FBI Report: Border Agents Stopped A Chinese Biologist Sneaking Viable SARS, MERS Viruses Into US Airport

FBI Report: Border Agents Stopped A Chinese Biologist Sneaking Viable SARS, MERS Viruses Into US Airport

Another bombshell "conspiracy" raising serious questions over the coronavirus pandemic and China’s biological weapons research and espionage programs goes mainstream.

A now viral investigative report based on a newly released FBI document authored by no less than the Chemical and Biological Intelligence Unit of the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD) finds that a Chinese scientist was caught under extremely suspicious circumstances transporting vials believed to contain the deadly MERS and SARS viruses into the United States.

Illustrative file image via USA Today

“In late November 2018, just over a year before the first coronavirus case was identified in Wuhan, China, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Detroit Metro Airport stopped a Chinese biologist with three vials labeled ‘Antibodies’ in his luggage,” the lengthy report by Yahoo News begins.

“Inspection of the writing on the vials and the stated recipient led inspection personnel to believe the materials contained within the vials may be viable Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) materials,” the report reads.

The unnamed scientist claimed he was asked to deliver the vials to a US institute, though the FBI report also fails to identify the recipient. “But the FBI concluded that the incident, and two other cases cited in the report, were part of an alarming pattern,” Yahoo News reports.

“The Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate assesses foreign scientific researchers who transport undeclared and undocumented biological materials into the United States in their personal carry-on and/or checked luggage almost certainly present a US biosecurity risk,” the FBI report states.

“The WMDD makes this assessment with high confidence based on liaison reporting with direct access,” the FBI report adds.

The report cites US military experts who speculate it could be part of a broader Chinese program aimed at stealing US state secrets and research, and further that such foreign nationals caught with the materials might be unwitting mules, but regardless the case is part of an "alarming pattern". 

Other additional and more recent instances detailed in the report, such as in September 2019, detailed a separate case of a Chinese national’s attempt to sneak vials of H1N1 influenza samples into Dallas.

Needless to say, as we reviewed precisely in past reporting related to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and its ‘coincidental’ proximity to the market where COVID-19 is claimed to have first emerged, the potential for deadly pathogens to ‘escape’ through mishandling during such haphazard airport trips by individuals trying to sneak vials across borders is high

And this is where the Yahoo News report pivots to the subject and main questions of our own reporting of two months ago, which readers may remember, was deeply triggering for Buzzfeed and others who set themselves up as gatekeepers policing and ensuring acceptance of only what they narrowly deem ‘acceptable’ analysis and questions: "the FBI appears to be concerned with dual-use research that would be used for bioterrorism," the report emphasizes.

Digging deeper into what we were all told is supposed to be a mere deranged conspiracy theory the Yahoo News authors then make the direct connection between COVID-19 and the aforementioned potential for bioterrorism: 

The report, which came out more than two months before the World Health Organization learned of a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan that turned out to be COVID-19, appears to be part of a larger FBI concern about China’s involvement with scientific research in the U.S. While the report refers broadly to foreign researchers, all three cases cited involve Chinese nationals.

And just to underscore further potentially what we’re dealing with in terms of likely threats, the FBI itself said it approached and investigated the Detroit MERS/SARS airport case and others ultimately out of biosecurity and bioterrorism concerns.

"The FBI report refers to both biosecurity, which typically refers to the intentional misuse of pathogens, such as for bioterrorism, and biosafety, which covers accidental release. The FBI declined to comment on the report," it continues.

So it now appears the FBI itself has long been closely following Chinese military bioweapons research as well as dangerous pathogens’ mishandling and ‘misuse’ in relation to unique deadly respiratory viruses, and asking the relevant and obvious questions. Glad to know we’re not alone.

Tyler Durden

Tue, 03/31/2020 – 17:45

via ZeroHedge News

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Dolly Parton Urges Isolated Fans to ‘Keep the Faith’ and Remember ‘God Loves Us’

Country legend Dolly Parton offered an inspiring message to her fans about the severity of the Chinese coronavirus, urging people to show bravery while in isolation and know that God loves them during these challenging times.

