LONE STAR – Texas’ Big Political Read – 10.20.20 – Trump Exposes Massive Vote Dump – Crenshaw Says No To Lockdowns – Big Boost For Oil Industry – More…
Unbelievable Vote Dump
President Donald Trump has posted two New York Times graphs showing two massive vote dumps over 7 hours after the polls closed in Wisconsin and Michigan, further bolstering his claim that massive voter fraud occurred during the 2020 election cycle.
NO LOCKDOWNS! >>> Crenshaw Calls for “no More Lockdowns”
“U.S. Treasury extends critical license for American energy companies in Venezuela” by Texas Politics’ Daniel Molina – With election legal challenges continuing, and with less than 3 months until the end of President Donald Trump’s term in office, the Trump administration continues to project its strong pro-American foreign policy agenda across the globe, and in particular in the Middle East and the Western Hemisphere. As it was widely expected, Trump’s U.S. Treasury department just extended a license to five American energy companies to continue working in Venezuela until June 3, 2021. The license, which has been renewed six times, was up for renewal on December 1, 2020. The license extension provides a waiver that exempts Chevron, Halliburton, Schlumberger Ltd, GE company Baker Hughes and Weatherford International from sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector but with significant limitations. These are the same limitations that were included in the last waiver and which do not authorize the companies to drill, sell ship,s or trade Venezuelan oil. The license extension provides a waiver that exempts Chevron, Halliburton, Schlumberger Ltd, GE company Baker Hughes and Weatherford International from sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector but with significant limitations. These are the same limitations that were included in the last waiver and which do not authorize the companies to drill, sell ship,s or trade Venezuelan oil.
“Texas Reps. Escobar and Allred call out extremism and hate” by Texas Politics’ Daniel Molina – Over the weekend, supporters of President Trump (R) took part in the Million MAGA March, which was a march in support of the president and his numerous court cases against alleged voter fraud in the 2020 election results. A number of voters took to the streets to march, expressing their support for the president, where it ultimately ended up in front of the Supreme Court. Come nightfall, a number of supporters for the President were attacked by members of Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA, some of the attacks went viral after videos of them were posted online. This resulted in further division amongst Americans than has already been experienced as a result of the November 3rd election results. With Americans more divided than ever, lawmakers are just as divided, but some of them are calling for unity behind Vice President Joe Biden (D), and one of those lawmakers is Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar (D). Rep. Escobar voiced her support behind the social justice activism that has taken place for the greater part of 2020, the Texas congresswoman commented that “in honor of the victims, survivors, and communities across the country impacted by indescribable pain and horror – we must come together and work vigorously to combat hate, extremism, and bigotry.”
“Ted Cruz Calls Democrat Senator ‘A Complete Ass’ Over Mask Fight” by Texas Politics’ Mona Salama – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) “a complete ass” following a testy confrontation the Democratic lawmaker had with Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Ak) on the Senate floor Monday evening over the issue of mask-wearing, despite the fact the two men were “over 50 feet away” from each other. In a tweet linking the now-viral video showing the exchange between Brown and Sullivan, Cruz criticized the Ohio Senator for his “idiotic” mask-wearing lecture. “This is idiotic. @SherrodBrown is being a complete ass. He wears a mask to speak — when nobody is remotely near him—as an ostentatious sign of fake virtue.” Cruz added that Sullivan was presiding “over 50 feet away” reminding the Ohio Senator of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines that advise that one should wear a mask when they can’t be 6 feet away from others. “Last I checked 50 feet is more than 6 feet.” Brown reacted to Cruz’s “complete ass” remark on CNN, saying the Texas Senator isn’t telling the truth regarding the distance between Sullivan and other workers not shown in the video. “Senator Cruz doesn’t have an intimate relationship with the truth and much of his public life,” Brown told CNN’s host Chris Cuomo Tuesday evening. “The fact is that every time a senator stands up and speaks there is a senate stenographer about six feet away and senators that don’t wear masks are putting them at risk. I mean, I know that Ted Cruz doesn’t see the Senate’s stenographer… that group doesn’t see workers generally and again particularly essential workers.”
