April 7, 2020

DEMOCRATS WANT BALLOT HARVESTING BECAUSE IT FACILITATES FRAUD: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers postpones statewide election until June 9, GOP leaders promise to challenge the order.

THE GHOST OF WALTER DURANTY SMILES: In Which the New York Times Morphs Into a Total Propaganda Tool for China’s Communist Government.

ACT OF JOURNALISM COMMITTED ON CAPITOL HILL: Which of these presidents disbanded the National Security Council’s anti-pandemic section, Donald Trump, Barack Obama or George W. Bush? How about all three of them!

Credit Roll Call’s Rachel Oswald with doing the research, interviewing key players, asking them pointed questions, and then presenting the results in a straightforward, no-nonsense fashion. Here’s the summary paragraph:

“But a variety of longtime experts in disaster response who spoke to CQ Roll Call warn that the country risks missing some of the lessons from what is the largest public health crisis in a century if opprobrium is heaped solely at Trump’s feet. Rather, they say, there is blame to be shared, going back decades through multiple presidencies and on both sides of the political aisle.”

Other than a perfunctory paean to Pelosi’s pandemic commission near the end, Oswald keeps it balanced and informative. It’s called “journalism” and the nation needs a huge revival of it. I just hope Oswald’s career doesn’t suffer for having done this excellent piece.

Compare Oswald’s work with this Establishment agit-prop from The Washington Post, pushing the Trump-pushing-risky-drug and Trump-White House-divisions-widen narratives.

CORN, POPPED: Hillary Clinton Can’t Duck Out of Benghazi Testimony by Citing Official Privilege, State Dept. Says.

LIKE SO MANY OF HIS COLLEAGUES, HE’S NOT ACTUALLY VERY GOOD AT HIS JOB: CNN’s Jim Acosta: Great at Making a Scene, Not So Great at Actual Reporting. This is pretty funny.

April 6, 2020

HOT, HOT, HOT!!: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has finally released its report on “Stand Your Ground” laws. My fellow commissioners were disappointed that the staff’s independent empirical research didn’t support their preconceived beliefs … so they buried it. Read my dissenting opinion here.  

AT AMAZON, save in Arts Crafts and Sewing.

Plus, stock up on Pet Food and Supplies.

OH, DARN, CHINA IS PISSED: China outraged after Brazil minister suggests Covid-19 is part of ‘plan for world domination.’

THAT’S NOT CRAZY: Boris Johnson’s government reportedly believes the coronavirus may have accidentally leaked from a Chinese laboratory.


TO BE FAIR, IT WAS A SAFE BET, STATISTICALLY: FACT CHECK: Trump Asked a Reporter If She Was Working For China… She Is.


AT AMAZON, save on Men’s Underwear.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: U.S. coronavirus deaths hit 10,000; Trump approves USNS Comfort to treat N.Y. patients. “President Donald Trump, at Cuomo’s request, approved the USNS Comfort to accept coronavirus patients, rather than act strictly as an overflow for non-COVID-19 patients.”


“Kudos to NBC for acknowledging that it wasn’t a simple mistake, that someone intentionally poked fun at the Governor. In reality, it’s quite funny, though the joke was probably lost on progressives. To them, Northam is still a hero, blackface and all.”

I feel badly for whoever wrote the tweet — poking fun at the left is a firing offense at NBC.

OPEN THREAD: Ring in the new week.

ANNALS OF IRRESPONSIBLE REPORTING: Washington Post (free link): Grocery Workers are Beginning to Die of Coronavirus.

The reporter tells us that at least four grocery store workers have died from Covid-19. Do we know if they caught the virus at their place of work? The reporter doesn’t say, and probably didn’t even ask. Meanwhile, the reporter never stops to ask whether “at least four” is a sufficiently large number that grocery store workers should be concerned.

So here is some quick math. About 2.5 million Americans work in grocery stores. About one in every 30 thousand Americans has now died of Coronavirus. Taking the simplest route, you would expect approximately 83 grocery, or 2.5 million/30 thousand, grocery store workers to have died of the virus.

If you were doing at least a semi-serious statistical analysis, you would then have to modify the 83 figure by age, preexisting conditions, etc., and almost certainly get a lower tally. But the point is, despite the tenor of the article the fact that at least four grocery store workers have died of the virus doesn’t give you any useful information about whethert being a grocery store worker puts you at special risk.

I’m not saying there isn’t an increased risk, and I do appreciate that the workers are coming to work every day and *potentially* putting themselves at higher risk. I am saying, reporting on “at least four deaths” out of 2.5 million grocery store workers isn’t actionable information. Scare stories like this, that provide no context, with reporters who don’t ask basic questions, are just irresponsible.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Why are grocery workers dying? I blame reusable shopping bags! Will no one stop the madness?

