This week's commentary on the politics of hydroxychloroquine generated many great letters. Here are a few, with answers from the Gov. Be sure to read through to the last one, with a very important consideration from Linda...

From James:

Thank you! I work at a hospital in Oregon; there are currently 5 inpatients out of 35 total confirmed CV-19 cases, in a region of 215,000 people. Our "surge" was 10 inpatients, the current 5 would probably all be discharged if given the HCQ + zinc. Businesses are all shut down due to the overreach of a Democrat governor and this attack on America needs to end now. We don't need a vaccine when there is already a CURE. Thank you for using your connections to shout this from the rooftops.

From the Gov:

Thanks so much for your message “from the trenches.” We can’t call it a cure yet, but anecdotal evidence and results from small studies are very encouraging. Doctors are free to prescribe it for off-label use, but if I understand correctly, you’re saying that even in the hospital, patients in Oregon are just not getting it. Is that because the governor is playing doctor, or why? Let us know!

RELATED READING: Doesn't everybody want a quick end to the pandemic?

From Robin:

Our Founding Fathers risked their lives, their fortunes, [and] their Sacred Honor, [and] the U.S. Military has fought countless battles since 1776 so that one of the things we have a right to do is VOTE! The least we can do is get out and vote! Arm yourself by practicing all the social distancing, masks, disinfectant. But I say a real VOTE! In a real voting booth!

Damn the torpedoes! Full Speed ahead!!

From the Gov:

Darn right! Armed with hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes! Mail-in ballots are for wussies (and cheaters). Thank you!!

From Robin:

I am a physician, an oncologist specifically, so I understand well the need for objective clinical trials to approve efficacy of a particular treatment. I am also a hopeful human being with a heart and would want the treatment for one of my loved ones –- or myself, if I was sick with the virus. Trump is expressing hope –- not trying to be the doctor –- and the media is merciless in skewering him for this. Fauci, on the other hand, is an academic ivory-tower type who is a purist (and sometimes he will turn out to be right –- maybe about this drug) and is not a doctor in the trenches actually taking care of patients in a desperate situation.

From the Gov:

Thank you, doctor, for your reasoned opinion. Couldn’t agree more.

From Jeane:

We’ve had mail-in ballots for all elections in Whatcom County, Washington State, since 2005. No one was asked if we wanted our voting to be changed from the friendly neighborhood stations at the public library or church basement or grange hall or fire station in-person voting method. And since then, somehow, miraculously, Washington State has swung way over to the Left, in everything from local school board elections to the important federal elections. Cause and effect? Absolutely! Election fraud in Washington State has been ridiculous due to mail-in ballots, especially since we are REQUIRED to check on the OUTSIDE [of the] envelope our party preference.

From the Gov:

Again, how conveeeeenient. They don’t even have to open the envelopes to know which ones to “lose.”

From Linda:

I don't ever reply to news articles. Never. But I'm a certified mama bear with a daughter who suffers from Lupus in Savannah, Georgia, and she is suffering greatly because the supply of Plaquenil has dried up for patients who suffer from immune disorders. Her rheumatologist, Dr. Stephens, is the best in Savannah and he can't get it. Subsequently, she's on a substitute drug and it's making her sicker.

By the way, all of the scary side effects of Plaquenil that liberals like to tout are side effects she has to just handle. Her eyes are failing, and it surely might kill her in the long run, but she has been on it for 10 years and her quality of life has been (not great) but manageable. By the way, this 35-year-old is a strong warrior in her faith and her conviction to love one another and her four children.

She is also the first to "sacrifice" her prescription if it's helping someone live through the coronavirus, but why should she have to do this? Why aren't they setting aside enough to take care of the patients who depend on this drug, and have depended on it for many years, at the risk of their own lives?

That's what I would like to know. Thank you.

From the Gov:

"Mama Bear,” your daughter is obviously a champion and should NOT have to sacrifice her health with an inferior substitute treatment. We checked at the Lupus Foundation of America website and see that there is indeed a great deal of concern right now about supplies of the drug, as “there are no good alternatives to hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) or chloroquine (Aralen) for people who need these medications. They are in a class by themselves and have the advantage of not being immunosuppressive...Your doctor will know best what alternatives may be available to you.”

What a terrible situation to be in. Ironically, I think the political push to keep HCQ out of the hands of coronavirus patients might also be making it harder for lupus patients to get the drug. If we had the “green light” to immediately produce MASS QUANTITIES of it to treat this virus on a large scale, rather than waiting for controlled, double-blind studies, there would logically be more medication for lupus patients, too. It’s quite inexpensive to produce. But right now, pharmacies and hospitals in many locations are getting it in dribs and drabs; they’re treating it like pure gold. Doctors who prescribe it for autoimmune disorders need a guaranteed source.

