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Former Vice President and presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has joined a mostly-Democrat chorus of critics in demanding Gov. Ron DeSantis issue a statewide shelter-in-place order to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Florida.

Biden called on DeSantis to “explain why” he is going against “science-based” advice from public health experts who say a statewide stay-at-home order would temper coronavirus spread and to “let the experts speak to the public."

DeSantis has resisted calls to order a blanket stay-at-home order, repeatedly explaining a more targeted approach is better-suited to containing geographically isolated outbreaks. There are no reported cases across a third of the state and only light reports of COVID-19 in another third, he said, while the outbreak is severe in south Florida.

 

DeSantis has closed bars, gyms, state parks, the Lottery and south Florida beaches. He's restricted restaurants to take-out or delivery and ordered arrivals from New York and several other hot spots to remain in self-isolation for at least two weeks. The governor, however, has left shelter-in-place decisions to local governments.

Several Florida cities and counties have done so. Broward and Miami-Dade counties have closed all nonessential businesses. Orange County’s stay-at-home order goes into effect Thursday night for 1.3 million people.

“You simply cannot lock down our society with no end in sight,’’ DeSantis said Tuesday.

Biden on Tuesday night, however, called on DeSantis to “let the experts speak to the public” so they can understand how dangerous not imposing a shutdown could be.

“In this moment of growing uncertainty and anxiety, Floridians want – and deserve – to hear from the public health officials leading the charge,” Biden said. “To get through this, we need our leaders to listen to the public-health experts and their guidance.”

 

Ten of Florida’s 13 Congressional Democrats also dispatched a letter to DeSantis on Tuesday, urging him to order a statewide shutdown the way governors have in other states, noting of the 10 states with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases, only Florida and Georgia do not have statewide stay-at-home orders.

“Without an FDA-approved vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, our already-strained health-care system could be overwhelmed,” the Democrats wrote. “That is why we need a statewide order as soon as possible.”

The Congressional Democrats’ letter came a day after Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the state’s lone statewide-elected Democrat, called on DeSantis to issue a stay-at-home order.

Florida Director of Emergency Management Jared Moskowitz, a former south Florida Democratic state representative, said DeSantis was analyzing options that include limiting open business to “essential businesses,” instituting curfews and issuing a shelter-in-place order.

A New York-based commercial analytics company that tracks GPS movement on mobile phones and other devices is offering DeSantis and other decision-makers access to a free “real-world graphing” tool that could provide a treasure trove of data in analyzing what works and what doesn’t.

Unacast unrolled its Social Distancing Scoreboard on Tuesday. It gives Florida a B grade overall in its coronavirus response, based on a 39 percent reduction in travel. States and places that topped 40 percent earned A grades.

According to Unacast, daily travel since March 10 is down 56 percent in Palm Beach County, with mobility down by at least 50 percent in Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange and Osceola counties. They all received A grades, as did Seminole County with a 43 percent reduction in mobility.

Pinellas, Hillsborough, Lee, Duval and Alachua were among counties with B grades. Eight counties – mostly rural – received F grades, including Sumter, which includes The Villages, where daily movement is down only 6 percent from normal.

John Haughey

The Center Square

President Donald Trump has declared Florida a major federal disaster, granting Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administrative request to grease the rails in delivering federal aid under a massive COVID-19 relief package agreed to in the U.S. Senate early Wednesday.

Florida joins at least five other states that Trump has classified as major federal disasters. Also Wednesday, he declared Texas a major disaster after doing so for Louisiana on Tuesday. California and New York were declared disasters last week.

While Florida continues its fight against the spread of COVID-19, a national bipartisan coalition of criminal justice groups is calling on state officials to not overlook prisons and jails during the coronavirus pandemic after a state Department of Corrections employee tested positive for COVID-19.

 

The state’s DOC operates the nation’s third-largest state prison system, housing 95,000 inmates at more than 140 sites – including 43 prisons – and employs about 23,000 Floridians, including about 17,000 as corrections officers.

On Tuesday, an employee at the state Marion Correctional Institution’s Work Camp in Ocala tested positive for coronavirus, spurring Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) to urge DeSantis to call a special session on prison safety.

