Friday News Executive Summary

Jordan Candler  Above the Fold

In a 388-5-1 vote, the House yesterday sent to President Trump’s desk another relief package totaling $484 billion. According to The Hill, “The massive package is the fourth coronavirus bill to move through Congress over the last seven weeks, and brings the federal response to the global pandemic up to a whopping $2.8 trillion.” And guess what? “liar-Pelosi and House Democrats have already been working feverishly on that next package, dubbed CARES 2.” 

“The Treasury Department said Thursday that it was asking approximately 150 publicly traded firms to repay nearly $600 million in loans they received from the federal program designed to help small businesses,” National Review reports. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated: “The intent of this money was not for big, public companies that have access to capital.”

The Latest on Coronavirus

According to Bill Bryan, the head of the DHS science and technology directorate, “Our most striking observation to date is the powerful effect that solar light appears to have on killing the virus both [on] surfaces and in the air. We’ve seen a similar effect with both temperature and humidity as well where increasing the temperature or humidity or both is generally less favorable to the virus.” Bring on summer!

Analysis from the New York State Health Department reveals that 13% of New Yorkers may contain COVID-19 antibodies. In other words, the true infection rate is inexorably higher than data currently implies.Meanwhile, a new study finds 94% of virus patients in the New York City hospital system had underlying conditions (The Daily Wire)

Worse-case scenario avoided: The 500-bed U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort is leaving New York City after treating just 179 patients in three weeks (Business Insider)

Government & Politics

Barack scumbag/liar-nObama this week wrote that “we continue to wait for a coherent national plan to navigate this pandemic.” The negligent former president, Matt Margolis reminds us, “is the last person in the world who should be criticizing the federal response to a pandemic” given the reality that “he botched not one, but two pandemics.”

A Democrat super PAC ad alleges that Trump “shipped China 17 tons of American masks and medical supplies.” But even The Washington Post says “the specific instance highlighted in the ad is framed in a misleading way,” adding that said medical supplies were donated by non-government entities for distribution by the international healthcare organization Project HOPE.

The Washington Examiner says that “U.S. Attorney John Durham has expanded his team as his review of the Trump-Russia investigators ramps up during the coronavirus pandemic.” The Examiner also  recently reported that Durham was tasked by Attorney General William Barr “to focus just as much on the FBI’s actions after Trump’s election in November 2016 as those before it.”

Adding even more credence to Durham’s probe, “Christopher Steele told a British court last month that he no longer has documents and other information from his meetings with the main source for his Trump dossier, suggesting that the former British spy has no way of backing up his side in a dispute with the Justice Department’s inspector general (IG), according to a deposition transcript obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.”

Good luck finding that in the U.S. Constitution… Divided Sixth Circuit Panel discovers a constitutional right to a “basic minimum education” (The Volokh Conspiracy)

Culture & Heartland

Exhibit A in how the welfare state grows: Small-business owner gets relief loan to keep employees on payroll, but now her employees are angry over having to forgo their $600-a-week incentive in weekly unemployment (The Daily Wire)

The burgeoning Nanny State was further exemplified in low-populated (read: lower risk) Idaho this week. A 40-year-old mother “was noncompliant and refused to leave [a playground structure] after being given many opportunities, so she was arrested on one count of misdemeanor trespassing,” according to the Meridian Police Department.

Other Notables

At least 840 sailors on the USS Roosevelt test positive for coronavirus (New York Post)

White House planning major health deregulation push as coronavirus needs smash “obsolete rules” (Washington Examiner)

Isn’t it a little late to “oversee the response”? House votes to create coronavirus investigative panel GOP calls political (Washington Examiner)

Michigan Gov. Whitmer faces protest outside her home as lawmakers mull curbing her powers (Fox News)The Left must be thrilled: Church donations have plunged because of the coronavirus. Some churches won’t survive. (The Washington Post)  ~The Patriot Post 

John Solomon Stands By His Claim: John Durham Indictments Coming Soon

by sundance{ } ~ John Solomon appears on Fox Business News with Lou Dobbs to discuss his latest article about HPSCI Chairman scumbag/liar-Adam Schiff blocking release of congressional transcripts… Additionally, Solomon again says he believes “clear evidence” exists to show that U.S. Attorney John Durham is going to indict people in/around the DOJ/FBI/CIA surveillance operation against Donald Trump….. and there will be more declassified material being released soon.  VIDEO:

