The Senate has decided you have no right to privacy on your “private” phone or email. They can also examine the web sites you visit, keystrokes and clicks, all browsing and Internet searches.
If fed watchers might wonder why you get spam, especially goofy emails of millions from Nigerian ministers, how will you respond? Even checking the sale price of fertilizer might raise flags of possible explosive plans by you, worthy of investigation by an agency that discourages domestic bombing, but missed 9/11.
To spy on you, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) only needs their secret request approved by a secret court (FISA) with the results kept hidden from you. So that other agencies and big shots know you may be in trouble, virtually all “unmasking” requests are approved, because there are no opposition opportunities for you, no lawyers defending you, and you aren’t even allowed to appear yourself.
There are currently exceptions to this rule.
First, you can’t do this to Senators, or other politicians, or their friends in the Media. Eisenhower may have been right about the Military/Industrial complex in the 50s, but today it’s more like the Carpetbaggers/Communicators combine. One group claps for attention and the other cheers the news to a dumbed-down America.
Another institution is exempt – churches. Even Senators know that you must at least pretend justice for religious groups, or they’ll raise Holy Hell, and that means lost votes at power-renewal time.
There was almost hope Wednesday, last week, when a majority of the Senate voted 59-37 to go ahead with a change to the H.R. 6172 – USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020.
The proposed amendment (S.Amdt.1583) would have required the government to have a warrant approved before retrieving all your past and future web browsing and other personal Internet activities.
One of the co-sponsors, Bernie Sanders (I-VT), wasn’t present for the vote. Others missing in action included Patty Murray (D-WA), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and Lamar Alexander (R-TN). All four are often on tv giving their opinions, but on Wednesday any one of them could have actually defended our Constitutional rights.
One vote was needed to move the amendment to a regular, not cloture, vote. In the world of Mitch McConnell, bills need 60 votes to avoid a filibuster, and since Mitch doesn’t want to force the opposition to give speeches for hours on end, he just gives up and says the law failed.
The Majority Leader thinks he’s the Super Majority Leader – 60 votes out of 100. No wonder nothing gets done, unless it’s bipartisan earned benefit cuts for the elderly or tax cuts for the rich.
If the Republican majority wanted to eliminate the 60-vote charade, they could do it with their 54 votes, but McConnell says he likes it this way.
And Mitch was one of the politicians who voted against the bill, which would have protected all Americans. He later pushed through another amendment that excludes, religious groups, elected officials and the denizens of newsrooms everywhere, but not you and me.
The Wednesday effort to really protect privacy rights was sponsored by Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Browser data and internet search history is some of the most personal and revealing information that can be collected on private citizens, Daines said.
Government should not have access to such private information without a warrant. This is about securing our most basic 4th Amendment rights to protect our citizens’ most personal data.
The Senate was closer than it has ever been before with over half the senate – 59 Senators – voting to protect Americans privacy.
“I’ll keep working on this issue with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as I believe it’s critical to increase the privacy of all Americans,” he added.
Democrats voting against the amendment, and voting for invading your privacy::
Thomas Carper (D-DE)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH)
Doug Jones (D-AL)
Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Mark Warner (D-VA)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Many Republicans – the usual establishment supplicants – opposed the pro-privacy change:
John Barrasso (R-WY)
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Roy Blunt (R-MO)
John Boozman (R-AR)
Richard Burr (R-NC)
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Susan Collins (R-ME)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Deb Fischer (R-NE)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)
James Inhofe (R-OK)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
James Lankford (R-OK)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
David Perdue (R-GA)
Rob Portman (R-OH)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Mitt Romney (R-UT)
Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
John Thune (R-SD)
Thom Tillis (R-NC)
Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Todd Young (R-IN)
Wyden said ahead of the vote:
The typical American may think to themselves, I’ve got nothing to worry about. I’ve done nothing wrong. The government has no reason to suspect me of anything. Why should I worry?
Unfortunately, the question is not whether you did anything wrong.
The question is whether a government agent believes they have the right to look at your web searches.
Future invasions of privacy can best be predicted by recent actions of the FBI.
“Right now Medicare is determining that if you (a doctor) have a Covid-19 admission to the hospital, you get $13,000. If that Covid-19 patient goes on a ventilator you get $39,000, three times as much. Nobody can tell me after 35 years in the world of medicine that sometimes those kinds of things impact on what we do,” Minnesota Senator Dr. Scott Jensen explained.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is encouraging American doctors to over-count coronavirus deaths across the US, he added, showing a 7-page document coaching him to fill out death certificates with a Covid-19 diagnosis without a lab test to confirm the patient actually had the virus,” he said.
“…under the CDC guidelines, a patient who died after being hit by a bus and tested positive for coronavirus would be listed as having presumed to have died from the virus, regardless of whatever damage was caused by the bus,” he added.
Some have called the governor of Pennsylvania a sheep in wolf’s clothing (Thomas Westerman Wolf), and others describe him as a snotty rich guy, who went to private schools (The Hill School), and has no clue about how average folks live.
Transparency: I live in Montgomery County, PA, one of 840,000 citizens bordering northwest Philadelphia. I grew up in Kensington, the poorest neighborhood in that city of not always brotherly love.
Today, I can’t legally escape my suburban home, because of the Governor and Levine, his Secretary of Health, who have become partners to impose onerous Covid-19 (Wuhan Virus, Coronavirus, China Virus) regulations that may be for the rest of my life at age 78.
