American’s Should Not Kneel/Kowtow Before Provably False Ideas

KOW-TOW

  • DEFINITION: To kneel and touch the forehead to the ground in expression of deep respect, worship, or submission, as formerly done in China…. To show servile deference. synonym: fawn.

Vietnamese mandarins kowtowing before the Governor-General of Tonkin

AMERICAN THINKER has an intro to the below Tucker Carlson video I wish to excerpt from before you watch the video:

Back in the 1960s, authority figures also collapsed before the black mob.  Shelby Steele, in WHITE GUILT, describes how his college president, the quintessential white liberal who gave to all the Civil Rights causes, backed down like a deflated balloon:

Dr. McCabe simply came to a place where his own knowledge of American racism—knowledge his personal integrity prevented him from denying—opened a vacuum of moral authority within him. He was not suddenly stricken with pangs of guilt over American racism. He simply found himself without the moral authority to reprimand us for our disruptive behavior. He knew that we had a point, that our behavior was in some way connected to centuries of indisputable injustice. So he was trumped by his knowledge of this, not by his remorse over it, though he may have felt such remorse. Our outrage at racism simply had far greater moral authority than his outrage over our breach of decorum. And had he actually risen to challenge us, I was prepared to say that we would worry about our behavior when he and the college started worrying about the racism we encountered everywhere, including on his campus.

And this is when I first really saw white guilt in action. Now I know it to be something very specific: the vacuum of moral authority that comes from simply knowing that one’s race is associated with racism. Whites (and American institutions) must acknowledge historical racism to show themselves redeemed of it, but once they acknowledge it, they lose moral authority over everything having to do with race, equality, social justice, poverty, and so on. They step into a void of vulnerability. The authority they lose transfers to the “victims” of historical racism and becomes their great power in society. This is why white guilt is quite literally the same thing as black power. 

Steele, Shelby, White Guilt [Kindle Locations 370-374]. HarperCollins; emphasis mine.

In the 1960s, thanks to Jim Crow and endemic racism in the Northeast, whites had good reason to feel guilty.

But what about whites in 2020? Well, that’s where the Big Lie comes in….

Why Are Americans Surrendering To Violent Mobs?
Because They’ve Been Told They Have To

Here is an excellent CITY-JOURNAL article that Heather Mac Donald draws sensible reactions to these outliers:

 …Many protest supporters have expressed frustration with the attention being given to a relative handful of agitators driving the violence and looting—behavior, they say, that distorts the image of what is largely a peaceful movement. Their frustration is understandable but also ironic: the narrative that has driven thousands into the streets is itself a distortion. Just as the violence that has alarmed the American public does not represent the peaceful protesters exercising their right to air their grievances, the police violence depicted in viral videos does not characterize the institution of law enforcement.

This is not to say that police are perfect, or that officers never abuse their power; they are not perfect, and some do succumb to what can be an intoxicating sense of authority. This is a truth I’ve personally experienced. Nor is it to say that there is no room to improve policing and to make police-citizen encounters both safer and less fraught. But if there is to be any hope for peacefully bridging the gap so strikingly represented by the glass-covered asphalt separating rioters and police, destructive hyperbole needs to be recognized for what it is.

[….]

This is in line with other data I highlighted in these pages two years ago—namely, a 2018 study published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, which analyzed more than 114,000 criminal arrests made across three midsize police departments, finding that more than 99 percent of arrests were carried out without the use of physical force. In 98 percent of the cases in which those officers did use physical force, suspects “sustained no or mild injury.”

Historical context is important, too. In 1971, New York City Police discharged their firearms 810 times, wounding 221 people and killing 93. By 1990, those numbers were down to 307, 72, and 39, respectively. In 2016, police discharged their weapons just 72 times, wounding 23, killing 9. This is real progress; but it would come as news to anyone observing the mobs that have spent the last few days hurling insults, rocks, and Molotov cocktails at exhausted and demoralized members of the NYPD.

As troubling as cases like that of George Floyd are, we must remember that they are outliers. That knowledge won’t bring comfort or justice to those harmed or killed by police who use unjustifiable force, or their families; but it can help lower the temperature in an environment that is about as inhospitable to reasonable discussion as can be imagined. …

THE DAILY CALLER weighs in:

However, this destructive delusion has been completely demolished by a recent study that demonstrates there is no epidemic of racially biased police shootings of black people, that black citizens are not more likely to be shot by white officers, and that the shooting of unarmed people of any race is extraordinarily rare. In fact, an individual American citizen is substantially more likely to be struck by lightning than he is to be shot by the police while unarmed.    

In the article, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Joseph Cesario of Michigan State University and David Johnson of the University of Maryland assess hundreds of fatal police shootings since 2015. Their groundbreaking study exposes what is, at least for the anti-police mythmakers, an inconvenient truth indeed — that police shootings of citizens are not motivated by race or racism.

Here are the facts: 55% of all people fatally shot in America by the police are white — more than double the number of black (27%) or Hispanic (19%) individuals. Those police critics who accept at least this fact are generally quick to point out that black citizens are 27% of the people shot and killed by the police despite making up only 14% of the U.S. population. They say this disparity provides statistical proof of “systemic racism and bias,” but this superficial explanation doesn’t stand up. There are racial disparities in police shootings, but the disparities are not caused by racism.

According to Cesario and Johnson, who analyzed crime data from more than 200 U.S. counties, the strongest predictor of being shot by the police isn’t a person’s race, but whether the person is engaging in violent criminal behavior. Disparities across the major races in rates of police shooting are almost entirely consistent with the rates at which members of these different races are accused by victims of committing violent crimes. In other words, the greater the number of crimes committed by white individuals in a county, the more likely a white person will be shot by the police. And poor white Americans in Appalachia, for example, often are involved in police shootings. But, the greater number of crimes committed by black individuals in a county, the more likely it is that a black person will be shot by the police. The same is true for Hispanic individuals.

It’s not “systemic racism” that makes it more likely that a person will be shot by the police; it is how mathematically likely that person is to be committing crime. An individual’s behavior, not his race, is the determining factor.

The claim that racial bias on the part of individual officers is the cause of racial disparities in police shootings was also specifically found to be untrue. The researchers determined that: “The race of the officer doesn’t matter when it comes to predicting whether a black or white citizen will be shot.” White officers are no more likely to shoot a black person than are black or Hispanic officers. Not only is racial bias on the part of individual officers not a significant predictor of police shootings of black people, but also, remarkably, police officers off all races are statistically less likely to shoot a black than a white person under the same circumstances….

AGAIN, for good measure:

Here is Heather Mac Donald’s WALL STREET JOURNAL article in full [I believe] with thanks to PECKFORD 42:

Hold officers accountable who use excessive force. But there’s no evidence of widespread racial bias.

By Heather Mac Donald
June 2, 2020

George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis has revived the Obama-era narrative that law enforcement is endemically racist. On Friday, Barack Obama tweeted that for millions of black Americans, being treated differently by the criminal justice system on account of race is “tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal.’ ” Mr. Obama called on the police and the public to create a “new normal,” in which bigotry no longer “infects our institutions and our hearts.”

Joe Biden released a video the same day in which he asserted that all African-Americans fear for their safety from “bad police” and black children must be instructed to tolerate police abuse just so they can “make it home.” That echoed a claim Mr. Obama made after the ambush murder of five Dallas officers in July 2016. During their memorial service, the president said African-American parents were right to fear that their children may be killed by police officers whenever they go outside.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz denounced the “stain . . . of fundamental, institutional racism” on law enforcement during a Friday press conference. He claimed blacks were right to dismiss promises of police reform as empty verbiage.

This charge of systemic police bias was wrong during the Obama years and remains so today. However sickening the video of Floyd’s arrest, it isn’t representative of the 375 million annual contacts that police officers have with civilians. A solid body of evidence finds no structural bias in the criminal-justice system with regard to arrests, prosecution or sentencing. Crime and suspect behavior, not race, determine most police actions.

In 2019 police officers fatally shot 1,004 people, most of whom were armed or otherwise dangerous. African-Americans were about a quarter of those killed by cops last year (235), a ratio that has remained stable since 2015. That share of black victims is less than what the black crime rate would predict, since police shootings are a function of how often officers encounter armed and violent suspects. In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population.

The police fatally shot nine unarmed blacks and 19 unarmed whites in 2019, according to a Washington Post database, down from 38 and 32, respectively, in 2015. The Post defines “unarmed” broadly to include such cases as a suspect in Newark, N.J., who had a loaded handgun in his car during a police chase. In 2018 there were 7,407 black homicide victims. Assuming a comparable number of victims last year, those nine unarmed black victims of police shootings represent 0.1% of all African-Americans killed in 2019. By contrast, a police officer is 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.

