News Domestic and International
On Friday evening, authorities confirmed that two people – a woman from Santa Clara County, California, and a patient from Washington County, Oregon – had contracted coronavirus from unknown sources within the community.
According to The Washington Post, the woman from Santa Clara County, in Northern California, is 65-years-old and has not recently traveled outside the country. The patient tested positive for coronavirus on Friday, according to “people familiar with the case.”
The second case, which has occurred in an unknown individual from Washington County, Oregon, was confirmed by state health authorities, reports the news agency. The patient, who is an adult and currently at Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro, Oregon, didn’t have contact with other people known to have the coronavirus, and had not recently traveled outside the country.
The two cases confirmed Friday night represent the second and third community spread cases that have been found in the United States. The first case, a person from Solano County, California, was the first confirmed instance of community-spread coronavirus in the United States, and the patient is currently at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California.
The two California cases have occurred within 100 miles of Travis Air Force Base in Northern California, where some of the 400 U.S. citizens aboard the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship were for quarantine. As of Thursday evening, six passengers from the cruise ship out of the 3,711 people on board have died, including five Japanese citizens and a British citizen, reports Forbes.
According to Business Insider, the Chinese Center for Disease Control has indicated that the virus has a mortality rate of 0.2% for people between the ages of 10-39, 0.4% for people between the ages of 40-49, and 1.3% for people between 50-59.
According to the CDC, reports indicate that young children “generally” present mild symptoms if they do contract the virus. According to Business Insider, about 80% of people who contract coronavirus only exhibit mild symptoms.
However, the mortality rate among individuals older than 60 is higher, but could be due to factors such as pre-existing medical conditions, particularly conditions related to smoking. The news agency reports that people between the ages of 60-69 have a mortality rate of 3.6%, people between 70-79 have a mortality rate of 8%, and people over the age of 80 have a mortality rate of 14.8%.
Nancy Messonier, director of the CDC and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, stated earlier this week that the spread of the coronavirus was inevitable, but the degree to which people will be infected is still an open question.
“It’s not a question of if but rather a question of when and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” said Messonier, reports the American Hospital Association.
Vice President Mike Pence, who has been appointed to lead the coronavirus task force, has praised the Trump administration’s response to the outbreak, saying that “we’re all going to come together as Americans and deal with this issue and put the health and safety of the American people first,” reports NBC News.
According to The Washington Post, Governor Gavin Newsom indicated Thursday that California has strong procedures for identifying people who have come in contact with coronavirus patients, saying “the protocols have been perfected” through previous public health outbreaks.
The symptoms of coronavirus include coughing, fever, and shortness of breath.
The number of people that have been killed from the coronavirus inside the Islamic Republic of Iran has reportedly exploded as an Iranian member of parliament admitted on Friday that the nation was lying to the world about the “horrific numbers” of deaths the country has suffered.
The BBC reported:
At least 210 people in Iran have died as a result of the new coronavirus disease, sources in the country’s health system have told BBC Persian.
Most of the victims are from the capital, Tehran, and the city of Qom, where cases of Covid-19 first emerged.
Iran’s Islamic government, which is notoriously dishonest, insisted that the BBC was lying and claimed that only 388 people had been infected and only 34 had died.
New York Times reporter Farnaz Fassihi reported on Friday: “Real infected numbers about 10,000 to 15,000, says head of health committee of Tehran city council.”
#Iran coronavirus Friday:
Tolls climbs 34 dead & 388 infected.
Likely spread to 22 provinces.
Peak will come next weeks as tests kits are more available, health minister.
Real infected numbers about 10,000 to 15,000, says head of health committee of Tehran city council.
— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) February 28, 2020
The BBC’s numbers were based on the “news service’s own survey of Iranian hospitals.”
“I say this explicitly, the statistics presented so far are not true,” MP Gholamali Jafarzadeh Imenabadi reportedly said. “I have statistics about the number of deaths due to coronavirus from three different cemeteries in Rasht and I have to say that the numbers are much higher than what is being said. It is not as if we can hide the cemeteries.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that the administration has made repeated offers to help Iran deal with the outbreak, but have been rejected.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi falsely accused the U.S. of playing a “political-psychological game” on Iran.
President Trump held a White House roundtable meeting on Thursday to discuss the positive steps the administration has taken toward helping members of the black community.
During the meeting, Jack Brewer, a professor at the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University and former NFL player, told Trump that the president had inspired him to abandon the Democratic Party.
“I ran the NFL players for Obama, I’ve been a Democrat all my life … and you changed me, you changed me, you touched me, and you made my work go to another level, you inspire me,” said Brewer. Later in the meeting, Brewer dropped this line: “Mr. President, I don’t mean to interrupt, but I’ve got to say this because it’s Black History Month: Man, you the first black president.”
After the remark, the room burst into applause. The remark echoed similar comments made earlier in the meeting, when two different members of the roundtable called Trump the best president since Abraham Lincoln.
According to RealClearPolitics, during an episode of “CNN Tonight” with Don Lemon, commentator Keith Boykin said the event was unserious, and condemned the president’s outreach to the black community.
“He’s been president for almost four years now, and he’s never made a single visit to a black community to attend a black event,” said Boykin. “For g*ds sake, he hasn’t even gone to the black community in Washington D.C., he hasn’t gone to the black community in New York, in Harlem, or in Brooklyn where he lived.”
“The idea that anybody would sit in the room with Donald Trump and call him the first black president, after we had Barack Obama as the president of the United States, shows just what kind of Uncle Toms were sitting in that room in the first place,” Boykin told Lemon, who audibly cringed. “That’s ridiculous. It’s an outrage that anyone would sit in that room and say something like that.”
During the meeting, Trump offered a story about helping students who attend historically black colleges and universities, a story he said that “the press doesn’t write about.”
“Every year, a group of wonderful people from the Black colleges and universities, would come up to my office – a lot of people, forty, thirty-five, fifty, [during] one year – and after the second year I said, ‘How come you keep coming back,’” asked Trump.
“One of the gentlemen, who is a great guy from one of the schools, good school, very good school, he said ‘we come back because we have to,’” recalled Trump. “‘They want us to come back every single year, they want us to beg.’ He used that word.”
Last year, Trump signed a bill authorizing over $250 million for minority-serving colleges and universities, including $85 million for historically black colleges, reports the Associated Press.
“When I took office, I promised to fight for HBCUs, and my administration continues to deliver,” Trump said at the time. “A few months ago, funding for HBCUs was in jeopardy, but the White House and Congress came together and reached a historic agreement.”
When President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that Vice President Mike Pence would be assisting in overseeing the response to the Coronavirus, far-left Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) rifled off tweets ridiculing Pence for “literally” not believing “in science.”
“Mike Pence literally does not believe in science,” hurled Ocasio-Cortez via Twitter. “It is utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response as the world sits on the cusp of a pandemic.”
“This decision could cost people their lives,” fear-mongered AOC. “Pence’s past decisions already have.”
The congresswomen blamed an HIV outbreak in Indiana on the VP and blasted: “He is not a medical doctor. He is not a health expert. He is not qualified nor positioned in any way to protect our public health.”
As governor, Pence’s science denial contributed to one of the worst HIV outbreaks in Indiana’s history.
He is not a medical doctor. He is not a health expert. He is not qualified nor positioned in any way to protect our public health.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 27, 2020
Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz took issue with AOC’s “anti-science” smear, particularly over the elected Democrat’s views on things like sex, gender, and life. For example, AOC supports policies which suggest biological men who identify as women are female and living unborn humans are not living unborn humans.
“As you are speaking as the oracle of science, tell us, what exactly is a Y chromosome?” blasted the senator.
With regard to abortion, Cruz added: “And at what age of gestation does science tell us that an unborn child feels physical pain?”
2/x And at what age of gestation does science tell us that an unborn child feels physical pain?
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 27, 2020
The Republican then took a shot at AOC for continuously blasting the Trump administration with regard to her climate change hysterics: “And, of the 195 countries on planet Earth, which country produced the greatest total reduction in CO2 emissions in 2019?”
3/x And, of the 195 countries on planet Earth, which country produced the greatest total reduction in CO2 emissions in 2019?
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 27, 2020
AOC responded to Cruz on Friday morning, though she side-stepped the issues of abortion and transgenderism highlighted by the senator, instead boasting of her credentials.
