Saturday, 30 May 2020

An Indictment of Democrat Failures During the Pandemic.


New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo panicked. He demanded that President Trump provide him with 30,000 respirators.

The question left hanging in the air was why didn’t New York State have an emergency pandemic stockpile of medical equipment?

Ask Governor Cuomo who, in 2015, rejected the need.

As for his ventilator demand, President Trump sent him 4,000. Cuomo demanded more, many more.
In the meantime, Cuomo kept Trump’s ventilators in a New Jersey warehouse in New Jersey saying he didn’t need them.

In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Cuomo said that President Trump doesn’t understand “how to run a government, how to plan an operation.”

Cuomo: They sent 4,000 ventilators. I’m not using them today because I don’t need them today. I need to assemble them in a stockpile. “

March 27. Cuomo. “I follow the data.”

March 30. Cuomo. “The tsunami is coming!” If you haven’t done the work before the storm hits, it’s too late to do it once the storm hits. And the storm is coming. Stop the politics. Listen to the scientists and the pros and plan because otherwise … people will die who don’t need to die.”

A lot of panicky wordage and verbiage, but Trump delivered more than New York needed with far less words, and a lot more action.

March 17. Cuomo. “NY needs 110,000 hospital beds for corona patients. We only have 55,000.”  Trump sends him the army to convert the Javitz Center into coronavirus hospital. The President also converted the Comfort hospital ship to accommodate thousands of virus patients. Trump also provided six other new facilities providing 8,000 beds.
The Javitz Center and the Comfort were barely used. A clear case of Democrat panic and waste.

Despite the excess of hospital beds, Cuomo signed an order sending over 4,500 infected patients into unprotected nursing homes condemning over five thousand vulnerable elderlies to death. Cuomo defended his failed policy as being a “long term care” policy.

It was short term death for the senior inmates.

When rightly criticized, Cuomo first blamed the nursing homes. When asked whether he believes his policy requiring homes to admit infected patients contributed to the death toll, Cuomo said no.
“No, because you’d have to be saying the nursing homes were wrong in accepting COVID-positive patients,” he said. “That’s what you would have to be saying. Do you believe a nursing home operator would accept a patient who they knew they couldn’t care for? Why would a nursing home operator do that?”
Then he blamed the President. "Anyone who wants to ask 'why did the state do that with COVID patients in nursing homes?' It’s because the state followed President Trump’s CDC guidance. So they should ask President Trump," he said. 
When asked by a reporter if family members can prosecute for the death of loved ones, Cuomo shamelessly said, Who can we prosecute for those deaths? Nobody. Nobody. Mother Nature? God? Where did this virus come from? People are going to die by this virus. That is the truth.”
The governor repeatedly emphasized that COVID-19 targets the elderly, and argued that vulnerable people would have died from the virus no matter what protocols were in place.
“You can have a situation where everyone did the right thing, and everyone tried their best, and people still die,” Cuomo said.
The Guardian, on May 26, revealed that Cuomo received a powerful healthcare industry $1 Million donation from GNYHA for his 2018 election campaign. This was conditional on indemnifying nursing home and hospital executives from lawsuits. Cuomo quietly introduced that legislation in April as part of his annual budget bill.
Now try suing nursing home executives for their criminally negligent behavior, New Yorkers. Good luck with that.
Sally Dreslin, the NY Health Executive Deputy Commissioner, and Howard Zucker, the NY Health Commissioner, who executed the plan to move infected people into vulnerable nursing homes, should be charged with criminal negligence. They are the ones who got Cuomo to sign off on the policy.
Dreslin was an alumni of Columbia who profiled her as a “Leading Light,” a “Change Agent for Nursing’s Future.”  Columbia was so proud of their graduates such as Dreslin that they wrote proudly if their alumni who “Excel at the Bedside and Far Beyond.”
In Dreslin’s case, far beyond the bedside for her patients was death imposed on them by her gruesomely wrong decision.
Columbia must be hanging its head in shame, but Cuomo’s 2018 election gift indemnifies Dreslin and Zucker from prosecution.
After covering his own backside, Cuomo followed up with a public announcement of a joint investigation into the state’s long-term care facility in conjunction with state attorney general Letitia James, promising fines of $10,000 per violation as well as the potential loss of licensure. How this links in with this indemnification commitment to GNYHA only time will tell.
Maybe Cuomo cannot be prosecuted for his wrong-headed policies, but he bears heavy responsibility for lacking common sense by being unaware of the danger of sending infected people into the facilities of the weak and elderly while practicing cynical protectionism.

Then we have PA Health Secretary, Rachel Levine, she of the manic-looking hair, who ordered Covid-19 patients into nursing homes to mingle with the weak and fragile elderly residents. 

With the temerity of knowing the inevitable consequences of her order, she moved her own mother out pretty sharpish in order to save her life. When questioned why she had rescued her from the inevitable jaws of death, she went on the defensive.

“My mother is 95 years old. She is very intelligent and more than competent to make her own decisions.”

In her arrogance, Levine refused to admit that she has left others to die due to her foolish and dangerous “health” policy.
Unlike her own mother, the other isolated old folk would just have to suck up and accept the consequences.

Unlike Levine, family members of the remaining elderly were not informed of the danger that had been injected into their parents and grandparents final resting place.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the face of regressive progressivism literally at the end of the day.

