Archive for February 21st, 2020

The Pronk Pops Show 1400, February 21, 2020, Story 1: Send in the Clowns — Mini Mike Bloomberg Busted High Hopes — My Way or The Highway — Videos — Story 2: Roger Stone Sentenced To 40 Months in Prison For Lying To Congress in A Political Prosecution — Jury Foreperson Was Biased Trump Hating Democratic Activist — Miscarriage of Justice — Conviction Should Be Vacated — Videos — Story 3: The Real Threat Is Influenza Viruses Not Novel Coronavirus- Videos –Story 4: President Trump Holds Keep America Great Rally In Las Vegas — 500 Miles of Border Barrier in 2021 — Videos

Posted on February 21, 2020. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Blogroll, Breaking News, Central Intelligence Agency, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Diseases, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Flu, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, James Comey, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Military Spending, National Security Agency, Obama, People, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Psychology, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Security, Spying, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States Constitution, Videos, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1400 February 21, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1399 February 14, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1398 February 13, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1397 February 12, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1396 February 11, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1395 February 10, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1394 February 7, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1393 February 6, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1392 February 5, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1391 February 4, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1390 February 3, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1389 January 31, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1388 January 30, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1387 January 29, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1386 January 28, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1385 January 27, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1384 January 24, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1383 January 23, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1382 January 22, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1381 January 21, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1380 January 17, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1379 January 16, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1378 January 15, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1377 January 14, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1376 January 13, 2020

Pronk Pops Show 1375 December 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1374 December 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1373 December 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1372 December 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1371 December 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1370 December 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1369 December 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1368 December 4, 2019 

Pronk Pops Show 1367 December 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1366 December 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1365 November 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1364 November 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1363 November 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1362 November 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1361 November 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1360 November 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1359 November 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1358 November 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1357 November 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1356 November 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1355 November 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1354 November 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1353 November 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1352 November 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1351 November 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1350 November 1, 2019

Bloomberg Booster StoolSee the source image

See the source imageNinety-nine per cent of cases have been in China, where tens of millions of residents are in lockdown to contain the escalating crisis. The COVID-19 virus has killed at least 1,873 peopleSee the source image

 

Story 1: Send in the Clowns — Mini Mike Bloomberg Busted High Hopes — My Way or The Highway — Videos

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageBloomberg The Farmer

Judy Collins Send in the Clowns

Send in the Clowns

Judy Collins

Isn’t it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air,
Where are the clowns?
Isn’t it bliss?
Don’t you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
One who can’t move,
Where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns?
Just when I’d stopped opening doors,
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours
Making my entrance again with my usual flair
Sure of my lines
No one is there
Don’t you love farce?
My fault, I fear
I thought that you’d want what I want
Sorry, my dear!
But where are the clowns
Send in the clowns
Don’t bother, they’re here
Isn’t it rich?
Isn’t it queer?
Losing my timing this late in my career
But where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns
Well, maybe next year
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Stephen Sondheim
Send in the Clowns lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

The Democratic Debate in About a Minute

Tucker: Bloomberg paid to be humiliated

Ingraham: Why Bloomberg is failing

Ari Fleischer gives Bloomberg these debate tips

Everything Mike Bloomberg Said at the Las Vegas Democratic Debate | NBC New York

Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg spar at the open of the Democratic debate

Warren attacks Bloomberg over sexist comments and non-disclosure agreements

Mike Bloomberg at Tonight’s Debate | Mike Bloomberg for President

Frank Sinatra — High Hopes

“High Hopes” Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra – My Way (Live At Madison Square Garden, 1974)

And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear,
I’ll state my case of which I’m certain.
I’ve lived a life that’s full,
I travelled each and every highway,
And more, much more than this,
I did it My Way.
Regrets, I’ve had a few,
But then again too few to mention
Did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
Planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this,
I did it My Way.
Yes there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it My Way.
I’ve loved,
I’ve laughed and cried,
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now as tears subside
I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no not me
I did it My Way
For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows
I took the blows –
And did it my way!
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Claude Francois / Gilles Thibaut / Jacques Revaux / Paul Anka
My Way lyrics © Warner Chappell Music France, Jeune Musique Editions, BMG Rights Management, Concord Music Publishing LLC

Calvin Harris – My Way (Official Video)

My Way

Calvin Harris

Why wait to say
At least I did it my way
Lie awake, two faced
But in my heart I understand
I made my move
And it was all about you
Now I feel so far removed
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way
My way
My way
Why wait to say
At least I did it my way
Lie awake, two faced
But in my heart I understand
I made my move
And it was all about you
Now I feel so far removed
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Calvin Harris
My Way lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Mike Bloomberg is declared the LOSER of the Democratic debate after his disastrous start and relentless attacks – while Warren and Sanders come away the winners

  • Pundits declared Bloomberg the loser of Wednesday night’s debate in Las Vegas 
  • Senators Warren and Sanders were declared the top two winners of the debate  
  • Warren attacked Bloomberg over the treatment of women at his company 
  • Sanders criticized the former NYC mayor over his past stop and frisk policy 
  • Pete Buttigieg was also declared a winner, while Biden and Klobuchar lost out 

 

Mike Bloomberg has been declared the loser of Democratic debate after Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders relentlessly attacked the former New York mayor over his past ‘racist’ policies and treatment of women.

Six candidates took the stage Wednesday night in Las Vegas to face-off for a 5-to-1 face-off that ended disastrously for Bloomberg.

Pundits chose Bloomberg as the loser after he became the object of scorn, ridicule and contempt within the first five minutes of the debate.

What is becoming an increasingly bitter nomination fight, the Democratic presidential candidates focused their attacks on Bloomberg on the debate stage.

He has spent more than $400 million so far on advertising that in turn has given him strong standing in state and national polls.

Sanders recalled Bloomberg’s support of stop-and-frisk policing targeting minorities while Warren spoke about how Bloomberg had mocked women.

‘I’d like to talk about who we’re running against, a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,’ Warren said.

Pundits chose Bloomberg as the loser of Wednesday night's debate after he became the object of scorn, ridicule and contempt within the first five minutes

Pundits chose Bloomberg as the loser of Wednesday night’s debate after he became the object of scorn, ridicule and contempt within the first five minutes

Six candidates took the stage Wednesday night in Las Vegas to face-off for a 5-to-1 face-off that ended disastrously for Bloomberg

Six candidates took the stage Wednesday night in Las Vegas to face-off for a 5-to-1 face-off that ended disastrously for Bloomberg

‘And no I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.’

Amy Klobuchar also quipped that, ‘I don’t think you look at Donald Trump and say I think we need someone richer in the White House’.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Bloomberg condoned racist police practices, and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said Bloomberg was trying to ‘buy out’ the Democratic Party.

But his biggest struggle came when Warren hammered him over allegations of sexism and mistreatment of women in his company.

Bloomberg attempted to defend his record and deflect the attacks on him by turning them into attacks on President Donald Trump.

And he effectively raised questions about whether Americans would embrace a socialist like Sanders.

CNN's Chris Cillizza compared Bloomberg's performance to that of a pro-wrestling match where 'everyone decided to gang up on a single wrestler in the ring - and that wrestler was totally and completely caught off-guard'

Cillizza also said the 'first hour of the debate was an absolute and total disaster for the former mayor' who was also the third most tweeted about candidate Wednesday night

Cillizza also said the ‘first hour of the debate was an absolute and total disaster for the former mayor’ who was also the third most tweeted about candidate Wednesday night

But the glare was harsh, and the attacks landed with force. Even if you are worth $60billion it is hard to win a 5-on-1 fight.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza said the ‘first hour of the debate was an absolute and total disaster for the former mayor’.

‘He looked lost at times – and those were the best times for him! Warren dunked on him repeatedly. Sanders slammed him. Biden bashed him,’ Cillizza wrote.

Cillizza compared Bloomberg’s performance to that of a pro-wrestling match where ‘everyone decided to gang up on a single wrestler in the ring – and that wrestler was totally and completely caught off-guard’.

ELIZABETH WARREN: RETURN OF THE FIGHTER (WINNER)

Warren rose to prominence in the Democratic field with a fighting spirit that defined the early months of her campaign. But her disappointing showings in Iowa and New Hampshire left her campaign struggling.

But on Wednesday, Warren got back in the fight.

She slammed Bloomberg – which was no surprise as she’s been an antagonist of billionaires playing in politics for years.

But Warren also attacked Klobuchar, saying her health care plan was just a ‘Post-it note’.

She accused Buttigieg of being in debt to his rich campaign supporters and having a healthcare plan that was just a ‘PowerPoint’ designed by his consultants.

