Whither freedom?

Going, going, gone.

Here’s a sensible question. If the mayor of the most notable metropolis in the country can openly suggest that the government has the right to permanently shutter the doors of a church if it refuses to comply with “social distancing” guidelines, or any other edict the government finds necessary in a given moment, then what can’t the government do?

If ever there was a question better left unasked…

Just a few weeks ago, the threat of COVID-19 was considered by nearly everyone to be potentially far deadlier than it has yet proven to be. The fatality rates, hospitalization rates, and the predictions of American death tolls (once routinely touted as “over 2 million”) associated with infection were all much higher three weeks ago than they are today. And yet, as the dire projections about the impact of infection has become considerably smaller with new data and improved medical readiness, the social restrictions placed upon the populace have become progressively more obstructive and draconian.

Got that? The better the health outlook has become, the harsher the government’s restrictions on you have also become.

Coincidence, I’m sure.

If that isn’t bothersome to you, maybe you should think about the fact that these social restrictions seem to have only become harsher on you. Some Americans are enduring no government obstruction in their lives, and others still are actually enjoying more freedom than they would have before these social obstructions in your lives were introduced.

Consider this. A junkie can wake up on a brisk morning in the streets of San Francisco, defecate on the sidewalk in plain view of onlookers, and insert a used needle into his arm to inject illegal narcotics into his veins. The cops will make no effort to stop him, for, you see, that might be a violation of his supposed “rights.” That’s much the same as it was before the coronavirus pandemic, so I should probably add that this junkie’s sleeping and social arrangements may very well be in violation of “social distancing” guidelines, also.

Now, consider that he is far less likely to incur the attention of law enforcement, or even the news media, than you might incur for the crime of choosing to attend your local church, should it have the audacity to be open. It is you, don’t you understand, who is the public health menace. 

To put it mildly, the social fabric is being torn apart. And for what?

It’s healthy for Americans to maintain skepticism about the motives and effectiveness of our government. Right now, there is a lot which calls the government’s motives and effectiveness into question. Like what I suspect is a growing number of Americans, I am completely unconvinced that the harsh measures being foisted upon the American people, as collective units amongst the states, are entirely necessary, and even more unconvinced that a similar outcome could not have been achieved with fewer rigid restrictions upon healthy and less at-risk individuals and American life, in general. And as days pass, I’m ever more convinced that the utter annihilation of the economy that we’ve seen, and the trillions in spending of taxpayer money that we absolutely, positively do not have, could have been significantly less damaging if we had demanded fewer government restrictions throughout this crisis, rather than more.

Sure, but how was THAT supposed to provide our masters with any kind of trial run for making certain America had accepted the bit fully?

If you think it’s bad now, though, just wait till the next time they decide to put the boot on American necks and press down. And if you think there isn’t going to BE a next time, you’re a damned fool.

The eternal choice

A primer on Progressivism versus Americanism.

This is the choice before us. Are we to be ruled by experts as if they are our guardians simply because they might be smarter than us in specific fields, or are we to rule ourselves?

The supposed legitimacy of the former approach comes from fear. We are told the world is too complex. We need the experts to guide us, protect us, and save us. We need an elite guardian class to rule over us because we cannot make it on our own. But this cowardice makes us nothing more than slaves, not citizens.

The legitimacy of self-rule springs from our love of justice and our virtue. In our republican system, it requires a commitment to the truth that all men are created equal, and to the proposition that the just powers of government are derived by consent. It requires courage, moderation, friendship, and grace. It is these virtues that allow us to live free, apart from the “chains of despotism” as Madison says in Federalist 55.

The rule of expertise is not politics rightly understood; it is management. There is no deliberation involved. Instead, there is only bureaucracy, administration, and a religious—actually, cultish—devotion to what we now call science.

The rule of the people allows for statesmanship and liberty. Though statesmen might not always be “at the helm,” we the people, as the safeguard of our own liberty, can elect representatives with wisdom and prudence or pay the price when we don’t. We evaluate how well they do, discuss, debate, and then decide who should govern through elections.

Okay, good enough to this point, and right as rain so far. But then he begins to miss the mark just a little bit.

The rule of expertise, while on the surface promising intelligent leadership, is incapable of prudent government. The rule of expertise leads to incompetence, strife, and corruption instead of scientific precision and impartiality.

This is because the rule of expertise is built on a weak foundation. People’s faith in “science” is often misplaced. Most of what we call science is really just scientism—the foolish belief that men cease to be men when they put on white lab coats and begin charting numbers and lines. Scientism overstates what men can actually know. Moreover, the rule of expertise stands or falls on the belief that men are basically good and scientists are immune to the unjust desire to rule for their own benefit.

Regardless, the vast majority of “experts” are useless academics and professional bureaucrats. Their fields of study are full of jargon and credentials that lead to conformity and groupthink. Experts learn early that challenging the authorities in one’s field is risky for one’s career. Whatever thinking is involved quickly devolves into vague, abstract theorizing about ideas that are unable to be proven or disproven and thus do not threaten the ideas of one’s peers or superiors.

Often, what is supposed to be science ends up being just another form of cronyism, and what we call “expertise” ends up being knowledge of otherwise useless jargon and how to navigate a career field. The government bureaucracy that results is incompetent, often harmful, and tyrannical.

This is not to say there are not very smart men whom we can legitimately call experts—men like Dr. Fauci. But even at their best, these experts are incapable of prudence. Their knowledge is specific and precise, limiting their ability to consider circumstances broadly. Their skillset is often highly technical, built on years of experience and careful adherence to established protocols, limiting their ability to consider new solutions. And, besides, they typically confront only one problem a nation faces, not the full spectrum of the problems we must face.

In short, science and expertise can be wonderful things that help us to know what is, but they cannot answer the question of what we ought to do. This is the difference between science and politics. One is about knowing; the other is about acting. Expertise and science are subordinate to the art of politics. Experts make terrible rulers.

And here is where he begins to lose me. Mind you, I don’t disagree with any of the above, either; he’s not wrong, not at all. But the real point of this whole discussion isn’t whether the self-anointed “experts” are more knowledgeable, or more qualified to rule, or even more competent rulers.

None of that matters—NONE of it. The only thing that does—which happens to be the premise central to every word uttered or written down by the Founders—is whether or not one believes in the people’s right to the ultimate say in who will govern them, and in how they will be governed. THAT is the question that truly matters. All else, including the above analysis of “experts” and “science” and skillsets, is just so much idle jaw-jaw compared to that one.

And that right there is where Progressivism “faw down an’ go boom.” THEIR central premise, the idea from which the whole toxic ideology grows like an ugly, noxious, strangulating weed, is that the people should NOT have a say in their own governance. After all, the unwashed masses are not intelligent, not altruistic, not “evolved” enough to be trusted to make proper decisions about such weighty concerns.

No, for their own good they must under the direction and control of superior beings with the vision and moral purity to help them, to protect and provide for them, and to nudge them ever forward along the path to true “enlightenment.” Their base urges must be reined in, all rowdy individualism brought sharply to heel; the moronic superstition that insists on the existence of some mythical “God” educated out of them; their primitive reverence for the old traditions and long-established ways of doing things transformed into the Progressivist’s reflexive acceptance that change—any change, all change—represents real “progress” and can never be anything other than good and desirable.

Only then can the Progressivist dream of shaping and molding the primordial clay into New Progressive Man be achieved. Only through this inspiring metamorphosis from savage to civilized—under the sting of the lash, if need be—can the perfection of man be realized. Only through the Progressivist program can the cave-dwelling, revanchist knuckledragger finally rise to walk erect, then take his place with his fellows to make his due and proper contribution in service to the glorious State.

Of course, there will always be some number of dim, backwards apes who, whether out of stubborness or stupidity, either refuse to be or actually cannot be reformed. No need for our betters to waste a lot of time on determining how to deal with them. There are a variety of options for dispensing with them, from slave-labor camps to gulags to forced starvation to mass graves. Such ignominy is no more than such creatures deserve; they cannot, MUST not, be allowed to hinder Progress.

Nor can the knuckledraggers be permitted to freely express any irrational dissent from Progressivist dogma. The risk of infecting other minds and perverting whole sectors of society by exposure to such blasphemy cannot be tolerated; its potential influence on society is far too insidious to be overlooked. No extremity of oppression could be too harsh in safeguarding the State and The People from such wanton, destructive criminality.

Well, Real Americans say nuts to all that happy horseshit, and to hell with them what’s pushing it. The Progressivists positively HATE us for this defiance, a mad hate that burns so fiercely inside them it blackens the very soul whose existence they deny. Nonetheless, Real Americans would rather not bother ourselves about them at all; we’d be content to just leave them alone, to let them all toddle off somewhere and cherish their doot-brained fantasies to their shriveled hearts’ content.

Trouble is, though, that they will NEVER grant us the same courtesy. Actually, they can’t; Progressivist cant itself commands that they interfere with and harrass us to whatever degree they can manage, until the job of either converting us, subjugating us, or snuffing us out is done.

Since they’re lazy and childish, they’d dearly love to short-cut the whole frustrating process by just crushing us utterly, wiping us right out of earthly existence so’s they can just get on with things. Tragically for them, the puling, mewling pussies lack the stones to actually jump the fuck up. The vegan diets, scrotum-torquing skinny jeans, and general feminization have left them so sickly and weak that they couldn’t physically do it anyway.