Such facilities accounted for more than two-thirds of all deaths statewide.
Levine had ordered infected people into care homes before she imposed virus testing. So much for the professionalism of the PA health expert, Rachel Levine, a decision approved by Governor Tom Wolf, which resulted in Pennsylvania’s nursing home death rate being 57.3% of the total in-state fatalities.

Why waste precious testing kits on the elderly? This seemed to be the calculating inhumanity of Democratic policy making. And they always preach from the disconnected heights of moral superiority?

Like PA Governor, Tom Wolf.

Wolf was criticized for enlarging his power base by creating costly bureaucratic jobs while ordering his peasants into harsh lockdown during his state’s virus crisis. This included the employed people and small business owners. It smacked of government overreach and a massive misuse of state funds.

By mid-May, a number of counties were defying Wolf’s stringent lockdown orders. Small business owners protested that they were facing bankruptcy and family financial ruin.   
This failed to move the Governor. In fact, he threatened them and called them names. He said he would penalize and cut off the water and electricity of any business that did not obey him.  Wolf called them cowards.

” They need to understand the consequences of their cowardly act.”

To Wolf, people who must work to work to feed their families are cowards. He also called them immoral.

In Pennsylvania, the Governor is a Wolf in progressive clothing.

Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, made herself very unpopular with a list of contradictory lockdown regulations. She allowed her citizenry to go out and buy liquor but not to buy paint. She allowed individuals to go kayaking on the state’s lakes but not go fishing. She had her state in tight lockdown until lifting long distance travel to second homes which allowed her husband to drive to their alternative residence in Antrim County to rake leaves and stay for a couple of nights.

That’s not all. Her husband, Marc Mallory, tried to get a small business to defy his wife’s lockdown orders when he asked North Shore Dock to ignore his wife’s lockdown order for them to release the family yacht onto the water in time for Memorial Day weekend. The Whitmer family intended to go sailing, something not permitted to others. During his efforts to persuade the company to do his bidding, he reminded them that he was the husband of the State Governor.
Company owner, Tad Dowker, reported the incident on Facebook. At first Whitmer denied it happened. But when confronted with the truth she pivoted to calling it a failed joke.

If there is a failed joke in this story it is the Governor Whitmer, another woman who thinks she is a candidate to be America’s next Vice President.

But there is worse. Whitmer signed a directive in mid-April that ordered that any nursing home with a population below 80% "must create a unit dedicated to the care of COVID-19-affected residents.”

By early May, the virus death toll was raging through Michigan nursing homes. As one lawmaker, a Democrat whose elderly mother was tested positive, said, her controversial decision was “the most stupid thing we could come up with.”

A State Oversight Committee member, Pete Lucido, said it was a “reckless disregard for human life.” He has called for an investigation.

According to some of the state’s health departments, the number of nursing home deaths came to 1,372, some 33% of Michigan’s fatalities, and numbers may be higher as the Whitmer Administration have not been fully transparent.

Democratic states seem to treat their elderly as third class citizens - after illegal immigrants and infected patients.  Is it down to mismanagement? Or do they consider them expendable, more of a cost burden on the state budget?

But the segment of the population suffering anxiety are not only the elderly. They are the age group up to 55. They are not anxious about dying. They are anxious about the chances of ever being able to live as they did before the lockdown.

Thousands, millions, do not see a way back to prosperity because Democrat governors and mayors stomped on their necks. The curve may have been flattened but the hopes and dreams of millions were sent into the abyss, maybe never to return.

Another hypocritical Democrat is Illinois Governor, J.B. Pritzker. Repeatedly, he demanded that his subjects stay in lockdown until he allows them out. With typical arrogance, Pritzker dodged an embarrassing question from a reporter who asked why, when everyone else in his state was stuck at home, his wife had jetted off to their $12 million equestrian estate in Florida.

Instead of apologizing to Illinoisans, his fired back, “My official duties have nothing to do with my family. So, I’m just not going to answer that question. It’s inappropriate and I find it reprehensible, honestly that, that, uh that reporter wrote a story about it.”

A typical Democrat deflection, deflecting the guilt on to the reporter for asking the question rather than having the humility to admit his family’s wrong decision. So the guilt remains, and the good people of Illinois can decide on the efficacy of Pritzker come November.

In Virginia, Governor Ralph “Blackface” Northam, he of killing babies after birth notoriety, banned gatherings of more than ten people and forbade anyone in his state to go out without a mask. “Wearing a mask,” he said, “can literally save a person’s life.”

Clearly saving lives was not on Northam’s mind when he was photographed and filmed on a Virginia beach on Memorial weekend chatting with people, and not wearing a mask.

Hypocrite! But we knew that anyway, didn’t we?

It was the same with New York’s Mayor. De Blasio banned people walking in Central Park, except that he was publicly exposed by an irate citizen for doing precisely that with his wife and a couple of associates.
“Do as I say, not as I do,” has become a Democrat policy.

“This pandemic has just begun,” said California Governor, Gavin Newsom, almost enthusiastically in mid-May. His intention was clear. Keep them away from work.

New Mexico Governor, Michelle Lujan Griffin, enforced a lockdown on her public. This included closing all “non-essential” businesses. After lecturing New Mexicans to stay home, she allowed a non-essential shop to open briefly for the sole and exclusive service of having her browse covertly through their collection and have them deliver her purchase to her home.
Griffin is on the list of Biden candidates to be the next Vice President.

On a national level, American voters will not readily forgive the Democrats under Pelosi’s leadership for abandoning them when she refused to return the Democrats early to Congress to help forge an emergency budget for the hundreds of millions of Americans unable to earn a living.
Instead, they watched her gloat about her expensive and exclusive ice cream on a TV comedy show in her luxury California mansion.

