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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Shutdown May Soon Collapse In Pennsylvania Thanks To Local Resistance

As in the rest of the country, life in Pennsylvania has been greatly disturbed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the chaos that has resulted from the state government’s attempts to handle the situation.

On March 16, Governor Wolf ordered that all “nonessential” businesses be closed for at least two weeks. They are still closed today, and as a result, 1.8 million Pennsylvanians have filed for unemployment. At the end of December of last year, the state estimated that there were roughly 6 million employed persons in Pennsylvania. If we set aside all the workers whose incomes have been reduced through pay cuts or reduced hours, or who for various reasons have not filed for unemployment, still nearly a third of people who were working in December are now out of work.

Such an astounding figure is truly hard to comprehend, and its consequences likely haven’t been fully understood. It is therefore very understandable that Pennsylvanians around the commonwealth are eager to return to work and salvage the situation as much as possible before we are all left destitute. However, Governor Wolf, having assumed emergency powers, seems loathe to let that happen on anything other than his administration’s opaque and poorly understood timetable. Under the current plan, all counties are currently categorized as either red, yellow, or green, with red counties having the strictest restrictions and green ones allowing all businesses to reopen. By May 15, thirty-seven of Pennsylvania’s sixty-seven counties will officially become yellow zones. These counties will include nearly all of western and north-central Pennsylvania.

From the beginning, the entire shutdown process has been wracked with confusion over which businesses are essential and which ones need to apply for waivers to keep running. The waiver process has not been very transparent, and it is little wonder that the granting of a waiver to Wolf Home Products, the furniture manufacturer formerly owned by the governor, caused an uproar. As of May 10, the state had only processed 70 percent of the unemployment claims it had received.

There is not only confusion regarding the economic shutdown rules, but also over the public health approach as more and more data becomes available. On May 6, it was revealed to lawmakers during a phone briefing that of the roughly 3,100 virus deaths by that date, 68 percent had occurred in nursing homes and similar care facilities, that the average age of those who had passed was 79 (in a state where the average life expectancy is 78.5 years), and that 84.4 percent of the victims suffered from one to four comorbidities.


Why is the U.S. teen birth rate falling?

The teen birth rate in the United States is at a record low, dropping below 18 births per 1,000 girls and women ages 15 to 19 for the first time since the government began regularly collecting data on this group, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly released data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

In 2018, the birth rate among 15- to 19-year-old girls and women was less than half of what it had been in 2008 (41.5 births per 1,000). Asians and Pacific Islanders led the way over this time, followed by Hispanics, with teen birth rate declines of 74% and 65%, respectively. Rates for white and black teens fell by more than 50% over the past decade as well.


Publishers Notes: I wonder what change, if any, will be seen after lockdown.

Man Kills Elderly Couple In Cemetery, Media Is Silent About Potential Hate Crime

An 85-year-old woman and her husband, 86, were both killed in a shooting at a veterans cemetery in Delaware on Friday morning and oddly enough, the national news media has barely said a word.

Delaware State Police on Friday night identified the victims as a married couple from Elkton, Maryland.

Police responded to the area and exchanged gunfire with the suspect.

According to the Daily Mail, the 29-year-old suspect, identified as Sheldon C. Francis, was found dead from a gunshot wound a few hours later. It is unknown at this time whether he was killed by police or whether it was self-inflicted.

It is not believed that the gunman knew his victims.


MD Delegate: Testing kits that Gov. Hogan got from South Korea remain locked away

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WBFF) - One month after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced the state had purchased 500,000 coronavirus testing kits from South Korea, a state legislator is raising questions about the deal.

When the announcement was made last month, health officials and public officials expected that the majority of the kits would be dispatched immediately to nursing homes and other areas hard hit by COVID-19.

But Del. Kirill Reznik, a Democrat who represents Montgomery County, says thousands of the kits still remained locked in a warehouse.

There was an initial delay in distributing the kits since the FDA has not yet given its approval to the South Korean kits.


Blue State Governors Struggling to Enforce Draconian Lockdown Orders

Several blue state governors have refused to listen to the cries of residents begging them to reopen their respective states, instead issuing threats against localities and business owners who fail to comply with their draconian lockdown orders — threats that have, largely, failed to come to fruition.

Residents across several states, under the leadership of Democrat governors, have been urging their respective governors to reopen the economy as the coronavirus curve flattens across the country and hospitals remain significantly under capacity. Some have acted in defiance, forging paths forward without approval from their governors, spurring threats of retaliation from the state officials. However, many of these blue state governors have demonstrated that their draconian lockdown orders cannot prevail against the American spirit, as Americans continue to fight for their right to operate their businesses, work, and earn a living.


Donald Trump: We’re Going After Virginia and ‘Crazy Governor’ Ralph Northam

President Donald Trump on Tuesday at the White House promised to challenge Democrats for the state of Virginia, under Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam.

“We’re going after Virginia, with your crazy governor,” Trump said.

