May Day

May 1, 2020

Today is May 1st, or “May Day,” a traditional holiday of socialists and labor unions that was taken over by communist regimes and used as an excuse for parades to show off the military hardware that they used to intimidate their neighbors and oppress their own people. November 7th and August 23rd are both observed as remembrance days for the victims of communism, but Georgetown law Prof. Ilya Somin has long advocated for making May 1st the international “Victims of Communism Day,” for reasons he explains here.

It is conservatively estimated that over the course of the 20th century, the USSR, China and other communist regimes killed between 80 and 100 million people. That number could be much higher, since communist regimes don’t like to let outsiders know just how many people are dead because of their policies, as we’ve just been reminded by the way Beijing dealt with the Wuhan virus (that’s right, I called it by its proper name. That isn’t racist, but calling it by a name that serves Beijing’s propaganda interests by whitewashing its origin is immensely disrespectful to the Chinese people who suffered and died because of their own government’s self-serving dishonesty.)

You probably won’t hear much from media talking heads today about the massive human slaughter caused by communism. They’re too busy blaming President Trump for 55,000 deaths caused by a virus that was actually unleashed by communists. But we need a regular reminder of the staggering death toll of communism, which, as Prof. Somin points out, is greater than that of Nazism and all other 20th century tyrannies combined. That’s because Western apologists for this horrendous blight on humanity (aptly referred to by communist leaders as “useful idiots”) are constantly polishing it up and trying to sell it to new generations of naïve suckers, like a lemon used car.

Just this week, writers in the Atlantic magazine actually argued that the Chinese system of censoring the Internet is superior to American free speech because it’s dangerous to let “misinformation” from non-experts taint public discourse. In this case, “misinformation” is loosely defined as “things I disagree with” and “experts” as “people who smugly believe they know everything, despite having been wrong over and over again.” This is so stunningly ludicrous that even Rolling Stone political writer Matt Taibbi, hardly a conservative or Trump supporter, wrote an excellent article dismantling it.

Despite the best efforts of certain social media giants to censor free speech, we don’t yet have a Chinese-style system. If we did, I assume we would all now believe the “true information” that came from Beijing-approved sources and was repeated by “experts” like the W.H.O. For instance, that China has the coronavirus completely under control, there’s no evidence it can be transmitted from person to person, and there’s no need to shut off travel from China or cancel crowded public events. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of recent “expert” wisdom. Looking back, the “crazy, misinformed Internet conspiracy theorists” had a better batting average than the self-proclaimed “experts.”

Of course, that’s not to say that we should believe any crackpot with a Twitter account. But the genius of the American right to free speech is that it creates a free marketplace of ideas, where everyone is free to make a case, and everyone else is free to challenge it. Eventually, through open debate and honest inquiry, the truth emerges. Or at least, we get a lot closer to the truth than we’d ever get if we relied on a monumentally failed death cult to police what we are allowed to say.

Always remember, it’s no coincidence that May Day, the holiday celebrating communism, is also the phrase used to warn of plane crashes and other imminent deadly disasters.

"I don’t think we’ve seen the beginning of the reality of what was going on in this faux investigation, from the top to bottom.”

That’s Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, commenting on Sean Hannity’s TV show Thursday night about revelations in the Michael Flynn case. He’s right; there is much more to come. But one thing we know for sure is that James Comey deliberately set Flynn up, and he did it because he assumed he could get away with it. He almost did.

Flynn attorney Sidney Powell really is the hero in all this; I nominate her for “Person Of The Year.” She has changed history. If she hadn’t gone after the powers that be like a pit bull, Flynn, an innocent political victim, would have been stuck with a coerced guilty plea and would never have been exonerated. (Flynn truly is vindicated from this day forward –- Trump was right to hold off on a pardon for now and let Powell do her work instead.)

Oh sure, the same books and columns would have been written exposing what the intelligence community had been up to, and the people who actually read them would have been aware of the travesty, but it wouldn’t have made any difference in the life of Michael Flynn and others who were abused by the system. Thanks to Powell, and also to the doggedness of AG Bill Barr, U.S. Attorney John Durham, and another U.S. attorney who’s been reviewing the case, Jeff Jensen, the scheme to take Flynn down is in the process of being exposed.

There MUST be accountability.

Powell appeared on the Hannity show as well, saying that the case absolutely must be dismissed, “preferably for government misconduct,” and that in any event the guilty plea has got to be thrown out, as there is finally documentation that Flynn was coerced in “a secret side deal” involving the threat of prosecution of Flynn’s son, who himself had just become the father of a newborn baby. She recapped the story we already know, that they “tried one thing after another,” starting with the Russia hoax (they’d been trying to falsely associate him with Russians since 2014-15), which failed to find anything on Flynn.

Now we have a revealing timeline for January 2017. On January 4, the FBI file is closed on the Flynn investigation, “Crossfire Razor,” with nothing derogatory found. When Strzok hears this, he texts an unknown recipient, "Hey, if you haven't closed RAZOR, don't do so yet." (Recipient: "Okay.") On January 5, Obama meets in the Oval Office with Comey and the crew; Steele also “wipes” his records, including those on Fusion GPS. On January 6, Comey briefs Trump on the “dossier” to give BUZZFEED and CNN a “hook” for using the story. It goes on from there; January is 'abuzz' with activity, both before and after Trump’s inauguration.

I’ll refer you to Sara Carter for a rundown of the documents released on Thursday. These communications are absolutely stunning, particularly the texting among Strzok, Page and Priestap about how they planned to question Flynn. Texts between Strzok and Page also reveal that they substantially re-wrote the original 302 of the ambush interview, “crafting the narrative,” in Powell’s words, “to charge Gen. Flynn with a crime he did not commit.” Unfortunately, there are still some redactions in the texts as released, but what these people were doing is obvious.

One disturbing piece of information that might explain a lot: According to Powell, the person who advanced the career of Andrew Weissmann was none other than...(drum roll, please)...our current FBI Director Christopher Wray. Wray was Weissmann’s supervisor when they were at the Department of Justice “running roughshod over the rights of everyone in Houston.” (This backstory is discussed in her book LICENSE TO LIE.) “There are people there who still have nightmares as a result of his [Weissmann’s] conduct,” she said to Hannity, “in violation of everyone’s rights, naming over 100 people as unindicted co-conspirators, forcing them to ‘lawyer-up,’ threatening witnesses right and left, every variety of prosecutorial misconduct you can imagine. He was a terrorist of a prosecutor. And he was handpicked for that job by Michael Chertoff and Bob Mueller and James Comey and people like that, during the Bush administration.” That’s right, “the swamp” pre-dates Obama, but his administration sure did take full advantage of it.

Since Wray was presiding over all of this earlier in his career, Powell has no illusions that as FBI director he will seriously address the corruption. I would really like to know the backstory of how he got that job. Surely there was a lot Trump didn’t know when he appointed him. Wray does serve "at the pleasure of the President," and it's hard to imagine that the President is at all pleased.

There are similar questions about Robert Mueller. As Sekulow mentioned Thursday, the documents and notes that have just been released had the same notation: “OSC,” for “Office of Special Counsel.” So, where was Mueller? If he had been doing his job, those documents would have been turned over to the defense. But, no, he said, “the Weissmanns of the world were running that office.”

One must-read article about the misconduct in this case is by Jonathan Turley at THE HILL. He goes down the list of FBI officials who have lied and otherwise “acted in arguably criminal or unethical ways,” such as leaking and falsifying evidence, but have not been charged. In Turley’s words, “the disconnect of these cases with the treatment of Flynn is galling and grotesque.”

Turley also has plenty to say about the presiding judge in the case, Emmet Sullivan, who has treated Flynn shamefully. “Even the federal judge used Flynn to rail against what he saw as a treasonous plot,” Turley says. Of course, he's referring to the phony “Russia hoax” plot, not the ACTUAL treasonous plot that was going on inside Sullivan's own courtroom, courtesy of the DOJ and FBI.

Now watch the media pull out all the stops trying to dismiss and/or rewrite this. Turley is no Republican or Trump cheerleader, but he’s objective enough to recognize a miscarriage of justice when he sees one. His commentary here is magnificent.

Wouldn’t you know, when the evidence finally came out showing Michael Flynn was set up by the FBI, it would be at a time when the news was “all coronavirus, all the time.” My, how conveeeenient this is for media “news” outlets who want to ignore it until it goes away.

But it won’t go away. And there will be more. What has come out so far is less than half of what we’re going to see later on in the week. I’m guessing we’ll have another Friday document dump, but it might come today.

We’ve been covering the latest news on Flynn for the past several days, so you can refer to those commentaries if you need a refresher on how the records came to be delivered to attorney Sidney Powell, who has been trying to get them for many months. This is exculpatory (“Brady”) material that is automatically supposed to be turned over to the defense. She finally got much of what she’s been asking for –- she’s anticipating 11 more pages that are “damning” –- in the form of texts, emails and handwritten notes. It’s one of the handwritten notes that has shown beyond doubt that Flynn was personally targeted, just to get rid of him.

RELATED READING: Quick Mike Flynn update, plus a great article

The barely legible scrawl reads: “What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute or get him fired?”

Let that sink in. “Get him to lie”? “...get him fired”? Since when does the FBI concern itself with getting someone fired?

As reported on Tucker Carlson’s Wednesday show, “two knowledgeable sources” have told Carlson that the chicken-scratch handwriting belongs to Bill Priestap, then the assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. Multiple sources have told John Solomon the same thing. According to the notes, they were trying to get Flynn “ admit to breaking the Logan Act.”

For reasons we’ve already discussed (and that also are detailed in Lee Smith’s highly recommended book THE PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT), Obama and his people wanted Flynn out. To them, it was bad enough that Trump was going to be President, which we know shocked the tar out of them. But, worse, Michael Flynn, the man who had wanted to pare down the intelligence bureaucracy, audit the Pentagon and --- perhaps worst of all --- discourage Obama’s precious Iran nuclear deal, was going to be in the White House WITH TRUMP, as his national security adviser. They were beside themselves. What to do?

They had been targeting him since 2014-2015, trying to make him look compromised with Russians. (All this is also in THE PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT.) But Flynn had done nothing wrong for them to exploit. At this point, they needed, figuratively speaking, a “kill shot.” It was going to take a major set-up, and Comey, on his own admission, ordered it.

They used transcripts from phone conversations Flynn had had with the Russian ambassador, which were actually quite appropriate, even expected, given his new post of national security adviser. The idea of prosecuting him for violating the centuries-old Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from negotiating foreign policy and has never even been successfully prosecuted, was ludicrous; it was just a pretense for the perjury trap, I mean interview.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: FBI news: "Brady" evidence on Flynn finally coming out!

Flynn knew perfectly well that phone calls with any foreign official would have been listened to –- as memory serves, he even joked about that during the interview –- so it would have been ridiculous for him to lie or even to be less than completely forthcoming. In answering a question about whether or not he and the Russian ambassador discussed sanctions, he said (I’m paraphrasing) he couldn’t remember exactly but that he didn’t think so. An innocent mistake, but that’s all they needed, whether they really thought he had lied or not. Flynn had no idea they were investigating him, as THEY had lied to HIM about the purpose of the visit. Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, at Director James Comey’s bidding, had called him and pseudo-casually said something like, “Hey, congrats on the new job; we’d just like to send a couple of guys over and clear up a few things about recent conversations with foreign leaders. No big deal. Nah, you won’t need a lawyer or anything like that...”

We’ve learned that McCabe’s top legal assistant Lisa Page emailed Peter Strzok on how to conduct the interview so they'd be technically covered on giving Flynn the “1001” warning against misleading investigators --- without tipping him off that they were, well, investigating. They probably had a great laugh over fooling Flynn later, in bed, but we’ll leave that aspect of it alone.

The WASHINGTON POST got a big scoop out of this, as Flynn’s name was unmasked in the transcript of those phone calls –- we need to know who requested the unmasking –- and illegally leaked it to them. They media piled on, with MSNBC calling Flynn “literally a foreign agent.” On CNN, they said the assertion that Flynn was entrapped was “a made-up claim.” What are these worthless jackasses still doing on the air? Some of them got Pulitzer Prizes for their stories on what turned out to be a complete hoax.

A Pulitzer Prize going to this sort of garbage is like the Academy Award for Best Song going to “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” Sort of devalues the whole idea.

Anyway, that note reportedly from Priestap includes a couple of bullet points: 1) “If we’re seen as playing games, WH [the White House] will be furious,” and 2) “Protect our institution by not playing games.” If Priestap did write this, maybe it means he was having second thoughts about what they were doing.

At the same time, somehow I’m reminded of that odd “note to self” Susan Rice texted to herself the day Obama left office, the one that said Obama had told them in their January 5 meeting to do everything “by the book.” For most of them –- with the possible exception of Priestap; we’ll see –- this wasn’t about "not playing games," because they obviously were; it was about the appearance of not playing games.

Devin Nunes, appearing with Laura Ingraham on FOX NEWS Wednesday night, said that Flynn would “clearly” have a civil rights case and thought it would end up costing the government millions of dollars. He’s also hoping for some prosecutions (there better be!) and for Judge Emmet Sullivan to sanction the lawyers for Flynn’s prosecution (not enough –- they should be disbarred), who happened to be part of Robert Mueller’s special counsel team. Nunes also reminded Ingraham’s audience that the House Republicans had brought a lot of this information forward in 2018 and for their trouble had been ruthlessly mocked and their accusations treated like a joke.

The joke is now on Democrats and the media (I repeat myself) who refused to take it seriously. Sen. Chuck Grassley has reportedly asked Judge Sullivan to unseal the entire case at this point. That order might have to come down from Attorney General Barr, or perhaps from the U.S. attorney who has been reviewing the case at his request, Jeffrey Jensen.

Here’s John Solomon’s take.

Over the past few years, we’ve been following the reports on Spygate and the “dossier” from John Solomon, formerly at THE HILL and now at his excellent new site JUST THE NEWS. As the story spun out over the weeks and months, our knowledge was necessarily piecemeal: one piece here, another piece there. But as I’ve said, at this point it’s obvious that the Russians weren’t "helping Trump win," as the phony narrative went, nor were they just “creating chaos,” as the secondary phony narrative went.  The “Russian disinformation” was 1) mostly from non-Russians and 2) designed to help Hillary win and, later, to take Trump out. The cast of characters involved in this activity is huge; in fact, that’s one reason why some would dismiss this reporting on Steele and the fictional “dossier” as wild conspiracy theory.

But it isn’t. Ironically, one easy way to see this as a unified, solid, evidence-based theory is to add yet another individual to this shady cast, with a name you perhaps haven’t even heard:

Adam Waldman.  Who?

 RELATED READING: It gets worse: Christopher Steele met with Hillary's lawyers 

As reported last week at the CONSERVATIVE TREEHOUSE, Waldman is an attorney with an eye-opening roster of clients. He seems connected to everyone. Not only does he represent the U.S. interests of Christopher Steele, but also a Russian oligarch who hired Steele named Oleg Deripaska, whose name is typically heard in connection with Paul Manafort.

Back in 2018, when the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, requested that Waldman testify, he received a letter from Waldman’s own attorneys saying that Waldman was “out of the country and not expected to return for several weeks.” A photo discovered later online showed Waldman very much in the country the following night.

Why the interest in Waldman? As the author states, “In the early 2016 text messages and email conversations between DOJ official Bruce Ohr and Christopher Steele, the interests of Oleg Deripaska are a centerpiece of a quid pro quo where Deripaska obtains a travel visa and possible exemption from the Magnitsky Act [which froze financial assets of certain suspected Russian human rights abusers] in exchange for cooperation with the FBI effort against Donald Trump.” Text messages show that Waldman was the liaison, the “middle man,” the person providing plausible deniability for Steele, Deripaska, and also (yes, think about this) Democrat Sen. Mark Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Waldman’s texts to Sen. Warner reveal a tie between Steele and a man named Daniel Jones (sorry, I guess that makes two new cast members to keep track of), who was a staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Senate Intelligence Committee vice-chair. It was Jones who raised $50 million to continue the Fusion GPS investigation of Trump AFTER he had been elected President. The writer believes all or most of this money actually came through Deripaska with Waldman as go-between.

Waldman has yet another tie: he was representing Julian Assange.

No wonder Sen. Grassley wanted his testimony! But apparently the senator was lied to concerning Waldman’s whereabouts.

 RELATED READING: The Gov. replies to readers re: "Steele 'wiped' his documentation..."

John Solomon reported that Deripaska wanted to testify before Congress in 2017 (presumably to get his story out in the way most favorable to himself.) But he was represented by Waldman, who also represented Steele --- can you believe this? Text messages show that Sen. Warner was using Waldman to try to set up a secret meeting with Steele. And when the Republican-led House Intel Committee tried to set up a meeting with Steele, Waldman sent a text to...drum roll, please...Sen. Warner to check with him about it first.

As it turned out, Deripaska was blocked from testifying before Congress, not by the House Intel Committee, which understandably wanted to talk with him, but by the Senate, apparently by Sen. Warner.

Since Deripaska is Russian, the FBI and DOJ had been using his name to further their “Russia” narrative, but after Trump was elected, it was like, “Uh-oh, this guy knows too much about what we’ve been doing.” Deripaska was even in a position to blackmail people such as James Comey and Andrew McCabe who were part of the scheme to get Trump. But, hey, if they doubled-down on the “Russia” narrative, who was going to believe a Russian oligarch, who no doubt was just spouting more “Russian disinformation”?

There’s someone else who had to be kept away from congressional investigators: Julian Assange. Assange (remember, he’s also represented by Waldman) knows who really obtained the DNC emails. Recall that Assange has said it wasn’t Russia. If it wasn’t the Russians --- I believe Assange and don’t think it was --- the whole “Russia” narrative blows up in the Democrats’ faces. Sen. Mark Warner rides to the rescue again to keep Assange’s testimony, should he give it, under wraps, as you’ll see in the full article.

I know, I know, this really does sound like a political thriller, too big and sprawling to be true. (Nothing like this would be possible without a complicit media.) But it’s taken literally years to assemble all these pieces, and my staff and I have been following it all along. The texts and emails are all there. The associations are real. The motivations are clear.