It will be interesting to find out whether people already on HCQ as a maintenance drug are getting COVID-19. At present, the website says there is no evidence that it offers protection from the virus, but I assume that statement is based on the lack of studies. (How long does it take to get some hard data on the infection rates of people who already take HCQ?) For now, they stress that lupus patients need to follow the same cautions as other high-risk people.

It’s good to know that your daughter isn’t suffering from unmanageable long-term side effects after 10 years on Plaquenil, but I’m so sorry she is losing her sight. (As I’m sure you know, the treatment for COVID-19 is only a five-day regimen.) There are some suggestions at the Lupus Foundation website for dealing with the shortage of the drug, though it seems as though you’ve already tried them. I hope and pray that your daughter’s situation is very temporary and that a supply of HCQ will soon be available to all who can be helped by it. Thanks so much for writing.

PS --- My two staff writers had a mom/mother-in-law with lupus, and they know how they would feel if she couldn’t get her medication. They wanted to pass along their best wishes to you and your daughter.

President Trump is fed up

April 14, 2020

There are a lot of words you could use to describe the daily White House briefings on the COVID-19 (Chinese) coronavirus and the havoc it’s wrought, but I wouldn’t call them “exhilarating” or “entertaining”…until yesterday. Finally fed up with a rabidly biased news media that seems more interested in attacking and blaming President Trump and accusing him of not taking the pandemic seriously than in relaying accurate, necessary information to the public, Trump introduced a video. It included a timeline, showing the steps Trump has taken to combat the virus going all the way back to January, when he banned travel from China and the people who now accuse him of waiting too long called him “racist” and “xenophobic.” (Fun Fact: Trump mentioned the coronavirus in his State of the Union Address, the one that Nancy Pelosi – who now claims he was “fiddling while Rome burns” – infamously ripped up behind him.)

The video went on to show the media, political opponents and so-called “health experts” on cable TV news channels dismissing the dangers, and Democratic Governors praising the White House response.

Here’s the full briefing, and the video starts around the 15-minute mark:

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Predictably, the media reacted like a pack of dogs who were forced to watch a screening of “Cats.” Not since Dr. Smith on “Lost in Space” have feigned outrage, wounded dignity and cries of “Oh, the pain! The pain!” been so hilarious. They could not believe that Trump had the temerity to show the public what they’d actually said two or three months ago. The reporters in the room accused him of showing a “campaign video,” while both CNN and MSNBC cut away from the briefing to keep their viewers from seeing anything that might actually open their eyes to the truth.

Incredibly, what I assume must be a petulant 14-year-old at CNN actually imposed titles on the press conference feed, reading, "Angry Trump turns briefing into propaganda session," "Trump uses task force briefing to try and rewrite history on coronavirus response," and "Trump melts down in angry response to reports he ignored virus warnings."

Funny, he seemed pretty calm to me. And I thought that “propaganda” referred to fake news, not showing the public video of direct quotes with accurate dates attached. My term for that would be “journalism.” Of course, it’s understandable that CNN wouldn’t recognize “journalism,” since it’s been so long since they’ve practiced it. MSNBC also explained their cutaway by saying there is no reason for them to broadcast propaganda. I agree, and yet they keep doing it 24/7.

Another laughable response came on Twitter from someone who said reporters would never have just sat there respectfully and let Obama praise himself at length. News flash: that’s pretty much all they did for eight years.

But the funniest response had to come from former Obama Administration mouthpieces like Joe Lockhart (now on CNN) and Ben Rhodes (now on MSNBC), who huffed that they NEVER would have stood at the podium and dispensed such one-sided, campaign style propaganda (“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor!”) Reminder: Ben Rhodes once bragged about how he sold Obama’s Iran nuclear deal by setting up an “echo chamber” to feed talking points to the young political reporters “who literally know nothing” so they would regurgitate them back to their readers and viewers.

You know the difference between what Obama told us about the Iran nuclear deal and the video that Trump showed on Monday? Everything in Trump’s video was true.

A post-script: New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman is heard in her own voice in the video, admitting that Trump was called a racist and a xenophobe for his early cut-off of travel from China to the US, but it did slow the spread of the disease. She tweeted that “their use of the audio is misleading - I went on to say I said he treated that travel limitation as a Mission Accomplished moment.”

