The Truth About Covid-19 Begins To Emerge

Yesterday Just the News posted an article about Colorado health officials beginning to correct the number of deaths reported to have been caused by Covid-19.

The article reports:

Colorado health officials this week implemented a more precise coronavirus data metric to measure deaths from the virus in that state, one that sent confirmed COVID-19 fatalities tumbling by a full 25%.

Public health officials in the state elected to start distinguishing between individuals who died directly from the disease and those who simply died with the virus in their systems. Authorities in that state had faced criticism this week for classifying as a COVID-19 death a man whose blood-alcohol content registered an astronomical .55.

With the new system in place, confirmed coronavirus deaths in Colorado plummeted from 1150 to 878, a drop of almost 25%.

…The state’s coronavirus dashboard lists 21,232 confirmed cases of the virus there as of Saturday afternoon, with over 3,800 hospitalizations. Over 90% of deaths in the state were of individuals 60 or older. Deaths appear to have peaked there on April 25. 

I suspect an honest counting of deaths due to Covid-19 would be very different from the numbers that have been reported. One thing we do know is that people in nursing homes or extended care facilities need to be protected from the disease. Allowing patients with the disease to be placed in these facilities is very dangerous to the residents who are already there.

On May 12th, I posted an article stating that a new study reveals that 39% of all US coronavirus deaths occurred in nursing homes. These are the people who need to be protected. Florida is the gold standard for protecting the elderly. Florida has a large elderly population and has not had nearly the number of cases and deaths as New York. It’s time to protect the vulnerable and send the rest of us back to work.

Hopefully This Is The Beginning Of The End

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

The article reports:

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

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

Unfortunately, the news is not good everywhere:

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

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

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

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

This Is A Really Good Question

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

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

How Certificate Of Need Laws Endanger Americans

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

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

The article concludes:

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

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

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

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.

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.

Ending The War On The Suburbs

The New York Post posted an article yesterday about President Trump undoing a policy put in place under President Obama that would impact the freedom of Americans to live where they choose to live in the neighborhoods they choose.

The article reports:

During the Obama administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development tried to install Washington bureaucrats as the decision makers for how communities across all 50 states should grow. Using an obscure rule called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, HUD sought to remake America’s cities, towns and villages by forcing any community that was getting federal funds to meet racial quotas.

To do this, HUD applied the notion of “disparate impact,” which unilaterally deems housing patterns to be discriminatory if minority representation is not evenly spread across the jurisdiction. Communities with high concentrations of minorities are automatically labeled segregated.

Westchester served as the petri dish for HUD’s “grand experiment.” On Jan. 1, 2010, the day I was inaugurated as county executive, a federal consent decree signed by my predecessor went into effect requiring Westchester to spend at least $56 million to build 750 units of affordable housing over the next seven years in 31 white communities — or face crippling financial penalties.

The article details the problems the program created in Westchester County, New York.

The article then notes the solution:

The impasse finally ended with the election of Donald Trump. Elections matter.

But the big win came last month, when — based on Westchester’s experience and expertise from groups like Americans for Limited Government — the Trump administration replaced Team Obama’s AFFH regulation with its own.

Gone is the federal mandate dictating the modeling of communities based on statistical formulas. Restored to local officials is the power that gives them the flexibility to weigh real-world factors in making housing decisions. Restored, too, is the prosecution of bad actors by the courts — not bureaucrats — under the Fair Housing Act.

And builders are now more likely to build affordable housing, since the attached strings have been removed.

The Democratic candidates for president didn’t get the memo. They continue to support radical, divisive and failed housing policies aimed at abolishing single-family residential zoning. And they’d use billions of our tax dollars to local communities — and the threat of lawsuits — to get their way.

The United States needs affordable housing. By replacing social engineering with common sense, guarded by strong nondiscrimination laws, the country is now better positioned to meet that need — and that’s a victory for everyone.

The free market coupled with individual choice and freedom is always the best solution for any problem.

Why The Census Is An Issue For The Democrat Party

The Democrats have been pursuing two paths regarding the 2020 Census and its impact on the 2020 election–the first is to eliminate the Electoral College and the second is the refusing to distinguish between American citizens and non-citizens during the census. Eliminating the Electoral College will put Los Angeles and New York City in charge of our country’s government (those two cities have not really mastered good government with fiscal responsibility) and counting non-citizens in the census will give more Electoral College delegates to the Democrat states.

