Another Way To Handle The Coronavirus

Yesterday Just the News posted an article about how the coronavirus has impacted Sweden.

The article reports:

After months without lockdowns, school closures and other mitigation measures widely imposed across the world, Sweden’s coronavirus cases and deaths have fallen to such minimal levels as to revive the debate over its so-called herd immunity strategy.

Some Swedish officials are far from declaring victory, warning there could be a second wave and that too many elderly died in the country during its comparatively lax pandemic restrictions. The country’s population-adjusted death rate, meanwhile, is in the top 10 worldwide, but lower than the rates for Italy, Spain and even New York, where heavy lockdowns prevailed.

…Throughout March, as much of the Western world was shutting down large swaths of its economies and strictly limiting individual mobility with stay-at-home orders, Sweden opted for a much lighter touch, refusing to close down service industries, leaving schools largely open, and allowing its borders to remain open. It did restrict large gatherings for a time, while some schools were closed.

The article concludes:

Throughout the pandemic, Swedish authorities have insisted that their country’s approach was one rooted in years of epidemiological research and that much of the rest of the world abandoned that data in favor of panic and hysteria.

“It was as if the whole world had gone mad,” Tegnell said several weeks ago, citing the worldwide rush to lock down and quarantine. “The cases became too many, and the political pressure got too strong. And then Sweden stood there rather alone.”

The epidemiologist has several times argued that the true results of various countries’ approaches to the coronavirus pandemic will only become clear after several years’ worth of study.

I think it may be time to reevaluate our response to the coronavirus. Please follow the link to the article to read the entire story.

Isn’t That Special?

Yesterday Just the News posted an article about the people who attended the funeral of Representative John Lewis.

The article reports:

Washington, D.C. attendees to the Atlanta funeral of the late Rep. John Lewis are exempt from following the District of Columbia’s strict quarantine rules after returning home from Georgia, the D.C. mayor’s office says.

Lewis, a longtime member of Congress and one of the major figures of the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, died on July 17 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. After lying in state at the United States Capitol, his body was returned to Atlanta for a funeral at that city’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.

…The extraordinary exemption from Bowser’s quarantine orders is just one example of congressional members being released from strict coronavirus mitigation rules in the District of Columbia. 

Earlier in July, Bowser declared that D.C. residents must wear masks while in public indoor spaces, as well as outdoors when likely to be around other people for “more than a fleeting time.”

Yet exempt from that order were “persons in the judicial or legislative branches of the District government while those persons are on duty,” as well as “any employees of the federal government while they are on duty.”

Though the mayor’s office is not requiring members of Congress to wear face coverings, this week Pelosi instituted a mask mandate for the House of Representatives, shortly after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) tested positive for COVID-19.

Pelosi threatened to have congressional members and staff removed from the House if they don’t comply with the mandate, calling the failure to wear a mask “a serious breach of decorum.”

Who says there is not a ‘ruling class’ in America?

It gets worse. Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted the following today:

The double standards in public health guidelines, left-wing protest, and all the rest might be enough to make a reasonable observer wonder if the plague is all it’s cracked up to be. Has anyone other than Amber Athey gone in for a close-up and asked the obvious questions in connection with the funeral of civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis? Athey asks the pointed question: “Who deserves a funeral?” Answer: Not you or me or our loved ones, that much I can tell you. (Thanks to Spectator USA for making Athey’s column freely accessible at our request.)

Maybe we need to take a closer look at some of the decisions being made ‘to protect our health.’

When Politics Overrides Science

Yesterday Just the News posted an article about some recent statements by Harvey Risch, a professor of epidemiology at Yale and director of that school’s Molecular Cancer Epidemiology Laboratory.

The article reports:

Harvey Risch, a professor of epidemiology at Yale as well as the director of that school’s Molecular Cancer Epidemiology Laboratory, argues in a Newsweek op-ed this week that “the data fully support” the wide use of hydroxychloroquine as an effective treatment of COVID-19. 

“When this inexpensive oral medication is given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control, it has shown to be highly effective,” Risch argues in the column. 

…Risch, at Newsweek, argues that multiple studies over the past several months have demonstrated that the drug is a safe and efficacious treatment method for COVID-19.

Among the successful treatment experiments, he writes, are “an additional 400 high-risk patients treated by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, with zero deaths; four studies totaling almost 500 high-risk patients treated in nursing homes and clinics across the U.S., with no deaths; a controlled trial of more than 700 high-risk patients in Brazil, with significantly reduced risk of hospitalization and two deaths among 334 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine; and another study of 398 matched patients in France, also with significantly reduced hospitalization risk.”

The media’s portrayal of this drug (which was approved for medical use in the United States in 1955 has been commonly used to treat arthritis, lupus, and certain types of malaria) has been almost entirely negative. It should be noted that the drug costs about 60¢ a pill. Some of the other drugs pharmacy companies are recommending to treat the coronavirus cost as much as $6,000 a pill. You don’t suppose there might be a financial as well as a political aspect to the objections to hydroxychloroquine.

The article concludes:

Risch says the drug is most effective “when given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control.”

Though according to Risch the benefits of the drug are clear, he nevertheless concedes that the subject “has become highly politicized.”

“For many, it is viewed as a marker of political identity, on both sides of the political spectrum,” he said. “Nobody needs me to remind them that this is not how medicine should proceed.”

He also argues that “the drug has not been used properly in many studies,” and that delays in administering the drug have reduced its effectiveness. 