Parton began her social media message by singing “Climbing the stairway to heaven, because this virus has scared the H-E-L-L out of out us,” before offering her own perspectives on the worldwide pandemic.

“I’m not making light of the situation. Well, maybe I am, because it’s the light, I believe, that’s gonna dissolve the situation. I think God is in this, I really do,” the 12-time Grammy-winner said. “I think he’s trying to hold us up to the light so we can see ourselves and see each other through the eyes of love. And I hope we learn that lesson.”

“I think that when this passes, we’re gonna all be better people,” Parton continued. “I know that I have a positive attitude about it, as negative as it seems to be right now. So just keep the faith, don’t be too scared, it’s gonna be alright, God loves us.”

Last week, the 74-year-old crooner shared a similar message, posting a photo of herself tuning her guitar alongside one of her most famous quotes: “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”

Prior to that, Parton also touched on the coronavirus following the death of fellow country singer Kenny Rogers, who died aged 81 on March 20th from natural causes.

“I know that we all know Kenny’s in a better place than we are today, but I’m sure he’s going to be talking to God sometime today, if he ain’t already, and he’s gonna be asking Him to spread some light onto this darkness going on here,” Parton said in her tribute. “I loved Kenny with all my heart, and my heart’s broken.”

Follow Ben Kew on Facebook, Twitter at @ben_kew, or email him at bkew@breitbart.com.

via Breitbart News

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Lawmakers Move To Rescind Stimulus For Kennedy Center After Musician Layoffs

Congressman Bryan Steil (R-WI) has introduced a bill to rescind $25 million in stimulus funding for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts — the home of the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera — after the organization furloughed nearly 100 orchestra members immediately after the stimulus bill was signed. 

“Some in Washington felt it was important to spend $25 million of taxpayer dollars on the Kennedy Center when there are obviously bigger needs right now. This is frivolous spending in the midst of a national emergency. Coronavirus requires a serious and targeted response,” said Steil. 

The new bill, which has been co-sponsored by 13 other legislators, would revoke the center’s bailout and give it “back to the American people,” says House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who is a co-sponsor.  

“If an organization is receiving assistance from the federal government, we expect them to take care of their workers. As we take further Congressional action to fight the Coronavirus’ devastating impact on families and our economy, I call on Speaker Pelosi to finally put the American people, not special interests, first,” said Scalise. 

As The Washington Free Beacon previously reported, The Kennedy Center informed orchestra musicians last week that they should “proceed as if their final paycheck will be April 3,” and that they will not be paid until the center re-opens again.  

It’s very disappointing they’re going to get that money and then drop us afterward,” a veteran musician told The Washington Free Beacon on the condition that his identity not be publicly disclosed. “The Kennedy Center blindsided us.”

In an interview with Fox News, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) slammed Speaker Nancy Pelosi for delaying the stimulus bill to include “pet projects,” citing funding for the Kennedy Center as an example. 

“While everybody else was working together, Republican and Democrat, with President Trump, who was solely focused on fighting for jobs for American families,” argued Scalies, “Nancy Pelosi literally held the bill up for days to get her pet projects, including the money for the Kennedy Center.”

The Minority Whip also addressed a snarky comment Speaker Pelosi made about Trump, who she accused of fiddling while “people are dying.”

“Interesting she used the choice of words ‘fiddler’ because it was the fiddlers, the violin players, all the musicians at the Kennedy Center that got laid off right as the bill got signed,” said Scalise. 

According to The Hill, Trump indicated last week that he was a “fan” of supporting the Kennedy Center with a provision in the stimulus bailout, since the organization had to stop holding performances amidst the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I haven’t spent time there because I’m far too busy. I’d love to go there evenings, but I’m too busy doing things,” said Trump. “The Kennedy Center, they do a beautiful job, an incredible job.”

CNN reported that the stimulus provision never explicitly stated they Kennedy Center funding was exclusively designated for musicians, and that the text of the bill says part of the funding will go toward “deep cleaning, improving telework capabilities, and for maintenance.”

via The Daily Wire

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BLACKOUT: TV News Is Silent on New Biden Sex Abuse Allegations

It’s been nearly a week since a former Joe Biden staffer leveled disturbing accusations of sexual misconduct against the Democratic presidential frontrunner, and yet ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN haven’t said a single word about them. In that same time period, CNN, MSNBC and NBC have hosted Biden for a total of three interviews (including an hour-long town hall on CNN), and no host asked even a single question about these new charges.

via NewsBusters – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

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Chinese Biological Experiments To Infect Humans With Coronavirus Exposed In 2015 By Italian State Media

Chinese Biological Experiments To Infect Humans With Coronavirus Exposed In 2015 By Italian State Media

Authored by Guido Taietti via GreatGameIndia.com,

Five years ago, Italian state owned media Company, Rai – Radiotelevisione Italiana, exposed dark efforts by China on viruses. The video, which was broadcast in November, 2015, showed how Chinese scientists were doing biological experiments on a SARS connected virus believed to be Coronavirus, derived from bats and mice, asking whether it was worth the risk in order to be able to modify the virus for compatibility with human organisms.

Below is a transcription of the Italian broadcast translated in English…

Chinese Biological Experiments

Chinese scientists have created a pulmonary supervirus from bats and mice only for study reasons but there are many questionable aspects to this. Is it worth the risk? It’s an experiment, of course, but it is worrisome. It worries many scientists: It is a group of Chinese researchers attaching a protein taken from bats to the SARS virus, Acute Pneumonia, derived from mice. The output is a super coronavirus that could affect man. It remains closed in laboratories and it is only for study purposes, but is it worth the risk – creating such a great threat only for examination purposes?

The debate about the risks of research is as old as science itself. Like the myth of Icarus, who plunged from the Sky and perished in the sea, having gone too close to the Sun with the wings of wax designed by his father!

Chinese scientists experiment on SARS virus to infect humans. Rai – Radiotelevisione Italiana

Here is an experiment in China, in which a group of scientists has managed to develop a chimera – an organism modified by attaching the surface protein of a coronavirus found in bats of the common species called the Great Horseshoe Bat, to a virus that causes SARS in mice, although in a non-fatal form. It was suspected that the protein could make the chimeric hybrid organism suitable for affecting humans, and the experiment confirmed it.

It is precisely this molecule, called SHCO14, that allows the coronavirus to attach itself to our respiratory cells and to trigger the syndrome. According to researchers, the two organisms, the original and even more so the engineered one, can infect humans directly from bats, without going through an intermediate species like the mouse, and it is this eventuality that raises many controversies.

Just one year ago (this broadcast is of 2015), the U.S. government suspended research funding, which aimed to make viruses more contagious. The moratorium did not stop the work of the Chinese on SARS, which was already in advanced stages and looked relatively harmless.

According to a section of the scientific community, it is in fact not dangerous. The probability that the virus may pass to our species was insignificant compared to the benefits of the virus – an argument that many other experts rejected. First, because the relationship between risk and benefit is difficult to evaluate and second, because especially in these times, it is more prudent to not put into circulation an organism that can escape or be removed from the control of laboratories.

As soon that this broadcast went viral on the Italian social media, journalists and experts began explaining it away saying, that the virus in the video was not COVID-19. Even the British journal Nature, which wrote the very publication this Italian show was based on, clarified that the virus the broadcast talked about was not related to the “Natural” COVID-19.

However, that is beside the point. This is not to say that the viruses are literally the same. This is to say that the information presented in the video is consistent with the information that China is doing a lot of research on bioweapons, and that the impact of the virus in the broadcast has a lot in common with mainstream information about the symptoms of COVID-19.

The central monitor room at China’s National Bio-safety Laboratory. Nature

Moreover, Nature itself had done a piece in February, 2017, on the BSL-4 laboratory in Wuhan, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, raising valid concerns and theories, and wondering out loud whether experimentation with deadly viruses was a good idea.

“BSL-4 is the highest level of bio-containment: its criteria include filtering air and treating water and waste before they leave the laboratory, and stipulating that researchers change clothes and shower before and after using lab facilities. Such labs are often controversial….

Future plans include studying the pathogen that causes SARS, which also doesn’t require a BSL-4 lab, before moving on to Ebola and the West African Lassa virus, which do… Worries surround the Chinese lab… The SARS virus has escaped from high-level containment facilities in Beijing multiple times… The plan to expand into a network heightens such concerns. One BSL-4 lab in Harbin is already awaiting accreditation; the next two are expected to be in Beijing and Kunming.”

In January, 2020, Nature then sheepishly added an editor’s note to the top of the article, saying that there is in fact “no evidence” of this lab playing a role in the outbreak of coronavirus and that scientists believe that the source is likely “an animal market.”

Meanwhile, the Italian scientists at Milan University are investigating whether the coronavirus outbreak actually began in Italy in the last quarter of 2019. Milan and Lodi cities of Lombardy administrative region reported a “significant” increase in the number of people hospitalized for pneumonia and flu in October and December of 2019. Meanwhile, amidst worldwide criticism, a $20 trillion lawsuit has been filed against China for waging Biological war using Coronavirus.

Tyler Durden

Tue, 03/31/2020 – 06:10

via ZeroHedge News

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Woman Who Ate Fish Tank Cleaner, Blamed Trump, Donated Thousands To Democrat Causes

The Arizona woman who ingested fish tank cleaner along with her husband believing it would combat COVID-19, causing his death and her severe illness, then blamed President Trump, saying, “We saw Trump on TV—every channel—and all of his buddies and that this was safe.  Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure,” has donated thousands of dollars to Democratic groups and candidates over the last two years.

As The Washington Free Beacon, which deciphered the woman and her husband’s identities  through descriptions in local news reports as Wanda, 61, and Gary, 68, reported:

The woman’s most recent donations, in late February, were to a Democratic PAC, the 314 Action Fund, that bills itself as the “pro-science resistance” and has vocally criticized the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and held up her case to slam the White House … Federal Election Commission records show that Wanda has donated thousands of dollars to Democratic electoral groups and candidates over the past two years, including Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and EMILY’s List, a group that aims to elect pro-choice female candidates … Her contributions to Democrats rose sharply over the past few years. Her first recorded political donation was $150 to Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to FEC records. The next year she gave $550 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Since 2018, she has contributed approximately $6,000 to Democratic electoral groups.

The 314 Action Fund has written, “There are real consequences to the White House throwing its approval behind an experimental drug trial before it’s time.”

Wanda told the Free Beacon: “We weren’t big supporters of [Trump], but we did see that they were using it in China and stuff. And we just made a horrible, tragic mistake. It was stupid, and it was horrible, and we should have never done it. But it’s done and now I’ve lost my husband. And my whole life was my husband … We didn’t think it would kill us. We thought if anything it would help us ‘cuz that’s what we’ve been hearing on the news.”

When reporting on what happened to the couple, The New York Times linked the tragedy to President Trump, writing:

An Arizona man died and his wife was hospitalized after officials said they treated themselves on Sunday with a deadly home remedy for the new coronavirus — a popular fish tank additive that has the same active ingredient as an anti-malaria drug.  The drug, known as chloroquine phosphate or chloroquine, has been bandied about by President Trump during White House briefings on the coronavirus pandemic as a potential “game changer” in the treatment of Covid-19.

CNN reported:

NBC News spoke to the wife, who said they learned of chloroquine’s connection to coronavirus during a President Donald Trump news conference, which “was on a lot actually.” They took it because they “were afraid of getting sick,” she said. … Trump has touted chloroquine as a possible treatment for Covid-19. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, but the FDA has not approved it to treat the coronavirus.

via The Daily Wire

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NY Doctor David Price: Overwhelming Majority of People Catch Coronavirus by Touching Infected Person and Touching Your Face (VIDEO)

This seems like important information.

Jesse Watters featured Dr. David Price of Weill Cornell Medical Center on “Watters’ World” Saturday night. The New York City doctor gave advice on how people can prevent spreading the coronavirus — Don’t touch your face.

Dr. Price was excited to share this news.

Dr. David Price: “You may hear a little inflection in my voice like I’m emotional. It’s not because I’m scared. It’s actually the opposite. For the first time in a while, I’m actually not scared. I work at probably the premier hospital in New York City. Our hospital is almost exclusively a COVID-19 hospital, but we’re learning and we know a lot. And what I want you guys to know is that every single day we’re getting better, we know more. And I am confident that the stuff I can tell you today should make you guys feel like when this comes to your community that you don’t have to be scared and that you can protect your family. The ways that you get this is the transmission of the virus almost exclusively from your hands to your face, from your hands to your face and inside your eyes, into your nose or into your mouth. So there’s a lot of talk about contact or getting it through contacts, hands to face… The overwhelming majority of people are getting this by physically touching someone who has this disease or will develop it in the next one to two days and then touching their face.”

Via Watters World on FOX News:

The post NY Doctor David Price: Overwhelming Majority of People Catch Coronavirus by Touching Infected Person and Touching Your Face (VIDEO) appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

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Trump Defends 2nd Amendment During COVID, Declares Gun Sellers ‘Critical Infrastructure’

In order to try to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus, many states and localities have imposed strict measures that include the mandatory closure of businesses that aren’t deemed “essential” to the continuation of a functioning society.

In some Democrat-run jurisdictions around the country, the “nonessential” label was applied to retail stores that sold firearms and ammunition, as well as manufacturing facilities that produce guns and ammo.

The effort to force the closure of gun stores in certain locations was widely viewed as a sort of gun-control end-run around the Second Amendment and a partisan attempt to restrict the citizenry’s access to firearms and ammunition.

In response to those subversive efforts to undermine the Constitution and deny Americans access to a fundamental right, President Donald Trump’s administration stepped in and updated federal guidelines that are heavily relied upon by state and local governments in a time of crisis to protect gun stores and manufacturers.

On Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency published a memorandum with an updated list of businesses and workers who should be deemed “essential” to maintaining “critical infrastructure” across the nation.

TRENDING: Sex Assault Scandal Leaves Dems Turning on Biden En Masse: Here Are Some of the Most Brutal Comments

“This list is intended to help State, local, tribal and territorial officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security,” CISA Director Christopher Krebs wrote in the memo.

A section of the memo labeled “Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and Other First Responders” includes “workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges.”

In other words, at least in the view of DHS and the Trump administration, gun and ammunition producers and retailers are considered essential to maintaining a functioning society and should therefore be allowed to remain open during a national emergency like the current public health crisis.

This is great news and simply underscores the fact that Trump and his administration have taken seriously the need to protect the Second Amendment from those who would seek to sidestep or deliberately undermine it.

Do you think gun retailers should be categorized as “essential” businesses?

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It isn’t difficult to imagine that, had this same coronavirus crisis occurred under the administrations of former President Barack Obama, a hypothetical “President” Hillary Clinton, or even potential future President Joe Biden, gun manufacturers and retailers would almost certainly have not been deemed essential and those administrations would not have addressed state and local efforts to shut down gun stores and the firearms industry more broadly.

Of course, as great as this news may be, it isn’t a panacea to protect against the incessant anti-gun efforts of the left, and some states and localities may indeed press forward with attempts to shut down the firearms industry.

The memo noted in boldface that “This list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered, a federal directive or standard.

Individual jurisdictions should add or subtract essential workforce categories based on their own requirements and discretion.

While some jurisdictions may choose to ignore the inclusion of gun stores and producers in the “essential” category, the vast majority will likely do as is typically done and follow along with federal guidelines in a time of crisis.

RELATED: 2A Advocates Notch Major Victory as Dem Gov Backs Off Shutting Down Gun Stores

Furthermore, the inevitable lawsuits that will arise against jurisdictions that close down gun shops will have a strong case to make by citing this federal memo in addition to making constitutional arguments.

Hopefully, those lawsuits will prove unnecessary and Democrat-run jurisdictions will back away from their intended infringements of the Second Amendment.

America currently has a president who respects that right to keep and bear arms — which includes the right of access to arms and ammunition — and, ideally, the nation will vote in November to keep the Second Amendment protected for another four years.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

via The Western Journal

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LEAKED AUDIO: Kennedy Center President Deployed Lobbyist to Secure $25 Million in Coronavirus Stimulus, But Not a Cent for Workers

The Gateway Pundit has received audio of a video conference call between Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter, members of their human resources department, and 200 of their employees.

The audio was first obtained by Jack Posobiec of One America News.

As the Gateway Pundit previously reported, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts infamously received a controversial $25 million from Democrats in the coronavirus relief package — and just hours later they told their performers and employees that they will not be getting paychecks.

During the leaked conference call, which took place on March 26, Rutter repeatedly makes excuses for why they are laying off their employees despite knowing that they will be receiving $25 million in the stimulus package. She says that the Kennedy Center has been barely keeping their heads afloat for years and that being closed, without the money from the government, would have meant they would run out of cash on May 15.

Rutter also discussed how they deployed a lobbyist to get them the money from the stimulus package, seemingly with no intention of using it to protect the jobs of their staff.

“We are really grateful for this $25 million, but I will tell you that it does not keep us whole,” Rutter says in the beginning of the call. “In fact, the language that Tracy [Henke] worked so closely with all the appropriators on was clear that we needed this just to be able to reopen.”

She continued on to say that “this does not keep us whole along the way. Fortunately, Tracy has really great relationships on the Hill. We have fantastic support from board leadership and all of those relationships and savvy, I will say, is what brought us that $25 million.”

Henke is the center’s Vice President of Government Relations, as of November 2019. She has previously worked in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, and the private sector.

Rutter went on to address the fact that there are many people who are very unhappy about the amount of money going to the center, when it should be going to places like hospitals.

“Some of you are probably aware of the fact that we are now, uh, the target for a lot of unhappy people who believe that we are taking the money away from sick people. In the case of a stimulus bill, it is to try to continue to do business, and to stimulate the economy in the future,” Rutter said. “In this case, this funding is pretty prescriptive in that it says ‘you need to do this for operational expenses so that you can open up again after this, uh, uh, closure —  this period of time, this closure.’”

“What’s different from previous funding from the federal government is that it will allow us to pay for things that the federal appropriation generally doesn’t — so in this case it will be able to be used for operational expenses, like what it takes for us as a uh, a staff, to be able to uh, uh, make sure that the building is open and ready for programming and activity, after, when we can reopen,” Rutter continued.

Rutter did not specify what they are normally not allowed to use federal funds for, but will be able to use it for this time around.

Our source said that the stimulus is going to the nonprofit portion of the center, and that they already receive federal government appropriations for the building and its maintenance — including the staff that maintains it.  

During the call, Rutter repeatedly apologizes for seeming inarticulate as she clearly attempts to carefully craft what she is saying and the words she chooses.

“I’m sorry that I seem very stumbly and less articulate today, but this is a really really challenging time. I know it’s hard for you, I pray that you all are healthy and safe and I’m grateful for your commitment and I’m grateful for the work that you are doing from home,” she said.

Rutter repeatedly says that the “$25 million does not allow us to maintain our current structure.” Their current payroll, she explains, is approximately $5 million per month, including taxes.

“The baseline cash flow says that if we had not received any cash, and everything stayed exactly as it is today, no changes, we would draw fully on the line of credit, we would be out of cash, on May 15. Couldn’t do anything further. So, with no changes, assuming we could even open on May 15, we would have no cash to do the work moving forward,” she said. “We extended that cash flow all the way through September 30, and um, we would be in arrears to the tune of $32 million. So, again, with the $25 million, and doing nothing, we still would be out $32 million. That’s actually sort of why we were asking, initially, for $35 million from the federal government.”

Rutter said that the center is “right in the vortex of, uh, um, uh, the negative cash flow situation,” but that they have received a spike in transactions, including ticket sales, donations and gift certificate purchases, that come out to around $2.5 million. However, this is still not enough money to continue to pay their employees. She said some of this is money that “is for our programming and some of that is for rental programming where we have been accepting the cash and doing the transactions for those ticket sales,” so they will not actually get to keep that portion of it.

Approximately 17 minutes into the call, Rutter is asked by an employee what the stimulus covers and what it does not. She says there’s very specific language written into the bill.