“COVID-19 poses a grave threat to prisoners and corrections professionals,” FAMM Florida Director Greg Newburn wrote. “Minimizing that threat requires giving the Department of Corrections important tools they currently lack. Giving the department these tools requires legislative action, and legislative action requires a special session.”

Prisons can be locked down relatively easily, but inmates are communally penned up for days, weeks and months and then released into the general public from the state’s 67 county and dozens of metro city jails, warns the REFORM Alliance.

The coalition, which includes the American Conservative Union, Americans for Prosperity, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Justice Action Network, National Urban League, R Street Institute and Right on Crime, issued a call to Florida officials Monday to adopt a five-point plan to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus within Florida’s jails and prisons under the acronym “SAFER”:

• Suspend jail for technical violations; suspend probation office visits and payment of fines;

 

• Adopt smart alternatives to incarceration and contact visitation;

• Free medical visits and treatment, hand sanitizer, soap and protective gear;

• Extra precautions for guards and staff;

• Release elderly and vulnerable to home confinement.

“People in prisons, jails, or under community supervision are more at risk of contracting and spreading the virus, given their age, underlying health conditions, and close contact to each other,” REFORM Chief Advocacy Officer Jessica Jackson said. “Protecting these individuals from coronavirus is not just a moral obligation, but necessary to preserve the health and safety of our communities.”

There have not been reports of widespread COVID-19 outbreaks in the nation’s prisons, but the transitory, yet compressed, nature of jails make them viral swish buckets, criminal justice advocates said.

On Saturday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases at Rikers Island City Jail in New York City jumped from eight to 38 – 21 detainees, 12 jail employees and five correctional health workers.

New Jersey on Tuesday announced it will release up to 1,000 people from county jails – those jailed for probation violations, convicted in municipal courts or sentenced for low-level crimes in Superior Court – making it the first state to begin sending some inmates home to keep the coronavirus from spreading.

President Trump said Sunday he was considering issuing an executive order to free older, nonviolent offenders from federal prisons.

John Haughey

The Center Square

 

 

 

 

 

Nearly 3.3 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week, a record number as businesses were forced to shut down to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that 3.28 million claims were filed in the week that ended March 21. That marked an increase of more than 3 million claims over the week prior, when 282,000 claims were filed.

The previous high in a single week, according to the department, was in October 1982, when about 695,000 claims were filed. The nearly 3.3 million claims filed last week is nearly five times the prior record.

The hotel industry alone has lost more than a million jobs, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

 

A $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that passed the U.S. Senate late Wednesday night includes an expansion of unemployment benefits. The measure, which still awaits action in the U.S. House, would extend jobless insurance benefits by 13 weeks. It would include independent contractors such as freelancers, furloughed employees and gig workers, such as Uber drivers.

Among the states, Pennsylvania saw the most drastic increase: 378,908 claims filed last week compared to 15,439 the week prior, an increase of 363,469.

California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas and Washington also saw six-figure increases.

 
 

​Dan McCaleb 

the center square

Sooooooooooo.... We need to call Bull Crap.......... on the idea that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and the Democrats came up with a 1,119 page COVID-19 relief bill over the weekend.

They didn’t. What they did was take a bunch of Democratic plans that have been percolating for a while and throw them into a bill one Republican senator described as a “Disney World wish list.”

This presented bill was a veritable cornucopia of stuff the Democrats have been looking to implement for a while that had nothing to do with fighting the coronavirus threat or helping America recover economically.

see full story : https://www.westernjournal.com/dems-put-1000-page-covid-bill-together-1-weekend-didnt-set/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=jeffersonnewsletter&utm_campaign=lminetwork&utm_content=2020-03-24&fbclid=IwAR1ElPgDAXijyGr9vHOauf1Gc6sk04UjnxQSH2CJEXrrNbrJwDp8HH0dor4

This presented bill was a veritable cornucopia of stuff the Democrats have been looking to implement for a while that had nothing to do with fighting the coronavirus threat or helping America recover economically.

see full story : https://www.westernjournal.com/dems-put-1000-page-covid-bill-together-1-weekend-didnt-set/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=jeffersonnewsletter&utm_campaign=lminetwork&utm_content=2020-03-24&fbclid=IwAR1ElPgDAXijyGr9vHOauf1Gc6sk04UjnxQSH2CJEXrrNbrJwDp8HH0dor4

Telemedicine and older patients were made for each other. The inconvenience and infection risk associated with constant rounds to various waiting rooms constitute a waste of elders' time and limited health care resources.

