“I will not believe our labors are lost. I shall not die without a hope that light and liberty are on a steady advance.” —Thomas Jefferson (1821)
Tomorrow, in observance of Good Friday, we’ll close our humble shop to spend the day with our families. Regular editions will return on Monday. Have a blessed Easter!
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- When Will the U.S. Reopen for Business?
- Bye, Bye, Bernie
- The Pandemic’s Impact on Black Americans
- Immunizing Healthcare Providers — From Lawsuits
- Minor League Baseball Must Survive
- Emergency Funding Just in Time!
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
The burning question on the minds of millions of Americans — particularly for the now 16 million who have filed jobless claims in the last three weeks — is “when will the U.S. reopen for business?” The China Virus pandemic has killed nearly 15,000 Americans to date, but we still need an economic exit strategy that will simultaneously prevent a later resurgence of the virus and keep our $22 trillion economy afloat.
Late in March, President Donald Trump famously expressed a desire to be “opened up and just raring to go by Easter.” Though he was mercilessly hammered by the Leftmedia for being so “naive,” Trump was merely voicing the hope of most Americans. His aspiration obviously did not become reality. In fact, many states have stay-at-home orders extending well beyond Easter (Virginia’s goes until June 10), meaning any kind of return to normalcy is still weeks away.
But there are also signs Trump wasn’t all that far off. “Some of these models are looking like Easter is going to be a very important date anyway because of the curve,” he said yesterday. “It’s hitting the top and it’s starting to come down.”
In any case, opening up the economy must take place in stages. “It isn’t like a light switch on and off,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. “It’s a gradual pulling back on certain of the restrictions and to try and get society a bit back to normal.” He argued that we must first determine that we’re “going in the right direction” with the number of infections. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow says he hopes for “four to eight weeks.”
Trump has floated a second coronavirus task force to focus on restarting the nation’s economy. What the administration must do is lay out a tentative plan, even acknowledging that the plan will be modified as dictated by events and that states and local communities will have a far greater say in enacting any plan than the president will. That’s the beauty of our federalist system.
Along those lines, economists Lewis Uhler and Peter Ferrara offer this plan: “Trump should work with governors from states that want to work. Start with West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Voters in Virginia, Maryland and Illinois will wonder why they can’t work. Trump can work with willing governors, even county by county, informed by increased testing, freeing those testing free of illness to return to work. The economy can then be reopened southward and westward, to the extent state and local officials, under renewed political pressures, agree to participate.”
Indeed, any plan to send people back to work would need to involve extensive testing, which Dr. Fauci says is “in the hands of the private sector.” And returning to work would probably have to begin with young and healthy people, leaving older Americans and those with underlying health conditions to remain home for longer. Reopening would also have to begin company by company and community by community, rather than state by state.
Investment-banking giant Morgan Stanley put together a well-researched plan on reopening over the next 70 days or so. It lays out several important benchmarks for a return to normalcy: “Peak in new cases and deaths, fully staffed and equipped hospitals, and widely available high-capacity testing and surveillance.”
“Once those milestones are met,” Morgan Stanley’s report continues, the next round of objectives kicks in: “Determine who is immune, allow those who are low-risk to return to work, allow children back to school, increase surveillance for and containment of new cases, accelerate development and distribution of therapeutic treatments, and prioritize vaccine research and development.”
That is all very similar to the step-by-step approach Austria is taking in becoming the first European country to work toward what Chancellor Sebastian Kurz referred to as an Easter “resurrection.” Funny, but the Leftmedia didn’t seem to mind that allusion when it wasn’t Trump making it.
The unapologetic and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders has suspended his presidential campaign. “The path toward victory is virtually impossible,” Sanders explained. “I have concluded that this battle for the Democrat nomination will not be successful. … I do not make this decision lightly.”