Is it time to move to California or South Carolina, where the beaches are open and folks in government have leaders who use at least half their brains? Even Georgia sounds tempting, despite those pesky June beetle bugs.
Wolf may be the dumbest Pennsylvania governor in history.
When deciding on “essential services”, the governor banned online car sales, perhaps not understanding that keyboards cannot be directly connected to auto showrooms, and viruses don’t travel through long wires to a computer.
While the rest of the state is missing its rums and cokes, Levine and Wolf can still enjoy their favorite vintage wine.
He closed all the state liquor stores, including curbside service, but continued to allow unlimited wine sales in supermarkets (for the better class of drunks?).
In a stark moment of reality he also permitted grocery store beer sales, because someone probably described the results of tar and feathers on even a wolf’s naked body. No beer means fast revolution, and aren’t we trying to “flatten the curve” to avoid riots and such?
Levine and Wolf’s biggest mutual sin is their plan to keep Southeaster Pennsylvania a possibly perpetual stay-at-home destination.
The map below shows all regions of the state. Every county will open within two weeks, including where Wolf and Levine go at night. Some freedom for all, except the Southeast – where I live along with 5.2 million other in-home incarcerated citizens.
Montgomery County Commissioner Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, DO, – another not-so-bright bulb – seemed almost gleeful in a recent television interview, explaining the criterion to reopen the SE region.
This will also be viewed as a regional exercise. That is critically important because we all know that this virus doesn’t care about any borders. We know our workforce travels back and forth between counties, she said.
Arkoosh said the requirement is that in each county only 50 reported cases per 100,000 residents will be allowed for an entire 14-day period. If any county goes above that 50 total for two weeks, the region will remain in shutdown. If any single county meets the goal they can’t open unless all the counties in the region do the same.
Does this sound like announcing Nap Time in kindergarten?
For Montgomery County’s 831,000 residents that means a daily average of no more than 30 cases total at various testing centers.
The County’s daily total this past Sunday was 129 cases, which drops the following 13 days to average about 20 cases to meet the Phase 2 standard. In recent weeks the average has been 187 cases daily, making a 20-per-day result seemingly impossible.
Oddly, the first release of Levine and Wolf’s requirements indicated 50 cases each day for 14 days, and not one day exceeding that. When questioned, Levine said she meant 50 cases total for two weeks, and that’s where things stand today.
The federal government is only requiring a downward trajectory for two weeks.
There is another flaw – a big one – in using new cases as a criterion to just begin returning to normal life. Of the 129 cases reported in Montgomery County on Sunday, only 14 were hospitalized. The other 115 went home, but they still count against the threshold of averaging 30 cases daily to move out of the current Red Phase.
In recent findings, New York state had an estimated 2.7 million recovered active cases, so Pennsylvania should have 1.8 million – all of them unreported by testing. By that estimate, Montgomery County alone has some 140,000 unreported, recovered cases so far.
The regulations apply to all counties, and below is the breakdown of goals versus actual in the SE region. Remember that every county has to achieve these results or all the counties will continue in the red phase.
2019 population: 421,164
Population / 100,000: 4.21164
Current Numbers (4/24/20): 14 day – 1,517, Daily Average – 108
Target Numbers: 14 day – 211, Daily Average – 15 Deficit – 93 daily active tests. 14-day: 1,309
2019 Population: 628,270
Population / 100,000: 6.2827
Current Numbers (4/24/20): 14 day – 1,525, Daily Average – 109
Target Numbers: 14 days – 314, Daily Average – 22 Deficit – 87 daily active tests. 14-day: 1,218
2019 Population: 524,989
Population / 100,000: 5.24989
Current Numbers (4/24/20): 14 day – 736, Daily Average – 53
Target Numbers: 14 days – 262, Daily Average – 19 Deficit – 34 daily active tests. 14-day: 475
2019 Population: 566,747
Population / 100,000: 5.66747
Current Numbers (4/24/20): 14 day – 2,126, Daily Average – 152
Target Numbers: 14 days – 283, Daily Average – 20 Deficit – 132 daily active tests. 14-day:1,848
2019 Population: 545,724
Population / 100,000: 5.45724
Current Numbers (4/24/20): 14 day – 1,017, Daily Average – 73
Target Numbers: 14 days – 273, Daily Average – 19 Deficit – 54 daily active tests. 14-day: 756
2019 population: 830,915
Population / 100,000: 8.30915
Current Numbers (4/24/20): 14 day – 2,612, Daily Average – 187
Target Numbers: 14 day – 415, Daily Average – 30 Deficit – 157 daily active tests. 14-day: 2,058
2019 population: 1,584,064
Population / 100,000: 15.84064
Current Numbers (4/24/20): 14 day – 8,286 Daily Average – 592
Target Numbers: 14 day – 792, Daily Average – 57 Deficit – 535 daily active tests. 14-day: 7,490
2019 population: 141,359
Population / 100,000: 1.41359
Current Numbers (4/24/20): 14 day – 232 Daily Average – 17
Target Numbers: 14 day – 71, Daily Average – 5 Deficit – 12 daily active tests. 14-day: 168
Total Southeastern Pennsylvania Region
2019 population: 5,243,232
Population / 100,000: 52.43232
Current Numbers (4/24/20): 14 day – 18,051 Daily Average – 1,291
Target Numbers: 14 day – 2,622, Daily Average – 187 Deficit – 1,104 daily active tests. 14-day: 15,456
All of the SE counties would have to each eliminate their deficits in order to enter Phase 2 (Yellow), which still doesn’t open schools, bars, restaurants, or allow gatherings of more than 25 persons.
