Trump Administration

Dr. Marc Siegel: Coronavirus public health response has been handled well; we have right leaders at helm

I have been studying and reporting on emerging contagions for many years. I have seen them mismanaged, hyped and poorly messaged. In fact, I have never seen a new virus or bacteria handled as well by our public health officials as this one, with sober attention paid to identifying, isolating and tracing contacts of known or suspected cases along with restricting travel as best they can. One significant problem has been the lack of coronavirus identification tests, especially at a time when there is clear evidence of community spread in several states, including Washington and New York. But the head of the FDA, Dr. Stephen Hahn, now says that up to a million tests will be distributed by the end of the week, an estimate which the New York Times reports as exaggerated. Whatever the actual numbers, local availability of these tests will significantly decrease testing delays, which will help public health officials identify cases in a more timely manner. This may help with containment, as it has in South Korea, where over 5,000 cases emerged practically overnight when thousands of test kits became available. The president’s coronavirus task force has projected calm, assured, contextual evolving information, which is not surprising when you consider that it includes Dr. Tony Fauci, longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who is one of the top infectious disease specialists in the country, and Dr. Robert Redfield, head of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Our public leaders are uniquely positioned this time around to fight the virus. Alex Azar, Health and Human Services secretary, is an attorney but has worked with HHS in several capacities beginning in the Bush 43 years. He is calm, measured and a good choice to pilot the ship, as is Vice President Pence; neither are alarmists. Prior responses to health scares have been characterized by panic. In the anthrax scare after Sept. 11, 2001, poor messaging led to 17 illnesses and five deaths. As I reported to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, this rendered everyone else afraid to open their mail despite the fact that there were so few cases and anthrax is not contagious. Fear of anthrax is contagious, even if anthrax isn’t, as I wrote in my book “False Alarm; the Truth About the Epidemic of Fear.” Bird flu in 2005-2006 represented a significant overreaction by the World Health Organization and our own CDC. Despite the fact that though this virus killed millions of birds, the human cases were rare and not sustained. Dr. Julie Gerberding, flame-throwing head of the CDC at that time, famously and erroneously stated during the national meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, “Our assessment is that this is a very high threat.” WHO famously warned that bird flu could kill up to 100 million people. The 2009 swine flu pandemic was a legitimate pandemic, but it ended up being milder than a typical severe flu season and killed fewer people. But the messaging surrounding this case predicted it would be worse, which had a positive side effect when it came to vaccine compliance but was otherwise detrimental. A decade onward, the experience of swine flu is a reminder that it’s impossible to know from the get-go how a pandemic will play out. Currently, the messaging has been much better, with the exception of the recent doom and gloom comments of Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s immunization and respiratory division. “It’s not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses. … disruption to everyday life might be severe.” This at a time when there were still fewer than 100 coronavirus cases in the U.S. The statement helped fuel panic at a time when the virus was starting to spread through communities in South Korea, Italy and Iran. But now Messonnier is back in lockstep with other health leaders, at a time when the coronavirus is starting to decrease in China, even as it starts to spread here. Mild undiagnosed cases make it likely that the virus is less severe than we think. When the new test kits are distributed in the U.S. as FDA Commissioner Hahn said they would be by the end of the week, the increased testing will no doubt lead to an instant increase of coronavirus cases diagnosed here, as it did in South Korea. On the plus side, this will probably help us to determine once and for all that most cases are mild; on the downside, it will spread more fear as we get closer to understanding the real extent of spread. It is irrational and counterproductive to hunker down in the face of a virus that is not at all widespread. Luckily, we have the right leaders at the helm to help us process this information and find a rational path forward.