FASTER, PLEASE: Private companies find role in developing nuclear power for space travel.

AMERICA’S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD: TurboTax Rebrands As ‘TurboTheft’ For Libertarian Market.

I HAVEN’T FOLLOWED THIS CASE, BUT MY FRIENDS WHO HAVE THOUGHT IT WAS A DISGRACEFUL RAILROADING: Cardinal George Pell to walk free after high court quashes conviction. “Just to be clear, this is the conclusion of the legal process in Australia. The high court has quashed his conviction. There will be no further trials. After more than 400 days in prison, he will be released today.”

2020: A Howard Zinn Pandemic.

LONGTIME DRUGBLOGGER DEREK LOWE isn’t enthusiastic about hydroxychloroquine.

Related: The Pandemic Pipeline. “Commercial biopharmaceutical discovery is a less than ideal vehicle for responding to an outbreak of a new viral pathogen spreading like wildfire through an immunologically naive population. Drug manufacturers are accustomed to navigating a regulatory and clinical development process that typically takes years, sometimes a decade or more; similarly, regulators have little experience for drug development in the context of a pandemic. There is no accelerated pathway for COVID-19 or any other emerging infectious disease.”


Shot: ‘One Warning:’ Read Lightfoot, Beck’s Full Address on How Chicago Police Will Enforce Stay-at-Home Order.

—NBC5, March 25th.

Chaser: ‘I’m out in the public eye:’ Mayor Lightfoot gets haircut amid social distancing orders.

—WGN9 TV, today.

Chicago’s last Republican mayor left office in 1931.


From a friend on Facebook: “Every time I wonder why Trump still holds these daily briefings, I see the media being so damned stupid, biased, petty, irresponsible, gullible, and ignorant, and suddenly it all makes sense to me.”

SALENA ZITO: How one Pennsylvania hospital system is navigating the coronavirus. “The Washington Health System in southwestern Pennsylvania has announced they are laying off healthcare staff due to several of their departments temporarily closing under the Gov. Tom Wolf’s state mandate that halted elective surgeries and diagnostic procedures. . . . In short, all of the routine, run-of-the-mill emergencies that community hospitals see every day dropped drastically.”

LAURENCE JARVIK: The Wages of “Resistance” is Coronavirus.

CORONAVIRUS IN CAYMAN: Cayman Airways reduces Sister Islands flights. “Cayman Airways will be flying only once a week to the Sister Islands, starting Monday, 6 April, the national carrier has announced. The airline released the new schedule Thursday night in a statement, saying it was in accordance with the Cayman Islands government’s ongoing measures to safeguard Cayman from COVID-19. It said the commercial passenger flights are restricted to essential travel only.”

UH, DON’T? How to practice activist engineering. Here’s a hint: If your cushy job conflicts with your “personal values,” get another job. If you’re not willing to give up your cushy job for your personal values, don’t expect anyone else to give up anything for them either. You’re just a selfish poser.

OH BOY, IS AUNTIE MAXINE GONNA BE PISSED: A Democratic state representative from Detroit — who is also a woman of color — is crediting hydroxychloroquine and Republican President Donald Trump who touted the drug — for saving her in her battle with COVID.

“Whitsett said she was familiar with “the wonders” of hydroxychloroquine from an earlier bout with Lyme disease, but does not believe she would have thought to ask for it, or her doctor would have prescribed it, had Trump not been touting it as a possible treatment for COVID-19 […] “It has a lot to do with the president … bringing it up,” Whitsett said. “He is the only person who has the power to make it a priority.”

I can just imagine Maxine Waters saying she should have died like a “true sister” rather than acknowledge being helped by Bad Orange Cracker.

GOOD: New model predicts dramatic COVID-19 flattening in Tennessee.

New projections for Tennessee predict a significant flattening of the curve of COVID-19 cases expected in the coming weeks.

Among the new factors included in the latest version: the potential impact of Gov. Bill Lee’s stay-at-home order.

Rather than facing a critical shortage of hospital beds and ventilators, the new model suggests that the Volunteer State will easily be able to meet the expected demand at the peak of the surge in mid-April. . . .

Last week, Lee announced that convention centers and other facilities across Tennessee would be converted into makeshift hospitals based on projections that the state would face a shortage of about 7,000 hospital beds at the peak of the surge.

But the latest IHME model predicts a demand for only 1,232 hospital beds on April 15 as a result of the stay-at-home order, well below the 7,812 beds currently available.

The state will need 245 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds at peak, with 629 currently available, the projections show.

The IHME model also predicts a need for 208 ventilators, well below the Tennessee Department of Health’s count of 800-900 available devices.

Social distancing works. Or as the press will no doubt soon be saying, the Trump virus plan was a success!