The president spoke to a couple of Virginia farmers during an event promoting $19 billion in aid for farms and ranchers, including a couple of potato farmers.

“We’re going after Virginia. They want to take your Second Amendment away, you know that, right?” Trump said. “You’ll have nobody guarding your potatoes.”

Failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the state of Virginia by five points in 2016 over Trump. Since the 2016 election, Democrats have held onto control of the governorship, their two national Senate seats, and seized the majority control of the state legislature.

Trump has frequently criticized Northam for his dramatic shift leftward in abortion policies and gun rights.


Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie Blasts ‘Phony’ Media on Hydroxychloroquine Study

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie on Tuesday at the Whtie House shot down a media narrative surrounding hydroxychloroquine and a study opposing it.

“I want to knock down the phony story that this is somehow the VA going back on what the president told us to do, which was to use every means possible to protect and preserve the lives of our veterans,” Wilkie said. ”

Wilkie said that the researchers of the hydroxychloroquine study repeatedly cited by the press took Veterans Affairs numbers and they did not clinically review or peer review them, including the various co-morbidities of the elderly patients.

“That was not a VA study,” Wilkie said as the president took questions from reporters during a cabinet meeting at the White House.

He noted that the military had been using the drug for years, typically using 42,000 doses of the drug in a day.

“Those of us who have had a military life, some of us around this table, we’ve been taking this drug for years,” he said. As the president mentioned, the Department of Defense and the VA have been using it for 65 years.


“Come on, Man!” – Biden Comes Unhinged, Compares Trump Taking Hydroxychloroquine to Injecting Himself with Clorox (VIDEO)

77-year-old Joe Biden compared President Trump taking Hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has been prescribed to people by doctors for decades, to injecting himself with Clorox.

During his press conference with restaurant owners on Monday, President Trump announced he was taking the life-saving drug Hydroxychloroquine as a prophylaxis against the Wuhan Coronavirus.

President Trump admitted he has been taking Hydroxychloroquine for “a couple weeks.”

As expected, the Democrat-media complex went crazy in response to Trump taking the anti-malaria drug that has been safely prescribed to people since the 1950s.


Larry C. Johnson: How Can Susan Rice Know What Obama and Comey Said if Sally Yates Says She Was Not Present?

Here is the bottomline in a nutshell–Susan Rice has been caught red handed trying to construct a lie about what Barack Obama knew and did not know with respect to General Michael Flynn. She claimed to be present when Barack Obama discussed the Michael Flynn intercept but, according to Sally Yates, who was interviewed by the FBI, only Yates, Jim Comey and Barack Obama were present. This new revelation–made possible by the declassification of the Susan Rice email written in the last moments of the Obama Administration–actually bolsters Michael Flynn’s contention that he was the victim of a political hit job designed to take out Donald Trump.
Let me remind you of the essential facts that you must have in mind in order to understand Rice’s clumsy attempt to fabricate an excuse for Obama’s inexcusable spying on Donald Trump, his family and his team.
  1. December 29, 2016: Michael Flynn, who was vacationing in the Dominican Republic, returned Russian Ambassador Kislyak’s phone call at the behest of the Trump Transition team back in Mar-a-Lago and requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner (see here).
  2. January 3, 2017: Deputy FBI Director Andy McCabe tells Department of Justice official, Mary McCord, that the FBI had been planning to close the Flynn investigation but “discovered” his phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. McCabe described the content to the calls (Exhibit 3, page 2).
  3. January 4, 2017: The FBI Agent leading the investigation of the General Flynn sends Peter Strzok the memo recommending the case be close because there was no evidence against the General. (Exhibit 1) Peter Strzok tells the Agent that the “7th Floor” is interested.
  4. January 5, 2017: Barack Obama tells Acting Attorney General Sally Yates in the presence of Jim Comey that he had learned about Flynn’s conversation with the Russian Ambassador on sanctions. (Exhibit 4)

Trump Signs Executive Order Cutting Federal Regulations to Spur Economic Growth

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order directing federal agencies to cut regulations in a move to spur economic growth after weeks of lockdowns that were intended to slow the spread of the CCP virus.

Trump, who signed the order during a cabinet meeting, told federal agencies to do away with “unnecessary regulations that impede economic recovery” and also directs agencies to “review the hundreds of regulations we’ve already suspended in response to the virus and make the suspensions permanent where possible.”

Agencies can use emergency powers to speed up the cutting of regulations for new rules that will create more jobs, he added.

These regulation cuts are necessary “because with millions of Americans forced out of work by the virus, it’s more important than ever to remove burdens that destroy American jobs,” the president remarked. “We’re fighting for the livelihoods of American workers, and we must continue to cut through every piece of red tape that stands in our way,” the president said.

“We want to leave it that way,” Trump said of the eliminated regulations. “We want to leave it that way. In some cases, we won’t be able to, but in other cases, we will.”


