One Nation, Divisible

 

Just when you think the establishment GOP couldn’t sink any lower…

Republican senators Johnson, Lankford propose making Juneteenth a federal holiday and dropping Columbus Day

In response to bipartisan efforts to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, Republican Sens. Ron Johnson and James Lankford have proposed eliminating a different federal holiday “in exchange.”

The choice?

Columbus Day.

“We support celebrating emancipation with a federal holiday but believe we should eliminate a current holiday in exchange. We chose Columbus Day as a holiday that is lightly celebrated, and least disruptive to Americans’ schedules,” Johnson, of Wisconsin, said in a statement Wednesday.

Johnson and Lankford of Oklahoma will be seeking to amend a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

This is the “Republican” response? What happened to all of that standing athwart history stuff?  This isn’t standing athwart; it’s running over with a steamroller.  What could possibly be conservative about this?

Johnson said adding to the number of federal holidays would give federal workers an additional day of paid leave and increase the government’s costs. He called his amendment a “counter-proposal that does not put us further in debt.”

Oh this.  Gotcha.

The further we get from the civil war and slavery, the more enflamed we become by it.

In the continued undoing of e pluribus unum, The NFL makes its contribution.

NFL will play Black national anthem ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ before each Week 1 game

Starting with the nationally televised regular-season opener between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 10, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Black national anthem, will be performed before every Week 1 kickoff, before “The Star-Spangled Banner,” according to a person familiar with ongoing discussions. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because plans have not yet been finalized and announced by NFL officials.

I’ll freely admit my ignorance that there even is a “Black National Anthem.”  I also don’t know the American Indian, Hispanic, or LGBTQWERTY national anthems either, but I’ve a feeling I’ll be educated on that soon enough.  And as for the “White National Anthem,” would that be The Star Spangled Banner?  Serious question I’m afraid.  I’ve no idea if we are still one country anymore, or if we’ve already spun off into our identity groups fighting over the spoils.

The George Floyd effect may turn out to be the most socially significant movement in American history, not the least because it seems to be effectively ending US history.  When everything that happened the day before yesterday becomes verboten, and we no longer even aspire to be one country, what holds us together?

Something to think about this July 4th; when greater and greater numbers of the nationality formerly known as Americans look at the flag and think, “not my country,” and “not my independence day.”  Of course, this is a wave of hysteria and the tide could well break  and thing return to something close to normal, but the longer it goes on, the more we’re looking at a new normal, when everyone has their own independence day, holidays, and carefully nurtured grievances.

Happy Independence Day.  I hope the next one is better than this one, or that there simply is a next one.

 

Public Health Strikes Again

The nation’s public health system keeps stepping on its own contact tracing.  It’s almost as if they are anxious to show the public how incompetent and unserious they are, and then daring us to do something about it.  The headline says it all:

NYC COVID-19 Contact Tracers Not Asking About George Floyd Protest Participation, Despite Fears of New Virus Wave

Over the two last weeks, Mayor Bill de Blasio and others have voiced concerns that packed police brutality protests across the city could trigger a new wave of COVID-19 infections.

Whether or not that’s the case, however, remains unknown — and de Blasio’s team won’t be directly trying to find out.

The hundreds of contact tracing workers hired by the city under de Blasio’s new “test and trace” campaign have been instructed not to ask anyone who’s tested positive for COVID-19 whether they recently attended a demonstration, City Hall confirmed to THE CITY.

Of course according to SCIENCE, shoulder to shoulder protesting has no risk of exposure to COVID-19 as long as the protest is against racism and police brutality.  That’s why Bill de Blasio had no problem joining the marching with no ill effects whatsoever…

Hizzoner wasn’t feeling well on Monday and canceled all public events, a day after marching in the streets — but still refuses to get tested for coronavirus.

“The mayor woke up under the weather. He’s taking the day to recuperate and we should be back to normal programming tomorrow,” his spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein said in a text message.

“We don’t believe it’s COVID-related,” she added, later stating he had a stomach bug.

Goldstein said Hizzoner wouldn’t seek a coronavirus test and confirmed he hasn’t gotten one since the start of the pandemic.

Sometimes, you just have to chuckle…

But ultimately, de Blasio is just a politician. What about the medical professionals, with years of experience?  That brings us to the most trusted man in America, Dr Fauci.  In speaking of the ever changing face mask recommendations:

He also acknowledged that masks were initially not recommended to the general public so that first responders wouldn’t feel the strain of a shortage of PPE.