For Sanders, who trails Joe Biden by over 300 delegates, the only realistic path toward nomination was through a brokered convention. However, moves by the Democrat Party leadership to coalesce support behind Biden made it clear that would not happen. The Democratic National Committee is undoubtedly relieved to have Sanders end his campaign.
Clearly hoping to appeal to as many Sanders supporters as possible, Biden offered glowing words of praise for his rival. “More than any one issue or set of issues, I want to commend Bernie for being a powerful voice for a fairer and more just America,” Biden gushed. “It’s voices like Bernie’s that refuse to allow us to just accept what is — that refuse to accept we can’t change what’s wrong in our nation — that refuse to accept the health and well-being of our fellow citizens and our planet isn’t our responsibility too. Bernie gets a lot of credit for his passionate advocacy for the issues he cares about. But he doesn’t get enough credit for being a voice that forces us all to take a hard look in the mirror and ask if we’ve done enough.”
Biden added, “To Bernie and Jane, as friends, from Jill and me: You haven’t just run a political campaign; you’ve created a movement. And make no mistake about it, we believe it’s a movement that is as powerful today as it was yesterday. That’s a good thing for our nation and our future.” Talk about pandering.
While Sanders conceded, he did so with remarks that sounded more like a victory speech. “Few would deny that over the course of the past five years our movement has won the ideological struggle,” boasted Sanders. “During the primary elections, exit polls showed in state after state a strong majority of Democratic primary voters supported a single government health-insurance program to replace private insurance. That was true even in states where our campaign did not prevail.” He then declared, “The future of this country is with our ideas.” May it never be so.
Sanders is certainly passionate about what he believes in, though his call for socialism is far from a movement that holds any possible good for our nation or our future. In fact, the policies Sanders advocates represent a growing existential threat to that which makes America the unique envy of the world — freedom expressed in the ideals of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness that our nation was founded upon as delineated in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Sanders’s call to socialism stands as the antithesis our Founders’ vision. Good riddance to him.
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Earlier this week, leftist “social justice” warrior and socialist Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raised the issue of race and the China Virus, ridiculously asserting that the reason minority communities have been hit harder by the pandemic has everything to do racism and inequality. It was the typical leftist political claptrap one would expect to hear from AOC.
That said, data does appear to show that urban minority communities and specifically urban blacks have suffered a higher rate of infection and deaths from COVID-19 than have whites. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump acknowledged this disparity, stating, “We are actively engaging on the problem of increased impacts. This is a real problem, and it’s showing up very strongly in our data on the African American community. And we’re doing everything in our power to address this challenge, which is a tremendous challenge. … They’re getting hit very, very hard.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci also addressed the data and explained why the urban black community has been hit harder by the virus. “Unfortunately, when you look at predisposing conditions that lead to a bad outcome with the coronavirus — the things that get people into ICUs, require intubation, and often lead to death — they are just those very comorbidities that are unfortunately disproportionately prevalent in the African American population,” Fauci noted. “So we’re very concerned about that. It’s very sad. There’s nothing we can do about it right now except to try and give them the best possible care to avoid those complications.”
To put it bluntly, American blacks suffer from higher rates of underlying health problems such as obesity and diabetes, which translates into more extreme and deadly cases of COVID-19. It has been well documented that those with underlying health problems are most at risk.
However, this should not bolster the divisive political complaints the Leftmedia and Democrats peddle in their effort to reinforce their false narrative that America is a nation founded upon racism against minorities. Case in point was Sen. Kamala Harris’s statement: “Those who have always been at the short end of the stick, in a moment of crisis, it becomes even more evident, and in this case even more fatal.”
Ironically, where blacks find themselves most “at the short end of the stick” are on those longtime Democrat-run urban poverty plantations. As Nate Jackson noted earlier this week, “Could it be that the inner-city communities around the country — where populations disproportionately depend on government checks, government food stamps, and government housing — are simply not complying with warnings or protocols regarding the current pandemic? In other words, rather than a failure of social justice, is it a failure to abide by social distancing?”