“Cruz questions his Big Tech foe over Twitter’s apparent voter fraud censorship policy” by Texas Politics’ Javier Manjarres – The highly anticipated Round 2 between Senator Ted Cruz and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey’s mano a mano Big Tech cage match occurred over Zoom today, and it did not disappoint viewers as the two scruffy-faced men clashed over the tech giant’s apparent bias position against the voter fraud narrative. Sen. Cruz did not yell at Dorsey this time, but he did aggressively questioned Dorsey’s company’s practice of placing warning labels on any statement regarding voter fraud. As of today, Cruz 2 and Dorsey 0. Here is the exchange between Cruz and Dorsey. Cruz: Does voter fraud exist? Dorsey: I, I don’t know for certain Cruz: Are you an expert in voter fraud. Dorsey: No I’m not. Cruz: Well why then is Twitter right now putting purported warnings on virtually any statement about voter fraud? Dorsey: We are simply linking to a broader conversation so people have more information. Cruz: No, no you’re not you put up a page that says quote “voter fraud of any kind is exceedingly rare in the United States” that’s not linking to a broader conversation that’s taking a disputed policy position and you’re a publisher when you’re doing that you’re entitled to take a policy position but you don’t get to pretend you’re not a publisher and get a special benefit under section 230 as a result.
“Trudeau Calls for “Great Reset” From COVID-19” by Texas Politics’ Daniel Molina – As Americans continue to suffer from the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of world leaders continue to face criticism over the measures they’ve taken in order to combat the coronavirus. Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is facing mountain criticism from a number of Americans over possible actions he will take such as a mask mandate and enacting another lockdown, this as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighs in with his Progressive opinion on the “opportunity” the deadly virus may have offered up the world. Over the weekend, the Prime Minister addressed the Canadian people along with the world, and an excerpt from his speech has drawn criticism over what it could mean for national politics. In Trudeau’s statement, the Canadian Prime Minister commented that the COVID-19 “pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset.” Moreover, Trudeau explained that “this is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality and climate change.” The clip shared by writer Ezra Levant angered a number of Twitter users, and Levant commented that he “thought this was supposed to be a conspiracy theory.” However, saying that “here it is, straight from Trudeau’s mouth,” Levant detailed that “the pandemic is the excuse for a ‘Great Reset’ of the world, led by the UN.”
“Texas first responders who die from COVID-19 denied state benefits” by WFAA’s Tanya Eiserer – The Texas prison system continues to lead the country in COVID-19 infection rates and prisoner deaths, but there’s another crisis unfolding as families of prison employees who have died are unable to get critical first-responder benefits. So far, 23 Texas correctional officers have died from COVID-19. Eric Johnson is one of them. The 37-year-old is survived by his wife, Charity, and four children in Madisonville, Texas. “It really has taken a toll on her and her kids,” said Johnson’s cousin, Shemeka Morning. “Charity misses her husband. All the kids miss him.” Johnson’s family say their grief is compounded by their struggle to get benefits that they say are due them. Although the Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported Johnson’s death as being in the line of duty, the state Office of Risk Management has denied his family’s workers’ compensation claim. In a letter denying the claim, the agency said it was “currently unable to accept this claim as a compensable injury that occurred in the course and scope of employment.” Johnson’s widow is appealing the denial. Workers’ compensation covers lost wages and medical expenses. “Eric was a veteran officer – that’s the thanks he gets for putting his life on the line all these years,” Morning said. “It doesn’t make sense to me. He was only going to work and home. We know that he was around positive offenders at TDCJ.”
“Abbott says Texas will not shut down again; touts arrival of new coronavirus treatment” by Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek – Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday touted the arrival of a new antibody treatment as progress in Texas’ fight against the coronavirus, while again ruling out any new statewide business restrictions as the state experiences alarming growth in cases and hospitalizations. “It is important for everybody in the state to know that statewide we’re not gonna have another shutdown,” Abbott said during a news conference in Lubbock. “There’s an overestimation of exactly what a shutdown will achieve, and there’s a misunderstanding about what a shutdown will not achieve.” The governor, who issued a stay-at-home order in April, contended that “there are now known severe medical consequences to that — emotional, mental-type consequences to it — as well as the devastating financial consequences.” Abbott traveled to hard-hit Lubbock to trumpet the fact that bamlanivimab, the antibody therapy made by Eli Lilly & Co., is being distributed across Texas. Abbott has pointed to the emergence of such treatments, as well as his policy that claws back Texas business reopenings based on regional hospital capacity, to defend Texas’ approach to the virus as it spikes in the state. While Texans wait for widely available treatments and vaccines, Abbott said, they should “remember the habits that got us through the spike of COVID-19 cases in July” — things like staying home if possible, wearing masks, social distancing and using hand sanitizer.
