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.

Numbers game(s)

They ain’t adding up.

All admit that the numbers that are scaring the sense out of the country are mathematical projections. All projections are based on assumptions about the ever-changing numbers of “confirmed cases” of COVID-19, as well as of deaths resulting therefrom. But few—and here it seems we must include many “health officials”—consider that the latter numbers are themselves “soft” and tell us next to nothing about how much, how little, or what kind of dangers the virus poses to us.

To make intelligent decisions about countermeasures, we would need have hard data about all these matters. Yet, for two months, doctors such as Anthony Fauci have messed up millions of lives and commandeered trillions of dollars while scaring the hell out of people and watching curves based on projections based on meaningless numbers. Watching the several curves resulting from the testing that is now ongoing and that is projected to continue as the country suffers will provide only more guesses, that will feed more models and more disputes.

The most important fact about COVID-19, its true mortality rate, is the number who die of the virus divided by the number infected by it. No algorithms. Simple arithmetic.

In short, Fauci, et al., are showing themselves to be typical of our bureaucracy: over-credentialed, entrusted with too much power, and dangerously incompetent.

It’s mind-blowing to see how many of us who long since accepted American bureaucratic realities are now willing to set it all aside and squander their faith and hope on those same demonstrably inept, corrupt, and untrustworthy bureaucracies…with no evidence whatsoever of even the slightest change or improvement therein.

Learning the true figures about precisely what danger the virus poses to whom must begin by taking into account one thing we know for sure about COVID-19: that many, if not most, of those infected by this unusually contagious virus show few or no symptoms. This suggests eventual near-universal contagion.

But we don’t know how many of these asymptomatic people there are. Hence, meaningful epidemiological testing must include a random representative sample of the population, regardless of whether they are presumed to be infected or not. The numbers resulting from monitoring what happens to the health of individuals in this sample over a few weeks would tell exactly what percentage of people in each category and subcategory suffer what consequences from whatever contact with the virus they happen to have.

Backed by the media, Fauci and company have contended that actions by anybody, ordinary citizens, elected officials, or physicians that do not follow proper bureaucratic procedures are illegitimate. Who the hell do they think they are? We belong to ourselves. Not to them.

Surely, President Trump’s low point came when he supported bypassing roll call votes in the passage of a $2.2 trillion bill as part of his and other executive officials’ decisions to shut down the country. Making decisions on the basis of meaningless curves and bureaucratic authority rather than through open debate about hard facts followed by roll call votes is not just undemocratic. It’s stupid.

I’d tell you to go read it all, but it’s Codevilla, so I’m sure you know that already,

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.

Coronavirus coinkydinks

Ain’t no such thing.

Time bombs are innocuous until the fuse is lit, counting down to an explosion at some predetermined future time. Did the fuse on this current novel virus just happen to light itself? Or was it lit on purpose? And why now?

Here is where the coincidences begin. Wuhan, where the virus originated, just happens to be the location of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, China’s only level 4 biosafety lab.

Could the virus have originated in that lab? The “consensus of scientists” say no, that this is just a conspiracy theory. Perhaps, but other consensuses of scientists tell us President Trump is mentally ill and that man-made global warming is melting the polar icecaps.

Plus we have that whole Chinese scientists pretty much admitting to it thing, too.

Chinese scientists believe the deadly coronavirus may have started life in a research facility just 300 yards from the Wuhan fish market.

A new bombshell paper from the Beijing-sponsored South China University of Technology says that the Wuhan Center for Disease Control (WHCDC) could have spawned the contagion in Hubei province.

Let’s not forget about this, either:

What’s more, the People’s Liberation Army’s top expert in biological warfare, a Maj. Gen. Chen Wei, was dispatched to Wuhan at the end of January to help with the effort to contain the outbreak.

According to the PLA Daily, Chen has been researching coronaviruses since the SARS outbreak of 2003, as well as Ebola and anthrax. This would not be her first trip to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, either, since it is one of only two bioweapons research labs in all of China.

Does that suggest to you that the novel coronavirus, now known as SARS-CoV-2, may have escaped from that very lab, and that Chen’s job is to try to put the genie back in the bottle, as it were? It does to me.

Does to me too, and to anybody else who knows anything about Commie regimes in general, and China in particular. Back to the first article for more on how the “coincidences” do keep piling up.