Back in 2005, the Leftmedia and Democrats were effective in falsely tarring George W. Bush as at best indifferent to the plight of blacks in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Trump is acting to cut off this ridiculous and false narrative before it gains traction. By raising and addressing the disparity in the virus’s impact to the black community, Trump isn’t letting Democrats and the Leftmedia freely craft a false narrative of his supposed indifference. Trump, whose policies have demonstrably benefited all Americans and especially black Americans, acknowledged the disparity, reinforcing his commitment and concern for taking care of and bettering the lives of all Americans.
“Every dollar spent on the broken medical liability system is a dollar that cannot be used to improve patient care.” —American Medical Association President David O. Barbe, MD, MHA (Master of Health Administration) January 24, 2018, referring to a series of Policy Research Perspective reports published by the AMA
During the most serious medical crisis in modern history, one might be inclined to think overworked doctors and severely crowded hospitals, tasked with making life-and-death decisions under extreme conditions, would be largely immunized from the possibility of enduring the additional burden of litigation.
One would be totally wrong. “Doctors and hospitals overwhelmed in the pandemic will have to make their excruciating life-or-death decisions meticulously or they risk being second-guessed by a jury when the onslaught is over,” Bloomberg News reports. “Lawyers who defend health care providers are already giving advice on how their clients can avoid liability if they’re forced to choose between patients. How they prepare for this battlefield triage now — and how they practice it in the chaos of peak infections — will determine whether negligence cases against them are dismissed or lead to trials or settlements over the death of a parent or spouse.”
Note the key word in the above paragraph: Chaos. Chaos that almost guarantees split-second decisions must be made, even as those same decisions will ultimately be analyzed, scrutinized, and judged in complete leisure.
Based on what criteria? Bloomberg adds, “Health care providers may prioritize patients without underlying conditions who are likeliest to make a full recovery, but there’s no national standard for triage.”
Because there is no national standard, crucial decisions, such as determining who gets ventilators and who has them withdrawn, have forced healthcare providers to develop their own guidelines, which vary from state-to-state and even hospital-to-hospital. A report released last month by the New England Journal of Medicine suggests a number of guidelines, including the ideas that ICU beds and ventilators shouldn’t be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis, patients whose chances of recovery are better should get access to limited life-saving equipment over those who are sicker, and that healthcare workers serving the sick need to have their healthcare prioritized over everyone else.
But they are just that — suggestions.
“Undoubtedly, withdrawing ventilators or ICU support from patients who arrived earlier to save those with better prognosis will be extremely psychologically traumatic for clinicians — and some clinicians might refuse to do so,” asserted the authors, led by ObamaCare architect Ezekiel J. Emanuel at the University of Pennsylvania School’s Department of Medical Ethics. “However, many guidelines agree that the decision to withdraw a scarce resource to save others is not an act of killing and does not require the patient’s consent.”
Again, many guidelines isn’t all guidelines, and it’s precisely that kind of ambiguity — combined with the gut-wrenching emotionalism attached to any triage decision — trial lawyers will undoubtedly seek to exploit.
This is nothing new. As the first of the aforementioned 2018 AMA reports reveal, 34% of physicians have had claims filed against them at some point in their careers, a number that skyrockets to more than 50% for general surgeons and obstetricians/gynecologists.
Barbe noted that the “vast majority of claims are dropped, dismissed or withdrawn.” The second report supports that assertion, revealing that in 2015, 68.2% of the claims met that fate. Nonetheless, each cost an average of $30,475 to defend.
Do doctors make mistakes? Undoubtedly. But there is a vast difference between errors that occur under normal conditions and those that occur in what amounts to battlefield conditions.
The “solution” for mitigating the chances of being sued? According to Nick Oberheiden, a defense attorney who focuses on healthcare law, documentation is the answer. “The key, in my opinion, is to have clear written policies that do not discriminate or single out certain types of patients based on age, gender, race or any of those unlawful, suspect criteria,” he asserts.
