weeks ago, which would mean that the two Iranians who died could have been sick and infecting others for weeks.

The fact that the virus has impacted many high-level officials in Iran might be the result of the close relations between the Chinese government and the Iranian government. It seems that China’s failure to tell the truth about the virus has impacted both their friends and their enemies.

A Wise Move

Breitbart reported yesterday that President Trump has directed the Secretary of Energy to purchase large amounts of oil at the current low price to be placed in the U.S. strategic reserve. This is a great idea. It builds up our strategic reserve, and it helps the oil companies that may be struggling with the sudden drop in oil prices.

The article reports:

“We’re going to fill it right up to the top, saving the American taxpayer billions and billions of dollars, helping our oil industry [and furthering] that wonderful goal — which we’ve achieved, which nobody thought was possible — of energy independence,” Trump said.

Trump’s announcement follows market turmoil in the international market when Russia and Saudi Arabia’s negotiations recently broke down and the Saudis announced they were increasing production.

The industry reacted positively to the president’s announcement, CNBC reported.

“It is a fantastic idea,” John Kilduff, founding partner of Again Capital said in the CNBC report. “The SPR is one of the few levers that the U.S. can pull in times of oil market tumult.”

“It has served the country well when supplies get tight or otherwise become unavailable during times of natural disasters or geopolitical turmoil,” Kilduff said. “Releases of supplies have served to short-circuit price rallies in the past, and this filling may well serve to ebb the current sell-off.”

“Russia, the world’s second-largest producer, does not appear willing to return to its agreement with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which has kept oil in a range around $30 a barrel for much of the last week,” CNBC reported.

Saudia Arabia is the de facto leader of OPEC.

So far, President Trump has been ahead of the curve in dealing with the consequences of the coronavirus–stopping flights to America from China and from Europe, setting up private-public alliances to provide testing and research for vaccines, and declaring a national emergency. Shoring up America’s oil reserves at this time is also a very wise move.

Common Sense Has Entered The Building

On Wednesday The Daily Caller posted an article with the following headline, “‘Buy American’ — White House Confirms Executive Order That Will End Medical Supply Chain Reliance On China.” China is the last country in the world we want to be dependent on for drugs.

The article reports:

White House Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro confirmed Wednesday the administration is working on an executive order to eliminate the government’s reliance on foreign-made medical supplies.

The “Buy American” order comes on the heels of concerns expressed by senators during their Tuesday meeting with President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill.

…The order would prevent federal agencies from purchasing medical supplies, including face masks, gloves and ventilators, from China.

As the United States has battled the domestic spread of coronavirus, consumers were alerted to the fact that China manufactures an overwhelming percentage of the federal government’s medical equipment. 90 percent of all U.S. antibiotics were manufactured in China.

China has prevented the export of surgical face masks, severely limiting supplies in the U.S. and countries around the world.

Under the Trump administration, we have gained energy independence. Now it is time to gain pharmaceutical independence.

Solving Problems Before They Arise

The mainstream media is in full spin blaming President Trump for any Americans who happen to get the coronavirus. Meanwhile The Conservative Treehouse is reminding us of the steps President Trump took early on the prevent the virus from spiraling out of control.

The article reports:

The level of media opposition and snark against President Trump is simply so ridiculous at this point there’s a desperation to it.  So let us consider…

From the outset of Donald Trump’s entry into the world of politics he espoused a series of key tenets around what he called his “America-First” objectives:

  1. The U.S. needed to have control over our borders, and a greater ability to control who was migrating to the United States.  A shift toward stopping ‘illegal’ migration.
  2. The U.S. needed to stop the manufacture of goods overseas and return critical manufacturing back to the United States.  A return to economic independence.
  3. The U.S. needed to decouple from an over-reliance on Chinese industrial and consumer products.  China viewed as a geopolitical and economic risk.

