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,

MORE TESTOSTERONE, STAT!

A risk-free society ain’t a healthy one.

The panic over the virus is something new to modern society. This virus is not a threat to humanity, but it is treated as one. We know there was no panic over the Swine flu, the Asian flu, the Hong Kong flu and so on. There was no panic over the great influenza outbreak of 2017 that killed 80,000 Americans. Yet with the death toll soaring to 4,000 with the Chinese flu, America is paralyzed with fear.

It could be that when a civilization becomes sufficiently advanced, three things happen that change how it interacts with the world. One is the birth rate falls. This is something we have seen all over the world. Once a society can reliably feed its people and it reduces interpersonal violence to a certain level, total fertility rates fall. At the same time, the society feminizes. Women begin to take up positions of authority in both civil and government institutions, changing the nature of those institutions.

That’s the third thing, what we are seeing today. A society dominated by women is extremely risk averse. The focus first shifts to elevating the value of life, then to guarding the children against any potential risk. We saw this happen in the 90’s and 00’s with the millennial generation, who were sheltered from everything. Finally, the society shifts to organizing against any threat, even those that promise to merely trim a few years off the lifespan of the octogenarians.

A society that is hyper-focused on preventing even the slightest risk is not a society taking great risks to explore the stars. Maybe that’s why the cost of going back to the moon is prohibitively high. The safety precautions that would be required make the venture pointlessly expensive. The reason it takes ten years to build a building that a century ago only took a year to build, is that today’s society is risk intolerant. If just one worker gets a hangnail or stubs a toe, the cost is considered too high.

Ahh, but the cost of quivering in terror at the mere prospect of risk is far higher. Or will be when a stronger, bolder, more virile one comes along to kick its cowardly ass, subjugate it, and eventually replace it completely, while the lily-livered, man-bunned MenWymryn all cringe weeping in a corner—soiling their expensive designer skinny-jeans in fright, pleading from their weak knees for a mercy not forthcoming from their steely-eyed conquerors.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Turd World problems

Well, I admit I didn’t see this coming. But maybe I should have.

Shredded T-Shirts Used as Toilet Paper Are Backing Up Sewer Systems
Thanks to all of you numbskulls who bought a million rolls of toilet paper in the last few weeks,  some California towns are experiencing sewer problems because people are using disinfectant wipes, paper towels, and even shredded T-shirts and then flushing them.

Not that I’m a fan of the panic-buying Sheeple and their mad stampede off the c-virus cliff or anything, Rick, but I’d say it’s the people who were too stupid to go out and grab themselves a newspaper when they ran out of skid paper instead of trying to flush a friggin’ T shirt who are more at fault here. The original report:

The toilet paper shortage is leading some people to resort to other ways of wiping and it caused a problem for part of the Redding sewer system Wednesday night.

Someone apparently used shredded T-shirts when they didn’t have toilet tissue, wastewater management officials said Thursday.

As a result, one of the city’s sewer lines backed up at a lift station and workers had to take quick action to avert a dangerous spill.

“The pumps were clogged by what appeared to be shredded T-shirts that were used in place of toilet paper,” the city said.

If you don’t have toilet paper, city wastewater officials have this advice for other materials: “Bag it. Don’t flush it.”

Annnnd…then what? Bury it in the backyard? Leave it by the side of the road somewhere? Personally, I’d probably just set it afire and leave it on the porch of some neighbor I didn’t like, but I’m kind of a jerk like that sometimes. Back to Moran:

All we need is another public health crisis to deal with. Government agents will have to start going door to door and seize TP and distribute it to the truly needy.

Let’s not give ’em any more bright ideas, ‘kay?

The Romans used to scrape themselves clean and then enjoy a nice cleansing bath. No sewer problems there.

Well, they used to scrape themselves, maybe. Don’t know how “clean” that got ’em, although the “cleansing bath” part implies an unsatisfactory outcome. The Ayatollah Khomeini famously advised using a pebble for the purpose—among many, many other bizarre Allah-sanctioned shithouse do’s and don’ts—but I don’t care how many times anybody recommends it as a good example, I ain’t gonna follow.

China syndrome

Tucker expands on some of those Bigger Problems I mentioned below.

There are serious long-term problems facing America, as we’ve told you about for years on this show. Thanks to outsourcing, this country no longer has the same reserve of stable middle-class manufacturing jobs we did even 30 years ago.

In coastal cities, housing has become astronomically expensive. Prices are rising far quicker than wage growth. And most tragically, an opioid epidemic kills tens of thousands of Americans every year. One of the chief reasons for that is a synthetic opiate called fentanyl that is smuggled in from abroad.

