A pandemic of looting

Comes the night.

This pandemic of civil violence is more widespread than anything seen during the Black Lives Matter movement of the Obama years, and it will likely have an even deadlier toll on law enforcement officers than the targeted assassinations we saw from 2014 onward. It’s worse this time because the country has absorbed another five years of academically inspired racial victimology. From Ta-Nehisi Coates to the New York Times’s 1619 project, the constant narrative about America’s endemic white supremacy and its deliberate destruction of the “black body” has been thoroughly injected into the political bloodstream.

Facts don’t matter to the academic victimology narrative. Far from destroying the black body, whites are the overwhelming target of interracial violence. Between 2012 and 2015, blacks committed 85.5 percent of all black-white interracial violent victimizations (excluding interracial homicide, which is also disproportionately black-on-white). That works out to 540,360 felonious assaults on whites. Whites committed 14.4 percent of all interracial violent victimization, or 91,470 felonious assaults on blacks. Blacks are less than 13 percent of the national population.

If white mobs were rampaging through black business districts, assaulting passersby and looting stores, we would have heard about it on the national news every night. But the black flash mob phenomenon is grudgingly covered, if at all, and only locally.

Anyone who is still shocked and surprised by that home truth ought to wake up at long last to what the media really is: the enemy.

The national media have been insisting on the theme of the allegedly brutal Minneapolis police department. They said nothing as black-on-white robberies rose in downtown Minneapolis late last year, along with savage assaults on passersby. Why are the Minneapolis police in black neighborhoods? Because that’s where violent crime is happening, including shootings of two-year-olds and lethal beatings of 75-year-olds. Just as during the Obama years, the discussion of the allegedly oppressive police is being conducted in the complete absence of any recognition of street crime and the breakdown of the black family that drives it.

Once the violence began, any effort to “understand” it should have stopped, since that understanding is inevitably exculpatory. The looters are not grieving over the stomach-churning arrest and death of George Floyd; they are having the time of their lives. You don’t protest or mourn a victim by stealing oxycontin, electronics, jewelry, and sneakers.

The great philosophers and poets of the West—from Aeschylus and Euripides, to Shakespeare, Hobbes, and the American Founders—understood the chaos and lust for power that lurk beneath civilization. Thanks to the magnificent infrastructure of the rule of law, we now take stability and social trust for granted. We assume that violence, once unleashed in the name of justice, can easily be put back in the bottle.

It cannot.

Lot of that unwarranted-assumption thing going around these days, it seems.

Squandered effort

The SEAL who took out Bin Laden now finds himself plagued with second thoughts.


That last one echoes something I’ve said many times here: if I were active-duty military, I would have to seriously ponder just what the hell it was I was actually laying my life on the line fighting for, since it so obviously ISN’T “freedom.” Several more of O’Neill’s heartfelt expressions of dismay and disgust are collected here.

Pants-pissing terror on your part does NOT constitute an emergency on my part

As Da Nuge so aptly points out.

Why do I have to stay home just because YOU are scared? How about YOU stay in YOUR house indefinitely, YOU wear a mask, YOU socially distance yourself from me, YOU avoid restaurants, YOU avoid baseball games, YOU stay off the roads, YOU avoid malls and beaches and parks…YOU believe the media hype, YOU get your toxic vaccine while avoiding vitamin C, sunshine and the things God gave us to actually heal…

I’m done playing YOUR dumb game…I’m not wearing YOUR dumb tin foil hat anymore. I’m no longer going to be a prisoner of your fear. I’m no longer staying in my house or catering to YOU because YOU are scared…You WILL have to confront this thing, if you haven’t already. There is no way around it, unless you lock yourself up in your house and it somehow doesn’t manage to hop on some mail or some groceries that you ordered online.

YOUR fear is not an excuse to destroy America. YOUR fear is not my fear and your fear does not have the right to interfere with my life, my job, my income or my future as a free American citizen.

Well said, Ted ol’ buddy.

Apocalypse: now

Like, right now. I won’t belabor the point by excerpting stories about the burgeoning riots and civil unrest you’ll no doubt already be aware of, and instead content myself with providing you three of the most heart-warming, feel-good Tweets you’ll ever see. First up: Probably best not to be playing the Knockout Game with cops, you dumbass bitch.


Next: Monkey-boy shoulda probably paid closer attention when Mama warned him about the hazards of playing with matches.


Last: Burn, baby burn! NO NO WAIT GODDAMMIT, I DIDN’T MEAN ME!!!


OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER: The MPLS po-po just flat-out murdered George Floyd, no two ways about it. Those four abominable pigs of right ought to spend the rest of their lives enjoying the prison-laundry attentions of serial felons like Tyrone McCorkle, Dwahwnzell Jones, and Kwanzaaalicious Isaiah Faheem—ie, bent over an industrial dryer in the dimmest corner of the room being vigorously group-buggered, far from the prying eyes of any screws and/or trusties haunting the area.

I suspect that almost all fair-minded Americans felt the same about it too, more or less. As with the heinous Walter Scott case in Charleston a few years back, the pig in question took it upon himself to act as judge, jury, and executioner in a manner most abominable, and packing their asses off for a long, hellish term in the slammer is probably the absolute least they deserve for it.

Right up until the missing-link mouthbreathers in Minneapolis decided to forego real justice for Mo’ Free Shit, Yo and abdicated the mandate of Heaven by raiding Target for a few spare flat-screens, burning out their own neighborhoods, and just generally flinging shit around the place like a pack of rabid screech-monkeys. They had the firmest of grips on the moral high ground just for a second there, with an overwhelmingly solid majority of Americans behind them all the way, and instead of building on that foundation, they chose to take a steaming dump all over it instead. As seems to be their wont.

Yeah, I know, I know, I probably sound like the most irredeemable racist in all the Southland with the above. I would like take this opportunity to assure one and all that I do not give a single shit whether I do or not. I’ve spent many long years scratching my head trying to puzzle out stupid, bizarre shit like this, which seems to happen on a fairly regular basis—always in the same way, always with the same predictable result.

For example, you can look for much anguished libmedia breast-beating over the “food deserts” in Minneapolis’ smoking ghetto ruins three to five years hence, along with many weepy articles and TeeWee news items lamenting the inexplicable lack of jobs and economic opportunity in those same areas destroyed by the semi-sentient fools who have now trapped themselves therein. Blame for these and other “tragic” developments will be laid squarely at the feet of Whitey the Blue-Eyed Devil, in due course.

I assure you once again that I do not give a damp fart about any of that bushwa either. The morons made their beds. Soon enough, they’ll be forced to lie in ’em. Now let me see, where DID I put the world’s smallest violin, anyway? I got a tune I’d like to play for y’all on it…

“We were never asked”

Masters don’t ask. They know they don’t have to.

Last year, through an excellent HBO miniseries, the Soviet Union’s 1986 Chernobyl disaster came to life. Lies about risk were widespread. People were told for years that science proved the reactors were safe, only to be dragged from their radiation-contaminated homes with only the clothes on their back. Certain observers, particularly on the Right, saw the series as a lesson in the evils of communism. While it was indeed that, things also looked rather familiar.

Like our country today, the Soviet Union was full of hard-working and patriotic little people, whose lives and fates were controlled by authorities more concerned with saving face than doing the right thing. As the series dramatized, individualized justice and truth were often suppressed in the name of ideology and scientific progress. Rank and title counted for a lot, while common sense was often neglected. The Soviet Union was a Communist regime, but it was chiefly a bureaucratic regime, where the bureaucracy’s managerial class had privileged lives and a hostile relationship to the common people.

The United States has long been a more individualistic, entrepreneurial, and freedom-loving people than those in Europe, whether East or West. Our national life is much more than an abstract creed. Our culture can be found as much in the Federalist Papers as in the advent of the road trip, music festivals, and, in the days of Prohibition, the speak-easy. We are a restless, energetic, and unbridled people. We are wont to question authority and bend rules that seem stupid and meddlesome.

Public health has always had an uneasy relationship with that culture. At its worst, public health expresses a censorious, cautious, and schoolmarm instinct. It is the force behind book-length warnings on the side of lawnmowers, the demise of dodgeball, and Prohibition itself. If it is an American impulse, it’s the dark side of America; the perversion of our “can do” spirit into relentless crusades against fun in the name of safety and science.