Move from science to politics for more coincidences, under the backdrop of the Trump presidency and upcoming election. The Chinese Coronavirus was first noted in China in December 2019. What was happening politically here at home at that exact time?

The House was holding impeachment hearings over President Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president, alleging election interference, obstruction of justice, quid pro quo, and anything else Reps Schiff and Nadler could fabricate.

The Ukrainian allegations coincidently originated shortly after the Mueller Special Counsel investigation came up empty in their efforts to remove Trump from office. Articles of impeachment were passed on a partisan basis in December but not acted upon until January, despite the “urgency” of removing the “existential threat” from the Oval Office.

Hmmm. Most peculiar, innit? Perhaps. Then again, perhaps…not so much.

Note the sequence of events, each failed plan was followed by another scheme, all with the same goal of destroying President Trump. Why was the impeachment trial delayed until January? It’s almost as if that was the perfect time to distract the president, the media, and American people while a viral time bomb was beginning to explode.

January was when the Chinese virus was spreading. The intel agencies briefed Trump and Congress. Trump took notice and instituted a travel ban on arrivals from China. Congress ignored the warnings and plowed on with a Senate impeachment trial, guaranteeing no media interest or reporting on the new SARS-like Chinese virus. Was the fuse of the time bomb lit when it was apparent that the Ukraine phone call was a dud, with impeachment a good cover for the burning fuse?

Another way to look at this is to ask: who stands to gain by the economic and social destruction this virus is wreaking?

You’ll want to read all of this one. He makes a pretty tight case, and ties it all up in a neat little bow at the end.

Flatten their curve update! Everyone who played a role in engineering and driving this catastrophe needs to face a serious reckoning. Starting with the ChiComs.

The facts are clear. China is not our friend or ally or even a responsible business partner. Right now, between 30 percent and 40 percent of world national economic output is affected by the coronavirus shutdowns, calculated the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in a report for the G20.

China’s President Xi is petrified that after this inferno the U.S. and others will turn their backs on globalization. In a March 26 letter to the G20, Xi pledged to increase active pharmaceutical supplies and implored G20 nations to cut tariffs and keep up the unfettered flow of trade.

Xi’s words don’t match his actions. In the face of this global crisis, China has hunkered down. China has tried to pin the origins of the coronavirus on the U.S. Army and on Italy. These inept, Communist Party responses show China is not ready to act with honesty or compassion. China wants to claim victory in their “peoples war,” as Xi called, it but they don’t want to change anything. Yes, Beijing has sent doctors and face masks.  But the Communist Party’s two-month cover-up attempt cost lives around the world.

It’s time for a total reconsideration of China’s role in the world and specifically, the U.S. economic relationship with China. Decoupling won’t happen all at once, but pharmaceuticals, 5G wireless, agriculture policy and of course imports and exports all need a new look post-coronavirus.

We can do this, folks. Canada and Mexico were America’s top two trade partners in 2019, with China ranked third in total value, which is exports and imports combined. Our neighbors Canada and Mexico really are the most important partners, accounting for a combined 30 percent of U.S. total trade vs. just 13.5 percent for China.

While Washington will have much to consider, its increasingly clear that coronavirus ended globalization as we know it: the phase dating from the day China joined the World Trade Organization on Dec. 11, 2001, until December 2019, when China fumbled its response to the Wuhan virus outbreak.

I can’t say I expect much if any of this to happen; with such a huge percentage of US manufacturing now based there, we’re much too completely enslaved to China to be able to exact a proper toll from them for these heinous crimes anytime soon. But it’s still a pleasant topic to ponder while we’re all locked in our homes indefinitely, watching it all burn.

Riding the tiger

The unthinkable has now become all too thinkable.

It is a good thing to keep in mind when evaluating predictions about what comes after the great lock down. Trump is no longer talking about Easter as the back to normal date and has extended the lock down through April. Governors are now in a race to see who can come up with the bleakest prediction for when things get back to normal. The Brits now lead the race with six months as their estimate. This is an unprecedented time, which means what was considered unthinkable is very thinkable.

For example, ten years ago most Americans assumed the political classes had learned a hard lesson from Watergate. They had let the security services run wild for too long and suddenly they were a threat to the politicians. The days of a J. Edgar Hoover spying on people were over. Not only was that false, but there was a plot among FBI officials to interfere in the presidential election. They went so far as to concoct an impeachment trap in order to remove Donald Trump.