Warren rose to prominence in the Democratic field with a fighting spirit that defined the early months of her campaign. But her disappointing showings in Iowa and New Hampshire left her campaign struggling. But on Wednesday, Warren got back in the fight

Warren rose to prominence in the Democratic field with a fighting spirit that defined the early months of her campaign. But her disappointing showings in Iowa and New Hampshire left her campaign struggling. But on Wednesday, Warren got back in the fight

Warren slammed also fellow liberal Sanders, accusing him of letting his supporters trash anyone with a plan. But it was her prosecutorial approach to Bloomberg over his company’s treatment of women that stood out.

She hit the former mayor hard when it came to his refusal to release women from the nondisclosure agreements with his company regarding complaints of a hostile working environment.

Warren was relentless, leaving the former mayor stumbling and fumbling for a response.

‘Anybody that does anything wrong in our company, we investigate it and if it’s appropriate, they’re gone that day,’ Bloomberg said.

‘Let me tell you what I do at my company and my foundation and in city government when I was there. In my foundation, the person that runs it is a woman, 70 per cent of the people there are women,’ he added.

She slammed Bloomberg - which was no surprise as she's been an antagonist of billionaires playing in politics for years. But Warren also attacked Klobuchar, saying her health care plan was just a 'Post-it note'

‘In my company, lots and lots of women have big responsibilities. They get paid exactly the same as men. In city hall, the top person, my deputy mayor was a woman and 40 per cent of our commissioners were women,’ he said.

Warren then hit him harder.

‘I hope you heard what his defense was. I’ve been nice to some women. That just doesn’t cut it. The mayor has to stand on his record. What we need to know is exactly what’s lurking out there,’ she said.

‘He has gotten some number of women, dozens, who knows, who sign nondisclosure agreements both for sexual harassment and for gender discrimination in the workplace.

Van Jones tweeted about Warren shortly after the debate, saying: ‘Elizabeth Warren needs Bloomberg like a “lion needs an antelope.” He is the human embodiment of everything she’s against. If @ewarren is effective at landing those blows, the air could very well come out of the Bloomberg bubble.’

BERNIE SANDERS: LEADING THE PACK (WINNER)

Sanders has continuously tried to cement himself as the Democratic frontrunner, and he may have just pulled that off, according to some pundits.

‘The ganging-up on Bloomberg was just fine for Sanders, who, in case you forgot, is the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination,’ Cillizza wrote.

Before Wednesday night, Sanders has been hammering Bloomberg for weeks for trying to buy the election, though at a CNN town hall Tuesday night he wouldn’t guarantee he wouldn’t take Bloomberg’s money, which the billionaire candidate promised to the Democratic nominee, should he not be chosen for the job himself.

‘I don’t think we’re going to need that money,’ Sanders eventually said.

Sanders has sprung to the lead for the nomination in the RealClearPolitics polling average on the race with Biden in second and Bloomberg in third.

Sanders has continuously tried to cement himself as the Democratic frontrunner, and he may have just pulled that off, according to some pundits

Sanders has continuously tried to cement himself as the Democratic frontrunner, and he may have just pulled that off, according to some pundits

Sanders and Bloomberg locked horns on political philosophy during the debate, arguing over who’s a communist and who’s a socialist.

Bloomberg was defending his net worth, pointing out he earned it through ‘hard work’ and that he was giving his money away when Sanders argued the workers helped make that money.

‘Mr Bloomberg, it wasn’t you who made all that money. Maybe your workers played some role in that as well,’ Sanders said.

‘And it is important those workers are able to share the benefits also. When we have so many people who go to work every day and they feel not good about their jobs.

‘They feel like cogs in a machine. I want workers to be able to sit on corporate boards as well so they can have some say over what happens to their lives.’

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: THE GIFTED DEBATER (WINNER)

Some pundits crowned Buttigieg as one of Wednesday night’s winners.

‘Buttigieg is, without question, the most naturally gifted debater in the Democratic field, meaning he is simply not going to turn in a clunker. He was steady if not spectacular in this debate,’ Cillizza said.

According Cillizza, Buttigieg spent parts of the night taking on Sanders, which is a  ‘clear effort to send a signal to voters that he is the most credible alternative to the Vermont senator’.

Buttigieg, who finished in the top two in Iowa and New Hampshire with Sanders, reserved some of his harshest criticism for Sanders.

Some pundits crowned Buttigieg as one of Wednesday night's winners. Buttigieg, who finished in the top two in Iowa and New Hampshire with Sanders, reserved some of his harshest criticism for Sanders

Some pundits crowned Buttigieg as one of Wednesday night’s winners. Buttigieg, who finished in the top two in Iowa and New Hampshire with Sanders, reserved some of his harshest criticism for Sanders

He warned that Democrats could wake up after more than a dozen states vote on Super Tuesday on March 3 and have only Bloomberg and Sanders left on the ballot.

Buttigieg then quipped that the party may want to nominate ‘someone who is actually a Democrat’.

The crowd inside the Las Vegas casino hadn’t yet finished chuckling and hooting when he continued by saying Sanders ‘wants to burn this party down’ and Bloomberg ‘wants to buy this party out’.

Sanders, a senator from Vermont and avowed democratic socialist, responded by saying that Buttigieg’s campaign has been too reliant on ‘billionaire’ big donors, kicking off another intense exchange.

Their back and forth continued through criticism of Sanders supporters who have frequently been accused of bullying behavior online.

Sanders said he personally had denounced such behavior. This prompted Buttigieg to say he believed the senator but, ‘What it is it about your campaign in particular that seems to be motivating this type of behavior?’

On this night, Buttigieg had the most at stake, with Sanders standing in Nevada polls well ahead of the man who has run even with him in the first two contests.

AMY KLOBUCHAR: WHERE’S THE  KLOBENTUM? (LOSER)

The last debate was rocket fuel for Klobuchar. Her strong performance vaulted her to a third-place finish in New Hampshire and onto Nevada.

But it may be hard for lightning to strike twice.

The Minnesota senator was often drowned out in the high-octane bickering Wednesday, or pulled down into the mud.

At one point she pulled from her supply of ready quips, saying of Sanders and Bloomberg as they argued over capitalism that there is ‘a boxing rematch in Vegas on Saturday and these guys should go down there’.

The last debate was rocket fuel for Klobuchar. Her strong performance vaulted her to a third-place finish in New Hampshire and onto Nevada. But it may be hard for lightning to strike twice

The last debate was rocket fuel for Klobuchar. Her strong performance vaulted her to a third-place finish in New Hampshire and onto Nevada. But it may be hard for lightning to strike twice

The most damaging exchange was between Klobuchar and Buttigieg, who have tangled before.

When asked about her embarrassing gaffe in forgetting the name of Mexico’s president, she had to fend off Buttigieg, who claimed it disproved her argument that her work in Washington has prepared her to be president.

She also alternately scrapped with and aligned with Warren.

‘Are you calling me dumb?’ Klobuchar asked Buttigieg incredulously. Later, she added: ‘I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete.’

A little over a week ago in New Hampshire, Klobuchar clearly stood out. This time was much harder as everyone battled for survival.

FORMER VP JOE BIDEN: THE BYSTANDER (LOSER)

Another candidate in need of a big night to reverse perceptions that his campaign was struggling was Biden.

For a good portion of the debate, he receded. He joined in the attacks on Bloomberg, but largely avoided some of the more testy exchanges.

Biden called the stop and frisks ‘abhorrent’ and the former mayor admitted that it ‘got out of control’.

‘When we discovered – I discovered – that we were doing many, many – too many – stop and frisks, we cut 95 per cent of it out,’ Bloomberg asserted.

Another candidate in need of a big night to reverse perceptions that his campaign was struggling was Biden. For a good portion of the debate, he receded. He joined in the attacks on Bloomberg, but largely avoided some of the more testy exchanges

Another candidate in need of a big night to reverse perceptions that his campaign was struggling was Biden. For a good portion of the debate, he receded. He joined in the attacks on Bloomberg, but largely avoided some of the more testy exchanges

The former mayor said he is and was trying to ‘learn’ how to change policies to help continuing reduce crime in New York City.

Biden hit back at Bloomberg, claiming he couldn’t apologize it away and said it violated every right people posses.

‘Let’s get something straight. The reason that stop and frisk changed is because Barack Obama sent moderators to see what was going on. When we sent them there to say “this practice has to stop,” the mayor thought it was a terrible idea we send them there – a terrible idea,’ Biden said, invoking the name of one of the most famous Democrats.

‘It’s not whether he apologized or not, it’s the policy. The policy was abhorrent, and it was, in fact, a violation of every right people have,’ he said, claiming Bloomberg pushed back against stopping the policies.

‘He figured out it was a bad idea after we sent in monitors and said it must stop. Even then he continued the policy,’ Biden said on stage.

When Warren said that Biden was ‘in the pocket’ of Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, Biden fought back.

He also tried to return to his ‘Middle Class Joe’ biography about his family’s financial struggles.