The recent move by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to use its new power to pay physicians who perform consultations with Medicare recipients by phone and video has the potential to revolutionize the way geriatric care is delivered in this country.

Telemedicine can save lives now, during the outbreak of a novel virus that has already demonstrated devastating power to sweep through communities where older residents are clustered together. And it can save even more lives in the future, as a huge cohort of baby boomers, living with a host of chronic diseases, age into a health care environment where geriatric expertise is becoming increasingly rare.

"The use of telemedicine and remote care services are critical to the management of the COVID-19," Patrice A. Harris, president of the American Medical Association noted Tuesday, "while also ensuring uninterrupted care for 100 million Americans with chronic conditions. The AMA encourages any private payers that are not already covering telehealth services to remove those limitations now."

In a meeting Tuesday with President Donald Trump, private insurers said they would pay for virtual doctor visits with people who may have the novel coronavirus -- an important move toward expanding access within an overtaxed system, while sustaining the social separations that can suppress the spread of illness.

Telemedicine -- from long-distance doctor-patient conferences to remote monitoring of vital signs -- has been around since the dawn of video chats. But the reluctance of Medicare administrators, as the primary change agents of the U.S. health care system, to reimburse doctors for time spent in this way has prevented the highest and best use of a relatively simple technology. Only in rural America, with its shameful shortages of adequate medical service, have pilot projects in telemedicine been fully funded.

Now -- just as the exigencies of World War II prompted Great Britain to establish the urgent care operation that would become its national health network -- the novel coronavirus pandemic could prove to be the shock to our system that will allow us to make our own medical history.

In Southwest Florida, a pressing necessity among the oldest old is for reliable transportation to multiple medical appointments. Telemedicine cannot remove all requirements for in-person visits to clinics and hospitals, but it can put a sizable dent in this ongoing challenge.

Telehealth holds promise to become a vital means of cultural connection. Now that medical professionals can be properly paid for adapting their practices to this technology, retirement communities and other centers that serve older adults can become supportive hubs for checkups, education, treatments and therapies.

By becoming early adopters of the opportunity to use computers and cell phones as tools for healing and staying well, our elders can lead the way in transforming our medical culture.

               

Thursday, 26 March 2020 09:57

The Robot Rule

What if?

The novel coronavirus' fatality rate is highest in men over 70. All three men left in this presidential race are over 70. I am certainly not the only one who has thought about this.

Parties, not states or the federal government, control the nominating process. I know the Democratic rules; for better and for worse, I wrote some of them.

So what if a nominee, say, Joe Biden, gets infected after the Democratic National Convention? While the convention is technically the governing body of the Democratic Party, the party doesn't hold a new one when situations change.

The Democratic National Committee then meets and decides.

The DNC. When I told people I worked there, people would look at me strangely thinking it had something to do with a gynecological procedure. When I was a member, I got invited to all kinds of fun things and met great friends. How did I get there? Did it matter that my dear friends were running the governor's political operation? Might that also have something to do with my chairmanship of the Ballot Law Commission? Many of my old pals are still members.

The DNC is equally divided between men and women. It is diverse and inclusive. It is not exactly independent -- if, by that, you mean that members decide everything like an outside director. Not a bit.

Governors have way more power than senators because they run the home-state operation. There are definitely money people, lots of union people, longtime party stalwarts. Last time I checked, this was not Bernie Sanders' crowd. Independent is another matter.

If the DNC picks -- if it's after the convention -- you'll be crazy not to put your money on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

BUT what if ...

Biden gets sick before the convention? He wants to withdraw? He does withdraw? He doesn't withdraw? Does Bernie get all his delegates? Does he get to decide who is voted for?

Some of the more recent histories of the Democratic Party quote the longtime party rule that pledged delegates are pledged, but they are not bound. They may have gotten there because of Biden or Sanders or anyone else, but that doesn't mean they're bound to vote for who they pledged to, or for a candidate they endorse. This is not the longtime rule.

Back in 1980, the reelection campaign of President Jimmy Carter, obviously afraid of the risks ahead, inserted a paragraph in the call to the convention and the party rules, rule F(3)(c), that for the first time, purported to "bind" them to vote for the candidate whose votes got them there.