US has comprehensive plans in place for when Kim Jong Un dies

by Zachary Halaschak{ } ~ The United States reportedly has extensive plans in place for dealing with North Korea should leader Kim Jong Un suddenly die… The contingency plans take into consideration a wide array of different issues that could occur if North Korea’s leadership is thrust into a scenario without a dynastic ruler such as Kim, who is the third leader of the hermit nation after his father, Kim Jong Il, and his grandfather, Kim Il Sung. An intelligence official told Fox News on Tuesday that there is a possibility for a massive humanitarian crisis, which could lead to a mass exodus of starving North Korean refugees over the border and into China in search of food. The U.S. would then lean on China to help manage the situation and assist those in need. China has one of the closest relationships with North Korea and would have an easier time than the U.S. overcoming logistical obstacles related to ground-based assistance. News reports began to emerge Monday night that Kim was in “ grave danger” following surgery. South Korea and U.S. intelligence communities are monitoring the situation, but reports suggested South Korea has seen no indication that Kim’s health is failing. The dictator’s surgery was reportedly a cardiovascular procedure. Kim, 36, is morbidly obese and a heavy smoker, both factors that can lead to heart and overall health issues. His absence at the country’s most important national holiday last week also caused analysts to speculate about his well-being. National security adviser Robert O’Brien said Tuesday that the U.S. was “very closely”  monitoring the reports and keeping a “close eye” on the situation. Kim has no predetermined successor, but there has been recent speculation that his sister, Kim Yo Jong, might be on the shortlist.  

15 Election Results That Were Thrown Out Because of Fraudulent Mail-In Ballots

by Fred Lucas{ } ~ Voter fraud is too nominal to make a difference in any given election, goes one popular line of argument. But tell that to voters in parts of Florida, Missouri, New York, and North Carolina in recent years… Districts in these four states saw election outcomes overturned after absentee voter fraud came to light.  Now, with millions of Americans homebound because of COVID-19, progressives are amping up their push for national mail-in voting as Michelle scumbag/liar-nObama throws her support behind related legislation purporting to be a response to the pandemic. What neither the former first lady nor the bill’s Democrat sponsors in the Senate, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, have talked about are various provisions of the legislation that would allow for ballot harvesting. That practice was abused prominently in the largest voter fraud scandal of recent decades. “It mandates states allow for ballot harvesting and vote by mail. On the whole, this has little to do with a COVID-19 response and a lot to do with the agenda the Democratic Party has proposed in the past,” Jason Snead, executive director of the watchdog group Honest Elections, said of the bill in a phone interview with The Daily Signal. “They seem to view this as a politically opportune moment to advance legislation,” Snead said of scumbagliar-nObama and other proponents. “States should be encouraging wide use of absentee voting in the primary season,” Snead said, adding that states also should prepare for contingencies during the November general election even though it’s too early to know what the coronavirus crisis will be like at that point. While working in the civil rights division of the Justice Department, J. Christian Adams helped bring successful cases against election fraudsters in Starr County, Texas and Noxubee County, Mississippi. “With ballot harvesting, the politically connected visit the homes of people and vote the ballots for them. These are victims often afraid of consequences,” Adams, now president of Public Interest Legal Foundation, an election integrity group, told The Daily Signal…   

America’s Pain Is the Ecosocialist’s Pleasure

by ~ The town of Cushing, Oklahoma, lies about halfway between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. With a population of just under 8,000, Cushing is unremarkable save for the fact that, thanks to an accident of history… thousands of barrels of West Texas Intermediate oil are delivered to and distributed from there every month. As the economy has ground to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, demand for oil has dropped, but Texas rigs have continued to pump it out of the ground. With supply steady but demand dropping, Cushing’s storage tanks filled up. As a result, the people expecting to take delivery of oil in May started dumping those contracts, driving the price for a May-delivered barrel of WTI down. Eventually, something funny happened: The price went negative, reflecting the fact that the bearer would need to pay someone to take the oil off his hands.  Most readers might take this situation for what it is: another strange side effect of the market entering a self-imposed shutdown, combined with the fact that there isn’t that much space in which to store crude oil. To the Democratic Party’s ecosocialist flank it was something different entirely: the latest sign of impending global catastrophe—perversely, something they are celebrating. Freshman firebrand Rep. commie-Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) responded to the news by writing in a tweet she later deleted that “you love to see it”—that is, oil prices dropping below zero. In a subsequent tweet, the Green New Dealer wrote that her fellow environmentalists were celebrating the market fluke “as a turning point in the climate movement” and that “fossil fuels are in long-term structural decline.” Failed 2020 contender Tom Steyer took to Twitter to argue that “oil is in total free-fall because it is a bad investment that won’t create sustained jobs or prosperity.” The Sunrise Movement, the youth wing of American ecosocialism,  claimed the temporary drop is “our chance to publicly own oil & gas companies.”…   

Iranian General Orders ‘Naval Forces To Destroy Any American’ Ship In Persian Gulf That Threatens Security

