Rising to the Level of His Incompetence

Michael Avenatti, Andrew Cuomo, The Lincoln Project, and Anthony Fauci have enjoyed media adoration. At a certain point in history, each had regular access to the cameras of CNN and MSNBC, among others. The common thread is they willingly and forcibly attacked Donald Trump. Overlooking their feet of clay, opinion leaders in the media lauded their courage to take on the vile Trump. Avenatti and Cuomo each elicited talk of a Presidential Run. Portrayed as Republican stalwarts, the Lincoln Project members put honor above party loyalty in the media’s eyes.

Instead of awaiting his next appearance on CNN, Avenatti is looking forward to his sentencing for his felony conviction. He’s facing up to 40 yrs. Cuomo is still on T.V., but to explain why he put Covid infected patients back in nursing homes and then covered it up. A far cry from his Emmy-winning Covid updates. Beyond concealing one of its key members’ perversions, everyone wants to know where the Lincoln Project’s money went. Were they washed-up grifters looking for a big payday? The media never asked. 

People are probably shocked at the inclusion of the near-sainted Dr. Fauci in this infamous group. After all, isn’t the good Doctor the embodiment of “Science.” in this pandemic? The media has undoubtedly made this a bedrock of its reporting. Readers of this blog, especially the series on COVID-19, know I don’t share this adoration. 

The permanent medical bureaucracy charged with protecting us from epidemics early on dropped the ball when COVID-19 made its debut in China. They never pushed to into Wuhan to obtain the facts. The World Health Organization(WHO) hadn’t sounded the alarm. The likes of the C.D.C., F.D.A., and Dr. Fauci instead downplayed the risk. On February 29, 2020, Dr. Fauci informed us, “No need to change lifestyle ,yet.” When Pres.Trump banned flights from China in Jan. 2020, these medical experts opposed the move.

Only after the publication of the Imperial College’s model prediction of millions of Covid deaths in the U.S. did these worthies do a 180 to locking down the country. As cases appeared, we found shortages of P.P.E. The Bureaucrats bungled our testing to a degree we haven’t yet fully caught up. Those charged protecting us failed miserably. You don’t have to take my word for it. Take a look at Former Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottenger on CBS’s Face the Nation. He details the failures of WHO and our bureaucracies. 

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Lacking Unity And Competence

Well, this has been a week. We got an acquittal in Trump’s second impeachment trial. Also, we received new C.D.C. guidelines for in-person schooling. President Biden announced how he would have enough vaccine for everybody by the end of July. He also claimed his actions would save us from Trump’s failures. All of this gave us some insight into the competence of the Biden administration. The signs aren’t good.

Knowing you’re going to lose a battle and attacking anyway may make for a stirring poem. Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade” highlighted reckless bravery. It wasn’t a good idea then, and it’s foolhardy politics. There never was a chance of getting 17 Republican Senators to convict Trump. Why would you give the Ex-President a victory to lord over you? All it did was further divide the country along partisan lines. Wasn’t Joe all about bringing us together?

There was a win-win way out of the Capitol Riot mess if only Biden had the sense to see it. Republicans offered a censure rather than impeachment—a bipartisan measure condemning the departed President for his part in the rampage showing unity rather than division. A Gerald Ford moment is opting to focus on the National healing and needs instead of revenge. The Democratic left-wing might scream, but most of the nation would think of Biden as a bigger person.

Instead of asserting control of his party as all successful presidents have done, he allowed his party’s legislators to charge into “the Valley of Death.” Now Biden is faced with following the divisive impeachment with the highly partisan Covid Relief Bill. This massive legislation will lack any Republican input. It would’ve been far better to have a unifying action under his belt before pushing this highly partisan package. This sequence negates Joe Biden’s campaign promise to be a unifier. Worse, it upends his claims to competence.

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Do What You Do Best Joe

Niall Ferguson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, had a great tweet the other day, “In truth, the vaccination program, combined with the naturally acquired immunity of people previously infected with the virus, would probably get the U.S. close to herd immunity by the summer, even if Joe Biden spent the next six months just riding his Peloton.” His contention that the vaccine regime Biden inherited will tame the virus by summer received even more clarity. Johnson and Johnson asked for FDA approval for its vaccine this week. Already in use in the U.K. since December, the AstraZeneca vaccine could be approved shortly. Novavax expects to have its results by the end of the first quarter.  

