The toll it’s taking goes far beyond job losses and economic pain.
May 14, 2020
ITEM #1: Throughout the government-forced shutdowns in response to the coronavirus outbreak, we’ve stressed the importance of maintaining proper perspective regarding what’s at stake in the decisions our public officials are making.
As we’ve noted often, the choice between imposing more or less severe restrictions on economic activity is not merely about weighing lives against our financial well-being. We’re literally weighing lives against lives. The longer we are shut down, the more people will suffer — and not just in terms of their balance sheets and wallets. Economic crises always worsen a whole array of other maladies, which, tragically, leads to a loss of lives.
Sure enough, the evidence is mounting that the human cost of the ongoing shutdowns has been brutal, and will grow even more so without a course correction soon.
Writing for the Daily Caller, Nevada’s own Geoff Lawrence grants that the virus itself has taken a terrible toll in terms of lives lost, but argues that the heavy-handed government response “could ultimately prove to be the most destructive path.”
Lawrence cites a few ways this could be the case, including one that’s especially alarming:
“The global food supply chain has already been acutely impacted by closures in the Southern Hemisphere, where it is now harvest time. Many farmers in the region have been unable to move their products to market due to train and shipping closures as well as labor shortages. Immigration restrictions have imperiled the labor supply for American agriculture during planting season. And after some employees contracted COVID-19, several beef- and pork-processing plants have been closed across the U.S., leading to a potential shortage of meat — even though the Food and Drug Administration says, ‘Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.’
“The United Nations warned this week that the world is on ‘the brink of a hunger pandemic,’ in part because of the disruptions to the global food supply chain. David Beasley, director of the United Nations World Food Program, said the world could be facing ‘multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months.’
“The organization worries that 130 million people may be at risk of starvation this year alone. Even the most pessimistic predictions of COVID-19 fatalities do not approach that figure. ‘In a worst-case scenario, we could be looking at famine in about three dozen countries, and in fact, in 10 of these countries we already have more than one million people per country who are on the verge of starvation,’ Beasley said. ‘Supply chains have to keep moving if we are going to overcome this pandemic and get food from where it is produced to where it is needed.’”
Read Lawrence’s full piece here.
How can we justify draconian actions intended to protect us, if one of the results is “multiple famines of biblical proportions,” which would lead to an unimaginable number of deaths? The answer is, we can’t.
ITEM #2: The costs of the shutdown can be seen in other heartbreaking ways as well. WSMV in Nashville, Tennessee, reports that the U.S. has seen substantial spikes in instances of calls to suicide hotlines, drug overdoses, mental health problems, and reports of domestic violence.
The story quotes Diane Lance of Nashville’s Metro Office of Family Safety, who connects the dots between these increases in societal ills and the financial strife people are feeling.
"There are many triggers right now for past traumas and mental issues and compounded stress, powerlessness, unemployment — all triggers,” said Lance.
The effects aren’t limited to the U.S., of course.
The Daily Caller reports:
“Australian researchers projected Thursday that more deaths may come from suicides increasing in lockdown than from the coronavirus itself.
“Researchers at Sydney University ‘predicted an additional 750 to 1,500 suicides per year for up to five years as a result of the impacts of the pandemic and economic shutdowns imposed to curb its spread,’ according to a piece published in the UK Telegraph.”
We can’t say it enough: The economic shutdown has caused — and will continue to cause — real, human tragedies in the form of lives lost.
We can’t let this happen here in Nevada. It’s time to reopen our economy, and if you haven’t yet signed our petition calling on Governor Sisolak to Get Nevada Working, you can do so here.
ITEM #3: What a piece of work Adam Schiff is.
The Democrat Congressman, who serves as chair of the House Intelligence Committee, has been at the forefront of the effort to promote the Russia collusion narrative in order to undermine the Trump presidency. We’ve always known Schiff is a dishonest partisan hack, but the depths of his deceitfulness have now been laid completely bare.
The Wall Street Journal has the latest damning news:
“Newly released Congressional testimony shows that Adam Schiff spread falsehoods shamelessly about Russia and Donald Trump for three years even as his own committee gathered contrary evidence.
“The House Intelligence Committee last week released 57 transcripts of interviews it conducted in its investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. The committee probe started in January 2017 under then-Chair Devin Nunes and concluded in March 2018 with a report finding no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with the Kremlin. Most of the transcripts were ready for release long ago, but Mr. Schiff oddly refused to release them after he became chairman in 2019. He only released them last week when the White House threatened to do it first.
