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Trump Derangement Syndrome heading to The Hague for crimes against humanity?

Hague

You have to hand it to Democratic lawmakers who get triggered over anything. When collusion and impeachment failed domestically, why not call upon The Hague for charges of crimes against humanity? Hmmm.

Never mind that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was encouraging San Franciscans to “come to Chinatown and join” crowds at a parade in late February. Forget the Democratic NYC Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot downplaying the health warnings by telling the residents to immerse themselves in Lunar New Year festivities because stigmatization is a far bigger threat to people than a pesky virus.

Guess who is now telling people to stay at home? Yep, you guessed it – Oxiris Barbot. Even though she retweeted someone’s praise of her status as the first Latino female to occupy the post after it had all gone pear-shaped! If only one’s abilities were seen as more important than their identity…NYers would have been happier with an old white guy provided his medical advice kept the city from holding the highest infection rates.

Never mind that The Hill had criticized Trump’s travel ban on Feb 7th as unnecessary, parroting none other WHO, to then write on April 5th that he hadn’t done enough to block travel into the US. Which is it? The NY Times was happy to run a story on Feb 24th saying Trump’s travel ban was more an “emotional or political reaction.

Do Democratic House representatives hold such little faith in the domestic judiciary that Trump needs to be tried in an international court over supposed domestic crimes against innocent civilians? It won’t be long before Nancy Pelosi launches another impeachment trial over coronavirus. We encourage her to do it for the sake of revealing just whether she has any ties to America.

Rep Tavia Galonski’s tweet came shortly after Trump’s media briefing in which he once again spoke of hydroxychloroquine sulfate, a drug which he has previously reported has shown promise as a means of treating COVID-19.

How is it that the mainstream media outlets backflipped on their initial criticism on hydroxychloroquine to acknowledging its potential as reported by the medical profession to flip back to “irresponsibility” again. No country has a silver bullet and in such circumstances

Rep Galonski may have a case if the state was force-feeding strapped down patients against their will. The FDA says otherwise.

On March 28, 2020, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to allow hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate products donated to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to be distributed and used for certain hospitalized patients with COVID-19. These drugs will be distributed from the SNS to states for doctors to prescribe to adolescent and adult patients hospitalized with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible. The EUA requires that fact sheets that provide important information about using chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate in treating COVID-19 be made available to health care providers and patients, including the known risks and drug interactions. The SNS, managed by ASPR, will work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ship donated doses to states.

The FDA’s latest fact sheet on hydroxychloroquine is here.

To be honest, who needs the FDA when we can rely on the tweets from a NY Times best-selling author with a law degree, Kurt Eichmann, who proposed 11 questions the White House press corps should ask of Trump with respect to hydroxychloroquine.

1. What dosage should people take?
2. How long should people take it?
3. What studies are you relying on for dosage and time?
3. Are you saying this is prophylactic or post-diagnosis?…(while he won’t know what the last question means if he says anything close to prophylactic)
5. How does hydroxychloroquine prevent viral infection?
6. Since hydroxychloroquine is an immunosuppressant, how isn’t there a risk that it will *increase* the risk of infection?
7. What studies have you reviewed showing it has a preventative effect because I can’t find any. (they don’t exist.)
(If he says for treatment…)
8. At what stage of infection should people take the medicine?
9. What should people with lupus and other autoimmune diseases do to find their medication, since your recommendations have led to a national shortage of hydroxychloroquine?
10. Will the government subsidize lupus & rheumatoid arthritis patients, given the price-gouging happening with these drugs?
11. Are you concerned about lupus and autoimmune patients who can’t find their medication refusing to vote for you because they’re now in pain?

As with any drug, a doctor prescribes medication based on the severity of illness and a whole range of other factors – size, age, gender. Trying to get Trump to answer a series of “gotcha” questions in the hope he bungles some of them just smacks of how little integrity there is in journalism. If Trump told journalists that drinking Drano was great for fixing stomach ulcers, would they believe him? Wouldn’t readers prefer medical opinion?

Let’s deal with the facts.

Hydroxychloroquine sulphate is an FDA approved drug dating back to April 1955. It is best known under the brand name of Plaquenil. There are generic manufacturers such as Teva and Mylan are already making the drug. In the US, it is strictly prescription-only medication. It has been approved to treat malaria

The 65-year-old Plaquenil and its 25-yo generic brothers haven’t been approved for the application of COVID19, which, as we know, in and of itself is a brand new strain of pathogen. So the “drug” has been approved but the application has not.