Six months ago is was unthinkable that these same security agencies would have the president removed by some other means. Six month ago we did not have a third of the country hiding under their beds. We did not have major cities turned into ghost towns by quarantine orders. How unreasonable is it to think that the same people who launched the seditious plot in 2015 would find themselves a Lee Harvey Oswald? It sounds crazy, but we live in an age where the crazy quickly becomes the norm.

What about something less cloak and dagger like martial law? State governors are getting pretty close to the line between state of emergency and assuming dictatorial powers over their states. New Jersey is supposedly issuing travel passes to citizens and arresting people for gathering in their own homes. Los Angeles has suspended the second amendment. Trump has contemplated a Federal quarantine of New York City, which would probably mean troops on the streets to enforce it.

If this does go on for months and the cracks in the ruling class begin to show, is civil unrest really unthinkable? Is civil war unthinkable? Rhode Island now considers New Yorkers persona non grata. Pennsylvania is doing the same. Mainers are now going vigilante on suspected New Jerseyites. Sure, concern for the virus is the stated reason, but a general dislike for New Yorkers is the real reason. There are lots of such divisions in this country. Is civil war really so unthinkable?

Just because something is possible, does not mean it is likely. It is possible to hit the lottery for a billion dollars, but the odds are very small. What we’re talking about here though are the things that were thought impossible or close to impossible just six months ago that are now suddenly possible. Maybe they are still unthinkable within the ruling classes, but we thought the FBI and CIA spying on presidential candidates was unthinkable until not so long ago.

Events have a way of reverbating through history, ramping up in ways the people who initially believed themselves capable of controlling them, of directing them for their own purposes, could never have imagined. And then?



Prison Planet?

Welcome to Prison Nation.

Over the weekend, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that “synagogues” and “churches” that disobey his order to remain shut down may be closed permanently as punishment. One can’t help but notice that the good mayor conspicuously omitted one type of worship facility from this dire warning. But whether mosques are exempt or not, the bigger issue is that Bill de Blasio certainly does not have the authority to permanently close places of worship as a punitive measure for defying his commands. He has the word “mayor” in front of his name, not “sultan” or “king” or “supreme leader.” And the First Amendment still exists, even if he’d prefer to pretend otherwise.

But this is just one example of government officials seizing power that does not belong to them. And it’s not only happening in the United States. Over in the UK, police are setting up checkpoints to questions drivers about where they’re going and why. Those deemed to be engaged in “non-essential” travel will be fined. Some UK police departments have gone so far as to deploy drones to track and follow non-essential joggers, hikers, and dog walkers.

Well, okay then. But that’s only Once-Great Britain, right? As I pointed out last night, the crucial question of whether the English people remain English was answered long ago. A hint as to which way that decision went might be found in the name of the “overpraised Chancellor” Hitchens complained about in the piece I excerpted, which is hardly one of those fine multi-hyphenated English names of old—the ones PG Wodehouse had such riotous fun with, like Cyril Bassington-Bassington, August Fink-Nottle (“Spink-Bottle” to Wooster’s beloved Aunt Dahlia, of course), or Claude Cattermole “Catsmeat” Potter-Pirbright.

Yep, that’s Anglund, and Anglund definitely ain’t what once it was. Thankfully, America is still America, right? And always will be, right?

Well. About that.

This week a pastor was arrested and charged with criminal offenses for holding a worship service. Let us note that this event occurred not in North Korea or Saudi Arabia, but the United States of America. Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, of Revival International Ministries, turned himself into authorities after leading his congregation in Sunday worship, which put him in violation of his county’s “stay-at-home” order.

Hillsborough County in Florida, like many other states and localities across the country, has forcibly shut down all establishments that it has deemed “non-essential.” As far as I know, no government at any level, anywhere in the nation, has deigned to label churches essential. Our Founding Fathers, who gave the right to assemble and the right to practice religion pride of place in the Bill of Rights, seemed to have disagreed. But in these times we are not subject to the opinions of the Founding Fathers or even the legal document they wrote. We have entered a point in our history where governors, mayors, and local county boards, can come up with any rule they like, outlaw whatever behavior they don’t like, and enforce their edicts at gun point. But to question this new system, I have been repeatedly informed, is to wish death on our nation’s elderly population.