He explained that public health experts “were concerned the public health community, and many people were saying this, were concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment, including the N95 masks and the surgical masks, were in very short supply.”

So in other words, Fauci lied, and people died.

Now I’m perfectly OK with the government hoarding face masks and other PPE for medical personnel and first responders.  That makes perfect sense to me.  But to lie about it is really beyond the pale.  And that’s what they should have said in the first place; yes masks are effective but we don’t recommend them for the general public because the supply is limited and we need them for people who have a much higher chance of encountering the virus.  Now the entire public health community has blown its credibility.  Why should we listen to them now?  They’re self-admitted liars.

One lesson to take away from this is when the country faces a real infectious disease public health emergency, with Ebola like fatality rates, this country is screwed.

 

A Nation Divided between Normal and Woke

Last August, I commented on a New York Times article that opined that Trump’s chance to win re-election was slim, simply due to demographic changes that are leading to a larger and larger nonwhite electorate that has little connection to anything that the GOP has traditionally stood for.  Of course, demography isn’t the only factor in an election, but it’s a pretty big one, and for political scientists has been a reliable guide, at least for those who’ve dared pick up the 10 foot pole to poke at it.

But it’s not the only thing obviously, and 2020 has already revealed it to be such a dumpster fire that who knows what could happen?  Look how quickly the Coronavirus was forgotten to move on to the next hysteria, race.

The current, post George Floyd hysterical moment, like the post Dylann Roof era, which lead to the banning of The Dukes of Hazzard from the airwaves, has taken on a crazed life of its own, as multiple numbers of business people and celebrities found themselves cancelled, for issues having nothing to do with George Floyd. However let’s face it, Fawlty Towers was asking for it.

Simply, wokeism, is insanity.  Or more specifically, it’s like a cross between a mental illness and a religion.  The constant struggle sessions over being “more woke than thou” leading to upping the woke ante more and more is what accounts for George Floyd’s death leading to actor Hartley Sawyer’s firing from The Flash; it’s just a big ball of hysteria rolling downhill picking up more and more victims in it’s wake.

So now, George Floyd has led to “CHAZ” an Antifa secession of a few blocks of Seattle, whose leader may find that he’s been canceled over homophobic tweets

It’s ridiculous, and getting more so.  I wrote about the Defund the Police movement last week, and despite several days of various liberal articles trying to smooth it over by saying, no, defunding the police really means police reform, no; the activists are still insisting that defund the police means….defund the police.

And that has what to do with the election?

Most people liberal or not, are just not cool with that. A recent ABC poll showed that 64% oppose defunding the police.  The idea that this is a winner with suburban moms, the group that Democrats thought they had grabbed back in 2018, is absurd.  To be fair, Biden has demurred on the “defund the police” idea for now, but how long can the handlers who operate the Biden puppet resist the pull of the activists?

But forget suburban moms for a moment.  Deep in the heart of woke country even some of our tech elites are getting sick of it.  LinkedIn recently had a Townhall on race which normally would have gone the way these things normally go when held in the open; Black Lives Matter, fight racism, ect…and so on.  But this time there was an option for anonymous comments.  As The Daily Beast reports:

“We’ll spend most of our time together in open discussion, so please consider bringing questions or experiences you’d like to share,” read the invitation email to staff.

LinkedIn employees followed those instructions precisely. The results were a disaster.

Throughout the meeting, which was conducted by videochat and featured a sidebar where employees could leave comments, several anonymous staffers shared opinions echoing the detractors and skeptics of the Black Lives Matter movement. Several of these commenters criticized LinkedIn’s position on diversity hiring, equating such practices with racism against white people.

“As a non-minority, all this talk makes me feel like I am supposed to feel guilty of my skin color. I feel like I should let someone less qualified fill my position. Is that ok? It appears that I am a prisoner of my birth,” one commenter wrote. “This is not what Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted for anyone.”

“I believe giving any racial group privilege over others in a zero sum game would not get any support by others. Any thoughts on hurting others while giving privileges with the rosy name called diversity?” read another employee comment.

“George’s killers need to be tried according to law. But how can hiring more minorities into manager roles and C-suite positions address cop racism? I thought hiring at LinkedIn is based on merit alone.”

That’s not what we usually hear from Silicon Valley, but on the other hand, we don’t usually get to hear anonymous comments either.