“Texas nursing homes seeing rise in coronavirus cases” by Click 2 Houston’s Robert Arnold – According to state data, the number of COVID-19 cases has been steadily increasing at nursing homes. The number of nursing homes reporting active coronavirus cases climbed from 512 on Nov. 1 to 657 on Nov. 18, according to data from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. “If I hear her voice I can tell if she’s OK or if she’s not feeling well,” said James Harvey. Harvey’s wife of 52 years, Nancy Harvey, recently tested positive for COVID-19. James Harvey said his wife had to be moved from her nursing facility in Webster to a facility in Baytown specializing in coronavirus-positive residents. “It’s hard, it’s hard as hell,” James Harvey said. “Like I say, I’m a rookie at this but, God, have I learned so much this year.” Earlier this year, Nancy Harvey’s health declined and the family had to make the decision to place her in a nursing home. Her daughter Tammie Weaver was terrified. “If she goes, she’s probably going to end up dying from COVID,” Weaver said she remembered thinking at the time. Visitation has been particularly difficult for the family. Weaver said she suffers from an auto-immune disease, which means she has to take extra precautions when considering visiting her mother. Those worries have been compounded by the pandemic. “I’ve only seen her, probably 5-10 minutes this whole year,” said Weaver. Weaver recently underwent several rounds of COVID-19 testing just to secure an appointment to visit her mother face-to-face. Weaver said that appointment was canceled, as was a social-distanced visit because of the rising number of cases and residents not being allowed to leave their rooms.
“‘It’s here’: Gov. Abbott says COVID-19 treatment drug is in Texas, to be distributed” by Kxan’s Billy Gates and Maggie Glynn – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday a newly-approved treatment for COVID-19 has made it to Texas. Abbott said the drug bamlanivimab, an antibody therapy developed by Eli Lilly and Company that is the first immediate use medical treatment authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19 patients, is ready to be distributed around the state. The drug is given through an intravenous drip, and he said the Lubbock area has received its first allocation of the drug. More places around Texas will get it on a weekly basis, he said. “The goal is to give it to people at such an early date during their infection that it keeps them out of the hospital,” Abbott said. The company said it’s sending 80,000 doses all over the country, including parts of Texas, at no cost to the states. The company said it should have a million doses by the end of the year. The drug is for patients “at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19,” including those aged 65 years or older and have certain preexisting medical conditions. “It’s best use is for the early stage of COVID cases and patients who were in the early iterations of COVID-19,” Abbott explained. Michelle Herrera and her husband both signed up for the treatment when it was still in its trial phase in August. They both received the drip IV from Baylor Scott & White just days after testing positive for COVID-19.
“Black Texas official speaks out against old ‘Negroes’ sign” by Associated Press – A Black official in north Texas is getting a private office after speaking out about being relocated to a shared work space that was near a “Negroes” sign leftover from the segregation era. Earlier this month, Ellis County Constable Curtis Polk Jr. was given an office space with two sheriff deputies in the courthouse basement. The move came after county commissioners voted on a relocation plan to make space for a new court. During a live-streamed interview on Wednesday, Polk said that he and Ellis County Judge Todd Little found a solution to his problem. That same day, the sign was covered up with white paper.
“Irving man arrested after crashing into Texas Capitol gate” by WFAA’s Drew Knight – An Irving man has been arrested after reportedly crashing into the gates of the Texas Capitol early Thursday morning. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) confirmed that it is currently investigating the incident, which occurred about 1:30 a.m. DPS reported the driver of a 2002 Ford Explorer was traveling northbound on North Congress Avenue when he failed to make a turn, driving straight onto the northbound sidewalk and then into the south gate area, causing major damage to the wall and gate. The 22-year-old driver was arrested for driving while intoxicated and then transported to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.