On January 5th, The Blaze reported the following:

Population estimates show reliably Democratic states, like New York, California, and Illinois will each lose at least one congressional district and representation in the Electoral College. Conversely, states that tend to vote for Republicans—such as Texas, Florida, and Montana—are expected to increase their presence.

“This is looking to benefit Republicans only because of how the landscape has changed,” said Jenna Ellis, senior legal analyst for the Trump 2020 campaign, according to radio station KTRH.

Ellis also noted that Democrats’ anticipated losses is why they mobilized so strongly to oppose the Trump administration’s addition of a citizenship question on the Census.

“They’re not interested in laws,” she said. “They’re not interested in sound reasoning or fair and accurate representation of every American. They are only interested in concentrating their own political power by any means necessary.”

Most Americans have the option of voting with their feet. That is why California is rapidly losing citizen residents and Texas is gaining them.

The article lists the states gaining and losing population:

Among GOP strongholds expected to lose an electoral vote are: Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Among the blue states are California, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, and Rhode Island. That’s an even minus five for both parties from the 2016 election night map, according to an analysis by NBC News.

However, when analysts looked at states expected to gain seats, the GOP comes out on top. Three Republican states that went for Trump in 2016—Montana, Arizona, and North Carolina—are likely to pick-up one seat after the Census. On the Democratic side of the ledger, two states (Oregon and Colorado) will each add a seat, resulting in a net gain of one Electoral College seat for Republicans.

The big problem for the Left is that forecasts show Florida and Texas—both of which voted for Trump in 2016—picking up a combined five seats (two for Florida, three for Texas). Thus, if the estimates hold, Republicans will pick-up six Electoral College votes. Of course, this assumes that both the GOP maintains control of the Lone Star and Sunshine States, but that’s a topic for a different day.

The only hope for the Democrats is that the people moving to Republican states bring their big government ideas with them and overwhelm the population. As someone who lives in one of those states, I am hoping that doesn’t happen.

Seeing The Danger

The Daily Caller is reporting today that Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),  has ordered a review of state laws that allow illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses and restrict data sharing with federal immigration authorities.

The article reports:

The memo follows implementation of New York’s “Green Light” law, and passage of a similar bill in New Jersey in December. Both laws not only allow illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses, but also restrict DMV data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other agencies within the Department of Homeland Security.

The allowing of illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses combined with the 1993 Motor Voter Law is an invitation to voter fraud. That is one of many reasons why the trend of allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses needs to be reevaluated. The idea of states not cooperating with the federal government on issues of national security also needs to be examined.

The article concludes:

The memo also directs agencies to seek solutions for any security consequences that arise from the state laws.

“Never before in our history have we seen politicians make such rash and dangerous decisions to end all communication and cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security law enforcement,” Swift continued. “The Secretary is prepared to take every measure necessary to ensure the safety and security of the homeland and we look forward to the recommendations of our agents and officers in the field.”

These laws need to be struck down as soon as possible. Technically the states have the right to pass any laws they choose that do not violate the Constitution, but it is possible that the issue of national security may allow for these laws to be changed.

The Overlooked Impact Of Illegal Immigration

Breitbart posted an article yesterday about an aspect of illegal immigration that is often overlooked.

The article reports:

Research by the Center for Immigration Studies’ Steven Camarota and Karen Zeigler finds that annual illegal and legal immigration to the U.S. will redistribute political power in the form of 26 House seats away from a number of red states and towards massively populated blue states like California and New York.

“To put this number in perspective, changing the party of 21 members of the current Congress would flip the majority in the U.S. House,” Camarota and Zeigler note.

Ohio, a swing state that voted for President Trump in 2016, will get three fewer congressional seats in 2020 due to mass immigration in other states. Michigan and Pennsylvania, also states that voted for Trump in 2016, will each have two fewer congressional seats. Wisconsin, a Trump-supporting swing state, will have its congressional seats cut by at least one.

Red states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia, Camarota and Zeigler predict, will all get one less congressional seat in 2020. Smaller blue states such as Minnesota and Rhode Island will each receive one less congressional seat.

Those seats cut from mostly red states will be redistributed to California, the most immigration-inundated state in the country. California, by 2020, is set to gain 11 congressional seats solely due to the fact that noncitizens, rather than just American citizens, are counted in congressional apportionment.