I’ve wondered for years when we would finally hit Peak Woke, the point when wokism is so ridiculous it collapses in on itself and is devoured by common sense forces.  It hasn’t happened yet, but there hasn’t been a real pushback to it either. But if even Silicon Valley is starting to show dissent…

I’m not predicting a public push back to this.  The risk is too great.  People can lose their jobs or even face death threats.  But once in the voting booth, it may be a different story.  It’s possible that the political re-alignment the country has been going through that began with Trump could veer off in unexpected ways.  We’ve mostly been looking at the 2020 election as elite vs deplorable,  managerial class vs blue collar workers, nationalists vs globalists, even the comments page vs the editorial board.  But this year it could spin around to normal people vs the Woke.

This of course could benefit Trump, but he has some issues of his own.  He’s not exactly been the avatar of normalcy as President.  If Trump, simply by manner, could look and act normal for a few months, while those on the Democratic side slide further and further off to crazy land, he could persuade a lot of normally Democratic voters who aren’t crazy to side, however unwillingly, with Trump.  That’s a big ask, but on the other hand, I’m sure Trump wants to win.

And when Trump is asked what he thinks about Black Lives Matter, he better have an answer.

It was never about “Science”

The post, signed by 1,200 public health specialists, advocating for public demonstrations in spite of the threat of COVID-19, has effectively put the stake in the heart of the idea that the lockdowns were about public health.  Strolling through the credentials, there are plenty of Professors, Epidemiologists, and other medical doctors who’ve suddenly discovered that the threat of white supremacy outweighs the threat of the virus.

This of course, is pretty much a confirmation of what I and many others suspected, that it was never about science.  So if you’ve been yapping about “science” being the reason for the lockdowns for the past few months, give it a rest, you’ve been found out.

So no to church, yes to rioting, because science.

Consider some of the credentialed scientists who are extolling their newfound woke science.

And who is Dr Nuzzo?  According to her Wikipedia bio:

“Jennifer Nuzzo (born August 27, 1977) is an American epidemiologist, an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering and the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Nuzzo co-lead the development of the Global Health Security Index, an assessment of global health security capabilities in 195 countries, performed by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security together with The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). She is the director and principal investigator of the Outbreak Observatory, a research project working to document infectious disease outbreaks and how governments respond to them. Nuzzo serves as an associate editor of the Health Security journal.

Nuzzo has often appeared in the media discussing how health systems to respond to outbreaks. She has helped bring attention to dangers of delaying vaccination,the spread of the ebola virus, and the 2019–2020 coronavirus pandemic.”

Frankly, she sounds like she is qualified and credentialed out the ass, and is still an idiot. After this, why should I ever listen to her?  Woke Science isn’t science; it’s just wokeness with credentials.

Of course, I can scarcely imagine the anger of someone who was denied the right to attend a loved one’s funeral, or spend their last moments with them as they lay dying.  Would any of those people ever trust public health officials again?

Next up of course, are the evil twins to the two faced public health officials,  the two faced politician.  New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy gives a great twitter example of this kind of hypocrisy (thanks to lefty journalist Glenn Greenwald for pointing these out).

But guided by data, not emotion is so last month.  Now mass gatherings are great!

…and at the same time, we continue the Potemkin village of public health.

This of course blends right into the Face Mask madness I wrote about a few weeks ago.  From the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine:

As the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to explode, hospital systems are scrambling to intensify their measures for protecting patients and health care workers from the virus. An increasing number of frontline providers are wondering whether this effort should include universal use of masks by all health care workers. Universal masking is already standard practice in Hong Kong, Singapore, and other parts of Asia and has recently been adopted by a handful of U.S. hospitals.

We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.

Aww, so it was just to make us feel better!

Is there anything we’ve been told that’s true?

In a way, this is a return to what we went through in 1968-1969 with the Hong Kong Flu.  As I wrote about last month, we went through a pandemic during the same time period that we went through “the Prague Spring, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the White Album was released, and of course, man landing on the moon and Woodstock.”

And Vietnam of course.

I suppose Pandemic hysteria is what you freak out about when nothing else is going on.  Well now there is a lot more going on.

“Defund the Police!”