Thanks to Dr.Marc Siegel, M.D. for that cool, calm, and collected assessment of how the Trump Administration is handling this issue.  Dr. Siegel is a professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Senate confirms William Barr as attorney general

The Senate confirmed William P. Barr as the new attorney general Thursday, giving President Trump a new top cop and special counsel Robert Mueller a new overseer. Analysts said they expect Mr. Barr to be a steadying presence — and doubted there will be much of a shift in course from former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Both Sessions and Barr are very tough on crime, law enforcement-minded people on issues like drug offenses and immigration, so there is not much light or space between them,” said Jimmy Gurule, a University of Notre Dame law professor who was an assistant attorney general under Mr. Barr during his first term as attorney general, for President George H.W. Bush. Mr. Barr was approved on a 54-45 vote, with only a few Democrats voting in favor, and just one Republican opposed. He was sworn in at the White House on Thursday afternoon, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. administering the oath of office. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Mr. Barr’s confirmation “a major victory for justice and the rule of law in America.” During his previous stint as attorney general Mr. Barr took a strict stance on illegal immigration, and pushed for mandatory minimum sentences, just as Mr. Sessions did. That could prove to be an early test for Mr. Barr, after Mr. Trump late last year signed the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill that trimmed back those sentencing rules. Both Mr. Barr and Mr. Sessions had opposed it, though when asked about the legislation during his confirmation hearing, Mr. Barr promised to “faithfully enforce that law.”

Congrats to AG Barr!

Federal appeals court gives Trump a win on transgender military service

A federal appeals court gave President Trump a win Friday in a case defending the administration’s policy limiting certain transgender people from serving in the military. The federal circuit court in D.C. ruled the lower court erred in issuing an injunction against the president’s policy, saying the plan wasn’t a “blanket transgender ban.” The court said former Security of Defense James Mattis’ plan had been developed with the help from military officials and medical professionals. It focused on limiting the service of transgender people who suffer from gender dysphoria and refuse to serve under their biological sex. “Although today’s decision is not a final determination on the merits, we must recognize that the Mattis Plan plausibly relies upon the ‘considered professional judgment’ of ‘appropriate military officials,’” the court ruled in an unsigned opinion. There are still other injunctions in place that had been issued by lower courts against the administration’s policy, so the Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to step in. Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter formally lifted the ban on transgendered citizens serving openly in the U.S. military last year. Under that policy initiated by Mr. Carter, transgendered individuals would have been able to enlist into the services by July. Those plans came to a halt when Mr. Trump announced plans to ban all transgender citizens from enlisting and separating all transgender troops currently in uniform. The announcement came as Mr. Mattis was in the midst of a six-month review of the Obama-era policy. Since the August announcement, federal courts have ruled the White House’s ban as unconstitutional while the transgender ban policy continues to face other challenges in the judiciary. Transgendered recruits were allowed to enlist beginning Jan. 1 after being subjected to a slew of physical, psychological and medical requirements before being considered for military service, pending the release of the military’s recommendations to the White House. The new standards for transgendered enlistment include certification that a recruit has been deemed “clinically stable” in their preferred sex for 18 months, and do not suffer from marked stress or impairment tied to their selected gender during certain scenarios tied to military service. The first transgender recruit officially signed up for the U.S. military last February, little over a month since the White House’s call for a ban on service for those citizens. The issue has become a cultural touchstone between proponents of the ban who argue the military has been repeatedly subjected to progressive social engineering efforts.

Which is exactly what has been happening ever since then-President Bill Clinton issued his “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the mid-’90s.  I was in the military then, and vividly remember the s_it storm that started…and it went downhill from there, especially under Obama.  What so many liberal Dems (who have never served in the military), and their equally ignorant accomplices in the dominantly liberal mainstream media down want to accept is…that nobody has a right to serve in the military.  There is no constitutional right to serve.  It’s a privilege.  Secondly..  The military discriminates all the time, and has been doing so for generations.  If you’re too tall, you can’t fly fighter jets.  If you’re too fat, you can’t join.  If you’re disabled and/or in a wheelchair, you can’t join.  And, on and on..  The mission of the U.S. military is to WIN wars.  Period!  Anything that undermines that mission, including all of the politically correct social engineering bs imposed on it by Democrat presidents and lawmakers, puts our troops’ lives in jeopardy, and undermines our ability to WIN.

