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Going Rogue

March 27, 2020

Today could be a high drama day in the House, as Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky is reportedly threatening to “go rogue” and hold up passage of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill. He and some other conservatives are angry that the Democrats managed to stuff so much irrelevant leftwing pork and government expansion into what is supposed to be a rescue bill for idled American workers and businesses. There are worries on both sides that Massie will prevent a quick voice vote and demand a full vote that would require members who are absent to travel back to Washington to form a quorum and cast votes.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/extreme-precautions-ordered-in-house-ahead-of-historic-vote-on-largest-stimulus-package-in-us-history

Democrats are furious over the tactics and many Republicans are upset that their golden issue of Pelosi holding up the bill for a week while Americans suffered will now be overshadowed by one lone Republican holding it up. Look, I agree that there are many things in this bill that shouldn’t be there. Democrats tried to stuff it as full of leftist goodies as a piñata. Here’s just one example of the kind of irrelevant issues it lavishes money on that we’ll be discovering for months:

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/coronavirus-relief-package-contains-over-11-billion-international-development

It’s precisely the type of bill that makes you lament that the President doesn’t have a line-item veto. But if there were ever an example of letting the perfect become the enemy of the good, the rumored Massie stall may be it. It’s time for Washington to end the political games and help the rest of the country, which is already acting heroically without their help under incredibly difficult conditions.

Speaking of that, check out this lengthy Facebook comment by Bart Hall, reeling off all the ways that Americans are stepping up to deal with the crisis, help each other and create innovative solutions to problems in record time, either without Washington’s help or in direct defiance of pointless federal regulations. He also speculates on the possible positive effects of so many people learning just how useless, and even obstructive of progress and innovation, all those nanny state regulations are. Warning: a bit of profanity, forgivable under the circumstances.

https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/362781

And as always, the Christian conservative site The Babylon Bee nailed the useless grandstanding of Washington politicians perfectly with this headline: “Government Accidentally Shuts Itself Down With Ban On Non-Essential Businesses.”

https://babylonbee.com/news/government-accidentally-shuts-itself-down-with-ban-on-non-essential-businesses

While you’re at that site, you should read some more stories for great laughs to help ease your homebound boredom and anxiety. This may be my recent favorite: “Quarantined Journalist Really Starting To Annoy Family By Calling Them Racists All Day.”

https://babylonbee.com/news/quarantined-journalist-reduced-to-only-calling-their-household-members-racist

The most difficult decision President Trump is facing now is whether to lift some pandemic restrictions and risk accelerating infections and deaths, or wait longer than necessary and risk killing the economy. We all hope and pray that faster, accurate tests will be developed and manufactured and a cure/vaccine found in record time, and there are surprisingly positive indications of both. But until we’re certain, if Trump tries to sound hopeful about the pandemic being not as devastating or long-lasting as feared, his political opponents accuse him of spreading false hope and wanting to sacrifice American lives for the economy – and never mind the devastation to people’s lives that would be caused by shutting down the economy until the November elections, which is likely the dream dancing in their twisted heads.

The media keep attacking Trump for allegedly spreading false information. KUOW, the Seattle NPR radio affiliate, even announced that it will no longer carry his daily press briefings “due to a pattern of false or misleading information.” Because when you want reliable, unbiased news, you can always rely on a Seattle NPR affiliate. You know, one of those taxpayer-supported NPR stations whose programming is so vital that Democrats demanded $75 million for them in the emergency economic rescue bill.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/seattle-npr-affiliate-to-stop-airing-live-coronavirus-briefings-over-pattern-of-false-information

Seattle conservative radio host Jason Rantz, who is familiar with KUOW’s programming, isn’t surprised. He says he suspects their staff is triggered by Trump’s 60% Gallop approval rating for his handling of the crisis and that they’re hearing from angry listeners who still can’t get over the 2016 election. Rantz told the Washington Examiner:


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"Their staff is full of progressive activists masquerading as honest journalists. It's not so much that I care they're progressive and have an agenda; it's that they pretend not to. And this exposes them for what they are. But, hey, it's Seattle. They'll probably be called brave for keeping important information from the public."

For the record, I’ll offer again this list of the "Top 10 Lies About President Trump’s Response to the Coronavirus," all from media outlets such as the New York Times, Politico and the Washington Post, that routinely accuse Trump of spreading lies and misinformation.

https://pjmedia.com/trending/the-top-10-lies-about-president-trumps-response-to-the-coronavirus/

In order to make such a difficult choice between acting too soon or waiting too long, government officials on all levels need reliable information. It’s ironic that while liberals attack Trump for allegedly spreading misleading information to further a political agenda, that’s exactly what they’ve been doing since the earliest days of the pandemic, when they accused Trump of being an immigrant-hating xenophobe for shutting down travel from China in January. (Now some liberal news outlets accuse him of not doing it soon enough.)

