Statement on Raimondo’s Cabinet Nomination

A Downgrade for America is an Upgrade for R.I.

Gina Raimondo’s Nomination for US Commerce Secretary Could Lead to Major Economic Consequences

Providence, RI – The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity today issued a statement regarding the nomination of Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo to serve as Commerce Secretary for the pending Biden administration: “What will be a downgrade for the United States economy, should be an upgrade for our Ocean State economy.” 

The Center first broke the story of Raimondo’s nomination, based on its DC sources, way back on November 17 on its popular In The Dugout video blog show (25:15 mark), hosted by CEO, Mike Stenhouse. During the show, Stenhouse described the stark downgrade a Secretary Gina Raimondo would be for America, when compared to current Cabinet Secretary, Wilbur Ross, who from 2017-2020 led America to the greatest economic performance of any country in the history of the world. 

With limited experience in the private sector as a venture capitalist, Gina Raimondo has virtually no “hands on” experience in running a market-based business, as most of her career has been in government and politics, where she has become known as a Democrat hyper-partisan.

Conversely, the nonpartisan current Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross earned the reputation as a Wall Street icon. Ross is the former Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of WL Ross & Co. LLC and has over 55 years of investment banking and private equity experience. He has restructured over $400 billion of assets in the airline, apparel, auto parts, banking, beverage, chemical, credit card, electric utility, food service, furniture, gypsum, homebuilding, insurance, marine transport, mortgage origination and servicing, oil and gas, railcar manufacturing and leasing, real estate, restaurant, shipyard, steel, textile and trucking industries.  Secretary Ross has been chairman or lead director of more than 100 companies operating in more than 20 different countries. Named by Bloomberg Markets as one of the 50 most influential people in global finance, Ross was previously an adviser to New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani on privatization, and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the board of The U.S. Russia Investment Fund. 

As Rhode Island suffers from some of the most severe economic consequences and lack of population growth among all states in the nation, Raimondo’s economic and management track record over the past six years has led to a long-trail of wreckage in the Ocean State:

  • Under Raimondo, Rhode Island has regularly been ranked as having the “worst business climate” in America
  • Raimondo unilaterally destroyed tens of thousands of Rhode Island jobs and thousands of businesses via long-standing, unjustified, and ineffective “shut-down” mandates during the pandemic
  • Raimondo failed to adequately distribute federal CARES Act Covid-19 relief funds intended for the struggling small businesses community, instead, choosing to appropriate much of the funding to plug massive state budget gaps, a persistent problem during her tenure
  • Raimondo failed to reform the Providence public school system, which, during her tenure as Governor was called an “education horror show” by the Wall Street Journal, in the aftermath of a devastating report by the prestigious Johns Hopkins Institute
  • Raimondo has overtly supported multiple anti-jobs climate change initiatives, most recently including being one of only three states to sign-on to the radical Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) that seeks to punish businesses and families for driving their vehicles for work or pleasure
  • Raimondo’s catastrophic and failed rollout of Rhode Island’s public services database, UHIP (Unified Health Infrastructure Project), against the recommendation of the federal government, led to innumerable Ocean Stater not receiving their benefits 
  • Raimondo successfully led efforts to impose oppressive minimum wage mandates, unfair trucker-tolls that violate America’s sacred Dormant Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, 
  • Raimondo handed-out countless taxpayer-funded subsidies to insider corporate cronies, at the expense of small businesses
  • Raimondo partnered with SEIU in a scheme to destroy the private home care industry
  • Raimondo failed to reform the Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF), resulting in the death of many children under state-care

“With Rhode Island expected to lose one of its two prized US House Congressional seats when the results of the 2020 US Census are released, under Governor Gina Raimondo, our state has clearly become a less desirable place to raise a family, receive an education, and build a career,” commented Stenhouse. “If and when current Lieutenant Governor Daniel McKee becomes Governor, at least Rhode Island will have a chief executive who has made attempts to regularly engage the small business community and hear-out their concerns.”

Dr. Bostom Blasts Raimondo’s Call for Mass Testing

Call for Mass Asymptomatic Testing Not Evidence-Based

Dr. Andrew Bostom Appointed to Center’s Board of Adjunct Scholars

Providence, RI – The dubious public call by Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo, for asymptomatic state residents to be tested twice before the end of the year is not evidence-based and is rendered even more questionable if vitally important “cycle threshold” data is not included in reporting PCR test results. This according to a Dr. Andrew Bostom, who today was appointed as an adjunct scholar to the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity.

In his most recent column, Rhode Island Crosses the Threshold of Covid-19 Testing Transparency, Dr. Bostom – an academic internist, clinical trialist, and Brown University degreed epidemiologist – cites a history of the long-held medical consensus that “asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks.”

Earlier this year, as explained on the Center’s popular In The Dugout show, Dr. Bostom was the first medical expert in Rhode Island, and among the first in the country, to raise awareness about the need for cycle-threshold (Ct) values to be reported publicly en masse as well as privately to patients. 

Dr. Bostom called it “misguided” and “hysteria”, in referring to the Governor’s policy of mass screening of RI residents who have no symptoms, especially without accompanying Ct data, which measures the viral load in individual testing samples. 