Biden did not offer voters any new rationale for voting for him.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8023581/Mike-Bloomberg-declared-loser-Democratic-debate.html

Story 2: Roger Stone Sentenced To 40 Months in Prison For Lying To Congress in A Political Prosecution — Jury Foreperson Was Biased Trump Hating Democratic Activist — Miscarriage of Justice — Conviction Should Be Vacated — Videos —

Trump: Jury forewoman in Roger Stone case was ‘totally tainted’

Trump speaks in Las Vegas at ceremony for former prisoners, says what happened to Roger Stone was unbelievable.

Gowdy: No one believes Russia prefers Trump over ‘comrade Sanders’

Robert Ray expects it will be months before Roger Stone’s fate is settled

ROGER STONE SENTENCED: Friend of President Trump Gets 3 Years in Prison

Napolitano explains why Roger Stone is ‘absolutely entitled’ to a new trial

‘The Five’ panel gets heated over Roger Stone trial

Roger Stone gets THREE YEARS and four months but will not go straight to prison while he asks for a retrial – as federal judge rejects prosecutors’ demand for nine years but savages Donald Trump for interfering and says Stone ‘covered up for the president’

  • Roger Stone, 67, arrived at Washington’s federal court with his wife Nydia for sentencing hearing Thursday
  • Federal judge Amy Berman Jackson said his punishment for lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction will be 40 months in prison
  • But because he is asking for a retrial over claims of bias by the jury foreperson, the sentence will not take effect
  • Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee, said she had rejected prosecutors’ demand  for nine years on her – not because of outside pressure
  • That was a reference to Trump, who had raged about the initial demand – and for whom a 40 month sentence can be portrayed as a win
  • Judge issued a stunning rebuke not just of Stone but of Donald Trump himself for trying to interfere in the case
  • Case has plunged attorney general Bill Barr into crisis as he pleaded with Donald Trump to stop tweeting about it – and president refused
  • Within an hour of his arrival, Trump was tweeting again about the case this time suggesting the prosecution was unfair 
  • He claimed James Comey had lied to Congress but was not prosecuted 
  • Trump called himself the nation’s ‘chief law enforcement officer,’ and Barr was reported to be considering resigning 

Roger Stone swerved a federal prison cell Thursday despite a judge slapping the longtime Donald Trump ally with a 40-month sentence for lying to Congress – and savaging not just him but the president.

Stone was convicted last fall of lying to lawmakers over his efforts to procure stolen Democratic Party emails from WikiLeaks in 2016 to boost Donald Trump’s chances of becoming President.

The self-declared political dirty trickster was spared immediate incarceration Thursday while U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson decides whether or not to grant his request for a retrial.

The sentence was far below the nine years demanded by the prosecution before that was over-ruled in a political tumult and furious tweets by Trump.

ROGER STONE DID A LOT WRONG: WHAT HE WAS CONVICTED OF

Roger Stone was found guilty on all charges of:

1. Obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering by trying to get Randy Credico to lie to Congress. Sentenced to 40 months

2. Lying to Congress that he did not have emails or texts about Julian Assange. Sentenced to 12 months concurrent with the first count

3. Lying when he claimed his references to being in touch with Assange were actually about a ‘go-between’ – Randy Credico. Sentenced to 12 months concurrent with the first count

4. Lying that he didn’t ask his ‘go-between’ to communicate with Assange. Sentenced to 12 months concurrent with the first count

5. Lying that he didn’t text or email the ‘go-between’ about WikiLeaks. Sentenced to 12 months concurrent with the first count

6. Lying that he had never discussed conversation with his ‘go-between’ with anyone in the Trump campaign. Sentenced to 12 months concurrent with the first count

Instead she turned his sentencing hearing into a stunning rebuke not just of Stone but of the president himself, saying the prosecution was not brought by ‘political enemies,’ and that there was no ‘anti-Trump cabal’ at the hear of the case.

‘He was not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the president, he was prosecuted for covering up for the president,’ she said.

‘There was nothing unfair, phony or disgraceful about the investigation or the prosecution.’

Trump tweeted in rage against the prosecution accusing it of lacking ‘FAIRNESS’ as the hearing was under way in federal court in Washington D.C.

”They say Roger Stone lied to Congress.’ OH, I see, but so did Comey (and he also leaked classified information, for which almost everyone, other than Crooked Hillary Clinton, goes to jail for a long time), and so did Andy McCabe, who also lied to the FBI! FAIRNESS?’ the president tweeted.

It was unknown whether Berman Jackson was aware of his latest intervention but it came amid a case roiled by politics and mounting speculation Stone will be pardoned.

Even before she spoke, prosecutors staged their own revolt against the president calling the case ‘righteous’ and demanding a lengthy prison sentence despite their initial call for nine years being over-ruled by Attorney General Bill Barr in one of the main acts of an unfolding constitutional crisis.

Stone, 67, stood in silence as Jackson told a federal courtroom Washington, D.C. that he should spend 40 months -three years and four months – behind bars.

She had savaged him in his sentencing remarks – and rebuked the president himself, possibly for his tweet this morning which was during the first part of her hearing.

‘This case did not arise because Roger Stone was being prosecuted by his political enemies,’ Berman Jackson said.

She said Stone told ‘flat out lies,’ and that his conviction had nothing to do with whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

He was guilty of a ‘corrupt, unlawful,’ campaign to stop his lies being exposed when he threatened Randy Credico, who he named as his ‘go-between’ to Julian Assange, to stop Credico revealing the truth, that there was another go-between.

Stone was also guilty of withholding texts and emails from Congress, prompting Berman Jackson to again lash out at the president. 

Off home: Roger Stone left court to return to Florida

Free to go - for now: Roger Stone is escorted from the Washington D.C. federal courthouse after his sentencing. He remains gagged from speaking to the press

Happy outcome: A grinning Roger Stone left the court to get into a waiting car

On his way: Roger Stone steps out of the court and into the crowd after his sentencing

Not over: Roger Stone's case is not at an end because he has applied for a retrial, which the judge is considering. She went ahead with the sentencing and will rule later on his call for a fresh hearing

Crowd: Roger Stone walked through a crowd of waiting photographers and reporters as he left the court

Grinning: Roger Stone had shown no emotion as he was sentenced, and left the court building with a smile on his face

Grinning: Roger Stone had shown no emotion as he was sentenced, and left the court building with a smile on his face

Lightning rod: Federal judge Amy Berman Jackson will sentence Roger Stone in a case which has caused a crisis to engulf Bill Barr who pleaded with Donald Trump to let him do his job and stop the tweeting about his Department of Justice

Lightning rod: Federal judge Amy Berman Jackson will sentence Roger Stone in a case which has caused a crisis to engulf Bill Barr who pleaded with Donald Trump to let him do his job and stop the tweeting about his Department of Justice

Lightning rod: Federal judge Amy Berman Jackson will sentence Roger Stone in a case which has caused a crisis to engulf Bill Barr who pleaded with Donald Trump to let him do his job and stop the tweeting about his Department of Justice

And she pointed out that it was a Republican-led inquiry which he had initially defied.

Then she laced into the president, without naming him, saying it was right for sentencing to be done by a judge, ‘Not someone who has a longstanding friendship with the defendant, not someone whose political career was aided by the defendant.’

Stone was joined by a vast entourage led by his wife Nydia as he walked into the federal court, where his legal team has been bolstered by a Mafia lawyer who helped keep John Gotti Jr., head of the Gambino crime family and son of the ‘Teflon Don,’ out of prison.

Pro-Stone demonstrators brought a ‘pardon Roger stone’ banner which they held behind him when he arrived while counter-protesters tried to hurriedly erect an inflatable effigy of Trump as a rat as Stone arrived.

Hours before he arrived Trump launched another fusillade against Stone’s conviction, tweeting: ‘What has happened to Roger Stone should never happen to anyone in our country again.’

Trump’s tweets have plunged his own attorney general, Bill Barr, into a crisis over the rule of law, with the president declaring himself the ‘chief law enforcement officer,’ and demanding Barr ‘clean house.’

His wife Nydia was behind him in the courtroom as Stone, wearing a dark gray chalk stripe double-breasted suit, blue shirt with cutaway collar and sober gray tie, sat beside his attorneys.

Department of Justice attorneys had originally requested a far harsher punishment of seven to nine years only to see their recommendation ripped up by Attorney General William Barr, who drew praise from Trump for labeling it ‘excessive and unwarranted’.

The intervention sparked accusations of political interference, forcing Barr on the defensive as he denied bowing to White House influence and appealed for Trump to curb his explosive Twitter criticisms of Judge Jackson and the supposedly ‘tainted’ case against Stone.

More than 2,000 former justice department employees have since signed a petition calling on the Attorney General to resign.

The original prosecution foursome of Aaron Zelinsky, Jonathan Kravis, Adam Jed and Michael Marando were replaced for today’s proceedings at Washington, D.C. District Court, having all resigned in protest.

Stone’s sentencing got off to a rocky start when U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said that anyone in the court who did not have a medical reason to wear sunglasses should remove them. Stone had arrived in round sunglasses.

