17 thoughts on “News/Politics 4-8-20

  1. Leave to the hacks like Maggie Habberman at the NY Times and others like Scarborough to think this is what motivates Trump. Always assume the worst, right?

    What a joke…..


    “For a couple of weeks now, President Trump has been touting the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for the Wuhan Coronavirus during White House press briefings.

    It’s a drug that has shown promise in places like France, which conducted two studies and concluded that the drug, in combination with other treatments, dramatically improved the conditions of almost all patients in the studies.

    It’s seen some success here in America, too, so much so that NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo has requested the Trump administration increase New York’s supply of hydroxychloroquine to treat Wuhan Coronavirus patients in his state, which has become the epicenter for the virus in the United States.

    But in spite of various reports about success stories involving the use of hydroxychloroquine, including from a Michigan Democratic state representative who credits the drug and Trump’s touting of it for saving her life, the national media have been hell-bent on downplaying the possibility of its use as a successful treatment to combat the virus.

    The latest example of this comes via a supposed bombshell article from the New York Times, which reports that Trump has a “financial interest” in the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.

    In the editorial piece that masqueraded as objective reporting, the paper described Trump as a “salesman turned president” who was “determined to talk about the anti-malaria medicine that he has aggressively promoted lately as a treatment for the coronavirus”:

    President Trump made a rare appearance in the Situation Room on Sunday as his pandemic task force was meeting, determined to talk about the anti-malaria medicine that he has aggressively promoted lately as a treatment for the coronavirus.


    Day after day, the salesman turned president has encouraged coronavirus patients to try hydroxychloroquine with all of the enthusiasm of a real estate developer. The passing reference he makes to the possible dangers is usually overwhelmed by the full-throated endorsement. “What do you have to lose?” he asked five times on Sunday.

    There’s a reason Trump is so heavily promoting the drug, the paper insinuates without outright saying. Not because he wants to the American people to have hope that they and their loved ones may be able to be helped by this drug, but because he and some of his alleged business associates allegedly stand to profit off of it (bolded emphasis added):

    If hydroxychloroquine becomes an accepted treatment, several pharmaceutical companies stand to profit, including shareholders and senior executives with connections to the president. Mr. Trump himself has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.”


    “The problem with the national media/left-wing outrage machine’s fauxfended reactions to the Peter Baker/Maggie Haberman scoop is that their reporting conveniently left a few things out:

    What Scarborough didn’t mention is that Trump’s stake in Sanofi is valued at something between $99-1,500, and that Plaquenil has constituted a negligible share of Sanofi’s profits.

    The report is so overblown that even noted Trump critic George Conway is downplaying it:”


    Hacks of the highest order.


  2. ———-

    And as always, it’s what they leave out…..


    “Business Insider followed the paper trail and concluded that the holding has a maximum value of around $1,300, only slightly larger than similar holdings by Trump funds in Google parent Alphabet, FedEx, and the French bank BNP Paribas.

    Here is the logic:

    The Dodge & Cox holdings are mentioned in this disclosure form, logged with the US Office of Government Ethics in May 2019.

    Each of three family funds list a holding in the Dodge & Cox International Stocks Fund, valued between $1,000 and $15,000.

    The funds are managed by JP Morgan without any input from Trump.

    According to a prospectus dated December 2019, the Dodge & Cox fund in question has Sanofi as its largest holding at 2.9%.

    If all three Dodge & Cox holdings are worth the full $15,000 — $45,000 in total — then a 2.9% share of that is $1,305.

    Assuming, each holding is the minimum $1,000 — a total of $3,000 — then the 2.9% stake would equate to $87.”


    The NYT is a joke.


  3. Gov. Cuomo, as he always does, is robbing the northern part of the state for NY City. This time he’s ordering the National Guard to seize ventilators from hospitals in the northern counties.

    Yet it turns out NYC’s shortage is kinda self-inflicted. They didn’t buy what they needed due to cost, and they sold what they had rather than pay for expensive maintenance.


    “How New York City’s Emergency Ventilator Stockpile Ended Up on the Auction Block

    A 2006 pandemic plan warned that New York City could be short as many as 9,500 ventilators. But the city only acquired a few hundred, which were ultimately scrapped because it couldn’t afford to maintain them.”

    “In July 2006, with an aggressive and novel strain of the flu circulating in Asia and the Middle East, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a sweeping pandemic preparedness plan.

    Using computer models to calculate how a disease could spread rapidly through the city’s five boroughs, experts concluded New York needed a substantial stockpile of both masks and ventilators. If the city confronted a pandemic on the scale of the 1918 Spanish flu, the experts found, it would face a “projected shortfall of between 2,036 and 9,454 ventilators.”

    The city’s department of health, working with the state, was to begin purchasing ventilators and to “stockpile a supply of facemasks,” according to the report. Shortly after it was released, Bloomberg held a pandemic planning summit with top federal officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, now the face of the national coronavirus response.

    In the end, the alarming predictions failed to spur action. In the months that followed, the city acquired just 500 additional ventilators as the effort to create a larger stockpile fizzled amid budget cuts.