“In the future,” Risch says in the column, “I believe this misbegotten episode regarding hydroxychloroquine will be studied by sociologists of medicine as a classic example of how extra-scientific factors overrode clear-cut medical evidence.”

“But for now,” he adds, “reality demands a clear, scientific eye on the evidence and where it points.”

Some objectivity on the part of the media would be nice.

Taking A Necessary Action In Regard To China

The tension between America and China is growing. There are reports out of China that the Chinese Communists are preparing to move on Taiwan. Many people assumed that after Hong Kong was brought under control, Taiwan would be the next step. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has ordered the closing of the Chinese consulate in Houston.

Just the News posted an article about the closing of the consulate today.

The article reports:

The Trump administration said Wednesday that it has ordered China to close its consulate in Houston “to protect American intellectual property,” the most recent episode in a growing divide between the two governments over such concerns as trade, the coronavirus, human rights and security.

The article concludes:

Firefighters responded to reports of papers being burned on the consulate grounds Tuesday night but were barred entry, according to Houston news media reports.

The consulate was informed Tuesday of the decision, according to the Associated Press.

The Chinese foreign ministry reportedly called the move “an outrageous and unjustified move that will sabotage relations between the two countries.”

The ministry is also warning about countermeasures, the wire service also reports. The U.S. has an embassy in China and reportedly five consulates on the mainland.

Unfortunately, the relationship between America and China will probably get worse before it gets better. China has suffered economically because of the coronavirus and needs an enemy to unite its people as its economy suffers. The move on Hong Kong did not really draw a strong response from western countries, so they may be willing to gamble that this is the time to end Taiwan as a separate country. Stay tuned.

This Isn’t Politics–It’s Illegal Activity

Yesterday Just the News posted an article about the information found in some recently declassified emails. The one thing we are learning from the recent release of newly declassified documents is that the documents were classified solely to protect those in the intelligence community who were breaking the law.

The article reports:

Donald Trump was president for only 24 hours when then-FBI supervisor Peter Strzok sent an angry missive to his boss. A colleague had given the new White House a counterintelligence briefing and hadn’t consulted on how to use the meeting to further the Russia collusion investigation.

“I heard from [redacted] about the WH CI briefing routed from [redacted],” Strzok wrote on Jan. 21, 2017, a day into the new Trump presidency after learning fellow agent Jennifer Boone had given the White House a briefing without his knowledge.

“I am angry that Jen did not at least cc: me, as my branch has pending investigative matters there,” Strzok added in his email to Assistant Director for Counterintelligence William Priestap. “This brief may play into our investigative strategy, and I would like the ability to have visibility and provide thoughts/counsel to you in advance of the briefing.

The article continues with the relevant timeline:

“When Strzok found out those briefings were already conducted without his knowledge, he got upset. Since the CI briefings apparently were no longer available as a subterfuge, soon thereafter Deputy Director McCabe reached out to Flynn directly to set up an interview appointment,” he added. “Director Comey admitted later they took advantage of the disorganization of a new administration to avoid the protocols that would normally be in place to control access to senior WH personnel like Flynn.”

The article concludes:

“Because Flynn was expected to attend the first such briefing for members of the Trump campaign on August 17, 2016, the FBI viewed that briefing as a possible opportunity to collect information potentially relevant to the Crossfire Hurricane and Flynn investigations,” Horowitz wrote. “We found no evidence that the FBI consulted with Department leadership or ODNI officials about this plan.”

Tom Fitton, the head of Judicial Watch, said the FBI’s conduct during the investigation reeked of politics.

“These documents suggest that President Trump was targeted by the Comey FBI as soon as he stepped foot in the Oval Office,” Fitton said.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is becoming obvious that many of the people in the intelligence community during the Obama administration considered themselves above the law and had no problem violating the civil rights of American citizens. Those people belong in jail. Hopefully that will happen someday soon.

This Doesn’t Seem To Be The Answer

Just the News reported yesterday that one month after California Governor Newsom unilaterally ordered state residents to wear masks in most public settings, the average daily number of coronavirus cases in the state has increased by over 160%. Wow.

The article reports:

Newsom’s June 18 order “mandate[d] that face coverings be worn state-wide” while in “any indoor public space,” while on public transit, during virtually every form of work in which the public might be involved in some way, while walking through “hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities,” while in “any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s own household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance,” and in outdoor settings where six feet of distance between individuals is not possible.

Every state resident older than two years old is bound by the mandate; a small number of exceptions exempt individuals due to medical conditions and other limited circumstances.

…The website of Johns Hopkins University, which offers pandemic tracking tools for every U.S. state, says average daily cases in California have increased from 3,385 on the day of Newsom’s order to 8,889 as of July 16, an increase of 162%.

Though Newsom’s mask mandate appears to have had little effect on the trajectory of the virus in California, the governor nevertheless this week imposed additional mask requirements on the state, ordering that most students who return to school in the fall will be subject to “strong mask requirements,” namely that “all staff and students in 3rd grade and above will be required to wear a mask or face covering” during the school day.

Can you imaging trying to keep a mask on the third grader all day? I don’t know why the masks did not help, but I think we need to look at this carefully. If the coronavirus spread that much with masks, why are we mandating them?

What Does This Have To Do With Educating Students?

Yesterday Just the News reported that the Los Angeles teachers union says schools can’t reopen unless charter schools get shut down and police defunded. Charter schools generally outperform public schools, so why are the teachers trying to shut them down?