All of which means that, much as we’d prefer not to have to waste perfectly good ammunition and put unnecessary wear on our barrel rifling, it looks like sooner or later we’re just gonna have to buckle down and shoot them all in their fucking empty heads. I’ve tried and I’ve tried, really I have, but I just haven’t been able to come up with any other way out of this. They created the problem; they’re responsible for bringing it to our very doorstep and waving it around obscenely at us. And it ought to be abundantly clear to even the meanest intelligence that they will never, ever back off a single inch, damn their eyes. So we’re gonna have to be the ones who solve it, if it’s ever to be solved at all.

The spy in your pocket

Our modern technological conveniences come at a price. And it ain’t calculated in dollars alone, either.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and Dr. Lee Norman, the head of the KDHE, addressed several issues Wednesday afternoon.

The KDHE is using a GPS program that tracks people’s locations through their cell phones. From the data, the state can tell that a lot of Kansans are not following social-distancing guidelines.

The program the state is using gave Kansas a grade of B Monday but has now downgraded the state to a C. Dr. Norman said some Kansas counties are getting an F grade because of how many people are not observing the stay-at-home order.

Well for God’s sake, man, with a scarifying tally to date of 482 cases and ten deaths as this doomsday pandemic ravages the state, how could anybody blame ’em for keeping a close eye on the witless knaves? Sundance cautions:

Comrades, again we note – our voluntary transponder devices (cell phone, FitBit etc) are being used by government officials to monitor our ‘stay-at-home’ coronavirus compliance. It only takes one slight flip of the government switch, or a carefully worded executive order, to turn that innocuous data into a personal penalty (civil fine).

If you choose to roam, ditch your phone…

All well and good, I guess. But what does that do about the countless surveillance cameras, drones, and satellites still monitoring our every move?

Live and (not) learn

Even when people are chanting the old “everything has changed” mantra, some things never really do.

Beyond China, the issue is preparedness. Actually, for almost twenty years, the issue has been preparedness. Since 9/11, freeborn citizens of advanced democratic societies have been subjected to a level of inconvenience and continuous surveillance they would never have previously entertained, from the pointless security theatre of the shoeless shuffle through LAX and O’Hare to the rubber-stamp FISA court warrants to monitor every aspect of Carter Page’s life for years on end with no probable cause. And what’s the upshot of all this 24/7 surveillance?

They didn’t see it coming.

New York, for example, is a city that has already had a huge smoking crater blown into it – and what’s the upshot? Eighteen years on, as I noted last night, after expenditures of billions on purpose-built federal, state and local bureaucracies, a city of eight million people can’t cope with an extra four thousand patients in critical condition.

Why? It’s not as if bio-warfare wasn’t expected to be part of our future: Immediately after 9/11, you’ll recall, there was the anthrax scare, and enthusiastic modeling about what would happen in the event of a suitcase nuke. And in the end hospitals are as overwhelmed as if all that money-no-object Homeland Security spending had never happened. As Kate Smyth has pointed out in our comments section, if Isis weren’t already planning something like this, the ease with which you can wipe out a third of the Dow Jones Industrials will surely have some of the savvier jihad boys dusting off the old bunsen burner.

The most significant change after 9/11 – “the day the world changed” – was the doubling of the rate of Muslim immigration to the west. Will we do the same now? More open borders, more flights from Shanghai and Beijing, more transfer of what’s left of western manufacturing to the Chinese Communist Party, more shrieks of “Raaaaacist!” at any questioning of Beijing’s official lies, never mind whether any advanced nation needs mass immigration or unscreened self-identified “refugees”…

The changes we make this time will be existential. We are suffused in death not only because of Chinese lies but because of those we tell ourselves, suppler and more beguiling as they are. “Preparedness” does not mean merely PPE and ICU, but requires also addressing borders and immigration and political correctness, and diversity unto death. In much of the western world, we are shutting down the economy and daily life, because our rulers could not bear to shut down their own virtue-signaling diversity bollocks.

Will it go the same next time? Absent serious sustained pushback, what do you think?

From here, I can see two possible ways things might go. Either we will continue on down the path to absolute tyranny, with states escalating from the current lockdowns to the establishment of curfews, then to declarations of martial law and the deployment of National Guard troops to strictly enforce them. The current nascent progression from verbal admonition or a citation and fine from law enforcement for infraction of The New Rules will rapidly advance to arrest and incarceration. There will be grumbling in some quarters, but no effective resistance.

Alternatively, the current restrictions will gradually be eased as it becomes evident that the coronavirus outbreak didn’t quite live up to its billing as a devastating planet-killer, and people who have grown extremely restless from their mandatory “stay home” period will be eager to return to something as close to whatever the hell “normal” used to be as they can. A general, widespread withdrawal from paying such close attention to international affairs and politics will ensue, which will in turn serve to blunt any “serious sustained pushback” against the idiotic, dream-world Leftist policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

Ever alert to any offered opportunity, the Left’s shrieked accusations of “RACISM!” at anyone with the otherwordly temerity to reference both China and COVID-19 in the same paragraph—as if the one could ever possibly have any relationship whatsoever with the other—will resume with vigor and volume. And the dastardly, genocidal perps of such naked atrocities will go back to being cowed by them, and methodically marginalized into fearful silence.

If the example set by our response to late 2001’s mysteriously-motivated “Some People Did Something” man-caused-disaster event is a reliable indication, and the Wuhan Fug doesn’t do a sudden 180 from current trends to more or less depopulate the nation’s close-packed urban areas instead, the latter option is way more likely. Such a relaxation of vigilance will allow the politicians and big-business tyros who collaborated to sell this country out to the ChiComs for a fistful of yen to quietly get back to doing dirty business with the abominable Reds more or less as before.

The treacherous and untrustworthy ChiComs themselves will face no serious consequences for their habitual lies, their brazen deceptions and misdirections, and the fact that they nonchalantly and knowingly poisoned the entire fucking world, murdered a largish portion of its elderly, and inflicted mass terror and tragedy on wholly innocent civilians. They, too, will quickly and quietly go back to Yellow-Peril business as usual, which means infiltrating and undermining as many other sovereign nations as possible, covertly sabotaging their economies, sapping their will and resolve via propaganda and manipulation, and expanding Red Chinese influence and power to heretofore undreamed-of levels.

All this Americans will proudly hail as “victory,” congratulating ourselves heartily for our courage, our perseverance, and our unswerving commitment to defense of our “freedom.” Y’know, precisely as we did after all those other wars we lost.

Bearing the brunt

Grim tidings from one who oughta know.

Hotel operator Monty Bennett, the CEO of Ashford Inc., went on with Laura Ingraham on Tuesday night.

The hotel, travel, entertainment and leisure industries are being decimated by the coronavirus virus and media-spun panic.

Monty Bennett told Laura Ingraham, “I had to cut 95% of my employees. Even 9-11 or the financial crisis, it took us 5 years and 8 years respectively to fully recover from those calamities. And this tragedy is worse than those two put together time ten. It’s an absolute disaster for our industry. Morgan Stanley recently put out a note that US hotels are the hardest hit industry.”

Let’s pray our political leaders do not allow this pandemic to turn into a national depression.

Ooops, too late.

Update! The longer the shutdown, the more people will be hurt.

The economic predictions for the shutdowns may be as varied as those for the virus itself. The Federal Reserve’s James Bullard has noted that unemployment may rise to as much as 30%. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has estimated a possible unemployment rate of 20%.

Bullard’s number is higher than the unemployment seen in the United States during the Great Depression (25%), and both estimates are significantly higher than the unemployment during the Great Recession (11%). Even if we take the more conservative estimate of 20% unemployment, that is a 16.5% rise in unemployment from its recent historic lows of 3.5% unemployment.

Although it is difficult to estimate how long this downturn may linger, that is a severe shock to the economic system. It is possible that people return to work and economic activity returns in strength in short order after the shutdowns are lifted.

Even then, the costs of shutting down will have been quite large. However, it is also possible that some businesses who had to pause activity for a month or more may not be able to return at all.

Possible? It’s dead certain, a plain and simple fact of life. As is their wont, our incompetent “leaders,” with their arrogance in ignorance, are tinkering with things they can neither control nor comprehend. They aren’t the colossi or Masters Of The Universe they believe themselves to be; they’re very small men mucking about in affairs that are much too big for them—too big for anyone, in truth.

The recession could be longer than some economists are projecting. If the economy does linger in its downturn, the human costs to the shutdown will inevitably begin to increase.

Again: a certainty, a truism so obvious only a self-proclaimed “expert” could miss it.

Chinese Yellow Peril Fu Manchu Wuhan Sino-Flu claims another victim

Peter Hitchens’ equanimity.

As I watched the Prime Minister order mass house arrest on Monday night, I felt revulsion, anger and grief – as anyone brought up when this was a free and well-governed country would. I also felt terribly alone.

You could not have known, from anything broadcast that night or printed the following day, that anyone was unhappy with these events. But they were.

So, above all things this week, I would like to thank all the kind, perplexed people who have got in touch with me by so many means, to say they share my doubts about the Government’s handling of Covid-19.

After last week, can we rule anything out? This new Stasi society has a horrifying level of support. Humberside police are already advertising a ‘portal’ for citizens to inform on their neighbours for breaking the ‘social distancing’ rules.

