Steve Berman – The Resurgent https://theresurgent.com Committed to Freedom, Faith and Family Tue, 31 Mar 2020 17:58:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://theresurgent.com/wp-content/uploads/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Steve Berman – The Resurgent https://theresurgent.com 32 32 104855451 Two Wrongs Still Make Wrong https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/31/two-wrongs-still-make-wrong/ https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/31/two-wrongs-still-make-wrong/#respond Tue, 31 Mar 2020 17:58:15 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=60910 Two wrongs don't make it right. Browne is a self-aggrandizing nitwit (that's my opinion, but don't argue with me over it), but Sheriff Chronister is blissfully ignorant of common sense. The First Amendment is too important to be subjected to this clown show.

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Defying a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people, Pastor Rodney Howard Browne of River Church in Tampa, kept holding services at his multiple-thousand seat megachurch. He even livestreamed the service so authorities could conveniently observe his violation.

So, after two weeks of flouting public health, and the good of his community, they had this pastor charged and arrested, for unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency rules, both second degree misdemeanors.

Despite warnings, Browne proceeded to hold two services, one at 9:30 a.m. and a second at 7 p.m. The first was streamed on YouTube and showed a crowded room of worshipers, with gaps of seating between several audience members. Browne encouraged those in attendance for coming to service, informing them they would be safe from the virus in the church, and mocked those who tried to dissuade him from holding a sermon; at one point calling them “idiots.” Browne also mentioned several times he was protected to hold the service under the First Amendment.

Arrested pastor of Tampa mega church releases statement ‘praying’ for sheriff after coronavirus crackdown, Orlando Sentinel, March 31, 2020

I am pretty sure I know who is the “idiot” here. Browne, a South African immigrant who runs an international ministry called “Revival Ministries International, Inc.” is the same guy who a few years ago said he’d pray away Zika and in late February claimed he’ll “cure Florida of Coronavirus.”

He’s advanced all kinds of conspiracy theories about the Las Vegas festival shooting, chemtrails, weather manipulation. He recently tweeted that “Jesus would beat the crap out of John Bolton.”

I would sooner walk through Walmart’s cough medicine aisle without a mask than attend Browne’s church. I realize Christians should be encouraged to have faith in God to cure diseases like this, and I find that commendable. I also believe God will take care of us and protect us–in wisdom, grace, and humility. Pastor Browne exhibits none of these.

Browne probably knew he was going to be arrested. He prayed for the Hillsborough County Sheriff, Chad Chronister, during his service. “Even pray for the sheriff of Hillsborough County. They are under tremendous pressure,” Browne said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “I got thrown under the bus, but I’m a big boy I can take it.”

In my mind, Browne is wrong. He endangered the members of his church, his community, and southwest Florida by holding a large gathering. Over 200 people in the small city of Albany, Georgia, were infected when a pastor, not knowing he carried the virus, preached a funeral several weeks ago. Browne invited a mass community spread with his stunt. He deserved what he got.

However, arresting the pastor is also wrong. Sheriff Chronister pulled just as big a stunt hauling in Browne, and did injury to the First Amendment in the process, as Browne did injury to the body of Christ.

There was no need to arrest the pastor. All Chronister needed to do was put padlocks on the doors of the church, and a few sheriff’s patrol cars blocking the parking lot at service time. If he had the authority to warn and arrest the pastor, he had the authority to temporarily limit access to the building.

Or he could have threatened to cite every worshiper. Believe me, many would have stayed away if they saw a sign saying “attending this event will get you a $50 ticket” going into the parking lot. Chronister displayed a shocking failure of imagination, just short of loudmouth idiot Mayor de Blasio in New York’s threat to “permanently close” churches and synagogues that ignore his shelter-in-place order.

It’s wrong for the county sheriff to arrest the pastor of a megachurch for simply having church and flouting good public health. It’s a terrible overreaction–and frankly, what Browne wanted–to go after the pastor. All Chronister needed to do was prevent it from happening again.

And since Browne paid his $500 bail, what’s to stop him from doing it again, attracting the kind of people who believe in chemtrails, think the Las Vegas massacre was a false flag operation, and that Jesus would beat the hell out of John Bolton to gather in rapt attention to hear the “man of God” defy “the man?”