We all have our own priorities, weigh risks and benefits differently, and, until recently, were allowed to decide these things for ourselves. The public health ideologue does not agree that risks of various kinds—including the voluntary risks of smoking, drinking alcohol, or driving motorcycles—are things that a free people should be allowed to do.

The lockdown crowd will invoke a countervailing principle: even people who believe in freedom will concede that you do not have the right to endanger others.

In the abstract, this is true. But is anyone endangering others if they fail to abide by these lockdowns? Setting aside the modest coronavirus risk for the vast majority of people, we have been told that social distancing is the means of safety. If you avoid others, wash your hands, and wear a mask, you will be safe.

If avoiding others, wearing masks, and social distancing are so effective, then—like refraining from smoking or skydiving—the people who feel strongly about risk have the means of protecting themselves. Perhaps vulnerable populations are well-served to follow these precautions. Just as people can choose not to get on a motorcycle, the vulnerable and cautious can engage in voluntary masking and social distancing.

The risks and benefits of living normally can be borne by those who want to live.

Read every word of this one, folks.

Clampdown

DeBalledZero lets his fascist-freak flag fly.

Cops will crack down on quarantine-fatigued New Yorkers partying outside their favorite bars, Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed on Sunday — as he threatening to fence off beaches if too many people flock there.

“I’m not comfortable at all with people congregating outside bars,” the mayor said at a press briefing when asked about alarming photos of large groups crowding outside watering holes over the weekend, as seen in Sunday’s Post.

The Upper East Side was singled out as having “had a particular problem,” but de Blasio insisted enforcement would be “everywhere around the city,” with both the NYPD and Sheriff’s Office deployed.

“We’re not going to tolerate people starting to congregate. It’s as simple as that,” de Blasio said, again encouraging New Yorkers to rat out violators.

“Please share with us those locations, and we will deal with them immediately,” he said.

A bartender at The Wolfhound in Astoria, Queens, balked at de Blasio’s bluster.

“It’s bulls- -t!” said the drink-slinger, who asked not to be identified. “I get it that there are places where it’s getting a bit wild, but otherwise we’re f- -ked. It’s our livelihood!”

The bartender added that cops have already come around the bar to ensure people are six feet apart while getting three sheets to the wind.

“They’ve been cool. Last night, they were here twice,” the barkeeper said, recalling that the cops switched on their patrol car’s loudspeaker to tell the imbibers to space out.

It appears that they’re being even cooler out in Jersey.

A few hours after workouts began Monday morning at New Jersey’s Atilis Gym — which is making national headlines for its early reopening in defiance of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s coronavirus shutdown order — police showed up outside the Bellmawr business.

The large group of people outside the gym were angry and hostile, likely believing the officers showed up to shut down the gym, hand out tickets, or even make arrests. Amid the mostly unintelligible hollering, a few phrases rang out clearly:

  • “You have the right to refuse unconstitutional orders!”
  • “Freedom!”
  • “You swore an oath to protect our rights!”

Soon enough the crowd quieted down enough so that one of the officers was able to address them.

“We are and we’re only here for everybody’s safety today,” the officer began. “We planned for the worst, hoped for the best, and it seems like that’s what we have out here today. Formally, you are all in violation of the executive order.”

Then came the officer’s surprising follow-up statement: “On that note, have a good day. Everybody be safe.”

As police turned and walked away, the crowd immediately erupted in the kind of cheering you’d expect after a Philadelphia Eagles’ game-winning touchdown — and then a hefty “USA! USA! USA!” chant soon followed.

As well it should have. Nice to know they’re not all pigs.

Spoke too soon update! Apparently, not all THAT cool.

The owners of a Camden County gym which reopened on Monday in violation of Gov. Phil Murphy’s stay-at-home executive order have been issued a second violation by police when they reopened the gym again on Tuesday.

Bellmawr police arrived at Atilis Gym in Bellmawr Tuesday morning and issued owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti the citation. The officers also stopped three gym members as they left the gym.

Each citation could cost $1,000 and six months in jail.

Ah well, it was nice while it lasted. Now back in your cells, serfs.

No mas(k)

Remember what I said the other day about my personal feelings on the wearing of N95 masks for non-surgical purposes?

Yeah. About that.

Every Karen on Facebook is shaming her neighbors for not wearing a face mask. We are being told by governors that if we don’t wear masks we are selfish, horrible human beings with no souls who want Grandma to die a horrible death. Police are tackling people who don’t wear face masks properly in the subway. Grocery stores are throwing maskless people out and denying them service.

But now, there’s another doctor weighing in—besides Dr. Fauci, bonafide sex god and ruler of us all, who also said face masks are largely security theater and of no use to the healthy. Dr. Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon, has written an editorial saying that “masks pose serious risks to the healthy.”

First, Blaylock says, there is no scientific evidence that masks are effective against COVID-19 transmission. Pro-science people should care about this.

Beyond the lack of scientific data to support wearing a mask as a deterrent to a virus, Blaylock says the more pressing concern is what can and will happen to the wearer.

Now that we have established that there is no scientific evidence necessitating the wearing of a face mask for prevention, are there dangers to wearing a face mask, especially for long periods? Several studies have indeed found significant problems with wearing such a mask. This can vary from headaches, to increased airway resistance, carbon dioxide accumulation, to hypoxia, all the way to serious life-threatening complications.

Blaylock says studies have also shown that face masks impair oxygen intake dramatically, potentially leading to serious problems.

The importance of these findings is that a drop in oxygen levels (hypoxia) is associated with an impairment in immunity. Studies have shown that hypoxia can inhibit the type of main immune cells used to fight viral infections called the CD4+ T-lymphocyte.

This occurs because the hypoxia increases the level of a compound called hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), which inhibits T-lymphocytes and stimulates a powerful immune inhibitor cell called the Tregs. This sets the stage for contracting any infection, including COVID-19 and making the consequences of that infection much graver. In essence, your mask may very well put you at an increased risk of infections and if so, having a much worse outcome.

In other words, if you wear a face mask and contract some sickness, you will not be able to fight it off as effectively as if you had normal blood oxygen levels. The mask could make you sicker. It could also create a “deadly cytokine storm” in some.

That’s plenty good enough for me. Our state kommissar Comrade Cooper can issue whatever decrees he likes, but I’m content to leave the wearing of surgical masks to the pros, thenksveddymuch.

SOLIDARNOSC!

Some eerie similarities.

Many U.S. states are acting like the early 1980’s and the imposition of Martial law in Poland to target the Solidarity movement. Subsequently I wrote about it on a Twitter thread, because the parallels were really quite remarkable.

Both Poland circa 1980 and the U.S. friction in 2020, center around fragile economic issues. Both were an outcome of state control; and the key connection is government targeting control over the workers.

In both examples the state took exclusive control of the economic and social state of the citizens, and the courts provided no option for redress. In both examples the state locked down the citizens and would not permit them to interact with each other.

In 1981 the government in Poland initiated Martial Law and citizens were forced to communicate underground. In 2020 a considerable number of U.S. state governments locked-down citizens in similar fashion and banned citizen assembly.

In 1981 in Poland the communist regime used economic psychological pressure, selecting workers permitted to earn wages. Those workers identified as “essential” to the state. In 2020 many State governors selected workers to earn an income by designating them “essential” to the state.

Isn’t it funny how ALL government employees always seem to be “essential”?

In 1981 Polish authorities arrested anyone organizing protests against the authoritarian state. In 2020 numerous authoritarian officials arrested citizens for non-compliance with unilateral dictates. From a New Jersey governor arresting a woman for organizing a protect; to an Idaho mother arrested for allowing her children to play at a park; to a Texas salon owner arrested for operating her business.

In 1981 Polish authorities had a program for citizens to report subversive activity against the state. Snitching. In 2020 New York City, LA and numerous state and local officials started programs for citizens to report non-compliant activity against the state. Similar snitching.

In both 1981 Poland and 2020 USA we also see media exclusively creating ideological content as propaganda for the interests of the authoritarian state (controlling citizens).

