Oh, if only

Glenn posts a good ‘un from Fakebook.

The debate over immigration is over: restriction wins.

The debate over borders is over: they are needed.

The debate over globalization is over: the era of autarky begins.

The debate over Europe is over: it is a geographic expression, not a polity.

The debate over global warming is over: it is irrelevant.

The debate over international institutions is over: only nations matter.

The debate over the People’s Republic of China is over: it is a menace to the community of nations, not a member in good standing.

Crisis is clarity.

I don’t disagree, and I do realize that all these most welcome developments will be a while yet in shaking out. But purely in the interest of indulging my own bred-in-the-bone contrarianism, I have to note that things like lax border enforcement; One-Worlder globalization; the EU, UN, ICC, and the accompanying international-bureaucratic Kraken; and most especially Red China are ALL still very much with us. The legions of Leftist advocates for those things are all still with us, too.

THAT’S the problem we’re going to have to take care of first, before we can begin to tackle all those others. So yeah, gonna be a while yet. Another most edifying rumination along those lines:

“In just ten days, we discovered that neither the tampon issue, nor the participation of transsexuals in the Olympic Games, nor the climate emergency were real problems, nor emergencies, nor anything of the sort. They were just fictitious problems, the pastimes of a generation that hadn’t known tragedy.” – Itxu Diaz, National Review

How many times are we supposed to have died? Net Neutrality, Budget cuts, Donald Trump’s very existence were supposed to have killed us all already. How many failed predictions of global warming/climate change/ManBearPig destroying us in 10 years have we seen blow by us without incident? If there was an actual environmental catastrophe incoming, no one would actually believe it.

Aside from that, we have the whole woke subculture. (Have I ever mentioned that I utterly despise the term woke? It’s cheap knock-off black culture) Microaggressions? Safe Spaces? What, are you that fragile that you cower in fear of my words? I guess Evil White Males like me must be some kind of sorcerer. Trans-activism is just like the rest of their celebration of mental illness. I have never heard an actual argument about cultural appropriation, especially since the same people used to moan about inclusion. It is a giant screaming mess like an out of control daycare without the cute part.

*cough-cough* Liberalism, defined *cough-cough*

The central thesis of the Ricochet piece is that sane people can no longer afford to fritter away either resources or attention on the fake “crises” Proggy uses to incrementally advance his authoritarian agenda. Leftism has always been what you might call an ideological luxury item. Everywhere it provides entertainment for pushy, overindulged brats. Nowhere is it a real necessity. I almost just lifted the whole brief essay, but the excerpt ought to be enough of the rich, buttery goodness therein to get you headed over to savor the whole thing.

On the other hand…

A different—and far bleaker—view, forwarded to NC Scout by our old chum Historian.

I work at a hospital. Not as a doctor, to the well-concealed disappointment of my late mother (and the well-concealed satisfaction of my late father, who loathed doctors,) nor a nurse or a medical technician; my job is to ensure that the facility itself is capable of supporting the demands of those who use it. I’m a construction project manager for a mid-sized non-profit hospital in one of the mid-Atlantic united States, and I’m good at what I do.

Generally, this hospital is well run, well organized, and well staffed with high quality people, ranking among the top US hospitals, part of a larger system also well ranked. If friends or family were to need care, I’d take them to my hospital, which I consider one of the two best in the system and the area, one reason I accepted an offer to work there.

For the uninitiated, this is a non-trivial modification. A negative pressure room or isolation room, has to exhaust ALL of the air coming out of the room directly to the outside. Standards are for 12 air changes per hour, and the room must meet certain negative pressure standards. That means that the entire volume of the room gets replaced every 5 minutes. Our facility policy is to filter all of that exhaust to ensure that we are not placing passers-by at risk of infection, further complicating matters. Normal air conditioning, even in many areas of a hospital, recycles most of the air to reduce energy costs, so when you throw that air away, as you must do for an isolation room, you significantly increase the load on the air conditioning system. It is a BIG change.

I’ll spare you, gentle Reader, the details, but in 3 days last week we went from about 10% isolation rooms in our hospital to 15%, i.e., a 50% increase in isolation rooms by dint of much effort by a number of contractors, vendors, and hospital staff. Those rooms were virtually empty last week, and hospital volumes were WAY down. It was rather eerie. After that success, I was directed to convert another 12% of our rooms to negative pressure, and we are working that now.

This is now much more difficult as seriously ill patients are starting to swamp the hospital, and the rooms which were empty a week ago are all now filled or rapidly filling with patients on O2 or intubated, most of whom had been seen a week or two ago, evaluated as not seriously ill, and sent home with instructions to come back if they started to feel worse, not better. Well, they DID get worse, and they are coming back. In significant numbers, and this is just the beginning.