Two wrongs don’t make it right. Browne is a self-aggrandizing nitwit (that’s my opinion, but don’t argue with me over it), but Sheriff Chronister is blissfully ignorant of common sense. The First Amendment is too important to be subjected to this clown show.

But, as they say, here we are.

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Another Unintended Consequence of COVID-19: Chloroquine Shortages Hurt Lupus Patients https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/31/another-unintended-consequence-of-covid-19-chloroquine-shortages-hurt-lupus-patients/ https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/31/another-unintended-consequence-of-covid-19-chloroquine-shortages-hurt-lupus-patients/#respond Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:31:44 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=60877 I realize that saving COVID-19 patients is important--saving lives. But let's not make drugs like Plaquenil unavailable for those who rely on them.

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The limited studies of using chloroquine and azithromycin to treat COVID-19 show promise, and that’s a good thing. But should these medicines fall into wide usage, there is a dark unintended consequence. Shortages of this medicine hurt Lupus sufferers, who rely on chloroquine to function.

Stories from around the country are beginning to show up noting Lupus patients who have been denied the drug for which they have a prescription.

From Kansas City:

Before Aisha Kelley headed to the pharmacy last week, she heard from a fellow lupus patient that she might have trouble getting her prescription filled.

Her medication, hydroxychloroquine, sold by the brand name Plaquenil, keeps her body from turning against her. It is considered the most important drug for lupus patients, but now is also being investigated as a possible treatment for the new coronavirus.

Before Plaquenil, Kelley’s children had to help her shower and dress because the autoimmune disease made her legs wobbly like Jell-O.

From Oakland:

“It just seems like we shouldn’t have to fight for it but unfortunately that’s the way it’s going to be,” Billye Brown said.

Billye Brown has been living with discoid lupus for 15 years.

This condition affects her skin, causing severe rashes on her face and hair loss.

Brown uses hydroxychloroquine also known by its brand name plaquenil to keep the lupus symptoms from worsening.

She’s now down to a week’s supply.

“So what I’ve done just to extend that is to cut the pill in half,” Brown said. 

Brown is a patient of Kaiser Permanente in Oakland.

She was told by her pharmacy she will not be able to refill her prescription because there is a shortage of the drug.

I have personal knowledge of similar stories.

I realize that saving COVID-19 patients is important–saving lives. But let’s not make drugs like Plaquenil unavailable for those who rely on them.

Let’s also pray for those with Lupus to not get the dread Coronavirus, as Lupus weakens the immune system.

Just as the economic cost of fighting COVID-19 is causing some people’s lives to be ruined, grabbing all the Plaquenil, without setting aside a stock for those who depend on it, is not good public policy.

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Of China and Trump, One is Obviously Betraying the World https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/30/of-china-and-trump-one-is-obviously-betraying-the-world/ https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/30/of-china-and-trump-one-is-obviously-betraying-the-world/#respond Mon, 30 Mar 2020 11:41:54 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=60835 China betrayed the world, and Donald Trump didn't.

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It’s China. China is betraying the world. The COVID-19 causing Coronavirus SARS-CoV2, originated in a “wet market” in Wuhan, China. The totalitarian Chinese Community Party government chose to ignore warnings from years ago when the first bout of SARS hit, to close these markets dealing in exotic, live, germ carrying animals. It didn’t.

The CCP chose to suppress and cover up the new (“novel”) strain of SARS that broke out in November/December 2019. They rebuked and “disappeared” some doctors who tried to warn of a possible epidemic.

The CCP chose to under-report the actual numbers of cases from the Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, while simultaneously taking action to quarantine up to 60 million people. I never believed the numbers China reported in January, February, and afterward. I believe those numbers could have been an order of magnitude low (instead of 80,000+ cases, it’s 800,000).

The CCP allowed up to 5 million people in and out of Hubei Province and Wuhan during the Lunar New Year festival, where tens of thousands feasted together and spread the virus. Tourists from China went around the world, carrying it to Italy, the U.S. and other nations.

China’s current report of 3,299 deaths is now being questioned because the numbers don’t add up to the quantity of urns provided to Wuhan funeral homes. This is not a shock to anyone who’s been following the reports from China. It’s likely, just from this data point, which is being largely ignored by the media, Wuhan had at least 10,000 deaths.

After declaring victory and re-opening movie theaters, reporting no new Coronavirus cases, China a week later closed theaters again, without explaining why. This is likely because they are fudging the numbers, still. China did, and continues to, lie to the world.