He also warns his clients to have written documentation of every decision they make, including efforts to help those who are ultimately denied lifesaving care. “Where it’s done correctly, it’s not simply the age,” Oberheiden added. “It’s more objective medical criteria.”
Objective according to whom? As previously stated, there is no national standard for triage. Thus the notion that overworked, over-wrought doctors, already filling out paperwork with regard to patient outcomes, should be required to do additional paperwork to avoid exposure to liability lawsuits is utterly absurd.
Regardless, legal machinations are already in play based on dubious precedents. In 2011, Tenet Healthcare paid out $25 million to settle a class-action suit initiated by the families of patients who perished at a Tenet facility in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, based on the idea the company did not adequately prepare — for a Category 3 storm that devastated the entire city. Currently, Carmel Shachar, executive director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy at Harvard Law School, asserts that claims could be made against providers based on the idea that they failed to foresee a crisis Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others entities warned was inevitable — despite the inconvenient reality the CDC itself was woefully unprepared for that same inevitability.
Last Saturday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights also got into the act. They issued a bulletin stating that “persons with disabilities should not be denied medical care on the basis of stereotypes, assessments of quality of life, or judgments about a person’s relative ‘worth’ based on the presence or absence of disabilities or age.”
Again, according to whom? One can only imagine the fiasco engineered by lawyers who would accuse doctors of “playing politics with peoples’ lives” based on such amorphous, but highly political criteria. Do we really want already-stressed medical professionals worrying about allegations of racism or sexism?
“I would expect hospitals to argue that their obligations are to make sure they have adequate equipment in ordinary times, not in pandemic times,” stated I. Glenn Cohen, a bioethics expert at Harvard Law School. “And that seems quite persuasive to me.”
That’s not persuasive enough. What we really need is the very same federal, state, and local politicians who themselves enjoy sovereign immunity — as in immunity from being sued — enacting a series of measures giving healthcare providers dealing with this virus the same protections. That anyone willing to risk their own lives to help others should also have to worry about being sued for efforts made in good faith is repugnant.
In short, “first, do no harm” should be applied as forcefully to the legal profession as it is to the medical profession.
The loss of sports has been one of the things felt very keenly during the fight against the Wuhan coronavirus. One thing many Americans forget, though, is that in one aspect, professional sports could be feeling the same pinch as many small businesses.
Specifically, minor league baseball could be in serious trouble. According to a report by Forbes, a number of professional teams tied to Major League Baseball organizations face permanent closure. That would be a profound loss for baseball — because baseball’s future literally plays out on the fields of the minor leagues — and for the country as a whole.
Yet it should not be a surprise. Contrary to what you might think, most minor-league clubs are independently owned entities that affiliate with an MLB team. The fact is though, while the major-league club provides the players, just about everything else in terms of expenses falls on those who own the minor-league teams.
Minor-league teams don’t exactly roll in piles of money, either. Unlike big-league teams, minor-league clubs don’t have huge amounts of income from television and radio. The vast majority of the money they earn comes from the fans who actually come to the ballpark. They have few full-time employees; many work through the baseball season and do other jobs to earn a living.
Because of the pandemic, that revenue is greatly reduced this year, even assuming they play ball again this season. This places many minor-league teams on the brink of permanently closing. Now, in the wake of contentious negotiations over the future of the minors, which included a proposal to contract 42 minor-league teams, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred might be smiling. He shouldn’t.
Baseball has a big advantage over other sports — the minor leagues make it accessible to many American families. Consider that to catch an MLB game, a family of four might have to shell out a few hundred dollars for tickets, food, souvenirs, and parking. If they’re not close to the stadium, they may also have to budget lodging and travel expenses. But minor-league games are not nearly as expensive.
Losing the minor leagues could be a major blow to baseball. Perhaps the next phase of relief for the pandemic should make sure no minor-league teams fold. Baseball has long been the American pastime (the NFL notwithstanding), and one of the biggest reasons has been the accessibility of the minor leagues.