GOP lawmakers say FBI director ignoring them

Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Mike Johnson, R-La., on Monday night said FBI Director Christopher Wray "has declined to respond" to their May 4 letter seeking information and interviews with key FBI officials after the bombshell revelations in the Michael Flynn case -- prompting the lawmakers to take matters into their own hands.

"Because Director Wray has declined to respond to our request, we are forced to write to you directly," Jordan and Johnson wrote in an extraordinary letter to FBI agent Joe Pientka, who participated in the unusual January 24, 2017 White House interview that led to Flynn's prosecution for one count of making false statements to the FBI. The lawmakers requested Pientka sit for a transcribed interview with the Judiciary Committee.

Fox News previously determined that Pientka also was intimately involved in the probe of former Trump aide Carter Page, which the DOJ has since acknowledged was riddled with fundamental errors and premised on a discredited dossier that the bureau was told could be part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

Pientka was removed from the FBI's website after Fox News contacted the FBI about his extensive role in Crossfire Hurricane Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) matters -- a change first noticed by Twitter user Techno Fog -- but sources said Pientka remained in a senior role at the agency's San Francisco field office. The FBI told Fox News shortly before Pientka's removal from the website that reporting on his identity could endanger his life, even though he serves in a prominent senior role at the bureau.

Jordan and Johnson sent a similar letter on Monday to an attorney for Bill Priestap, the former assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division.

More here

California opens up coronavirus funding for illegal immigrants

Illegally-present immigrants in California are now allowed to apply for the state’s coronavirus relief program that will pay $500 per person and up to $1,000 per household, according to reports Monday.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Sacramento has freed up $75 million for the fund, which could help about 150,000 who may be facing severe hardships during the pandemic. An earlier report in the paper said the Center for American Liberty is suing the state, claiming that the money is “not a slush fund for the governor to spend as he sees fit.” It hopes to block the package.

Opponents of the measure insist that any taxpayer funds should be directed to U.S. citizens who are also struggling amid the pandemic.

The LA Daily News reported that the state is home to about 2 million undocumented immigrants who are not eligible to receive any kind of federal stimulus. The report said the fund could hit $125 million, which would include $50 million from donations. The money is expected to run out quickly.


[CA Gov. Demands Government Bailout For Dem States As “Fundamental” And “Moral” Obligation]

Barr Plays It Cool

Those with an abiding respect for Rule of Law may have been discouraged by news yesterday that U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation of the investigators of the Russia-collusion hoax is unlikely to end in the cuffing and stuffing of Barack Obama and Joe Biden — despite Obama’s fingerprints being all over the coup crime scene.

Sometimes, though, a few choice words can do more lasting damage than a frog march: “This cannot be, and it will not be, a tit-for-tat exercise,” said Attorney General William Barr. “We are not going to lower the standards just to achieve a result.”

Let’s think about those two sentences for a moment. Both imply wrongdoing, and both imply an unwillingness by Barr to stoop to the level of those wrongdoers. But neither signals any sort of capitulation. Far from it. Barr, as is his penchant, is playing it cool, refusing to get out over his skis.

More here

Anti-Homeschooling Harvard Prof Doubles Down

Harvard law professor Elizabeth Bartholet doubled down Friday on her attacks against homeschooling, underscoring further her view that homeschooling parents are primarily “right-wing Christian conservatives” who may be abusing their children.

In an interview with the Harvard Gazette, Bartholet continued her call for a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling, this time further describing what she views as a form of education dominated by Christian conservative parents who engage in “maltreatment” of their children.

“Over the past decades, right-wing Christian conservatives became the dominant group in terms of numbers, and they completely took over in terms of political activism,” Bartholet stated. “Their power has to do with their ideological fervor, their tactics, and the absence of any significant organized opposition. Many academics and the biggest teachers’ unions in the country have found homeschooling deeply problematic.”

Bartholet had been scheduled in June to present to an invited-only audience her call for a vast injection of state control over what she describes as the “unregulated regime” of homeschooling.


U.S. accuses China of helping Iran move weapons, smuggle gold out of Venezuela

The State Department accused China on Tuesday of helping an Iranian airline smuggle gold out of Venezuela and ship U.N.-restricted missile and nuclear items into Iran, saying a Shanghai-based company has facilitated the airline’s nefarious operations.

“The People’s Republic of China is one of the rapidly dwindling number of countries that welcomes Mahan Air, which ferries weapons and terrorists around the world for the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

“Such cooperation has consequences,” Mr. Pompeo said.

The airline has been in the U.S. intelligence community’s crosshairs since the Obama-era. U.S. officials first sanctioned it back in 2011 on accusations it was providing material support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ special Qods Force.


Tom Cotton: Defund States Giving Coronavirus Relief to Illegal Aliens

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has introduced legislation that will defund states and localities providing American taxpayer-funded coronavirus relief money to illegal aliens.

Cotton’s legislation, titled the No Bailouts for Illegal Aliens Act, would prohibit sending additional federal funds to states and localities that issue stimulus checks to illegal aliens.