“Sen. Cruz, while I understand you judge people’s intelligence by the lowest income they’ve had, I hold awards from MIT Lincoln Lab &others for accomplishments in microbiology,” she responded. “Secondly, I’m surprised you’re asking about chromosomes given that you don’t even believe in evolution.”
Ocasio-Cortez signed off:
Sincerely, an Intel global finalist, a fmr multi-year intern for Sen. Kennedy, a cum laude dual major in Economics & International Relations, a fmr Educational Director for national organization, Who to you is “just a bartender,” And also your colleague.
an Intel global finalist,
a fmr multi-year intern for Sen. Kennedy,
a cum laude dual major in Economics & International Relations,
a fmr Educational Director for national organization,
Who to you is “just a bartender,”
And also your colleague.https://t.co/9ktAgXFXDE
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 28, 2020
“We see evolution every day: the Dem party is rapidly evolving into an angry, anti-science socialist ideology,” Cruz snarked in response. “You insulted Pence & I asked you 3 real Qs re science. You ignored all 3 & responded w/ your resume & ad hominem attacks. Instead of insults, address the substance.”
We see evolution every day: the Dem party is rapidly evolving into an angry, anti-science socialist ideology. You insulted Pence & I asked you 3 real Qs re science. You ignored all 3 & responded w/ your resume & ad hominem attacks. Instead of insults, address the substance. https://t.co/QhyqRJOrii
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 28, 2020
Attempting to get a real answer from the representative, Cruz again listed his questions:
To reprise, science Q1 was “tell us, what exactly is a Y chromosome?”
Science Q2 was “at what age of gestation does science tell us that an unborn child feels physical pain?”
And Science Q3 was “of the 195 countries on planet Earth, which country produced the greatest total reduction in CO2 emissions in 2019?”
3/x Science Q2 was “at what age of gestation does science tell us that an unborn child feels physical pain?”
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 28, 2020
4/x And Science Q3 was “of the 195 countries on planet Earth, which country produced the greatest total reduction in CO2 emissions in 2019?”
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 28, 2020
Closing the thread, Cruz said he awaited AOC’s “engagement on the actual substance, as a colleague as you noted, hopefully without the insults.”
“Btw, congrats on the science fair,” the senator ended the exchange, quote-tweeting AOC’s list of her own accomplishments.
Btw, congrats on the science fair. https://t.co/F1hDE4fKkG
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 28, 2020
Warren-Created Agency That Targets Businesses, Accountable Only To Itself, Challenged in Supreme Court
Next week, the Supreme Court will start to hear oral arguments about a massive government agency (an idea originally proposed by Elizabeth Warren that now has roughly 1,500 employees) which can affect thousands of businesses across the country without being accountable to anyone but itself.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in its present form escapes the separation of powers enumerated in the Constitution and holds power to destroy businesses at will. As Oliver Dunford of the Pacific Legal Foundation wrote last October in The Hill:
The CFPB may prescribe rules and regulations under various consumer-protection laws; enforce conduct that it may define as ‘unfair, deceptive or abusive’; and adjudicate its own enforcement actions and impose legal and equitable remedies. Right away, you’ll notice by that brief description that the CFPB captures the roles and responsibilities of all three branches of government under one roof. So much for separation of powers.
So let’s say your company is accused of violating a CFPB rule. The CFPB can sue you in court or — at its sole discretion — subject you to an administrative-enforcement hearing, administered by the CFPB. If you don’t like the CFPB’s in-house decision, you can appeal — to the CFPB’s director. And only after the director’s decision could you seek review in a court of law.
But the deck is stacked even then, because courts are required to defer to the CFPB’s factual findings and legal conclusions. The ultimate outcome of this concentration of discretionary power, together with its significant independence of the three traditional branches of government, is arbitrary and abusive government.
The Pacific Legal Foundation asked in a friend-of-the-court brief in the case of Seila Law v. CFPB, “Whether the vesting of legislative, executive, and judicial powers in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an independent agency led by a single director who cannot be removed except for cause, violates the separation of powers.”
The brief continued, “This case presents the Court with a unique and dangerous concentration of the federal government’s legislative, executive, and judicial powers in a single, ‘independent’agency; an agency headed by a lone ‘Director’empowered with vast executive discretion but protected from removal except for cause; an agency whose actions enjoy an unprecedented freedom from oversight by the government’s constitutionally vested powers. The combination of authority, discretion, and impunity in this independent power all but guarantees arbitrary governance. This is, therefore, ‘a case about executive power and individual liberty.’”
The brief added, “Created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) and its lone Director were given vast powers—legislative, executive, and judicial—along with substantial protections against interference by the three constitutional powers of government. As then-Judge Kavanaugh noted, with the exception of the President, the CFPB Director ‘enjoys more unilateral authority than any other official in any of the three branches of the U.S. Government.’”
The Bureau was given vast discretion to determine how it may enact these generally applicable rules, and it is not limited to the formal rulemaking process. The CFPB is authorized to “establish the general policies of the [CFPB] with respect to all executive and administrative functions,” including “implementing the Federal consumer financial laws through rules, orders, guidance, interpretations, statements of policy, examinations, and enforcement actions.” Perhaps most troubling, this power allows the CFPB to use administrative-enforcement actions (which, as noted below, are subject to deferential judicial review), not only to enforce existing rules, but also to establish new policies—that is, to punish conduct that was, before an enforcement action, perfectly legal.
The CFPB is also largely free of congressional oversight. Most significantly, the CFPB’s budget does not go through Office of Management and Budget review, and it is not submitted to Congress for annual appropriations subject to the relative priorities of the President and Congress. Instead, the CFPB Director—alone— sets the agency’s budget; and its funds come not from Congress (pursuant to an appropriations bill signed into law by the President), but from the Federal Reserve, which “shall transfer” to the CFPB funds in “the amount [up to 12 percent of the Federal Reserve’s operating budget] determined by the [CFPB] Director to be reasonably necessary” to administer the consumer-protection laws. These funding decisions are effectively unreviewable.
The Invisible Man?” More like “The Woman Trapped in The Invisible Man’s Mansion.”
Yes, the latest take on the classic monster is oh, so 21st century in its gender swap pitch.
We’re following the woman in the “Man’s” sick orbit, not the title character himself.
The film’s big, bold metaphor doesn’t weigh down the story. Nor does writer/director Leigh Whannell of “Saw” fame stop to lecture us about toxic masculinity or the patriarchy. There’s no time for that, even though the movie is two full hours long. Instead, the focus is on tension, the unrelenting kind.
It’s ’bout time.
The film opens with a desperate Cecilia Kass (Elizabeth Moss) leaving the bed, and life, of her beau Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). It’s a spellbinding sequence, the kind teeming with screenwriter tics and traps.
We don’t care.
The escape thrusts us directly into Cecilia’s plight. Her boyfriend is a monster, and not the supernatural sort. Her choices are simple. Escape … or die inside.
Except a few days later it’s Adrian who ends up dead. Cecilia looks to restart her shattered life with the help of her sister (Harriet Dyer) and an old friend (Aldis Hodge). Only Cecilia isn’t quite sure Adrian’s actually gone.
He didn’t seem the suicidal type, for starters. Plus, something or someone is sneaking around her temporary home. Could Adrian have gained the power of invisibility in order to get his revenge? Yeah, she makes that leap pretty quickly, one of a dizzying amount of story fragments you’ll mull over later.
Well, Whannell’s film is so tightly constructed, so flooded with fear, that audiences are left hoping for a break of some kind, if only to exhale.
It never really arrives.
The biggest fear may be waiting for the inevitable woke wave given Hollywood’s virtue signaling obsession. The closest we get is a male boss complimenting Cecilia’s looks during a job interview. It’s a bit creepy, but the story quickly moves on.
Whannell is a horror veteran with little patience for lectures. We wish his peers felt the same.
Moss is excellent here, clinging to a semblance of sanity despite Cecilia’s ramblings. No one believes her, and why should they? The character could have gone the Full Nic Cage. Instead, Moss grounds the material with subtle, expert shadings.
You can read plenty into “The Invisible Man’s” lived-in script, like how manipulative men keep their women in check through their wealth and mental games.
That paves the way for Cecilia slowly, painfully, regaining her identity, her purpose.
The secondary characters add heft to the proceedings, as does a script which avoids wince-inducing moments. Hodge is particularly strong as an old pal willing to help Cecilia slowly re-enter society. Storm Reid adds more texture as a rising artist, but she isn’t on screen enough to make a definitive impact.