So where is the American Lech Walesa, anyway? Sundance finds reason for hope nonetheless:

Just before the authoritarian state in Poland collapsed there was a rapid movement for the citizens to take to the streets in defiance of state control. I remember watching with great enthusiasm as I saw a very determined pole shout on television:

…”we take to the streets and today we realize, there are more of us than them”…

If one person refuses to comply, government can and as we have witnessed arrest them. However, if tens of thousands rebuke these unconstitutional decrees, there isn’t a damn thing government can do to stop it…. and they know it.

If one barber shop opens, the owner becomes a target. However, if every barber shop and beauty salon in town opens… there is absolutely nothing the government can do about it.

If one restaurant and/or bar opens, the state can target the owner. But if every bar and restaurant in town opens; and if everyone ignores  and dispatches the silly dictates of the local, regional or state officials… there isn’t a damned thing they can do about it.

Even more to the point, a commenter notes this insightful quote:

Douglass-Tyrants.jpg


While I’m by no means as hopeful as Sundance (or Douglass, for that matter), that one is going straight into the Notable Quotes section in the sidebar, I believe.

Of night, and light

A dismal tide is sweeping across America, leaving unprecedented destruction in its wake.

When the coronavirus landed on our shores, communist China came with it.

We have become part of a mass scale human experiment in government control and it turned out that stripping away our freedom wasn’t all that difficult. Under the guise of concern for our health and well-being, tyrants came out of the woodwork.  Our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, and our lives are being destroyed as the left solidifies and expands their oppressive powers. We’ve been herded around like cattle, threatened, isolated, confined, silenced, and arrested. You name it, it’s happening.

You tell me if what follows sounds like the United States, or China.

We’ve been told who can work and who can’t, with language that separates us according to who is and who isn’t “essential” as the almighty State supersedes individual rights and the family unit.

We’ve been physically and verbally harassed, threatened, fined, detained, arrested, jailed, and/or placed in forced quarantine. Business licenses have been revoked. Going to work without the permission of the government is now a crime. So is going to the park or a beach. Children playing together is also in defiance of the government. So is placing flags on the graves of veterans. The list of infractions goes on and on and on and on. Examples read like the manifesto of a demented madman.

Brown goes on, and on, and on from there, with a most impressive collection of supporting links, and it all makes for truly…well, dismal reading. But even as the darkness falls, a hopeful ray of light shines forth in the person of Texas Supreme Court Justice Jimmy Blackrock, who wrote the majority opinion springing hair-salon hero Shelley Luther from durance most vile:

He began with a quote, “The Constitution is not suspended when the government declares a state of disaster.”

Then he crisply explained it.

Blacklock wrote, “All government power in this country, no matter how well-intentioned, derives only from the state and federal constitutions. Government power cannot be exercised in conflict with these constitutions, even in a pandemic.

“In the weeks since American governments began taking emergency measures in response to the corona virus, the sovereign people of this country have graciously and peacefully endured a suspension of their civil liberties without precedent in our nation’s history. In some parts of the country, churches have been closed by government decree, although Texas is a welcome exception. Nearly everywhere, the First Amendment ‘right of the people to peaceably assemble’ has been suspended altogether. In many places, people are forbidden to leave their homes without a government-approved reason.Tens of millions can no longer earn a living because the government has declared their employers or their businesses ‘non-essential.’

“Any government that has made the grave decision to suspend the liberties of a free people during a health emergency should welcome the opportunity to demonstrate — both to its citizens and to the courts — that its chosen measures are absolutely necessary to combat a threat of overwhelming severity. The government should also be expected to demonstrate that less restrictive measures cannot adequately address the threat. Whether it is strict scrutiny or some other rigorous form of review, courts must identify and apply a legal standard by which to judge the constitutional validity of the government’s anti-virus actions. When the present crisis began, perhaps not enough was known about the virus to second-guess the worst-case projections motivating the lockdowns. As more becomes known about the threat and about the less restrictive, more targeted ways to respond to it, continued burdens on constitutional liberties may not survive judicial scrutiny.

“Ideally, these debates would play out in the public square, not in courtrooms. No court should relish being asked to question the judgment of government officials who were elected to make difficult decisions in times such as these. However, when constitutional rights are at stake, courts cannot automatically defer to the judgments of other branches of government. When properly called upon, the judicial branch must not shrink from its duty to require the government’s anti-virus orders to comply with the Constitution and the law, no matter the circumstances.”

That’s the whole decision.

And a most excellent one it was, too. That right there, folks, is exactly what I mean when I talk about our duty to defend the Constitution, rather than sitting back hoping it will defend us. Bravo to Justice Blacklock. We will NEVER have as many like him as we need, no matter how many there are out there.

To every thing, there is a season

The good Rabbi Fisher gets his hate on. To which I can only say: welcome to the party, pal.

When the Mets finally took it all in 1969, the other teams accepted the results. They lost gracefully. Now it was the Mets’ turn, and they had won it fair and square. But these past three years have been something different. Trump and Pence won fair and square. But there was no grace. Rather, there was instant character assassination, instant war, instant denial. Advertisements urging electors to violate their Electoral College oaths. Fabrications of collusion with Putin. Investigations that hamstrung a presidency. Lies and innuendoes leaked and published by the unindicted co-conspirators we call the “mainstream media.” A never-ending hunt to find scandals and Trump accusers: a bimbo who pole-danced at bars, her lawyer who now dances behind bars, another crooked lawyer who tape-recorded his own clients and now is locked up, disbarred from the Bar. One cartoon character after another.

As a rabbi of 40 years and a person who believes that most people have the potential for goodness, and who tries to find the good even in people who disappoint until they absolutely close off the possibility of goodness being discovered within them, I now have learned to hate.

I have come deeply to hate. I hate that Donald Trump never was given a chance to be president of the United States for even one day’s honeymoon. I hate that, long before he won the presidency — fair and square — corrupt crooks and criminals in the United States Department of Justice, its Federal Bureau of Investigation, were actively plotting to take him down. I hate that there are so few outlets in the media that give voice to condemn the criminality and corruption that broke every accepted societal norm by which we play the game. I hate that Obama was in on it, yet continues to pontificate on what is just and on what threatens freedom.

I hate that they all keep getting away with it. Every single one of them gets away with it. There is absolutely no price to be paid on the left for perjury, for conspiracy to overturn a legitimate election, for treason.

They took advantage of a good man who suddenly found himself combating in a different kind of military theater outside his field of expertise. He knew the jungles of Afghanistan, not the jungles of the Justice Department in Washington. The slime dregs of Justice, the Peter Strzoks and Andrew McCabes of the FBI, knew this. They had the lieutenant general on their terrain. He never should have been questioned about the call. He never should have been sucked into an interview without an attorney present. He never should have been lulled into what he said to the FBI.

Donald Trump has been the chief executive of this country for more than three years, and he has proven to be a great president in so many ways, but he sadly has proven incapable of cleaning the swamp. He at least identified the swamp’s existence, and he is fighting its effort to swallow him within its muck. But he has proven that, despite the glorious slogan he inspired, he cannot drain it. Not one single slime in the swamp has been brought to justice.

There is something so evil in a society that tolerates a dual standard of justice, dual standards of everything. On the one hand, we political conservatives harbor profoundly deep feelings, but we do not destroy people’s lives based on abstract politics. Yes, we oppose them and expose them, and we hope that contemporary society and history judge them for the evil they represent. But we do not destroy them in their lives. They get away with everything. Hillary Clinton spoliated 33,000 emails amid a federal probe, a federal crime that always ends up with prison time — but not for her. It is a federal crime to lie under oath to Congress. Comey, Clapper, Brennan — how have they all avoided prison time? Strzok, Page, the whole bunch of them? Adam Schiff. The outliers on the Mueller team. Not one single slime among them in the swamp has been brought to justice.

These animals destroyed the life of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. They drove him into such financial ruin that he had to sell his home to pay his legal bills. They went after a good boy, Nick Sandmann, and they cruelly made him into the face of racism. His own Catholic diocese in eastern Kentucky sold him out and sold out all the boys who stood with him that fateful day in Washington, D.C., when he was harassed by a messed-up Indian with a drum. And they did everything they could to destroy Brett Kavanaugh, a good man, a family man, a man who has devoted time throughout his life to his church and to the need. They endeavored through outright perjury to destroy him. The perjurers all got away with it. Name one single perjurer against Justice Kavanaugh who ever was brought to justice by Charles Grassley or Lindsey Graham of the Senate Judicial Committee.