Yet, some media outlets cling to China’s numbers as rock solid. Possibly this could be because China has large investments in media. Possibly it’s because certain media would rather highlight that the U.S. has more cases than China reported, spotlighting our government’s (and Donald Trump’s) failure to cope quickly with the pandemic.

China has shipped faulty Coronavirus tests to Spain. Their factories have provided low quality, faulty (and fake) masks, thermal temperature guns, and disinfectants. The CCP allows companies that make these cheap, shoddy knockoffs to thrive, and then cracks down on them when it makes China, Inc. look bad to the world. Right now it looks really bad.

Not knowing what is good and bad coming out of China (which largely is not giving, but selling these goods to nations in desperate need) has caused many nations to simply reject China-made testing kits and PPE. This uncertainty makes the shortages worse. The Dutch recalled 600,000 defective face masks.

China’s leaders paint the nation as a hero, but it’s really a villain.

But much of the U.S. media can’t stop itself from focusing on attacking President Trump. Surely he hasn’t handled the crisis perfectly. In fact, he’s a wrecking ball of mixed messages, word salad, conspiracy theories, and personal vitriol against critics. Yet the president has tried to do the right thing.

He closed travel to China, quickly. When his health advisors pushed him to back social distancing and draconian measures–which sunk the economy and wiped out all market gains since he took office–he listened and did it.

When Trump wanted to re-open the U.S. by Easter, he changed his course on the advice of Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci.

Trump is not perfect, and certainly hasn’t become any more “presidential” in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, but he’s not a villain like China.

China betrayed the world, and Donald Trump didn’t. When America cranks up to make hundreds of thousands of ventilators, don’t bet on them being defective. And we will sell them (or give them) at a decent price to anyone in the world that needs them. The 5-minute test Abbott Labs has developed will be eventually shared with the whole world when we get production up to speed.

When we (or another nation) develops a vaccine, America will give it to the world. And Donald Trump will cheer these things.

China will continue to deny and gaslight and suppress, while America gives and saves.

It would be nice if the media, and so many in politics, stopped wasting their breath fighting the president on every gaffe and misstatement, and blamed the real villain here. Or at least focused on beating the virus, instead of the president.

That would be great.

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Fauci: 100,000 or More Deaths. What Will It Take To Convince You? https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/29/fauci-100000-or-more-deaths-what-will-it-take-to-convince-you/ https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/29/fauci-100000-or-more-deaths-what-will-it-take-to-convince-you/#respond Sun, 29 Mar 2020 20:19:52 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=60821 This means if you're one of the people in denial, constantly looking for reasons why we're confined to our homes, not able to go to the park, or the beach, or to the dentist, you have your answers. I can't do any more than the numbers we have already seen to convince you.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, estimates that “between 100,000 and 200,000” deaths may result from COVID-19 in the U.S.

Fauci, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom under President George W. Bush, who has served under every administration since Ronald Reagan, and is now the nation’s most publicly quoted expert on immunology, should not be ignored.

Yet I still see online, signs of denial. “How do you know?” “What’s the actual mortality rate?” “There’s still a lot of testing not done.” “What about people who get Coronvirus and have no symptoms.”

The answers are already there in the numbers. As for what hasn’t been measured: That’s right, we don’t know, but it’s really not important yet. That’s because we are still fighting to get the community spread of this dangerous virus under 1.0, the point where one infected person doesn’t infect more than themselves and the growth rate of the disease begins to reverse itself.

I’ve been tracking the case counts of COVID-19 since it broke out of China into the U.S. Dr. Fauci’s numbers track perfectly with what we see on the John’s Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.

“But H1N1 Swine Flu was much worse,” is another head-in-the-sand deflection.

No, it wasn’t, and it isn’t. COVID-19 is not the same as Swine Flu, and in fact it’s not an influenza at all. It has similar symptoms, but it’s not flu. From Johns Hopkins:

Influenza (the flu) and COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, are both infectious respiratory illnesses. Although the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu can look similar, the two illnesses are caused by different viruses.

COVID-19 is also more virulent, as in easier to spread, than both seasonal flu or H1N1:

While both the flu and COVID-19 may be transmitted in similar ways (see the Similarities section above), there is also a possible difference: COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route, meaning that tiny droplets remaining in the air could cause disease in others even after the ill person is no longer near.