UPDATE: From the comments:

I credit President Trump’s brilliant and decisive action. He took the crisis seriously, and provided steady, confident, competent leadership at a time when others were playing politics.

The smartest, most elite, bestest possible experts all warned us that millions would die and there was little we could do. Instead, casualties though tragic have been light. Thanks to Donald Trump.

Bonus: President Trump backed the best treatment for the disease, one that the Left wing resistance dismissed, condemned, and in a few cases tried to outright ban.

Either the experts were idiots from the beginning, or President Trump delivered a miraculous victory over the pandemic. Actually, they’re idiots either way. But they predicted millions dead, and so far it’s been half of a flu season. Reason to take it very seriously, but President Trump HAS taken it seriously. So if they’re going to condemn the President, they’ll have to retract all their models and own the economic damage. And if they dump on their own models, then how are we to take their climatepocalypse warnings?

Exactly! President Trump saved millions of lives! If you don’t believe that, then you don’t believe in science.


Buried lede: There is still a zombie edition of Newsweek being published.


My point is, I cannot sew a face mask. So I have decided that, if I have to go to a public place, I’ll wear a bandanna. My preference would be for a conservative bandanna, ideally in navy blue, but the only spare bandannas available in my household are ones from daughter’s old summer camp, Camp Highlander. They are quite colorful. When I wear one over my face I look like a festive bank robber, who perhaps is robbing the bank to raise funds for a community-theater production of “Cats.”

Read the whole thing.

OLD AND BUSTED: Believe All Women!

The New Hotness? ‘Due process:’ Alyssa Milano uses conservative argument from Kavanaugh hearings to defend Joe Biden.



SEE, THE TRUMP VIRUS PLAN IS WORKING! IHME sharply reduces projected hospitalizations as data shows NY’s curve is flattening; Update: Deaths in NY flat, not rising; Update: Hospitalizations down.

Well, that’s how it would be covered if Trump were a Democrat.

BIG SPACE NEWS: Via email from the Space Council:


April 6, 2020

Administration Statement on Executive Order on Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources

WASHINGTON – Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order on Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources. This order addresses U.S. policy regarding the recovery and use of resources in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies. Dr. Scott Pace, Deputy Assistant to the President and Executive Secretary of the National Space Council, released the following statement on behalf of the Administration:

“As America prepares to return humans to the Moon and journey on to Mars, this Executive Order establishes U.S. policy toward the recovery and use of space resources, such as water and certain minerals, in order to encourage the commercial development of space.”

Dr. Pace continued:

“The order reaffirms U.S. support for the 1967 Outer Space Treaty while continuing to reject the 1979 Moon Agreement, which only 17 of the 95 Member States of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space have ratified in the past four decades. The order further clarifies that the United States does not view outer space as a ‘global commons,’ and it reinforces the 2015 decision by Congress that Americans should have the right to engage in the commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space.”

Additional highlights:

· The President has directed the Secretary of State to object to any attempt to treat the 1979 Moon Agreement as representing customary international law. This Agreement represents a failed attempt at constraining free enterprise and it does not represent the bright future of a growing space economy.

· The Secretary of State is further directed to lead the U.S. Government’s effort to encourage international support for the recovery and use of outer space resources. To this end, the United States will seek to negotiate joint statements, bilateral and multi-lateral agreements and other instruments regarding safe and sustainable use of space resources with like-minded states.

· As the United States continues towards its goal of placing the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 and landing the first human on Mars, the Administration will seek every opportunity to work with commercial, international, and non-government organizations to ensure that American ideals of transparency, partnership, free and fair trade, and private enterprise are part of humanity’s expansion in space.

See below for the text of the Executive Order and the attached corresponding fact sheet:


– – – – – – –


By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including title IV of the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (Public Law 114-90), it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. Space Policy Directive-1 of December 11, 2017 (Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program), provides that commercial partners will participate in an “innovative and sustainable program” headed by the United States to “lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations.” Successful long-term exploration and scientific discovery of the Moon, Mars, and other celestial bodies will require partnership with commercial entities to recover and use resources, including water and certain minerals, in outer space.

Uncertainty regarding the right to recover and use space resources, including the extension of the right to commercial recovery and use of lunar resources, however, has discouraged some commercial entities from participating in this enterprise. Questions as to whether the 1979 Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (the “Moon Agreement”) establishes the legal framework for nation states concerning the recovery and use of space resources have deepened this uncertainty, particularly because the United States has neither signed nor ratified the Moon Agreement. In fact, only 18 countries have ratified the Moon Agreement, including just 17 of the 95 Member States of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. Moreover, differences between the Moon Agreement and the 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies — which the United States and 108 other countries have joined — also contribute to uncertainty regarding the right to recover and use space resources.

Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space, consistent with applicable law. Outer space is a legally and physically unique domain of human activity, and the United States does not view it as a global commons. Accordingly, it shall be the policy of the United States to encourage international support for the public and private recovery and use of resources in outer space, consistent with applicable law.

Sec. 2. The Moon Agreement. The United States is not a party to the Moon Agreement. Further, the United States does not consider the Moon Agreement to be an effective or necessary instrument to guide nation states regarding the promotion of commercial participation in the long-term exploration, scientific discovery, and use of the Moon, Mars, or other celestial bodies. Accordingly, the Secretary of State shall object to any attempt by any other state or international organization to treat the Moon Agreement as reflecting or otherwise expressing customary international law.

Sec. 3. Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources. The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Transportation, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the head of any other executive department or agency the Secretary of State determines to be appropriate, shall take all appropriate actions to encourage international support for the public and private recovery and use of resources in outer space, consistent with the policy set forth in section 1 of this order. In carrying out this section, the Secretary of State shall seek to negotiate joint statements and bilateral and multilateral arrangements with foreign states regarding safe and sustainable operations for the public and private recovery and use of space resources.

Sec. 4. Report on Efforts to Encourage International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources. No later than 180 days after the date of this order, the Secretary of State shall report to the President, through the Chair of the National Space Council and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, regarding activities carried out under section 3 of this order.

Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.


April 6, 2020.


Comment: This is evidence that non-Covid-19 initiatives are still moving in the White House. This is a very important one that has been in the works for quite a while, and it’s an excellent leadership/management sign that it’s happening. And I think it’s very worthwhile.

I’M AT A TOTAL LOSS FOR ONCE ON THIS ONE: Erick Erickson Celebrates Act of Charity. Libs Accuse Him of Erecting ‘Burning Cross.’

THE FACE MASK RECOMMENDATIONS HAVE BEEN A MAJOR FAIL: The CDC’s Revised Face Mask Advice Is Based on Information That Was Available Months Ago.

NEW YOU CAN USE? Jessica Meir offers isolation advice from the International Space Station.

ALIEN CHEMTRAILS: NASA Spacecraft Captures Mysterious Streaks Of Haze On Jupiter.

EDUCATION: Rethinking Accountability For K-12 Education, Post-Pandemic.

Some folks have tried to suggest that the COVID-19 underlines the importance of testing and therefor underlines the importance of our old high stakes testing system. In fact, it does the opposite. COVID-19 testing is a simple binary; do you have the virus or not? But it is absurd to suggest that a single standardized math and reading test can somehow answer a binary question, “Is this child well-educated or not?” Even ed reform fans have known for a while that the big standardized test does not deliver useful information. The pandemic reminds us that when it comes to testing, you need something that provides a clear answer to a clear question.

It’s time to scrap the big standardized high-stakes test entirely, and replace them with a system that would provide real accountability.

I think the pandemic underscores the value of homeschooling.

JOE ROGAN: I’D VOTE FOR TRUMP OVER BIDEN, EVEN THOUGH I ENDORSED BERNIE IN THE PRIMARY. “I’d rather vote for Trump than [Biden]. I don’t think he can handle anything. You’re relying entirely on his cabinet. If you want to talk about an individual leader who can communicate, he can’t do that. And we don’t know what the fuck he’ll be like after a year in office. The pressure of being President of the United States is something than no one has ever prepared for. The only one who seems to be fine with it is Trump, oddly enough. He doesn’t seem to be aging at all or in any sort of decline. Obama, almost immediately, started looking older. George W. [Bush], almost immediately, started looking older.”

JEFF JACOBY: This too shall pass (over).


TERRORISTS IGNORE SHELTER IN PLACE ORDERS: Two Dead, Five Wounded in Terrorist Knife Attack in France.

YOU’RE GONNA NEED A SMALLER BLOG: Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update for April 6, 2020. “The frozen campaign continues. Slow Joe racks up Pinocchios and launches a podcast, the Democratic Convention has been moved back a month (and may turn into a virtual-only affair), and Bernie’s doppelganger says it’s time to throw in the towel.”

RIP: James Bond actress Honor Blackman dies aged 94. “Blackman, the British actress who played Pussy Galore in the James Bond film Goldfinger, has died at the age of 94. In a statement, her family said she died peacefully of natural causes at home in Lewes, East Sussex. Blackman was also known for playing Cathy Gale in the 1960s TV series The Avengers opposite Patrick Macnee.”

SPACE: How to watch the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft depart the ISS on Tuesday.

HE’S LOSING IT: Biden Tries To Slam Trump, But Cruz Takes Him To Truth Town.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Democrats Prep to Blame Trump for the Coronavirus Economy.

NEWS FROM MY NECK OF THE WOODS: Coronavirus in Tennessee: 119 cases in Knox County, recoveries up to 70.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Knox County is now 119 following an update from the Knox County Health Department.