On Memorial Day weekend in Chicago alone, 10 African-Americans were killed in drive-by shootings. Such routine violence has continued—a 72-year-old Chicago man shot in the face on May 29 by a gunman who fired about a dozen shots into a residence; two 19-year-old women on the South Side shot to death as they sat in a parked car a few hours earlier; a 16-year-old boy fatally stabbed with his own knife that same day. This past weekend, 80 Chicagoans were shot in drive-by shootings, 21 fatally, the victims overwhelmingly black. Police shootings are not the reason that blacks die of homicide at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined; criminal violence is.

The latest in a series of studies undercutting the claim of systemic police bias was PUBLISHED in August 2019 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers found that the more frequently officers encounter violent suspects from any given racial group, the greater the chance that a member of that group will be fatally shot by a police officer. There is “no significant evidence of antiblack disparity in the likelihood of being fatally shot by police,” they concluded.

A 2015 Justice Department analysis of the Philadelphia Police Department found that white police officers were less likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed black suspects. Research by Harvard economist Roland G. Fryer Jr. also found no evidence of racial discrimination in shootings. Any evidence to the contrary fails to take into account crime rates and civilian behavior before and during interactions with police.

The false narrative of systemic police bias resulted in targeted killings of officers during the Obama presidency. The pattern may be repeating itself. Officers are being assaulted and shot at while they try to arrest gun suspects or respond to the growing riots. Police precincts and courthouses have been destroyed with impunity, which will encourage more civilization-destroying violence. If the Ferguson effect of officers backing off law enforcement in minority neighborhoods is reborn as the Minneapolis effect, the thousands of law-abiding African-Americans who depend on the police for basic safety will once again be the victims.

The Minneapolis officers who arrested George Floyd must be held accountable for their excessive use of force and callous indifference to his distress. Police training needs to double down on de-escalation tactics. But Floyd’s death should not undermine the legitimacy of American law enforcement, without which we will continue on a path toward chaos.

Trump Acted Quickley On Coronavirus (TIMELINES PART DEUX)

A friend – in response to a challenge, posted multiple stories about Trump’s response to the Coronavirus to my single post detailing the timeline of the Trump admins response here: Trump Acted Quickley On Coronavirus (TIMELINES)

This was his firing away as if to make a point:

JIM

  • 10 times Trump and his administration were warned about coronavirus (AXIOS)
  • Trump’s daily briefings warned about COVID-19 at least a dozen times before the US outbreak, but he ‘failed to register’ the threat (BUSINESS INSIDER)
  • Trump was warned in January of Covid-19’s devastating impact, memos reveal (THE GUARDIAN)
  • Trump Was Warned About Virus Threat In More Than A Dozen Intelligence Reports In January, February (KAIESER HEALTH NEWS)
  • Trump Received Intelligence Briefings On Coronavirus Twice In January (NPR)
  • Trump Aide Warned Early on of Deadly US Coronavirus Outbreak (VOA NEWS)

(The italicized articles are completely debunked by information below – the others are highly questionable, the ones that have unnamed sources that is, and other portions of them are called into question by the timeline below.)

Besides the obvious question of, “which Western leader do you look to as a shining example of reacting in January to the crisis?” I could have easily responded to these papers who spread stories from a single anonymous source as if they are all different stories based on different [again, unnamed] sources, which, their practice of has undone almost all their stories [one example, another, and another] on the Russian Collusion Hoax, like this,

  • Memory Hole: What the Media Wants You to Forget About Their Biased Coronavirus Coverage (PJ-MEDIA)
  • The Media’s Top Lies and Spins About COVID-19 (REAL CLEAR POLITICS)
  • The Top 10 Lies About President Trump’s Response to the Coronavirus (PJ-MEDIA)
  • The China Virus Pandemic: COVID-19 Response and Recovery (PATRIOT POST)
  • Pollak: Democrats Pushed Impeachment While Coronavirus Spread (BREITBART)
  • China hid extent of coronavirus outbreak, US intelligence reportedly says (CNBC)
  • China deliberately hid coronavirus, admonished whistleblowers (WASHINTON TIMES)
  • Fauci points to China for late realization coronavirus was his ‘worst nightmare’ (WASHINGTON EXAMINER)
  • China admits to destroying coronavirus samples, insists it was for safety (NY POST)
  • China confirms US accusations that it destroyed early samples of the novel coronavirus, but says it was done for ‘biosafety reasons’ (BUSINESS INSIDER)
  • China pressured WHO to delay global coronavirus warning: report (NY POST)
  • China’s president Xi Jinping ‘personally asked WHO to hold back information about human-to-human transmission and delayed the global response by four to six WEEKS’ at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, bombshell report claims (THE DAILY MAIL)

MY OWN SITE:

However, this does nothing to prove or disprove a point. So, I merely went to the first point made in his first linked article at AXIOS, quoting the NYTs:

AXIOS:

On Jan. 18, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar first briefed Trump on the threat of the virus in a phone call, the New York Times reports. Trump made his first public comments about the virus on Jan. 22, saying he was not concerned about a pandemic and that “we have it totally under control.”

NEW YORK TIMES:

Even after Mr. Azar first briefed him about the potential seriousness of the virus during a phone call on Jan. 18 while the president was at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Mr. Trump projected confidence that it would be a passing problem.

“We have it totally under control,” he told an interviewer a few days later while attending the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. “It’s going to be just fine.”

(NEW YORK TIMES)

Now, much like the Left’s favorite thing to do, they take Trump out of context and use this false context to create a straw man and then bludgeon it. Why did Trump say it was going to be fine? Because, according to the WALL STREET JOURNAL, Alex Azar “oversold his agency’s progress in the early days and didn’t coordinate effectively across the health-care divisions under his purview.” Trump could only report what Alex told him on the 18th.

But this January 18th discussion is not proven to have even taken place, all we have again are unnamed sources: Azar told several associates that Trump thought his warnings were ‘alarmist’, according to The Washington Post” (DAILY MAIL). And again, NEWSMAX discusses that WALL STREET JOURNAL article, saying:

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar waited weeks to brief President Donald Trump on the coronavirus threat and oversold the progress of developing an effective test for the virus, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.

The newspaper said that as of Jan. 29, Azar had assured Trump the coronavirus outbreak was under control. And during the meeting with Trump, Azar said the government had never mounted a better interagency response to a crisis.

But that isn’t the only story to the story. I do not think this even reported by anonymous sources actually happened. The same people that wrongly reported using anonymous sources are now the same people using anonymous sources.

News media figures advancing “Trump-Russia collusion” narratives are now spreading misinformation about President Donald Trump and the coronavirus outbreak as part of a “permanent coup,” […..]

The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, recently alleged that Trump was issued repeated warnings about the coronavirus through a dozen classified daily briefings between January and February.

“An article in the Washington Post … said that in [his] presidential daily briefings, Trump repeatedly ignored warnings of the coronavirus,” Smith recalled. Acting DNI Richard Grenell tweeted at the authors of this piece. [He] said. ‘That’s not true. We told you this is not true, and yet you only included our denial in the ninth paragraph.’”

Smith continued, “So these two Washington Post journalists were a core Russiagate conspiracy team. Again, unfortunately, we’re seeing the same thing unfold again and again, and that’s why the title of the book is The Permanent Coup.”

(BREITBART)

And the LEGAL INSURRECTION does a bang-up job on the same subject:

According to the Washington Post, the president’s classified daily briefings included “warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat.”

The unnamed sources were foregrounded, while an actual named source refuting the claim was not mentioned until paragraph eight:

A White House spokesman disputed the characterization that Trump was slow to respond to the virus threat. “President Trump rose to fight this crisis head-on by taking early, aggressive historic action to protect the health, wealth and well-being of the American people,” said spokesman Hogan Gidley. “We will get through this difficult time and defeat this virus because of his decisive leadership.”

As if that’s not bad enough, it’s only in the ninth paragraph that WaPo gets around to noting that the suggestion the president ignored his presidential daily briefing (PDB) has been denied by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the office responsible for the PDB.

  • The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is responsible for the PDB. In response to questions about the repeated mentions of coronavirus, a DNI official said, “The detail of this is not true.” The official declined to explain or elaborate.

So WaPo contacted the DNI about claims the president ignored Wuhan coronavirus warnings in Jan/Feb PDB’s, and the DNI responded that the “detail of this is not true.” What do they need to explain here?  Maybe WaPo needs to provide its list of questions so that we can make that determination ourselves?  I’m pretty sure the context would greatly improve our understanding of the DNI responseand undermine the WaPo smear, thus the absence of said context.