Cotton said in a statement:

Congress passed the CARES Act to help workers impacted by the China virus pandemic, not to give a handout to those who broke our immigration laws. The federal government shouldn’t be subsidizing states’ efforts to send cash to illegal aliens.

Cotton said the legislation would not affect any Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans provided to companies and nonprofits, nor would it impact unemployment provisions or stimulus checks given to American citizens.


Biden’s “Quid Pro Quo” Call With Former Ukraine President Released

Never forget that it was President Donald Trump’s interest in alleged wrongdoing of Joe Biden and Hunter Biden in Ukraine that sparked the entire impeachment witch hunt Democrats were looking for an excuse to execute. Democrats didn’t care about any potential wrongdoing on the part of the Bidens – they cared that Trump inquired about it.

Their case rested on an alleged “quid pro quo” between Trump and Ukraine’s President, which Ukraine’s President himself denied on multiple occasions.

That quid pro quo remains unproven, but a certain “quid pro Joe” isn’t just speculation.

As reported by Breaking911:

Ukrainian parliament member Andrii Derkach has released audio recordings purportedly revealing private conversations between former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

In the audio posted to YouTube, the two discuss then-prosecutor Viktor Shokin’s resignation in exchange for $1 Billion in U.S. loan guarantees, as previously admitted by Joe Biden in a public interview...

(More/audio of interview here)

Mnuchin: Employees Who Reject Offer To Resume Work Ineligible For Unemployment

With more reports surfacing of employees refusing to return to work due to the benefits of unemployment, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Tuesday that people who persist in staying home despite an offer to work will not be eligible for federal unemployment benefits.

“If you offer a person a job…and that person does not take the job…then that person would not be allowed to get unemployment,” Mnuchin said Tuesday, as reported by Fox News.

The treasury secretary said that companies receiving benefits from the Payroll Protection Program should notify unemployment offices if the employee refuses to work.


Trump administration declassifies full Susan Rice email sent on Inauguration Day

The email describes a Jan. 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting about Michael Flynn and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

On the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, outgoing national security adviser Susan Rice sent herself an email that has since drawn intense scrutiny from Republicans.

Now the full text of the email has been declassified, and POLITICO reviewed it. It says that then-FBI Director James Comey worried about sharing classified information with the Trump team because of incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn’s frequent conversations with the Russian ambassador but that Comey had no knowledge of Flynn sharing classified information with the envoy.


Subject: Trump dismisses hydroxychloroquine criticism

President Trump on Tuesday had a simple message for the media maelstrom over his use of hydroxychloroquine: Bite me.

Mr. Trump, however, refused to take the bait after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called him “morbidly obese” in urging him not to take the drug, telling reporters that responding to her was a waste of time.


'Dubya': Maintaining a free society 'depends on the character of its citizens'

Former President George W. Bush penned an essay Tuesday stressing the importance of unity during the coronavirus pandemic, writing that maintaining a free society is dependent on the “character” of its citizens.

“We were not meant to live apart from each other, especially in times of challenge,” the Republican wrote in a piece published in the George W. Bush Institute’s quarterly journal The Catalyst. “Our tools of compassion — a hug, gathering as people of faith or in friendship, caring for our family when they are ill — bring the opposite of the love we intend. Rarely in history have we served our neighbor by distancing from them.

“As Americans, this concept is frustrating and foreign to us,” he continued. “We live in a free nation, but independence from the state doesn’t mean isolation from each other. Our free society thrives when neighbors help neighbors and the strong protect the weak. The success of a nation to uphold that freedom depends on the character of its citizens.”

More here

Maryland making big money with 'porta potty' speed cameras

GAITHERSBURG, Md. — On certain evenings, one of the Washington area's busiest roadways could easily be mistaken for a nightclub.

Strobes of white light dance across the lanes of Interstate 270 in Montgomery County, Maryland, on nights when a silent guest joins the club of vehicles intertwined among the asphalt.

"I see the flash at nighttime coming back from the gym," said Clarksburg resident Vick Kumar. "And I see that thing going off and flickering. So I know its giving out tickets."

The bright lights emanate from a small SUV parked on the shoulder of the southbound lanes of the highway. The vehicle is rigged with a portable radar device and camera which captures the speed and license plate of any vehicle traveling over 66 miles per hour. The speed limit is 55 mph, but drivers are given an 11 mph buffer.


Peter Franchot #TAKE IT OUTSIDE

At the start of today's meeting of the Board of Public Works, I called for the State of Maryland to begin the process of allowing our restaurants to serve customers OUTSIDE on patios, sidewalks and even streets that are closed for vehicular traffic.

While I do not believe we are ready to allow indoor seating and service, based upon all of the available data, I feel that we have to make this allowance in order to give our restaurants - the cornerstone of a hospitality sector that employs 458,000 people in our state - a fighting chance to survive. They just cannot make it on carryout and deliveries alone.

This new outdoor seating policy would have to be done with true adherence to social distancing and other preventative best practices, and we know that it CAN be done. To state the obvious, outdoor seating is far safer than indoor seating, and my fear is that if we don't make this common sense policy adjustment sooner rather than later, we won't have a restaurant industry left to save.

