Beltway Insider: Trump/States Openings, COVID-19, Economy, Michigan, Varsity Blues, Al-Qaeda, Election

President Trump proceeded, despite continued violations of his own reopening guidelines, to designate houses of worship essential services allowing for churches, synagogues, and mosques to open for large scale gatherings potentially putting millions at risk for infection.

The President's job approval rating, according to the website, which tracked polls of likely or registered voters for the period ending May 17, 2020, decreased by 1.1% to 42.9% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness increased by 1.7 percentage points to 53.4%. A slight 3% of the population polled have no opinion. Ratings are calculated weekly.

Trump State Openings

President Trump views Houses of Worship along the same lines as liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries, stating, "Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship.  It's not right.  So I'm correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential."

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Each of his examples, Liquor stores, Abortion clinics and also marijuana dispensaries follow strict state issued guidelines, limiting clientele and providing for social distancing. Houses of Worship do not and by example those who have defied closures have unequivocally, without question seen an increase in the spread of the virus, infection and death.

"As of April 22, 61 confirmed cases (including eight [13%] hospitalizations and four [7%] deaths) had been identified in persons directly and indirectly associated with church A events. High transmission rates of SARS-CoV-2 have been reported from hospitals (7), long-term care facilities (8), family gatherings (9), a choir practice (10), and, in this report, church events. Faith-based organizations that are operating or planning to resume in-person operations, including regular services, funerals, or other events, should be aware of the potential for high rates of transmission of SARS-CoV-2," according to the CDC.

Transferring the responsibility or culpability to state governors, allows for the president to undermine his presumed Democratic presidential challenger former Vice-President Joe Biden, even as the risk of infections substantially increase with density.

The elements associated with COVID-19 have not been mitigated. The risks remain. Those attending large scale gatherings, without proper social distancing and personal preventative equipment, increase their chances of contracting the virus. The 1:3 spread rate ratio, which is similar to a very bad influenza has not decreased. The virus will not magically disappear as sanctions are lifted. Preventative measures will need to be in place and followed in order to slow the spread.

Moreover, faith is not in a building or a leader. If the leader dies or the building is destroyed by an act of God, does faith disappear? Faith is built on the author of the faith practiced, not the messenger. Biblical scriptures states in Matthew 4:7, "It is also written, 'Do not put the lord your God to the test.'" Translated, don't walk into a disease den to test God.

All 50 States Reopened

All fifty states have now reopened to some degree following. Most governors have employed a data driven plan that refuses to allow mandates to politicized or bullied into reopening all phases before the data provides conclusive proof that infection rates are slowly, that there is sufficient hospital beds available, and death tolls are declining.

COVID-19 Totals

The infection rates of the coronavirus have continued to rise around the world. With a weekly increase of 638,700 cases the total of confirmed cases worldwide increases to 5,328,700, and 342,901 deaths, an increase of 29,901. Across the United States an increase of 120,900 cases brought the total confirmed cases to 1,640,900 with 89,785 total deaths a weekly increase of 7,628. (Data from New York Times).

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The economy took another hit this week as three million more Americans filed unemployment bringing the total to 39million Americans out of work and filing for unemployment benefits, and even with all fifty states now reopened there is no current expectation of a complete reversal although the trend is slowing.

Major media outlets this week have spoken with economists for their long-term prognostications and as the "V" model of projected economic stabilization has been ruled out by nearly all as this model is dependent on contributing factors, most of all consumer confidence.

Without this, discretionary spending is stalled, employers maintain minimal staffing, which trickles down across all sectors. A drought in any part of an ecosystem trickles down and eventually causes a drought everywhere.

"An additional 2.4 million U.S. workers filed for unemployment last week, the government reported Thursday, bringing the total to 38.6 million in nine weeks and providing more evidence that the economy is plunging ever deeper into crisis. Of the path to recovery, Nicholas Bloom, an economist at Stanford University, told The Times, "I think we're in for a very long haul."

This opinion is echoed by Boston Federal Reserve Chairman Eric Rosengren, "At the end of the year, I still expect the unemployment rate to be double digit, which is going to be a recovery from where we're at," Rosengren told FOX Business' Edward Lawrence during an exclusive interview. "But it's certainly not going to be a recovery back to full employment by the end of the year."

"Not everyone is despairing of the country's economic future. Last week, Paul Krugman, a Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist, expressed some guarded optimism in his newsletter: "If we were patient and self-disciplined," he wrote, "we probably could eventually see rapid recovery," The New York Times reported.

Economic Act of God

Even as Krugman is reading the same tea leaves that every economist, lawmaker, and pundit is, his insight into economies of the past, depressions, and more recently the recession of 2009, make his opinion seem more relevant.

