Mid-Day Digest

Mar. 20, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“A good government implies two things; first, fidelity to the objects of the government; secondly, a knowledge of the means, by which those objects can be best attained.” —Joseph Story (1833)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Trump Campaign Refutes False Narrative on His COVID-19 Response

Thomas Gallatin

While much of the Leftmedia’s narrative on President Donald Trump’s handling of the China Virus pandemic is that it has been bungled and late responding, the timeline of the administration’s actions don’t support those conclusions. Far from it.

However, since that false narrative has been so widely disseminated, especially by Trump’s political adversaries in the mainstream media, on Thursday Trump’s reelection campaign pushed back by releasing a list of 56 “decisive actions” he and his administration took from the earliest days after learning of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China.

This response was needed to set the record straight and specifically to refute presumed Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden’s false assertion last week: “This virus laid bare the severe shortcomings of the current administration. Public fears are being compounded by pervasive lack of trust in this president fueled by adversarial relationships with the truth that he continues to have.” In fact, Biden’s assertions were so demonstrably wrong that even the left-leaning fact-checking organization PolitiFact labeled them “mostly false.”

Here are a few highlights from the list of the decisive actions Trump and his administration took following China’s first reporting the discovery of the novel coronavirus to the World Health Organization on December 31, 2019.

January 6: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel notice for Wuhan, China due to the spreading coronavirus.

January 17: The CDC began implementing public health entry screening at the 3 U.S. airports that received the most travelers from Wuhan — San Francisco, New York JFK, and Los Angeles.

January 20: Dr. [Anthony] Fauci announces the National Institutes of Health is already working on the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus.

January 23: The CDC sought a “special emergency authorization” from the FDA to allow states to use its newly developed coronavirus test.

January 31: The Trump administration: Declared the coronavirus a public health emergency. Announced Chinese travel restrictions. Suspended entry into the United States for foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the coronavirus.

February 6: The CDC began shipping CDC-Developed test kits for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus to U.S. and international labs.

February 9: The White House Coronavirus Task Force briefed governors from across the nation at the National Governors’ Association Meeting in Washington.

February 24: The Trump Administration sent a letter to Congress requesting at least $2.5 billion to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.

February 29: The Trump Administration: Announced a level 4 travel advisory to areas of Italy and South Korea. Barred all travel to Iran. Barred the entry of foreign citizens who visited Iran in the last 14 days.

March 4: The Trump Administration announced the purchase of approximately 500 million N95 respirators over the next 18 months to respond to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

March 6: President Trump signed an $8.3 billion bill to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

March 11: President Trump: Announced travel restrictions on foreigners who had visited Europe in the last 14 days.

March 13: President Trump declared a national emergency in order to access $42 billion in existing funds to combat the coronavirus.

March 18: President Trump announced: Temporary closure of the U.S.-Canada border to non-essential traffic. Plans to invoke the Defense Production Act in order to increase the number of necessary supplies needed to combat coronavirus. FEMA has been activated in every region at its highest level of response. The U.S. Navy will deploy USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy hospital ships. All foreclosures and evictions will be suspended for a period of time.

March 18: HHS temporarily suspended a regulation that prevents doctors from practicing across state lines.

It is clear that, far from Biden’s claims and the Leftmedia’s false narrative, Trump and his administration have been actively engaged in addressing, preparing for, and now combating the China Virus from the earliest days when the threat first became known. Finally, it is important to highlight Trump’s embrace of federalism as part of his response, as he has left key decisions to state and local governments.

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Endangering the Greatest Generation

Michael Swartz

The message of protecting seniors from the spread of China Virus is important because, according to the CDC, the virus is far more lethal to them due to their weakened physical status and less robust immune systems. Theirs is the age group singled out by the CDC to remain home as much as possible and keep 30 days’ worth of groceries on hand.

On the other hand, the youth of this country are on an indefinite coronavirus vacation. Most secondary schools have begun with a two-week hiatus concluding next week — although it will certainly be extended for at least another couple of weeks, if not the rest of the school year. But those in college will likely finish this semester by taking their classes online from home.

Protection only goes so far, though. Despite the loss of athletics and social events around campus, students determined to participate in the annual rite of spring break were crowding Florida beaches and nightspots. “If I get corona, I get corona,” said one reveler to The Washington Post. “At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.”

That same feeling of invincibility was expressed by another young beachgoer: “It’s really messing with my spring break,” she complained. “I think they’re blowing it way out of proportion.”