“Now we know why. From the earliest days of the collusion narrative, Mr. Schiff insisted that he had evidence proving the plot. In March 2017 on MSNBC, Mr. Schiff teased that he couldn’t 'go into particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now.’”
As the Journal's editors note, this was completely false, and Schiff knew it.
“In July 2017, here’s what former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Mr. Schiff and his colleagues: 'I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election.' Three months later, former Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch agreed that while she’d seen 'concerning' information, 'I don’t recall anything being briefed up to me.' Former Deputy AG Sally Yates concurred several weeks later: 'We were at the fact-gathering stage here, not the conclusion stage.'
“The same goes for the FBI agents who started the collusion probe in 2016. Most remarkable, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe admitted the bureau’s reason for opening the case was nonsense. Asked in December 2017 why the FBI obtained a secret surveillance warrant on former Trump aide Carter Page, rather than on George Papadopoulos (whose casual conversation with a foreign diplomat was the catalyst for the probe), Mr. McCabe responded: 'Papadopoulos’ comment didn’t particularly indicate that he was the person that had had — that was interacting with the Russians.' No one else was either.
“On it went, a parade of former Obama officials who declared under oath they’d seen no evidence of collusion or conspiracy — Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Samantha Power. Interviews with Trump campaign or Administration officials also yielded no collusion evidence. Mr. Schiff had access to these transcripts even as he claimed he had 'ample' proof of collusion and wrote his false report.”
What a disgrace.
Perhaps most infuriating is that the mainstream news media continued to give credence to Schiff and his claims throughout the farce. Like him, though, none of those "reporters" are likely to pay a price.
But at least the public can now see this weasel for what he is, and they'd be wise to take the WSJ editors' advice: "As for Mr. Schiff, no one should ever believe another word he says."
ITEM #4: And the Michael Flynn saga takes another twist.
We’re all fully aware that the effort to target Flynn, the retired Army General and former Trump national-security advisor, was a total sham cooked up by the thoroughly corrupt Obama Justice Department. But the more we learn, the worse it gets — including for Obama himself, as it’s now clear he was involved personally in the effort.
Writing for National Review, David Harsanyi breaks down the latest, noting that, “we already have more compelling evidence that the Obama administration engaged in misconduct than we ever did for opening the Russian-collusion investigation.” He goes on:
“What makes anyone believe [Obama administration officials] wouldn’t create a pretext to spy on the opposition party? If anyone does, they shouldn’t, because on top of everything else, we know that Barack Obama was keenly interested in the Russian-collusion investigation’s progress.
“In her very last hour in office, national-security adviser Susan Rice wrote a self-preserving email to herself, noting that she’d attended a meeting with the president, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, FBI director James Comey, and Vice President Joe Biden in which Obama stressed that everything in the investigation should proceed 'by the book.'
“Did high-ranking Obama-administration officials not always conduct such investigations 'by the book'? It is curious that they would need to be specifically instructed to do so. It is also curious that the outgoing national-security adviser, 15 minutes after Trump had been sworn in as president, would need to mention this meeting.”
Further, as The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland reports, Rice added in her email that, “From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.” And also that, “the President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Comey said he would.”
Tucker Carlson summed things up bluntly: "In any normal period in American history, this exchange would define Barack Obama forever. Obama would be known as the disgraced former president who used federal law enforcement to hurt his political enemies. That's what he did."
As Harsanyi explains, this remains highly relevant today because the Democrats’ presumptive nominee for President, Joe Biden, served as Vice President in the Obama administration and, as the Rice email indicates, was present for at least one germane conversation on the investigation.
The national news press will of course do all it can to provide cover for Obama and Biden in light of these new facts. They’ll downplay their significance or ignore them altogether, and will spend far more energy accusing President Trump and other Republicans of over-hyping the story for political gain.
They’ll try to claim this is a whole lot of nothing, but they could not be more wrong. As John Daniel Davidson, writing for The Federalist, put it: “It’s the biggest political scandal of our time.”
ITEM #5: Speaking of Obama, the former President has weighed in on Attorney General William Barr’s recent decision to drop the case against Michael Flynn, saying: "There is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free."
This prompted a string of tweets in response from George Washington University Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley, who noted that, “It is a curious statement. First and foremost, Flynn was not charged with perjury.”
“Second, we now know Obama discussed charging Flynn under the Logan Act which has never been used successfully to convict anyone and is flagrantly unconstitutional. Third, this reaffirms reports that Obama was personally invested in this effort.”
We have a feeling there’s much more to come on this. Stay tuned.