Donald Trump was alone on these issues.  No-one else was raising them; no-one else was so urgently pushing that discussion. In 2015, 2016 and even 2017, no-one other than Trump was talking about how close we were to the dependence point of no return.

Given the status of very consequential issues stemming from the Chinese Coronavirus threat; and the myriad of serious issues with critical supply chain dependencies; wasn’t President Trump correct in his warnings and proposals?

In early 2017 President Trump and his administration coined the phrase: “economic security is national security”, and the economic team set about starting a very complex process to ensure the past three decades of trade policy was reversed.

The article reminds us of how bad the reporting on the President’s handling of the threat of this virus has been:

On January 30th while Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler and Chuck Schumer were literally trying to impeach President Trump; on that very day President Trump was assembling a task force in advance of his authorization for HHS Secretary Alex Azar to declare a proactive national health emergency.

On the exact same day the Senate was debating whether to call more witnesses for the Senate impeachment trial, the newly assembled Coronavirus Task Force was holding a press conference to outline: in accordance with the national health emergency declaration, at 5:00 p.m. EST; Sunday, February 2nd, the U.S government would implement temporary measures to increase detection & containment of the coronavirus proactively:

Any U.S. citizen returning to the United States who was in Hubei Province in the previous 14 days was/is subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine. Any U.S. citizen returning to the United States who was in the rest of Mainland China within the previous 14 days was put through proactive entry health screening at a select number of ports of entry, and up to 14 days of monitored self-quarantine. All foreign nationals, other than U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who traveled in China within the prior 14 days were denied entry into the United States.  (link)

Simultaneous to this joint HHS, CDC and NIH announcement, on the other side of Capitol Hill, the U.S. Senate voted on whether to add additional impeachment witnesses; and what the impeachment process would be moving forward.

Guess which event the media covered?….

The President has been on the case since before there was a case to be on. It’s a shame that the mainstream media is working against the interests of America instead of working with the President to protect Americans.

A Different Take On The Coronavirus

Michael Fumento posted an article at The New York Post yesterday about the coronavirus. He believes, based on the behavior of viruses in the past, that the number of cases of the virus will peak quickly and then subside.

The article notes:

More than 18,000 Americans have died from this season’s generic flu so far, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2018, the CDC estimated, there were 80,000 flu deaths. That’s against 19 coronavirus deaths so far, from about 470 cases.

Worldwide, there have been about 3,400 coronavirus deaths, out of about 100,000 identified cases. Flu, by comparison, grimly reaps about 291,000 to 646,000 annually.

China is the origin of the virus and still accounts for over 80 percent of cases and deaths. But its cases peaked and began ­declining more than a month ago, according to data presented by the Canadian epidemiologist who spearheaded the World Health Organization’s coronavirus mission to China. Fewer than 200 new cases are reported daily, down from a peak of 4,000.

Subsequent countries will follow this same pattern, in what’s called Farr’s Law. First formulated in 1840 and ignored in ­every epidemic hysteria since, the law states that epidemics tend to rise and fall in a roughly symmetrical pattern or bell-shaped curve. AIDS, SARS, Ebola — they all followed that pattern. So does seasonal flu each year.

Clearly, flu is vastly more contagious than the new coronavirus, as the WHO has noted. Consider that the first known coronavirus cases date back to early December, and since then, the virus has ­afflicted fewer people in total than flu does in a few days. Oh, and why are there no flu quarantines? Because it’s so contagious, it would be impossible.

As for death rates, as I first noted in these pages on Jan. 24, you can’t employ simple math — as everyone is doing — and look at deaths versus cases because those are ­reported cases. With both flu and assuredly with coronavirus, the great majority of those infected have symptoms so mild — if any — that they don’t seek medical attention and don’t get counted in the caseload.

Furthermore, those calculating rates ­ignore the importance of good health care. Given that the vast majority of cases have occurred in a country with poor health care, that’s going to dramatically exaggerate the death rate.