Knox County reported a total of 119 positive local cases on the health department website Monday with 70 recovered cases. The total number of cases in Knox County stood at 110 with 60 recoveries on Sunday, hours before Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned this could be the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives.

Deaths from COVID-19 in Knox County remained at one Monday. The first Knox County death was announced last week.

16 of the 119 cases have resulted in hospitalization at any point during the illness, a number unchanged from Sunday. This figure does not reflect the number of patients currently hospitalized in the county.

The total number of tests conducted grew to 1409.

Recoveries seem to be largely keeping pace with cases, despite a considerable acceleration in testing.


(Neoclassical reference in the headline.)

NEWS YOU CAN USE: The Toyota Supra is the perfect car for the Apocalypse.

#JOURNALISM: How Misinformation About the U.S. Needing ‘1 Million Ventilators’ Spread. “The error conflates the total number of ventilators required with the number of patients who may need the use of a ventilator over the course of the pandemic. How the error spread is a cautionary if convoluted tale.” The press has also done with ventilators what they accuse Trump of doing with chloroquine, turning a sometimes-useful treatment into a talisman. Only about 50% of patients on ventilators are surviving at best. And coronavirus aside, ventilators are dangerous: If you put a bunch of healthy people on ventilators for ten days, a nontrivial number would die. If you need a ventilator and don’t get one you will almost certainly die; if you need a ventilator and do get one, well, you might not die. Securing enough ventilators is part of dealing with this epidemic, but it’s not the only part, or even the most important part.

GLOOM AND DOOM GOT YOU DOWN? How About Some Good News on the Economy?

“IS CHINA GROUND ZERO FOR A FUTURE PANDEMIC?” That was the headline in the November 2017 edition of Smithsonian Magazine. The lead photo is a wet market in China. Clearly, Trump is late to this fact pattern.

HT: Jim Geraghty, The Morning Jolt, “All Signs Point to China.”


IN THE MAIL: The Body: A Guide for Occupants.

Plus, browse today’s Gold Box and Lightning Deals.

I CERTAINLY HOPE NOT: Bronx Zoo Tiger Infected with COVID-19 by Zookeeper. Could Your Cat or Dog Be at Risk?


UPDATE: The thing to remember about these people is that they’re not very bright, and they don’t think that you are either.

Actually, it’s gone for as little as 89 cents per gallon recently. No, that’s not the average. But then, nobody said it was. I’ve also seen journalists with an IQ under 90, but that’s not the … well, hell, who really knows?

HEH: Trump Orders America Back to Church in SCUBA Gear.

MINXIN PEI: Competition, the Coronavirus, and the Weakness of Xi Jinping.

During the multidecade competition of the Cold War, the rigidity of the Soviet regime and its leaders proved to be the United States’ most valuable asset. The Kremlin doubled down on failed strategies—sticking with a moribund economic system, continuing a ruinous arms race, and maintaining an unaffordable global empire—rather than accept the losses that thoroughgoing reforms might have entailed. Chinese leaders are similarly constrained by the rigidities of their own system and therefore limited in their ability to correct policy mistakes. In 2018, Xi decided to abolish presidential term limits, signaling his intention to stay in power indefinitely. He has indulged in heavy-handed purges, ousting prominent party officials under the guise of an anticorruption drive. What is more, Xi has suppressed protests in Hong Kong, arrested hundreds of human rights lawyers and activists, and imposed the tightest media censorship of the post-Mao era. His government has constructed “reeducation” camps in Xinjiang, where it has incarcerated more than a million Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities. And it has centralized economic and political decision-making, pouring government resources into state-owned enterprises and honing its surveillance technologies. Yet all together, these measures have made the CCP weaker: the growth of state-owned enterprises distorts the economy, and surveillance fuels resistance. The spread of the novel coronavirus has only deepened the Chinese people’s dissatisfaction with their government.

The economic tensions and political critiques stemming from U.S.-Chinese competition may ultimately prove to be the straws that broke this camel’s back. If Xi continues on this trajectory, eroding the foundations of China’s economic and political power and monopolizing responsibility and control, he will expose the CCP to cataclysmic change.

FLASHBACK FROM YOURS TRULY: Coronavirus, Xi Jinping, and the Mandate of Heaven.

Xi has another problem on his hands: His own overweening ambition. From the death of Mao until Xi himself, the CCP leadership functioned largely on consensus between the top men. Nobody wanted to see a return to one-man totalitarianism, when Mao was free to murder on a whim while the country barely subsisted. But the CCP was hardly willing to surrender any power, either. Consensus was a way to show the CCP as a whole enjoyed the Mandate: The economy began its long and unprecedented boom, guided by a ruling clique that agreed on all the big details. When trouble erupted, a head or two might roll, but the consensus continued unchanged except for a new head or two to replace the rollers.