After looking at this thing for a long time, we think the way it worked was probably along the lines of this post from Jennifer (don’t know her, but she obviously gets this) at CONSERVATIVE TREEHOUSE. If you read it without any background knowledge, it looks like some out-there conspiracy theory, but now that most of the dots have been connected (a few others can be surmised), it’s quite well grounded in reality.

Here’s Jennifer: “My guess is that Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer made the whole thing up then passed it along to their buddy Steele, through Glenn Simpson, to give it polish. Nellie Ohr and Glenn Simpson added detail.

“Deripaska hired Adam Waldman in the first place because of his proximity to Hillary. His prize was going to be the ‘golden visa,’ so he could come and go to the U.S. at will. He was not passing in Russian disinformation; he was trying to be helpful to Hillary’s black-ops team. THEY ALL thought she was going to win. This dossier garbage and the FBI investigation were black ops meant to be reported in the press during the campaign to take Trump down…

“When this is said and done, ALL ROADS GO BACK TO HILLARY [emphasis mine], with Obama giving his blessings, and Soros giving millions to finance the entire cabal...”

Thanks to Jennifer for posting that; hope she's fine with us picking it up. (There was more, mostly concerning Bill Priestap, and it might be right, but we don’t post what we can’t confirm --- or at least have very good reason to suspect, such as the likely Soros connection.) All of this is absolutely consistent with my last two commentaries on Steele: “It gets worse: Christopher Steele met with Hillary’s lawyers” and “Steele ‘wiped’ his documentation, and not with a cloth.” As for Priestap, who as head of FBI Counterintelligence was Peter Strzok’s direct boss and Andrew McCabe’s #1 underling, he would have been the person to approve the payment or reimbursement of Steele and would have been aware of everything going on relative to the “dossier” and virtually every other underhanded thing they were doing.  Like Adam Waldman, he seems to have a knack for flying under the radar.


Where things stand

April 29, 2020

Tuesday, there was no White House briefing from the Coronavirus Task Force, but President Trump did hold a briefing on a wide range of topics. The full video is here.

He talked about the status of the virus response, but also the Paycheck Protection Program, states reopening, and the bill to protect meat packers to keep them from shutting down and causing food shortages…

He also mentioned the possibility of making airlines test passengers from nations that have heavy COVID-19 caseloads and his opposition to states using the crisis to get bailouts for their own bad policies unrelated to the virus, such as unsustainable public worker pension obligations. Trump suggested that he might be willing to talk to states but would expect reforms in return, like abolishing “sanctuary cities.”

On that subject, Sean Hannity on Fox News put together a montage of media outlets parroting the latest DNC talking point, which is accusing Trump of exploiting the crisis to promote his political agenda. I’m not sure how he’s doing that, unless you believe their narrative that holding daily briefings is tantamount to hosting campaign rallies (I've seen his rallies; reporters don't badger him with dumb questions there), or that nonsense about his name appearing on the printed stimulus checks, which reportedly wasn’t even his idea (it was done by the Treasury Secretary.)

But if you want to talk about exploiting the crisis to promote a political agenda, how about Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats holding up desperately-needed aid to unemployed Americans and struggling small business owners while they tried to insert their wish list into the bill? Or Pelosi’s boast that she’ll force “vote by mail” into any future relief bill? Or the issue Trump was talking about, of blue states trying to stick taxpayers with the cost of bailing out their longstanding mismanagement under the guise of coronavirus relief? Now, that’s exploiting a health crisis to promote a political agenda.

This is why it’s often said in Republican circles that if you want to know what the Democrats are really doing, just look at what they’re publicly accusing Republicans of doing.

After observing that the Michael Flynn case “took a turn” last Friday, I saw a new article from Margot Cleveland at THE FEDERALIST that says essentially the same thing. That puts me in extremely good company. (Well, she says it “imploded.”)

Cleveland goes into detail about the legal maneuvering that led to this point, with Brady evidence finally turned over that not only reveals the FBI’s intention to frame Flynn, but also strongly suggests coercion on the part of Mueller’s team to get that guilty plea out of him, by hook or by crook (emphasis on the "crook"). What gives this evidence more weight now is that it was uncovered by an outside attorney, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, Jeffrey Jensen, who was appointed by Attorney General Bill Barr to conduct a review of the Flynn case.

Under these circumstances, Cleveland says, it’s “unfathomable” that Judge Sullivan could continue to reject Flynn’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea. I would add that if he did reject that motion, it wouldn't be the first time a ruling of his in this case has been unfathomable. But surely this time, the conduct of the prosecution has been shown to be so outrageous that he’ll have no other choice.

RELATED READING:  FBI news: "Brady" evidence on Flynn finally coming out!

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio seems to be shooting for a new world record for double standards. While imposing draconian crackdowns and snitch hotlines on residents who leave their homes, he’s been spotted traveling miles to his favorite gym (nobody else is allowed to go to the gym) and taking a walk with his wife in a park 11 miles from his home, which is near a park. This went over as well as you’d expect with New Yorkers

But even more disturbing than his “do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do” leadership is his double standard on respecting religious freedom. First, he threatened that any churches or synagogues that held services would be closed down “permanently” – not just until the lockdown ended, but “permanently.” It didn’t go unnoticed that he didn’t include mosques in that threat. Next, he announced that the city would provide 500,000 free halal meals to poor Muslims who couldn’t go to their mosques during Ramadan – fine in itself, but there was grumbling about the deference to Islam after the unconstitutional threat to churches and synogogues.

Now, despite DeBlasio’s Ramadan claim that "This is a place that truly believes in equality, something that is a profound New York City value," he’s once again threatening the city’s Jewish community, this time with arrest for violating “social distancing” rules by attending a funeral for a revered Rabbi in Brooklyn.

Critics are not defending the violation of social distancing, but they are alarmed at DeBlasio's language, at the way he repeatedly defaults to harsh criticism and threats of arrest and other strict government reprisals when he’s talking about Jews, but not other ethnic or religious groups.

DeBlasio was already under fire for appointing his wife to head a “coronavirus racial inequality task force.” If she’s looking for examples of discrimination in how the coronavirus is being handled, she could start by gazing across her own dinner table.

Some great letters arrived in response to “Steele ‘wiped’ his documentation, and not with a cloth.” Here are just a few...

From Jim:

Governor, you always seem to get to the core of a story. As an ex-journalist I appreciate your search for the facts and verification.

The Democrats have been using these less-than-honest tactics for years. Each year they seem to get bolder and bolder at just outright lying to the American people.

Back in 1996...[description of dirty tricks played against him when he ran for office in Iowa, including going through divorce records from another state and altering critical dates on documents they found]... This is one of nicer things the Democrats did to us.

Another of their tactics is running negative ads against you accusing you of doing something you didn’t do and would never consider doing. Nine times out of ten what they are accusing you of is exactly what they are doing!

The list goes on and on. Not enough time to list them all tonight.

Governor, keep up your good work of ripping the masks off of these bad actors. Politics is rough and tumble, but it doesn’t need all the shenanigans that have become the order of the day. Highly paid political consultants are also a part of this mix.

From the Gov:

I’ve always said, don’t run for office unless you don’t mind the sight of your own blood. Historically, there have been dirty tricks played on both sides of the aisle, but now it seems there is NOTHING the left (and all “anti-Trumpers”) won’t do to gain power. I mean, no principles at all. You are absolutely right about this, and we are doing our best to rip those masks off, though it’s challenging when most “journalists” simply ignore stories that don’t fit their narrative. It’s also difficult when some in government think that rescuing the tarnished image of their bureaucracy is more important than uncovering the truth. What apparently is true of coronavirus is definitely true of political corruption: Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

From Stephen:

These questions may have been addressed previously and I just missed them: Why has Mr. Steele not been forced to testify at any hearings? Why has he not been charged for submitting fraudulent information that has cost taxpayers millions of dollars in investigations? Can the President sue him for defamation?

From the Gov:

Steele has been back and forth on whether or not to cooperate with Durham. On June 5 of last year, it was reported that Joe diGenova had said Steele did agree to be interviewed by Durham. A story in British media had said he was willing to talk, but only about “his relationship with the FBI,” and he wanted to get “permission from the U.K. government first.” DiGenova said he couldn’t believe Durham would agree to those conditions.

Sure enough, the story kept changing. In a WASHINGTON EXAMINER story from March 7, Steele is said to have declined again. He’s concerned about “politicization and not being treated fairly.” He said he and Orbis, his company, have already “said everything we have to say on the matter.” They’ve “done their duty.” Well, isn’t that special.

He was interviewed by Mueller’s special counsel team but later said he was surprised at how little of what he had discussed was in the final report. He reportedly said he’d also cooperated with IG Horowitz for “four or five months” and remarked that some U.S. officials were acting in bad faith.

Durham is reportedly working on indictments. (I would hope so.) But I’m not a lawyer and don’t even play one on TV; I don’t know, since Steele is a British citizen living in the U.K., that Durham can compel him to testify. Importantly, if anyone in the British government was helping Steele, it’s obvious that they’ll NEVER force him to cooperate with Durham, because they know Durham would ask all about that. The information we’ve recently been getting about Steele’s activities has come from testimony in a civil lawsuit brought against him in the U.K. by the owners of Alfa Bank.

So, should Trump sue? Trump is about THE MOST public of public figures, so he has some tough slogging when suing anyone for defamation. Besides, if he sued everyone who lied about him, he’s have to spend the rest of his life in court, and even then he wouldn’t get to them all.

From Robin:

I do " data recovery " for family and friends and have recovered data off computers for a few not-for-profits. So far I've been 100 percent successful.

Anything deleted from a computer can be recovered. Even if the computer is " lost or stolen," data can still be recovered from internet provider, mainframe computer [and] disks, and can be recovered from another computer via emails, downloads, internet provider on the receiver’s end and whomever they forwarded emails to. And the "cloud, " too; the cloud is quite the tattletale.

Bottom line, anything on the internet may as well be posted on billboards on I-95 from Maine to Florida.

And by the way, the Feds can go even deeper into a hard drive and the internet than I can. The FBI could easily have recovered Hillary's emails and Steele's as well.

Bet you guys haven't heard the FBI or NSC (the place in Maryland with all those big dish thingy things on their lawn) saying any of this!

From the Gov:

If someone who refers to satellite dishes as “those dish thingy things” can do it, I’ll bet lots of people can. We might be amazed to discover where Hillary’s emails turned up. (I wouldn’t be surprised if every major world leader had them and was ready to blackmail her the moment she --- shudder --- became President.) And, yes, Steele’s are almost surely somewhere, too. Also, SOMEBODY knows who really obtained those emails from the DNC; we still don’t have proof of the Democrats’ narrative that it was a Russia hack, as a report from CrowdStrike doesn’t cut it. Maybe you could find out! Thanks for writing.

A judge in Illinois has ruled that Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker's stay-at-home order exceeds his emergency powers and infringes on citizens’ Constitutional rights. Pritzker railed that the questioning of his authority on this is “insulting,” “dangerous” and will put people’s health at risk, and he vowed to appeal the ruling.

The irony is that the other major controversy Pritzker is facing is anger over his releasing prison inmates who might be at risk of contracting the coronavirus. So if you’re a convicted criminal, you have to be released to keep you healthy. But if you’re a law-abiding citizen, you have to be locked up to keep you healthy. Understand? If so, please explain it to me.

FYI: Gov. Pritzker probably won’t want to appeal his case to Attorney General Bill Barr, who just told federal prosecutors to report any excessively restrictive shutdown orders that violate Americans' civil rights…


Here is video of President Trump’s full COVID-19 (Chinese) coronavirus task force press briefing from Monday…

Trump took a couple of days’ off from his briefings because he was fed up with dealing with hostile, accusatory and downright stupid questions from the media. But I’m glad to see the media didn’t let that time go to waste. New York Magazine’s Oliva Nuzzi obviously spent it working extra hard, trying to craft a question even stupider and more accusatory than last week's "injecting Lysol" idiocy:

"If an American President loses more Americans over the course of 6 weeks than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War, does he deserve to be re-elected?"

Trump kept his cool and gave a much better answer than the question deserved. David Marcus at the Federalist examined why it was such a ridiculous question, and how Trump might have answered it or how she might have expected him to answer it.

Personally, I might have pointed out that each year, over 38,000 Americans die in car accidents, which means that over Obama’s eight-year term, over 5 times as many Americans were slaughtered on the highways as died in Vietnam, and he did nothing to prevent it. I look forward to Ms Nuzzi’s article in New York Magazine calling for Obama to be brought up on war crimes charges because over 300,000 people died violently while he was in office.

(NOTE: The original version of this piece had an incorrect number of highway deaths because our source mistakenly quoted the global death number, not the US number. We corrected it and own up to the mistake because we’re not CNN.)


There are times when I almost feel sorry for loyal Democrats. Over the past few years, in order to keep from being slandered and hounded by Twitter mobs, they’ve had to force themselves to live in a constant state of denial. And I don’t just mean pretending not to notice how badly their cherished leftist policies failed during the Obama Administration and everywhere else they've been tried.

Starting in 2016, to remain a Democrat in good standing, you had to deny that Donald Trump was really the President (or “my President”), that his negotiating tactics really had resulted in better trade deals for the US, that the tax cut benefited people other than the “super rich,” that the economy really was creating record numbers of jobs, and that pay for lower and middle class workers really was rising. It took a pandemic to derail that booming economy.

Just since January, Democrats have had to deny that Trump was right to block travel from China and Europe, that the pandemic was caused by China’s carelessness and lies, that it’s worth studying promising treatments like hydroxychoroquine and UV light even if Trump did say good things about them, and that globalism and open borders have proven to be disastrous ideas, even more dangerous than densely-populated urban living, mass transit and reusable grocery bags.

But the denial of reality shifted into hyperdrive this week. Democrats across the nation are refusing to listen to Americans as they demand to reopen their businesses, even when some of those on the verge of open revolt are other Democratic politicians

They accuse Republicans of being “science deniers,” yet they refuse to listen to doctors and researchers who say the data indicate that the coronavirus is far more widespread and less lethal than we originally thought, and that keeping society shut down is doing more harm than good. It’s even doing irreparable harm to the health care system (laying off doctors and shutting down hospitals) and causing deaths by preventing people from getting necessary medical care (here’s just one example…)

…all in the name of keeping hospitals free for the projected crush of COVID-19 patients that never materialized.

When two urgent care doctors in California discovered that the virus was far more widespread in their counties than previously believed, and that the real odds of dying from it were only 0.03%, they were denounced for no solid reasons and YouTube (a subsidiary of ultra-liberal Google) removed their video because it didn’t jibe with the World Health Organization – the same group that’s repeated patently bogus Chinese propaganda since the beginning.

And those aren’t the only doctors who are speaking up against the “shut down the world or we’ll all die” Democratic party line:

Some Democrats are even denying their own previous statements

And speaking of denying your own alleged principles, whatever happened to “Believe all women?” Two more women have come forward to verify that former Joe Biden staffer Tara Reade told them of her sexual assault allegation against Biden in the 1990s, and both women are Democrats.

Speaking of denial, one of the women who spoke up for Reade said, "I personally am a Democrat, a very strong Democrat. And I'm for Biden, regardless. But still I have to come out and say this." Remember the outrage from Democrats when Trump facetiously said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and his supporters wouldn’t abandon him? Well, here’s someone corroborating an allegation of sexual assault of a friend against the presumptive Democratic nominee and adding, “I’m for Biden, regardless.” And she's actually serious.

Yet the Party and its PR flacks in the media are sticking their fingers in their ears and “la-la-la’ing” all the way to the election. The Washington Post even seems to think the only newsworthy part of this story is that “Trump allies” are “amplifying” Reade’s story by paying attention to her. Well, somebody should, don’t you think?

Move over, Cleopatra! We have millions of new contenders for the title “Queen of Denial.”


Fake News Tuesday: No, it was not President Trump’s idea to put his name on the coronavirus relief checks that are being mailed to Americans who don't have direct deposit. That was Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s idea. And he says that despite rumors, it did not cause any delay in sending the checks.


However, here’s some real news: Chuck Schumer is pushing a bill to try to keep Trump’s name off the checks, and that actually would delay them being delivered to Americans who desperately need them. But I’m sure those people will appreciate that it’s much more important that they not see Trump’s name on a check for the ten seconds it will take them to endorse and deposit it than it is for them to get the money quickly so they can squander it on rent and food.


A judge in Illinois has ruled that Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker's stay-at-home order exceeds his emergency powers and infringes on citizens’ Constitutional rights. Pritzker railed that the questioning of his authority on this is “insulting,” “dangerous” and will put people’s health at risk, and he vowed to appeal the ruling.

The irony is that the other major controversy Pritzker is facing is anger over his releasing prison inmates who might be at risk of contracting the coronavirus. So if you’re a convicted criminal, you have to be released to keep you healthy. But if you’re a law-abiding citizen, you have to be locked up to keep you healthy. Understand? If so, please explain it to me.

FYI: Gov. Pritzker probably won’t want to appeal his case to Attorney General Bill Barr, who just told federal prosecutors to report any excessively restrictive shutdown orders that violate Americans' civil rights…


I don’t want to give you even more to worry about, but here’s another reason to end the lockdown and let Americans get back to work: because we’d all like to be able to eat in the future.


Latest on North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un: It’s still unclear whether he’s dead or just locked down due to the coronavirus, like everybody else.


I am saddened to report that the coronavirus has taken another talented musician from us. Grammy-nominated gospel singer Troy Sneed died Monday in Jacksonville, Florida, of complications from the virus. He was only 52.

Sneed started his career with the Georgia Mass Choir, which appeared in the film “The Preacher’s Wife” with Whitney Houston. He then formed Youth For Christ before launching a gospel record label with his wife Emily and releasing seven solo albums. His hits include “Work It Out” and “My Heart Says Yes.” Our deepest condolences and prayers for his wife and family. Here are some samples of the inspiring musical legacy he left us.


Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was asked about attempts to hold China accountable for causing the worldwide deadly coronavirus pandemic, and he brushed that off as “a distraction.” He’s right: holding China to account might distract from all the medical care, quarantines and funerals we have to arrange all over the world BECAUSE OF CHINA!


NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the football league plans to reopen in a “safe and responsible” manner, but he declined to say whether that means playing games with no fans in the stands. If so, then I guess they owe Colin Kaepernick thanks for getting people used to empty stadiums before we even knew there was going to be a virus to avoid.