This is bourne out by the exponential growth rates we’ve seen in the U.S. and abroad until strict social distancing and quarantines are in place.

COVID-19 is also much deadlier than seasonal influenza or H1N1, or even the 1918 Spanish Flu that ravaged the world. Based on the numbers we know now (even if every single unresolved case recovers):

  • Seasonal flu worldwide mortality: .06%
  • COVID-19 worldwide mortality to date: 4.6%
  • 1918 Spanish Flu (500 million cases, 50 million deaths) worldwide mortality rate: 10%, in the U.S.: 2%
  • COVID-19 U.S. mortality rate to date: 1.75%

With full countermeasures, we can expect 4 to 9 million Coronavirus cases in the next six months: that’s 70,000 to 157,500 deaths at the current mortality rate. But Fauci’s model also takes communities into account–in places like New York City, where a massive number of cases can overwhelm the health system, the mortality rate will far exceed 1.75%.

Why? Because that number is based on having ventilators, ICU beds, and first responders for every acute case that would otherwise result in death. With between 25 and 40% of U.S. cases in the NYC Tri-State area, we may be looking at closer to the global rate of 4.6%: that’s 18,400 deaths in that 304 square mile area alone.

Italy now has 97,689 cases (as of this writing) and 10,779 deaths, an 11% mortality rate. If New York matched this, we’re looking at 40-50,000 dead.

This is a catastrophe.

Even outside New York, there will be pockets of overwhelming infections. There will also be large areas of the U.S. that make it through relatively unscathed: if countermeasures are kept in place.

This means if you’re one of the people in denial, constantly looking for reasons why we’re confined to our homes, not able to go to the park, or the beach, or to the dentist, you have your answers. I can’t do any more than the numbers we have already seen to convince you.

If you don’t listen to me, listen to Dr. Fauci. If you don’t listen to Dr. Fauci, listen to President Trump (who listens to Dr. Fauci).

As Trump says, some places in the U.S. might be able to slightly loosen restrictions sooner than others–probably not by Easter but not far off, if we believe what we’re being told now and exercise maximum discipline.

If we fall into denial, and start flouting the restrictions (like some pastors have done with their churches), then our communities will break out in clusters, overwhelm the local health systems, and begin reporting deaths. We don’t need massive testing results to see what the math is showing us. We have all the numbers we need right now.

We do need massive testing. We will need this in order to be able to relax some restrictions. We will need this when we start opening the economy. Not now, not with you and your family right now though: what we need is for you to take this seriously.

I’m not one for anecdotes versus hard numbers, but maybe this is what it will take for you. It doesn’t matter where you live, or what you do for a living. There will be thousands of stories like this. Don’t let one of them be yours.

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COVID-19, April 28 and Beyond: From Here, The Math Doesn’t Lie https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/28/covid-19-april-28-and-beyond-from-here-the-math-doesnt-lie/ https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/28/covid-19-april-28-and-beyond-from-here-the-math-doesnt-lie/#respond Sat, 28 Mar 2020 22:31:04 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=60811 The math doesn't lie. COVID-19 will be a terrible problem for New York City. The federal government should apply a maximum amount of aid and effort to help them. The rest of the nation should swarm areas like Albany and other places where solid outbreaks are occurring.

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The truth of COVID-19 is no longer a matter of speculation. The math doesn’t lie.

https://www.ft.com/coronavirus-latest

Whether you believe China’s official figures or not (I don’t), the U.S. is experiencing a doubling of Coronavirus cases every three days. If unchecked, that leaves us in a very bad place (32 million cases in 15 days).

But take heart: The model doesn’t go there, because the U.S. has been flattening the curve for two weeks now. On February 26, we had 60 cases in America. The number doubled every two days, by my back-of-the-envelope math, until about March 9. Then we started to bend it down in many places.

The bad news is that, by the diversity of response, and by demographics, and by statistical misfortune, some areas have had it much worse than others. Albany, Georgia, a city of about 75,000, nestled in three or four sparsely populated counties in the state’s agricultural southwest, is completely overwhelmed.

New York City is still on a logarithmic doubling every two days. But keep in mind that health data (including the CDC’s) is looking back up to 10 days, due to delays in testing, results, and data aggregation. To look at “today” data, we have to extrapolate based on the math. And like I said, the math doesn’t lie.

