“Is it a setup?”

Well, I mean, DUH.

Social media users have been reporting mysterious piles of bricks in cities across the country in recent days, stoking speculation that the stashes are being planted to encourage violence amid the countrywide protests over George Floyd’s death.

On Sunday, police confirmed the existence of such piles in Kansas City, urging residents to notify police if they discover any new stashes.

Rioters in Manhattan reportedly happened upon a pile lying in the street Sunday night despite it not being clear what the bricks would be used for in terms of construction.

In Dallas, Instagram user @reubengotsoul said he was disappointed to see a “RANDOM stack of bricks in front of the courthouse,” adding that he believed it was a setup.

Odd, that. Has anybody thought to ask evil Nazi scum George Soros if he owns any brickyards or construction companies, perchance?

Determining who funds Antifa is difficult because the movement is highly decentralized and consists of private individuals and loosely affiliated groups.

Journalist Lee Stranahan downplays the significance of funding to Antifa.

“While it’s been proven that funders like Soros and the Democrat Party have paid protest organizers and some protesters, groups like the violent Black Bloc [sic – black bloc refers to a set of tactics, not a group] typically aren’t motivated by money, but instead come to protests because of their anti-American ideology, base criminal desires and thrill seeking.”

Nonetheless, the left-wing billionaire George Soros has ties to Antifa through a group called the Alliance for Global Justice (AfGJ). Soros’s philanthropy, known at the time as the Open Society Institute, gave $100,000 to AfGJ ($50,000 in 2004 and $50,000 in 2006).

Odd, that. But I’m SURE it’s all just a coincidence.

Life: unsafe at any speed

A risk-averse society is a dying society.

We have a meme up at PragerU: “‘Until it’s safe’ means ‘never.'”

The pursuit of “safe” over virtually all other considerations is life-suppressing. This is true for your own individual life, and it is true for the life of a society.

I always give the following example: I have been taking visitors to Israel for decades, and for all those decades, people have called my radio show to say, “Dennis, I would so love to visit Israel, but I’m just going to wait until it’s safe.” And I’ve always told these people, “Then you’ll never go.” And sure enough, I’ve gone there over 20 times, and they never went.

I have never led my life on the basis of “until it’s safe.” I do not take ridiculous risks. I wear a seatbelt whenever I’m in a car because the chances are overwhelming that in a bad accident, a seatbelt can save my life. But I get into the car, which is not 100% safe.

You are not on earth to be safe. You are on earth to lead a full life. I don’t want my epitaph to be, “He led a safe life.” It’s like another epitaph I don’t want: “He experienced as little pain as possible.”

All of life confronts you with this question: Are you going to take risks or play it safe? If you play it safe, you don’t get married. If you play it safe, you don’t have kids. There are real risks in getting married; there are real risks in having children.

If you want to lead a good and full life, you cannot keep asking, “Is it safe?” Those at college promoting “safe spaces” are afraid of life, and they want to make you afraid of life.

We’re going crazy on the safe issue. It is making police states. That’s my worry: In the name of safety, many Americans are dropping all other considerations.

They’ve been meticulously trained to, over many decades, with the making of a police state foremost in the minds of the Planners.

Status quo ante

The more things change, the more they etc.

U.S.—Americans in some states are finally starting to feel normal again, now that stay-at-home orders are being lifted. Children are at the park again, adults are back at the bar, and the elderly continue to play bingo at 4 p.m. sharp on a daily basis.  

But there’s one thing that has everybody feeling at a near-peak level of normal: conservatives are going to work while liberals stay at home and do nothing—just like always.

“We can now say with undeniable certainty that these are normal times,” explained social psychologist Ben O’Reilly as he handed a hippie a twenty-dollar bill. “Conservatives are once again doing all the hard work to keep the economy afloat, while liberals sit at home, pretend to be sick with the Coronavirus, and collect government paychecks. Congratulations America, you are back to normal!”

While some conservatives are upset that liberals get to stay home and mooch off of them, most say they don’t even care anymore.

“I just want to get back to work,” said Jared Renfro, an electrician from Wisconsin. “If liberals don’t want to work, hey, more power to them. I don’t mind paying their bills.” Renfro then polished his “Trump 2020” bumper sticker and hopped in his truck.   

Well, it’s not as if all those gender-studies grads, government employees, and liberal-dweeb college professors were doing anything particularly useful anyway.

Update! IF EVEN ONE LIFE IS SAV…uhhh, wait a sec here.

LANSING, MI- Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan took her already excessive restrictions in her state in the fight against Covid-19 a step further this morning when she announced that any violations of the executive order may authorize the use of lethal force by law enforcement.

The Michigan Governor stated, “If you think you can just go out and buy a bag of charcoal, think again. Going out for unnecessary purchases and risking the spread of Covid-19 would be no different than going out and shooting a gun at random people. It’s time we accept the reality of the situation and treat such instances accordingly.”

Michigan has already been essentially under house arrest with a risk of jail or a $1,000 fine for residents who simply leave their homes. Entire sections of areas in Michigan grocery stores of items deemed “non-essential” have been roped off to satisfy Gretchen Whitmer’s brand of compassionate authoritarianism. Items like bug spray and outdoor supplies among many other goods are now forbidden to be purchased by Michigan residents.

Gov. Whitmer’s authorization of lethal force for violation of the order has completed the task of making her power and reach absolute, as no resident of Michigan is now safe from the prospect of being publicly executed by their Governor.

Although the measure admittedly may never be fully implemented, the Governor has described it as a necessary symbolic gesture to show how far she is willing to go to protect her loyal subjects.

The profoundly Kafka-esque nature of our current national absurdity has made distinguishing between satire and reality so tough that Reuters is barely even trying anymore.

Social media users are circulating an article with a headline that reads, “Whitmer authorizes lethal force to maintain state lockdown” ( here ). It refers to Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D).

