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.

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?

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.

Flipsides

A reasonable cop unloads on DeBalledZero.

In an exclusive interview with this reporter Wednesday, President of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, an NYPD union, Ed Mullins called New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio “an idiot” for instructing his officers to arrest people gathering in large groups after hundreds of Jewish people attended a funeral for a well-respected rabbi on Tuesday night.

“You can’t tell law enforcement to go out and violate people’s rights,” he said.

No, you can’t. The flipside to that being that if he does anyway, you do NOT dishonor your badge and place yourself in collusion with his criminality by going out and obeying the illegal order anyway. If you do, not only do you compound his crime by aiding and abetting it, you also take a full measure of its weight onto your own soul.

Mullins, who has served in the NYPD for 38 years, said that the Jewish community regularly has large gatherings, and “what occurred last night is not new. This happens all the time. What occurred last night was different because the community was given out masks. They were trying to keep things organized.”

“So why did you target people of faith at a funeral? Ironically, there’s a video of a woman. She had her husband’s body, I believe it was, in an apartment for several days. So, what do you expect people to do? The city’s not responding. We have people who are sick, go to hospitals, they have no family members, they’re dying alone, some of them are doctors and nurses, and then they’re being buried with really no funerals,” Mullins explained.

He added, “So you have a community that’s doing what they always do. They’re in their own community. They didn’t have a problem with it. I wasn’t at the funeral. I wasn’t infected myself with anything, but I just looked at photos and they’re wearing masks. So, this is what your biggest complaint is that you felt it’s necessary to get out of bed and go yell at people from a funeral? You took away Easter Sunday church from us. I’m Catholic, I didn’t get to go to mass on Easter Sunday. How much more of this can you expect people to take?”

He and his fellow newly-minted despots all over the nation expect people to take as much as he chooses to dish out, and like it. The big question is: will New Yorkers re-elect him again? Because if so, then as far as I’m concerned they’re getting what they deserve.

In his press conference on Wednesday, the Mayor defended his comments saying he was trying to protect police and those gathering, however, Mullins didn’t find his argument convincing.

“We’ve had cops killed under him, cops injured under him, cops abused under him,” Mullins said. “So don’t tell me you’re trying to keep police safe and it puts us in harm’s way.”

As you seem to grasp, Sergeant, it isn’t about safety, nor is it about any overhyped virus. It’s about DeBalledZero being exactly what he was all along. No more, no less.

Still waiting for DeBalledZero to offer a single peep regarding Moslem religious gatherings. Oh no, wait, he finally did.

De Blasio to give 500,000 meals to Muslims but threatened to close churches & synagogues permanently

So, are you Christian and Jewish New Yorkers beginning to get a clue about your place in the official hierarchy now?

Giving the game away

Her Herness just comes right out and says it.

When Hillary Clinton endorsed Joe Biden on Tuesday, she urged him not to let the coronavirus crisis go to “waste,” hoping Biden would capitalize on it by guaranteeing abortion and pushing America in the direction of “universal health care” a.k.a. socialized medicine. Clinton ran against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Castro-was-great) in 2016 opposing Sanders’ Medicare for All socialized medicine plan, but it appears she has changed her tune — and Biden was chomping at the bit to agree with her.

“This is also a really high-stakes election,” Clinton began. “Every form of health care should continue to be available, including reproductive health care for every woman in this country [read ‘abortion’] and then it needs to be part of a much larger system that eventually — and quickly, I hope — gets us to universal health care. So I can only say ‘Amen’ to everything you’re saying.”

“But also to again enlist people that — this would be a terrible crisis to waste, as the old saying goes,” Clinton said. “We’ve learned a lot about what our absolute frailties are in our country when it comes to health justice and economic justice, so let’s be resolved that we’re going to solve those once you’re elected president.”

You gotta love that “old saying” sleight of hand. The hoary old saw goes all the way back to the dim, distant days of 2008, when it was coined by a decrepit, wizened old geezer whose name is forever lost in the mists of antiquity.

“I promise you that’s going to be my objective,” Biden replied.

Question for those foolish few who actually believed the calculated presentation of Senile Uncle Fingerbang as some kind of “moderate”: ARE YOU RETARDED OR WHAT??

In reality, though, HILLARY!™ is a bit behind the curve here.

When it comes to not “wasting” the crisis, the former veep is also ahead of Clinton. When Senate Democrats blocked the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus compromise bill and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pushed her alternative liberal wish list complete with Green New Deal standards on airplanes and voting “reforms” that would make the system vulnerable to the kinds of fraud that help Democrats, Biden was there cheering on the obstruction.

Echoing Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) — who said of coronavirus, “This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision” — and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) — who said Democrats were stalling extra funds for the Paycheck Protection Program because they feared “giving away leverage now without getting some of the priorities that we need” — Biden has called the coronavirus crisis a “wake up call” on climate change and an “opportunity” for “structural change” on voting and climate change.

The use of the Shanghai Sniffles as a means to get the Climate Change (formerly Global Warming, formerly Global Cooling, formerly “the weather”) camel’s nose under the tent at last is by no means limited to just the above handful, mind:

“Neither Greenpeace, nor Greta Thunberg, nor any other individual or collective organization have achieved so much in favor of the health of the planet in such a short time…It is certainly not very good for the economy in general, but it is fantastic for the environment.” — Astrophysicist & Philosopher Martín López Corredoira

“One beneficiary will be the climate: after all, the world’s lungs are already breathing more easily thanks to the collapse of industrial production. Who is to say that this pandemic does not provide a turning point in world history.” – Oxford University Global History Professor Peter Frankopan on the coronavirus

We have an “incredible responsibility” to “actually converge the solutions — at least the financial solutions — to coronavirus to the financial solutions for climate. Because what we cannot afford to do is to jump out of the frying pan of COVID and into the raging fire of climate change.” — Former UN Climate Chief and UN Paris pact architect Christiana Figueres

“[The UN Sec. Gen. said] the pandemic could create an opportunity to rebuild the global economy along more sustainable lines.” – UN Secretary-General António Guterres as reported by Scientific American

And even that is only a small sample of the opportunistic Leftist whackos hoping to seize the opportunity presented to them by the lockdown blunder.

The climate activist community has been waiting for decades for this type of muscular government intervention in the economy and society. They have long sought to seize the opportunity to impose their world view, central planning and the banning of what they deem are non “climate-friendly” aspects of our lives and remake society in their image.

