Sunday, March 29, 2020

A Cure for COVID - Why Is No One Talking About It?

I have been bearish on COVID-19 for some time. In my house, we actually bought some masks back in mid-January before there was a single case in the U.S. I am increasingly growing bullish, though, and one of the main reasons is that there appears to be a cure, at least if people are treated at early onset of symptoms.

And yet, no one is talking about it.

I watched the Sunday talk shows. Nothing. All they wanted to talk about was how ridiculous they thought Trump's idea was to have partial re-openings by Easter (when all he said was that he hoped it could happen).

Go on Drudge right now - there's not a single story about any cure.

Politicians are silent.

And yet this cure is being administered widely right now and is working.

So what gives?

First, some background. In mid-March, a Frenchman named Didier Raoult announced results of a study involving a combined treatment of Hydroxychloroquine, a common anti-malarial drug, and Azithromycin, an antibiotic. I'll call them H&A. 

Before we go further, note that Raoult is a renowned physician and microbiologist. You can read about him here. This is not Jude Law in Contagion, wandering around in a hazmat suit peddling forsythia.




Didier Raoult

The results of the study were extremely positive, with most patients having no symptoms in only five days, and they caused Trump to express optimism in a press conference. However, there were some issues with the test, not the least of which was the small sample size (24).

Okay, fine. But this is surely cause for hope, no?

No.

Raoult's findings were widely ridiculed, especially when Trump expressed his own optimism. 

Then, two days ago, a bombshell. Raoult conducted a second study, this time with 80 patients, and the findings were remarkable: of the 80, 78 fully recovered from all symptoms within five days. One 85 year-old patient died and one 74 year-old was still in the ICU.



A doctor friend of mine says these are insanely good numbers, the best you'll ever see in a medical study. If you want to nerd out, you can read the study here.

Moreover, it's working elsewhere. Another doctor I'm familiar with says they are prescribing it widely in Cincinnati and seeing similar results. Another doctor for an Orthodox Jewish community (where COVID is running rampant) in upstate New York has this to say:

"Since last Thursday, my team has treated approximately 450 patients with the (new) regimen. Of this group, we have had ZERO deaths, ZERO hospitalization, and ZERO intubations. In addition, I have not heard of any negative side effects other than approximately 10% of patients with temporary nausea and diarrhea."

(Note that there's a broad clinical trial going on in New York right now and results are expected to roll in this week.)

BUT, the medical establishment in the U.S. is reluctant to get on board, including the media's new Elvis, Dr. Fauci.

Why? Well, they have a certain way of doing things, you see, and it involves months of randomized, clinical trials, you see, and rushing things is just not prudent.

Here's someone named Joshua Sharfstein. He's a former FDA bigwig and current Vice Dean at Johns Hopkins:

"The best way to know whether medication for COVID-19 is effective is through a high-quality clinical trial. Efforts to widely distribute unproven treatments are misguided at best and dangerous at worst."

Here's the thing, Dr. Sharfstein. H&A have both been around for decades. They are cheap to produce and their side effects relatively benign, particularly when they are only needed for a few days. There's no downside to distributing them widely. Its effectiveness would be readily apparent. Or not. The downside is that COVID continues to run rampant. 

If I had COVID right now, I'd tell Dr. Sharfstein to kiss my ass.

Other countries are wising up, why can't we? India will no longer export Hydroxychloroquine, wanting to keep all supplies for themselves. Significantly, they are giving it to their frontline health workers as a prophylactic. South Korea used it and they are one of the least-hit countries. Belgium just made it a part of their protocol.

Fortunately, drug companies are stepping up. Companies like Bayer, Novartis, and Teva have agreed to mass produce up to 250 million doses, and much of that they plan to give away for free.

All of which brings us to the question of media and government radio silence. You'd think news of this would be everywhere.

With the government, the kind explanation is that they know the facts and they don't want there to be a run on H&A. Indeed, there is anecdotal evidence that doctors and pharmacists are quietly hoarding H&A in case they need it personally (good for them - they're on the front lines). This should be a short-run concern, with drug companies stepping up.