A big Huck’s Hero salute to New Jersey newspaper deliveryman Greg Daily. When an elderly customer asked if he could throw the paper closer to the garage, it made him think that if she couldn’t walk that 20 feet, how could she go out for groceries during the lockdown?

So he put a note inside every newspaper, offering his services to shop for and deliver groceries free of charge to his elderly customers. He’s now busy helping nearly 100 people, some of them not even on his paper route. One grateful 85-year-old widow called him “one of the finest people in the world.” Daily said the seniors appreciate the help so much, he’s decided to keep doing it even after the lockdown ends. He said, “There’s something about being able to do something really nice for people.”

There sure is! Our thanks to Greg Daily for reminding us all that “social distancing” doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to the people around you who really need your help.

And on that subject, here’s another story that could have gone a very different way, if it weren’t for the kindness and compassion of a grocery store owner in Ontario.

Here is video of President Trump’s full COVID-19 (Chinese) coronavirus task force press briefing from Monday…

Trump took a couple of days’ off from his briefings because he was fed up with dealing with hostile, accusatory and downright stupid questions from the media. But I’m glad to see the media didn’t let that time go to waste. New York Magazine’s Oliva Nuzzi obviously spent it working extra hard, trying to craft a question even stupider and more accusatory than last week's "injecting Lysol" idiocy:

"If an American President loses more Americans over the course of 6 weeks than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War, does he deserve to be re-elected?"

Trump kept his cool and gave a much better answer than the question deserved. David Marcus at the Federalist examined why it was such a ridiculous question, and how Trump might have answered it or how she might have expected him to answer it.

Personally, I might have pointed out that each year, approximately 1.25 million Americans die in car accidents, which means that over Obama’s eight-year term, 10 million Americans were slaughtered on the highways, and he did nothing to prevent it. I look forward to Ms Nuzzi’s article in New York Magazine calling for Obama to be brought up on war crimes charges because 10 million people died violently while he was in office.

Deny, Deny

April 28, 2020

There are times when I almost feel sorry for loyal Democrats. Over the past few years, in order to keep from being slandered and hounded by Twitter mobs, they’ve had to force themselves to live in a constant state of denial. And I don’t just mean pretending not to notice how badly their cherished leftist policies failed during the Obama Administration and everywhere else they've been tried.

Starting in 2016, to remain a Democrat in good standing, you had to deny that Donald Trump was really the President (or “my President”), that his negotiating tactics really had resulted in better trade deals for the US, that the tax cut benefited people other than the “super rich,” that the economy really was creating record numbers of jobs, and that pay for lower and middle class workers really was rising. It took a pandemic to derail that booming economy.

Just since January, Democrats have had to deny that Trump was right to block travel from China and Europe, that the pandemic was caused by China’s carelessness and lies, that it’s worth studying promising treatments like hydroxychoroquine and UV light even if Trump did say good things about them, and that globalism and open borders have proven to be disastrous ideas, even more dangerous than densely-populated urban living, mass transit and reusable grocery bags.

But the denial of reality shifted into hyperdrive this week. Democrats across the nation are refusing to listen to Americans as they demand to reopen their businesses, even when some of those on the verge of open revolt are other Democratic politicians

They accuse Republicans of being “science deniers,” yet they refuse to listen to doctors and researchers who say the data indicate that the coronavirus is far more widespread and less lethal than we originally thought, and that keeping society shut down is doing more harm than good. It’s even doing irreparable harm to the health care system (laying off doctors and shutting down hospitals) and causing deaths by preventing people from getting necessary medical care (here’s just one example…)

all in the name of keeping hospitals free for the projected crush of COVID-19 patients that never materialized.

When two urgent care doctors in California discovered that the virus was far more widespread in their counties than previously believed, and that the real odds of dying from it were only 0.03%, they were denounced for no solid reasons and YouTube (a subsidiary of ultra-liberal Google) removed their video because it didn’t jibe with the World Health Organization – the same group that’s repeated patently bogus Chinese propaganda since the beginning.

And those aren’t the only doctors who are speaking up against the “shut down the world or we’ll all die” Democratic party line.

Some Democrats are even denying their own previous statements

And speaking of denying your own alleged principles, whatever happened to “Believe all women?” Two more women have come forward to verify that former Joe Biden staffer Tara Reade told them of her sexual assault allegation against Biden in the 1990s, and both women are Democrats.

Speaking of denial, one of the women who spoke up for Reade said, "I personally am a Democrat, a very strong Democrat. And I'm for Biden, regardless. But still I have to come out and say this." Remember the outrage from Democrats when Trump facetiously said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and his supporters wouldn’t abandon him? Well, here’s someone corroborating an allegation of sexual assault of a friend against the presumptive Democratic nominee and adding, “I’m for Biden, regardless.” And she's actually serious.

Yet the Party and its PR flacks in the media are sticking their fingers in their ears and “la-la-la’ing” all the way to the election. The Washington Post even seems to think the only newsworthy part of this story is that “Trump allies” are “amplifying” Reade’s story by paying attention to her. Well, somebody should, don’t you think?

Move over, Cleopatra! We have millions of new contenders for the title “Queen of Denial.”

Under cover of coronavirus, more big news is dropping that normally would be the top story. Thanks to the civil suit against Christopher Steele by the owners of Alfa Bank, we’re learning more about Steele’s role in creating and disseminating the “dossier.” And now --- better sit down --- we see that Steele met with --- I know you’ll never believe it --- lawyers for the DNC and the Clinton campaign.

That’s right, the same Christopher Steele who was meeting with the FBI and Fusion GPS and the media was also meeting with Clinton attorneys Michael Sussmann and Marc Elias of the law firm Perkins Coie. And Sussmann appears to be the source for the phony story about computer “pings” from the Alfa Bank tower providing a link between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin. A week after he published a memo about that ludicrous story, he met with Marc Elias, who served as general counsel for the Clinton campaign.

RELATED READING: Steele "wiped" his documentation, and not with a cloth

These meetings were previously unreported. It’s all in court transcripts obtained by Chuck Ross at the DAILY CALLER NEWS FOUNDATION.

I think we know where the “Russian disinformation” really came from: Hillary’s campaign and people like Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS who were associated with her campaign. Russian disinformation my foot.

As Ross reports, to spread the Alfa Bank story, Sussman contacted James Baker, his former colleague who served as general counsel to the FBI. This was on September 19, 2016, the same day Steele provided the FBI with six memos that were part of the “dossier.” Right away, the Crossfire Hurricane team started drafting their FISA warrant against Carter Page, accusing him –- without evidence –- of being a Russian agent and a key link between Trump and the Kremlin.

Three days after this, Steele met with Elias. He also met with three journalists, one of whom was Michael Isikoff, who went on to write the story about Carter Page.

So here we have a conspiracy involving Clinton’s attorneys, including the general counsel for the Clinton campaign; the “oppo research” firm working for the Clinton campaign, whose researcher’s husband worked for the DOJ; the general counsel for the FBI; the head of the FBI; the FBI agents who surveilled the Trump campaign by faking a FISA warrant, and cooperative members of the media, all to do everything they could to make sure Hillary won and Trump lost. They all seem to have a connection to Steele. Of course, then-CIA Director John Brennan was shopping the “dossier” material around, too. Let’s see, have I left anyone out of this conspiracy?

I keep thinking I’m leaving someone out. Someone pretty big.

RIP Troy Sneed

April 28, 2020

I am saddened to report that the coronavirus has taken another talented musician from us. Grammy-nominated gospel singer Troy Sneed died Monday in Jacksonville, Florida, of complications from the virus. He was only 52.

Sneed started his career with the Georgia Mass Choir, which appeared in the film “The Preacher’s Wife” with Whitney Houston. He then formed Youth For Christ before launching a gospel record label with his wife Emily and releasing seven solo albums. His hits include “Work It Out” and “My Heart Says Yes.” Our deepest condolences and prayers for his wife and family. Here are some samples of the inspiring musical legacy he left us here and here.

So, a new documentary on Michelle Obama has been in the works for months and apparently no one knew about it! How could it be? But it's true, and the video is available for streaming on Netflix starting May 1.

Okay, folks, read this --- especially her monologue at the end --- and tell me if you DON'T think she's being moved into place for the November election. This is getting so obvious now, I probably don't need to keep throwing up the red flags. But I will, anyway. Danger, danger, Will Robinson!

RELATED READING: Ainsworth: Michelle O update --- this appears to be happening

Story of the day

April 28, 2020

A big Huck’s Hero salute to New Jersey newspaper deliveryman Greg Daily. When an elderly customer asked if he could throw the paper closer to the garage, it made him think that if she couldn’t walk that 20 feet, how could she go out for groceries during the lockdown?

So he put a note inside every newspaper, offering his services to shop for and deliver groceries free of charge to his elderly customers. He’s now busy helping nearly 100 people, some of them not even on his paper route. One grateful 85-year-old widow called him “one of the finest people in the world.” Daily said the seniors appreciate the help so much, he’s decided to keep doing it even after the lockdown ends. He said, “There’s something about being able to do something really nice for people.”

There sure is! Our thanks to Greg Daily for reminding us all that “social distancing” doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to the people around you who really need your help.

And on that subject, here’s another story that could have gone a very different way, if it weren’t for the kindness and compassion of a grocery store owner in Ontario.

"Imagine that --- being framed by our own government and by political operatives who don’t like you. And I think that’s what we’re gonna find out.” That was Devin Nunes, speaking with Maria Bartiromo on this week’s SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES, on the case of former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

It’s highly doubtful that Nunes, ranking member and former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, would be saying something like this unless he already possessed knowledge that it was true. Recall that he was pilloried for his memo debunking the Russia hoax in 2018, though his conclusions were later verified. (It was Adam Schiff’s memo that was discredited.) Just watch --- Nunes will be right about this, too.

If you’ve read Lee Smith’s excellent book, THE PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT, you know that Flynn was indeed targeted by operatives who didn’t like him, as far back as 2014-15. The Obama Department of Justice (“Justice”) didn’t like him because he wanted to lessen the military’s reliance on the CIA bureaucracy, which only slowed them down when minutes counted on the battlefield. He was calling for financial audits of the Pentagon/Defense Department (uh-oh), and he was a vocal opponent of one of President Obama’s most cherished, administration-defining plans: the Iran Deal. They wanted him compromised long before President-elect Trump announced that he would be coming to the White House to work at his side.

By the way, Nunes also told Bartiromo that, judging by information in the IG report that has recently been declassified, the person who needs to be questioned about the bogus “Russian” narrative is Sergei Millian, one of three Russian-Americans who were apparently involved to some extent. He was asked to come before the House Intel Committee, but according to Nunes, “he is hiding somewhere around the globe.” Nunes is still calling for him to come forward, because “either he was, you know, working for Fusion GPS and the Clinton campaign and dirtying-up Trump people, or it’s quite possible he may have been framed.” If he’s afraid to come back to America, Nunes says, “we can guarantee his safety.”

If you are as far “into the weeds” as we are on the origin story of the dossier, we’ve found a detailed article that supports Nunes’ theory that Millian was indeed framed as the source for information that really came from Fusion GPS. One of my researchers just stumbled across this website and plans to check out the archives, as the information there looks really solid.

In the Bartiromo interview, Nunes says of this individual, “He is the source,” but then backs away from that just a bit, saying he’s “one of” the major sources for Steele and Glenn Simpson/Fusion GPS. Millian is identified as “Person 1” in the IG report. Steele told the FBI that "Person 1" was a “boaster” and “egotist” but still used information credited to him in the “dossier.” He said that Millian was the source for his “Russian prostitutes” story and also for the claim that there was a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Millian, on the other hand, does indeed say he was framed by Steele and Fusion GPS and was not a source for the “dossier.” I think it’s likely we’re going to find that the main “dossier” stories came from Glenn Simpson at Fusion GPS and that this Hillary-paid team just put it out with other people’s names on it.

Incredibly, Robert Mueller’s team never interviewed Millian.

As for Flynn, it’s logical to strongly suspect if not conclude from what we know that he was framed. If he was, then it’s also logical to expect the Obama DOJ to have hidden exculpatory evidence that would have put an end to his legal travails. But Christian Datoc at THE DAILY CALLER NEWS FOUNDATION is reporting that President Trump’s FBI Director Christopher Wray also kept that evidence under wraps. We’ve long expressed doubt of Wray’s effectiveness as FBI director; if this is true, it takes his role into a whole new realm. (In an update, FBI Assistant Director of Public Affairs Brian Hale has issued a statement to the DAILY CALLER absolutely, positively denying this.) Whether Wray was directly involved or not, Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell has long maintained that the FBI and Justice Department were continuing to hide exculpatory evidence, or what’s known as “Brady material.”

But in breaking news, court documents have been filed (finally!) that contain important evidence Powell was seeking, and there might be more to come. This is happening after Attorney General Bill Barr assigned the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri to conduct a review of the Flynn investigation. The review “involved the analysis of reports related to the investigation along with communications and notes by [FBI] personnel associated with the investigation,” according to the cover letter sent to Powell and another attorney.

It had been reported by THE FEDERALIST that FBI general counsel Dana Boente was the one who blocked release of the Brady material, but Datoc’s source says Boente was acting “in coordination with Wray.” (Again, this has been strongly denied by Wray’s office, but it certainly would explain a lot.) This order to put a hold on Brady material should NEVER have been given, by anyone; the Justice Department has previously ruled that the government has no right to withhold exculpatory material. According to DOJ code, “government disclosure of material exculpatory and impeachment evidence [relevant information both helpful and hurtful] is part of the constitutional guarantee to a fair trial.”

This is just one of the reasons Flynn was treated shamefully. He deserves to have his guilty plea thrown out, all charges dropped (or a Presidential pardon), and restitution for the damages this travesty has caused to his reputation, career, financial condition and peace of mind.

More to come soon –- including, I think, some indictments.


Finally, here's an excellent lawyerly take from Andrew C. McCarthy, who has said all along that Flynn should never have been prosecuted. He sheds some light on what was going on with Flynn's original attorneys. This is another must-read for anyone who wants to understand what was done to Michael Flynn, which was a criminal abuse of power.

A Contrarian Comment

April 27, 2020

Over the past month or so, a number of conservative and Libertarian commentators have bemoaned the way some politicians were so quick to use the coronavirus threat to try to impose their long-standing leftist political agendas (like the Green New Deal or vote-fraud-by-mail) and even worse, how Americans willingly gave up their rights for a little perceived safety. While I agree with the former, I take issue with the latter.

When the Internet meme took off that said, “How do you like your free 30-day trial of socialism?” some thought it was just a joke. But it’s actually a great way of expressing why, despite the fervent fever dreams of the AOCs of the world, Trump was right: America will NEVER be a socialist country. Americans were told we were facing an existential danger, and as always, we put differences aside, sacrificed and pitched in to help others and win the battle, with many Americans acting heroically.

But as soon as some politicians started trying to abuse their powers to crush people’s rights – whether it was something as small as banning the purchase of “non-essential” garden seeds or as unconstitutional as ticketing people for holding a drive-in church service – Americans immediately rose up and refused to take it.

Contrary to the despairing claims about how modern Americans are willing to give up our rights, we are merely willing to make a temporary sacrifice for the greater good. As soon as we sensed that some politicians were trying to abuse our trust and exploit this crisis to increase their power, Americans started showing that we can be just as ornery as we were back when we dumped all that tea in Boson Harbor – except instead of singing “Yankee Doodle,” we now sing “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

To all the “Democratic socialists” who foolishly thought that public compliance with the lockdown and acceptance of government relief signaled a permanent shift of Americans becoming docile, obedient sheep watched over by an all-powerful state, guess again. We now know that they'll put up with it for four weeks, or until you start acting like socialist dictators, whichever comes first. Now, they’re demanding to get back to work, making their own money, going to church and living their lives they way they see fit, not the way some meddling politician sees fit.

What this crisis has proved is that Americans are still Americans, and that if you even managed to impose your thousand-year socialist utopia, it would have a shelf life of about four weeks at most before the people rose up and threw it out. And that’s only if they thought the only alternative was a deadly disease. After four weeks, they’d rather have the disease.

No weekend briefing

April 27, 2020

I would normally start off with a link to President Trump’s daily briefing on the COVID-19 (Chinese) coronavirus, but for the first time in weeks, he didn’t hold one over the weekend. He implied that he might end them because of the hostile/idiotic media response, tweeting:

“What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately. They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!”

I can’t say I blame him, since I had the same reaction to last week’s off-the-rails hysteria accusing Trump of suggesting that people inject themselves with Lysol (incidentally, where would they get all this Lysol? I can’t even find it in stores.) That and “Labradoodle-gate” were so jaw-droppingly stupid, childish and willfully obtuse that I didn’t even want to waste my time commenting on them, and that's my job. At least take the effort to make up fake news that sounds half-way plausible.

Trump has spent day after day, sometimes for over an hour at a stretch, dispensing information, trying to keep up people’s hopes and dispel their fears, and answering questions from the media. And in return, every syllable out of his mouth has been parsed, twisted, disputed, refuted, mocked and scorned. Reporters have wasted their precious opportunity to ask the President about a matter of monumental importance to every American, instead lobbing gotcha questions and childish accusations. Even after putting up with it every day for weeks, when he finally got fed up and took a weekend off from their incessant barking, CNN ran this accusatory headline: “Trump goes into hiding.”

So what did CNN call it when Obama went for months without a press conference, averaging fewer than two a month through his entire term? I can’t imagine they accused him of “going into hiding.”

I prefer to think of it as Trump setting a good hygiene example for all Americans by washing his hands of this nasty media virus.

Several states are gearing up to start letting businesses gradually reopen, and not a moment too soon. All around the nation, Americans are signaling that they have had enough, and while some political leaders want to continue the lockdown indefinitely, citizens are assessing the relative dangers of the disease compared to losing their businesses, jobs, salaries and homes, and judging the latter as worse than the former.

For instance, in Dallas, Texas, the owner of a hair salon defied the shutdown last week and reopened, while observing strict hygiene standards. She said if she'd waited any longer, she would have to fire her employees and declare bankruptcy. She's been ordered to “cease and desist,” but she’d had enough of ceasing and desisting, and she has plenty of support.

