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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, May 15, 2020

You Don't Waste a Crisis -- Unless You're Wasting Money

by Tony Perkins: In 2009, when America was in a deep financial crisis, our new president, Barack Obama, appointed Rahm Emanuel to be his chief-of-staff. Emanuel was known for two things: bare-knuckle politics and radical liberalism. And he knew that while America's attention was focused on recharging our economy it would be a great time to sneak in parts of the liberal agenda that otherwise might never get done. As he put it, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."

Some things never change. That's why the left is using the coronavirus relief bill as a way to fund its political agenda.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday that Washington Democrats are "kicking the coronavirus to the curb" and instead inserting funds for all kinds of pet projects. For example, Majority Leader McConnell noted that liberals want "taxpayer funded studies to measure diversity and inclusion among the people who profit off of marijuana. The word cannabis appears in the bill 68 times -- more times than the word job and four times as many as the word hire."

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), said yesterday on my "Washington Watch" program that the Democrats' relief bill is little more than "a run on the bank, three trillion dollars, more in one bill than we spent in all the other packages combined." Rep. Perry said that their measure also makes sure that people here illegally will get stimulus checks without fear of deportation.

The bill also provides bailouts for mismanaged union pensions and provides massive funds for states that have mismanaged their monies. In a letter sent this week by some of Congress's top conservatives to House and Senate leaders, it was noted that the corona relief bill "reward(s) states that have mismanaged their budgets, incentivize future bailouts and reliance on federal funding." In a word, the bill "feed(s) the Left's ultimate goal of consolidating power in the federal government rather than empowering states."

And as reported in the Washington Times, the bill seeks to play fast-and-loose with something that goes to the heart of the Constitution: free and fair elections. The bill creates "a loophole in states' voter ID requirements, allowing people to cast ballots without having to prove who they are." And as Rep. Perry said yesterday, the so-called relief bill "requires 15 days of early voting for federal elections." To put it bluntly, he said, much of the coronavirus relief bill is "about stealing elections."

And just when you thought you'd heard everything, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi piped-up and said that the corona relief bill is a "momentous opportunity" for Congress to save the lives and livelihoods of the American people and even save "our democracy." If she hadn't said this, I don't think anyone could have thought it up: How can our system of representative self-government (it's called a republic, Madame Speaker) be saved by a gigantic federal spending bill that makes the states little more than clients of Uncle Sam?

Majority Leader McConnell has rightly called the House Democrats' coronavirus relief package a "a catalog of left-wing oddities." The House is debating this bill as I write, and they are expected to pass it along party lines. But thankfully, Majority Leader McConnell will usher it to the legislative graveyard in the Senate.

Even though the measure will not become law it will do two things. First, it reveals the priorities of the new and more radicalized Democratic Party: Spend money we don't have, squeeze the private sector, rig elections, and use every opportunity to advance an agenda that socializes the economy and expands Washington's power. Secondly, it will be used as a negotiating gambit by Speaker Pelosi as House Democrats try to hijack any reasonable bill advanced by the Senate.
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Tony Perkins (@tperkins) is President of the Family Research Council . Article on Tony Perkins' Washington Update and written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tags: Tony Perkins, Family Research Center, FRC, Family Research Council, You Don't Waste a Crisis, Unless You're Wasting Money To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Another 2.9 Million File For Initial Jobless Claims . . .

. . . but has the bleeding finally stopped as the economy begins reopening?
by Robert Romano: Another 2.9 million Americans filed for initial unemployment in the week ending May 9, and about 22.8 million were taking advantage of unemployment benefits the week ending May 2 during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The second number, the 22.8 million, keeps churning on a seasonally adjusted basis and is up by more than 450,000, but is down almost 630,000 on the not-seasonally adjusted basis at 21.7 million. That’s a huge range.

This means that a great many are remaining on unemployment insurance, but also some who are not, perhaps owing to payroll protection coming through for many employers who have gotten their small business lending squared away, but also the economy beginning to reopen in many states.

Thus even though more than 32 million people have filed for unemployment initially over past month and a half, the number in the program presently could be more near the 23 million to 25 million level. Still mind-bogglingly high, but perhaps finally plateauing.

Add to that the 5.8 million who were already unemployed when the pandemic began and you see about 30 million to 31 million are out of work, resulting in about a 19 percent effective unemployment rate, easily the highest since the Great Depression.

The good news is that the job losses, at least for now, appear to be nearing their plateau. Readers will recall that it can take a really long time to hit the labor market bottom in recessions, on average 11 months but sometimes as high as 25 months like in the financial crisis and Great Recession.

Although it is too early to tell, there are signs that this recession could hit its labor market bottom more rapidly than the average. We’ll have more information when the May monthly unemployment report is released the first week of June.

Looking forward, that could mean that the number of jobs lost could already be falling by the time fall rolls around.

Politically, that could bode well for President Donald Trump’s reelection bid. Already near record high approval — for example Trump hit 51 percent in the most recent Hill/HarrisX poll — if the jobs numbers are pointed in the right direction soon, it could validate the approach the President took both in leading the country through the pandemic and now in reopening America.

Which, we really do need to reopen even with the risks associated with a pandemic resurgence. As it is, with so many out of work, there is a great risk that households will be suddenly become unable to make monthly mortgage payments, affecting those who do not have federally held mortgages that are allowed to forego payments presently.

And with far fewer taxpayers, state and municipal revenues will be devastated, with massive shortfalls for basic services including education.

Other risks include the incredibly strong dollar, which is associated with periods of high unemployment as central banks and financial institutions engage in a flight to safety in U.S. treasuries, creating artificially high demand for U.S. treasuries. The high demand for dollar denominated assets keeps the dollar strong, and could result in prolonged unemployment if it stays that way for too long.

The danger of remaining closed for too long is that the job losses will resume after portions of the country reopen, and the recession drags on due to complications arising from the devastation that has already been wrought. President Trump, Congress and state governors have to thread a needle here, safely reopening and forging a path for a rapid recovery. The longer this goes on, the more it will seem like there’s no end in sight.
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Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

Tags: Robert Romano, Americans for Limited Government, Another 2.9 Million. File For Initial. Jobless Claims To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

The Intolerant, Ingrate Left Wants Christians to Stop Helping COVID-19 Victims

by Nicole Russell: Just as soon as the Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse came to the aid of overwhelmed New York City officials and sick residents struggling to combat the effects of COVID-19, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson decided the diverse, “tolerant,” progressive city had enough of its assistance, due to its Christian foundation, and effectively kicked the charity out.
While it’s usually Christians who are scolded for their so-called intolerant beliefs that are rooted in centuries-old religious traditions, here it seems like it’s progressives who aren’t so tolerant of other people embracing views that are different than theirs—even if those very views inform their acts of charity and medical care.

Samaritan’s Purse is, of course, a renowned Christian relief organization that focuses mostly on offering medical aid in times of crises, setting up emergency field hospitals in disease-ridden, war-torn, or terrorist-ravaged hot spots around the world.

It has gone everywhere from the Bahamas to Mozambique to Iraq and has treated everything from injuries caused by ISIS to Ebola. Now, it’s helping COVID-19 patients and public officials in New York and Italy.

