Thursday News Executive Summary

Jordan Candler  Above the Fold

“These developments have put us in a strong position to finalize guidelines for states opening the country, which we will be announcing [today]:” Trump says coronavirus pandemic has peaked, some states to reopen before May 1 (New York Post)

From Michigan to Kentucky to Ohio to Utah to North Carolina to Virginia, protests draw thousands over state stay-at-home orders (USA Today)

Business & Economy

Weekly jobless claims hit 5.245 million, raising monthly loss to 22 million (CNBC)

IRS relief-check tracking system crashes — but officials insist website is operating “smoothly and effectively” (Daily Mail)

8.7% plunge: U.S. retail sales see biggest drop ever in March, shattering the previous record in 2008 by 4.8% (New York Post)

Small-business relief fund runs dry amid Democrat-driven standoff (The Washington Free Beacon)

National Security

“Increasing confidence” China blamed coronavirus on wet market to deflect from Wuhan lab escape (Washington Examiner)

China may have conducted low-level nuclear test: “Beijing is modernizing its nuclear arsenal while the United States handcuffs itself with one-sided arms-control restrictions” (The Guardian)

Iran taunts U.S. Navy ships in Persian Gulf (Fox News)

Government & Politics

House Democrats propose $2,000 monthly payments to Americans (The Hill)

The AP says, “China didn’t warn public of likely pandemic for 6 key days.” National Review’s Jim Geraghty elucidates, “It is more accurate to say the coverup lasted about six weeks.”Gov. Cuomo announces executive order requiring face masks in public (Hot Air)

Other Notables

Conflict of interest? Rep. worthless-Omar funnels nearly $300,000 more to her husband’s firm (The Washington Free Beacon)

Universities and colleges across the United States failed to report nearly $1 billion in foreign gifts from 2013-2018, despite legal requirements from the Department of Education (Campus Reform)

Closing Arguments

Policy: Investigate the Wuhan lab (Washington Examiner)

Policy: Trump is right about the World Health Organization (National Review)

Humor: scumbag/liar-nObama: “I’m so proud to endorse loose lips liar-Joe Biden — that’s who they went with, huh? — for president” (The Onion)  ~The Patriot Post  

liar-Pelosi Sides With WHO Over America: Claims Trump’s Move to Halt Funding Is ‘Illegal’

By Rusty Weiss { } ~ House Speaker liar-Nancy Pelosi defended the World Health Organization (WHO), claiming President Trump’s move to defund the group was “illegal” and will be “swiftly challenged.”… The President announced Tuesday that his administration would halt funding amidst a review into whether the WHO was responsible for “severely mismanaging and covering up” spread of the coronavirus. “We have deep concerns over whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible,” Trump declared. “The WHO failed in this duty, and must be held accountable.” “So much death has been caused by their mistakes,” he told reporters. liar-Pelosi, to nobody’s surprise, reflexively sided with the WHO, a group that helped spread Chinese disinformation on the coronavirus and urged nations to keep their borders open during the pandemic. “This is another case, as I have said, of the president’s ineffective response, that ‘a weak person, a poor leader, takes no responsibility. A weak person blames others,’” liar-Pelosi said in blaming Trump. Republican lawmakers have been especially vocal in their criticism of the WHO, supporting the President’s desire to hold the organization accountable. House Oversight Committee ranking member Jim Jordan (R-OH) issued a statement questioning their relationship with China. “The World Health Organization should be ashamed that they relied on Chinese propaganda when deciding how to combat the coronavirus crisis,” he said. “President Trump is right to question the WHO’s role in global health going forward.” Senator Lindsey Graham announced last week that he’d be pulling funding in hopefully taking the burden off the President. “In the next appropriations bill, there’s not going to be any money for the WHO,” stated Graham. “I’m in charge of the appropriations subcommittee, and I’m not going to support funding the WHO under its current leadership.” Trump didn’t bother waiting. Graham went on to accuse the WHO of being “deceptive,” “slow,” and “Chinese apologists.” 

Trump is Furious! The Foolish Democrats Stall Again on Aid

by ~ Democrats are up to their old tricks again by stalling on another bill that would provide $250 billion in aid to small business owners… The Democrats want to add a lot of socialistic ideas to every bill that is coming from the Senate. When President Trump pushed the $2.2 trillion bill around, the Democrats of Congress poisoned it with their trash. And now it appears that they are at it again with the latest help coming from President Trump. The liberals would have everyone think that it is the Republicans that are stalling. But they are the ones pushing for the bill to be passed. It is more than political differences that are keeping the Democrats from working with the Republicans. They hate the fact that they cannot push their liberal agenda on people. They hate the point that the president has unraveled their sacred laws that have effectively trashed the freedoms that people should have for being Americans. American business owners are struggling, and the Democrats want to play games. People are failing at their businesses and the liberals want to sit around and hold things up. The Republicans were not able to bring the bill up for a vote recently because the nasty liberals demanded more legislation and control over people and the way they could spend the money. What the Democrats are after is power. They are looking to control people and what they can do. Chuck scumbag-Schumer is the devil that is trying to make the Republicans look bad when he lies that “It’s time for the Republicans to quit the political posturing by proposing bills they know will not pass either chamber and get serious and work with us towards a solution.” scumbag-Schumer has to realize that the Democrats need to stop posturing and threatening to cry when a bill comes up for a vote. The liberals have never worked well when things are not to their benefit. The Democrats hide their greed for money and power behind compassion. They want to expand the food stamp program that President Trump has reduced. They want to publicly fund hospitals so the government can dictate how they are run. These are two avenues of socialist control. A publicly-funded hospital would have to bow to the demands of the liberal lawmakers or lose their funding. The help that American business needs right now is greater than ever. The Democrats want to see the last bill go bankrupt so they can rub it in the president’s face that it fell short of meeting all the needs…  