Trying to parse the policy preferences of a mob is difficult at best. “End Racism,” or “Equality Now” tell me nothing about how to achieve that.  During the civil rights era, there were marches to end specific practices or support specific legislation.  This?  Who knows…

Well wait, there actually is one policy suggestion I’ve seen in the many images and videos of these protest/riots:

I think it goes without saying that defunding the police is, in a wheelbarrow of stupid ideas, one of the stupidest.  Even during the Obama era, during the Ferguson and Baltimore riots, there were no calls to do that.  But luckily, Democrat and leftist politicians are too canny to do anything so dumb…

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Officials Cutting $100 Million-$150 Million From LAPD Budget, Funds To Be Reinvested In Communities Of Color

“We will not be increasing out police budget,” said the mayor. That allocation is pegged at $1.8 billion in the mayor’s previously proposed budget.

Garcetti spoke of “reinvesting in black communities and communities of color.”

The mayor proceeded to announce $250 million in cuts to the proposed budget and to reallocate those dollars to communities of color, “so we can invest in jobs, in education and healing.” L.A. Police Commission President Eileen Decker then announced that $100 million-$150 million of those cuts would come from the police department budget.

L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez made it official Wednesday by introducing a motion to cut LAPD funding, “as we reset our priorities in the wake of the murder of #GeorgeFloyd. This is just one small step. We cannot talk about change, we have to be about change,” Martinez tweeted.

Well that will certainly be some change.

Of course that isn’t nearly good enough.

The amount of police spending in L.A. has long been a source of frustration for activists. This year, Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles teamed up with other grassroots organizations to survey Angelenos about their budget priorities and draft their People’s Budget.

Under their alternative spending plan for the coming year, police would receive only 5.7% of the city’s general fund — a reduction of nearly 90% compared with the mayor’s budget.

Well that sounds interesting.

Naturally this lead to some interesting twitter commentary.

Of course this led to some amusing comments from the right.

And an actual suggestion.

Frankly I’m with Byron York on this one.  I would love to see how this experiment plays out in some big blue cities.

And if they don’t defund their police, they’re racist.

Rush’s Conversation with The Breakfast Club was a Waste of Time

In what I would call a surprise move, Rush Limbaugh informed his audience today that he had pretaped a conversation with the popular Radio Show, The Breakfast Club. Of course the killing of George Floyd in the annals of popular outrage over police killings of unarmed Black men is an unusual one in that unlike most others, there is only one side.  This isn’t a Michael Brown situation, in which the details of the killing were disagreed with.  With Floyd, everyone knows what happened, no one is arguing about the details, no one is arguing that Floyd asked for it, and everyone agrees that it was horrible and deserves justice.

So naturally the country had the worst rioting in years.

What to make of a situation in which the country is united, yet also tearing itself apart?  Given the odd unity of the country on George Floyd, and Rush’s own disgust with the crime as expressed on his show last week, he took the initiative to reach out to the show with the largest Black radio audience to…what?  Seek common ground?  Honestly I don’t know what he hoped to accomplish but it did make for fascinating radio.  The full transcript is here, but I do have a few comments on some of the points that were gone over.

First a general observation; The Breakfast Club maintained a low level of hostility towards Rush throughout the interview while Rush clearly was trying to reach out with a “come let us reason together” type of attitude.  However there seemed to be no reciprocation of that.  Just a hat tip for negotiators, the person who reaches out puts themselves in a position of weakness.  Here is a good example:

DJ ENVY: You talk about peacefully protest, right? And you were very opinionated about Colin Kaepernick when he was peacefully protesting, right? And now people are saying, “Oh, they’re not peacefully protesting.” This is the same thing Colin Kaepernick was kneeling for that the world was so upset about and the world said he’s taking it too far and he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. This is exactly the reason why he was kneeling and protesting…

RUSH: Look, I – (crosstalk)

DJ ENVY: And looked at us like, yeah, I’m doing it and what?

RUSH: Guys, I’m trying to tell you, I’m all with you, I’m a thousand percent with you on this. This is why I wanted to talk to you because I know that there are — you know, we all have preconceptions that we live under and biases that we live under, and I wanted to reach out to you guys specifically, you were the ones that I was told to speak to, that this is intolerable. Now — but — (crosstalk)

I have to admit, Rush didn’t come out looking good in this exchange, particularly with the easy bait of Kaepernick dangling before him.  Anyone who had actually listened to Kaepernick knew that his “taking a knee” was about rejection of the country, not any particular list of social justice grievances.  He said it himself, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color…”  For Kaepernick, it was always about America (or Amerikkka as he might spell it).