But try telling that to the increasing number of Millennials being admitted to hospitals due to the coronavirus. Many other young people are asymptomatic, however, and they’re bringing home more than just a tan. This is bad news for all those they come in contact with (especially the elderly), which is why these spring breakers are of greatest concern to public-health officials.

The adults have since taken charge, though, and an incensed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lowered the boom on the celebration. While the state’s beaches aren’t officially closed, the bars and nightclubs are. And that may be enough to break up the party. “The message I think for spring breakers is that the party’s over in Florida,” DeSantis declared. “The bars are closed … so we would just tell those folks maybe come back next year when things are better.”

Nor is it just Florida beaches: The mayor of Ocean City, Maryland, was also urging people to stay home. “While we look forward to the time when we can welcome you again, now is not the time to visit Ocean City,” said Mayor Rick Meehan. As a nearby escape from the Beltway regions, the town was inundated last weekend with St. Patrick’s Day revelers despite the cancellation of their annual parade and a confirmation that a holiday weekend visitor later tested positive for COVID-19.

While it’s unlikely that many senior citizens were mingling with the spring-break crowd, many of those college students will be back home with their families soon. And with the incubation period of the virus estimated to be as long as 14 days, hitting a jam-packed beach clearly wasn’t the best of all ideas.

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COVID-19 Will Change Healthcare

Brian Mark Weber

When terms like “social distancing” and “self quarantine” are on the tip of every journalist’s tongue, the good news can often be hard to find.

And little did we know that an act passed in 1996 would haunt us in 2020. Back then, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was signed into law, ensuring that information shared between doctors and patients is private and secure. The HIPAA website states, “Prior to HIPAA, no generally accepted set of security standards or general requirements for protecting health information existed in the health care industry. At the same time, new technologies were evolving, and the health care industry began to move away from paper processes and rely more heavily on the use of electronic information systems.”

But the technology of 1996 is not that of today. Essentially, HIPAA prevented healthcare providers and individual doctors from taking advantage of emerging information technologies — and it required patients to be in the physical presence of their doctor in order to have important conversations about their health.

Thus, the Wuhan coronavirus has made the standard office visit not only a challenge for those suffering the symptoms but dangerous for everyone else.

As Tiana Lowe writes at The Washington Examiner, “For decades, HIPAA has strangled the healthcare system, preventing providers from communicating with patients and sharing health data with other experts” and “they are forced to use antiquated electronic medical record systems and to communicate with patients primarily in person.”

This week, all that changed.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump took the bold step of ordering the Department of Health and Human Services to waive potential HIPAA penalties, thereby clearing the way for telemedicine. Now, a patient with coronavirus symptoms can consult with a real doctor from home.

Two healthcare providers, Kaiser Permanente and One Medical, are already offering this service to their patients. “Kaiser and One Medical can do this because patients aren’t paying to see their preferred physician,” writes Lowe. “They’re paying to get immediate, efficient care. You may wait weeks to see your private practice physician, who is financially incapable of circumventing the HIPAA stipulations that render telemedicine so difficult.”

As the nation’s coronavirus response continues to evolve, President Trump is getting rid of the red tape. Just yesterday during the daily coronavirus task force briefing, he announced that he’s directed FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn to “eliminate outdated rules and bureaucracy” in order to “get the rapid deployment of safe, effective treatments” out to the public as soon as possible. As a result, Americans will soon be able to access Chloroquine to alleviate the symptoms of coronavirus.

Trump, in fact, has been battling the bureaucracy since he took office. In 2018, he signed right-to-try legislation that allows terminally ill patients to try promising drugs that haven’t yet received FDA approval. Taken together, these steps may set a precedent by making quality care more efficient, affordable, and accessible long after we’ve conquered coronavirus.

The coronavirus panic has pushed the stock market to the brink, forced universities to teach courses online, turned millions of Americans into telecommuters, and shuttered restaurants, malls, and transportation hubs. But the good news is out there, including that American healthcare has a brighter future.

If only it hadn’t taken a national emergency to make it so.

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Insider Trading in the Senate?

Nate Jackson

Four senators are embroiled in insinuations, if not outright accusations, of insider trading before the China Virus pandemic caused widespread cancellations and a market crash. Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, as well as Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California, all sold large amounts of stock shortly after Senate briefings about the economic impact of coronavirus.

Feinstein, Loeffler, and Inhofe all claim their investment decisions are made by other people not under their direction. (Burr’s spokesman responded, “lol.”)