The claim comes amid a series of demonstrations against coronavirus-related lockdowns across key electoral battleground states like Michigan ( here ).

The article has been flagged multiple times as part of Facebook’s efforts to curb misinformation related to the new coronavirus.

The claim is false. It stems from a satirical article on the website The People’s Cube. The article lists the author as “Chedoh, Kommissar of Viral Infections, Hero of Change, Prophet of the Future Truth”. Despite these red flags, some social media users believe the story is authentic, making comments like “You need to vote her out!” and “The Power all Democrats want”.

On March 24, Whitmer passed an executive order suspending non-essential activities across the state ( here ). On April 13, Whitmer issued another executive order to extend the lockdown measures until April 30 ( here ). Neither of the orders specified enforcement conditions aside from mentioning that, “Consistent with MCL 10.33 and MCL 30.405(3), a willful violation of this order is a misdemeanor”. Michigan is one of 42 states where governors have ordered residents to remain indoors except for necessary outings like grocery shopping or doctor’s visits, while closing schools, universities and non-essential businesses.

VERDICT
False: Michigan Governor Whitmer has not authorized “lethal force” to maintain lockdown measures meant to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. This claim comes from a satirical article.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact checking work here .

Oh, I believe I’ve read just about all I need to about your “work” at this point, guys.

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.

Three foes, just one enemy

Somehow, I wasn’t aware of this myself.

In October 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared a 30-year war on the United States. When the war is over in 2049, the 100th anniversary of Communist Party rule, China expects to be victorious economically, politically and, if necessary, militarily. This is something about which few Americans are aware, and most who are don’t take it seriously. Donald Trump does—and Beijing knows it.

China must carefully consider “all complex situations,” Xi said at the time, voicing a cryptic note of caution. In the aftermath of COVID-19, as more of China’s secret ambitions are exposed and anti-communist sentiments not heard since the Cold War go public, there could be a lot of “complex situations” for Chinese leaders to consider.

After failing repeatedly, Democrats and their allies think they finally have the perfect one-two combination—spiked Chinese bat flu along with a sci-fi panic attack—for getting rid of Trump and capitalism once and for all.

The Democratic Party, the media and a newly aggressive China have morphed into a single opposition, and the one person capable of rallying the nation to fight back and win is Donald Trump.

And then things really start to get…interesting.

Reporters, spouting their usual Chinese propaganda at a recent White House press conference, tried to make it seem as if Trump’s name for the virus was worse than the virus itself.

But while they asked questions designed to make Trump look stupid, he used them to launch a major theme in his reelection campaign.

“Why do you keep calling this the Chinese virus?” one reporter wanted to know. “A lot of people say it’s racist.”

“It’s not racist at all,” said Trump. “It comes from China. Chi-na . . . I want to be accurate.”

Two minutes later another reporter said: “A White House official used the term ‘kung flu,’ referring to the fact that this virus started in China . . . Is that acceptable?”

“Say the term again,” Trump said.

“Kung flu,” the reporter replied. “A person at the White House used the term ‘kung flu’—”

“Just the term,” interrupted Trump.

“Kung flu,” the reporter said again.

“Kung flu?” asked the president, as if he hadn’t heard it the first four times.

“Kung flu,” the reporter repeated. “Do you think that’s wrong? And do you think using the term ‘Chinese virus’ puts Asian-Americans at risk?”

“No. I think they probably would agree with it 100 percent,” Trump said. “It comes from China. What’s not to agree on?”

Watching the White House press corps in action is a form of home entertainment for a whole population sheltering in place. There’s more going on here, though, than journalists beclowning themselves.

How many people cooped up with just their TVs to amuse them, agreed with what Trump said about China? Or thought the back and forth on “kung flu” (a phrase broadcast six times in the space of 20 seconds) was funny?

And how many sent links to their friends, who sent them to their friends? Thousands…millions?

Donald Trump called COVID-19 “the Chinese virus” and got an oblivious reporter to say “kung flu” over and over for the same reason he called Jeb Bush “Low-energy Jeb” and Hillary Clinton “Crooked Hillary” during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Four years ago he started typecasting Bush and Clinton as losers before a single primary voter went to the polls. A similar strategy is underway in the 2020 race, with a special coronavirus twist.

Can Trump really be that smart? If so, all the people currently making sport of him via snarky “12-dimensional chess” comments are gonna wind up looking mighty foolish themselves when all is said and done. As these things tend to do, though, it all comes back around to the fundamentals.

Less than six months before a presidential election COVID-19 has made Donald Trump a “crisis” president.

Instead of coasting to victory in November on the strength of his economic record, he will need to deal effectively with the coronavirus, revive the economy—for a second time—and confront the most formidable foreign policy challenge since Ronald Reagan was president.

In fact, Trump’s run for a second term in 2020 is a virtual playback of Reagan’s 1984 campaign. The similarities between the two men and their races, including the Cold War overtones, are uncanny.

Reagan was 73, so is Trump. Reagan ran against his predecessor’s vice president, just as Trump is doing. Both were Washington outsiders and former Democrats, who previously worked in the entertainment industry.

They also share two qualities—determination and resilience—particularly suited to campaigning in times of crisis. Reagan was an optimist and a fighter with a unique ability to communicate his ideas to voters. Trump has the same traits, using Twitter to connect with his millions of followers. And no politician in America can fill stadiums—and their parking lots—with supporters the way he does.

Because of the coronavirus, the 2020 campaign will be a debate about political systems, economics and national security, issues that play to the strengths that helped Trump win in 2016. And, as president, he can use campaign events, as Reagan did, to spell out the options in language every voter understands.

Will the United States be held hostage and eventually dominated by China and its Democratic Party collaborators, or will it “Stay the course,” as Reagan put it?