The film’s score and sound effects demand a large, booming theater for maximum goosebumps. It’s half the fun realizing how those audio cues keep us engaged, even in scenes where nothing moves on screen.
The film occasionally resembles the “Paranormal Activity” franchise, where we stare at the screen for any sign of movement.
No score can save us from the final, fatal scene. The filmmaker’s hands are suddenly oh, so visible, pulling strings in ways that are clunky and impure. Had the movie taken another path, any other path, it could have been one of the year’s standout shockers.
As is, “The Invisible Man” reinvents a classic creature via well earned social awareness and old-fashioned thrills.
HiT or Miss: “The Invisible Man” delivers slick, supreme suspense up until its lackluster ending.
A version of this article was also published on HollywoodInToto.com.
On Sunday, Senator Bernie Sanders, who has been boasting recently that he is “proud to be Jewish” despite his constant association with virulent Israel-haters such as Rep. Ilhan Omar and Linda Sarsour, will skip the AIPAC conference, which is devoted to the support of the state of Israel, and instead hold a rally in Los Angeles, joined by another Israel-hater, Public Enemy’s Chuck D.
When we fight, we win. Donate any amount to get this new Fight The Power poster to commemorate our upcoming pre-Super Tuesday rally with Public Enemy Radio on Sunday. https://t.co/EhYK4ztXyq
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 28, 2020
This Sunday, Bernie is having a rally in my city and he's brining Public Enemy to perform.
Young Sanders voters are probably unaware but Public Enemy are pro Nation of Islam & Farrakhan, and have caused quiet a stir with the Jewish community over controversial lyrics.
— Claire Voltaire (@Claire_Voltaire) February 28, 2020
Out of all people available to perform, the Sanders campaign went with a group that praised Farrakhan. It's as if he's trying to tell us something. Just not sure what it is.https://t.co/TQJqqdaCYr
— Claire Voltaire (@Claire_Voltaire) February 28, 2020
"There's nothin more antisemitic than Zionism". pic.twitter.com/pajKZ6Sstv
— Claire Voltaire (@Claire_Voltaire) February 28, 2020
Comparing Israelis to Nazis. pic.twitter.com/z1UtZBmSPr
— Claire Voltaire (@Claire_Voltaire) February 28, 2020
"Those shifty Zionists". pic.twitter.com/avca2SFhAq
— Claire Voltaire (@Claire_Voltaire) February 28, 2020
— Claire Voltaire (@Claire_Voltaire) February 28, 2020
Last Sunday, as The Daily Wire reported, Sanders attacked the AIPAC conference, stating, “The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people. I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. For that reason I will not attend their conference.”
AIPAC fired back:
Senator Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment. In fact, many of his own Senate and House Democratic colleagues and leaders speak from our platform to the over 18,000 Americans from widely diverse backgrounds – Democrats, Republicans, Jews, Christians, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, progressives, Veterans, students, members of the LGBTQ+ community – who participate in the conference to proclaim their support for the U.S.-Israel relationship.
By engaging in such an odious attack on this mainstream, bipartisan American political event, Senator Sanders is insulting his very own colleagues and the millions of Americans who stand with Israel. Truly shameful.
Sanders bitter hatred of Israel goes back years; in 2016, when he was given an opportunity to add members of his choice to the platform committee; he chose Cornel West. Only a day after Palestinian terrorists disguised as Orthodox Jews murdered four Israelis, West referred to Israeli “occupation,” saying, “The real question is going to be a commitment to security for precious Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel can never be predicated on an occupation of precious Palestinians. If we’re concerned about security it seems to me, we’re going to have to talk seriously about occupation. … Occupation is real, it’s concrete.”
In October, speaking at the national conference of the notoriously anti-Israel J Street organization, and interviewed by former Obama officials Ben Rhodes and Tommy Vietor, both of whom supported the Iran nuclear deal that represented an existential threat to Israel, Sanders curried favor by suggesting that Israel did not respect human rights, snapping, “I would use the leverage of $3.8 billion. It is a lot of money, and we cannot give it carte blanche to the Israeli government, or for that matter to any government at all. We have a right to demand respect for human rights and democracy.” He threatened, “My solution is, to Israel, if you want military aid you’re going to have to fundamentally change your relationship to the people of Gaza. I would say that some of the $3.8 billion should go right now to humanitarian aid in Gaza.”
Mosaic Magazine noted last April:
When Sanders wanted to win the Democratic nomination in 2016, he claimed that Israel had killed over 10,000 innocent Palestinians, launched indiscriminate attacks in the Gaza Strip, and shelled hospitals in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. The senator not only inflated the numbers by several orders of magnitude, he even outdid the Hamas spokespersons in creating a false narrative that the IDF was intentionally attacking the civilian population.
A Democratic congressman’s appearance on MSNBC on Friday resulted in an on-air threat of physical violence against presidential first son Donald Trump Jr. over his comments about the Democrats and coronavirus.
The threat by the congressman came in response to Trump Jr. saying earlier Friday that Democrats are “seemingly hop[ing]” that the coronavirus “kills million” in the U.S. to end his father’s “streak of winning.”
On “Fox & Friends” Friday morning, co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Don Jr. if he was “surprised” by how Democrats have been handling the epidemic. “And so now we’re getting to sprint towards November … to see if your dad can get four more years,” said Kilmeade. “Are you surprised the way they’ve been handling the coronavirus situation, meaning Democrats?”
“Not at all,” said Don Jr. “…Like you said, we’ve seen this play out for four years. Anything that they can use to try to hurt Trump, they will. Anything he does in a positive sense, like you heard from the reporter that was just suspended from ABC, they will not give him credit for. The playbook is old at this point.”
Don Jr. then offered the comment that would quickly result in a fiery segment on another cable news network. “But for them to try to take a pandemic and seemingly hope that it comes here, and kills millions of people so that they could end Donald Trump’s streak of winning, is a new level of sickness,” he said. “You know, I don’t know if this is coronavirus or Trump derangement syndrome, but these people are infected badly.”
As reported by Mediaite, California Democratic Rep. John Garamendi appeared on MSNBC afterward to discuss the coronavirus situation and what he said was the Center Disease Control’s failure to adequately respond to it. Garamendi, as noted by MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson, was “angry” and “visibly emotional” about the CDC’s handling of the situation.
After discussing the CDC’s response, Jackson highlighted Don Jr.’s comment and asked for Garamendi’s reaction.
“He shouldn’t be near me when he says that,” Garamendi asserted tensely. “There would be a serious altercation.”
“That is just totally outrageous. That is just totally outrageous,” he said. “I can assure you that there’s not a Democrat or a Republican in Congress that wants anybody to be sick. Don Jr. better not get any place close to me. It would not be a healthy situation.” (Watch the moment here.)
While President Trump hasn’t gone as far as his eldest son with his criticism of the Democrats’ response, he has repeatedly accused them of working — in conjunction with left-wing outlets, like MSNBC — to benefit politically from the crisis.
“Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & [CNN] are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “Likewise their incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action. USA in great shape!”
“So, the Coronavirus, which started in China and spread to various countries throughout the world, but very slowly in the U.S. because President Trump closed our border, and ended flights, VERY EARLY, is now being blamed, by the Do Nothing Democrats, to be the fault of ‘Trump’,” the president wrote Thursday.
“The Do Nothing Democrats were busy wasting time on the Immigration Hoax, & anything else they could do to make the Republican Party look bad, while I was busy calling early BORDER & FLIGHT closings, putting us way ahead in our battle with Coronavirus,” Trump added in a follow-up post. “Dems called it VERY wrong!”
I will be having a News Conference at the White House, on this subject, today at 6:00 P.M. CDC representatives, and others, will be there. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 26, 2020
At a press conference on the coronavirus situation Wednesday afternoon, Trump assured Americans that his administration is on top of the issue.
“I have just received another briefing from a great group of talented people on the virus that is going around to various parts of the world,” said the president. “We have, through some very good early decisions — decisions that were actually ridiculed at the beginning — we closed up our borders to flights coming in from certain areas, areas that were hit by the coronavirus and hit pretty hard. And we did it very early … and it turned out to be a very good thing.”
“And the number one priority from our standpoint is the health and safety of the American people,” he continued. “And that’s the way I viewed it when I made that decision. Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low. We have the greatest experts in the world — really, in the world, right here — people that are called upon by other countries when things like this happen. We’re ready to adapt and we’re ready to do whatever we have to as the disease spreads, if it spreads.”