Pastor Howard-Browne insists that his church took many precautions. Hand sanitizer was given out. Staff wore gloves. Congregants were spaced out as much as possible. They may not have all been 6 feet apart, but they were certainly better spaced than you will be if you wait in line at the grocery store. As it happens, you can go to the grocery store 10 times a day and load your cart up with snacks, candy, and soda. You can then stand in a crowd of densely packed people as you wait to purchase your items from a cashier who may or may not be wearing gloves. All of this, says our Dear Leaders, is both safe and essential. But sitting in a church, a few feet from the next person, taking care to cover your mouth when you cough, and making sure that your hands are washed, is both unsafe and inessential. Does that make any real sense? Probably not. Can the government simply declare all churches non-essential, close them indefinitely, and thus circumvent the First Amendment with so much ease as to render it effectively nullified from here on out? I doubt that was ever what the men who wrote it had in mind, but here we are.

I am trying to imagine a definition of “religious liberty” that includes the government closing churches indefinitely on the basis that they are not essential enough to remain open. I cannot think of one that would be at all cogent or meaningful. Indeed, it has become obvious (if it wasn’t already) that our mainstream notions of “liberty” and “rights” and “freedom” are largely nonsensical, as evidenced by the people who normally assert these concepts as absolutes but now insist that the government has the unquestioned power to lock us in our homes and shut our businesses for as long as it pleases.

Most of us, it turns out, do not have a governing philosophy or set of principles. We are slaves to our emotions. So, if the government scares us enough, we will rip the “Give me liberty or give me death” and “Don’t tread on me” bumper stickers off of our cars and stuff them in the closet while we cower along side it. Then when the threat has passed — or at least we are told that it has passed — we will proudly affix the bumper stickers back on our bumpers again, and sing bravely about our love of freedom.

For as long as the authorities still allow anyone to sing, and not one minute longer. Sadly, tragically, at this point a reasonably objective, historically literate person can only conclude that our Founders wouldn’t lower themselves to piss in our mouths if our gums were on fire. Can’t honestly say I’d blame ’em for feeling that way, either.

No fake news here

More plain-and-simple truth, inconvenient though it be, from America’s Only REAL News Source.

Americans Excitedly Anticipate Getting Paid With Their Own Money
U.S.—Americans have reported they’re very optimistic about the stimulus package passed by Congress last week. In particular, people all around the country are excited to get paid with a little bit of the money that they paid the federal government already.

Americans from all walks of life said they couldn’t wait to receive a check with a small percentage of the money the government had already taken from them.

“I can’t wait to get that $1,200.00 check of my own money,” said one man in Texas, rubbing his hands together. “Surely this will get the economy back on track.”

From the rich to the poor, American citizens spent many hours dreaming of all the things they will spend their newfound riches on. “With $1200, I could save enough to pay my taxes on time this year,” said one woman in Los Angeles. “Thanks so much, Congress. You’re the real heroes here.”

A small percentage of the population said they thought it would be way more efficient for the economy if the government just didn’t take the money in the first place. These people were shouted down as “libertarian conspiracy theorist wackos” and told to move to Somalia.

Sure, why not? Makes every bit as much sense as anything else does these days. Plus, what with Minnesota and other places having been “fundamentally transformed” into Somali enclaves, there’s probably lots of room over there now, available at fire-sale prices.

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.

Requiem for the Republic

She’s dead, Jim.

In order to maintain something of an economy with most of the nation locked away in their homes, there has been a 2 Trillion dollar payment to individuals, businesses and corporations to stabilize the economy and another 4 Trillion dollar loosening of the Federal Reserve to go along with it. What does that mean? It means that created out of air is twice the annual tax receipts for the United States. There is no way that is not a significant economic event. It is the invention of 1/3 of GDP. That it would not have a drastic and detrimental effect on the future of the nation is insanity only capable of being ignored by graduates of the public school system.

In one fell swoop of a minor pandemic the United States as a nation has abandoned both the republic and capitalism. Individual rights are destroyed, never again to be seen as rational arguments against the power of the state. Capitalism has lost out to the political and economic ideology of Soviet Russia allowing for such things as “travel permits” and sequestration of healthy individuals. It might be politically acceptable to brush all of this off for the time being as we sort out how big of a problem the pandemic is going to be, but it will never return to what it was and what few and precious rights once available to us will no longer be accessible through the courts.

It’s over. The elephant is dead. Capitalism is gone, the republic is gone. What we have now is an opportunity to feed off of the dead elephant, to stockpile as much as we can, to distance ourselves from each other and prepare for the ultimate battle for survival. The economic collapse is already in motion. It would have come along anyway, eventually, but this stimulus package stacked on top of the already soaring debt and unfunded liabilities will cripple the nation forever. It will implode. That is not to say that it will not chug along on four square wheels for some time, but the last support has been kicked out from under it, that of the belief in the rule of law and an understanding of global economics. Without those, nothing prevents the ceiling up from crashing down. It is what we recognize in Christianity as faith. Remove faith (as we have) and the only thing left are words, memes circulating the popular sites with no structural substance.

I note that hereabouts at least, the Christian churches are among the many things under lockdown, but golf courses…ain’t?!? Strangely, I’ve yet to see much specific mention of mosques, nor of how our newly-decreed statewide lockdown might affect Ramadan. But I do confess the idea of holding “digital Ramadan” observances just tickles me silly.

Oooops!

Never mind.

If it’s true that the novel coronavirus would kill millions without shelter-in-place orders and quarantines, then the extraordinary measures being carried out in cities and states around the country are surely justified. But there’s little evidence to confirm that premise—and projections of the death toll could plausibly be orders of magnitude too high.

Fear of Covid-19 is based on its high estimated case fatality rate—2% to 4% of people with confirmed Covid-19 have died, according to the World Health Organization and others. So if 100 million Americans ultimately get the disease, two million to four million could die. We believe that estimate is deeply flawed. The true fatality rate is the portion of those infected who die, not the deaths from identified positive cases.

The latter rate is misleading because of selection bias in testing. The degree of bias is uncertain because available data are limited. But it could make the difference between an epidemic that kills 20,000 and one that kills two million. If the number of actual infections is much larger than the number of cases—orders of magnitude larger—then the true fatality rate is much lower as well. That’s not only plausible but likely based on what we know so far.

Follows, some crunching of what admittedly meager numbers we actually have, an unknown portion of which are either incomplete or unreliable. Conclusion?

This does not make Covid-19 a nonissue. The daily reports from Italy and across the U.S. show real struggles and overwhelmed health systems. But a 20,000- or 40,000-death epidemic is a far less severe problem than one that kills two million. Given the enormous consequences of decisions around Covid-19 response, getting clear data to guide decisions now is critical. We don’t know the true infection rate in the U.S. Antibody testing of representative samples to measure disease prevalence (including the recovered) is crucial. Nearly every day a new lab gets approval for antibody testing, so population testing using this technology is now feasible.

If we’re right about the limited scale of the epidemic, then measures focused on older populations and hospitals are sensible. Elective procedures will need to be rescheduled. Hospital resources will need to be reallocated to care for critically ill patients. Triage will need to improve. And policy makers will need to focus on reducing risks for older adults and people with underlying medical conditions.

A universal quarantine may not be worth the costs it imposes on the economy, community and individual mental and physical health. We should undertake immediate steps to evaluate the empirical basis of the current lockdowns.

I feel confident in sticking with a tried and true central premise of mine: whatever the solution to any given problem might be, if any, it’s EXTREMELY unlikely that it will come from government. I have for years now distrusted both its intentions and its capabilities, and see no reason to abandon that position now just because everybody else has suddenly decided to embrace the old faith again out of nothing but sheer terror.

The excerpt above is from a WSJ article, paywalled of course, so the link I provided above is actually to an archive.is snapshot. It may or may not work for some of you guys, I dunno. But except for the statistical nitty-gritty, I already copped the good parts for ya anyhow.

(Via CBD)

Fact check update! More number-crunching, unveiling the truth behind all the Enemedia lies.

It begins

Shit just got REAL, people.

Waffle House says 418 of its restaurants are closed as coronavirus continues to spread

Updated: Waffle House has increased the number of restaurants closed since this story was first published.

Waffle House, the restaurant chain known for having its own unofficial index used during natural disasters, said it’s closing 418 of its restaurants.

In various social media posts, the chain featured a map showing the 418 closed restaurants, while another 1,574 across the southeastern U.S. remained open. The posts also featured the hashtag “#WaffleHouseIndexRed.

Being a HUGE fan of Waffle House myself—anybody who’s spent as much time on the road as I have over the years simply couldn’t NOT be—this reads like a real tragedy to me. But it ain’t just Waffle House that’s suffering; the national Restaurant Holocaust I’ve been predicting is just getting its boots on, looks like.

The Cheesecake Factory, one of the most popular sit-down restaurant chains in the country, says it will not be able to make upcoming rent payments for any of its storefronts on April 1 because of significant loss of income due to the coronavirus crisis.

The Calabasas Hills-based company informed all of its landlords in a letter dated March 18 (reproduced below) that a severe decline in restaurant traffic has decreased its cash flow and “inflicted a tremendous financial blow” to business. Cheesecake Factory’s affiliated restaurants, such as Rock Sugar and North Italia, will also not make April 1 rent payments.

Company chairman and CEO David Overton writes, “Due to these extraordinary events, I am asking for your patience, and frankly, your help.” He continues, “we appreciate our landlords’ understanding given the exigency of the current situation.” The letter says that the company hopes to resume paying rent as soon as possible.

Cheesecake Factory, for those of you unfamiliar with ’em, isn’t exactly your basic small-time mom-and-pop operation.

The Cheesecake Factory was founded in Beverly Hills in 1972 and maintains its original location on Beverly Drive, with 39 locations in California. In total, it operates 294 restaurants in 39 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Toronto, Canada. In 2019, the company also acquired Phoenix-based Fox Restaurants, including North Italia, Flower Child, and The Henry. Most of the company’s landlords are malls, including Simon and Westfield.

In telling landlords that it will not able to pay rent, the Cheesecake Factory essentially confirms that it is in the same position that many independent restaurateurs currently find themselves in. In a statement to investors on March 23 — five days after the letter to landlords — the Cheesecake Factory announced that it would curtail development of unopened restaurants and tap into a $90 million credit line to increase its available cash. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, the Cheesecake Factory has closed 27 locations across the country, and pivoted other locations to a takeout and delivery-only model — which it said just days ago was enabling the company to “operate sustainably at present” — and its stock price has fallen by more than 50 percent in the past month.

With 38,000 employees, the Cheesecake Factory is one of the largest restaurant employers in the country. Given its recent stock woes and the ongoing reduction in business due to the coronavirus pandemic, it seems possible that it, like many restaurants, could end up needing a bailout to survive.

As I keep saying, this shutdown/lockdown business is going to wind up being one hell of a lot more costly long-term than some folks seem to realize. If a huge national chain like CF is struggling, just imagine what this is doing to all the independently-owned places out there—and how many of those businesses are going to simply cease to exist.

Nor is the dismal impact limited to restaurants and bars; pretty much any small business you could name, in any field, is in a similar untenable situation. The jobs they provide, the taxes they pay, the livelihoods their employees depend on—all gone for good, never to return no matter how big a “stimulus” the goobermint finally comes up with. The suppliers and services they support, the customers they serve, the communities they enliven—all damaged if not brought to ruin themselves by this cascade of catastrophe.

Our “leaders,” in the arrogance of their mistaken assumption of omnipotence, decided to light a fuse that cannot be extinguished. Now it’s too late for the rest of us to do anything but sit back and wait for the explosion, and see how much of American society is caught inside the blast radius.

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.

Top Men

Bitter Clinger is not impressed.

It’s not just infuriating, it’s depressing, to see how mentally softened our country has become. Reduced to a shadow of ourselves, once the greatest, most inspiring nation to grace the planet. A nation colonized by men that sailed across oceans to a wilderness unknown without modern convenience or assurance of survival to have what they coveted most, personal autonomy. A nation that sent men to the deepest depths of the oceans and planted flags on the moon.

And what are we reduced to by media-induced panic? A nation of cowards, that casts the eye of suspicion on our fellow countrymen for the crime of a public sneeze or clearing of the throat.

My Little Clingette recently travelled to Spain on a school trip, one wrought with government travel bans, social distancing advisories, the ever-present “abundance of caution”, airport screenings, and a rucksack replete with hand sanitizer, alcohol-wipes and the like.