If the Democrats take over, the answer is obvious. Welcome to the United Socialist States of America (USSA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Communist China.

Shortly after Reagan’s second inauguration, Mikhail Gorbachev was appointed general secretary of the Soviet Union, the “evil empire’s” eighth and final leader. Later, Reagan was asked if Gorbachev’s reform-minded approach to communism had changed his strategic thinking about the Cold War. “No,” he said. “Here’s my strategy: We win. They lose.”

A most excellent strategy, that, with the added advantage of being truly timeless. Stupid or not, Trump is definitely crazy—LIKE A FUCKING FOX.

Despite my copious excerpting, there’s plenty more yet to come; yes, it’s another must-read-it-all article, folks. Don’t worry, you can thank me later.

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…

Dead or alive

Who to believe, who to believe.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un allegedly made a public appearance on Saturday amid unconfirmed reports that he is critically ill, dead, or hiding from the Chinese coronavirus, according to South Korea’s Yonhap.

Kim Jong Un attended the completion of a fertilizer plant

AS fertilizer.

in Sunchon, marking his first public appearance in 20 days, Reuters reported, citing North Korea’s state news agency KCNA.

There’s been tons of speculation and “uncomfirmed reports” concerning Kim’s abrupt disappearance making the rounds, which is one reason I haven’t bothered with either paying much attention to the story or mentioning it here. But of all the theories, this one is my personal preference.

Foreign affairs expert and Asia analyst Gordon Chang said on “America’s Newsroom” on Monday that “something is wrong” in North Korea, adding that there is reason to doubt South Korea’s claim that Kim Jong Un is “alive and well.”

“I don’t think the South Korean government is right when they say he is alive and well,” Chang said. “He very well may be alive, but the ‘well’ part of it is, I think, subject to question largely because this regime acts in patterns and when these patterns are broken, we know that something has occurred.”

On Monday Chang noted that a report, which he said “actually has some circumstantial evidence to support it,” showed that Kim may have been wounded in “an accident on April 14 when North Korea launched a barrage of cruise missiles.”

“One of the things that’s important about this is that that missile test, which in fact did occur, could not have gone forward if Kim did not authorize it,” Chang said. “Kim has been on site for virtually every missile test in North Korea during his reign.”

He pointed out that photos of Kim were released at every prior missile test, but that no photos were released of the last test.

“That’s an indication that something happened on April 14,” Chang said.

Li’l Rocket Man, brought low by one of his own jerry-rigged, malfunctioning rockets? Oh God, PLEASE let it be true.

Turnaround, in the wrong direction

This. This right here.

RUSH: So, I checked the email during the break (I always do that), and there was a great question. “Rush, what is it that’s really bothering you about this? I don’t think you’re actually telling us. I don’t think you’re getting all the way there. It seems like you’re holding things back. What’s really bothering you?”

I’m not holding anything back, but I did… I thought, “Okay. What do they think I’m holding back? Why do people think that I’m not saying what I really think about this?” So I began to analyze that and I have an answer — and here’s what it is? You know what bugs me about this? We’re just sitting around waiting!

We’re not in any way attacking this. We’re not on offense at all. We are being entirely defensive, and that doesn’t defeat anything. “But, Rush! But, Rush! We’re talking about a contagious disease. We must avoid the spread.” Let me tell you something, folks. There is so much about this that I don’t think we have been truthfully told.

And I don’t know whether that it’s purposeful or not. I’m not gonna go into Conspiracyville. But Governor Cuomo yesterday was now telling us that far more people have been infected than they knew — and we know this is true in Santa Clara, California. It’s probably true in California at large. We know it’s true in LA County.

What Governor Kemp is doing is going on offense. Governor Kemp says, “We’re not gonna let this think destroy us. We’re not gonna let this thing…” I mean, we’re sitting around and allowing this to happen! It’s actually worse than that. We are doing this to ourselves. This is the thing that just grates on me under the guise that we’re trying to do what?

Keep people from getting sick. The recovery rate remains 98%. You’re probably sick and tired of me saying that. But overall, what bothers me, folks, is that how long are we gonna sit down? How long are we going to shelter in place? To what end? “Well, Rush, we have to bend the curve, my man.”

Yeah (sigh), and we’re bending the curve for what reason? Make sure the hospitals are not overrun with a bunch of people infected at the same time. But we’re eventually gonna have come out of our hovels, aren’t we? The hobbits are gonna eventually have to start looking for the ring.

It just seems like this is an entirely defensive posture, and I know the people in charge of it can make the case for that, but it just… (grumbling) “How would you attack the virus, Rush? We can’t even see it.” Well, I’m not an epidemiologist. But the things that we’ve been told, like, “We gotta wait for a vaccine”? We may never get one of those!

Believe it or not, Rush’s rant precisely mirrors a conversation I was having with my brother recently, although we were discussing Trump specifically as having somehow been forced onto the defensive by the Chink-N-Pox bait and switch. However such an unwelcome reversal may have transpired, if the Prez doesn’t quickly come up with a way to turn things around and get back to throwing punches instead of covering up, it will cost not only Trump but the nation itself quite dearly.

A very large part of Trump’s appeal to fed-up Real Americans was his eagerness to take the offensive, rather than the usual defensive crouch we’d all grown so frustrated and disgusted with after years of perennial-loser GOPe frauds swirling willingly down the drain. Trump can hardly afford to back into a neutral corner for some rope-a-dope action now; with a miraculously-revived US economy being brought to unexpected ruin all around us, what was an all-but-a-gimme 2020 reelection suddenly looks one hell of a lot dicier as it is.

“Defensive” is not a good look for Trump; that same tired old shit is readily available from any garden-variety GOPe hack in arm’s reach, any time we feel like squeezing his bulbous head for some. We need Trump back on track banging away at his/our enemies relentlessly, making them react to him instead of the other way around, now more than ever.