It’s bad enough that the United States had to damage its own economy by shutting down due to the People’s Republic of China covering up an outbreak that became a pandemic. Our national pastime shouldn’t suffer a devastating hit in the process and make things worse. It’s not just about the money or the jobs. Losing baseball would be losing a huge piece of America’s soul.
Grassroots perspective by Roger Helle
As much of the nation was told to quarantine in their homes, a significant part of our economy was shut down. But not to worry! The federal government was working on a plan to help the American workers most impacted by the virtual shutdown of our country. The Senate worked together across the aisle crafting a bill helping struggling workers.
Alas, just before the Senate could vote on the bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rode into town to halt the voting for a week. There were some “critical” funding needs not in the bill to help fight the COVID-19 plague. As usual, the 880-page stimulus bill was passed before anyone had time to read it. It’s a new method of government Pelosi developed when Barack Obama was president. “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it,” she infamously said regarding the ObamaCare legislation.
Well, the relief bill was passed and now we’re learning what the urgent needs were that held up getting support to workers who lost their jobs. Let’s glance at just a few of the funding projects. This is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
This is one of my favorites, only because I have so much culture: $25 million for the Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC. Now it’s a little vague what the money is going to be used for. In fact, after the bill passed, the Kennedy Center gave out pick slips to employees until such an outcry arose that those employees will now be paid.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting received a total of $150 million dollars to keep NPR and PBS on the air. Thank God NPR will be able to keep broadcasting. I was afraid there would be no left-wing talk shows to remind us how horrible we are. And Big Bird (not Mayor de Blasio, the one with feathers) will still have a job at PBS. Unless he gets a pink slip too!
In light of the pandemic crisis and the stay-at-home orders that all but five states have (so far), I was puzzled by the $350 million dollars for “Refugee Assistance.” Over 20% of the country is unemployed, but somehow refugee resettlement that already has funds needed more! This helps Americans out of work … how exactly?
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) received a total of $150 million dollars combined. According to their website, the NEA is going to give it away to artists in need. THE NEH is a little vague about what they’re going to do. They said they will give some of it away for … something.
The list goes on and on: $1 BILLION for Amtrak (always a worthy cause), $13 million for Howard University, $15 million for Drug Enforcement, etc. The BIG question is, what do any of these grants have to do with COVID-19 assistance?
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer brought the already approved legislation to a screeching halt as soon as Pelosi came to town. Together, they added so much pork to the stimulus bill and now they want more — but with ridiculous strings attached to benefit their constituents. How can we trust these far-left politicians to do anything that helps Americans first?
Something to think about?
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The Latest on Coronavirus
CDC loosens guidelines for some exposed to virus to return to work (NBC News)
IHME model revised again, cutting death projection by over 35% (National Review)
CDC releases early demographic snapshot of worst cases, which skew toward those with underlying conditions, men, and African Americans (The New York Times)
Over 300,000 people have recovered from coronavirus around the world (Newsweek)
Ninety percent of federal PPE stockpile depleted amid pandemic (National Review)
Business & Economy
A cumulative 16 million and counting: Weekly unemployment claims swell another 6.6 million (Fox Business)
Americans could start receiving relief checks starting today (USA Today)
The ethanol lobby, which is already subsidized up to its neck, asks for a coronavirus bailout (Washington Examiner)
Government & Politics
Regulatory state: Thirty regulations that stymied Trump’s virus response (Washington Examiner)
Drill, baby, drill: Trump signs executive order encouraging mining for minerals on the moon (Washington Examiner)
Linda Tripp, whose taped calls with Monica Lewinsky led to Clinton impeachment, dies at 70 (The Washington Post)
Coronavirus was spreading in New York City weeks before first case, compounding the mayor’s lackluster response (New York Post)
Kansas legislature cites constitutional rights in rescinding governor’s limit on religious gatherings (Washington Examiner)
“We want to have some common approach to this across the state”: Arkansas blocks mayors from implementing stay-at-home orders (The Daily Wire)
Nothing to see here… Official Chinese newspaper reports chance of 10,000-20,000 new cases in Wuhan. It’s quickly deleted. (The Daily Wire)
Taiwan shows up China, sending hard-hit countries lifesaving coronavirus supplies (Fox News)
Tone-deaf celebrities organize major benefit for China-complicit WHO (The Federalist)
Policy: How Woodrow Wilson let flu deaths go viral in the Great War (RealClearInvestigations)
Policy: Time for the U.S. to declare independence from China (Hudson Institute)
Humor: Bernie Sanders drops out of race to spend more time with his many, many houses (The Babylon Bee)
Related humor: Undaunted Sanders supporters announce they’ll continue presidential campaign without candidate (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.