Meanwhile, the Dallas suburb of Colleyville declared that business owners couldn’t wait any longer and some could start reopening in defiance of state and county leaders.

And this is in Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott has been one of the most lenient, pro-business leaders. In states such as Michigan, where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been channeling Mad King George and imposing inexplicable, rights-crushing edicts, many people are on the verge of rebellion.

I sympathize with the protesters, but if I may offer one bit of advice: Please remember that while the threat of the virus may turn out to have been wildly overstated, we still don’t know its full effects (stories are circulating of possible links to blood clotting and strokes in younger victims, among other unknowns.) And while far more people than we initially knew were apparently exposed to it and suffered little or no ill effects, for those who are vulnerable, it can be a terrible, even fatal disease (nearly 55,000 deaths in the US so far.)

If you are going to protest to reopen the government, please do so responsibly. Wear face masks, keep up social distancing, and don’t shake hands with strangers (I’ve seen video of protesters violating all these common sense rules.)

Even if you don’t believe the coronavirus is as bad as advertised, why take unnecessary chances? If not for your own safety and that of your family and community, you should follow the health guidelines at protests to prove that you are responsible citizens who can be trusted to go back to work without spreading the disease. Consider this: If you don’t, you’re giving PR ammunition to the people who want to keep America locked down forever.

Friday, much of the media outdid themselves in their hair-on-fire anti-Trump hysterics, giving us a double dose of Trump Derangement Syndrome idiocy. First, by claiming that President Trump told people to inject Lysol to kill the virus. No, he did not.

They went so bat-poop crazy over that one that some of them were even calling it “Lysolgate.” Here's a great primer in how not to write a headline.

But wait: what about “Labradoodle-gate?” I assume that’s the name they’ll give to the non-scandal arising from Thursday another false claim that Brian Harrison, whom Trump appointed as chief of staff at the Department of Health and Human Services, is heading up HHS’s coronavirus response and he's just a “labradoodle breeder” from Dallas. No, he’s not handling HHS' virus response. Dog breeding is his family business, but as the Dallas Morning News, hardly a Trump-supporting paper, reports, he’s a serious public servant who’s “served three Administrations in high level posts at HHS, the White House and the Pentagon.”

The media’s idiotic overreactions to everything Trump says and does, and their apparent inability to do even the most basic research before reporting a story, have become so wearying that they’re no longer even worth correcting, scolding or even talking about. Adults are dealing with real problems now. Were it in my power, I would send the entire lot of these hyperactive brats to their rooms without supper until they learned how to behave themselves.

In the meantime, I got to thinking what the history books might be like if we’d had this same type of media with the same level of frenzied partisan hatred and immature stupidity covering previous Presidents…

FDR: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself!”

MSNBC: “FDR now claims that we should actually fear ‘fear’ itself! Is he attempting to gin up fear purely for political advantage? Or has he become so disconnected from reality, he believes that an abstract concept is personally threatening him? We’ll have a panel of psychiatrists who’ve never met him but hate him nonetheless explain why we might have to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove him from office over his latest insane comment.”

Teddy Roosevelt: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

CNN: “Roosevelt has just openly endorsed clubbing other world leaders with a big stick! We’ll have a panel of experts explain why this demonstrates that he is a childish, unhinged, crazy, war-like authoritarian who needs to be removed from office immediately.”

Abraham Lincoln: “Four-score and seven years ago…”

Harrisburg Patriot & Union newspaper: “We pass over the silly remarks of the President. For the credit of the nation, we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of.”

Actually, that last quote was what a reporter actually wrote about Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, now considered one of the greatest speeches in US history. In his time, Lincoln was also called dishonest, an “unshapely man,” a yahoo, a barbarian, a gorilla and an idiot.

At least the Harrisburg newspaper finally retracted its pan of the Gettysburg Address on its 150th anniversary. Wonder how long it will take the media to admit that, in fact, Trump was not an idiot, but quite a few of the people covering him were.

The Democrats have proposed the Green New Deal and the basic tenets of it have now been embraced by their presumptive nominee, Joe Biden. Those pushing the radical notion of ending fossil fuel use within 10 years because they believe the earth is only going to last for 11 years have said we have to do this NOW. So before you vote for Joe Biden to be President and for Democrats in the House or Senate or in the Governor’s office, you might wonder what the Green New Deal would mean to you. Now, it’s easier than ever to explain. Because if you have enjoyed “stay at home” orders and inability to travel during the coronavirus scare, you’re really going to love the Green New Deal!

Airplanes, cars, trucks and cruise ships won’t be around under the Green New Deal because they run on fossil fuels, which by the way we have plenty of—as in we could go for hundreds of years on them and not run out. The pandemic has caused people to stay home for fear of a virus. In the Green New Deal, you’ll stay home because unless you can walk or ride a bike, you won’t have a way to get to grandma’s house, the store, church, or a vacation. Since meat will be mostly eliminated because cows and other livestock produce methane gas when they….well, when they pass gas, grocery shelves will be stocked with tofu and plant substitutes instead of ribeyes and pork chops. And if you eat that stuff, there probably will be another toilet paper shortage. But unless you live on a farm, since since trucks won’t be allowed to burn fuel and bring produce to your supermarket, I’m not sure how your groceries will get to you anyway so learn to plant a garden unless you live in Michigan where the Governor there doesn’t think you ought to be able to buy vegetable seeds or go fishing.

Next, look around your house for plastic things you have and use. Hang on to them if you like them. They disappear with the Green New Deal.

And I’m not sure how you’ll power your iPhone, laptop or your TV when you have to run your household on the amount of electricity provided by a hamster running on a little wheel. Get used to washing your clothes the way your great-grandmother did, with a washing board and drying with a clothesline in your lawn or apartment balcony. Hope you don’t mind your neighbors seeing your underwear waving like a team flag at the playoffs. And if you live in a cold climate, be careful about those frozen articles of clothing. They will actually break like glass if you aren’t careful. One of the worst whippings I ever got when I was a kid was for going out and breaking my grandmothers frozen underwear that was hanging on the line after a hard freeze.

We’ve experienced lots of inconveniences during the pandemic, but at least we’ve believed they are temporary. In the Green New Deal, we’re talking about permanent changes of the way we live. I hope you liked online church because unless you live in walking distance, you’re out of luck. Remember-no cars!

But younger people who think Greta Thunberg is a prophet and who are especially pushing for these measures better be ready for the sacrifices of giving up air conditioning in the summer and fossil-fueled heat in the winter at home and at school. To help them prepare, I think we ought to go ahead and turn off the a/c at their schools and disable it in their cars. (They ain’t going to like that in Arizona!) And like their ancestors who walked or rode mules to school, students under the Green New Deal for sure will walk but the mule is out of the question because it might emit flatulence which, according to the disciples of the Green New Deal, will destroy the planet.

Yes, a hidden blessing of all of us losing jobs, income, freedom, mobility, investments, retirement accounts, convenience, and all forms of common sense is that we are now better prepared to live in an America run by the people who think you’d rather have their Green New Deal than to enjoy the benefits of a free market and a free people. If Americans really are dumb enough to elect politicians who will destroy our freedom and our prosperity, then the coronavirus ain’t the worst thing that can happen to our brains and our country.

Covid-19 News

April 26, 2020

Here is Friday’s White House press briefing on the COVID-19 (Chinese) coronavirus.

It was a short, but very news-packed briefing. The major points: we have now topped 5 million tests, numbers of new infections and deaths are trending downward, states are getting ready to reopen for business, President Trump signed the bill adding new funding to aid small businesses, and the FDA has approved an at-home test for the virus that lets people swab themselves and send it to a lab for testing. Also, Trump didn’t take questions because the media absolutely beclowned themselves after the previous briefing. More on that later. I can’t consider their hysterical antics to be “news” anymore.

Also, in case you missed it, Friday night, I filled in for Sean Hannity hosting his Fox News TV show, to take a look at the coronavirus and how both the disease and the reactions to it are damaging America. You can watch the full episode here:

We talked about the way that Democrats are trying to extort Republicans into paying for the bad policies of blue state governments as part of the emergency relief bills. They’ve long dreamed of sticking American taxpayers with the cost of covering their unsustainable public worker pensions, entitlement programs and green energy schemes, and now they’re claiming that if we tell them to declare bankruptcy instead of bailing them out, it’s tantamount to wanting the people of those states to die. Take a look at the New York Congress member at around the 3:30 mark, accusing Mitch McConnell of telling first responders to “drop dead,” and tell me he doesn’t remind you of this.

If you watched the sitcom “Friends,” you’ll recognize the Democrats' "bail out blue states" tactic. Remember when Ross’s dad offered to help pay for his wedding, and his fiancee’s dad tried to stick him with the bill for everything from landscaping his lawn to building a new wine cellar? Well, that guy is the Democrats’ and Ross’s dad is all of us taxpayers.

As liberal Rep. James Clyburn openly admitted, the Democrats see this crisis as an historic opportunity to impose their agenda of transforming America. They seem to think that to fight a virus, we need to bail out blue states, raise the minimum wage, pass the Green New Deal, institute voting by mail with no ID, bar people from going to church and declare abortions to be an essential medical procedure. As they often say at the Instapundit site, It’s amazing how the answer to every crisis is to do everything they’ve always wanted to do.

Back in Reality Land, here’s what is actually in the bill that Trump signed.

From Lawrence:

Regarding the second-guessing about whether we should have shut down the whole country that will come (already has in some cases), I learned in Vietnam, and again in Iraq, second-guessing is second nature to some folks. In both wars, we would provide intelligence to commanders that an attack was planned for a certain base and a certain time period. The commanders would then undertake very visible upgrades to their defense, readily observed by the enemy, and if an attack did not come, they would deride the intelligence unit instead of saying that they had deterred the attack by their defensive upgrade efforts. I guarantee, at some point Democrats will say the shut-down was unnecessary, and Trump did it for his own self-gain, and the damage to the economy was Trump's fault.

From the Gov:

Anything they can twist to make the President's choices seem at fault, you know they will. They would never have given him credit for the fabulous economy we had pre-virus, but they’ll hang this on him for sure. It won't even have to make sense. Thanks, Lawrence, for being such an astute observer of human nature and writing in.

The “Party of Tolerance” is giving African-Americans a good look at how savagely intolerant they really are toward anyone who expresses a non-approved thought. If the Republican Party ever treated its black members with such harsh disrespect, the charges of racism would be headline news. And there are two glaring examples that have arrived simultaneously.

First came the story of Democratic Michigan State Rep. Karen Whitsett, who thought she was going to die of COVID-19 until she received the treatment mentioned by President Trump. She quickly recovered and publicly thanked him, saying the drug saved her life. For that, a group called the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party Organization announced that it will meet tomorrow to consider censuring Whitsett.

Now, think for just a moment of all the outrageous things various Democrats (cough-Adam Schiff!-cough!) have done for which they were never censured – but they want to censure her for saying something positive about Trump for recommending a drug that she believed saved her life.

Trump drew attention to that “disgraceful” move and offered a great suggestion to Whitsett: “Should join the Republican Party!”

Meanwhile, Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones has had a change of heart. The black Democrat set off a firestorm by saying he endorsed Trump’s reelection because of his record on job creation and supporting black colleges and prison sentence reform. He and his family were hit with so many hateful, threatening messages that he announced he would step down. But he now says that after receiving a wave of support, he’s changed his mind and will remain in office. Having already compared the Party to a plantation, Jones declared, “I will not allow the Democrats to bully me into submission. I will not let them win. I will NOT resign.”

Good for him! That’s the “punch back twice as hard” philosophy that Obama originated, but that Democrats never imagined would be used against them until Trump came along.

In Harris County, Texas (Houston), Democrat Judge Lina Hidalgo ordered the county’s 4.7 million residents to wear face masks in public at all times with very limited exceptions, or face a fine of up to $1,000, a ruling that Houston’s Democratic mayor agreed with. But Republicans, many residents and the Houston Police Officers Union definitely did not agree. Critics say that encouraging and urging mask use is fine, threatening to arrest and fine people for not doing it crosses the line into unconstitutional tyranny.

In fact, the police union flatly refused to enforce it, saying that while they believe everyone should be wearing a mask in public, “we draw the line at the draconian measures Hidalgo has decided to engage in. Our officers work every single day to bridge the gap with our community and earn their trust, we will not stand idly by and allow Hidalgo to tear that bridge down, with her horrific leadership and echo chamber decision making.”

As the story above details, other police and sheriff’s departments around the country are also refusing to enforce draconian, contradictory (landscapers are allowed to work outside, building contractors aren’t, etc.) and most of all, unconstitutional edicts by judges. You know you’ve overreached your powers when even the cops are telling you to put your legal threats where the sun doesn’t shine.

To show how seriously locals are taking Judge Hidalgo’s commands, a hilarious typo in a graphic from KPRC-TV went viral nationally. It read that the Judge ordered everyone over the age of 10 to cover their faces with either masks, scarfs or “bananas.

As a public service, and since so many judges are now issuing rulings that are so bananas they sound like a Monty Python sketch, here’s what to do if you are attacked by a masked person with a banana.

Biggest news of the day

April 24, 2020

The biggest real news of the day involving the COVID-19 (Chinese) coronavirus is that it might not be as deadly as we were led to believe when we shut down the economy based on computer models that predicted millions of deaths, and have since been adjusted steadily downward. There’s always a temptation when dealing with a disease scare to look back with 20/20 hindsight and say, “It wasn’t that bad! We didn’t need to take all those precautions!” when it’s possible that if we hadn’t taken the precautions, it might’ve been much worse. It was certainly necessary to take drastic action upfront to “flatten the curve” and keep the disease from spreading and overwhelming the medical system.

But we’ve done that. While we don’t want a second wave to bring it roaring back, we can’t keep the economy shut down forever. Due to the shutdown, another 4.4 million Americans just applied for unemployment benefits, bringing the total to 26 million. Indeed, there are estimates that keeping it shut much longer will lead to so much despair, depression, drug abuse and suicide that more people will die than would have died of the virus.

We were also told that we needed to take drastic measures until we knew more about the threat. Well, now we know more, and some of it is good news, but the people lobbying to keep the economy shut down don’t want to hear it.

For instance, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who not that long ago was worried about millions of deaths and a shortage of ventilators and hospital beds (none of which came to pass) announced that a test of 3,000 people across 19 New York counties found that 13.9% of them had coronavirus antibodies. Extrapolated to the entire state population, that would be 2.7 million people who contracted the virus but had no symptoms or sickness too mild to go to the hospital. That would mean the death rate per infection isn’t 6%, as previously stated, but 0.5%. We still don’t know if antibodies provide long-lasting immunity, but it is proof that many people can catch the virus and not even get sick enough to need a doctor.

We also now know that 94% of coronavirus patients who were hospitalized in New York City had another underlying condition, and 88% had two or more. The most common was hypertension, followed by obesity, diabetes, morbid obesity, and coronary artery disease.

But the most important MUST-READ article of the day is by Dr. Scott W. Atlas, former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center. It’s titled, “The Data is In; Stop the Panic and End the Total Isolation.”

Dr. Atlas lists five facts that all point to the need to end the economic lockdown while continuing to proceed with reasonable caution. These facts, which he explains in much more detail, are:

The overwhelming majority of people have little risk of dying from COVID-19 (those over 75 are at greatest risk; the current death rate for those 18 and under is zero)…Protecting older, high-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding…Our total isolation policy is prolonging the problem by preventing the development of “herd immunity”…People are dying because hypothetical projections of the need for care for COVID-19 patients caused states to cancel other medical procedures, from cancer screenings and biopsies to chemotherapy and brain surgeries…We now have a clearly-defined at-risk population who can be protected with targeted measures, so we don’t have to shut down the entire country.

This isn’t to say that we can immediately go back to life as it was two months ago. We’ll still need to follow reasonable precautions. Even if you’re not at greatest risk, why take unnecessary chances? But we now know a lot more about how dangerous the disease is, and about how damaging the response has been. We now have to consider whether the cure is on the verge of becoming worse than the disease.

RIP: Ian Whitcomb at 78

April 24, 2020

My wife/”Huckabee” co-writer Laura Ainsworth and I are saddened to report the death of Ian Whitcomb of natural causes at 78 after a long period of ill health.

Whitcomb was one of those “one-hit wonders” who had an amazing career completely unrelated to his one hit. He reached 8 in Billboard in 1965 with the R&B-flavored “You Turn Me On (Turn On Song),” but even if you remember that, you don’t really know Ian Whitcomb. In the 55 years since, he became better known as one of the world’s leading pop music historians, preserving long-forgotten Tin Pan Alley, vaudeville, 78 and cylinder, piano roll and musical hall tunes for new generations. (Laura does similar song rescues from the jazz/lounge/big band era on her albums, and she was Facebook friends with Ian.) Who else in our modern age would actually record such songs as “Oh! I Wish I Was Tarzan!,” “Fuzzy Wuzzy Woo!,” “Chong, He Come From Hong Kong,” “You’ve Got to Show It to Mother (Before You Can Show It to Me)” and “We’re Going to Celebrate the End of the War in Ragtime (Be Sure That Woodrow Wilson Leads the Band)”?

Ian Whitcomb chronicled all this delightfully oddball musical history in his albums, his XM Channel radio show, live performances with his trusty ukulele, and books such as “After the Ball,” “Letters from Lotusland,” “Ukulele Heroes” and “Songs of the Ragtime Era.” He won two Grammy Awards for his 2005 album, “Titanic: Music As Heard on the Fateful Voyage,” that recreated the songs played by the orchestra on board the doomed ship.

He also produced albums for other artists, including the hilariously bizarre “Hollywood Hi-Fi” classic, “Great Balls of Fire,” the rock debut of Mae West at age 79.

Ian Whitcomb did an immeasurable service to the world by preserving so much antiquated music that might have been lost forever. If you’d like to escape from today’s soulless, computer-generated “music” to happier times (well, the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic aside), you can find his recordings, radio shows, books, YouTube videos and more here.

Former President Barack Obama broke the tradition of Presidents not attacking their successors (especially during a national emergency) by criticizing President Trump’s response to the coronavirus. At this link, Matt Margolis of PJ Media reminds us of why Obama has no room to talk, having botched the response to two pandemics during his term, Ebola and H1N1 (swine flu.)