Currently, New York City has about 25,000 cases, fully one quarter of the entire nation, and the social distancing measures there have only just begun to bite–if they have had any effect at all–in the community spread of the disease. If we expect, for the next 10 days, that number to double every two days, we’re looking at 400,000 cases by the end of next week. That number won’t be reported right away though–it will take another week to see it.

For the rest of the nation, we’ll see more examples like Albany. The key to our response will be to isolate those pockets and aggressively treat the sick there, while keeping the hammer down on the rest of the country’s social distancing.

Then, maybe by Easter, we will have enough testing capacity to start aggressively going back to what CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said, “It’s going to take rigorous, aggressive public health — what I like to say, block and tackle, block and tackle, block and tackle, block and tackle.”

“That means if you find a new case, you isolate it,” he added. Of course, we’re way, way past “a new case.” We’re in full bloom of unchecked community spread in some places, and operating without testing data in most others. That’s scary. But again, we rely on the math.

The math is telling us where to apply resources.

President Trump’s “quarantine” of the NYC Tri-State metro area, though facially unconstitutional, may be the right strategy. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ call for those fleeing south from New York to self-quarantine is also a good call. Rhode Island is adopting a similar strategy, by pulling over those with NY license plates (I’m not sure it’s the most efficient way, but R.I. does its own thing). In any case, keeping New York’s outbreak contained is wise, lest it spread outward like a plague.

Where does the math take us from here? It’s hard to say, but let’s say the goal is to reduce the measured R0 (“R-naught” – the number of persons one already infected person is likely to infect) below 1.0. That means the case count will continue to grow until we achieve it.

If NYC can get their cases under control, and the rest of the nation exercises maximum social distancing until around April 24 (coincidentally, the end date for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s school closure order), the country may top out at between 4 and 9 million cases, with NYC having anywhere from 800,000 to 3 million. That may seem like a lot, but it would be a total victory for social distancing and flattening the curve.

We could, however, do much better: we might top out at 2-3 million with NYC having half of those if the rest of the nation does better. Much of this depends on how quickly mass testing comes online.

The math doesn’t lie. COVID-19 will be a terrible problem for New York City. The federal government should apply a maximum amount of aid and effort to help them. The rest of the nation should swarm areas like Albany and other places where solid outbreaks are occurring.

In about six months, we should be able to reassess and look back. The math won’t lie (except for China, which has never been close to honest–the same math used here would mean China had at least 3 million cases, not the specious under-100,000 they are clinging to).

New York City will be scarred by COVID-19 in a way that hasn’t happened since 9/11. But the city will make it through. And the nation will make it through.

Don’t listen to me, though. Rely on the math, and stay safe–six feet away please.

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Biden Accused of Sexual Assault by a Former Staffer https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/27/biden-accused-of-sexual-assault-by-a-former-staffer/ https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/27/biden-accused-of-sexual-assault-by-a-former-staffer/#respond Fri, 27 Mar 2020 12:00:00 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=60780 Stories like this one, a longtime accusation of rape, might get legs if the power brokers decide Biden is just too old and out to pasture to be a viable candidate in the general election.

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Tara Reade worked for Joe Biden as a staff assistant in 1993. She said she’s been trying to get her story out since then that Biden, she alleges, digitally raped her.

According to Reade, Biden pressed her up against a wall and digitally penetrated her without her consent. “It happened all at once, and then… his hands were on me and underneath my clothes,” she says. She also remembers him asking “do you want to go somewhere else?” and then, when she had pulled away, “Come on, man, I heard you liked me.” Reade says that “everything shattered” in that moment and his claim that he thought she liked him made her feel like she had “done this” somehow. “I looked up to him, he was my father’s age. He was this champion of women’s rights in my eyes,” she says. “I wanted to be a senator; I didn’t want to sleep with one.”

Joe Biden Faces Sexual Assault Allegations From A Former Staffer, Yahoo News, March 26, 2020

Furthermore, Reade’s tale includes how organizations rooted in the #MeToo movement like the National Women’s Law Center reportedly suppressed her claims with some fairly flimsy excuses.

“As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the National Women’s Law Center is restricted in how it can spend its funds, including restrictions that pertain to candidates running for election,” NWLC spokesperson, Maria Patrick, told The Intercept. It was also revealed in the same story that “the public relations firm that works on behalf of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is SKDKnickerbocker, whose managing director, Anita Dunn, is the top adviser to Biden’s presidential campaign.”