By Ryan Saavedra { } ~ Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Gen. Hossein Salami ordered his naval units on Wednesday to destroy American naval vessels if they threaten the “security” of Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf…  “I have ordered our naval forces to destroy any American terrorist force in the Persian Gulf that threatens the security of Iran’s military or non-military ships,” Salami said. “Security of the Persian Gulf is part of Iran’s strategic priorities.”  Salami has gained more attention in the IRGC, which is a designated terrorist organization, after President Donald Trump terminated his terrorist colleague Qassem Solemani earlier this year. Salami’s remarks come after Trump announced on Wednesday that the administration’s new policy towards Iranian gunboats harassing U.S. naval ships was to “shoot them out of the water.” Trump tweeted on Wednesday, “I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.” The president doubled down on his remarks during the White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing later in the day, saying that the new rules of engagement were to “shoot them out of the water.” The announcement by Trump came after 11 Iranian terrorist gunboats swarmed U.S. naval ships last week. The U.S. Navy revealed details of incident in a statement… 

Iran’s Ayatollahs Will Struggle to Survive the Oil Slump

by Con Coughlin{ } ~ At a time when Iran’s Islamic regime is already facing unprecedented pressure over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, as well as its disastrous handling of the economy…  the global slump in oil prices could well prove to be the final straw for the ayatollahs. Even before this week’s dramatic collapse in global oil prices, which saw the key gauge of U.S. crude prices, the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, tumble into negative territory for the first time in history, the mullahs were already under intense pressure over their catastrophic running of the country during their four decades in power. A combination of the regime’s clumsy attempts to cover up the true extent of the coronavirus outbreak in Iran, combined with the disastrous impact the US sanctions are having on the Iranian economy, have resulted in the regime facing the most sustained period of domestic dissatisfaction since the 1979 revolution. With the collapse in the global oil market, the pressure on the ayatollahs is set to increase even further as they risk losing a vital income stream at a time when the country’s economy is already on its knees. According to recent estimates by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Iran needs global oil prices to reach the highly unlikely benchmark of $195 a barrel just in order to meet its budget requirements for 2020. With current predictions suggesting oil prices are likely to remain around the $19 a barrel mark, the ayatollahs are facing the prospect of an economic Armageddon: the oil slump means there is little prospect of a revival in the country’s economic fortunes for the foreseeable future…  

More Money Coming, but Will Small Businesses Get It?

Nate Jackson  

A longrunning story during the Great Coronavirus Shutdown has been the efficacy (or lack thereof) of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the $350 billion portion of the CARES Act for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to back loans for small businesses to keep more Americans on the payroll. That money was a smaller part of the massive $2.2 trillion “phase three” aid package. All told, Congress has approved roughly $3 trillion in coronavirus aid, with perhaps almost that much more to come — all on top of a 2020 budget that was already approaching $5 trillion. Staggering.

First, we’ll tackle the political wrangling. After two weeks of Democrat obstruction over unrelated demands, Congress authorized another $321 billion for the PPP and yesterday the Senate passed by unanimous consent a total package of $484 billion. The House will vote Thursday.“I am just sorry that it took my colleagues in Democratic leadership 12 days to accept the inevitable,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday. “They shut down emergency support for Main Street in a search for partisan ‘leverage’ that never materialized.”Actually, some of that leverage did materialize. Republicans gave up on a “clean bill” of only PPP funding, while Democrats won roughly $160 billion in totally unrelated money for hospitals and testing (hence the dollar discrepancy above), even if they failed to secure more bailout money for state governments.Second, we’ll note the bigger story: Who’s getting the money.The PPP ran out of money last week after processing “14 years worth of loans in less than 14 days.” The Dispatch reports, “According to Treasury Department data, 1,661,367 loans — 74 percent of which came in at $150,000 or less — were approved by 4,975 different lenders. The average loan disbursed was $206,000.”Why did the money disappear so quickly?A significant part of the answer is something we pointed out right from the beginning: Some relatively big  businesses gobbled it up.According to the Associated Press, at least 94 publicly traded companies received aid, and some have “market values well over $100 million.” The Wall Street Journal  reports it was more than that, adding, “Twenty of the 103 [publicly traded] companies employed more than 500 people.” Those big companies raked in big cash, too.When most of us think of small businesses, we think of the mom-and-pop shops around town that employ a relative handful of people, not publicly traded chains. Businesses employing 100 or fewer workers constitute 98% of firms and account for roughly 50% of the workforce. Yet because the SBA considers any operation with 500 or fewer to be “small,” most of the PPP money went to fairly sizable operations that perhaps weren’t as desperate for cash as the little guy.The law was supposed to distribute money on a first-come-first-served basis. But big banks seem to have shuffled big customers to the front of the line — leaving small businesses at the back — as alleged in class-action lawsuits filed against Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo. When truly small businesses did succeed in obtaining loans, it was through smaller community banks. (Democrats claim to have added stipulations specifically allocating $60 billion of new funding to small banks.)By contrast, individual relief payments were prioritized for those with the lowest income. It certainly seems like it would have been prudent to do likewise for truly small businesses.All this said, it’s important to note that this isn’t to distinguish between the workers whose jobs were saved. An employee of a bigger company needs that job every bit as much as the one working in a small store front. It is simply to say that too many small businesses in critical condition ended up being left out while some of the bigger fish were fed.  ~The Patriot Post  


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