In short, let's do it safely, responsibly and soon. Let's #TakeItOutside.

Treasury, Fed Chair: ‘Permanent Damage’ If Lockdowns Persist

The economic downturn from the novel coronavirus pandemic is “without modern precedent” and “significantly worse than any recession” the U.S. has experienced since World War II, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told a Senate panel on Tuesday.

Powell proclaimed in written testimony prepared for a hearing held by the Senate Banking Committee:

Available economic data for the current quarter show a sharp drop in output and an equally sharp rise in unemployment. By these measures and many others, the scope and speed of this downturn are without modern precedent and are significantly worse than any recession since World War II.

His comments came days after he predicted the coronavirus-linked decline in economic activity might last until 2021.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who testified alongside Powell, warned of potential long-term devastation to the American economy, the longer the shutdown measures imposed by states remain in place.

“There is [a] risk of permanent damage,” he told the Senate panel.


Maryland COVID-19 Data 5-20-2020

COVID-19 Statistics in Maryland

Number of confirmed cases : 42,323
Number of negative test results : 173,007
Number of confirmed deaths : 2,004
Number of probable deaths : 119
Currently hospitalized : 1,410
Acute care : 871
Intensive care : 539
Ever hospitalized : 7,393
Released from isolation : 2,993
Cases and Deaths Data Breakdown:
Parenthesis = Confirmed death, laboratory-confirmed positive COVID-19 test result 
Asterisk = Probable death, death certificate lists COVID-19 as the cause of death but not yet confirmed by a laboratory test
NH = Non-Hispanic
By County
Anne Arundel3,033(137)8*
Baltimore City4,152(208)7*
Baltimore County5,025(261)16*


Prince George's12,446(432)21*
Queen Anne's135(11)
St. Mary's340(12)
Data not available
By Age Range and Gender

Data not available
By Race and Ethnicity
African-American (NH)12,919(839)37*
Asian (NH)823(71)6*
White (NH)8,566(837)59*
Other (NH)2,106(25)1*
Data not available7,756(69)8*

Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt Gives $4.7 Million to Boost NPR

Former Google CEO and Clinton lackey Eric Schmidt is giving $4.7 million to NPR to expand the left-wing network’s reach in the Midwest and California with the creation of two newsrooms.

NPR announced Tuesday that the grant from Eric and Wendy Schmidt will help to expand NPR’s investigative reporting capacity and boost local news coverage.

Eric Schmidt was a major supporter of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. As revealed by WikiLeaks, Schmidt even loaned Google’s corporate jet to members of the Clinton campaign on a number of occasions. Last year, he co-hosted a Hollywood fundraiser for Joe Biden.

Schmidt is teaming up with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to lead a blue-ribbon commission on transforming the state’s infrastructure post-coronavirus. Schmidt is expected to work on New York state’s approach to issues including telehealth, remote learning, and broadband access.

NPR said the new Midwest newsroom will provide content for all 25 public radio stations in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska. The California newsroom, which was announced earlier this year, will serve all 17 public radio stations across the state and is being led by former Marketplace editor Joanne Griffith.

The two newsrooms are part of NPR’s Collaborative Journalism Network, an initiative announced last year to address the lack of reporting in so-called “news-deprived” areas of the country.

More here

White House: Steps were taken to exclude Planned Parenthood from coronavirus PPP funds

White House officials told Fox News on Thursday that steps were taken to ensure Planned Parenthood is excluded from the Paycheck Protection Program, which was set up to provide coronavirus relief funds to small businesses.

“Through the Paycheck Protection Program, President Trump is delivering vital relief to help small businesses keep employees on payroll,” a senior administration official told Fox News Thursday. “It’s clear that the abortion industry shouldn’t be able to qualify for those funds, which are desperately needed by small businesses.”

The Interim Final Rule (IFR) for the PPP made it clear that Small Business Administration (SBA) affiliation rules should apply to the loans, so an organization with Planned Parenthood’s corporate structure won’t qualify, according to the official.


Planned Parenthood affiliates improperly applied for, received $80 million in coronavirus stimulus funds

Thirty-seven Planned Parenthood affiliates applied for and received a total of $80 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" has learned -- and now the federal government wants the money back, saying the affiliates should have known they weren't eligible for the coronavirus stimulus payouts.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is reaching out to each involved Planned Parenthood affiliate explaining that affiliates of larger organizations with more than 500 employees aren't eligible for PPP distributions, Fox News is told. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PFFA) alone has had more than 600 employees.

A Planned Parenthood affiliate in Metropolitan Washington (PPMW), for example, will receive a letter stating that although self-certified that it was eligible for a $1,328,000 PPP loan in accordance with the SBA's affiliation rules, it will need to return the money.

PPMW's request for money from the Trump administration came just months after the affiliate's president and CEO, Laura Meyers, promised to turn down federal funds.