Yes, I read the transcript, and she did go on to criticize Trump (what a surprise.) But that’s irrelevant. Her personal interpretation of his attitude in no way altered what she said about his actions in January or the reactions to them. And nobody is under any obligation to quote her entire interview to provide “context.” Real journalists use excerpts and editing all the time, but the excerpt must convey the actual meaning. An example of “misleading” editing would be cutting up and splicing a Trump comment to make it appear that there were fine people among a group of white supremacists when he was actually talking about people who want to preserve Confederate monuments.

Again, this is Journalism 101 stuff, so I’m not surprised that a New York Times reporter isn’t familiar with it.

The investigation into the “Crossfire Hurricane” surveillance of the Trump campaign and presidency has continued unabated while the media are focused on COVID-19. Nothing like a pandemic to distract from a hurricane.

Of course, the mainstream media would be doing their best to ignore these findings, anyway, but at least right now they have a convenient excuse. Still, the leading investigative reporters we’ve counted on --- John Solomon, Jeff Carlson, Lee Smith and others --- are on the case, and there’s plenty to report, especially after the document “dump” last Friday that confirmed what they’ve been saying all along. In this instance, it was in the form of newly unredacted footnotes from Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the FBI’s handling of its FISA applications to spy on Trump associates.

These revelations absolutely undercut any claim that the FBI had legitimate reason to investigate the Trump team. That investigation, handled by the top echelon of the FBI rather than out of a field office as would have been the usual procedure, was a sham from the beginning, and they had to know that.

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p>We’ve learned from these footnotes that the FBI had in their file, dating from as far back as 2015, a caution that Steele might be a victim of Russian disinformation because of his contacts with certain Putin-connected oligarchs, and also in 2017 that the “dossier” contained false information planted by Russian intelligence. (BE WARNED: the media will use this to defend FBI officials as simply being duped by Russia. Don’t be fooled; that’s not what this means, as I’ll explain.)

The report by Solomon and others that Bruce Ohr warned the FBI in August 2016 of Steele’s worrisome political bias is now confirmed.

The report that Steele told the FBI in August of 2016 that his work was connected to the Hillary Clinton campaign is now confirmed.

The report that in October, 2016, Steele told Kathleen Kavalec at the State Department that he’d leaked to the media and had an Election Day deadline to get his information out is now confirmed. We also know he told her that he believed Russia was funding its hacking operations through their consulate in Miami. Russia doesn’t have a consulate in Miami.

Yes, Steele was indeed fired for violating his confidentiality agreement and leaking to the media. That happened just over a week before the election, on November 1, 2016.

Steele was also found, in October of 2016, to have been peddling a false story (also being spread by a DNC lawyer and a reporter) about Trump and Putin communicating through computer “pings” at a server for Russia’s Alfa bank.

The report that the FBI put together a spreadsheet with all the claims in the Steele “dossier” and found most to be either inaccurate, unsubstantiated or based on publicly available information: confirmed.

The report that Steele’s sub-source was interviewed in January, 2017, and said much of the information attributed to him was inaccurate or was just rumor or exaggeration: confirmed. They should have already known that nothing coming from Steele was of any value.

The report that the FBI possessed exculpatory evidence on Carter Page that undercut their allegations in the FISA applications: confirmed.

The report that the CIA had alerted the FBI that Page had worked as a friendly U.S. asset, NOT for the Russians, and that an FBI official (criminally) altered a document to hide this: confirmed.

The report that the FBI withheld exculpatory evidence on George Papadopoulos, in the form of a recorded conversation in which Mr. P said neither he nor the Trump campaign were involved with Russian hacking and that it would be “illegal”: confirmed. Information regarding Mr. P was supposedly the reason for opening “Crossfire Hurricane” in the first place.

The report that the FBI concluded in January of 2017 that former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn had not been deceptive in his “ambush” interview and had likely just had a faulty memory: confirmed. (Flynn attorney Sidney Powell must be very happy that this footnote finally saw the light of day.)

This is just a partial list. Solomon and others who have dug so hard and cultivated such great sources over the past few years should be extremely gratified now, seeing that the facts they uncovered are confirmed in Horowitz’ own footnotes. This story can’t be dismissed as “conspiracy theory” any longer.

Here’s John Solomon’s new report, which also contains links throughout to his original reports (vindicated!) and to the pdf of the actual footnotes.

With all of this in Horowitz’ report, it’s hard to fathom how he could have concluded that the opening of “Crossfire Hurricane” met the threshold of evidence (which admittedly is quite low). Other questions are raised as well, such as why, with all the FBI knew about Steele and his “dossier,” then-FBI Director Jim Comey and then-CIA Director John Brennan pushed so hard for it to be included in the 2017 report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Daniel Chaitin asks these and other questions in the WASHINGTON EXAMINER.