NOT ALL POSITIVE TESTS ARE THE SAME: The New York Times and Dr. Anthony Fauci have determined that many who test positive for the coronavirus have such miniscule levels of the virus that they pose no community or individual risk.

In recent weeks, both the WHO (World Health Organization) and the state of Floridarecognized the importance of Ct values, as most “positive” test results with high Ct values are essentially “false positives” … vitally important information when it comes to crafting public policy and treatment and quarantine regimens for individual patients. Yet Rhode Island and other states routinely keep this data hidden from the pubic.

Led by Dr. Bostom earlier this month, the Center’s analysis of a sample of about 5000 tests with Ct values confirmed that over one-half of all positive tests in the state may be harmless, in that those patients may not have been infectious or contagious.

Also this month, the Center launched a statewide petition campaign to demand Covid data transparency from the RI Department of Health (DOH); to collect and report critical Ct testing data. Upon signing the digital petition at RIfreedom.org/covid-transparency, an email will be automatically generated and sent to multiple members of the DOH and the Governor’s office. 

Dr. Bostom will be the hour-long guest today on In The Dugout at a special pre-Christmas time of 3:00 PM EST at www.RIFreedom.org/Live , to discuss his column, and to answer questions from viewers and listeners about any pandemic related medical questions, including his views on vaccines and therapy options.

To learn more about Dr. Bostom, and all of the Center’s adjunct scholars, scroll down the Center’s “About Us” web-page, here: https://rifreedom.org/about-us/

Much more covid-19 testing cycle threshold (Ct) transparency is required in Rhode Island, and across the United States to better control the virus.

Rhode Island Crosses the Threshold of Covid-19 Testing Transparency

By Dr. Andrew Bostom

Still, much more covid-19 testing cycle threshold (Ct) transparency is required in Rhode Island, and across the United States.

For weeks, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has urged mass asymptomatic covid-19 testing claiming,

“We know that a strategic asymptomatic testing plan is one of our strongest lines of defense against the spread of COVID-19.”

Is this indeed a tenable, evidence-based strategy to “limit” covid-19 spread? Simply put, no.

During a January 28, 2020 Health and Human Services presser, Dr. Anthony Fauci emphasized“in all the history of respiratory-borne viruses of any type, asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks.” Here are his remarks in full:

“Historically people need to realize that even if there is some asymptomatic transmission [of covid-19], in all the history of respiratory-borne viruses of any type, asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks. The driver of outbreaks is always a symptomatic person. Even if there’s a rare asymptomatic person that might transmit, an epidemic is not driven by asymptomatic carriers”

Click here to read more.

Union transparency

Center submits federal “official comment” in support of union transparency rule

Official Comment on Federally Proposed Union Reporting Rule

Union members and the public have right to increased transparency

Providence, RI – The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity today submitted an official comment to the US Department of Labor (DOL) in support of its proposed rule, “Labor Organization Annual Financial reports; LM Form Revisions.” 

The Center believes the proposed DOL changes are important updates to union reporting and will, as a result, provide union members with the information they need to hold their unions to account and ensure their dues are spent as they intend.

According to the Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse, “The rule promotes increased transparency and benefits American workers.” Informing public employees of their legal rights and of the activities of their unions is an important component of the Center’s ongoing MyPayMySayRI.com initiative. 

The Center argues that these rule changes are urgently needed so that union members have a better ability to see and understand how their dues are being spent. Increased transparency would help the DOL and local officials to root out corruption. Importantly, it also would empower union workers to make more informed decisions relating to their participation in unions and to monitor union activities so that they can better-protect their hard-earned dollars.

Also, because detailed public reporting of union spending is not always required, bad actors sometime see a loophole to try to game the system to their personal advantage. The Center’s official comment cites three examples of recent union corruption in Rhode Island that have led to criminal convictions involving wire-fraud and embezzlement. Also, in its comment, the Center suggested modifications to the proposed rule. 

The official comment period closes at midnight tonight. Federal action to enact, or not, the proposed rule could occur in 2021.

Reporting of COVID-19 Ct Values Can Better Shape Public Policy

Not All Positive Tests Are the Same

Despite months of stonewalling of prior APRA requests … and just one day after a petition campaign by the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity sent over 1,000 emails to various state-government officials, including the DOH and the governor … the Center has obtained information released to a persistent citizen by the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services; partial data covering a limited number of positive Covid-19 tests performed before July 2020.

According to Dr. Andrew Bostom, Covid-19 advisor to the Center and Rhode Island resident, a Brown University degreed epidemiologist, academic internist, and clinical trialist:

This first public revelation of cycle threshold (Ct) data, from over 5,000 RIDOH covid-19 rtPCR positive tests from late February through the end of June, reveals that a considerable number (36.2%) of these positive tests occurred at a Ct > 33, a level generally considered by the medical community to be associated with extremely low Covid-19 infectiousness

Initial analysis of this data also confirms the need for all future RIDOH reports of daily positive test results to include breakdowns of the Ct data

Deeper analysis of even more data can be immensely important in determining more data-driven, targeted, and effective public policies. I join with the Center in petitioning the state of Rhode Island to follow Florida’s lead and to immediately begin collecting and reporting Ct data for all Covid-19 PCR tests.”