The SBA warned more "severe penalties" were possible, beyond mandatory repayment.

More here

'Joe Has Absolutely No Idea What's Happening'

ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania — President Donald Trump, speaking to the Washington Examiner ahead of an event at a medical supply facility in this key swing state, took aim at Joe Biden’s mental faculties, at one point claiming his Democratic challenger “has absolutely no idea what’s happening.”

Trump was reacting to news that Biden had teamed up with former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders in naming Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez co-chair of a climate change panel, which Trump said would help cost Biden the state of Pennsylvania.

“If you asked him who he named, he wouldn’t even know it,” Trump said. “Joe has absolutely no idea what’s happening. AOC is a disaster. She wants all fossil fuel out. She wants everything out. She wants wind, which is expensive — kills all the birds. You know, I’m also an environmentalist. But wind is a disaster.”

By allying with Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders on energy policy, Trump said, Biden “lost Texas. He lost Pennsylvania. He lost North Dakota. He lost Oklahoma. And he lost every other state where fuel is important — like about most of them.”

The issue was one of several that Trump used to take jabs at Biden’s mental fitness.


You're Nonessential -- Keep Your Mouth Shut

COVID-19 America has realigned itself into a two-part caste system, one made up of the essential hero, and the other comprised of the selfish, nonessential coward. Essential heroes, like those who work in grocery stores, hospitals, Walmarts, and deliver for Amazon, are deserving of our admiration and praise. They risk their lives every day so we can have food, medical care, Egyptian bath towels, and cute panda knickknacks. And by “risk their lives,” I mean that if they are under the age of 60 and do not have an underlying medical condition, they may get a dry cough, runny nose, body aches, and be in bed for a week or so.

My wife is one of these essential workers. She’s a clinician at a small hospital in Philadelphia, where dozens of people have tested positive for COVID-19. In the middle of April she too tested positive, and subsequently gave the virus to me. Luckily, our symptoms were minor (she had a dry cough for a day, and I had lethargy and body aches for about a week), and we quickly recovered. When my wife returned to work after her 14-day quarantine, there was a big sign on the front lawn that read, Heroes Work Here. Although she was completely recovered and COVID-free, she still had to take a deep breath to keep from vomiting.

My wife was given special papers from her job to show she’s an essential worker, just in case she was out driving around and a cop pulled her over and demanded to know why she was on the road. I kid you not. When she showed me the letter I immediately thought of the movie Schindler’s List, where the one-armed man personally thanks Schindler for giving him a job as a machine operator. “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work,” he says, shaking Schindler’s hand. “The SS beat me up. They would have killed me, but I’m essential to the war effort.”


Thousands Evacuated from Central Michigan County after Two Dams Fail

Two breached dams caused by several days of rainfall and rising water on Tuesday forced the evacuation of about 10,000 people in mid-Michigan, where the governor said one downtown could be “under approximately 9 feet of water” by morning.

For the second time in less than 24 hours, families living along two lakes and a river were ordered Tuesday to leave home.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for locations along the Tittabawassee River after the breach at the Edenville Dam in Midland County, about 140 miles (225.31 kilometers) north of Detroit and the Sanford Dam, about seven miles (11.26 kilometers) downriver from Edenville.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said downtown Midland faced an especially serious flooding threat. “In the next 12 to 15 hours, downtown Midland could be under approximately 9 feet of water. We are anticipating an historic high water level.”


[Related:Feds Revoked Michigan Dam License in 2018: ‘Failure … to Safely Pass Flood Flows’]

Porqueena, Try That One Out For Size

'I think she's a waste of time': Trump dismisses Nancy Pelosi calling him 'morbidly obese'

President Donald Trump declined to respond Tuesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling him "morbidly obese."

"I don't respond to her. I think she's a waste of time," Trump told reporters after meeting with Republican senators on Capitol Hill.

On Monday, Pelosi said it was "not a good idea" for the president to be taking hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has not been proven to work against the coronavirus, because it can pose a risk for people with heart conditions and he is "morbidly obese."

Trump told reporters earlier Monday that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine for about a week and a half to stave off infection from the coronavirus. The news stunned many health experts because the drug – normally prescribed for lupus, arthritis and as a prophylactic measure to prevent malaria – has not been thoroughly tested for use against the coronavirus, which has killed more than 90,000 Americans.


Minnesota imam confirms Ilhan Omar fraudulently raised cash from his charity meals program

Shortly after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued a "stay-at home" order on March 25, local Imam Tawakal Ismail partnered with 115-year-old charity GMCC to deliver meals to seniors and disabled individuals in immediate risk of hunger.

On April 9, GMCC's website announced the meal program's partners and major donors. The list included the imam's charitable organization Darul Hadiith, and GMCC's Minnesota FoodShare program.

Absent from the list: U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, or any other elected official or candidate.

This was intentional. Responding to questions via phone and email, Imam Tawakal states that the project is strictly "charity work," and that he has been explicitly rejecting political partnerships and forbidding campaign photo or video opportunities.