It is worth noting that it takes on average 12 years and over US$350 million to get a new drug from the laboratory onto the pharmacy shelf. At the company level, it undergoes around three and a half years of laboratory testing, before an application is made to the U.S. FDA to begin the testing on humans. Only 1 in 1000 compounds that enter lab testing will ever make it to the human testing stage.

Which is exactly why the FDA stated in its release late last month that there isn’t enough hard data due to a lack of clinical trials. Stands to reason that a drug we’re trying to find a cure for hasn’t a cure.

The FDA Accelerated Approval pathway was introduced in 1992 so that drugs to treat life-threatening diseases could be brought to market to make a significant impact on the course of diseases. For example, many antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS entered the market via accelerated approval, and subsequently altered the treatment paradigm.

Clearly, there has been no chance to conduct clinical trials on Plaquenil on COVID19 to get official FDA approval. The side effects of Plaquenil, when taken for malaria, are well known with 65 years of data. It is a question of whether the impact of the drug causes other side effects when used to treat COVID19. Hence why the FDA is trying to ensure that people are aware of the risks if they elect to take it.

Yes, the president has a habit of saying unnecessary things. He can be unpresidential at times. We have never hidden that.

However, at what point is Trump deserved of standing trial in The Hague given the timeline of events and an insane liberal media? Perhaps President Xi of China would be a more worthy respondent in the International Criminal Court for the cover-up which led to the outbreak in the first place.

When the people you least expect praise Trump on COVID19 response

The View, hosted by Joy Behar is about as liberal as a show can get. The members of the panel are all suffering chronic Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Instead of wishing that Americans are safe, she tried to pillory California Governor Grant Newsom over his positive remarks about Trump, making out as though he was kissing the ring to get help. He replied,

Let me just acknowledge the frame of your question. We’re involved in over 68 lawsuits with the Trump administration, and so there’s no question we have had our differences of opinion on many issues but I just want to remind you that you and many others that maybe are not aware of this. We have been at this since late January. California got a head start in many respects where no one was really paying much attention. We started working with the administration directly to get these repatriated flights from mainland China into the state of California. Many states turned their back on those flights and those repatriation missions. California embraced them. We also had that “Grand Princess,” that large cruise ship where we worked very collaboratively with the federal government developed strong relationships of trust with emergency planning and how we can bring those passengers back into our diverse communities and all across the rest of the country.

As a consequence of that, our relationship began earlier than most, and so from that perspective, all I can say is from my perspective, the relationship has been strong and I’m not doing it to kiss the ring. I’m not doing it in a way, you know — I’m just being forthright with the president. He returns calls. He reaches out. He’s been proactive. We got that “Mercy” ship down here in Los Angeles. That was directly because he sent it down here. 2,000 medical units came to the state of California, these fms, these field medical stations, and that’s been very, very helpful and to the extent we’re going to need more, and I’ll let you know in a few weeks if that relationship continues.

What were we saying about media narratives that are so removed from the truth?

NYC’s know-it-all medical experts focused on social justice before social distancing

Corona

NY now leads the coronavirus tally in the US. Nationwide, more than 190,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed. 47,439 in NY City and 83,712 in NY State. It seems that NYC’s health professionals felt ignoring Trump was the right thing to do because of the need to stop stigmatising certain community members.

NYC’s Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot was out there 10 days after Trump’s China travel ban telling NYers to get out there and mingle because of the misinformation about coronavirus. She said on Feb 2 that there was “no reason not to take the subway, not to take the bus or go to your favourite restaurant and certainly not to miss the parade.

On Feb 10, Barbot tweeted her expertise as a doctor with this. It seems that NY cab drivers, usually the last people to know, didn’t trust the advice.

Cabbies

She had also retweeted there was nothing to worry about as no coronavirus infections were recorded.

No danger

Not to worry though, as infections soared, Barbot was still able to retweet more important self-congratulation on her “expertise, commitment and incredible strength during COVID-19” and being the first Latina to head NYC Health. In hindsight, most New Yorkers would have preferred not to risk contagion over prioritising identity politics.

SJWOxir

Are our attention spans so short as to ignore the advice of Barbot 5 weeks prior? Get out and mingle to “stay home!

Barbot tweeted her concern in a video address urging people to self-isolate.

stayhome

Chair of New York City Council health committee, Mark D. Levine had jumped on the social justice bandwagon around the time of Barbot’s let’s mingle comments tweeting how people staying away were missing out on the festivities.