Now, these might seem like unrelated problems, but they’re not. A single theme unites them — a systematic decision by many of our country’s most powerful leaders to sell out America to China.

Those jobs that were outsourced, they went to China. Those rising home prices, all-cash Chinese buyers are a major contributor to that, though it’s almost never said out loud. Fentanyl — made in China with the knowledge and tacit approval of the Chinese Communist Party.

China is no longer simply an economic rival of the United States; it’s becoming a dangerous enemy. But instead of protecting us from this threat, an existential one, our leadership class collaborates with the other side.

The scariest part is that as China has grown more powerful, America has grown more dependent on it. Outsourcing our manufacturing power brought American companies big short-term profits. Head to Florida, and you’ll see the houses they’ve built with those profits. But in the long run, that decision made this country dangerously dependent on a nation that seeks to displace us on the world stage.

The saddest and most infuriating part is that none of this needed to happen in the first place. China didn’t just one day magically overtake us. Our leaders made that possible. They abetted it. They profited from it. They betrayed us.

And Americans voted for ’em anyway, and will again too. Which makes this depressing splash of cold-water reality look more relevant than ever:

BumsOut.jpg

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.

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.

Yeah, get bent

One can only stand back in awe of the enormous balls on the ChiCom swine.

Thursday’s allegations from the Chinese Foreign Ministry that the Wuhan coronavirus originated in America and was spread to China by the U.S. military was not a fluke or an example of a rogue spokesman running his mouth.

Foreign Ministry mouthpiece Zhao Lijian doubled down with more allegations on Friday, signaling a major effort by the Chinese Communist Party to gaslight the entire world and avoid responsibility for the global pandemic unleashed by the Chinese government.

At least one other Foreign Ministry spokesman more widely quoted in the West, Geng Shuang, refused to challenge or denounce Zhao’s tweets.

“The international community, including the U.S., have different opinions about the origin of the virus,” was Geng’s comment when asked about Zhao’s theories.

“China always considers this a scientific question, which should be addressed in a scientific and professional manner,” he added.

CNN noticed a “concerted campaign to question the origin of the novel coronavirus” on Chinese social media. Chinese officials are very much a part of this campaign. Zhao’s superior at the Foreign Ministry, Hua Chunying, used the Redfield video as an excuse to thunder that it is “absolutely WRONG and INAPPROPRIATE to call this the Chinese coronavirus.”

Right. So from here on out, then, I will be referring to COVID-19—engineered in a Chinese bioweapons lab in China by Chinese government scientists who are Chinese—as the Chinese Yellow Peril Fu Manchu Wuhan Flu.

With two you get eggroll, motherfuckers.

To the astonishment of precisely no one who knows anything at all about Commies, the evil Chinese bastards are of course lying their Commie asses off.

What calling this latest virus the Wuhan Virus is is a reminder of the multiple contagions China has spawned and released on an unsuspecting world. Nor is connecting some very big, ugly, and obvious dots just another conspiracy theory to be dismissed out of hand.

From the beginning China has been less than forthcoming about this virus and resisted sharing critical data and access to WHO and CDC specialists. And have we forgotten Dr. Li Wenliang, the 33-year-old ophthalmologist based in Wuhan, the epicenter of the contagion, who tried to tell the world that China was hiding something malevolent, only to be silenced and imprisoned by Chinese authorities for allegedly fabricating lies about the disease’s deadly potential? He would later die of the disease he tried to warn us about and the Chinese tried to keep under wraps.

To be clear, this is not to say the Wuhan Virus was part of any biological weapons program or that its release was intentional. It could just be that it was the result of Chernobyl-like sloppiness resulting from a bizarre blend of Chinese culture and global ambition.

Along with the constant lying and obfuscation, the corruption, incompetence, and “sloppiness” are other reliable characteristics of Communist governments. Throw in a total disregard for the innocent lives Commie regimes so casually disrupt, damage, and destroy outright in truly staggering numbers, and you know pretty much everything you should ever need to about Communism, really.

This isn’t the first made-in-China virus Beijing has sprung on the world. And it won’t be the last unless we stop worrying about political correctness and sanction China for what amounts to economic warfare and negligent homicide on a global scale.

Sanction ’em, eh? And how are we gonna pull THAT one off, pray tell? Thanks to the nefarious cabal of politicians and high-level corporate greedheads who sold America down the river for their own selfish gain while we weren’t paying close enough attention, our options now fall somewhere in the vicinity of “precious few good ones,” with a pretty sharpish tilt towards “none whatsoever.”