The liars destroy with impunity because they know they always will get away with it. Republicans watch the character assassination and then go on Sean Hannity to sound brave for five minutes. “These people will pay a steep price, Sean.” “I won’t let them get away with it, Sean.” “Let not your heart be troubled, Sean.” “We will investigate every crime and every perjury, Sean.” Three years of hearing this from Paul Ryan, Reince Priebus, Trey Gowdy, Charles Grassley, Lindsey Graham, Rudy Giuliani, Jason Chaffetz, Kevin McCarthy. Well, Fox News Alert: They all got away with it. Comey. Brennan. Clapper. Blasey Ford. Schiff. Hillary. Strzok. Page. McCabe.

There is a time to love and a time to hate. This is a time to hate.

Well, good enough, as far as it goes. But nigh upon us is a quite different time: A time to act. We shall very soon see if enough of us remain in this benighted, ravaged nation with the wisdom to recognize it, and the gumption to do what’s required of us.

Sick and tired

Of our free 30-day trial of Communism. Among other things.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am finding that my patience is running thin with everything that is going on with the virus. I’ve never been much of a television watcher, but I still catch Tucker’s monologue a few times a week. I’ve stopped that this week as I cannot take another ad from a corporation telling me how much they care and how hard they are working on my behalf. I can’t take anymore nonsense about hero nurses and doctors. In fact, I’m starting to become a nursist.

Know what I’ve grown weary of myself? The sudden emergence of a new vapid, ubiquitous catchphrase for bidding farewell to strangers and/or passing acquaintances alike: “Be safe!” Before, we endured “Have a good one!” with gritted teeth. That one was plenty bad enough if you ask me. Now we’re stuck with this one, God help us.

Going outside has now become a depressing reminder that we now live in an explicitly authoritarian society. It used to be a very soft, passive-aggressive authoritarianism that you could ignore while enjoying your life. Now it is an in-your-face corporate authoritarianism that is impossible to ignore.

Well, yeah. It’s kinda hard to ignore a brand of authoritarianism that orders you to remain in your house indefinitely and summarily removes your ability to make a living, after all.

It is tempting to think that people will finally have enough and put an end to this madness, but that is a fantasy. The few brave souls taking a stand are getting support, for sure, but the bulk of the public is happy to be treated like children. You can be sure the majority oppose the protests at state capitals. Until the food runs out and the machine breaks, people will accept unlimited torment. That means we are left to hope for the end times if we want to escape this madness.

Pretty much, I’m afraid. In fact, as the COVIDIOT panic rapidly recedes in light of a manifest dearth of mass graves, rotting corpses stacked like cordwood and left to fester and ooze on city streets, and the complete breakdown of an overwhelmed health-care system, I’m seeing a perplexing surge in the number of people in masks.

Alas, though, like “Be safe!,” social distancing, and an annual lockdown as an ongoing test to gauge whatever might be left of American defiance and resolve, I suspect the masks are going to be with us from now on—an abiding thing, the New Normal. The sad, sorry truth is that we’ve let the Regulators get their fangs into us deeply. They’ve gotten the taste of blood in their mouths; like the vampires they are, they like it, and you can be sure they’ll be back for more.

Plenty of blame to go around

Good on Ted Cruz, I suppose, for as far as it goes. Alas, that’s not very far.

Sen. Ted Cruz Gets Haircut At Salon A La Mode After Owner Shelley Luther Released From Jail
Cruz told Luther he hasn’t had a haircut in about three months, and that his wife Heidi even warned he would “start bringing mullets back,” if he didn’t do something soon.

At one point during his visit, Luther started crying, thanking Cruz for his support, “When people reach out with true authenticity, it’s huge,” she said.

Luther told CBS 11 News, “It’s a nice gesture. His family actually called my boyfriend and prayed for him for 20 minutes while I was in jail. To me that’s not political… that’s just really nice people reaching out and making sure that our family is okay.”

A fine gesture and all that jazz. My problem, though, is this: wouldn’t a MUCH better time for Cruz to visit the salon have been BEFORE Luther got thrown in the slammer, but was still under unconstitutional lockdown orders? Which brings me to my next complaint:

A Look At The Democrat Dallas Judge Who Jailed A Salon Owner
A Dallas salon owner was thrown in jail this week by a local judge after defying state restrictions ordering her business remain closed. Shelly Luther was fined $7,000 and ordered to seven days in jail by District Court Judge Eric Moye on Tuesday whose ruling has since become a nationwide controversy highlighting the growing tensions under lockdowns where government-mandated closings are throwing millions out of work.

Luther was released on Thursday however by the Texas Supreme Court which came just after the state’s Republican Governor, Greg Abbott issued an executive order retroactively suspending local ordinances that throw citizens in detention for noncompliance with local stay home orders.

“Throwing Texans in jail who have had their businesses shut down through no fault of their own is nonsensical, and I will not allow it to happen,” Abbott said the day after Luther was given jail time.

Yeah, except that you DID allow it to happen, Gov; it happened on your damned watch. And before anybody goes harrumphing at me for waxing all pissy at poor Abbott, let’s also remember a few other things:

Abbott Spokesman John Whitaker made clear in a statement to The Federalist however, that the governor’s executive order still allows local fines and other penalties such as license suspensions to be handed down to those who open without authorization, implying Luther may still have to pay $7,000.

Moye condemned Luther’s defiance as “selfish,” charging Luther with “putting your own interests ahead of the community in which you live.

“You disrespected the orders of the state, the county, and this city,” Moye told Luther.

All of which is, however inconvenient, perfectly fucking true, up to and including the part I boldfaced.

Now, in fairness, Abbott’s lockdown order was probably less onerous than some, and was implemented relatively late in the game. But still, there’s just no getting around the facts regarding A) who it was that implemented the Constitution-flouting thing in the first place, and B) stuff like this here:

The most immediate action will see state parks opened for recreational activity Monday, so long as citizens wear masks and maintain a distance of six feet from each other. Additionally, no groups larger than five people will be allowed to congregate.

Subsequent measures will allow hospitals to resume elective tests and surgeries while stores can start “retail to go” services, starting on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.

It is not clear whether or not Abbott’s executive order will supercede the actions of local officials, such as those in Austin, which earlier this week extended its stay-at-home order beyond May 1.

Abbott first issued an order telling Texans to stay at home starting April 1, but he never accepted that it was a stay-at-home lockdown in the same manner as those adopted by other states.

I don’t give a tinker’s damn what Abbott chooses to “accept.” Somehow, I doubt many of the small-business owners currently being bled white by the ridiculous COVIDIOT overreaction do, either. Somebody in Texas should maybe remind the Gov that if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and etc etc, then it’s probably a goddamned duck, no matter how reluctant he or anybody else might be to face up to it.

And Democrat-judge me no Democrat-judges, either. This is bipartisan bullshit we’re looking at here. Far as I know, we currently have precisely one (1) US state governor who well understands her legitimate role, and what boundaries the US Constitution explicitly sets around her own power. Sadly, tragically even, that would NOT be Governor Abbott of Texas.

It would be a serious mistake to think of what’s been done to us as a Demican/Republicrat thing, or to allow it to be portrayed as such. What we actually have here is a tyrant/non-tyrant thing. Unfortunately, we’ve all had the chance to get ourselves a good, long look at how many there are of the former out there, in both Uniparty flavors—and at how infinitesimally few remain of the latter.

Update! Now don’t get me wrong, I see no reason not to frankly acknowledge that the judge, who appears to be functionally illiterate, is a complete asshole.

It is further ORDERED that at any time the Defendants should wish to purge themselves of their Contempt, they may petition this Court for release from confinement. Should the Defendants aver under Oath that they shall immediately cease and desist the continued operation of the Salon, publically express contrition, publicly expressl contrition for the violation of the Order of this Court and the Orders and mandates of the State of Texas, of Dallas County and of the City of Dallas, and take all steps necessary to comply with the Temporary Restraining Order of this Court, they may seek release.