As for the media, I find it difficult to conclude it's anything other than hatred for Trump. He's optimistic about H&A, and Orange Man Bad, so H&A must also be bad. It's a harsh thing to say, but they don't want these trials to succeed. What else can explain the coverage? Get Trump out of there and sort this out later. 

Don't believe me? Do some googling. The only times they mention H&A are in the context of making Trump somehow look bad. For instance, when two Nigerian men died after ingesting Hydroxychloroquine, there was a rash of stories, many directly implicating Trump in the deaths, when in fact these men both self-medicated and overdosed. You can overdose on aspirin if you take too much. Then, after some genius in Arizona died after ingesting fish tank cleaner, thinking it was the same thing because the name was similar, the media also blamed Trump. CNN didn't even bother to mention it was fish tank cleaner! The viewer was meant to assume it was the Hydroxychloroquine.

This is the media's darkest hour. I never thought the corruption they displayed during Russiagate could be exceeded, but they have cleared that bar and are still going. At least their Russiagate coverage didn't cost lives, which is arguably what's happening now.

So, as I re-read this, I fully realize that I sound like one of those internet cranks peddling crazy stories for clicks. If you're hearing about H&A for the first time, I probably come off like that. Trust me, I'm rational. If you don't trust me, go out and do your own research. Everything's out there.

The good news is that unless there is some crazy hole in this, the truth of will become apparent soon, probably over the next week, two at the most. Look for markets to respond positively and lots of tweets to be deleted.







Friday, March 27, 2020

Fighting Socialism May Be the Bigger Fight

This is an excellent article by my friend Emil Henry that ran in The Hill today, reprinted with his permission...


Forecasting the aftermath of the current crisis is nearly impossible, but here is one prediction you can take to the bank: However deep the economic carnage and regardless of its source, those who seek to drive this country towards socialism will exploit it for all it’s worth.
President Trump recently declared himself a wartime president, as well he should. He is fighting an unprecedented two-front domestic war — one a health crisis, the other economic. In the coming days, the economy will further decline, perhaps in unprecedented ways. And since economic upheaval usually precedes political upheaval, he will soon need to fight a third front: the inevitable propagandizing that will flow from forces of the far left who will lay many resulting economic inequities, real or perceived, at the feet of free markets and capitalism.
The catalyst for the ascendancy of socialism in our recent politics was the financial crisis of 2008. In its wake — sparked by Occupy Wall St., encouraged by hard leftists and enabled by the media — a majority of millennials and Gens X, Y and Z now look favorably upon the movement, according to most polls. They were the base that put a Democratic socialist within a hair’s breadth of the Democratic presidential nomination. And because political views formed in youth tend to last a lifetime, this voting bloc will be the pig in the electoral snake for decades to come.
If the economic blow of the Great Recession was able to catalyze such a breathtaking lurch leftward, imagine what two in a row — in less than half a generation — might unleash on our body politic. Socialists and progressives must be salivating at the prospect of the potential for a one-two punch.
So, brace yourself for the emergence of yet another generation of those intrigued by the false promises of socialism. Ominously, this will coincide with the natural decline of the elderly, the last demographic to understand, overwhelmingly, the abhorrence of socialism.
Will Trump rise to such a fight? I am not holding my breath. He is a warrior, yes. It is a source of his appeal. But he thrives on bludgeoning opponents personally, not in nuance and appeals to higher principle which this fight will require.
His adversaries will be nimble and guerilla-like since socialists already live every day on a wartime footing. Whether originalists Marx and Engels, revolutionaries Lenin and Castro, or modernists Bernie Sanders and AOC, a common thread amongst them all has been to pounce upon every inequity for maximum political impact.
Inequities on a scale that may exceed the financial crisis will abound in the days ahead. So, look for progressives to seize upon them as the true fruits of capitalism, and re-issue the siren call of socialism. Look for the Trojan Horse temptation of state-sponsored security at the expense of freedom, innovation and growth. Overflowing hospitals? Time for Medicare for all. Joblessness and bankruptcies? Time for Universal Basic Income. 
And look for the made-for-Instagram moments where AOC, Bernie and other opportunists will make great hay and stoke class warfare, the rocket fuel of all socialists. When a Southampton socialite is filmed at the butcher’s counter ordering, in full Marie Antoinette style, to “sell me the entire cabinet!”, demands for a Wealth Tax and other state confiscations will surely follow.
There will be winners in this mess. Private jet travel, the ultimate self-quarantine, is in high demand. Big Tech is king as remote work and in-home entertainment drive demand for broadband connectivity. Food distribution is humming from servicing a population now eating three meals a day at home. Amazon is hiring thousands to meet demand from folks avoiding stores and malls.
But to the left, winners are not exemplars of a vibrant, nimble private sector providing value and service in a time of great need. They are simply the rich getting richer. They are to be scrutinized, regulated, and gouged of ill-gotten profit.
The most dangerous propagandizing from the left will come if the number of U.S. COVID-19 infections, and our economic dislocations, exceed China’s experience. That would lend credence to their predictable and seductive yet insidious suggestion that central planners have the best tools to protect humans from themselves. Never mind that the cause of U.S. business dislocations will have been the government and its mandated business shutdown.
As we sit in our homes watching people die and savings destroyed as the economy melts, it may be hard to fathom that this third front might actually prove the more existential fight for our country. But if we lose, and yet another generation falls for what some have called the Big Lie of socialism, then founder Ben Franklin’s warning of our Republic’s fragility may prove hauntingly prophetic.
Emil W. Henry, Jr., served as U.S. Treasury Assistant Secretary from 2005-2007. He is CEO and managing partner of Henry Tiger LLC and Tiger Infrastructure Partners, a private equity firm.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

