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The abuse of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by larger chains that used loopholes to get federal money ahead of desperate small businesses has not gone unnoticed.

In fact, it might be a good idea for such corporations to follow the example of Shake Shack and give the money back. If they don’t, they’ll face likely investigation in the fall by the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, according to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is chairman of that committee.

RELATED READING: The Gov. answers important reader concern about "Paycheck Protection

The other senator from Florida has noticed, too. “I am concerned that many businesses with thousands of employees have found loopholes to qualify for those loans meant for small businesses,” Sen. Rick Scott said. “Right now, companies that have not been harmed at all by the coronavirus crisis have the ability to receive taxpayer-funded loans that can be forgiven.”

At this writing, lawmakers finally seem close to a deal on re-funding the program, which was out of money faster than you can say “Wuhan coronavirus.” While they’re at it, how about closing those loopholes, too? How about it, Sen. Rubio?

Rubio Warns of Subpoenas for Companies Abusing PPP

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKEJust stop with the class warfare rhetoric on "CARES" Act and PPP

Cheers to the editor-in-chief of BILD, Germany’s largest newspaper, who wrote this in an open letter to Chinese President Xi:

"In your country, people are whispering about you. Your power is crumbling. You have created an inscrutable, non-transparent China. Before Corona, China was known as a surveillance state. Now, China is known as a surveillance state that infected the world with a deadly disease. That is your political legacy.”

This comes as China is doubling down on its original fairytale that COVID-19 came from the local “wet market” and NOT from the biolab in Wuhan. The head of that lab has even called out Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, saying his accusations are “based on speculation,” though I will “speculate” that he is being forced by Dear Leader to say this to those reporters in State media who are allowed to talk to him. With what we have learned, there is no one with the intelligence of a Chinese horseshoe bat who buys the official story. But when Communists lie, they don’t care if what they say is even feasible; they just expect you to choke it down.

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation has put together a remarkable paper explaining what was done, by whom, and when, to enable the spread of this virus. It is so spectacular, it needs little elaboration. After the article, there’s a painstakingly assembled timeline, starting in MID-NOVEMBER OF 2019 (though I think it might possibly turn out the virus was circulating even before then), with three columns showing what 1) the People’s Republic of China/Chinese Communist Party was saying and 2) the World Health Organization was reporting while 3) reality intruded. I cannot tell you how illuminating this is.

To quote: “The denial of information, outright fabrications, and disregard for human life --- both within and outside of China’s borders --- is so shocking and pervasive that the contracting of this virus by millions worldwide and the resultant death toll was not only foreseeable but entirely avoidable.” It calls for the People’s Republic of China to be held accountable “through demands for economic reparations and other and other sanctions pertaining to human rights.”

The condemnation it lays on the World Health Organization is equally great. “The WHO,” it says, “...has served as a ‘useful idiot’ that repeats CCP propaganda without question.” I would add that our own leftist media, blinded by their hatred of President Trump, have had a major role in that as well and deserve to be described the same way.

We now know that the People’s Republic of China had confirmed human-to-human transmission by late December yet ordered the evidence destroyed. Through the middle of January, they were saying the virus was containable, when other actions (such as the effort to stockpile medical supplies from American and Europe) show otherwise. And that was just the beginning of the deception by the PRC and WHO. Most stunningly, the PRC allowed 5 million people to leave the province of Wuhan –- not to go to other parts of China, but to go to other countries. Much of this we have covered, but when you see it all together like this, it’s almost beyond belief. The evil just leaps from the page.

This paper and the timeline that follows are absolute must-reads. But, one word of caution: this information, laid out before you as it is, will raise your blood pressure to the sky, and as we’ve been told by the doctors and epidemiologists, high blood pressure is a risk factor for this virus. So take breaks as appropriate, and walk outside, taking deep breaths.

Be sure also to read about the organization that put this together, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. I have to give President Bill Clinton credit for signing the bill that created it, passed unanimously by Congress on December 17, 1993. Perhaps they didn’t anticipate how desperately we’d need a group like this less than thirty years later. But we have a few people in Congress NOW who would never vote to create an organization like this if a similar bill came up today. That’s because they themselves are communists who would exercise total government control if they could, and they lie with the ease of the CCP.

"Those witnesses with a living memory of 20th Century communism are passing away,” the Foundation says on their website. “And an entire generation of Americans is open to collectivist ideas because they don’t know the truth...Our mission is to educate this generation and future generations about the ideology, history and legacy of communism.”