If you think they won’t get any takers, think again. Northamptonshire police have revealed that their control room has had ‘dozens and dozens’ of calls about people ignoring the order.

I must refer you folks once more to a great quote I read someplace in the aftermath of the 9/11 “Somebody Did Something” man-caused-disaster event. A Brit pundit was asked whether he thought Great Britain could hope to successfully stand against Moslem terrorism. The pundit briskly responded, “That isn’t the question. The question is whether the English people remain English.” Alas, that question was answered long ago, it seems.

Most people will, by now, have viewed the online film of Metropolitan police officers bellowing officiously at sunbathers on Shepherd’s Bush Green in London, energetically stamping out the foul crime of lying on the grass (would they have paid so much attention, two weeks ago, to a gaggle of louts making an unpleasant noise, or to marijuana smokers?).

Others will have seen the films, taken by Derbyshire police drones, of lonely walkers on the remote, empty hills, publicly pillorying them for not obeying the regulations. It is genuinely hard to see what damage these walkers have done.

But as a former resident of the USSR, I can tell you that this sort of endless meddling by petty authority in the details of life, reinforced by narks, is normal in unfree societies – such as we have now become for an indefinite period. It is, by the way, also a seedbed for corruption.

Meanwhile, our economy is still crippled, and the overpraised Chancellor Rishi Sunak, like some beaming Dr Feelgood with a case full of dodgy stimulants, seeks to soothe the pain by huge injections of funny money.

He will get this back from us as soon as we are allowed out again. Just you wait till you get the bill, in increased taxes, inflation and devastated savings.

Gee, thank goodness such things could never happen here, right?

It ought not to be so. In fact, several powerful pieces of evidence have come to light, suggesting that the Great Panic is foolish and wrong.

I shall come to these, to underline the fact that it is not I, alone, who have these doubts. I do not claim to be an expert. But I refer to those who definitely are experts, who doubt the wisdom of what we are doing.

He goes on to cite that evidence chapter and verse. Over there or over here, it’s as I’ve been saying: whatever this whole contretemps was orginally all about, it ain’t about that now. Our would-be masters saw their chance, and they jumped on it with both feet. Long, long after the Chinese Fug itself has faded into dim and distant memory, we’ll be dealing with the disastrous consequences of the panicked overreaction to it.

By their fruits shall ye know them

The mailed fist is beginning to show through the velvet glove of “an abundance of caution” and “concern.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s power trip has reached new heights.

On Friday, de Blasio warned religious leaders during his press briefing that if places of worship do not comply with the city’s shutdown order — he might close them down permanently.

“A small number of religious communities, specific churches and specific synagogues, are unfortunately not paying attention to this guidance even though it’s so widespread,” de Blasio said during the briefing.

While he specifically mentioned synagogues and churches, he did not mention mosques at all.

Anybody surprised by that curious little omission? At all?

“I want to say to all those who are preparing for the potential of religious services this weekend: If you go to your synagogue, if you go to your church and attempt to hold services after having been told so often not to, our enforcement agents will have no choice but to shut down those services,” he added.

The out-of-control mayor continued on to say that if churches and synagogues resist authorities, they may be shut down forever.

Don’t think he wouldn’t, and with a big, happy smile on his face too. Fierce suppression of Christianity and Judaism has always been pretty much di rigeur for Commie tyrants everywhere, after all. Marxism can’t stand up to competition from other faiths.

Overstepping his bounds update! By what authority, Red Bill?

Let us be clear, the government can request, suggest and recommend that faith-based assemblies suspend their services; and in many cases those churches and religious groups may indeed choose to suspend their services. However, under no circumstance, including: war, famine or virus pandemics that could leave only a hand-full of people alive, can the government force the suspension; or punish those who refuse to comply.

Religious worship, including the assembly therein, is enshrined within the first amendment as it carries the first and ultimate essential service. There is absolutely no situation where that right can be removed.

Worse still is the use of the word “permanently” when de Blasio announces his unconstitutional suspension of rights. The mayor threatens to permanently close buildings? What kind of mindset would even fathom forcing the permanent closure of houses of worship because they defy unconstitutional dictates from the state?

This decree by the New York mayor should alarm everyone.

What TRULY ought to alarm everyone is that New Yorkers elected the loathsome Commie shitheel in the first damned place.

When fear is fueled, principle is abandoned

And the Left is lovin’ it.

Consider, for a moment, what ideas Americans seem to have generally accepted in the last few weeks.

First, there seems to no longer be a question as to whether or not the government has a responsibility to ensure health care for American citizens. The prospect of some hospitals, in some specific locales, exceeding health care capacity has caused the bulk of the American economy, at the behest of government, to simply stop functioning in order to avoid it. In other words, the health of a comparative few is of far greater importance than the personal, financial, and social interests of the many. If we accept that as gospel and the creed of our governance, as it seems we have, then how is Medicare-for-All anything less than a moral imperative?

Secondly, there no longer seems to be any question as to whether our government needs to act swiftly and decisively to defend against an invisible threat which presents an unknown, and unknowable, future impact, even if that means destroying American free enterprise, and the lives and livelihoods of countless millions. Green New Deal, anyone?

Thirdly, this crisis appears to have nullified any devotion to the concept of individual liberty among Americans. A friend in Chicago tells me that he and his young daughters daren’t risk even walking to the park that his tax dollars built, as he risks a $500 fine for doing so. The stiffest resistance encountered by the government officials imposing these infringements upon law-abiding citizens is the quiet grumbling that exists beneath all these loud sermons about “social distancing” and “flattening the curve.”

And finally, as Americans are left unable to care for themselves because the government is prohibiting their free association in the economic marketplace, the government is now facilitating a massive transfer of wealth from taxpayers as cash payments to Americans below certain income thresholds.

It is not a coincidence that the greatest economic depression and the greatest expansion of the federal government’s power in American history occurred at precisely the same moment in time (see: New Deal Era). Once you understand that, why American progressives seem all-too-willing to sacrifice Americans’ economic prosperity while promising government-issued security blankets during the crisis shouldn’t be a mystery to anyone.

Americans are being asked to not only accept unnecessarily rigid social restrictions, but to also accept an indefinitely disabled economy for as long as the government sees fit, even though its continued disability has the potential to destroy our free enterprise system and fundamentally alter the American citizen’s relationship with the government.

To justify all of this, Americans are routinely presented the false metaphor that we are at war, and that this war requires sacrifices on our part. But millions of Americans aren’t enduring economic strife, social anxiety, and government-imposed quarantines because modern-day Nazis are looking to enslave humanity. No, we are enduring all of those things as a result of our blanket government policy responses to this pandemic, which apparently require bigger, broader, and more dangerous government policy responses to rectify.

You guys know what I always say: when the Left is winning, America is losing. In a time when government is using panic to expand its reach and power by orders of magnitude, conservative “principles” are old, stale news as the putative Right joins the general stampede to clamber aboard the Big Government bandwagon. All of which means the Left is winning.

You have been conned

Robert Zimmerman lays out what it’s REALLY all about. Hint: same old thing it always is.

While common sense, caution, and the human ability to adapt to fluctuating circumstances requires our society to react to the COVID-19 epidemic spreading across the globe, our additional ability to think coolly and rationally requires us to not allow our emotions to run wildly and out-of-control, taking actions that might feel good for a moment but do no good and maybe more harm in the long run.

It also requires to look closely at the actions of our lawmakers, whose motives are now commonly not driven by an interest in the country but by their own interests and an insatiable desire for power. Two stories this past weekend were quite revealing in this context.

First we have the incredible request by the Justice Department for new special powers so that it can supposedly react to the epidemic properly.

The Justice Department has quietly asked Congress for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies — part of a push for new powers that comes as the coronavirus spreads through the United States.

…There are more requests on the list, including the ability for the chief judge of any district court to “pause court proceedings” when the court is impacted by civil disobedience or other emergency situations. Such a “pause” could be put into effect for pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures. In other words, this would effectively throw habeas corpus out the window for the duration of the pandemic. You could, in theory at least, be arrested and tossed in a cell and left there indefinitely without getting the chance to appear before a judge and ask to be released, have bail set or anything else.

Remember, this is essentially the same Justice Department that for the past three years has worked hard to misuse the FISA court in an effort to overthrow the legal election of a president they don’t like, even as they abused their power to put several people in prison and ruin the lives of others for relatively minor process crimes that would not have even existed without their fake investigation.

You think they won’t misuse these new powers, should Congress give such to them? And in what way do any of these totalitarian and unconstitutional powers contribute in any way to overcoming COVID-19?

They don’t. That’s the giveaway, see. Even for those blind or naive enough not to have seen what was coming early on, rely on loathsome Demo-dimwit James Clyburn to be stupid enough to give the game away.

House Democrats are indicating they want to go bigger and broader than the already massive economic stimulus package offered by Senate Republicans to blunt the coronavirus pandemic.

On a Thursday conference call featuring more than 200 members of the House Democratic caucus, lawmakers one by one laid out a sweeping wish list of provisions they want to see included in the nascent package, including a boost in infrastructure spending, an expansion of Social Security benefits and funding for states to set up an all-mail voting system in the event the pandemic extends into November’s elections.

This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision,” Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told lawmakers, according to a source on the call.

