Bergen-Belsen Anniversary

April 16, 2020

Wednesday, Germany observed a national moment of silence in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on April 15, 1945. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus shutdown, the memorial was closed, survivors who had planned to attend were forced to stay home, and events to mark the date had to be postponed to 2021.

Bergen-Belsen was one of the first camps to be liberated by the Allies. It’s estimated that more than 50,000 people died there. British troops found it riddled with disease and more than 13,000 unburied corpses. They freed about 60,000 prisoners who were in shockingly bad condition, sick and starving and in desperate need of medical care. The victims included Anne Frank and her sister Margot, who are now believed to have died of typhus about two months before the Allied troops arrived.

Even though current circumstances have forced the official commemoration to be postponed, you can learn more about this horrific chapter in history online at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum site. Once you read the story of Bergen-Belson, and the other concentration camps, you’ll understand why we must pass it on to future generations so that it is never forgotten and never allowed to happen again.

From Tom:

I keep writing to you here, Mike, and you keep missing my statement. The azithromycin is more dangerous to those most vulnerable to coronavirus than the virus (the solution is more dangerous than the problem) because the major side effect is heart arrhythmias, which cause heart attacks. The better mix is hydroxychloroquine with doxycycline with zinc. Doxycycline provides the same benefits without [the] side effects [of] azithromycin.

Please don't kill me (74 with heart issues) with kindness. Thanx Mike and keep smiling, young fella.

From the Gov (with a smile):

Actually, Tom, I have mentioned that azithromycin in combination with HCQ is associated with possible heart arrhythmias in some patients and that doxycycline might be prescribed as a safer alternative. I’ll mention it again and remind all that this is why no one should be on this or any prescription med or combination of meds without a doctor’s supervision --- certainly not someone with heart issues, such as yourself. Don't self-medicate, don't drink fish tank cleaner --- and don't blame President Trump if someone does.

From Jeremy:

I am a physician and know more than most about treatments for ailments. I use a lot of medications off-label because I was taught and shown in my residency that they work surprisingly well for conditions the drug was not labeled for. This is a very good article [on fact-checking the WAPO "fact-checkers"].

As Trump has stated, this medication (along with others to form a 'cocktail') has shown progress and has indeed 'cured' a good handful so far. There is no time, unless we want a total economic collapse, to wait for a trial, which takes years, typically. As mentioned in this article, most medications have the potential for multiple bad side effects...On that, as he [Trump] said, 'What do we have to lose?' Between taking an experimental drug for this virus or dying, I guarantee that the writers [the WaPo “fact-checkers”] would choose the former over the latter if they were in the situation of choosing. I cannot believe that the Democrats have no shame.

From the Gov:

Thanks for writing, Doctor. I would add that hydroxychloroquine is not just experimental, at least in the sense that it has been used quite safely for many years, just for other maladies. It's too soon to call this an outright "cure" for COVID-19. but Trump is being truthful about what we know so far.

A WASHINGTON POST “Fact-Checker” column (quotation marks deliberate), not by Glenn Kessler but by Elyse Samuels and Meg Kelly, gives “Four Pinocchios,” the worst rating for lying, to President Trump for allegedly promoting hydroxychloroquine as a “cure” for the COVID-19 (Chinese –- that's a fact) coronavirus.

Where to begin? Aside from the headline, which makes sure to include the words “false hope” (they don’t know that), I suppose we could start right up front, with the quotes in which Trump allegedly tells his overwhelming LIES about it being a cure. Huge whoppers such as, “I don’t know, it’s looking like it’s having some good results. That would be a phenomenal thing.” And “It’s this powerful drug on malaria. And there are signs that it works on this. Some very strong signs.” And of course, “What do you have to lose?” Well, there’s a hardcore sales pitch!

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Likewise, the writers’ case for dismissing hydroxychloroquine (which is being used in combination with other drugs, not alone) is that there aren't yet any clinical trials proving efficacy. But here's a FACT: those take time, and people who might die in the next 24 hours don’t want to wait for results to come in months from now., especially with the many “anecdotal” accounts of the drug’s success. That’s why Trump said, “What do you have to lose?”

There have been some small-scale trials showing promise, such as those by French doctor Didier Raoult. But the authors wave his work off as “discredited.” But how? I followed the link in the story to the journal that allegedly “discredited” the study. Here is the entirety of what it said on that subject:

“The ISAC (International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy) Board believes the article does not meet the Society’s expected standard, especially relating to the lack of better explanations of the inclusion criteria and the triage of patients to ensure patient safety.”


Speaking of nasty bugs, how are things with the FBI?