It’s not actually clear what the point of the WaPo article is except to smear the president with the false implication that his administration ignored the Wuhan coronavirus until March.  This smear is completely and demonstrably false.

Of course, the mindless, anti-Trump stenographers who make up the legacy and leftstream media “covered” the questionable story, all linking to this flimsy WaPo hit piece that provides no evidence to support—and that actually refutes—its own claim.

  • Business Insider: “Trump’s daily briefings warned about COVID-19 at least a dozen times before the US outbreak, but he ‘failed to register’ the threat”
  • CNN: “The intelligence community did its job, but Trump didn’t do his”
  • MSN: “Trump reportedly ignored intel briefings on coronavirus threat”
  • NYMag: “Trump Informed of Coronavirus Threat in January in Briefings He’s Known Not to Read: Report”
  • CNN (again): “Washington Post: US intelligence warned Trump in January and February as he dismissed coronavirus threat”

Setting aside for the moment the fact that a global pandemic of this sort is new to everyone in the world and that no one, including top virologists, has answers, keep in mind that the first U.S. death from Wuhan coronavirus was reported on February 29th in Seattle.

What was Trump doing about the Wuhan coronavirus in January and February when he was supposedly ignoring the potential crisis?

Oh, right, setting up a coronavirus task force and issuing travel restrictions on China, well before the first U.S. death occurred.  How did he know to take these actions if he was ignoring his daily briefings?  Weird, right?

(READ THE REST – EXCELLENT POSTit includes a timeline as well)

Mollie Hemingway says it best:

Hemingway began by noting that the “Russia narrative” predates the Mueller probe, having begun circulating during the 2016 election after the creation of the infamous Clinton campaign-funded Steele dossier, which pushed the theory that then-Republican candidate Donald Trump was a “Russian agent.”

“We have, for the last three years … frequently [witnessed] hysteria about treasonous collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election,” Hemingway told the panel. “The fact [is] that there are no more indictments coming and the fact [is] that all of the indictments that we’ve seen thus far have been for process crimes or things unrelated to what we were told by so many people in the media was ‘treasonous collusion’ to steal the 2016 election.”

“If there is nothing there that matches what we’ve heard from the media for many years, there needs to be a reckoning and the people who spread this theory both inside and outside the government who were not critical and who did not behave appropriately need to be held accountable,” she added.

THE FEDERALIST has a printing of the HHS timeline for January that shows that the propositions made by these Leftist newspapers are not revealing the whole timeline to their readers:

The Wall Street Journal should do a lot better; they asked Azar for the truth. He gave it to them. They chose not to report it. For those who want to know, here is HHS’s offical timeline of what happened in January:

December 31: CDC, including Director Robert Redfield, learns of a “cluster of 27 cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology” reported in Wuhan, China.
January 1: CDC begins developing situation reports, which are shared with HHS.
January 3: Director Redfield emails and speaks on the phone with Dr. George Gao, Director of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
January 3: Director Redfield speaks with Secretary Azar, and HHS notifies the National Security Council (NSC).
January 4: Director Redfield emails Dr. Gao again and offers CDC assistance, stating, “I would like to offer CDC technical experts in laboratory and epidemiology of respiratory infectious diseases to assist you and China CDC in identification of this unknown and possibly novel pathogen.”
January 6: At the request of Secretary Azar, Director Redfield sends formal letter to China CDC offering full CDC assistance.
January 6: CDC issues a Level 1 Travel Watch for China.
January 6: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci begins doing interviews on the outbreak.
January 7: CDC establishes a 2019 nCoV Incident Management Structure to prepare for potential U.S. cases and to support the investigation in China or other countries, if requested.
January 8: CDC distributes an advisory via the Health Alert Network, which communicates to state and local public health partners, alerting healthcare workers and public health partners of the outbreak.
January 9: CDC and FDA begin collaborating on a diagnostic test for the novel coronavirus.
January 10: China shares viral sequence, allowing NIH scientists to begin work on a vaccine that evening.

JANUARY 11: FIRST DEATH REPORTED IN CHINA
JANUARY 13: 41 CASES IN CHINA, FIRST CASE REPORTED OUTSIDE CHINA

January 13: NIH shares their vaccine sequence with a pharmaceutical manufacturer.
January 14: The National Security Council begins daily Novel Coronavirus Policy Coordination Council meetings.
January 14: WHO tweets: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China.”
January 17: CDC and Customs and Border Protection began enhanced screening of travelers from Wuhan at three airports that receive significant numbers of travelers from that city, expanded in the following week to five airports, covering 75–80 percent of Wuhan travel.
January 17: CDC hosts its first tele-briefing on the virus, with Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, who emphasizes “this is a serious situation” and “we know [from the experience of SARS and MERS that] it’s crucial to be proactive and prepared.”
January 17: CDC posts interim guidance, updated regularly in the coming weeks and months, for collecting, handling, and testing clinical specimens for the novel coronavirus, includingbiosafety guidelines for laboratories.
January 18: CDC publishes interim guidance on how to care for novel coronavirus patients at home who do not require hospitalization.
January 20: The Chinese government confirms human-to-human transmission of the virus.

JANUARY 21: FIRST U.S. CASE CONFIRMED (FROM TRAVEL)[1]

January 21: CDC activates its Emergency Operations Center.
January 21: The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA, part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, or ASPR) begins holding market research calls with industry leading diagnostics companies to gauge their interest in developing diagnostics for the novel coronavirus and to encourage initiating development activities.
January 21: CDC holds its second tele-briefing on the virus, with officials from Washington State, to discuss the first U.S. case, and Dr. Messonnier, who notes “CDC has been proactively preparing for an introduction of the virus here” and that a CDC team was deployed to Washington.
January 21: CDC posts interim guidance, updated regularly in the coming months, on how to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in homes and other settings.
January 21: Secretary Azar discusses coronavirus with Lou Dobbs on Fox Business Network, noting “we have been heavily engaged at the outset” of the outbreak, with the CDC and the rest of HHS working under the President’s direction to develop testing and alert healthcare providers.
January 22: Secretary Azar signs a memorandum from CDC Director Redfield determining that the novel coronavirus could imminently become an infectious disease emergency, which allows HHS to send a request to the Office of Management and Budget to access $105 million from the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund.
January 22: FDA, working with test developers, shares an authorization application template with a diagnostic test developer for the first time.
January 22: ASPR stands up an interagency diagnostics working group with BARDA, CDC, FDA, NIH, and the Department of Defense (DOD).
January 22: HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement began flagging any children referred from China for risk assessments and, if indicated by their travel and exposure history, for quarantine for up to 14 days before being placed in the general community of the shelter. Screenings expanded to children referred from Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea on March 2.

JANUARY 22: ALL OUTBOUND TRAINS AND FLIGHTS FROM WUHAN CANCELED

January 23: ASPR convenes a Disaster Leadership Group (DLG), to align government-wide partners regarding the outbreak situation, communications strategies, and the potential medical countermeasure pipeline. The same week, conversations begin with manufacturers of N95 masks, enabling mask production on U.S. soil to rise from about 250 million a year in January to about 640 million a year in March.
January 24: ASPR forms three government-wide task forces—on healthcare system capacity and resilience, development of medical countermeasures (diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines), and supply chains—as part of work under Emergency Support Function 8 of the National Response Framework.
January 24: CDC hosts its third tele-briefing on the virus, with Dr. Nancy Messonnier and officials from Illinois, where CDC has deployed a team to respond to the second U.S. case, from travel. Dr. Messonnier notes, “We are expecting more cases in the U.S., and we are likely going to see some cases among close contacts of travelers and human to human transmission.”
January 24: CDC publicly posts its assay for the novel coronavirus, allowing the global community to develop their own assays using the CDC design.
January 25: Five days before WHO’s declaration of a public health emergency of international concern, Secretary Azar preemptively notifies Congress of his intent to use $105 million from the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund.