We called it the Robot Rule. We had pins that depicted a robot with a red slash across it. It became the central fight of the convention. It became the raison d'etre then-Sen. Ted Kennedy did not withdraw from the race and instead traveled around the country all summer before the convention "briefing" our enthusiastic delegates about the fights ahead, saying that Carter was trying to force the convention to vote for him rather than win their support.

We wanted a real vote. What was Carter afraid of?

To this day, I don't know. His campaign must have known what we did: that delegates who pass the scrutiny of the candidate's campaign, as they must, are as committed as the pig in the ham and egg breakfast. All a delegate had to do if she wanted to vote for Kennedy instead of Carter was vote with us on the rule. Hours of debate on prime time. Do you want to guess how many Carter delegates voted with Kennedy? Two. When a commission was formed after that loss, we got rid of the robot rule. I can't think of a single instance in which it mattered.

There won't be a brokered convention. That is too big of a risk. One lesson we learned too well is that if you have a "bad" convention -- if you can't control your message and all you do is fight -- you pay for it in the general election. But there will also certainly be plenty of brokering before we get there. Or at least plenty of trying. The back room may not be smoky, and we women have earned our seats, but it's still a back room.

Susan Estrich

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, everyone should read Robert Higgs' economic classic "Crisis and Leviathan." The critical warning of this masterpiece is that government always uses a crisis -- from the Civil War to the Great Depression to World War II -- to expand power, not only during the emergency but also afterward. Emergencies tend to ratchet up the cost and power of government permanently.

That expansion of government authority is especially unwise now, given that when this coronavirus fiasco is finally over, it may go down in history as one of the greatest government screwups in American history. That's saying a lot.

As a nation, we spend just short of $5 trillion a year in Washington and at least another $1 trillion at the state and local level. Our government spends 1 of every 3 dollars that passes through the U.S. economy. It is the largest enterprise in the history of the world.

You don't have to be an Ayn Rand devotee to see how the government has stumbled in its primary function: protecting the health and security of the public. Every citizen should ask elected officials: How was the health security system in America, with $1 trillion of federal tax dollars spent, so radically unprepared and ill-equipped?

As an aside, it is astonishing that even after the government collapse, we still have politicians who are peddling "Medicare for All." Is there any sane person who wants to expand the state's control of the medical care system after this?

At the center of this calamity is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a $10-billion agency that did not have a screen or easily administered test to find out whether citizens had contracted the virus. My Heritage Foundation colleague Robert Moffit, a health care expert, recently explained the problems at the CDC. He said, "Germany and Japan quickly developed diagnostic testing for the new virus, and South Korea was soon testing large numbers of patients quickly. By comparison, the American performance was subpar." He says that private pharmaceutical companies were developing tests, but "public health authorities were restricted to using the failed CDC test."

These failures wound up costing the U.S. economy at least $1 trillion of lost output. How is it that Korea had more effective screening than we did?

President Donald Trump's adversaries blame this mess on his proposed cuts in funding at the National Institutes of Health and the CDC. But those cuts never happened. Trump must take some of the blame because he was president when the CDC failed us. But it's doubtful more money would have averted this crisis. The CDC was too preoccupied looking into gun control, climate change, and gay and transgender issues.

Despite this epic failure, few, if any, will be fired at the CDC, the NIH or the Department of Health and Human Services. Trump can't fire the incompetents because a corrupt civil service system protects almost all government workers.

The politicians say that no one saw the coronavirus coming, but this, too, is a cop-out. We have confronted killer viruses since the Middle Ages and the days of the bubonic plague. A century ago, we had influenza, which killed more than half a million Americans, and yet 100 years later, the government is less prepared for a pandemic than they were then.

How indefensible that in this advanced technological age -- over 50 years after we put a man on the moon and a time when we have cellphones for less than $100 with the computing power of all the computers used during the World War-era -- the central government planners had no contingency plan to deal with a pandemic? So, we have been stuck with a Soviet-style shutdown of the entire American economy with curfews, food rationing and the equivalent of martial law in major cities such as San Francisco.