It is at that, and they’re making the most of it. Hey, isn’t there an old saw, probably apocryphal, about the Chinese word for “crisis” having a dual meaning, also signifying “opportunity”? Back to Zimmerman for the closer:

Can you imagine removing these restrictions next year, when the flu returns (as it always does) and causes even half those deaths? And if the lockdowns have been removed this summer because the Wuhan virus has subsided, I will not be surprised if they are re-imposed next fall, due to the annual much more serious flu season. A precedent will have been set, a precedent that every single one of our power-hungry and very corrupt politicians will wish to use, as often as possible.

Fortunately, we do have an election coming in November. If these thugs in power continue their effort to make themselves our dictators, we will have a chance to tell them otherwise.

The big question however is: Will we? I wish I knew.

Which brings to mind another, darker old saw: If voting could change anything, it would be illegal.

The rights and the wrongs

VDH isn’t often wrong. And he’s mostly right here, too. Mostly.

There is some evidence from Germany and to a lesser extent South Korea, that it may be possible to see the fatality rate dip below 1 percent. And with the breathing space from the lockdown, better hygiene (the degree of constant and near-obsessive cleaning at businesses that are still open is quite amazing), more knowledge and data, better medical protocols, the use of some efficacious drugs, warmer weather, and experience with the disease will, in perfect-storm fashion, begin to mitigate the effects of the virus.

Should we get the lethality rate down to German levels (currently two to three in 1,000), then we can cautiously assume that those who predicted that the coronavirus could eventually be contextualized as a bad, H1N1-like flu will no longer be demonized as nuts, and life can resume with reasonable precautions and focused quarantines and isolation.

Yeah, aside from that whole collapsed-economy thing we’re all gonna be just peachy-keen.

In two or three weeks, if we can just allow most businesses to reopen, gear up to pandemic testing, track cases and contacts in the manner of past protocols that lessened polio, tuberculosis, AIDS, and measles outbreaks, and focus on the ill and elderly, then the economy will reboot.

“Most businesses” assumes that “most” will survive. At least in the bar/restaurant industry, very many of them will not. The effects from that are going to be felt way beyond just some out-of-work wait staff and bartenders, too.

But now the current economy is starting to resemble a patient in an induced coma, one whom no one knows whether he will recover after the respirator is disconnected. But still, there are reasons for optimism: historically low interest rates will eventually encourage big-ticket buying.

By people employed in precarious, thin-margin sectors who haven’t worked in weeks? It’s often said that most Americans are only one or two paychecks away from homelessness. Those people are now past that threshold, with no end in sight. I dunno, maybe I’m just too much of a gloomy Gus and all, but seems to me the math and the optimism are somewhat in conflict at the moment.

Hanson goes on for a bit in that overly-sunny vein, bless his heart. But then we come to the good stuff.

In a sophisticated society under lockdown, is it more existentially valuable to know how to fix a toilet, replace a circuit breaker, or change a tire, or to be a New York fashion designer, a Hollywood actor, or a corporate merger lawyer? At 9 p.m., when you go downtown in need of a critical prescription, are you really all that furious that a law-abiding citizen who has a gun and concealed permit is also in line—or would you be more relieved that gun control laws might ensure that his ilk never enters an all-night pharmacy?

So who is important and who not?

We were often told globalized elites on the coast were the deserved 21st-century winners, while the suckers and rubes in-between had better learn coding or head to the fracking fields.

But who now is more important than the trucker who drives 12-hours straight to deliver toilet paper to Costco?

Sorry, but here’s another nit I must pick. Any trucker who drives 12 hours straight these days is going to find himself out of work somewhere around the 13th one. Electronic logs track every minute of the driving day; with ironclad rules mandating not only total hours but also occasional thirty minute breaks throughout, and freight companies closely monitoring the data so as to avoid thousands of dollars in fines levied by state authorities who monitor ditto, there just ain’t no wiggle-room left in the workday.

My brother, an owner-operator who hauls containers out of Savannah, routinely finds his legal driving time running thin when he’s about 20 minutes away from his home. He then faces a stark choice: pull over somewhere and shut down (a problem all its own considering the chronic shorage of rest-stop parking), step out of the cab, and walk laps around his rig for the required “rest” period (you’re actually not supposed to just sit inside the truck and relax, or lie down in the bunk if you’re driving a sleeper). Alternatively, he can just say to hell with it, go on home and park the damned thing, and hope like hell nobody catches him at such reckless brigandry.

There have also been occasions when his entire daily duty-time allotment is nearly used up only a few miles from his home, which means a shutdown of ten hours before he can make another move legally. On those occasions, he usually just parks at a truck stop not far from the house and has the wife come pick him up and ferry him on home. Then she gets to drag herself out of bed at four AM next day to drop him off again, which she just LOOOOVES. A time or three he’s even had me do it, although I live a good forty miles or more from his place.

He’s gotten away with defying the thirty-minute-break rule a good few times, but is currently on probation after being busted twice recently—”condition yellow,” his employer calls it. One more infraction, and he’s out on his condition-red ass to join all those waiters and bartenders out there on the soup kitchen line.

So sorry again, Victor, but those heroic truckers won’t be driving any twelve hours straight, I’m afraid. Not for long, they won’t. Oh, many if not most of them could easily do it without excessive risk to anybody; hell, most of the old pros from the paper-log days have, in fact, a bazillion times over. I have myself, in fact, and more than just once or twice too. They’re certainly willing enough, mind; running long hours on the road all by your lonesome is simply what they do; it’s the job, no more, no less. But the law—as handed down to us from On High by college-boy goobermint eggheads who never hauled a load or humped freight on a loading dock a single day in their life, and don’t know anybody who has either—don’t allow that sort of thing. And while there used to be certain cracks you could slip through in order to get the job done, those cracks have all been sealed up by technology and the nanny-state mindset now.

But back to the good stuff again.

Do we really need to ask such questions of whether the presence of the czar for diversity and inclusion at Yale is missed as much as the often-caricatured cop on patrol at 2 a.m. in New Haven?

Do social justice student protestors who surround and heckle the politically suspicious now in ones and twos also scream in the faces of the incorrect plumber who unclogs their locked-down apartment drain?

The virus has reminded us again, but in an unorthodox fashion, that the world is bifurcated by the degreed versus the non-college educated, rural versus urban, sophisticates in opposition to supposed rubes—and the dichotomy has been telling. I don’t suppose Rick Wilson will go on CNN again to do his fake-Okie accent to ridicule the supposed unwashed, who deliver his food and energy, as viewers might wonder what exactly was his expertise.

Oh, I dunno. I wouldn’t be willing to place any bets on what depths a pustulent lowlife like Wilson might or might not be capable of stooping to.

When your refrigerator goes out under quarantine and your supplies begin to rot, do you really need another rant from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)—or do you rather need a St. Michael Smith and St. Uriel Mendoza to appear out of nowhere as the archangels from Home Depot to wheel up and connect a new one?

The real head-scratcher is how so many people ever convinced themselves they needed anything at all from the cretin Waters other than a cheerful, courteous “drive around to the first window, please” in the first damned place.

Never let a crisis go to waste

The folks who are pleased to thump their big, manly chests over what they’re a-gonna do when The Shit Hits The Fan appear to have missed the fact that it just did.

The current gamble seems to be to shut down the nation indefinitely to suppress a virus that is especially deadly to some demographics and experts agree cannot be contained, only slowed. The New York Times claims the basis of many U.S. officials’ decisions so far is a report from Imperial College London, and other models that spit out similar results. It says to contain the virus it will be necessary to quarantine Americans for two- to three-month stretches repeatedly over the next 18 months.

The alternative, says the report, is 4 million Americans dead, half who would otherwise have lived but instead die for lack of medical capacity such as ventilators. If we merely quarantine sick people and those at risk, a “mitigation” strategy, it projects the U.S. death toll at about 2 million, again half from lack of ventilators, not depth of disease.

This is why state governors are shutting down restaurants, schools, entertainment venues, government offices, parks, historical sites, churches, and travel. Most Americans and businesses likely can sustain a suspension of their lives for two weeks, the usual annual vacation time.

But start extending these bans to one and two months, and then to four and six months, and people are going to revolt as they sit chained to their houses, watching their jobs, businesses, and retirement accounts disappear, replaced with funny money taken from yet-unborn generations and no end in sight. Numerous people are already skeptical and fed up with the lockdowns, and we’re not a week in.

Strangely, though, the US Congress—at least 2 of whose members have been confirmed as infected with COVID-19, with several more exposed—remains open for bidness. Guess these noble “public servants” are all vitally crucially vital personnel, absolutely indispensible to the mighty challenge of shepherding the nation through these bleak days.

Just one competing projection, from the Hoover Institution, suggests “the total number of cases world-wide will peak out at well under 1 million, with the total number of deaths at under 50,000″ (emphasis added). This is near the annual death rate due to flu in the United States alone. We don’t know if that estimate is accurate either, but that’s the point.

We’re acting as if coronavirus is for sure going to amount to the worst-case scenario without knowing that is true. If we all do shelter in place for the next year and a half while politicians pass the equivalent of the Obama-Bush stimulus that suffocated the economy 12 years ago, the “experts” will insist the nation’s long-term ability to provide for itself was required to save millions of lives. There will be no way to prove them wrong, even if they are.