American manufacturing was transferred en bloc to China long ago while the Americans being slo-mo buggered politely agreed not to notice, re-electing the sleazy, grasping pols who acted in cahoots with the corporate greedheads again and again and again. Sad to say, that last is all on us.

Think I’m kidding about our lack of real options here? The Chinese themselves sure seem confident enough about it:

China is threatening to wreak havoc on America’s drug supply amid the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. Thanks to our globalist elite and especially missteps during the Obama-Biden administration, Beijing has the power to do just that.
 
In an article in Xinhua, one of the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpieces, Beijing threatened that it can impose pharmaceutical export controls after which America will be “plunged into the mighty sea of coronavirus.”

Unfortunately, Beijing isn’t bluffing about this capability.

Nope. in fact, they could do plenty more, and worse, than just that if they wanted.

The last cited article continues from there with a recap of how we wound up as a wholly-owned property of Red China Inc which is guaranteed to chill your very marrow, and enrage you along with it. SPOILER: Sloppy Joe Biden plays a starring role.

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?

You never make deals with Muzzrat savages

You kill them. As many as you can, as quick as you can, with extreme prejudice. Then you salt the earth, smear bacon grease on the corpses, and leave.

Nothing illustrates the folly of our 18-year-long nation-building mission in Afghanistan better than the partial peace bought by a months-long negotiation breaking down after just 72 hours.

AFP also reports, “three killed, 11 injured in blast in east Afghanistan,” so you know the Taliban wasn’t kidding around. The “operation,” as the Taliban likes to call it, or “savage terror attack,” as any honest person would call it, was in response to confusion between the Trump White House and the Afghan central government over the release of up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners.

“Release” them? That’s another thing you never, ever do with Mooselimb terrorists. Then again, the first mistake there was taking live prisoners at all rather than going full Black Flag on their primitive asses. At this late date, the esteemed Miz Kelly has the right of it:

With few exceptions, America’s longest war is largely ignored by our political class while the costs and casualties mount. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) held a hearing last month on the Washington Post’s explosive and infuriating series on the war in Afghanistan: Only three of his colleagues bothered to attend. The sole Democrat in attendance was the committee’s ranking member, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).

“Doing nothing is no longer an option for any senator or member of Congress with a conscience,” Paul said, perhaps during a moment of wishful thinking.

The long-time proponent of ending the Afghanistan war ticked off the stats: Nearly 2,400 dead U.S. servicemen and women with more than 20,000 wounded. Soldiers who have faced numerous deployments since the war began in 2001. And nearly $1 trillion in U.S. tax dollars—an average of $50 billion per year for almost 20 years, as Paul pointed out—spent in a backward nation that still ranks near the bottom of the list of the world’s most economically and politically free countries.

“What has that $1 trillion bought us? What do we have to show for it?” Paul asked. “Did a trillion dollars make Afghanistan more stable…[or] move us one step closer to victory?”

The answer, of course, is no. Barack Obama’s 2009 troop surge didn’t work; as his vice president now campaigns for president, it’s important to remember that three-quarters of the total troop fatalities in Afghanistan occurred during the Obama presidency. 

The war in Afghanistan is a catastrophic failure by every measure. It should cast a permanent shadow of shame over those who continued to promote it despite clear evidence for years that it was a disaster with no hope of a positive outcome. 

Afghanistan is not worth one more life, one more grievous injury, or one more tax dollar to maintain our military’s presence there. Those who insist we remain only do so out of vanity and self-interest; to concur with Trump at this point would concede that their planning and execution have been wrong all along.

Even the peace plan’s detractors cannot come up with a compelling reason to stay other than hollow warnings about national security threats to the homeland. That claim, according to Jordan Schachtel, a D.C-based foreign policy analyst and journalist, is bunk.

“There is no threat to America from Afghanistan, a land of desolate poverty, which is occupied by subsistence farmers and families living in mud huts,” Schachtel told me by email. He thinks the peace deal is a “stall tactic” designed to fail and should have no bearing on whether the U.S. stays or leaves Afghanistan. “The best path forward does not include a deal. Just leave the country.”

A. Friggin. MEN.

“Nation-bulding” is the bunk. If you’re going to fight a war, you fight the ever-loving hell out of the damned thing. You use absolutely every weapon available to you, employing their destructive capabilities to the verymost maximum. You throw everything at the enemy you can get your hands on, without reference to the folly of gentlemanly niceties, sentimentality, or misguided “code of honor” that your enemy will never comply with himself or, in this case, even comprehend. You kill people and break things—savagely, ruthlessly, and mercilessly—until your enemy’s will to resist is irrepairably broken. You rain almighty Hell-fire and brimstone down on his head with neither pity nor surcease, until sheer terror at the merest fleeting thought of doing battle with you reduces him to a state of gibbering catatonia.