JANUARY 26: FIVE U.S. CASES CONFIRMED, ALL TRAVEL-RELATED

January 26: ASPR holds first meetings of healthcare resilience, medical countermeasure development, and supply chain task forces, which continue several times a week or daily in the coming weeks.
January 27: In a Washington, D.C., speech, Secretary Azar shares that HHS is “proactively preparing for the arrival of the novel coronavirus on our shores,” noting that “the novel coronavirus is a rapidly changing situation, and we are still learning about the virus.” “While the virus poses a serious public health threat, the immediate risk to Americans is low at this time,” Azar says, noting that he spoke on the morning of January 27 with China’s Minister of Health and WHO Director-General Tedros speak to discuss the novel coronavirus.
January 27: CDC hosts a tele-briefing with Dr. Nancy Messonnier, who notes that new travel recommendations are coming and that “there may be some disruptions” to Americans’ lives as a result of the public health response, but that “this virus is not spreading in the community” in the U.S.
January 27: CDC and State Department issue Level 3 “postpone or reconsider travel” warnings for all of China.
January 27: FDA begins providing updates about processes for approval and authorization to developers of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other countermeasures for the novel coronavirus.
January 27: CDC’s Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases, Jay Butler, holds a call with the nation’s governors on the novel coronavirus.
January 28: HHS hosts press briefing by Secretary Azar, Dr. Fauci, Director Redfield, and Dr. Messonnier. Azar says, “Americans should know that this is a potentially very serious public health threat, but, at this point, Americans should not worry for their own safety.” He underscores, “This is a very fast moving, constantly changing situation…. Part of the risk we face right now is that we don’t yet know everything we need to know about this virus. But, I want to emphasize, that does not prevent us from preparing and responding.”
January 28: CDC posts interim guidance, updated regularly in the coming months, for airline crews regarding the novel coronavirus.
January 29: The White House announces the establishment of the Coronavirus Task Force, which begins daily meetings.
January 29: CDC hosts a tele-briefing with Dr. Messonnier, who notes that “despite an aggressive public health investigation to find new cases [in the U.S.], we have not.”
January 29: CDC posts infection prevention and control recommendations for novel coronavirus patients in healthcare settings, updated regularly in the coming months.
January 29: The Chinese government sends email to HHS acknowledging offer of U.S. expert assistance; HHS begins soliciting nominees for mission from across the department.
January 29: ASPR, CDC, FDA, NIAID, and DOD host a listening session with industry—1,468 participants—on medical countermeasure development, health system preparedness, supply resilience, and medical surge needs.
January 29: The first repatriation flight from Wuhan, China arrives at March Air Reserve Base in California, beginning the safe repatriation of Americans and marking the first use of federal quarantine power in more than 50 years. The operation eventually totals more than 3,000 repatriations, with citizens from Wuhan and passengers from cruise ships. Repatriated Americans praise the work of the quarantine teams—including a couple who spent an extended honeymoon at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

JANUARY 30: SIXTH AND SEVENTH CASES CONFIRMED IN THE U.S., CLOSE CONTACTS OF TRAVEL-RELATED CASE

January 30: CDC hosts a tele-briefing with Director Redfield, Dr. Messonnier, and officials from Illinois, where a sixth case is identified, in a spouse of a confirmed case who had traveled to China. Director Redfield notes that most cases around the world outside of China are close contacts of travelers, and “the full picture of how easy and how sustainable this virus can spread is unclear.” (A seventh case is identified later that evening.)
January 30: Department of State issues Level 4 warning, “do not travel,” for all of mainland China.
January 30: The Trump Administration hosts a call with Secretary Azar, Director Redfield, Dr. Fauci, and others with the nation’s governors to present the Administration’s action plan on responding to the outbreak.
January 30: In an appearance on Fox News, Secretary Azar notes that, whether the WHO declares a public health emergency of international concern (declared January 31), “That doesn’t change anything about what we are doing here in the United States.The President is ensuring that we are proactively preparing and also taking the necessary steps to prevent or mitigate any potential further spread here in the United States.”
January 30: Trump Administration budget officials begin discussions about funding needed for development of vaccines and therapeutics, purchases of Personal Protective Equipment for the Strategic National Stockpile, surveillance and testing, and state and local support.
January 30: ASPR launches a coronavirus portal to receive market research packages and meeting requests from industry stakeholders interested in developing or manufacturing medical countermeasures.
January 31: At the recommendation of his public health officials, President Trump issues historic restrictions on travel from Hubei and mainland China, effective February 2.
January 31: Secretary Azar signs a declaration of a nationwide Public Health Emergency, which allowed HHS to begin using a range of emergency authorities and flexibilities, and, together with other subsequent declarations, would allow emergency flexibilities for healthcare providers. At a White House briefing, he notes, “The risk of infection for Americans remains low, and with these and our previous actions, we are working to keep the risk low. It is likely that we will continue to see more cases in the United States in the coming days and weeks, including some limited person-to-person transmission.”
January 31: CDC hosts a tele-briefing with Dr. Messonnier, who notes possible reports of asymptomatic transmission and says, “We are preparing as if this were the next pandemic, but we are hopeful still that this is not and will not be the case.”
January 31: FDA holds a virtual meeting with American Clinical Laboratory Association about the emergency use authorization application process.

Yes, Trump acted as soon as the news of the virus was available. And as we know from the results, stringency of lockdowns did not translate into how many deadly infections there were:

(Click Graphic To Enlarge)


While not a gauge of whether the decisions taken were the right ones, nor of how strictly they were followed, the analysis gives a clear sense of each government’s strategy for containing the virus. Some — above all Italy and Spain — enforced prolonged and strict lockdowns after infections took off. Others — especially Sweden — preferred a much more relaxed approach. Portugal and Greece chose to close down while cases were relatively low. France and the U.K. took longer before deciding to impose the most restrictive measures.

But, as our next chart shows, there’s little correlation between the severity of a nation’s restrictions and whether it managed to curb excess fatalities — a measure that looks at the overall number of deaths compared with normal trends.

(BLOOMBERG)

USS Theodore Roosevelt Deaths Off by Factor of 50

Prager reads from a WALL STREET JOURNAL article about how the doctors were wrong by a factor of 50 regarding predicted deaths of the sailors on board from the WuFlu.

Here are some key points from a reproduced article not behind a “pay-wall” (APK METRO):

….The medical group’s warning, the small print of which haven’t beforehand been reported, indicated that there was a “excessive chance” that as much as 1% of the roughly 4,800-member crew—or “50 or extra” sailors—might die, and that a whole bunch of sailors would fall unwell. The restricted medical services on Guam, the place the ship by then had docked to dump sailors sickened with Covid-19, would quickly be overwhelmed, the docs wrote.

“We is not going to stand by whereas our fellow sailors proceed to be uncovered to this deadly virus,” the memo stated. “The time has come for aggressive measures to be taken and we’re asking to your assist.”

[….]

Roughly 1,200 crew members grew to become sick whereas the ship was docked in Guam and one of many provider’s crew, Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., 41, died of the virus on April 13.

[….]

The views expressed within the one-page medical memo, summing up an air of urgency aboard the provider on the onset of the outbreak, partially prompted Capt. Crozier to write down his personal memo, despatched to senior Navy leaders about the identical time. Capt. Crozier’s memo grew to become the topic of reports stories, resulting in his elimination. The warning that 50 sailors might die was reported by the New York Times in April….

Do Lockdowns Save Lives? (Larry Elder)

Larry Elder interviews T.J. Rodgers about his WALL STREET JOURNAL article entitled,  Do Lockdowns Save Many Lives? In Most Places, the Data Say No: The Speed With Which Officials Shuttered The Economy Appears Not To Be A Factor In Covid Deaths.” The article is excellent, however, I just isolated a shorter version of the interview to include comments on Sweden.

An excellent short commentary on the larger article can be found at TECH STARTUPS: “Lockdowns Don’t Seem to Save Many Lives in Most Places, New Data Shows.” If lockdowns didn’t statistically save lives like anticipated, we have this tragedy to deal with (DAILY WIRE), and politicians and so-called “experts” have answering to do!

In addition to record unemployment numbers, experts now predict that a “wave” of small business bankruptcies is on the horizon — and it could leave the United States with 40% fewer small businesses.

The New York Times reports that the United States Chamber of Commerce estimates “more than 40 percent of the nation’s 30 million small businesses could close permanently in the next six months” — a statistic entirely attributable to the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdowns.

The economic consequences of such a mass business failure could last for “generations,” the NYT reports.

“Commercial bankruptcies in the first quarter of 2020 ticked up 4 percent from a year earlier, according to data from the American Bankruptcy Institute,” according to the NYT. “But many of those filings were made before the pandemic, when the economy was healthy. Right now, some owners are waiting to find out if they will receive federal stimulus aid before deciding whether to file for bankruptcy protection.”

Restaurants and retail services are, of course, the most vulnerable, but family-owned enterprises, like heating and cooling operations and plumbing companies, and even health-care services, particularly small dental and pediatric practices, are in severe danger.  The Small Business Restructuring Act, which took effect in February, could help some small businesses stay above water, but many are struggling to keep people on the payroll, to compete with unemployment insurance, and to handle mounting debt.