It seems a fool’s errand to pre-emptively and indefinitely risk everyone’s livelihoods without hard information about what is happening and a risk assessment that includes the serious dangers of killing the U.S. economy, not what computers project will happen with lots of missing, unreliable, and rapidly changing information.

Come, come now. Similar computer models turned out to be one hundred percent reliable on Climate Change (formerly Global Warming, formerly Global Cooling, formerly “the weather”), didn’t they?

If we continue the present course U.S. politicians are taking, “we’ll be spending a lot more than we’ve ever been willing to spend before to avoid flu deaths. Eighty-three percent of our economy will be suppressed to relieve pressure on the 17% represented by health care. This will have to last months, not weeks, to modulate the rate at which a critical mass of 330 million get infected and acquire natural immunity,” writes Holman Jenkins at The Wall Street Journal.

Is it right for the nation to require our children’s futures be destroyed to keep alive less than 1 percent of our population until the next flu season? Could we not attempt to keep them safe by less disastrous means?

Probably so….if that’s what all this was really about. But it isn’t—not anymore, it isn’t. Whether or not you accept the premise that Chinese Yellow Peril Fu Manchu Wuhan Sino-Flu is the planet-killer plague some have said, it’s abundantly clear that The Powers That Be have identified it as a fine tool for their own nefarious purposes, and are wielding it to apply the finishing touches to the “fundamental transformation” they hoped for from the Ogabe junta.

Funny, innit, how the actions we’ve seen taken to “protect” Americans in certain states and cities all seem to be straight off the eternal Democrat-Socialist wishlist? Closing gun shops; banning gun and ammo sales; severely restricting freedom of movement and peaceable assembly; forbidding the sale of alcohol, with close monitoring of other purchases; fines for businesses who refuse to toe the line and obey authoritarian edicts; all that, and more. All just coincidence, no doubt. Strict rationing and curfews soon to follow, to be enforced by local police and/or the National Guard.

True national treasure Mike Rowe ponders the question of whether the response might wind up doing more harm than the disease itself.

For the uninitiated, I coined the expression “Safety Third” back in 2008, during an episode of Dirty Jobs. It was a smart-ass way for me to challenge the ubiquity of those Safety First banners, and debunk the popular notion that safety was always the most important thing on the job site.

After years of Safety First indoctrination, and a front row seat to it’s unintended consequences, “Safety Third,” became a slightly subversive way for my crew and I to remind each other that our safety was in fact, our responsibility, and that no amount of compliance could ever keep us out of danger. Safety, I argued, was not a value to be “ranked,” but rather, a state of mind to be maintained. Thus, “Safety Third” became an hour-long special that stirred up a great deal of conversation around personal responsibility, risk equilibrium, and the unintended consequences of ranking Safety above everything else.

Which of course, is precisely what our leaders are doing right now.

Today, in the name of safety, the United States of America has been shut down. Which brings me to your question – are we overreacting?

I honestly don’t know. I’m not an expert, and I’m in no rush to be labelled a “virus denier.” But I am concerned that the medicine we’re prescribing might turn out to be more deadly than the virus we’re trying to kill – especially if we don’t know the criteria by which we can re-emerge from our bunkers. And I’m not alone.

But I do know that recessions and depressions can impact a country in ways no less catastrophic than a pandemic. And we are most assuredly headed for both, if we continue to operate from a “Safety First” state of mind. Because “Safety First” is never a long-term solution.

We are being bombarded everyday with facts and information with extreme urgency but no context. Imagine for a moment, if the millions of automobile accidents in America were reported on with the same frenzied, up-to-the minute drama as each new virus infection? Imagine if all 40,000 annual automotive fatalities from those accidents, were announced in the same fashion as every virus fatality. Would any of us ever drive again?

Wrong question. Given where we find ourselves now, would we even be ALLOWED to?

Personally, as an avowed non-expert with a large Facebook following, I do think a temporary shutdown makes sense, while we gather more information and answer some pressing questions. Who exactly does this affect? How exactly is it passed? Can you develop an immunity? Does it mutate and if so, how often? And of course, it’s worth repeating that the lockdown wont work unless everyone participates, which is easier to do in Wuhan than it is during Spring Break in this country. Consequently, people are arguing over which is worse – hundreds of thousands of dead Americans, or another Great Depression. Unfortunately, I think that misses the point. I think the worst-case scenario, is both.

As I wrote the other day, it feels to me like America is going through the five stages of grief at varying speeds. Some of us are still in denial, some are angry, some are bargaining, some are depressed, some have accepted some version of the reality in which we currently find ourselves, and all of us are trying to keep up with the latest information which is bombarding us from all sides. The evidence is obviously sparse, but it would be a mistake in my view, to not treat this thing very, very seriously. If our hospitals become overrun with virus victims, the rest of the population will have no healthcare system at all. But, it’s equally dangerous to think that a long-term shutdown is the answer.

I don’t say this lightly. I have two elderly parents solidly in the “at risk” group, and believe me, I want to do all I can to protect them. But I also know that Safety First is no way to live indefinitely. We are at base, a Safety Third nation. We can’t remain in the air raid shelter indefinitely – if we do, they’ll be no country left, when we finally emerge.

Ahh, but there’s the rub, Mike; as is becoming all too clear, in Mordor On The Potomac that’s considered a feature, not a bug. The big worry isn’t the use of a pandemic as cover for an audacious power grab. That, after all, is the nature of politicians and bureaucrats and must be expected from them—just another case of the scorpion stinging the poor old frog. Far worse is the fact that Americans—either from a surfeit of fear or blind faith—have been stampeded into yielding up most of what little remained of their rights and liberties without resistance or demur.

In the end, nobody had to take our country from us. We surrendered it willingly, without the firing of a single shot.

Update! Prognosis: piss-poor.

By what authority? None dare speak these three words. A month or so ago, we ridiculed China’s totalitarian response to coronavirus; now we replicate it. The governor of our most populous state just grounded its citizens as though they were his children. Unelected health czars make decisions without the consent of the governed. Martial law, forcing the shuttering of businesses and the sheltering in place of individuals, characterizes the situation in states and locales far beyond California. Yet America remains more at peace now than at almost any time over the last two decades.

Socialism, the default answer to all crises, describes the federal government we soon get but nobody really deserves. Government destroyed civil society in joining the panic. Now it seeks to replace it. In this, our government compounds one disaster with another.

Americans could withstand this deadly disease, as horrible and contagious as it is. That deadly disease, the one that infected Venezuela and Cuba and points beyond, seems another matter. And this seems one of the lasting scars of the panic from the pandemic.

This is a power grab. It transfers power from the private sphere, society, to the state. It came about because of the Rorschach-test response to every crisis. People in government see every inkblot as “bigger government.” We do not trust our neighbors to guard their health. So government tells them to stay home from school and work and church and gyms and theaters and arenas and almost everywhere else (the politicians imagine themselves too important not to gather). Then the state, after creating this economic crisis by its heavy-handedness, proposes to solve it through more heavy-handedness. They destroy, and then they destroy again.

It is all enough to make one want to practice social distancing from fellow citizens. Fear fear. Covid-19? It is not the Black Plague.

Fascism is deadlier than the coronavirus. If only a surgical mask could save us from that.

There’s only one thing that can, really. And I’m afraid we no longer have anywhere near enough of it to do the trick.

SOLD! American

It smelled fishy from the start, but with every passing day the stench worsens.

A decorated scientist with four degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology believes the coronavirus pandemic is being used by the “Deep State” for its own purposes.

Shiva Ayyadurai said on Twitter that “fear-mongering” over the outbreak is being used to push an agenda.

“As an MIT PhD in Biological Engineering who studies & does research nearly every day on the Immune System, the #coronavirus fear mongering by the Deep State will go down in history as one of the biggest fraud to manipulate economies, suppress dissent, & push MANDATED Medicine!” he said.

It is important to note that Ayyadurai did not say the disease is man-made or a hoax.

You should follow the guidelines from doctors, federal, state and local governments and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But what Ayyadurai did say is that some in the government are using the pandemic to frighten people into obedience.

Think about what has transpired in less than a week’s time. We have handed control of nearly everything in our lives to the government.

In many places, they are telling us when we can leave our homes and when we must return to them.

They have decided what events or religious services we can attend, how many people are allowed to be there and which businesses are allowed to stay open.

In the process, the global economy has crashed with the assistance of the media stirring everyone into a mass panic.

Wonder if we can now expect an increasingly stringent Coronavirus Clampdown to become an annual event, just as a reminder of who’s really in charge around here?

Update! Is the cure worse than the disease?

For the curious, if they can get past however they are responding to the what’s happening right now, this is an amazing time. We will see things that no one could have imagined seeing just a few weeks ago. No one can know what follows a 30-day quarantine of a continent sized country. No one really knows what will follow just this one week halt to the global economy. No one knows what happens if the plague fears are wildly overblown, which seems inevitable at this point.

Regardless of what follows, we are living in a time without precedent. A century ago, we had a real plague, but the world did not stop. The stock market collapse in the 1920’s did bring a closure, but it was not for a month. The bank run that happened in 1933  resulted in a week-long bank holiday, but the rest of society kept going. The past provides some samples but nothing close to what is being contemplated. Heck, we are already into uncharted territory with the one-week lock-down.