The article reports:

A major teachers union is claiming that the re-opening of schools in its district cannot occur without several substantial policy provisions in place, including a “moratorium” on charter schools and the defunding of local police. 

United Teachers Los Angeles, a 35,000-strong union in the Los Angeles Unified School District, made those demands in a policy paper it released this week. The organization called on local authorities to “keep school campuses closed when the semester begins on Aug. 18.”

The union outlined numerous major provisions it says will be necessary to reopen schools again, including sequestering students in small groups throughout the school day, providing students with masks and other forms of protective equipment, and re-designing school layouts in order to facilitate “social distancing.” 

The article continues:

Police violence “is a leading cause of death and trauma for Black people, and is a serious public health and moral issue,” the union writes. The document calls on authorities to “shift the astronomical amount of money devoted to policing, to education and other essential needs such as housing and public health.”

“Privately operated, publicly funded charter schools,” meanwhile, “drain resources from district schools,” the union states. The practice of “colocating” charter schools in existing structures, it continues, “adds students to campuses when we need to reduce the number of students to allow for physical distancing.”

The union also demands the implementation of a federal Medicare-for-All program, several new state-level taxes on wealthy people, and a “federal bailout” of the school district.

“The benefits to restarting physical schools must outweigh the risks, especially for our most vulnerable students and school communities,” the document continues.

“As it stands, the only people guaranteed to benefit from the premature physical reopening of schools amidst a rapidly accelerating pandemic are billionaires and the politicians they’ve purchased,” it adds.

I want teachers and students to be safe when schools open. I think we all do. However, the teachers union has overlooked the negative impact on the students as a result of the schools being closed during the end of the last school year. They have also overlooked the fact that many foreign countries have had their schools open for a while without any negative results. They are also overreaching into political issues that have nothing to do with education. I wonder if the teachers who are members of the teachers’ union agree with the demands that their union is making.

Good News On The Jobs Market

Just the News posted an article today reporting that the U.S. added 4.8 million jobs during the month of June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday. The unemployment rate fell to 11.1%. Economists had estimated that 3 million jobs would be added.

The article reports:

The increase in jobs comes as businesses begin rehiring following the height of the coronavirus pandemic in April and May.

The unemployment rate also dropped more than expected. The Dow Jones predicted that it would fall to 12.4% in June. It was 13.3% in May.

We are definitely moving in the right direction.

The article concludes:

Also released this morning were the weekly jobless claims, which showed that 1.43 million Americans filed for first time unemployment benefits last week. This number was slightly higher than the expected 1.38 million.

The new numbers will help inform Congress later this month as they debate the possibility of expanding benefits for unemployed Americans.

The expanded benefits system has been providing the unemployed with an additional $600 a week, and covering workers who are not typically included in the state benefit systems.

Sections of the country have begun pausing their economic reopening efforts as the coronavirus spikes sharply in the south west.

It is likely that Congress will ultimately agree to extend those benefits, but decrease the $600 addition.

The $600 addition has been cited by many business owners as the reason some of their employees are not in a hurry to return to work. Whatever Congress subsidizes we will see more of. When unemployment is no longer subsidized, we will see less of it.

Destroying The Basis Of Past Unity

America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Our original laws were based on the Ten Commandments as listed in the Bible. In colonial America, children were taught to read using the Bible. The Bible was the common thread that united us. We were Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, but we all believed in the Bible. Religious freedom was  a major right of all Americans. Now that common thread is becoming frayed, and there are those who want to eliminate it altogether.

Just the News posted an article yesterday titled, “Democrat congressman calls religious liberty a ‘pretext for discrimination.’”

The article reports:

Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney described religious liberty as a “bogus term” and a “pretext for discrimination.”

The New York congressman made the comments Monday on MSNBC while reacting to a Supreme Court ruling banning discrimination against gay and transgender people.

“And we know that Neil Gorsuch is a supporter of so-called religious liberty, which is a bogus term,” Maloney said, describing it as a “pretext for discrimination hiding behind the guise of religion.”

The article concludes:

During his interview Maloney also said that America would benefit if there were high schoolers in the nation’s legislature.

“If we had more high school kids in Congress we’d be a better country,” he said, adding that young Americans are leading progressive movements.

I’m saddened to think this Representative thinks that religious liberty is a bogus term. It’s one of the things the Founding Fathers fought for. Does he think freedom of speech is also a bogus term? As for high school kids in Congress, the reason many of them are progressives is that they have not yet encountered the real world. Many high school progressives abruptly become conservatives when they see the amount of money the government takes out of their paycheck.

Congress’ Incredible Ability To Waste Taxpayers’ Money

Yesterday Just the News posted an article reporting that Congress added $3 million to the legislative branch’s already exorbitant $1.3 trillion annual budget for the failed impeachment of Donald Trump. There are several problems with this expenditure. First of all, we really don’t have $1.3 trillion to spend on a wild goose chase. It was understood from the beginning that the Senate would never impeach President Trump, so what was the purpose of this futile exercise? It was a purely political stunt. Damn the taxpayers, and full speed ahead. Second, anyone paying attention with an IQ of more than 50 understood that the charges against the President were not impeachable offenses. The whole impeachment theater was an exercise in futility.

The article details the spending:

That price tag included the salaries of more than 100 congressional staffers and employees who, for those four months, essentially worked full-time on the impeachment proceedings. It also factors in the hourly fees of the six attorneys who were hired as lawyers of record for witnesses who made appearances during hearings, and acted as impeachment counsel for the House Democratic impeachment managers throughout the trial.