Upon her return, the top men of government, medicine and science have deemed it proper that she be quarantined for a fortnight, because, you see, having travelled makes her a hazard to society, or so say the top men. Mind you these same men of science have informed us that a child, moments from birth, is no child at all and may be summarily executed. These same men of medicine have assured us that injecting livestock with hormones is a dangerous practice, but injecting an eight year old with hormone blockers is sound medicine. These same men of government ply us with sound logical practices such as the forgoing of jurisprudence for the rapists, murderers and drug peddlers that invade our country from lands afar and near that pillage our great nation by way of government trough and illicit acts.

As a child of the internet generation, Little Clingette is given to trust the collective knowledge of the keyboard. So she is convinced that a visit to grandma’s house is tantamount to issuing a death sentence to her elderly maternal role model, and while I love her heart for being so concerned, a part of my heart breaks for her that she is assuredly is symptomatic, not of COVID-19 (or as it is referred to in House Clinger, “The Boogeyman Virus”), but of a deeper, more worrisome disease, one that is increasingly pervasive in our society. She suffers from fear, and fear is a dreadful disease most certainly. For while a bacteria, a virus, a stranger, or whatever other form that risk may manifest as may indeed kill you, fear itself will cripple your growth and life in a way that Polio or Ebola never could.

I still say that if our Top Men—with their superior wisdom, judgment, and access to much information we lesser beings lack—were really all that concerned about CV-19, they wouldn’t be in Washington conducting the usual business in the usual way right now as if there was nothing to worry about.

They’ve lied to us, and lied to us, and lied to us—about everything under the sun, for years and years and years. We know this full well. We know they’re not to be trusted; we know their intentions, ethics, and behavior all habitually fall a good ways short of honorable. Yet now, all of a sudden, we’re going to start believing them? We’re going to start trusting them, we’re going to just take it on faith that they have our best interests at heart—that they mean well after all? That they’re only “here to help,” as the bumper-sticker joke goes?

I could be all wet, I could be overly cynical, I could be a damned idiot, but…nah, brah.

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.

Comments policy

Comments appear entirely at the whim of the guy who pays the bills for this site and may be deleted, ridiculed, maliciously edited for purposes of mockery, or otherwise pissed over as he in his capricious fancy sees fit. The CF comments section is pretty free-form and rough and tumble; tolerance level for rowdiness and misbehavior is fairly high here, but is NOT without limit. Management is under no obligation whatever to allow the comments section to be taken over and ruined by trolls, Leftists, and/or other oxygen thieves, and will take any measures deemed necessary to prevent such. Conduct yourself with the merest modicum of decorum, courtesy, and respect and you'll be fine. Pick pointless squabbles with other commenters, fling provocative personal insults, issue threats, or annoy the host (me) and...you won't. Should you find yourself sanctioned after running afoul of the CF comments policy as stated and feel you have been wronged, please download and complete the Butthurt Report form below in quadruplicate; retain one copy for your personal records and send the others to the email address posted in the right sidebar. Please refrain from whining, sniveling, and/or bursting into tears and waving your chubby fists around in frustrated rage, lest you suffer an aneurysm or stroke unnecessarily. Your completed form will be reviewed and your complaint addressed whenever management feels like getting around to it. Thank you.

Categories

Archives

Notable Quotes

"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

"To put it simply, the Left is the stupid and the insane, led by the evil. You can’t persuade the stupid or the insane and you had damn well better fight the evil." - Skeptic

"Give me the media and I will make of any nation a herd of swine." - Joseph Goebbels

"Ain't no misunderstanding this war. They want to rule us and aim to do it. We aim not to allow it. All there is to it." - NC Reed, from Parno's Peril

"I just want a government that fits in the box it originally came in." - Bill Whittle

Subscribe to CF!

Support options

Shameless begging

If you enjoy the site, please consider donating:

Fuck you

Image swiped from The Last Refuge

2016 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Rss feed

RSS - entries - Entries
RSS - entries - Comments

Contact


mike at this URL dot com

All e-mails assumed to be legitimate fodder for publication, scorn, ridicule, or other public mockery unless otherwise specified

Boycott the New York Times -- Read the Real News at Larwyn's Linx

Copyright © 2020