But Xi has moved from consensus to one-man rule. No rival power centers remain within the CCP, so there’s no consensus committee to roll on if Xi’s head rolls off. If Xi stumbles badly, whether it’s due to coronavirus or some other crisis in the future, he’ll leave behind nothing but untrusted, untested yes-men.

That one is just for our VIP members, and I hope you’ll use that VODKAPUNDIT discount code if you’ve been thinking of becoming a supporter.

IT’S EASTER WEEK AND NO, JESUS IS NOT A FAIRY TALE: The “Jesus is just another child’s story, like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny” claim will be repeated in the mainstream media this week. But what if it’s wrong?

FIRST-WORLD PROBLEMS: ‘Two Fat Professors’ are afraid of COVID-19 causing ‘fatphobia.’

Like all the other political “phobias,” there’s no such thing as “fatphobia,” it’s just a term made up by grifters and control freaks.

KRUISER’S MORNING BRIEF: Virtual(ly Empty) Coronapocalypse Holy Week Begins. “I think what may get really weird for people this week is that Easter Sunday is a big social gathering day for secular people too. Of all the things we’ve been told not to do, avoid family and friends on Easter Sunday is one of the biggest tasks. Yes, we had to get through Saint Patrick’s Day, but Easter is a bigger deal because it ropes in all of our relatives who don’t party.”

STACY MCCAIN: Coronavirus: The Wrong Numbers. Will the media ever admit the failure of doomsday projections? “What matters, from the perspective of avoiding a crisis that overwhelms our health-care system, is not how many people are infected with the coronavirus, but rather the number of patients hospitalized. As tests for the Chinese virus have become more widely available, a majority of people who test positive — more than 80 percent in some states — are never hospitalized. Earlier projections of a system-crashing crisis have so far been proven false, but the media refuse to acknowledge the failure of the doomsday prophets and their computer-generated pandemic models.”

I’d say it’s a little early to declare victory yet, but I did just hear from a doc in New Orleans that his ICU was full, but not overloaded. And is it really that cheery to point out that “However, at least 95 percent of those infected survive — in some states, the death rate is less than 2 percent?” A 2% death rate is awful, and a 5% death rate is catastrophic.


SOMEONE SHOULD DO A DEEP DIVE INTO HIS FAMILY’S FINANCES: Roger Simon: Adam Schiff’s Dereliction of Duty Regarding Communist China.

DON’T BE CRUDE: Saudi Arabia, Russia push negotiations for global oil pact.

Saudi Arabia and Russia both say they want the U.S., which has become the world’s largest producer thanks to the shale revolution, to join the cuts. But Trump had only hostile words for OPEC on Saturday, and threatened tariffs on foreign oil.

“If the Americans don’t take part, the problem which existed before for the Russians and Saudis will remain — that they cut output while the U.S ramps it up, and that makes the whole thing impossible,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, head of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a research group that advises the Kremlin.

It’s not clear if Russia and Saudi Arabia will require the U.S. to publicly commit to cut production — a challenge in the private, fragmented American industry — or if a compromise gesture would be enough. Alexander Dynkin, president of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow, a state-run think tank, said Moscow would like the U.S. to lift some sanctions as a compromise.

There’s so much oil being produced, and so much less than usual being consumed, that somebody somewhere has to cut because we’re running out of places to store the stuff.

MICHAEL BARONE: Contrast between China and its neighbors shows communist regime’s true character.

There’s no greater contrast between how countries have treated the COVID-19 pandemic than that between nations on both sides of what might be called the Asian Iron Curtain.

It’s a contrast that tells us much about how to handle the disease, and how events now in the distant past can determine the fates of hundreds of millions of people today.

On one side is the People’s Republic of China, where the novel coronavirus apparently transferred from animal to human hosts. There, the government deliberately lied about human-to-human transmission, persecuted to the point of death doctors who warned of its dangers, and is still almost certainly lying about its continued spread.

On the other side of this Iron Curtain — actually, a virtual barrier penetrated, until the virus appeared, by dozens of airline flights every day — are places which seem to have responded most successfully to the pandemic: Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

Indeed. For its sins here, China should have to give Hong King independence.

WELL, YES: China Will Do Anything to Deflect Coronavirus Blame. “Not a single reputable epidemiologist has shown any evidence that the coronavirus came from anywhere else but China, and the Italian doctor whose comments were taken out of context to boost the case has publicly refuted it. Yet this is important because by permanently, or even temporarily, injecting doubt into the origins of the coronavirus through this question, Beijing hopes to escape blame for its initial cover-up of the outbreak in December and January, which cost the world precious time to rally resources and create a potentially successful containment strategy.”

Well, China has important allies in the press.