In short: If you like living under the coronavirus fears and government-mandated lockdowns, then you’ll love living your life under a “climate emergency”.

The climate movement may now be poised to plan and dictate a new “earth-friendly” world in the aftermath of the coronavirus. The climate activists quickly began to mobilize how to use the governments’ response to the coronavirus pandemic as a model for the climate scare. 

Well, hey, remember the panic-ninny mantra: if even ONE LIFE is saved…!!

Tyranny, straight up

You guys know I am neither a reflexive cop-sucker nor a knee-jerk supporter of the police. I’ve known enough of them over the years, more than a few quite closely, to know that they’re every bit as diverse in their attitudes, beliefs, and overall outlook as any other group of humans is. Some are selfless and heroic. Some struggle mightily to rise above their own flaws and frailties, with varying levels of success. And some have absolutely no business whatsoever wearing a badge, carrying a gun, and wielding power over others.

The Chink-N-Pox clampdown is underlining those distinctions in bright, bold red, whether we like it or not.

On Tuesday, an Idaho mother was arrested in front of her children for refusing to leave a playground that was apparently closed by the city due to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Video of the confrontation shows a woman later identified as Sarah Brady, 40, being cuffed for refusing to leave an area playground. “Do it,” Brady dared an officer threatening to arrest her.

“Her kids are here! Her kids are here! What is going to happen? Who’s got her kids?” another woman at the playground can be heard saying as Brady is taken away in handcuffs.

“After receiving several calls to Ada County Dispatch, Meridian Police responded to Kleiner Park on April 21 2020 at around 3:50PM,” said a press release from Meridian Police Department.

“Upon arrival, officers saw that metal signage and caution tape announcing the playground closure due to COVID-19, was removed,” the department continued, adding, “Officers informed those gathered several times that the play structure was closed, and that they were welcome to utilize other areas of the park if they chose.”

After asking questions about the public playground’s closure and refusing to leave when asked, Brady was arrested and hit with one count of misdemeanor trespassing.

Brady was “non-compliant and forced officers to place her under arrest to resolve the issue,” the department said. “She was arrested for trespassing.”

In fairness, Brady’s arrest was the culmination of a planned protest against the lockdown, and Brady was inarguably acting in a, shall we say, intentionally provocative manner. Near as I can make out, the cops performed their duty as professionals, with restraint; no surprise, since they had been sent out by their masters to do a job that was in all likelihood distasteful to at least some of their number. All in all, I’m more inclined to put most of the blame on the city authorities whose nonchalant assumption of dictatorial powers placed the Meridian PD squarely between a rock and a hard place. I note, too, that not ONE of those city authorities seemed to be present to oversee the proper execution of his edicts. This, then, is key:

An extended video of the incident shows an officer earlier in the exchange apologetically saying that “someone” had taken down the caution tape from the closed-off area before Brady — who is reportedly married to a law enforcement officer in another department — and others argued that they are on public grounds supported by their tax dollars.

That same officer suggested the issue should be taken up with the mayor, rather than law enforcement.

Bingo. On the other hand, though, staging a protest DOES amount to “taking it up with the mayor” in practical terms, probably in way more effective fashion than sending a strongly-worded letter or speaking at a city council meeting. I truly hate that petty local and state-level tyrants are driving wedges between honorably-intentioned cops and the citizenry they’d prefer to be protecting than oppressing, a wedge that’s already doing damage even in small-town Idaho.

No, I don’t hate cops, I really don’t. I think it’s fair to say that I’ve been even-handed and rational with this post so far. That said, though, I just can’t find a way to make myself comfortable with this:

JustFollowingOrders.jpg


WELL! I know I certainly feel a lot safer with this dangerous predator removed from our midst, don’t you?

Total number of deaths in all of Idaho as of today: 54. Population of Idaho as of 2020: just under 1.83 million.

Sefton, from whence the above pic etc etc, says:

I’m pausing for a moment because I am honestly on the verge of tears as I collect my thoughts and try to write something coherent. I’m also enraged because what we are enduring amounts to a Reichstag Fire moment. Please do not fucking lecture me about the massive deaths from Chinese Lung AIDS that warranted the actions taken. The models and statistics are about as reliable as a Magic 8 Ball and the confirmed mortality rate is somewhere in the 0.1-0.3% range which is akin to a bad flu season. What is being done to us has never happened before; not during all the other outbreaks, not after the stock market crashes, not after 9/11. Never. This is tyranny, straight up. It’s at our throats with a My Pillow in one hand and a Khalid Shiekh Mohammed rusty hacksaw in the other. The past three years were a complete refutation and rejection of the anti-American progressive globalist enterprise. In fact, it might have been down for the count. This virus was not planned, but it was an opportunity that was seized upon not only to destroy Trump, but to punish us for electing him, and now the opportunity to subjugate us permanently.

There is indeed a plague upon this nation. It is the Globalist Left that includes the Democrat Party, the propagandist media, governmental bureaucracy, academia and anyone and everyone who support it. Ronald Reagan once said:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

You tell me if what is going on right here and right now is not an extinction-level event. Because it sure as hell is. Tick-tock-tick-tock.

Thanks to the now-evident authoritarian streak that lurks within the hearts of so many American politicians and goobermint officials at every level, we’re all going to be confronted with some difficult choices as this illicit lockdown drags on and on—a lockdown which now threatens to rip the already-tatterdemalion fabric of American society completely asunder. If they don’t care about the rest of us, you’d think the politicians and bureau-hacks would at least be canny enough to recognize how much danger they’re putting their own decidedly non-essential carcasses in with this crap.

And yet.

Update! Government is force.

Let’s start with the good news. Americans are starting to push back against all the authoritarian COVID-19-related edicts and, if social media is an indication, shaming people who call the authorities to report neighbors who are violating social-distancing rules. In Michigan, voters are circulating a recall petition against a governor whose illogical list of permitted activities bans the purchase of seeds to grow food — but allows the purchase of lottery tickets.

It’s a start, but only a small beginning. It’s a shame that it would take such monumental government overreach to spark a backlash. We’re all used to the nonstop, slow-motion infringements, which are imposed (albeit in different ways, perhaps) by leaders of both parties. Finally, as we’re all prisoners in our homes and subject to hastily drafted and arbitrary suspensions of our fundamental liberties, Americans are learning a civics lesson.