The contrast could not be more striking.

In her selfish action she showed that her governance was not an essential service, and when she returned to the House it was to pass a bloated three trillion-dollar package that did absolutely nothing to help the unfortunate Americans in lockdown but had everything to do with blatantly advancing a Democrat political agenda.

And so it goes on and on and on.
Terrible cases of Democrat mismanagement in time of crisis. Minneapolis anyone? Minneapolis is not the prototype. Ferguson, Baltimore went before. Even Detroit and Chicago without the riots. All cities of utter Democrat social and economic failure now made worse due to their mishandling of the pandemic.

Despite all this failure, the Democrats really believe they can lead America.

Democrats have become a faith based political party. They believe the negative projections and models because it gives them hope to find their way back to power and domination over their people.

It allowed them to preach that America must remain in lock down for as long as possible, long enough to screw up the election process and twist it in their favor with mail-in ballots, the avoidance of mass rallies, and no televised head-to-head debates between Trump and Biden.  The Democrats pray that the ruin of the American economy would be Trump’s Via Dolorosa on his way to his crucifixion come November.

Covid was their epiphany after three desolate years of failure to remove the President. The virus fell like manna from heaven. The governors and the mayors supplicated themselves to the false gods of science and projections in order to guide their people toward the Promised Land of November. Their message is clear. No matter how many fall along the way, the Temple of Big Government will care for the survivors come Election Day.

God help us all!

Barry Shaw, Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.


Sunday, 24 May 2020

The Bibi Trial Begins. A Guide to the Trials of Israel’s Prime Minister.


When Benjamin Netanyahu appeared in the Jerusalem District Court on Sunday May 24th it made political history.
Israel has had no shortage of corrupt leaders.
An Israeli President was sent to prison when Moshe Katzav was sentenced to seven years on rape charges.
Ehud Olmert resigned as Prime Minister to stand trial on charges of bribery and breach of trust both as mayor of Jerusalem and later as Prime Minister. He was sentenced to 27 months on fraud charges and was discharged from prison after serving just sixteen months.
Israel has an inglorious record of ministers, Knesset members, chief rabbis, mayors and other officials going to prison on criminal or security charges,
But when Benjamin Netanyahu appeared in front of the three judges it was the first time that a sitting Prime Minister has faced criminal charges.
The timing is immaculate. After a traumatic year in which three elections failed to produce a majority government, it took the political skills of Netanyahu and the conscience of opposition leader, Benny Gantz, to cobble together an emergency unity government. Yet, even before this government has fully taken its Knesset seat the acting Prime Minister has set out on a marathon legal journey to clear his name.
“There will be nothing, because there is nothing,” has been the drumbeat slogan of Bibi, as he is affectionately known.
Throughout the agonizing process of investigations by the police, acting on the orders of the State Attorney-General, Netanyahu has protested that there has been political dirty business going on aided and abetted by a compliant media. He proclaimed that the only way the opposition can get rid of him was by staging a coup using the courts as a way to removed him from power.
This may sound familiar to American readers.
Bibi’s lawyers have lodged over a hundred complaints of leaks to the media and prosecution witnesses talking to reporters.
Leaving aside Bibi’s protests, let’s look into the charges ranged against him.
Benjamin Netanyahu faces three different set of charges, but all are related to over-arching charges against him of bribery and breach of trust.
The most serious case concerns Case 4000. This is the case in which Bibi is charged with a media bribery scheme with the owners of Bezek and Walla communications and media companies. In this case, the owners, Shaul Elovitch and his wife, Iris, are also co-defenders with a separate legal team.
The charges claim that Walla gave Bibi favorable coverage in exchange for him making government policies favoring Elovitch’s Bezek company to the value of around 1.8 billion shekels.
Bibi has protested that issues relating to the communications industry rest with the ministry concerned and that several decisions had gone against Bezek. The prosecution, however, will be producing as supporting evidence large amounts of letters, email exchanges, text messages and an array of witnesses, including a couple of significant people who have turned state witnesses against the prime minister.
Watch out for the appearances of Nir Hefetz and Shlomo Filber, two former aides to the prime minister. Hefetz will accuse Bibi of micromanaging the Walla news coverage. His court appearance is important and may take several days with the prosecution attempting to substantiate his verbal evidence with an array of documents.  To counter this, the lawyers of Bibi and of the Elovitchs may take even longer when they cross-examine Hefetz.
There has been reports that the prosecution, via the police investigation team, used excessive methods to break Hefetz in order to get him to turn against his former boss.
Shades of FBI and Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort.
But Shlomo Filber will be a tougher nut to crack. He will make the case that Bibi hatched the scheme to grant favors to Shaul Elovitch via government policies and he is expected to back up his evidence with documents.
The prosecution could also call Walla management personnel to give evidence against the prime minister. This is a touchy issue because a dozen Walla reporters have protested interference in their reporting of the prime minister.
Netanyahu’s defense will give evidence of many negative news stories against their client to prove there was no pro-Bibi dominance in Walla reporting. He will also protest that any communications policies that favored Elovitch were approved by named neutral bureaucrats.
It has been reported that parts of Bibi’s defense arguments in Case 4000 are solid. The outcome may rest on how successfully his lawyers can offset the appearance of Shlomo Filber.
Case 1000 concerns huge amounts of gifts that Bibi and his wife received over the years from wealthy friends. Questions have arisen regarding whether these were really friends, or patrons looking for favors. Certainly the reports of crates of pink champagne and boxes of expensive cigars to the Netanyahus, and rumors of Sara Netanyahu’s obsessive demands for clothes to meet her self-given status as Israel’s first lady, have had a grating effect on the Israeli public. However, it may prove difficult to establish any quid pro quo in the Netanyahu dealings with Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, Australian billionaire, James Packer, or Israeli Hollywood mogul, Arnon Milchan.
More complicated for Bibi is Case 2000. This involves his relationship with Yediot newspaper owner, Noni Moses. Bibi is charged with reducing the influence of the pro-Netanyahu Israel HaYom free newspaper, owned by his former friend, Sheldon Adelson, in favor of Yediot. The expected evidence of Sheldon Adelson will be interesting.
In the Case 2000, Bibi is on stronger ground. Moses is not going to testify against himself and Attorney-General has already reduced the charges against Bibi from bribery down to breach of trust.
The three cases will produce a procession of star witnesses including former Mossad head, Tamir Pardo, no political friend of Bibi, former Shin Bet head, Yuval Diskin, former national security adviser, Uzi Arad, leader of the Opposition, Yair Lapid, a Bibi detester. Others may include Tzipi Livni, Labour’s Eitan Cabel. Witnesses for Bibi will be Gilad Erdan, before he takes up his posts in New York and Washington, Ron Dermer, until recently Ambassador to the US, new Knesset Speaker, Yariv Levin, Ze’ev Elkin and Tzachi Hanegbi.
The initial Sunday hearing will mostly cover technical issues concerning documents that the defense has requested from the court.
The trial is likely to drag on until late 2021 and possibly as late as mid-2023. If Bibi is sentenced this is probably not going to be before early 2022 and could be as late as the end of 2024.
Barry Shaw, Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