Lebine

How quickly his tune changed.

sidewalks

At least Levine didn’t resist the temptation to bring in wealth inequality into the debate. Apparently, the virus is classist. Probably racist too.

WOke

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had been back to San Francisco on Feb 25th telling people to get together in Chinatown and “unify with our community” then slam Trump’s early denial as being “deadly. Which is it?

Pelosi

So for all of Trump’s bluster on COVID19, will the media concede that the other supposed “brains” who claim to know better have shown gross misjudgment? Not a chance. How long will it be before Pelosi and the media demands Trump be impeached over his handling of the crisis?

Anti-Asian hate crime stats to date. A COVID19 surge ahead?

As with almost everything, the mainstream media want to whip up a story that anti-Asian hate crimes could surge during the current pandemic due to Trump calling it the “Chinese virus“. Never mind that the mainstream media used the term itself until it became more fashionable to turn it into a dog whistle to attack the president. Forget context and perspective when chasing clickbait.

Hate crime in America has fallen from 9,861 incidents in 1997 to 7,120 in 2018. These are official FBI stats. We’ll have to wait till November 2021 to get the official 2020 aggregated hate crime statistics unless the FBI release an interim statement.

The Hill noted,

“The FBI is assuring the public that investigating hate crimes remains a top concern amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The agency updated its guidance on COVID-19 to note that “protecting civil rights and investigating hate crimes remain a high priority for the FBI.” The update comes amid growing warnings about hate crimes targeting Asian Americans over the coronavirus.

The bureau added in an intelligence report obtained by ABC News this week that “hate crime incidents against Asian Americans likely will surge across the United States, due to the spread of coronavirus disease … endangering Asian American communities.”

According to the FBI, anti-Asian hate crime has fallen from a peak of 527 in 1996 to 148 incidents in 2018. In 2018, Asians were 0.00071% likely to suffer a hate crime relative to the Asian American population. Technically, one could argue there was a 13% surge on the 2017 figure. Why didn’t the media drum up a story on that?

After the 9/11 terrorist attack, anti-Islamic hate crimes surged from a trough of 22 before the incident to 481 in 2002. At last count, there were 188 hate crimes against the Muslim community in 2018, or 0.0076% of the representative population in America, a 31% fall on 2017.

Anti-Native American hate crimes trended at a very low level out to 2010. Since then they’ve surged from a low of 44 cases to 154 under Obama and at last count under Trump sit at 194 in 2018.

Anti Hispanic hate crime has fallen from a peak of 636 in 1997 to a trough of 299 in 2015 to 485 at last count.

Anti-Semitic hate crimes remain the highest among all religions in America. They have drifted down to a low of 609 in 2014 from the peak of 1,182 in 1996 but in 2018 saw a resurgence to 838 or 0.0147% of the representative population.

As a % of the black population, Anti-Black hate crimes have fallen from 0.0131% to 0.0046% of their racial background. In 2018 hate crimes fell 4% on 2017 to 1,943 incidents. In 1996 this figure was 4,469.

Why didn’t the media run the narrative of Zika or Ebola causing a surge in anti-African American crimes given those viruses were named after places in Africa? Surely any old excuse will do for foaming at the mouth racists.

As a % of the total population, anti-white hate crimes have slid from 0.00052% in 1996 to 0.00024% in 2018, up from 0.00016% in 2011. The media would never run a narrative that hate crimes against whites have jumped since 51% since 2011.

However, what would a surge in anti-Asian hate crimes entail in the media’s mind? With the law of small numbers, any surge won’t require much in absolute terms.

As of 2018, statistically one was 8x more likely to suffer an anti-LGBT attack than an anti-Asian hate crime in America.

In a world where smartphones are everywhere (aka amateur news reporters), it is surprising that despite this, the mainstream media hasn’t unearthed one grainy picture of a racist wailing at Asians over COVID19. Could it be the media might have to stage a Jussie Smollett hoax to drum up the narrative?

Marvel’s New Warriors – Safespace and Snowflake

SandS

Just when we thought we had heard it all in the world of identity politics, Marvel has decided to introduce five new (social justice) warriors – including Snowflake and Safespace. Marvel notes that,

“Psychic Twins. “All twins are psychic, but we’re psychic-er.” Snowflake, a cryokinetic, can materialize snowflake-shaped shuriken projectiles for throwing. Safespace can materialize pink forcefields, but he can’t inhabit them himself, the reflex only works if he’s protecting others. They’re hyper-aware of modern culture and optics, and they see their Super Heroics as “a post-ironic meditation on using violence to combat bullying.” They’re probably streaming this.