When COVID-19 began to overwhelm New York City just a few weeks ago—at the peak of what we now think was the frightening “curve” of the outbreak—Samaritan’s Purse arrived, built a giant tent hospital in Central Park with the full knowledge and cooperation of the nearby highly acclaimed Mount Sinai Health System, and went to work.

Here’s what Samaritan’s Purse accomplished, according to its website:

We operated our respiratory care unit in Central Park from April 1 to May 5. Through our partnership with the Mount Sinai Health System, we treated more than 300 coronavirus patients in New York, including 190 at the park site.

More than 240 relief specialists served at various times on the Disaster Assistance Response Team there. We ran a similar medical facility outside of Milan, Italy, that opened on March 20 and closed May 7. The 14-tent unit was set up adjacent to the Cremona Hospital in order to treat an overflow of coronavirus patients.

Our DC-8 aircraft made two airlifts to Italy in order to deliver the hospital, 20 tons of supplies, and a large Disaster Assistance Response Team.
Those efforts sound not only peaceful and benign, but also quite remarkable. Not so, according to a number of New York City officials, who started a culture war where there wasn’t even a battle—except for those fighting for their lives due to COVID-19.

According to a May 4 New York Post column, “Four local Democratic members of Congress—Reps. Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Adriano Espaillat, and [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez]—sent a letter to Mount Sinai expressing their ‘concern’ about the group’s efforts and demanding to know how it had received permission to operate in Central Park.”

Combine that with Johnson’s tweets and you have yourself a culture war coup d’etat.

Johnson specifically called out the organization’s religious views, tweeting they were too exclusive and hateful:

Their continued presence here is an affront to our values of inclusion, and is painful for all New Yorkers who care deeply about the LGBTQ community. …

The @NYCCouncil is committed to supporting [health care workers] and protecting our city’s public health. But as a city that values diversity and compassion for all, we can’t continue allowing a group with their track record to remain here when we’re past the point they’re needed.

Mount Sinai must sever its relationship with Samaritan’s Purse. Its leader calls the LGBTQ community ‘detestable’ and ‘immoral.’ He says being gay is ‘an affront to God,’ and refers to gay Christians as ‘the enemy.’ …
Johnson concluded his tweetstorm: “Hate has no place in our beautiful city.”

Samaritan’s Purse did indeed leave a few days later, although it’s unclear whether those tweets motivated it or whether it had already planned to leave New York City on May 5.

Johnson’s interpretation that Samaritan’s Purse is a bigoted, hateful organization because it espouses traditional Christian beliefs—specifically, that marriage is between a man and a woman—is not a new lens through which the left views Christians, though that doesn’t make it accurate.

Even before the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2015, that was the premise of virtually every LGBTQ group, the plaintiff in that 2015 court case, the ACLU, and many others.

Since when is it “bigotry” to hold sincere religious beliefs that people have practiced for centuries?

The LGBTQ community claims to advocate tolerance and inclusion, but it is inviting and welcoming only when everyone believes what it does, even when, as we saw here, the issue at stake—medical care in a crisis—has nothing to do with political ideology.

There’s no evidence that Samaritan’s Purse came to New York City to condemn gay marriage or even to spread the Gospel. From the sound of it, Samaritan’s Purse pitched its tent, gave medical care to patients suffering with COVID-19, and after a few weeks, or perhaps when its presence became controversial, it left.

There is still a cultural divide between Christians and LGBTQ groups and their supporters. That’s unfortunate.

I know many Christians who grieve over that and desire harmony with everyone without compromising their beliefs. I’m sure many in the LGBTQ community do as well.

It’s possible that divide may always exist, but I wish that Christians could maintain their beliefs and still extend courtesy and grace, and that people like the New York City Council speaker would be as inclusive and tolerant as they claim to be toward Christians trying to help them.
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Nicole Russell (@russell_nm) is a contributor to The Daily Signal.

Tags: Nicole Russell, The Intolerant, Ingrate Left, Wants Christians, to Stop Helping, COVID-19 Victims To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

No Justice, No Freedom . . .

. . . When justice is stripped of her blindfold - and her scales are tampered with.
by Bruce Thornton: The opening credits of the Perry Mason television drama featured a statue of justice as a blindfolded woman raising aloft a pair of scales. This common visual metaphor captures the two critical dimensions of justice: balancing the punishment with the crime, and the equality of all under the law.

Four years ago the Obama administration and rogue partisans in the FBI and DOJ abused their powers in order to keep Donald Trump from being elected, and then to hamstring and sabotage his administration. Now we are nearing the end of the investigations into those crimes, and the truth long obvious to many will finally be confirmed. But if the verification of these crimes is not followed by indictments and the malefactors put on trial, our political system will be seriously damaged, and we citizens will lose faith in the integrity of our justice system and its role in protecting our political freedom

Like freedom, our view of justice as embodying fairness and balance has not been universal to all peoples. They may have had laws, but those laws were not necessarily just. Our notion of justice arises from the creation of constitutional states that first took form in ancient Greece. Before then, power over others was a personal possession of rulers based on their assumed superiority of wealth or birth, and as such was unaccountable to the masses. These rulers made the laws and enforced them, but they were not always subject to the same laws nor were they enforced fairly. Like governing, applying justice, then, was a function of the ruler’s status and privilege, or his alleged connection to the all-knowing gods. Justice, like political power, resided in men, not in laws equally applied.

The constitutional city-states of ancient Greece invented the transformational ideas that political power should be separated from flawed mortals and enshrined in laws and institutions that men managed and applied, but always remained the possession of the political community that outlived any particular man. By the time of the Athenian democracy, citizen males whether rich or poor, illiterate or educated, brought indictments against malefactors, made prosecution and defense speeches, and sat with several hundred “jurors” to adjudicate innocence or guilt, and determined the punishment. That they did so at times wrongly or corruptly, merely confirms their flawed humanity.

That responsibility and privilege of meting out justice given to all citizens reinforced their political equality and freedom. Our system avoids the excesses of the direct democracy of Athens by having professional judges and prosecutors, but they too are still accountable to the people through their elected representatives, or in some states directly through the ballot box. An important exercise of our freedom is to demand that justice, which can involve incarceration that takes away our freedom, be applied equally to all, and balanced with the offense. Anything else is tyranny.

We just saw an example of tyrannical “justice.” A state district court judge in Texas sentenced a salon owner to a week in jail because she opened her business so she and her employees could feed their families. She did not violate a law, but a proclamation from the governor to keep “non-essential” businesses closed. Such ad hoc proclamations are problematic because they frequently reflect subjective or arbitrary judgments of risk that are not based on reasonable, let alone scientific, evidence. Yet the judge in Texas imposed a draconian punishment for no reason other than the business-owner’s refusal to grovel before his authority and admit she was “selfish.” He violated the foundations of true justice––balancing the punishment to the offense, and applying it equally––which led to the woman losing her freedom until the state’s Supreme Court intervened.

Such distortions of justice characterize the lockdown orders issued mainly by blue-state governors. As insulting to the citizens’ freedom as those have been, more serious is the corruption of the Obama administration, especially his FBI and DOJ, that began in the last days of his second term. The President of the United States became involved in a concerted partisan effort to damage the campaign of his potential successor. After Trump was elected, deep-state operatives continued to undermine his administration for four years, spawning a two-year illicit investigation by a special counsel, and preposterous Articles of Impeachment from the Democrat-controlled House. All were riddled with violations of investigatory laws and protocols ranging from the fraudulent FISA court warrants to the withholding of exculpatory evidence.