The Medical Boot of the PA & Hamas keep their people in Permanent Lockdown.


As nations scrambled to obtain desperately needed medical equipment, Israel quietly coordinated a massive 150 medical cargo flights operation, involving El Al and Israel’s fabled Mossad intelligence agency, to scour the globe for much needed drugs, ventilators, protective clothing, and test kits.
Huge El Al Dreamliners were converted into cargo planes as part of Israel’s emergency measures. Israir Airlines also sent planes to the Far East including to Shenzhen for medical supplies, and to bring stranded Israelis back from Vietnam.
Thanks to these efforts, Israel was quick off the mark and ahead of the field which helped keep the nation's damage rate remarkably low.
Part of the incoming medical equipment was send into Palestinian controlled areas, including into Gaza, through the coordination of the Israel and Palestinian Health Ministries.
On May 19, an unmarked Etihad Airlines plane landed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport, making it the inaugural flight from the United Arab Emirates to Israel, to bring medical supplies for the Palestinian Authority.
In a survey carried out by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion in March, the majority of Palestinian Arabs polled (68%) said they were satisfied by the coordination between Israel and the PA to prevent the spread of the virus in Palestinian-controlled areas.
Despite Israel’s coordination with the Palestinian to reduce the spread of the virus, in April the official PA spokesman was corona-washing Israel by accusing the Jewish State of spreading the disease among the Palestinians.
By May, COGAT, the Israeli Unit for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, had been assisting the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian medical personnel in stopping the spread of the virus in territory under Palestinian civilian control.
Then, when news came through that the United Arab Emirates had sent a cargo plane with essential equipment for the Palestinian Authority to Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport, Mahmoud Abbas began to rant against accepting anything from Israel.
By the time the unmarked Etihad plane landed in Israel, the Palestinian Authority was in full-throttle rejectionist mode.  14 tons of medical equipment flown in specifically for Palestinian needs stood on the tarmac as the PA objected to the “normalization of ties” between the Arab world and Israel.
This was a United Nations coordinated flight of urgent medical supplies. As the UN Special Coordinator, Nikolai Mladenov, said, “The aid includes personal protective equipment and medical equipment. Most notable, it includes ten ventilators that are acutely needed.”
Yet, as other nations are in desperate need of such equipment, the Palestinian Authority have put their political agenda ahead of the health and safety of their own people.
At the outbreak of the pandemic Israel acted rapidly and nimbly to scour the globe for essential supplies of medical equipment.  Pride had no preference over the health of its citizens. The health of its citizens, the medical necessities of its people, were paramount. Even the economy was put on lockdown along with the population.
The Israeli Government went to extraordinary and expensive lengths to obtain the material without which the battle against the virus could not have been won. Israel was prepared to approach avowed enemies and dictators for the greater good of its people. Politics were put aside for the physical protection of its population.
Not so the Palestinian leadership.
The Palestinian leadership has developed a history of jeopardizing its own people’s health for political and ideological machinations against the Jewish State.
In June 2010, after a failed Gaza flotilla charade, Israel attempted to deliver medical aid and other items from the impounded boats to the people of Gaza via the official route between Ashdod port and the Gaza Strip. But Hamas refused to accept the Israeli delivery at the Gaza crossing point.
In July 2014, Israel prepared to send millions of shekels’ worth of medicines, chemotherapy and medical equipment, even blood donations to Gaza but the Palestinian Authority refused to accept it over its feud with Hamas.
In May 2018, it was Hamas’s turn to reject medical aid from Israel when it rejected shipments of medical supplies for Gaza hospitals. Eight trucks entered Gaza via the Kerem Shalom Crossing with items from the Palestinian Authority, two trucks had supplies from the UN, and two were donated by the IDF Technological & Logistics Directorate. The IDF convoy included fuel for the hospital generators, disinfectants, bandages, IV fluids, beds, hospital gowns and pediatric equipment. Hamas rejected the IDF donations saying they were not prepared to accept medicine “from the murderers of our people.”
In May 2019, Jason Greenblatt, then President Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, when questioned why the United States had stopped funding Palestinian hospitals, replied, "The PA incurred bills @ the hospital & assumed someone else would pay. We want those patients to receive the best care, the PA could easily pay its own bills to the hospital by ending incentive payments to terrorists/their families & use the $ to care for their people,” referring to the Palestinian Authority “Pay to Slay” policy of rewarding their dead or imprisoned terrorists.
The politicization of medical aid to the Palestinians was covered In a detailed research paper by NGO-Monitor back in March 2015.
It began way before 2015. It continues today. The evidence shows a decades old weaponization of the medical needs of their people against Israel. And the people suffering the most are those living under the anti-normalization boots of both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Barry Shaw, Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Greece and Cyprus first to benefit from Israel lockdown end.

