Archive for the ‘Citizen Journalists’ Category

Powerlineblog’s Scott Johnson has a bunch of pointed questions that he’d like to ask Gov. Tim Walz. The bad news is that Gov. Walz isn’t interested in answering difficult questions that doesn’t have a good answer to. The worse news is that the DFL legislature is acting as Gov. Walz’s Praetorian guard. The DFL House won’t untighten the controls so real reporters who would ask difficult questions can ask those difficult questions:

The Washington Free Beacon’s Collin Anderson reports on my exclusion from the daily COVID-19 press briefings by the state authorities in “Minnesota governor stonewalls conservative journalist.” Working on the story, Collin elicited statements from the governor’s office and from the Minnesota Department of Health regarding my exclusion. By contrast, my inquiries have elicited the sound of silence, so we’re getting somewhere.

Collin forwarded the responses to his inquiries for my comments. Walz’s office sent a message explaining that “the Governor’s press conferences are covered by the Minnesota Capitol Press Corps, a dozen media outlets that are credentialed by the Minnesota State Legislature, rent office space in the Minnesota Capitol building, and routinely cover state government.”

What is Tim Walz trying to hide? Why is he afraid of answering difficult questions? If your policies are right, there isn’t a reason to be worried about the questions.

Thus far, though, Gov. Walz has had to be dragged kicking and screaming into every major decision. He hasn’t done things proactively. The DFL governor has been reactive with each major policy reversal.

The fact that Gov. Walz hasn’t made any confident-looking major COVID-19 decisions signals that he wouldn’t want to answer Scott’s questions. That’s because Scott’s questions wouldn’t be softballs, though they might include follow-up questions that were tougher than the introductory questions. Gov. Walz is like the general in this MASH episode:

The general’s famous final words were “Just wait a minute. This is a press conference. The last thing I want to do is answer a lot of questions.” I’m betting heavily that Tim Walz identifies with that general from MASH. It’s one thing to get asked softball questions from KARE11, MPR, the Strib or KSTP. That’s easy. It’s another to take questions from Alpha News or Powerline. Then again, most citizens would ask better questions than the Twin Cities media on the subject of COVID.

Let’s settle this. Scott Johnson and Kevin Roche have done fantastic work on the topic of COVID-19, though that’s been mostly because of their tenacity. It isn’t like Gov. Walz has helped whatsoever.

Two months ago, protesters pushed Gov. Walz into changing policies with their protests. It’s time to push Gov. Walz into other policy changes. Perhaps, we’ll see more capitulations by Gov. Walz like this:

Through consultation with Minnesota faith leaders, the Minnesota Department of Health has developed additional guidance for faith-based communities, places of worship, and services. Starting May 27, places of worship may open at 25 percent occupancy if they adhere to social distancing and other public health guidelines to keep congregants safe.

“I have had many meaningful conversations with faith leaders over the last few weeks,” Governor Walz said. “From a personal and public health perspective, the decision around places of worship has been a challenging one since the beginning of the pandemic. We know large gatherings of people raise the risk of spreading COVID-19. We also know worship is an essential part of many Minnesotans’ lives, including mine.”

GOV. WALZ TRANSLATION: After President Trump pulled the rug out from underneath me, I’ve had to modify my policy. My initial policy didn’t make any sense but now it’s totally indefensible. Churches are now open.

Seriously, Gov. Walz has, once again, gotten dragged kicking and screaming into a decision he didn’t want to make. Perhaps that’s why he doesn’t want to answer Scott Johnson’s and Kevin Roche’s questions.

For those of you who haven’t paid attention to Scott Johnson’s investigation into Gov. Walz’s mishandling (my words, not Scott’s) of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s time you started reading his work. This morning, Johnson published a post titled “Why the Minnesota shutdown?“. Included in Johnson’s post is a reply to a question he submitted to MDH, aka Minnesota Department of Health, Commissioner Jan Malcolm.

Johnson’s question said “Referring to the 286 total deaths to date, I note that every decedent under age 70 has died in long-term care or similar setting. The youngest person to die outside long-term care was in his 70’s. Why is it necessary to close the schools and shut down the state to protect the at-risk population?” The reply came “from MDH media contact Doug Schultz.” Here’s Schultz’s reply:

We have had deaths in people younger than 70 and certainly many cases in all age groups. It is necessary to take the community mitigation measures we have because all Minnesotans are at risk from COVID 19, as none of us has immunity. Some people, like those in long-term-care and those with underlying health conditions, are far more at risk than others. But if we didn’t reduce transmission in the community as we have with the stay at home order, we would see far more disease circulating and many times more serious cases that would quickly overwhelm our health care system. Then, even less-vulnerable people would not be able to get the care they needed, such as intensive care, ventilators, etc., so we would see far more deaths in people outside of the very frail and elderly. That is what has happened in places like Italy and New York.

Kevin Roche, “the former UnitedHealth Group general counsel and chief executive officer of its Ingenix division”, scrutinized Schultz’s statement. This jumped out at me:

“If we didn’t reduce transmission we would overwhelm the health system.” A flat-out lie. There is absolutely nothing that suggests we couldn’t provide adequate resources to treat those who need treatment.

I’m submitting these statistics to strengthen Mr. Roche’s already strong case:

ICU beds in use: 936
ICU beds: Current 1,244 Available within 24 hrs. — 795 Available within 72 hrs. — 542

Summarization: 936 ICU beds are in use out of 2,581 available. That represents approximately 36% of Minnesota’s ICU beds. In terms of ventilators in use vs. ventilators in inventory, MDH’s case is far weaker:

Ventilators in use: 463; currently in stock — 1,438; surge –1,435; on backorder 888

Summarization: 463 ventilators are in use out of a total 3,761 ventilators in stock or on backorder. That’s before potentially adding the 6,500 ventilators that are in stock but aren’t being used in Florida. That’s before factoring in other states’ ventilators not in use. FYI- 463 in use vs. 3,761 is approximately 12%.

For Mr. Schultz to say “If we didn’t reduce transmission we would overwhelm the health system” is outright dishonesty. It has nothing to do with reality. If a state can run out of ventilators when 12% of a state’s inventory is getting used, then someone needs to get fired.

The Mayo Clinic cut payroll for upper management by $1,600,000,000 recently because they’re at 35% of capacity. Additionally, Mayo just pushed Gov. Walz into an agreement on testing. Gov. Walz said he wouldn’t consider loosening restrictions until 5,000 tests per day could be performed. The next day, literally, Mayo said that they could run 10,000 per day.

Gov. Walz’s administration’s strategy has been to use dishonesty to frighten people into this lockdown. We can’t thank citizen journalists like Scott Johnson and Kevin Roche enough for flushing out the Walz administration’s fear-mongering tactics. They’re doing what the MSM isn’t willing to do.