There is no word yet from Levine and Wolf on how we will enter the Green phase, which lifts nearly all restrictions, except CDC rules, also unannounced.
The Southeast region has the most testing, most urban city population, and yet the hospitalized cases seem to average about 10% of active cases, and these totals include those both tested and observed as having the virus.
Deaths in Pennsylvania – now either from testing or mere observation by recently diluted CDC rules – totaled 19 on Sunday in a population of more than 12 million. Yesterday was 37.
It’s a problem for me to imagine how Secretary of Health Levine can relate to average working Pennsylvanians.
For example, she regularly appears on television to reassure residents and provide them with updates and health guidelines. In a recent interview Levine described her job:
My day is busy. I get here at 7 and prepare for my day. Our meeting starts at 8, where first I talk with my team for an hour, and then I go and speak with the senior staff of the governor’s office. And then the senior staff, and I, and the FEMA director have a meeting and then it goes from there.
Many meetings, much sitting, talking, earning salary of $600 a day:
I have a daily press conference … sometimes by myself or with the governor to update the public on the status of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania and the response of our administration. I often speak with legislators and other stakeholders. And then we have a 5 o’clock sum-up meeting till 6. And then I go home and do emails.
While the rest of us are stalked by the “stay home” police, Levine is exempt:
No stay at home. And right now it is seven days a week. So we’ve been at this pace for a while. We’re going to do whatever is possible, whatever it takes to protect the public health of Pennsylvania.
If I had any hope that she would ease the testing insanity, this dashed it:
We’re working on expanding testing. So that is testing for priority populations such as health care workers, nursing homes, etc., to our public health laboratory. But then we also have worked with hospitals and health systems to [set] up testing centers.
And a lot of those tests are either done by the health system or through the commercial laboratories such as Quest or LabCorp.
The more testing, the more active (non-hospitalized) cases, and the longer it will take for SE Pennsylvania to open, if ever.
Levine wants everyone to know that life is tough at the top, even when you can go and do what you wish:
I’m trying to get enough sleep and I’m trying to eat well as best I can. I’m trying to practice what my message is, which is stay calm. I can’t stay home because I have to be here, but staying safe.
But really, I’m not going out anywhere except here and then home. So not too much exposure outside of here at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Association. But it is very important to stay calm and focused in the midst of emergencies.
And you know, that’s what I learned in my clinical years during my training and then at my time at Mount Sinai and then Penn State when we would see very ill children and adolescents. In those emergency clinical situations, it’s important to stay calm, and so that’s what I do now.
Rachel should realize that the state’s residents would explain to her -given the chance – that they don’t care how calm she is, or overworked.
They would tell her to change senseless rules and allow us to quickly get back to normal.
For a starter let’s stop counting “active” cases, and just use real hospitalized ones, not manufactured ones.
Then, have her tell us what are the goals for the final (Green) phase, so that officials don’t change them with each new statistic in order to further extend the shutdown.
Finally, Dr. Levine, please stop trying to be our nanny. All that does is make us dislike you more and more.
And would someone tell Levine we really don’t care about platitudes such as the following:
Hope is such an important thing. I think that we have to have hope for the future. I think we have to have hope for the future of our commonwealth in Pennsylvania, hope for the future of our nation.
And in relation to some of the things we’re talking about, hope for the future for the LGBTQ community. I firmly believe that we have made progress. We have been under challenges and faced a lot of challenges with this current administration.
Note to doctor: the real challenges are for the millions enduring this, and not for the folks at the top, who are causing it.
Late breaking good news for the “better” class of folks.: Governor Wolf just announced the opening of golf courses and yacht marinas, as of May 1. All factories, schools, restaurants, office buildings and other activities will remain closed until further notice and citizens are asked to continue cowering in their homes without jobs. (Will the “essential” country club waiters just serve wine, or sneak in a few cocktails at the clubhouse?)
While critics of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) bring up the $25 million for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, there is virtually no reporting of the $10.8 billion authorized for three African development banks.
Funding for the Kennedy Center came with the stipulation it would help deal with fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. There is no such restriction connected to the huge sums for the African Development Fund (ADF), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Development Association (IDA)..
The ADF and the AfDB are two related organizations that are supposed to fund development and poverty eradication efforts in Africa. The IDA is a subsidiary of the World Bank that lends money to poor countries and then forces changes in their financial and social structures to promote privatization.
These agencies have been criticized for failing to be effective. For example, the average Sub-Saharan African lives on just $1 a day, while developers of infrastructure often build projects of little value to these mostly tribal countries.
In February David Malpass told the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) forum that the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the AfDB, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have a “tendency to lend too quickly and thereby aggravate the problem of country debt”. There are also hedge fund connections to create “securitization” of loans, including paid arrangements with Mariner Investment Group.
The President of the World Bank Group, Malpass criticized the AfDB specifically for its activities in Nigeria and South Africa. He urged “greater coordination among international financial institutions to coordinate lending and maintain high standards of transparency”.
How did all this money become part of the virus bill?
The Center for Global Development (CGD) told Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell in a letter that they must include funding for these groups, claiming that even after the virus is under control in the United States, it could come back if it surges in Africa.
Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers heads the CGD board. A prominent member of the Trilateral Commission, Summers served as Treasury Secretary under President William Clinton. Other CGD board members include Judy Woodruff, Managing Editor of the PBS NewsHour. CGD was founded in November 2001 by another Trilateral leader, Fred Bergsten, ex-director of the Peterson Institute.
There are 115 total reported deaths from the virus thus far in the entire continent of Africa among its 1.216 billion population. That compares to 1,342 deaths in just New York State with 19.54 million residents. Africa is the last place to send aid to fight a virus which has killed 39,000 worldwide.
What else could Congress have done with that $10.8 billion that went to the international development banks?
We could have replaced the $9.2 billion cut from the budget for the Department of Education, which would allow us to:
Restore programs and grants for teacher training, after-school and summer care, and aid to low-income students.
Add back Striving Readers/Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants and funding for Supporting Effective Instruction State grants of $2.3 billion.
In addition, we could restore $1.6 billion in cuts to the Department of the Interior, which eliminated 4,000 jobs, ended funding for 49 National Historic Sites and decreased funding for land acquisition and the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund.
The following is the relevant text of the bill, which was included in the original Republican draft and approved unanimously by Congress:
‘‘SEC. 31. NINETEENTH REPLENISHMENT.
‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—The United States Governor of the International Development Association is authorized to contribute on behalf of the United States $3,004,200,000 to the nineteenth replenishment of the resources of the Association, subject to obtaining the necessary appropriations.
‘‘(b) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—In order to pay for the United States contribution provided for in subsection (a), there are authorized to be appropriated, without fiscal year limitation, $3,004,200,000 for payment by the Secretary of the Treasury.’’.
(2) INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CORPORATION AUTHORIZATION.— The International Finance Corporation Act (22 U.S.C. H. R. 748—314 282 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
‘‘SEC. 18. CAPITAL INCREASES AND AMENDMENT TO THE ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT.
‘‘(a) VOTES AUTHORIZED.—The United States Governor of the Corporation is authorized to vote in favor of—
‘‘(1) a resolution to increase the authorized capital stock of the Corporation by 16,999,998 shares, to implement the conversion of a portion of the retained earnings of the Corporation into paid-in capital, which will result in the United States being issued an additional 3,771,899 shares of capital stock, without any cash contribution;
‘‘(2) a resolution to increase the authorized capital stock of the Corporation on a general basis by 4,579,995 shares; and
‘‘(3) a resolution to increase the authorized capital stock of the Corporation on a selective basis by 919,998 shares.
‘‘(b) AMENDMENT OF THE ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT.—The United States Governor of the Corporation is authorized to agree to and accept an amendment to article II, section 2(c)(ii) of the Articles of Agreement of the Corporation that would increase the vote by which the Board of Governors of the Corporation may increase the capital stock of the Corporation from a four-fifths majority to an eighty-five percent majority.’’.
(3) AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK.—The African Development Bank Act (22 U.S.C. 290i et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
‘‘SEC. 1345. SEVENTH CAPITAL INCREASE.
‘‘(a) SUBSCRIPTION AUTHORIZED.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The United States Governor of the Bank may subscribe on behalf of the United States to 532,023 additional shares of the capital stock of the Bank.
‘‘(2) LIMITATION.—Any subscription by the United States to the capital stock of the Bank shall be effective only to such extent and in such amounts as are provided in advance in appropriations Acts.
‘‘(b) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—In order to pay for the increase in the United States subscription to the Bank under subsection (a), there are authorized to be appropriated, without fiscal year limitation, $7,286,587,008 for payment by the Secretary of the Treasury.
‘‘(2) SHARE TYPES.—Of the amount authorized to be appropriated under paragraph (1)—
‘‘(A) $437,190,016 shall be for paid in shares of the Bank; and
‘‘(B) $6,849,396,992 shall be for callable shares of the Bank.’’.
(4) AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT FUND.—The African Development Fund Act (22 U.S.C. 290g et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
‘‘SEC. 226. FIFTEENTH REPLENISHMENT.
‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—The United States Governor of the Fund is authorized to contribute on behalf of the United States H.R. 748—315 $513,900,000 to the fifteenth replenishment of the resources of the Fund, subject to obtaining the necessary appropriations.
‘‘(b) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—In order to pay for the United States contribution provided for in subsection (a), there are authorized to be appropriated, without fiscal year limitation, $513,900,000 for payment by the Secretary of the Treasury.’’.
(5) INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND AUTHORIZATION FOR NEW ARRANGEMENTS TO BORROW.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—Section 17 of the Bretton Woods Agreements Act (22 U.S.C. 286e–2) is amended—
(i) in subsection (a)—
(I) by redesignating paragraphs (3), (4), and
(5) as paragraphs (4), (5), and (6), respectively;
(II) by inserting after paragraph (2) the following new paragraph:
‘‘(3) In order to carry out the purposes of a one-time decision of the Executive Directors of the International Monetary Fund (the Fund) to expand the resources of the New Arrangements to Borrow, established pursuant to the decision of January 27, 1997, referred to in paragraph (1), the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to make loans, in an amount not to exceed the dollar equivalent of 28,202,470,000 of Special Drawing Rights, in addition to any amounts previously authorized under this section, except that prior to activation of the New Arrangements to Borrow, the Secretary of the Treasury shall report to Congress whether supplementary resources are needed to forestall or cope with an impairment of the international monetary system and whether the Fund has fully explored other means of funding to the Fund.’’;
(III) in paragraph (5), as so re-designated, by striking ‘‘paragraph (3)’’ and inserting ‘‘paragraph (4)’’; and
(IV) in paragraph (6), as so re-designated, by striking ‘‘December 16, 2022’’ and inserting ‘‘December 31, 2025’’; and
(ii) in subsection (e)(1) by striking ‘‘(a)(2),’’ each place such term appears and inserting ‘‘(a)(2), (a)(3),’’.