Jackson took the opportunity to grill prosecutors on why the Department of Justice decided last week to submit a second sentencing memorandum, a nod to Attorney General William Barr’s controversial decision to rip up the original seven to nine year recommendation submitted by his own attorneys.

It fell upon newly-assigned federal prosecutor John Crabb to apologize for the ‘miscommunication’, insisting that the original prosecution team – who resigned last week in protest – had acted in ‘good faith’.

Stone stood in silence as Jackson recalled the seven offences of which he was convicted: five counts of making false statements to Congress, a single count of obstructing a congressional proceeding and single count of witness tampering.

That final charge would be of particular significance as she warned Stone his sentence would likely be higher because it involved specific threats of violence.

Last November’s trial heard how Stone bullied the radio host Randy Credico into pleading the Fifth to avoid contradicting his 2016 testimony before Congress, branding him a ‘rat’ and threatening to take away his therapy dog.

Political point: An anti-Bill Barr protest was being made outside the federal court while Roger Stone was being sentenced - resulting in the advertising van being pulled over by D.C. cops

He's here: Roger Stone was accompanied by his wife Nydia and an almost 20-strong entourage as he arrived at federal court in Washington D.C. to be sentenced

In front of the protest: Roger and Nydia Stone walked past the inflatable Trump rat as they made their way into court

Grin and bear it: Roger Stone kept a fixed smile as he headed into court with his wife Nydia on his arm

Grin and bear it: Roger Stone kept a fixed smile as he headed into court with his wife Nydia on his arm

Raised a smile: Roger Stone's wife Nydia reacted positively to a group of supporters' banner calling for Donald Trump to issue the dirty trickster with a pardon

Raised a smile: Roger Stone’s wife Nydia reacted positively to a group of supporters’ banner calling for Donald Trump to issue the dirty trickster with a pardon

Arm-in-arm: Roger Stone wore a navy blue double-breasted topcoat with contrasting collar, blue cutaway collared shirt and sober gray tie, topped off with a black trilby as he arrived in court with Nydia, his second wife

 

Arm-in-arm: Roger Stone wore a navy blue double-breasted topcoat with contrasting collar, blue cutaway collared shirt and sober gray tie, topped off with a black trilby as he arrived in court with Nydia, his second wife

 

Asked if he had anything to say, Stone, dressed immaculately in a pinstripe suit, grey tie and suspenders, told Washington, D.C. District Court: ‘Your honor I choose not to speak at this time, thank you very much.’

Jackson slammed the 67-year-old defendant as an ‘insecure person who craves and recklessly pursues attention.’

‘This case did not arise because Roger Stone was being pursued by his political enemies,’ she added.

‘It arose because Roger Stone characteristically injected himself smack into the middle of one of the most significant issues of the day.’

Judge Jackson said Stone had interfered with matters of ‘grave national importance’ and repeatedly lied under oath. She characterized his defense as: ‘So what?’

‘Nothing about this case was a joke. It wasn’t funny,’ she cautioned.

‘This was not Roger being Roger. He lied to congress, he lied to elected representatives.’

The no-nonsense judge praised the ‘professionalism’ of the original four prosecutors, saying their recommendation was ‘true to the record’ and in line with Department of Justice guidelines.

However she agreed with Barr’s revision and said she was concerned seven to nine years would be ‘greater than necessary.’

She sentenced Stone to 40 months for obstruction, 12 months each for the counts of lying to Congress and 18 months for witness tampering, all sentences to be served concurrently.

He was also fined $20,000 and will have to serve two years’ probation. Federal rules means he has to give the court his tax returns.

Judge Jackson quizzed Crabb about how she came to receive two competing sentencing memorandums, noting that the original recommendation had never been formally withdrawn.

Crabb agreed and confirmed the prosecution was still asking for a substantial prison term for Stone, insisting the Justice Department had operated ‘without fear, favor or political influence’.

‘This prosecution was and is righteous,’ he said. ‘This confusion was not caused by the original trial team. There was nothing in bad faith about the prosecution team’s recommendation.’

Quizzed over who had ordered the new memorandum and why, Crabb replied: ‘What I understand is, there was a miscommunication between the Attorney General and the United States Attorney.’

Asked to explain who wrote the second memorandum, he repeatedly declined to say.

‘I cannot engage in discussions on internal deliberations,’ he said, to Judge Jackson’s obvious displeasure.

Ginsberg told the court that Stone had a history of ‘rough, provocative and hyperbolic language’ and that his threats to Credico should not influence his sentence, given that Credico and Stone went back decades and he knew Stone was ‘all bark and no bite.’

Judge Jackson disagreed, saying the sentencing seriousness level jumped from 14 to 27 because of Stone’s threats, witness tampering and efforts to disrupt justice.

‘The defendant refers to this as banter, which it hardly is,’ Jackson added, reeling off a list of insults Stone had directed toward Credico, including ‘rat’ and ‘c**sucker’.

She also slammed Stone over his repeated outbursts during last year’s prosecution, in particular his speaking out via InfoWars host Alex Jones to relay a message to Trump pleading for a pardon the night before he was found guilty.

That was in defiance of a gag order Judge Jackson had earlier slapped on Stone after he posted a mocked up photo of her face in rifle crosshairs online.

Jackson said Stone was deliberately trying to undermine proceedings and was stoking anger towards court officials, risking a scenario in which someone with ‘even less judgment’ could actually do something violent.

‘This is intolerable to the administration of justice. The court should not sit idly by, shrug its shoulders and say, that’s just Roger being Roger,’ she said.

Ratcheting up his sentencing level another two notches, she added: ‘It wasn’t an accident he had a staff that helped him do it. Using the new social media is his sweet spot.

‘He knew exactly what he was doing and in using Twitter and Instagram he deliberately magnified his message.’

Stone’s decades-long career on the shadier  margins of US politics appeared to be over last November after he was found guilty of five counts of making false statements to Congress and single counts of obstructing a congressional proceeding and witness tampering.

Jurors agreed the smooth-talking agent provocateur, who briefly served on Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign, told a series of ‘whoppers’ when he testified before members of House Intelligence Committee investigating Russian collusion in the 2016 election.

Stone lied to lawmakers when he denied asking Julian Assange for the cache of Democratic Party messages stolen by Russian hackers and further lied about the identity of his go-between to the WikiLeaks founder.

He also concealed numerous texts, emails and telephone conversations in which he discussed WikiLeaks and Assange with then candidate-Trump and senior campaign figures including former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, ex Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and former campaign official Rick Gates.

In he goes: Roger Stone took off his trilby to enter court, where he will be sentenced

Acknowledgment: Roger Stone gave a salute to supporters outside court

Acknowledgment: Roger Stone gave a salute to supporters outside court

Tailored: Roger Stone revealed he is wearing a double-breasted dark gray chalk stripe suit under his navy blue double-breasted overcoat as he got out of his car before going into court

Counter-protest: Anti-Trump activists put up an inflatable effigy of the president as a rat in time for Roger Stone's arrival

 

Counter-protest: Anti-Trump activists put up an inflatable effigy of the president as a rat in time for Roger Stone’s arrival

Publicity opportunity: The Stone spectacle has also been a magnet for a local tour company whose placard made a return to the entrance to court for the sentencing

Publicity opportunity: The Stone spectacle has also been a magnet for a local tour company whose placard made a return to the entrance to court for the sentencing

Ready for the walk: Nydia Stone grasped her husband's arm as they prepared to walk into court

Ready for the walk: Nydia Stone grasped her husband’s arm as they prepared to walk into court

Trump praises Bill Bar for ‘taking charge’ of Roger Stone case
The trial heard Stone was trying to procure the emails as a way to win favor with Trump and help him beat Hillary Clinton to the White House.

The net result of him lying ‘over and over and over again’ was that the House Intelligence Committee was impeded in its inquiries and its final report into Russian election inference was inaccurate because it didn’t mention Stone’s true intermediary, prosecutors said.

The tampering charge referred to his effort to bully the comedian and radio host Randy Credico into pleading the Fifth so he would avoid contradicting Stone’s sworn September 26, 2017 testimony.

Stone had told lawmakers that Credico was his ‘back channel’ to WikiLeaks when it was actually the conspiracy theorist and author Jerome Corsi.

When Credico threatened to set the record straight, Stone branded him a ‘c**ksucker’, a ‘rat’ and urged the rattled comic to do a ‘Frank Pentangeli’, referencing a character in Godfather Part II who lies to a congressional committee to help the Corleone family before committing suicide.

He also took aim at Credico’s therapy dog Bianca, a 13-year-old Coton de Tulear, writing in an text message: ‘I’m going to take that dog away from you.’

Prosecutors cited the threats of physical harm and Stone’s repeated media outbursts attacking Judge Jackson as aggravating factors against the former Nixon campaign adviser who has the disgraced former president’s face permanently tattooed on his back.

However Credico was among those who argued against incarceration, saying in a January letter to the judge: ‘I never in any way felt that Stone himself posed a direct physical threat to me or to my dog.’