What to Make of the Coronavirus


I'm not a doctor, nor an epidemiologist, so let's just get that out of the way.

But I can look at data. I have some experience with that.

Like so many others, I have been struggling to make heads or tails of where this outbreak is heading. Listening to others, while necessary, is also frustrating. I fault both sides of the political aisle for their response to this, for they aren't making it any easier to discern the truth. Liberals are shamefully trying to make political hay and are nakedly hoping this is "Trump's Katrina." Their handmaidens in the media are playing along on cue, whipping up the sort of hysteria that has people hoarding toilet paper.

Conservatives, on the other hand, are trying to act like this is a ridiculous over-reaction and hey, doesn't-the-normal-flu-kill-lots-more-people-than-this-anyway-so-what's-the-big-deal?

They are wrong. This is not like the normal flu. 

It's much worse.

(I should mention here that by conservatives, I don't mean elected officials like Trump, Pence, or our nation's governors. So far, I think the government response to COVID has been good, although Trump would be well served to project more of his otherwise constant vigor. A Oval address would be a good start. No, the people I'm talking about are talk radio hosts and social media conservatives. Their instinct is to protect Trump, so they're downplaying the seriousness of this.)

COVID is very easy to contract, and it can hide for almost two weeks without presenting symptoms. This accounts for the exponential growth.

Then there's the death rate. The WHO said it was 3%, which is a ridiculous number if we're projecting what might happen here in the U.S. Our healthcare is just a little better than Iran or China's. The better number to use is 0.6%, which is what they're experiencing in South Korea. But this is still 6x deadlier than the regular flu.

But 0.6% of what?

Between five and twenty percent of the U.S. population gets the flu every year. If we take the midpoint of that - 12.5% - that's 41 million people. That's how many will get sick. 0.6% of that is a quarter of a million deaths - not insubstantial. We lost 58,000 in Vietnam, by way of comparison.

The real fear is that COVID quickly overruns our healthcare system, like it has in Italy (which is a mess).  Here's how that happens. There are roughly one million hospital beds in the U.S., and about one third of those are available at any given time. If COVID keeps spreading exponentially there will be about 4 million  sick people by mid-May. If ten percent of those need hospitalization (following Italy's numbers), that's 400,000. Already that's more than the available number of beds. And none of this takes into account the contagion rates for healthcare workers and their ability to work effectively.

BUT

The big assumption there is that COVID keeps growing exponentially. Will it?