Likewise, New York — where nearly 40 percent of residents are foreign-born — is set to gain four more congressional seats and New Jersey, with a more than 22 percent foreign-born population, will also take an additional two congressional seats.

Texas, which has become increasingly blue due to immigration and out-of-state young people, will gain another four congressional seats, as will the swing state of Florida with its foreign-born population of 4.1 million.

The deeply blue states of Illinois and Massachusetts, both of which went 55 to 60 percent for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, will each gain one congressional seat.

What this is saying is that the influx of non-citizens into blue states will lessen the impact of voters in red states. This is a glaring example of the reason only citizens should be counted when allotting seats in the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives is supposed to represent American citizens. Americans are leaving California and New York in droves. These two states should be losing representatives–not gaining them.

Money Doesn’t Always Win Political Races

A number of the Democrat victories in Virginia were heavily funded by George Soros. George Soros also poured $800,000 into a political campaign in New York to unseat Sandra Doorley, a Republican District Attorney in Monroe County, New York.

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog posted an article about Tuesday’s elections.

The article reports:

George Soros, the Hungarian billionaire, succeeded in toppling two fine Northern Virginia prosecutors this year in Democratic primaries. Pouring unheard of amounts of money into local prosecutor races in Arlington and Fairfax Counties, Soros was able to take down Commonwealth Attorneys Theo Stamos in Arlington and Raymond Morrogh in Fairfax. They will be replaced by prosecutors who are borderline qualified, if that, and who very likely will adhere to the radical, anti-law enforcement agenda of Soros, their money man.

The article concludes:

Add the amount Soros spent on the Monroe County race to what he spent in local prosecutor races in Virginia and elsewhere, and you see how badly the Hungarian billionaire wants to “decriminalize crime” (Lonsberry’s phrase) in the United States.

Fortunately, Monroe County voters don’t share Soros’s pro-criminal agenda. They reelected Doorley handily. She captured around 56 percent of the vote.

Afterwards, Doorley thanked Soros for his involvement. She declared:

The Republican Party in Monroe Country is not dead, and we are alive and well. And look at all the great people, here. We still have the energy and we will be back. And I am back for another four more years, so, thank you, George Soros!

Soros deserves to be taunted. However, I don’t buy the suggestion, other than in jest, that his large contributions to left-wing candidates in local races are counterproductive. Soros made a difference in Virginia, and I suspect that Doorley’s race was closer than it would have been without the Hungarian’s $800,000 contribution to her opponent.

Soros keeps probing for weaknesses in the opposition to his radical plans for America. He does so skillfully. Fortunately, Monroe County passed his “stress test” on Tuesday.

Money does not always win elections.

 

This Might Explain A Lot

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today that stated that more than one-fifth of of all U.S. newsroom employees live in the liberal strongholds of New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. New York has 12 percent and Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. each have 5 percent. The article notes that 13 percent of Americans live in these three cities–7 percent in New York, 4 percent in Los Angeles, and 2 percent in Washington, D.C.

The article notes:

All three cities are known for their strongly progressive bent. A Republican has not won New York City in a presidential election since 1924, or won Los Angeles County since 1984. No Republican has ever won Washington, D.C., in a presidential election.

According to Pew, only New York and Washington are home to a greater share of newsroom workers than workers overall. Given their significance in media and politics, those two cities are the broadcasting sites for every major show on cable and national network news.

Pew also found that 41 percent of newsroom employees who work in internet publishing live in the northeast, while just 18 percent of all workers live in the region overall. Thirty-seven percent of all workers live in the south, but it’s home to just 21 percent of newsroom employees who work in internet publishing.

Think about how where you live affects your worldview. Do you see poverty everyday? Do you see dirty streets and high crime? Do you see friendly people or stressed people? Is driving to work a grinding task or a reasonable chore? What are the views of the people you spend your time with? What are the values of the people around you?

I’m not a deplorable from flyover country where people cling to their God and their guns–I’m a deplorable living in a conservative stronghold in the southeast. But I wonder if the people in the newsrooms of the major media spent some time with the deplorables in various places, would their attitude and focus change? The bottom line here is whether or not the people charged with reporting the news to Americans can get past the their group biases against anything not liberal. If not, their industry will soon die from lack of relevance and from the consequences of biased reporting.