This attack on President Trump by partisan members of executive agencies of which he is the head has serially demonstrated the corruption of the two prerequisites of true justice: balance and equality under the law. The hounding of Michael Flynn is perhaps the most egregious deformation of true justice. The pretext for investigating him, that he violated the archaic Logan Act, was facially absurd. As the incoming National Security Advisor, speaking with the Russian ambassador was unexceptional, indeed required of his position. That conversation was recorded, as all such contacts are, and then Flynn and others mentioned in the talk were illegally “unmasked.” Even though FBI agents said Flynn didn’t lie, the FBI still set a “perjury trap” with questions about the conversation that they already knew the contents of, and that was perfectly legal. The FBI slyly discouraged Flynn from having a lawyer present, and presto, an American hero who had served his country in war and peace was now a criminal sentenced to prison after having been bankrupted paying for his defense.

Justice was seriously violated because Flynn, though innocent, was treated much differently than many other people who actually committed crimes. The most egregious of whom is Hillary Clinton, who clearly is guilty of using a private server to transmit classified information, which constitutes a felony. For that crime, she was questioned unsworn, with her two lawyers present, both of which would have been material witnesses in any prosecution. Clinton’s “bleaching” of the server and destruction of tens of thousands of emails, which constitutes obstruction of justice, were matters of indifference to James Comey’s FBI. So much for equality under the law and punishment balancing the crime.

So Clinton committed crimes and went scot-free, while Flynn did not commit the crime of lying to the FBI (which Obama seems to think is “perjury”), and underwent the ordeal of having his son threatened, his savings wiped out, and his reputation besmirched, as were other victims like Carter Page. The DOJ has asked the court to vacate the case against Flynn, and that happened only because Donald Trump became president and appointed an Attorney General who understands what true justice is.

Numerous other examples from this corrupt scheme likewise illustrate the violation of justice. Flynn did not commit lie to the FBI and suffered like Jean Valjean, while agency functionaries like James Clapper, John Brennan, and Andrew McCabe lied under oath with impunity. FISA warrants marred with 17 violations were based on the transparently bogus Russian kompromat known as the Steele Dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC––facts the petitioners did not reveal to the court––all for dubious partisan purposes that required treating some people differently from others. So far, these violations have gone unpunished except for a few miscreants getting “fired,” which means pulling down a cushy federal pension while enjoying an equally cushy gig with MSNBC.

When such offenses committed by “public servants” sworn to uphold the Constitution go unpunished, our whole political order that protects our freedom is compromised. When justice that is supposed to be blind and balanced becomes corrupted by inequality and excesses, the equality of all free citizens before the law is endangered, for then, to paraphrase Orwell, some pigs are more free and equal than others, hollowing out and weakening those critical political goods. After all, that same sort of corruption provided the offenses that justified the American Revolution in the Declaration of Independence, the bulk of which is a catalogue of George III’s unjust violations of the colonists’ rights, “a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”

Similarly, the “soft” tyranny of concentrated power created by our technocratic “managerial elite” is the aim of those who would not accept the legal election of Donald Trump, and who continue trying to damage his administration and forestall his reelection. For such ruling class, true justice must give way to “social justice,” a mask for the further concentration of power at the expense of our liberty. This warping of justice is camouflaged by its claims to eradicate inequality, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and other crimes they have hung on Donald Trump and his supporters. But like all tyranny, it’s really all about power.

Over the last few years we’ve seen Justice stripped of her blindfold, and her scales tampered with. As for their victims, the perpetrators and their media hirelings respond as the Gallic chieftain Brennus did to the Romans when they protested the crooked scales that he was using to weigh out the tribute they owed. Throwing his sword on the scales, he sneered, “Vae victis!”––To hell with the conquered.

If we want to avoid becoming a world where sheer power determines justice, all these investigations must end with indictments, trials, and condign punishment in order to hold the malefactors accountable, and deter future ones. But if they are left unpunished, then we will find ourselves increasingly living in a world where justice is not blind, and all are not equal under the law.
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Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Article shared at FrontPage Mag.

Tags: Bruce Thornton, FrontPage Mag, No Justice, No Freedom, When justice, is stripped of her blindfold, and her scales, are tampered with To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Two Productive Weeks In The Senate

While ‘House Democrats Are Missing In Action,’ 

The Senate Has Been Carefully At Work, Holding Hearings On The Pandemic, Passing Critical National Security Legislation, And Confirming Important Nominations

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “The Senate is back in session because we have important work to do for the nation. Critical posts throughout the federal government -- from public health to national security and beyond -- remain vacant. Qualified nominees who have been held up for too long already have become even more necessary in these uncertain times. On the floor and in committee, the Senate will be acting on key nominations that relate directly to the safety of the American people, oversight over our coronavirus legislation, and more.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 5/04/2020)
  • SEN. McCONNELL: “The core business of our nation does not stop while we fight the coronavirus. This week, Senate committees are conducting oversight and holding hearings. Members are tracking the implementation of the CARES Act. We are discussing how Congress could do everything from further strengthening the health response to ensuring that a second epidemic of frivolous lawsuits does not redirect the national recovery into a trial-lawyer bonanza. Here on the floor, we’re filling major vacancies in the federal government.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 5/06/2020)
  • SEN. McCONNELL: “The Democratic House is still not back in Washington. Their constitutional duty stations are still unmanned…. House Democrats have been missing in action for months. While the Senate was passing the CARES Act, the Democratic House was on the sidelines – substantively, and literally. They had already gone home. Nearly two months later, Senators are back at our duty stations, with new precautions. We’ve been back two weeks. We’re holding major hearings on the pandemic, legislating, and confirming nominees. But the House is still at home. And when they do contribute, it’s not serious. House Democrats have checked out of this crisis and left governing up to the Senate.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 5/14/2020)
Senate Committees Held Hearings On COVID-19 And Economic Recovery

BANKING, HOUSING, AND URBAN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE:
Tuesday, May 5: Hearing: Nominations of Brian Miller to be Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery at the Treasury Department and Dana Wade to be Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Hearing: Oversight of Financial Regulators
COMMERCE, SCIENCE, & TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE:

Wednesday, May 6: Hearing: The State of the Aviation Industry: Examining the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Wednesday, May 13: Hearing: The State of Broadband Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR, & PENSIONS COMMITTEE:

Thursday, May 7: Hearing: Shark Tank: New Tests for COVID-19

Tuesday, May 12: Hearing: COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School
  • Witnesses included: Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Dr. Robert Redfield, Director, CDC; Dr. Stephen Hahn, Commissioner, FDA; Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health, HHS Department
HOMELAND SECURITY & GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

Wednesday, May 6: Hearing: Roundtable - COVID-19: How New Information Should Drive Policy

JUDICIARY COMMITTEE:
Tuesday, May 12: Hearing: Examining Liability During the COVID-19 Pandemic