If you lack the will or the cold practicality to do all those things, you stay the fucking fuck home.

Sherman said it best: “War is cruelty, there is no use trying to reform it; the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.” He later added: “War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want.” Yesirreebob. All they want, plus a stiff measure more, so as to discourage future misbehavior.

Is this something?

Hmmmmm.

A federal judge Monday granted a request from conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch to have former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sit for a sworn deposition to answer questions about her use of a private email server to conduct government business.

Clinton has argued that she has already answered questions about this and should not have to do so again — the matter did not result in any charges for the then-presidential candidate in 2016 after a high-profile investigation — but D.C. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth said in his ruling that her past responses left much to be desired.

Of course they did. What we’re talking about here is a person well known to be of extremely dubious moral character, with a sense of entitlement and privilege big as all outdoors—a narcissistic sociopath, really, one long accustomed to being able to get away with murder—literally, in this case. Whenever such a one’s self-interest isn’t served by full and frank disclosure of the truth but by obscuring it, that’s kinda what happens.

“As extensive as the existing record is, it does not sufficiently explain Secretary Clinton’s state of mind when she decided it would be an acceptable practice to set up and use a private server to conduct State Department business,” Lamberth said.

The judge went on to recognize that while Clinton responded to written questions in a separate case, “those responses were either incomplete, unhelpful, or cursory at best. Simply put her responses left many more questions than answers.” Lamberth said that using written questions this time “will only muddle any understanding of Secretary Clinton’s state of mind and fail to capture the full picture, thus delaying the final disposition of this case even further.”

Lamberth even gave some examples of lingering questions about Clinton’s emails, such as how did she come to believe that her private emails would be preserved under normal State Department processes, who told her this and when, at what point did she learn department records management officials did not know about the server, “[a]nd why did she think that using a private server to conduct State Department business was permissible under the law in the first place?”

She knew damned well it was no such thing. Her intention from jump was to flout the law so as to conceal the ongoing criminal actions of the lawless junta she was a part of. As always, she took getting away with it for granted; even if she did get nabbed, she assumed then, and assumes even now, that she’ll never face a serious reckoning. And why the hell not? So far, she’s been correct in every particular.

Given that the settlement attempts and records search took place after Clinton left office, the judge ruled that the deposition should focus on whether she intentionally tried to use her private server to evade FOIA and her understanding of the State Department’s record management requirements.

Oh, fer cripe’s sa….

DUDE, ever hear of Occam’s Razor, perchance? Because trust me, this is the pluperfect place to be applying it, which will suddenly make sorting out this whole kerfuffle a very damned simple project indeed. That’s because it IS simple, in truth, and it always was. To wit: Hillary!™ is nothing but a fucking criminal and always has been, a power-drunk reprobate who unswervingly believes herself to be above the law, wholly exempt from the trifling legalities the rest of us nobodies are held strictly accountable to. As such, she was but one of many Barrackorrhoids who felt/feel likewise, all working for a criminal junta that ditto.

Hats off and all to the judge for making this long-overdue move anyway. Still, though: amazing how hard it can be for some of us to recognize an obvious truth even when it’s staring them right in the eye, waving its arms around wildly, and yelling Hey, look, over here, over here!!, ain’t it?

Some things never change

Daniel Greenfield, as is his wont, jacks another one right out of the damned park.

The truth about disaster relief and pandemic management is that it hasn’t changed much between administrations. The Bush administration dealt with SARS in much the same way that the Obama administration addressed swine flu. And the Trump administration is doing most of the same things.

That’s because the actual decisions are being made by bureaucrats based on existing protocols.

The best example of this was the decision to fly back infected American passengers from the Diamond Princess. This fateful decision helped spread the virus inside the United States.

President Trump had been told that nobody with the coronavirus would be flown to America.

The State Department decided to do it anyway without telling him and only made the announcement shortly after the planes landed in the United States.

According to the Washington Post, as unfriendly an outlet to the administration as there is, “Trump has since had several calls with top White House officials to say he should have been told, that it should have been his decision and that he did not agree with the decision that was made.”

Who in the State Department actually made the decision? That’s a very good question.