Scurrying For Cover

Jeffrey Epstein is dead. The debate over how he actually died will probably continue for a long time. Meanwhile, many of the ‘elites’ who attended his parties and spent time with him before his alleged activities came to light are attempting to distance themselves from him. Unfortunately, in the day of the Internet, pictures, and occasional investigative journalists, the attempts to deny being on Mr. Epstein’s guest list at his parties are not working well.

Yesterday The U.K. Daily Mail posted an article with the following headline, “Woody Allen is pictured leaving Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion after lavish party in Prince Andrew’s honor that was also attended by Katie Couric,Chelsea Handler and George Stephanopolous.” That’s an interesting group of people.

The article reports:

Seeking to put a lid on a scandal showing little sign of abating, the Duke of York coyly referred yesterday to his ‘former association or friendship’ with Jeffrey Epstein.

Those who attended a glittering party in the Duke’s honour on December 2, 2010, in New York might be surprised at his choice of words.

Not least because it was thrown by convicted paedophile Epstein himself at his Upper East Side mansion, variously dubbed the House of Horror and the House of Depravity by the banker’s young victims.

As The Mail on Sunday revealed last weekend, it was at this mansion where Andrew came to the door to wave goodbye to Katherine Keating, daughter of former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, on the afternoon of December 6.

The article concludes:

The Prince has fiercely denied any wrongdoing and knowledge of Epstein’s crimes, but he has faced questions about how he could have missed a procession of beautiful young women visiting the mansion during his six-day stay.

‘There were girls coming and going the entire time Prince Andrew was inside the house,’ an eyewitness said.

‘It was happening in broad daylight. If the Prince didn’t see all the girls coming through that door, he was the only person on 71st Street who didn’t. It was flagrant.

‘At one point someone who looked like a royal protection officer came outside. Even if Andrew didn’t realise what was going on, you have to wonder why the people assigned to protect him didn’t say something?’

Many of Epstein’s victims have described how assaults took place in an upstairs massage room which was strictly off-limits to other house guests.

Some reports this week claimed Prince Andrew is now ‘fearful’ of returning to the US because he worries about being dragged into one of the multiple civil lawsuits being brought against Epstein’s £500 million estate. Lawyer Bradley Edwards, who represents several of the victims, said last night: ‘We would welcome the chance to speak to Prince Andrew under oath.’

Considering the charges against Jeffrey Epstein, he ran with an interesting crowd.

Those Who Ignore History Are Destined To Say Dumb Things

The Electoral College has come under fire in recent years. Those objecting to the Electoral College seem to have no idea why it was included in the founding of America. Small states were fearful of being shut out of the process of electing a President and wanted a way to insure that they would have a voice. Without the electoral college, no one would campaign in North Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Kansas, and many other states where the populations are not as dense as some of the coastal states. Without the Electoral College, America would be governed by New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia. Is that really what you want? Evidently Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thinks that would be a good idea.

The Washington Times posted an article today about Representative Ocasio-Cortez’s recent remarks about the Electoral College.

The article reports:

The Democratic congresswoman posted an Instagram story Monday that started with her driving along a deserted highway and joking about how many votes there are in rural America.

“We’re coming to you live from the Electoral College,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said, National Review reported. “Many votes here, as you can see. Very efficient way to choose leadership of the country. I mean I can’t think of any other way, can you?”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez cited a March New York magazine article that said black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters are underrepresented by the Electoral College compared with white Americans.

“Due to severe racial disparities in certain states,” the congresswoman said in her video, “the Electoral College effectively weighs white voters over voters of color, as opposed to a ‘one person, one vote’ system where all our votes are counted equally.”

What Representative Ocasio-Cortez wants is a democracy. We are a representative republic. She needs to go back to school and study American history.

Hoping For Justice

The following video was posted at YouTube today:

I hope what Attorney General Barr says is true. There were obviously many people involved in the escapades of Jeffrey Epstein. All of those people need to go to jail. I am hoping they found enough evidence in Jeffrey Epstein’s safe in New York City to send those people to jail. Human trafficking is a horrible thing. Exploiting young girls is something that should result in jail time. Time will tell if justice will actually be done.

Would You Really Trust This Person Out On Bail?

Yesterday CNBC posted an article about Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers negotiating bail for their client. Jeffrey Epstein is willing to post bail as high as $100 million. Would you take that deal?