The most bizarre outcome of all of this is we now have politicians telling us that to solve the destruction that the government failed to prevent, we need more governmental authority and bigger budgets -- more programs, more bureaucrats and more giveaways. Estimates are now $2 trillion to $3 trillion of new government spending. The "stimulus" plans have never worked and may even cause more long-term damage to the economy than this mendacious, microscopic virus. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants not just temporary but permanent paid sick leave for workers, underwritten by financially strapped businesses. Just as Higgs warned, she sees this crisis as something that must not go to waste in advancing a liberal agenda.

Perhaps if any good comes out of this dismal performance by the political class, it is that we will have more Americans who have learned that, as Ronald Reagan put it, "government is not the solution; government is the problem." There must be some better way for the folks in Washington to waste $5 trillion a year.

 

Stephen Moore

Thursday, 26 March 2020 09:45

Notes From My Dining Room Table

In 2020, people talk about "two Americas." During the coronavirus outbreak, there is one America, a sheltered America, with people who -- like me -- can work at home. And another America, an edgier America, that stands to be devastated by coronavirus closures.

There is also a third America that can be seen in the three states hardest hit by the COVID-19 and virtually shut down. In order to keep the rest of America from turning into that third America, sheltered America argues, stringent measures must be imposed on all of America.

To which edgy America responds: If elected officials close up America for one month or two months, what will be left?

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested a lid on gatherings of 50 people for eight weeks, Cathy Merrill, owner of Washingtonian Magazine, which employs some 75 people, wrote in The Washington Post that the so-called eight-week "hiatus" could serve as a "death sentence" for her business. While she was working at home, Merrill wondered how many of those setting emergency policy have ever run a small business.

I write this from my dining room table. I showed symptoms for coronavirus and had covered an event attended by someone who later learned he was infected.

I saw a doctor. I'm in home lockdown for two weeks. I don't know if I have COVID-19 because I have not been able to take the test.

There was a lot of blame hurled unfairly at President Donald Trump for the CDC's delays in getting tests where they are needed. The tests now have hit states, and people with symptoms still are waiting.

My doctor in Virginia has had tests since Monday, but a lack of protective equipment, general confusion and state protocols prevent him from administering them.

Unexpected kinks happen in a crisis. You fix them and keep going.

If this fight to contain the pandemic is going to work, the test situation has to be fixed quickly. I've been scrupulous about staying at home without knowing if I have COVID-19 because I can report and write at home. But I think it's too much to expect everyone to stay home just in case they are infected -- especially asymptomatic people living paycheck to paycheck or struggling to keep small businesses afloat.

I'm not talking about college kids on spring break, but entrepreneurs, service workers and families in tight spaces.

Which brings to mind Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, who last weekend shut down the state's public schools through April 6. Why? The CDC website recommends school closures only when someone with a confirmed infection has been in a school or in districts with community transmission. Even then, the CDC recommends closures for two to five days.

If you go into the state's coronavirus webpage, there's a link to the CDC guidelines. CDC modeling projects no change in the infection curve or hospitalizations after school closures of two to four weeks. And the models predict multiple downsides -- interrupted learning, increased risk for grandparent caretakers, more social mixing outside of school. Not to mention there's no school.

But state's governors were so eager to look as if they were ahead of the curve that more than 30 of them shut down all their schools.

Sisolak could counter that there is a risk, as Heard Elementary School in North Las Vegas reported a Clark County school's first case. It's a sad milestone that would call for school closure and cleanup is already underway. But is it worth the closure of every Nevada public, private and magnet school?

On Tuesday night, Sisolak called for a 30-day closure of "nonessential businesses" -- with little explanation as to why his constituents should stop making money for a month when the president's coronavirus task force is pushing "15 Days to Slow the Spread."

Sisolak spokesman Ryan McInerney said that the chief medical officers of all of Nevada's hospitals advised in favor of a 30-day closure.

Sisolak told Nevadans: "This is affecting the lives of our citizens. People are dying. You know, every day that is delayed here, I'm losing a dozen people on the back end. They're going to die as a result of this."

The inference is that if you question the policy, you want people to die. It took guts then for Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman to appeal to the governor to shorten his 30-day shutdown because she doesn't want to see Las Vegas choke.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued more measured restrictions, such as a mandate that 75% of nonessential workforce work from home. Thursday morning, he tried to quell the panic when he told reporters, "Let's just take a deep breath and make sure we're all acting on facts instead of acting on fear." He added, "The facts we can handle."