“It is relatively broad, but as we were working with the appropriations staff, and the senators, and congressional leadership — this was all about being able to reopen. So, we have to be able to have the capacity to open and stay open. It’s not like we can spend the money right now to keep everybody whole and then find ourselves without cash.”

“If we are able to reopen on May 11, we believe our losses, on that kind of income statement, are already 21 million. If we have to stay closed until the end of June that pops up to 30, and if we have to stay closed all the way until September, it’s around a $55 million loss to our institution. So, it’s not just cash that we’re having to address, it’s how we do our business moving forward. So, the stimulus is cash that will help us along the way.”

Multiple employees also asked how they should respond to questions and negative comments on social media. She referred them to the website to find the language that they used.

When asked if employees could donate a portion of their paychecks back to the center to prevent layoffs and furloughs, Rutter said she considered this, but that she couldn’t get to the number they needed. She said that people will take home more money by taking advantage of the unemployment benefits in the stimulus package.

“The more we are learning about the unemployment benefits, it is clear that in some cases it is really going to be more valuable for individuals to be furloughed so that they can collect unemployment instead of contributing back,” Rutter said.

Another employee asked, “so do I understand this correctly, the Kennedy Center got money from the stimulus bill, but it’s not enough to prevent us from having to do furloughs and layoffs?”

Rutter replied, “yes, that is correct. That is why I wanted to start with the cash flow that said, absent that money, coming in we would be out of cash and unable to move forward as of mid-May. That’s why I laid out the specifics of what it is we spend our money on, if we paid nothing else, during that period of time. So, the $25 million will be used to ensure that we can get through this period and open up, and then stay open, and we will have to make some decisions along the way, certainly.”

When asked about the organization’s endowment, Rutter said that they only had less than $100 million, but should have $400 million. “if we did, we would be in a much better place,” she said. “If we had a larger endowment, we could be doing more with those funds today.”

She said that even a big donor couldn’t necessarily save them, because it is an ongoing issue with their budgeting. They recently completed a $250 million renovation and received $41 million from taxpayers in 2019 alone.

The source who leaked the audio said that they are not a disgruntled employee who is doing this to retaliate for a potential layoff or furlough. 

“I am not a disgruntled employee who is upset about layoffs/furloughs,” the source said. “American business and nonprofits are facing tough and uncertain times. I recognize that this is pork. Congress passed an amazing package to assist Americans out of work, and we all need to work to have our own reserves, just like business and non-profits. I am an American who believes that nonprofits need to be sustaining, an American who finds it unconscionable that a nonprofit would state that they need the money for their 6 million/mo operations — which is largely staff — to Congress, the press, and others, and then turn around and start to layoff and furlough all non-essential employees.”

The day after this phone call, President Trump signed the $2 trillion CARES Act, which was meant to support businesses continuing to pay their employees. The bill specifically says the money was meant to “cover operating expenses required to ensure the continuity of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and its affiliates, including for employee compensation and benefits, grants, contracts, payments for rent or utilities, fees for artists or performers.”

In an email to employees that evening, the Kennedy Center told them to assume their last paycheck will be April 3.

“Everyone should proceed as if their last paycheck will be April 3,” an email to employees after the bill passed read. “We understand this will come [as a] shock to all of you, as it did to us.”

One America News will have a segment breaking down the phone call even further airing on Tuesday. We will add a clip of their report to this article when it is available online.

The post LEAKED AUDIO: Kennedy Center President Deployed Lobbyist to Secure $25 Million in Coronavirus Stimulus, But Not a Cent for Workers appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

via The Gateway Pundit

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Retailers Prepare For Civil Unrest; Boarded-Up Stores Seen From SoHo To Beverly Hills

Retailers Prepare For Civil Unrest; Boarded-Up Stores Seen From SoHo To Beverly Hills

High-end stores across the country have been boarding up their stores in anticipation of civil unrest due to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

In Beverly Hills, the Pottery Barn and West Elm stores near Rodeo Drive were spotted with boards across the windows according to TMZ.

Meanwhile, stores in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Paris, Vancouver and elsewhere were similarly boarded up.

Thanks, China. 

Tyler Durden

Mon, 03/30/2020 – 18:25

via ZeroHedge News

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