The high cost of the impeachment effort is primarily due to the House’s decision to use congressional staffers to investigate the president for potentially impeachable crimes. For reference, during the impeachment of President Clinton 1998, the majority of the fact-finding was done by Independent Counsel Ken Starr’s staff. For President Nixon’s impeachment inquiry, the bulk of the investigating was handled by special prosecutors Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski, in addition to a Senate select committee.

The $3 million tally is a conservative estimate, since it does not yet include the impeachment costs run up during the Senate trial in January and February. It also does not factor in overtime pay for Capitol Police, witness travel expenses, or supplies and materials required for the hearings and trial. 

The impeachment inquiry began just weeks after the release of the Mueller Report and conclusion of the two-and-a-half year Russia probe. Adding the impeachment spending to the $32 million spent on the Mueller investigation, the taxpayer has been billed a total of $35 million for the two investigations, neither of which resulted in bipartisan findings of presidential wrongdoing.

Elections have consequences. The impeachment fiasco was the result of turning the House of Representatives over to the Democrats after the Democrat candidates promised they would not spend their time going after President Trump. The impeachment fiasco was something that the more radical elements of the Democrat party demanded, but most American voters did not support. If the Democrats hold the House of Representatives after the November elections and President Trump is reelected, I can guarantee that more taxpayer money will be wasted in Congress on political theater.

Cowardice In The Senate

Our Senators and Congressmen are elected representatives. They are voted in by the people they are supposed to represent. A certain amount of transparency is expected from them so that the voters can decide whether or not to reelect them. Unfortunately, some of our cowardly Senators have learned how to get around that transparency and avoid taking responsibility for the votes they cast in the Senate.

Just the News posted an article yesterday that reported the following:

The Senate Armed Services Committee approved a $740 billion 2021 defense authorization bill on Wednesday that establishes a commission that would make recommendations on renaming military bases named after Confederate leaders and implement the plan within three years from the date the bill becomes law.

According to the office of the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Jack Reed, the committee passed an amendment by voice vote during a closed-door session that would create “a commission to study and provide recommendations” concerning the removal of “names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America.”

The amendment was passed by a voice vote so that no one would know who voted for it and who voted against it. No one is actually taking responsibility for the vote.

The article continues, illustrating the further lack of transparency:

The amendment was approved during a “secret level” markup session that concluded on Wednesday evening. The full text of the amendment, which was introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), has not been made available yet. Warren’s office was not available for comment. The office of Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) also did not respond before publication.

Inhofe reportedly said on Thursday that he would seek to change the language of the amendment so that renaming the military bases would not be a congressional requirement.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) tweeted on Thursday that he opposed the amendment and “spoke against it” during the closed-door, full committee markup of the defense bill.

“Congress should not be mandating renaming of our bases and military installations,” he wrote.

The House Armed Services Committee has a hearing scheduled in July for the defense authorization bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Democratic leaders might include renaming military bases and removing Confederate statues from the Capitol as part of the defense bill or as standalone legislation.

The Civil War is a part of American history. There were many brave men who fought on both sides. All of the soldiers fighting for the Union were not fighting because they opposed slavery and all of the soldiers fighting for the Confederacy were not fighting because they supported slavery. There were multiple motives on both sides. Can we please get over ourselves and grow up?

Mixed Emotions On This

Just the News updated its article about Michael White, a Navy veteran who was recently returned to the U.S. from Iran.

The article reports:

An Iranian doctor living in Florida has in recent days been allowed to return to his country in an apparent exchange with Tehran in which a U.S. Navy veteran was returned last week to America.

The doctor, Matteo Taerri, pleaded guilty late last year in connection with attempting to export a filter to Iran that he said was for vaccine research. However, U.S. authorities said the filter required a license because it could be used for chemical and biological warfare, according to the Associated Press. Taerri was also accused of orchestrating a series of bank deposits less than $10,000 to evade federal reporting requirements.

The article further reports:

Last week, Michael White, the Navy veteran, was returned to the U.S.

White, of California, was detained in July 2018 while visiting a girlfriend in Iran. He was convicted of insulting the country’s supreme leader and putting private information online, the wire service also reports. White had been released from prison in March on a medical furlough and was awaiting his return.

Earlier last week, Iranian scientist named Sirous Asgari returned to Tehran after being acquitted in a federal trade secrets case and deported. He was working on a U.S. Navy project at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

I am glad that Michael White was able to return to America, but I am concerned about the price we paid for that return. How many more Americans will Iran take hostage in order to get their intelligence assets out of America?

Never Let A Crisis (Or A Protest) Go To Waste

Just the News reported yesterday that the Black Lives Matter group is planning a protest in Easton, Maryland this weekend. However, something is happening during that protest that I actually agree with.

The article reports:

And just to make sure politics isn’t lost on the moment, the Talbot County Democratic Party is setting up a voter registration drive at the Talbot County courthouse where the groups We are Human and Black Lives Matters are hosting a Kneel for Justice event.

The lead up to the event has already generated lots of anxiety, and news.

Earlier this week, police made the rounds to local shops in Easton advising the owners and their staff to remove anything outside that may end up through a window.

Now I understand that the purpose of the voter registration is to register Democrats, but this is an interesting story. The Democrats are aligning with those two groups. They will be registering Democrats. Will the Democrats they are registering look at how the Democratic mayors of many of the cities currently experiencing protests and riots have governed those cities? Will the Democrats they are registering notice that the party that is registering them to vote has been making empty promises to them for generations?

