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April 7, 2020

WH Advisor Navarro Warned of Mass Coronavirus Deaths – in January

This Day in History | 1970 

John Wayne wins his first—and only—Academy Award for acting for his role in the western True Grit.

Good morning middle Americans, 

White House economic advisor Peter Navarro has emerged as a person to watch – closely – when it comes to President Trump’s COVID-19 recovery team. His voice has been more prominent in recent days. He reportedly sparred with Dr. Anthony Fauci over drug treatments for people suffering from the pandemic in the situation room. And now Axios claims to have memos that show Navarro was trying to sound the alarm about the damage the disease could do to our health and our financial foundation. 

We also have a fresh report about another Republican Senator who looks like he might be cashing in on COVID-19. Sen. David Perdue joins his Georgia colleague,  junior and appointed U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler on the short and dubious list of people who stand accused of making stock moves after receiving classified or privileged information during a Senate coronavirus briefing on January 24th. 

Believe it or not – Wisconsin is going to hold it’s primary election today. And Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is slamming the Republican Wisconsin judges who rebuffed Governor Tony Evers’s attempts to delay the vote, and / or hold the primary by mail. 

We also wanted to make sure you are aware of what’s happening in Washington State. While the people in the Evergreen state continue to shelter in place and ride out the coronavirus pandemic,  Governor Jay Inslee has quietly signed a bill that legalizes the use of facial recognition technology. So this is the government of Washington State, home of Microsoft passing a law that makes it legal for them to use your facial features to track you. What could go wrong? 

Finally today… we want to let you know that what you are about to read is not a misprint. We felt the need to lay that out ahead of time because there are a lot of liberals who wont believe it when they see it, but the Trump administration has slapped sanctions on white supremacists, Russian white supremacists.  True story. 

Read all about it. 

-Fraser Dixon

Navarro Memos Warning of Mass Coronavirus Death Circulated in January

(Axios) – In late January, President Trump’s economic adviser Peter Navarro warned his White House colleagues the novel coronavirus could take more than half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, according to memos obtained by Axios.

The state of play: By late February, Navarro was even more alarmed, and he warned his colleagues, in another memo, that up to two million Americans could die of the virus.

Navarro’s grim estimates are set out in two memos — one dated Jan. 29 and addressed to the National Security Council, the other dated Feb. 23 and addressed to the president. The NSC circulated both memos around the White House and multiple agencies.

In the first memo, which the New York Times was first to report on, Navarro makes his case for “an immediate travel ban on China.”

The second lays the groundwork for supplemental requests from Congress, with the warning: “This is NOT a time for penny-pinching or horse trading on the Hill.”

Why it matters: The president quickly restricted travel from China, moved to delay re-entry of American travelers who could be infected, and dispatched his team to work with Congress on stimulus funds.

But Trump was far slower to publicly acknowledge the sort of scenarios Navarro had put in writing.

One senior administration official who received Navarro’s memos said at the time they were skeptical of his motives and thus his warnings: “The January travel memo struck me as an alarmist attempt to bring attention to Peter’s anti-China agenda while presenting an artificially limited range of policy options.”

“The supplemental memo lacked any basis for its projections, which led some staff to worry that it could needlessly rattle markets and may not direct funding where it was truly needed.”

Navarro declined to comment for this story.

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Sen. David Perdue Bought Stock Medical Equipment Company the Same Day Senators Received Classified Coronavirus Briefing

(Business Insider) – Sen. David Perdue of Georgia bought stock in DuPont de Nemours, a chemical company that produces personal protective equipment (PPE), on the same day the Senate received a classified briefing on the spread of the novel coronavirus, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Monday.

The revelation came from Perdue’s financial portfolio, which he filed on Sunday and which includes 110 items related to stock trades.

According to The Journal-Constitution, Perdue engaged in heavy trading in March, when markets plunged and the virus gained a stronger foothold in the US.

Perdue’s disclosure form lists 112 transactions, 82 of which were made on March 3. Seventy-six were stock purchases of as much as $1.8 million. The report also documents 34 stock sales worth as much as $825,000. The Journal-Constitution reported that Perdue’s portfolio activity from March onward was three times busier than it was in the last 13-month period before the coronavirus hit the United States.