Of course, large companies — and, in particular, large retail outlets — are not immune to the economic effects of coronavirus. Brands like Neiman Marcus, J. Crew, JC Penney, Macy’s, Gap, GNC, and David’s Bridal are all staring down the possibility that their stores may not reopen once coronavirus lockdowns are lifted, according to USA TodayCNBC says that at least 150 companies, from airline conglomerates to healthcare providers, have warned investors to expect major earnings hits.

The bad economic news keeps piling. In addition to closures, a jobs report, due out from the Department of Labor on Thursday, “will almost certainly show that the coronavirus pandemic inflicted the largest one-month blow to the U.S. labor market on record,” per the Wall Street Journal……

Here is the WALL STREET JOURNAL article:

Do fast shutdowns work to combat the unfold of Covid-19? Joe Malchow, Yinon Weiss and I needed to search out out. We got down to quantify what number of deaths have been brought on by delayed shutdown orders on a state-by-state foundation.

To normalize for an unambiguous comparability of deaths between states on the midpoint of an epidemic, we counted deaths per million inhabitants for a set 21-day interval, measured from when the dying charge first hit 1 per million—e.g.,‒three deaths in Iowa or 19 in New York state. A state’s “days to shutdown” was the time after a state crossed the 1 per million threshold till it ordered companies shut down.

We ran a easy one-variable correlation of deaths per million and days to shutdown, which ranged from minus-10 days (some states shut down earlier than any signal of Covid-19) to 35 days for South Dakota, one in every of seven states with restricted or no shutdown. The correlation coefficient was 5.5%—so low that the engineers I used to make use of would have summarized it as “no correlation” and moved on to search out the true reason behind the issue. (The trendline sloped downward—states that delayed extra tended to have decrease dying charges—however that’s additionally a meaningless consequence because of the low correlation coefficient.)

No conclusions could be drawn concerning the states that sheltered rapidly, as a result of their dying charges ran the total gamut, from 20 per million in Oregon to 360 in New York. This vast variation implies that different variables—like inhabitants density or subway use—have been extra necessary. Our correlation coefficient for per-capita dying charges vs. the inhabitants density was 44%. That implies New York Metropolis may need benefited from its shutdown—however blindly copying New York’s insurance policies in locations with low Covid-19 dying charges, akin to my native Wisconsin, doesn’t make sense.

(CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Sweden is preventing coronavirus with common sense tips which can be a lot much less economically damaging than the lockdowns in most U.S. states. Since individuals over 65 account for about 80% of Covid-19 deaths, Sweden requested solely seniors to shelter in place slightly than shutting down the remainder of the nation; and since Sweden had no pediatric deaths, it didn’t shut down elementary and center colleges. Sweden’s containment measures are much less onerous than America’s, so it will possibly preserve them in place longer to forestall Covid-19 from recurring. Sweden didn’t shut down shops, eating places and most companies, however did shut down the Volvo automotive plant, which has since reopened, whereas the Tesla plant in Fremont, Calif., was shuttered by police and stays closed.

How did the Swedes do? They suffered 80 deaths per million 21 days after crossing the 1 per million threshold stage. With 10 million individuals, Sweden’s dying charge‒and not using a shutdown and big unemployment‒is decrease than that of the seven hardest-hit U.S. states—Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey and New York—all of which, besides Louisiana, shut down in three days or much less. Regardless of tales about excessive dying charges, Sweden’s is in the midst of the pack in Europe, akin to France; higher than Italy, Spain and the U.Okay.; and worse than Finland, Denmark and Norway. Older individuals in care properties accounted for half of Sweden’s deaths.

We must always cheer for Sweden to succeed, not ghoulishly bash them. They could show that many features of the U.S. shutdown have been errors—ineffective however economically devastating—and level the way in which to correcting them.

Mr. Rodgers was founding CEO of Cypress Semiconductor Corp.

Covid-19 Fatality Rate May Be Too High By Orders Of Magnitude

Here is another “behind a ‘pay-wall'” article I heard discussed this morning by the WALL STREET JOURNAL.

PECKFORD 42 has the article from which I will grab portions of:

…Current estimates about the Covid-19 fatality rate may be too high by orders of magnitude….

The best (albeit very weak) evidence in the U.S. comes from the National Basketball Association. Between March 11 and 19, a substantial number of NBA players and teams received testing. By March 19, 10 out of 450 rostered players were positive. Since not everyone was tested, that represents a lower bound on the prevalence of 2.2%. The NBA isn’t a representative population, and contact among players might have facilitated transmission. But if we extend that lower-bound assumption to cities with NBA teams (population 45 million), we get at least 990,000 infections in the U.S. The number of cases reported on March 19 in the U.S. was 13,677, more than 72-fold lower. These numbers imply a fatality rate from Covid-19 orders of magnitude smaller than it appears.

How can we reconcile these estimates with the epidemiological models? First, the test used to identify cases doesn’t catch people who were infected and recovered. Second, testing rates were woefully low for a long time and typically reserved for the severely ill. Together, these facts imply that the confirmed cases are likely orders of magnitude less than the true number of infections. Epidemiological modelers haven’t adequately adapted their estimates to account for these factors.

The epidemic started in China sometime in November or December. The first confirmed U.S. cases included a person who traveled from Wuhan on Jan. 15, and it is likely that the virus entered before that: Tens of thousands of people traveled from Wuhan to the U.S. in December. Existing evidence suggests that the virus is highly transmissible and that the number of infections doubles roughly every three days. An epidemic seed on Jan. 1 implies that by March 9 about six million people in the U.S. would have been infected. As of March 23, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 499 Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. If our surmise of six million cases is accurate, that’s a mortality rate of 0.01%, assuming a two week lag between infection and death. This is one-tenth of the flu mortality rate of 0.1%. Such a low death rate would be cause for optimism.

This does not make Covid-19 a nonissue. The daily reports from Italy and across the U.S. show real struggles and overwhelmed health systems. But a 20,000- or 40,000-death epidemic is a far less severe problem than one that kills two million. Given the enormous consequences of decisions around Covid-19 response, getting clear data to guide decisions now is critical. We don’t know the true infection rate in the U.S. Antibody testing of representative samples to measure disease prevalence (including the recovered) is crucial. Nearly every day a new lab gets approval for antibody testing, so population testing using this technology is now feasible.

If we’re right about the limited scale of the epidemic, then measures focused on older populations and hospitals are sensible. Elective procedures will need to be rescheduled. Hospital resources will need to be reallocated to care for critically ill patients. Triage will need to improve. And policy makers will need to focus on reducing risks for older adults and people with underlying medical conditions.

A universal quarantine may not be worth the costs it imposes on the economy, community and individual mental and physical health. We should undertake immediate steps to evaluate the empirical basis of the current lockdowns.

Dr. Bendavid and Dr. Bhattacharya are professors of medicine at Stanford. Neeraj Sood contributed to this article.

Trump Stepping Into Obama’s Bailout Failure

(EPOCH TIMES article linked in pic above)

I grabbed this from my phone, because it is behind a WALL STREET JOURNAL paywall otherwise (for whatever reason my phone got the text?). Enjoy Art Laffer and Stephen Moore:

  • Obama’s Bad Stimulus Example: Democrats want to repeat the 2009 strategy of paying Americans not to work.

President Trump is negotiating with Congress over a massive stimulus plan to combat the severe economic and financial fallout from the coronavirus. One idea that seems to be catching on is a check of up to $1,200 to be mailed to every American, while Democrats in Congress want paid-leave policies and expanded welfare benefits. These may provide some needed temporary relief for families but are unlikely to help lift the economy. Keynesian stimulus almost always fails, and often makes the downturn worse and the eventual recovery weaker.

Mr. Trump would be wise to learn the lessons from Barack Obama’s $830 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In the wake of the housing meltdown and financial crisis, Congress passed the largest stimulus-spending package in American history. The economic spark and job creation were supposed to appear almost immediately, as money flowed into “shovel ready” construction projects. Vice President Joe Biden barnstormed around the country in 2010 promising a “Summer of Recovery” that never came.

One problem apparent from the start was that only about 15% of the money was used for roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects. More than twice as much went to income-redistribution programs such as Medicaid, food stamps and extended unemployment insurance, or to green-energy projects. Remember the federally subsidized “cash for clunkers” auto trade-in program? That sop to the auto industry did little to shore up employment—or even the auto industry. University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan calls the postcrisis downturn the “redistribution recession.”

The left is now trumpeting the redistributive stimulus as a wondrous success. Mr. Obama even tweeted earlier this year that his stimulus plan laid the groundwork for “more than a decade of economic growth.” But the facts point in the opposite direction. When his stimulus plan passed, Mr. Obama’s economic team predicted above 4% growth each year from 2011 through 2013.