(B) EMERGENCY DESIGNATION.—The amount provided by this paragraph is designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to section
251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
That ad is from eBay – plenty of paper for sale at five times the store price – 12 “mega” rolls for $59.99. Now you know why the “gangs” were fighting to clean off the grocery store shelves. For many buyers, it wasn’t need, but deplorable greed.
Here’s another ripoff on eBay:
Toilet paper at $10 a roll! Buy a big package at the store, separate it into single rolls and make yourself rich, despite the tribulations you cause others.
Desperate folks are even bidding for toilet paper. The above was from eBay this morning – $54.75 w/shipping for 12 rolls (34 bids).
An eBay search for toilet paper at 4 pm today found 3,613 auctions, plus 13,940 lots for Buy It Now purchase
Who is worse than greedy hucksters?
#1. Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.
The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD) since 1984, Fauci oversees “basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat established infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis and malaria as well as emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika,” according to the NIAD website.
As a member, on January 26 he claimed this about the coronavirus.
“It’s a very, very low risk to the United States,” Fauci said during an interview with radio show host John Catsimatidis.
But it’s something that we as public health officials need to take very seriously… It isn’t something the American public needs to worry about or be frightened about.
Because we have ways of preparing and screening of people coming in [from China]. And we have ways of responding – like we did with this one case in Seattle, Washington, who had traveled to China and brought back the infection.
On Wednesday, last week, he went into scare mode, suggesting that COVID-19 is considerably more dangerous than the flu:
The flu has a mortality rate of 0.1 percent. This has a mortality rate of 10 times that. That’s the reason I want to emphasize we have to stay ahead of the game in preventing this.
On this past Sunday’s Meet the Press Fauci warned that if the country fails to slow the trajectory,the number of domestic deaths could soar exponentially into the hundreds of thousands or even millions.
The worst is yet to come…to protect the American people, we’ll consider everything and anything on the table.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that between 20,000 to 52,000 Americans have died from influenza this season.
Using Fauci’s 10x premise, that means an uncontrolled COVID-19 epidemic would kill between 200,000 and 520,000 Americans.
Don’t believe it.
China, with nearly five times our population has only a total 3,300 deaths from the disease, and the epidemic there is nearly finished. China had only four new deaths and 36 new cases reported yesterday.
Using the China metric, the United States should expect 660 deaths, a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of flu deaths projected by Fauci.
Fauci’s weekend reckless comments sent the stock market into free fall on Monday.
In my opinion Fauci is the number one culprit in our corona virus debacle by first minimizing the danger, then exaggerating it beyond credulous belief.
If you have comments about his performance or questions, this is his public contact information:
#2. Recent Commissioners of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Strict guidelines by the FDA have hampered development of testing methods in the United States, and the blame should be shared among the five commissioners appointed by President Trump in just his first term.
They each inherited a bad system, but didn’t fix it. The FDA rules stopped widespread test development until this month – much too late to identify victims and quarantine them effectively.
One example of FDA incompetence comes from Benjamin Pinsky, Medical Director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Stanford, who said his lab began working on a test in early February, following the overly strict FDA guidelines at the time.
When the FDA finally posted its more relaxed guidance, it took the Stanford lab only days to validate its test.
“We were waiting for the FDA to make a decision about how they would handle clinical laboratory testing,” Pinsky said.
My goal was to be prepared as soon as they were ready to allow clinical labs to start testing.
On March 2 Stanford got permission to begin testing. Before day’s end on March 4, Santa Clara County had already confirmed 14 cases. Too late! Results showed community spread was already underway.
A lab in San Francisco asked in early February if it could develop its own test under less extreme requirements, but the FDA refused, citing regulations:
Charles Chiu, associate director of the University of California at San Francisco Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, said:
We were trying to submit a clinical lab-developed test or develop a clinical test for emergency-use approval, and the issue with it was it was delayed, and that was because the FDA’s requirements were quite stringent.
The FDA was making it too laborious…it would take too long to actually get approval.
“I think that it would have been helpful had some of the new guidance come out earlier so that laboratories would have had more time, whereas now we’re scrambling to meet demand,” Chiu said.
If only we followed the lead of other nations, especially South Korea
There were 74 new coronavirus cases and no deaths reported in South Korea yesterday. The epidemic that struck 8,236 persons there has basically ended, leaving only 75 dead in a country of nearly 52 million.
If we experience a similar mortality rate, our deaths will be about 500 in a population of some 330 million.
South Korea put its labs and companies to work in January, and had effective test kits with four-hour results by early February.
Testing allows hot spots to be identified, affected citizens warned to take extra precautions and allows the healthcare system to focus efforts where most needed.
South Korea has tested 248,647 citizens, as of yesterday, compared to the U.S. total of 21,558.
More glaring is that South Korea has conducted 4,802 tests per million persons, compared to a minuscule 65 per million in this country – a disgrace for the supposed “best health care system in the world.”
Most other countries have a much higher rate of testing.