“Snowflake and Safespace are the twins,” the writer says, “and their names are very similar to Screentime; it’s this idea that these are terms that get thrown around on the internet that they don’t see as derogatory. [They] take those words and kind of wear them as badges of honour.”

“Safespace is a big, burly, sort of stereotypical jock. He can create forcefields, but he can only trigger them if he’s protecting somebody else. Snowflake is non-binary and goes by they/them, and has the power to generate individual crystalized snowflake-shaped shurikens. The connotations of the word ‘snowflake’ in our culture right now are something fragile, and this is a character who is turning it into something sharp.

“Snowflake is the person who has the more offensive power, and Safespace is the person who has the more defensive power. The idea is that they would mirror each other and complement each other.”

Not to worry, to help our anxious teens, Marvel has also introduced:

Screentime – a Meme-Obsessed super teen whose brain became connected to the internet after becoming exposed to his grandfather’s “experimental internet gas.” Now he can see augmented reality and real-time maps, and can instantly Google any fact.

Trailblazer – a group home and foster kid who is volunteering at a senior centre. Her “magic backpack” is actually a pocket dimension with seemingly infinite space, from which she can pull out useful or random objects—it’s not always under her control. She claims to get her power from god, but “not the god you’re thinking of.”

B Negative – is the goth kid. When he was a baby he got a rogue lifesaving blood transfusion. He has a bad attitude.

Will this be the Gillette moment for Marvel? Are there enough triggered millennials who will flock to the new comic series? Would Disney invest in a movie which moved from classics such as The Incredible Hulk to a movie based on Snowflake and Safespace? We wrote about the box office failures of movies that went woke here.

Disney bought Marvel in 2009 for $4 billion. Since then it has generated $18bn in Marvel comic-based movies. They made a bundle out of Pixar too.

WHO’s official 2017 pandemic playbook says it all

WHOTWO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has bungled its response during the coronavirus crisis. Politics always seems to trump principle. This cartoon is particularly blunt.

In mid-January, WHO happily parroted Chinese propaganda which said, “preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China.” This, instead of independent verification by WHO.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised China’s “transparency” despite whistleblower doctors being silenced by the propaganda machine. Several have sadly ended up dying.

Ghebreyesus even took potshots at governments looking to close borders to quarantine themselves on the basis of “unnecessarily interfering with international travel and trade” and “increasing fear and stigma.”

The interesting thing is that Director-General was reading straight from WHO’s very own 2017 playbook, ‘Pandemic Influenza Risk Management [PIRM]- A WHO guide to inform and harmonize national and international pandemic preparedness and response‘.

On travel, the report noted,

The International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) seeks to limit the public health measures taken in response to disease spread to those “that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks, and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.” This aligned with China’s rhetoric.

On member state cooperation,

Under the Framework, Member States are responsible for (1) ensuring the timely sharing of influenza viruses with human pandemic potential with Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS); (2) contributing to the pandemic influenza benefit-sharing system, including by working with relevant public and private institutions, organizations and entities so they make appropriate contributions to this system; and (3) continuing to support GISRS.” p.16

China covered up the extent of the problem by destroying lab samples taken in December causing the unexplained viral infections in Hubei province. Imagine what might have happened if China had been open and honest at the offset? How lucky to have a WHO that pushed China’s narrative that the spread of COVID-19 was slow?

Indeed it is the chief of WHO that calls the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and for declaring a pandemic. The PIRM report stated,

The responsibility of determining a PHEIC lies with the WHO Director-General under Article 12 of the IHR (2005). The determination of a PHEIC leads to the communication of temporary recommendations…During the period of spread of human influenza caused by a new subtype, based on risk assessment and appropriate to the situation, the WHO Director-General may make a declaration of a pandemic.”  p.14

Why did it take till March 10 for the Director-General to declare a pandemic? 64 days after the start. 118,000 people had caught COVID-19 by then. Now the number stands at 351,000.

At least there is a get out of jail free clause in WHO’s 2017 PIRM report,

Ethics do not provide a prescribed set of policies; rather, ethical considerations will be shaped by the local context and cultural values.” p.18

We guess it must be ok in WHO’s mind that China’s ethics are shaped by the culture of the Communist Party.