Related: China’s Coming Upheaval: Competition, the Coronavirus, and the Weakness of Xi Jinping.

Plus: How WHO Became China’s Coronavirus Accomplice.



And just for fun:

FLASHBACK: Gov. Andrew Cuomo: ‘We’re not going to make America great again; it was never that great.’

Just a reminder. America’s ruling class doesn’t think much of the country it rules. Which explains rather a lot. Don’t let them rule it anymore.

HMM: Memo Claims Your Stimulus Check May Not Arrive Until August.

AT AMAZON, Gildan Men’s Crew T-Shirt Multipack.

THE POLICE AREN’T THERE TO PROTECT US FROM THEM, THEY’RE THERE TO PROTECT THEM FROM US: In my neighborhood, there’s a guy wandering around stealing bikes. People even have him on video. The Knoxville Police say that they aren’t responding to theft reports because of the pandemic. A neighbor asks: “Are they responding to thieves being shot?”

THE ATLANTIC ADVANCES A SHOCKING POSSIBILITY: Consider the Possibility That Trump Is Right About China: Critics are letting their disdain for the president blind them to geopolitical realities.

Far from discrediting Trump’s point of view, the COVID-19 crisis reveals what his strategy asserted: that the world is a competitive arena in which great power rivals like China seek advantage, that the state remains the irreplaceable agent of international power and effective action, that international institutions have limited capacity to transform the behavior and preferences of states.

China, America’s most powerful rival, has played a particularly harmful role in the current crisis, which began on its soil. Initially, that country’s lack of transparency prevented prompt action that might have contained the virus. In Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, Chinese officials initially punished citizens for “spreading rumors” about the disease. The lab in Shanghai that first published the genome of the virus on open platforms was shut down the next day for “rectification,” as the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported in February. Apparently at the behest of officials at the Wuhan health commission, news reports indicate, visiting teams of experts from elsewhere in China were prevented from speaking freely to doctors in the infectious-disease wards. Some experts had suspected human-to-human transmission, but their inquiries were rebuffed. “They didn’t tell us the truth,” one team member said of the local authorities, “and from what we now know of the real situation then, they were lying” to us.

Now China’s propagandists are competing to create a narrative that obscures the origins of the crisis and that blames the United States for the virus. This irresponsible behavior and lack of transparency revealed what Trump’s National Security Strategy had identified early on: that “contrary to our hopes, China expanded its power at the expense of others.” Instead of becoming a “responsible stakeholder”—a term George W. Bush’s administration used to describe the role it hoped Beijing would play following China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001—the Chinese Communist Party used the advantages of WTO membership to advance a political and economic system at odds with America’s free and open society. Previous National Security Strategy documents had tiptoed around China’s adversarial conduct, as if calling out that country as a competitor—as the 2017 document unequivocally did—was somehow impolite.

China has a lot of influence within our ruling class. And with our press, much of which rushes to advance its narratives.

COLLUSION: Dem Rep Spreads Chinese Propaganda While Blaming Coronavirus Deaths on Trump.

An Illinois Democrat who accused President Donald Trump of killing Americans by lying to the public about the coronavirus also spread pro-China misinformation about the deadly disease during a townhall with constituents.

As COVID-19 spreads across the nation, Rep. Sean Casten (D., Ill.) has repeatedly attempted to blame Trump and Republicans for the death toll, accusing them of spreading fatal misinformation about the pandemic. Casten himself, however, has misinformed the public about China’s role in the pandemic. When one of his constituents asked about the early Chinese response to the outbreak at a March 21 electronic town hall, the congressman refused to talk about the regime’s coverup of the virus. Instead, he incorrectly said that China had successfully isolated the outbreak in Wuhan.

“China, to their credit, once they realize they had a problem, shut down the entire province that this was in and they seem to have largely isolated the cases in China,” Casten said. “We have missed that window in the United States.”

In reality, however, China has failed to isolate the cases in the province of Wuhan, the origin of the illness. The virus has spread to nearly every part of the country, killing thousands in distant provinces such as Guangdong and Zhejiang. And while China’s self-reported data indicate the worst has passed, reports of funeral homes overflowing with urns have led critics to believe that the regime is grossly underreporting the impact of the pandemic. One media report, for instance, estimates China’s coronavirus deaths are in the tens of thousands, as opposed to the officially reported count of 3,308.

“A *single mortuary* in Wuhan reportedly ordered more urns in two days than the Chinese Communist Party has reported total deaths in the whole country,” tweeted Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) on March 29. “I’m sure you’re shocked by evidence of Chinese lies.”

During his townhall, a constituent asked Casten why China did not react sooner during the early days of the pandemic. In response, the Illinois congressman said the origin of the outbreak was irrelevant since “viruses don’t know borders.”