    Even those extra ventilators are long gone, the health department said on Sunday. The lifesaving devices broke down over time and were auctioned off by the city at least five years ago because the agency couldn’t afford to maintain them.

    Today, 14 years after the pandemic plan was released, the death toll from the novel coronavirus is climbing by the hundreds daily, and the shortage of ventilators threatens to push it higher still. On Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city, which entered the crisis with around 3,500 ventilators, would run out of the machines this week. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was authorizing the state’s National Guard to seize ventilators from less overwhelmed hospitals to be used where they are more urgently needed.”




  4. Stocking up, and using it to treat Covid 19 patients that Drs prescribed it for.


    “The agency that oversees the nation’s federal prisons and jails has placed a $60,000 order for the drug hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial medication some doctors have been using to treat the novel coronavirus, according to federal spending records.

    The records show that the Bureau of Prisons placed the order for 200-milligram tablets of hydroxychloroquine sulfate on March 31 from the company Premium Rx National. The Daily Beast was first to report on the records.

    A BOP spokesperson told Insider the purchase was made “for treatment of COVID-19.”

    The agency later told Insider in a statement that the drug is currently only being used for patients who have returned from local hospitals and have been prescribed hydroxychloroquine.

    “At present, the CDC gives no recommendations on the routine initiation of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of patients infected with COVID-19 in the outpatient setting,” the statement said. “For patients that are returning from the local hospital and have been prescribed hydroxychloroquine in accordance with the FDA Emergency Use Authorization we are completing the hydroxychloroquine treatment.”


  5. Leader McConnell Gives Green Light for More Funding for Bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program


    “The upper chamber, with the green light from Leader McConnell, is set to pass additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to give more relief to America’s small businesses.

    Rolled out last Friday, PPP allows small businesses to apply for federally-guaranteed loans in order to keep their doors open and employees afloat. The program originally legislated $350 billion for the small business sector.

    Leader McConnell and the GOP Senate majority, working hand-in-hand with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), will legislate more funding this week for small businesses during COVID-19 via PPP:

    “As the administration works to implement this historic legislation and push money out the door, Senate Republicans believe any potential further action will need to be tailored to the actual needs of our nation, not plucked off pre existing partisan wish lists…Even as the CARES Act continues to come online, one such need is already clear: The small-business Paycheck Protection Program needs more funding. This bold legislation from Chairman Marco Rubio, Chairman Susan Collins, Senator Ben Cardin, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen is providing emergency liquidity to Main Street businesses nationwide to keep paychecks coming…” Leader McConnell said in a release.

    I will work with Secretary Mnuchin and Leader Schumer and hope to approve further funding for the Paycheck Protection Program by unanimous consent or voice vote during the next scheduled Senate session on Thursday.”


  6. An interesting read, and let’s hope it’s as promising as it sounds.


    “Dr. Jacob Glanville, one of the researchers featured in the Netflix documentary “Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak,” thinks he has found a shortcut. Glanville is the president of Distributed Bio, a computational immunoengineering group that focuses on making antibody therapeutics and vaccines. For weeks, Glanville and his team braved long shifts in the lab to engineer a possible treatment for COVID-19, and last Wednesday, April 1, he announced via Twitter that they had achieved a breakthrough. Yahoo News spoke to the scientist that evening.

    “For the last nine weeks we have been working on creating an antibody therapy to neutralize and therefore cure the novel coronavirus in patients who need it.”

    Antibodies are proteins that are produced by the immune system to help stop intruders and pathogens, such the coronavirus, in order to prevent sickness and harm.

    “We are engineering very specific antibodies that are really good at this, to be able to go block the virus.”

    Glanville told Yahoo News that in order to save time and arrive at these results, he went back to antibodies that had proven effective 18 years ago in the fight against SARS.

    “The SARS virus is a cousin of the novel coronavirus. They’re related to each other. The antibodies that bound SARS were well studied. They were known to neutralize it and protect it, so they would be good medicine if SARS ever came back.”

    Distributed Bio was successful at finding five SARS antibodies that after being modified were able to bind to receptors of the novel coronavirus. “We’ve got amazing cross-neutralizing antibodies. They hit the novel coronavirus.” The concept is that the antibodies attach to receptors on the virus that prevent them from entering and infecting human cells.

    On Wednesday afternoon, just a few hours after Glanville claimed to have found a possible treatment, Fox News’ John Roberts asked the nation’s top coronavirus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci during the daily White House coronavirus briefing about Glanville’s findings.

    “I don’t know this specific individual, what they’re doing, but I can tell you there’s a lot of activity that is centered around a passive transfer of antibodies,” Fauci told the reporter. “


  7. Good news….?


    “It appears that the Wuhan virus epidemic is peaking, both globally and in the U.S. New York has more COVID deaths than the next nine states combined, but that state’s hospitals are now discharging COVID-19 patients much more rapidly than they are admitting them.

    I have published this chart before. It comes from the Centers for Disease Control’s web site and shows the number of COVID cases in the U.S. by date of illness onset. As I have said before, one uncertainty about these data is that the chart only accounts for a little over 1/4 of U.S. cases. I don’t know of any reason why that would not be a representative sample, but I don’t know that it is representative, either. So take it for what it is worth, but the CDC’s numbers appear to show a plateau in new cases, even accounting for the fact that the last week’s worth of data are incomplete:”



  8. Way to be scumbags Staples….


    “Staples refuses to pay landlords for April rents”

    “Staples recently informed landlords that it will not pay April rents for its U.S. stores, even though the locations remain open, Axios has learned.

    Why it matters: Commercial landlords are stuck in a tightening vise, forgiving or deferring payments from shuttered tenants while still needing to meet their own mortgage obligations.

    Staples, whose private equity owner Sycamore Partners took out a $1 billion dividend last year, is only making a bad situation worse.
    What they’re saying: Multiple landlords tell Axios that Staples reached out within the past 72 hours to inform them of its decision. It didn’t propose any sort of deferred payments, nor would it pledge to pay May rents. At the same time, the landlords remain expected to maintain such services as utilities and sanitation.

    “They basically told me it was my problem,” one landlord explained. “They’re taking advantage of a crisis — we’re not allowed to do evictions right now and, even if we could, imagine the PR nightmare of kicking out an ‘essential service.'”

    “I could stop sweeping the parking lot, but I’ve got a supermarket in the same plaza,” adds another landlord. “I also have an Office Depot in a different property, which is Staples’ closest competitor, and they paid their April rent. … Staples as an anchor tenant pays less per square foot than the smaller stores, which we’re working with because their revenue went to zero, but apparently they don’t care at all about those mom-and-pops or the smaller [landlords] that have only one or two anchors.”

    Standard commercial property leases do not allow for tenants to stop paying their rent due to the current situation, nor are the tenants typically covered via interruption-of-business insurance. Likewise, commercial landlords remain on the hook for their own debt obligations.

    But, again, Staples remains open (albeit with slightly shortened hours).”


    “For the record: I spoke briefly on Monday with a Staples spokeswoman, who said she’d respond soon to Axios’ inquiries. She never did, nor replied to follow-up emails and calls. Sycamore Partners declined comment, as it always does.”


  9. There have been extensive discussions on the left side of the internet over Trump’s ties to the anti malarial drug but there’s been far more focus on Kushner’s ties to various companies involved in the COVID 19 crisis.

    The lack of transparency and the lack of a blind trust has opened up Trump to these profit-taking accusations. Jimmy Carter sold his peanut farm to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. The least Trump could have done was to create a third party managed blind trust and at the same time reveal his holdings especially foreign ones to create an air of transparency. Instead he’s made it worse by appointing family members to his administration. Kushner, who failed security tests, has become a real lightning rod right now for those who see the Trump family as corrupt.

    The actual drug in question has had mixed results and should not be touted as a miracle. As a malaria (and lupus) drug it has severe side effects and those who are medically fragile may actually worsen the effects of the virus. The testing so far has yielded mixed results and its important for doctors to know how the drug response to different patients. Some have died taking the drug, others have been cured — all anecdotal.


  10. At least Cuomo is being transparent and is an elected official. Yesterday I mentioned some medical equipment shipments being diverted by the federal gov’t and the federal government outbidding some states. You seemed to be okay with that as hopefully Kushner and friends would redistribute to areas of need. The only difference here is Cuomo is an elected official of the state and is very transparent. Am I missing a differnce?


  11. Bernie dropped out. After the Wisconsin primary, it was probably the best move. No need to force people to stand in line during a pandemic. Still shaking my head at a Supreme Court who due to a pandemic holds a video conference call to tell people they need to vote in person. Saw some of the line ups in Milwaukee — apparently there were only 5 polls in the whole city. Bizarre. I never had to walk more than three blocks to vote and never had to wait more than 5 minutes and I live in a city of 500,000.


  12. HRW,

    “The lack of transparency and the lack of a blind trust has opened up Trump to these profit-taking accusations.”


    Do you have difficulties with reading comprehension?

    I mean seriously, what part of….

    “The funds are managed by JP Morgan without any input from Trump.”

    are you having difficulty understanding?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I seem OK with that because there’s a federal law, The Defense Production Act, which gives the feds the authority to do so.

    Cuomo has no such authority.

    Get it?


  14. I was speaking in general terms not as specific stock or fund.

    Trump did not issue any orders to divert equipment. It seems to come from Kushner but no one is exactly sure. Hence the confusion. Cuomo has been straight forward and as governor can he not use the National Guard in times of emergency….NYC is definetely in an emergency situation

    Here’s another link on Kushner


  15. While you are correct that Govs have the authority to use the NG in an emergency, the powers the Govs have is clearly and explicitly spelled out. Seizing private property is not an acceptable use of the NG.


  16. And more irony

    Trump at news conference: Mail in voting is chaotic and open to fraud
    Reporter: How did you vote in 2018
    Trump: By mail

    I don’t think this approach would work in the US or Canada maybe in an other island country — but here’s what happens in when a young socialist woman runs a country;


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