The Senate Passed A Renewal Of Critical FISA Provisions

“The Senate on Thursday passed legislation reauthorizing three intelligence programs that lapsed earlier this year … Senators voted 80-16 on the bill, which pairs the reauthorization of the USA Freedom Act provisions with some changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as the FISA court.” (“Senate Votes To Reauthorize Intel Programs With Added Legal Protections,” The Hill, 5/14/2020)
“Senior Justice Department officials have said their ability to pursue some investigations during the two-month lapse of the tools has impeded their work …” (“Senate Approves Measure to Renew Some Lapsed Domestic Spying Powers,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/14/2020)
The Senate Sustained The President’s Veto Of A ‘Deeply Flawed’ War Powers Resolution That Would Have Improperly Hindered Responses To Iranian Aggression

“The Senate on Thursday failed to override a presidential veto of a War Powers resolution intended to rein in presidential authority to use military action against Iran … The vote was 49-44. A two-thirds majority would have been required for a successful override, which was not expected to happen after President Donald Trump vetoed the resolution on Wednesday.” (“Senate Fails To Override Trump Veto Of Iran War Powers Resolution,” CNN, 5/07/2020)

SEN. McCONNELL: “Today the Senate will consider a War Powers Resolution [that] is deeply flawed on a number of levels…. [I]t is too blunt and too broad. It is also an abuse of the War Powers Act, which was designed to strike a balance between the President’s constitutional war powers and Congress’ own war powers and oversight responsibilities…. There is no ongoing, protracted combat with respect to Iran. Our troops are not mired in unending hostilities…. Clearly this is the wrong tool for this subject…. I believe it is just an effort to broadcast a political message. But even that message can be harmful to our troops and to national security.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/12/2020)

The EPW Committee Passed Major Water Infrastructure Legislation

“The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously advanced a pair of water infrastructure measures Wednesday that Chairman John Barrasso said could serve as a major part of Congress' economic response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The bills, America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2020, S. 3591, and the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020, S. 3590, would authorize new Army Corps of Engineers projects, reauthorize the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Safe Drinking Water Act emergency fund, and make a series of policy changes regarding drinking water, flood control and water supply programs.” (“Senate EPW Advances 2 Water Infrastructure Bills,” Politico Pro, 5/06/2020)

Key Nominations Were Confirmed And Advanced

“The Senate on Wednesday easily approved President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the country's top counterintelligence official … Lawmakers voted 84-7 to make William Evanina the first Senate-confirmed director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, which is part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.” (Politico, 5/06/2020)

“The Senate voted 87-0 on Monday to confirm President Donald Trump’s pick for the watchdog agency that oversees the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Robert Feitel, who prior to his confirmation was a Department of Justice trial attorney, will serve as the NRC inspector general.” (“Senate Confirms Trump Nominee for Nuclear Regulator Watchdog,” Bloomberg Law, 5/04/2020)

The Senate also confirmed Admiral Brett Giroir to be the U.S. representative on the executive board of the World Health Organization. (U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Press Release, 5/07/2020, PN1709, 116th Congress)

“A Senate committee Thursday voted to advance President Trump’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the Federal Election Commission, which would restore the agency’s ability to conduct official business.” (“Senate Committee Advances Nomination Of FEC Commissioner,” The Washington Post, 5/07/2020)

The Senate confirmed nominees for Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and CFO for the Department of Homeland Security. (PN1155, 116th Congress PN514, 116th Congress)

Committees Held Confirmation Hearings For Other Important Positions

The Senate Intelligence Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to be Director of National Intelligence. (U.S. Senate Select Committee On Intelligence Hearing, 5/05/2020)

“President Trump’s latest pick to be secretary of the Navy [Ambassador Kenneth Braithwaite] appeared before senators Thursday for a confirmation hearing … Along with Mr. Braithwaite, the committee is considering Gen. Charles Q. Brown to be chief of staff of the Air Force, and James Anderson for the position of deputy undersecretary of defense for policy.” (“Senators Examine Trump’s Nominee for Navy Secretary,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/07/2020)

“Judge Justin Walker, as expected, breezed through his confirmation hearing Wednesday for a spot on an influential appeals court in Washington,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. (“D.C. Circuit Nominee Sails Through Confirmation Hearing Amid Pandemic Rancor,” Roll Call, 5/06/2020)

“The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced to a floor vote six of President Donald Trump’s U.S. district court nominees on Thursday in its first meeting to consider any selections since mid-March when the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic.” (“Senate Panel OKs Judge Picks for First Time in Two Months,” Bloomberg Law, 5/14/2020)

FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Wednesday May 13: Hearing on nominees to be Assistant Administrator of USAID and ambassadors to Estonia, Jordan, Uganda, and Burkina Faso.

And Held Hearings On Other Important Functions Of Government

HOMELAND SECURITY & GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE:
Wednesday, May 13: Hearing: Evolving the U.S. Cybersecurity Strategy and Posture: Reviewing the Cyberspace Solarium Commission Report

The Senate Also Passed Bills On Additional Important Subjects

S.2661 – National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020: A bill to designate 9–8–8 as the universal telephone number for the purpose of the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system operating through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and through the Veterans Crisis Line. S.3744 – Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020: A bill to condemn gross human rights violations of ethnic Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang, and calling for an end to arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment of these communities inside and outside China.

S.249 – A bill to direct the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to regain observer status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization

S.Con.Res.38 – A concurrent resolution to establish the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies for the inauguration of the President-elect and Vice President-elect of the United States on January 20, 2021

Tags: Democrats, Missing in Action, two productive weeks, Senate To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Moving Goal Posts, Stop Them Now, Confronting Communist China

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Moving Goal Posts
As you may know, I do a daily radio commentary, Monday through Saturday, on the Bott Radio Network. For today's commentary, I was inspired by David Portnoy's epic rant about the quarantine's moving goal posts. Portnoy's remarks were twice as long as mine, and filled with expletives.

Click here to listen to my family-friendly commentary about the urgent need to reopen America.

Stop Them Now
Here's something to ponder: Key people the American public trusted to keep us safe from foreign enemies used the awesome powers of the national security apparatus to spy on their political opponents. And it wasn't just the Trump campaign.

As we noted yesterday, the Obama Administration spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee. They spied on opponents of the Iran nuclear deal. Senator Rand Paul suspected that he or his presidential campaign were surveilled in 2016.

These officials have been caught lying to us. They told the American people in repeated public interviews that the evidence of collusion with Russia was overwhelming. But under oath in classified hearings they told investigators that there was no evidence of collusion. (Here, here and here.)

It's not a crime to go on TV and lie. But what's missing here? Remorse.

Not one of these individuals has said, "You know, I don't like Trump. I think our investigation was fair, even though it came up empty-handed. But I am sorry for misleading the American people. I'm sorry for contributing to the deep divisions in our country."

Not one person has apologized. And what does that tell you?

It tells you that if these people regain power, they will do it again. And they will be emboldened because they survived this scandal. (And let's not forget Obama's weaponization of the IRS too!)

So what would stop them from trying to use our nation's vast intelligence powers again to crush their opponents – pro-life activists, Second Amendment supporters, constitutionalists, even Christians – once and for all?

By the way, this is exactly what leading Never Trumpers, including some who still have great influence, are helping to empower as they go all out to elect Joe Biden over Donald Trump.

The Deep State must be stopped now. But that depends on the outcome of the November elections.