The article adds:

Like the flu, the coronavirus is afflicting high-risk groups: the elderly, those with ­underlying health conditions like diabetes or heart disease and those with compromised immune systems. Are there exceptions? Sure. But that’s the case with almost every complex biological phenomenon of the kind.

More good news. This month, the Northern Hemisphere, which includes the countries with the most cases, starts heating up. Almost all respiratory viruses hate warm and moist weather. That’s why flu dies out in America every year by May at the latest and probably why Latin America has reported only 25 coronavirus cases. The Philippines, where I live, has about a third of the US population, but it’s so damned hot and humid here, so far we have had no confirmed cases of internal transmission.

Pray for warm weather soon. Meanwhile, keep washing your hands.

Why A Secure Border Matters

Evidently China has been dealing with the coronavirus since December of last year. The virus has had a serious impact on the country in both economic and health areas. The restriction on Chinese citizens traveling to America that began in January has probably helped prevent a widespread epidemic in this country. However, the risk is still there.

The Daily Wire is reporting today:

“Some 328 illegal immigrants from China have been nabbed jumping the U.S.-Mexico border so far this year, according to Homeland Security data that raises the prospect a coronavirus carrier could sneak into the country via the border,” The Washington Times reported. “Three other people from South Korea — another country with rapidly spreading cases — have also been arrested at the border, as have 122 people from the Dominican Republican, where the coronavirus has now been detected.”

…Border Patrol agents told the Times that in addition to the 1,000 illegal aliens who are caught every day entering the United States through the southern border with Mexico, which is also dealing with an outbreak of the coronavirus, a significant number of illegal aliens are managing to sneak into the country undetected.

“The journey to the U.S. border puts migrants in poor conditions,” a Homeland Security official told The Washington Times. “We don’t know if they have come into contact with someone who has the flu, there is no passport, medical history, or travel manifest.”

The article concludes:

Another senior administration official told The Examiner, “We have a unique public health threat posed by individuals arriving unlawfully at the border. Any halting of MPP (Migrant Protection Protocols –the remain in Mexico policy) would exacerbate that threat.”

DHS acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told The Examiner that the department’s top objective was protecting the American people, and that Trump’s efforts have gone a long way toward achieving that goal.

“The American people can be assured that we’re doing everything we can to protect our homeland. While the general risk to the American public remains low, DHS has mobilized a departmentwide response to keep Americans safe, secure, and informed,” Cuccinelli said. “Fortunately, we were able to engage DHS assistance early to prevent the spread of this virus in the U.S. We remain locked arm-in-arm with our interagency partners, HHS and CDC health professionals, and state and local officials acting as one to safeguard the health and safety of the American people.”

An open border represents both a security risk and a health risk. It is time to stop playing politics with the lives of American people and secure the border.

Some Interesting Facts About The Coronavirus

Yesterday BizPacReview posted an article about a report by the New England Journal of Medicine about the coronavirus.

The article reports:

The report, published Friday and authored by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., H. Clifford Lane, M.D., and Robert R. Redfield, M.D., notes that there are no known cases of children younger than 15 being infected with the respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus.

Fauci, a member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force, joined the experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to pen the editorial citing a study which “detailed clinical and epidemiologic description of the first 425 cases reported in the epicenter of the outbreak.”

“The median age of the patients was 59 years, with higher morbidity and mortality among the elderly and among those with coexisting conditions (similar to the situation with influenza); 56% of the patients were male,” the article stated.

“Of note, there were no cases in children younger than 15 years of age,” the piece continued. “Either children are less likely to become infected, which would have important epidemiologic implications, or their symptoms were so mild that their infection escaped detection, which has implications for the size of the denominator of total community infections.”

The editorial went on to note the percentage of identified cases and that the contagious virus may “ultimately be more akin” to a case of influenza.

