[Washington Examiner] The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court indicated that it "suspects" there is a pattern of the FBI seeking out political information through surveillance orders, according to former U.S. Attorney Joe DiGenova.
DiGenova, a lawyer whose work was caught up in the Ukraine-impeachment controversy, claimed this is the reason why presiding Judge James Boasberg ordered the Justice Department to provide the court with the names of targets for the applications audited by the agency's independent watchdog. That interim report, released by Inspector General Michael Horowitz last week, found widespread problems with the FBI's preparation of FISA warrant applications dating back to at least 2014.
"Do you know why the court did that? Because the court suspects that they're all political figures or people connected to political figures and that the FISAs were done for the purpose of targeting so that they could get political information, unmask the people, and then leak the information," DiGenova told WMAL’s Mornings on the Mall on Monday.
DiGenova offered no evidence to support the claim, but he echoed remarks by House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes. The California Republican recently told One America News Network that Horowitz's findings showed members of the FBI were already "experts" by the time they tried to dig up dirt on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page through FISA warrants to leak to the media right before Election Day.
Horowitz said his latest review focused on a "judgmentally selected sample of 29 applications" from eight FBI field offices out of 700 total filings that related to a roughly representative ratio of counterintelligence and counterterrorism targets.
In an order that followed, which makes no mention of a suspected pattern of politically motivated targeting, Boasberg demanded the government submit by June 15 a sworn declaration about the results of the analysis, including "the names of the targets," and assess to what extent the applications had material misstatements or omissions.
[ABC] One of the nation’s top public health officials suggested Monday that because Americans are taking social distancing recommendations "to heart," the death toll from the novel coronavirus will be "much, much, much lower" than models have projected.
"If we just social distance, we will see this virus and this outbreak basically decline, decline, decline. And I think that's what you're seeing," said Robert Redfield, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control.
"I think you're going to see the numbers are, in fact, going to be much less than what would have been predicted by the models," he said.
Redfield’s remarks on Monday to AM 1030 KVOI Radio in Tucson, Arizona, struck a rosier tone than some other recent predictions. On Monday morning, for example, the U.S. Surgeon General equated the coming week’s fallout to the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
But officials on the White House task force have said they believe that even with a tough week ahead, the numbers in some places suggest that social distancing is working and could provide a reprieve eventually.
First of all, lets clear one thing. They all use the same model - just give different values to parameters.
That's a key point. This is a novel virus, meaning it's not just the latest fad, but that we've never been exposed to it before. We don't know what the parameters like infection rate and mortality are.
For a first pass, they just pulled some numbers from their ass took a best-guess as the value of the model parameters. This lead to what in hindsight are wild over-estimates. As we get some better data, the model parameters get updated with better values and we see more realistic answers.
The sin here is not bad models, but that results were sold without *any* kind of estimates as the range and uncertainty of the parameter values. That is bad science.
[Washington Examiner] The plan is to test groups of 1,000 people at a time on the assumption that the infection rate hovers around one in 1,000. Health officials could then flag infections in the sample and narrow them down until it becomes clear who the infected individuals are so they can be quarantined.
The brothers believe that the plan would allow the economy to get back to work within two weeks of being implemented.
They have laid out a version of the idea, which would have the government test all workers on designated days. Officials would swab all workers twice. The first swab would be pooled into groups of 1,000 and tested immediately. If that test turned up negative, all 1,000 would go to work. If the pooled sample tested positive, the second swap for all the workers would be tested individually, allowing officials to determine which individuals were affected, quarantine them, and allow the others to go back to work.
Such an approach would allow for testing the whole country while using far fewer tests, which are still in short supply.
[MAIL] Most experts believe the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus began in markets in the Chinese city of Wuhan when animals passed on the disease to humans.
However, The Mail on Sunday report says that while officials in Boris Johnson's government believe this is still the most likely explanation, it is "no longer being discounted" that a leak from a nearby laboratory actually caused the outbreak.
A member of the UK government's emergency committee of senior officials, COBRA, told the newspaper: "There is a credible alternative view [to the zoonotic theory] based on the nature of the virus. Perhaps it is no coincidence that there is that laboratory in Wuhan. It is not discounted."