Like I said, this is pretty grim stuff for sure. But there’s a glimmer of hope as well, a demonstration of fearlessness, compassion, and humanity that provides some affirmation to lay upon the scales as a counterweight to horror and hopelessness.

(Via WRSA)

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,

OHHH yeah, THIS is gonna end well

Hey, remember back when 3.3 million new jobless claims in only one week seemed like big news? C’mon, sure ya do. It was only last week.

Workers claiming new unemployment benefits swelled to a record 6.6 million last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, as the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses across the country to shut down.

The historic jobless number, about double what forecasters expected, exceeds the previous record set last week of 3.2 million requesting unemployment benefits.

The past two weeks have been record-breakers in terms of job losses as the virus has infected over 215,000 people in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. The previous record high for weekly jobless claims was 695,000 in September of 1982.

Over the past two weeks, 10 million workers have been separated from their jobs and applied for unemployment benefits, and probably many more have lost work but not signed up for benefits. In other words, about 6% of all payroll workers have lost their jobs, meaning that the unemployment rate is likely already above 10%, as high as it ever was in the Great Recession.

In fairness, thanks to some devious sleight of hand under Ogabe’s misrule that quietly erased those who had thrown up their hands in despair and just given up all hope of finding a job from the “unemployed” category, those Great Obama Recession stats were complete bunk. The true number, according to some more honest estimations, ranged from 12 to 18 percent—with a few sources claiming it might have been over 20, even. Regardless of which of those estimates you go with, though, the rosy fiction promoted by Ogabe rumpswabs of 5 to 7 percent had no relationship whatsoever with the grimmer reality.

God knows where the numbers will end up after the current fiasco finally winds down. But it ain’t gonna be any place we want to be, that’s for sure. And we’ll be a long, long time recovering from it, too.

Update! We’re in uncharted territory now, folks.

We have never seen a week like this before, and we may never see a week quite this bad again. Of course millions more jobs will be lost in the months ahead as this pandemic stretches on, but it is hard to imagine another spike like we just had. When you add the last two weeks together, somewhere around 10 million Americans have filed new unemployment claims during that time period.

As I noted yesterday, the St. Louis Fed expects the unemployment rate to eventually hit 32 percent. That won’t happen immediately, but if we do get there it will be worse than anything that we witnessed during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Because of all the shutdowns that have been instituted nationwide, economic activity has already dropped to levels that we have never seen before in our entire history.

Snyder cites serious food supply disruptions; spiralling mortgage defaults; the sudden tsunami of near-worthless scrip-dollars from Washington in a desperate attempt to stanch the bleeding, and the runaway inflation that will inevitably spawn, before concluding:

Even before any of us ever heard of “COVID-19”, our world was already descending into madness, but now this pandemic has certainly accelerated things.

Millions of Americans have already lost their jobs, and the days ahead are going to be exceedingly challenging.

This is what an economic collapse looks like, and it is just getting started.

Looks like hard times a-coming, with no way to reverse course and avert disaster.

They’re getting the band back together

There they go again. But Trump, bless his stout heart, ain’t having any of it.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is doubling down on his call for President Trump to name a “czar” to oversee the production and distribution of coronavirus-related medical supplies.

Schumer sent a letter to Trump on Thursday saying it was “long past the time” to name a senior military officer to lead the effort, including allowing the individual to use the Defense Production Act “to complete and rapidly implement a plan for the increased production, procurement and distribution of critically-needed medical devices and equipment.”

“The existing federal leadership void has left America with an ugly spectacle in which States and cities are literally fending for themselves, often in conflict and competition with each other, when trying to procure precious medical supplies and equipment,” Schumer wrote.

The Hill, being just another Enemedia propaganda organ, minimized Trump’s scrumptiously scathing response to the tapeworm Schroomer. But I won’t.

SCHUMERletter-1.png

SCHUMERletter-2.png


Note Trump’s prominent mention of the failed Shampeachment hoax. There’s a reason he brought it up.

The team is back in action. On Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the creation of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis. The new panel will have the authority to investigate any aspect of the virus emergency and the Trump administration’s handling of it.

Pelosi’s announcement came a day after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff called for a 9/11-style independent commission to investigate “mistakes” in the virus response. Shortly after that, Schiff told the Washington Post that in Congress, House Democrats must investigate the Trump administration’s handling of virus testing and the government’s distribution of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.

“We need to make sure there’s no favoritism in terms of political allies, no discrimination against states or governors based on lack of presidential flattery,” Schiff said, indicating the probe would be aimed squarely at President Trump.

Less than three months after sending to the Senate impeachment articles to remove the president from office and less than two months after the Senate trial ended in Trump’s acquittal, the Pelosi-Schiff team is up and running again.

So after nearly FOUR FUCKING YEARS of refusing to accept defeat in the 2016 election instead of pretending to be grown-ups and abiding by the result, here we go with Round Four of the perpetual coup attempt from these scrofulous scoundrels.