Michelle scumbag/liar-nObama’s odds to be loose lips liar-Biden’s vice president surge as lowlife-Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar fade

by Paul Bedard{ } ~ Former first lady Michelle scumbag/liar-nObama is back in play big time as a favorite to be loose lips liar-Joe Biden’s running mate… As Sen. commie-Bernie Sanders on Monday made a surprise endorsement of loose lips liar-Biden in a warm and humorous video chat, the focus turned to loose lips liar-Biden’s pick for vice president and gambling markets charted by saw a surge of support for scumbag/liar-nObama. “Michelle scumbag/liar-nObama has been the most backed person in the market, accounting for almost 32% of all bets,” the firm said. Spokesman Pete Watt told us, “Following loose lips liar-Biden’s announcement that his VP would be female, plenty of names are being thrown into the ring, and the latest to attract a significant amount of attention is the former FLOTUS, Michelle scumbag/liar-nObama.” He added, “Although her odds of +2500 [25-1] indicate that she remains an outsider with just an implied chance of 3.85%, you can expect to see that figure shoot up if she continues to receive bets at the same rate.” The betting analysis site also showed that former favorites, Sens. lowlife-Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, have begun to fade as interest in scumbag/liar-nObama has surged. scumbag/liar-nObama has ruled out a run, but Democrats are increasingly excited that a newly united loose lips liar-Biden/scumbag/liar-nObama ticket would be the ticket to beating President Trump. In the Oddschecker analysis, headlined “2020 US Election Odds: Michelle scumbag/liar-nObama Backed To Be loose lips liar-Joe Biden’s Vice President,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s odds of being picked by loose lips liar-Biden are also rising, to 6-1. She has had on-and-off fights with Trump over the administration’s response to the coronavirus.  

Lawmakers Want to Reopen America, But It May Not So Be Easy

By Charles Fain Lehman{ } ~ With millions out of work and a tidal wave of small business closures on the horizon, many policymakers are clamoring for an end to coronavirus lockdowns and a “reopening” of the economy… Just as state and federal lawmakers moved to “shut down” the economy to slow the spread of the coronavirus, leaders are now weighing when to start it back up. President Donald Trump has officially convened a panel to weigh when and how to reopen; blue state governors have followed suit with interstate planning committees. Some congressmen have pressed for weeks for a reopening, arguing that the “cure is proving worse than the disease itself.” These statements assume that Americans are waiting for lockdown orders to be lifted so they can get back to work and visit restaurants and movie theaters. Nationwide data, however, indicate that vast swaths of the country had sequestered themselves before state, local, and federal government mandates pressed them to do so. As a result, restarting the economy may take more than the lifting of bans and social-distancing guidelines. Contrary to what some lawmakers imagine, America’s current pause is substantially self-imposed. From restaurant reservations to airline flights, data show that America brought itself to a halt, reflecting more a fear of disease—and a sense of solidarity with those most at risk—than the following of government orders. If accurate, these data indicate that merely declaring the economy “open” will not have a major impact. Rather, they suggest a successful reopening is less about making rules and more about helping Americans make informed decisions about what is safe for them to do. Polling data offer the clearest picture of how Americans feel about the shutdown, and the picture is not rosy. Recent data from Axios/Ipsos show that large majorities consider common public activities, like going grocery shopping or attending a family gathering, to be a large or moderate risk right now…    