For that, let's look at the data from other countries that have been dealing with this longer than the U.S. There, we find some encouragement.

First, China:



You can see, China's pretty much licked it. Of course, there's the question of believing anything the Chinese say, so for more dependable numbers, we can look to South Korea:



While they're a bit behind, we see the same pattern - a two to three week exponential ramp up, followed by an equally dramatic decline.

Here's another hotbed, Iran:



Roughly similar, although they are a bit behind. This makes sense. China came before South Korea, which came before Iran....

...all of which came before any Western countries, including current basket case, Italy:



Almost identical, although Italy's only just turned the corner. It will be highly interesting to follow them in the coming days.

Same thing in Spain:



France is still ramping up, and likely a few days from the peak:



As is Germany:



Here's what things look like here in the U.S., where we're still in the ramp up phase:



A few points need to be made:


  • America's numbers are likely artificially low do to lack of testing kits. Expect them to spike.
  • It will be a close call as to whether we can suppress COVID quickly enough to avoid running out of beds.
  • It's not surprising China could turn the corner using authoritarian measures, but that doesn't explain South Korea or the apparent turnaround in Italy. They are managing to get it done in more open, democratic societies.
  • This is encouraging for the U.S. but how people here respond to restrictions in their daily lives here remains to be seen.
  • This is only the first wave of COVID. More will come before a vaccine is possible. A big concern is that we declare victory this summer and aren't psychologically prepared for another outbreak next fall. Note that it was the second wave of the Spanish Flu that was the big killer:




Economically, if we deal with COVID effectively, there almost has to be a recession. Many forms of public activities will almost certainly come to a halt. There will be bankruptcies. But it will be a short recession with a quick recovery. All that money we aren't spending on cruises will be burning a hole in our pockets, and we'll be bored from hanging out at home. There will be great buying opportunities in the stock market, and perhaps already are. After all, the current rout wasn't caused by a collapsing bubble, but an exogenous event. People will re-engage quickly and profits will recover.

Where does all this leave me? Somewhere in the middle, to be honest. This is very, very serious. The elderly, and others highly at risk should probably self-confine themselves for several weeks, if they can. 

But it's also not the end of the world.

I do worry that this is an election wild card. All bets are off, at least economically, if the senescent Joe Biden somehow gets elected. Hello swamp. But I suspect we'll be in recovery mode well before then.

So, hunker down, take this seriously. We will get through it. As a nation, we've been through far worse. 

P.S. If any smart people out there disagree or find fault with any aspect of this analysis, please chime in. I'm just one guy trying to make sense of the data.

Edit: There's something I should make more clear. The cresting of cases in the U.S. is NOT a foregone conclusion. The countries that have bent the curve have taken draconian measures. Italy just closed every restaurant and bar and basically has the country on lockdown. Are we ready to do that? Perhaps, as the NBA just cancelled their entire season (holy shit). But all this remains to be seen.

Edit #2 (March 14): Note that new cases in Italy did NOT crest as the data indicated when I first wrote this. they are still on an upswing with 2,651 new cases reported just yesterday. Not good.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Conservatives Don't Win Stuff


The annual gathering of virtue-signaling liberals, otherwise known as the Academy Awards, was reminder of a phenomenon I have noticed for some time: conservatives don’t win stuff - that is, for pretty much anything (except maybe for sports, awards for which are presumably non-political).

Recently, I wrote a novel, Campusland, a satire about PC insanity on college campuses. Dipping my toes in the literary world for the first time, I noticed something: there are book awards, lots and lots of them, for any category and sub-category you can imagine. But don’t hold your breath for Campusland. A modest search of book award winners shows that winners overwhelmingly tow the progressive line, particularly in the area of identity politics. Michelle Obama will need a wheel barrow to take home all her awards for Becoming.

This phenomenon holds rigidly true throughout the entertainment world. But this comes as no real surprise, does it?


Greta, here anticipating a lifetime of awards

But what about elsewhere? Greta Thunberg has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Don’t bet against her. Barack Obama won it before he’d even had a chance to remove Winston Churchill’s bust from the Oval Office. He won it for just being so…wonderful.