His opinion includes a simple fact, this seismic recession is based on an act of God, not bloated household debt, and with an act of God, the tea leaf reading moves into a different realm.

Interpretation of an event considered an act of God usually involves a lesson or a correction of some damning breach of moral or ethical character or a moment to right the listing ship.

As many right-wing radicals will be the first to point to what they deem the obvious abominations, others would be quick to note those abominations have been in play for some time The possibility that there may be a different reason or motivation would require deeper biblical insight and scriptural influence.

Science or religion, the outcome is the same. Nearly 40million out of work, actual unemployment reaching as high as 20%, a recession unlike any ever experienced, and an unrestrained virus. America has faced challenges before, and will again, more over this response will become the reference for future leaders and will one day be the guidebook for economic recovery.

Wall Street

"U.S. equity markets slipped Thursday as investors assessed millions of additional job losses tied to efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 41 points or 0.17 percent in the opening minutes of trading while the S&P 500 dropped 0.05 percent. Initial jobless claims for the week ended May 16 totaled 2.44 million, according to the Labor Department. The new filings bring the total number of job losses to almost 39 million over the nine weeks since stay-at-home orders were issued by governors across the country," Fox News reported.

Michigan Faces Catastrophic Flooding

Historic rains coupled with an earthen dam breech caused catastrophic flooding in Midland, Michigan, literally obliterating entire towns, draining a 66,000-acre lake, as the force of the water created a river of debris, snapping trees, separating houses from their foundations, wiping out chunks of highway, and reducing the value of lake front properties to nothing.

President Trump responded to the Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer's response for federal assistant and designated the area federal disaster, which allowed for FEMA assistance.

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Actress Lori Loughlin and Fashion Designer Mossimo Giannulli Plead Guilty

Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband designer Mossimo Giannulli have reached an agreement with federal prosecutors that have each agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges are expected to be sentenced on August 2, 2020.

The two who, through a guilty plea, admitted to paying $500,000 to have their daughters pose as crew recruits in exchange for admission to University of Southern California (USC).

Under the agreement, Loughlin will be sentenced to two months in prison and Giannulli will be sentenced to five months in prison. Additionally, she faces a $150,000 fine, two years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service. He faces a $250,000 fine, two years of supervised release and 250 hours of community service.

Operation Varsity Blues, announced in March 2019, detailed a web of deceit in which thirty-three affluent parents paid more than $25M for a variety of services including cheating on college admission exams, having a proctor grade or sit for the exam, and fabricating sports credentials.

Al-Qaeda Contacts Housed in Pensacola's Shooter's Phone

The alleged mastermind in the December 2019 terrorist attack on a U.S. Naval base in Pensacola, Florida, had maintain steady contact with Al-Qaeda officials up to the night before he carried out the assault which killed three U.S. sailors.

In order to find the information, F.B.I. officials had original asked Apple to assist in bypassing the encryption, to which they declined.

As the two sides war over the interests of privacy and the interest of national security, a different methodology was developed that allowed FBI to access Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Saudi cadet, cellphone data.

"The F.B.I. recently bypassed the security features on at least one of Mr. Alshamrani's two iPhones to discover his Qaeda links. Christopher A. Wray, the director of the F.B.I., said the bureau had "effectively no help from Apple," but he would not say how investigators obtained access to the phone," The New York Times reported.

The interest of National Security, post capture or kill which could possibly prevent further attacks and provide intelligence that could dismantle terror networks, is more important than protecting the Human Rights of a terrorist.

"Apple stopped routinely allowing law enforcement officials into phones in 2014 as it beefed up encryption. It has argued that data privacy is a human rights issue and that if it were to develop a way to allow the American government into its phones, hackers or foreign governments like China could exploit the same tool," The New York Times reported.

Election 2020: Biden, Trump Bypass Issues Enter into Summer Mud Slinging

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the 2020 Presidential election is gearing up with each side slinging mud at the other attacking on issues such as age, which makes no sense. After watching a dozen democratic debates, the American public is clear where Biden stands on the issues. Since the last debate, which featured Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Biden, the pandemic has arrived, and preventative measures put in place.

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Even as the range of pre-pandemic issues remain the same, post pandemic issues can be narrowed to three, healthcare including a vaccine, the economy, including jobs, averting a long-term economic depression, and the range of social services needed to combat future outbreaks and limit exposure.

The pandemic has deep cost, not only the loss of human life, many are now facing astronomical medical bills, an average 10 day stay with ventilation in ICU is $50,000, some in addition to astronomical student loan debt, many facing mortgage payments, and no income and no medical benefits, and households again are drawing closer to the level of debt carried in 2009.

Instead of slinging mud over ageism, which trickles down into society, why not focus on rebuilding America post-pandemic and begin alleviating the pockets of debt which will burden citizens for decades.


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