Speaking of violating long-established protocols, Bob Ehrlich has a good piece at Western Journal about six ways in which Donald Trump has changed old rules that everyone used to follow.

It’s an interesting read, but to put in my two cents: I’m constantly hearing about how Trump has upended all the agreed-upon rules and previously-revered niceties of politics, media relations, diplomacy, etc. In some ways, he has (usually by telling us what he honestly thinks, which ironically gets him branded as a “liar” by people who think he should have been honest enough to keep telling the same lies they’ve all agreed to mouth for years.) But the charge that Trump is responsible for inventing personal attacks on opponents and “lowering the tone of political discourse” is laughable. And I ought to know.

If you recall, I stood on the debate stage with Trump, competing with him for the nomination at a time when he was being assailed for giving mocking nicknames to his opponents. Do you know what he called me? “Governor Huckabee,” or “Mike.” Do you know why? Because I said I knew that Hillary Clinton would be far worse for America than any Republican, so I was going to observe Reagan’s 11th Commandment and not attack my fellow Republicans. I didn’t call Trump names, and he didn’t call me names. Imagine that!

In virtually every case where Trump has been accused of attacking people, breaking the rules and “lowering the tone,” he was attacked first. He was called a phony, a con man, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe, a liar, a crook and someone who was only running to enrich himself, surely the most hilarious of all the false charges. And a media that had just spent eight years giving Obama shoeshines with their tongues declared themselves to be open advocates for Hillary and threw any pretense of journalistic standards out the window as they attacked Trump like a pack of baying hounds.

But he didn’t do what Republicans are supposed to do when they’re unfairly maligned, which is to roll over and apologize for their shortcomings. No, he punched back. And for that unforgivable act of self-defense, he’s the one who’s blamed for “lowering the tone of public discourse.” Maybe he should point out that he’s just following the Obama principle of “if they hit you, punch back twice as hard.” Or would it be uncouth to remind the Democrats and the media (pardon my redundancy) that he’s not the first President to disregard the niceties of polite discourse when attacked?

Here are a couple of stories from this week that should make readers question the conventional wisdom that we hear every day from the media.

First, I don’t usually link to because it’s slanted so much to the left, so you know it must be an exceptional piece if I do. Henry Grabar took a close look at the coronavirus stats for New York City and found that all the reasons we’ve heard for why it was so bad there don’t hold up to scrutiny. For instance, population density and levels of subway ridership had no correlation to neighborhood infection rates. San Francisco has more restaurants per capita and far fewer virus cases. Other cities are just as crowded and rely just as much on mass transit but weren’t hit as hard, while some smaller, less crowded towns were hit just as hard. His conclusion: New York’s leaders simply waited too long to impose social distancing guidelines. Two weeks earlier might have reduced the death rate by 80 percent.

And as we listen to the arguments over when to reopen the economy, with some people chomping at the bit to get back to work and others arguing that we must all stay behind closed doors for at least 18 months, here’s a bucket of cold reality.

It’s a Twitter thread reminding us that the shutdown and social distancing were never meant to prevent us all from ever getting sick. It was to flatten the curve of infections, so the medical system wouldn’t be overwhelmed with cases before we were prepared for them. No matter when we emerge from our cocoons, and no matter who is President, there is no way to prevent a virus from spreading. The common cold is a virus, and we’ve been trying to get rid of it for centuries with no success.

The fact is that no matter when we restart the economy or how careful we are, the virus is going to spread. Some people will get it and never get sick, some will have milder cases, some will get very sick and (hopefully) we’ll be better prepared to help them, and tragically, some will die. All this self-quarantining was never going to reduce the number of cases in the long run, it was just meant to slow down the spread to make it easier to deal with. And it was also never meant to be an excuse for certain politicians to impose their crazy agendas or trample people’s Constitutional rights.

Nor was it meant to be an excuse for social media giants like Facebook to start acting like the Russian secret police and declaring people who protest the government to be “spreading misinformation” and silencing them.

This canard is based on a rationale similar to the slander of the Tea Party movement, that it wasn’t an “organic” public uprising, but just some astroturfed theater created by rightwing manipulators. I saw the Tea Party movement up close, and even wrote a book (“God, Guns, Grits and Gravy”) about the growing anger and frustration in “flyover country” at out-of-touch political and media elites. That was quite genuine, as the election of Donald Trump proved. And the fury over politicians who are trying to use the current health crisis to impose irrational and draconian restrictions on people’s rights is also quite genuine. (Here's the latest, and brace yourself for this one).

Note to Mark Zuckerberg: “Misinformation” doesn’t mean “states an opinion leftists don’t want to hear.” As a reminder, there are other social media outlets aside from the big names that do not censor political speech. My Twitter tweets are echoed on one, You should check it out, you might be needing it soon.

The New York Post tried to link a protest of the lockdown to a surge in coronavirus deaths, when the surge was reported on the same day the protest took place. That’s one fast virus!

A number of media outlets ran photos allegedly showing crowds on a newly-reopened beach in Jacksonville, Florida, violating social distancing guidelines. But it turned out that the photos looked like crowds from some angles, but from others, you could tell they were actually small groups, likely families who quarantine together, staying at least six feet away from other people. It’s called “perspective,” which a lot of people obviously don’t have.

Finally, New York Times writer Ginia Bellafante tried to blame the death of a New York man on Fox News because he allegedly contracted the virus on a cruise he took after watching Sean Hannity downplay the seriousness of the disease. Problem: the Hannity quote she cites was from March 9th, long after the man left on the cruise. However, before he left on the cruise, back on February 27th, he might have seen this tweet from another media figure: “I fundamentally don’t understand the panic. Virus is not deadly in vast majority of cases.” That was a quote from…take a wild guess?...New York Times reporter Ginia Bellafante.

One relative upside of the pandemic shutdown is that it has made a lot of people who like to wrap themselves in the mantle of “compassionate liberals” show their true colors. For instance, we’ve seen some truly wretched comments, ranging from anonymous Twitter trolls wishing death on the President and his supporters to clueless, bubble-dwelling celebrities and politicians mocking people who are desperate to get back to work so they don’t lose their homes and businesses and so they can pay their bills and feed their families.

We’ve also seen in stark terms the ugly selfishness of the left's “never let a good crisis go to waste” mentality, as Nancy Pelosi held up desperately-needed aid to small businesses to try to extort her “progressive” wish list into the bill. She’s now boasting that if we need another bill to keep the economy alive, she will force a national vote-by-mail law into it, creating a tsunami of vote fraud that will keep Democrats in power forever.

Another way that opportunistic leftists have tried to use this crisis to impose their agenda on America was by making it more lucrative to stay unemployed than to go back to work. They insisted that this wouldn’t incentivize unemployment. But it already is…

Some analysts say the lucrative unemployment benefits are a stealth way of forcing small businesses to raise wages without having to pass a new national minimum wage law. If so, then it’s a stealth way to put small businesses out of business nationwide, just as they have in cities and states that raised the minimum wage above market rates. Small businesses are drowning, and the Democrats want to throw them an anvil.

To sum up, Americans have gotten a good, hard look at what life under “Democratic socialism” and the Green New Deal would look like, as some prominent leftist politicians have celebrated the blows to the fossil fuel industry, all the lost jobs in industries they don’t like, and the expansion of dependence and government power, with people being ordered to stay inside, not drive, live off handouts, etc. If you like the current despair, impoverishment, lack of freedom and official disregard for constitutional rights, elect more AOCs and they’ll make it permanent.

Remember, when most of the news is, “all coronavirus, all the time,” much more of consequence is still going on. In addition to bringing you virus news, we’ve been trying to call attention to the stories that, without COVID-19 sucking all the air out of the room, would rightly be front and center. And there’s a stunning story that broke last night about British ex-spy and creative anti-Trump fiction writer Christopher Steele.

Chuck Ross of THE DAILY CALLER NEWS FOUNDATION has obtained the transcript to a deposition from March 17-18 by Christopher Steele for a defamation case in Britain related to the “dossier.” This was a suit brought against Steele by the owners of Alfa Bank –- Petre Aven, German Khan, and Mikhail Fridman –- over a memo in the “dossier” that claimed they had made payments to Vladimir Putin. Their lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson, was challenging Steele on the accuracy of that memo, and also his relationship with his “primary sub-source” for the information.

Since the IG report contains a rebuttal from Steele’s lawyers that mentions recordings and documents “meticulously” backing up his information, Tomlinson asked Steele about their existence. Conveniently, they do NOT exist; it’s impossible now to say how “meticulous” they were. And the source himself has testified to the FBI that Steele exaggerated and/or misrepresented what he had said, which was only “rumor and speculation.” Here’s how the questioning of Steele by Alfa Bank’s lawyers went:

Q: (Tomlinson) The “Primary Sub-Source’s” debriefings by Orbis [Steele’s company] were meticulously documented and recorded.

A: (Steele) At the time.

Q: But none of these documents exist, so they have all been destroyed.

A: At the time, Mr. Tomlinson, when we wrote the report.

Q: But you say it was meticulous, but no one is in a position to check that because the records don’t exist.

A: They no longer exist, but that is my assertion, indeed, my assertion under oath.

Further questioning revealed that Steele retained no contemporaneous emails or notes except for those with the FBI. He had used a personal email account for everything related to the Fusion GPS project, and those records were deleted.

And, specifically, the notes for “Report 112,” the memo on Alfa Bank, were not kept.

Q: You have no record of anything, have you?

A: I haven’t got any records relating to the creation of 112.

Q: Or indeed, any of the other memoranda?

A: No, THEY WERE WIPED IN EARLY JANUARY 2017. [Emphasis mine.]

It's true: communications with Fusion GPS on his company’s computer network were wiped on January 5, 2017. A Hushmail account he’d used in late December 2016 was also wiped. And no, I don’t mean, like “with a cloth.”

It was five days later that BUZZFEED published the “dossier.”

As Chuck Ross reports, Steele’s source allegedly used a number of contacts inside and outside of Russia to gather tips about Donald Trump, his associates, and Kremlin officials. Steele said the Trump campaign took part in a “well-coordinated conspiracy of cooperation” with the Russians to influence the 2016 election. After almost two years of investigating, the special counsel found no evidence of such a conspiracy, and newly declassified footnotes from IG Horowitz’ report shows that the FBI was well aware that Steele might have been receiving Russian disinformation.

Specifically, they suspected the stories regarding Michael Cohen’s trip to Prague and Trump’s antics with hookers at a Moscow hotel were false. (And, indeed, they were.)

But that didn’t stop them from using these stories and the rest of the unverified garbage in Steele’s “dossier.” They swore the information was VERIFIED when they applied to the FISA Court for a warrant to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

Even during the Alfa Bank testimony, Steele would not reveal the name of his primary source. Whoever it was, they had done business with Orbis for “several years.” Steele said his sources got paid retainers of $3,000 to $5,000 a month. Nice work, a little extra money for making up stuff.

And now, all the records of any of this appear to be gone.

Ross’s report doesn’t go into this, but I assume Alfa Bank’s defamation lawsuit might also relate to the completely debunked story about computer “pings” emanating from their bank tower to signal between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Yes, there were lots of anti-Trumpers who thoroughly bought into this ridiculous story, with no evidence at all.

For context, here’s Ross’s report from December of last year on the rebuttal by Steele’s attorneys of the IG report. It’s kind of funny in light of what we’ve just learned to read that “the lawyers did not say what, if anything, Steele plans to do with the recordings of the source.” The humor derives from the fact that STEELE HAD ALREADY GOTTEN RID OF THEM, all the way back in January of 2017. Pretty good joke, except that the joke was on all of us. I hope Alfa Bank cleans up big on this lawsuit. But, hey, where does President Trump go to sue?

Incidentally, remember when I recently asserted that not only did the Russians NOT want to help Trump, but they wanted to help Hillary win (not just “create chaos,” as we always hear)? Well, David Krayden, also of the DAILY CALLER NEWS FOUNDATION, has just written about that very thing.

As you likely know, the report submitted Tuesday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence supports the U.S. intel community’s assessment, back in January of 2017, that Russia “meddled” in the 2016 election to help Trump win. This conclusion seems extremely illogical, considering that the particular stories the FBI suspected were Russian misinformation –- the Michael Cohen trip to Prague and the prostitutes in the Moscow hotel –- were extremely damaging to Trump.

As Krayden notes, the committee released the document in a highly edited form that does not include any reference to the recently declassified files that point to a Russian disinformation campaign.

Former CIA officer and National Security Council Chief of Staff Fred Fleitz wrote an op-ed for FOX NEWS that addresses the flaws in this report, pointing out that its findings directly contradict those of the House Intelligence Committee from March 2018. Given all that we know, I would agree with Fleitz and go with the House findings that the intel community’s findings were tainted by anti-Trump forces. Most notable among the problems with the Senate report cited by Fleitz is its over-reliance on the potentially politically-charged observations of the CIA.

Fleitz calls former CIA Director John Brennan “the most politicized intelligence chief in American history.” He says that Brennan relied on “low-quality intelligence that failed to meet intelligence community standards [the Steele dossier?] to support the claim that Russian officials wanted Trump to win...” and “suppressed high-quality intelligence suggesting that Putin actually wanted the more predictable and malleable Clinton to win the 2016 election.”

Thank you! As I’ve said, this is the only conclusion that makes sense.

So, why did the Senate committee come to the opposite conclusion as the House and endorse John Brennan’s narrative that the Russians wanted to help Trump win? Fleitz speculates about that in his superb op-ed, a must-read. He says that the vice chairman, Democrat Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, essentially ran the show. Well, that would explain a lot.

Must-read for April 24

April 24, 2020

The most important MUST-READ article of the day is by Dr. Scott W. Atlas, former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center. It’s titled, “The Data is In; Stop the Panic and End the Total Isolation.”

Dr. Atlas lists five facts that all point to the need to end the economic lockdown while continuing to proceed with reasonable caution. These facts, which he explains in much more detail, are:

The overwhelming majority of people have little risk of dying from COVID-19 (those over 75 are at greatest risk; the current death rate for those 18 and under is zero)…Protecting older, high-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding…Our total isolation policy is prolonging the problem by preventing the development of “herd immunity”…People are dying because hypothetical projections of the need for care for COVID-19 patients caused states to cancel other medical procedures, from cancer screenings and biopsies to chemotherapy and brain surgeries…We now have a clearly-defined at-risk population that can be protected with targeted measures, so we don’t have to shut down the entire country.

This isn’t to say that we can immediately go back to life as it was two months ago. We’ll still need to follow reasonable precautions. Even if you’re not at greatest risk, why take unnecessary chances? But we now know a lot more about how dangerous the disease is, and about how damaging the response has been. We now have to consider whether the cure is on the verge of becoming worse than the disease.

Latest Coronavirus news

April 23, 2020

Here is the most recent, complete White House press briefing on the COVID-19 (Chinese) coronavirus. On Wednesday, President Trump was joined by CDC Director Robert Redfield…

Trump asked Redfield to speak and correct what he called “fake news,” headlines suggesting that Redfield said there could be an explosion of new cases in the fall. Redfield said that he just meant it would be more complicated to deal with a second wave in the fall because it would hit simultaneously with flu season, so there would be two viruses circulating at the same time. He said that doesn’t mean COVID-19 would be worse or impossible to handle, just difficult. But he’s confident that our mitigation strategies can keep it in containment mode and it will not overwhelm the medical system.

Trump also announced “Operation America Strong,” which he said was suggested by military officials. The Thunderbirds and Blue Angels will do flyover air shows in major cities, as tributes to the heroism of frontline health care workers who, like soldiers, have run toward the danger.

In one surprising twist, Trump undercut the claim that he’s pushing too hard to reopen America by saying he disagrees strongly with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to reopen some Georgia businesses. Trump said the time isn’t right yet under the guidelines, but that “at the same time, he must do what is right.” Boy, he really doesn’t have this “Hitler-like authoritarian dictator” thing down very well, does he?

In addition to Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Colorado have announced plans to begin reopening. More details about each state’s plans are here.


Here is our link to the most recent, complete White House press briefing on the COVID-19 (Chinese) coronavirus. On Wednesday, President Trump was joined by CDC Director Robert Redfield…

Trump asked Redfield to speak and correct what he called “fake news,” headlines suggesting that Redfield said there could be an explosion of new cases in the fall. Redfield said that he just meant it would be more complicated to deal with a second wave in the fall because it would hit simultaneously with flu season, so there would be two viruses circulating at the same time. He said that doesn’t mean COVID-19 would be worse or impossible to handle, just difficult. But he’s confident that our mitigation strategies can keep it in containment mode and it will not overwhelm the medical system.

Trump also announced “Operation America Strong,” which he said was suggested by military officials. The Thunderbirds and Blue Angels will do flyover air shows in major cities, as tributes to the heroism of frontline health care workers who, like soldiers, have run toward the danger.


Fresh off of deleting her tweet about how great it is to have all those people unemployed and forced into their homes while the economy languishes and the fossil fuel industry craters (“How are you enjoying your 30-day free trial of socialism?”), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez once again inadvertently told us what “Democratic socialists” really believe. She said that even after the virus lockdown ends, people should “just say no” to going back to work. She wants Americans to say, “We’re not going back to working 70-hour weeks just so that we could put food on the table and not even feel any sort of semblance of security in our lives.”

Get the impression that she doesn’t grasp the importance of “putting food on the table”? Or that not everyone has a job that pays over $170,000 a year for doing nothing? But to be fair, if she wants to stage a boycott and not return to Congress, she has my blessing.

IN CASE YOU MISSED ITEvening Edition - April 22


In one surprising twist, Trump undercut the claim that he’s pushing too hard to reopen America by saying he disagrees strongly with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to reopen some Georgia businesses. Trump said the time isn’t right yet under the guidelines, but that “at the same time, he must do what is right.” Boy, he really doesn’t have this “Hitler-like authoritarian dictator” thing down very well, does he?

In addition to Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Colorado have announced plans to begin reopening. More details about each state’s plans are here.


Yesterday, I wrote about a study of coronavirus patients at VA hospitals that found that the drug hydroxchloroquine did not help and was even associated with a higher death rate. As I expected, the mainstream media gave massive play to this study, since it gave them a chance to make President Trump look wrong (and even responsible for MORE DEATHS!!) for suggesting patients try it.