Check out who’s winning Rhodes Scholarships these days. (Seriously, please do - their bios are all on the internet) They are virtually all social justice warriors. One of this years’s winners, for example, focuses her studies on the “criminalization of Central American asylum seekers and the trend towards closed borders.” Another is committed to “Asian diasporic speculative fiction and its intersections with queerness and biopolitcs.”

Yeah, that apparently means something, to somebody.


This never happens

All this is why it was a complete shock to see Rush Limbaugh awarded the Medal of Freedom. People like Rush have always understood they don’t get awards. Conservatives are expected to know their place in the cultural firmament. I’m sure Rush had long come to peace with this, which is likely why he was so emotional.

Overwhelmingly, it’s organizations that give awards; the media, academia, 501c3s, and foundations - it’s all one big bubble of self-congratulation. 

Why is this? Ever hear of O’Sullivan’s Law? It states that any all organizations that are not explicitly right wing will, over time, become left wing. This is almost unfailingly true. Left-leaning activists are attracted to positions of cultural leverage like bees to honey. Yes, they are a relatively small percentage of the population, but they are the tail that wags our cultural dog. They are brutish and unapologetic, but they aren’t stupid.


They had no idea

Exhibit A: the Mellon Foundation just gave $4 million to Yale to further “racial studies across the humanities.” Setting aside the fact that Yale already obsesses about identity politics, I submit that de-colonizing Yale’s English Department was not what Andrew Mellon, a staunch Coolidge Republican, had in mind when he set up the foundation years ago. I urge you to go to their website and look at their grant history. It’s full-on woke. While you’re there, check out their Board of Trustees. It includes the usual rogues gallery of academics, people like Richard Brodhead. You remember him, the former president of Duke who presided over the shameful handling of the lacrosse team a decade ago.


Brodhead - let's put at least one face on this

Alas. I know of no simple, or even complicated, way to stop this. Conservatives just don’t share liberals’ zeal for moving the cultural needle, and thus, over time, the Prize Givers have become dues paying members of the coastal elite. The populist revolt that is re-aligning our politics is in no small way due to their condescending smugness. Most of us have just started tuning it out. We don’t care who won the Nobel Peace Prize or Best Picture. We don’t know or care who won a Pulitzer or a Palme d’Or. 

Hey, libs: you are all just congratulating each other, and your bubble is shrinking every day.

Friday, January 17, 2020


For those who are interested, I did an in depth interview with Eric Metaxas that airs today. he's a very interesting guy with a big platform, and also a Yalie. It airs today on 200 radio stations, but probably easier to watch on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUsVCdrz3Lg

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Early Prediction: Democrat Convention Fireworks


Milwaukee, home of the next Democratic convention, could be a very interesting place to be next July. And by interesting, I mean ugly. That's because it might be the first brokered convention since 1952, but significantly less genteel than the days of Adlai Stevenson. 

Hardly anyone seems to talking about it.

The obvious reason for this is that no particular Democrat seems to sustain any momentum. First, there was Biden, but ethical troubles and questions about his senescence brought him back to the pack. Then Warren surged to a 52% probability in the betting markets, but has since fallen precipitously as her universal healthcare plan landed with a thud. More recently, Pete Buttigieg has made a run, but now past comments have landed him in hot water with the identity politics crowd (ironic, given he's gay). At one point, Kamala Harris was also the favorite in betting markets.

But there's a less obvious reason rooted in how and when Democrats award their delegates. 

Here's the how. Unlike Republicans, Democrats award their delegates proportionately, which means it's much harder for anyone to land an early knockout blow, particularly in such a fragmented field. 

Here's the when. With California moving up to join the pack on Super Tuesday, the primary schedule is historically front loaded. Almost a third of the delegates will be awarded by March 3rd. It hardly leaves time for any candidate to establish clear momentum from the handful of early contests. 

To win the nomination on the first ballot, a candidate must clear the 50% bar. Things could certainly change, but right now this doesn't look probable. That's when the fun starts, after the first ballot, because then it's a brokered convention. Let the horse trading begin. And who knows how many players there could be in this game. Perhaps an also ran like a Buttigieg, Bloomberg, or Harris plays king maker with their delegates. Anyone with even a handful of delegates will have serious leverage.