But it isn’t just the obvious opportunists. One of the most relied-upon sources for predicting the potential spread of the infection and the hospitalization rate is under fire for allegedly being a propaganda tool cooked up by Democratic activists to frighten policymakers into making rash and drastic decisions.

Madeleine Osbourne at The Federalist reports that an online pandemic modeling site called COVID Act Now is being cited by the media and used by officials across America as justification for closing businesses and ordering people to stay home, and even as an argument for shutting down entire states. But so far, its predictions have proven as exaggerated as most radical climate groups’ computer model predictions about the temperature.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/03/25/inaccurate-virus-models-are-panicking-officials-into-ill-advised-lockdowns/

For instance, the COVID Act Now model predicted that by March 19, Tennessee would have 190 confirmed, hospitalized coronavirus patients. It actually had 15. By the same date, it predicted 400 hospitalizations in Florida. The real number was 90. Similar dire predictions have also been wildly overestimated, at least thus far.

National security writer Jordan Schachtel reveals that the modeling comes entirely from one team at Imperial College UK that has a track record of bad predictions and criticism from the scientific community, that refuses to release its code that makes the estimates, and that claimed the virus would kill up to 2.2 million Americans.

Osbourne reveals that there are multiple problems with their data, including using early numbers that are likely to be wrong, using outdated demographic numbers, assessing the US as a whole instead of by state, assuming that everyone spreads the disease at the same rate, and not adjusting for “population density, culturally-determined interaction frequency and closeness, humidity, temperature, etc.”

She also reports that the founders of the site include Democratic Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins and three Silicon Valley tech workers/Democratic activists; and the caveats on it include an admission that “this model is designed to drive fast action, not predict the future.”

To be clear: none of this is meant to downplay the severity of the disease or the importance of preventing its spread. But it does suggest that if someone questions the apocalyptic predictions of unreliable sources that see an opportunity to exploit a health crisis to advance a leftist agenda, then the media shouldn’t automatically assume that the skeptic is the one spreading misinformation.

For further reading, here are some more scientists pointing out the flaws in the media’s favorite fear-generating website. Some even have a theory that millions of people may have already developed a “herd immunity” to the virus and we just don’t know it yet.

https://www.dailywire.com/news/oxford-epidemiologist-heres-why-that-doomsday-model-is-likely-way-off

What a pleasant surprise to see one of my favorite medical experts as a guest on THE INGRAHAM ANGLE Tuesday night. Most of all, it was gratifying to see he thinks the same way I do about hydroxychloroquine/zithromycin therapy, even though he is a world-famous physician and entrepreneur and I am not.

Oh, by the way, Gov. Huckabee was on the show, too. More about that below.

Dr. Nicholas Perricone, MD, is widely known for his groundbreaking series of books on nutrition and aging, starting with THE WRINKLE CURE and THE PERRICONE PRESCRIPTION. I think I’ve read every one of them. He also developed a line of skin care that I have used over the years as my budget would allow. But perhaps he is best known for “the Perricone Diet,” a regimen based mostly on wild salmon and vegetables, designed to provide the right nutrients for skin (and brain) and to avoid the damaging blood sugar spikes that high-carb diets cause. I’ve followed it for a long time –- no endless pasta bowl and breadsticks for me –- and even wrote and performed an operatic song parody about it in a one-person comedy show about the pursuit of beauty called MY SHIP HAS SAILED. The song: “O Worship Dr. Perricone.”

VIDEO LINK: https://youtu.be/CtSWkUscZ74 

When I performed this in larger venues, he appeared behind me on screen in a stained glass window…

Anyway, I’ve always considered Dr. Perricone to be way ahead of his time, so it doesn’t surprise me that he would be looking into this experimental treatment for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). Apparently, he’s been prescribing hydroxychloroquine for his patients with autoimmune diseases and getting results. And though as a physician he considers himself “risk-averse,” he said he's very surprised at the reluctance of the medical community to move forward with the off-label use of this FDA-approved medication to treat COVID-19.

He advised looking at the “risk-benefit ratio.” This antimalarial drug came out in 1945 (!), he explained, and there are about a million patients every year taking it for autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. “There’s nothing better, as far as I’m concerned, in terms of safety of a drug [than] to have it being used a long time,” he said, “and 70 years is a very long time.”

Ideally, he said, we’d love to have some really compelling studies, lots of data, “but we don’t have time for that.” We have to move fast. And this is a short, five-to-seven-day regimen, for which “the side-effect profile is extremely, extremely low.” So, looking at the risk-benefit ratio, we have a drug that’s been “tried and true” for 70 years (low risk), combined with good data coming in (high benefit).

Given the severity of the disease, “it makes no sense to me whatsoever,” he said, “to hesitate distributing this drug.” Of course, it’s important to be under a doctor’s care, he added, to make sure it won’t interact badly with some other drug the patient is taking or if there are “any underlying problems.”

We need to move very quickly on this, he concluded. Every day counts in terms of saving lives. He went even further, to say that anyone hesitating now is doing this country “a huge disservice.”