This story is in large part uncorroborated. It may be completely true, and it may be overhyped, even debunked. But what I’m seeing is, simmering under the Coronavirus stories that are consuming all the media space right now (and rightly so), there’s a rising tide that Joe Biden should not be the nominee for the Democratic Party.

Here and there I see rumors, some of which may be planted stories, mind you, that the DNC is mulling its options, mentioning names like Andrew Cuomo (who I doubt would want to run against Trump). Even the dreaded Hillary Clinton’s name has surfaced (seriously!?).

I think stories like this one, a longtime accusation of rape, might get legs if the power brokers decide Biden is just too old and out to pasture to be a viable candidate in the general election. Personally, I agree with my colleague Peter Heck: this is elder abuse.

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Congratulations? Senate Passes $2+ Trillion CARES Bill Full of Hope and Pork https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/26/congratulations-senate-passes-2-trillion-cares-bill-full-of-hope-and-pork/ https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/26/congratulations-senate-passes-2-trillion-cares-bill-full-of-hope-and-pork/#respond Thu, 26 Mar 2020 11:37:25 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=60692 America will be paying for this giant cash effluent for decades. Our kids and their kids will be paying off this multi-trillion dollar river of sludge. Yes, we needed it, but we didn't need the Democrats holding a gun to the nation's head to give it to us (good and hard).

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Finally, in a pageant of faux unity, the Senate passed a massive $2.2 trillion dollar CARES bill to keep America on life support during the COVID-19 national shutdown. To be sure, it is needed. But I’m not so sure “Congratulations” are in order.

I haven’t had time to read the 800+ page monster (read it here), and maybe we’ll just have to pass it to find out what’s in it. But the main pillars are:

  • Expanded unemployment benefits: adding $600/week to payouts, expanding eligibility, and adding 13 more weeks of benefits, among other things.
  • Checks in the mail: $1,200 for every adult with a Social Security Number. Subject to the awful and crazy 2018 declining schedule I wrote about here. High earning (in 2018) singles and couples (over $199k) will receive nothing.
  • Small business loans and grants: All kinds of grab-bag of SBA loans and grants, loan forgiveness for payroll, rent, mortgage interest and utilities. The red tape here bothers me–it needs to be simple, and we’ve yet to see the government do anything simple since Cash for Clunkers.
  • Large business loans and guarantees: This mostly bails out the airlines (which will absolutely 100% fail without it), and firms related to national security.
  • Open the Fed vault: A half-trillion to set up a $4.5 trillion Federal Reserve fund to loans to businesses, states and cities.
  • Direct aid to state and local governments: $175 billion in cash.
  • Healthcare: $100 billion for hospitals, and a potpourri of preparedness, community health centers, Medicare telehealth, additional CDC/FDA/NIH/IHS/others funding, and $20 billion for veterans health.
  • Welfare entitlements: $25 billion for food stamps, and another $17 billion for child and family services and housing support.
  • FEMA: $45 billion. (For what? The next disaster is always the one we didn’t prepare for.)
  • Tax relief: About $10 billion for a bunch of small changes, and one I like. Raising the cap for charitable giving is a wonderful thing, and should be given a bigger role.
  • Business tax handouts: This is a handout. $280 billion in tax changes that allow businesses to deduct expenses that the government is now paying (see above). So essentially the government is handing businesses money and not taxing it back.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has a better breakdown.

Of course, Democrats are cheering because they got their Kennedy Center money and probably a whole lot of pork projects they’ve had drafted and sitting in a staffer’s drawer waiting for a crisis like this.

What I don’t like at all is that all parties behaved like starving hogs at a trough of slop, pushing each other out of the way to see which nose goes deepest into the gooey mix.

The so-called greatest deliberative body in the world, the U.S. Senate, took a week to pass this pig, and that’s shameful. In the meantime, the previously enacted FFCRA created massive incentives for businesses to lay off and RIF large numbers of employees. And that has happened.

(But there is no shame in the Senate, which just a few months ago made a mockery of itself in Trump’s impeachment trial, and before that, in the last two Supreme Court nomination hearings. This is simply playing for par.)

Now, we need to see how many of those employees will have jobs waiting for them, and how many companies will make it to hire them back, at the end of this long dark tunnel. But the Senate behaved abominably, with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer giving Nancy Pelosi political cover to add her magic liberal pork dust to the dough.