Also, on the second ballot, the so-called super delegates get a vote. This is the fun part, from the perspective of a Republican on the sidelines. You remember them: they're the ones who carried water for Hillary in '16. Super delegates consist of party insiders and they really, really pissed off the Bernie Brigade last time around.

Add to this the general mood of Democrats and liberals these days, which is to say, spitting mad. Sure, they're mad at Trump, but really they're just mad. Outrage is the lingua franca of the left these days. They will march and shout at the drop of a hat and are just as happy with circular firing squads. 



Just imagine, in particular, if the progressive Bernie and Warren mobs get a whiff that the fix is in by party insiders to shove Biden over the finish line.

Here we come, Chicago 1968. Pass the popcorn.


Monday, November 25, 2019

The Indulged Children of the Ivy League


Yale, the school that I love, just can’t seem to get out of its own way lately. At Saturday’s football game against Harvard, something like a thousand students occupied the field for almost an hour. Where “The Game” once had a grand tradition of student pranks, one senses it will now just be another opportunity to showcase protest culture. 

To be fair, Harvard students were involved as well, but where PC outrage culture is concerned, Yale always seems to be front and center. There have been many times in recent years when I have felt acute embarrassment over the latest developments from campus. There was, of course, the “screaming girl” incident where students harassed, hectored, and threatened a prominent professor over the issue of Halloween costumes (look it up on YouTube - it’s shocking). Rather than being expelled, at least two of those students were given awards at graduation for promoting racial comity. 

There was the covering of a stone carving because it depicted a pilgrim with a musket. There was the free speech conference that two hundred students tried to shut down. I was at that one. On a more personal level, there was the undergraduate woman who accused me of patriarchy for holding a door for her at my last reunion. 

Incidents like those prompted me to write the satirical novel Campusland, but Saturday’s events remind me that it wasn’t satire at all.

Don’t get me wrong, the students have every right to protest, but this was the wrong place and the wrong time. By holding up the game almost an hour, they placed Yale in a position where they might have had to forfeit. Imagine being one of the seniors who’d worked so hard for this moment - a Harvard Yale game with the Ivy League championship on the line - only to forfeit? How is that fair to them, their families, and the legion of fans who paid to see the game? As it was, the delay pushed the game into darkness, finally ending fifteen minutes after sunset. It was almost impossible to see, and the refs would have pulled the plug if it had gone even a few minutes longer.

Did the seemingly jubilant, chanting protesters think about any of this? No. It was a supremely selfish act, a grand display of virtue signaling. Self-admiration practically emanated in waves from the field, along with a puerile need to be the center of attention.

What were they protesting? Climate change, but it hardly matters. It’s political theater. Next week it will be something else. Yale is in the full throes of outrage culture where protests are ends unto themselves. This is something Yale has brought upon itself. For one, there are never any consequences for bad behavior. Saturday’s children knew they could have a temper tantrum on national television and fully expect campus kudos, maybe even awards at graduation. 

For another, those students got into Yale precisely because they did things like disrupt football games with protests. The admissions office prizes social justice applicants above all. (Note to the development office: good luck getting them to give back after they graduate. They have been trained to hate the very school they attend, and feel no gratitude over the scholarships you gave them.)

The culture has to change. Yale needs new leadership and a new admissions staff. It needs to cut way back on its bloated bureaucracy. Unfortunately, none of this will happen as long as faithful alums keep writing checks. Alumni need to start asking hard questions because the school they think they’re giving money to is not the one they knew. 

It’s very sad, indeed.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Exclusive Story: Anthony Weiner Used Drones to Spy on Hillary Rival


In 2015, Anthony Weiner used drones to spy on Jeb Bush's presidential campaign.

I have known about this for some time, but my source only agreed to let me tell the story just now. 