The article notes a few things that might cause someone to hesitate before agreeing to the deal:

“We know they have found photos of young women in his home,” Farmer (Annie Farmer, one of his accusers) noted, referring to what prosecutors have said was a “vast trove” of lewd photos of young women or girls that investigators discovered in Epstein’s New York residence.

Before the accusers spoke, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller said that a number of other witnesses contacted authorities after Epstein was recently indicted, and that prosecutors are trying to corroborate their allegations against him.

Rossmiller also revealed that investigators found in Epstein’s $77 million Manhattan townhouse a locked safe containing “piles of cash” and “dozens of diamonds,” as well as an expired passport dating to the 1980s from another country that has Epstein’s photograph on it — but with a different name and a stated residence of Saudi Arabia.

Rossmiller also said that “many, many photographs” of young-looking girls were found in the safe, and that the prosecutors have identified at least one person among them who claims to be a victim of Epstein’s.

Fake passports, diamonds, piles of cash…would you trust this person out on bail?

Sometimes The Truth Just Kind Of Slips Out

The Washington Examiner posted an article today that stated something that most of us know but haven’t seen widely reported in the media.

The article states:

In Europe, you will often hear politically savvy people refer to Green Party politicians as “watermelons.” The reason is that although they might be environmentalist “green” on the outside, these leftists are secretly communist red if you look beneath the surface.

They typically resort to such subterfuge because environmentalism is more popular than Marxism. A former East German communist is bound to be unpopular, but perhaps not so much if he rehabilitates himself as a renewable energy enthusiast.

The case of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, is different in that she openly advertised herself as a socialist in a country with a well-grounded historical aversion to such alien ideologies. But her grand policy initiative, the $93 trillion Green New Deal, was still billed as if it were a legitimate environmentalist idea. We were supposedly trying to save the world from imminent destruction. As Ocasio-Cortez herself put it, “We’re, like, the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”

When Representative Ocasio-Cortez makes statements like that, this is what she reminds me of:

At any rate, her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, let the cat out of the bag recently.

The article reports:

Her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti (the brains and the money behind her political operation ever since her 2018 primary victory) divulged in an unintentionally blunt comment in the Washington Post that the Green New Deal was not only not based in the science of climate change, but in fact not even designed with climate change in mind. “[I]t wasn’t originally a climate thing at all,” he is quoted as saying.

In other words, it’s not that they looked for a way to save the world, and just happened to find a way that involved full employment pledges, the retrofitting of millions of buildings, income for those unwilling to work, high-speed passenger rail, and the curtailment of plane travel and carnivorousness. That’s precisely backwards. The Green New Deal came about because Chakrabarti wanted to transform the U.S. economy into something more primitive, and environmentalism struck him as the best excuse for doing so.

The American economy currently is working for everyone who chooses to work. When people work, they are aware of how much money the government takes out of their paychecks. That in itself may present a problem for the Democrats running for election in 2020.

Much Needed Mercy

On June 5, I posted an article about the expected transfer of Paul Manafort to Rikers Island prison. Paul Manafort is 70 years old and not in good health. Rikers Island is known as one of the roughest prisons in America.

Today Fox News reported that Paul Manafort was transferred to a federal prison in New York City late Monday ahead of his pending state court trial — but only after the Justice Department rejected a local district attorney’s widely criticized bid to move him to the notorious Rikers Island prison complex. There was never any reason to put him in Rikers Island other than to further mistreat him.

The article reports:

Manafort was instead transferred to the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), a federal detention facility located in Manhattan.

MCC houses many inmates awaiting trial or sentencing. Among the current inmates are terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov, who allegedly ran down pedestrians with a truck in New York on Oct. 31, 2017, and Cesar Sayoc, the man who allegedly sent package bombs to prominent Democrats. Joaquin Guzman, the notorious drug lord known as “El Chapo,” is reportedly being held at the facility.

Manafort’s transfer came after Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen rejected Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.’s attempt to re-locate Manafort to Rikers Island.

A senior Justice Department official told Fox News that Manafort’s attorneys contacted the Bureau of Prisons and “raised concerns about his transfer to state custody related to his health and personal safety.”

It is nice to see that someone in the Justice Department prevented the further miscarriage of justice regarding Mr. Manafort.

News That Goes Against The Political Grain

Fox News posted an article today about the impact of marijuana on the adolescent brain.

The article reports:

Two health professionals penned an op-ed in The New York Times on Sunday that despite society’s shift on marijuana use, it does not change the fact that the drug is not safe for high school and college students.