AOC Pounds Table, Cites Her ‘Faith’ To Rail Against Conservative Christians’ ‘Bigotry And Discrimination’
During a House Oversight Committee hearing held Thursday on “The Administration’s Religious Liberty Assault on LGBTQ Rights,” far-left Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) cited her own personal faith to attack conservative Christians who advocate for religious liberty, comparing them to slave owners and white supremacists and claiming that they lean on the First Amendment only to advance “bigotry and discrimination.”
“I am experiencing this hearing, and I’m struggling whether I respond or launch into this question as a legislator or from the perspective of a woman of faith,” stated the radical congresswoman.
“It’s very difficult to sit here and listen to arguments in the long history of this country of using scripture and weaponizing and abusing scripture to justify bigotry,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “White supremacists have done it, those who justified slavery did it, those who fought against integration did it, and we’re seeing it today.”
The far-left congresswoman suggested Christ would be against religious liberty; He would be “maligned as a radical and rejected from these doors,” she claimed.
“And sometimes, especially in this body, I feel as though if Christ himself walked through these doors and said what he said thousands of years ago, that we should love our neighbor and our enemy, that we should welcome the stranger, fight for the least of us, that it is easier for a rich man — it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into a kingdom of heaven, he would be maligned as a radical and rejected from these doors,” the representative said.
“And I know, and it is part of my faith, that all people are holy, and all people are sacred, unconditionally,” she continued. “And that is what makes faith sometimes, that is what what prompts us to transform.”
“It’s not about that it is up to us to love parts of people,” the pro-abortion congresswoman said. “We love all people.”
“There is nothing holy about turning someone away from a hospital,” AOC carried on, now pounding her hands against the table. “There’s nothing holy about about rejecting a child from a family. There’s nothing holy about writing discrimination into the law.”
“And I am tired of communities of being of faith being weaponized and being mischaracterized because the only time religious freedom is invoked is in the name of bigotry and discrimination,” accused Ocasio-Cortez. “I’m tired of it.”
“I just have to get that out ahead of time, because it is deeply disturbing not just what is happening here, but what this administration is advancing is the idea that religion and faith is about exclusion,” AOC closed. “It is not up to us, it is not up to us to deny medical care; it is up to us to feed the hungry to clothe the poor to protect children and to love all people as ourselves.”
As outlined by The Blaze, religious liberty is fundamental to Christian conservatives in modern times:
When a religious hospital says that they cannot conduct a transgender medical procedure that goes against the tenets of their belief, the resistance is to the procedure rather than an active prejudice toward the person asking for it. When a Christian baker or florist can’t serve as a vendor for a same-sex wedding ceremony, the issue at hand for them is not being able to participate in an action they believe to be sinful, rather than a desire not to associate with a class of people they don’t like. When a pro-life doctor or hospital won’t perform an abortion, it’s not because of some secret desire to control a woman’s organs, but because their conscience won’t allow them to facilitate the taking of unborn life.
Mexico Confirms Coronavirus Cases; Democrat-Appointed Judges Block Trump’s ‘Remain In Mexico’ Policy
Two-Democrat appointed judges voted on Friday to block the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocol program, a policy that forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are heard in the U.S., which came after news broke earlier in the day that Mexico had confirmed its first cases of coronvirus.
The program, commonly referred to as “Remain in Mexico,” was designed to stop illegal immigrants from exploiting loopholes in the U.S. immigration system. The Washington Post reported:
The Trump administration has claimed that the migrant families have been exploiting loopholes in U.S. law to secure their release, knowing of the court-mandated 20-day limit for detaining children. The MPP program was designed to prevent families from entering the United States and later skipping their court hearings to avoid deportation; instead, families have been sitting on the Mexico side of the border.
Judges Richard A. Paez and William A. Fletcher, both appointed by President Bill Clinton, voted to uphold the injunction, while Ferdinand F. Fernandez, a President George H.W. Bush appointee, disagreed.
The ruling came after Mexican Assistant Health Secretary Hugo Lopez-Gatell announced earlier in the day that Mexico had confirmed its first two cases of the coronavirus, which originated in China, inside its borders.
The Associated Press reported:
Hugo Lopez-Gatell said one of the patients is in Mexico City and the other in the northern state of Sinaloa. While a second test is still pending on that case, he said, “We are treating this as confirmed.” Neither is seriously ill; one is in isolation at a hospital, the other is isolated at a hotel.
At least five family contacts of the first patient have been placed in isolation. He said the men had traveled to the northern Italian region where there has been an outbreak and had returned to Mexico between last Friday and Saturday.
The ruling by the Democrat-appointed judges combined with the news that Mexico has now multiple confirmed cases of the coronavirus is likely to anger President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly sought to strengthen border security for national security reasons.
A White House official told The New York Times that Trump “views shutting the borders to infected people as critical to keeping the country safe and wants to be seen as managing a proper response” to the coronavirus pandemic.
Immigration attorney Matthew Kolken predicted that “the Trump administration’s next move will be to institute a travel ban for nationals of countries from Central America citing national security concerns relating to the Coronavirus.”
I am willing to bet that the Trump administration's next move will be to institute a travel ban for nationals of countries from Central America citing national security concerns relating to the Coronavirus. https://t.co/PGqvJTVK4u
— Matthew Kolken (@mkolken) February 28, 2020
WALSH: Horrifying Video Shows Drag Queen Dancing Suggestively For Young Girl While Parents Applaud. This Should Be Illegal.
If you want to see the collapse of western civilization summarized in 30 seconds, you can’t do better than this viral video. It shows the action at a recent drag brunch, which is an event where white liberals go to drink mimosas and watch cross dressing men dance badly to pop music. But at least one of the white liberal couples at this drag brunch decided to bring their very young daughter along for the ride.
The girl, who looks to be maybe five or six years old, is given a place of honor right at the front. The drag queen — dressed in booty shorts, bedazzled spandex, and fake breasts — puts the child in a chair and begins dancing suggestively and crawling around on his hands and knees. At the end of the clip, he leans in and hugs the visibly confused and disturbed girl. The adults (I use the word loosely) in the room look on and cheer.
A few observations must be made. The first is that this is obviously child abuse. I can’t imagine why anyone would care to go to a drag brunch or any other drag related event, but adults are perfectly free to make that bizarre choice if they wish. Children, though, do not and cannot consent to being exposed to this, much less participating in it, much less performing drag themselves.
The people who defend this stuff are as incoherent as expected. Even they would agree, presumably, that you shouldn’t bring minors to a burlesque show. Yet if the burlesque performers are male, and we call them drag queens, suddenly it’s family friendly? What sort of sense does that make? In a similar way, nobody would suggest that 9-year-old girls should become burlesque performers, but some people have no problem with 9-year-old boys being recruited into the industry. This is all nonsensical.
The second thing that immediately jumps out when you watch the video is the row of men (again, term used loosely) sitting in the background with big, stupid smiles on their faces. The story of the proliferation of child sexual abuse and exploitation is, in many ways, a story of henpecked, emasculated men abdicating their roles as fathers and husbands. The man who not only tolerates but applaud this level of degeneracy is a sort of moral eunuch, having failed so utterly in his masculine duties. The appropriate response from a man when his wife suggests bringing the kids to a drag brunch is some variation of “Hell no, not gonna happen.” These men haven’t the spine or the wherewithal to protect their children’s dignity and their own.
There is no defense for what we see in that video. A just and sane society would answer with legal force, shutting down the event and carting every adult in the room to jail. Instead, our culture responds with polite, tolerance applause. It is a disgrace.
According to The Wall Street Journal, former New York mayor and current Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has spoken to former presidential candidate Andrew Yang about not only giving Bloomberg an endorsement, but the possibility that Yang could run on the ticket with Bloomberg if Bloomberg gets the Democratic presidential nomination.
The Journal reported:
Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign has made overtures to Democrat Andrew Yang, courting the former candidate’s endorsement and floating the possibility of Mr. Yang becoming his running mate, according to two people familiar with the discussions.
Aides to the former New York City mayor reached out to discuss ways the two entrepreneurs-turned-politicians could work together as Mr. Bloomberg seeks the Democratic nomination, these people said.
Mr. Yang, who dropped out of the race earlier this month, didn’t third person familiar with the discussions said.
Mr. Yang didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A senior Bloomberg aide said Mr. Yang wasn’t being seriously considered to be the former mayor’s running mate if he secured the nomination.