The numbers are clear

And they still aren’t dissipating that fishy aroma wafting off of the Corony “crisis.”

Data are coming in, and their import is clear. The coronavirus pandemic is not and never was a threat to society. COVID-19 poses a danger to the elderly and the medically compromised. Otherwise, for most who present symptoms, it can be nasty and persistent, but is not life-threatening. A majority of those infected do not notice that they have the disease. Coronavirus presents us with a medical challenge, not a crisis. The crisis has been of our own making.

On March 16, Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London predicted a coronavirus death toll of more than two million in the United States alone. He arrived at this number by assuming that infection would be nearly universal and the fatality rate would be high—a terrifying prospect. The next day, Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis sifted through the data and predicted less widespread infection and a fatality rate of between 0.05 and 1.0 percent—not that different from the common flu. The coronavirus is not the common flu. It has different characteristics, afflicting the old more than the young, men more than women. Nevertheless, all data trends since mid-March show that Ferguson was fantastically wrong and Ioannidis was largely right about its mortal threat.

In epidemiology, nothing is certain. The facts may change in the future. But as of now, this much is certain: Current data point to a disease that is far less deadly than was feared when our country hurled itself over the cliff of mass lockdown. The WHO was at that time issuing warnings that presumed a death rate 20-30 times higher than what now appears realistic.

We need fact-based policies. COVID-19 spreads rapidly, and any fast-spreading disease can strain medical resources as incidences rise. Long recovery times increase patient loads in hospitals. Careful planning and resource allocation are therefore essential. They were accomplished successfully in New York, much to the credit of medical professionals here. The American people need to be told of that success, which, given the density of New York, shows that we can and will succeed everywhere in our country.

We’ve been stampeded into a regime of social control that is unprecedented in our history. Our economy has been shattered. Ordinary people have been terrorized by death-infused propaganda designed to motivate obedience to the limits on free movement. We have been reduced to life as medical subjects in our condition of self-quarantine. As unemployment numbers skyrocket and Congress spends trillions, the political stakes rise.

The experts, professionals, bureaucrats, and public officials who did this to us have tremendous incentives to close ranks and say, “It is not wise to tell people that the danger was never grave and now has passed.” Sustaining the coronavirus narrative will require many lies. It will be up to us to insist on the truth.

Personally, I’d insist on an abject, groveling apology for the damage the panic-ninnies and grasping state/local officials have done if I thought there was a chance in hell of ever actually getting one out of ’em. Instead, though, we can expect plenty of self-congratulation about the wonders their self-serving lockdown orders wrought in saving us all. Which is going to taste all the more sour after perfidy like this:

I was going to do this as a video, but decided that I'm a bit too angry to be trusted with a camera and a microphone. The governor of Tennessee told everybody that he would not be extending his safer at home executive order, and that he would allow local governments to begin reopening their businesses when it expired.

Business owners reacted, bring in inventory, stocking shelves, bringing back employees, and spending money to get ready to reopen.

Today, just a couple of days before businesse were going to reopen, the governor issued a new executive order. Only some businesses would be allowed to reopen. Others would have to remain closed. Restaurants could open, but bars could not. Gyms could open, but swimming pools and bowling alleys could not. Stores could open, but playgrounds, amusement parks, theaters, auditoriums, arcades, race tracks, etc could not.

All of the theaters in Pigeon Forge were planning on reopening following the governor's original announcement. They brought back their casts and crews, spruced up the theaters, and got everything ready to open up.

Now they can't. All that time, effort, and yes, money, has been wasted as the governor, at the last minute, took away their hope.

This will be devastating to these businesses. Many of them will fail because of the governor's about face. In a cruel parody of the last minute reprieve of the death row inmate, instead of offering a reprieve, the governor's call has pulled the switch on Sevier County.

I cannot state this strongly enough; this eleventh hour extension of the shutdown will do irreperable harm to the county. It will be far more devastating than the fire of a couple years ago because there will be no coming back for many of these businesses. The governor's order will destroy even those businesses he so graciously deigned to allow to open. How will restaurants survive with no patrons? The locals won't be able to afford to eat there, and the tourists won't come because there's nothing to do. The only thing more corrosive to a bottom line than a closed restaurant is an open one with too few customers, and Governor Lee has ensured that is exactly what will happen.

And for what? Saving lives from COVID-19? Feh. The numbers are clear and getting clearer. COVID-19 was never the monster it was made out to be. Serious? yes. Devastating? Not hardly.

What will be devastating is the countless lives destroyed by this continued overreaction on the part of the governor.

It's sad; just a couple of days ago, I was praising him for allowing each local jurisdiction the dignity of decideing for themselves exactly how to transition back to a functioning economy.

I should have known better.

Considering that clear-eyed skepticism of government is supposed to have been bred into the American DNA, yeah, we all shoulda. And yet.

But let’s close this thing out on a more uplifting note, shall we? A good friend of mine texted me something C&P’d from another Fakebook post, and I thought it was worth sharing.

Perspective! It’s a mess out there now. Hard to discern between what’s a real threat and what is just simple panic and hysteria.

For a small amount of perspective at this moment, imagine you were born in 1900. On your 14th birthday, World War I starts, and ends on your 18th birthday. 22 million people perish in that war. Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday. 50 million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million.

On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, the World GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy. When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren’t even over the hill yet.

And don’t try to catch your breath. On your 41st birthday, the United States is fully pulled into WWII. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war. At 50, the Korean War starts. 5 million perish.

At 55 the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years. 4 million people perish in that conflict. On your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, should have ended. Great leaders prevented that from happening. When you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends.

Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How do you survive all of that? When you were a kid in 1985 and didn’t think your 85 year old grandparent understood how hard school was. And how mean that kid in your class was. Yet they survived through everything listed above.