My fear is that when governments impose -- not suggest -- closures too soon, and those measures don't stem the tide sufficiently, but they do manage to destroy people's livelihoods, the public will tire of closures if and when more stringent measures are needed.

Debra J. Saunders

Thursday, 26 March 2020 09:42

Chutzpah: ADL Wants a Federal Bailout

 

When I think of "essential" workers in America, the smear merchants of the Anti-Defamation League are at the bottom of the barrel. For decades, they've demonized conservatives and Christians as agents of "hate" and treated our very existence as incitements to violence. The ADL's manufactured outrage machine has broadened its target list to anyone remotely critical of Israel for any reason, President Donald Trump, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, "America First" college students, innocuous hand gestures, cartoon frogs and anyone who dares to think or write that "It's OK to be white."

               

Now, in the wake of the "Chinese flu" pandemic, ADL is lining up with all the other federal bailout vultures clamoring for free money. This week, the group issued a statement calling on Congress to include "relief for charities" in any COVID-19 legislation. "In times of crisis," ADL self-righteously urged, "nonprofits are on the front lines, ready to respond and serve communities across the nation -- but funds are needed to continue doing so." The "relief package" pushed by ADL and several hundred other groups demands $60 billion in "emergency stimulus funding to support our work... during this time of crisis and need."

               

What a crock. The primary "front lines" ADL occupies are on the battlefields against American sovereignty and free speech. By my count, the open borders zealots of ADL have filed 17 amicus briefs in our courts supporting obstruction of Trump's immigration enforcement and national security measures. The group is particularly proud of its brief in Trump v. Hawaii, in which it "led a coalition of six Jewish organizations using our unique moral voice to passionately argue against the so-called Muslim ban, citing three historical examples when our nation later recognized that we were wrong to turn our back, including denying refuge to Jews fleeing the Nazis." The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the travel restrictions and affirmed the broad plenary powers of the executive branch over immigration.

               

On top of the $60 billion ADL wants for itself and its ideological fellow travelers (including tax-funded refugee resettlement contractors Catholic Charities, Church World Service and Lutheran Services), the group called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week to include Medicaid coverage and tax rebates for illegal immigrants in her Chinese flu rescue package. ADL's full-throated promotion of America's demographic transformation through mass migration stands in stark contrast to its unapologetic defense of Israel's restrictionist immigration policies and militarized borders.

               

But heaven forbid you point out the hypocrisy.

               

Instead of fighting defamation, the ADL traffics in false accusations of anti-Semitism under the guise of "Never Again" repeating the Holocaust. Putting American citizens over hundreds of thousands of Third World and Muslim refugees is "xenophobic," the ADL decries, and would lead to a repeat of World War II Nazism. Hanging banners from highway overpasses calling for our government to "secure borders" or "defend American workers" is a "white supremacist tactic." And pointing out the obvious nexus between open borders and disease will put you on the dreaded ADL "extremism" radar.

               

Yes, the ADL prides itself on "monitor(ing) and report(ing) on the rhetoric of anti-immigration activists and their supporters... (who) have long promoted the notion of immigrants as bringing disease, crime and environmental problems into the United States." Instead of refuting the facts, they just point, sputter and smear. In 2009, during the swine flu outbreak traced to Mexico, I wrote on my blog that "the spread of contagious diseases from around the world into the U.S." was the "result of uncontrolled immigration." ADL swooped in with a raging condemnation of me and others who "demonize Mexicans and immigrants, blaming them for the spread of the virus."

ADL's virtue-signalers went on to warn that "(a)nti-immigrant groups and some mainstream media commentators are using the outbreak to advance their prejudiced views and agendas, warning that the virus in the U.S. is the result of illegal immigration."

It's not "prejudice." It's reality. Every sovereign nation on every continent, including Israel, has now closed its borders to foreign travelers and trespassers to head off this global pandemic. If we had learned from swine flu history 11 years ago, perhaps the current outbreak would not have resulted in such a delayed and addled response mired in deadly political correctness. But the ADL is still conducting business as usual during this latest open borders contagion, blithely attacking "anti-Semitic, racist tropes" as the real public health menace. Really.