Fears of a pandemic have exposed government for what it really is: a collection of petty tyrants who will grab any power they can to impose any idea they prefer. And it all comes to force. The news reports are infuriating. A man is handcuffed after playing ball with his six-year-old daughter in a park. A paddle-boarder, enjoying the surf alone off Malibu beach, is arrested and taken to the police station, as if the latter isn’t more dangerous than the former.

In one social-media posting, two New York police officers apparently threatened to cite a couple for sitting next to each other outdoors — even though the two are married. Increasingly, American policing is all about blind obedience to authority. It’s about the letter rather than the spirit of the law. If you think officers will resist an order to confiscate your weapons once the order comes down, then you are woefully naïve.

“[P]ublic officials at all levels of government are now exercising emergency powers rarely seen outside the context of total war,” Healy wrote. Yet the “crisis hasn’t yet led to massive new presidential power grabs” and “Trump has been a piker next to FDR, George W. Bush or even Barack Obama.” My only wish is that Americans would consistently stand up against all such power grabs, regardless of the party affiliation of those who engage in them.

Newsom and governors in Oregon and Washington have come to a collaborative agreement for “reopening” their respective states, but the guideposts are imprecise and still come down to this: People will be free to go about their lives again when they say so. Even in a health emergency, this is not how an even free-ish country should operate. I’m astounded at how quickly and totally every constitutional protection has evaporated.

Since so many folks misunderstand what the Constitution is, does, and does not do, I’ll say it again: The Constitution protects NOTHING. Being no more than words written on paper, how can it possibly “protect” or “guarantee” anything? The Constitution enumerates, specifies, codifies rules and principles. It must BE protected, by a morally-upright, vigilant people who harbor no illusions about the true nature of government. The Constitution hasn’t let us down. Its home truths are all right there still, clear as crystal, inspiring and ennobling just as they will forever be. Intact, indomitable, unbreakable.

Still there…waiting. Waiting for us to step up, to honor it properly by requiring every one of our so-called leaders, highest to lowest, to maintain the respect that is its due. To fulfill its promise in the only way possible: by meeting its challenge. By proving ourselves worthy of that promise.

I can’t say I expected as sudden a power-hog stampede as this, but the rebellion against Obama’s “fundamental transformation” that resulted in Trump’s election—along with the repeated failure of every attempt so far to discredit, hogtie, or remove him from office—seems to have driven the Ruling Class into frenzied desperation. The thing I find most surprising is that, after so many years of incremental federal encroachment, the big-daddy power-grab of them all emanated not from Mordor On The Potomac but from governors, mayors, and city councils. I have to admit I did NOT see that coming.

Two sets of laws Part the Bazillionth

Remember back when I mentioned that, amidst the Christian church/synagogue shutdowns, arrests, fines, and threats from His (dis)Honor Bill DeBalledZero, nobody seemed to be including mosques in all that?

Yeah, well. About all that.

A Syracuse mosque is still open for daily prayers amid the Coronavirus shutdown as Christians are threatened and fined for attending drive-in services.

New York is the country’s Coronavirus epicenter with more than 18,000 deaths, however this mosque is still open for prayers.

This mosque located on the north side was once the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, but it closed down due to lack of parishioners — now it is considered a victory mosque.

It ought to be. Because that’s precisely what it is.

The Muslims who attend this mosque are not practicing social distancing. They are standing and praying closer than 6 feet apart, so why aren’t the police raiding this mosque and threatening the attendees with imprisonment and or fines?

Because Islam, silly. Another report:

While virtually every church in the United States is shut down due to coronavirus, and those few willing to defy lockdown orders are threatened with arrest or hauled to jail, a New York mosque is operating with impunity during the pandemic.

The mosque, in Syracuse, New York, had its operating procedures detailed by gushing local media, which described how the facility has modified its practices to adhere with social distancing during the China virus pandemic.

The building, formerly a Catholic church, is disinfected between services – not by cleaning professionals, but by volunteers – and video reveals those worshipers brave enough to leave their homes during the pandemic are not social distancing.

In video to YouTube uploaded by Syracuse.com, a small group of worshipers is seen praising Allah far less than six feet apart, failing to adhere to social distancing procedures and potentially defeating the purpose of worshiping in a room completely covered in plastic.

While this mosque is allowed to operate during the coronavirus pandemic, albeit under slightly modified procedures, Christians are being forced out of their churches across the country.

Shocking, yet not in the least surprising. Back to Cristina for some specifics:

Parishioners who attended a drive-in service at Temple Baptist Church in Mississippi were fined $500 each by police for violating ‘social distancing’ orders.

20 police cars swarmed King James Bible Baptist Church in Mississippi and pastor Charles Hamilton Jr., was told by a cop that his rights were suspended.

A Kentucky church parking lot was littered with nails on Easter Sunday and police officers harassed churchgoers by recording their license plates and leaving notes on their cars.

That’s but a few examples from an ever-expanding list. The conclusion is as obvious as it is appalling:

Clearly Christians are being singled out and persecuted.

Yup. It amounts to nothing more nor less than the mopping-up phase of the PC Left’s long campaign against America That Was, as Proggie walks the battlefield shooting the wounded.

Choices, choices

Our would-be masters will narrow and restrict them as much as possible, until we’re well and truly cornered.

Presently, billions of people around the world are ‘living’ under mandatory stay-at-home orders, purportedly to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Aside from the question as to whether quarantine is the most effective method for fighting this particular pandemic, what exactly will be required from us before any semblance of normalcy returns?

One possible requirement – aside from being discouraged from ever shaking hands again – is the mandatory participation in a global vaccine program, underwritten by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Big Pharma and an assortment of other people who supposedly have the best interest of the global citizenry in mind. Should we be concerned?

Despite so much uncertainty with regards to the real mortality rate, US medical spokespersons are uttering incredibly irresponsible statements that only serve to instill a sense of fear throughout society. Dr. Fauci, for example, said in the course of his above interview that “I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you.” Meanwhile, World Health Organization (WHO) special envoy David Nabarro told the BBC that “some form of facial protection, I’m sure, is going to become the norm.”

Now, judging how the medical experts are preventing entire nations from acquiring herd immunity, together with the media’s refusal to consider the merits of hydroxychloroquine, this leads to what should have been the last resort: a vaccine program, which could very well turn out to be mandatory; a requirement forced on individuals before they are able to participate in any sort of public events again.

This much was suggested by none other than the world’s premier vaccine pusher, Bill Gates, who said in a recent interview that any sort of mass gatherings “may not come back at all” without a wide-scale vaccination program. Some would call that a form of blackmail, used against a desperate people who would do just about anything right now to get back to life as they once knew it. Those days appear far in the future. Just this week, the UK announced that people will have to “live with some restrictions” until a vaccine is developed.

To be clear, few people would question that vaccines have been an inherent good for civilization; they have helped eradicate some of the worst diseases mankind has ever faced, like smallpox and polio. But today things are not so straightforward as simply eradicating a pandemic. Presently, there is a major push being made – with Bill Gates at the vanguard of those efforts – to introduce a vaccine that contains nanotechnology to ‘mark’ and surveil those injected. As just one example, consider the work being carried out by ID2020, a San Francisco-based biometric company that counts Microsoft as one of its founding members. It recently announced it was exploring “identification technologies for infants” that is based on “infant immunization.” In other words, tracking devices embedded inside of vaccines.

While the world would welcome a vaccine that eradicates the coronavirus, many would find it unacceptable to be forced to have a vaccine that contains any sort of surveillance technology. At this point in our battle against a pandemic, which has created millions of newly unemployed, the last thing people need in their lives right now is yet another source of worry. Let’s develop a vaccine against coronavirus, Mr. Gates, but please hold the tracking add-ons.

Don’t you people get it yet? The tracking add-ons are the whole point.

Bloated numbers

A New York affliction.

According to The New York Times coronavirus report, as of Sunday, April 19, 2:48 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, there were 35,676 COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Of those deaths, 18,690 were in the New York metropolitan area.

That means that more than half (52 percent) of all deaths in America have occurred in the New York metropolitan area.

What makes this statistic particularly noteworthy is that the entire death toll for 41 of the other 47 states is 7,661. In other words, while New York has 52 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in America, 41 states put together have only 21 percent of the COVID-19 deaths. And all the 47 states other than New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have less than half (48 percent).

Now let us imagine that the reverse were true. Imagine that Georgia and North Carolina—two contiguous states that, like the New York metro area, have a combined total of 21 million people—had 18,690 COVID-19 deaths, while metro New York had 858 deaths (the number of deaths in North Carolina and Georgia combined).

Do you think the New York metro area would close its schools, stores, restaurants and small businesses? Would every citizen of the New York area, with the few exceptions of those engaged in absolutely necessary work, be locked in their homes for months? Would New Yorkers accept the decimation of their economic and social lives because North Carolina and Georgia (or, even more absurdly, Colorado, Montana or the rest of what most New Yorkers regard as “flyover” country) had 18,960 deaths, while they had a mere 858?

It is, of course, possible. But I suspect that anyone with an open mind assumes that New Yorkers would not put up with ruining their economic and social lives and putting tens of millions of people out of work because of coronavirus deaths in North Carolina and Georgia, let alone Montana and Idaho (and, for the record, I would have agreed with them).

Lest we forget, even the underwhelming non-NYC numbers are themselves grossly inflated:

The IHME model is considered the gold standard. In mid-March, without social distancing, they predicted 2.2 million American deaths. By early April they reduced their death projection to 100,000 to 240,000 assuming social distancing measures in place. Their April 17 update now projects 60,308 deaths, 3% of their original prediction.

What changed? Social distancing was in already in place when the death predictions dropped by a factor of four. For perspective, 61,000 Americans died in the 2017-18 flu season.

The CDC had its own models predicting gloom and doom. In mid-March they projected 160 million to 214 million infected and 200,000 to 1.7 million deaths. Did that leave President Trump any choice but to hit the off switch on the U.S. economy? What if the models were wrong?

Another factor influencing models is the death count from this coronavirus. Projected deaths determine projected need, as in the ventilators mentioned above. How accurate are the death counts?

Task force member Dr. Deborah Brix, on April 7, said the U.S. government is classifying the death of any patient who tested positive for coronavirus as a coronavirus death, regardless of any underlying health conditions that genuinely killed them. If one has a heart attack, and happens to test positive for the virus, he or she will be classed as a coronavirus death. Garbage in, garbage out.

Going further, New York City is including in their death counts, “people who had never tested positive for the virus but were presumed to have died of it.” Data by presumption? Models based on presumption?

What the hell, why not? Julie Kelly brings it on home for us.

Tests show about 434,000 Americans have contracted the disease so far. Only a few states indicate COVID-19 symptomatic activity; most of the country now is quiet.

Would those facts frighten you into government-ordered submission? If the United States had a population of 300 million and 48 states, would the fact that 18,000 people—sadly, mostly elderly and already sick patients—succumbed to the virus over a period of nearly two months warrant an ongoing lockdown that is destroying the economy, overwhelming unemployment rolls and food bank lines, shutting down schools and colleges for five months, and bankrupting small businesses?

Would it justify increasingly despotic orders from power-grabbing politicians to stop Americans from going to the beach or hosting dinner parties in their own homes let alone canceling graduation ceremonies and weddings and funerals?

Of course, it would pose a public health concern; strategies to mitigate the spread of the virus, particularly among the most susceptible, would be necessary. Plans to prevent a bigger outbreak later in the year would be appropriate.

The coronavirus crisis in the United States is largely a New York City crisis. One reason why many governors are afraid to fully reopen is over the fear that virus-carrying New Yorkers will flee to their largely unimpacted states.

Happy beachgoers in northern Florida are not a threat; subway commuters in New York City are. The fact that there is outrage over the former and not the latter speaks volumes about the politicization of this travesty while we remain under house arrest for the foreseeable future.

Wall it off. Should Air Force One ever go down inside…well, hey, we can always call in Snake Plissken.

“De Blasio Wants New Yorkers To Rat On Neighbors. Don’t Do It”

Disagree. Strongly.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took to Twitter Saturday to urge his constituents to monitor, photograph and report each other if they aren’t strictly obeying his social distancing guidelines. Just fire off a photo to 3-1-1 of a few guys having a chat in a bodega and Hizzoner will send police officers, with guns and everything, to break it up. What could go wrong?