Lemme see now, what was it I was just saying about how they never, ever stop? And didn’t I have something about bullets in heads lying around here someplace, too?

There is no way in Hell that the next Democrat-Socialist president should be allowed one single moment of peace from his/her/zxher/xxhis/its opposition after this outrage. He/she/zxher/xxhim/it should be hounded into a total schizophrenic break beginning the very instant the election results are announced, without surcease or pity. Full stop, end of fucking story.

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?



Remain calm, all is (not) well

Bearing in mind the uncertainty factor—that we don’t really even know what we don’t know as of yet—stepping back for a dose of level-headed perspective seems like it might come in useful.

I’m a recently-retired Professor of Pathology and National Health Service consultant pathologist, and have spent most of my adult life in healthcare and science — fields which, all too often, are characterized by doubt rather than certainty. There is room for different interpretations of the current data. If some of these other interpretations are correct, or at least nearer to the truth, then conclusions about the actions required will change correspondingly.

The simplest way to judge whether we have an exceptionally lethal disease is to look at the death rates. Are more people dying than we would expect to die anyway in a given week or month? Statistically, we would expect about 51,000 to die in Britain this month. At the time of writing, 422 deaths are linked to COVID-19 — so 0.8 percent of that expected total. On a global basis, we’d expect 14 million to die over the first three months of the year. The world’s 18,944 coronavirus deaths represent 0.14 percent of that total. These figures might shoot up but they are, right now, lower than other infectious diseases that we live with (such as flu). Not figures that would, in and of themselves, cause drastic global reactions.

Initial reported figures from China and Italy suggested a death rate of 5 percent to 15 percent, similar to Spanish flu. Given that cases were increasing exponentially, this raised the prospect of death rates that no healthcare system in the world would be able to cope with. The need to avoid this scenario is the justification for measures being implemented: the Spanish flu is believed to have infected about one in four of the world’s population between 1918 and 1920, or roughly 500 million people with 50 million deaths. We developed pandemic emergency plans, ready to snap into action in case this happened again.

At the time of writing, the UK’s 422 deaths and 8,077 known cases give an apparent death rate of 5 percent. This is often cited as a cause for concern, contrasted with the mortality rate of seasonal flu, which is estimated at about 0.1 percent. But we ought to look very carefully at the data. Are these figures really comparable?

Cause for concern? Sure. Taking reasonable, appropriate precautionary measures? Of course. The kind of irrational panic response we’ve seen of late—upending society wholesale, wrecking the economy, throwing millions out of work, passively forsaking rights and liberties that can never be regained without bloodshed? Sorry, I just can’t see it. The good doctor makes a lot of sense to me here. But YMMV.

(Via Larwyn)

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.

Sad!

He’s sinking fast.

Call off the search, Joe Biden has been found.

After days of people wondering exactly where the former VP has been, Biden decided to appear before some friendly faces on The View today. He was interviewed remotely from what I’m assuming is his home, as it’s the same background he’s had for the last several videos he’s made. Apparently, all the rest he’s been getting the last few weeks has done nothing to sharpen Biden’s mental faculties, as he ended up devolving into incoherence rather quickly.

Follows, a Tweet quoting some trademark Biden-blibber: “We have to take care of the cure. That will make the problem worse no matter what—no matter what.”

Wait, what? Yeah, I’m not going to even attempt to translate that. I have no idea what Biden is attempting to say there.

It got worse, though.

How could it not? The man is actually lapsing into morbidity and decomposition publicly, in real-time. Jazz Shaw picks up the rapidly unraveling thread, and remarkably, it gets worse still.

This is about as close as we can get to a transcript of Biden’s remarks falling into disarray.

“And uh, and, and in addition to that, uh, and in addition to that, we have to, uh, make sure that we, uh, we are in a position that we are, well, lemme, lemme go a second thing. I’ve spoken enough on that”

To be clear, there was almost certainly some sort of technical failure going on here. A couple of seconds into the clip you can see Biden gesturing with his right hand, most likely urging a staffer to keep the teleprompter rolling. I’m assuming it just froze up at that point. But it was the former Veep’s performance after that technical failure that sends some worrisome signals.

Let’s keep one thing in mind. This wasn’t some moment where Biden got caught by surprise when a reporter tossed a loaded question at him or an awkward answer to a pointed comment from an audience member at a town hall. This was a planned, staged event where Biden was able to set the tone and tempo at a time of his choosing. All he had to do was successfully read the words on the teleprompter. And even if the prompter failed, he had plenty of time to practice the remarks in advance, allowing him to push forward and summarize his message in the same general theme. He didn’t even manage to meet that low bar.