My friends, I have hesitated to ask for financial support in recent weeks because I am very sensitive to the suffering that many are facing.

But if you are able to support our work, please do so now. The stakes this year couldn't be greater.

Appeasing China
Here's something else to keep in mind: Who do you want in the White House to confront communist China?

Michael Pillsbury is one of the nation's foremost experts on the Chinese regime. During a recent forum, he recounted how Obama famously pivoted the focus of U.S. foreign policy away from the Middle East and toward Asia.

In a deal with China, Obama ordered the U.S. Navy to stop patrols in the South China Sea. In exchange, China agreed to stop building artificial islands, which they were fortifying with missile batteries that could target shipping in strategic areas.

Of course, China broke the agreement and continued building the islands. When the Obama White House discussed its options for confronting China, Joe Biden led the effort to appease China. He convinced Obama not to restart the patrols because it would provoke China.

Donald Trump ended that policy, and U.S. naval patrols in the South China Sea hit a record high in 2019.

Polling suggests that 2020 will be a close election. I don't see how. Polling also shows that the overwhelming majority of Americans are angry with China. But Joe Biden has rolled over for China again and again and again.

His family has become incredibly wealthy dealing with communist China. When pressed about Beijing's growing military power, theft of personal and government data, Biden has repeatedly defended the communist regime and downplayed its growing threats to our economic and national security.

Donald Trump is confronting China's communist dictators. Biden will coddle them.

Confronting China
While Biden continues to give befuddled interviews from his basement, President Trump is stepping up pressure on Communist China. Today, he imposed ew sanctions against the Chinese tech giant Huawei due to concerns that it is an instrument of the Chinese Communist Party.

As Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) put it, "China's main export is espionage, and the distinction between the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese 'private-sector' businesses like Huawei is imaginary." He's absolutely right.

I ask again this rhetorical question: Does anyone think that Joe Biden has the guts to confront Beijing's bosses, who clearly believe it is their right to dominate the world?

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Pompeo traveled to Israel this week. The American media inaccurately suggested that the trip was meant to hurt the Palestinians in some way.

But multiple reports indicate that Pompeo went to Jerusalem to strongly urge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end Israel's economic dealings with communist China. One Israeli source said, "The fact that the visit takes place in these problematic times proves its urgency."

The fact that the secretary of state delivered such a request in person is confirmation that communist China and the United States are now in an open cold war for dominance. It is a battle that for the sake of our children and grandchildren we must not lose.

Creating New Jobs
Earlier this week, a story broke that the Trump Administration was negotiating with the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Taiwan Semiconductor is a major supplier of chips to companies like Apple, Intel and Qualcomm, whose technology is essential to our national defense and our own 5G system. In many ways, these companies are our answer to the Chinese conglomerate Huawei.

When the TSMC story broke, Barron's, one of our great financial publications, posted a piece attacking the idea. They brought up every excuse except why it should be done: Taiwan knows how dangerous communist China is, and Donald Trump knows how dangerous communist China is.

Well, today it was announced that Taiwan Semiconductor is building a $12 billion plant in Arizona, creating 1,600 new jobs, to bring strategic manufacturing back to the United States.

Let me state what should be obvious: If Donald Trump is not president in January 2021, this plant will be canceled. The world does not want to mess with Donald Trump. The world can't wait to mess with Joe Biden.
---------------------
Gary Bauer (@GaryLBauer)  is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

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Pompeo, The Coronavirus and The “Risks” of Sovereignty

by Caroline Glick: On Sunday, Saudi journalist Abdelhameed Al-Ghoban gave an interview to the BBC in Arabic. His remarks, which were translated by MEMRI, were devoid of nuance.

“Today, the public is informed. There is a deluge [of opinions] against the Palestinian cause. It is no longer just public support for normalization and building ties with Israel. [Our] public has turned against the Palestinians in general. Unfortunately, the Palestinians have lost. The Palestinians have not contributed anything. We can say that they are emotional people whose behavior is governed by their feelings.”

Al-Ghoban added, “It is in our strategic interest, and in keeping with our future economic interests, to maintain real relations with Israel. Israel is an advanced country and we can benefit from it.”

Al-Ghoban’s remarks are not a lone voice in the wilderness. During the Ramadan Muslim holy month, Saudi television networks broadcast two series that portray Jews and Israelis in a positive light.

Palestinian leaders are beside themselves at what they view as pan-Arab abandonment. In remarks to Israel Hayom this week, a senior Palestinian official bitterly referred to the mild criticisms of U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan and of Israel’s plan to apply its sovereignty to its communities in Judea and Samaria and to the Jordan Valley as no more than “lip service.”

Israeli leftist groups are hanging their hopes for torpedoing Israel’s sovereignty plans on the European Union. France’s plan, supported by Luxemburg, Belgium and Ireland to impose EU sanctions on Israel in the event it implements its sovereignty plan was widely reported this week.

But like the Palestinians, Israeli leftists are likely to be disappointed. EU rules require all decisions to be made by consensus. And there is no consensus on sanctioning Israel.

Even worse for the leftists is the fact that Israel’s plan to apply its parts of Judea and Samaria is not a unilateral move. Israel will carry it out in the framework of the U.S. peace plan. If the EU retaliates against Israel for implementing the first stage of the Trump peace plan, it will antagonize the White House which will rightly view the move as anti-American. This state of affairs will increase the number of EU member states that will oppose anti-Israel sanctions – or any other anti-Israel response to the sovereignty plan.

Given this state of affairs, Israeli leftist groups will have to learn to live with disappointment. Europe will not be able to force the government to embrace their radical policies.

There is another reason that Israel needn’t be too concerned that applying its laws to parts of Judea and Samaria will damage it diplomatically or economically. To understand what it is, it is worth considering what was likely a key reason, if not the key reason that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Israel this week, in the middle of the coronavirus global pandemic.

Commentators in Israel and the U.S. were surprised by Pompeo’s visit. Like most world leaders, Pompeo has been grounded since late February. Why was he breaking the coronavirus lockdown to fly to Israel of all places for a few hours? What was so important that he couldn’t discuss it on a secure video conference?

Most media outlets claimed that the sovereignty plan is what brought him to Jerusalem. But that made little sense even before Pompeo arrived and said that he wasn’t here for that. Both in Pompeo’s interview to Israel Hayom on Tuesday, and in Ambassador David Friedman’s interview with Israel Hayom last week, they made clear that the Trump administration continues to support Israel’s plan. Friedman even made clear that he views the issue with great urgency.

Another popular explanation was that Pompeo flew to Israel to discuss Iran. This too, makes no sense. Israel and the U.S. are completely coordinated in their Iran policies.

There appear to be two reasons that Pompeo came to Israel this week of all times. The first, and more discussed one, may be the less significant one. That reason is China. On both sides of the partisan divide, U.S. leaders have long been concerned about Israel’s technological ties with China and with its willingness to grant infrastructure construction contracts to Chinese firms. In an interview with the Washington Free Beacon, published on the eve of Pompeo’s arrival in Israel, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker said, “We don’t want them to get into a problematic relationship with China.”

Schenker focused his remarks on U.S. concerns with Israeli-Chinese contracts for major infrastructure projects, like a water desalination plant and the Haifa port.