Tomeka Hart, a former Memphis City Schools Board President, stoked the flames further when she outed herself last Wednesday as the jury forewoman in a Facebook post voicing support for the overruled prosecutors.

‘I have kept my silence for months. Initially, it was for my safety. Then, I decided to remain silent out of fear of politicizing the matter,’ Hart wrote.

Back channels: Stone had fraudulently told lawmakers that Randy Credico, a left-wing radio comedian, was his 'back channel' to WikiLeaks when it was actually the conspiracy theorist and author Jerome Corsi (pictured)

Back channels: Stone had fraudulently told lawmakers that Randy Credico (pictured), a left-wing radio comedian, was his 'back channel' to WikiLeaks when it was actually the conspiracy theorist and author Jerome Corsi

Center of case: Roger Stone  also took aim at Randy Credico's therapy dog Bianca, a 13-year-old Coton de Tulear, writing in an text message: 'I'm going to take that dog away from you.'

‘But I can’t keep quiet any longer. I want to stand up for Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed, Michael Marando, and Jonathan Kravis – the prosecutors on the Roger Stone trial.

‘It pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors. They acted with the utmost intelligence, integrity, and respect for our system of justice.

‘For that, I wanted to speak up for them and ask you to join me in thanking them for their service.’

Hart, it further emerged, had unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2012 and had participated in anti-Trump rallies and protests.

She had frequently denounced Trump on social media, calling the President and his supporters racists, and posted emojis of hearts and fist pumps after finding Stone guilty last November.

Hart had also re-tweeted a post by pundit Bakari Sellers dismissing Stone’s claims that the FBI used excessive force when they arrested him at his Fort Lauderdale, Florida home in January 2019.

Sellers had listed black victims of ‘police force’, including Sandra Bland, Walter Scott and Eric Gardner, scoffing: ‘But Roger Stone!!! Think about that.’

Stone’s lawyers have already made one failed attempt to secure a re-trial, arguing that a completely different juror, an IRS employee who worked with the Justice Department on criminal tax cases, should have been struck.

The juror admitted reading news articles about Stone’s arrest but denied having any opinions about Stone when asked about it by Judge Jackson in court.

The defense had failed to demonstrate the ‘sort of inherent bias’ that would prompt a retrial, Judge Jackson ruled.

Stone entered the political arena in 1972 when he ditched his studies at George Washington University, supporting Nixon in his re-election campaign then landing a job on his administration.

In one of his first stunts he contributed $135 to one of Nixon’s Republican rivals in the name of the Young Socialist Alliance – then slipped the receipt to a journalist.

During congressional hearings into the Watergate scandal in 1973 it emerged Stone had recruited a spy to infiltrate the campaigns of several of Nixon’s Democratic rivals.

He was fired from his job with then-Senator Bob Dole but went on to work for several more presidential campaigns: those of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and, eventually, his longtime friend Donald Trump, who first hired Stone to lobby for his casino businesses in the 1990s.

The National Enquirer in 1996 revealed that Stone had placed ads on a swingers website seeking sex partners for himself and his second wife Nydia Bertran Stone, 72. Stone later referred to himself in an interview as ‘a libertarian and a libertine’ and a ‘trysexual – I’ve tried everything’.

The six Trump associates to be convicted in Mueller probe

GUILTY: ROGER STONE 

Convicted in November 2019 on seven counts including obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and lying to Congress about his communications with WikiLeaks. Sentenced to 40 months in prison. 

Stone was a person of interest to Mueller’s investigators long before his January 2019 indictment, thanks in part due to his public pronouncements as well as internal emails about his contacts with WikiLeks.

In campaign texts and emails, Stone communicated with associates about WikiLeaks following reports the organization had obtained a cache of Clinton-related emails. 

According to the federal indictment, Stone gave ‘false and misleading’ testimony about his requests for information from WikiLeaks. He then pressured a witness, comedian Randy Credico, to take the Fifth Amendment rather than testify, and pressured him in a series of emails. Following a prolonged dispute over testimony, he called him a ‘rat’ and threatened to ‘take that dog away from you’, in reference to Credico’s therapy dog, Bianca. Stone warned him: ‘Let’s get it on. Prepare to die.’  

GUILTY: MICHAEL FLYNN 

Pleaded guilty to making false statements in December 2017. Awaiting sentence

Flynn was President Trump’s former National Security Advisor and Robert Mueller’s most senior scalp to date. He previously served when he was a three star general as President Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency but was fired. 

He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about his conversations with a Russian ambassador in December 2016. He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.

GUILTY AND IN JAIL: MICHAEL COHEN

Pleaded guilty to eight counts including fraud and two campaign finance violations in August 2018. Pleaded guilty to further count of lying to Congress in November 2018. Sentenced to three years in prison and $2 million in fines and forfeitures in December 2018

Cohen was investigated by Mueller but the case was handed off to the Southern District of New York,leaving Manhattan’s ferocious and fiercely independent federal prosecutors to run his case. 

Cohen was Trump’s longtime personal attorney, starting working for him and the Trump Organization in 2007. He is the longest-serving member of Trump’s inner circle to be implicated by Mueller. Cohen professed unswerving devotion to Trump – and organized payments to silence two women who alleged they had sex with the-then candidate: porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. He admitted that payments to both women were felony campaign finance violations – and admitted that he acted at the ‘direction’ of ‘Candidate-1’: Donald Trump. 

He also admitted tax fraud by lying about his income from loans he made, money from  taxi medallions he owned, and other sources of income, at a cost to the Treasury of $1.3 million.

And he admitted lying to Congress in a rare use of the offense. The judge in his case let him report for prison on March 6 and  recommended he serve it in a medium-security facility close to New York City.

Campaign role: Paul Manafort chaired Trump's campaign for four months - which included the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016, where he appeared on stage beside Trump who was preparing  to formally accept the Republican nomination

GUILTY AND IN JAIL: PAUL MANAFORT

Found guilty of eight charges of bank and tax fraud in August 2018. Sentenced to 47 months in March 2019. Pleaded guilty to two further charges – witness tampering and conspiracy against the United States. Jailed for total of seven and a half years in two separate sentences. Additionally indicted for mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney, using evidence previously presented by Mueller. That indictment was dismissed by the DA is appealing

 Manafort worked for Trump’s campaign from March 2016 and chaired it from June to August 2016, overseeing Trump being adopted as Republican candidate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He is the most senior campaign official to be implicated by Mueller. Manafort was one of Washington D.C.’s longest-term and most influential lobbyists but in 2015, his money dried up and the next year he turned to Trump for help, offering to be his campaign chairman for free – in the hope of making more money afterwards. But Mueller unwound his previous finances and discovered years of tax and bank fraud as he coined in cash from pro-Russia political parties and oligarchs in Ukraine.

Manafort pleaded not guilty to 18 charges of tax and bank fraud but was convicted of eight counts in August 2018. The jury was deadlocked on the other 10 charges. A second trial on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent due in September did not happen when he pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and witness tampering in a plea bargain. He was supposed to co-operate with Mueller but failed to. 

Minutes after his second sentencing hearing in March 2019, he was indicted on 16 counts of fraud and conspiracy by the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., using evidence which included documents previously presented at his first federal trial. The president has no pardon power over charges by district and state attorneys.

GUILTY: RICK GATES 

Pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements in February 2018. Awaiting sentence

Gates, a Trump campaign official, was Manafort’s former deputy at political consulting firm DMP International. He admitted to conspiring to defraud the U.S. government on financial activity, and to lying to investigators about a meeting Manafort had with a member of congress in 2013. As a result of his guilty plea and promise of cooperation, prosecutors vacated charges against Gates on bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy, failure to disclose foreign bank accounts, filing false tax returns, helping prepare false tax filings, and falsely amending tax returns.

GUILTY AND JAILED: GEORGE PAPADOPOLOUS

Pleaded guilty to making false statements in October 2017. Sentenced to 14 days in September 2018, and reported to prison in November. Served 12 days and released on December 7, 2018

 Papadopoulos was a member of Donald Trump’s campaign foreign policy advisory committee. He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about his contacts with London professor Josef Mifsud and Ivan Timofeev, the director of a Russian government-funded think tank. 

He agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation but is now highly critical of it.  

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8025217/Roger-Stone-sentenced-three-years-judge-rebukes-Donald-Trump-tweeted-spoke.html

‘The American people cared. And I care.’ Top lines from Judge Amy Berman Jackson during the Roger Stone sentencing

The Roger Stone Sentencing Fiasco

Some Justice Department personnel handled it questionably, but Trump’s reaction was worse.

The first thing to grasp about the Roger Stone sentencing fiasco is that Stone, even accepting the worst plausible gloss on his crimes, is a 67-year-old nonviolent first offender. If the criminal-justice “reform” fad were authentic, and not a stratagem of social-justice warriors who have taken Washington’s surfeit of useful idiots for a ride, then we could all agree that the original seven-to-nine-year sentence advocated by prosecutors was too draconian — even if it was, as we shall see, a faithful application of the federal sentencing guidelines as written.

