Thursday News Executive Summary

Media Editors  Above the Fold

Following yesterday’s news that first-quarter GDP suffered a 4.8% contraction, “First-time filings for unemployment insurance hit 3.84 million last week,” CNBC reports, which “bring[s] the rolling six-week total to 30.3 million.” Citing an Economic Policy Institute survey, however, CNBC this week also reported: “For every 10 people who successfully filed for unemployment insurance benefits over four weeks in March and April, an additional three to four people tried and failed to make claims.”

“The Food and Drug Administration is moving to quickly authorize the use of Gilead’s experimental anti-viral drug remdesivir as an emergency treatment for coronavirus, following news that a preliminary trial of the drug showed positive results.” (National Review)

Government & Politics

According to Fox News, “Explosive new internal FBI documents unsealed Wednesday show that top bureau officials discussed their motivations for interviewing then-national security adviser Michael Flynn in the White House in January 2017 — and openly questioned if their ‘goal’ was ‘to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.’” As we stated yesterday: If the court still elects to sentence Flynn, President Donald Trump will have more than ample justification for pardoning him. On a related note, Roger Stone is formally appealing his criminal conviction.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned: “The next pandemic coming will be the lawsuit pandemic in the wake of this one.” Which is why, National Review explains, “McConnell indicated this week that he would ‘insist’ the next coronavirus-relief package include liability protections for companies and health-care workers.” But obstructionist House Speaker liar-Nancy Pelosi says, “We would not be inclined to be supporting any immunity from liability.” If that’s the case, responsibility for the lawsuit pandemic will lay at the Democrats’ feet.

That said, McConnell may be seeking a compromise. The AP reports: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday he is ‘open’ to considering additional funds for state and local governments. … While saying he’s willing to consider new funds, McConnell insisted the next package must also include federal liability protections from what he warned will be an ‘avalanche’ of lawsuits against businesses that reopen during the pandemic.”

The voter-enthusiasm gap between loose lips liar-Joe Biden and Trump is nearly 20% in the president’s favor, based on an Emerson College survey. Moreover, “Voters from both camps generally believe that Trump will win in November,” The Daily Wire notes. “According to Emerson, 57% of voters believe Trump will win reelection in November versus just 43% of voters who think loose lips liar-Biden will hold the office next year.”

Other Notables

A man claiming to be a Silicon Valley entrepreneur gets $69 million to produce ventilators — but has failed to deliver even one (UK Daily Mail)Meat plant workers say they’ll refuse to go back to work despite Trump’s executive order to keep them open (UK Daily Mail)

Cunning Democrats snuck a $15 minimum wage into the CARES Act — and we’ll all pay the price (Issues & Insights)Bad idea: Trump administration set to offer oil companies emergency loans involving government stakes (Washington Examiner)

Woman who blamed Trump after giving her husband fish-tank cleaner now under murder investigation (National Review)

Dozens of bodies found in unrefrigerated U-Haul trucks outside New York City funeral home (Fox News)

Closing Arguments

Policy: Now is the time for substantive pension reform — or else (Issues & Insights)

Policy: Letting states declare bankruptcy isn’t a dumb idea (American Enterprise Institute)

Satire: Judge dismisses sexual-assault allegations against loose lips liar-Biden on grounds that he is not a Republican (The Babylon Bee)  ~The Patriot Post  

Let People Try Gelsolin!

by John Stossel{ } ~ We need new drugs to fight COVID-19 and other diseases. But our government’s approval process makes that too hard. This year’s pandemic got regulators to say they’ll speed the approval process… The FDA adopted Emergency Use Authorization to speed up approval of some tests, medical equipment and ventilators. But that’s not enough. I know about the FDA’s rules because my older brother, Dr. Thomas Stossel, discovered something that might save a lot of lives. Doing medical research at Harvard, he found a protein in our blood that helps reduce excess inflammation. He named the protein gelsolin. Some inflammation is useful. Our own immune system creates it to fight off diseases. But excess inflammation kills. With COVID-19, “what usually kills the patient is not the virus,” explains Dr. Mark DiNubile in my new video. “As the patients get sicker, often the virus is disappearing. It’s the over-exuberant, excessive, immune reaction that’s destroying the lung.” DiNubile was once my brother’s student and partner. Now, he speaks for Tom because, several months ago, Tom died of a sudden heart attack. DiNubile will carry on Tom’s work. So will I. Suddenly, I’m an investor and on the board of their biotech company, BioAegis, which hopes to give supplemental gelsolin to people with diseases like pneumonia, sepsis and the coronavirus. When we’re very sick, gelsolin levels go down, and that often leads to deadly outcomes. But we’re not helpless. BioAegis found a way to manufacture extra gelsolin. Now, the company hopes to get the FDA’s permission to give some to coronavirus patients. BioAegis already gave the protein to animals infected with pneumonia. They got good results. Animals that would have died, lived. “It also improves what their lungs look like,” said DiNubile. Improved lung function should certainly help human coronavirus patients, he adds, “allowing them to get off the respirator, go back home and, hopefully, live a normal life.”…  