“China sees a lot of value in a relationship with Israel, the high-tech, the innovations” Schenker said.

He continued, “Israel also needs all sorts of infrastructure and it looks to China. China is a low-cost bidder and Chinese companies do all this work. But there are things that have to be taken into account. We also have interests and we want to be able to work with Israel.”

Pompeo emphasized U.S. concern with Israel-China ties both in his discussions with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and in his remarks to the Israeli media. There is no doubt that the U.S.’s heightened pressure on Israel to lower the flame on its ties with China is a reasonable. China after all, disseminated the coronavirus plague worldwide and hid the dangers from the world for two months while it purchased the global supply of ventilators and personal protective equipment.

Yet at the same time, even these heightened concerns don’t explain Pompeo’s sudden decision to fly to Israel. There have been no notable new developments in Israel’s ties with China in recent months. And Israel announced last year that it would not be participating in Huawei’s 5G network. Certainly, the messages Pompeo communicated to Netanyahu could just have easily and effectively been delivered in a videoconference.

This brings us to the coronavirus itself.

Last Tuesday, the Israel Institute for Biological Research in Nes Ziona completed a “groundbreaking scientific development” towards a potential treatment for the coronavirus based on an antibody that neutralizes SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes the disease. It was the second breakthrough last week by institute scientists, who days earlier announce they had isolated a key coronavirus antibody.

In its announcement of the developments, the Defense Ministry said that the institute is now pursuing a patent for its development, after which it will begin discussions with international manufacturers.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennet, who visited the institute last Thursday with President Reuven Rivlin to receive a briefing on the discovery said at the end of the tour, “I instructed the defense establishment and the institute to move ahead at the highest speed to develop a mass cure. We will not spare money or resources. We will do everything in our power to shorten the time it takes to have a commercial medicine.”

The first report of Pompeo’s sudden decision to visit Jerusalem this week came last Wednesday, the day after the Institute of Biological Research’s initial announcement, and the day before Bennet and Rivlin visited the institute.

In his remarks at the Prime Minister’s Office with Netanyahu Wednesday morning, Pompeo mentioned U.S.-Israeli cooperation in fighting the pandemic. Turning to Netanyahu he said, “Israeli technologies, Israeli medical expertise, all of the things that you and I and our teams can work on together. I know we’ll deliver good outcomes and decrease risk for people all across the world from this global pandemic.”

The Defense Ministry’s announcement of the Institute of Biological Research’s newest breakthrough noted, “This is an important milestone, which will be followed by a series of complex tests and a process of regulatory approvals.”

That process could take several months. Experts in and out of the defense establishment note that it is too early to know the full implications of the discovery. Obviously, if Israel has developed a cure for the coronavirus, its economic and diplomatic position will be upgraded significantly.

But even if the Institute for Biological Research’s latest discovery doesn’t lead to an immediate cure for the coronavirus, it is clear that the biomedical and technological capabilities that Israel has demonstrated in its treatment and research of the coronavirus have solidified its place among the world leading nations in these critical areas.

Arab states that are driven towards Israel due to their shared interest in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons and becoming a regional hegemon will cling to Israel ever more tightly now. European governments that seek to punish Israel for asserting its sovereign rights in Judea and Samaria, will have to balance their hostility with their desire to benefit from cooperation with Israel.

It is very possible that the main foreign policy challenge facing Israel today is not how to minimize the risks of diplomatic blowback for applying its laws in Judea and Samaria. It is figuring out how to maximize Israel’s new global position in a manner that will strengthen us diplomatically, economically and strategically into the future.
-------------------------
Caroline Glick is the Senior Contributing Editor of Israel Hayom and the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit carolineglick.com.

Tags: Caroline Glick, Israel Hayom, Pompeo, The Coronavirus, The “Risks” of Sovereignty To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Pocket Prohibition?

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: Should the FDA outlaw backpack pockets?

Trick question.

Oh, you said “no”?

Okay, not that tricky . . .

But a little tricky. The FDA doesn’t want to prohibit backpack pockets as such. Only backpack pockets that can hide vaping equipment, like an e-cigarette.

Such pockets could presumably also hold a pen, thermometer, stick of beef jerky, perhaps even a plastic straw or spindled dollar bill. The list of cacheable contraband is endless. But it’s the thoughtcrime that counts.

The FDA wants to deploy its power to regulate food and drugs to also bully makers of pockets and other things that facilitate peaceful actions of which FDA officials disapprove. For now the agency is sending stern letters to sellers of legal products.

Tomorrow it may send SWAT teams.

“The FDA is especially disturbed by some of these new products being marketed to children and teens by promoting the ease with which they can be used to conceal product use,” frets Mitch Zeller, king of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. (It’s not an emporium.)

Various products that could help a person vape furtively are on the FDA’s hit list. Many of these products never hurt a fly. Backpack pockets in particular are getting a bad rap. I’m a fan of backpack pockets and hope the production of every kind of backpack pocket will continue unabated.

So, regardless of any animus that certain functionaries may feel about the covert carrying of e-cigarettes, pencils, or swizzle sticks, let them leave backpack pockets alone.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
------------------
Paul Jacob (@Common_Sense_PJ) is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacob is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service.

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Judge Reveals His Own Bias in 'Transgender' Case

. . . A Clinton judge insists that plaintiffs call a boy a girl as he considers arguments.
by Michael Swartz: For the past three months, a global pandemic has dominated the news cycle. But in doing so, the China Virus also obscured a number of other important events and issues. This included the cancellation of not just the NCAA basketball tournament and Major League Baseball's Opening Day but college and high-school winter championships and spring sports. In the latter case, we were thus spared further reports of an ongoing saga that threatens to change the very nature of competitive sports: the inclusion of so-called "transgender" athletes (a.k.a. males) competing in girls' sports.

We introduced you to Selina Soule just over a year ago, shortly after she was bested in a Connecticut high-school competition by two "transgender" male athletes in a race that determined advancement to a regional championship. Her eighth-place finish left her two spots short, with the two boys finishing one-two in the race.

Since then, with the assistance of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Soule has become the lead plaintiff in a federal case against the Connecticut Association of Schools — a case that already includes some disturbing and frankly biased remarks uttered by the judge, one Robert Chatigny.

According to a transcript of the case obtained by National Review, Chatigny, a senior judge originally appointed by Bill Clinton, advised ADF attorneys, "If you feel strongly that you and your clients have a right to refer to these (transgender) individuals as 'males' and that you therefore do not want to comply with my order, then that's unfortunate. But I'll give you some time to think about it and you can let me know if it's a problem. If it is, gosh, maybe we'll need to do something. I don't want to bully you, but at the same time, I don't want you to be bullying anybody else. Maybe you might need to take an application to the Court of Appeals. I don't know. But I certainly don't want to put civility at risk in this case."

Needless to say, ADF attorneys were shocked at this "scolding." However, they and the judge reached a compromise to call the male runners in question "transgender athletes." But Chatigny's remarks suggest an inherent bias in his eventual ruling.

Commentator Matt Walsh wryly observes that the ADF attorneys missed an opportunity during the proceedings, which were handled via conference call. "I wish that the lawyers for the girls had thought to ask the judge to provide a definition of the word 'female,'" wrote Walsh. "He apparently thinks that a female is someone with XX chromosomes or someone with XY chromosomes. As that pretty much covers the whole gamut of human possibilities, it would seem that the judge actually thinks the word female means nothing at all."