But no. Like criminal-justice “reform,” the Stone prosecution is more politics than law enforcement. It was the Mueller probe’s last gasp at pretending there might be something to the Russia-collusion narrative – notwithstanding that, when the “gee, it sure feels like there could be some collusion here” indictment was filed, over a year and a half after special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed, it had long been manifest that there was no Trump–Russia conspiracy.

So, the Left has a quandary here: Do they hate Trump more than they love sentencing “reform”? We could have predicted the decision to go with hating Trump, and thus fomenting outrage over DOJ’s retraction of its original sentencing recommendation of about nine years’ imprisonment, now slashed to a far more reasonable range of four years or less. To be fair, though, Trump critics could not have been expected to resist the combination of DOJ missteps and Trump Twitter taunts that mark Stone’s sentencing, the combination that has managed to turn Mueller’s maulers into media martyrs.

Some background: In a ridiculously overblown, overcharged prosecution, Mueller slammed the ineffable Stone with seven felony counts of obstructing Congress’s Russia investigation. One of these involved tampering with a witness, left-wing radio host Randy Credico (through whom Stone sought a communications channel with WikiLeaks honcho Julian Assange).

At a certain point, Credico let it be known that he intended to cooperate with investigators. A ballistic Stone, when not uttering lunatic references to Watergate and Frank Pentangeli (the Mafioso character goaded into suicide when a plot to take out the Don fails in Godfather II), warned the “stoolie” “rat” Credico to “prepare to die” and vowed to steal his pet dog. Even in context, these seem to be puerile ravings, not real threats. (Stone added that his lawyers were anxious to “rip [Credico] to shreds,” so any murder and dognapping was apparently going to await cross-examination.) And though Stone is patently guilty of witness tampering, Credico himself told the court that he did not take Stone’s threats seriously.

DOJ: We Overstepped By Keeping Tabs On Trump Campaign Adviser For Too Long

Stone being the sort of Einstein who commits his obstructions in writing (the Credico contacts were mostly text messages), the jury convicted him in nothing flat. That meant DOJ would give the court its take on how the sentencing guidelines applied to the case, as it does with every convicted defendant.

In Stone’s case, the guidelines worked a severe result. In tampering cases, a guidelines enhancement calls for a drastic increase in the sentence if the defendant threatened the witness with physical injury. This drove Stone’s “offense level” from 21 to 29 on the guidelines grid, so even though he is a first offender (offense history “Category I” in guidelines-speak), his recommended sentence zoomed to 90 to 108 months — instead of 37 to 46 months, as it would have been at offense level 21 (i.e., without the threats).

With Mueller’s shop closed down, the Stone prosecution was run out of the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia. But it was still being overseen by two Mueller staffers, Aaron S. J. Zelinsky (on loan from the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland, where he had worked for Rod Rosenstein, who, as Trump’s deputy attorney general, later appointed Mueller), and Adam C. Jed (an appellate lawyer from the Obama Justice Department who first came to public attention in 2013, arguing that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional). Also assigned to the case were Jonathan Kravis, a former associate White House counsel to Obama, and Michael Mirando, an experienced assistant U.S. attorney in the D.C. office.

This team of prosecutors filed a sentencing memorandum on Monday, laying out the guidelines and advising Judge Amy Berman Jackson that they called for a prison sentence of about seven to nine years (i.e., the offense-level guidelines range of 90 to 108 months). Like the indictment itself, the memo is gross overkill.

As the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross notes, the prosecutors tied Stone to “foreign election interference,” breathlessly framed as the “most deadly adversary of republican government,” even though he was never charged with any such crime — underscoring yet again that the deadliest adversary of republican government is actually domestic — viz., the politicized use of executive police powers. Far from offering any theory in mitigation of the 90-to-108-months range, the prosecutors pooh-poohed Credico’s perception that Stone’s threats were not serious, factitiously insisting that the guidelines enhancement is triggered by the threat, not whether the target is actually intimidated. Plus, prosecutors maintained, Stone’s crimes were exacerbated by his flouting of Judge Berman Jackson’s gag orders during the prosecution.

All that said, the prosecutors’ submission was an accurate (if extreme and unyielding) rendition of federal sentencing law. The enhancement that inflates Stone’s sentencing range does literally apply — even if he is not the kind of violent criminal that the guidelines commissioners had in mind when they wrote it. Prosecutors are not required to argue for clemency, though they should do so when the circumstances call for it. The Justice Department’s default position in criminal cases is that the guidelines should be applied as written, and that it is up to the court to decide whether to follow them.

While Stone awaited sentence, the prosecutors were supervised, at least nominally, by Jessie Liu, the U.S. attorney for D.C. I say “nominally” because the Trump Justice Department has always been leery about being seen as interfering in Mueller-based prosecutions. Moreover, the D.C. office was in transition while court submissions pertaining to Stone’s sentencing were being prepared.

In December 2019, President Trump announced his nomination of Liu to become the Treasury Department’s undersecretary overseeing financial sanctions on terrorists. Liu continued running the U.S. attorney’s office, albeit with one foot out the door, until the end of January. With her Treasury confirmation hearing scheduled for February 13 (i.e., tomorrow), Attorney General Bill Barr appointed one of his top advisers, Timothy Shea (a well-regarded longtime prosecutor, litigator, and Capitol Hill staffer), to become acting U.S. attorney for D.C. on January 30. That was eleven days before the Stone team filed its sentencing submission.

How much participation Shea had in the recommendation is unclear. The New York Times reports that both he and Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen opined that the seven-to-nine-year sentencing recommendation was too severe. Yet, it does not appear that they put their foot down and instructed the Stone prosecutors to ameliorate it before the government’s submission was filed on Monday.

As is his wont, the president went bonkers on Twitter upon learning of the recommendation, calling it “horrible and very unfair” and a major “miscarriage of justice” because “the real crimes are on the other side” — i.e., the Russia-probe investigators — yet “nothing happens to them.” While the Justice Department was obviously aware of the president’s tweet, as well as press reporting about the harshness of the prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation, the DOJ and the White House have had no communications about the case, according to both the president and a spokeswoman for the attorney general.

Nevertheless, the DOJ made it known that the sentencing memo would be rescinded and a new one filed. That announcement prompted the recusals of all four prosecutors, some of whom are quitting the DOJ entirely and some apparently just stepping aside from the Stone case.

Late Tuesday, the DOJ filed a revised sentencing memo, which does not recommend a specific sentence but strongly suggests that a term calculated without the eight-point enhancement — i.e., between 37 and 46 months’ imprisonment — would be just. The new memo concedes that the prosecutors’ calculation in the original memo was “arguably” correct, but contends that it would be unreasonable under the circumstances. On that score, the memo relies on (a) Credico’s dismissal of the threat (though it acknowledges that this is not dispositive); (b) the fact that a sentence driven by the guidelines enhancement would be wildly out of proportion with prison terms imposed in cases similar to Stone’s; (c) Stone’s being a first-offender with no organized-crime or gang connections and thus not typical f the offenders the enhancement is meant to cover; and (d) Stone’s advanced age and failing health.

This is an entirely reasonable recommendation, even if the process of arriving at it has been a train wreck.

The Justice Department correctly observes that the sentence to be imposed is entirely up to the court. The DOJ’s recommendations are non-binding and frequently ignored by judges. Judge Berman Jackson has been thoroughly informed about what the non-binding guidelines say, as well as the cases for and against applying the enhancement.

Furthermore, let’s imagine that, instead of orchestrating a fiasco, DOJ had efficiently managed any internal disputes (which are not uncommon) and had filed a single memo recommending a 37-to-46-month sentence — a memo that explained both the enhancement for threatening witnesses and why applying it would be unreasonable under the circumstances. Does anyone doubt that such a recommendation would nevertheless have been panned as excessive by the president?

For now, while Trump has taken to attacking both the resigning prosecutors and Judge Berman Jackson on Twitter, it appears that former U.S. attorney Liu is taking the fall. Within hours of the prosecutors’ trumpeting their departures in grand Sally Yates style, the White House announced that the president had pulled Liu’s appointment to the Treasury Department position — even though her confirmation hearing was just two days away, and Barr had lavished praise on her upon appointing Shea as her replacement.

Liu certainly had a tumultuous tenure. Besides the thankless task of inheriting the Mueller cases against Stone and former national-security adviser Michael Flynn (the implosion of which is a story for another day), her office foolishly pursued a threadbare Mueller-generated prosecution of Greg Craig for false statements based on lobbying for Ukraine. Craig, former White House counsel to President Obama, was speedily acquitted by a jury last year. Meanwhile, there was also a mini-revolt on the Senate Judiciary Committee a few months back when the president floated the idea of elevating Liu to the No. 3 leadership slot at the DOJ — though she was vigorously defended by AG Barr, and suspicions that she lacked conservative bona fides appear overwrought (the fact that Liu may be pro-choice hardly means she would not enforce laws regulating abortion; and a claim that, 15 years ago, she opposed Justice Samuel Alito’s appointment to the Supreme Court appears to be false).