Fortune tellers with tarot cards and Ouija boards might have gotten closer to the mark. On average, growth from 2009 to 2012 was a mere 2%. Two years after the stimulus the unemployment rate was still 9%, and it would have been much higher if not for the millions of Americans who dropped out of the labor force because jobs were so scarce. The plan was designed to help the middle class, but median household income fell through 2011.

In 2015 the Joint Economic Committee of Congress compared the Obama recovery with the previous eight recessions and found that per capita income growth after 2009 was thousands of dollars below the average. The JEC’s conclusion summarizes the legacy of the Obama stimulus: “On economic growth the Obama recovery ranks dead last.”

To paint a rosy picture, Democrats have had to argue that the economy would have been even worse, bordering on a second Great Depression, without all of the spending. Yet their outlook before passing the stimulus exposes that argument as a mere shifting of goal posts. Actual job growth after 2009 was lower than what Mr. Obama’s economic team predicted it would have been without the hundreds of billions in spending. That’s some “investment.”

Then as now, Nancy Pelosi was speaker of the House. Her strategy was, as Mr. Obama’s chief of staff put it, not to let a crisis “go to waste.” The 2009 stimulus morphed into a giant welfare bill—by design. Mrs. Pelosi said back then that spending money on food stamps and unemployment insurance was “fast acting” and “fiscally possible,” and that these programs could deliver a surplus of economic activity for every dollar spent. Magically, paying people not to work was supposed to get more people to work.

Now she is peddling the same economic non sequiturs, hoping to salvage employment while passing two weeks of paid leave for employers with fewer than 500 workers, beefed-up unemployment insurance, and other redistribution programs at a price tag of hundreds of billions of dollars. Democrats even tried to make the paid-leave provision permanent. All this spending will decrease the number of Americans who return quickly to work after the crisis.

Given the current public-health strategy of social distancing, providing cash and in-kind benefits to tens of millions of stranded workers may be a prudent and compassionate approach. But no one should pretend these programs will stimulate recovery. They are likelier to prolong a slump, as the Obama strategy did. President Trump should beware: Another redistribution recession might even ensure that Joe Biden takes his job in November.

A much simpler and more effective stimulus would be a pro-growth tax cut, such as a suspension of the payroll tax. In addition to boosting take-home pay, it would give 27 million small businesses an incentive to hire rather than fire.

Mr. Laffer is chairman of Laffer Associates. Mr. Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. They are authors of “Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy.”

 

Wrap It Up, Mr. Mueller (Wall Street Journal)

Wrap It Up, Mr. Mueller. Wall Street Journal, 10 December 2018.  A16. (Click image if you prefer to read it from the paper – image will enlarge)

Last week was supposed to be earthshaking in Robert Mueller’s special counsel probe, with the release of sentencing memos on three former members of the Trump universe—Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. Yet Americans learned little new and nothing decisive about the allegations of Russia-Trump collusion that triggered this long investigation.

The main Russia-related news is the disclosure, in Mr. Mueller’s memo on Mr. Cohen, of a previously unknown attempt by an unidentified Russian to reach out to the Trump presidential campaign. “In or around November 2015, Cohen received the contact information for, and spoke with, a Russian national who claimed to be a ‘trusted person’ in the Russian Federation who could offer the campaign ‘political synergy’ and ‘synergy on a government level,” the memo says.

The Russian also offered the possibility of a meeting between Mr. Trump and Vladimir Putin. Alas for conspiracy hopefuls, MR. COHEN “DID NOT FOLLOW UP ON THIS INVITATION,” the memo says, because Mr. Cohen says he was already talking to other Russians about a Trump Tower hotel project that has been previously disclosed. Mr. Trump has said he shut down that hotel negotiation in 2016 because he was running for President.

So a Russian wanted to insinuate himself into the Trump orbit but nothing happened. Why drop this into a sentencing memo? The press is breathing heavily that it signals Mr. Mueller’s intention to promote a narrative that the Trumpians were all too willing, for commercial and political reasons, to hear Russian solicitations.

This would make Trump officials look dumb or naive, as Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner were when they took that famous meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016. Such a narrative would be politically embarrassing, but it’s not conspiring to hack and release the email of Democratic Party officials.

The Manafort memo is even less revealing. The memo says Mr. Manafort lied about his contacts with a Ukrainian business partner, Konstantin Kilimnik. But the memo redacts the details about those lies, so it’s impossible to know if they concern Russia or the tax and other violations that Mr. Manafort has pleaded guilty to. We are left again with media speculation about what else Mr. Mueller knows, not with evidence of any attempt to steal an election.

More legally troubling is the separate sentencing memo on Mr. Cohen from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Mueller handed off the probe into Mr. Cohen’s business practices, including the legal grifter’s payoffs to porn actress Stormy Daniels and another woman who claim to have had affairs with Donald Trump and threatened to go public during the 2016 campaign.

This was another example of dumb and dumber, SINCE ANY SENTIENT VOTER KNEW MR. TRUMP HAD A BAD HISTORY WITH WOMEN. Voters ignored it in 2016 because Hillary Clinton spent years apologizing for worse behavior by her husband. But the payoffs are now a political problem for Mr. Trump because Mr. Cohen has pleaded guilty to violating campaign-finance laws and implicated Mr. Trump.

Campaign violations are often treated as CIVIL, NOT CRIMINAL, VIOLATIONS, and the Justice Department dropped criminal charges against Democrat John Edwards in 2012 for payments made by campaign donors to his mistress. But acting U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami is playing up Mr. Trump’s role, saying in the memo that Mr. Cohen “acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1” (Mr. Trump).

The memo waxes on about the importance of campaign-finance law to American democracy, which suggests Mr. Khuzami would indict Mr. Trump if he could. Justice Department guidelines advise against indicting a sitting President, so Mr. Khuzami’s memo looks more like a road map for House Democrats. So much for all the media handwringing that Mr. Trump has interfered with the independence of the Justice Department. He has less influence at Justice than any President since Richard Nixon in his final days.

The political dilemma for Democrats is that lying about sex and paying to cover it up are wrong, but they’re a long way from collaborating with the Kremlin to beat Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Trump lied to the public about his dealings with Mr. Cohen. Bill Clinton lied to the public and under oath in a legal proceeding, yet Democrats defended him. Good luck trying to impeach Mr. Trump for campaign-finance violations.

* * *

All of this argues for Mr. Mueller to wrap up his probe and let America get on with the political debate over its meaning for Mr. Trump’s Presidency. Mr. Mueller has been investigating for 19 months, and the FBI’s counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign began in July 2016, if not earlier. The country deserves an account of what Mr. Mueller knows, not more factual dribs and drabs in sentencing memos.

 

Even Putin Thought Hillary Would Win. Why the Hacking Then?

See POWERLINE’S, “What Putin Was Up To?”

Yep, Russia wasn’t “helping Trump,” they were weakening Hillary’s appearance on the world stage. Neutering her and her stance. General Michael B. Mukasey makes this point and asks the question that matters:

  • “Why would Mr. Putin, an SVR alumnus, give GRU a mission meant to be highly covert? Was this a serious attempt to swing the election to Donald Trump?”

He starts his surmising with this: “AT THE TIME OF THE HACKING, VIRTUALLY NO ONE GAVE MR. TRUMP ANY CHANCE OF WINNING.”

Yep. EVERYONE thought Hillary was a sure thing.

Even Putin.

So what was Russia’s angle? I think General Mukasey has the best answer thus.

Here is the entire WALL STREET JOURNAL article by General Michael B. Mukasey mentioned by Medved, via LUX LIBERTAS:

The indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence agents last week, on charges they hacked into Democratic National Committee and other servers during the 2016 campaign, raises questions about the timing of the announcement and the work of the hackers themselves. The news came on the eve of the Trump-Putin summit. Why then?

The president was told of the indictments before he traveled. Yet the plain effect of the announcement was to raise further doubts about the wisdom of the meeting—and perhaps to shape its agenda. Neither is the business of the special counsel or anyone else at the Justice Department. The department has a longstanding policy, not directly applicable here but at least analogous, that candidates should not be charged close to an election, absent urgent need, lest the charges themselves affect the outcome. The general principle would seem to apply: Prosecutors are supposed to consider the impact of their actions on significant events outside the criminal-justice system, and to act with due diffidence.

From a law-enforcement standpoint, there was nothing urgent about these indictments. All 12 defendants are in Russia; none are likely ever to see the inside of a U.S. courtroom.