Video: Did Anti-China Bias Squelch Prophetic Pandemic Memos? — West Wingers marginalized trade advisor Peter Navarro for being a China hawk.
Video: Weeping Nurse’s Viral Story Unravels — CBS News broadcast a heartbreaking video that was as credible as Jussie Smollett.
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” —William Pitt (1708-1778)
Upright: “The Chinese are engaged in a full-court blitzkrieg of stealing American technology, trying to influence our political system, trying to steal secrets at our research universities and so forth. … China is a very serious threat to the United States geopolitically, economically, militarily, and a threat to the integrity of our institutions given their ability to influence things.” —Attorney General Bill Barr
For the record: “I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you. Not only would it be good to prevent coronavirus disease, it probably would decrease instances of influenza dramatically in this country.” —Dr. Anthony Fauci
Rare Hollywood accolades, part I: “I think the president is handling it in a good way. We see him on television every day, he’s involved, and the travel ban early on was a great idea — which he did in spite of protest about that.” —actor Dennis Quaid
Rare Hollywood accolades, part II: “The struggle is real. Right now we’re struggling. People want to criticize the president, but imagine being president of a country and have your country got sick. So it’s difficult for him.” —actor Tracy Morgan
Braying jackass: “May be relevant to note that there is a long, close association between right-wing activism and medical quackery.” —New York Times’s Paul Krugman
Never let a crisis go to waste: “We have an opportunity … to do so many things now to change some of the structural things that are wrong, some of the structural things we couldn’t get anybody’s attention on. … Everybody now understands that we have a voting system that is not transparent and clear and available for everyone. Everyone understands that the environment has impacted on this coronavirus and mounting evidence of that.” —Joe Biden
Non compos mentis: “We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods? I don’t know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature’s responses.” —Pope Francis
Dezinformatsiya, part I: “If you’re wondering where the threat to freeze funding to the WHO comes from, well, you may not be surprised to learn it is a Fox News talking point. It’s also playing the blame game — scapegoating.” —CNN’s Don Lemon
Dezinformatsiya, part II: “If you tuned into it hoping you were going to hear from the country’s top scientists, you were likely disappointed. What you mostly heard was the president. And what you saw was a hijacking. A hijacking of the task force press conference by a president determined to rewrite the history of his early and reprehensibly irresponsible response to this virus.” —CNN’s Anderson Cooper
Tone deaf: “We will have many body bags in front of us if we don’t behave. When there are cracks at national level and global level, that’s when the virus succeeds. For God’s sake, we have lost more than 60,000 citizens of the world.” —WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus excoriating Trump, despite the former being largely responsible for letting the virus spread by colluding with China
And last… “This goes one of two ways. Our little experiment with living in a communist dictatorship repels most Americans and makes us hunger for freedom and independence, leading to a great reawakening. Or we grow used to being controlled and dependent, and the opposite result follows.” —Matt Walsh
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
Join us in prayer for our Patriots in uniform and their families — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way, and for our nation’s First Responders. We also ask prayer for your Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the Spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis