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☕️ ETHICS ☙ Thursday, March 16, 2023 ☙ C&C NEWS 🦠
Happy Coronaversary! O'Keefe's OMG media group; evidence Pfizer meddled at Project Veritas; pilot heart attack epidemic; banking crisis news; my legal analysis of Trump's complaint vs DeSantis.
Good morning (afternoon) C&C fans, it’s Thursday! Only two more days until we’ll get back to the regular morning schedule. Today’s roundup includes: It’s Coranaversary, which celebrates government malfeasance; James O’Keefe unrolls his new media enterprise which has the best acronym ever; evidence of Pfizer tampering at Project Veritas; March shows an epidemic of sudden and unexpected pilot cardiac events; law professor opines that we need more bank board accountability to fix financial crisis; I analyze the Trump PAC’s ethics complaint against Governor DeSantis.
🗞*WORLD NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
💉 Happy Coronaversary! Three years ago today, Vice President Mike Pence excreted the biggest and most destructive lie that any government official has ever told, out of a long, tragic history of officially-approved lies, when he announced “15 Days to Slow the Spread,” which as you know actually meant “Three Years of Dystopian Hell.”
It was for your own good! Nevermind the excess deaths, stunted children, anxiety levels, global inflation, proxy wars, and collapsing banks. After all, YOU bought the “fifteen days” fairy tale.
And it’s still not over! Just yesterday I gave some comments to an Epoch Times reporter about a California woman denied a kidney transplant because she was “unvaccinated” for covid. The word “evil” came up in our conversation more times than I can remember.
I hope you’ll find an appropriate way to celebrate the holiday. As for me, I’m going to go lick an ATM keypad or something.
🔥 Yesterday, as I am sure you already know, James O’Keefe launched his new media enterprise: the O’Keefe Media Group (OMG). The video promoting his new venture was really directed at two different audiences: the obvious announcement to the public, of course, but it also contained a special secret message directed at Project Veritas’ board of directors and remaining staff. I’ll translate it for you, as best I can understand.
The video portion of the clip (not the audio) begins with James’ first big story, the ACORN exposé. Then it quickly shows O’Keefe arriving in a BLACK SUV, being handed a SANDWICH, of which he takes one bite then tosses it BEHIND HIM, then moves into a series of happy, upbeat, solo DANCE MOVES before it returns to James speaking directly to the viewer.
The audio was unconnected with and largely separate from the video. It was two different messages: one audio, one visual.
The video sent a farewell message to the board: James originally started Project Veritas, not them (the initial ACORN image), but they savaged him over trivially stupid stuff like BLACK CARS, SANDWICHES, and a DANCE production — all of which appeared in sequence. The images had double meanings: James is not sorry (still using black cars), throws the disgusting Project Veritas sandwich BEHIND HIM — he’s moving on — and is Snoopy dancing into his new venture without them (the solo dance moves); in other words, he couldn’t be more happy about it.
You have to hand it to him. It was pretty brilliant.
There might be some other minor insider elements and inside jokes that I’m just not well-enough briefed in on to know. But it was clever for James to communicate with them this way, since he is almost certainly restricted as to what he can say by his former employment contracts with Project Veritas. He simultaneously trolled the board masterfully and sent a message to the firm’s other employees, who are almost certainly floundering in a morale crisis right now.
We’ll be multiplying the new OMG firm as soon as I can get them to setup a special page for C&C to enter classic “multiplier-style” donations. In the meantime, James is currently soliciting fixed-amount subscriptions and “founding member” plans at www.okeefemediagroup.com.
🔥 While researching the OMG story for this morning’s report, I happened to review the Project Veritas timeline, and my instinctive lawyer alarm system suddenly went off as I noticed something new.
To set the stage, at this point I’ve spoken in depth to at least four insiders to the PV debacle (who I can’t name, for obvious reasons) and several closely-related folks on the outside. None of them have any direct evidence of Pfizer’s involvement in Project Veritas’ collapse, but everyone is naturally suspicious, given the timing of the collapse immediately following the blockbuster exposé.