Much of the information the mainstream media is providing on the coronavirus is simply false. The President’s task force has been working to contain the virus since January. Preventing people traveling from China to America from entering the country has probably avoided a serious epidemic. Think of the tourists in our major cities that might have been carrying the virus if the travel ban had not been in place.

This is essentially another flu. We need to wash our hands, take care of ourselves, avoid people who are sneezing and coughing, stay home when we are sick, and generally exercise common sense. Chicken soup is also a wonderful idea if you are feeling under the weather.

Meanwhile, stay safe and stay healthy.

The Law Of Unintended Consequences At Work

Evidently the coronavirus has been around since December. China kept quiet about it, and when it spread to Iran in January, Iran kept quiet about it. One of the ‘advantages’ of a totalitarian regime is the ability to keep the public from knowing about a pending epidemic. Well, there seem to be some consequences of the fact that China and Iran chose to remain silent about the problem. As of now, Iran has the highest number of deaths outside of China.

The Gateway Pundit is reporting today that after the death of Commander Soleimani,  Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif in a secret meeting in Munich. The meeting was in February.

The article includes a quote from the Israel National News:

This year’s Munich Security Conference may go down in history as the COVID-19 viral super-spreader “event of the century,” if not in all of recorded history. That’s because the Munich 2020 event took place from February Friday 14-Sunday 16, and Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attended.

Unknown to apparently all the high security-minded attendees, FM Zarif was likely carrying much more than the dark secret that the COVID-19 virus had already begun rampaging through the highest echelons of the Iranian government and society. FM Zarif , or one of his minions, was likely carrying the actual COVID-19, and infected who knows how many of the world’s highest and most influential politicians at the Munich event.

In fact, US Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, not only met FM Zarif, but met him in Zarif’s hotel suite where there was likely a rat’s nest of COVID-19. Unless drastic steps are taken, Sen. Murphy may become the Typhoid Mary of COVID-19, and infect the entire US Senate and House of Representatives.

As of February 28, 2020 there were officially 210 actual deaths in Iran. Unofficially, there have been over 500 reliably reported Iranian deaths. But, what is very unusual about the Iranian deaths is that a large number of extremely high ranking government officials in Tehran, the capital, have actually caught the disease and have died. The officially “First reported” Iranian case was on February 19. Working backward from the 19th, that means COVID-19 was likely already circulating in Iran from middle-to-late January when FM Zarif, or one of his staff, could have caught the disease.

I don’t wish anyone ill, but it seems like violating the Logan Act might be the least of Chris Murphy’s problems.

A Little Perspective Please

As the coronavirus spreads, we need to put the threat into perspective. This is a serious virus, and people have died after contracting it, but how does this compare with the basic American flu season?

CNS News reports:

As explained by Johns Hopkins Medicine, COVID-19 is “caused by one virus, the novel 2019 coronavirus, now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2.” The flu is “caused by any of several different types and strains of influenza viruses.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were approximately 45 million cases of the flu in the United States during the 2017-2018 influenza season. Among those cases, 810,000 people had to be hospitalized.

During that season, 61,000 people died from the flu.

…As of Feb. 25, the World Health Organization (WHO) said there were 80,239 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 34 countries. 

The WHO also reported that there have been 2,700 deaths from COVID-19.

As of Feb. 25, there were 54 COVID-19 cases in the United States but no deaths reported.

The coronavirus is a serious health concern. However, I am tired of watching news anchors with their hair on fire claiming we are all going to die and that it’s President Trump’s fault. These are the same people who criticized President Trump when he limited travel to America from China in January. That alone has probably prevented many cases of the virus in America.

Meanwhile, wash you hands. Stay away from sneezing and coughing people. Get enough sleep, and take your vitamins. Hopefully the coronavirus will be similar to the flu and will be seasonal.

 

President Trump And His Trade Policies

Yesterday Fox News reported that the US trade deficit has dropped for first time in 6 years because of the taxes President Trump has placed on China.