How well this works for the Democrats depends on how well the voters who register educate themselves on the issues. Hopefully, all registrations will be people who are alive and breathing and qualified to vote.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. There is another historic statue in danger.

Leadership Matters

Just the News posted an article today about Rod Rosenstein’s testimony before Congress.

The article reports:

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that he was unaware that an FBI field office had recommended that Gen. Michael Flynn be dropped from its Crossfire Hurricane investigation, with the former deputy attorney general agreeing that it would have “mattered” had he been aware of that directive.

Rosenstein was asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham if he knew that “in January of 2017, the FBI field office said, ‘we recommend General Flynn be removed'” from the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“I did not,” Rosenstein responded.

“Would that have mattered?” Graham asked, to which Rosenstein responded: “Yes.

Maybe I don’t understand the workings of the Department of Justice, but that seems odd to me. Shouldn’t he have known?

The article concludes:

Noting the procedural errors found within the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, Rosenstein told senators in prepared remarks that the Justice Department “must take remedial action” against any misconduct it uncovers within its ranks, a bracing statement made in reference to investigative reviews that found “significant errors” in official procedures related to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

Rosenstein noted that internal investigations had revealed that the FBI “was not following the written protocols” in its execution of Crossfire Hurricane.

The way I evaluate this is to look back at my husband’s days in the U.S. Navy. His squadron was being put aboard a different aircraft carrier. The carrier was being brought into its new port with great celebration. The Marine band was there, the governor was there, many important people were there. The ship ran aground on the way in and couldn’t get to the actual port. Eventually all the dignitaries simply went home. The next day, tug boats waited for high tide and brought the ship in. Keep in mind that the harbor pilot was steering the ship at the moment it ran aground. However, the captain of the ship was soon relieved of his duties. He was considered responsible. I believe Rod Rosenstein needs to be held responsible for the miscarriage of justice that occurred on his watch.

This Could Be Very Interesting

This week will be the beginning of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the Russia and Ukraine investigations. The first witness will be former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. It’s a pretty safe bet that he will not remember things or claim that he cannot answer a lot of questions because of classified information involved. We shall see.

Just the News posted an article yesterday that details nine items to look for. I am posting the list. Please follow the link to the article to read the details.

Here is the list:

1.) Will Rosenstein admit to failures and talk about the 25th Amendment fiasco?

2.) Will the ODNI declassify more documents, including former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ secret report to the CIA Inspector General highlighting flaws in the Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian interference in the 2016 elections? 

3.) What will the DC Circuit Court of Appeals do in the Flynn dismissal case?

4.) Who else will Graham’s committee interview or subpoena?

5.) Will any congressional committees zero in on former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s conduct in the Russia case?

6.) Will Attorney General William Barr and the special prosecutors he named, like U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut, to investigate the Russia case investigators bring any criminal charges?

7.) Will the Democratic strategy firm Blue Star Strategies comply with a subpoena in the Senate investigation into Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian business dealings?

8.) Who else might Johnson subpoena in the Ukraine probe?

9.) Will Johnson’s committee issue an interim report this summer on the evidence it has already uncovered about Hunter Biden, Joe Biden and Burisma?

This does have the potential of being a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing, but there is always the possibility that Congress might actually do its job and investigate the corruption that is Washington.

Good News

Just the News posted an article yesterday stating the following:

A new study from scientists in the United States suggests that a significant majority of the population may already have some level of immunity to the coronavirus, a possible explanation for why so many individuals seem to experience few to no symptoms from the disease.

Now they tell us.

The article continues:

The study, written by researchers in California, New York and North Carolina and soon to be published in the journal Cell, discovered that certain types of cells in blood samples taken from donors in 2015-2018—well before COVID-19 arose—were reactive against the COVID-19 virus. In other words, those blood samples were at least partially immune from the coronavirus even though they had never been exposed to it. 

“CD4+ T cell responses were detected in 40-60% of unexposed individuals. This may be reflective of some degree of crossreactive, preexisting immunity to SARS- CoV-2 in some, but not all, individuals,” the researchers state in the paper. 

The article concludes:

The research could provide an important clue for public health officials hoping to figure out why significant numbers of COVID-19 infections are either asymptomatic or else largely mild. The disease affects elderly and less healthy individuals most severely, with younger and healthy individuals for the most part spared its worst effects.

Though the term “coronavirus” has become ubiquitous in recent weeks as a way to describe the virus causing the current pandemic, coronaviruses are actually a variegated strain of infectious agents that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to SARS.

The researchers in their paper suggest that the immune response seen in the uninfected blood samples could have been generated by the coronaviruses that cause the common cold.

While I am still convinced of the need to protect the elderly and those with certain medical conditions, I wonder if the full lockdown was necessary. At any rate, it is good to know that large groups of Americans already have immunity to the coronavirus. As the death toll rises (as it most certainly will as the disease runs its course), we need to remember that the 1969 Hong Kong Flu killed 100,000 people in America. We did not lockdown for that epidemic, and frankly, I doubt that we will lockdown for any epidemic in the future. We need to protect the vulnerable, but the rest of us need to get on with our lives.

Another Step Toward Justice For Ahmaud Arbery

What happened to Ahmaud Arbery was a disgrace to the State of Georgia and to America. No one has the right to deny a person their right to a trail and a verdict. I hope all of the men involved spend some serious time in prison to consider what they did. I don’t know if Ahmaud Arbery was guilty of anything–that is not the point–the three men involved had no right to take the law into their own hands.