But as I was reviewing Project Veritas’ Twitter timeline I discovered one of my favorite kinds of telltales — the absence of evidence. Shortly after putting O’Keefe on involuntary leave, Project Veritas quickly STOPPED REPORTING ON THE PFIZER STORY.
On January 31st, PV reported its video van parked outside Pfizer HQ running Jordan Walker’s face. They were taking it to Pfizer, but good, and getting plenty of press about it:
But an only week later on February 8th, O’Keefe was placed on leave (he finally left PV on February 20th). From February 8th on, ZERO new Pfizer videos were released, and no new vans appeared outside Pfizer HQ or anywhere else. Instead, PV only reported an occasional “reaction” news piece every few days , then on March 9th, posted its final Pfizer tweet, which included a re-published earlier video and promised “we are not done with Pfizer.”
“We are not done with Pfizer” was a signal; the reverse-opposite, a complete lie, a brief swan song. They WERE done with Pfizer. Nothing of substance about Pfizer has appeared on Project Veritas’ timeline since March 9th, except for a couple calls for new whistleblowers, which is supposed to suggest that PV has completely run out of material and has nothing more to say.
So much for “we’re not done with Pfizer.”
Instead, on March 2nd, PV shifted to its brand-new exposé of Long Island schools and their covert gender program. Since then, it has run wall-to-wall Long Island exposé videos and updates nearly every single day, on most days Tweeting ten or more times a day. PV’s Long Island story coverage is a flood compared to its non-existent Pfizer coverage.
I don’t believe for a second that PV ran out of Pfizer material, nor have they explicitly claimed that. That’s not how the company has ever worked. They always trickle the news out a little at a time and stretch out the story. They always take advantage of their target’s responses, delighting in contradicting the target’s public statements with more material.
But not this time. Not with Pfizer.
This time, PV deviated from the normal script, and quickly wrapped the biggest story in PV history just a few weeks from its inception, and completely moved on.
Pfizer should be pretty happy.
It’s even more incongruous given that PV claims that James O’Keefe had nothing to do with the Pfizer story and merely inserted himself at the end to take all the credit. If that’s true, then all the Pfizer assets are still at PV. Why are they so silent?
Project Veritas’ sudden lack of Pfizer coverage and its lack of continuing attention to the pharma giant — even after publicly promising they weren’t done — speaks volumes. It might even be more damning evidence than their purging of Mr. O’Keefe.
💉 So far this month, three pilots on three different airlines have been removed from flights due to cardiac issues. Remember, pilots are required to have a complete physical every six months in the US, and annually in Australia. So all these guys had been medically cleared for flight — recently.
On March 12th, Creative Destruction Media ran a story headlined, “Breaking: United Airlines Flight Diverted - Incapacitated Pilot In Hospital.” It published a leaked, internal Houston United Airlines memo reporting an “incapacitated” pilot was taken off a flight and sent to the hospital for chest pains:
“UA Flight 2007 GUA-ORD is diverting to IAH. Declaring an emergency for an incapacitated pilot. Gated at E20. Current ETA shows 1747. Unknown if flight will clear here at this time or just re-crew and go. Will advise when information is available. Pilot reportedly taken to a hospital,” states the UAL Operation Center communication. According to the UAL file, “Left seat Capt had chest pains. Could not get him out of the seat. Right seater landed.
Later the airline refused to comment on the pilot’s condition, the cause of the incident, or even confirm whether it was the pilot as opposed to any other crew member, contradicting the internal memo.
A day earlier on March 11th, the UK Sun had published a story headlined, “BA TRAGEDY: Veteran British Airways Pilot Collapses and Dies Shortly Before He Was Due to Captain Packed Passenger Jet.” According to the Sun, a British Airways pilot was set to fly from Cairo to Heathrow when he had a sudden and unexpected heart attack in his Cairo hotel room.
Nothing to see here!
Three days before that on March 8th, the Aero News Journal ran a story headlined, “Virgin Australia Emergency Landing After Pilot Suffers ‘Heart Attack’.” The article reported that the first officer on a Virgin Australia flight from Adelaide to Perth had what was initially reported to be a sudden and unexpected heart attack thirty minutes after takeoff, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing.
The airline later denied it had been a heart attack, saying only that the pilot had suffered a “brief illness,” and that he was “okay” after a short hospitalization. There is no information about whether he is cleared for flight or will ever fly again.
So that’s three pilots in ONE WEEK. They’re collapsing faster than Paul Pelosi. How is that not international news? For all the vaccine-lovers arguing that “people have always had heart attacks,” I defy them to find me another similar example prior to the jab rollouts. I double-dare them.
🔥 The Hill ran a common-sense opinion piece yesterday headlined, “To Prevent Bank Runs, Fix Bank Governance.”
The op-ed begins by noting that Silicon Valley Bank’s crack board of non-bankers incompetently ran the bank into the ground faster than an airplane with two pilots experiencing a “brief illness”:
The people running these banks knew for months about the losses they were incurring on their long-term bonds as interest rates went up. To cover these losses, protect their solvency and reassure depositors, they should have raised equity. They didn’t — and here we are in bailout land.
The law professor author reasonably argued that the problem stems from the fact that bank board members owe their fiduciary duties to SHAREHOLDERS (insiders) but not DEPOSITORS. So uninsured depositors who lose money in a bank crash can’t sue the board (or even the bank). He suggests that states should pass laws making bank board members liable to depositors under a fiduciary duty.
I have sued a lot of banks. In 2012, I successfully sued Wells Fargo on behalf of a 93-year-old widow whose life savings were stolen by a bank teller who’d deluded the old lady into signing over all her accounts. Wells Fargo filed a 27-page motion to sanction me for frivolous litigation, denying it had any legal duty of any kind to protect the widow from its own employee, who had filed bankruptcy multiple times and overdrawn her own Wells Fargo account more than a hundred times — while working at the bank.
Well Fargo’s attorney literally begged me to settle after the third day of jury trial.
But I did face the difficult fact that current law provides that depositors and banks have a purely creditor-debtor relationship, nothing more. If you put your money in the bank, it’s just the same as if you lent your neighbor some money. If the bank doesn’t give your money back, you can sue them for not paying you back, and that’s it. You can only sue banks for breaching fiduciary duties when the bank undertakes special extra services like giving you investment advice.
Never mind the fact that banks are referred to as “fiduciaries.” It means nothing.
So, the professor is not wrong to call for enhanced duties, and it’s a wonderful thought, but given how difficult it has been to get state legislatures — even in Florida — to consider laws enhancing duties between hospitals and patients, I think we have our work cut out for us to enhance duties between bank board members and depositors.
🔥 But don’t worry. It wasn’t SVB’s incompetent, woke board of directors or financial mismanagement that caused the bank to crater. I’ll give you one guess who was really to blame.
Bloomberg ran a story yesterday headlined, “Russian Media, Crypto Scammers Seize on SVB Panic.” The sub-headline added, “‘Conspiratorial narratives’ are inflaming social media panic over bank collapse, according to researchers.”
It was disinformation! I’m not even kidding:
Russian media outlets, far-right websites, short sellers and doomsday preppers were among those who pushed and amplified conspiracy theories online focused on the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, according to disinformation specialists.
Stupid Twitter! You know where THIS is going.
🔥 The Wall Street Journal ran a cautiously-worded story this morning headlined, “European Central Bank Defies Mounting Banking Strains With Half-Point Rate Rise.” The sub-headline explained, “Decision shows central bank still sees tackling inflation as its priority.”
The first two sentences tell the whole story:
The European Central Bank raised interest rates by a half percentage point, pressing ahead with its fight against inflation despite concerns that this could exacerbate strains in the financial system. The ECB said in a statement that it would increase its key rate to 3%, the highest level since 2008, while promising to provide liquidity support to the financial system if needed.
In other words, the ECB appears to be worried that the bank crisis in the US — if there IS a bank crisis — could spread to Europe. The last time rates were this high — 2008 — was during the real-estate crisis. 2023 will be known as the Proxy War crisis. How could this happen? Joe Biden says everything is going great.
Great job, gang!