There are two scientific labs within close proximity of of Wuhan where scientists are believed to have been carrying out tests on the coronavirus: the Institute of Virology, and the the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control.
[FOX] A Democratic Michigan state lawmaker has credited President Trump's publicizing of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine with saving her life after her health "plummeted" when she contracted coronavirus.
State Rep. Karen Whitsett of Detroit told "The Ingraham Angle" on Monday that if it wasn't for Trump pushing the drug through the Food and Drug Administration's approval process for off-label use and touting it repeatedly during his daily press briefings, she may not have made it through the terrible contagion.
"I really want to say that you have to give this an opportunity," she said. "For me, it saved my life. I only can go by what it is that I have gone through and what my story is, and I can't speak for anyone else. So that's not what I'm trying to do here. I'm only speaking for myself."
[Atlantic] Time and again, a state or county releases racial data. Time and again, those numbers reveal a sizable racial disparity. Time and again, black Americans are overrepresented among the infected and dead. America’s newest infection seems to be mating with America’s original infection, reproducing not life, but death.
In Michigan, black Americans comprise 14.1 percent of the state population, but an ungodly 40 percent of coronavirus deaths. In Washtenaw County, home to Ann Arbor, 48 percent of residents hospitalized with the coronavirus are black, though black people make up only 11 percent of the county. In Illinois, the infection rate among black Americans is twice their percentage of the state population. In North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County, which includes Charlotte, black people comprise 32.9 percent of the residents, but 43.9 of the confirmed coronavirus cases, as of March 30. In Milwaukee, black Americans make up 26 percent of the county, but nearly half of the infections and a maddening 81 percent of deaths as of Friday.
The correlation is a high incidence of hypertension, obesity and diabetes in this population. The virus enters the cell via the ACE protein, which works to modulate blood pressure. Lots more ACE proteins in cells of people with those conditions, so they take in lots more virus. The bigger the virus load you get, the sicker you’re likely to be.
Poor whites live in trailers out in the sticks where things are naturally socially distant.
Poor people of color live closer together in each household, more households in a 'city block'. They tend to share recreation areas (bodies are closer on a basketball court than a golf course) and even their mailboxes are very close. These things assist in the transmission of viruses.
Also they are more likely to live in big cities and need public transit to get to work as work from home jobs are less likely for the poor.
Poor people of color also often have Democrat elected officials telling them to go to Chinatown and hug a Chinese person which has to have increased the number of infected.
In Michigan, black Americans comprise 14.1 percent of the state population, but an ungodly 40 percent of coronavirus deaths
In Michigan, most of the black population is in urban areas, Detroit, Flint, etc. Urban areas are also where most of our cases are. Permit me to suggest that geography has more explanatory power here than race.
[The Atlantic] When a new coronavirus emerged in China and began spreading around the world, including in the United States, President Donald Trump’s many critics in the American foreign-policy establishment were quick to identify him as part of the problem. Trump had campaigned on an "America first" foreign policy, which after his victory was enshrined in the official National Security Strategy that his administration published in 2017. At the time, I served in the administration and orchestrated the writing of that document. In the years since, Trump has been criticized for supposedly overturning the post‐World War II order and rejecting the role the United States has long played in the world. Amid a global pandemic, he’s being accused‐on this site and elsewhere‐of alienating allies, undercutting multinational cooperation, and causing America to fight the coronavirus alone.
And yet even as the current emergency has proved him right in fundamental ways‐about China specifically and foreign policy more generally‐many respectable people in the United States are letting their disdain for the president blind them to what is really going on in the world. Far from discrediting Trump’s point of view, the COVID-19 crisis reveals what his strategy asserted: that the world is a competitive arena in which great power rivals like China seek advantage, that the state remains the irreplaceable agent of international power and effective action, that international institutions have limited capacity to transform the behavior and preferences of states.