That rhetorical question is exactly why I disagree with discouraging meddlesome NYC panic-ninnies from snitching out their neighbors. No, no, let a million busybodies bloom, sez I. What more fitting opportunity to not only take a page from Alinsky (make the enemy live up to its own book of rules“) but also enact something of a Cloward-Piven Inversion at the same time? Remember:

The Cloward–Piven strategy is a political strategy outlined in 1966 by American sociologists and political activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven that called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis that would lead to a replacement of the welfare system with “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty”.

So, yeah: if DeBalledZero wants to turn New Yorkers into a passel of skulking stoolies, then by all means let them oblige the Commie asstard…by lighting up those 311 switchboards morning, noon, and night with reports of real, imagined, or made-up infractions. That ought to be plenty enough to quickly exhaust police resources and manpower on a never-ending parade of bootless snipe-hunts for trifling infractions against The Rules laid down by the Kommissar of Public Cleanliness, until the whole goddamned system collapses into smoking, stinking rubble.

Should DeBalledZero himself be driven to nervous collapse and involuntary institutionalization by the anarchy and chaos resulting from meticulously strict obedience to the letter of his own dictates, well, so much the better.

Update! WHO COULD HAVE FORESEEN THE HORROR.

It is “unconscionable” that Rikers Island inmates who were released due to coronavirus concerns are committing new crimes, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.

“I think it’s unconscionable just on a human level that folks were shown mercy and this is what some of them have done,” the mayor said during his morning briefing Monday, which came on the heels of a Post report outlining the issue.

You stupid fucking moron. If you’re uncertain about how “unconscionable” it might be, Comrade Mayor, try asking someone who gets robbed, mugged, assaulted, or worse by one of the thugs you just cut loose how they feel about it.

On the other hand, though, they’re the ones who voted you into office, so I guess they’re just getting the government they deserve—good and hard.

De Blasio said the number of re-offenders remains relatively small and that the city was “buckling down” on monitoring and supervising released prisoners.

“We do see some recidivism. I have not seen a huge amount, but any amount is obviously troubling,” he said.

Oh, OBVIOUSLY so, Perfessor. Because there should never have been so much as one act of “recidivism” in the first fucking place. And there wouldn’t have been either, if your dumb ass had sense enough to pour piss out of a boot.

Sheesh.

(Via Bill)

One of these things is not a LOT like the other

The ever-helpful and considerate SteveF created a handy Chink-N-Pox/Climate Change (formerly Global Warming, formerly Global Cooling, formerly “the weather”) compare-contrast chart for us which, unfortunately, I fear we’ll soon be seeing quite a bit of now that the trial run has worked out so swimmingly for TPTB.

AGW WuFlu
Used to increase government power
The public isn’t sure what’s going on but we know we’re being lied to
Attacks on doubters
Economic ruin in fighting it
Fear tactics, embellished stories, and doom and gloom scenarios
Actual deaths
Dramatically over-counted deaths
Disaster doesn’t live up to the hype – deaths fail to materialize
Money grab
Constantly redefined criteria for disaster
Blamed for problems that would have happened anyway
Gaslighting
The possible catastrophe is so dire that any amount of money spent to avert it is well spent

Hope nobody out there was kidding themselves that the Green Raw Deal was dead and buried.

Had, took, hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray

To all the shrieking panic-ninnies cowering under their beds in full Level-4 Biohazard gear: hope it was worth it.

The … crisis we face is unparalleled in modern times,” said the World Health Organization’s assistant director, while its director general proclaimed it “likely the greatest peacetime challenge that the United Nations and its agencies have ever faced.” This was based on a CDC computer model projection predicting as many as 1.4 million deaths from just two countries.

So when did they say this about COVID-19? Trick question: It was actually about the Ebola virus in Liberia and Sierra Leone five years ago, and the ultimate death toll was under 8,000.

With COVID-19 having peaked (the highest date was April 4), despite the best efforts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase numbers by first saying any death with the virus could be considered a death from the virus and then again this week by saying a positive test isn’t even needed, you can see where this is going.

Since the AIDS epidemic, people have been pumping out such models with often incredible figures. For AIDS, the Public Health Service announced (without documenting) there would be 450,000 cases by the end of 1993, with 100,000 in that year alone. The media faithfully parroted it. There were 17,325 by the end of that year, with about 5,000 in 1993. SARS (2002-2003) was supposed to kill perhaps “millions,” based on analyses. It killed 744 before disappearing.

Later, avian flu strain A/H5N1, “even in the best-case scenarios” was to “cause 2 (million) to 7 million deaths” worldwide. A British professor named Neil Ferguson scaled that up to 200 million. It killed 440. This same Ferguson in 2002 had projected 50-50,000 deaths from so-called “Mad Cow Disease.” On its face, what possible good is a spread that large? (We shall return to this.) But the final toll was slightly over 200.

In the current crisis the most alarming model, nay probably the most influential in the implementation of the draconian quarantines worldwide, projected a maximum of 2.2 million American deaths and 550,000 United Kingdom deaths unless there were severe restrictions for 18 months or until a vaccine was developed. The primary author: Neil Ferguson. Right, Mad Cow/Avian Flu Fergie.

Then a funny thing happened. A mere nine days after announcing his model, Ferguson said a better number for the U.K. would be only 20,000. The equivalent would be fewer than 80,000 American deaths. Technically, that U.K. number was buried in a table in the report under what might be called “a fantastic case scenario.” But could that reduction possibly reflect a mere nine days of restrictions? No.

Soon all the numbers were tumbling. Yet as late as March 31, the New York Times declared: “White House Projects Grim Toll from Virus” citing White House Coronavirus Task Force head Deborah Birx and director of the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, who in turn cited a model showing deaths up to 240,000. Still awful, but Birx explicitly backed off the Ferguson projection for which she had previously been the Grey Lady’s pompom girl.

Then suddenly Fauci announced a flat figure of “more like 60,000,” the same number the CDC says died of flu two years ago. Probably not coincidentally, until quite recently the agency said there were 80,000 flu victims that year, before lowering it to 61,000 – presumably because people were using that figure to compare to COVID-19 deaths. In any event, the 1968-1969 “Hong Kong flu” killed an estimated 100,000 Americans, or 165,000 adjusted to today’s population.