Alternative strategies were available. In 2008 Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, known to law enforcement as the “Merchant of Death” and the defendant in a sealed indictment, was lured in a sting by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents to Thailand, where he was seized. The Thais, to their great credit, resisted heavy Russian pressure to release him. Instead they fulfilled their treaty obligations and granted a U.S. extradition request.

It has been argued that the objective of last week’s indictments was not to prosecute the defendants but to “name and shame” them. They were named, and even their military intelligence units disclosed—but shamed? In 2006 Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian defector to the U.K., was poisoned in London with polonium from a Russian nuclear facility. Litvinenko had charged that Vladimir Putin was directly responsible for bombing a Moscow apartment building in 1999, an event used as a pretext for the invasion of Chechnya.

Andrei Lugovoi, implicated in the assassination, fled the U.K. and returned to Russia. Not only did Moscow refuse a British extradition request, but Mr. Putin decorated Mr. Lugovoi for “services to the nation.” Mr. Lugovoi was given a seat in the Russian Parliament in 2007. On that record, the 12 indicted hackers are likelier to be lionized than ostracized.

Recall also that the only basis for appointing a special counsel under applicable regulations was the conflict of interest and special circumstance presented by a Justice Department investigation into possibly unlawful conduct by the president’s campaign. Thus the initial order appointing Robert Mueller directs him to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump. ” Thus far, numerous Russians have been charged with crimes related to the campaign, and several “individuals associated with the campaign” have been charged with crimes unrelated to the charges against the Russians or to the Trump campaign. No “links” or “coordination” has been charged or even suggested.

Turning to the crime charged, and assuming that the 12 current Russian defendants are guilty, why did they do what they did, in the way that they did?

Despite the wide-eyed, golly-Mr.-Science tone in much of the news coverage, the indictment doesn’t portray cutting-edge Russian intelligence capabilities. The defendants all are said to be members of GRU, Russia’s main military intelligence unit. It is comprised largely of former special-forces types who are looked down upon by their more sophisticated competitors in the SVR, successor to Mr. Putin’s alma mater, the KGB. Their acts, as portrayed in the indictment, obviously were detected—in exquisite detail—by U.S. intelligence services. GRU’s phishing venture, although widespread, was primitive compared with the SVR’s capabilities.

Why would Mr. Putin, an SVR alumnus, give GRU a mission meant to be highly covert? Was this a serious attempt to swing the election to Donald Trump?

At the time of the hacking, virtually no one gave Mr. Trump any chance of winning. Mr. Putin is a thug, but he is not reckless. It seems unlikely he would place a high-stakes bet on a sure loser. Rather, he likely sought to embarrass the person certain to be the new president, assuring that she took office as damaged goods.

Why leave fingerprints? If the only goal was to inflict damage, the new president would have been not only damaged, but also resentful. Even the person who happily posed with a mislabeled “reset” button in frothier days likely would have turned sour.

The point likely was not merely to inflict damage but also to send a warning. Consider the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of an unauthorized and vulnerable email server. It found that the bureau had concluded the server could well have been penetrated without detection. Recall also that some of the people hacked by GRU agents were aware of that server and mentioned it in messages they sent, so that the Russians too were aware of it. The SVR certainly was capable of an undetected hack.

There are some 30,000 emails that Mrs. Clinton did not turn over, on the claim that they were personal and involved such trivia as yoga routines and Chelsea’s wedding. If they instead contained damaging information—say, regarding Clinton Foundation fundraising—the new president would have taken office in the shadow of a sword dangling from a string held by the Russians.

As we watch the drama of an investigation into whether the president or those close to him committed crimes to help the Russian government, it seems useful to keep in mind not only the possibilities but also the plausibilities.

Mr. Mukasey served as U.S. attorney general (2007-09) and a U.S. district judge (1988-2006).

 

A Big Mac False Alarm – More Super Sized Lies via Morgan Spurlock

Morgan Spurlock admitted something that cast more doubt onto his lauded documentary entitled “Super Size Me” to which an excellent documentary response already noted the secrecy behind Spurlocks health records, “Fat Head.” Here are a couple article’s noting Phelim McAleer’s article in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “A Big Mac Attack, or a False Alarm?,” which Dennis Prager reads from:

  • Morgan Spurlock’s Alcoholism Confession Casts Doubt on His ‘Super Size Me’ Health Claims (BREITBART)
  • Super-Size My Doubts About Morgan Spurlock’s Snide Documentary About McDonald’s (AMERICAN THINKER)

Robert Mueller’s Appointment Is Unconstitutional

(Via MARK LEVIN) The appointment of Robert Mueller violates the constitution, which means every subpoena, indictment, and plea bargain should be null and void. On his radio show, Levin said every person under a subpoena, or indictment, or has a case against them via Muller should walk into their respective Federal Court Building and make this case before a Federal Judge. While Mark said he is the first to promote this… he is not in fact the first.

  • H/T to Northwestern Law School Professor Steven Calabresi, who raised many of these points, and more, with me and a few other friends and colleagues over the weekend, in a well-researched opinion he shared with us. He deserves great credit.

BUT LEVIN wasn’t the first to promote this idea. Lionel is working from a previous article — mind you, Lionel is a conspiracy guy, so is ZERO-HEDGE, but the issue is one of settled Constitutional law in 1988:

Here is LIONEL’s description of the above:

Lionel reviews noted jurist Steven Calabresi’s thesis that Robert Mueller’s investigation has crossed the legal line, explaining that it’s unconstitutional under Morrison vs Olson. Mr. Mueller’s investigation has crossed a constitutional line, for reasons the U.S. Supreme Court made clear in the 1988 case Morrison v. Olson. That case is best known for Justice Antonin Scalia’s powerful lone dissent arguing that the post-Watergate independent counsel statute was unconstitutional. But Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s opinion for the court, while upholding the statute, set forth limits that the Mueller investigation has exceeded.

At issue is the Constitution’s Appointments Clause, which provides that “principal officers” must be appointed by the president with the Senate’s consent. Rehnquist wrote that independent counsel Alexia Morrison qualified as an “inferior officer,” not subject to the appointment process, because her office was “limited in jurisdiction” to “certain federal officials suspected of certain serious federal crimes.”

Mr. Mueller, in contrast, is investigating a large number of people and has already charged defendants with many different kinds of crimes, including – as in Mr. Manafort’s case – ones unrelated to any collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russia. That’s too much power for an inferior officer to have. Only a principal officer, such as a U.S. attorney, can behave the way Mr. Mueller is behaving. Mr. Mueller is much more powerful today than any of the 96 U.S. attorneys. He is behaving like a principal officer.

Here is ZERO HEDGE excerpting the WALL STREET JOURNAL article:

Judge T.S. Ellis has expressed skepticism about the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. “What we don’t want in this country is… anyone with unfettered power,” Judge Ellis, who is to preside over the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, told prosecutor Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben May 4. “So it’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me that the special prosecutor has unlimited powers.”

Judge Ellis is right to be skeptical. Mr. Mueller’s investigation has crossed a constitutional line, for reasons the U.S. Supreme Court made clear in the 1988 case Morrison v. Olson. That case is best known for Justice Antonin Scalia’s powerful lone dissent arguing that the post-Watergate independent counsel statute was unconstitutional. But Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s opinion for the court, while upholding the statute, set forth limits that the Mueller investigation has exceeded.

At issue is the Constitution’s Appointments Clause, which provides that “principal officers” must be appointed by the president with the Senate’s consent. Rehnquist wrote that independent counsel Alexia Morrison qualified as an “inferior officer,” not subject to the appointment process, because her office was “limited in jurisdiction” to “certain federal officials suspected of certain serious federal crimes.”

Mr. Mueller, in contrast, is investigating a large number of people and has already charged defendants with many different kinds of crimes, including – as in Mr. Manafort’s case – ones unrelated to any collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russia. That’s too much power for an inferior officer to have. Only a principal officer, such as a U.S. attorney, can behave the way Mr. Mueller is behaving. Mr. Mueller is much more powerful today than any of the 96 U.S. attorneys. He is behaving like a principal officer.

Rehnquist’s majority opinion has never been overturned. In Edmund v. U.S. and in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Oversight Board, the justices said that an officer cannot be inferior unless he has a boss – as Mr. Mueller does in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed him. But that’s not a sufficient condition. As a principal officer, Mr. Rosenstein could legally have brought all the indictments Mr. Mueller has. But he may not delegate that authority to Mr. Mueller, any more than President Trump could delegate his veto power to Mr. Rosenstein.