Just the News is reporting today that William “Roddie” Bryan Jr has been arrested an charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Bryan was the man that filmed the video of the attack on Ahmaud Arbery.

The article reports:

A father and son have already been arrested in the case but media reports indicate Bryan is the individual who filmed the footage that appears to show the moments leading up to Arbery’s death. Authorities on May 7 arrested 64-year-old Gregory McMichael and the 34-year-old Travis McMichael. The McMichaels are white while Arbery was black.

In the video two men appear to be engaged in a struggle and shots can be heard—one man is eventually seen collapsing.

Arbery’s mother believes that her son was out jogging. The elder McMichael said to police that he suspected Arbery of being a burglar and that Arbery attacked his son prior to getting shot.

In the state of Georgia “a person can be charged with felony murder for committing any felony that causes the death of someone else,” according to the Associated Press. “It does not require intent to kill and carries an automatic life sentence.”

The penalty for this crime needs to be severe, and there need to be penalties for anyone who blocked the investigation into the shooting. I don’t know if this was a racial killing, but it sure looks that way, and there should be no room for racism in America.

Slowly Things Are Unraveling

Just the News has been one of the leading sources for information on the Flynn case and for tracking misreporting of the Mueller investigation. Today the site posted an article listing some of the things that need to be investigated in the Mueller investigation.

The article notes:

Despite a February 2018 order from the judge in the Flynn case Emmett G. Sullivan to prosecutors to turn over all material exculpatory evidence to the defense — including information impeaching the credibility of witnesses against him — prosecutor Brandon van Grack never turned over any of the recently released information showing:

    • FBI agents investigating Flynn’s contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak  had recommended closing the case after turning up “no derogatory information.”
    • Agents were blocked from closing the case by fired, anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok, who in text messages attributed his move to intervention from the bureau’s “7th floor” leaders.
    • A senior FBI official confessed qualms — in notes recorded after a 2017 senior strategy meeting on the Flynn investigation — about whether the bureau’s purpose was to discover the truth or, instead, entrap Flynn in a lie that would lead to his dismissal or prosecution.

The recent revelations raising questions of prosecutorial misconduct in the Flynn case fit an emerging, more general pattern of questionable tactics employed by the Mueller probe, including withholding relevant exculpatory evidence and misrepresenting the government’s interactions with investigative targets.

The article lists nine problems with the Mueller probe:

  1. Misrepresentation of Papadopoulos cooperation
  2. Silence about Trump Tower meeting exculpatory evidence
  3. Court filings with deceptively edited email
  4. Scope memo used debunked Steele Dossier to set investigative parameters
  5. Mueller final testimony ignores Steele Dossier
  6. Deceptive editing of Dowd voicemail
  7. The secret side deal
  8. Improper acquisition of transition email
  9. Misleading Trump’s lawyers about his status

General Flynn is not the person who should be facing a prison term. Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is chilling that this abuse of our legal system has been allowed to continue as long as it has.

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.

A Wonderful Idea That Will Go Nowhere

I have no idea how to drain the swamp in Washington. My first thought would be to fire all lobbyists, but somehow lobbying would still happen. Million dollar businesses always seem to find a way to survive. However, every now and then someone in Washington comes up with a good idea. That good idea does not always survive, but occasionally it does.

Just the News reported yesterday that four Republican senators are introducing legislation that seeks to eliminate government waste by establishing a bipartisan commission tasked with reviewing federal agencies and furnishing cost-cutting recommendations.

The article reports:

The Agency Accountability Act proposed by Florida Sen. Rick Scott, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, Indiana Sen. Mike Braun and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis calls for the creation of a bipartisan Federal Agency Sunset Commission. 

The 13-person commission would be comprised of people appointed by House and Senate majority and minority leaders and one person appointed by the president. Of the three appointees made by each of the majority and minority leaders, two must be appointed from members of the respective chamber of Congress and one must be appointed from outside.

At a minimum the group would need to evaluate all federal agencies and advisory commissions one time each six years and then provide a recommendation about whether those entities should be reorganized, nixed or remain the same.

If the commission suggests changing or dispensing with a government entity, it is supposed to provide Congress with proposed legislative language to carry out the suggested changes. If the commission recommends no change it is supposed to explain its evaluation to Congress in a report.

This is a fantastic idea that will be fought tooth and nail by bureaucrats who support big government.

What The Transcripts Tell Us

Just the News posted an article yesterday listing the top six revelations from House Russia probe’s newly declassified witness interviews. Please follow the link to the article to read the details, but here is the list of the six revelations:

  1. No Collusion: The U.S. intelligence community never had any evidence of collusion between Russia and the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.
  2. FBI didn’t have a case: Former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe admitted during his testimony that the agency knew from the start that Trump associate George Papadopoulos wasn’t in contact with Moscow, thereby undermining the agency’s entire basis for opening Crossfire Hurricane, i.e., the Russia investigation. “Papadopoulos, didn’t particularly indicate that he was the person that was interacting with the Russians,” McCabe told the House Intelligence panel.
  3. Podesta and Clinton knew about funding for Steele Dossier: John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, testified that he and Clinton were aware in general terms that the campaign was paying for opposition research to link Donald Trump to Russia, but he said neither of them knew specifically who had been hired to conduct the effort.
  4. Clapper, Comey, and McCabe provide conflicting narratives: Clapper testified that he did not brief then-President Obama on former Michael Flynn’s conversation with the Russian ambassador in January 2017. However, both former FBI Director Comey and McCabe say otherwise.
  5. CrowdStrike says evidence of DNC hack was “not conclusive”: The president of CrowdStrike, a data security company retained by the DNC after it was hacked, testified to the House panel that there were “indications” of a hack into the DNC servers, but not concrete, irrefutable evidence.
  6. DNC lawyer ordered to tip off the CIA: Michael Sussmann, a Perkins Coie lawyer who represented both the Clinton campaign and the DNC in their response to presumed Russian hacking, testified that in February 2017, he went to the CIA, on behalf of a client whom he did not name, in an attempt to tip them off about the Trump organization’s ties to Russia.