Moreover, as noted, the CDC now encourages coding a death of anyone “if the circumstances are compelling” even though they haven’t been tested at all. Yeah, wow; it’s not a “conservative myth.” During flu season, that means a lot of flu victims have magically become COVID-19 victims in addition to people who would have otherwise had cause of death listed as heart attack, diabetes, and other co-morbid conditions.

Get hit by a truck, die of COVID19. Get shot by a home-invader, die of COVID19. Jump off a building, die of COVID19. Hey, maybe it IS a “magic virus” after all!

Model defenders declare the plummets were based on the success of severe restrictions of civil liberties. “It just means we won,” declared an article in The Atlantic. Wrong. The bottom range of the models presumes the best-case scenario. If the low end is 100,000, that’s the low end.

This is what what they are, it’s what they do. The entirely-predictable Progressivist progression goes something like this: be back-asswards wrong about something, exaggerate and overhype something, fuck things up badly because of it, then either A) claim to have been right along, that without your farsighted palliative measures things would undoubtedly be a hell of a lot worse; B) claim you failed only because your already-extreme measures just didn’t go far enough; or C) blame Reagan/Bush/Trump/conservatives for the mess you made. If none of those options fools anybody to Proggy’s satisfaction, then we’ll get: HEY, LOOK, OVER THERE! CLIMATE CHANGE/COMMON SENSE GUN CONTROL/HOMELESS EPIDEMIC/RAPE CULTURE/OPIOID CRISIS/RUSSIAN BOTS!!!!

Bottom line? This:

That’s not proof that public health interventions are worthless; merely that since the Plague of Athens four centuries B.C. and before, epidemics have risen and fallen quite on their own. Nobody needed Big Brother looking over their shoulder and cracking a whip; nobody needed to implode their economies and leave their citizens with tops reading: “I survived the ‘worst epidemic in history’ and all I have left is this crummy t-shirt.”

Leaving us with one simple question: can a hard number be put on how many times goobermint “experts” like Fauci have to be proven wrong before the shrieking panic-ninnies finally lose their purblind faith in them? Or will good ol’ Charlie Brown go right on attempting to kick that football no matter what, forever and ever, amen?

Oh HELL no

I have a suggestion or three for alternate locations where the goobermint can stick its little chips.

The technocrats are talking about giving people a chip – once they’ve been vaccinated for the CCP virus, or otherwise proven their immunity and state of non-contagion – so that anyone with the right scanner can easily see that interacting with them is “safe.”

Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?

But think about it. Even if you don’t care about personal freedom, don’t respect concerns for societal liberty. Just think about this a moment.

Don’t have to. There’s only way such a thing will ever be done to me or my young ‘un, and that is over my dead body.

The CCP virus is just the flavor of the month. It’s the terrible risk of 2020, the big thing this year. In past years, we have been scared of H1N1, Ebola, SARS, all of which have killed tens of thousands of people. This is hardly the first such epidemic to hit humanity. The list goes on and on.

So… what about next year?

There’s a seasonal flu every year, and some years, it’s especially bad (sometimes arguably worse than this one)… Over a 20 year period, there might be five such really bad flus. Should we agree to a chip for all of them? Or only for certain ones? This year’s virus hits the overweight and the very old worst of all. Maybe the next one will hit the young and the skinny worst. Maybe one will hit the asthmatics worst. There’s ALWAYS someone to protect from these things, and our concern for these innocent victims is laudable.

Then people will ask: Should we have a chip every year, and 300 million tests, every year, just to be safe? You know what they say – “if it saves just one life,” right?

Right. And so very, very wrong, too. Tons of very good stuff along these lines in this one, all of which you should peruse, culminating in this:

The risk of putting too much information in the hands of government used to be well-understood by Americans, but this risk appears to have been forgotten, with the philosophy of our Founding Fathers going untaught for generations.

We want to think this is a leap. We desperately want to tell ourselves that the slippery slope argument is just fear-mongering, that it would never get that bad, not here, not in America.

But in recent weeks, we have seen mayors ban gun sales, in blatant defiance of the Second Amendment. We have seen governors ban church services, in blatant defiance of the First Amendment. We have seen manufacturing brought a standstill in state after state. We have seen police ticketing married couples just for walking together on the sidewalk, and taking down license plates of cars parked at a drive-through church service.

If these past few weeks have proven anything at all, is that we can risk no further erosion of our liberty, because too many of these petty bureaucrats hold too much power… and because too many of them are far too quick to follow the lead of Rahm Emanuel – Chicago’s former mayor, and Barack Obama’s former chief of staff – who enunciated the modern statist approach so proudly and so succinctly:

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

Nailed it, clean and tight. We can only hope that there are enough of us left who understand all this—or, even worse, wouldn’t eagerly applaud the implentation of a federal forced-chipping program. If the last month is any guide, alas, that hope is a truly forlorn one.

Everything old is new again

Might the long-treasured notion of a visceral, uniquely American dedication to individual liberty, Constitutional governance, and democracy be no more than an empty boast? Might the pull of the broader human tendency towards authoritarian despotism be far stronger?

FEW PRESIDENTS HAVE interpreted their wartime powers as broadly as Abraham Lincoln, whose presidency—for all of its many successes—did have what some consider a “dark side.” Most famously, Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus in the first year of the Civil War, responding to riots and local militia actions in the border states by allowing the indefinite detention of “disloyal persons” without trial. Habeas corpus, which literally means “you have the body,” is a constitutional mandate requiring the government to give prisoners access to the courts.

Lincoln ignored a Supreme Court justice’s decision overturning his order, and over the next few years, the Great Emancipator, in one of the war’s starkest ironies, allowed these new restrictions, which also imposed martial law in some volatile border areas and curbed freedom of speech and the press, to expand throughout the Northern states.

As the war drew to a close, though, some historians believe Lincoln may have begun to recognize the dangers of his own unprecedented expansion of presidential war powers. More than 13,000 civilians were arrested under martial law during the war throughout the Union. But it was in Missouri, in particular, nearly a thousand miles from the nation’s capital and far beyond the federal government’s day-to-day reach, that Lincoln was confronted with the most dramatic example of his internal security measures’ unintended consequences.