Maybe I am the crazy one, but crazy or not, messing with big complicated things always has unanticipated results. This is an iron law of systems. Even if the response is appropriate to the danger, taking a sledge hammer to the very complex system that is American society will have consequences that no one can anticipate. Another rule of complex systems is you need to understand the iron law of systems before you are allowed to even tinker with the system. That rule has been violated.

The arrogance of our would-be masters is exceeded only by their lust for absolute power.

Steps along the road to ruin

Step by step, inch by inch.

Communism needs a healthy host, a prosperous one that can support the first years of communism, preferably one where communist agents can be voted into office with messages of socialism. This is what makes a democratic republic with a capitalist system the most susceptible to communist propaganda. Socialism is the stepping stone, the softer version that cooperates with capitalism to keep the economy strong, but it is how a capitalist system transitions to communism.

The role of socialism is to engage the citizens of a successful and wealthy capitalist system. From their wealth and leisure, those who have benefited from capitalism are confronted with its failures in exaggerated form. The plight of a single person living in poverty is magnified to represent an entire class of people “left out” and “downtrodden” with the recipient of the message having no possible understanding of those terms. It seems wrong that they are wealthy and others are poor, but the rules are the same for everyone and no one can protect someone from themselves or their decisions. Socialism takes advantage of these poor decisions and the self-inflicted victims of them to institute social programs that can never succeed except for a few propaganda examples, because they cannot change human nature and that is the true cause of the disadvantaged. The purpose is to create more social programs, more government, more government employees working continually toward the ideal of communism, which is universal employment by the government that equals total control of the population. 

The question never asked is: “How will communism avoid the same failures?” The truth is, they can’t and don’t intend to. It is a selling point, not an objective. But, they will control the information about those failures and they will not cease to exist, but cease to be reported.

Gee, none of THAT sounds familiar at all, now does it?

Found this ‘un via e-mail tip from TL Davis, for which I thank him. At a cursory glance it appears to be a quite new blog, but I’m gonna go ahead and throw 12 Round into Ye Olde Blogrolle and my bookmarks anyway, on the expectation of more good work to come.

A man of the people

Senile Uncle Gropey is so inept and out of it he can’t even fake being one with conviction anymore.

Think about the image his latest confrontation projected, of a guy who sweats while he works getting an incoherent, finger-wagging lecture from a pompous clown steamed that this peasant isn’t on his knees genuflecting before the Democrat Demigod of Dover. There once was a time when the Democrats styled themselves as the party of the working man – for all his myriad flaws, Biden’s crustacean competitor Bernie Sanders at least pays lip service to the workers – but that day is long past. Begone, you dirty-nailed cis-trogs, with your uncurated ideas of gender identity and upper body strength.

The Democrats are now the party of the Pumpkin IPA-sampling hipster, the woke tech tool, the militant diversity consultant, and the cat-fancying public school teacher whose husband went out to get her some Diet Coke when she was 48 and never came back.

Oh, and the buried lede was that “his sons” hunt and own shotguns. His good son, by all accounts a decent guy, passed away, leading to the other son Hunter getting with his ex. So, that’s awkward. And now we learn that the Stripper Tapper is strapped, that the guy who got booted from the Navy for drugs is packing? Is that even legal?

It doesn’t matter. We all understand that the rules that apply to us don’t apply to moronic mandarins like Gropey Joe or to their relatives like Hunter, the Snortunate Son.

And that’s how the Democrat establishment wants it. Or, rather, that’s what it wants to return to. By rallying around the tattered banner of Joe Biden, the Democrats have forfeited the chance to offer the candidate of change. Rather, they seek to offer the candidate of change back, back to the ineptly managed national decline of the Barack Obama years. If Joe Biden wins, he will not serve – he will be out in the Rose Garden frying bugs with a magnifying glass while a brainless trust of Obama retreads gets to work transforming all of America into Scat Francisco.

Gropey’s fractured fairy tale about his sons and their shotguns doesn’t matter, and not only because of the legal issue Kurt cites. It’s a baldfaced lie to begin with, the standard-issue subterfuge every gun-grabbing Democrat-Socialist wannabe tyrant trots out whenever it seems necessary to soothe the rubes who might be getting Woke to the con. Whenever a Democrat-Socialist goes out a-huntin’ and a-shootin’ and a-rooty-toot-tootin’, it’s strictly for photo-op purposes, nothing more. Unfortunately for them, these manufactured propaganda events always wind up looking about as natural, spontaneous, and sincere as Fauxcahontas appears to be in her own damned home:




HILLARY!™‘s and Gropey’s on-again, off-again Southern patois; Fauxcahontas’s risible down-home drawl expressing her sudden, TOTALLY UNSCRIPTED desire to “grab myse’f one a’ them thar BEEERS!”; Ogabe’s comically oafish mishandling of a gun clearly altogether alien to him; assorted Democrat-Socialist snake-oil salesmen lifelessly reciting fork-tongued protestations that they’re hunters themselves, that “no one is coming to take your guns,” that they “support” the 2A and have a lifelong familiarity with and respect for firearms, only to reveal a comprehensive ignorance of any and every aspect of the topic in the very next breath—NO American concerned about his fragile, already-eroded 2A rights ought to believe a single word out of their yaps.

Not ONE WORD. Not EVER.

Permanent revolution, permanent crisis, permanent instability

All features, not bugs.

What this means is that socialism, at least revolutionary socialism, cannot function outside of a crisis. It is a last resort position a desperate people will tolerate in times of extreme duress. That’s the odd thing about the concept. It is an admission that the radical program cannot exist in easy times. It can only thrive when the people, or at least a large swath of them, are sure their existence is on the knife edge. It also means the revolution can never achieve its stated goals.

This contradiction within radicalism is important to keep in mind when looking at modern politics, broadly inclusive of current events. In America, we have been in some form of crisis since the turn of the century. Under Bush the Minor, it was Islamic terrorism that put us on permanent war footing. The ruling class stripped away most of our remaining rights in the name of fighting this existential threat. America now has political prisoners and a security state that spies on citizens.

In the Obama years, the permanent crisis over Islamic terrorism slowly gave way to a laundry list of left-wing bogeymen. Racism, antisemitism, various imaginary crimes against imaginary identity groups. The rape hoax on campus was a classic example of trying to maintain the permanent crisis. Coeds were supposed to act as if Chad and Biff were lurking around every corner, ready to rape them. Of course, this warranted preemptive strikes against Chad and Biff in self-defense.

What the last two decades have been, really starting after the Cold War, is the bourgeois version of permanent revolution. The managerial elite maintain a militant and independent approach to politics, seeing themselves outside of society. They are the revolutionary class that is driving progress by driving the revolution. When they shriek about threats to the democracy, they really mean a threat to the revolution, their revolution, the managerial revolution.

The old radicals understood something about the class war they promoted. Marxist intellectuals understood they lacked the stones to fight for their cause. These were soft men who lived soft lives. The working class, on the other hand, had lots of tough guys comfortable with violence. The bourgeois class was also full of soft men, comfortable living the liberal lifestyle. In a genuine class struggle, they would not stand a chance against the working class. They would not fight.

Ahh, but that’s one of the things that demonstrate the true genius behind Gramsci’s revision of Marx’s original revolutionary theory, see. A slow, semi-clandestine takeover of society’s culture and institutions renders it unnecessary to fight. When done according to Gramsci’s clever recommendations, the frog ends up boiled without any struggle at all.

The managerial revolution, on the other hand, is led by radials, who make many of the same assumptions. The difference is there is no working class. They destroyed it by auctioning off the industrial base. Instead they will use their power over institutions, like the police, the security apparatus, finance and so on, to intimidate the middle-class into going along with the program. The permanent crisis legitimizes endless intrusions into daily life by the managerial state,

The thing is, the permanent crisis has another flaw. It channels the natural energies of a people away from industry and community. The permanent revolution becomes a bonfire onto which is thrown the social capital of a people. For the revolutionary, society is the sum of men, exclusive of their inner connections. They place no value on the social capital they burn for revolutionary fuel, because they see no purpose in it. To the managerial class, society is just kindling.

We are getting a glimpse of this with the Chinese Flu. The federal state is paralyzed by the growing incompetence of the managerial class. State and local responses have been incoherent, because the normal social capital that would animate such a response has been largely destroyed. You cannot have a community response when there are no natural communities of people. Clusters of strangers in temporary developments named after what was knocked down to build them are not communities.

The purpose of government either eventually becomes or is from the beginning to grow, to consolidate and then expand its power over its subjects to the widest extent it can. The problem is that it’s just not possible to effectively micromanage a nation as enormous and heterogenous as this one, no matter how overgrown and intrusive the central government may become. The more power it tries to reach, the more its grasp is exceeded, and the more apparent its metastasizing failure.

Worse (for them), this escalating failure drives them to attempt to regain the upper hand by imposing a veritable blizzard of niggling laws and regulations, which only results in most of those petty edicts being either slyly circumvented, ignored, or even contemptuously defied. Lather, rinse, repeat, until one of three things happens: 1)the bloated system collapses under the weight of its own incompetence and futility; 2) the subjects rise up in righteous outrage to overthrow it, either violently or through other means; 3) the whole mess spirals down into exhaustion and irrelevance, the collapse into dissolution, decrepitude, deprivation, and utter futility more or less accepted by its population as just the natural order of things. Unless and until things get so bad that large numbers of them begin to starve, at which point see No. 2.