COVID-19 News update

April 21, 2020

Some major points: The US has now completed 4.18 million virus tests, more than France, the UK, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Austria, Australia, India, Sweden and Canada combined, and testing is expanding rapidly. Saturday’s briefing included some charts showing the rise and fall of cases in different metro areas (and no, media claims aside, we do not lead the world in coronavirus deaths.)

Trump also referred to an article in the Wall Street Journal by Christopher DeMuth called “Trump Rewrites the Book on Emergencies.” It argues that while all other Presidents have dealt with emergencies by expanding federal power and control, Trump has gone the opposite way by letting state and local authorities deal with the disease on their levels while he sticks to things that are federal duties, like allocating resources to the states and restricting foreign travel. For this, his critics have alternately attacked him for not doing enough, then turned on a dime and accused him of being a dictator when they thought he was doing too much. The article is behind a paywall, but Instapundit has a lengthy excerpt:

Trump said in his Sunday briefing that a deal was close with Democrats to stop holding up a bill to provide more funding for loans to struggling small businesses. Late Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he hoped the bill would be voted on in the Senate today and pass the House on Tuesday (a personal note to Nancy Pelosi: your two refrigerators will preserve all your $13-a-pint artisanal ice cream just fine until you get back from doing your job; that’s why they cost $12,000 apiece.)

Here is a list of all 50 states and the latest plans for reopening businesses in each state.

On that subject, I’m getting awfully tired of hearing leftists mock and attack people who are demanding easing of restrictions so they can go back to work. Their frustration is perfectly understandable. First, some of the restrictions imposed, especially in blue states and cities, are ridiculous, unconstitutional, and have no impact at all on reducing the spread of the virus. For instance, refusing to let people buy needed items that are available in stores that are open because the Governor doesn’t deem them “essential.” Or shutting down safe drive-in church services while allowing drive-through liquor sales. Or cancelling all “elective” surgeries, including cancer biopsies, while allowing abortion clinics to continue operating. That’s not public health and safety, it’s tyranny and idiocy.

Second, aren’t the leftists always claiming that many Americans are “just one paycheck away from disaster”? Yet when Americans get desperate after losing three paychecks, or even their jobs, the same leftists mock and belittle them.

They can’t comprehend, or else simply don’t want to, just how devastating to people’s lives this business shutdown is, or how angry people get at having government arbitrarily trample their Constitutional rights. Scott Morefield at Townhall.com makes the argument that the left actually wants to keep the lockdown in place indefinitely (keeping everyone else from working advances their work of destroying the American system), and he lists the reasons why.

One other point worth noting: most of the liberal talking heads live in deep blue cities with dense populations (no offense intended), and are notorious for being bubble dwellers who neither know nor care about how people live outside of their own social circles. Maybe this will help give them a little perspective on Americans who don’t understand why they’re expected to endure the same draconian quarantine measures as, say, New Yorkers.

Matt Margolis at PJ Media, who understands that people in Wyoming or Arkansas live very different lifestyles than New Yorkers, decided to see what the coronavirus statistics would look like if you separated out downstate New York (just eight counties: Kings, Queens, New York, Suffolk, Bronx, Nassau, Westchester and Richmond) and treated that small, densely-populated (about 12 million people) and hard-hit area as a separate nation from the US. The results were stunning.

If those eight counties in downstate New York were a separate nation, it would lead the world in confirmed coronavirus cases (16,230.65 per million people.) Meanwhile, without Downstate New York, the US would drop out of the top 10 entirely, from 7th place all the way to 13th. Also, despite the fake news about the US leading the world in coronavirus deaths, as I already mentioned, we actually rank 8th in deaths per million in population (less than a fourth of first-place Belgium.) But if Downstate New York were a separate nation, it would rank #1 in deaths per million, and the rest of the US would drop to #11.

If you’d like an easy illustration of how much New York is skewing the infection and death figures, click the link above to PJ Media to see a chart comparing the growth of cases in the top 25 metro areas in the US. That red line that looks like a jet taking off over the heads of all the others is New York City/Newark.

Of course, none of this means that Americans anywhere should stop taking sensible precautions to avoid catching or spreading this disease. But it’s time we recognized that someone in Arizona or Alabama who drives his pickup alone from his ranch house to work at Home Depot is not as likely to contract the disease as New Yorkers who pour out of apartment buildings to cram shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers in a subway car on their way to work in crowded Times Square restaurants or the New York Stock Exchange. That’s the problem with “one-size-fits-all” solutions: they don’t fit most people.