WHO Keynote Speaker: Global Pandemic Expert Xi Jinping


On Monday, President Donald Trump sent a scathing letter to the head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warning him that the U.S. would permanently withhold its WHO funding if the UN’s health organization didn’t make serious changes and break from its China appeasement. “It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world,” Trump wrote. “The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China.”

Trump’s letter follows his announcement in April that the U.S. would withhold its $400-$500 million in annual funding to the UN organization as his administration conducts an investigation of the WHO’s failures in response to the China Virus global pandemic. Trump’s letter featured a bulleted list of instances in which the WHO failed to abide by agreed-upon international standards, such as not holding China accountable for not following health regulations requiring countries to report “risk of a health emergency within 24 hours.” In fact, Trump noted, “By the time you finally declared the virus a pandemic on March 11, 2020, it had killed more than 4,000 people and infected more than 100,000 people in at least 114 countries.”

Meanwhile, the WHO invited the leading expert in spreading a global pandemic, Chinese Communist Party President Xi Jinping, to speak at its annual oversight convention.

More here

No More "Mr.Clean" - Inside The "Scandal-Free" Years Of Obama's Presidency

For years former President Obama remained more or less off the grid. It could be argued that it is not uncommon for an ex-president to stay out of the limelight. Several Presidents have done this even claiming it was for the good of the country and in an effort not to interfere with the country moving forward. Obama has recently reemerged and injected himself into the public spotlight, at times taking aim at President Trump and the way his administration is handling various situations. It is not surprising that President Trump is not pleased.

While our memory has a way of removing rough edges from events we should not try to whitewash the past and rewrite history to present a different picture of what really happened. Because of the stark contrast in the demeanor and style of Trump and Obama, the media has "photo shopped" reality. Obama has been painted as, a thoughtful, intelligent, capable man full of hope and able to bring us together. He did, after all, bring America's economy back from the brink of disaster following the Great Recession. Trump, on the other hand, is often portrayed as a divisive, dishonest, braggart, and a buffoon. The fact is during Obama's time as President the country suffered scandal upon scandal upon scandal, it might be fair to say we had "scandals galore."


Maryland announces single-day high of 1,784 new coronavirus cases

Maryland officials announced 1,784 new cases — a single-day high for the state — and 60 more deaths from the coronavirus Tuesday, as the state blew past 40,000 confirmed infections while reaching the cusp of 2,000 confirmed fatalities.

[Graphics: Here are the known cases of coronavirus in Maryland] »

Officially, the state is reporting 41,546 cases and 1,963 victims of COVID-19. Maryland officials say there are another 118 deaths they believe have been caused by the virus, with those infections not confirmed by laboratory tests. Meanwhile, hospitalizations, the metric which Gov. Larry Hogan’s office is tracking most closely as it considers the next steps in the state’s reopening process, continued to decline.


"This Was Some Shady Stuff": Treasury Department Spied On Flynn, Manafort And Trump Family

The US Treasury Department was regularly spying on Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort Jr., senior staffers on the 2016 Trump campaign, members of the Trump family, and congressional lawmakers, according to The Tennessee Star's Neil W. McCabe.

"I started seeing things that were not correct, so I did my own little investigation, because I wanted to make sure what I was seeing was correct," a former senior Treasury Department official and veteran of the intelligence community told McCabe. "You never want to draw attention to something if there is not anything there," she added.

The whistleblower said she only saw metadata, that is names and dates when the general’s financial records were accessed. “I never saw what they saw.”

By March 2016, the whistleblower said she and a colleague, who was detailed to Treasury from the intelligence community, became convinced that the surveillance of Flynn was not tied to legitimate criminal or national security concerns, but was straight-up political surveillance among other illegal activity occurring at Treasury.

“When I showed it to her, what she said, ‘Oh, sh%t!’ and I knew right then and there that I was right – this was some shady stuff,” the whistleblower said.

“It wasn’t just him,” the whistleblower said. “They were targeting other U.S. citizens, as well.” -The Tennessee Star


Senators ‘Dramatically Expanding’ Probe Into Obama-Era Scandal

Two Senate committees are expanding their investigations into the Obama-era scandal that involved surveilling members of the Trump campaign, which Attorney General William Barr has said amounts to “spying,” saying that they have reason to believe that they are becoming increasingly concerned that the surveillance started before the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation.

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson and Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley wrote a letter to Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell asking for the declassification of “additional information related to the unmasking of Americans around the time of the 2016 election, but also to expand the scope of our request to include information as early as January 2016.”

“Based on our investigation and recent press reports, we are increasingly concerned that the surveillance of U.S. persons affiliated with the Trump campaign began earlier than the opening of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation in late July 2016,” the letter continued.


Media in Panic Mode over Latest Presidential Polls

CNN, in their dogged and unending quest to overturn the 2016 presidential election and drive President Trump from office, is in full-on campaign mode. Just as in the last presidential election cycle, opinion polls are a campaign staple of the media and the Democrat party. Polls are not being used as they should, to reflect public opinion, but instead to shape opinion, a form of political propaganda.