In the months before he was assassinated, Lincoln found, to his surprise, that he was unable to convince Missouri’s Republican leaders—who had grown accustomed to their newfound powers—to put an end to martial law in the state. The lesson he learned, historians say, may have been a simple one: “It is much easier,” says Eric Foner, a professor of history at Columbia University, “to put these restrictions in place than it is to stop them.”

Though he worried privately that these new powers might be misused, Lincoln publicly scoffed at the notion that his administration’s suspension of civil liberties would have any long-term consequences. In a letter published before the 1864 election, Lincoln compared the wartime measures to the bitter medicine a patient takes when sick. He could not believe, he wrote, “that the American people will, by means of military arrests during the rebellion, lose the right of public discussion, the liberty of speech and the press, the law of evidence trial by jury, and Habeas corpus, throughout the indefinite peaceful future . . . any more than I am able to believe that a man could contract so strong an appetite for emetics [medicines] during temporary illness, as to persist in feeding upon them through the remainder of his healthy life.”

When Lincoln wrote these words, though, some historians argue, he may not have realized just how far things had gone in Missouri. Martial law was declared early in the war in the frontier state, which sent thousands of men to fight for both sides of the Civil War. With the population sharply divided on the issue of slavery, the state was riddled throughout the war by hundreds of small skirmishes, many of them involving neighbors fighting neighbors and guerrilla bands torching farms and crops.

Lincoln was certainly aware of the measures being taken in his administration’s name, but it was only after the 1864 elections that he felt he could do something about them. Lincoln had tried to persuade the military commander in the area to consider ending martial law earlier in the war, but he had been rebuffed. “The peace of the State rests on military power,” the officer had replied. “To relinquish this power would be dangerous.”

What Lincoln didn’t realize, scholars say, was just how much the fierce fighting in Missouri had hardened attitudes there—and how much the leaders of Lincoln’s own party had grown accustomed to the status quo.

The first signs of trouble appeared in the state’s election results. More than 165,000 Missourians had voted in the 1860 presidential election, with only 17,000 voters supporting Lincoln. But four years later, Lincoln had received 70 percent of just over 100,000 votes cast. The question, of course, was not just how Lincoln had grown so popular, but what had happened to the rest of the voters. “Essentially,” writes Neely, “much of the Democratic Party in the electorate in Missouri, likely a majority, had disappeared.”

See? No matter how dark the situation may seem, there’s ALWAYS a bright side to be found.

Neely, for one, believes Lincoln probably understood what had happened: The state’s Republicans had used their newfound war powers not just to shut down newspapers and arrest those they considered disloyal but to intimidate and disenfranchise the Democrats, many of whom supported slavery and some of whom were sympathetic to the Confederacy. The Republicans, in other words, reigned supreme in Missouri. They had the Army at their backs, and they liked it that way. “What Lincoln had attempted to guard against in his internal security policy had come to pass,” writes Neely.

Lincoln’s appeal to end martial law fell on deaf ears. “Allow me to assure you,” replied Gen. Grenville Dodge, the newly appointed military commander in the area, when he received Lincoln’s suggestion that martial law be repealed, “that the course you proposed would be protested against by the State authorities, the legislature, the [constitutional] convention and by nearly every undoubtedly loyal man in North Missouri.”

Stymied, Lincoln turned, instead, to the state’s new governor, Thomas Fletcher…Lincoln asked Fletcher to call for neighborhood meetings so preparations could be made to end martial law. “At such meetings,” Lincoln said, hopefully, “old friendships will cross the memory; and honor and Christian Charity will come in to help.”

To Lincoln’s surprise, the governor, too, refused him. “It would madden the true men of this State,” Fletcher wrote, “to talk to them of reliance on the ‘honor’ and ‘christian charity’ of these fiends in human shape.”

It was at this moment, historians believe, that Lincoln may have realized how far his civil liberties restrictions had been taken—and how difficult it might prove to restore those liberties. “Governments that assemble these powers tend to be rather reluctant to give them up,” says Foner. Particularly, it seems, during a violent, highly personal civil war. “Lincoln had miscalculated. He could not at first believe that liberty could be permanently diminished among the liberty-loving American people,” writes Neely. “Missouri proved him wrong.”

No government action is ever “temporary,” period. Whenever the people freely agrees to yield up their rights and liberty, whatever the reason given for it, they will never reclaim them without a fight.

(Via Bill)

Prohibition is new again too update! Will we ever learn the lessons our own history teaches?

It was immediately obvious when stay-at-home orders rolled out across the country that the economic effects of the novel coronavirus could be ruinous to the American restaurant industry. As an Onion headline recently quipped, “Study finds most restaurants fail within first year of it becoming illegal to go to them.”

As many as 75 percent of the independent restaurants that close in response to this pandemic are forecast to permanently fail, a horrifying prospect. My neighborhood is a veritable gastronomic tour of East Asia, to say nothing of the Mexican and North African cuisine, the local coffee shops, and the unspeakably perfect French-Vietnamese pastries. We would be poorer, culturally and literally, without them.

But the danger here isn’t only that these particular restaurants may never reopen for normal business: We also risk losing an enormous body of culinary knowledge that could take decades to recover. It happened to drink during Prohibition, and it could happen to food with COVID-19.

When Prohibition began in January of 1920, the United States was a nation teeming with what we’d now call craft breweries. Beer production measured in gallons had nearly doubled in the previous two decades, and though the total brewery count had declined from a peak above 4,000 in the 1870s, it was still at a healthy 1,300 when the Volstead Act took effect. After Prohibition ended, about half that number came back, but the industry was fragile and still subject to onerous regulations. Aside from a very brief post-war spike, American breweries steadily died off, bottoming out at a mere 89 nationwide in 1978.

That’s the beer environment into which I was born and which persisted until the mid-1990s. American beer was weak, bland, and boring compared to foreign options like Belgian tripels and the then-exotic Guinness Draught. Its sole purpose was intoxication. One of my college professors thought (likely rightly) he was imparting deep wisdom when he revealed we could look beyond your Nattys and Bud Lights to sample such lofty brews as Pilsner Urquell, which I would now characterize as a pretty basic Czech lager.

The beer market re-expanded after deregulation at the state and federal level allowed small-scale exploration of new brewing techniques and recovery of knowledge Prohibition destroyed. Pre-pandemic, we were blessed with more than 7,000 American breweries, an all-time high. That’s been fantastic for we who are alive and of drinking age now, but consider the timeline here: It took eight decades to reach pre-Prohibition brewery numbers. If this pandemic has a comparable effect on restaurants, we’d get back to this past January’s level of local dining options around 2097.