“Judge halts federal execution of Pine Bluff man in Texas teen’s killing” by Associated Press – A judge halted the scheduled execution Thursday of a man convicted of kidnapping and raping a 16-year-old Texas girl, bludgeoning her with a shovel and burying her alive. The decision was announced just hours before Orlando Hall was scheduled to die by lethal injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. He would be the eighth federal inmate put to death since the Trump administration resumed federal executions this year after a pause of nearly two decades without one. In a ruling Thursday, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said the execution must be put on hold as the court weights constitutional questions raised by Hall’s attorneys. “The court is deeply concerned that the government intends to proceed with a method of execution that this court and the Court of Appeals have found violates federal law,” Chutkan wrote. The federal government prepared Thursday to execute an inmate who was condemned for kidnapping and raping a 16-year-old Texas girl, bludgeoning her with a shovel and burying her alive. Orlando Hall is scheduled to die by injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. He would be the eighth federal inmate put to death since the Trump administration resumed federal executions this year after a pause of nearly two decades without one. Late court appeals argue that bias played a role in his death sentence. Hall is Black, and his sentence was recommended by an all-white jury. His lawyers also contend that restrictions and concerns related to the covid-19 pandemic have limited their ability to help him. The Congressional Black Caucus sent a letter Thursday to Attorney General William Barr, citing concerns about the virus in urging a stay of execution. The letter stated that the virus “will make any scheduled execution a tinderbox for further outbreaks and exacerbate concerns over the possibility of miscarriage of justice.”
“With a fresh six-year Senate term ahead of him, John Cornyn gently pushes back on Donald Trump” by Texas Tribune’s Kelsey Carolan – Fresh off a reelection victory granting him another six years in the U.S. Senate, John Cornyn has, on three occasions this week, strayed from the party line set by President Donald Trump on national security and casting doubt on former Vice President Joe Biden’s election victory. The comments from the senior Texas senator fell far short of full-throated repudiation of Trump’s false claims about the presidential election being stolen or claims without evidence of widespread voter fraud. But Cornyn said this week that he hasn’t “seen anything that would change the outcome” of the race. “I have every confidence that come January the 20th, we’re going to inaugurate a new president,” he told reporters Monday. “And I think it will probably be Joe Biden.” Meanwhile, Cornyn expressed disapproval of a pair of decisions Trump made related to national security. On Tuesday, Trump fired top election security official Chris Krebs, who led the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security. After working to secure the election and protect state and local elections from voter fraud, Krebs publicly debunked Trump’s claims that the election systems were manipulated, calling them “unsubstantiated.” Trump fired him via Twitter soon after. Speaking to reporters in Washington on Wednesday, Cornyn made clear that he disagreed with the decision while acknowledging that Trump has the power to make it. “It’s the president’s prerogative, but I think it just adds to the confusion and the chaos,” Cornyn said.
“Giuliani presses Trump election challenge case in fiery news conference with legal team” by Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer – resident Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani aggressively made the case on Thursday for the Trump campaign’s legal challenge of the 2020 election results, alleging in a fiery news conference that there was a “centralized” plan to carry out voter fraud around the country. This is a different approach than the campaign has recently taken in court, where they have primarily focused on the validity of ballots and counts without asserting fraud. While Giuliani did not present any direct evidence of a massive fraud scheme, Giuliani asserted that this is the “logical conclusion” reached as a result of incidents he said took place in several states. “What I’m describing to you is a massive fraud,” Giuliani said at the Capitol Hill news conference with other members of Trump’s legal team, who repeatedly lashed out at the news media and accused them of treating their efforts unfairly. At one point, Giuliani repeatedly told one reporter: “You’re lying.” His descriptions largely entailed recitations of allegations put forth in several lawsuits that the Trump campaign has filed. Former Vice President Joe Biden is the projected winner in the contest, but the Trump campaign is contesting those calls, raising concerns in several battleground states.
“Trump’s refusal to concede creates strange gap between Biden and Harris on classified intelligence” by CNN’s Zachary Cohen, Jasmine Wright and Jeremy Herb – Vice President-elect Kamala Harris took part in a classified briefing of the Senate Intelligence Committee this week and emerged in a strange position — being more informed about current threats than President-elect Joe Biden but bound by congressional rules to keep that information from him. Harris’ twice-weekly committee briefings fall well short of what the incoming administration is usually getting at this point in a transition but she currently finds herself with more access to classified intelligence than the next commander-in-chief because his predecessor, President Donald Trump is refusing to provide Biden with briefings traditionally offered to an incoming president. Biden and his transition team are becoming increasingly frustrated that they are being blocked from accessing the most sensitive information generated by the US intelligence community as Trump refuses to concede he lost the election. It’s complicating their efforts to build an administration that will take charge of the nation’s security in fraught and unprecedented circumstances that include a deadly pandemic. Experts and advisers tell CNN there’s a world of difference between what Biden can learn from outside experts and the depth of knowledge he would gain from even a limited classified briefing — which he has not received since becoming President-elect.