Perspective is an amazing art. Refined as time goes on, and enlightening like you wouldn’t believe. Let’s try and keep things in perspective. Let’s be smart, help each other out, and we will get through all of this.

Wise and encouraging words.

Satire…maybe

The only way to tell for sure these days is to double-check the URL of the post.

Judge Dismisses Sexual Assault Allegations Against Biden On Grounds That He Is Not A Republican
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Democratic presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden was cleared in federal court today of charges that some claimed were based upon credible allegations of sexual assault when the judge quickly realized that Joe Biden was not a Republican.

“Well, this looks pretty serious… let’s see who is on—wait a minute. He’s a Democrat! I can find no fault with him,” declared a fourth circuit federal judge hearing preliminary claims.

“It is well established in this court that Republicans are the ones who want to silence women and control their bodies. Haven’t you seen The Handmaid’s Tale?” the judge further added before banging down the gavel.

The bailiff immediately grabbed the female accuser by the collar and threw her up into the air out onto the sidewalk, just like in the cartoons.

No definitive word from the Bee on whether Boots Randolph’s “Yakety Sax” was playing at the time.



Update! To their enormous credit, Hollywood stars are standing tall to prove the consistency of their #MeToo, #BelieveAllThe Wymrynz beliefs when it comes to Senile Uncle Fingerbang.

Emily Ratajkowski: “Men who hurt women can no longer be placed in positions of power.”

Amy Shumer: “We will win. A vote for Biden is a vote saying ‘Women don’t matter.’ Let’s stay together. Let’s fight. Let’s keep showing up.”

Ellen DeGenerate: “This tweet is for Ms Reade. You put yourself through so much and I want you to know it wasn’t in vain. You started a movement and we’ll see it through. If they won’t listen to our voices, then they’ll listen to our vote,” she tweeted.

Jim Carrey: “Real American heroism. Ms Reade risked everything to tell the truth about this privileged Biden goon. Avenge her in November.”

There’s lots more, as unexpected as they are welcome, demonstrating once and for all that…uhhh…that…

WHOAWHOAWHOAWHOA!! Hold on there, gang. My apologies, but I seem to have inadvertently subsituted the names “Biden” and “Ms Reade” for “Kavanaugh” and “Christine Ballsey-Fraud.” Sorry, I really don’t know how that might have happened.

(Via Stephen Green)

Last laugh

Why yes, I AM still enjoying this rare bit of smoker schadenfraude. Why do you ask?

There’s not much to laugh about these days, but the news that smokers might be protected from Covid-19 is certainly one of them. With study after study showing that smokers are under-represented in coronavirus wards, the renowned French neuroscientist, Jean-Pierre Changeux, is working on a randomised control trial to test the effect of nicotine patches on Covid-19 patients.

This is far from being a crackpot theory. Changeux has explained his hypothesis at length here. In simple terms, he says that nicotinic acetylcholine receptors play a key role in the development of the disease and that nicotine can put a brake on it. If he is right – and the banter heuristic says he is – it would not only save thousands of lives but would also be one in the eye for the ‘public health’ groups who have been claiming that smoking and vaping are risk factors for Covid-19.

These groups are so used to lying with impunity that they wasted no time in asserting that smoking caused coronavirus complications when the pandemic began. In the US, newspapers have been filled with reports that smokers and vapers ‘may’ be at greater risk from Covid-19, a weasel word that requires no evidence. A group of doctors in New York urged governor Andrew Cuomo to ban the sale of all tobacco and e-cigarette products on the false premise that ‘mounting evidence demonstrates the link between tobacco use and increased risk for progressive Covid-19’. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has been taking occasional breaks from flattering the Chinese Communist Party to make evidence-free assertions about smokers being ‘likely’ to suffer more from the coronavirus.

Is there ANYTHING the panic-mongering “experts” have gotten right about this? Anything at all? Snowdon lays out some numbers in support of the argument for smoking’s health benefits before diving into the schadenfraude deep-end his own self:

People scoffed when Emmanuel Macron exempted tobacco kiosks from France’s lockdown on the basis that they provide an essential service. Who’s coughing now?

Far be it from me to preempt the conclusions of the professor’s research, but let us consider for a moment the policy implications of nicotine being the only tried and tested prophylactic for Covid-19. We could issue Lucky Strikes on prescription. We could #ClapForOurCigarettes every Thursday evening. The case for closing down Public Health England would be stronger than ever. We could open the pubs, but only to smokers and vapers. We might allow a few non-smokers in to enjoy the possible benefits of passive exposure, but only if they stand two metres apart. There is everything to play for.

The icing on the cake would be if British American Tobacco is first out of the blocks with a vaccine. Everyone who works for the World Health Organisation would have to go unvaccinated on principle and rely instead on herd immunity. Smokers would, of course, be pushed to the front of the queue for vaccination. They paid for it, after all.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But, by God, wouldn’t it be fun?

Oh, it already is.

NotACoughInACarload.jpg


Hey buddy, can I get a light?

“The economy is not a machine”

And even if it was, with many machines shutting ’em down is a lot easier than cranking ’em back up again.

The coronavirus is having a profound impact on our economies. Faced with economic downturns, governments have traditionally attempted to spur employment and restore economic health by propping up aggregate demand. Scholars differ on the track record of these interventions, yet all agree that governments, by stimulating demand, aim to provoke productive activity. Today, though, rather than trying to stimulate activity in the wake of the pandemic, governments are aiming to stop it. And at this task, everyone must agree, governments are performing splendidly.

Once the coronavirus is under control, restarting the economy faces many obstacles—especially social distancing. If we continue to remain at arms’ length from one another, we will hamper our natural “propensity to truck, barter, and exchange,” identified by Adam Smith as a key source of economic growth.