Perdue’s spokeswoman, Cherie Gillian, told The Journal-Constitution that “since coming to the US Senate in 2015, Sen. Perdue has always had an outside adviser managing his personal finances, and he is not involved in day-to-day decisions. For the past five years, the senator has fully complied with federal law and all Senate ethics requirements.”

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SCOTUS Justice RBG Blasts Wisconsin Judges on Primary Vote, Slated for Today

(Huffington Post) – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg excoriated her conservative colleagues over their decision to deny Wisconsin Democrats’ request to extend the deadline for absentee voting in the state’s election on Tuesday, despite concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a 5-4 vote on Monday, the Supreme Court’s conservative bloc refused to extend the absentee voting deadline by six days, saying instead all mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday and received by April 13. Democrats had pleaded with the courts to give more leeway to voters as COVID-19 wreaks havoc around the nation, infecting more than 366,000 people and killing more than 10,000. The nation’s top public health officials have urged Americans to practice social distancing and to remain at home as much as possible, directives that run counter to entering a crowded polling place.

Ginsburg, who was joined in her dissent by the three other liberal Justices, said her conservative colleagues’ decision to see the election proceed as planned would effectively strip many Wisconsinites of their right to vote “through no fault of their own.”

“The question here is whether tens of thousands of Wisconsin citizens can vote safely in the midst of a pandemic,” Ginsburg wrote on Monday. “With the majority’s stay in place, that will not be possible. Either they will have to brave the polls, endangering their own and others’ safety. Or they will lose their right to vote, through no fault of their own.”

She continued: “That is a matter of utmost importance — to the constitutional rights of Wisconsin’s citizens, the integrity of the State’s election process, and in this most extraordinary time, the health of the Nation.”

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Washington State Legalizes Limited Use of Facial Recognition Technology

(Infosecurity) – A bill permitting the use of facial recognition technology with certain restrictions has been signed into law in Washington State.

Governor Jay Inslee signed the new bill on March 31 after it was passed by the Washington State House of Representatives on March 12 by a vote of 27 to 21 in favor. The new law will come into effect next year. 

The new legislation will limit the “unconstrained use of facial recognition services by state and local government agencies” because it “poses broad social ramifications that should be considered and addressed.”

Under the new law, state and local government agencies “may use facial recognition services to locate or identify missing persons, and identify deceased persons, including missing or murdered indigenous women, subjects of Amber alerts and silver alerts, and other possible crime victims, for the purposes of keeping the public safe.”

Before developing, procuring, or using facial recognition technology, a state or local government agency must file a notice of intent with a legislative authority and produce an accountability report.

The new legislation has won the support of Microsoft president Bill Smith, who praised it in a recent blog post. 

“This balanced approach ensures that facial recognition can be used as a tool to protect the public, but only in ways that respect fundamental rights and serve the public interest,” wrote Smith.

Washington’s state agencies are not permitted to use facial recognition based on a person’s “religious, political or social views or activities,” or “participation in a particular noncriminal organization or lawful event,” or “actual or perceived race, ethnicity, citizenship, place of origin, immigration status, age, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or other characteristic protected by law.”

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US Slaps Sanctions on Russian White Supremacists

(AP) – The Trump administration on Monday designated a Russian white supremacist group a terrorist organization and hit its members with sanctions.

The move against the Russian Imperial Movement is the first time a white supremacist group has been named a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” group and comes amid doubts the administration believes extremist organizations of that type merit such sanctions. It was not immediately clear what the practical impact will be as the group is relatively small and does not have major international reach.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his counterterrorism coordinator Nathan Sales announced the step, which makes it illegal for Americans to engage in any transactions with the group and freezes any assets it may have in U.S. jurisdictions. The penalties can also include a travel ban.

In addition to the group, the administration placed individual sanctions on its leaders — Stanislav Anatolyevich Vorobyev, Denis Valliullovich Gariev and Nikolay Nikolayevich Trushchalov — by adding them to the list.

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