The U.S. has contracted for 100 million doses from each company. Johnson & Johnson requires only one shot, while the other two need a double dose. These vaccines maybe a little less effective than the two already in use but are much easier to distribute. They require the same handling as our seasonal flu shots so they can use the same widespread system. 

As I said in my 1/24 post “Birth of A Lie’,” the Biden administration could only mess things up. Specifically, I warned against placing orders for much more of the two already approved hard to distribute vaccines. Sure enough, Biden ordered 100 million more doses from each for delivery starting in the summer. If any of the three new vaccines in the pipeline are approved, you will have more than enough doses to vaccinate every adult in the country by then. (at present, there is no plan to include children).

Given the success of the already-in-place vaccine distribution plan, leaving it alone is the best policy. Just incorporate the already contracted new vaccines as they come online. How do we know the current program is a rousing success? Biden’s goal was 100 million doses to be administered in his first hundred days. We were already on that pace by his inauguration. He now aspires to get to a 1.5 million a day rate by the end of the hundred days. We have already surpassed that rate. Having met all the Biden goals, the Administration must agree this is a success. 

The press plays up the uneven and, in some spots, problematic vaccine rollout. Remember, this was from a standing start. The special considerations with the two approved products ruled out the distribution network we used for other vaccines. I always say, we have to ask, compared to..? Faced with the same problems, the European Union is far behind our shot rate.  

There will be glitches and weather disruptions, but with more vaccines and supplies coming online, we can feel confident we will continue to outperform the Biden goals. 

Those goals point to a different problem, the ignorance of the Biden team. By issuing desired vaccination goals already attained and claiming the pandemic here will worsen when improving, the Biden administration is at odds with the facts. “A 100 million doses in 100 days” is a good slogan but had no basis in reality. The nation recorded well over 2 million shots the last two days. The Biden low-ball shows a remarkable lack of knowledge of Operation Warp speed. Is it ignorance or politics?  

The administration has claimed inadequate transition information from the previous administration, but the info is public knowledge. I can assure you I have never had a government briefing. Yet, I have the needed information to know what’s happening. Given what the Trump administration put in the works, we will be swimming in Covid vaccines by the end of June. Like the GameStop bulls, I found it on the internet. Here’s your pandemic update from Johns Hopkins:

To give the appearance of doing something, the administration announced a couple of actions. It claimed to be increasing vaccine deliveries, but the New York Times reported this was already in the works. Also, it will send a million doses to 6,500 pharmacies. This action might be getting ready for the Operation Warp Speed’s supported Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Without special handling, this one dose vaccine is excellent for pharmacies and other local distribution points. The J & J vaccine is on the verge of approval. If not, it’s just diverting doses from a system already able to inoculate 1.5+ million people a day. 

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Max And Leo Would Understand

Major retailers run loss leader sales simultaneously on toilet paper. Consumers buy to stock up at a bargain price. A week later, these companies find their reorders are cut or refused. It turns out, manufacturers oversold toilet paper by 140%. Word gets out of a severe shortage, and People bid up the existing supply and hoard it. The price of toilet paper soars. The manufacturers face very costly lawsuits for failure to deliver. This scenario sounds familiar. That’s because we just had a toilet paper shortage with sharply rising prices during our present pandemic.

Keeping this in mind will help us understand what happened with GameStop and other traded stocks. Some individual investors felt these beaten-down stocks were selling below their actual worth. They bought and shared their reasons for buying with others on the internet. They may or may not have been aware of large short positions, but it would become apparent in any case as the share prices jumped.

Short selling is a widely used method of selling something today for delivery or liquidation later. Futures markets exist for most of the things we need. A farmer looking at the corn vs. soybeans price for delivery next November chooses the more profitable to plant. The farmer then sells corn contracts for delivery at that time. The farmer presently has no corn but will have by fall. By what we call hedging, the farmer locks in his profit. People needing corn in the future are on the buy-side. We do this with everything from copper to U.S. Treasury Bonds. We’ve done this for a long time. The Chicago Board of Trade dates back to 1848.

Other people see the November price of corn as too high or too low, and they buy and sell contracts simply hoping to profit from the price movements. These traders have no corn now or use for it in the future. These speculators are welcome to give liquidity to these markets.

Selling something you don’t own is nothing new and is needed to facilitate commerce. However, stock trading has an added wrinkle. Because of settlement rules, short-sellers have to borrow the stock to settle the trade. Generally, brokers facilitate this between their clients, but not having enough supply to borrow is always dangerous for the short seller.

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