As to the question of the effectiveness of social distancing? WHO concluded with this vague paragraph,

Nevertheless, measures that have been associated with containment such as social distancing, hand/respiratory hygiene and judicious use of antiviral drugs may be effective in mitigating the impact of outbreaks of a new influenza subtype in individual countries. These measures are most likely to be successful and are better supported by data demonstrating effectiveness when implemented in specific local (smaller scale) circumstances, e.g. households and closed or semi-closed institutions. Although there is no evidence of any wider population-level containment effect, these measures may reduce the spread and overall impact of the pandemic and could be considered as part of a country’s national preparedness plan, depending on available resources.” p.62

Has there been an overreaction on social distancing which is likely to produce catastrophic economic side effects? If hygiene and antiviral drugs are effective, does social distancing have any impact at all? If not, aren’t governments submitting companies and employees to unnecessary hardship?

Assuming one self-isolates for 14 days, if one catches COVID-19 the first day out of quarantine was there any point to the first 14?

In Japan, peak hour trains to work remain as crowded as normal yet the country isn’t registering a severe outbreak of the disease. Close quarter drinking parties below the cherry blossoms are in full swing, yet no real signs of mass contagion. Japanese are meticulous with hygiene. Is it a factor? Japan has 1,046 cases and 44 deaths so far.

South Korea’s success would seemingly be driven by the sheer number of tests conducted on its population (270,000) which has made controlling out who needs to be isolated easier, as opposed to social distancing and hoping for the best. South Korea has tested 5,200 people per million population vs America at 74, according to the Centre for Disease Control. We don’t profess to hold any expertise in virus containment, but the data seems to bear out highly inconsistent results.

Yet it doesn’t escape the immutable fact that UN bodies, in general, have terrible track records. Why do so many countries want to entrust sovereign laws to UN groups that can’t keep their own houses in order?

In the last audited set of accounts (Dec 2018), WHO operates on a $2.9bn budget of which $931.22 million is paid in salaries across 8,153 staff or an average of $118,000 each. Although in the FY2018 financial year, expenditures totalled $2.5 billion, leaving a $442 million surplus after financial revenue. 

WHO spent $191.7 million on travel, $178 million on operating expenses and $177 million on medical supplies and materials. Medical supplies and materials are mainly purchased and distributed by WHO including vaccines, medicines, medical supplies, hospital running costs, fuel, as well as related shipping costs.

Contracted services look an interesting line item at $781 million. Medical research activities and security expenses are also included in contractual services. 

Despite Ebola in 2014, MERS in 2012, H1N1 Swine Flu in 2009 and SARS in 2002 it is hard to ignore the fact that with over 8,150 well-paid staff members WHO can’t construct a better policy prescription in limiting the spread other than provide sketchy anecdotal data on what methods seemed effective in containing the spread? Perhaps China can loan some propaganda ministry staff to better shape the responses. That’s right, they already have.

Let’s not forget that Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus proposed former Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe as a WHO ambassador in 2017. It is not hard to see where the lack of judgment comes from.

Trebling down on failed central bank policy. RBA will copy and start QE soon

So the US Fed has slashed rates 1% just now to 0-0.25%. $700bn in asset purchases has been allowed. Jolts like this have far more short term optical impact than mere drip feed cuts. However the two takeaways are:

1) economic impacts are unsurprisingly crippling the economy, hence the need to cut so hard. While the size of the cut is shock and awe, markets can still panic as to why such bold action was necessary. $700bn in asset purchases will try to contain that. Forget Fed tapering, QE is on its way. This is but the beginning of asset purchases. Congress needs to approve the purchase of equities but that may well come. Has worked wonders for the Bank of Japan – not.

2) cutting interest rates don’t necessarily end up doing much because people/companies invest because they see a cycle and the one ahead looks highly uncertain. So refinancing existing debt or easing the monthly burden will not lead to a powered up plan to consume especially if people are being told to self isolate.

There is little option (because of the poor policies to date) left but to double down again like a drunk at a casino table. Gold is one of the few safe havens left. Silver (poor man’s gold) will play catch up. We own both.

And for those that want to lash out at the failures of capitalism for its evils, note this is not anything remotely representing it. When the government and monetary authorities are blatantly interfering and preventing free and open trade to set market clearing prices, that is what creates the distortions and misallocation of capital that leads to economic disasters.

Take advantage of any pops to reduce exposures. We ain’t seen nothing yet. GFC2 will make the crash of 1929 look like a picnic. It won’t be long before the RBA starts to follow suit with zero rates and the journey of QE.