An FBI Mole In Trump Campaign Undermines Timeline

The article is at THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and is entitled, “About That FBI ‘Source’ – Did the bureau engage in outright spying against the 2016 Trump campaign?” But it is behind a “pay wall.” I did track it down… this is YUGE NEWS! Why? Because it is Obama that is in charge of the FBI and there would have been a mole inserted into the Trump campaign BEFOREbefore — the official FBI timeline that we have all seen testimony of and have read about.

This is scary.

Full Strassel text with thanks to REAL CLEAR POLITICS:

The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it agreed to brief House Intelligence Committee members about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.

Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.

House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”

This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.

The bureau already has some explaining to do. Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.

This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting. It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough. Obama political appointees rampantly “unmasked” Trump campaign officials to monitor their conversations, while the FBI played dirty with its surveillance warrant against Carter Page, failing to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that its supporting information came from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now we find it may have also been rolling out human intelligence, John Le Carré style, to infiltrate the Trump campaign.

Which would lead to another big question for the FBI: When? The bureau has been doggedly sticking with its story that a tip in July 2016 about the drunken ramblings of George Papadopoulos launched its counterintelligence probe. Still, the players in this affair—the FBI, former Director Jim Comey, the Steele dossier authors—have been suspiciously vague on the key moments leading up to that launch date. When precisely was the Steele dossier delivered to the FBI? When precisely did the Papadopoulos information come in?

And to the point, when precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment. And that in turn would mean that the FBI had been spurred to act on the basis of something other than a junior campaign aide’s loose lips.

We also know that among the Justice Department’s stated reasons for not complying with the Nunes subpoena was its worry that to do so might damage international relationships. This suggests the “source” may be overseas, have ties to foreign intelligence, or both. That’s notable, given the highly suspicious role foreigners have played in this escapade. It was an Australian diplomat who reported the Papadopoulos conversation. Dossier author Christopher Steele is British, used to work for MI6, and retains ties to that spy agency as well as to a network of former spooks. It was a former British diplomat who tipped off Sen. John McCain to the dossier. How this “top secret” source fits into this puzzle could matter deeply.

I believe I know the name of the informant, but my intelligence sources did not provide it to me and refuse to confirm it. It would therefore be irresponsible to publish it. But what is clear is that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the FBI’s 2016 behavior, and the country will never get the straight story until President Trump moves to declassify everything possible. It’s time to rip off the Band-Aid.

The Best is the Enemy of the Better (Repealing Obamacare)

 ~I want Full Repeal, NO replacement, free markets! ~

The above is a statement from a FB friend… and is the main thrust of this post.

Dennis Prager quickly mentions a Kimberly Strassel article via the WALL STREET JOURNAL. in this short clip Prager also prefaces Trump’s horrible statement about McCain’s being captured with what McCain said about half of America. And principle is thrown to the wayside in people like this not voting to repeal in part Obama-care.

Here is the article:

…What do Rand Paul, Susan Collins and John McCain have in common? Very little.

The press corps is busy quizzing the president, the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader on their plans for tax reform. The question is why they aren’t chasing after the three people who actually hold all the power.

If the past eight months have proved anything, it is that all the 24/7 news coverage of Donald Trump’s antics, all the millions of words devoted to Paul Ryan’s and Mitch McConnell’s plans, have been a complete waste of space and time. In the end, control of the entire policy agenda in Washington comes down to three senators. Three senators whom most Americans have never had a chance to vote for or against. Three senators who comprise 8% of their party conference. Arizona’s John McCain, Maine’s Susan Collins and Kentucky’s Rand Paul. Forget Caesar, Crassus and Pompey. Meet the Never-Trump Triumvirate.

At least the House Freedom Caucus scuttles GOP legislation based on shared principles. Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have also led revolts against bills, again based on shared criticisms. But what do the Arizona maverick, the Maine moderate and the Kentucky libertarian have in common? Very little.

Well, very little save motivations that go beyond policy. And that is the crucial point that is missing from the endless analyses of the McCain-Collins-Paul defections on health care. The media has treated the trio’s excuses for killing their party’s top priority as legit, despite the obvious holes in their objections over policy and process. What in fact binds the three is their crafting of identities based primarily on opposition to their party or Mr. Trump. This matters, because it bodes very ill for tax reform in the Senate. Overcoming policy objections is one thing. Overcoming egos is another.

Mr. McCain, who is gravely ill with brain cancer, has decided his final legacy will be a return to the contrarian “straight talk” persona of old, which wins him liberal media plaudits. The Arizonan has never gotten over losing the presidency, and it clearly irks him that Mr. Trump succeeded where he failed. His personal disdain for the president is obvious, and his implausible excuses for opposing the Graham-Cassidy health-care reform are proof that this is personal.

Ms. Collins is reportedly days awa y from deciding whether she’ll ditch the Senate gig and run for governor. That potential campaign has guided her every move for at least a year now—perhaps her entire career—and was clearly among her reasons last summer to abandon her party’s nominee and publicly excoriate Mr. Trump. It is a basic precept in Washington that Sen. Collins votes in whatever way best serves Sen. Collins. Right now that means being Never Trump.

Mr. Paul worked hard during his first Senate campaign to reassure Kentuckians that he was not his father, and it turns out that’s very true. Because even Ron Paul was to be found with his party’s House majority on issues that truly mattered, and largely saved his defections for the lost causes that produced 434-1 votes. Sen. Paul’s standards for “conservative” policy are as varying as the wind, and lately they blow toward whatever position can earn him the title of purest man in Washington.

The press was fixated this week on Mr. McConnell’s bad week, which is an easy piece to write. But it ignores the obvious reality that the Triumvirate seems to have never had any intention of letting its party succeed. After all, a senator who intended to stand firm on “regular order,” as Mr. McCain said, would have informed his colleagues of that demand at the beginning, rather than allow his colleagues to set up for another vote and then dramatically tank it (again) at the last minute. A senator who voted for “skinny” ObamaCare repeal in the summer on the grounds that anything was “better than no repeal,” in the words of Mr. Paul, would not suddenly engineer an unreachable set of demands for his vote on an even better repeal.

The Senate has no lack of lime-lighters. Nor is it low on Trump critics. Think Nebraska’s Ben Sasse and Arizona’s Jeff Flake. The difference is that the clear majority of the critics aren’t allowing ambition or disdain get in the way of votes for better policy.

But this raises the question of whether the White House understands that the Triumvirate is also the prize on tax reform. Mr. Trump took a shot at Mr. McConnell this week, but the president needs to shift his focus to those who hold the actual power. Those dinner invites to Chuck and Nancy would be better reserved for Ms. Collins. Its internal conversations need to focus on what forms of flattery or policy or misery might appeal to the political motivations of Messrs. McCain and Paul, and get them on side.

Because the Triumvirate made very clear during the health-care debate how it operates. Pretending it won’t do it again is to ignore reality.

I had one gent tell me that all the repeals (or bills changing Obama-care) were keeping up to 90% of the bill. But what was proffered would have killed the rest of the ACA. Here is a helpful visual of what the Republicans proposed:

I found this end to an article at THE FEDERALIST helpful… the part about “incrementalism.” Something the right doesn’t get:

….Donald Trump, who promised throughout his campaign to overturn Obamacare, could immediately put a deadline on the unconstitutional subsidy payments that the Obama administration concocted to keep the bill from imploding. Yes, liberals will continue to claim that conservatives are “sabotaging” the law, but there is no moral, policy, or political reason for the GOP to continue the illegal pay-off of insurance companies.  No matter how many welfare dollars Congress ends up pouring into fabricated markets or how much price-fixing they engage in, the “exchanges” are unsustainable. Why would conservatives want to take ownership of those failures?

As the Senate stands now, it’s improbable that Republicans will ever be able to cobble together a bill that will placate both the Susan Collins-John McCain wing and the Mike Lee-Rand Paul wing — in fact, I doubt Collins would vote for a single-payer bill if too many Republicans supported it. Even with more conservatives, I’m highly skeptical that repeal will ever pass. Yet it is not out of the question that help is on the way. Perhaps the GOP’s positioning on health-care reform will lead to midterm disaster. But we’ve heard this one before — sometimes right before a GOP wave election. Fact is, the 2018 Senate map is still not favorable to Dems.

Liberals like to argue that allowing Obamacare to fail would bring a single-payer closer to reality. Well, it is just as likely that prolonging Obamacare’s lifespan would help single-payer, as the next Democratic administration will surely continue to expand the reach of the law. (Unlike the GOP, Democrats don’t shy away from incrementalism.) If Republicans truly believe Obamacare has harmed America, there is no upside in fake bipartisanship. Not for the GOP. And not for the America people.