Yang responded to the Wall Street Journal story on CNN, saying, “What I can say is multiple campaigns have reached out, and it’s flattering to be considered for a VP role or any role in someone’s campaign. I made clear to every other candidate that I ran on a set of issues, automation of jobs, an evolving economy that we need to humanize, and a dividend of a thousand dollars a month for every American, and I said that if a candidate were to make a significant commitment in those directions, then I’d be much more enthusiastic about considering an endorsement.”
CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked, “So you didn’t really indicate yes or no to anybody on anything other than these are the issues I care about; I would like to see those issues.”
Yang responded, “I probably said a couple of things: number one, I will support whoever the nominee is, and number two, I am very enthusiastic about having the democratic process play out and decide who the nominee is. But also, if someone decides to support the ideas that were central to my campaign, that would go a long way towards making me consider an endorsement …”
In November, Yang expressed his doubts that Bloomberg could mount a competitive campaign despite his vast wealth, telling CNN, “I’m friendly with Mike, and he’s a great philanthropist, was a really stellar mayor. But I will say it’s going to be very, very difficult for him to jump in right now and somehow replace the thousands of conversations that many of the candidates have had with voters in New Hampshire and Iowa and around the country with ad buys.”
Politico added, “Yang added that ‘there are limits to what money can do,’ and predicted Bloomberg is ‘going to have his work cut out for him’ if he joins the pack of 17 Democratic candidates vying to challenge President Donald Trump in next year’s general election.”
Yang said a Bloomberg candidacy is “probably going to change the price of advertising” for other Democratic campaigns, adding, “certainly Mike has a very valuable perspective to offer.”
Dems Got Hysterical About FCC Chairman Rejecting Net Neutrality. Two Years Later, He’s Vindicated And Firing Back.
In retrospect, 2017 was a quaint time in our nation’s history. The coronavirus wasn’t threatening to kill us all, the Trump administration hadn’t killed us all, and the Trump tax cuts were still months away from killing us all. In fact, the only thing threatening to end life as we know it back then was the proposal to repeal Net Neutrality, a 2015 regulation that we’re told made the Internet better somehow.
To repeal it, we were told in 2017 and 2018, would literally mean the “end of the Internet as we know it,” as CNN’s front page blared in February 2017. As attorney James Hasson documented on Twitter former feminist/birth control icon Sandra Fluke declared repealing the regulation “would kill access to abortion information,” while GLAAD insisted the repealing would be “an attack on the LGBTQ community.” GQ claimed it would “ruin the internet forever,” and the American Civil Liberties Union insisted it would lead to a “two-tier Internet.” And let’s not forget Rep. Ro Khanna’s (D-CA) graphic claiming that without net neutrality, we would be charged separately for video, email, gaming, and social media.
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) June 12, 2019
Two years ago, Senate Democrats tweeted that without net neutrality, we’d “get the internet one word at a time,” echoing one of the oft-repeated claims that repealing net neutrality would drastically slow the internet.
— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) February 27, 2018
Now, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is taking a victory lap on his opponents. In a tweet on Thursday captioning the old Senate Democrat tweet, Pai explained that broadband speeds have increased since net neutrality was repealed.
“Two years ago today, some Washington politicians promised you that the Internet would slow down. What’s happened since? Average U.S. fixed broadband speeds are UP over 76% according to Ookla. It wasn’t the end of the Internet as we know it—not even close,” Pai tweeted.
Two years ago today, some Washington politicians promised you that the Internet would slow down. What’s happened since? Average U.S. fixed broadband speeds are UP over 76% according to Ookla. It wasn’t the end of the Internet as we know it—not even close.https://t.co/nSKdQ2Olt1
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPaiFCC) February 27, 2020
Pai spearheaded the repeal of net neutrality and was rewarded with death threats from Leftists who had been convinced by Democrats and the media that the Internet couldn’t exist without a regulation finalized in 2015 despite the Internet being around for decades before. Somehow, these people though that the Internet was unusable in 2013 and before, and therefore the world would end if we were to go back to those days. For the record, we still had Facebook and Twitter back then. Maybe we would get Vine back, but other than that there really wasn’t much of a difference.
The death threats against Pai and his family were so specific that a hearing on net neutrality featuring Pai was cancelled in December 2017 “on advice of security.” In May 2019, a man was sentenced to 18 months in prison after he threatened to kill Pai the previous year.
As Hasson noted, not one person in the media or the Democratic Party has been held accountable for the blatant fearmongering around net neutrality.
“And again, the upshot of all of this was that Ajit Pai had to obtain a security detail, cancel events, and endure racist attacks and death threats that were credible and serious enough to warrant prison,” Hasson tweeted. “But there has been zero accountability for that. Zero.”
Just a week after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said she would accept help from a Super PAC – after it became clear she was losing the 2020 Democratic nomination – the dark-money group set up to assist her candidacy is placing a $9 million ad buy ahead of Super Tuesday.
Persist PAC, a reference to that time three years ago when Warren kept reading a rebuke of then-Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions even though Sen. Mitch McConnell told her to stop by using a little-used senate rule and the minor back-and-forth made Warren a hero to feminists on par with Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman, plans to spend the money boosting Warren before the mass of primaries on March 3.
Politico reported that the “mysterious” super PAC “is making a late attempt to save her candidacy.”
“Combined with the $3.25 million Persist PAC already spent in Super Tuesday states along with $2 million in Nevada and South Carolina, the shadowy group has committed over $14 million to try to buoy Warren’s candidacy,” the outlet reported. “All together, Warren — who has made the corrupting influence of dark money central to her candidacy — now has the biggest super PAC advertising in the Super Tuesday states.”
That’s a big swing from Warren’s previous stance on super PACs and dark money. As The Daily Wire previously reported, Warren said she was giving up her rejection of big-dollar donors because she couldn’t get her fellow Democrats to go along with her – a metaphor for her leadership skills if there ever was one.
“So, here’s where I stand. If all the candidates want to get rid of super PACs, count me in. I’ll lead the charge,” Warren said. “But that’s how it has to be. It can’t be the case that a bunch of people keep them and only one or two don’t.”
“So, look, the first day I got in this race over a year ago, I said I hope every presidential candidate who comes in will agree – no super PACs for any of us. I renewed that call dozens of times,” Warren added. “And I couldn’t get a single Democrat to go along with it.”
That was Warren’s justification for now accepting super PAC money – and not just accepting it, but accepting a lot of it on her behalf.
“Finally, we reached the point a few weeks ago where all of the men who were still in this race and on the debate stage all had either super PACs or they were multibillionaires and could just rummage around their sock drawers and find enough money to be able to fund a campaign,” she said.
Warren was in third place when she opened the door for the Persist PAC to start helping her flailing campaign. She’s now in fourth place after a poor showing in Nevada. She currently has eight delegates to her name, all of which she won during the messy Iowa caucus. She doesn’t appear to have any advantages heading in to Super Tuesday, but with this amount of dark money getting injected into her campaign before then, we’ll have to wait and see 1) whether it works for her and 2) whether she completely rethinks her stance on dark money going forward.
Hollywood celebrities say some dumb things, but we’d like to nominate this for dumbest all-time.
Patricia Arquette, who describes herself on her Twitter page as “actress — activist — troublemaker,” is calling for Americans to conduct a one-day economic shutdown in order to damage the U.S. economy and hurt President Trump.
The C-list actress posted a message to Instagram on Thursday to promote an event March 2. She told her 146,000 followers not to make any purchases for a 24-hour period.
“A REMINDER: Please contact everyone you know. On Monday, March 2nd, there is an Economic Shutdown. #Shutitdown. It’s easy,” she wrote in her post.
“DO NOT SPEND ANY MONEY ON ANYTHING ANYWHERE. our goal is to cause a $238.2 billion dollar blip on the federal government’s records.”
A post shared by Patricia Arquette (@patriciaarquette) on Feb 21, 2020 at 5:58pm PST
Arquette appeared to have gotten the idea for the call for an economic shutdown after musician David Crosby retweeted a post from the Twitter account @Lee8772, which called for day-long boycotts each month through the November election.
“AMERICANS: If you want to remove Trump, there is one way to do it. On March 2, 2020 we’ll do the economic shutdown from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Don’t buy anything, anywhere, spend no money. If you have autopays, leave them alone. If you have a mortgage due pay it the day before,” that Twitter account said.