Israel is working on opening up tourist exchanges with countries with either low virus infection rate and those with an excellent health success record of fighting the virus.
Greece and Cyprus are two of the countries that can expect to see an influx of tourist money from Israelis who see both countries as appealing destinations and safe zones for Israelis to visit.
Other countries looked on with favor by the Israeli government include Austria, Montenegro, Georgia, and the Indian Ocean island of Seychelles.
Israel responded quickly to the outbreak of the pandemic. It radically reduced incoming flights and ordered incoming passengers into 14-day isolation. Unlike most European countries, Israel enforced a strict lockdown. Following reports of infected people ignoring instructions, the Israeli government enlisted the intelligence and security agency, the Shin Bet, to track down individuals who broke strict quarantine rules, and arrested and fined several people caught violating the order.
Israelis are accustomed to rapid response preparedness having lived constantly under sudden terror and rocket attack. The Israeli psyche looked on infected people who rode on buses or entered supermarkets with the same disdain as suicide bombers of the past. Such perpetrators are considered by the Israeli public as selfishly endangering the life of others. This mentality brought the vast majority of Israelis to back stringent government measures as saving lives.
This is reflected in the statistics.
Israel and Greece have roughly similar demographics. Israel has a population of 9.3 million. Greece has 10.7.  But look at the virus statistics.
Whereas Greece has a low number of infected - 2853, and low death rate of just 168, Israel has a far greater infection number 16,683 but, in proportion, the Israeli death rate is a remarkably low 279.
The Israeli statistics was warped by the undisciplined ultra-religious and Arab communities who were slow to respond to government instructions and needed stronger enforcement to get them to comply. Sadly, both these communities inflated the infection and death numbers. It is estimated that the infected numbers and the death rates would have been at least 60% lower had these Jewish and Arab sectors of Israel’s population responded more speedily to the outbreak. The elderly population also suffered. A number of nursing homes became hotspots of infection.
Anyone flying domestically or overseas are required to be tested at the outer control point to Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport. Anyone with a temperature are barred from entering the airport. Passengers are required to wear masks aboard planes, and other hygiene and cleaning methods are employed on each flight.
Israelis “discovered” Greece after Turkish leader, Recip Tayyip Erdogan, took an aggressively anti-Israel stance some years ago as he adopted a strong Islamist position in his internal affairs and foreign policy.  A statement that he made a year ago summed up his regional and global view;
“Whoever is on Israel’s side, we are against them.”
Erdogan is returning Turkey to an Ottoman-type regime. Opposition figures in politics, the media, academia, and the military have been arrested and imprisoned. His foreign policy shows an expansionism in the region as Erdogan attempts to extend into Syria, to Libya and the Mediterranean.
Turkey’s loss was the pending agreement with Israel to partner in the flow of Israel’s Mediterranean natural gas to the Turkish mainland for piping through to Europe.
The breakdown of relations led to the signing in Athens in January 202, of the EastMed agreement that will see billions of cubic meters of Israeli natural gas pumped into Europe using both Cyprus and Greece as the gateways to Europe.
Despite Turkey trying to raise tension, the pipeline will be an economic godsend to both Greece and Cyprus and Israel is pleased with the new strategic alliance with both countries.
It is also a happy time for Israeli vacationers who, in previous years, had flocked to Turkey for both full vacations and weekend stays. When Turkey took a disturbingly negative tone against Israel, Israelis went in search of an alternative and fell in love with Greece.
They love the climate, the food and the music which they find comfortingly familiar.
Israel has also been conducting military exercises with both Greek and Cypriot forces, helping to strengthen the strategic alliance between our countries even further.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on Thursday, May 21, to thank him on the 30-year anniversary of Israel-Greek diplomatic relations.
In the call, Netanyahu told Mitsotakis, “There is enormous demand from Israeli citizens. We see people on talk shows asking ‘when can we go to Greece?’ We want to resume flights and tourism connections with countries with a similar situation, and the most evident one in Greece.”
Talks began between the Israeli Tourism Ministry and its counterparts in Athens and Nicosia two weeks ago to create safe zones for tourism between the countries.
It is hoped that the strategic and economic benefits stemming from the growing alliance will sway both Greece and Cyprus to view Israel’s regional problems in a more favorable light and that both countries will throw their support behind Israel by their votes in both EU and United Nation resolutions that too often condemn Israel with an automatic anti-Israel knee-jerk response from too many European 

Thursday, 21 May 2020

The Plot to Usurp a Duly Elected President.