Why, it’s almost as if God His Own Self might have stacked the karmic deck against Big Government and all its works, ain’t it?

End game? Ain’t none

Too much: never enough.

There simply is no stopping point or ideological boundary line for the left.  There’s no point where the general liberal consensus says, “OK, we’ve arrived at our destination.  Hallelujah, we’re here!  We’re now liberal enough!”  Just when you think they’ve finally reached the point of maximum possible craziness, they march on.

For this reason, I foresee that many more liberal icons will be destroyed in the future, simply because at some point in their lives, they made the mistake of thinking, “The here-and-now is pretty much where we’ll stay.  The here-and-now is the end point of our liberal ideology.  The actions or comments that are appropriate and safe today will always be appropriate and safe.”  Nope.  The leftward drift will continue ad infinitum, such that acts that seem OK and reasonable today will soon be viewed as evidence of some unpardonable sin that is treasonous to the cause.

Bernie Sanders is not the left’s political end point, either.  He may seem extreme today, but in the not too distant future, we’ll look back at Bernie with nostalgia for how quaintly midstream he was.

What, you mean the way opposition to gay “marriage” went from being a perfectly reasonable, near-unanimous sentiment to unalloyed Nazi genocide in about, ohhh, twenty minutes or so?

Quoth moi, from one my very own song lyrics: A hundred miles an hour/Ain’t no brakes. To wit:




I didn’t know I was writing about “liberalism” when I came up with that one, I promise I didn’t. And yet it works just the same, in this case anyway.

But see (just to meander a bit further afield here), that’s the magic of songwriting: one’s audience can individually glean many different meanings, including contradictory ones, from the self-same set of words. And they will, to. Shoot, if I had a nickel for every time some female walked up to me after a show or some other place to sassily proclaim “You wrote that one about ME, didn’t you? I KNOW you did!!” I’d be…well, I’d be something other than a failed musician, at the very least.

Never mattered a bit whether I actually knew the dame or not, seemed like. She would always know, of a rock-solid certainty, that SHE was the one I’d had in mind throughout the wearing struggle of the creative process—humbly begging the favor of The Muse via downing shots of whiskey and staring endlessly at a blank sheet of paper—when all I had really been doing was just trying to cobble something together that at least rhymed half-decently and wasn’t too embarrassingly trite, nonsensical, or just plain goddamned stupid to be performed onstage night after night and/or distributed internationally on thousands of CDs.

But hey, what the hell do I know, right?

Ship: SAILED

Wait, you mean to tell me that Red Bernie is a *gasp!* COMMUNIST? And that Amerika might actually be in danger of lapsing into *GASP!!!* SOCIALISM?!?

Why, SAY IT AIN’T SO, MCGEE!

Democrats are almost out of time to change the trajectory of the race, although it remains to be seen if Sanders fantasizing about Cuban literacy rates slows him down. Some Democrats are begging the New York Nondisclosure Agreement to carpet bomb the airwaves and social media with attacks on Sanders knowing that if Sanders sails into the convention with a significant lead, they will be left holding a menu with a couple of equally horrible choices, the political equivalent of Brussels sprouts or liver and onion.

Their hope to pull off a convention bait and switch works only if somebody can keep the delegate count close. But who can pull it off? Mike Bloomberg? Not without a charisma transplant and the removal of layers of baggage. So far, he and Shrill Indian have combined to net one more delegate than is currently in the hands of the candidate from Minnesota who nobody has noticed is in the race. Joe Biden? He was last seen fantasizing about running for the Senate, even as his South Carolina firewall is fraying. Pious Pete, the Bible “scholar”?  Sanders could not have hand-selected a better field of awful candidates to propel him.

An increasing number of Democrat talking heads are resigning themselves to the Sanders storm rolling in and trying to prepare the ground to receive its rain. Liberal revisionists have tried out two lines while the race is still somewhat in play: the Paul Krugman he’s not really a crazy Marxist…he just plays one on TV special and the one about vote for Bernie because he won’t be able to do the crazy stuff he has promised. These are political losers, but they are just the warm-up act for the socialism revisionism to come. Today’s Democrat Sanders critics will soon pivot to singing homilies to socialism.

Um—”WILL SOON pivot” etc?

Just now noticing all this, are ya? But Red Bernie ain’t the biggest problem we have here, not by a long yard.

So how did we get to the point where the nation founded by champions of liberty is on the cusp of nominating a man who is a fellow ideological traveler with history’s greatest foes of liberty? The Democrats have been on a steady march toward this Marxist moment for generations.

Ronald Reagan, in one of the greatest American orations, delivered back in 1964, saw that we were heading toward the moment, noting that “back in 1936, Mr. Democrat himself, Al Smith, the great American, came before the American people and charged that the leadership of his Party was taking the Party of Jefferson, Jackson, and Cleveland down the road under the banners of Marx, Lenin, and Stalin.”

We are now 84 years past that 1936 Al Smith epiphany, and we are nearing the finish line, which is not surprising, since socialism is the natural destination for big-government Democrats as each successive generation ups the ante on the generation that came before.

Most Americans don’t yet appreciate just how much Marxism and its grievance-mongering offshoots have become the university mainstream in America, but this is of profound importance. America’s colleges, with a few notable exceptions, have been churning out Marxists for decades, which is why an old Marxist who looks like a madman is this year’s surprise hot political commodity.

The short-term problem for Democrats is that there are still too many older voters they need with an understanding of history who are horrified at the prospect of socialism.

But the long-term problem for Republicans is that the balance is tilting farther toward Marxism with each passing year as academia continues to crank out Marxist voters and influencers who are changing the ideological balance of society. Even if Sanders gets demolished in the 2020 election, Democrats will not tack to the center, since socialism is now the beating heart of their party. Sanders’s candidacy is the outcome of this tectonic shift, not the cause of it.

Although I’d argue that it isn’t “are changing the ideological etc,” it’s “HAVE changed,” that last bit is nothing but solid, 24k gold truth. Which then brings us right ’round to another ugly but inescapable fact, one I keep repeating: The war for America was lost long, long ago. The battle to reclaim it, should there ever be one, must be initiated in the Leftist indocrination factories we’re pleased to misnomer “public schools” to have any hope of attaining anything but the most transitory success. So far, I see no sign whatsoever that enough of us even realize that, much less that any such battle is being waged.

If the US was anything remotely like the nation it properly should be, the very idea of an avowed Marxist—particularly a buffoonish, all-thumbs crackpot as just plain stupid as Bernie The Klown—making a serious run for President would be so preposterous as to make the welkin ring with gales of laughter from sea to shining sea. Instead, somehow…well, here we all are.

America, let this once seemingly impossible concept sink in, and sink in deep: It can happen.

Sanders can win. Not just the party nod. The election.

The Wall Street Journal fretted recently: “Democrats are waking to the prospect of a nominee who wants to eliminate private health insurance, raise taxes on the middle class, ban fracking and put government in charge of energy production, make college a taxpayer entitlement, offer free health care to illegal immigrants, raise spending by $50 trillion, and tag every down-ballot Democrat with the socialist label.”

Journal editorial writers apparently believe simply repeating those erstwhile bogeymen will ensure McGovern 1972-style catastrophe for Sanders and his party in the fall.

Inquiring readers want to know: what country are they are living in?

And that “socialism” word: will younger voters really desert Sanders in droves over a couple comments praising Cuban communists? The Berlin Wall fell before a substantial bloc even drew breath. Communist China is our biggest trading partner. Millennials and beyond have a vague notion that socialism has been bad for Venezuela, but not why.

“Moderate” Democrats tried the Journal’s roundhouses on Sanders Wednesday, and didn’t lay a glove on him. Sanders countered with research purporting to show his Medicare for All budget-buster would save money. Cited praise for the Castros from the sainted Barack Obama. Ridiculed efforts to align him with the NRA.

And he pointed to strong head-to-head polling numbers against Donald Trump and burgeoning grassroots support.

Not to come off too Eyore-ish on y’all or anything, but don’t for a moment kid yourselves that it can’t happen, people. For one thing: know how our side likes to point to the humongous, wildly enthusiastic crowds every Trump rally draws as evidence of his grass-roots invincibility? Well, don’t look now, but guess who else is beginning to enjoy a similar level of support?

The above article’s title quite correctly states: “This is not McGovern’s America.” Once again: THAT, not Red Bernie or any other specific individual, is where our real problem lies.

Waiting.

Update! Did somebody mention the government schools just now?

It has been long known that American “education” institutions are spectacular failures at teaching the rising generation about their birthright to self-governance. The famous 1983 report “A Nation at Risk” declared it a national crisis that “In many schools, the time spent learning how to cook and drive counts as much toward a high school diploma as the time spent studying mathematics, English, chemistry, U.S. history, or biology.” Things only got worse.

Today, 4 in 10 Americans who are younger than 39 disagree that the United States “has a history we should be proud of,” according to a 2019 poll by FLAG/YouGov. The poll also found that half of all Americans agree the United States is a sexist and racist country, including two-thirds of millennials. Millennials showed the lowest level of agreement with the statement, “I’m proud to be an American.” Thirty-eight percent of “younger Americans do not agree that ‘America has a history that we should be proud of,’” according to the poll.