Analysis: Scott Pruitt Is Doing Great! Trump Cannot Afford to Let the Green Blob Claim His Scalp

The knives are out for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. It’s so blatant that even liberals have noticed. Pruitt is paying a terrible price for the crime of being the most effective player in Trump’s administration. And, of course, for daring to take on the most powerful vested interest in the swamp – the Green Blob, aka the Climate Industrial Complex. The Green Blob by no means comprises merely Democrats. Consider the array of Blobsters trying to bring Pruitt down. Besides the usual leftist suspects such as John Podesta their number also includes conservatives such as The Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol, the Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie. What on earth did Pruitt do wrong? Well, there’s the Green Blob narrative version of events which is that Scott Pruitt has become embroiled in a number of “scandals” which render him unfit for public office. If you really care, Google them. To my, admittedly pro-Pruitt eyes they all seem trivial – negotiating a cheap rate for a DC condo; wangling some of his staffers a better pay deal; thinking about leasing a private jet – to the point of worthlessness. Ever since Pruitt took the job, the EPA has been deluged with FOIA requests by activist bodies trying to bring him down. They evidently haven’t been able to come up with much. Pruitt’s critics might sound less partisan, more credible if his predecessors hadn’t been about a thousand times more venal, profligate and dishonest. As Mollie Hemingway notes in this excellent piece for The Federalist Pruitt’s predecessors got a more or less free pass from an uncritical media: “The media and activists didn’t treat Obama’s EPA secretary, Lisa Jackson, with any rigor, despite her demonstrable corruption. She used the alias “Richard Windsor” to correspond secretly with people outside of the EPA, including with environmental activists and the man who would lead the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. When this same woman criticized the Trump administration for lack of transparency, almost nobody in the media pointed out how ludicrous a messenger she was. She’s now a VP at Apple. When the EPA broke laws, only conservative media showed any interest. It’s not that there was no media coverage of the EPA-caused Gold King Mine spill, the EPA-ignored Flint Water Crisis, the EPA administrator misleading Congress, the EPA violating federal propaganda policies, or many other problems under Jackson and her Obama replacement Gina McCarthy, but it was never done with the same bloodthirsty frenzy surrounding Pruitt. Not even a tiny fraction of it.” Hemingway goes on to finger the real reason for all this anti-Pruitt sentiment: “For many people on the left, EPA regulations touch on quasi-religious views. They treat people like Pruitt as heretics who must be destroyed.” Exactly. Ever since it was founded by Richard Nixon, the EPA has acted primarily as one of the left’s bulwarks against free markets, liberty and industrial progress. Yes, of course lots of other left-wing organizations seek constantly to undermine those values too. The key difference with the EPA is that it masquerades as a responsible semi-independent agency which does its due diligence, observes the scientific method and which is quite above party politics. That’s what has made it so dangerous. And why it was so imperative that Trump had to rein it in – in a way that his Republican predecessors so shamingly failed to do. The knives are out for Pruitt because he has done such a devastatingly effective job. Trump cannot afford to let the swamp claim his best player’s scalp.

I don’t know if Scott is Trump’s “best player.”   But, he certainly is a loyal, and hard-working member of Team Trump’s cabinet.  And, it would be a shame if he were let go.  He’s out there fighting the good fight, and needs our support.  Thanks to James Delingpole for this spot-on op/ed.

Budget boss Mulvaney claims Obama had ‘secret list’ of proposed regulations

At a news briefing this week, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney continued to push the Trump administration’s goal of cutting back on Obama-era regulations. On Thursday, Mulvaney unveiled a “secret list” of proposed federal rules that he said the Obama administration had been hoping to implement. “They had a bunch of things that they wanted to regulate. And what we’re hearing is that they just didn’t want to tell you about it,” said Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget. “They thought it would be bad for their re-election prospects in 2012, so they created a secret list of regs that were not disclosed to you folks, and we are disclosing it.” Mulvaney noted that President Trump has promised a “two-for-one policy” on regulations, meaning that for every new regulation introduced by the Trump team, two old regulations would be eliminated. So far, that policy has led to the removal of 860 rules, the budget director said. Referring to the list, Mulvaney added that the Trump administration was committed to setting a new tone in Washington. “There will be none of that in this administration. We will not have a secret list,” he said. “We will not have a hidden list of regulations that we’re thinking about doing but we’re not going to tell you about. That’s going to end effective immediately. In fact, it has already ended. We’re not going to do that anymore.”