It was yet another Obama stay-behind, natch, one Dr William Walters—a State Dept bureau-hack who seems to be of the opinion that officeholders elected by Duh Peepul count for naught. This asshole knows where the REAL power in FederalGovCo resides. He would be correct in that odious opinion, maddeningly enough. The crux of the issue:

You can vote one way or another and the real decisions that matter will still be made by the head of a directorate that is a subsection of a bureau that you never heard of…

And who is almost impossible to fire.

This is how the country is really run. And that’s the problem.

The underlying problem with our government is that it’s too big to control. Voting in an election or even sitting in the Oval Office doesn’t mean you’re in charge. The problem goes beyond the current obsession with the Deep State. The real issue has always been the Deep Industry or the administrative state.

If the coronavirus becomes a critical problem in this country, the blame will go back to an obscure arm of the State Department, but it will never be placed there. Whatever happens a year from now, no one outside a small professional class will have ever heard of the Directorate of Operational Medicine.

The media will spend all its time bashing President Trump, Pence, assorted cabinet members, and perhaps the CDC, without ever drilling down to the facts, even though it has them at hand. The media’s rule of thumb is that natural disasters and disease outbreaks are always successfully managed by Democrats and mismanaged by Republicans. Katrina and Maria were disasters, but Sandy was a success story. The coronavirus is a catastrophe, but the Ebola virus was brilliantly handed by smart people who are handling the coronavirus response. But it’s different because the guy in the White House is.

The truth is that all of these were mismanaged by the same agencies, many of the same people, and by a government infrastructure that excels at drawing up big budget proposals, but is inept at solving problems when they actually emerge, and just follow whatever protocols will cover its collective asses.

Just as after Katrina and Maria, watch for the outpouring of lies, the claims that New Orleans had reverted to cannibalism and that everyone in Puerto Rico was dead, will be matched and exceeded.

There will be a cure for the coronavirus. But there’s no cure for the spread of viral fake news.

There is however a cure for the decisions that led to a coronavirus problem in the United States.

It’s called the Constitution.

America was meant to have a small government under the control of the people, not the bureaucrats. The real disease is bigger than the coronavirus. It’s a fatal illness called big government. Unlike the coronavirus, it has a total mortality rate. No society that has succumbed to it has ever survived.

This one won’t, either. In fact, it’s entirely safe to say that it succumbed a long time ago.

On a roll, picking up speed

John Nolte is feeling the Bern.

If there’s one cliché the idiotic pundit class gets right it’s this one: candidates matter.

Candidates matter more than issues, and they matter more than whatever real or contrived sins shimmer in their past.

A young inexperienced black radical who spent 20 years in a racist church should not have beat a respected war hero, but that’s exactly what happened in 2008. Why? Because No Drama Obama was the better candidate, the alpha male, the one who wasn’t the neurotic who quit the campaign to go and save the economy.

A New York billionaire who used to be a Democrat and who never held elective office had no chance against 16 seasoned Republican politicians, and he kicked their collective butts. Why? Because Donald Trump was the better candidate, the alpha male, the one who was never caught off guard, who knew how to fight the media, who stood his ground and made us laugh. He was pure competence.

Sure, some of us vote on the issues, but in the end, in the age of mass media and TV — and history proves this — it’s the candidate who matters. And all this talk about “lanes” is pure psychobabble.  There’s only one lane in presidential politics: the Competency Lane, and a Jurassic Marxist owns that lane. Why? Because…

Elizabeth Warren is a shrill neurotic, Pete Buttigieg is a platitude-spewing dork, Joe Biden is as shockingly corrupt as he is past his prime, Amy Klobuchar has all the charisma of a clock radio, and Mike Bloomberg is a humorless, sour-faced dwarf.

Bernie’s Bernie. He’s tough, hard to catch off guard, comfortable in his skin, actually believes in something, and that’s why he’s winning.

How important can “voting the issues” really be anyway, when everyone already knows that the winning candidate’s platform will end up tossed out the window and forgotten around, ohhh, five minutes or so after the victor checks into his new Oval Office digs anyway? Hell, the one and only President we’ve had in years who even tried to make good on at least some of his campaign pledges is Trump, and just look at how little credit he gets for the effort.

I’m telling you folks, Bernie could quite easily fall ass-backwards into winning this thing. Horrible as he is in all ways great and small, he’s the only Democrat-Socialist generating real energy and excitement out there, even if that passion is strictly limited to the stupid, the ignorant, and the ill-informed. Nonchalantly assume it can’t possibly happen, and you could well end up with the same stunned, despairing expression splashed across your mug as our adversaries were sporting the morning after Election Day 2016.

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