“Biden Wins Georgia, AP Projects” by WSJ’s Cameron McWhirter and Alexa Corse – President-elect Joe Biden prevailed over President Trump in Georgia’s election, making him the first Democratic presidential candidate in 28 years to win the state, according to the Associated Press projection. Mr. Biden remained ahead in Georgia after a hand recount of the state’s five million presidential votes, the state’s secretary of state said Thursday. With the manual audit complete, Mr. Biden is one step closer to winning Georgia officially. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger must still certify the results, which he is required to do by Friday. Mr. Biden is leading by 12,284 votes, according to the audit results released Thursday. His lead had been a little more than 14,000. Mr. Trump narrowed the margin over the past week, mostly as election workers in some Republican-leaning counties discovered ballots that hadn’t been tallied initially, election officials said. Mr. Raffensperger, a Republican, had ordered election boards in the state’s 159 counties to conduct by-hand recounts of the presidential votes of each ballot. The recounting of ballots began Nov. 13. Mr. Biden by then had already accrued enough Electoral College votes, based on vote counts and projections by the Associated Press, to become the president-elect.
“Marjorie Taylor Greene takes on shutdowns, Fauci during first week in Washington” by Fox News’ Marisa Schultz – Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia’s new 14th District congresswoman, arrived in Washington for freshman orientation immediately taking on mask mandates and coronavirus shutdowns in a preview of how the outspoken conservative Republican won’t shy away from a fight. Greene, a small business owner and first-time politician, called out the mask requirements at the nation’s Capitol, the closure of the hotel gym and COVID-19 restrictions during the transition for new members of Congress — slamming “Democrat tyrannical control.” The rules were in sharp contrast to the openness of her Rome, Ga., hometown where her family can regularly go to the gym, school, play sports and shop — all maskless, she said. As a new member of Congress, Greene said she will fight against any effort to require masks, mandate a vaccine or urge more lockdowns. She believes in personal choice and says the restrictions are hurting too many people economically and psychologically. “I think it’s horrible what we’re doing to this generation of children with these mask mandates and these shutdowns,” Greene told Fox News. “I personally believe the best way to stimulate the economy is to open up and let people go to work,” added Greene, an ex-CrossFit competitor and former gym owner. Greene publicly tweeted her concerns, calling mask-wearing “oppressive.” Later Dr. Anthony Fauci said Greene’s stance was “really very disturbing.” Then Greene pounced on a Danish study that said mask-wearing didn’t make a statistically significant difference in contracting coronavirus.
“Biden says Trump ‘will go down in history as being one of the most irresponsible presidents’” by CNN’s Eric Bradner – President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday that President Donald Trump “will go down in history as being one of the most irresponsible presidents,” as Trump takes extraordinary action to try to subvert the 2020 election’s outcome. In a news conference after meeting with Republican and Democratic governors — part of Biden’s effort to work around the Trump administration’s refusal to allow his transition team access to federal agencies, including those coordinating the coronavirus response — Biden lambasted Trump’s actions, saying that Americans are “witnessing incredible irresponsibility.” The result, he said, is an “incredibly damaging message is being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions.” “It’s hard to fathom how this man thinks. It’s hard to fathom,” Biden said. “It’s just outrageous, what he’s doing.” His comments came after Trump invited Republican state lawmakers from Michigan to the White House on Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter, and he and his legal team mount a multi-state effort to overturn the election’s results in courts or through key states’ Republican legislatures. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and other members of the President’s legal team held a wild news conference Thursday, making a series of unfounded claims about voter fraud without offering evidence. Biden said he is moving forward with building his administration, and has chosen a nominee for Treasury secretary that he intends to announce just before or after Thanksgiving.