I swear to you that I’m not trying to be unkind to Joe Biden or just run him down in the name of gaining some momentary political advantage. My family has struggled with “mental clarity” issues involving some of us in our advancing years, as I’ve mentioned here in the past. I can totally sympathize. But this guy is asking to be made the leader of the free world and be given the launch codes. And if the Democrats are taking this election seriously and honestly care about something besides just replacing Donald Trump with any other warm body they can find, the DNC should be having a long, serious discussion about this by now.

Ahh, but they don’t care about anything else. It’s dubious at best, should he somehow survive and win the Presidency, whether they even have any intention of allowing Uncle Gropey to operate in any capacity other than as a front for the real Power operating behind the scenes anyway. If Biden can stave off his escalating collapse and decay long enough, we could well end up with a ventriloquist’s dummy as POTUS. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you President Charlie McCarthy!

Think I’m kidding? Think they’re not desperate enough to be gaming it all out even while we all watch in horror as Gropey continues to disintegrate before the eyes of the nation?

Think again.

Stay Alive, Joe Biden
Democrats need little from the front-runner beyond his corporeal presence.

Voters seem to have coalesced around Biden for his past—who they have known him to be for the past four decades in American politics—rather than for anything in his present. It’s as if Biden exists primarily as an idea, rather than an actual candidate.

Today, as the country (and the world) enters what is likely to be a prolonged period of darkness, left to the mercy of a deadly virus, Biden is grappling with the reality of what he can—and must—do in this hour of crisis, as the man who would like to take over leadership of the United States.

Gropey is grappling with reality, period.

In all likelihood, the desire to oust Trump will be piercing in the coming days, as death and chaos escalate. The president has been reckless, duplicitous, and morally hazardous in his leadership during a pandemic that is likely to be the defining event of a generation—forget about a campaign cycle. But the many union members looking at their closed casinos and the mothers in lockdown with their children and the students forced off their campuses and the older Americans living in complete isolation may find it impossible to imagine that their earlier fears about another four years of Trump have abated, or that the ferocity of their desire to get him out of office has lessened. Indeed, the emotion of this moment may displace any that has come before it.

Biden’s team appears to understand this, and to believe that what matters most now is keeping their candidate alive in the American imagination as an alternative to Trump.

Keeping him alive at all is the real task.

His appearances these days have an almost parallel-universe quality to them:

Don’t they. Don’t they just.

Biden’s audience-less remarks from his home in Delaware have the suggestion of an Oval Office address, and their content seems intended to offer a glimpse into the twilight zone

Okay, is this hapless bint just trying to be funny now?

where someone else, someone more empathetic and capable, is president. It’s as if Biden is telegraphing to his public: You have already imagined that I can beat Trump; now imagine what it will be like when I am president.

Oh, that one’s easy: we’ll be treated to seeing Gropey (or a stand-in) being trotted out now and then to recite a few meaningless words, maybe taken for a brief stagger ’round the White House lawn, then trank-darted back into stasis and returned to his sarcophagus until another PR turn is required of him. Meanwhile, the nation will continue to be (mis)ruled by a shadowy cabal of Swamp critters—out of view, out of reach, out of control, answerable to none.

Thus will the status quo ante be restored, and the Deep State preserved.

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.

Internet Explorer

Maybe one of the best Tweets EVAR, I’m thinking.



Perfect pic, too. Via Francis.

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.

The death of liberalism?

T’is an ill wind indeed that blows no man any good.

With some experts predicting, at a minimum, anywhere from 480,000 to 1.6 million American deaths from the coronavirus over the next three to 18 months, how smart does urban living, mass transit, open borders, reusable straws, reusable grocery bags, reusable water bottles, gun restrictions, over-regulated housing, using the Centers for Disease Control to fight gun violence, and outsourcing to China look now?

Just for a moment, close your eyes, and picture the establishment media’s and left’s (but I repeat myself) idea of The Virtuous American…

Then the pandemic hits… And thanks to a dense population, crowded mass transit, recycled air, poopy streets, bacteria-infested (but environmentally friendly) cups, straws, bottles, and bags, it spreads like wildfire though Virtue City.

Will Virtuous American be laughing at McMansion American while looking for a place in that tiny (but environmentally friendly) apartment to store enough food and water for four weeks?

Will Virtuous American be laughing at Gun-Nut American when tensions increase due to empty store shelves and the only thing between Virtuous American and I’m Taking All Your Shit American is a door made from 100% recycled paper products?

Will Virtuous American be laughing at Hick American who lives anywhere from 50 feet to 50 acres from any potential Possibly Infected American?

And what about Globalist American? When his parents can’t get their medications because they’re made in China, how funny is America First American looking now, pal?

I won’t quite say that if this disaster inspires Americans to rethink a few things, it was all worth the cost. On the other hand, if the inevitable discrediting of Progtard shibboleths by harsh reality results in a sweeping, long-term rejection of the Left’s fossilized, proven-failure ideas…well, that ain’t exactly nothing, folks.

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