It would also seem that this courtroom game is rigged, which prompts a number of questions regarding how Title IX will be seen in this new era of 50 shades of gender dysphoria. While several states have adopted stances like that in Connecticut, Idaho recently passed legislation in the opposite direction, protecting girls from having to compete against biological males. Naturally, that state's Fairness in Women's Sports Act is being challenged in court.

While there are exceptions, there's a timeless and inarguable reason that most competitive sports separate the sexes: Men are generally bigger and stronger than women. In the same 55-meter girls' race where Soule finished eighth, the winning male set a state record of 6.95 seconds, with the second-place finisher (also a male) finishing 0.06 seconds behind. The top biological female crossed the line in 7.23 seconds. That may seem like a small margin of victory between the top male and female, but in sprinting terms, it's a blowout.

Unfortunately, it appears Soule and her co-plaintiffs aren't just playing catch-up on the track; they're working at a disadvantage in federal court, too.
---------------------
Michael Swartz writes for The Patriot Post.

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Supreme Leader . . .

. . . The COVID-19 has given Governor Whitmer and other Democrat leaders the perfect excuse to exercise their inner dictator.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Who Sent COVID-19 Positive Patients Into Nursing Homes?

by Michael Barone: On a multicountry trip to South America, President Ronald Reagan couldn't restrain himself from the inane observation that every tourist finds himself saying about such trips. "Every country is different." So, it seems, is every virus capable of spreading into pandemic.

The influenza pandemic of 1918-19, for example, tended to kill otherwise healthy people in the prime of life, ages 20 to 40. COVID-19 tends to kill people age 70 and above, especially those with comorbidities.

Yet, despite that being apparent early on, America's governors have done a poor job of protecting those most at risk -- residents of nursing homes with physical frailties and, often, cognitive impairment.

The result: One-third of reported coronavirus deaths in the United States, according to New York Times reporting, are of nursing home residents or workers. Nursing homes accounted for a majority of deaths in heavily hit states like New Jersey (52%), Massachusetts (59%), Pennsylvania (66%) and Connecticut (55%), and for 80% of the deaths in otherwise lightly hit Minnesota.

That percentage is much lower (20%) in America's COVID-19 epicenter, New York, but it still leads the nation with 5,403 nursing home deaths -- about one of every 14 COVID-19 death in the country.

Why so many? On March 25, the state health commissioner ordered that nursing homes to accept patients with the virus. It's unclear why he made this fatal decision. Maybe he wanted to keep hospital beds available, or maybe he feared that sick people would be dumped onto the street.

When asked about this policy in late April, Governor Andrew Cuomo professed ignorance. Two weeks later, on May 9, after 46 days in effect, he reversed it.

New York wasn't the only state that insisted on placing infected patients in nursing homes. New Jersey's policy was similar, explicitly barring homes from requiring testing before admitting patients. California had the same policy but dropped it after 10 days.

Other states, recognizing the dangers of infecting the vulnerable, required or encouraged nursing homes to set up separate units or staffs to handle patients testing positive. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, widely criticized in the national media for avoiding a total lockdown, zeroed in on nursing homes, encouraging repeated testing and temperature-taking of residents and staff and isolating anyone testing positive. Florida, a state with 2 million more people than New York, had just 714 nursing home deaths, 13% of the number in New York.

It's hard to disagree with the verdict of National Review's Jim Geraghty: "These decisions are so spectacularly wrongheaded, so epically foolish, that those responsible deserve to be remembered forever."

Let's hesitate a moment before piling on. Remember that, in March, epidemiologists and governors were worried that hospital facilities would be overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients in need of ventilators, which had been previously used to treat patients with severe respiratory function reduced by other viruses. So they were focused on getting recovering patients out of those supposedly needed hospital beds.

The nursing home mandates of the Cuomo administration and others were obviously mistakes, with fatal consequences. So was the Centers for Disease Control's failure to produce virus tests, and so was Donald Trump's failure to cut off air traffic from Europe, as he had in January from China. And given the negative public health effects of economic collapse, these continued lockdowns may also be seen as fatal mistakes.

Government officials' decisions about a novel virus will often turn out to be mistakes that cost lives. But decisions to send viral patients into nursing homes comes the closest to justifying screams of, "There's blood on your hands!"

Fortunately, societies can learn from mistakes. We have learned that the virus is not easily spread in open spaces. We have learned that the risk of fatalities among children and adolescents is near zero, perhaps less than that of seasonal flu.

We have learned our hospitals aren't going to be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and that ventilators don't always help. We have learned that it's possible to protect elderly people, even nursing home residents with comorbidities, with high but not total effectiveness.

And we have become aware, if only out of the corner of our eyes, that the lockdown of large segments of the economy wreaks not just economic damage but also has enormous negative consequences for public health, especially among disadvantaged people.

All of this points in the direction of phasing out lockdowns and allowing reopenings, at various rates depending on particular circumstances, and avoiding obvious blunders, like sending infections into nursing homes.
--------------------
Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.

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Fauci vs. Trump — Who’s Right?

by Patrick J. Buchanan: Ultimately, Fauci is not “The Decider” here. Trump is.

“We have met the moment and we have prevailed,” said President Donald Trump Monday, as he supported the opening of the U.S. economy before the shutdown plunges us into a deep and lasting depression.

Tuesday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, made clear to a Senate committee his contradictory views.

“If states reopen their economies too soon, there is a real risk that you may trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control,” said Fauci. “My concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks of the disease (and) the inevitable return of infections.”

Fauci is talking of the real possibility of a second and even more severe wave of the pandemic this summer and fall, if we open too soon.

There is evidence to justify the fears of Fauci and Dr. Robert Redfield of the Centers for Disease Control, who told the same Senate committee, “We are not out of the woods yet.”

Yet, there is a case to be made for the risks that Trump and red state governors are taking in opening up sooner.

The Washington Post daily graph of new deaths nationally has been showing a curve sloping downward for a month from April’s more than 2,000 a day. On no day yet this week did the U.S. record 2,000 dead from the virus. On some days, there were fewer than 1,000.

The graph for new coronavirus cases, which was showing more than 30,000 a day in April, is now closer to 25,000.

Also, hospitalizations and ICU occupancies are not as high as they were. Hospitals put up in Central Park and the Javits Center seem not to have been needed. There was and is no shortage of ventilators. The Navy hospital ships Comfort and Mercy are returning to their home ports.

Also, not all states are suffering equally, nor are all communities in the hardest-hit states. There have been three times as many COVID-19 cases in New Jersey as in Texas, though New Jersey is a fraction of the size and has a fraction of the population of Texas.

There are twice as many cases in Massachusetts as in Florida, the nation’s third-most populous state with one of its highest percentages of retirees and elderly. There have been five times as many cases in New York as in California.

It is the nursing homes filled with the elderly and ill that have proven to be the real killing fields of this virus. According to The New York Times, one-third of all deaths from COVID-19 have come among residents and staff of nursing homes. Beyond these are the meatpacking plants and the prisons where social distancing is almost nonexistent.