Kenneth L. Davis, the president and chief executive of the Mount Sinai Health System, and Mary Jeanne Kreek, the head of Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases at Rockefeller University, cited studies that show a “deleterious impact on cognitive development in adolescents.”

The column said marijuana use can impair “executive function, processing speed, memory, attention span and concentration.” They said the explanation is simple: the adolescent brain is still vulnerable “especially the prefrontal cortex.”

“The chemical in marijuana responsible for producing mood elevation and relaxation, THC, interferes with the exchange of information between neurons,” they wrote in, “Marijuana Damages Young Brains.”

Davis and Kreek penned the column in response to New York and New Jersey considering legalizing marijuana for those over 21.

Marijuana is not as harmless as it is being made out to be. In October 2018, I posted an article about a man who had begun using marijuana is his 20’s and became addicted to the drug.

The article reported:

There’s a reason that Alcoholics Anonymous started in 1935, two years after the end of Prohibition. Alcohol abuse became rampant, and the country almost drank itself off the rails. Will the same thing happen with marijuana?

Marijuana isn’t alcohol or an opioid. You can’t die from an overdose. It doesn’t really evince physical cravings. So is it better to call my problem marijuana “dependence”? Does it matter?

Cannabis should be legal, just as alcohol should be legal. But marijuana addiction exists, and it almost wrecked my life. If you have a problem, you are not alone.

I am not convinced marijuana should be legal. I think we have more Americans addicted to marijuana than we realize.

A Governor Who Understands The Purpose Of The Electoral College

On Thursday, The Hill reported that Nevada’s Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak on Thursday vetoed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which had been passed by the Nevada Assembly and Senate.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact would essentially nullify the Electoral College. However, it will not become effective unless enough states to control 280 electoral college votes pass the measure. The idea is that 280 electoral votes would be a majority of the Electoral College and would elect the person who got the most popular votes. At that point we would live in a county governed by New York and California–two states that have not done a particularly good job of governing themselves. That is exactly what our Founding Fathers were attempting to avoid (as explained by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 68).

In Federalist 68, Alexander Hamilton stated:

And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place.

Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption.

The idea was that the Electoral College would give less-populated states a voice in the election of the president. A candidate for president would be required to gain a broad base of support–he would be required to represent the entire country–not just one or two sections.

To illustrate what elections would look like without the Electoral College, let’s look at where the campaign money comes from in elections.

According to opensecrets.org the top donor states are California (22 percent), New York (21 percent), Illinois (7 percent), and Florida (6 percent). The other states provided 44 percent of campaign donations. California has 40 million people; West Virginia has 2 million people. Without the Electoral College, how likely is a presidential candidate to campaign in (or represent) the people in West Virginia? There is a valid reason for the Electoral College.

 

This Is Simply Harassment

Anyone who celebrates the Congressional search for any smidgen of dirt on Donald Trump might want to consider that if this continues, it could happen to any President or any citizen. The two-plus year witch hunt needs to end, and those responsible need to be held accountable. The latter seems to be about to happen. The former has no end in sight.

On Tuesday The City Journal posted an article about Congress’ demand for President Trump’s tax returns (including years he was not in office). This is harassment. However, you only have to look at the events of the past week or so to find out what is actually going on–the quest for tax returns is simply a bright shiny object put in front of the American public to divert from the news that John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, will be investigating the origins of the surveillance on the Trump campaign and transition team.

The article points out:

Disappointed by Robert Mueller’s failure to demonstrate President Trump’s perfidy, Democrats are focusing anew on the president’s tax returns. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is refusing to order the release of Trump’s federal returns to the House, saying that there is no legislative purpose for doing so, but a new effort to expose Trump’s tax history runs through Albany, where Democrats in 2018 gained solid control of the state senate for the first time in decades. Governor Andrew Cuomo has promised to sign a bill making its way through the legislature that would submit any New Yorker’s state tax returns to Congress, on request from the chairs of any of three revenue-related committees.

The excitement among Democrats is palpable. “We are facing a constitutional showdown,” says State Senator Brad Hoylman, the legislation’s sponsor. “New York, as the home of the president’s state taxes, has a special responsibility to step into the breach.” Assemblywoman Pat Fahy concurs, saying that “we can help hold the president accountable and we will set future precedents for all elected officials, that neither you as a president nor your business interests are above the law.”