Finally, back to my “warning,” above: how can we say that the FBI weren’t taken in by the Russians? Because if they were taken in by anyone, it appears to have been John Brennan. Here's a taste of what's coming: in a discussion with Rachel Maddow in August of 2018, Brennan may have inadvertently disclosed how “incidental” collection of information on a U.S. citizen by the CIA was used as a way of targeting individuals --- "reverse targeting," a big no-no --- with the raw surveillance data being fed directly to the FBI. When you have time to explore this in detail, Jeff Carlson has a great piece from the archives of THE EPOCH TIMES. (Thanks to Dan Bongino for digging this up. When it comes to the wrongful investigation of the Trump team, Bongino calls John Brennan “the founder of the feast,” with good reason.)

There are much bigger issues to deal with than the wounded pride of a gaggle of juvenile Democratic operatives with by-lines (to use Instapundit’s popular description of today’s “journalists.”) Chief of among them is how and when to reopen the economy so that we avoid both a spike in infections and a prolonged depression.

President Trump has said that choosing when to reopen the economy is the biggest decision he’s ever faced. He noted that if it were up to the doctors, they’d shut down the whole world indefinitely, but we can’t let the treatment become more destructive than the problem.

Another fake controversy was set off by the media when Trump said he has “total” authority over when to reopen the economy. Reporters who only recently emerged from their worship of Obama and rediscovered limits on Presidential power went ballistic over that, but it seemed obvious to me that he wasn’t saying he has “total authority” over the US economy, but over the decision he has to make – in other words, he is listening to the doctors, but the decision is up to him, not them or anyone other advisers. That would be the rational interpretation, which, again, is why most of the news outlets seemed to miss it.

As if to prove that Trump knows he doesn’t have total authority over the entire economy, the governors of several states announced their plans to start reopening for business, and I notice that Trump didn't have them arrested for insurrection.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he thinks most states can reopen sooner than May 1.

With the projected infection rates and death tolls dropping sharply, it appears that the American people, through responsible actions like self-isolating, social distancing, wearing masks and gloves, and washing and disinfecting their hands frequently have made a big impact on the spread of the virus. With regular reminders to stay vigilant, there’s no reason why most businesses can’t start reopening.

For instance, if it’s safe for people who wear masks and stand six feet apart to go to Walmart or CVS for food and drugs (stores that have remained open), then why wouldn’t it be just as safe to go to any other business under the same safety and hygiene standards? Then again, you’d have to explain that logic to at least one Governor, who seems to think it’s safe to go to Walmart to buy bread, but if you also pick up a package of tomato seeds or a pair of shorts, WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!

This is a problem that can only be remedied by putting on your masks and gloves and standing six feet apart in long lines to vote out any authoritarians who would use a health crisis to abuse power and shred the Constitution.

I have a theory about why so many “experts,” politicians, media people and government bureaucrats are trying to discourage the use of hydroxycloroquine, in combination with azithromycin and zinc, to treat COVID-19. It’s not just that they oppose anything President Trump has expressed approval for, although that’s part of it. Here’s a thought: what if it’s not because this therapy won’t work, but because it WILL?

In other words: if we do have an effective treatment and/or preventative, the pandemic might be over too soon to be used as an excuse to make all the societal changes some want to impose.

This really hit me when I heard Dr. Anthony Fauci say that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to have in-person elections by November of this year. How many Democrats would LOVE to see mail-in voting for the entire country? How conveeeeeeenient. And don’t listen when they say mail-in ballots don’t encourage election fraud. That’s a crock, as you’ll see from the story linked to here.

Those who want power –- during this pandemic and ever after –- are full of ideas for controlling the population. Steve Hilton, host of THE NEXT REVOLUTION on FOX NEWS, calls it “technocratic hubris...a technocrat’s dream and America’s nightmare.” As he reported on Sunday, former head of the Food & Drug Administration Scott Gottlieb is pushing a plan for “contract tracing,” which “can be achieved through strengthened public health case investigation augmented by technology and community-level collaborations.” It’s a very complicated program of mass virus testing (not antibody testing) to (quoting Dr. Fauci) “identify, isolate, contact-trace” everyone who gets the virus. This is preposterous, when an unknown number, into the millions, have already been or will be exposed to the virus, and the test won’t identify those. But Apple and Google are ready to step up and be a part of this monstrous program to track what in the end could be virtually everyone.