Review the table below, created here from analyzing World Health Organization statistics, and note the X million tests column.
America is doing worse at testing than not just South Korea, but also Bahrain, Iceland, Norway, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Taiwan, Denmark, Russia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, Lithuania, Malaysia, France, Hungary, Croatia, Japan, Thailand, Armenia and New Zealand.
Michael Rubens Bloomberg has spent $211 million in self-promoting ads since November 24, including $866,000 for messages just on Saturday, Jan. 11.
Pundits say the effort is paying off, and they point to the Real Clear Politics poll average that has him at fifth place in the race for Democrat Party nomination for President.
The polls place him less than 2% behind the “Oracle of South Bend”, Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg, also known as Mayor Pete by the fawning media. Buttigieg/Bloomberg seems sort of David versus Goliath – Mike the former mayor of America’s largest city, and Pete, who was most recently elected with 8,515 votes in South Bend, IN.
After passing Pete, Mike must make the big jump to the so-called top tier of Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. These candidates have anywhere from about double to four times his current national poll support.
While spending hundreds of millions on ads can make your brand almost as well known as Gaines was in its day. Bloomberg has already become a common name, thanks to his Bloomberg News. In the spirit of I’m the Boss, his staff was recently instructed to cover him and the Democrats in the Presidential contest, but not to give positive ink or bytes to the Republican incumbent.
It you only print stories that favor your medium’s owner, it’s called public relations or marketing, but never journalism.
Back to the $211 million.
Both Warren and Sanders can pull ten thousand or more to a rally. Even Biden and Mayor Pete can manage 500.
Imagine Mike’s elation-deficit depression, when he had Judge Judy at his side in a San Antonio, Texas rally, and only 45 folks turned up to hear his stump speech. When this dismal attendance was reported, his staff reached out for a clarification – urging that there were 130, not 45. Some advisor must have thought 130 for $211 million was much better than 45.
The real question is whether an audience of a thousand or more would have attended if Judge Judy was there without him.
Is there a company somewhere that supplies audiences? At $100 a pop, Mike could have paid a thousand of the neediest by just reducing his ad buy to just $766,000 on that recent, record-breaking Saturday.
Putting aside the idiocy of a little man trying to fill big shoes, voters should send a message by ignoring his ads, and instead, examine the dangers of a Bloomberg President.
Bloomberg told the San Diego Union-Tribune on January 5:
I think two things are true. One, this country needs more immigrants and we should be out looking for immigrants… for those who need an oboe player for a symphony, we want the best one. We need a striker for a soccer team, we want to get the best one. We want a farm worker, we want to get the best one. A computer programmer, we want to get the best one. So we should be out looking for more immigrants. And other countries are doing this and we’re not…
Of course, in the world of elites, “best” usually means cheapest, more likely to put up with employer abuse, and under a Visa system – unable to easily change jobs.
Some estimates show many large tech companies have far more foreign workers than Americans, and that imported worker availability is forcing engineers and technical experts to take jobs in other fields.
Take an environmental engineer, starting salary with a five-year degree – half earn less than $50,000 a year.
The best and brightest with an eye to paying their bills would be better off using their math and problem-solving abilities on Wall Street:
The average 2018 salary, including bonuses, for New York City’s securities industry employees was $398,600, according to the New York Post.
No wonder, big financial firms are recruiting from MIT and other top engineering and science institutions.
Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), said Bloomberg’s philosophy is “immigration laws are not one of those things that should be allowed to interfere in shareholders’ value.”
In December, Bloomberg said additional immigrants could “improve our culture, our cuisine, our religion, our dialogue, and certainly improve our economy.”
A Rasmussen survey shows likely voters by 2:1 want Congress to make companies hire and train US grads and workers instead of importing more foreign workers. The survey also shows Americans have great sympathy for refugees.
In 2013, Bloomberg and FOX’s Rupert Murdoch created the Project for a New American Economy (PNAE), a group of investors and politicians who pushed for passage of the Gang of Eight amnesty in 2013.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said that planned “Gang of Eight” amnesty would shift more of the nation’s new wealth from workers to investors, and some 30 million immigrants in ten years would cause Americans’ wages to shrink.
Because the bill would increase the rate of growth of the labor force, average wages would be held down in the first decade after enactment,” the CBO report said.
The rate of return on capital would be higher under the legislation than under current law throughout the next two decades,” says the report, titled “The Economic Impact of S. 744.
Bloomberg is following President George Bush’s lead.
New immigration laws should serve the economic needs of our country. If an American employer is offering a job that American citizens are not willing to take, we ought to welcome into our country a person who will fill that job, Bush said.
He aspires to a single global labor market, and everything else follows from that. A concern about improving the lot of less-skilled American workers is by definition contrary to that view because there is no such thing as an American labor market. There is only a global labor market, Krikorian explained.
Domestic employers are not thinking about the consequences for people from Pennsylvania, when they hire people from Tennessee, and Bloomberg wants that same approach across the entire world.
Bloomberg’s job-killing stance of foreign workers is just part of an elitist attitude – probably to be expected from a rich New Yorker worth $55 billion. He takes the stance that he knows best for the rest of us, including his attempts at creating a Nanny City in New York.
His agenda for three terms as NYC mayor included control of alcohol, calorie counts, carbon, cell phones, cigarettes, contraceptives, composting, fingerprinting, gasoline, noise, politics, privacy, Second Amendment, soda, sodium, Styrofoam, taxis, tanning, traffic congestion and trans fats.