CNN commissioned a poll, the results of which were released last week,conducted by SSRS, “an independent research company.” A CNN poll doesn’t mean Brian Stelter and Jim Acosta, also known as dumb and dumber, were on a street corner asking passersby how much they hated the Orange Man.

When CNN reported the poll results, their headline put a ho-hum spin on the poll findings, “Biden tops Trump nationwide, but battlegrounds tilt Trump.” Townhall reported the poll more accurately, “New CNN poll shows Trump crushing Biden in swing states.”

How illustrative that the same poll with the same results was presented so differently, Trump “crushing” in one headline while in another headline results simply “tilt.” In fact, CNN buried the poll results on their homepage as they didn’t like the results. I can’t blame them as it doesn’t fit the CNN narrative.


Federal judge says ‘There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution’

RALEIGH — A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing the enforcement of Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive orders that restrict church worship in North Carolina. A group foundedby pastors and churches sued Cooper over his executive orders alleging they violate the U.S. and N.C. constitutions.

U.S. District Court Judge James C. Dever heard arguments on Friday from a group of plaintiffs who challenged Cooper’s authority to restrict religious activities. Saturday, the judge said the plaintiffs are “likely to succeed on the merits of their Free Exercise claim concerning the assembly for religious worship provisions in Executive Order 138, that they will suffer irreparable harm absent a temporary restraining order, that the equities tip in their favor, and that a temporary restraining order is in the public interest.”

The judge said unequivocally that “There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution of the United States or the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.”


Anne Arundel council to take up bill Friday stripping Pittman of coronavirus emergency powers

The Republican minority of the Anne Arundel County Council called for an end to County Executive Steuart Pittman’s coronavirus-related emergency powers at Monday’s council meeting and pushed for the full reopening of churches and businesses under state rules.

Councilman Nathan Volke, R-Pasadena, and his two Republican colleagues introduced a bill that would limit Pittman’s powers. They also introduced a resolution calling for the county executive to open businesses and churches to the same extent authorized under Gov. Larry Hogan’s recent rules on reopening Maryland. Their resolution failed with a party-line vote after nearly two hours of debate.


Democratic clerk charged with altering nearly 200 midterm elections ballots

A Democratic city clerk in Michigan who had been honored by the state party for her work was charged this week with multiple felonies related to charges of altering absentee ballots.

Sherikia Hawkins was arraigned Monday in Southfield, Michigan, on six counts related to the 2018 election including forging public documents and misconduct in office and was released on $15,000 bond, according to National Review Online.


U.S. Stops Issuing Passports Except For 'Life-Or-Death' Emergencies

The U.S. State Department has stopped issuing passports due to theCOVID-19 pandemic, with exceptions for people who have a “qualified life-or-death emergency.”

In a statement published March 27, the State Department advised Americans toavoid all international travel due to the spread of COVID-19, unless someone is experiencing an emergency and needs to travel within 72 hours.

Situations that qualify as “life-or-death emergencies” include serious illnesses, injuries or deaths among members of a person’s immediate family that requires travel outside of the U.S., according to the statement.

People who need a passport for emergency travel at this time are required to provide proof of the emergency, such as a death certificate or a signed letter from a hospital or doctor, along with proof of international travel, like a ticket or flight itinerary, and a passport application with supporting documents.

Routine applications or renewal requests for passports that come after March 20 will not receive expedited service, and the State Department has said regular service may be delayed.


City to Consider Temporary Restaurant Outdoor Seating Proposals

After a number of restaurants and neighborhood organizations sent a letter to Mayor Michael Hancock more than a week ago asking for an easing of standard outdoor seating restrictions to help once the state gives the go-ahead for restaurants to reopen, the city responded by posting an online form on the City of Denver website for businesses to submit their expansion proposals.

And during a press conference today, Governor Jared Polis made it clear that he'll encourage Denver and other municipalities to seriously consider such proposals, which might require zoning exceptions and changes to current rules and regulations.

The form will allow individual restaurants, bars and similar businesses to request an expansion of outdoor seating onto sidewalks, parking lots, lawns, streets and other areas adjacent to their properties, and takes into account the proposed use of both private property and public right-of-way.


Trump To Nominate New US Attorney For Swampy DC Office

President Trump says he plans to nominate Justin Herdman to serve as US attorney for Washington DC - which has been at the center of the controversial prosecutions of Trump allies Michael Flynn and Roger Stone.

Herdman - currently the US attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, would replace interim US attorney for Washington, Timothy Shea - whose appointment may not exceed 120 days by law and will expire next month, according to The Hill. Herdman's appointment requires Senate approval. If rejected, the DC District Court will appoint a new interim US attorney until the position is eventually filled. He was confirmed in 2017 by voice vote for his current position.

Shea, meanwhile, has attracted controversy for his involvement in the DOJ's request to drop charges against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, as well as seek a lighter sentence for Stone.