It is so Ordered.

This braying jackass also demanded she “admit that she was wrong and selfish,” along with the apology.

“Publically express contrition”? REALLY? Yeah, fuck you, you fucking fascist. Which, to Luther’s everlasting credit, was pretty much her response:

After Dallas Judge Eric Moye told Salon À la Mode owner Shelley Luther that she had the option of acknowledging she was wrong and had been selfish, and should apologize to elected officials for violating their orders, Luther responded, “Judge, I would like to say that I have much respect for this court and laws and that I have never been in this position before and it’s not someplace that I want to be. But I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I’m selfish because feeding my kids — is not selfish. I have hair stylists that are going hungry because they’d rather feed their kids. So, sir, if you think the law is more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision but I am not going to shut the salon.”

Moye sentenced Luther to seven days in jail for criminal and civil contempt. CBS Dallas reported, “She and her business are also each being fined $500 for every day… seven in all so far… that it was open in violation of the governor’s order.” That daily fine will end May 8.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins had sent Luther a cease-and-desist letter, but last week Luther publicly tore it apart. Last Wednesday, Luther stated, “Apparently there’s a very good chance that I’m getting arrested today and I will do everything I can to keep the shop open because I’m not closing the store. If they arrest me I have someone that will keep the store open because it’s our right to keep the store open. It’s our right for those women to earn income for their families.”

It most certainly is, ma’am. With her courageous, principled stand against blatantly unconstitutional oppression, Luther has established her bona fides as a worthy successor to Rosa Parks:

“I’m not anyone special,” she reportedly said at the event.  “I just know that I have rights.  You have rights to feed your children and make income, and anyone that wants to take away those rights is wrong.”

Luther said she, along with several of her 19 stylists, had fallen behind on paying their mortgages.  “It’s either come in and make money to be able to feed your family or stay home and freak out.”

Meanwhile, the scum-sucking judge handed down an even more offensive decree from his exalted Holy of Holies:

If you would like to take this opportunity now to acknowledge:  that your actions were selfish, putting your own interests ahead of those in the community in which you live; that they disrespected the executive orders of the state, the orders of the county, and this city; that you now see the error of your ways and understand that the society cannot function when one’s own belief in the concept of liberty permits you to flaunt your disdain for the rulings of duly elected officials; that you owe an apology to the elected officials who you disrespected by flagrantly ignoring and, in one case, defiling their orders which you now know obviously regard to you; that you know the proper way in an ordered society to engage concerns you may have had is to hire a lawyer and advocate for change, an exception, or amendment to laws that you find offensive; that you publicly state that this is the way that citizens in the states should behave and that you represent to this court that you will today cease operation of your salon and not reopen until after further orders of the government permit you to do so; this court will consider the payment of a fine in lieu of the incarceration that you have demonstrated that you have so clearly earned.

S’cuse me very much, Your “Honor,” but it seems to me that any proper and correct concept of liberty not only permits but REQUIRES the flaunting of disdain for blatantly illegal rulings, whatever official orifice they may have been excreted from. Sir.

Ehh, what’s the use? Fascist thugs like Moye will never come anywhere near getting it, even assuming they had any interest in making a sincere try at it, which they assuredly do not. There is no discussing, debating, or reasoning with such as they. They can only be crushed, utterly. They have no place whatsoever in even a nominally-free society; are in fact a serious threat to it; and should therefore not be tolerated there, but abolished. In whatever sense you wish to take the word.

Oregon gov cancels Independence Day

The irony, it burns.

On Friday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown held a press conference to discuss the latest developments in the containment efforts of the Wuhan coronavirus, and how to implement safe reopening procedures for different parts of Oregon. She failed, however, to announce the specific framework of the reopening, and said she would extend the emergency declaration until July 6 — two days after Independence Day.

Although Brown has announced a gradual plan to allow businesses to reopen, her emergency declaration gives state agencies the ability to set their own rules for a longer period.

In her press conference, Brown said right off the bat, “I want to be clear. We will not be able to reopen Oregon quickly, or in one fell swoop.” She said that some rural counties could reopen by May 15, but it could take longer in counties with more than five cases of COVID-19.

Brown’s press address gave mixed messages and made it seem that she’s failed to grasp the serious damage being done to Oregon’s economy. Meanwhile, these requirements for reopening will take a significant amount of time to implement. While other states have taken strides to reopen their economies and activities, Oregon has yet to make progress. In fact, state parks will stay closed through May, and probably longer. The third requirement for reopening, 15 contract tracers for every 100,000 in population, will require the state to recruit over 600 people to participate, and then to produce results, before they can even consider when to open. Brown first declared an emergency on March 8. She apparently squandered the first two months of the shutdown and only now has gotten around to deciding what conditions will allow her to let Oregon work again.

I withheld the money ‘graph so as to save the best for last:

As of this past weekend, Oregon had 2,690 cases of COVID-19 and 109 deaths, putting them near the bottom of states in both numbers.

Whatever you folks in Oregon do, y’all be sure to keep right on voting Democrat now, y’hear? Elsewhere, we have related developments:

With many Americans eager to get back to work, state governors across the country are responding with their plans for giving everyone permission to be normal human beings again. One state governor is enjoying universal acclaim after unveiling his own innovative plan for getting his state reopened. 

The new plan is called ‘Our Vision for Health, Safety, Virtue, and Eternal Peace’ and is a 37-step, 10-year plan for slowly opening up sections of the state economy.

The 37 steps read like…well, they read exactly the way you’d expect them to. But hey, IF EVEN ONE LIFE IS SAVED…!!

Many states have begun extending their lockdowns permanently in a bid to end traffic deaths for good.

States found that as they locked everybody in their homes, car accidents virtually disappeared. So they did the obvious thing and decided the lockdowns should be made permanent.

“A million people die in auto accidents every year, and if you want people to be able to go outside, you obviously want all these people to die,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “Why do you hate people so much, anti-science bigots? I’ll wait for an answer.” Cuomo then just stood there, arms folded, waiting for an answer, but since it was a live stream, he stood for hours before aides finally cut the feed off.

“Together, we can defeat death itself,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom as he announced the state would be under lockdown permanently. “O traffic deaths, where are your sting?”

Unfortunately, new projections indicate the number of people who will die of starvation and other lockdown-related causes may offset the decrease in traffic deaths.

Getting harder and harder these days to distinguish the actual news stories from the satire, ain’t it?

Another two-month free trial

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
Someone had blundered.

After a two-month trial, researchers are collecting early outcomes of the Great American Social Distancing Experiment of 2020.

The results, to say the least, ain’t pretty—and the “experts” who initiated this experiment on 330 million well-meaning but unwitting test subjects are starting to admit failure.

“Wait. An experiment?” you may ask. But we have been assured by the credentialed class that keeping a distance of six feet between healthy people for weeks on end was the only tried-and-true way to prevent the deadly spread of the novel coronavirus. No way would the government shutter public schools and colleges for five months, bankrupt small businesses, send tens of millions to the unemployment line, jeopardize the nation’s food supply chain, prevent children from comforting dying parents and grandparents, and subject their fellow countrymen to soul-crushing house arrest for the first time in U.S. history if the so-called “social distancing” guidance hadn’t been carefully vetted over time, you might insist.

Certainly every variable and every side effect of social distancing has been factored into this economy-crashing “mitigation” strategy, right?

I’m sure you all already know the answer to that one.

The country, we now know, is undergoing an experiment to which we never consented: Further, it is as much a political and social experiment as a public health one. The short term results are not what the experts predicted but their lab rats—the American people—are suffering traumatic side effects that could last for years. And unfortunately, like most experts, instead of conceding they had it all wrong and walking away from the failed experiment, they insist they just need a little more time to make it work.

But this experiment needs to end, immediately. Cases continue to rise despite the lockdowns; hospitals are not overwhelmed, nor were they ever (with a few exceptions). The overall death count is inflated; it appears that COVID-19 is asymptomatic for most people and far less lethal than originally predicted. And the economy is in tatters with more bad news on the horizon.

The history of science, sadly, is littered with bad experiments gone horribly wrong. The Great Social Distancing Experiment of 2020, when it is over, will very likely be toward the top of that list.

Ah well, the story didn’t end too well for the Light Brigade, either.