The article reports:

The U.S. trade deficit fell for the first time in six years in 2019 as President Donald Trump hammered China with import taxes.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the gap between what the United States sells and what it buys abroad fell 1.7 percent last year to $616.8 billion. U.S. exports fell 0.1 percent to $2.5 trillion. But imports fell more, slipping 0.4 percent to $3.1 trillion. Imports of crude oil plunged 19.3% to $126.6 billion.

The deficit in the trade of goods with China narrowed last year by 17.6 percent to $345.6 billion. Trump has imposed tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese imports in a battle over Beijing’s aggressive drive to challenge American technological dominance. The world’s two biggest economies reached an interim trade deal last month, and Trump dropped plans to extend the tariffs to another $160 billion in Chinese goods.

The article notes:

Overall, the United States posted a $866 billion deficit in the trade of goods such as cars and appliances, down from $887.3 billion in 2018. But it ran a $249.2 billion surplus in the trade of services such as tourism and banking, down from $260 billion in 2018.

America is a nation of consumers, so I suspect trade deficits are something that will always be with us, but as the manufacturing base in America expands and our trade policies become more balanced, I believe we will see lower trade deficits.

This Will Make Some People Very Unhappy

Breitbart reported yesterday that the latest Farm Journal Pulse Poll shows that President Trump has an 83 percent approval rating among American farmers. That is a point higher than the previous poll. The disapproval rate in 18 percent. This is one of many reasons the Democrats want to get rid of the Electoral College.

The article reports:

“Of note is the strongly approve category went up three percentage points from an already lofty (December) number and his highest overall approval ratings ever,” said Pro Farmer policy analyst Jim Wiesemeyer.

“That says the president’s approval is rock-solid,” Wiesemeyer added. “With the recent upbeat news on USMCA and the Phase 1 accord with China, the ratings will likely remain firm ahead.”

Farmers who stated they “strongly approve” of President Trump rose to 64 percent in January, up from 61 percent at the end of 2019. A mere 19 percent said they “somewhat approve” of President Trump’s performance, while only three percent said they “somewhat disapprove.”

“Trump needs the rural vote to keep the same states he won in 2016 in his win column come November,” Wiesemeyer said. “In fact, contacts say he is focusing on winning Minnesota this time as a backstop should he lose a state he won in 2016. That means agriculture will continue to be a key topic in the president’s re-election campaign.”

The President has the support of people who have been positively impacted by his trade policies. Informed Americans understand the good things President Trump has done for America.

Why I Love The Alternative Media

Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog titled, “Landmark Trade Deal With China; New York Times Hardest Hit.” The article details some of the actual facts of the trade deal and contrasts those details with the reporting of The New York Times.

Some examples:

Reaction was predictably partisan. On CNBC, Steve Bannon said that President Trump “broke the Chinese Communist Party,” and the U.S. “gave up very little in the end.” On the same program, hedge fund manager Kyle Bass said that he sees the agreement as a “‘temporary truce’ in which the U.S. got the better of China.”

At the New York Times, on the other hand, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth:

President Trump signed an initial trade deal with China on Wednesday, bringing the first chapter of a protracted and economically damaging fight with one of the world’s largest economies to a close.

Has the trade conflict with China damaged the U.S. economy? To some degree it has, although it has certainly hurt China’s economy more. This is the kind of short-term pain that Barack Obama, for example, was unwilling to accept. And yet economic growth under President Trump has been considerably better than under Obama.

The deal caps more than two years of tense negotiations and escalating threats that at times seemed destined to plunge the United States and China into a permanent economic war.

No one thought “permanent economic war” was a realistic possibility, except, perhaps, readers of the always-hysterical New York Times.

The agreement is a significant turning point in American trade policy and the types of free-trade agreements that the United States has typically supported. Rather than lowering tariffs and other economic barriers to allow for the flow of goods and services to meet market demand, this deal leaves a record level of tariffs in place and forces China to buy $200 billion worth of specific products within two years.