I would not suggest that Liu and others at the DOJ distinguished themselves in the Stone sentencing debacle. But at this point, the main fault lies with the president.

Yes, the Mueller probe was specious. But for his connection to Trump, Stone would never have been pursued in a collusion fever dream that Mueller’s prosecutors knew was bogus when they charged him. Yet his crimes, while exaggerated, were real. He was convicted by a jury and, under federal law, that presumptively warrants incarceration, though he could be spared by the judge (whom the president has picked a strange time to antagonize). If the president thinks that Stone and Flynn (among others) have been given a raw deal, the Constitution empowers him to pardon them, or at least commute their sentences.

If President Trump is afraid, in an election year, to take the political hit that a pardon for Stone would entail, that is understandable. But then he should bite his tongue and click out of Twitter. The Justice Department’s job is to process cases, including Mueller cases, pursuant to law. If the president wants to make those cases disappear, he has to do it himself and be accountable. His provocative running commentary only ensures that the DOJ will be accused of kowtowing to him. It also guarantees that, if the ongoing criminal probe of the Russiagate investigation eventually yields any indictments, they will be assailed as political persecutions rather than good-faith law enforcement.

 

Story 3: The Real Threat Is Influenza Viruses Not Novel Coronavirus- Videos

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Worrying about coronavirus? This other virus is the real threat.

Worrying about coronavirus? This other virus is the real threat.

There’s a deadly virus spreading from state to state. It preys on the most vulnerable, striking the sick and the old without mercy. In just the last few months, it has claimed the lives of at least 39 children.

The virus is influenza, and it poses a far greater threat to Americans than the coronavirus from China that has made headlines around the world.

“When we think about the relative danger of this new coronavirus and influenza, there’s just no comparison,” said William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Coronavirus will be a blip on the horizon in comparison. The risk is trivial.”

To be sure, the coronavirus outbreak, which originated last month in the Chinese city of Wuhan, should be taken seriously. The virus can cause pneumonia and is blamed for more than 7,000 illnesses and more than 170 deaths.

The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the outbreak a global emergency requiring a coordinated international response after the number of cases spiked sharply over the last few days. But officials warn much remains unknown.

In the United States, at least six cases of the virus have been reported, including the first case of person-to-person infection. Public health workers are monitoring dozens of additional patients.

And yet, Americans aren’t particularly concerned.

Fewer than half of adults got a flu shot last season, according to the CDC. Even among children, who can be especially vulnerable to respiratory illnesses, only 62% received the vaccine.

If Americans aren’t afraid of the flu, perhaps that’s because they are inured to yearly warnings. For them, the flu is old news. Yet viruses named after foreign places — such as Ebola, Zika, and Wuhan — inspire terror.

“Familiarity breeds indifference,” Schaffner said. “Because it’s new, it’s mysterious, and comes from an exotic place, the coronavirus creates anxiety.”

Some doctors joke that the flu needs to be rebranded.

“We should rename influenza; call it XZ-47 virus or something scarier,” said Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

 

Measles in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has killed 5,000 people in the last year — more than twice as many as Ebola. Yet UNICEF officials have noted that the measles, which many Americans no longer fear, has gotten little attention. Nearly all the measles victims were children under 5.

Because the Wuhan virus is new, humans have no antibodies against it. Doctors haven’t had time to develop treatments or vaccines.

The big question, so far unknown, is just how easily the virus is transmitted from an infected person to others. Officials warn much remains unknown, but each patient with the new coronavirus appears to be infecting about two other people.

By comparison, patients with SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, spread the infection to an average of two to four others. Each patient with measles — one of the most contagious viruses known to science — infects 12 to 18 unvaccinated people.

Health officials worry that the new coronavirus could resemble SARS — which appeared suddenly in China in 2002 and spread to 26 countries, sickening 8,000 people and killing 774, according to the WHO.The U.S. dodged a bullet with SARS, Schaffner said. Only eight Americans became infected and none died, according to the CDC. Yet SARS caused a global panic, leading people to shutter hotels, cancel flights, and close businesses.

Coronaviruses can be unpredictable, said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. While some patients never infect anyone else, people who are “super-spreaders” can infect dozens of others.

At Seoul, South Korea’s Samsung Medical Center in 2015, a single emergency-room patient infected 82 people —patients, visitors, and staff — with a coronavirus called MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. The hospital partly shut down to control the virus.

“This is one of the finest medical centers in the world, on par with the Cleveland Clinic, and they were brought to their knees,” Osterholm said.

Yet MERS has never posed much of a threat to the United States.

Only two patients in this country — health-care providers who had worked in Saudi Arabia — have ever tested positive for the virus, according to the CDC. Both patients survived.

Hotez, who is working to develop vaccines against neglected diseases, said he worries about unvaccinated children. Most kids who die from the flu haven’t been immunized against it, he said. And many were previously healthy.

“If you’re worried about your health, get your flu vaccination,” Hotez said. “It’s not too late.”

https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus-infection-death-risk-influenza-20200129.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deadly coronavirus ‘kills 15 PER CENT of patients over 80’ and the never-before-seen strain is ‘up to 20 TIMES more infectious than SARS’

  • Chinese health officials carried out the biggest ever study on the coronavirus
  • Results showed SARS-CoV-2 virus posed the greatest threat to older patients 
  • It is also dangerous for those with underlying conditions, such as heart disease
  • More than 73,000 cases have been recorded, with up to 99% of them in China 
  • Do you have a study about coronavirus? Email sam.blanchard@mailonline.co.uk 

The deadly coronavirus rapidly sweeping the world kills up to 15 per cent of patients over the age of 80, scientists have revealed.

Chinese health officials carried out the biggest ever study on the never-before-seen strain of the virus, using data from 72,000 cases.

Results showed the SARS-CoV-2 virus posed the greatest threat to older patients and those with underlying conditions, such as cancer and heart disease.

Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention researchers also found 80.9 per cent of infections are mild. Less than five per cent are critical.

More than 73,000 cases have been recorded worldwide, with 99 per cent in China. Almost 1,900 patients have already died.

Residents walk through a disinfection channel set up as a protective measure against the coronavirus at the entrance to their compound in Tongzhou, east of Beijing

Residents walk through a disinfection channel set up as a protective measure against the coronavirus at the entrance to their compound in Tongzhou, east of Beijing

A child wearing a face mask plays near a slide at a commercial and residential complex in a residential complex in Beijing

A child wearing a face mask plays near a slide at a commercial and residential complex in a residential complex in Beijing

A police officer wearing a face mask patrols in front of the Sunwill factory in Foshan, China

A medical worker takes a swab for testing from a Chinese paramilitary police officer in Shenzhen, Guangdong province

 

A medical worker takes a swab for testing from a Chinese paramilitary police officer in Shenzhen, Guangdong province

Cases of a mysterious pneumonia-causing virus first emerged in the now-deserted Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Researchers blamed a seafood market in Hubei city that illegally sold wild animals for being the source of the virus.

The virus has no known cure and most patients who are struck down recover within a couple of weeks without needing medical treatment.

Those who develop more serious infections in their lungs, such as pneumonia, need expert medical care to stop their illness turning deadly.

They looked at 72,314 confirmed, suspected, clinically diagnosed, and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 illness across China as of February 11.

COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by the virus, which has effectively been named as SARS-2 by the World Health Organization.

Results showed the overall case-fatality ratio – the percentage of patients who die – was just 2.3 per cent.

Ninety-nine per cent of cases have been in China, where tens of millions of residents are in lockdown to contain the escalating crisis. The COVID-19 virus has killed at least 1,873 people

And more than 73,000 patients have been struck down with the deadly SARS-CoV-2 infection, including nearly 1,000 outside of China

And more than 73,000 patients have been struck down with the deadly SARS-CoV-2 infection, including nearly 1,000 outside of China

Almost 1,900 people have now died from the killer coronavirus rapidly sweeping the world

Almost 1,900 people have now died from the killer coronavirus rapidly sweeping the world

In comparison, SARS – which only infected a fraction of patients during the 2002/03 epidemic – killed around 10 per cent.

While the death rate for MERS, another type of coronavirus that was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, is even higher (34 per cent).

One of the world’s deadliest diseases, Ebola, kills around half of all patients it strikes. Ebola is not caused by any type of coronavirus.

When data for the SARS-CoV-2 infection was broken down, researchers found over-80s had the highest fatality ratio at 14.8 per cent.

The likelihood of death was just eight per cent of patients aged between 70 and 79, and 3.6 per cent for those in their sixties.