Excellent!!  Let’s hope you

Jared Kushner Denies Russian Collusion: Trump Won Because He ‘Had a Better Message and Ran a Smarter Campaign’

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner denied colluding with Russia Monday afternoon, saying in a rare public statement that his father-in-law Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election because he “had a better message and ran a smarter campaign.” Kushner spoke outside the White House after testifying for about two hours at a closed Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, after earlier having denied accusations of Russian conclusions in a statement Monday morning ahead of his testimony. Responding to reports of his alleged dealing with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Kushner had said he was “highly skeptical” such calls with Kislyak took place. In the 11-page statement, he firmly denied any collusion with Russia and made similar remarks in his statement at the White House. “Let me be clear, I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone in the campaign who did so,” Kushner said. “I had no improper contacts, I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses, and I have been fully transparent in providing all requested information.” In the short statement, he said that serving President Trump and the American people “has been the privilege of a lifetime.” He also took a swipe at Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, who have suggested that Trump won in part due to Russian interference in the election. “Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign, and that is why he won. Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him,” he said.

Exactly!!  Well said, Jared.

Gorka: MSM Hosts Like Jake Tapper Still ‘Licking Their Wounds’ from Beatdowns

Dr. Sebastian Gorka said legacy media hosts in the “fake news industrial complex” are still “licking their wounds” after sparring with him this month. President Donald Trump’s deputy assistant made his remarks to Sean Hannity this week on his Fox News program while Hannity was discussing Gorka’s impressive string of legacy media beatdowns. Gorka said he was more than game for more battles with legacy media hosts in the “fake news industrial complex.” This month, Gorka schooled CNN dunce Chris Cuomo on Indonesia and Egypt, reminded Alisyn Camerota that Nick at Nite has more viewers than CNN, and taught the feeble Anderson Cooper a lesson about Walter Cronkite. Before leaving for his Paris trip, Trump reportedly said to West Wing aides: “Did you see Gorka? So great, I mean really, truly great.” Gorka, who has said he is willing to be the White House’s “pit bull” against the “fake news media,” has reportedly emerged as Trump’s favorite defender on television. But Gorka’s greatest victory this month may have come against CNN’s smug Jake Tapper, who was essentially a Hillary Clinton operative masquerading as an objective journalist throughout most of the 2016 campaign. During his July 13 appearance on The Lead, Gorka slammed Ben Rhodes, former President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, for enabling Obama’s “disastrous” foreign policy. Rhodes was apparently responsible, for instance, for spreading the Obama administration’s lies about the Benghazi attacks. When Gorka blasted Rhodes, who he pointed out had “a masters degree in fictional writing,” Tapper interjected and snidely told Gorka that he was sure Rhodes “would put his graduate degree against yours any day of the week.” Tapper’s remark was a textbook example of why Americans do not trust and hate legacy media hosts like Tapper who try to snooker the public into believing that they are neutral when they are in fact more akin to rasslin’ announcers who do everything they can to get their liberal allies “over” with the audience while undermining conservatives. Rhodes has a masters degree in creative writing. Gorka has a masters in international relations and diplomacy and a PhD in political science. Tapper may have a masters degree in “fake news.” After tweeting that Gorka had too much time on his hands, Tapper promptly humiliated Rhodes by revealing that Rhodes had chickened out and would not debate Gorka. Hannity then said he would gladly host a debate between Messrs. Gorka and Rhodes, but Gorka responded: “Right now looks like @brhodes prefers to hide.” “Understandable given indefensible polices he birthed,” Gorka added. On Saturday, Americans protested in front of CNN’s Atlanta headquarters, denouncing the “fake news” CNN for “destroying our culture.”

Jake Tapper is such an obnoxious tool…  And, c’mon..  We’d ALL like to see DR. Gorka’s grad degrees stacked up against Ben’s all day long!  Jake didn’t do his homework…again.  Typical liberal, lazy, lack of real journalism.  Does anyone actually watch Jake?  What a moron..  No wonder people are out picketing CNN’s hq in Atlanta.  I toured it several years ago.  Not very impressive..  If you want to tour something in Atlanta, I’d recommend the Coca Cola hq facilities instead.  Much better!    🙂