According to its most recent financial statements, ADL and the ADL Foundation raked in nearly $80 million in operating revenues in 2018, with net assets at the worth more than $92 million. Fear-mongering is big business. The idea that ADL's professional character assassins serve any vital role in assisting vulnerable American citizens in need of food, shelter or medical assistance is pure chutzpah. The notion that they should be entitled to a single penny of taxpayer subsidies from American workers being laid off in droves is an affront to decency. Crying "racism" and "diversity" to fill coffers and silence political opponents exacerbated the current catastrophe. ADL's treachery should be reviled, not rewarded.

 

Michelle Malkin

               

Rapper and actor O'Shea Jackson, commonly known as Ice Cube, supported President Donald Trump's impeachment and removal from office. Cube recently said he "can't wait to see" Trump in handcuffs. So, the black rapper, who became rich and famous by attacking the country's "racist" criminal justice system, now cheers on criminal justice -- at least when it comes to Trump.

               

But when it comes to how blacks have fared under Trump, Cube's objection to him becomes hard to fathom. Precoronavirus, blacks, under Trump, saw record lows in unemployment. Trump restored funding for historically black colleges and universities. He wants to stop unskilled illegal aliens from competing against unskilled Americans for jobs and wages. He increased funding for "opportunity zones" -- economically disadvantaged census tracts where investors receive favored capital gains tax treatment.

               

Trump signed the First Step Act that, during its first four months last year, allowed nearly 1,000 blacks to have their sentences reduced. The sentences for more than 1,000 prisoners of all races were reduced by a mean of 73 months, or 29.4%, but over 91% of the individuals whose sentences were shortened were black, and 98% were male. Trump posthumously pardoned Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion and a victim of a racially motivated prosecution. Johnson originally applied for his pardon in 1920.

               

But there's an even bigger reason that blacks, like Cube, ought to get over their Trump Derangement Syndrome: School choice.

               

Cube, unlike most black kids living in urban America, was raised by two parents who wanted him to get the best possible education. Cube, in the movie "Boyz n the Hood," played a tough ghetto kid living in the gritty Crenshaw district of Los Angeles. But in real life, Cube did not attend Crenshaw High School.

               

About Cube, biography.com notes: "When Cube reached his teens, his parents pulled him out of his local school and bussed him to a suburban high school in the San Fernando Valley. For the young Cube, who'd known little beyond the deteriorating South Central L.A., the affluence and stability that marked his new surroundings left a deep impression. He saw his hometown in a new light and wondered why the violence and drugs that were wreaking havoc on it weren't generating more attention."

               

About Cube's upbringing, rapper Krazy D said: "He grew up in a bad area, but that still didn't make him authentic. He lived in an upper-class neighborhood, nice home, parents had money; he's always had it made. Not to take anything away from him, but he's an actor, right? He was acting like a gangster, and he was good at it. You can't take anything away from it, he's an incredible talent, but just he ain't the real deal."

               

The route to the middle class requires, at minimum, a high-school education. And, as Cube's parents knew, many urban high schools face huge student discipline problems. Many students cannot read, write or compute at grade level. To ensure that her son obtain a quality education, Barack Obama's mother sent Obama to live with his maternal grandparents in Hawaii. Obama attended the finest prep school in the state. As for Michelle Obama, she chose to be bussed three hours a day to a high school out of her neighborhood rather than attend the inferior local school. Daughters Sasha and Malia attended the private K-12 University of Chicago Lab School, where the current tuition for the highest grade offered is over $37,000. When the Obamas moved into the White House, the girls attended the exclusive Sidwell Friends School, where the 2020-2021 tuition is over $46,000.

               

About school choice, Trump said: "We believe that every parent should have educational freedom for their children. ... People want school choice." His secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, advocates the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act. In an opinion piece co-authored by DeVos, she said: "Education Freedom Scholarships would annually give hundreds of thousands of students across the country opportunities to find the right fit for their education. The program would offer a dollar-for-dollar federal income tax credit for contributions to nonprofit organizations that provide scholarships for individual elementary and secondary school students. These scholarships would most benefit America's forgotten students who would finally have opportunities to pursue the best education for them in ways that rich, powerful and connected families always have."

               

"Racist" Trump wants to give the children of urban parents the same thing Barack Obama, the former Michelle Robinson and Ice Cube exercised -- a better education through school choice. So, by all means, let's bring out the handcuffs for this president who wants urban kids, like Cube, to have a better future.

                Larry Elder

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