Here's what happened. In the summer of 2015, Jeb Bush had a fundraiser in the Hamptons at someone's personal residence. At the time, he was widely viewed as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. One hundred and fifty or so guests gathered on the lawn for the event. As Bush began to make his remarks, a drone appeared about twenty feet over the crowd's heads. It was a substantial one with four propellers and a camera, and it made a fair bit of noise.




Jeb made a crack that it was probably "Hillary spying on us," and the crowd laughed. The host and his family debated getting a shotgun to deal with the problem but decided they weren't sure of the legality. After a few minutes, the drone exited. Two of Bush's staffers followed out the driveway and down the road a bit. There, they saw two men load the drone into a station wagon. 

One of them was unmistakably Anthony Weiner.

If you are fuzzy on the grand timeline of Anthony Weiner's personal descent, 2015 was after he'd been caught on at least two different occasions sexting with women on Twitter - Carlos Danger, remember? - and also after he had his mayoral campaign implode. It was prior to the underage sexting that got him sent to the big house. Basically, he was in the wilderness, both socially and politically, with little to occupy his days, although he was still married to Huma Abedin.

He needed a way to find redemption, a purpose. Was it by doing black bag ops for Hillary?




One can imagine how the video footage might have been used by the Clinton campaign. "See Jeb Bush Hanging Out with His Billionaire Buddies in the Hamptons!" (Never mind that Hillary raised money there as well, and probably knew more billionaires than Jeb.)

The idea that Weiner might have run this operation without the express approval of both Hillary and Huma Abedin seems implausible. They probably tasked him with this because he literally had nothing else to do and was eager to win back any sort of role for himself. (We've all seen how self-deluded Weiner could be.)

That Weiner and the Clinton machine would pull a stunt like this isn't in the least bit surprising. What is surprising is that the Bush campaign knew exactly what happened and did nothing with the information. Use of a drone to spy on a political rival is scandalous, and would have been so at the time, and yet Jeb sat on it. 

Low energy, indeed.

Anyone think the Trump campaign might have dealt with the situation differently? Republicans nominated Trump precisely because he was the counter-puncher they craved after decades of Republicans who always knew their place. 

Like Jeb.

If this had happened at a Trump campaign event, "Dronegate" would today be part of the national lexicon.

Does this story have current relevance? Certainly not for Weiner; he is a man of irrelevance and will be for the rest of his life. But Hillary Clinton still inserts herself into the national conversation and some think she might run again. Of course, she would deny any of this, but maybe Weiner himself is just desperate enough for public attention (of any kind) that he might just own up to his dirty tricks.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Notes from a Trump Fundraiser


I had an interesting experience this week. I attended a Trump fundraiser in Silicon Valley where I had the opportunity to promote Campusland. Here are some random things to relate...

Did you know that the president's microphone goes with him everywhere? He only uses one. I assume it's to guard against hidden recording devices or maybe even poison or small explosives.

No one knew where the event was. They had to report to a parking lot in Palo Alto and get on buses and weren't told where they were going until they got there. The media and the left wing crazies on Twitter were frantic to figure it out so they could "out" the host...When guests arrived, they had to place their cell phones into sleeves which were then locked for the duration. Seemed like a smart move to protect everyone's privacy, but it also allowed the President to wander a bit more off piste, not that he doesn't do that otherwise!

I would describe the atmosphere as utterly joyous. This might sound like a strange thing to say, but the reason, I believe, is that Republicans in California are a bit like conservatives on college campuses - they have learned to keep their mouths shut and opinions guarded to avoid having their businesses attacked and as well as being personably attacked. They have to grin and bear it when others say things they find offensive, living closeted lives, philosophically speaking. Yet here, they were among 400 fellow travelers, and they could speak openly. The happiness was palpable, and the support for the President powerfully enthusiastic.

As for Trump himself, I was struck by how funny he was. He spoke without notes for about an hour and a quarter, and it was almost like a standup comedy routine, but one that covered serious policy at the same time. The crowd ate it up, and bear in mind this was a really expensive ticket, so this wasn't the bunch of hillbilly yahoos that the left thinks makes up most of Trump's support.....Anyway, that's the report. Oh, and Campusland got promoted in front of POTUS!