I saw none of these breathless accounts point out what I did: that the footnotes to the study made it clear that the drug was given to severely ill patients who were more likely to die anyway. Since then, other problems with the study have come up that will probably be ignored, since they don’t advance the “Trump is a dumb liar who wants people to DIE!” narrative.

Laura Ingraham has more

…As does Matt Margolis at PJ Media, who lists five serious problems with the study…

These are the same people who demand rigorous standards of proof from any study that shows the benefits of hydroxychoroquine. Is it too much to expect them to demand the same standards from studies that purport to refute those benefits?

Again, I’m not a doctor and I’m not qualified to recommend any particular treatment. But I am capable of recognizing media malpractice when I see it. Discouraging sick people from trying a promising treatment just because if it works, it might make your political opponent look better, is journalistic quackery at its worst.


A potential COVID-19 vaccine is already entering the first phase of human trials. Developing a vaccine can take years to decades, but there are ways to speed testing and invoke emergency use authorizations to get it to high-risk areas faster. There’s much more info at this link.

"SARS 2"

Here’s yet another way in which the World Health Organization ran defense for China: It turns out that in the early days of the coronavirus, it was being referred to as “Sars 2.” That was the devastating disease that came out of China in 2003 and has escaped from a Beijing biolab four times since. The WHO decided that, “From a risk communications perspective, using the name SARS can have unintended consequences in terms of creating unnecessary fear for some populations…” In other words, bad PR for China. So they called it COVID-19 instead.

I can certainly see their point. We wouldn’t want to frighten and confuse anyone by calling it Sars 2. So I’ll continue calling it by a clear and accurate name: either the “COVID-19 (Chinese) virus,” or, most clear and accurate of all, “the Wuhan virus.”


During an Arbor Day/Earth Day tree-planting ceremony at the White House Wednesday, President Trump announced that over the next few weeks, national parks will begin reopening. Maybe this will help discourage the harassment and arrests of people who dare to walk through public parks. Some local officials seem to believe that the coronavirus can be spread over a hundred yards of open territory, or maybe that it came from Smokey the Bear, not Chinese bats.

Meanwhile, as Trump was planting a tree, renowned eco-warrior Al Gore and Joe Biden provided the fertilizer. In a dual video appearance for Earth Day, Gore endorsed Biden for President and Joe responded with some organic word salad that must’ve had Al immediately regretting his endorsement.

I’m sure Gore would have preferred to take a private jet and a fleet of SUVs to some big gathering of fellow environmentalists at a five-star resort to tell the rest of us to live in caves, which is how celebrity environmentalists normally mark Earth Day. But this year, he was forced to use Skype, something I’ve been suggesting to them for years with no response.

Meanwhile, CBS and other media outlets showed their true colors on Earth Day by celebrating how wonderful it is that the air is cleaner, what with all those people being locked in their homes, forced to be wards of the government and having their freedom to travel taken away. They showed their love of the Earth by celebrating how great it would be if there were no people on it.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard someone in the media declare, “I love mankind, it’s people I can’t stand!” But that used to just be Linus in the “Peanuts” comic strip, not the environmental reporters.


As always, Kurt Schlichter dares to say what the mainstream media never will...but we’re all thinking it.


John Nolte serves up a nostalgic tribute to drive-in movies, and urges Hollywood to counter the coronavirus by bringing back drive-ins, good movies and hot dogs heated on engine blocks.


O Lord, thou art my God;

I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name;

for thou hast done wonderful things;

thy counsels of old

are faithfulness and truth.

Isaiah 25:1

We know the People’s Republic of China has been covering up its response to the release of the COVID-19 virus, but here’s a firsthand account that will chill you. It really is like something out of a spy thriller.

Chinese “citizen journalist” Li Zehua disappeared on February 26, after posting video on YouTube, Twitter and Weibo from his own car of being ambushed and followed by a white SUV and finally making it home but, hours later, having his apartment entered by three agents.

Prior to this happening, Li was working for the State-sanctioned broadcaster CCTV and had traveled to Wuhan to report on the coronavirus after another journalist “disappeared.” Li dared to report on the efforts of one neighborhood committee to hush up the reporting of new infections. Apparently the State decided he was taking his duties a bit too seriously, as his reports also involved interviewing the sick and visiting a crematorium where an employee said they were being paid extra to transport bodies.

At the time of his reports, he was outspoken about what he had seen, saying, “I don’t want to remain silent, or shut my eyes and ears. It’s not that I can’t have a nice life, with a wife and kids. I can. I’m doing this because I hope more young people can, like me, stand up.”

As Li was being pursued, he got it on video. He made it back to his apartment but then saw police and men in protective gear knocking on his neighbors’ doors. So he turned out all his lights and waited silently in front of his computer for hours. When the knock finally came, three men who identified themselves as “public security” officials entered his apartment and made him go with them to the police station, where they had him turn over his devices to a friend and told him he was being detained and investigated on charges of “disrupting public order.”

He wasn’t jailed, technically, but was kept “in quarantine” in Wuhan and later in his hometown, which is in a different province. Officials said the quarantine was being done because he had visited “sensitive epidemic areas.” Apparently, he was monitored by security guards, served three meals a day and was allowed to watch the CCTV evening newscast. Isn’t that nice?

He re-entered society on March 28. But some of those covering the story of his re-emergence have noticed that Li’s newly uncritical, patriotic tone is markedly different from the way it was before law enforcement took him in. “Throughout the whole time, the police acted civilly and legally,” he said after his release, “making sure I had rest and food. They really cared about me.” So nice. He said that since he got back, he had been spending time with his wife and family. He wished those who had been suffering from the disease a fast recovery. “May God bless China and the people of the world unite,” he said.

At the close of the new video he made on Wednesday, he quoted a cryptic line from Confucius about staying true to one’s beliefs: “The human heart is unpredictable, restless. Its affinity to what is right is small. Be discriminating, be uniform so that you may hold fast.”

When award-winning Chinese author and Wuhan resident Fang Fang documented online her life under the coronavirus lockdown and agreed to publish her journal in other languages, she began receiving threats. Apparently, her diary is not anything like the “official” account.

For example, in a post from February 13, she describes the scene inside a local crematorium. She tells the story of receiving a picture from a friend who is a doctor; it shows the floor of the facility littered with the cell phones of people who had been incinerated. The scale of death was apparently much larger than officials had said publicly.

Many of her posts have been deleted, she said in an interview last week with Chinese outlet Caijing (whose piece was –- surprise –- also deleted); her Weibo account (it’s like Twitter) was temporarily blocked; and she has received threats that make her worry for her family’s safety, as her home address was published.

For writing about the fear, anger and hope of Wuhan residents being kept in isolation, as well as “sensitive” topics such as overwhelmed hospitals turning away patients, shortages of basic supplies, the death of relatives, and –- worst of all –- daring to have the work published in English and German, she is being called a traitor.

Much more detail of her fascinating story is at the link. And read on to learn what we know about the two coronavirus whistleblowers who are still missing.

NATIONAL REVIEW reports that U.S. officials believe the ChiComms have spread already-existing misinformation about coronavirus through fake social media accounts and also through text messages, which Americans, in turn, shared on their networks. For example, one fake text message claimed the Department of Homeland Security had announced the Trump administration would impose a lockdown “as soon as they have troops in place to help prevent looters and rioters.” This one spread so widely (no doubt given a big push by anti-Trump media) that the National Security Council took the rare step of publicly denying its content.

According to one senior American official, agencies are looking into whether misinformation was being spread by Chinese spies on diplomatic missions in the U.S.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a Wednesday interview with Laura Ingraham, said “we still don’t have the transparency and openness we need in China,” and he blamed the World Health Organization for failing to achieve that transparency. “We need a structural fix for the W.H.O.,” he said, adding that we may never be able to give funds to that organization again.

Pompeo wouldn’t commit to saying the virus came out of the biolab, saying only that “we don’t know precisely where it started,” because China has denied access to investigators. He chuckled lightly at suggestions from the likes of former Secretary of State John Kerry that we should work with China. We’d love to work with China, Pompeo said, but you have to have a partner who is willing to do that.

One thing you have to say about Mike Pompeo: when it comes to the ChiComms –- and to most things, come to think of it –- he’s a master of understatement.

Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones, who made headlines for being an African-American Democrat who endorsed Trump’s reelection, is stepping down from his office less than a week later. He said he’s sick and tired of him and his family being attacked and harassed by the Democrat Party for putting his country ahead of his political party.

Jones said, “I take pride in being an independent thinker. My First Amendment right to freedom of speech is under siege. I intend to help the Democrat Party get rid of its bigotry against Black people that are independent and conservative. Turn the lights off, I have left the plantation. Someone else can occupy that suite.”

He said that with Trump’s record of creating jobs and record-low unemployment for African-Americans, he is best prepared to lead a post-virus recovery. He added, “I endorsed the White guy (Trump) that let Blacks out of jail, and they endorsed the White guy (Biden) that put Blacks in jail.”

The Democrats are playing a dangerous game by refusing to rein in their Trump Derangement Syndrome mobs with their vicious intolerance of any wavering from the leftist line. They’ve already sparked a “Walk Away” movement. If they can’t count on 90+ percent support from black voters, they’re in trouble electorally. And when their intolerance has grown so glaring that their own Black office holders are not only walking away, they’re comparing the trip to fleeing a plantation, that’s really bad optics. It might even inspire a lot of miseducated students to finally pick up a real American history book and learn who ran the original plantations and which party was created to end that system.

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

In welcome news, Attorney General Bill Barr said the Department of Justice may side with citizens who sue local governments for trampling their Constitutional rights in the name of preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Barr made it clear that he’s not talking about justifiable restrictions to protect public health, but “onerous” crackdowns that go too far and become “burdensome impingements on liberty.” And proving that sometimes, lawyers and courts are useful to people on the right, too, the Mayor of Greenville, Mississippi, announced that the $500 tickets handed to church members for attending a drive-in service in their own cars will not be enforced.

The American people are speaking up against government overreach in the name of public health, and they’re not always doing it politely. Like the Idaho mom who demanded to be arrested, and whose arrest sparked protests, when she was threatened with arrest for entering a closed public park to protest the government’s clampdown policies.

But Idahoans are downright polite compared to New Yorkers. When Mayor Bill DeBlasio set up a snitch hotline for people to turn in their neighbors for allegedly violating his stay-at-home orders, he got a lot of calls – but not the kind he was hoping for. Some of the nicer ones ratted on him for going to the gym when he banned it for other people. Some of the more New York-y responses included words I can’t repeat and photos of various finger gestures and parts of their anatomy that should definitely be kept behind closed doors. It’s funny how New Yorkers will elect liberals who love telling people what to do, but nobody better dare tell them what to do!

Maybe Mayor DeBlasio was under the delusion that New Yorkers were like the Australians who reported a couple to authorities and got them fined for violating the ban on non-essential travel after they posted some vacation photos on Facebook – from last year’s vacation. Who do those snitches think they are, Mark Zuckerberg?

Every now and then, when new developments pointed to Michelle Obama being on the ticket for 2020, I’ve written to sound the alarm once more. The last time was March 6, which seems like a thousand years ago. At that time, I said that she would be installed, “either as a last-minute substitute for him [Biden] or as #2 on the ticket, as he quietly fades away.” Since then, we’ve entered a whole new era, with a pandemic that has devoured all our attention, caused us to do the unthinkable and shut down the entire economy, and also completely changed the process of running for President (and all elective offices) this time around.

RELATED READING:  Ainsworth: Michelle O follow-up; answers to readers

At least a couple of years ago, I was sure Michelle Obama would somehow end up on the Democrat ticket --- for President. It was in February of 2019 that I felt it was necessary to start putting out the warning that she would be the nominee, that this was a foregone conclusion no matter what kind of make-believe show the Democrats put on. I won’t go back over the myriad reasons this seemed inevitable, but I will tell you why it seems like even more of a given today.

First with the obvious: In the past few months, even though the 77-year-old Biden stumbled his way to the top spot on the ticket, his mental decline has been even more marked. True, the coronavirus has made it easier for the Democrat Party to keep this confused, rambling, apparently senile man under wraps, as there will be no personal appearances, no town halls, apparently not even a convention. I doubt most Democrats seriously think that if he wins, decisions of any consequence will actually be made by him. But they’ll vote for him anyway, because 1) they hate Trump with the fire of a thousand suns, and 2) he’ll be bringing back the Democrat power structure, which is this time even farther to the left.

The real attention now is going to be on the choice for VP, who one way or another will have the real power if they win.

In January, an Iowa man asked Biden if he might consider former President Obama for the Supreme Court. “Yeah, I would, but I don’t think he’d do it,” Biden answered. “He’d be a great Supreme Court justice.” The man then asked, “The question is, which Obama?” The room predictably exploded with applause and various other warm expressions of approval.

"Well, I sure would like Michelle to be the Vice President,” Biden said with a laugh. “They’re both incredibly qualified people, I mean, and they’re such decent, honorable people.”

The buzz started immediately, with the INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES writing that “Michelle Obama recently sparked rumors that she could become the next Vice President of the United States.”

Just a week ago, a report in the WASHINGTON EXAMINER said, “Former first lady Michelle Obama is back in play big-time as a favorite to be Joe Biden’s running mate.” It went on to say that according to, gambling markets have seen a surge for Obama.

"Michelle Obama has been the most backed person in the market, accounting for almost 32 percent of all bets,” the firm reports. (On the other hand, I don’t know how much weight should be given to that, as another name “surging” a bit recently has been the extremely frightening and power-mad Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.)

On March 8, John Fund at NATIONAL REVIEW broke down the reasons she might or might not do it. “Stranger things have happened in politics,” he said, “and in the age of Trump, they often do.” He pointed out some of the inducements: She wouldn’t have to endure the marathon campaign for President (and since he wrote that, it’s become clear there won’t be much campaigning at all). She reportedly doesn’t like mingling, but there will be no hand-shaking now; she could just “appear” at events before the adoring crowds. (I would add it looks now as if there will be no events and no crowds.) She wouldn’t have to do fundraising. Malia and Sasha are college-age now, and the media would continue to treat them with deference.

RELATED READINGAinsworth: With Biden winning, watch what Michelle O does now

There’s also the inducement of Biden appointing Barack Obama to the U.S. Supreme Court. Yes, we have precedent for this: William Howard Taft in the 1920s.

Cut to yesterday (Tuesday), when reported that in an interview with Pittsburgh’s Jon Delano, Biden said of Michelle, “I’d take her in a heartbeat. She’s brilliant. She knows the way around. She is a really fine woman. The Obamas are great friends.”

The article goes on to say there’s no one who could help Biden’s ticket more than Michelle O. “Period.” But it expresses major doubt as to whether she would agree, citing what she has said previously about running for office, which I will say means exactly nothing. As the article muses, “’s impossible to totally rule out the possibility of Michelle Obama agreeing to be the Vice Presidential nominee. Why? Because if Biden asked her and told her that if she said ‘yes’ they would have a greatly increased chance of ending Trump’s time as President, it is theoretically possible that she might be swayed by that argument.”

CNN also cites her criticism of Trump in a 2019 interview with Gayle King: “...what saddens me is what it’s doing to the country as a whole. What we have to be really conscientious of is what kind of country we’ve leaving for our children and grandchildren.” That, of course, would be the media-reinforced theme of her candidacy:  bringing the nation together after this time of great conflict (which, of course, is all because of Trump, not the irrational hatred the left has for him).

Here’s another story from yesterday, at Yahoo News, in which we learn from Obama “family adviser” Valerie Jarrett that Michelle “really kind of transcends politics. “Obviously, she supports Vice President Biden bur doesn’t see herself as a political figure.” That’s what Jarrett told POLITICO, but don’t be fooled. It is not a denial.

The POLITICO article is what sparked me to write on this topic again.

About the only other real possibility was New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but my Magic 8 Ball says IT IS NOT TO BE. Cuomo did a radio interview with Sean Hannity a few days ago in which Sean really put him on the spot about running. The way that conversation went, I actually believed Cuomo (yes, seriously) when he said he is absolutely not leaving New York. Besides, Biden has committed to picking a woman, preferably a black woman, and I’ll bet Cuomo already knows Michelle is it. While we’ve been talking about infection rates and “flattening the curve,” they’ve been moving the chess pieces around.

Democrats know that putting Michelle on the ticket and winning with that is the one way to keep the Obama legacy from being entirely dismantled during a second Trump term. She could end up sliding neatly into the Oval Office without even having to campaign. If anything poses more long-term danger to America than the damn coronavirus does, this just might be it.

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.

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 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”.

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.”

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.

Last week I made the case for why the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) from January 2017, which concluded that Russia was trying to damage Hillary and help Trump win, was 180 degrees WRONG. It’s no longer just a wild right-wing conspiracy theory, but, I believe, the only logical conclusion, to say that Russia was actually trying to hurt Trump and stay on what they assumed was the winning side, Hillary’s.

Let’s start making sense: if certain “dossier” stories were Russian disinformation designed to help Trump, as recently-declassified footnotes in the IG report suggest the FBI suspected, then they wouldn’t have been anti-Trump falsehoods like Michael Cohen’s imaginary trip to Prague or Trump’s fictional romp in a Moscow hotel with a couple of full-grown Betsy-Wetsy dolls. Heck, the Russians would have been working on a “dossier” of their own, full of terrible Hillary stories (as if we didn’t have enough of those).

Commentary continues below advertisement

It certainly makes sense to think they’d assume Hillary was going to win. (And surely they would not want the scenario of Hillary winning and then finding out they’d been working for her opponent!) Hillary was a known quantity, she headed an unfathomably-huge international political power machine, they’d supported the Clinton Global Initiative and they’d paid her husband a fortune just to give a couple of speeches. Surely they were expecting some big things in return. One of these things they’d already received, when she signed off on an agreement that led to Russia owning 20 percent of America’s uranium reserves. Do they think President Donald Trump in their wildest dreams would have gone for THAT?

But as John Solomon wrote over the weekend, “As the Obama administration was headed out the door in January 2017, its intelligence leaders concluded with moderate to high confidence that Russia’s meddling in 2016, including the hack of emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and the Democratic Party, was designed to help Trump defeat Clinton.” And that was their narrative (with cooperation from the media) going into Trump’s administration –- not just Russian "meddling," but that Trump's campaign had actively conspired with the Russians. They claimed this with no evidence at all, as the special counsel would determine much later.