I’ve called it Restaurant Armageddon, but the carnage won’t be limited to just restaurants. It’s merely one among many industries we’ve willfully destroyed, ostensibly to combat a “plague” whose death toll is nowhere near serious enough3 to justify such wanton, suicidal destruction.

We can but hope

PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEEEEEAAAAASE.

A former senior advisor to Joe Biden speculated that it’s possible his former boss could choose a vice-presidential running mate who identifies as a woman.

Moe Vela, the founder of Vela Group, told SiriusXM’s Breitbart News host Joel Pollak on Sunday that it is possible that Biden’s vow to pick a woman running mate could include a transgender woman.

Vela reminded Pollak of Biden’s description at the beginning of the year of “transgender equality” as “the civil rights issue of our time.”

Pollak asked Vela, “This vice presidential choice, now — I’m saying the next bit facetiously, but I hope you’ll take it in the spirit it’s given — Joe Biden has said that the transgender movement is the civil rights movement of our time, so isn’t it somewhat cisgenderist to say you’re going to pick a female vice president, or can one qualify by identifying as female?”

Vela responded, “Oh wow, Joel. I never thought I’d get a question I’d never heard before. This is my 179th interview in four months and you just did it. I have to send you something like a gift of some kind.”

During a CNN debate with Bernie Sanders in March, Biden promised to choose a woman as his running mate.

“If I’m elected president, my cabinet, my administration will look like the country,” he said. “I commit that I will, in fact, pick a woman to be my vice president.”

Or, apparently, a manwymryn. Whichever.

No mention whatsoever of trivial considerations such as qualifications, political acumen, ideological compatibility, principles, experience, etc. But hey, as long as the right boxes are checked that’s all that really matters. Right, Gropey?

Curiouser and curioser

Unpossible, I say!

As of Wednesday (April 8), officials in eight remaining states have yet to issue full stay-at-home orders. Those states are Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Officials in three other states — Alabama, Missouri, and South Carolina — only issued stay-at-home orders within the last few days after being resistant to enacting such a measure in the weeks prior.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that those states, due to their inaction, would reap the consequences in the form of higher COVID-19 death toll projections. But that has not been the case.

According to data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which tracks the coronavirus outbreak in each individual state, predicting its death toll and hospital resource usage, all but one of the states in question have downgraded their death toll projections.

In addition to downgraded death toll projections, the states also saw significant downgrades for their projected hospital resource use, which include intensive care unit beds and ventilators.

The data doesn’t suggest that social distancing as a whole is worthless, or that it isn’t having any effect. But it does raise the question of whether every single state and locality needs to institute the same exact stay-at-home-on-government-orders regime. Many commentators have suggested that such measures might well be necessary in some places, but not necessary in others. The fact that both hospital usage and fatality projections are going down even in states without stay-at-home orders indicates that these people might be right.

I’d say so, yeah. But YMMV—particularly if you’re a Democrat-Socialist apparatchik looking to take advantage of widespread panic to advance your eternal agenda of glomming more power and control while you have the chance. Julie Kelly suggests that it might be time to shitcan the scare-mongers.

Those alarming forecasts were based on a model produced by the University of Washington late last month. Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle, assembled a set of graphs to show how COVID-19 would overwhelm the country’s health care system, causing a shortage of hospital beds, intensive care units and ventilators.

Murray also originally calculated that 2,271 people would die on April 15, which would be the peak “death day” in the United States. But that wasn’t the only scary news. Sick people would by dying in the streets and entryways outside of hospitals across the country because no beds would be available.

The Murray model has been fully embraced by the president’s top two health advisors, Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci. The pair presented the doomsday model to President Trump on March 28, which prompted his decision to extend the CDC “social distancing” guidelines until the end of this month. (It bears repeating that the Murray model factored in “full social distancing” such as the shutdown of schools and nonessential businesses as well as stay-at-home orders through the end of May.)

Birx and Fauci also presented Murray’s charts to the White House press corps on March 31. Birx, relying on the model’s most extreme range of total fatalities, warned that upwards of 240,000 people would die of coronavirus in the United States by the beginning of August. The next two weeks, Birx admonished at the time, would be particularly painful. “As sobering as that number is, we need to be prepared for it,” Fauci told the socially distanced reporters in the briefing room. “Is it going to be that much? I hope not.”

But this week’s Pearl Harbor and 9/11 didn’t happen. Widespread death and devastation couldn’t be found.

Aside from two states, the rest of the country escaped terrorist-attack level fatalities this week. Between April 4 and April 9, a little more than 8,000 people in the country reportedly died from COVID-19; more than half of the fatalities occurred in New York and New Jersey. A tragedy no doubt, but certainly not the “hardest and saddest week” for most Americans, as Adams warned.

Only one other state—Michigan—has more than 1,000 recorded deaths so far. Populous states such as California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas have fewer than 500 fatalities. Many states are still in the double-digit range.

Further, the Murray model has been revised dramatically since its publication. An April 2 update predicted more than 93,000 total deaths by August; the April 5 update revised that figure downward to about 82,000. The total number of hospital beds needed dropped drastically between the two updates, from 262,092 beds to 140,823 beds. Predicted demand for ICUs dropped by about 10,000; ventilator demand dropped by nearly 12,000. Some of the model’s state-by-state projections also changed.

Beds and ICUs are aplenty across the country. There are so many ventilators available that we will now supply the machines to other countries in need.

Rather than admit the inherent flaws in the Murray model and confess the doomsday scenarios were completely unwarranted, Fauci, Birx, and Adams are stepping up their demands to keep the country under house arrest while the once-vibrant U.S. economy dives into Depression-era territory.

Curious indeed. Why, it’s almost as if there might be a different agenda at work here than the one they’ve been shrieking about. As if—I dunno, it’s such a crazy, out-there idea I really hate to even think it—as if goobermint bureau-rats and “experts” might possibly be ass-covering, incompetent liars or something.

Ohnononono, that’s just ridiculous. Sorry I mentioned it, folks. Go home, stay home, wait for further instructions from the proper authorities. That is all.

Update! Heard this great old tune on the radio earlier, and it seemed particularly appropriate for a Saturday night house-arrest music selection.



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