The Obama Administration's anti-Trump unmasking campaign went way beyond General Michael Flynn.
According to the letter sent by Senator Lindsey Graham to the Acting Director of National Intelligence, the list of unmasked American citizens included not only President Trump and Flynn but also, Donald Trump,Jnr, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort, Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Sam Clovis, Chris Christie, Carter Page, and George Papadopoulos.
See the attached letter.
This was not an Obama investigation into a non-existent Russian Collusion (see the Mueller Report).
This was a top level covert mission to spy on the opposition in search of something, anything, that would bring down the Trump presidency.
Evidence, the involvement of James Comey, Susan Rice, Joe Biden, John Brennan, James Clapper, Samantha Power, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzog, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr, Nelly Ohr, Glenn Simpson, and many overseas characters.
In other words, it was part of a Democratic coup to unseat a duly elected President of the United States and to usurp power.
Barry Shaw, IISS.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

The Battle over Hydroxychloroquine (NHQ).

An earlier article of mine on the efficacy of the drug HCQ was met with a storm of responses on both sides of the argument.
Hydroxychloroquine, marketed under the name Plaquenil, is a drug used to prevent malaria. It is also a pill used for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and also lupus. It has been on the market since the 50s.
But, for months, private doctors have been prescribing HCQ for patients in the early stages of the Wuhan virus with great success.
Controversy began to rage around this drug when President Trump began to speak about HCQ following a series of positive reports from doctors in a number of global locations.
 Adverse effects were discovered when treating hospitalized patients suffering in   advanced stages of the virus disease, including those on ventilators, with HCQ alone or in combination with other drugs.
Reports claimed that the drug had caused heart rhythm problems among patients receiving higher doses of chloroquine. The United States National Institute for Health (NIH) issued new guidelines for the use of the drug but added, “there was insufficient evidence for or against chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.” But it also advised against using HCQ with azithromycin because of the potential side effects.
Researchers analyzed medical records of 368 male veterans hospitalized with confirmed coronavirus infection at Veterans Health Administration medical centers who died or were discharged by April 11.  About 28 percent of those who were given HCQ died versus 11% of those who received routine care alone. About 22% of those getting the drug plus azithromycin died too, but the difference between that group and usual care was not considered large enough to rule out other factors that could have affected survival.
A Brazilian medical trial of a drug that had been stockpiled by Israel as a potential treatment for COVID-19 was stopped due to patients developing irregular heartbeats. Another trial in Sweden was halted when patients reported migraines, peripheral vision loss and cramps.  But both the Brazil study and the Swedish one were found to have used Chloroquine (not the safer HCQ).
HCQ and CQ are two different drugs, though both have been used to fight Malaria. The equivalent is akin to damn both for the sins of only one. That would be like saying Tylenol causes stomach bleeding, as can Aspirin, so ban them both.
Dr. Ramin Oskoui, Cardiologist and CEO of Foxhall Cardiology, said on the Laura Ingraham show about the FDA limiting access to HCQ, “You've got to wonder. We know that Tylenol can cause liver failure, but it's available over the counter. So the FDA's recommendations are really schizophrenic. The instance rate of cardiac toxicity is vanishingly low. It's not 5 percent, it's probably 0.05 percent. We used this drug in pregnant women. We used it in children. We use it without monitoring in countries for malaria prophylaxis. The FDA package insert never mentions EKG as a baseline. All the patients - somewhere close to a dozen that I've treated - are established patients with EKGs that I know their heart history. I've had no problems except for one patient who had persistent nausea, a small price to pay for avoiding the ICU.”
So why suddenly did the FDA insist that HCQ must only be used in a hospital environment which restricts the virus patients to those in late advanced stages of the disease when it has been shown to work well in early stage patients?   Many medical specialists, such as Dr. Oskoui are puzzled.
Israel has stockpiled both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine on the assumption that if trials find that it is beneficial in the treatment of COVID-19 this would spark a buying war for the drugs.
Speaking to the financial daily Globes last week, Prof. Ronni Gamzu, a former director general of the Health Ministry who now heads the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, said the hospital had used chloroquine, but had seen no evidence of its efficacy in treating COVID-19.
Moran-Gilad said that the Epidemic Management Team discussed whether to give hospitals any directions regarding hydroxychloroquine, and decided not to. “At the moment there is no official guidance or endorsement by the Health Ministry that it should be used for COVID-19,” he said. “We discussed this in the national management team and we decided not to give guidance as there is no data to support the use of this drug.”
Speaking to The Times of Israel in mid-April with regard to chloroquine, Jacob Moran-Gilad, a member of the Health Ministry’s Epidemic Management Team, said, “In a few weeks’ time if there is official data to show it is beneficial it will be very difficult to secure the drug.”
He said that doctors are allowed to prescribe hydroxychloroquine to their patients, and some are doing so.  But this is on patients in advanced stages of the virus damage. What of early to mid-stages of the virus infection?
Dr. Vladimir Zelenko from New York announced that over 400 of his high-risk patients with COVID-19 have recovered. All were treated with his 3-drug regimen of hydroxychloroquine, azinthromycin, and zinc. The doctor said two patients died, but the other 403 recuperated completely from COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

“And by the way, it’s not magic, I mean there’s a reason behind it,” said Zelenko. “The virus is inside the cell, the zinc cannot get inside the cell for biochemical reasons, so the hydroxychloroquine opens the door and lets the zinc in. That’s all it does, in this context.
Meanwhile, the antibiotic, azithromycin, protects the patient from secondary infections.”
As one GP stated, “They also find a much higher benefit if you take those medications as soon as symptoms present. The higher deaths are skewed because they are talking about intubated patients who pretty much had nothing left to lose.”