How the U.S. Could End the Iran Nuclear Deal Once and for All

By JAMES S. ROBBINS{ } ~Though the Trump administration has already withdrawn from the deal, there is still a clear path to scuttling it at the U.N. Is the United States still a participant in the Iran nuclear deal? Well, yes and no… The U.S. is seeking to maintain an international conventional-arms embargo on Iran that’s set to expire in October. The embargo was included in the enabling resolutions that the United Nations Security Council passed as part of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal. Its restrictions on small-arms sales to Iran expire this year, with its ban on the sale of missile parts and other weapons extending another three years. The State Department is promoting a new Security Council resolution that would extend the embargo indefinitely, which is certain to face opposition from Russia or China, both of whom have veto power. It would be smarter to simply activate the “snapback” mechanism in the JCPOA, restoring the entire pre-agreement U.N. sanctions regime and killing the deal for good. Critics might object that President Trump withdrew the United States from the JCPOA two years ago, so Washington has no standing to engage its snapback provision. But it’s not that simple. The scumbag/liar-nObama administration could have tried to craft a binding, entirely self-contained multilateral treaty, which would be more clear-cut — a country would either be a signatory to the treaty or not. But scumbag/liar-nObama’s team knew it lacked the influence to craft a deal that the U.S. Senate would approve as a formal treaty, or even the minimal political clout to change the existing sanctions regime. So instead negotiators came up with what amounted to an executive agreement to use temporary loopholes in existing U.S. law to lift American sanctions, and crafted an omnibus 104-page Security Council resolution, UNSCR 2231, to clean things up on the U.N. side. And whatever the status of the JCPOA, UNSCR 2231 is still operative, and the United States, as a U.N. member state, is still a participant in it.  There are several ways in which the JCPOA can self-destruct under UNSCR 2231. Article 26 tells us that Iran would consider the re-introduction of sanctions “as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.” The United States has already re-imposed sanctions, and Iran has been enriching uranium well beyond the limits of the agreement, meaning both conditions for the deal’s destruction have been met. Article 10, meanwhile, notes one means of resolution, in which any “JCPOA participant State” can bring a complaint. Critics claim this means that the U.S. can’t scuttle the JCPOA, because it is no longer such a participant state. But that’s not quite right, either. Here is the beautiful part: Once that notification occurs, Article 37 gives the Security Council 30 days to consider a resolution to “continue the sanctions lifting” — i.e. to leave the deal in place. If it fails to pass such a resolution in that time period, “the provisions of the old UN Security Council resolutions would be re-imposed.” This is the so-called “snap back” that we have heard so much about. And because it kicks in automatically unless the Security Council passes a continuing resolution, the veto power that Russia and China hold as permanent Security Council members is irrelevant, and the veto power that the U.S. similarly holds is decisive. The United States has every right under UNSCR 2231 to bring the matter of Iranian non-compliance to the Joint Commission. 

Russian presence in Libya more dangerous than ISIS, says US Africa Command

by Abraham Mahshie{ } ~ Gen. Khalifa Haftar, the rebel leader who controls Libya’s oil-rich east, recently declared he has a popular mandate to rule all of the North African nation… a move that may give Russia the upper hand if he can succeed in taking Tripoli amid nearly a decade’s worth of sectarian strife. In the disarray since dictator Muammar Qaddafi was killed in 2011, a civil war has raged across Libya, and ISIS remnants have secured a tenuous footing in the south. But more troubling, say defense officials and U.S. Africa Command, is that Russia has inserted a paramilitary group to support Haftar and position itself on the southern flank of NATO. “They’re acting out on U.S. strategic interests in North Africa, but at the same time doing it at a low cost, and if they mess up, then the Kremlin has plausible deniability,” a defense official told the Washington Examiner. “They are likely banking on that if they come out on the winning side, that they’ll have access to lucrative port and mineral extraction deals, as well as have influence over a future government of Libya,” he added. A senior defense official also explained that Russia could benefit from a whole host of economic and geopolitical advantages by siding with a successful Haftar. “It’s really about access in Libya for Russia, having access to the ports, to the oil, having a reason to be in the Eastern Med.,” the official told the  Washington Examiner. “When we talk about Russia, we have to be specific that it’s really the military contractors from Russia, the Wagner Group are there, and it’s really not the Russian government, the Russian military, that is in Libya,” he clarified. “When Russia is pressed by the United Nations on their influence and impact in Libya, they’re quick to say that they are not really present there.” In April 2019, the deteriorating security situation in Libya led AFRICOM to pull its remaining ground forces out of the country. The U.S. Africa Command mission in Libya had provided military support to diplomatic missions, counter-terrorism activities, and to strengthen partnerships. Since the U.S. departure, Russia has been strengthening its military partnership on the ground in Libya, said Kimberly Marten, chair of the political science department at Barnard College, speaking at a Center for Strategic and International Studies forum Tuesday…  