I completely agree with Dr. Perricone (dare I say, “worship” him?), and would add that my main concern is that much of the reluctance to go all-in on this drug therapy is because if it worked, it would prove President Trump right and help him win re-election. That decision should be based not on any political considerations whatsoever but on the kind of analysis Dr. Perricone has offered. I don’t know how he votes; perhaps he’s apolitical. Anyway, the discussion should be shaped not by pro- and anti-Trump forces but by what has been shown to help people get well. There are some who hate Trump so irrationally that they would actually deny him this accomplishment.

Personally, as someone who is in the “red zone” on the risk scale (due to previous lung damage as a complication from H1N1 flu in 2009), if I somehow get sick with this in spite of working from home and careful “social distancing,” I have looked at costs and benefits just as Dr. Perricone has and have made up my mind...I am getting that treatment.

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6144520387001

As mentioned, Gov. Huckabee was on Laura Ingraham’s show as well, with Byron York, to discuss the chatter surrounding New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a possible bid for the White House.

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6144521360001

Obviously, this is happening because the Democrats have to find SOMEBODY more on-the-ball mentally than Joe Biden, who is showing himself to be less than worthless in a crisis. Byron York pointed out --- though he hardly had to --- that Democrats are looking at Biden and see someone who’s really struggling.

The Governor noted that Biden, in doing those bizarre shadow-commentaries following the President’s press briefings, is doing a lot of damage, not only to his own prospects but to the country by trying to pretend that “he’s really gonna be the President.” The more Biden talks, the less confident people are in his ability to handle something like the current situation. In contrast, Huckabee gave Gov. Cuomo credit for the way he’s been handling the role of a governor in managing such a crisis.

"Governors tend to be good presidential candidates most of the time,” Huckabee said, “because, frankly, they’ve managed a microcosm of the federal government. Every single thing you have at the federal level you have at the state level, just with fewer zeroes on the end of your budget.” But, having been in those shoes himself, he really doesn’t think Cuomo is thinking about the presidency. “When you’re dealing with a major crisis,” he told Laura, “you’re trying to stay ahead of it and manage it and deal with it, and the thought that you’re gonna try to figure out how this is gonna advantage you politically, to be honest with you, you just don’t have time for that.

"There WILL be time for that, and I’m sure he’ll, maybe, consider it, because of the way he’s managed [this], but right now, I’d cut him some slack, give him a break and say I think he’s legitimately trying to lead his state through a very difficult crisis, and, frankly, I’d give him a passing grade in the way he’s doing it.”

The Gov. also praised President Trump for trying to strike a balance between the “science” of medicine and the “art” of politics. Decisions have to be made with the understanding of what’s possible in the political environment. Democrats in Congress are interested in scoring “political points,” not in helping their enemy get the American people back to work and earning paychecks. Trump’s also got Wall Street concerns, and –- mostly –- he’s got millions of Americans who are scared.

"I think this President is handling it in exactly the executive way that he was hired to do,” the Governor said. “Thank God he’s in that chair right now and not Hillary Clinton, as could have happened.”

Now THAT would’ve been something to be scared about.

Joe Biden is struggling

March 26, 2020

Joe Biden, still struggling to appear relevant despite being about as easily overlooked as the star of that new “Invisible Man” movie, is continuing his embarrassing and barely coherent “competing coronavirus briefings” against President Trump from his house. In his latest dispatch from Cloud Cuckooland, Biden said Trump should “stop talking” and let medical experts speak. He mocked Trump’s hopes of getting the economy reopened by Easter and said, “This curve is going up and up and up because we did not act when we should have acted.”

https://www.westernjournal.com/biden-blasts-trumps-coronavirus-response-sidelines-stop-talking/

Boy, where to begin? Obviously, with the fact that when Trump cut off travel from China back in January, acting quickly when he should have, Biden attacked him as a fearmonger and xenophobe. When Biden released a “plan” for dealing better with the crisis than Trump, most of it was stuff Trump had already done. In case Biden hasn’t noticed, Trump has assembled a team of the best doctors in America, and they are present and speak at all his press conferences. The leading voice among them, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has debunked the idea that Trump isn’t listening to them (apparently, Joe doesn’t keep up with the news; he’s also still repeating the debunked “fake news” that Trump called the virus a “hoax.” He was talking about the false media narrative parroted by Biden that he didn't take it seriously.)

And as for Trump’s Easter comment, it was just an expressed hope, not an ironclad policy directive. You’d think Biden would recognize what a “hope” is, since that’s what he and Obama got elected on. Maybe that’s why he assumes all hopes are meaningless.

Incidentally, Biden has also called for another “stimulus” bill that would somehow save us from the coronavirus by including the “Green New Deal,” thereby accomplishing the neat trick of saving the economy by passing a law that most sane economists believe would kill the economy.

Instead of telling Trump to stop talking, Joe should trying to talk. He’s become the living embodiment of Mark Twain’s rule that “it’s better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you’re a fool than open it and remove all doubt.”