On your feet or on your knees

So here t’is, folks, the be-all end-all post I’ve been mentioning for several days. Since it’s been in the hopper for a week or more now, the opener will seem like old news, but it will still serve as a setup to get us where I want to go, I think.

When you think it’s time to start burying you guns, it’s probably time to start digging them up.

Lansing (United States) (AFP) – Demonstrators, including some carrying guns, entered the capitol building in the US state of Michigan on Thursday and demanded the Democratic governor lift strict coronavirus lockdown orders, as some lawmakers reportedly donned bulletproof vests.

Dozens of demonstrators crowded the lobby of the building in Lansing, where they demanded to be allowed inside the House Chamber.

State police, wearing masks, blocked them from entering. None of the protesters appeared to be wearing masks.

I’ve seen several on our side decrying the supposedly “threatening” behavior represented by the armed protesters as thuggish, excessive, or even self-defeating. They’re wrong about that, I believe, and here’s why:

“Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us,” tweeted Senator Dayna Polehanki along with a photo showing four men, at least one of whom appeared to be carrying a weapon.

“Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today,” she continued.

Now admittedly, it’s a damned shame things have come to such a sorry pass. Also, We The People bear at least some of the blame for it, for decades of inattention to the sacred duty of safeguarding our Constitutional rights as they were slowly whittled away.

The truth as I see it, though, is that the problem is not that politicians found themselves fearful and intimidated by the Michigan protesters. No, the problem is that they aren’t intimidated enough, and as a consequence have grown accustomed to their commands being unquestioningly obeyed by the people they are now ruling instead of governing. They have become arrogant, imperious, and completely unconcerned about such trifling irrelevancies as “unalienable rights” and “the consent of the governed.”

For our 2A rights to mean anything at all in terms of preserving the Republic, the politicians and bureau-rats must be reminded from time of their role as public servants. Whenever they seem to have grown forgetful of that, I can’t think of a swifter or surer corrective than letting them have a good, close look at a large gathering of well-armed constituents intent on restoring a proper sense of caution in them. The sight of a gun seems to be the only thing that gets much of a reaction of any kind from them nowadays. Which means we’re all in a precarious place.

It’s to the Michigan protesters’ credit that the reminder was rendered peaceably, without a shot being fired. But you can be certain that, absent the implied prospect of bodily harm should the scoundrels prove obstinate in error, any and all protest will come to naught. Could very well be that it will anyway; that’s what I’d bet on myself, in truth. But I can’t see that any meaningful harm was done by showing the politicians a few rifles on the very doorstep of their workplace, and it may yet prove to be a good thing.

The saddest thing of all is that we might well be on the threshold of a do-or-die, now-and-forever moment here. After our free 30-day (and counting) trial of Communist tyranny and the onset of economic catastrophe to come—not to mention the systemic Deep State lawlessness confirmed by the ongoing Flynn document releases—can any serious person contend that this country isn’t now at a crossroads—an inflection point where the only choice is between abandonment of any hope of a restoration of some semblance of Constitutional liberty…or acceptance of our position as serfs, as slaves?

The situation presents us with a stark question: if not now, when? If the extended lockdown—the exercising by state and local officials of an authority that they clearly do not possess, or not legitimately—doesn’t suffice to stir at least the Three Percenters into open revolt, then what will? How much tyranny is too much for Americans to tolerate? Is there in fact no “bridge too far,” no line our ever-more-brazen masters need fear to cross?

Maxwell Hare and John Kinsman were given four years in a New York penitentiary for the crime of being associated with Gavin McInnes. They were jumped by left-wing street thugs and won the fight. They were arrested, but there was never any effort to find the men who attacked them. There was no effort to find witnesses either. Instead, the police and court relied on material provided to them by Antifa. When he sentenced them, the judge made clear he was doing it for their politics.

That is not an isolated example. Over the last decade this sort of thing has become so common that it is just an accepted part of daily reality. If you belong to a group holding unapproved ideas, you have to go to great lengths to meet in secret in order to avoid being attacked by state sanctioned mobs. If that happens, there is a good chance the police will charge you rather than the mob. The thing political dissidents in current year America fear is that the government will become aware of them.

There used to be a time when Americans associated this sort of thing with totalitarian states or South American dictatorships. The communists would never allow people to hold unapproved opinions. They smashed up illegal printing presses and banished dissident writers. Third world dictators sanctioned mobs to go around harassing people they saw as a problem. The communists are all gone and there are no more South American strong men. America is no longer a free country either.

This reality should be evident to everyone now. Government has spent the better part of the last two months closing shops and forcing people to stay indoors. They are creating bizarre and ridiculous rules for when people must go outside. Cops are pushing people around, harassing mothers at parks and otherwise carrying on like highly feminized goon squads. It’s hard to claim you live in a free country when you need permission from the government go outside to take a walk.

The remarkable thing about this is none of the things described above would have seemed plausible a generation ago. Conservatives liked to claim Bill Clinton was an autocrat, but no one seriously imagined he would so something like this. Left-wingers really thought Bush was Hitler, but even they did not think this was possible. In what feels like the blink of an eye, things we used to think were outside the realm of possibility are now normal. We have slipped into the darkness.

If you are of a certain age, the new normal is particularly tough to fathom. You spent much of your early life being told that the long struggle against communism was all about preventing exactly this. The whole point of America, its reason to exist, was to prevent exactly this from happening. Maybe it was always a big lie. Maybe it is the result of forces too complex for anyone to fathom. It really does not matter. The result is what matters. America is no longer a free country.

Not by a long yard, it ain’t. But is the worst part of the Hare-Kinsman story above that such a shocking, outrageous miscarriage of justice occurred in America…or that most Americans no longer find it particularly shocking or outrageous at all?

Mind you, I’m not advocating any specific course of action here, nor am I likely to do so. The prospect of Civil War v2.0 is an awful one, as I’ve said over and over here, a thing to be dreaded. In fact, I’m hesitant to even mull such notions over in a public forum, for reasons that ought to be obvious to anyone with a lick of sense.

But what does it say about us as Americans that we accept these travesties, even as we go right on congratulating ourselves for being the “land of the free”?

The questions keep coming: whither liberty? Whither the Constitution; whither America That Was? What senses do we lack that we cannot perceive the shadow of despotism falling over us? Does any of this really matter anymore anyway?

Update! Wilder, in the latest of his CW2.0 Weather Report series, sounds a somber note:

As I’ve mentioned before, a strong economy could take this sort of shock. Our economy isn’t strong. Let’s take New York City. What does it produce? Debt, real estate sales, insurance companies, financial irregularity, the stock market, and national “journalism” that at best is as biased as a Kennedy mother bailing her kids out of jail. If New York City were to disappear tomorrow, the only thing from NYC the Wilder Family would miss is the television show Impractical Jokers®.

Are we richer because of what comes from New York? Are we more stable? Does making another loan to a big corporation so they have enough debt on their books so a New York financier can’t buy them with their own money make us better off? Is it better because the dollars aren’t backed by anything other than a printing press?

In that same time period, manufacturing dropped from 25% of the economy to 11%. Does that make us better off, when critical goods are made an ocean away? Does that make us more stable and able to weather a crisis?

As the economy collapses, it’s collapsing because it has been hollowed out for decades. I will say that studies show, before 1980, Democrats were strongly focused on keeping the manufacturing and construction industries strong, since the unions that dominated that sector were lock-step voters for the Democrats. But, when a shiny new toy of being paid by the big banks plus being able to bring in a whole new class of voters (legal immigrants and illegal aliens) got too big, the Democrats dumped manufacturing and construction.

This collapse has been decades in the making. It won’t be done quickly. And it just might provide the pain to slingshot us into Civil War 2.0.

Revolutions, civil wars, and violent uprisings aren’t usually launched by comfortable, gainfully-employed people who are getting enough to eat.

The wrong shutdown

Oh, we definitely need a shutdown, all right. But this time, let’s try and get it right.