America will be paying for this giant cash effluent for decades. Our kids and their kids will be paying off this multi-trillion dollar river of sludge. Yes, we needed it, but we didn’t need the Democrats holding a gun to the nation’s head to give it to us (good and hard).

I am not so sure we should be congratulating anyone.

Let’s get through this, and help those who desperately need help, and then we’ll see about celebrations, lauds and awards.

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A Divided People Heard What They Wanted to Hear Trump Say https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/24/a-divided-people-heard-what-they-wanted-to-hear-trump-say/ https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/24/a-divided-people-heard-what-they-wanted-to-hear-trump-say/#respond Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:54:31 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=60633 Monday’s daily presser with President Trump on the Coronavirus illuminated some terrible truths. In a time when our nation really needs to be united against the threat of COVID-19, we remain hopelessly divided. People who heard the same press conference came away with completely different stories. They heard what they wanted to hear. For example, […]

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Monday’s daily presser with President Trump on the Coronavirus illuminated some terrible truths. In a time when our nation really needs to be united against the threat of COVID-19, we remain hopelessly divided. People who heard the same press conference came away with completely different stories. They heard what they wanted to hear.

For example, the president stopped using the term “Chinese virus.” He, quite intentionally, said “the virus.” I could almost hear him straining not to say “Chinese.” He went out of his way to praise Asian-Americans. He answered a media question asking why he did that by forthrightly saying it’s not right for some Americans to blame ethnic Chinese or Asian-Americans for the virus.

Yet today CNN was still referring to Trump calling it a “Chinese virus.” To be fair, CNN ran a story about Trump’s call to protect Asian-Americans, but they put “protect” in scare-quotes, like the president really didn’t mean it. That’s what CNN heard. Brett Samuels at The Hill wrote a similar “we don’t buy it” take.

Standing on the platform without Dr. Anthony Fauci, patron saint of rational advice in a pandemic, Trump said “our country wasn’t built to shut down.” He said the shutdown will–eventually–end, and in less time than those saying it will be months. When asked, the president said he would listen to medical advice but he will make the decision.

What has changed here? The fact that Trump admitted the shutdown has been catastrophic to our economy and to small businesses is well-known. The fact that we need to move quickly through this is not in dispute. But Maggie Haberman of the New York Times heard it differently–or at least her editors did.

“Trump Considers Reopening Economy, Over Health Experts’ Objections”

On Monday, Mr. Trump said his administration would reassess whether to keep the economy shuttered after the initial 15-day period ends next Monday, saying it could extend another week and that certain parts of the country could reopen sooner than others, depending on the extent of infections.

Did the president specifically say that he was going to overrule his advisors and state governors? No, quite the opposite. So far, after an initial stumble dealing the the virus before it had entrenched itself on our shores, Trump has listened to his medical advisors. He put his most experienced and trusted government guy, his Vice President Mike Pence, in charge of the task force.

But Trump’s foes in the media (and they are foes) and those against him in our national divide, really believe that if Dr. Fauci, Dr. Brix, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, HHS Secretary Azar, HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, and FDA Commissioner Dr. Hahn tell him millions of lives may be at great risk because of a poorly timed economic decision, Trump will overrule them and do it anyway.

They really think he would do it, even though the evidence shows he hasn’t (or we wouldn’t be shut down now).

The media would rather focus on why Dr. Fauci wasn’t on the podium. Fauci recently gave an interview to Jon Cohen of Science Magazine, in which he played it straight, as Fauci seems to be prone to doing. The interview painted a rather unflattering picture of how the president is being “managed” in his ad-libbed presser remarks. It also makes a very large point about there being too many people on the podium during the briefings. It appears Fauci got his wish.

At the start of the briefing, Trump mentioned that “social distancing” was the reason for fewer people, and that would be exactly Fauci’s point.

I, and million of others, heard a president who appeared very concerned for the American people, for our livelihoods, and for our health. I didn’t hear a wild maverick willing to undo all our measures to contain COVID-19 to save a few big corporations. I didn’t hear a raving racist trying to paper over his anti-Chinese talk. But people on the other side of the divide did hear all that.

I don’t think our nation is going to get through this very well if we can’t even agree on what the president said, because our personal biases, both for and against him, create such an unbridgeable chasm.

That, more than the virus itself, worries me greatly.