The data includes 9,878 COVID-19 tests divided into two “N” groups corresponding to each other by day from February 29, 2020, through June 30, 2020.

The cycle threshold (Ct) value is the number of cycles needed for the virus to be detected from the person’s sample. The higher the Ct value the smaller the amount of virus present in the sample. Most medical experts agree that Ct values over 33 likely indicate non-infectious, non-contagious levels of the virus. In practice, for example, the country of India only triages (treats or closely monitors) cases where the Ct values are less than 25.

Routine government collection and detailed reporting of this data can be enormously helpful in determining public policy, and in informing patients and their doctors when it comes to determining more appropriate individual quarantine and medical treatment regimens.

Of the total tests reported in Rhode Island, 51% had Ct values of 30 or higher, while 66% had values of 25 or higher.

Considered over the span of the report, Ct values gradually rose through May, after which they dropped along with the number of tests being conducted per day.

Cycle Threshold

In The Dugout: Online Forum on Cycle Threshold Data & Petition for Covid Data Transparency

On this special-edition of our popular “In The Dugout” online video-talk show, we feature a public forum to discuss the importance of “cycle threshold” testing data and the State of Rhode Island’s efforts to block repeated requests for access to this information.

The forum features:

  • Announcement of a statewide petition campaign demanding collection and release of this Ct data
  • Dr. Andrew Bostom, Rhode Islander, academic internist, clinical trialist, and Brown University degreed epidemiologist expert on cycle threshold data
  • State Representative Patricia Morgan, whose related APRA requests are being stonewalled
  • State worker, Jay, who has had both success and failure in obtaining his personal Ct medical information
  • A Judicial Watch statement on their APRA efforts to obtain related information
  • Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center and host of the forum

Media Release: Center to Host Online Forum, A Petition for Covid Data Transparency

Public Forum on Covid-19 Cycle-Threshold Data

Public and Press Invited to Pose Questions

Providence, RI – Even though some local media are reporting that Rhode Island has recently become one of the world’s most extreme hot-spots when it comes to spread of the Covid-19 virus, the release and analysis of detailed testing data, currently being withheld from the public, could be vital in shaping more focused and less intrusive public policy as well as in determining individual quarantine and medical treatment regimens.

Today at 4:00 PM EST, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity will host a special-edition of its popular In The Dugout online video-talk show, a public forum to discuss the importance of “cycle threshold” (Ct) testing data and the State of Rhode Island’s efforts to block repeated requests for access to this information. 

NOT ALL POSITIVE TESTS ARE THE SAME: The New York Times and Dr. Anthony Fauci have previously determined that many who test positive for the coronavirus have such miniscule levels of the virus that they pose no community or individual risk. Within the past week, Florida became the first state to mandate collection of Ct data, the basis for which more effective data-driven public policy can be formulated. 

The forum, entitled A Petition for Covid Transparency, will include an epidemiologist and clinician, a RI State Representative, and a state worker who will discuss his persistent efforts to obtain his own personal medical data. 

The public is invited to watch the 4pm live broadcast at www.RIFreedom.org/Live or on the Center’s YouTube channel, where comments and questions can be posted for discussion in the second half of the forum.

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: The media is invited to request special access to make inquiries of the panelists and to receive a digital press-kit (details forthcoming in a separate media advisory)

The forum will feature: 

  • Announcement of a statewide petition campaign demanding collection and release of this Ct data
  • Dr. Andrew Bostom, Rhode Islander, academic internist, clinical trialist, and Brown University degreed epidemiologist
  • State Representative Patricia Morgan, whose related APRA requests are being stonewalled
  • State worker, Jay, who has had both success and failure in obtaining his personal Ct medical information
  • Judicial Watch statement on their APRA efforts to obtain related information
  • Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center and host of the forum
Outspoken former Board of Elections member, Steve Erickson discusses the RI mail ballot process and former Mayor Joe Paolino on his prescriptions for RI.

In The Dugout: Steve Erickson & Mayor Joe Paolino

On this episode of In The Dugout with Mike Stenhouse, outspoken former Board of Elections member, Steve Erickson discusses the RI mail ballot process and then former Mayor Joe Paolino (& future gubernatorial candidate?) on his prescriptions for the Ocean State.

PA Lawmaker

In The Dugout: Will Pennsylvania Flip Its Electoral Votes To Trump Or Keep With Biden?

What Our Local Media Won’t Discuss: Will Pennsylvania flip its electoral votes to Trump or keep with Biden?  Find out from a PA state lawmaker Rep. Frank Ryan, who is fighting for election integrity. 

Elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2016, Frank Ryan is a certified public accountant (CPA) and a graduate of Mt. St. Mary’s College in nearby Emmittsburg, MD. Frank graduated summa cum laude in 1973, and received his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Maryland in 1977. He is a retired Marine Reserve colonel, and served active duty with the Multi-National Force in Iraq.