Sharia, the Law of the Land in Afghanistan

By Terry Bishop{ } ~ Beyond our current concerns with the coronavirus pandemic looms the “historic” formal agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban signed on February 29, 2020… The three-and-a-half page conditional peace agreement  which is accompanied by secret annexes provides a means for the U.S. to draw down its forces from 13,000 to 8,600 within 135 days of the agreement, then subsequently remove all of its forces from Afghanistan within 14 months. A major part of the agreement hinges on the ludicrous assertion that “Afghan soil will no longer be used against the security of the United States and its allies.”  Apart from concerns that the Taliban has no intention of disavowing its ties to multiple terrorist organizations including its longtime ally, al-Qaeda, upholding a reduction in violence (RiV) or consenting to a permanent ceasefire; Afghanistan’s future political roadmap may be more than the Afghan government can bear after the current military balance tips the other direction — in favor of the Taliban who have already gained control of more territory in Afghanistan since 9/11. While there are four parts to the public agreement, “the obligations of the Taliban in the agreement apply in areas under their control until the formation of the new post-settlement Afghan Islamic government as determined by the intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations.” It comes as no surprise the Taliban has refused to talk to the 21-member Afghan government negotiating team. On January 26, 2004, the former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, ratified the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (IRA) at a ceremony in Kabul. The text found within the document points to a deeper issue of the country’s need to confront the strict interpretations of Islamic law. Article three of the constitution states: “No law shall contravene the tenets and provisions of the holy religion of Islam in Afghanistan.” The broad point is that, according to the Constitution, no other proclamation will contradict Islamic law (sharia). The finer point is that — as a result — the United States officially entered a losing battle a long time ago. Sharia, by its own definition, is supreme to any other form of law, including the U.S. Constitution, and certainly including any other kind of democratic structure. The Constitution of Afghanistan, the moment it was endorsed and authorized, is the moment the world lost its grip on the baton in the race. Once the precedent was set that sharia was going to be an essential component of their Constitution, the ability to successfully implement any sort of democracy or plan for peace was terminated. The 2004 Constitution of Afghanistan establishes a latent baseline for the future of intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations. It actually provides a foundation for the Taliban to stand on, as the group can uphold such a constitution without actually violating Islamic law. As previously mentioned, “no law shall contravene the tenets and provisions of the holy religion of Islam in Afghanistan.” The re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the implementation of sharia remains the ultimate goal of the Taliban in the South Asian country…  

Inmate released from jail amid coronavirus fears allegedly murders someone the very next day

by Samantha Chang{ } ~ A Florida inmate who was released from jail in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus behind bars was arrested again after allegedly committing second-degree murder the day after he got out of prison… The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office released a statement confirming that Joseph Edwards Williams, 26, was arrested on Monday night in connection to a March 20 shooting that left a man dead. Williams was one of 100 inmates who had been released from jail the previous evening under an administrative order aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in county prisons. In a statement, Sheriff Chad Chronister said Williams exploited the coronavirus crisis to commit more crimes. “There is no question Joseph Williams took advantage of this health emergency to commit crimes while he was out of jail,” Sheriff Chronister said. Predictably, there has been a massive spike in crime after numerous left-wing cities like New York, Cleveland, and Philadelphia released thousands of inmates from jail, citing the need to stem the spread of the coronavirus behind bars. Let this sink in: Leftists are releasing felons from jail so they won’t contract the coronavirus in prison. But it’s perfectly okay for inmates to spread the coronavirus to law-abiding Americans outside jail? Where’s the logic in this argument? Last month, Fox News host Tucker Carlson joined a growing chorus of Americans who are concerned that releasing inmates from jail would cause a surge in crimes. They were right… 

.The Roiling Reopening Debate

Nate Jackson  

For weeks, we have been urging our elected leaders to come up with an exit strategy from the current shutdown. There must be a time when we can reopen for business to prevent the collapse of our economy. That strategy obviously has to balance public health with, well, public health — the virus with putting food on the table. Still, “There’s nothing smart about doing it too early,” says economist Arthur Laffer.

The good news is that President Donald Trump is launching a commission today to formulate a plan. The bad news is that President Donald Trump asserted Monday, “When somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total, and that’s the way it’s got to be. … The governors know that.”That’s not true in our federalist system, of course, and it’s not the way Trump has acted throughout the crisis. We can’t say enough how regrettable it is that Trump is so quick to offer easily rebuttable hyperbole when he’s making his case. But the Leftmedia narrative is that Trump is both doing too much and not enough — that he is Hitler but also not enough Hitler — so the fact that he fights back is welcome.According to the Associated Press, “Among those expected to be part of the new team: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and White House economic advisers, past and present, Kevin Hassett and Larry Kudlow. New White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is expected to chair the effort.”Meanwhile, 10 governors — nine Democrats and one Republican on the coasts, representing one-third of the U.S. population — have banded together to formulate their own plan for reopening, which is very similar to the plan from two economists we noted last Thursday. Americans should all hope that this doesn’t devolve into nothing more than a political fight over who gets the credit.New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Massachusetts have formed one coalition, while California, Oregon, and Washington have banded together in another. Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is working on his own plan. The governors will use various benchmarks and health officials’ recommendations to slowly loosen restrictions and allow people to return to work, though likely not until May.Why is returning to work so important? It’s far more than just making a profit; it’s about hope, and it’s about weighing which suffering is worse.Former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey writes, “Job losses cause extreme suffering. Every 1% hike in the unemployment rate will likely produce a 3.3% increase in drug overdose deaths and a 0.99% increase in suicides according to data provided by the National Bureau of Economic Research and the medical journal Lancet. These are facts based on experience, not models. If unemployment hits 32%, some 77,000 Americans are likely to die from suicide and drug overdoses as a result of layoffs. Scientists call these fatalities deaths of despair.”There have been roughly 24,000 U.S. deaths from coronavirus so far, with projections reaching nearly 70,000 into August. If there is a second wave of infections and deaths due to reopening, recriminations will be deafening. There are tradeoffs to whatever decisions are made. Ignoring them doesn’t make them go away.  ~The Patriot Post  


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