But don’t count out Bloomberg. He plans to spend another $800 million, and much of that just to get the nomination.
In the spirit of “flaunt it if you’ve got it”, Mike has scheduled one $10 million, 60-second ad for the Super Bowl. After news of that buy reached the White House, President Donald John Trump also bought a $10 million ad.
While few of us look forward to the $20 million of Mike and Don ads in the Battle of the Rich New York Guys, there will be the opportunity to admire the other end of horses, thanks to Budweiser’s purchase of four minutes of commercials.
Under Medicare Part B, America’s seniors are entitled to drugs administered in the hospital, but they are responsible for 20% of the cost. That sounds reasonable, and Medicare officials say they carefully scrutinize drugs before approval.
But I have yet to discover a list of unapproved drugs. It appears that if the FDA says it can be sold, Medicare pays for it at list price. For a $50 drug, this seems reasonable. You would pay $10, and Medicare would pay $40 if administered in a hospital..
Not all drugs are priced equally, and paying for some – even at 20% – could be a financial disaster.
Each vial costs Medicare $17,566. Since negotiation of drug prices is not allowed, the 26 vials needed for six months cost Medicare $228,358. That’s also the price for an uninsured senior or younger patient. (Medicare B and D are optional, extra-cost additions to original Medicare.)
Your co-pay under Medicare B for Pegaspargase would be $45,671. And that’s not all, because other drugs – anthracycline, vincristine, and prednisone – are often prescribed at the same time.
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission said that physician-administered biologics accounted for two-thirds of spending and all 10 of the highest-expenditure drugs in Medicare Part B in 2017.
Biologic exclusivity in the United States is currently 12 years, and nations we are negotiating with are far less generous – eight years for China and Canada, and five years in Mexico. Recently, the GOP pushed for 10 years in current trade deals for foreign countries, but backed down to gain Democrat support to pass recent budget deal. The U.S. continues to guarantee 12 years.
If you don’t have $45,671 to co-pay for this required drug, a trip to India might be in order. Total price of 26 vials there is $5,460 – a savings of some $40,000, and that’s not just co-pay, it’s the total price..
While India’s $210 a vial (versus $17,566 here) is the cheapest in the world, Great Britain’s National Health Service pays only $980 a vial, a savings of $16,500 vs. their liberated colony.
While elites of both political parties here have complained that Medicare is too generous to seniors – an insane accusation – they have done nothing to curb payments, including this example of $228,358 for one drug for one patient.
Drug lobbies have lawmakers addicted to campaign contributions, exotic trips, campaign funding and perhaps, even briefcases stuffed with cash, or offshore accounts. Big money is behind Big Pharma, and that includes the hedge funds, who finance drug development and mergers, as well as our willfully blind media, grown fat and complicit from billions of dollars in drug ads.
The Army and Navy academies are looking into whether circle-hand symbols by cadets and midshipmen at a football game on Saturday were related to hate groups. Some three “signals” were spotted.
There are 4,389 Army cadets and 4,526 Navy Midshipmen. The odds any single one of them was involved is nearly one in 3,000. That’s about the same odds as being drafted into the NBA, or six times the odds of being born with 11 fingers or toes.
Despite those odds, the mass media thought it was a really big deal, pushing the military academies into classic defense mode and leading them to launch two official investigations.
On Sunday the Army also announced it had stripped the motto from a team spirit flag. Since the mid-1990s, the Army Black Knights football team at West Point has been using a flag with a skull and crossbones and a “G.F.B.D.” above the teeth, which stands for “God Forgives, Brothers Don’t,” the academy said.
The complaint was that the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT), a white supremacist prison gang, referred to one another as “brothers” and called their female associates “sisters.”
ABT members frequently use single-hand hand signs with two fingers upraised and one finger upraised, separated by a non-raised finger. They may also use two-hand hand signs with one finger raised on one hand and two fingers raised on the other hand, ADL reported last year..
If the ABT connection sounds lame for areason, consider the circle signal’s actual history.
The circle hand gesture was a hoax campaign, started by members of the website 4chan – an anonymous discussion board that has been responsible for everything from the “I can haz cheeseburger” cat meme to the idea of Rickrolling. They have also produced a number of fakeries with white supremacist themes to trick largely credulous online audiences.
An anonymous 4channer announced “Operation O-KKK” in February 2017, telling other members that “we must flood Twitter and other social media websites…falsely claiming that the OK hand sign is a symbol of white supremacy.”
In September, last year, the ADL reported:
The 4channer provided a graphic showing how the letters WP (for “white power”) could be traced within an “OK” gesture. The originator and others also suggested useful hashtags to help spread the hoax, such as #PowerHandPrivilege and #NotOkay.
“Leftists have dug so deep down into their lunacy,” wrote the poster, “We must force [them] to dig more, until the rest of society ain’t going anywhere near that s***.”
Following the cues of the hoax’s originator, 4channers created fake e-mail and Twitter accounts and bombarded civil rights organizations, journalists, and others with messages furthering the “OK” hoax.
The original launch of “Operation O-KKK” sputtered after a few days, and it seemed that the hoax had run its course without spreading too far, but it picked up again in late April, 2018, and this time was far more successful in spreading across social media—and beyond, the ADL explained.
What happened to make an old gesture this year’s astronomical crime, punishable by investigations and accusation articles in the NY Times and elsewhere?