China, America’s most powerful rival, has played a particularly harmful role in the current crisis, which began on its soil. Initially, that country’s lack of transparency prevented prompt action that might have contained the virus. In Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, Chinese officials initially punished citizens for "spreading rumors" about the disease. The lab in Shanghai that first published the genome of the virus on open platforms was shut down the next day for "rectification," as the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported in February. Apparently at the behest of officials at the Wuhan health commission, news reports indicate, visiting teams of experts from elsewhere in China were prevented from speaking freely to doctors in the infectious-disease wards. Some experts had suspected human-to-human transmission, but their inquiries were rebuffed. "They didn’t tell us the truth," one team member said of the local authorities, "and from what we now know of the real situation then, they were lying" to us.
Continued on Page 49
I'm increasingly sure that China's completely made up all of its numbers for years. I used to believe that it used to take its real numbers and shrink them or increase them by a believable amount to make the nation look better, but coronavirus has shattered that assumption. They'll probably be bragging amount record growth for 2020 this time next year.
[Daily Pioneer] At a time when the Union and State Governments and institutions are working with the single determination to contain COVID-19, the Tablighi Jammat has turned out to be a spoiler
The latest estimates of the Union Health Ministry indicate that over 35 per cent of the COVID-19 cases that are springing up in the country have their origins in the conference organised by the Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic evangelical movement, in New Delhi in the second half of March, which was in gross violation of State Government orders. At a time when the Union Government, State Governments and every national institution is working with single-minded determination and focus to contain the pandemic that has affected over a million patients globally and claimed over 50,000 lives, the Tablighi Jammat has turned out to be a spoiler.
Displaying gross irresponsibility by flouting the orders of the Delhi Government, the Jamaat held a conference of thousands of its members. The congregation continued even as devotees were barred entry in the most popular temples, including the Balaji Temple in Tirupati, the Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai, the Sai Baba temple in Shirdi, the Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer and the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai. Lakhs of other temples, churches and religious places remained closed as per Government orders in their areas.
Continued on Page 49
The Deputy Inspectors General of Himachal and Uttrakhand have ordered the charging of such spreaders with the attempt to murder. The NSC met Sunday night on telecon, discussed sending directives to all agencies to apply the terrorism acts on these people. It is the SC that is the biggest obstacle in this now. A way is being sought to have them agree.
Good news. Well, for some. I have it from someone responsible for inspecting the quarantine efforts.
Around 27000 Jamaatis and assorted sasquatches have been rounded up by now and isolated in concrete storage sheds, empty buildings and cordoned off structures with barred windows. Food is thrown in and water is piped via tap. In some places, there are 300 men in a single structure. Toilets are attached but they like to shit outside as a form of protest. For three days now, attendant staff has refused to clean for them and nurses will no longer serve them. In fact, they'd very much like to stop throwing in the food too.
[Spectator] ‘More ventilators!' cried the journalists on Twitter. ‘Yes, more ventilators!' replied the politicians. ‘Where are the ventilators?' demanded the journalists, now screaming on television. ‘Yes, even more!' replied the government, somewhat nonsensically.
I am a critical care physician, specializing in the use of such machines. I'm flattered by all the attention our tools are receiving. But I fear the current clamor reminds me of nothing so much as the panic buyers of toilet-paper stampeding over each other in early March. When the history of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Western world is written, I do not believe ‘massive ramp-up of ventilator manufacturing,' will be credited with our deliverance. Let me explain why.
Ventilators do not cure any disease. They can fill your lungs with air when you find yourself unable to do so yourself. They are associated with lung diseases in the public's consciousness, but this is not in fact their most common or most appropriate application.
When we mechanically blow air into your damaged lungs faster and harder than humanly possible, ventilator-induced lung injury may result. Generally, for a person to tolerate the undertaking, we have to sedate them, leading to immobility and severe weakness. While sedated, the person cannot cough or clear their airway effectively, leading to superimposed bacterial pneumonia.
This is an awful lot to survive. And in the case of COVID-19, the preliminary outcome data is rather dismal. On Monday, the New England Journal of Medicine published a case series of very ill COVID-19 patients in Seattle with data up to March 23: of the 20 patients who went on a ventilator, only four had so far escaped the hospital alive. Nine had died. Three remained in suspended animation, going on three or four weeks of ventilation. Four escaped the ventilator but remained in hospital.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.