2019’s annual poll from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that 37 percent of millennials think the United States is “among the most unequal societies in the world.” Despite their curricula’s obsession with so-called multiculturalism and diversity, they clearly have zero sense of what life is like in most of the world, and how that contrasts with the United States’ singular freedoms and opportunities.

The VOC poll found that 70 percent of millenials said they are likely to vote for a socialist. It also found that “57% of Millennials (compared to 94% of the Silent Generation), believe the Declaration of Independence better guarantees freedom and inequality over the Communist Manifesto.”

That poll also found that large percentages of younger Americans said communism was presented favorably in their elementary, middle, and high schools.

But of course. The one is what gets you the other. Cause and effect, man.

Yet another thing I’m beginning to sound like a broken record on, I know: Gramsci was a diabolical genius, the Long March Through The Institutions he inspired a most horrifying success.

Hey, they don’t call it the Surveillance State for nothing, you know

Rand Paul has an idea for a good start.

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump told Sen. Rand Paul that he does not support a clean extension of expiring surveillance authorities, throwing the future of the program into doubt ahead of a fast-approaching March 15 deadline to re-up key features of the Patriot Act.

The Kentucky Republican told reporters that Trump made the comments to him on Wednesday, just a day after Attorney General William Barr told GOP senators that Congress should extend the expiring provisions regarding roving wire taps, lone wolf actors and the most controversial provision: call data collection.

Asked about the discrepancy between his conversation with Trump and Barr’s remarks to senators, Paul said there was “misinformation that got out from some people in the administration” about the expiring surveillance authorities.

“The president was out of the country and somebody mischaracterized his positions. I’ll leave it up to y’all to figure that out,” Paul added.

Paul said Trump is “very supportive” of his amendment to prevent the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act from targeting Americans, a reflection of conservative unease over the way the Trump campaign was surveilled in 2016.

“FISA warrants should not be issued against Americans,” Paul said on Thursday afternoon. “Americans shouldn’t be spied on by a secret court. I think he agrees completely with that and that’s the amendment that I’m going to insist on. I’m not letting anything go easy without a vote on my amendment.”

Paul’s amendment is all well and good as far as it goes; certainly, it’s a vast improvement over the Barr proposal, which McConnell and Graham also endorse. Myself, though, I’m with Sundance all the way.

Yesterday CTH warned of a scenario where congress would attempt to slip a clean renewal authorization into the Coronavirus appropriations bill.   Today, that exact scenario was being discussed on Capitol Hill.

Following the conversation with President Trump, Senator Rand Paul is planning to propose legislation that would force reform to the current FISA authorities.

While CTH disagrees with the Rand Paul proposal, and would rather see the bulk data gathering/collection and opportunities for exploitation eliminated, at least Senator Paul is attempting to stop the system from being abused against political campaigns. 

Two issues…and again CTH is not attempting to dismiss the righteous effort by Senator Paul…However:

(A) Isn’t it already illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and grossly corrupt, to use FISA as a political surveillance tool? If so, why do we need another law or rule change to make it more illegal, more unlawful and more grossly corrupt?

(B) Why do only elected officials or candidates for office get protection from having their fourth amendment rights violated by exploitation of the FISA courts? Shouldn’t the same standard of protection apply to everyone?

CTH understands what Rand Paul is attempting to do, but it’s the FISA process being used against *any* American that is the problem. No American should have their constitutional rights travel through a secret court in order to usurp them. Let FISA apply to “non Americans”; and if there is a need for surveillance or collection of information on Americans, then let the government approach regular Title-3 courts for domestic warrants.

Unfortunately, we know all too well just how likely Deep State operatives are to relinquish as powerful a tool as FISA—a grotesque affront to absolutely every principle this nation was founded upon—has turned out to be for them.

“Professionalizing” pr0n

Is there NOTHING they won’t try to meddle with, micromanage, and regulate unto ruination?

In a very California story, inter-union drama appears to be marring the introduction of a bill that would require porn stars to get business licenses.

On Tuesday, Assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez (D–San Diego) and Christina Garcia (D–Bell Gardens) introduced Assembly Bill (A.B.) 2389. The bill would require adult entertainers and video performers, including webcam performers, to obtain a business license and complete a state-mandated training course before being allowed to ply their trade.

Requirements for that training would be developed by the state’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), which would, in turn, be advised by a new 10-member, governor-appointed board composed of two adult film actors, three dancers, two medical doctors, a therapist, and a money manager.

This training will be a minimum of two hours and will provide information on reporting workplace injuries, sexual harassment, and sex trafficking. Adult performers would be required to cover the cost of this training. The bill would also require that they be finger-printed.

The creation of licensure requirements gives state regulators the authority to police the behavior of participants in what is often a pretty informal industry. Reason recently covered how police in Florida have conducted sting operations on handymen as part of their enforcement of that state’s contractor licensing laws.

As Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown has covered extensively, sex workers have plenty of reasons to be apprehensive about the expansion of the regulatory state.

It’s true also that regulatory seeds, once planted, tend to grow. It’s conceivable that the bill’s current two-hour training requirement could be expanded to become more onerous over time.

“Conceivable”? You must be joking; it’s INEVITABLE. The “training requirement” will grow exponentially…as will the licensing fees, the regulations and restrictions, the taxes, the paperwork, the headaches and hassles, and of course the bureaucracy required to administer and oversee it all. It will ALL “expand”—until the point at which no one wants to be in the industry anymore because it just isn’t worth the bother is reached.

At which point a grim milestone of sorts will have been achieved in the Land of the (gag) “Free”: against all odds, Almighty Government will have effectively destroyed the porn and titty-bar industry. Whodathunkit?

Update! Anybody seeing a pattern here?

The same San Diego area assemblywoman who brought you the job-killing AB 5, which kills freelance jobs, is back to finish off the “adult” freelance industry.

The adult workers are gobsmacked that the state has involved itself in their business— and presumes to train them in order to get a license for a job they’re already doing, while being forced to pay for it all.

Then, once the goobermint has “fixed” all the problems, they can get busy “fixing” all the problems their previous “fixing” caused. Lather, rinse, repeat, forever and ever amen. Y’know, like with Obamacare.

Nature, taking its course

UNEXPECTED!™

John Alpert is an American photojournalist whose work is featured in the Netflix documentary Cuba and the Cameraman. He first went to the island nation in 1972, a little more than a decade after the Cuban Revolution. Over the next 45 years, Alpert returned to Cuba, each time taking pictures of its towns and cities and people. The images he took are a timeline that chronicle how Castro’s socialist revolution played out for the Cuban people in the years that lay ahead.

SPOILER ALERT: it played out exactly the way it always does, in every place it’s tried. Shocking, I know.

To a young photojournalist who was idealistic and somewhat naïve at the time, socialism seemed to portend a bright future for Cuba. With its people happy and well taken care of by a paternalistic government, things were going well. But as time moved one, Cuba’s house-of-cards communist system fell apart. The free goods and services given to the Cuban people were funded not by the country’s top-down collectivist economy, but by a massive infusion of hard cash, gasoline, food, and other provisions from the Soviet Union. When the Soviets eventually pulled the plug as their own socialist economy was crumbling, the day-to-day lives of the Cuban people fell on hard times, a rude reminder of Margaret Thatcher’s observation the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.

The once vibrant island nation of Cuba is but another place where socialism added to its unbroken trail of failure. The country’s capital, Havana, was once an international tourist destination. Known as the “Jewel of the Caribbean,” Havana was a glamorous city with beautiful homes and modern vehicles. After six decades of socialism, only the communist rulers and their cronies live in upscale homes, and the country’s poorly maintained roads are traveled by junker cars built in the middle of the last century.

Easy prediction: the longer they cling to socialism, the more all of these things will worsen. In some quarters, this strange phenomenon of escalating decay, collapse, and chaos is known as “bad luck.” In others, it is sometimes referred to as “getting the government you deserve—good and hard.” Not to worry, though; it’ll be diff’runt here in the US.

I find this next bit of puffed-up, self-dramatizing sanctimony hilarious:

Among the greatest heroes of the Cuban Revolution were two foreigners whose battlefield exploits were so legendary that they became the only non-Cubans to be awarded the rank of Comandante in Castro’s army. One was an idealistic 29-year-old American named William Alexander Morgan, the other a ruthless Marxist revolutionary from Argentina named Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

Hailed by Castro for acts of valor that earned him the affectionate nickname “the Americano,” Morgan said he joined the Cuban Revolution because “the most important thing for free men to do is protect the freedom of others.” 

Uh huh. And then—as also always, always, ALWAYS happens under Marxism/communism/socialism/Progressivism/WTFever—EVERYBODY’S freedom was taken away—along with their hope, their health, their wealth, their dignity, and their future. One just imagine the eager naif Morgan’s surprise at yet another thing that always happens:

A fervent anti-communist, Morgan was personally assured by Castro that communism would play no part in the future of the new Cuba. But once Castro had consolidated an iron-fisted grip on power, he revealed his true stripes.

NO! That just can’t be right. I can’t believe it. I won’t believe it.

I don’t quite grasp how any halfway intelligent person can honestly claim to be both a socialist revolutionary and a “fervent anti-communist” without suffering severe neck, spine, and brain injury from the whiplash effect of extreme cognitive dissonance. But that’s what the man says, so maybe I missed something somewhere along the line. Anyhoo, at the end of this article is a link to another worthy compendium on socialism’s inevitable failure from the same author.

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