An even bigger impediment to renewed economic vigor, however, is the theory and practice of mainstream macroeconomics. The brainchild of John Maynard Keynes, modern macroeconomics focuses exclusively on aggregates, especially aggregate demand, and GDP. The economy is modeled on what economist Arnold Kling calls “a GDP factory,” or perhaps a machine. This machine produces stuff (GDP) and does so at peak efficiency when properly fueled. The fuel is aggregate demand—total spending—and it’s the job of government to ensure that the supply of fuel into this machine remains adequate.

Even if government control of aggregate demand is necessary for an economy to function even tolerably well—and we aren’t sure that it is—such control is clearly not sufficient. If entrepreneurs can’t introduce new products, if businesses are denied access to low-cost supplies, and if prices are prevented from changing, the market process falters. It produces fewer of the goods and services that are the stuff of our prosperity. The same conclusion pertains if workers are prevented from showing up at farms, factories, and offices, in which case no amount of extra aggregate demand will cause markets to produce more. To stop people on the ground from producing is to stop the process by which people, cooperating in markets, generate prosperity.

Standard macroeconomic thinking is today especially counterproductive. By maintaining the fiction that the economy is a simple GDP machine that will always work as long as it is sufficiently fueled with aggregate demand, attention is diverted away from the problems introduced into the market process by government interventions, as well as by major disruptors, such as Covid-19. The myth is maintained that if government keeps pumping funds into consumers’ hands and businesses’ coffers, all will be okay.

In Europe, for example, attention is focused on devising ways for governments to increase their public debt, without paying higher interest on it. But how will entrepreneurs, workers, and consumers return to their normal activities? Imagining how the provision of some services will work in the future (will movie theaters survive?) is a fascinating intellectual exercise, but one with little practical utility. Solutions will be found by entrepreneurs through trial and error, the same way that progress has always happened. What we need is not more fuel pumped into the GDP machine but assurances that its internal processes aren’t blocked. Governments have purposefully stopped the economy. To get it moving again, we eventually must remove obstacles that keep individuals from participating in market processes, both as consumers and as specialized producers.

That will be the difficult part, since those obstacles have been gumming up the works since way before anybody every heard of the Shanghai sniffles, and are now firmly established and entrenched. Expect extremely stiff resistance from the hordes of paper-shuffling bureau-rats hired to perpetuate and expand them, too.

Smoke ’em if ya got ’em

Man, I’ve been waiting a long, long time for something like this.

French researchers are planning to trial whether nicotine patches will help prevent – or lessen the effects of – the deadly coronavirus.

Evidence is beginning to show the proportion of smokers infected with coronavirus is much lower than the rates in the general population.

Scientists are now questioning whether nicotine could stop the virus from infecting cells, or if it may prevent the immune system overreacting to the infection.

Doctors at a major hospital in Paris – who also found low rates of smoking among the infected – are now planning to give nicotine patches to COVID-19 patients.

They will also give them to frontline workers to see if the stimulant has any effect on preventing the spread of the virus, according to reports.

It comes after world-famous artist David Hockney last week said he believes smoking could protect people against the deadly coronavirus.

MailOnline looked at the science and found he may have been onto something, with one researcher saying there was ‘bizarrely strong’ evidence it could be true.

One study in China, where the pandemic began, showed only 6.5 per cent of COVID-19 patients were smokers, compared to 26.6 per cent of the population.

Another study, by the Centers for Disease Control in the US, found just 1.3 per cent of hospitalised patients were smokers – compared to 14 per cent of America.

And research by hospitals in Paris found that smokers were under-represented in both inpatients and outpatients, suggesting that any protective effect could affect anyone, not just those hospitalised by their illness.

‘Our cross-sectional study strongly suggests that those who smoke every day are much less likely to develop a symptomatic or severe infection with Sars-CoV-2 compared with the general population,’ the study reads.

‘The effect is significant. It divides the risk by five for ambulatory patients and by four for those admitted to hospital. We rarely see this in medicine.’

The team says it is not advocating that anyone start smoking because cigarettes have fatal health risks.

Well, naturally not. But why take any chances?

Another factor here in the States might be that we smokers have been “social distancing” for years now, if not by our own choice. As pariahs, societal lepers despised and cast out to slink away, in all kinds of weather, to our ever-shrinking “Smoking zone” ghettos, we’ve long been accustomed to decent folks keeping themselves far out of the way of our filth, our stench, all the revolting physical infirmities and deformations caused by our weak, sinful natures. Our exile has turned out to be a shield.

So not only has smoking, by being that which has not (yet) killed us, possibly made us stronger somehow, it also seems God has seen fit to bless smokers with some sort of mysterious Wuhan Woo Woo-inhibiting genetic quirk carried by our precious nicotine. O, Irony!

Hey, I’ll take it.

T’aint funny, McGee

Is it satire, or is it real? The Shadow knows.

Michigan Governor: ‘Revolting Against A Tyrannical Government Is Simply Un-American’
DETROIT, MI—On Meet the Ptess Sunday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer reminded everyone that “revolutions and revolts are simply un-American.”

Whitmer called on the protesters in her state to stop their illegal assembling, reminding them that protesting so-called tyranny is a foreign idea to the history of the United States.

“Protesting and revolting against your wise rulers goes against everything America was built on,” she said. “It flies in the face of every American tradition. Revolting against tyranny has no place in this great country.”

It’d be a lot funnier if I didn’t know that this is precisely the way Whitler and her shitlib cohort really do think.

Chicken Little 86’d

Probably the most level-headed, even-handed, and just plain sensible examination I believe I’ve yet seen of the current contretemps.