The more we learn, the more this looks like a coup.

Distorting A Quote To Fit An Agenda

It’s no secret that the mainstream media does not like President Trump. It is no secret that they were hoping to celebrate the election of Hillary Clinton as President. Okay. They’re biased–but that is no excuse for totally distorting the truth to create the narrative that President Trump is a dictator controlling the Justice Department (his predecessor pretty much did that with the IRS, the New Black Panthers, the Russian Hoax, etc.). There is no evidence that President Trump has spied on political opponents or newsmen (James Rosen) or done any of the things the media has routinely accused him of. So why am I surprised when they take a quote totally out of context to make President Trump look bad? This is the story in an article posted at Just The News yesterday.

The article reports:

Meet the Press,” the signature news show hosted by Chuck Todd, apologized Sunday and admitted it had deceptively edited a video clip of Attorney General William Barr after the Justice Department cried foul.

I guess we should be grateful that they apologized.

The article explains:

The episode began when Todd aired a clip of CBS News’ Catherine Herridge asking how history would judge the DOJ’s decision to dismiss the Michael Flynn criminal case. The clip showed Barr initially laughing before saying,” History is written by the winners, so it largely depends on who’s writing the history.”

Todd immediately comments that he was “struck by the cynicism of the answer — it’s a correct answer, but he’s the attorney general. He didn’t make the case that he was upholding the rule of law. He was almost admitting that, yeah, this was a political job.”

But Barr did says in the CBS interview he felt the Flynn decision upheld the rule of law, which “Meet the Press” failed to air.

“I think a fair history would say it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law,” Barr said. “It upheld the standards of the Department of Justice, and it undid what was an injustice.”

A short while later, Barr’s spokeswoman went to Twitter to sharply criticize the NBC show.

Fortunately we currently have a Department of Justice that calls out fake news.

The article notes:

A short while later, Barr’s spokeswoman went to Twitter to sharply criticize the NBC show.

“Very disappointed by the deceptive editing/commentary by @ChuckTodd and @MeetThePress on AG Barr’s CBS interview,” Kerri Kupec tweeted. “Compare the two transcripts below. Not only did the AG make the case in the VERY answer Chuck says he didn’t, he also did so multiple times throughout the interview.”

A short while later, the official “Meet the Press” Twitter account posted an apology.

“You’re correct. Earlier today, we inadvertently and inaccurately cut short a video clip of an interview with AG Barr before offering commentary and analysis,” the tweet said. “The remaining clip included important remarks from the attorney general that we missed, and we regret the error.”

Excuse my cynicism, but they don’t regret the error–they regret being publicly called out for the error. Errors like that–because many people will not see the apology–are one of many reasons the country is divided.

How The Russia Hoax Unraveled

John Solomon posted an article at Just The News today that details some of the research he has done over the last three years and also lists the twelve revelations that destroyed the carefully-crafted narrative that President Trump was colluding with the Russians.

This is the list. Please follow the link to the article for details and the sources:

1. Flynn’s RT visit with Putin wasn’t nefarious.

2.  (Flynn was) Not a Russian agent.

3. Case closed memo.

4. DOJ heartburn.

5. Logan Act threat wasn’t real.

6. Unequal treatment.

7. Disguising a required warning.

8. “Playing games.

9. No deception.

10. No actual denial.

11.) Interview Reports Edited.

12.) Evidence withheld.

The article also notes how John Solomon’s investigation began:

Shortly after my colleague Sara Carter and I began reporting in 2017 on the possibility that the FBI was abusing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to spy on Americans during the Russia investigation, I received a call. It was an intermediary for someone high up in the intelligence community.

The story that source told me that day — initially I feared it may have been too spectacular to be true — was that FBI line agents had actually cleared former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn of any wrongdoing with Russia only to have the bureau’s leadership hijack the process to build a case that he lied during a subsequent interview.

In fact, my notes show, the source used the words “concoct a 1001 false statements case” to describe the objections of career agents who did not believe Flynn had intended to deceive the FBI. A leak of a transcript of Flynn’s call with the Russian ambassador was just part of a campaign, the source alleged.

The tip resulted in a two-and-a-half-year journey by myself and a small group of curious and determined journalists like Carter, Catherine Herridge, Greg Jarrett, Mollie Hemingway, Lee Smith, Byron York, and Kimberly Strassel to slowly peel back the onion.

The pursuit of the truth ended Thursday when the Justice Department formally asked a court to vacate Flynn’s conviction and end the criminal case, acknowledging the former general had indeed been cleared by FBI agents and that the bureau did not have a lawful purpose when it interviewed him in January 2017.

Attorney General William Barr put it more bluntly in an interview Thursday: “They kept it open for the express purpose of trying to catch, to lay a perjury trap for General Flynn.”