“The nation’s daily GDP is $238.2 billion. We won’t hit that but we can wake up the politicians & the government will know. Several small businesses have told me they’ll open, but they personally won’t spend any money. Tweet, FB, call, E-mail your House Reps & Senators & tell… 3) them you’re participating. Then we’ll do another one in April, May, June, July, August, September & October. There is only one thing Trump & the GOP understand; that is money. This will not cause us to go into a recession, but it will slow the economy down. The US is the most
… powerful country in the world. We can do this. It will show the GOP that Americans are coming together & we’re demanding changes starting with the removal of Trump. Remember: Economic Shutdown, don’t buy anything on March 2nd. Emergencies excepted.”
AMERICANS: If you want to remove Trump, there is one way to do it. On March 2, 2020 we'll do the economic shutdown from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Don't buy anything, anywhere, spend no money. If you have autopays, leave them alone. If you have a mortgage due pay it the day before.
— Lee8772-HOW LOW MUST WE GO? (@Lee8772) February 25, 2020
3) them you're participating. Then we'll do another one in April, May, June, July, August, September & October. There is only one thing Trump & the GOP understand; that is money. This will not cause us to go into a recession, but it will slow the economy down. The US is the most
— Lee8772-HOW LOW MUST WE GO? (@Lee8772) February 25, 2020
One follower of Arquette posted a succinct take on her call for an economic shutdown.
“You want to hurt Trump and his campaign so you think it’s good and okay to hurt our economy? We watched your movies, we helped make you rich. You’re part of the ‘elite and woke Hollywood celebrity’ faction with deeply lined pockets. You’ll be just fine. But what about the rest of us? 59% of US adults are struggling to make ends meet every month and living paycheck to paycheck. Those that do this are harming our entire nation! We cannot support or condone that!!”
Arquette isn’t the only Hollywood celebrity hoping for an economic meltdown.
“So I’ve been saying for about two years that I hope we have a recession,” HBO’s “Real Time” host Bill Maher said last August. “A recession would be very worth getting rid of Donald Trump and these kind of policies.”
Speaking on Fox & Friends, Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) reacted to Saturday Night Live Comedian Pete Davidson appearing to retract his apology to Crenshaw on a Netflix special after he had made remarks in the past that were interpreted as an insult. Crenshaw said, “Listen, I can’t get out of Pete Davidson’s head. He’s been — he’s been thinking about me a lot for the past year as he builds this comedy routine apparently. I’m not so sure his jokes always land but it is what it is.” He added, “ … if we took everything that comedians said on a Netflix special seriously, man our country would be in a world of hurt.”
The Daily Beast reported that in his new Netflix stand-up special showing his “Alive from New York” routine, Davidson preached, “I didn’t think I did anything wrong. It was like words that were twisted so that a guy could be famous.” He added, “So I made fun of this guy with an eyepatch and then, like, I kind of got forced to apologize.” He referenced his mother, whom he calls on stage his “roommate,” getting death threats, adding, “My roommate thought I should apologize so that I didn’t get shot in the face.”
The story of Davidson and Crenshaw began in November 2018, when Davidson said about Crenshaw on SNL’s “Weekend Update,” “You may be surprised to hear he’s a Congressional candidate from Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie. I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever.”
Crenshaw responded to Davidson’s initial remark on Twitter, writing, ““Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope @nbcsnlrecognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes.”
Davidson apologized to Crenshaw on-air in another episode.
The exchange between Fox Host Brian Kilmeade and Crenshaw went like this:
Kilmeade: Wow. Here to react, Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw. That roommate we think is his mom. And he basically went on to say, Congressman, that he wasn’t sorry. And that you became more famous because of it.
Yes. I think he did too, to be fair. Listen, I can’t get out of Pete Davidson’s head. He’s been — he’s been thinking about me a lot for the past year as he builds this comedy routine apparently. I’m not so sure his jokes always land but it is what it is. It’s like our comedic careers are joined at the hip because he can’t stop thinking about me.
It’s a little sad. We had a really good moment at that time in 2018. America liked it. The left and the right liked it. So, we don’t really want to ruin that.I’ll tell you what though, the Pete Davidson I remember, he went out to buy some cigarettes while we were rehearsing and he came back because he had found this lighter that said “Never Forget” on it and he gave that to me as a gesture.
He said this was kind of cool that this happened to come up while he was buying cigarettes. And I think he meant well at the time and can never tell with comedians and who knows how much he had to drink beforehand. I don’t know. We don’t have to — we don’t have to take it too seriously.
Kilmeade: Right. But I just want to know, do you — do you take his apology seriously or do you take his Netflix special comment seriously?
Crenshaw: Hard to say, hard to say. I mean, one’s a Netflix special. Now, to be fair, if we took everything that comedians said on a Netflix special seriously, man our country would be in a world of hurt. Again, I’d like to remember the guy that I saw in person and hung out with that night.
Kilmeade: Got you. We’ll see. I don’t think you did it to be more — I don’t think you joined the military and lost your eye to be more famous.
In an interview with “CBS This Morning” that aired Friday, one of the twelve jurors who found mega-producer Harvey Weinstein guilty of two of the lesser of the five charges brought against him in the state of New York offered a glimpse into what was going on behind the scenes during the five-day deliberation process and addressed some of the key arguments in the case.
On Monday, a jury composed of seven men and five women convicted Weinstein on two of five charges brought against him in the state — a criminal sex act in the first degree and rape in the third degree — but acquitted the disgraced producer on the most serious charges in the case: two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of first-degree rape. Instead of a potential life sentence, Weinstein now faces up to 29 years in prison.
During the trial, six women testified that Weinstein had sexually assaulted them, but the charges stemmed from only two of the women’s accusations. The other four alleged victims’ testimonies were intended to show a pattern of abusive behavior by the powerful Hollywood figure.
The trial, as “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King noted in the interview, was a pivotal moment in the #MeToo movement, but “juror number nine,” Drew, says that the movement had no impact on the jury’s decision.
“It would be an adulteration of the process to take outside factors and have that weigh on our decision-making process and eventual findings,” Drew told King, as reported by CBS News.
“We were there to do a job, to make a decision based on the information that was presented to us,” he said, “and we have absolutely no stance or voice or opinion as to any type of larger movement.”
The focus during the five days of deliberation, said Drew, was to closely examine the legal definitions of the charges and weigh those against the evidence.
The details of Jessica Mann’s testimony, he said, merited a conviction of third-degree rape, not first-degree rape, based on both terms’ legal definitions.
“It wasn’t rape in the first degree. There was no physical compulsion with the threat of bodily harm or death,” he explained. “But there was no consent given, despite a lack of physical resistance, and a reasonable person should have known that there was no consent given in that instance.”
One of the key arguments of the defense was that some of the victims maintained relationships with Weinstein after the assaults, and Drew revealed that the jury wrestled early on with that contention. “In the earlier parts of the deliberation, there was huge discourse about things of that nature,” he said.
When King pressed Drew if the defense’s argument factored into their decision, Drew said no. “It’s an alleged incident, not kind of this whole canvas of relationship,” he said. “It’s, you know, husbands can rape their wives. And it’s a complicated issue, for sure, but it was our contention that it’s one incident.”
One of the controversies that arose during the lengthy deliberations was the jurors sending a note on the fourth day to the judge asking if it was possible to be split on some of the counts and unanimous on others. The note, said Drew, was an attempt to gain clarification and probably not handled carefully enough.
“Maybe that’s our fault for the syntax of the note,” he said. “But I know now that people kind of deduced that maybe he was guilty somewhere along the line, and I’ll tell you, I was sick about it. Because, he’s a human being and he’s going home that night and knowing that he’s walking into court Monday morning and potentially not leaving.”
In reference to “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra’s testimony, which was allowed as part of the prosecution’s attempt to show an alleged pattern of abuse to merit a “predatory assault” charge, Drew suggested that while her testimony was “compelling,” the prosecution did not meet the “very high burden” required for such a charge.
“But these are serious allegations, and that’s a very high burden that the prosecution took upon itself in bringing these charges,” he explained. “It’s 27 years ago, and in this country, you know, you and I and even Harvey Weinstein are innocent until proven beyond a reasonable doubt of the opposite.”
As for Weinstein’s decision not to take the stand, Drew said that while he “wanted him to,” the decision did not impact the process because they focused on “what we had in front of us,” rather than conjecture.
The focus, Drew said in summary, was to avoid “groupthink” and to try to maintain complete “objectivity” in the process, which he said he feels he personally was able to accomplish despite the high-profile and highly charged nature of the case. (See the interview here.)