“CDC Urges Americans Not to Travel for Thanksgiving” by WSJ’s Melissa Korn, Jennifer Calfas and Betsy McKay – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly urged Americans Thursday not to travel for Thanksgiving, in one of its sharpest warnings to date, as an official said the agency is alarmed by the exponential growth in Covid-19 cases, as well as rising hospitalizations and deaths. With the pandemic in its 11th month in the U.S., many families are grappling with whether to meet up with friends or family for traditional celebrations. About 50 million Americans are expected to travel in the coming days, which is traditionally the busiest travel period of the year. But the holiday comes at a particularly precarious time in the current virus surge, and doctors and government officials say even gathering with one other household is too much of a risk. “Covid-19 is turning out to be quite a formidable foe,” Henry Walke, the incident manager for the agency’s Covid-19 response, said in a briefing with reporters. “We must unite in our efforts against this virus and now more than ever, not let down our guard.” The U.S. reported 170,161 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the second highest daily toll of the pandemic and well more than double the number of daily cases reported at the height of the summertime surge. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions continue to set new records, taxing health-care systems in Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin and elsewhere. Covid-19 deaths crossed the quarter-million mark Wednesday, with 50,000 new deaths in just the past two months.
“Ilhan Omar fires back at Dem colleagues for urging moderation” by Fox News’ Sam Dorman – Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., fired back on Thursday at Democratic colleagues who suggested she and other members of the progressive squad had weakened the party by dragging it too far to the left. “As soon as the election was over … we have seen the pundits and some of the leaders within the Democratic Party, or even some of our colleagues, who are freshmen, talk about us getting back to basics — saying you know, the squad — Alex[andria Ocasio-Cortez], Ilhan, Rashida [Tlaib], all of you have to stop talking about everything you talk about, because we need to get back to basics,” Omar said at a rally at Capitol Hill. “So, I was confused because I thought what is more basic than fighting for clean water? What is more basic than fighting for a breathable planet? What is more basic than trying to make sure we get health care for people?” she asked, before adding a litany of other causes. Her comments were the latest salvo in what appeared to be an ongoing civil war that intensified after Democrats saw disappointing results down ballot in the 2020 elections. Observers have blamed the losses on pushing policies like the Green New Deal and “Medicare for all,” which exceed the cost and scope of other policies pursued by moderate Democrats. The moderate vs. progressive divide erupted during a caucus call just days after the election, where Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., urged the party to stay away from ideas typically associated with the left flank of her party. Spanberger was particularly animated and yelled during the call, Fox News confirmed. She told her colleagues: “We lost races we shouldn’t have lost. Defund the police almost cost me my race because of an attack ad. Don’t say socialism ever again. We need to get back to basics.”
“Mnuchin Declines to Extend Several Fed Emergency Lending Programs” by WSJ’s Nick Timiraos and Kate Davidson – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would allow several emergency Federal Reserve lending programs to expire, opening a divide with the central bank, which had pressed for an extension. As a result, on Dec. 31 several novel Fed programs that have backed corporate credit and municipal-borrowing markets and that have provided loans to small and midsize businesses and nonprofits during the coronavirus pandemic will end. In a letter to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell released to the public after markets closed Thursday, Mr. Mnuchin said the programs “have clearly achieved their objectives.” Credit markets, which nearly froze in March as the pandemic triggered a financial shock, have been rehabilitated, Mr. Mnuchin said. “Banks have the lending capacity to meet the borrowing needs of their corporate, municipal and nonprofit clients,” he said. The central bank signaled disappointment in his decision. “The Federal Reserve would prefer that the full suite of emergency facilities established during the coronavirus pandemic continue to serve their important role as a backstop for our still-strained and vulnerable economy,” the Fed said in a statement. Mr. Powell had indicated in remarks Tuesday that he didn’t think it would be appropriate to allow the programs to expire. “When the right time comes, and I don’t think that time is yet or very soon, we will put those tools away,” he said. Industry analysts have warned that Mr. Mnuchin’s decision would risk unsettling markets—which for various reasons have been volatile around the end of recent years—by weakening a key source of assurance that fueled investors’ optimism, especially as the economic recovery slows amid rising coronavirus cases. Turning off the market backstops was always going to prove tricky to manage, said Krishna Guha, vice chairman of Evercore ISI. “The question is when is the right time to do it in a way that doesn’t run any risk whatsoever of a resumption of market stress.”
Joe Biden – Wearing a mask isn’t a political statement — it’s a patriotic duty.