NYC Mayor Singles Out Jews for Arrest

By Shireen Qudosi{ } ~ On Tuesday night, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took to Twitter singling out Jews and threatening to arrest them… De Blasio isolated New York’s Jewish community in response to Hasidic Jews gathering for a funeral that was approved by the city. However, the mayor did not use the same intense language regarding the large crowds gathered to watch the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds soaring through New York’s sky. Part of the definition of anti-Semitism as adopted by the State Department  and 31 other nations is, “Applying double standards by requiring … a behavior not expected or demanded of any other …”  Political influencers were quick to blast De Blasio. Jonathon Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League tweeted: Violations of religious and other civil liberties guaranteed by the constitution during coronavirus shutdowns has been a central theme over the last two weeks, prompting Attorney General Bar to instruct the Department of Justice to start taking action against overreaching governors. Ironically, de Blasio violated New York’s shutdown regulations the day after they went into effect. On March 15, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told all residents to remain in their homes with the exception of essential activities grocery shopping, medical services and work that wasn’t possible to do from home. The next morning, the mayor went to his gym in Brooklyn, sparking outrageous and criticism among residents and the media.  

Coronavirus Lockdowns Haven’t Slowed Jihadists

by Abigail R. Esman{ } ~ Paris is burning. Again. Riots recently broke out in the city’s banlieues, the working class, largely immigrant areas known for their high crime rates, and where Muslim youth have long clashed with French police… In 2005, the death of two young Muslim boys from Clichy sous Bois, for instance, led to weeks of uprisings. Thousands of cars were torched, as were schools, synagogues, mosques, churches, and shops. Three people died in the melée; 126 – mostly first responders – were injured. Now, officials fear a repeat of the 2005 uproar as Muslim youth react against COVID-19-related restrictions, felt particularly acutely at the start of Ramadan. And it isn’t only Paris. While the rest of us concern ourselves with the health, safety, and well-being of our families and loved ones, extremists of all types are using the coronavirus pandemic to recruit, propagandize, and even to stage attacks across Europe and parts of the Middle East and North Africa. ISIS and other extremist groups – including those from the far right and far left – deliberately exacerbate fear of the virus and an overall sense of vulnerability as a means to “reinforce their strategy and call for action,” counterterrorism expert Andreea Stoian Karadeli said last Thursday during a webinar sponsored by the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP). In addition, they have used disinformation to recruit, often by promoting hate against enemy groups – infidels and Jews, for instance – whom they blame for the pandemic. In fact, she warned, “With the COVID-19, the problems that we had in our society have not disappeared. They actually got more intense, and have been empowered by the virus.” Indeed, early in the pandemic, ISIS, al-Qaida and other Islamist terrorist groups encouraged their followers to exploit the situation, calling COVID-19 “a soldier of Allah” and recommending attacks where people were likely to gather during the lockdowns: grocery stores and hospitals. And with students now stuck at home and largely locked onto the internet, radical groups are taking the opportunity to spread their online outreach among vulnerable youth, promoting hate-filled conspiracy theories, many of which blame Jews for the virus…  

How are low-income Americans faring during the economic fallout of COVID-19?

by Angela Rachidi{ } ~ Several recent polls suggest that low-income Americans are likely withstanding the worst of the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis… Though policymakers responded swiftly to the economic crisis by expanding the safety net including bolstered unemployment compensation  and food assistance, early indications suggest that some low-income Americans may not be accessing these new social supports. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center shows that more than half of low-income adults have lost their job or experienced a pay cut due to the pandemic, compared to 32 percent of upper income adults. The young, the least educated, and Hispanic adults have also been the hardest hit according to Pew — characteristics that correlate with lower relative income. Another  survey, which was part of an ongoing study, found similar experiences with job loss among a sample of mostly low-income service workers who were parenting young children in one large US city. From the authors: As of March 25, 21 percent of our sample reported being permanently laid off and another 20 percent temporarily laid off. A majority, 55 percent, reported that someone in the household had been laid off. Of those who retained employment, over half, 51 percent, saw their hours reduced. This is much more drastic and faster than the job losses even of the Great Recession. Unable to build up their own safety net resources, low-income families are unsurprisingly the least prepared for job loss or reduced pay. Pew recently  found that only 23 percent of low-income households had sufficient resources to cover expenses for three months in case of an emergency, compared to 75 percent of upper-income households who said the same. There are many safety net programs available to help low-income families through this economic shock. Even among those whose income was too high to qualify for assistance before the current crisis, any current job loss or cut in pay would likely make most of these low-income families eligible now. But preliminary data suggests that many are not accessing available benefits, or at least were not as of the end of March 2020. Alix Gould-Worth from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth  analyzed survey data from the service worker study and found that most were not receiving the social supports for which they qualified…  