Controversies over both Kurita’s and Halsey’s conduct during the battle are the topics of military round-tables to this day. It seems that with the passage of time their actions are being treated in a fairer reflection. Kurita didn’t just “turn tail and skedaddle” as had been the popular narrative. As we have seen it was more complicated than that. But perhaps a further explanation for Kurita’s failure might have to do with the overall Japanese military mindset at that time. So geared toward the offensive, they seemed flummoxed when suddenly the tables were turned and they found themselves under merciless assaults, be they from Halsey’s marauding aircraft laying waste to the Sho-Go2 plan to Taffy 3’s ferocious destroyer and jeep carriers and combined Taffy air attacks.
MacArthur, the Allied general who understood the Japanese better than any other, told his officers once: “Never let the Jap attack you. When the Japanese soldier has a co-ordinated plan of attack he works smoothly.” On the other hand, he added, “When he is attacked—when he doesn’t know what’s coming—it is not the same.” Then they were vulnerable because of their very rigidity. Their inability to imagine defeat made them often incapable of coping with setbacks. He compared it to a clenched fist which, once it seizes something and closes, can never re-open. Such a closed fist, he said, “is useless when the fighting turns to catch-as-catch-can wrestling.”
Halsey has his own critics. Yet “Bull’s run” was certainly in line with Nimitz’s directive to destroy a major part of the Japanese fleet if given the opportunity, and not so reckless when one considers what he knew of the condition of Center Force at the time. In fact, the phrase “The World Wonders” was most likely not from Nimitz at all. It was standard practice to add nonsensical phrases as padding before and after messages to throw off Japanese listening in. The full message read:
TURKEY TROTS TO WATER GG FROM CINCPAC ACTION COM THIRD FLEET INFO COMINCH CTF SEVETY-SEVEN X WHERE IS RPT WHERE IS TASK FORCE THIRTY FOUR RR THE WORLD WONDERS”
The GG and RR meant the beginning and the end of the actual message. Unfortunately in this case the phrase seemed to make sense so it was kept on and handed to Halsey. (One theory is that the radioman probably chose that random phrase in reference to Tennyson’s poem The Charge Of The Light Brigade as October 25 was the anniversary of the Battle of Balaclava, and in it is the line “All the world wondered.” Who knows?)
If anyone should have been sore with Halsey it was MacArthur. After all, it was his landings that were placed in jeopardy. Yet the general remained a firm supporter of his favorite Navy man. When after the battle at dinner some of MacArthur’s staff were harshly criticizing Halsey for his actions, MacArthur slammed a balled fist on the table and said: “That’s enough! Leave the Bull alone! He’s still a fighting admiral in my book.”
Why isn’t Leyte as well-known to the American public today as other Pacific battles such as Midway, Guadalcanal or Iwo Jima? It’s difficult to say. Perhaps because by then large fights, both in the Pacific and Europe, were the norm, and the public was getting used to victories so it seemed less…dramatic. (Little did they know how close MacArthur’s landings came to disaster). Perhaps war-weariness had set in. It could be a by-product of the American public and media caring more about what went on in Europe than the Pacific. Maybe it was just too complex and chaotic, as naval battles tend to be. They knew that something enormous happened out there, and that the U.S. Navy won big, but that was about it. Also Hollywood seems more enamored with these other actions and so have cast Leyte into the bin of obscurity. This is a shame. It deserves better. If we can (and should) celebrate the brave Spartans at Thermopylae, then forces like Taffy 3 deserve their own media homages. Perhaps one day.
As for today, a new generation cannot be expected to know something their education system has never taught them. It is imperative, indeed our duty as Americans, to make sure battles like Leyte Gulf are never forgotten for they serve to remind our children, and ourselves, of just what kind of country we were, and still can be. It’s hard for us to imagine today, with our highly professional and efficient military machine, that the American armed forces during the Second World War were made up of mostly citizen-soldiers blended with a small cadre of professionals. And yet what emerged to take on the Axis powers on three continents and four oceans was a military that was the equal to any in the world. How could this be?
I think it has to do with believing in your cause, and thus being willing to give the last full measure for it. This sublime devotion to something higher than the self was present on the fields of Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, Belleau Woods, Normandy, and in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. In the aft turret of the shattered Samuel B. Roberts, for example, Gunner’s Mate 1stClass Paul Karr was found dying of agonizing intestinal wounds as he manned the five-inch gun which scored many hits on the Chokai. His last act was to beg for help loading just one more round into the breach.
Totalitarian states have always underestimated democracies’ willingness to fight. Japan was no different. In the face of staggering odds, the U.S. Navy was victorious because the American sailors and pilots fought with a demoniacal fury that stunned the Japanese who no doubt believed, as Yamamoto had, that Americans were good at building things, but as a people were soft and decadent. Clearly this was not the case. Like their German counterparts, the Japanese, in the end, never quite understood their American foes…not until it was too late to save their navy from the bottom of the sea, their soldiers from dying in mass graves across the Pacific, and their cities from utter annihilation.
If anything, we should teach World War II because we can learn something from the experiences of the Japanese and Germans who had the misfortune to face our grandfathers in battle. The spirits of men like David McClintock, Earnest Evans, Ziggy Sprague, Jesse Oldendorf, David McCampbell, Bull Halsey, and the tens of thousands of intrepid seaman and fliers who made the stunning victory possible still dwell within our national character…if we let them.
It’s up to you and me to keep the faith.
Brad Schaeffer is the author of the acclaimed World War II novel Of Another Time And Place.
The Battle of Leyte Gulf was one of the most ferocious, knock-down-drag-em-out engagements of the Second World War. With the combatants ranging from tiny submarines and CVEs to the largest battleships and fleet carriers afloat as well as clouds of aircraft, the many engagements of October 23-26, 1944 combined to make up the largest naval battle in history, in terms of tonnage, scope, and personnel involved. Roughly 280 ships of all types were engaged in some manner along with over 1,000 warplanes, surpassing Jutland; and unlike Jutland, which had been inconclusive, Leyte Gulf was a decisive American victory. There were probably more vessels engaged at Salamis in 480 B.C. However, considering an ancient Greek Trireme only displaced 70 tons whereas a U.S. Iowa-class battleship displaced 45,000 (Yamato-class 72,000) one can see why the superlative claims re: Leyte Gulf are justified. Regardless, it was an enormous fight on the high seas, the likes of which will never be seen again.
When the mopping up and follow-up operations were over, at the cost of one light carrier, two escort carriers, two destroyers and one destroyer escort and 3,000 men, the U.S. Third and Seventh Fleets had erased one fleet carrier, three light carriers, three battleships, 10 cruisers, and 11 destroyers from the Imperial Navy’s order of battle. Not to mention the loss of 15,000 brave Japanese officers, seamen, and pilots and over 300 aircraft of all types to add to the hundreds downed on the pre-invasion sweeps. Japan’s carrier arm, which had seemed invincible just two and a half years before, had ceased to exist. And her last ace in the hole, her powerful surface fleet, was smashed against the torpedoes and big guns of Olderndorf’s fleet in the Surigao Strait and then, most incredibly, Ziggy Sprague’s plucky little jeep carriers, destroyers, and destroyer escorts of Taffy 3 and the merciless Wildcats and Avengers of Thomas Sprague’s entire task group.
As a denouement, Kumano was eventually hunted down and discovered at Santa Cruz. On November 20, attack planes from the Ticonderoga hit her with five torpedoes and four bombs and her long ordeal that began with the blast to her bow from the Johnston the month before was finally over, as were the lives of 500 of her crew.
The Japanese government dealt with the catastrophe in typical totalitarian fashion: as with the Formosa air battles they lied about it to the public. On October 26, Radio Tokyo broadcast that: “Japanese forces now have complete air and sea superiority on and around Leyte.” But the Japanese High Command knew better. Sho-Go had been a gamble that ended in an ignominious defeat which guaranteed that the Philippines would fall to the Americans. Navy Minister Yonai Misumasa told his captors after the war: “When you took the Philippines that was the end of our resources.” Leyte was secured by late December, 1944. The Americans suffered 15,000 casualties whereas the 45,000 Japanese defenders were wiped out. Luzon was invaded in January 1945 and after a brilliant campaign of maneuver and parry was captured by March, although some Japanese held out in the mountains until August. 35,000 Americans were casualties, 8,500 dead. Over 205,000 Japanese were KIA and another 5,000 POWs. Considering the size of the battles, MacArthur’s casualties had been relatively light as he predicted…especially when compared to ETO campaigns of similar scale, such as Anzio, Normandy, the Hurtgen Forest and The Bulge. Nimitz would lose more taking Iwo Jima and Okinawa. But clearly the war was entering into an even more savage phase as the Japanese grew more desperate.