The other, and in my opinion more troubling issue was the total lack of similar vocabulary.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: I have a question for you. I want to know. How are you gonna use your privilege as a white male to combat this prejudice. You got a direct line to Donald Trump. (crosstalk)

RUSH: No, wait a minute, I don’t buy into the notion of white privilege. See, I think that’s a liberal —

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: You’re being —

RUSH: That’s a liberal — (crosstalk)

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: You’re being delusional.

RUSH: — political construct right along the lines of political correctness. It’s designed to intimidate and get people to shut up and admit they’re guilty of doing things they haven’t done. I don’t have any white privilege — (crosstalk)

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Do you know what white privilege is? White privilege is that what happened to George Floyd would not have happened to a white man.

RUSH: If what happened to George Floyd had happened to a white man we probably wouldn’t have even heard about it.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Huh?

DJ ENVY: We definitely would have heard about it. You definitely —

RUSH: You think so? If George Floyd — if George — if George — (crosstalk)

DJ ENVY: — be killed by –(crosstalk)

ANGELA YEE: Yeah, I would like to — (crosstalk)

RUSH: I don’t think — if George Floyd — (crosstalk)

ANGELA YEE: Rush, there’s a lot of instances where this does happen and we don’t hear about it. There’s a lot of times that there’s no video that exists and then people are — police officers lie and they say this is what happened, just like we’ve seen it happen so many different times where fortunately there was video. There’s a lot of cases that won’t make it.

RUSH: I think – (crosstalk)

ANGELA YEE: That don’t go viral. (crosstalk)

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Never hear about it, that never make it to TV, that never make it to social media because there is no phones, there is — (crosstalk)

RUSH: I think you misunderstood what I said, guys. I said if George Floyd were white, we wouldn’t have heard of this. And if the same thing had happened to him, we wouldn’t have heard about it, it wouldn’t be — you know, we — (crosstalk)

It’s clear The Breakfast Club cannot conceive of a situation in which an unarmed white person is killed by the police and it go unremarked, “White privilege is that what happened to George Floyd would not have happened to a white man.” 

But what does actual data reveal?

The Washington Post has a database of police shootings and it reveals data that goes against the narrative.  For example:

In 2019, 9 unarmed black people were killed by the police.

In 2019, 19 unarmed white people were killed by the police

Does anyone know any of their names?  Yet I’m sure if you presented those figures to Charlemagne Tha God, he simply wouldn’t believe you, so his entire definition of White Privilege, based on this radio interview, is false.

Even if Rush had confronted The Breakfast Club on the actual data, I don’t think it would matter.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time real data or facts have mattered, but it definitely doesn’t matter if you don’t even bother to bring it up.   Rush needn’t have bothered.  There was never going to be any dialogue.  The Breakfast Club would have been happy to accept Rush’s surrender, but they weren’t interested in having a conversation.

 

How Did we ever survive the Hong Kong Flu?

The NY Post had a story of life during the pandemic; the 1968-69 Hong Kong Flu Pandemic.  That was one that featured over 100,000 deaths in the US, but if you check the history books, there doesn’t seem to be much about it.  It was a thing, and public health was concerned, but there was nothing like the mindless hysteria that swept across the US and the world this year for a very similar virus.  Of course historically, 1968 and 1969 were extremely busy years.  The Prague Spring, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the White Album was released, and of course, man landing on the moon and Woodstock.

Woodstock was actually what the Post story was about.

Why American life went on as normal during the killer pandemic of 1969

Patti Mulhearn Lydon, 68, doesn’t have rose-colored memories of attending Woodstock in August 1969. The rock festival, which took place over four days in Bethel, NY, mostly reminds her of being covered in mud and daydreaming about a hot shower.

…And all of this happened during a global pandemic in which over 1 million people died.  H3N2 (or the “Hong Kong flu,” as it was more popularly known) was an influenza strain that the New York Times described as “one of the worst in the nation’s history.” The first case of H3N2, which evolved from the H2N2 influenza strain that caused the 1957 pandemic, was reported in mid-July 1968 in Hong Kong. By September, it had infected Marines returning to the States from the Vietnam War. By mid-December, the Hong Kong flu had arrived in all 50 states.

But schools were not shut down nationwide, other than a few dozen because of too many sick teachers. Face masks weren’t required or even common. Though Woodstock was not held during the peak months of the H3N2 pandemic (the first wave ended by early March 1969, and it didn’t flare up again until November of that year), the festival went ahead when the virus was still active and had no known cure.

Sounds like a bunch of selfish punks trying to enjoy Spring Break.  At least that’s how they would be viewed now.  But the past is a different country, and the United States was a different country.