Although the full story of the 2020 corona crisis cannot yet be told, already it is clear that it will have three parts: medical, economic, and cultural-political. The effects of the first two parts, especially the first, are already patent. The novel coronavirus presents a public health issue. Some regard it as a public health emergency of the first order. Others are less anxious. The issue is up for debate. As we write, the falling rate of hospitalization and leveling off of fatalities may seem to support an optimistic outcome. But even if the sunny interpretation is correct, Benjamin Jowett’s observation is to the point: “precautions are always blamed,” he said: “When they are successful, they are said to be unnecessary.” Maybe the tide is turning because we have been so assiduous in following severe “mitigation” procedures: staying home, practicing “social distancing,” and the like. Or maybe the tide is turning because the epidemic, like all epidemics, has reached its natural peak and is receding on its own. Opinions vary.

Less debatable are the economic consequences of the epidemic. We don’t know anyone who believes that they are other than catastrophic. The question is, however, whether the draconian measures imposed to slow the spread of the virus are justified. Whether or not this nasty respiratory disease presents an “unprecedented” challenge is open to interpretation. What does seem unprecedented is the experiment of suddenly shutting down almost all economic activity in a complex market-oriented country like the United States. It is one thing to switch off the mighty engines of prosperity and wealth creation. We are about to discover whether they can be restarted so expeditiously.

Which brings us to the third part of the corona caper, the cultural and political aspects. It is hardly surprising that this crisis, like all crises, has presented an opportunity to advance political agendas. Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s chief of staff, was speaking a home truth when he observed during the economic panic of 2008 that you should “never let a serious crisis go to waste.” That sounds, and it may in fact be, cynical. It is also a truth acted upon by all parties at all times. From this perspective, the coronavirus is not only a deadly pathogen. It is also a political opportunity. It is too soon to say who will be able to make the most of that opportunity. A presidential election looms, which makes our hall of mirrors more fraught and disorienting than ever. The intensity of the scramble is a token of the high stakes involved.

But all that is just politics as usual. More noteworthy, and more worrisome, are three other features of our cultural-political situation—of “the way we live now”—that this crisis has revealed. First, there is the issue of fragility. The Western world, and the United States in particular, comprises the richest and most powerful societies in history. The fact that they can be brought to a quivering standstill by a bug that sickens and kills a minuscule part of their populations should give us pause. Is that fragility real and unavoidable, or is it chosen?

Second, there are the interrelated issues of widespread docility, on the one hand, and eager authoritarianism, on the other. We suspect that aspiring totalitarians will ponder the response to this epidemic with thoughtful anticipation. How quickly an entire population can be herded like obedient sheep, willing to be subjected to the most extravagant prohibitions! We speak of “sheltering in place.” Is it clear that we are not “cowering in place”?

The other side of that docility is the rude overbearingness of those with the power to direct our lives. Federal authorities in this instance have imposed upon us less stringently than state and local officials, some of whom have been quick to monitor and punish any hint of independence.

Longtime readers will know that we are fond of a sermon preached by C. S. Lewis in the dark days of 1939. “I think it important,” he said,

to try to see the present calamity in a true perspective…The war creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice…The insects have chosen a different line: they have sought first the material welfare and security of the hive, and presumably they have their reward.

Men are different. They propound mathematical theorems in beleaguered cities, conduct metaphysical arguments in condemned cells, make jokes on scaffolds, discuss the latest new poem while advancing to the walls of Quebec, and comb their hair at Thermopylae. This is not panache; it is our nature.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the crisis we face is the possibility that Lewis was being too generous when describing human nature.

I really don’t need to tell you to read it all, do I?

Are we not men?

On your feet or on your knees.

I am thoroughly disheartened – nay, sickened — by the sheeplike behavior of so many of our countrymen. I cannot believe they think the proper response to “our leaders’” overweening usurpations of authorities never granted is to politely ask for their rights back.

Americans don’t do that. Americans exercise their rights openly and confidently. They don’t ask for anyone’s permission.

Your rights are not permissions. They are yours, not because some “authority” has granted them to you, but by virtue of your membership in the human race. To treat them as permissions is to surrender them, such that any “crisis,” whether real or notional, can be used to nullify them. And there are plenty of wannabe dictators who are grasping at that opportunity — with the support of the left-wing media

It hardly matters what rights you claim if you refrain from exercising them. That’s how the Second Amendment was gutted. It’s how the rest of the Bill of Rights is being reduced to meaninglessness. And if we permit it to go one millimeter further, we are unworthy of the term “free people.”

It’s not about the economy. It’s not about the virus. It’s not about “science.” It’s about freedom: holding onto the pitiful amount we have left after two and a quarter centuries’ incursions upon it, usually in the name of “crisis” or “safety.”

Free men accept that life entails risk.
They don’t ask their “leaders” to “protect” them.
When “leaders” tyrannize them “for your own good,” they rise up.
Such “leaders” become lamppost decorations, pour encourager les autres.

Are you a free man or a sheep?

From what we’re seeing of late, the answer to that question is far from encouraging. Happily, though, sometimes it doesn’t take all that much in the way of pushback or defiance to force our masters to relent:



Good on ya, Master Chief. They may well take us down in the long run, but at the very least we can make ’em work for it.

Update! This may seem to be unrelated, but it strikes me as yet another depressing aspect of the Great Knuckling Under.

Land O’ Lakes drops ‘racist’ Native American image after nearly 100 years
The new label was announced in a press release from Land O’ Lakes in February, though it made no specific mention of removing the Native American image from all products.

The press release shared “the new packaging will show up in a variety of ways, including through a new front-of-package design that features the phrase ‘Farmer-Owned’ above the LAND O LAKES brandmark,” as well as include pictures of farmers and co-op members on the label.

“As Land O’Lakes looks toward our 100th anniversary, we’ve recognized we need packaging that reflects the foundation and heart of our company culture—and nothing does that better than our farmer-owners whose milk is used to produce Land O’Lakes’ dairy products,” said Beth Ford, President and CEO, Land O’Lakes, in the press release.