You know, we still don’t even have hard evidence that the Russians were the ones who got those emails in the first place. The DNC never did turn over the information on their servers to the FBI, only the report from CrowdStrike. Yet for some baffling reason the FBI were okay with that and went along with the DNC’s self-serving conclusion. Others have come up with some very different possible scenarios for the hacking or leaking of that information, but these are dismissed as wild conspiracy theories.

OUR TOP STORY  Doesn't everybody want a quick end to the pandemic?

Daniel Hoffman, the CIA’s former Moscow station chief and one of our top experts in Russian spycraft, said he believed all along that the Obama administration’s assessment was wrong and sees the newly-declassified footnotes as confirmation. In other words, the Russians were NOT trying to help Trump get elected. On the other hand, he thinks the whole issue of whether the Russians were helping Trump or Clinton is “superfluous.” If I understand correctly what he’s quoted as saying, I disagree strongly with that because of the anything-but-superfluous political consequences of the "helping Trump" narrative chosen by Obama’s outgoing administration.

So, considering there was no evidence that Trump was “colluding” with Russians, where did the FBI get that idea? According to Solomon, Republican investigators such as Rep. Devin Nunes of California, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, are focusing on what John Brennan’s CIA was telling the FBI in 2016.

Commentary continues below advertisement

Hoffman said he’s always maintained that the Kremlin was tracking Christopher Steele’s information-gathering efforts. “Putin would have recognized the opportunity to infiltrate Steele’s work and plant misinformation, which would not immediately be spotted because Steele was supposed to be a reliable, retired MI-6 officer with a strong background on Russia,” he said. (I would add that if Putin thought that about Steele, he was wrong, as the FBI had been doubting him as a reliable source since 2015.)

I still say Putin was doing this to help Hillary, to gain additional favor with her, as he must have assumed she would find out after she was President about his efforts to help her win. No telling what he might get in return --- plus it occurs to me that it might be an interesting blackmail opportunity for him as well. Nobody thought Trump was going to be President (well, except for me and a few other independent thinkers.) “The Steele dossier was used as fodder in our partisan, political meat grinder,” according to Hoffman. “Putin’s goal is to exacerbate the already high level of animosity between Democrats and Republicans, with an eye towards degrading our democracy.”

Well, his effort to help Hillary with anti-Trump "disinformation" failed, but he certainly degraded our democracy, with plenty of help from Democrats.

Reader Carol wrote in to ask about a story in the U.K. DAILY MAIL that criticized a tax provision in the “CARES” Act as a giveaway to the rich. Specifically, it said that 80 percent of the benefit would go directly to millionaires and billionaires, including Jared Kushner and others in the “Trump circle.”

Not surprisingly, a review of the DAILY MAIL report showed it had no balance, no commentary from anyone on the other side of this issue. And predictably, the story was picked up by other left-leaning sites that presented the same simplistic take-away; namely, that the Republicans had added this provision to further enrich their “rich friends.” It took some looking, but we found an analysis in a more conservative news outlet, THE FEDERALIST, from Kyle Sammin, that took exception to this conclusion.

Commentary continues below advertisement

The headline and subhead sum it up: “No, Boosting Small Business Isn’t Rich People ‘Looting’ Taxpayers: Far from a handout to rich guys, a small change under the coronavirus stimulus package reduces taxes on business owners so they can retain employees on payroll.” It cites Jeff Stein at the WASHINGTON POST for using the tired media narrative that Republicans care only about rich people while failing to explore the reasons Democrats went along with this (they voted for it, you know). “As usual,” Sammin writes, “there is more to the story than the class warfare angle.”

The way Sammin explains it, this is “far from a naked handout to rich guys.” The tax incentive was added because of a change that had been made in the tax law in 2017 regarding the way small business tax losses are treated. The reason taxes on business owners (those “millionaires and billionaires”) have been reduced is to make it easier to retain workers on payroll while they’re shut down. It does not apply to personal income taxes.

It also doesn’t apply to huge, publicly-traded corporations, he says, but to smaller businesses that are organized for tax purposes as “tax-throughs.” We’re talking about proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, and subchapter S corporations, whose profits are taxed at the individual level, not the corporate level. According to Sammin, about 95 percent of all businesses in America are organized this way.

This is your locally-owned neighborhood hair salon, family-owned restaurant or clothing boutique that has been hard-hit by the quarantine. In parts of the country with a mid-to-higher cost of living, especially, these business owners are going to be in the “millionaire” category, and these are the people –- along with their employees –- who are holding on for dear life.

The tax change in 2017 meant that, starting in 2018, small businesses couldn’t write off more of a loss than $250,000, or $500,000 if it was owned by a married couple. At that time, people who lost that kind of money tended to be disproportionately wealthy. But now, many more small businesses will show a loss like this, which means they have to cut pay or lay off employees altogether. This provision in the CARES Act was intended to lighten the load on these small businesses. “Like most tax incentives,” Sammins writes, it is not perfect, but it should be marginally effective in helping all workers, not just the rich.”

Commentary continues below advertisement

Yes, some of these small businesses are owned by quite wealthy people. Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, who did vote for the bill, complained, “It’s a scandal for Republicans to loot American taxpayers in the midst of an economic and human tragedy.” He’s hoping you don’t think too deeply about this and realize that it’s not “looting” to let small businesses write off their actual losses, especially at a time when they are faced with the very real possibility of losing it all.

As long as we’re looking at the CARES Act, here’s a less shall-we-say “charitable” look at the possible unintended consequences. It explains how the program is vulnerable to waste, fraud and abuse. (To that I would say, well, yes...isn’t every government program?) As Gary Meltz writes in the WASHINGTON EXAMINER, “These are honest and legal ways the PPP allows business owners who are not struggling due to the pandemic to make massive profits. Now think about the unethical and illegal methods that probably also exist.” To give the complete picture, I’ve included that take here:

The law has loopholes that allow larger businesses such as large restaurant chains to take advantage. For example, as Dominick Mastrangelo reports in the WASHINGTON EXAMINER, an exemption in the CARES Act allows food industry businesses to obtain loans as long as no more than 500 employees work at a single location. (I could argue, though, that it might be just as challenging, perhaps in different ways. to keep a big chain of restaurants afloat as it is to sustain a single restaurant or small regional chain.) Also, the law does not specifically prohibit aid from going to publicly listed firms.

Keep in mind that while we’re talking about this, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are holding off their approval of a bill to replenish by $250 billion the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small business loans, which in just two weeks was drained of its original $350 billion. This lack of money could affect hundreds of thousands of businesses. Again, this bill is another effort to help businesses keep people employed while they are unable to make payroll. Democrats are trying to inflate the bill to $500 billion –- for hospitals, food assistance and first responders –- and are delaying its passage.

They should go forward with this NOW and take up other funding in a separate bill. Stop bickering and playing politics; Congress has the “power of the purse” and could introduce additional legislation and debate the details of that funding separately rather than hold this bill hostage.

I would add that OF COURSE any funding bill designed to help desperate small businesses could end up benefiting some people who are wealthy –- including some who are disliked for partisan reasons. Just speaking broadly, if a bill that’s going to provide critical relief to small businesses happens to have some benefit for, say, Jared Kushner, does that mean we’re going to go on the assumption that it was DESIGNED to help build Jared Kushner’s portfolio and summarily reject it, leaving small businesses to twist in the wind? Or, are we perhaps going to do some sort of carve-out so that the program benefits everyone EXCEPT Jared Kushner (and anyone else who might be in Trump’s “circle,” or even every rich Republican)? Leftists would love to do that, but there’s a word for it: unconstitutional.

By the way, Pelosi, in a Sunday interview with Chris Wallace in which she repeatedly noted how “nonpartisan” her colleagues are being on the issue of help for small business (!), still managed to finger-point at Trump and would give no Democrats any responsibility for the delay in funding. “He’s a poor leader,” she said of the President. “He’s always trying to avoid responsibility and assign blame.” Um, Nancy, isn’t that exactly what YOU are doing in this very interview?

I’ve been concerned enough about the Coronavirus that I haven’t left my home in almost 6 weeks and have taken extreme precautions to protect my family and myself. It wasn’t irrational fear about getting sick, but respect for the guidelines so we can get this over with. But there is something that scares me worse than a virus and in fact, scares me more than death itself. I’ve made arrangements both for my physical death and my eternal life once that happens. But I’m genuinely afraid that we are losing our civil liberties and our fundamental freedoms as they are ripped from our lives. Shockingly, many American are actually cheering about it. To quote Jesus, “Father, Forgive them-they know NOT what they do!”

In KY, it took a smart and “rule-of-law” federal judge on Saturday afternoon before Easter Sunday to declare that the government couldn’t forbid a Louisville church from offering a drive-in service to its members. The federal judge noted that there was irony in that people were free to visit a liquor store drive-through couldn’t attend a drive-in church service and that he doubted that consumption of alcohol was somehow considered more “essential” than attending church on Easter Sunday.

In Greenville, MS the mayor sent cops to a church to forbid the people from even sitting in their own cars in the church parking lot for a drive-in service and gave $500 tickets to each person sitting in his or her own car. The only violators of safe social distancing were the cops, who went right up to car windows and barked orders and handed tickets to startled worshippers. Thank God, Attorney General Bill Barr has decided to review clear violations of the 1st Amendment in cases like this.

Commentary continues below advertisement

In Michigan, the Governor moved from nanny to tyrant by forbidding people to buy seeds to plant gardens, even though the seeds were on shelves in stores that were open! That resulted in hundreds of people driving around the State Capitol, honking their horns in protest. The Governor stubbornly asserted that she was right. So people planting their own gardens and eating produce they grow is somehow more unhealthy than going to a supermarket and handling produce that may have been touched by dozens of strangers?

In addition, a father was arrested and handcuffed for playing catch with his own daughter in a completely deserted public park. People have been threatened with arrest for setting foot in their own backyards. The New Jersey Governor, when asked about what gave him the right to suspend the Bill of Rights, said, “that’s above my pay grade…we weren’t thinking about the Bill of Rights when we did this.” Obviously not! Well we all need to be thinking about it!

I don’t want any of us to get sick or die from a virus that probably came not from bat-soup, but a Chinese bio-lab. But if we freely surrender our basic civil liberties now, don’t think we will ever get all of them back. I don’t trust government. I was in government long enough to know that the only thing between freedom and tyranny is a vigilant citizen who remembers that government works for us—not the other way around.

I fully understand the Biblical mandate to obey civil authorities, but I also understand that when civil authorities demand of me to do something immoral or against the law or Constitution, I have not merely a right, but a responsibility to resist and to willingly suffer the consequences. Thank God for Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and for that matter the entirety of our Founding Fathers who revolted against racism, Nazism, and tyranny but willingly suffered for doing so because they valued liberty and the law more than life itself.

It’s fine to be afraid of the virus. It’s wise to take precautions. But be afraid of a government that can take your life, your liberty, and these days, even your freedom to worship your Lord.

At a time when the news is full of speculation about what will happen when we take the first “baby steps” towards opening the American economy, an intriguing article appeared about a study on infection rates around the world that our epidemiologists might want to take into account.

Professor Yitzhak Ben Israel of Tel Aviv University did a study of new coronavirus infection rates in the US, UK, Sweden, Israel, Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany and Spain. What he found is is very...well, it’s hard to know what to make of it.

When he compared a quarantined nation such as Israel with a business-pretty-much-as-usual nation such as Sweden, the coronavirus peaked and subsided in exactly the same way. And ALL the graphs looked the same.

"His graphs show that all countries experienced seemingly identical coronavirus infection patterns,” reports Marina Medvin in her piece for TOWNHALL, “with the number of infections peaking in the sixth week and rapidly subsiding by the eighth week.” The Wuhan virus follows its own fixed infection pattern, the professor suggested, that is not dependent on freedom or quarantine. In other words, even if people are having contact with each other, there is a natural decline in the number of infections.

"Expansion begins exponentially but fades quickly after about eight weeks,” he said. He doesn’t know why this happens, but speculates that it’s climate-related or is just the life cycle of the virus. (I would add that if it's climate-related, we would likely have a "second wave" in the fall and winter. But maybe by then we'd have a much better idea of how to treat it.)

Commentary continues below advertisement

The professor even has a possible explanation for Italy’s staggering 12 percent mortality rate: the health care system there. “The health care system in Italy has its own problems,” he said. “It has nothing to do with coronavirus. In 2017 it also collapsed because of the flu.” And Italy does have high flu mortality rates as well, especially compared with a country such as Germany, which has low coronavirus infections and mortality rates and also low flu rates. (I'm no epidemiologist, but I would add that Italy also has a population that skews very old.)

Although he does recommend moderate social distancing, Prof. Ben Israel says his data from the past 50 days do not support the quarantine or the economic shut-down. He calls the reaction in Israel “mass hysteria,” saying, “I have no other way to describe it...4,500 people die each year from the flu in Israel because of complications, so, close a country because of that? No. I don’t see a reason to do that because of a lower-risk epidemic.”

Of course, he has the benefit of hindsight, as well as the data he’s collected over the past 50 days. At the start of this, there was no way to plot the “life cycle” of the virus on a graph. For all we knew, the infection rate would increase exponentially and then just continue...exponentially. The British computer model used by Dr. Fauci was developed by a researcher named Professor Neil Ferguson, who reportedly has a history of wildly overestimating mortality rates. It was his model that predicted we’d have 2.2 million deaths in the United States and 500,000 deaths in the U.K. Both those figures have been revised very dramatically downward.

Certainly we had to err on the side of caution rather than risk millions of deaths. But this professor's research should be weighed now in any decision on when and how to start living our lives.

Here is his original interview with the Israeli news outlet Mako.

If you’re like me, you get an initial impression of a story but then, after thinking about it for another day or so, you sometimes realize there are even more far-reaching implications than anyone is talking about. Such was the case for me and my research staff after reading about the newly declassified footnotes from the IG report on the FBI’s FISA warrant applications.

Yes, we know that Russia might have been running a disinformation campaign on Christopher Steele. (This could be true even though we have reason to believe that a lot of it actually came from Glenn Simpson with Steele’s name attached.)  We know the Russians had information by summer of 2016 that he was working for Fusion GPS to help Hillary.

Yes, we know that the FBI knew about this possible Russian involvement --- BEFORE the FISA warrant application was renewed to spy on Carter Page and before the Mueller special counsel had been appointed. (I believe they were duty-bound to alert the FISA Court of any problem with information in their original application, but they ignored that and blithely went on to renew it three more times.)

But there’s something MORE we know: that, contrary to what the FBI said and the Intelligence Community concluded in their January 2017 report, Russia was NOT doing this to help Trump. They weren’t even doing it just to “create chaos,” although that was a plus.

Commentary continues below advertisement

So what was their actual goal? Well, class, if they were doing it to help Trump, if they were “colluding” with Trump to win the election, wouldn't they have been spreading damaging stories about HILLARY?  Why would they be spreading phony stories like the one about Trump attorney Michael Cohen going on a suspicious trip to Prague (he never went), or the one about Trump frolicking with incontinent hookers in a Moscow hotel (it didn’t happen)? These are two examples of stories, as revealed in the IG footnotes, that the FBI thought might have come from a Russian disinformation campaign. Who does that kind of story help? I’ll give you a hint: not Trump.

And why would Christopher Steele’s sub-source be a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton, as is revealed in the footnotes? Who would his information be intended to help? Hint: Not Trump.

Why would Steele himself, an ardent Clinton supporter who was hired by Hillary and the DNC, who was “desperate” to make sure Trump didn’t win and who had a deadline of Election Day to get his anti-Trump “dossier” out, be doing this project in the first place? Who was he trying to help? Not Trump.

So where does anyone get the idea that the Russians were trying to hurt Hillary and help Trump?

That was the FBI’s narrative in the summer of 2016 and onward, and it led to years of ridiculous investigation, but the truth was actually just the opposite. Everyone connected with this scheme --- Steele, his sources and sub-sources, Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS, the Democratic National Committee, Hillary’s lawyers, the top echelon of the FBI, the director of the CIA, the special counsel team, Democrats on the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, allies at the DOJ and State Department, and, obviously, RUSSIA --- was aligned with Hillary. They were all trying to hurt Donald Trump and help Hillary Clinton, whom they surely believed would be the next U.S. President. This isn’t a wild conspiracy theory; with all we know now, any other conclusion defies logic.

RELATED READING:  More IG footnotes show the FBI was NOT "duped" by Russia

I would add that with a group of this size, power and scope aligned with Hillary, the then-President of the United States was aware of their activities. Hard to prove, but, again, it defies reason to think he wasn't informed about a lot of it. As Lisa Page texted to Peter Strzok in September 2016: “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing.”

Here’s a concise report on what the footnotes, just released by acting Director of National intelligence Richard Grenell, reveal:

It was so important for the FBI and whoever else was working with them to “get” Trump that they violated the rights of innocent Americans such as Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, who were literally caught in the “Crossfire.” Papadopoulos even got jail time. 

And speaking of George Papadopoulos, Lindsay Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has just declassified and released documents and transcripts relating to him and the FBI’s targeting of him. The material he released falls into three categories:

1) Declassified information related to “Crossfire Hurricane.”

2) Timeline of correspondence sent and received by the Committee regarding FISA abuse investigation.

3) Corrective action taken by the DOJ and FISA Court as a result of FISA abuse investigation.

We learn from the correspondence that the DOJ has produced the following documents:

–- Transcript of conversation between Papadopoulos and the FBI confidential human source (CHS, or “SPY”).

–- Another transcript of conversation between Papadopoulos and the aforementioned SPY.

--- The original FISA warrant application to spy on Carter Page.

--- Renewals one, two and three of the original Carter Page application (written AFTER the FBI knew of the problems with the “dossier” used therein).

--- A July 2018 letter from the DOJ to the FISA Court alerting them to some of the errors and omissions in the Carter Page application.

You can read the transcript of the conversation between George Papadopoulos and the SPY here, at the link.