Is anyone going to want to run for office under these ‘new’ rules?

The article concludes:

It’s likely that Trump’s pursuers don’t expect to find smoking guns in Trump’s tax returns. Decades in public life, including multiple infamous bankruptcies, have produced no hint of major scandal or criminality. So why should we expect his tax returns—already submitted to the government and scrutinized by forensic professionals with power to arrest—to reveal anything shocking?

Those demanding Trump’s tax returns probably just want to embarrass him by proving old rumors that he isn’t as rich as he pretends to be. For all this effort, though, that would be a weak payoff—especially since the people likely to care about such revelations aren’t Trump voters, anyway.

This is what desperation looks like.

Actions Have Consequences

Most Americans strive to preserve the environment, despite how the more radical environmentalists portray them. The problem occurs when there is a small risk to the environment but a benefit to people.  Anything civilization does will probably incur a small risk to the environment, but benefits and risks need to be weighed carefully. New York State is paying a price for the actions of some of its more radical environmentalists.

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about some consequences of recent environmental activist victories.

The article reports:

If you know anything about New York in the modern era (both the state and the Big Apple), you’re likely aware that it’s not exactly a friendly landscape for the oil and gas industry. The “Keep it in the ground” crowd has a lot of influence with the Democrats who control the government. That why, back in 2013, when the new Constitution Pipeline was proposed to carry natural gas from Pennsylvania’s rich shale oil fields to New York, activists were able to block the construction despite it already having been approved by federal regulators. Similarly, when National Grid (the local energy consortium) requested an extension to the Williams Co. Transco pipeline, they were also tied up because of the outcry from environmental activists.

Here comes the surprise that nobody could have possibly seen coming. The city and its surrounding downstate region are still expanding with new construction projects, but their energy suppliers have told them that they will not be able to supply natural gas to any new customers because they’re already at capacity.

The article concludes with some interesting irony:

The additional ironic twist to all of this is they don’t even need those long pipelines to begin with. Or at least they wouldn’t need them if they were thinking clearly. The southern section of upstate New York is sitting on some of the richest natural gas deposits in the country in the form of the Marcellus Shale deposits. It’s the same formation delivering all of that natural gas over the border in Pennsylvania. But Andrew Cuomo and his Democratic buddies pushed through a moratorium on any and all natural gas drilling and it’s still in place today.

The state could be producing its own natural gas and supplying New York City more cheaply, but they’re refusing to do it out of spite. And now they’ve outstripped their fuel supply. This entire situation would be hilarious if it weren’t creating such a massive SNAFU for the energy grid.

I guess if you live in New York, you’d better make sure you have a working fireplace that you can cook on. The environmentalists put questionable science over the practical needs of people.

The Supreme Court Will Hear The Case Regarding The Citizenship Question On The Census

Yesterday Breitbart reported that the Supreme Court will hear the case regarding putting a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

The article details some of the history of the question:

The Enumeration Clause in Article I of the Constitution requires a nationwide census be taken every ten years. The Census Act empowers the head of the Commerce Department to determine what the census will ask, aside from the number of persons residing at every address in the nation. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross decided for the Trump administration that the census will ask each person in the nation next year if that person is a citizen of the United States.

That was a recurring question on census forms until recently. The first census to ask about citizenship was the one conducted in 1820, and the last was 1950. After 1950, the Census Bureau – which is part of the Commerce Department – has continued to ask that question on the “long form” census form that goes to some census-takers, as well as on its yearly questionnaire that goes to a small number of households each year, called the American Community Survey (ACS).

…However, when Ross put that question on the 2020 census, leftwing partisans sued, claiming that inserting this question violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). More surprising to many, Judge Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York agreed, writing a 277-page decision (which is shockingly long) holding that it is illegal to ask about citizenship.

The article explains that the case revolves around the APA:

There are three issues in the case. The first is whether it violates the APA for the census to ask about citizenship. The second is whether courts can look beyond the administrative record to probe the thinking of top-ranking government officials in an APA case. The justices inserted a third issue of their own, asking whether asking that if the APA allows the question, would that question nonetheless violate the Enumeration Clause.

In other words, the case is about whether asking about citizenship violates either federal law or the Constitution, and also whether it is out of bounds to chase down a member of the president’s Cabinet in such lawsuits.