Finally, here’s “A Tale of Two States, Coronavirus Edition”.

From Thomas:

I'm not thrilled when I disagree with you –- and even less thrilled when I feel the need to write to you about it. But regarding the results of the 2016 election, there were far more of us who thought that Trump would be President when it was all said and done than you may realize. In fact, I got so upset at the late Charles Krauthammer on election night, who early in the evening, was asked about the election and had the chance to show that he had done some REAL homework on what was going on in the various key states. He simply repeated the standard mantra that accepted that Hillary would win by the end of the night. I know his health went south soon after that, but I was content to never listen to him again.

The reason was that all the evidence was there that Trump was going to win if anybody –- ANYBODY –- would have bothered to actually go through it rather than just do what everyone was doing.

Nothing has changed. Pollsters still go out of their way to NOT poll Trump supporters, simply because they don't like them. I've been polled only once in person, but you could tell by the pollster's face that she didn't like the answers I was giving her. That is not ever to matter.

Yes, Governor Mike –- we knew –- we knew that night who was going to win.

From the Gov:

Thanks for writing, Thomas. Certainly, I was not referring to the millions of Trump supporters who went to the polls on Election Day and VOTED for Donald Trump. Even without being privy to the data generated from a statistically sampled poll or a sophisticated computer model (we’ve seen lately how accurate THOSE are!), we were very optimistic, because we all had “taken the temperature” where we lived –- generally in flyover country –- and knew how utterly wrong the polls and pundits were. If you’ve read my 2014 book GOD, GUNS, GRITS, AND GRAVY, you know I was well aware of the strength and potential power of this conservative wave. Those were the future Trump voters, the people who had just had enough, and they made their stand in 2016.

No, I was talking about those very pollsters and politicians and media analysts (aside from, as I said, me and a few independent thinkers among that group) who live in “the bubble,” didn’t get Trump and still don’t, and couldn’t imagine anyone voting for him. Ha, even Vladimir Putin assumed Hillary would be President; that would explain his preemptive moves to “buy” her. Sadly, in that particular situation this group also included the brilliant (usually) Charles Krauthammer, God rest his soul. I’m sure millions of Trump supporters were throwing things at the screen on Election Night when Krauthammer simply assumed that Trump would lose.

The pundits and pollsters who had predicted so confidently that Hillary would win ended up with egg on their faces as they screamed at the sky. One has to wonder who would even listen to them after they got it so wrong, but, as you point out, they’re still here, just as Paul Krugman is still an economist. And they’re still just as clueless as ever.

Garbage from Harvard

April 21, 2020

The current stay-at-home orders have left many parents struggling to learn how to homeschool their kids. But what they’re actually doing is known as “crisis schooling,” not homeschooling. Most real homeschoolers put in a great deal of time, research and effort to plan their schooling programs, select curricula, etc. They didn’t just have it suddenly thrust upon them. That’s why, home school students typically rank well above public school students in most metrics, from college admissions and SATs to social development to community service, and score up to 30 points higher on standardized tests.

I suspect that having so many kids at home, where parents are being forced to school them (and they’re not getting their leftist/anti-American/eco-warrior indoctrination) has leftist “educators” panicked that parents might decide they prefer homeschooling. And so we get garbage like this, from Harvard Magazine.

It’s about a Harvard law professor who’s demanding a ban on homeschooling. She calls for a "radical transformation in the homeschooling regime and a related rethinking of child rights" that "recommends a presumptive ban on homeschooling, with the burden on parents to demonstrate justification for permission to homeschool."

She claims that homeschooling allows parents to spend too much time with their own children (parents can’t be trusted not to abuse their kids), and that some parents have “extreme religious” beliefs that they might pass on to children instead of “ideas and values central to our democracy” (you know what that means, I assume). She says that many homeschoolers "promote racial segregation and female subservience." I know a lot of homeschooling parents and kids and have never seen that. I also don’t know how that she'd explain all the female students and kids of all races who’ve excelled at academics because they’re home schooled, but she’s a Harvard professor, so she’s obviously better than the rest of us.

Or maybe not. Maybe she’d be a bit smarter, a bit less brainwashed by the leftist education machine, and a bit less prejudiced toward people she knows nothing about if her own parents had homeschooled her. In fact, if all the people who run Harvard had been “indoctrinated” with Christian values by their parents, maybe we wouldn’t have stories like this.