Phase One reduces or eliminates some tariffs and leaves others in place for Phase Two. This isn’t really all that complicated, but the Times wants its readers to think that Trump’s approach represents a departure from an imagined, purist practice of the past.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is a beautiful example of how the mainstream media takes good news and attempts to make it bad news because it involves an accomplishment by President Trump.

Happening Beneath The Radar

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article yesterday about the signing of the first phase of the trade deal with China.

The article notes:

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin appears on FOX Business to discuss the U.S-China ‘phase-one’ trade agreement, the benefits, enforcement mechanisms and retention of tariffs and particular sanctions until compliance can be reviewed.

Phase-1 establishes the baselines; resets the ability of U.S. companies to enter China; establishes rules for market entry; and sets the parameters for enforcement. Any future phase is contingent upon evaluation of phase-one enforcement mechanisms.

The article includes the following video:

The important aspect of this agreement is that no future agreements will be made until the rules of this agreement are complied with. China has been a dishonest trade partner for years and has been largely responsible for the decline of manufacturing in America. Phase-1 of the trade agreement with China is the first step in reversing this trend.

Good Economic News Created By Good Leadership

Trading Economics reported the following:

The US trade deficit narrowed to $43.1 billion in November 2019 from a downwardly revised $46.9 billion gap in the previous month. It compares with market expectations of a $43.8 billion shortfall. The trade gap shrank for the third straight month to the lowest since October 2016. Imports slumped 1% to the lowest value in 2 years due to falling purchases of aircraft, computers and cell phones. Exports increased 0.7% to $209 billion, boosted by sales of drilling and oilfield equipment, jewellery, autos, diamonds and aircraft engines. The goods trade deficit with China narrowed 15.7% to $26.4 billion, with imports dropping 9.2% and exports jumping 13.7%. Year-to-date, the total deficit decreased $3.9 billion. The trade war with China seems to be the main cause behind the lowest trade gap. Although a lower trade deficit is likely to impact positively on GDP growth, concerns remain over the impact of falling imports in consumer spending, the largest component of GDP. Balance of Trade in the United States averaged -15090.59 USD Million from 1950 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 1946 USD Million in June of 1975 and a record low of -67823 USD Million in August of 2006.

This is the result of the tariffs and trade negotiations of President Trump.

Beginning To Level The Playing Field In Trade

CNBC reported yesterday that China will lower tariffs on products ranging from frozen pork and avocado to some types of semiconductors next year.  The Chinese economy is slowing down, and lowering tariffs is seen as a way to bring back previous growth.

The article also notes:

 

  • Next year, China will implement temporary import tariffs, which are lower than the most-favored-nation tariffs, on more than 850 products, the finance ministry said on Monday.
  • That compared with 706 products that were taxed at temporary rates in 2019.

The article cites a few significant tariff cuts:

The finance ministry said the tariff rate for frozen pork will be cut to 8% from the most-favored-nation duty of 12%, as China copes to plug a huge supply gap after a severe pig disease decimated its hog herd.

…China will also lower temporary import tariffs for ferroniobium — used as an additive to high strength low alloy steel and stainless steel for oil and gas pipelines, cars and trucks — from 1% to zero in 2020 to support its high-tech development.

…The tariff rate for frozen avocado was cut to 7% from the most-favored-nation duty of 30%, the ministry said.

…Tariffs for some asthma and diabetes medications will be set at zero, the ministry said, while duties on some wood and paper products will be lowered too.

Import tariffs on multi-component semiconductors will be cut to zero.

China will also further lower most-favored-nation import tariffs on some information technology products from July 1, the ministry said.

China has long been an unfair trading partner–manipulating their currency, disregarding intellectual property, and generally behaving badly. Hopefully President Trump’s ‘trade war’ will bring some balance into our trade relationship with China.