Moreover, while Fauci and Redfield are specialists in epidemics, Trump’s portfolio goes far beyond that.

He is chief of state, head of government and commander in chief, responsible for the security and defense of the nation. His portfolio is broader and deeper than those of Fauci and Redfield.

In the first hours of the Normandy invasion, General Eisenhower must have been rightly alarmed about the high U.S. casualties on Omaha Beach. But he also had to concern himself with the failure to capture the Port of Caen to bring ashore the armor to stop any German counterattack that might turn D-Day into another Anzio.

Ike could not worry about casualties alone.

According to The Washington Post, economists already project that 100,000 small businesses have shuttered, never to reopen.

“(D)eeper and longer recessions can leave behind lasting damage to the productive capacity of the economy,” warned Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday. “Avoidable household and business insolvencies can weigh on growth for years to come.”

Ultimately, Fauci is not “The Decider” here. Trump is.

It is he who is accountable to the nation for weighing the losses, both human and material, due to his decisions.

Fauci may be the best at what he does, but he is still only an adviser. As John F. Kennedy said after the Bay of Pigs, it is the president who ultimately bears responsibility for what he does and fails to do, while “the advisers may move on to new advice.”

Believing he can do no more than his White House is now doing to contain the incidence of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, Trump has decided his primary job is to prevent the nation from a catastrophic economic collapse from which it might take years to recover.

The country is slowly moving in Trump’s direction, slowly opening. And he will be responsible for whether the policy succeeds or opens the floodgates to a second and worse wave, should it come.

As Abraham Lincoln put his situation: “I mean to keep going. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won’t matter. If I’m wrong, ten angels swearing I was right won’t make a difference.”
----------------------
Patrick Buchanan (@PatrickBuchanan) is currently a blogger, conservative columnist, political analyst, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He has been a senior adviser to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000.

Tags: Patrick Buchanan, conservative, commentary, Fauci vs. Trump, Who’s Right? To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

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  • 12/27/15 - 1/3/16
  • 1/3/16 - 1/10/16
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  • 1/24/16 - 1/31/16
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  • 2/21/16 - 2/28/16
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  • 4/24/16 - 5/1/16
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  • 5/22/16 - 5/29/16
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  • 6/12/16 - 6/19/16
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  • 8/21/16 - 8/28/16
  • 8/28/16 - 9/4/16
  • 9/4/16 - 9/11/16
  • 9/11/16 - 9/18/16
  • 9/18/16 - 9/25/16
  • 9/25/16 - 10/2/16
  • 10/2/16 - 10/9/16
  • 10/9/16 - 10/16/16
  • 10/16/16 - 10/23/16
  • 10/23/16 - 10/30/16
  • 10/30/16 - 11/6/16
  • 11/6/16 - 11/13/16
  • 11/13/16 - 11/20/16
  • 11/20/16 - 11/27/16
  • 11/27/16 - 12/4/16
  • 12/4/16 - 12/11/16
  • 12/11/16 - 12/18/16
  • 12/18/16 - 12/25/16
  • 12/25/16 - 1/1/17
  • 1/1/17 - 1/8/17
  • 1/8/17 - 1/15/17
  • 1/15/17 - 1/22/17
  • 1/22/17 - 1/29/17
  • 1/29/17 - 2/5/17
  • 2/5/17 - 2/12/17
  • 2/12/17 - 2/19/17
  • 2/19/17 - 2/26/17
  • 2/26/17 - 3/5/17
  • 3/5/17 - 3/12/17
  • 3/12/17 - 3/19/17
  • 3/19/17 - 3/26/17
  • 3/26/17 - 4/2/17
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  • 4/30/17 - 5/7/17
  • 5/7/17 - 5/14/17
  • 5/14/17 - 5/21/17
  • 5/21/17 - 5/28/17
  • 5/28/17 - 6/4/17
  • 6/4/17 - 6/11/17
  • 6/11/17 - 6/18/17
  • 6/18/17 - 6/25/17
  • 6/25/17 - 7/2/17
  • 7/2/17 - 7/9/17
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  • 7/23/17 - 7/30/17
  • 7/30/17 - 8/6/17
  • 8/6/17 - 8/13/17
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  • 8/20/17 - 8/27/17
  • 8/27/17 - 9/3/17
  • 9/3/17 - 9/10/17
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  • 9/17/17 - 9/24/17
  • 9/24/17 - 10/1/17
  • 10/1/17 - 10/8/17
  • 10/8/17 - 10/15/17
  • 10/15/17 - 10/22/17
  • 10/22/17 - 10/29/17
  • 10/29/17 - 11/5/17
  • 11/5/17 - 11/12/17
  • 11/12/17 - 11/19/17
  • 11/19/17 - 11/26/17
  • 11/26/17 - 12/3/17
  • 12/3/17 - 12/10/17
  • 12/10/17 - 12/17/17
  • 12/17/17 - 12/24/17
  • 12/24/17 - 12/31/17
  • 12/31/17 - 1/7/18
  • 1/7/18 - 1/14/18
  • 1/14/18 - 1/21/18
  • 1/21/18 - 1/28/18
  • 1/28/18 - 2/4/18
  • 2/4/18 - 2/11/18
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  • 2/18/18 - 2/25/18
  • 2/25/18 - 3/4/18
  • 3/4/18 - 3/11/18
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  • 3/18/18 - 3/25/18
  • 3/25/18 - 4/1/18
  • 4/1/18 - 4/8/18
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  • 4/22/18 - 4/29/18
  • 4/29/18 - 5/6/18
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  • 5/20/18 - 5/27/18
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  • 6/3/18 - 6/10/18
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  • 7/22/18 - 7/29/18
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  • 10/21/18 - 10/28/18
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  • 11/18/18 - 11/25/18
  • 11/25/18 - 12/2/18
  • 12/2/18 - 12/9/18
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  • 12/16/18 - 12/23/18
  • 12/23/18 - 12/30/18
  • 12/30/18 - 1/6/19
  • 1/6/19 - 1/13/19
  • 1/13/19 - 1/20/19
  • 1/20/19 - 1/27/19
  • 1/27/19 - 2/3/19
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  • 2/24/19 - 3/3/19
  • 3/3/19 - 3/10/19
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  • 3/24/19 - 3/31/19
  • 3/31/19 - 4/7/19
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  • 4/21/19 - 4/28/19
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  • 7/21/19 - 7/28/19
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  • 8/25/19 - 9/1/19
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  • 9/15/19 - 9/22/19
  • 9/22/19 - 9/29/19
  • 9/29/19 - 10/6/19
  • 10/6/19 - 10/13/19
  • 10/13/19 - 10/20/19
  • 10/20/19 - 10/27/19
  • 10/27/19 - 11/3/19
  • 11/3/19 - 11/10/19
  • 11/10/19 - 11/17/19
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  • 11/24/19 - 12/1/19
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  • 12/8/19 - 12/15/19
  • 12/15/19 - 12/22/19
  • 12/22/19 - 12/29/19
  • 12/29/19 - 1/5/20
  • 1/5/20 - 1/12/20
  • 1/12/20 - 1/19/20
  • 1/19/20 - 1/26/20
  • 1/26/20 - 2/2/20
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  • 5/10/20 - 5/17/20
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  • 5/24/20 - 5/31/20