A French Doctor, Didier Raoult, said he conducted a study of 80 patients that showed that four out of five of those treated with the drug had “favorable” outcomes.  He had earlier reported that after treating 24 patients for six days with HCQ and azithromycin, the virus disappeared in all but a quarter of them.  The research has not been formally published in a medical journal.
it really seems like much of the mainstream media is against this drug, despite a lot of promising results. Dr. Raoult just published a more recent study on outcomes of over 1000 patients, but the media chose to only mention the initial study with 80 people.  
The drug is supposed to stop the virus entering cells so perhaps it should be given earlier before any damage to the lungs has taken place. It is most successful early on as it is targeting viral entry into host cells and viral replication, one or the other or both. But they have been applying this drug to people in trials with acute respiratory disease where another set of drugs, perhaps Remdesivir, may have been more effective.

On May 14, The National Institutes of Health announced that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) had launched a clinical trial testing hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin in 2,000 patients with mild and moderate cases of COVID-19.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. donated the hydroxychloroquine for the trial, evaluating whether the drug combination can prevent hospitalization and death. "Although there is anecdotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin may benefit people with COVID-19, we need solid data from a large randomized, controlled clinical trial to determine whether this experimental treatment is safe and can improve clinical outcomes," NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a statement.
The trial was announced during Dr. Rick Bright's testimony before a House of Representatives committee. 
Dr. Bright has a chip on his shoulder. Part of that chip is apparently political, part professional. Dr. Bright was transferred to the new diagnostics research study. For reasons unknown he took umbrage at the move. 
Bright hired the team of lawyers that represented Christine Blassey Ford in her failed Congressional complaint against Judge Brett Kavanagh, Trump’s choice for a seat on the Supreme Court, on flimsy sexual harassment charges.
Originally, Dr. Bright signed a recommendation for HCQ. In a strangely contradictory claim, Bright said, I rightly resisted efforts to provide an unproven drug on demand to the American public. I insisted that these drugs be provided only to hospitalized patients with confirmed Covid-19 while under the supervision of a physician.”
These drugs were not being provided to the public but to a specific research within the confines of the NIH where he works, and a project in which he had been selected as a leading participant with a reported annual salary of $285,000.
Alex Azar, the Health Secretary, blasted Bright by saying that “had Dr. Bright turned up to work at his new job he would know that that NHS is looking closely at HCQ and if it passes the NHS testing it will be prescribed as part of the virus treatment.”
Azar added, "Whose job was it to actually lead the development of vaccines? Dr. Bright. So while we're launching Operation Warp Speed he's not showing up to work to be part of that. This is like somebody who was in a choir and is now trying to say he was a soloist back then. What he was saying then is what every member of this administration and the president was saying."
Dr. Bright wrote a letter to the New York Times in which he hinted that Trump was promoting HCQ as one of the drugs being tested for personal financial gain.
Fact-checker website, Vox, concluded that “Trump has been accused of many crimes – but doesn’t seem to be doing anything wrong this time.”
 Bright claims he was pushed out of his previous job because he resisted efforts by HHS leadership to promote HCQ. Azar told reporters Thursday: "On hydroxychloroquine, Dr. Bright literally signed the application for FDA authorization of it. Literally, he's the sponsor of it."
Asked about this during his testimony, Bright said that he supported the use of HCQ under the supervision of a physician.

There are dozens of other clinical trials underway to evaluate HCQ in COVID-19 patients both in the US and abroad.
The University of Minnesota plans to test HCQ to prevent COVID-19 infections in the nation’s frontline health-care workers.
Thousands of health care workers around the globe have been laid low by the virus, including at least 3,300 health care workers in China, 20% of the frontline clinicians in Italy, and more than 12,000 health care workers in Spain.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, a government agency created by the Affordable Care Act, said Wednesday it is putting up $50 million to fund a registry and a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial examining if HCQ can prevent COVID-19 infections in 15,000 health care workers. The trial will be led by the Duke Clinical Research Institute.
Similar trials are under way in Australia where they are testing a tuberculosis vaccine in health care workers. In France, where a hospital near Lyon is also testing AbbVie’s HIV drug Kaletra. In Spain, and the Netherlands, according to ClinicalTrials.gov.

Hydroxychloroquine isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat or prevent COVID-19 infections. However, the regulator recently used its emergency powers to allow chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to be used in clinical trials for COVID-19 and to treat some patients who have been sickened by the virus given the lack of proven therapies available to treat the disease.

Hydroxychloroquine sulfate is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of malaria, lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.  The Teva-manufactured drug is not approved for use in treating COVID-19. However, it is under investigation for efficacy against the novel coronavirus and has been requested by US government officials to be made available for testing purposes.
Although there have been health problems in certain patients being treated with a mixture of the two drugs in hospital patients with advanced symptoms of the coronavirus, there are endless reports of success in the use of HCQ on early to mid-stage virus patients. But on April 30, the FDA warned against its use outside hospital confines or clinical trials.
This is strange and somewhat contradictory. While it is admitted that there have been a number of negative effects over the application of HCQ and CQ in advanced hospitalized patients, it does not look as if the FDA has been listening to private practice physicians in the United States and abroad who have been treating their patients with “amazing” results in their surgeries.