“All of Senator Feinstein’s assets are in a blind trust,” her spokesman said. “She has no involvement in her husband’s financial decisions.”

“This is a ridiculous and baseless attack,” Loeffler tweeted. “I do not make investment decisions for my portfolio. Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisers without my or my husband’s knowledge or involvement.” She added, “As confirmed in the periodic transaction report to Senate Ethics, I was informed of these purchases and sales on February 16, 2020 — three weeks after they were made.”

Loeffler’s husband is the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, and, according to The Daily Beast’s Sam Stein, “Loeffler had not made a single stock transaction during the three weeks she served in office prior to this one. This was her first. The day she got the coronavirus briefing.” That certainly sounds suspicious, whether founded or not.

On the other hand, Loeffler is the wealthiest member of Congress (net worth of about half a billion dollars) and the sales in question amount to a fraction of a percentage of her overall wealth. Moreover, it’s entirely possible that the decisions were made without her knowledge by competent investment managers. Even so, Loeffler is going to need a rock-solid defense or she’s in real trouble, if not legally then at least in her effort to win the Senate seat she was appointed to in December.

Burr, on the other hand, sold a significant portion of his holdings on February 13, largely from hotels and other hospitality industries that have been hit particularly hard. He was also one of only three senators to oppose the 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which bars legislators or their staff, as well as other federal officials, from trading based on information that is not public. He argued at the time that lawmakers were already covered by insider-trading laws. The Leftmedia is also accusing Burr of saying one thing publicly and something very different in a private meeting on February 27 after comments from that meeting were leaked. But we don’t think Burr’s efforts to reassure the public about U.S. preparedness contradict his warnings about serious consequences. Those things are not mutually exclusive.

Yet even Fox News host Tucker Carlson has called for Burr’s resignation. Mark Alexander thinks, if the allegations are true, “being drawn and quartered on the town square is appropriate for this type of profiteering.”

Alexander also says, “Every member of the Senate and House should be looked at with scrutiny over this, starting with the top 10 wealthiest Senate and House members. There were also House briefings and I have not heard about investigating transactions by those members. Perhaps there should be a resolution giving members one week for full disclosure of trust-investment transactions in the four-week period after initial briefings.”

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Character vs. Charisma

Grassroots perspective by Roger Helle

Do you remember the 1992 election? George H.W. Bush was running for reelection and faced a political opponent not very well known nationally and under a cloud of scandal for various sexual relationships outside of his marriage.

At this point, in my opinion, politics took an ominous turn for the worse. Let’s review the scenario. Bush had defeated Saddam Hussein and kicked him out of Kuwait. His approval numbers were off the chart. But Bush made a critical error in his campaign strategy.

Bush was one of “The Greatest Generation.” Having grown up during the Great Depression, he knew the value of hard work, honesty, integrity, character, generosity, and patriotism. His opponent, Bill Clinton, on the other hand, was a Baby Boomer who avoided the draft and protested against the war in Vietnam.

President Bush assumed Americans still valued character and integrity in their elected officials when it came to the highest office in the land. But the culture had changed. Voters chose personality and charisma over character and integrity. This has impacted our nation’s politics ever since. What do younger voters remember about President Barack Obama? “He was cool!”

I’ve had people tell me that I didn’t like Clinton because he didn’t go to Vietnam. That dog don’t hunt! I have plenty of friends who did not go to Vietnam. Some went to Canada, others obtained college deferments. I have some friends who went to Canada to avoid the draft. I even had a friend who burned his draft card and went to jail to avoid going to Vietnam. God has a sense of humor as he came to work for me at Teen Challenge.

As a Christian, I don’t have the option to hate someone, even someone like Bill Clinton or John Kerry (who served in Vietnam if you didn’t know, and who apparently wrote up his own citations for decorations). I’m actually a little envious of Kerry, who received three Purple Heart medals with no scars to show for them. My three Purple Hearts left plenty of scars, making a modeling career out of the question (I’m joking here).

My problem with Clinton had nothing to do with his political affiliation, his lack of military service, or anything else. My problem is he was, and remains to this day, a man lacking in integrity and character. While this is nothing new in the political realm, I believe it has gone to a whole new level since then.

This is not pointing a finger at just one political party. This issue plagues politics, business, our military, and even religion. We take a politician’s word at our own peril. Yet we voters keep reelecting the same people over and over again and wondering why nothing changes! What’s the definition of insanity? “Doing the same thing over and over, each time expecting a different result.”