This case has very significant implications. Legislative districting lines for Congress and statehouses are based on census data. Dozens of congressional seats and perhaps hundreds of state seats could shift if states drew lines based on citizenship, instead of total numbers of persons. Some even argue that congressional seats, and with them Electoral College votes for president, could be reallocated among the states based on citizenship data. At minimum, billions of dollars in federal spending is based on census numbers.

The states that will probably lose representatives and electoral college votes if the citizenship questions is on the census are California, New York, Arizona, and possibly New Mexico.

The question to me is whether or not people who are in America but not citizens should have a voice in our government. Would you allow a guest in your house to determine your household budget?

Good Security Matters

The Independent U.K. reported today that police arrested a man in St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York who was carrying two full gas cans, lighter fluid and lighters. The man claimed to be cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue where his car was out of gas. The police accompanied him to his car and found that it was not out of gas. At that point the man was taken into custody.

The article notes:

The 37-year-old New Jersey man allegedly pulled up in a minivan outside the landmark in Manhattan on Wednesday night, walked around the area, and then returned to the vehicle to retrieve the items, said New York Police Department (NYPD).

“As he enters the cathedral he’s confronted by a cathedral security officer who asks him where he’s going and informs him he can’t proceed into the cathedral carrying these things,” said NYPD deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism John Miller.

“At that point some gasoline apparently spills out onto the floor as he’s turned around.”

Security then raised the alarm with counter-terrorism officers who were standing outside, Mr Miller said. 

It is encouraging to me that there were counter-terrorism officers standing outside.

The article reports:

He added: “It’s hard to say exactly what his intentions were, but I think the totality of circumstances of an individual walking into an iconic location like St Patrick’s Cathedral carrying over four gallons of gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid and lighters is something that we would have great concern over.”

“It’s hard to say exactly what his intentions were…” Are you kidding me? That has to be the understatement of the year.

At any rate, I suspect that the police and security avoided what might have been a really awful event.

Irony At Its Best

The Trump tax cuts made life a little easier for most Americans. They made life a little more difficult for some middle class and wealthy people in states with high taxes. Oddly enough, many of these states with high taxes are blue states with large populations and huge state budgets. Some of the most affected states were California, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, all reliably blue states. Those states control 116 Electoral College votes and send 106 Representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives (out of 435 total Representatives). Now, after all the complaining that the Trump tax cuts were tax cuts for the rich (which they were not), Democrats want to give the wealthy in high-tax states their tax cuts.

Real Clear Politics posted an article today about the Democrats’ plan.

The article reports:

Democrats often complain that tax cuts primarily benefit “the rich,” but apparently they only think it’s a problem when rich conservatives get a tax break, because they’re outraged that President Trump’s tax cuts scaled back a generous subsidy enjoyed by well-off taxpayers in liberal states.

A key provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was a new cap on the so-called State and Local Tax (“SALT”) Deduction, which allows taxpayers to deduct state and local taxes on their federal tax return. This provision forces taxpayers in low-tax states such as Florida and Texas to effectively subsidize those in high-tax states such as New York and California.

For years, blue-state Democrats have been able to raise state income and property taxes far higher than voters might normally tolerate. That’s because the SALT deduction softened the impact for taxpayers in those states, particularly for the rich campaign-donor class. Since the SALT deduction only applies to taxpayers who itemize their returns, its benefits naturally accrue to those in the highest income bracket.

There was previously no limit to how much taxpayers could deduct through SALT, but even though the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act capped the deduction at $10,000, almost 93 percent of American taxpayers will be unaffected. It’s likely that fewer taxpayers will elect to take advantage of SALT, since the law also doubled the standard deduction, but about 11 million of the highest-earning Americans living in high-tax states are seeing their federal income tax liabilities increase.

It’s curious that liberals who criticized Trump so vociferously for “cutting taxes on the wealthy” are so upset by an element of the tax reform plan that merely takes away a tax break enjoyed disproportionately by the wealthy.

The problem here is simple. The Democrats believe that President Trump cut taxes for the rich (which he didn’t), but it was the wrong rich. However, just for the record, since most of the tax burden falls on Americans who are relatively successful, their tax cuts are going to seem larger than those who pay little or no taxes.

The following chart is from a Pew Research article. The figures are from 2015:

People who make over $100,000 (which in some areas of the country is not a lot of spending power) pay over 80% of all income taxes paid. I think we need to reopen the discussion of a flat tax. Everyone needs to have an equal stake in the game.