For whatever reason, many governments persist in destroying resources and fundamental liberties on the basis of a debunked epidemiological model. The national government should actively intercede, as it did to protect Americans’ rights during the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement, neither of which were very civil. But even if it doesn’t want to interfere with states’ rights today, under no circumstances should it FUND their oppression. Verily, I believe any attempt to do so will lead to a tax revolt, probably of the quiet variety at first. There is just no way Americans in the free states are going to fund the continued subjugation of their fellow Americans in California, Michigan, and elsewhere, which have essentially been invaded and occupied by their own governments.

But what then shall the poor state and municipal governments do? Obviously, they need to lift most economic restrictions so that taxes again begin to flow in. And they also need to cut their “nonessential” workers, which is essentially most of them. In the short term anyway, we need courts and police officers and other first responders. (Ultimately, we do not need any of them but this is no time for novelty, even if we have rich comparative and historical examples from which to draw.) But teachers, recorders, prothonotaries, and all sorts of other bureaucrats need to be furloughed immediately. (If you think that many will then join the ranks of protesters, you’re starting to understand the power of the purse! They can arrest some protestors, but not all of them, especially with their budgets so tight.)

There is no reason to exclude national government employees from furloughs either. The bailouts and other forms of hush money already paid out has to be repaid somehow, through higher taxes or lower expenditures. Why do we need parts of the SEC if no corporations are issuing securities? What good is the EPA if factories are shuttered? The USDA if meat processors are closed? What does the Department of Education do even in normal times? Surely most of the Department of the Interior can be let go.

Is furloughing 75 percent of government workers a draconian suggestion? Absolutely, but why shouldn’t government employees suffer along with the rest of us? You can’t expect civvies to bear all the burden of flattening an already pretty flat curve indefinitely. Plus, unlike the private sector, which is all “essential” or it wouldn’t exist, we know from budget battle government shutdowns that much of the national government is nonessential. Life goes on, and some think improves, without it.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the deadweight loss of the 35-day partial federal government shutdown in early 2019 at only $3 billion. We will be lucky to get out of the current mess for $3 trillion in deadweight losses.

Governments messed up by botching testing, then not stopping the spread of the virus when it was still manageable, then did so again by shutting down too much of the economy for too long to cover their incompetence, and now they want to be rewarded with continued nonessential employment, and the forced redistribution of wealth from all Americans to Constitution-smashing state governments? Where is the last straw?

There isn’t one, near as I can tell. Which brings us one step closer to the dropping of the post I mentioned at the end of this one, and am still putting together.

Pandemics, then and now

One of these Americas is not like the other.

Woodstock Occurred in the Middle of a Pandemic
In my lifetime, there was another deadly flu epidemic in the United States. The flu spread from Hong Kong to the United States, arriving December 1968 and peaking a year later. It ultimately killed 100,000 people in the U.S., mostly over the age of 65, and one million worldwide.

Lifespan in the US in those days was 70 whereas it is 78 today. Population was 200 million as compared with 328 million today. It was also a healthier population with low obesity. If it would be possible to extrapolate the death data based on population and demographics, we might be looking at a quarter million deaths today from this virus. So in terms of lethality, it was as deadly and scary as COVID-19 if not more so, though we shall have to wait to see.

“In 1968,” says Nathaniel L. Moir in National Interest, “the H3N2 pandemic killed more individuals in the U.S. than the combined total number of American fatalities during both the Vietnam and Korean Wars.”

And this happened in the lifetimes of every American over 52 years of age. 

I was 5 years old and have no memory of this at all. My mother vaguely remembers being careful and washing surfaces, and encouraging her mom and dad to be careful. Otherwise, it’s mostly forgotten today. Why is that?

Nothing closed. Schools stayed open. All businesses did too. You could go to the movies. You could go to bars and restaurants. John Fund has a friend who reports having attended a Grateful Dead concert. In fact, people have no memory or awareness that the famous Woodstock concert of August 1969 – planned in January during the worse period of death – actually occurred during a deadly American flu pandemic that only peaked globally six months later. There was no thought given to the virus which, like ours today, was dangerous mainly for a non-concert-going demographic.

Stock markets didn’t crash. Congress passed no legislation. The Federal Reserve did nothing. Not a single governor acted to enforce social distancing, curve flattening (even though hundreds of thousands of people were hospitalized), or banning of crowds. No mothers were arrested for taking their kids to other homes. No surfers were arrested. No daycares were shut even though there were more infant deaths with this virus than the one we are experiencing now. There were no suicides, no unemployment, no drug overdoses.

It’s not as if we had governments unwilling to intervene in other matters. We had the Vietnam War, social welfare, public housing, urban renewal, and the rise of Medicare and Medicaid. We had a president swearing to cure all poverty, illiteracy, and disease. Government was as intrusive as it had ever been in history. But for some reason, there was no thought given to shutdowns. 

Which raises the question: why was this different? We will be trying to figure this one out for decades. 

Contra that last line, the author knows the answer as well as the rest of us do, and provides it with his closing zinger.

Update! Another telling “then and now” from AEIR, a new-to-me site which I have summarily ensconced in Ye Olde Blogrolle.

The year was 1957.

Elvis’s new movie “Jailhouse Rock” was packing the theaters. The last episode of “I Love Lucy” aired on television. The show “West Side Story” held tryouts in Washington, D.C., and opened on Broadway in September. Ford’s new car the Edsel rolled off the assembly line. The Cold War with Russia was on and “In God We Trust” appeared on U.S. currency. The first Toys R Us store opened.

Also that year, the so-called Asian Flu killed 116,000 Americans.

Like the current pandemic, there was a demographic pattern to the deaths. It hit the elderly population with heart and lung disease. In a frightening twist, the virus could also be fatal for pregnant women. The infection rate was probably even higher than the Spanish flu of 1918 (675,000 Americans died from this), but this lowered the overall case fatality rate to 0.67%. A vaccine became available in late 1957 but was not widely distributed.

The population of the U.S. at the time was 172 million, which is a little more than half of the current population. Life expectancy was 69 as versus 78 today. It was a much healthier population with negligible obesity. To extrapolate the data to a counterfactual, we can conclude that this virus was more wicked than COVID-19 thus far.

What’s remarkable when we look back at this year, nothing was shut down. Restaurants, schools, theaters, sporting events, travel – everything continued without interruption. Without a 24-hour news cycle with thousands of news agencies and a billion websites hungry for traffic, mostly people paid no attention other than to keep basic hygiene. It was covered in the press as a medical problem. The notion that there was a political solution never occurred to anyone.

Again, this was a very serious flu, and it persisted for 10 years until it mutated to become the Hong Kong flu of 1968. 

So what changed between then and now? One of my go-to Shakespeare quotes provides a clue: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

Gee, I wonder if several generations of government-school indoctrination might have had something to do with this…

Chains, resting lightly upon us

Embedded in the post from Fran mentioned below is a video of last night’s Tucker Carlson monologue. I happened to catch its broadcast run myself last night while at my brother’s place, then spent a good bit of my time today desperately trying run down a transcript for posting purposes, it was so good. And finally, I did.

Last week we interviewed a longtime partner at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company named Peter Walker. Like so many in finance and consulting, Walker spent an awful lot of his career doing business in China. We have no idea how much money he made doing that.

We do know that along the way, Walker internalized a lot of the attitudes of China’s totalitarian government. During our interview, we asked Walker what he thought of China’s lockdown that was imposed in an effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

I asked Walker: “Now credible reports suggest that Chinese authorities locked people in their apartments and left them to die. We know they snatched people off the streets and threw them into police vans – God knows where they went. That’s the quarantine that you think they deserve high praise for. Why?”

Walker replied: “Well I think … if you just look at the results, I know there’s always going to be questions about exactly what the numbers are, but I think the harsh action that they took, given the scale of China and number of big cities in it, was exactly what they needed to do to prevent the outbreak from going any further. The reality is the outbreak hasn’t gone much beyond Wuhan.”

The secret police kidnapping citizens off the street, authorities locking people in their apartments from the outside until they starve to death – just look at the results. All of that, Walker said, was “exactly what they needed to do.”

This is the view of one of America’s most prominent business leaders. He didn’t seem ashamed to say it. Later in our interview, Walker suggested that American authorities could have done the same things in New York, if only they’d gotten an earlier start. Kind of a shame they didn’t.