Business and military leaders, politicians and any leader who lacks character and integrity hinders our nation from the destiny God has intended for us. This problem will NEVER be solved at the ballot box. It will change when a spiritual transformation sweeps our nation. I hope I have given you a reason to be praying for America.

Something to pray about?

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NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

Coronavirus Updates

  • 9/11-STYLE PREPARATIONS: Trump eyes grounding jets, halting stock trading, and ordering shelter in place (Washington Examiner)

  • MOST POPULOUS AND LARGEST ECONOMIC STATE SHUT DOWN: California issues “stay at home” order (NPR)

  • TRAVEL ALERT: State Department warns Americans against all overseas travel (AP)

  • “NOT OUR TRADITIONAL MEDICAL MISSION”: Navy readies 1,000-bed hospital ships and Defense Health Agency prepares for civilian support role (Washington Examiner)

  • FOR THE RECORD: The coronavirus is killing far more men than women (The Washington Post)

  • GOOD NEWS: Trump clears way to use malaria drug against COVID-19 (The Daily Signal)

  • AMERICAN SPIRIT: Historic $1.3 billion — and growing — raised to fight virus (Washington Examiner)

Government, Politics, & Economy

  • HISTORIC PACKAGE: Senate Leader Mitch McConnell releases Phase 3 coronavirus stimulus proposal (Axios)

  • GOOD IDEA: Sen. Tom Cotton debuts plan to take pharmaceutical production back from China (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • NOT A GOOD LOOK: Senators Dianne Feinstein, Richard Burr, Kelly Loeffler, and James Inhofe sold off stocks before coronavirus crash (Fox News)

  • ECONOMIC TSUNAMI: Coronavirus layoffs surge across America, overwhelming unemployment offices (Politico)

Closing Arguments

  • POLICY: Flattening the curve of a recession (City Journal)

  • POLICY: California needs to suspend its ban on gig work (The Federalist)

  • HUMOR: Thousands of formerly endangered white rhinos flood city streets mere days after humans quarantined indoors (The Onion)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

The Patriot Post is a certified ad-free news service, unlike third-party commercial news sites linked on this page, which may also require a paid subscription.

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VIDEOS

Video: An Interview With a Doctor About Coronavirus — How effective will quarantining be in flattening the curve?

Video: Philly Police Told Not to Jail Nonviolent Offenders — What could possibly go wrong?

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

SHORT CUTS

Perspective: “The economic devastation that is now playing out before our eyes is not caused by the Wuhan flu virus. In the last 21 days, approximately 162,000 Americans have died. Of that number, 150 were killed by the Wuhan virus.” —John Hinderaker

For the record: “After Donald Trump correctly labeled the China virus the ‘China Virus,’ Leftmedia apologists for Red China labeled him ‘xenophobic.’ We should all be Xi-nophobic!” —Mark Alexander

Observations: “The Chinese Communists, like all Communists, hide societal problems. There is no crime, disease or addiction in the collectivist state. This kind of secrecy and dishonesty can be disastrous, especially in a highly interconnected world. Though millions of Chinese have been lifted out of extreme poverty through free trade, with modernity comes some basic responsibilities — for instance, not killing everyone in the world with preventable zoonotic diseases.” —David Harsanyi

Food for thought: “A challenge like we are facing can be an opportunity for national renewal. Will young people step up to help those in need? Will politicians work together to help get America through this crisis? Will the media pull the plug on the fake controversies for at least a few months? The last one seems pretty unlikely, but two out of three wouldn’t be bad.” —Neil Patel

Hell freezes over: “[Rep. Ayanna Pressley] always says, unprecedented times require unprecedented leadership and we are seeing that in our country right now. I have faith that we will survive this as a nation and build together.” —Rep. Ilhan Omar on Donald Trump

Braying jackass: “President Trump at this point is the Herbert Hoover of his generation.” —Mayor Bill de Blasio (And de Blasio is the Neville Chamberlain of his generation.)

Village idiot: “We need to stop calling it, or labeling it, like it’s ‘[China] did it to us.’ Mother Nature really did it to us.” —"The View’s" Whoopi Goldberg

And last… “I hate to thrust my Western cultural values on anyone, but maybe it’s time to stop eating bats.” —David Harsanyi

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TODAY’S MEME

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

TODAY’S CARTOON

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For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.


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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

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