There are now reports that the drug, HCQ, is being withheld from local doctors who have been successfully treating their patients with this drug.
Texan doctor, Ivette Lozano, appeared on Fox News Laura Ingraham, to tell how she has been successfully treating early stage patients with HCQ. Recently, the Texas State Board demanded that she discloses her patients’ medical history which, in America, is an infringement of doctor-patient confidentiality and against the law.
Dr. Lozano sent HCQ prescriptions for fifteen of her patients to the pharmacy and was told they would no longer provide her with this drug. She protested that they could not do that, but the pharmacist told Dr. Lozano, “I have the right to deny this prescription to you.”
The pharmacist admitting having supplies in stock but would not supply this doctor with an inexpensive well known drug with a thirty-year history.
She complained, “I have patients with pneumonia that have been turned away from clinics and hospitals. I have patients with temperatures of 102.9, all successfully treated with HCQ. Now physicians are concerned they will be in trouble with licensing boards. Now pharmacists are refusing to provide this medication. I have a huge problem on my hands. Every patient I have treated in serious and moderate condition improve within five hours, and some have been completely cured within 24 hours to two days. It’s incredible!”

Perhaps the highest profile person who responded well with the use of HCQ was Detroit Democratic representative, Karen Whitsett, who was invited to the White House after thanking President Trump for speaking about HCQ.
She had originally been diagnosed with pneumonia, but by the time her Covid-19 test came back positive her health had plummeted.
"It went from the headaches being severe to fluid building up in my lungs, to sweats breaking out, to the cough and my breathing being labored," Whitsett said. "It all happened in a matter of hours."
"If President Trump had not talked about this it wouldn't have been something that would be accessible for anyone to be able to get right now.” Within a few hours of taking the drug, she said she was already in recovery.
As a result of publicly thanking the President, the DNC, instead of celebrating her recovery from a near-death experience, censored her and expel her from the Democratic Party.
On May 12, researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine found that patients given HCQ along with zinc sulphate and the antibiotic azithromycin were 44 percent less likely to die from the coronavirus.
"Certainly we have very limited options as far as what we have seen work for this infection so anything that may work is very exciting," said Dr. Joseph Rahimian, Infectious Disease Specialist at NYU Langone Health.
The study looked at the records of 932 COVID-19 patients treated at local hospitals with HCQ and azithromycin.
More than 400 of them were also given 100 milligrams of zinc daily. 
Researchers said the patients given zinc were one and a half times more likely to recover, decreasing their need for intensive care.
One theory is that HCQ may aid a cell’s ability to absorb the zinc which has antiviral properties and responds to the infection.
"It sort of boosts the zinc activity which is one of the reasons we thought to look at zinc here and in this observational study we did see a difference suggesting that maybe that boosting activity of the HCQ with the zinc helps the zinc to work better and lead to a benefit," Rahimian said.
Confirming the case that HCQ alone or in combination with certain other drugs may not do so well in advanced virus case, Dr. Rahimian says patients in the more critical stages of infection did not fare as well.
As if to confirm the efficacy of the HCQ and zinc combination, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Monday found that treating advanced patients only with HCQ, azithromycin, or both did not reduce hospital deaths. 
In France, 400,000 people signed a petition to their government to allow more doctors to prescribe HCQ for virus patients even as experts debate the efficacy of the drug.
France has recorded over 180,000 cases of infected people. Over 28,000 people have died from or with the virus. And there is no known drug that successfully solves the problem.
At the end of April, a clinical trial of a thousand patients with the drug Remdesivir, from Gilead Science, produced favorable results with patients recovering 31% faster than patients given a placebo.
In Israel, the covert Biological Research Institute, announced it had developed an antibody that could be used to develop treatments against the Covid-19 virus.
In a rare statement, the Institute announced, “As far as we know, according to comprehensive scientific publications from around the world, the Biological Research Institute is the first in the world to achieve this breakthrough in these three parameters at the same time.”
Prof Shuki Shemer, the head of Israel’s Assuta Medical Center and a former director general of the Health Ministry, said, “This is a real breakthrough involving scientific and technological capabilities of the first order. They’ve produced an antibody that neutralizes the virus. There’s still a long way to go, but no other country has done this.” 
There are many more trials. The race is on to find a cure for the Wuhan virus pandemic.
The media was quick to trash President Trump when he said he was hopeful that HCQ could be used successfully in the treatment of virus patients. It will be interesting to see if the same anti-Trump media give Democratic NYS Governor, Andrew Cuomo, the same short-shrift treatment, after he said the New York based research was “promising.”
And we will end with Trump.
On the day that Moderna announced promising results on its preliminary testing of a new virus vaccine on humans -did they test it first on animals? - at a White House press briefing on May 18, Trump surprised many by admitting he is taking HCQ on a daily basis.
“You’d be surprised at how many front line workers are taking hydroxychloroquine before they catch it. I’m taking it. I started a couple of weeks ago.”
At this briefing Trump spoke of a Westchester doctor who had contacted him after prescribing HCQ to his patients. “He had hundreds of people. He hasn’t lost one. He just wanted me to know the success of what he is doing.”
While it is not recommended that a 72-year-old obese President should take this drug prior to exhibiting symptoms, Trump clearly wants to project himself as being out in front of the issue of the use of hydroxychloroquine.
Time will tell if his instincts were right about HCQ.
Barry Shaw, Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.