Your jaw dropped watching it. But here’s the striking thing: nobody seemed to notice that he said it. Walker didn’t find himself on the front page of The New York Times the next morning. No one in American business denounced him. He went home and went to bed. Totalitarianism doesn’t shock us anymore.

Maybe that’s because, all of a sudden, it’s all around us.

Never in American history have politicians been more powerful than they are now. Effectively, they are God. In the state of Maine, Gov. Janet Mills now has the power to suspend any law she doesn’t like. She can seize any state resource she feels like seizing. She can force any citizen or all citizens from their homes.

The governor can do all of this for as long as she believes Maine is in a state of “emergency.” There is virtually nothing Janet Mills can’t do. Many governors now have these powers.

The First Amendment explicitly prevents government from making any law that inhibits the exercise of religious faith. It’s a cornerstone of our history and our law.

Millions of people have fled to America from around the world precisely because our Bill of Rights gives them this guarantee. It’s why this country was founded. Now it’s gone.

Where did politicians get the authority to do all this? Because some elderly, power-drunk doctor told them to? That’s not how our system works – or can work.

Occasionally, you’ll hear some lonely civil libertarian fret that we may be on a “slippery slope” toward losing our rights. If only. We’re already there.

We’ve slid to the bottom of that slope. Our rights are gone. No one has explained how politicians are allowed to do this, to override the Constitution. No one seems to care. They’re too afraid.

But if we think this is moment scary, consider what might come next. Now that we’ve ceded all authority in the country to our political leaders, what can’t they do? What are the limits to their power?

That’s not a theoretical question. It’s not an argument over philosophy or political theory. It’s the most practical possible question. The answer will define where this country goes next. What can’t politicians do in the name of public health?

Lots more betwixt my invisible ellipses, running down several more examples of the authoritarian fever currently enfeebling the nation—a mortal affliction for which there is but one known treatment. Each of tonight’s posts are intended to serve as kinda-sorta lead-ins to another one that I actually began working on last night, and may or may not get finished with tonight. If not, it’ll drop in another day or two.

Fear itself

A pair of arresting lines from a pair of truly gifted writers, both of which I’ll put in bold so’s nobody misses ’em. First, the ZMan:

You can’t help but wonder if what we are seeing is just a dry run for something more permanent in the future. I don’t think this was premeditated. It is just a good example of how events can take on a life of their own. One things leads to another and before long the best of intentions results in a madness consuming the people who set of the chain of events with their good intentions. Like the radicals of the French Revolution, our rulers are now captive to events they set in motion.

Like many people I’m losing my patience for this ridiculous charade. As the evidence stacks up it is clear the lock downs were a terrible idea. It is time to go back to our normal routines, but the people in charge have the whiff of authoritarianism in their nostrils and like a rutting beast they can think of nothing else. They are now busy dreaming up more insane restrictions just to humiliate people. It is increasingly difficult to remain a reasonable person. I’m getting a little salty.

Well and pungently put, Z. Increasingly, though, I find myself wondering if a “reasonable” response is really the right one to end our escalating humiliation.

Next, a little tough love from my esteemed friend Francis Porretto:

Fear is the aspiring tyrant’s best tool. Fear of violence; fear of disease; fear of the infirmities of age; fear of the future; fear of one’s neighbors; fear of one’s countrymen; fear of faceless others in distant lands. He who can make you afraid can make himself your master…and your fears need not be of him.

Note that no government, no agency, and no politician can actually relieve you of the threats that make you fear. Only you can do that. Indeed, that’s the most ironic facet of our current condition: were Americans merely to practice enhanced hygiene, and protect our most vulnerable relatives from contagion, we would be out the back end of this Wuhan virus business in a few weeks, with no more fatalities than we’re suffering under this lockdown regime and with herd immunity, to boot. Instead we’ve surrendered our rights as Americans for absolutely no gain – and that’s to say nothing of the economic devastation the lockdown has wrought.

But our politicians value our fear far more than our lives, our rights, or our economy. They’re doing their best to keep our fears stoked high. It’s what aspiring tyrants have always done:

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. – H. L. Mencken

And we’ve fallen for it.

Indeed we have, to our eternal shame and disgrace. Seems like an opportune moment to re-run one of my verymost favorite poems, from one of my verymost favorite half-mad poets:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

In politics, the worst are ALWAYS full of passionate intensity; it’s how politicians persuade us to buy the particular brand of snake-oil they’re hawking. But now, for the first time in American history, we have fully and irrevocably surrendered both our freedom and our fates to them, vexed to nightmare by a fear that has been proven unfounded. The rough beast has been allowed his hour at last, and the darkness is descending.

Land of the treed, home of the craven

We are being conditioned to accept the bit. The truly nauseating thing is how very many of us ARE accepting it—when they’re not actively demanding it, screaming for it, that is.

We live in a country where one may be arrested for opening her store or having too many friends at her house for a social gathering. Whiling away the hours under a modified house arrest, we wait for a relative handful of megalomaniacs in government to tell us when we might hope to return to normal life. 

Strangely, the American people seem to have swallowed this new reality whole—no questioning, no scrutiny, but complete, embarrassing credulousness at the claims of politicians, bureaucrats, and pundits frantically waving around little more than shoddy, dubious models and barely hiding a lust for tyrannizing innocent people.

This suggests that Americans, thought to be freedom-loving people, will now believe almost anything, conditioned to be fearful and obedient. Even those who had long since abandoned belief in this myth of America as the Land of the Free might have expected at least some resistance in the face of such open attacks on basic freedoms.

William Graham Sumner eloquently exposed the problems with supposing that every social or economic question is susceptible to solution through the “inelastic and arbitrary” means of legislation or regulation. He saw the “mania for interference” as revealing “the prevailing ignorance of what a society is and what methods of dealing with it are rational.” Faced with a particularly complex, vexatious social question, Sumner teaches, “the last thing to do is to legislate about it,” “for it is not possible to experiment with a society and just drop the experiment whenever we choose. The experiment enters into the life of the society, and never can be got out again.” 

In America That Was, the old sheep/wolves/sheepdogs analogy has been perverted. For any who have forgotten, or never heard of it:

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin’s egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

“Then there are the wolves,” the old war veteran said, “and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.” Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

“Then there are sheepdogs,” he went on, “and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.” Or, as a sign in one California law enforcement agency put it, “We intimidate those who intimidate others.”

We are a nation of sheep all right. But the sheepdogs have chosen to switch sides, and are now working for the wolves. And…well, here we all are.

sacramento-storm-troopers.jpg

Now, can any of you honestly tell me that this looks even remotely like the now-defunct America v1.0 to you? If so, may I have some of whatever the hell it is you’re smoking? Sundance’s headline says it all:

33 People Arrested During Sacramento Freedom Protest…
Sometimes the headlines tell a story all by themselves…That’s the case in Sacramento California where a group of frustrated and rebellious citizens sought to petition their home confinement order by using the first amendment.

Apparently protesting a governor for redress of grievances, during a time of arbitrary suspension of the first amendment to the U.S. constitution, is grounds for arrest.

As a result 33 Californians were were arrested for not complying with the governor’s order they were protesting against.

Their failure of citizens to keep distant from each-other made them scofflaws to the dictates of the state government.

Video from the scene shows California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered fully armored riot police to surround the capitol building; and face down a group of rebellious moms and business owners.

The subversives who did not remain socially distant, during their protest about having to be socially distant, were promptly arrested.

Ahh, but nobody should be surprised or shocked; Commissar Newsom is only a petty liberal tyrant doing what liberal tyrants do, after all, and he’s making the most of the opportunity presented to him just as any other of them would—and have. The question is: who was it who put Newsom in office in the first place? Worse yet: how likely is it that the self-same people currently so angry at Newsom, Whitler, Coomo, and DeBalledZero, and other tinpot despots currently flaunting their true colors in our fearful faces, will happily march off to the polls to re-elect them next time they get the chance?

A near-certainty, that would be my bet. Nobody had to take their freedom away from them; “Americans” willing gave it away themselves, without hesitation. Which leaves me to saw away at the world’s tiniest violin in sympathy with their complaints, while singing a melody whose lyrics were first set down by the prescient Benjamin “A Republic, if you can keep it” Franklin:

Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech…Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

And, in the end, will surely find themselves deprived of both.

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