Summer to the Rescue

 Gary Bauer

There was potentially great news in Thursday’s coronavirus briefing. But the media are largely ignoring it because I think they want us to remain huddled in our homes, unable to do anything but listen as our “masters” tell us how to live.The good news is that scientists at the Department of Homeland Security have been conducting research on the effects of sunlight and humidity on the coronavirus. What they discovered is that more sunlight, producing higher temperatures and more humidity, otherwise known as summer, is very deadly to the virus. Specifically, in summer-like temperatures and humidity, the virus only survives two minutes on surfaces and 90 seconds in the air. We shouldn’t leap to conclusions, but this seems to be optimistic news about the potential for the summer months to seriously suppress this virus. Another thing that researchers are watching is what could happen in the fall. Will COVID-19 make a resurgence in the fall, just like the regular flu? Well, here’s some more encouraging news: Countries in the Southern Hemisphere, like Australia, are going into fall right now, and there appears to be no surge in the disease. It’s still early, but over the next four to eight weeks, scientists will be monitoring those nations for clues as to what we can expect come October.New York’s ResultsThursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the results of random antibody testing in New York. Researchers discovered that 14% of the state’s residents and 21% of New York City’s residents tested positive, meaning they had the virus and recovered.So far, there have been 141,754 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York City and 15,411 deaths. Look at those two figures. That would suggest that the death rate in New York City is nearly 11%. (City officials are including more than 5,000 “probable” deaths in that total.)Now, let’s consider the results of the antibody testing.There are 8.4 million people in New York City. If 21% of city residents have had COVID-19, that means 1,764,000 were infected. If 11% of the people who get the virus die, 11% of 1.76 million would be 194,000 deaths. But there’s only been 15,411 deaths. Where are all the other bodies? Clearly, the death rate isn’t anywhere close to 11%. If 1.76 million people were infected and 15,411 have died, that suggests the mortality rate is closer to 0.87%. To be certain, that’s high. But every study done — in Germany, in Massachusetts, in Los Angeles — has found the same thing – that the virus is far more widespread than we realize. For the vast majority of people, it amounts to little more than a cold. For certain segments of the population, the elderly and those with serious preexisting conditions, it is a real threat, and those people should continue to self-quarantine and take serious precautions. The Chinese ThreatWhile the nation battles the coronavirus, there’s an even greater threat we must confront, and it’s the Chinese communists themselves, who are responsible for this crisis.  The Chinese government refused to share information about the makeup of the virus in the early days of the pandemic. It also hoarded medical supplies and threatened to suspend exports of vital drugs to the United States. Make no mistake: Every American will be enlisted in this battle.U.S. corporation with factories in China should implement policies now to bring those factories and jobs home.Congress must act now to safeguard America’s medical supplies to ensure that we are not dependent on an adversary when the next emergency strikes.College students should find out if their university has a Chinese-sponsored Confucius Institute on campus. These institutes are being used by the Chinese communists for espionage and propaganda against our country.Every consumer, whenever possible, should buy goods made in the USA.Fly the American flag proudly and redouble your efforts to instill patriotism in your children and grandchildren.If we do these things, we will be better prepared when the next crisis comes out of Communist China.More Good NewsIt seems that it is possible to shame corporate America and academia. Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania have announced that they will return money from the emergency small-business program to the Treasury. So too will Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and a number of other large corporations.The Moderate MythThe “moderate” loose lips liar-Joe Biden said Thursday that he believes President Trump will come up with some way to delay or cancel the election. This is the kind of conspiracy nonsense we’re used to hearing from the fringes of the far left. But he’s thought it through. loose lips liar-Biden suggested that Trump may not bail out the Post Office and will resist efforts to force states to adopt the vote-by-mail procedures that the left is demanding. And in the fevered minds of the left, no mail-in voting means canceling the election. The Post Office has been in dire straits for decades. The White House is demanding significant reforms before it gets another taxpayer bailout. For loose lips liar-Biden to suggest that those needed reforms are evidence that the president is a dictator who wants to cancel the election is insane!  ~The Patriot Post  


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