“The best estimate is that it did move into people from the wet market of China,” Casten said. “But once that virus was out there, it’s sort of trivial that it came from China.”

In reality, China significantly exacerbated the coronavirus outbreak by initially downplaying its danger in state media outlets and punishing whistleblowers, doctors, and journalists who tried to collect accurate information about the disease. The delayed Chinese response to the outbreak—which only started in late January, more than a month since patient zero—has cost lives: One study found that if China started its response three weeks earlier, there would have been 95 percent fewer cases.

Casten’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Casten also asserted the United States shut down its pandemic response team in the National Security Council, a false claim repeated by many Democrats and mainstream media outlets. Trump merely consolidated several redundant teams, including those tasked with the pandemic response, into one office while retaining much of their original staff, according to Tim Morrison, who previously led the consolidated office.

Uh huh. Why are Democratic members of Congress covering up for the Chinese government’s misbehavior?

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: AUSSIE BEATDOWN: Tim Blair Delivers An Old-Fashioned Fisking to the Chinese Propaganda Apparat, And It’s Brutal.


The Daily Telegraph this week received a letter from the Australian Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China, who took gentle issue with our excellent coverage of the coronavirus crisis.

Following is a point-by-point response to the Consulate General and China’s communist dictatorship:

Recently the Daily Telegraph has published a number of reports and opinions about China’s response to COVID-19 that are full of ignorance, prejudice and arrogance.

If a state-owned newspaper in China received this kind of complaint, subsequent days would involve journalists waking up in prison with their organs harvested.

Tracing the origin of the virus is a scientific issue that requires professional, science-based assessment.

Sure it does. How professional and science-based was the claim published on March 12 by China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian that “it might be US Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan”?

The origin of the virus is still undetermined, and the World Health Organization has named the novel coronavirus “COVID-19”.

The World Health Organisation also appointed Zimbabwean murderer Robert Mugabe as its Goodwill Ambassador and declared on March 2 that the “stigma” of the coronavirus “is more dangerous than the virus itself”.

The World Health Organisation does a lot of stupid stuff.

So what is the real motive behind your attempt to repeatedly link the virus to China and even stating that the novel coronavirus was “made in China”?

Our motive is accuracy. That’s why we don’t link the virus to Bognor Regis or state that it was “made in Panama”.

The people of Wuhan made a huge effort and personal sacrifice to stop the spread of the epidemic.

Wuhan’s Dr Li Wenliang indeed made a huge effort to warn people about the coronavirus outbreak. Then, as the New York Times reported: “In early January, he was called in by both medical officials and the police, and forced to sign a statement denouncing his warning as an unfounded and illegal rumor.”

And now he’s dead, so that’s “personal sacrifice” covered as well.

Nevertheless, in order to capture attention and gain more internet hits, you called Wuhan the “Zombieland” and Wuhan seafood market the “bat market”. How low can you go?

In the civilised world, “Bradman bats and bats and bats” is a famous newspaper banner:

In Wuhan, it’s the name of a restaurant.

The effectiveness of China’s epidemic prevention and control has fully underlined the people-centred philosophy of the Communist Party of China and the strong advantages of the Chinese system.

In 2018, Amnesty International reported that China executed more citizens than the rest of the world combined.

Please tell us more about your “people-centred philosophy” and how many bullets it requires.

More at the link.

WHEN THIS IS OVER, WE SHOULD LEAVE THE SUSPENDED REGULATIONS SUSPENDED: Coronavirus Puts Counterproductive Regulations Into Perspective: Many regulations serve little to no public purpose.

ON THIS DAY IN 1841, TYLER, TOO, BECAME PRESIDENT … SORT OF: President William Henry Harrison died only 31 days into his term, making him the first President to die in office. Two days later, Vice President John Tyler was sworn into office. Here’s the Constitutional quirk: In those days, the Constitution simply said that in case of the President’s death “the Powers and Duties of the said office” “shall devolve upon the Vice President.” It didn’t say that the Vice President BECOMES the President. Tyler, however, took the position that he WAS then the President. While many people disagreed at the time, his action set the precedent. It wasn’t until the 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967, that it was made clear that the Vice President actually becomes the President upon the death, resignation or removal of the President.

April 5, 2020

INSTEAD, THE WORLD SHOULD ISOLATE CHINA: China Wants to Use the Coronavirus to Take Over the World. “The cases have been multiplying where the medical equipment provided by Chinese companies and even the Chinese state turned out to be faulty, provoking justified ire in, for example, Spain, the Netherlands, and Turkey.”


He’s done his job for decades, but he’s never faced a crisis like this, and at 79 he’s not super mentally flexible. Double-blind experiments are the norm, but this isn’t a normal time. Happily, he’s not managing to roadblock this, thanks largely I believe to Peter Navarro’s task force.

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