East Tennessee and neighboring states were hit with tornadoes Sunday night — typical for April. There are deaths, injuries, missing persons, and significant property damage. Five of our staff were in close proximity to those storm tracks. They and their families are safe but several remain without power. That has created some publishing bottlenecks this morning, but we are beginning our fifth week working remotely and are now adept at improvising, adapting, and overcoming!
“I suppose, indeed, that in public life, a man whose political principles have any decided character and who has energy enough to give them effect must always expect to encounter political hostility from those of adverse principles.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- Dems Take Relief Money for Small Businesses Hostage
- Where Are Your Vitamins and Supplements Made?
- Working From Home? Call Your Kids Your ‘Coworkers’…
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday tried to add $250 billion to the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the part of the recently passed $2.2 trillion CARES Act that provides forgivable loans to small businesses. Following higher-than-expected demand, less than a week after the PPP was instituted, only $98 billion remained. McConnell sought to pass simple and clean additional funding to the program via a two page bill. “We’re not talking about making any policy changes,” McConnell explained. “We’re literally changing the number $350 [billion] to $600 [billion].”
However, McConnell’s aim of getting unanimous consent to ensure that small businesses are able to obtain needed loans for payroll was scuttled by the Democrats. The reason? They want to load up any additional PPP spending with more funding and regulations to benefit their constituencies. Democrats want at least $45 billion in additional funding specifically delineated for “small community-based lenders” like “minority depository institutions, certified development corporations, [and] micro-lenders.” They’re calling for an additional $100 billion to healthcare workers, plus another $150 billion to states and localities to backfill tax revenue. And of course they want more money for food stamps while removing any work-requirements for the next two years.
As The Wall Street Journal editorial board notes, the additional demands are totally unnecessary. “PPP money is already going to banks large and small, through a network that includes any existing Small Business Administration lender and any federally insured bank or credit union,” the editors write. “The money is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis, which means farmers, women and minorities have the same opportunities as others. Any plan that seeks to allocate dollars on the basis of identity politics introduces bureaucratic interference and delay.”
It’s obvious that congressional Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have little interest in helping small businesses stay afloat during this China Virus-induced economic crisis. Instead, their focus is upon taking advantage of the crisis to further their own big-government political agenda. Pelosi and Schumer would rather hold the country hostage to their special-interest demands than do what’s best for the country. Of course, with the help of the Leftmedia providing them cover — as epitomized by CNN blatantly changing its initial headline from “Democrats block a GOP-led funding boost for small business aid program” to “Senate at stalemate over more COVID-19 aid” — Democrats believe they can get away with it.
Meanwhile, Pelosi spun the Republicans’ rationale for seeking an additional $250 billion in PPP aid as merely a political “stunt.” She then erroneously asserted that there was no data to support the request for “a quarter of a trillion dollars in 48 hours.” Now she’s concerned with debt? Consolidating government power is more important to Pelosi and company than is the urgency of working to save America’s small businesses.
Chuckle, chortle, snicker… Those are the responses of the “progressives” who keep defending all things globalist, including the disgustingly corrupt behavior of the Communist Chinese, who covered up the spread of COVID19 that originated in Wuhan.
But it’s not just the highly contagious novel virus that’s invaded the United States, destroying the lives of Americans. The ruthless operations of a totalitarian government trusted with critical functions, like producing medicines, dietary supplements, and vitamins consumed by individuals pursuing health are also now under the microscope.
How vulnerable are Americans given Chinese control over the items we ingest for the sake of health? Take a moment to look at your over-the-counter medicines for gastric reflux and mild arthritis, or dietary supplements like vitamin C and calcium. Where are these products made?
You might see listed a point of distribution, especially if it’s an OTC brand or generic of a franchise like Walmart, Walgreens, or large big-box store. But what is the site of origin? Don’t bother; it’s not listed.
When Americans began turning to generic drugs to save money, the demand for cheap medicines exploded, with slave labor, no environmental controls, and minimal safety testing standards benefitting the communist economy of China. Whether it’s our insurance companies, our doctors, or our own demands, cheaper drugs and medicines have been demanded and created a vulnerability.
In testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2017 to 2019, gave staggering facts that exposed a dire weakness in America: We’re infected with the insatiable demand for cheap stuff. While his testimony focused on medicines, his comments should provoke us all to examine America’s supply chains:
Our drug and medical device supply chain is pointedly and precariously dependent on production in China for our finished goods. In many cases, it isn’t the finished drugs or medical devices that are being manufactured largely or exclusively in China. Nor is it the intermediate products like the active pharmaceutical ingredients (API). It is lower margin, low technology starting materials and components that — over time — have become sole sourced in China.
Sole source. That terminology does not work in a world with geopolitical tensions escalating and especially in the hands of the most populous country on the planet that devotes all its resources to its government and military, not its people. China is no friend to any other sovereign.
Just how precariously dependent is our drug supply chain to a communist nation? Gottlieb reported, “About 40% of generic drugs sold in the U.S. have only a single manufacturer. … Last year, manufacturing of intermediate or finished goods in China, as well as pharmaceutical source material, accounted for 95% of U.S. imports of ibuprofen, 91% of U.S. imports of hydrocortisone, 70% of U.S. imports of acetaminophen, 40 to 45% of U.S. imports of penicillin, and 40% of U.S. imports of heparin, according to the Commerce Department. In total, 80% of the U.S. supply of antibiotics are made in China.”
And our dietary supplements and vitamins are almost exclusively imports from China. The Alliance for American Manufacturing reported that as much as 90% of the vitamin C sold in America comes from the same nation that was producing dog treats that poisoned thousands of our pets and has been proven to hold great responsibility in this coronavirus pandemic.
Why do some of these key ingredients and products sold to Americans have such lax oversight?
In the case of dietary supplements and vitamins, since no claim or promised outcome is made in the sale or labeling of these products, testing for outcomes is not required — only that the ingredients shown in the label are tested to be present. But are those ingredients pure, contaminated, or less than the label might present?
For Americans to be able to see the country of origin or have more information regarding products purchased over the counter, congressional action would be necessary.
But what about those active pharmaceutical ingredients or APIs referenced by Gottlieb in his Senate testimony? What were we thinking?
While the media is squawking and sparring around the politics of this pandemic, Americans would be greatly served to understand a real need to see legislative action to scrutinize imports from China, and also to work with the Trump administration to bring critical manufacturing home to America. Instead, the nation watches House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) holding up funding to get into the hands of workers forced to be idle by this novel virus, as well as impeding important legislation like the proposal by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
Blackburn’s proposal would do what Peter Navarro, the director of White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, has declared in an executive order drafted to Buy American for the U.S. military, Veterans Affairs, and the national strategic stockpile. The Tennessee senator’s Securing America’s Medicine Cabinet would increase the volume of APIs from the incredible low of 28% currently to ensure not just quality of products but also critical access.
Finally, the Most-Favored Nation status enjoyed by China throughout the 1990s, which paved the way to membership in the World Trade Organization, has turned watchful eyes into blind eyes. Our national leaders must use the determined approach by the Trump administration in decoupling our energy needs from the instabilities of the Middle East by creating domestic independence.
Manufacturing will, indeed, Make America Great Again — instead of global trade making Americans afraid.
For everyone trying to work from home right now but also managing little kids, just imagine calling them your “coworkers” as you relate what they’re doing.
My coworkers are taking a nap in a playpen.
My coworkers take ridiculously long bathroom breaks and leaving toilet paper on the floor.
My coworkers are dressed up in princess costumes and singing music from Frozen.
My coworker just chased another coworker around the office with a plastic bat.
My coworkers keep asking when the next catered meal happens.
My coworker just threw Fruit Loops at my other coworker and then lied about it.
My coworkers are wearing nothing but underwear and watching cartoons. Casual Friday could be horribly inappropriate.
My coworkers leave snack trash and socks all over the office.
My coworker passed gas and then laughed at me when I noticed.
My coworker is literally pooping her pants right now.
My three coworkers built a fort out of blankets.
My coworker is yelling at me from the bathtub.
Don’t Miss Other Great Analysis
Arnold Ahlert asks the obvious and pressing question: Are we Destroying Our Republic in Order to Save It?
Thomas Gallatin relays more advice from C.S. Lewis on living through a fearful time.
And we note how the Pentagon issued a rare rebuke of fake news over at ABC.