ITEM #6: We’re not done with Biden yet, either.
As Kyle Drennen of NewsBusters shares, “During an exclusive live interview on ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday, Joe Biden struggled to answer surprisingly challenging questions from co-host George Stephanopoulos about the controversy swirling around the Michael Flynn case.”
Asked what he knew about the Flynn investigation, Biden first answered: “I know nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn.”
Then it got interesting, as Drennen reports:
“However, Stephanopoulos didn’t let the matter go. In fact, he caught Biden saying something untrue: ‘I do want to press that. You say you didn’t know anything about it, but you were reported to be at a January 5th, 2017 meeting where you and the President were briefed on the FBI’s plan to question Michael Flynn over those conversations he had with the Russian Ambassador Kislyak.’
“Biden was flustered as he fumbled around for an answer:
“’No, I thought you asked me whether or not I had anything to do with him being prosecuted. I’m sorry. I was aware that there was — that they had asked for an investigation, but that’s all I know about it, and I don’t think anything else.’”
You really must watch the exchange between Biden and Stephanopoulos, which you can do here.
ITEM #7: Well here’s another banner moment for the national “news media.”
Recently on Meet the Press, moderator Chuck Todd went after Attorney General William Barr over the latter’s response to a question about his decision to drop the Michael Flynn case.
The problem is that Todd truncated the video clip of Barr’s answer in a way that was completely and shamelessly misleading, and stripped Barr’s words of crucial context.
Fortunately, Greg Price of the Daily Caller was there to expose this latest example of hack "journalism," putting together a video that shows the Meet the Press segment, with the edited version of Barr’s remarks, followed by a clip of Barr’s full response. Watch Price’s video here.
The question Barr was asked was: "When history looks back on this decision, how do you think it will be written?"
The clip Todd plays shows Barr answering, “Well, history’s written by the winners, so it largely depends on who’s writing the history.”
The audio cuts off there, though it’s clear even in the clip Todd showed that Barr continued to talk. And what was it the Attorney General went on to say? You wouldn’t know from watching Meet the Press. Instead, what we get is a cut back to Todd and his guests, with Todd lamenting that he was “struck by the cynicism of the answer.” Todd then scolds Barr, saying: “He’s the Attorney General. He didn’t make the case that he was upholding the rule of law. He was almost admitting that yeah, this is a political job.”
By watching Price’s video, though, we learn how the rest of Barr’s response went.
Here’s the full transcript of Barr’s answer:
“Well, history’s written by the winners, so it largely depends on who’s writing the history. But I think a fair history would say it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law. It upheld the standards of the Department of Justice, and it undid what was an injustice.”
Got that? Barr: “It upheld the rule of law.” Todd: “He didn’t make the case that he was upholding the rule of law.”
This is the very definition of journalistic malpractice — the kind of behavior that would (or at least should) cause you to flunk out of journalism school. But Chuck Todd not only moderates one of the best-known shows on NBC News, he is guaranteed to face absolutely no consequences for this disgracing of his profession.
Attention, national news media: This is why no one trusts you!
ITEM #8: We thought we’d conclude this week with a piece from John Fund, who’s about as good as it gets when it comes to covering the issue of voter fraud.
With much of the country, including Nevada, going to a mail-in ballot system in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic (and with Democrats pushing to adopt such a system permanently), Fund offers a crucial reminder of the threat this poses to the integrity of our elections.
“If liberals can’t mandate vote-by-mail nationally, they will demand that states take the lead. Last Friday, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, signed an executive order requiring that every registered voter — including those listed as 'inactive' — be mailed a ballot this November.
“This could be a disaster waiting to happen. Los Angeles County (population 10 million) has a registration rate of 112 percent of its adult citizen population. More than one out of every five L.A. County registrations probably belongs to a voter who has moved, or who is deceased or otherwise ineligible.”
One of the most essential ingredients of a healthy democracy is public trust in our system for choosing our elected leaders. The Democrats’ efforts to undermine that system are nothing new, but they’ve hijacked the coronavirus crisis as a means to go further than ever in damaging the very fabric of our republic. It’s shameful, but hardly surprising. It’s up to the rest of us to make sure they don’t get away with it.
“James Comey just tweeted that ‘DOJ has lost its way.’ Given what this motion and the new evidence says about Comey's own conduct, I would hope so if Comey is referring to his way of running the DOJ. Comey is implicated in this ignoble effort to bag a Trump official at any cost.” ― Jonathan Turley, Constitutional Law Professor at George Washington University