🔥 In the latest news from the Trump campaign’s political war on Governor DeSantis, the Hill ran a story yesterday headlined, “Trump-Allied Super PAC Files Ethics Complaint Against DeSantis Over ‘Shadow Presidential Campaign’.”
I’m sure you’ve already heard about it.
Make America Great Again Inc., filed a 15-page complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics alleging that the pro-DeSantis super PACs, state-level political contributions, and the governor’s “personally lucrative book tour” adds up to an improper, un-filed presidential campaign.
The key is Florida’s “Resign-To-Run” law, which requires any officeholder seeking a new office to resign from their current job if the terms of the two offices would overlap. DeSantis’ current term overlaps the next presidential term by two years. So Trump’s PAC is arguing that DeSantis is violating the law by running for president (without declaring it), and should have resigned first.
They are off base. The relevant statute, § 99.012, says that:
No person may qualify as a candidate for more than one public office, whether federal, state, district, county, or municipal, if the terms or any part thereof run concurrently with each other.
The statutory key word is “qualify.” If the statute applies, DeSantis must resign to run for president ten days before “qualifying” for president, which is the formal process of filing. He hasn’t filed yet, and the deadline is way off. Even publicly announcing his intent to run would not trigger the statute. And even if DeSantis does submit his resignation, it would not be effective until the first day of the new presidential term.
But there is a serious question about whether the statute even applies. DeSantis has a solid legal argument that the law doesn’t apply to him. In State ex rel. Davis v. Adams, 238 So.2d 415 (1970), the Florida Supreme Court held that offices defined by the U.S. Constitution (in that case, the House of Representatives), have their own Constitutional qualification requirements to run for office, and state laws cannot willy-nilly pile new state requirements on top of the Constitutional requirements.
I’m not the only one suspecting presidential campaigns are excepted from Resign-To-Run, as you can see from this excerpt from the Division of Election’s website — which was posted in 2018, long before DeSantis had a whisper of a clue of running for President:
Here’s the link. The statute doesn’t reference the Office of the President at all, so the statutory citations on the DOE’s website don’t make a lot of sense to me. Maybe I’m missing something. But the Florida Supreme Court’s holding in State ex rel. Davis v. Adams seems pretty compelling.
I believe all this explains why the Trump PAC filed an “ethics complaint” instead of a lawsuit, which would’ve gone nowhere. Instead, they’re arguing it might not be illegal, but DeSantis is still violating the spirit of the law by not resigning to run, and is therefore acting unethically. They bizarrely asked for the Ethics Commission to promptly remove DeSantis from the Governorship.
The Ethics Complaint is going nowhere.
First of all, five of the Ethics Commission’s nine members were appointed by DeSantis. So. Beyond that, in my experience, it’s hard to get the Ethics Commission to do ANYTHING even in clear cases of abuse. This is not a clear case; if anything it’s a stretch. Significantly, Trump’s PAC has to know that. So this complaint poses no real threat to DeSantis; it’s just a political stunt or a way to generate headlines.
It’s regretful that the primary seems headed toward a negative campaign. More than anything, I wish the two men would not attack each other and would just focus on presenting their own best cases to the voters.
But you know what? There is a bright side, due to the very compelling argument that DeSantis needs more experience in the crucible, because after he DOES declare, the democrats are certain to be merciless and it will be something the Governor hasn’t faced before.
It is one hundred percent certain that democrats would’ve attacked the Governor over Resign-To-Run even if Trump hadn’t. And DeSantis would be dealing with those lawsuits much closer to the election, and the democrats would inflame everyone about how DeSantis was breaking the law by not resigning.
In that sense, Trump’s PAC is really doing DeSantis a favor by drawing the sting of this issue now, in the most harmless way, in the most DeSantis-friendly forum. It ALMOSt makes me suspect the two campaigns might be working together. Either way, I bet the democrats are probably spitting nails that DeSantis’ Resign-To-Run issue will be resolved long before the deadline. So the Ethics Complain looks super gross, and it’s getting lots of media attention, it’s more fascinating than anything that anyone’s knickers should get twisted about.
Have a terrific Thursday! I’ll see you guys and gals back here tomorrow for more.
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