Above the Fold
Easter storms sweep the South, killing at least 19 people from Louisiana into the Appalachian Mountains (AP)
Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening (The Hill)
The Latest on Coronavirus
The U.S. now has the most reported deaths of any country (but not per capita) (Intelligencer)
All the ingredients for a perfect storm: Nursing home deaths soar past 3,300 in alarming surge (New York Post)
Study finds obesity the single biggest factor in New York’s hospitalizations (ZDNet)
China stifles coronavirus research in bid to control the narrative (Fox News)
ChiComs lock down another city, build emergency hospital after failure to stop virus (The Daily Wire)
U.S. government gave $3.7 million grant to Wuhan lab at center of scrutiny (Daily Mail)
Government & Politics
Democrats derail fast push for new coronavirus relief (Politico)
Democrats across the country are fighting to give coronavirus aid to illegal aliens (The Daily Caller)
AG William Barr says evidence from John Durham investigation is “far more troubling” than mistakes or sloppiness (Washington Examiner)
Saudi Arabia and Russia reach deal to end oil price war after pressure from Trump (Washington Examiner)
Former Biden staffer Tara Reade files criminal complaint with DC police (The Daily Caller)
New York Times edits Biden sexual-assault coverage, deletes references to past inappropriate “hugs, kisses and touching” (Fox News)
Policy: Five-phase plan for reopening America (The Heritage Foundation)
Policy: Railroad history suggests federal bailouts could spell doom for airlines (Foundation for Economic Education)
Humor: Roman authorities investigating Jesus for violating stay-in-tomb order (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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Video: Alyssa Milano Discovers Due Process — “We have to … believ[e] women, but that does not mean at the expense of not giving men their due process.”
Video: Trump Brilliantly Flips COVID-19 Narrative on the Left — The president once again sets the record straight.
Video: Two Clips That Should Pull Joe Biden From the Race — The burden of proof now lies with the Biden campaign to prove that he has the mental acuity to do the job.
Video: Trump Threatens to Defund World Health Organization — Many Republicans in Congress agree, including Marsha Blackburn, Martha McSally, and Rick Scott.
Video: Holy Week, Hope, and Resurrection Amid This Pandemic — We should not allow fear and anxiety to overtake us.
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “I have a special reason for wanting to solve this [economic] problem in a lasting way. I was 21 and looking for work in 1932, one of the worst years of the Great Depression. And I can remember one bleak night in the thirties when my father learned on Christmas Eve that he’d lost his job. To be young in my generation was to feel that your future had been mortgaged out from under you, and that’s a tragic mistake we must never allow our leaders to make again.” —Ronald Reagan
Friendly fire I: “It seems statistics from China [were] a bitter joke, because many in the world thought this is just like influenza, with fewer deaths. This [impression was] based on reports from China and now it seems China made a bitter joke with the rest of the world. If in China they say an epidemic was controlled in two months, one should really think about it.” —Iran Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur
Friendly fire II: “Our experience about [China’s] scientific research has taught us not to rely on their statistics. They provide the numbers and no one can go to China and report what they see [on the ground] directly.” —head of the Iranian Center for HIV/AIDS Minoo Mohraz
Friendly fire III: “The evidence shows us that what happened is worse than what the Chinese reported.” —Iran Coronavirus Combat Taskforce member Hamid Souri
Non compos mentis: “We should have universal systems where every person can see the doctor free of charge when they need to see it so that they can get the care that they need. That is what it means to live in an advanced and modern and humane society, and so long as we don’t do that, we have not earned the right to call ourselves one.” —Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Missing the forest for the trees: “Pollution is clearing up. Skies are clear. Animals are coming out. I mean, you know, the Earth was angry at us. People may think I’m crazy that I believe it in my heart and soul that we had gone too far and Earth said, ‘Hold up. We gotta change this.’ We were killing this planet. And this time … the Earth has come alive.” —Spike Lee
Village idiots: “Americans bought over 2 million firearms in March of 2020, over a million more than this time last year. We have to keep each other safe by social distancing and washing our hands and not bringing dangerous firearms into our homes.” —Alyssa Milano (“Thank you for the reminder. When the looting starts, always be prepared. Buy more ammo!” —James Woods)
And last… “My favorite part of this pandemic is people who live in a population density of 25,000 per square mile scolding people who live in a population density of 25 per square mile.” —David Burge
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