Does that mean the drug wasn’t shown to be effective? The WaPo writers certainly imply as much. We’ve talked about this very small study here, right after the news broke that a hydroxychloroquine “cocktail” of drugs had helped some patients in France. The news was encouraging, but very preliminary; I said at the time that it appeared to have been rushed out and that the French-to-English could have been smoother. My staff and I were as skeptical as anyone should be of the results of a preliminary study announced on Skype. But after that, there was another, larger study that supported the first, and French President Macron went to the institute where it had been conducted and reportedly received a three-hour presentation on the promising results. In light of this, it is not overselling the treatment for Trump to say there are “some very strong signs” that it works.

And there are other studies currently underway, including in South Dakota, the first state to launch one. None of this would be happening without a lot of encouraging “anecdotal” evidence.

The writers reference these studies and quote spokespeople as saying that’s it’s too early to know for sure.

But what about that growing mountain of “anecdotes” from the many people who report they believed they were about to die but quickly began recovering after receiving this treatment? One was the 96-year-old (!) father of Dr. Marc Siegel; he was quite ill before receiving the treatment but recovered in just a few days. Even a Democrat politician has credited Trump’s publicizing of the drug with saving her life. Well, ignore them all. The WaPo writers say that to a layperson, anecdotal evidence “may not sound bad, but it’s actually an insult in the scientific community,” akin to “a Yelp review.”

That assertion, in itself, is a distortion of fact. If someone cited only anecdotal evidence as “proof” of a “cure,” then, yes, that would be pseudoscience, but President Trump hasn’t claimed this. Personally, if my life were in the balance, there were no proven cure, and a few thousand Yelp reviews said “this medicine saved my life,” I would at least give it a try. And you know what? I’ll bet the authors of this hit piece masquerading as a “fact-check” would, too.

In FACT, according to a new survey by the healthcare staffing firm Jackson & Coker, 65 percent of physicians would prescribe the drug to a family member with COVID-19, and 67 percent would take it themselves. Only 11 percent said they would not use it. In other words, a vast majority of doctors are encouraged –- not insulted –- by the anecdotal evidence.

Another point they use to discredit the drug is that there can be serious side effects if not used under a doctor’s supervision. Isn’t that true of virtually all prescription drugs, which is why you need a prescription? Numerous doctors, even some cardiac specialists, have said this is one of the safest drugs on the market. (Read the list of possible side effects in the paperwork that comes with most prescriptions, and you’ll think twice before taking ANY drug.) This article even cites the very suspicious story about the man dying after deliberately swallowing fish tank cleaner containing a very different ingredient with a similar name. (Talk about relying on “anecdotal evidence” to prove your case!) Sorry, but I can’t find any example of Trump telling people to take this drug without seeing a doctor, or to ingest fish tank cleaner.

They also bring up the concern about lupus and rheumatoid arthritis patients facing shortages of this drug because of the demand. I would say that if there is a demand, it’s because a lot of doctors –- repeat, doctors –- see the value in prescribing it for their COVID-19 patients. (See survey, above.) Ironically, the problem of supply vs. demand might actually be exacerbated by the tendency of politicians to “play doctor” and try to limit the use of the drug. A solution might be to go the opposite way: green-light mass production and distribution. A supply should, of course, be reserved for those patients already depending on it for maintaining their health.

The article also warns that a focus on this drug might cause researchers to “put all their eggs in one basket” and miss finding more promising treatments. On the contrary, those studies are going on as well.

Here are a few FACTS for those in the “fact-check” business who have trouble recognizing one. Trump has never called this a “cure.” He’s said he’s heard good things (so have I, so I know that’s true). He’s said what have you got to lose (if there is no other treatment, and the alternative is dying on a ventilator, that sounds pretty accurate as well.) It’s impossible to have perfect, long-term clinical trials at this stage; this is a never-before-seen virus and a treatment that’s only recently been tried. Many doctors, when faced with no alternative for a possibly terminal patient and no available clinical trials, make recommendations based on anecdotal evidence, particularly when there is a vast and growing library of it.

The authors surely know that slapping a "Four-Pinocchio" rating on Trump's comments implies to the public that they've made an ironclad case for deliberate, malicious LYING. Yet the last paragraph in particular reads more like an overly dramatic editorial than a dispassionate assessment of facts. And it is inaccurate (a LIE!!) for them to say that politicians and the media have turned this “unknown drug” into a “100 percent coronavirus cure.”

After reading through this article, I have to award Samuels and Kelly Four Pinocchios for their claim to be objective “fact-checkers.”

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.

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.)

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.