To understand just how dramatic a turnaround Thursday’s action was, one has to go back to the headlines of 2017 fanned by the likes of The Washington Post, The New York Times, MSNBC, CNN and others and told by a host of former Obama administration officials and their Democratic allies in Congress.

Flynn was suspected of violating the Logan Act by talking with the Russian ambassador. He may have been compromised by a 2015 visit with Vladimir Putin at a Russia Today event. He lied to the FBI. He may have been an agent of Russia and involved in colluding to hijack the election. He betrayed his country.

All of that was alleged, it turns out, without proof. And then Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team pressured Flynn to plead guilty to falsely telling FBI agents that he did not discuss sanctions with Russia’s ambassador. It turns out that wasn’t true either.

Thank God for the honest reporters who were willing to pursue this story. They were a necessary part of finding out the truth.

This Seems Obscure, But Needs Watching

We have just experienced a month-plus shutdown of the American economy (along with many Americans experiencing cabin fever and many children abruptly being home-schooled). It will take a while for the economy to open back up and recover. However, what we are currently experiencing is nothing like the disruption that would be caused by an electromagnetic pulse attack (also by a particularly strong solar flare). The American power grid is very vulnerable to attack from many sources. Our power grid provides power for the computers that route trucking, support supply chains, guide airplanes, keep grocery store coolers cold, etc. The power grid is all interconnected and computerized. It is an attractive target.

On May 1, Just The News reported the following:

The Energy Department said Friday that President Trump has banned the purchasing and installation of specific types of foreign gear for power plants and the transmission system. The move is a strategic effort to block the U.S. grid from falling victim to attacks from Russia and China.

The president’s executive order increases the secretary of Energy’s ability to prevent the use of select equipment that creates a national security risk. It also allows the secretary to determine which parts of the grid system are at risk and therefore in need of replacement.

Officials leading the effort will assess recent threats from abroad based on information from the U.S. intelligence community. They will then make a judgment on which elements of the power system need replacing. Agencies have been warning for several years that America’s electrical grid is an attractive and vulnerable target to foreign hackers.

This is a great move, but somehow electromagnetic pulse protection seems to be left behind.

In November 2019, Politico reported the following:

Turnover in President Donald Trump’s national security staff may be having a little-noticed side effect: Worries about nuclear weapons zapping America’s electric grid will return to the fringe.

Warnings about electromagnetic pulse attacks have long inspired eye-rolls or outright guffaws among national security experts, but advocates of the issue briefly found a home on Trump’s National Security Council, and the president himself issued an executive order on the topic in March. That respectability boom shows signs of fading, however, as those advocates leave the administration.

On Sept. 13, controversial physicist, self-declared climate skeptic and backer of the fight against EMPs William Happer left the White House. Three days earlier, Trump had ousted national security adviser John Bolton, who according to people close to the congressional EMP effort was also a backer of hardening power plants and the electric grid against the threat.

“With Bolton gone and some of the people he had brought in … this has disrupted the process,” said Peter Pry, executive director of the now-disbanded congressional advisory board that studied EMPs.

Trump’s executive order on March 29 was meant to aid coordination between the departments of Homeland Security, Energy and Defense, as well as numerous other federal agencies, to address the long-debated risk. The utility industry has resisted hardening the grid to EMP attacks because of the high cost of addressing what it considers an unlikely threat.

“The bureaucracy does not want this executive order,” Pry added, referring to the president’s order on EMP resilience. “What they’re trying to do is lowball the EMP threat … to such a level that basically industry will have to do little or nothing.”

I really don’t know if I should credit this bad advice to the deep state or just to general ignorance, but we need to get the emp protection program back up and running. This is an area where we are truly vulnerable to attack (or a natural phenomina such as a giant solar flare).

Information That May Be Important In Controlling The Coronavirus

Up until this point, one of the ways that people have been checked to see if they have the coronavirus has been with temperature scans. If they have no temperature, it is assumed that they are not carrying the virus. Well, there is some new information about the virus that puts that test in a different perspective.

On Thursday, Just The News reported the following:

Coronavirus infections among Navy personnel have been harder to spot because symptoms among sailors are different from those in the general population, a four-star admiral warned.

Admiral John Aquilino, who commands the U.S. Pacific Fleet, sent the warning this month in a memo to commanders throughout the Navy. The memo described the fleet’s findings on how COVID-19 has presented among sailors.

“While the symptoms largely mirror [Centers for Disease Control] findings there are differences, possibly owing to our younger demographics, a healthy cohort, and rapid medical care,” Aquino wrote in the April 20 unclassified memo viewed by Just the News.

Noting that the CDC names fever as the most common first symptom of COVID, Aquilino wrote that the Pacific Fleet found that among infected sailors, fever appeared last.

“In order of reporting, the symptoms most often reported by sailors are: cough, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, loss of taste/smell, difficulty breathing, and finally, fever,” the admiral wrote.

As opposed to a common assumption that COVID-19 presents first in a way others can detect, Aquilino wrote, sailors’ symptoms are less obvious.

“As our initial symptoms may only be noticeable to the individual sailor, immediate reporting of symptoms to the chain of command and medical department is essential,” Aquilino wrote.

Early reporting will help stop the virus from spreading through ships and work spaces, the commander wrote. The key, he said, is for crews to self-monitor and report health issues as soon as possible.

This may explain why some of our ships have had outbreaks of the virus–it is probably not unusual for a sailor to have a headache or muscle aches after a hard day of work.