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IOC: 2020 Tokyo Olympics Postponed https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/23/ioc-2020-tokyo-olympics-postponed/ https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/23/ioc-2020-tokyo-olympics-postponed/#respond Mon, 23 Mar 2020 18:33:05 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=60596 Mark another sporting event off your calendar for 2020. This was probably inevitable. After Canada and Australia announced they were not sending teams to the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, the IOC finally decided to drop the charade and tell everyone what we already knew. The Games will not be held this summer; they will […]

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Mark another sporting event off your calendar for 2020.

This was probably inevitable. After Canada and Australia announced they were not sending teams to the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, the IOC finally decided to drop the charade and tell everyone what we already knew. The Games will not be held this summer; they will be postponed, and it’s likely they will be held in 2021.

IOC member Dick Pound, a Canadian, told USA Today‘s Christine Brennan “On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” in a phone call. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”

While IOC President Thomas Bach still maintains that the games will not be canceled, Sunday he announced the decision for when the Games will be held will be made in the next four weeks.

“It will come in stages,” Pound continued. “We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense.”

According to USA Today, when the IOC spokesperson Mark Adams was told Pound’s comments, he remarked “It is the right of every IOC member to interpret the decision of the IOC executive board which was announced yesterday.”

This could be good news, however, for athletes trying to prepare for the Games, since many countries have suspended Olympic trials. If you’re one of those disappointed athletes, you now have a reprieve, and probably a whole year, to recover.

The rest of the world will probably need every bit of it.

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Steve Mnuchin Donated to Democrats: Now They Are Throwing Him Under the Bus https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/23/steve-mnuchin-donated-to-democrats-now-they-are-throwing-him-under-the-bus/ https://theresurgent.com/2020/03/23/steve-mnuchin-donated-to-democrats-now-they-are-throwing-him-under-the-bus/#respond Mon, 23 Mar 2020 12:00:00 +0000 https://theresurgent.com/?p=60564 It's not about Mnuchin's authority or oversight. It's about getting their pet projects thrown into this relief bill. They are holding the nation hostage over petty power politics. Nothing could be more detestable.

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Democrats and their media mandarins are blaming Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for their political turnabout on a relief bill they helped negotiate.

Congressional Democrats have demanded the legislation include guardrails to prevent firms that receive the emergency aid from firing their workers or stripping them of their health care, among other asks by labor groups. They also are balking at giving Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin so much authority to determine which firms receive the assistance.

Treasury’s power over $500 billion loan program becomes key sticking point in coronavirus aid bill, Washington Post, March 22, 2020

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are pretty detached from the problems of normal Americans, but this is a stunning bit of political intrigue that serves nobody. Flexibility is the key to this response–and speed. Adding all kinds of guardrails simply slows things down.

Slowing things down puts more small businesses out of business. That puts more Americans on the street. Increasing unemployment benefits does nothing to put them back to work quickly since the jobs they already had have now evaporated. Credit will be hard to find. We’ll all be on the government dole.

Perhaps this is what Democrats want. But do they want it in an election year? Voter anger is something they’re not counting on (except at President Trump), but I assure you it will be white hot and directed squarely at them.

Plus, why Mnuchin? It’s not like he’s a rock-ribbed conservative. In fact, just ten years ago, Mnuchin was maxing out his donations for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

In 2012, Mnuchin switched his giving to the Republican Party, and gave to Mitt Romney. In 2016, it was Donald Trump, which is one reason he’s in the powerful cabinet post he occupies.

But don’t let that fool you. Trump himself is a profligate spender, and Mnuchin is aligned with that vision. He wants to spend government money, and liberally.

There’s really no reason Democrats have to fear Mnuchin doing some corporate crony end-run any more than Obama’s former man at Treasury, Tim Geithner. Geithner had authority over the second $350 billion of President Bush’s 2008 stimulus package.

I don’t seem to remember the Sturm und Drang of the media back then. In fact, liberal Paul Krugman skewered Geithner’s “toxic asset” plan as a recycled “cash for trash” program.

So now, the entire Democratic Party, and the media, has lost its memory on bailouts, Treasury Department authority, and Steve Mnuchin’s politics.

It’s not about Mnuchin’s authority or oversight. It’s about getting their pet projects thrown into this relief bill. They are holding the nation hostage over petty power politics. Nothing could be more detestable.

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