The case-fatality ratio was less than 1.5 per cent for patients in their fifties, and less than 0.5 per cent for everyone else – meaning roughly one in 200 will die.

There were no deaths among children aged up to nine, despite at least two cases of newborn babies infected through their mothers.

In contrast, the death rate for flu is around 0.1 per cent, according to the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC).

Older adults have weaker immune systems, meaning it is harder for the body to fight off a virus such as SARS-CoV-2 or flu.

Patients with heart disease were most likely to die from the virus, followed by those with diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and hypertension.

CCDC academics also found 80.9 percent of infections were classified as mild, 13.8 percent as severe and only 4.7 percent as critical.

And men are more likely to die (2.8 per cent) than women (1.7 per cent). But experts have yet to work out why men are more vulnerable.

Nearly 86 percent of those who have contracted the illness either lived in or travelled to Wuhan.

British cruise ship passenger David Abel and his wife Sally (pictured in their cabin on the Diamond Princess) have tested positive for coronavirus in Japan

David Abel believes he is going to test negative for coronavirus

Steve Abel (pictured today) said his parents David and Sally Abel were 'not getting any communication' from Whitehall and were 'feeling very unloved'

The Diamond Princess (pictured today) remains in lockdown and hundreds face a longer spell in quarantine even after the official incubation period ends tomorrow

American passenger details life on Diamond Princess ahead of evacuation

SON OF BRIT COUPLE WITH CORONAVIRUS ON CRUISE SHIP BEGS GOVERNMENT TO RESCUE THEM

The son of a British couple who caught coronavirus on a cruise ship in Japan has today savaged the government’s ‘appalling’ handling of the case.

Steve Abel said his parents David and Sally were ‘not getting any communication’ from Whitehall and were ‘feeling very unloved’ despite repeated pleas for help.

The British couple were among 88 people who tested positive for the virus in Japan today, taking the number of infections on board the ship to 542.

They are now being taken into a further quarantine on the mainland just a day before their stay on board the Diamond Princess was due to end.

The Abels will also be unable to join an evacuation flight which the British embassy is preparing today amid growing pressure after the US evacuated 340 of its citizens.

And 3,019 health workers have been diagnosed and five had died as of February 11, the report said.

The epidemic, which has seen cases in almost 30 countries, reached its ‘first peak’ between January 24 and 26, the report said.

It suggests there is has been a ‘downward trend’ in the overall epidemic curve since February 11 – meaning the spread of the disease was slowing.

A separate group of scientists published their findings about the virus on bioRxiv – an archive of papers before they have been peer-reviewed.

Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin found SARS-CoV-2 was 20 times more likely to bind to human cells than its original predecessor.

South China Morning Post reports the team said the virus shares the same host-cell receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), with SARS.

The researchers wrote: ‘Compared with SARS-CoV, 2019-nCoV appears to be more readily transmitted from human to human.

‘The high affinity of 2019-nCoV for human ACE2 may contribute to the apparent ease with which 2019-nCoV can spread from human to human.’

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE DEADLY CORONAVIRUS IN CHINA?

Someone who is infected with the coronavirus can spread it with just a simple cough or a sneeze, scientists say.

Over 2,000 people with the virus are now confirmed to have died and more than 75,000 have been infected. But experts predict the true number of people with the disease could be as high as 350,000 in Wuhan alone, as they warn it may kill as many as two in 100 cases.  Here’s what we know so far:

What is the coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.

The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.

Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a ‘sister’ of the SARS illness which hit China in 2002, so has been named after it.

The disease that the virus causes has been named COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The virus itself is called SARS-CoV-2.

Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: ‘Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals.

‘Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses).

‘Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.’

The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started publicly reporting infections on December 31.

By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.

The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000.

Just a week after that, there had been more than 800 confirmed cases and those same scientists estimated that some 4,000 – possibly 9,700 – were infected in Wuhan alone. By that point, 26 people had died. 

By January 27, more than 2,800 people were confirmed to have been infected, 81 had died, and estimates of the total number of cases ranged from 100,000 to 350,000 in Wuhan alone.

By January 29, the number of deaths had risen to 132 and cases were in excess of 6,000.  

By February 5, there were more than 24,000 cases and 492 deaths.

By February 11, this had risen to more than 43,000 cases and 1,000 deaths. 

A change in the way cases are confirmed on February 13 – doctors decided to start using lung scans as a formal diagnosis, as well as laboratory tests – caused a spike in the number of cases, to more than 60,000 and to 1,369 deaths. 

Where does the virus come from?

According to scientists, the virus has almost certainly come from bats. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.

The first cases of COVID-19 came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in the city, which has since been closed down for investigation.

Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat.

A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published in February 2020 in the scientific journal Nature, found that the genetic make-up virus samples found in patients in China is 96 per cent similar to a coronavirus they found in bats.

However, there were not many bats at the market so scientists say it was likely there was an animal which acted as a middle-man, contracting it from a bat before then transmitting it to a human. It has not yet been confirmed what type of animal this was.

Dr Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved with the research but said: ‘The discovery definitely places the origin of nCoV in bats in China.

‘We still do not know whether another species served as an intermediate host to amplify the virus, and possibly even to bring it to the market, nor what species that host might have been.’

So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so worried about it? 

Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.

It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans’ lungs.

Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they’ve never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.

Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: ‘Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.

‘Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we’re talking about a virus where we don’t understand fully the severity spectrum but it’s possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.’

If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die.

‘My feeling is it’s lower,’ Dr Horby added. ‘We’re probably missing this iceberg of milder cases. But that’s the current circumstance we’re in.

‘Two per cent case fatality rate is comparable to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 so it is a significant concern globally.’

How does the virus spread?

The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms.

It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky.

Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person.

There is now evidence that it can spread third hand – to someone from a person who caught it from another person.

What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?

Once someone has caught the COVID-19 virus it may take between two and 14 days, or even longer, for them to show any symptoms – but they may still be contagious during this time.

If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients – at least 97 per cent, based on available data – will recover from these without any issues or medical help.

In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people. 

What have genetic tests revealed about the virus? 

Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world.

This allows others to study them, develop tests and potentially look into treating the illness they cause.

Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much – changing is known as mutating – much during the early stages of its spread.

However, the director-general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.

This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it.

More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.

How dangerous is the virus?  

The virus has a death rate of around two per cent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.

However, experts say the true number of patients is likely considerably higher and therefore the death rate considerably lower. Imperial College London researchers estimate that there were 4,000 (up to 9,700) cases in Wuhan city alone up to January 18 – officially there were only 444 there to that date. If cases are in fact 100 times more common than the official figures, the virus may be far less dangerous than currently believed, but also far more widespread.

Experts say it is likely only the most seriously ill patients are seeking help and are therefore recorded – the vast majority will have only mild, cold-like symptoms. For those whose conditions do become more severe, there is a risk of developing pneumonia which can destroy the lungs and kill you.

Can the virus be cured?

The COVID-19 virus cannot currently be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.

Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can work, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.

No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it’s not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.

The National Institutes of Health in the US, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical Technology.

Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.

People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.

And airports around the world are putting in place screening measures such as having doctors on-site, taking people’s temperatures to check for fevers and using thermal screening to spot those who might be ill (infection causes a raised temperature).

However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so there is only a small likelihood that patients will be spotted up in an airport.

Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?

The outbreak is an epidemic, which is when a disease takes hold of one community such as a country or region.

Although it has spread to dozens of countries, the outbreak is not yet classed as a pandemic, which is defined by the World Health Organization as the ‘worldwide spread of a new disease’.

The head of WHO’s global infectious hazard preparedness, Dr Sylvie Briand, said: ‘Currently we are not in a pandemic. We are at the phase where it is an epidemic with multiple foci, and we try to extinguish the transmission in each of these foci,’ the Guardian reported.

She said that most cases outside of Hubei had been ‘spillover’ from the epicentre, so the disease wasn’t actually spreading actively around the world.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-8015951/Most-coronavirus-infections-mild-says-Chinese-study.html

 

Virus cases balloon in S. Korea as outbreak shifts, spreads

 Schools were shuttered, churches told worshipers to stay away and some mass gatherings were banned as cases of a new virus swelled Friday in South Korea, the newest front in a widening global outbreak.

The country said two people have died and 204 have been infected with the virus, quadruple the number of cases it had two days earlier, as a crisis centered in China has begun strongly reverberating elsewhere.

The multiplying caseload in South Korea showed the ease with which the illness can spread. Though initial infections were linked to China, new ones have not involved international travel.

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 538-545

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 510-518

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 526-531

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 519-525

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 510-518

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 490-499

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 473-479

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 391-399

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 346-353

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 338-345

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 328-337

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 319-327

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 307-318

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 296-306

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 287-295

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 277-286

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 264-276

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 250-263

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 236-249

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 222-235

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 211-221

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 194-201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 184-193

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 158-164

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 135-142

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 98-100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 49-51

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 45-48

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 34-37

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 27-29

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 17-26

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 10-15

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1-9

 

 

 

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