“As a farmer-owned co-op, we strongly feel the need to better connect the men and women who grow our food with those who consume it,” Ford said.

Is it really necessary to “connect” them beyond having them buy and eat your damned butter? Because if it is, I’m just damned if I can see the why of it. Or how a bunch of mealy-mouthed gobbledygook from some college-kid corporate flack who probably never yanked a single bovine teat in her life is gonna get the job done. Until such time as you can explain those mysterious profundities to me, grab that plunger-handle and get to churning, lady.

But if you think that’s depressing stuff—and it is—wait till you get a load of the backstory.

Did you know that back in the 1950s, when Land O’ Lakes wanted to update their logo, they hired an American Indian artist to do the job. He came up with Mia, the logo we’re all familiar with, to honor American Indian culture and their traditional connection to nature.

I checked into it a little myself, and WeirdDave ain’t just making it up.

Mia first appeared on Land O’Lakes packaging in 1928, and was originally designed by illustrator Arthur C. Hanson for the advertising firm Brown and Bigelow.

Native American artist Patrick DesJarlait, of the Ojibwe tribe, redesigned the packaging in the 1950s to foster “a sense of Indian pride,” the Minnesota Reformer reported.

His son, Robert DesJarlait, told the outlet that the image — which has been slammed by many as “racist” — has become a “paradox” for Native Americans.

“He was breaking a lot of barriers…Back in the ’50s, nobody even thought about stereotypical imagery. Today it’s a stereotype, but it’s also a source of cultural pride,” DesJarlait told the outlet.

As well it might be, too. As Dave says, you can be pretty confident that there were few if any Native Americans among the SJW screechers demanding Land-O-Lakes’ capitulation to mindless PC here.

Puzzling, innit, the way those screechers have managed to “fundamentally transform” a legitimate source of cultural pride into some kind of shameful offense against all human decency. In the end, though, this isn’t really about butter, or marketing, or the Land-O-Lakes mascot, or respect for Indians and their heritage, or even “racism” itself. In the end, it’s really about this:


So is the above gutting of Ilhan Omar-Elmi really related to the topic at hand? You just better believe it is, chum. Because collapsing American society, dismantling America, is ALWAYS what it’s about with the Left—every single time, every single issue, every single word of every single argument. Until you begin to get your head fully around that, you ain’t fighting back, and you damned sure ain’t winning. You’re just chasing your tail, that’s all.

Rain on the parade

A splash of cold water on that slim hope I was talking about the other day.

Once again, it was goosebumps for diehards when investigative reporter John Solomon told Fox News host Sean Hannity that U.S. Attorney John Durham was issuing subpoenas on behalf of a grand jury. Twitter pulses raced. Former CIA Director John Brennan was closer than ever to a rockpile in prison stripes, wasn’t he? Comey, Ohr, Kramer, Simpson, Clinton were sweating bullets, right?

I will be jubilant if I’m wrong, but I continue to doubt it. I don’t expect the anti-Trump conspirators to be indicted and tried for sedition or treason or any other serious crime by Attorney General William Barr’s Department of Justice. Nothing we have seen to date points to it.

What should also temper expectations, however, is a hard look at history. When it comes to the Swamp’s subversion of the Republic, issuing subpoenas to bring witnesses before a grand jury means nothing more than issuing subpoenas to bring witnesses before a grand jury. Indictments, trials, and convictions have always been exceedingly rare.

Consider the grand jury convened in the spring of 1947 to hear sensational charges of subversion inside the federal government by Elizabeth Bentley, a key American defector from Soviet intelligence. Ex-KGB courier Bentley would offer testimony against numerous federal government officials, bureaucrats, and others from those early days of the Swamp in connection with espionage rings run inside the U.S. government by Soviet intelligence.

Although the names were completely unknown to the public at the time, the Bentley grand jury witness roster was, as Evans and Romerstein write, “a spectacular line-up, an all-star team of Soviet agents, Communists and close-in fellow travellers.”

As the list demonstrates, this was indeed a Who’s Who of traitors working for Stalin, for the KGB, for communism and globalism inside and around the federal government, including Soviet agents Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White. These two top FDR administration officials were instrumental in the creation of the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund, helming them both, respectively, in the globalist institutions’ early days.

The most stunning thing about the Bentley grand jury witness list, however, is that no one on it, not even the later-notorious Hiss or White, was indicted for anything.

Why were there no indictments? The reason is quite simple. The government failed to call a witness who could corroborate any of Bentley’s grave charges even though such a witness was already well known to it. That witness was Whittaker Chambers. His testimony about Hiss and White alone would have been crucial to the federal case. “Yet though the FBI was well aware of what Chambers knew and could have told the grand jury,” the authors write, “for over a year prosecutors refused to call him. Hence no second witness in the case—hence no indictments.”

Why didn’t prosecutors call Chambers? FBI records, Evans and Romerstein write, “provide a suggestive picture of attitudes at the Justice Department that guided the grand jury process.”

For example, federal prosecutor Thomas Donegan “was of the opinion Chambers testimony would not be helpful.” Helpful to what?

Oh, I’m pretty sure we can guess the answer to that one easily enough.

Given the FBI’s interview with Chambers to date, it would have been clear that Chambers’ testimony would have been exceedingly “helpful” in pursuit of indictments. Even after Chambers and Hiss sensationally battled in Congress in August of 1948, however, prosecutors refused to call “the former Soviet courier who would become the most famous witness in the Cold War.”

The record indicates that the Department of Justice did not want indictments.

I’m trying real hard to come up with a solid reason to believe that this time around might be different, but I’m coming up empty. Then as now as ever as always, the Deep State looks after its own.

The link I used above is to an archive.is snapshot of the original, which is locked away behind a paywall. As such, it may or may not work for ya, I dunno.

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