Sadly, MacArthur’s reconquest of the Philippines would be far bloodier for the people of the archipelago caught in the middle of the fighting than he ever imagined, as he underestimated the fanaticism and savagery of the cornered Japanese. Once it became clear that MacArthur had outmaneuvered him and was poised to enter Manila, Gen. Yamashita declared it an open city, but 30,000 Japanese sailors remained to destroy port facilities. They got drunk, turned violent, and instead decided to fight to the death for the Philippine capital while going on a blood-thirsty rampage against the civilian population to rival the Rape of Nanking. For the first time in the Pacific War a major urban battle ensued. By the time the street-by-street, house-by-house fighting was over, most of Manila was aflame and in ruins, and over 100,000 innocent Filipinos had been murdered in cold blood by their enraged occupiers. Of all the Allied cities in the Second World War, only Warsaw suffered more destruction. After the war, an enraged MacArthur would charge the blameless Yamashita with a war crime over the sacking of the city, and in one of the American general’s darkest moments saw him hang for it.
As the American B-29s began to burn out one city after another while her amphibious juggernaut continued to move closer to Japan, taking Iwo Jima in the Bonin Islands in February 1945 and then landing on Okinawa in the Ryukyus, just 250 miles from the home islands, on April 1, 1945, desperation replaced strategy and elaborate planning. The Kamikazes first unleashed at Leyte grew in scope until one hundred plus-strong waves sortied out to hurl themselves at the U.S. Navy. The death and destruction they caused was far worse than any inflicted by Japan’s mighty battleships. And as for the mightiest battleship of them all, the Yamato would also die by suicide. With only enough fuel to make it to Okinawa, she was sent on a mission to beach herself as an unsinkable gun emplacement and do as much damage as she could to the American landings until destroyed. Instead she was intercepted by U.S. carrier planes on April 7, 1945 and hit by no fewer than 11 torpedoes and six bombs. She rolled over and blew up in a spectacular explosion, joining her sister ship Musashiat the bottom of the Pacific with over 3,000 of her crew.
Although the formal Japanese surrender would not take place until September 2, 1945, the ultimate outcome of the war was decided at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Up to then, the Japanese leadership had hoped that even if it didn’t destroy the Americans, a punishing blow might compel them to come to the table and negotiate a settlement of hostilities on far more favorable terms than the “Unconditional Surrender” Roosevelt impetuously demanded of the Axis powers. During October, 1944, in the waters off the Philippines, those hopes were dashed. And Japan’s fate was sealed.
Brad Schaeffer is the author of the acclaimed World War II novel Of Another Time And Place.
At the same time Kurita’s ships were just appearing over Taffy 3’s rainswept horizon, 400 nautical miles to the northeast a brilliant dawn was breaking over the waters of Cape Engaño. It promised a clear day and good visibility. Which for the Japanese carrier force, now empty of all but a few CAP aircraft, meant the day of reckoning was upon them. Adm. Ozawa had no delusions. “I expected the complete destruction of my fleet,” he later told U.S. interrogators. “But if Kurita’s mission was carried out that was all I wished.” By now the pursuing American fleet was barely 100 miles to the southwest. At 0530 the Zuikaku went to battle stations. The first American scout planes were spotted at 0713. Ozawa knew this meant soon the attack would begin. At 0745 he ordered the fleet to prepare for air attacks.
The first wave of 80 blue U.S. Navy warplanes, led by the cigarette-smoking Dave McCampbell, arrived overhead at 0817. The call went out. “Tally-ho…Carriers!” What few remaining fighter interceptors Ozawa had left were quickly sent flaming into the sea. His only defense would be anti-aircraft and maneuver. At 0827 his batteries opened fire. American fliers recorded that the anti-aircraft was both heavy and disturbingly accurate. The battleships were firing star shells from their main batteries and rockets came up at them as well as the usual small and medium caliber machine gun and cannon fire. Avenger pilot Robert Barnes declared it “The most intense I’d ever seen. All ships were firing everything they had…Every ship you flew by was shooting at you.” Lexington Avenger crewman John Underwood described the enemy gunfire as “awesome.” Somehow, only eleven U.S. planes were knocked down this day. It seems as if God had created the Battle of Leyte Gulf just to demonstrate once and for all the supremacy of air power in the modern naval age.
Over the next seven hours Ozawa and his task force would endure one attack after another, amounting to 527 sorties in five waves. The first vessel to join Davey Jones’ locker was the destroyer Akitsuki when she rolled over at 0857. Light cruiser Tama was hit with a torpedo but survived. Light carrier Chitose was not so lucky. Fliers from Essex sent her to the bottom with 900 hands, including her captain. Light carrier Zuiho was also hit and dead in the water but excellent damage control soon had her running again. The light carrier Chiyoda was crippled by Helldivers from Lexington and Franklin. Then Ozawa’s flagship carrier Zuikaku was descended upon by forty Helldiver and ten Avengers. Several 500-pound bombs and a torpedo ripped into her. Although still alive, her radar was out, and Ozawa’s staff recommended he transfer his flag to the cruiser Oyodo. Ozawa at first refused, saying he expected to lose his ships and so would go down with the carrier. Eventually he was persuaded to come to his senses and made the transfer in between the second and third attack.
It was a fortunate move. The third wave was over 200 aircraft and it overwhelmed Ozawa’s shrinking task force. Zuikaku was pounced on by planes from Lexington and doomed. She sank at 1615 that afternoon with 842 of her crew. Light carrier Zuiho too was set upon by strike planes also flying off Lexington, as well as San Jacinto and Franklin. She went under at 1515 with 215 crew, but 750 managed to get off the ship before she foundered.
The attacks would last until evening. The already crippled light carrier Chiyoda was shelled to pieces when a force of pursuing U.S. surface ships caught up to her at 1615; she slipped beneath the waves a half hour later with all hands. The last Japanese casualty was the destroyer Hatsuzuki, hit by a barrage from U.S. cruisers as the sun set and eventually sinking by 2100. By the time night fell and Mitscher’s pilots and sailors were finished with the day’s work they would sink one carrier, three light carriers and two destroyers while crippling another light carrier and cruiser. Especially satisfying to the Americans was sinking the Zuikaku, making Pearl Harbor’s revenge complete.
Cape Engaño had been another one-sided victory for the U.S. Navy. But this battle was never intended to be anything but a shooting gallery for the Americans. And the Decoy Force had lured Task Force 38 over some 400 nautical miles away from San Bernardino Strait. Of all the Sho-Go1 commanders, one could say that Ozawa Jisaburo was the only one who successfully carried out his assignment. It could have been worse for his now strung-out survivors limping back to Japan, but the last two waves were reduced in size…that was because Bull Halsey was steaming back toward Leyte with Task Force 34 and TG-38.2 in response to Kinkaid’s and finally Nimitz’s calls for help.
Even though the morning reports coming in from Mitscher’s attack planes were announcing what should have been a satisfying result, the mood in New Jersey’s plot room was dour. Due to a backlog of radio messages that were sent out in order received rather than by urgency, Halsey didn’t get the first transmission until over an hour after Kinkaid’s first message went out. But once they started coming in it was clear that something pretty serious was happening off San Bernardino Strait. Kinkaid’s steady stream of ever more insistent pleas made clear that he was being attacked by the very force Halsey had written off the day before. It was hard to believe. Not until Nimitz’s “THE WORLD WONDERS” message was handed to him does it seem to have really sunk in that the Bull had been snookered. The message may have insulted Halsey’s sensibilities—he cursed and threw his hat on the deck in a rage when he read it—but it got results. He had no choice but to act. At 1052 he ordered Lee to take Task Force 34 and Adm. Gerald Bogan’s TG-38.2 to head for Leyte. They were on their way by 1115. Halsey sulked in his cabin as his New Jersey sailed with the cavalry that would arrive by morning and too late to do any good but hear the tales of Oldendorf’s great surface battle and the ferocious Taffys and their miraculous stand against the giants.
Brad Schaeffer is the author of the acclaimed World War II novel Of Another Time And Place.