Here’s one alternative (in addition to drug therapy): a science-based “Re-open America Safely, But Soon” proposal that gives specifics on how to do just that, starting as soon as May 1. You’ll want to watch the segment on Steve Hilton’s show, linked here, but in short, the steps are as follows:

STEP 1. Get accurate infection data. We still don’t know how widespread and deadly this virus even is. Based on a Stanford University study done in the San Francisco Bay area, the actual number of infections could be much, much higher than official testing results have shown. If that is true, it means the virus is VERY highly contagious but much less deadly than has been assumed. (It might turn out that the actual mortality rate is more like 1 in 1,000.) To get the data, we need representative-sample community antibody sampling –- as opposed to government antibody surveillance –- to tell us what fraction of a given community has been exposed. Importantly, this kind of sampling is much less expensive than just relentlessly testing every last person; they think it can reasonably be done in every community in the country. And it won’t take long.

STEP 2. Get accurate risk data. The suppositions we have on risk factors (age, underlying conditions, etc.) are too vague at present. We don’t need so much focus on people who will get the virus but will be fine, and the vast majority will. Rather, we need to know why some people who are young and seemingly healthy are getting sick and dying anyway, but Hilton reports that, believe it or not, hospitals have not been collecting data on their medical history. The White House should mandate the collection of this information, called “co-morbidity data.”

STEP 3. Use the information from Steps 1 and 2 to quarantine and protect the truly vulnerable. If we can do this, we don’t have to re-open the economy bit by bit or wait until a vaccine comes out (in a year-and-a-half?) The whole country doesn’t need to stay shut down if millions have already been exposed but have never gotten sick or have recovered.

On Sunday, Hilton interviewed three of the people who put this plan together, including Stanford University Professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, biophysicist Dr. Andrew Bogan, and JetBlue founder David Neeleman. Dr. Bhattacharya added an important point: that most casualties are happening in hospitals that have been overwhelmed, so the “opening up” may be delayed in areas in which those hospitals are located. (I would point out that starting drug therapy sooner might help with that, too.)

Neeleman noted that the reason we’re shut down is that we haven’t figured out who the people are who are at risk of grave illness and how to protect not everyone, but THOSE people. The idea is to save the economy AND those at risk. “I think we can do both if we do it right,” Neeleman said.

Hilton is hoping that those who like the “Safely, But Soon” idea will TELL THE PRESIDENT and/or your governor. You can follow Hilton on Twitter @SteveHiltonx or @NextRevFNC.

Their overview of the plan didn’t even touch on hydroxychloroquine as a promising treatment or even a preventative. But the “anecdotes” just keep coming; here’s the first-hand account in TOWNHALL from coronavirus patient Charles Vavruska, who ended up with double pneumonia and a dreaded trip to the ER at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Queens, New York. (Queens is pretty much the epicenter of the pandemic.) The bright spot in this is that after being admitted to the hospital, he could be put on hydroxychloroquine and zinc. “The Trump Treatment?” he asked the nurse. “Yes, the Trump Treatment,” she replied.

Nineteen hours after his first dose, he was already feeling better. After three days, his fever and aches were gone, and his energy and appetite were back. He was still on oxygen, but at a low level. (Note: that is not the same as being on a ventilator; fortunately, he got the drugs before needing one of those.) He’s home now and credits “the Trump Treatment” for his recovery.

But he notes with great consternation that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has banned this therapy EXCEPT in hospitals. “Why not treat COVID-positive individuals BEFORE they deteriorate sufficiently to require hospitalization?” he asks. This would prevent more serious illness and relieve overburdened hospitals.

He’s right; Cuomo shouldn’t be “playing doctor,” and his arbitrary restriction on this is ridiculous. Drug companies have donated 100 million doses of HCQ to the federal government, and more are coming. Everyone who has come down with respiratory symptoms from COVID-19 should be able to receive this drug. Just think how many more “anecdotes” we would have from which to collect data. But, no, that might be too easy a solution, and we might be able to get back to normal too quickly for some.

Here’s his story in the NEW YORK POST.

HUCKABEE researcher/writer Laura Ainsworth has more to say, personally, on this issue, in a “from the trenches” installment from her home in the Dallas area. You see, it’s not just at the federal level that some people have a desire to control and are resisting a treatment that might possibly end the shut-down. It happens locally, too. But you can bet that if she gets the virus, she will move heaven and earth to get “The Trump Treatment,” BEFORE having to be admitted to a hospital!

RELATED READINGAinsworth: In Dallas, how much "emergency" control is too much?