Saturday, a federal judge in Kansas blocked Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order restricting church services in the name of stopping the coronavirus. As the state attorney general, who opposed Kelly’s order, put it, the government can tell churches that they shouldn’t hold services during this time, but it doesn’t have the power to ban them. This is the latest of several cases across America where judges have had to remind liberal officials that they don’t have the power to rescind the First Amendment.

While it is certainly prudent for churches to protect their members by holding online services or drive-in services (although even those have been targeted for no good reason), the judge in this case pointed out that the Governor’s ban on large public gatherings includes 26 secular exceptions, including bars, libraries and shopping malls. Her order seems to specifically, and unconstitutionally, target religion. For instance, the judge noted that a large group could meet in an office building to conduct a real estate deal, but not to hold a Bible study.

Gov. Kelly vowed to fight the judge’s order, saying, “This is not about religion. This is about a public health crisis.” I’d say it’s about more than that. It’s about a public health crisis and about how some public officials will use a crisis to advance a political agenda. We all want to stamp out the coronavirus, but let’s make sure that in the process, we don’t succumb to an even worse virus that kills off our Constitutional rights.

From Judith:

Mike, I am one of your biggest fans; however, I find the references to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) above to be tone deaf to what the true small business owner is experiencing.

Supposedly the PPP was a first-come, first-served program to protect small companies and their employees. The way it is being administered is egregious if it is anything like what my 29-year-old son experienced.

He and a college roommate own a metal fabrication and welding business that they started in 2015. They had five employees.

He applied to Pittsburgh National Corporation PNC, his banker, on the day that the program opened. Four days later, the banker at PNC contacted him to say that my son had not initialed the application in two places. He did so within three hours.

When he did not hear back from PNC on the status of his application, he contacted the banker repeatedly. No response at all until last Thursday, April 16, 2020, when the banker contacted him and said that she had submitted his application that day at 12:30 pm. The money had run out.

He had to furlough all of his employees. Now he is frantic to keep his business afloat.

He submitted a complaint to PNC and the banker called and offered him a loan at 7%. He has avoided debt like the plague. He and his partner have paid themselves paupers’ wages, believing that investing in equipment and good employees now would pay off in the future.

If he had not acted in a timely manner, he would not be upset. BUT when he did everything in time to get a loan and the "big guys" get funding and you didn't, it feels like crony capitalism at its worst.

Whom does he blame? Trump and Marco Rubio. Somebody had to write and approve the bill. He believes that they left loopholes for the banks and the connected.


RELATED READING:  Just stop with the class warfare rhetoric on "CARES" Act and PPP


From the Gov:

Thank you so much for writing, Judith. I certainly don’t mean to be tone deaf about the real-world problems faced by small business owners; that’s why I’m highlighting your letter. As I said, this is the sort of bureaucratic nightmare that is common to virtually ALL government programs. It angers me to hear this story and think that loopholes might have been deliberately left in the bill to benefit the connected and savvy over independent small business owners such as your son who don’t have high-priced attorneys to make sure every “i” is dotted and every “t” crossed (and every blank initialed) on every page of the voluminous paperwork.

It’s hard to know exactly what happened here; did the banker deliberately set aside your son’s application in deference to more “important” applicants, or did his paperwork get lost in the shuffle of a deluge of applications. Either way, it’s unacceptable.

But the fact that all the money was gone so quickly underlies the need to end the political bickering and bargaining and replenish those funds NOW. I’ve been hearing economists say that even this infusion of $$$ is not going to be nearly enough, and they are worried. (It should worry us all.) As for your son’s bank, they should be apologizing profusely for delaying his application. They have the completed paperwork now, so as soon as more money is available, he needs to be AT THE HEAD OF THE LINE. If that doesn’t happen, I have two words for him after the crisis is over: “new bank.”

On the other hand, just a few moments ago (this is Monday afternoon), my researcher heard a report of a major, MAJOR financial institution being “out of money” for small businesses who were similarly right there with their applications on the very first day. Had it all been earmarked for big-deal clients? We’ll be looking into this. And when Congress (finally) approves more funding for the program, they might also want to take a look at how the program is already being abused and quickly close those loopholes. Emphasis on the word "quickly."

Thanks again, Judith, for your perspective. I hope your son gets the money in time to keep his business together and that he and his employees are able to get back to work soon. I’m not sure how shutting down a metal fabrication/welding plant with five employees (or any number, really, as long as they’re taking basic precautions) is going to affect the spread of coronavirus one way or the other.