When Papadopoulos was informed that this material had been declassified, he had an interesting reaction. A big question, of course, is who sent Hillary supporter and Australian diplomat Alexander Downer to London to meet with Papadopoulos in the spring of 2016? Recall that the FBI said their conversation, in which Papadopoulos reportedly said the Russians had damaging information about Hillary (which appears to have been fed to him by another CHS), is what sparked the opening of “Crossfire Hurricane.” Here’s what Papadopoulos tweeted on Thursday evening:

"Senator Graham in his letter to Australia made it clear that Alexander Downer was instructed to meet with me. Mueller’s team acknowledged he was recording me after I reported him to them (the irony). The key question is, who put the Clinton errand boy up to it? DURHAM KNOWS.” (Emphasis mine.

Papadopoulos Reacts to Declassification of Spygate Transcripts: "Durham Knows" Who Sent Clinton Errand Boy to Meet with Me in London

So we can add Alexander Downer --- and whoever sent him to London --- to the massive column of Spygate characters who were out to HELP HILLARY WIN. And, yes, we can add Russia, too.  Much more to come, because Durham knows.


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.

But wait, there’s more! In my recent commentary on revelations in newly declassified footnotes from the Horowitz report, I said the FBI would try to claim they were duped by the Russians but that they actually weren’t. As of yesterday, we have hard evidence that if the Russians were getting in on the act and supplying disinformation to Steele, FBI agents KNEW IT.

In other words, there was no “duping” going on. Well, maybe of Steele, but not of the FBI.

As Chuck Ross at the DAILY CALLER reports, Russian intelligence knew during the 2016 campaign that Christopher Steele was investigating Trump’s campaign. Just-declassified footnotes from the IG report show not only that Russian intelligence might have been collecting information on Steele’s firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, but that in January of 2017, a member of the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” team had evidence of this.

Commentary continues below advertisement

Recall that Steele started working for Fusion GPS on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee in June of 2016. There’s a footnote in the IG report that says a June, 2017, intel report “indicated that two persons affiliated with RIS [Russian Intelligence Service] were aware of Steele’s election investigation in early July 2016.”

So the Russians knew he was doing this almost from the beginning and very likely were feeding him disinformation; this would certainly help explain the many inaccuracies.

But, to me, this isn’t the most important part of the story. It was almost a given that the Russians would have known what Steele was up to and would have tried to create a little chaos. (It’s what they do.) The really important part is that the FBI agents KNEW about this. Information released on Wednesday, in the form of these declassified footnotes, shows that the FBI found out on January 12, 2017, two days after BUZZFEED published the “dossier.” At that point, they knew, for example, that the fake story Steele had provided about Michael Cohen going to Prague in August of 2016 was likely Russian disinformation.

Oh, and the fake story about Trump and the hookers in the Moscow hotel? On February 27, 2017, the FBI found out that might have been Russian disinformation, too.

In fact, the FBI had been questioning Steele’s value as a source since 2015 because of his multiple contacts with Russian oligarchs and/or their intermediaries.

There were problems with the sub-source, too (the person who passed information to Steele), and the agents knew about that, too, as of early June 2017. According to these footnotes, the sub-source (not identified) had contacts with an individual in the Russian presidential administration in June/July of 2016. Also, the sub-source had voiced “strong support” for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. (I would add that Steele had, too.)

So, once the FBI agents involved in “Crossfire Hurricane” knew that Russians might have compromised Steele’s information, did they go to the FISA Court and say, “Um, we see that there might be a problem with some of the information in our original warrant application...”? Heck, no, they just kept right on renewing the application and continuing their spying. Why spoil a good thing? And did they go to BUZZFEED and say, “You know that Trump ‘dossier’ you published a couple of days ago? There’s some false information in there that we are pretty sure was planted by the Russians.” Again, heck no.

As Chuck Ross reports, “The lead supervisory intelligence analyst on the FBI investigation told the IG’s office he did not know as of June 2017 that Steele’s source network “had been penetrated or compromised.”

Read the full report here.

On Wednesday’s HANNITY show, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes said, “...You’re beginning to see what we wanted you to see all along….Here’s the problem that we have with the dirty cops at the FBI and DOJ and elsewhere: ...House Republicans were running an investigation, starting in 2017, on everything ‘Russia,’ remember? Well, here, the whole time, who had this information? The FBI knew that Steele could be compromised.”

"I hope,” he said, “that---there better be people who are charged with lying and obstructing a congressional investigation, because we should have been given this information.”

Nunes also noted that in the Intel Community Report on Russia –- the one that concluded Russia had interfered in our election to help Trump –- Steele’s phony “dossier” had been used. (I would add that both John Brennan and James Comey were pushing hard for it to be included in that report.) “Now, if that is all of the information that we have from all of our intelligence assets, where was the information that we now learn from the Horowitz report? Why was that not in the ICA?”

House Judiciary Committee member Matt Gaetz added that when he questioned Robert Mueller directly, asking if the Steele “dossier” was part of the Russian disinformation campaign, he said, “That’s not my purview.” I would observe that if he really didn’t know the answer to this most basic of questions, then he couldn’t possibly have been in charge of the special counsel investigation into Trump/Russia “collusion” (as if we didn't already have plenty of reason to conclude that), and that makes the Mueller probe a big fraud. And if he did know, then he was lying his head off, which also makes the Mueller probe a big fraud and Mueller himself guilty of lying before Congress.

It’s all becoming clearer by the day. Lying (both to Congress and the FISA Court) and obstruction of a congressional investigation --- those are crimes, the sort of thing U.S. Attorney John Durham has been looking into and (let's hope) making a case. Attorney General Bill Barr had good reason to say that what happened to President Trump was “a travesty.”

Here's another excellent report on the story, from Law Enforcement Today.

Declassified Report: FBI knew Steele Dossier against Trump had ‘Russian disinformation’

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.

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!

Commentary continues below advertisement

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.”

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.

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.

Commentary continues below advertisement

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.)

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:

Commentary continues below advertisement

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.

Even with 24/7 virus coverage, I’ll bet you haven’t heard much about what it’s like here in Dallas, Texas. We’re not making much national news, which surprises me a little, as we’ve definitely got some issues going on that relate to the larger discussion: control of the virus vs. control of Americans. As someone who lives in a suburb inside Dallas County –- only in the most technical sense am I not a Native Texan –- it seemed like a good idea to bring them up.

First, it should be said that I agree with the theory expressed in the Gov's earlier commentary that some of the resistance to the hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin treatment is not out of concern that it won’t work, but that it WILL. Absolutely, there are those who want to use this pandemic to introduce all sorts of societal controls; I’ll get to that in a bit. First, let’s look at the front page of Sunday's DALLAS MORNING NEWS, specifically the unenthusiastic headline: “D-FW hospitals sent unproven drug.” I realize writer Allie Morris of the DSM’s Austin Bureau probably didn’t come up with that headline, but it certainly shows the mindset of whoever did.

RELATED READINGDoesn't everybody want a quick end to the pandemic?

The good news is, North Texas hospitals are getting at least some HCQ; Medical City locations reportedly received a total of 5,000 tablets, but one gets the impression they’re being held onto very tightly. A spokesperson said they’re being used only for “certain” COVID-19 patients “with appropriate informed consent." The approach throughout the article is extremely cautious; you won’t see any accounts of miraculous cures or enthusiastic endorsements like the one linked to in our earlier commentary –- only the message that 1) the drug is not FDA-approved for this use (actually, that’s misleading; it’s approved for “emergency” use, and off-label use is up to the doctor), 2) there are worrisome side effects (many doctors would say these are overblown and that the drug is one of the safest), and 3) that it might make some patients feel better but they don’t know until they have more data.

Commentary continues below advertisement

Contrast this dismissiveness with the slant of the adjacent article (if you’re looking at the actual printed edition): “Managing crisis with experience,” a softball piece about Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. It's not widely known that a county judge in Texas has sweeping powers during an emergency; he can pretty much take over and run the show, and that’s what Jenkins has done, to the point where the county commissioners stepped in to limit his power. Jenkins has clamped down hard on the local economy, harder than Gov. Greg Abbott.

As the piece says, “He has knowingly sacrificed a booming economy in the state’s second-most populous county to save people’s lives. Each urgent step he has taken –- often ahead of the rest of the state –- has been informed by his faith, science and experience gleaned from a decade of managing complex public health crises such as West Nile and Ebola, say those who know him. Jenkins, a Democrat first elected to the role in 2010, has emerged as a decisive leader whose restrictions –- including a stay-in-place order –- have led the regional response to the pandemic.”

I swear, this piece could have been written by a public relations firm. Jenkins has been “championed” by health care experts and hospital CEOs for “his proactive response to the pandemic.” The praise goes on and on, saying that “speculation has swirled about Jenkins’ political future...his growing fan base on social media regularly encourages him to run for governor.”

Full disclosure: I strongly disagreed with Judge Jenkins a few years ago when the issue of unaccompanied children at the Mexican border affected our own community; Jenkins was determined to wave them on into Dallas County and house them in a vacant middle school building smack in the middle of a residential area near my own neighborhood. (He certainly didn’t seem concerned about contagion then.) He was quoted in THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS as saying there was no neighborhood opposition, which I know was not the case because I was vocally opposed to it myself, along with many others. It looked as though this was just going to happen, but then for some reason I’ll never know, it didn’t. Maybe since we weren’t in an emergency then, he didn’t get to use dictatorial powers.

Anyway, the juxtaposition of these two articles communicates very clearly the mindset of the left: A promising drug therapy that Trump advocates in the hope it will save lives: “unproven.” The economy-destroying lock-down of an entire county that a local official imposes in the hope it will save lives: “proactive.”

Speaking of dictatorial powers, Daniel Horowitz at CONSERVATIVE REVIEW has a great piece on the growing police state surrounding this contagion. “As the Supreme Court has said many times,” he writes, “there are times when life, liberty and property can be infringed upon, but it must be narrowly tailored to the least invasive means needed to achieve the compelling state interest. What is happening now is anything but narrow.”

Commentary continues below advertisement

He goes on to list numerous examples of ridiculous law-enforcement overreach, some of which we’ve covered here, involving such horrible sins as going for a drive alone, paddleboarding alone in the ocean, sitting alone in a car at the beach, violating a 10 p.m. curfew (the virus spreads much faster after dark, you know), and more. He mentions the research Google is doing to develop the means to track people. And he credits Florida Gov. Ron deSantis as being that rare governor who says “we can’t start ripping up the Constitution.”

We all know there are people who can’t wait to rip up the Constitution, and who have even put some little tears into the edges of the paper so they can rip it more dramatically, the way Nancy Pelosi did with Trump’s State Of The Union speech.

I’m not saying your average “progressive” voter literally wants thousands more people to die so we can have the all-controlling police state leftists dream of (with them in charge). But a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, and the longer this virus sticks around, the more “emergency” controls officials can put in place forever. If some cheap, widely-used little pills have the power to interfere with that, they're fine with dismissing them as “unproven.”

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?

There’s a meme going around that reads, “How are you enjoying your 30-day free trial of socialism?” But I never thought that would be true in a place like Greenville, Mississippi.

Mississippi’s Governor encouraged churches not to hold services in person to combat the coronavirus, but he refused to ban them from doing so, saying, “Mississippi is not China, and never will be.” But someone needs to get that message to Greenville’s Democrat Mayor Errick Simmons, who not only ordered churches closed, he even banned drive-in services.

Last Sunday, members of Temple Baptist Church gathered in about 25 cars in the church parking lot to listen to pastor Arthur Scott preaching over the radio. Police came and handed $500 tickets to each driver, even though they were all inside separate closed cars. The only time they violated “social distancing” was when they had to roll down their windows to take the tickets from the cops.

Scott said police told him he might go to jail, and he said if that’s what it takes to keep preaching, he’ll gladly go to jail, and he will see them at the church next Sunday.

The religious freedom law firm First Liberty sent a letter to Simmons demanding that the ban be lifted, and stating that “religious liberty is not suspended during a pandemic” and Americans should not “tolerate churchgoers being ticketed by the police for following CDC guidelines at church.”

Once again, it’s very instructive to see how quickly tolerant, compassionate liberals turn into ironfisted authoritarians when given just a little power. It’s yet another reason why you should never believe the claim that socialism would work great, it’s just that the “right people” have never been in charge of it. If you even want to be in charge of a socialist government, then you’re the wrong people to be in charge of the government.

There’s big breaking news on the hydroxychloroquine front, which I’m sure will please my reader “Reacherfan.” Here’s what he had to say about vaccines, and then I’ll report the results of a promising new study.

From “Reacherfan”:

You are right on about Fauci. I worked with vaccine researchers in a multinational pharmaceutical and biological company, and researchers have profound tunnel vision. Fauci needs to remember that vaccines, especially killed vaccines, only provide immunity in the 70-80 percent range. Live-attenuated usually goes into the 90's, but neither is 100 percent. You end up relying on herd immunity, which needs around 90-94% to actually work. You can have vaccines, but you better have a treatment, too. because not everyone will tolerate the vaccine, not everyone's immune system will build sufficient antibodies, the life of the antibodies will be unknown, and groups of people will refuse the vaccine for medical or religious reasons. Fauci is fixated, and that is a VERY bad attitude.

From the Gov:

Vaccines have virtually eliminated certain tragic diseases, but when it comes to flu –- well, notice that people still get it; we still have about 60,000 deaths each year from seasonal flu. (To put this in perspective, that’s about what the revised computer models are predicting for COVID-19 this year.) Every fall, we’re told to be sure to get the flu vaccine to provide protection going into winter, but typically the vaccine will provide only "iffy" protection.

Of course, with flu, that’s largely because they can’t be sure the strain going around will be the strain they planned for. In the case of this coronavirus, we know the strain (unless it mutates, which they seem to think is unlikely), but even then, it’s not necessarily a sure thing. We won’t know until they complete their trials. Dr. Fauci and many in media have been talking as if the vaccine were the Holy Grail –- a 100 percent solution to the problem of COVID-19 when at last it is perfected, sometime within the next 12 to 18 months.

So why is there such resistance, even from the Centers for Disease Control, to a drug that can be used RIGHT NOW as opposed to the promise of a future vaccine? There is now a tremendous amount of “anecdotal” evidence that hydroxychloroquine combined with azithromycin (or doxycycline for those for whom “zith” is unsafe) is keeping people out of the hospital and helping them recover quickly. On this, we have breaking news that French President Emmanuel Macron has visited the Mediterranean Institute of Infection in Marseille, France, of renowned epidemiologist Professor Didier Raoult, where he received the extremely positive results of a larger follow-up study of 1,061 COVID-19 patients. In 973 patients, healing from the virus took place in 10 days or less; that’s an efficacy rate of 91 percent. No patients had cardiac complications.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Stephen Smith, appearing on Laura Ingraham's Thursday night show, said the head of the CDC, who has been dismissive, is “a Beltway guy” who “hasn’t seen anybody with COVID.” Dr. Smith has treated 115 COVID-19 patients with HCQ/zith and says “this drug works.” He says this is “not a Democrat thing, it’s not a Republican thing.” (If only.) He is convinced it works. They're working now on the optimum dose, he said, because the French have used a much higher dose than American doctors have. American patients have been getting a total dose of 2,400 milligrams, while the French get 6,000 milligrams. “The drug builds up,” he explained, “so it’s the total dose that matters.”

As Dr. Ramin Oskoui, CEO of Foxhall Cardiology, told Ingraham, “I think that any real solution has to be cheap, effective, safe, and scalable. Vaccines are not going to be any of those things.” He pointed out that it would be lucrative for those trying to invent one, but that we’ll be lucky to get it in 18 months. We’ve tried to make vaccines for coronaviruses for years, he said –- I would add that "the common cold" is a coronavirus about 20 percent of the time –- but that the closest we’ve come was a feline vaccine that caused a lethal response. There was never a vaccine developed for SARS or MERS.

There was no vaccine for Sars or Mers. Will there be one this time?

Rather than focusing on a vaccine, he concluded, “we need to think about herd immunity, we need to think about hydroxychloroquine, continue these studies...and I think it’s also important to start this [drug] earlier in therapy,” not when they’re already headed into the ICU. There’s much more of a benefit with mild-to-moderate disease, he said.

I get the impression that in spite of what Dr. Fauci says, there might not ever be a really effective vaccine for COVID-19, meaning that as long as it’s in the population, some will get it. That’s why we need to focus on effective treatments NOW. There's also emerging evidence that hydroxycloroquine might work as a preventative, just as it does with malaria. Someday, if there are more outbreaks, we may all have to take our hydroxychloroquine pills the way we take our daily vitamin, before we go off to work or school or wherever we want to go. Dismissing safe and possibly lifesaving treatments simply because Trump encourages their use is...I’ve said it before...evil.

It’ll be interesting when people start getting tested for immunity, and we can find out 1) how deeply into the population this virus has spread, and 2) how many people can (with some safeguards, just in case) start back to work. We're flying blind right now. The genetic code of this virus was cracked back in January and put online; some other countries have already been doing testing, but the FDA bureaucracy held up approval on a test for the U.S. One was finally approved last Wednesday, but the company making it reportedly has operations guessed it...China. At the risk of sounding like Joe Biden, come on, guys!

Here’s another thought-provoking letter

From Doris:

It has been reported that these so-called "markets," which all [have] the same disgusting uses of animals of all types, are all over China. Yet, all of these epidemics, [such as] SARS and now the coronavirus, are identified with coming from one location –- Wuhan, and none of the others –- and that is where China has a biological warfare lab. It makes me think that the origin of the Corona Virus is NOT from the market but from the lab. Accidental or deliberate? We may never know. However one of the female lab doctors from that lab who wanted to notify the world about this virus has disappeared…

From the Gov:

Thanks, Doris. We’ve been covering this; it is not “conspiracy theory” to look at the evidence and consider the possibility that the first transmission of this virus to a human being happened not in that market but in a lab where they were researching coronaviruses in bats. (In fact, there are two labs in the area that reportedly study coronaviruses). We can’t rule out biowarfare, but there are other, legitimate reasons to be studying these illnesses; the jury is still out. But the ChiComms go to great lengths to keep their secrets, don’t they? I think someday we’ll have a clear idea of how this happened.

What I like is that you bring up something we’re not really hearing about: that this isn’t the first virus to come from THAT AREA though the “wet markets” are an unfortunate cultural phenomenon that occurs in many parts of China. Why does the contagion keep happening there, and not, say, in Beijing? Sharp observation; if you brought that up in China, you’d likely end up in a prison camp.