The SPLC surmised last year that white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Klansmen “have increasingly begun using the use of the symbol both to signal their presence to the like-minded, as well as to identify potentially sympathetic recruits among young trolling artists flashing it.”
This group has condemned everyone from Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) to the Family Research Council. Oddly, it doesn’t consider Antifa as terrorist, but despite a reputation as a very far-left advocacy group, popular media immediately reacts to SPLC’s messaging about the organizations or individuals it targets.
Touching the thumb and index finger to make a circle, with the remaining three fingers held outstretched, is a gesture that people around the world have made for centuries, mostly in positive contexts, according to the ADL explanation last year.:
It is used for several purposes in sign languages, and in yoga as a symbol to demonstrate inner perfection. It figures in an innocuous made-you-look game. Most of all, it has been commonly used for generations to signal “O.K.,” or all is well.
The gesture is also part of a juvenile prank popular in junior military ranks called the circle game.
Check out this video for a better explanation:
Although the ADL had thoroughly explained the gesture was a hoax and used for decades, even in sign language, when SPLC announced it was a “hate signal” this year, the ADL quickly turned on its heels and agreed.
Oddly, the SPLC itself was almost agreeing with ADL’s stance last year, reporting on September 19:
So what does it mean when someone flashes the OK sign? In the end, it can mean almost anything, but primarily it’s one of three things:
It can be a harmless use of its traditional meaning that all’s well.
It can be an ironic attempt to troll liberals with a symbol chosen to “trigger” their inner “SJWs.”
It can be a surreptitious way of signaling your presence to other white supremacists.
Such uncertainty didn’t slow the headline writers at the New York Times on Sunday:
Military Investigating Suspected ‘White
Power’ Hand Gestures Flashed at Game
The Army and Naval academies said they were looking into whether hand symbols by cadets and midshipmen at a football game on Saturday were related to hate groups.
More Twitter reaction:
@SachaGilbert: These are officers in training and their conduct is unbecoming regardless of the minimizing excuses of “they’re just trolling the libs” or “it’s only the middle school game of Made You Look!” They know it’s offensive even if they eventually claim to disavow white supremacy.
@TenaciousEye: The ones doing it need to be expelled immediately.
@3ChicsPolitico: This was planned. And one flashed the white power sign after he touched the head of the Black cadet. This is what they think of him. Very disturbing and painful to the soul.
@NancyNoseYou: If the kid who did that is not punished and ousted, the Army has lost its way. But with a draft dodger in command, it’s no wonder it’s being poisoned and it’s dignity being stripped too. Join the club, regular Americans know the feeling.
@Brooksie458: I was one of eight children of a marine. If one of us did something like that then all of us were going to be disciplined. All of those who were amused by their buddies’ behavior need to find out what being part of team is about. That is not it.
@fishnbaja1: Simon Wiesenthal had to rely on old address books to hunt down nazis. Today, all he’d have to do is ask @ESPN for their football game footage. I feel sorry for our nation, and more immediately, for that brown skinned cadet.
@leslee105: Sad day for our country and whatever happened to good sportsmanship Especially from the man who is supposed to guide the freedom of our country
But no Twitter comment chain wouldn’t be complete without hate like the following:
Google, George Soros’s Open Society Foundations and two agencies of the State Department have financed an organization repeatedly referenced as the source in the whistle blower’s complaint that alleged Donald Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country” in the 2020 presidential race.”
The impeachment-launching account relied upon the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) to document:
That Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko “also stated that he wished to communicate directly with Attorney General Barr on these matters.”
Conclude that Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani “had spoken in late 2018 to former Prosecutor General Shokin, in a Skype call arranged by two associates of Mr. Giuliani.”
The charge that, “I also learned from a U.S. official that ‘associates’ of Mr. Giuliani were trying to make contact with the incoming Zelensky team.”
The whistleblower also related in another footnote:
I do not know whether these associates of Mr. Giuliani were the same individuals named in the 22 July report by OCCRP, referenced above.
Soros’s Open Society was listed as the number one or two donor in most of the annual financial records posted on OCCRP’s website since 2012.
Other OCCRP funders include the National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy and the Bureau of Human Rights and Labor, plus the Omidyar Network nonprofit of billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
Along with Soros’s Open Society, Omidyar also funds the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the International so-called Fact-Checking Network that partners with Facebook to help determine whether our news stories are “disputed.” Poynter is funded not only by Soros’ Open Society Foundations, but also Google.
The report referenced by the whistle blower is a “joint investigation by OCCRP and BuzzFeed News, that was based on interviews, court and business records in the United States and Ukraine.”
Soros also has connections to the Russian Dossier, including The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP), a nonprofit funded by Soros, which paid firms tied to Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele more than $3.8 million in 2017.
The group paid $3.3 million to Bean LLC., the holding company that controls Fusion GPS. Another $250,000 was paid to Walsingham Partners Ltd., a London-based firm owned by Russian Dossier author Christopher Steele and his partner, Christopher Burrows.
TDIP paid another London-based intelligence firm, called Istok Associates Ltd., nearly $150,000, also for “research consulting.” The company has investigative reports on whether Russia helped fund the Brexit campaign.
Nearly $130,000 was paid to Edward Austin Ltd., a London-based intelligence consultancy operated by Edward Baumgartner, a Fusion GPS contractor. Another $148,000 was paid to the law firm Zuckerman Spaeder, which has represented Fusion GPS in a variety of dossier-related legal matters.