“Life continued as normal,” said Jeffrey Tucker, the editorial director for the American Institute for Economic Research. “But as with now, no one knew for certain how deadly [the pandemic] would turn out to be. Regardless, people went on with their lives.”

Which, he said, isn’t all that surprising. “That generation approached viruses with calm, rationality and intelligence,” he said. “We left disease mitigation to medical professionals, individuals and families, rather than politics, politicians and government.”

But Corona is different because reasons!

Aside from the different reactions to H3N2 and COVID-19, the similarities between them are striking. Both viruses spread quickly and cause upper respiratory symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath. They infect mostly adults over 65 or those with underlying medical conditions, but could strike people of any age. 

Both pandemics didn’t spare the rich and famous — Hitchcock actress Tallulah Bankhead and former CIA Director Allen Dulles succumbed to H3N2, while COVID-19 has taken the lives of singer-songwriter John Prine and playwright Terrence McNally, among others. President Lyndon Johnson and Vice President Hubert Humphrey both fell ill from H3N2 and recovered, as did UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson from COVID-19 last month.

Even more similarities abound.

During both pandemics, horror stories abounded — from the bodies stored in refrigerated trucks in New York last month to corpses stored in subway tunnels in Germany during the H3N2 outbreak. 

Those who had H3N2 and survived describe a health battle that sounds eerily similar to COVID. “The coughing and difficulty breathing were the worst but it was the lethargy that kept me in bed,” said Jim Poling Sr., the author of “Killer Flu: The World on the Brink of a Pandemic,” who caught the virus while studying at Columbia University. “X-rays after recovery showed scarring at the bottom of my left lung.”

But still, the country moved on, got up, went to work, and did what it had to do.  Millennial-Nation on the other hand, wants everything to STOP until there is absolutely positively, no more risk.

The average person used to be smart enough to understand that every day walking out the front door was a risk, as was deciding to not walk out the door. Apparently we’re a much dumber country now, so going forward one can only wonder how we’ll deal with seasonal flu since we now regard normal risk as something only a crazy person would entertain.

Brave Dumb World.

The US is in Relative Decline against China

This is certainly not a new story, but it does bear repeating.  From Marketwatch:

The U.S. is in ‘relative decline’ as ‘Chinese power is rapidly rising

The days of U.S. hegemony are numbered and China is waiting in the wings, argues Ray Dalio, in his most recent missive on LinkedIn…

…Dalio thinks that China is on a better footing and may soon surpass the U.S. The wealthy investor whose net worth is estimated to be $18 billion, according to Forbes data, isn’t the first to make such a prediction and he isn’t even the most audacious one to so.

There has been a sweeping assumption that China will eventually eclipse the U.S.’s economic dominance in real terms. Standard Chartered Bank, for example, had forecast that China will likely become the world’s biggest economy at some point this year.

At last check, U.S. gross domestic product, or GDP, was at $21.44 trillion on a nominal basis, while China’s GDP was around of $14 trillion. By another measure, known as purchasing power parity, which weighs a country’s respective purchasing power, China’s GDP would be $27.31 trillion, based on data from International Monetary Fund.

In the post pandemic era (yes, I think there will actually be one) China still looks like the strong horse.  China was economically damaged, yes but not in the way that almost the entire industrialized West damaged itself.  As far as the self-imposed economic damage goes, what the West did to itself will last for years.

Of course China did sustain other damage to itself that won’t be so easy to repair. China’s behavior, from hiding the true extent of the virus, and therefore exporting it all over the world, to revealing it’s true face by threatening to withhold pharmaceuticals from the US, has caused the scales to fall from the eyes of some US policy makers.  I say ‘some’ since many more are still in the pro-China camp.  Particularly those of the establishment bent.

This could have some interesting results for the election, offering a clear foreign policy choice between the two candidates; one that regards China as a threat and an enemy, and one that regards China as friend and partner and RUSSIA as the true enemy.

 

 

Face Mask Madness

My favorite morning show has usually started off the opening of each show with a litany of “so what did you do last night” openers; the type of conversation starter used to kick off large cast morning shows for years.  That usually leads to some story highlighting drinking or some other stupidity to last until for the first commercial break.

But that was in the before times.

Now, the daily opening topic of conversation revolves around “I went to [fill in the blank] last night and so many dum dums were not wearing masks!”  Usually followed by a “hrrmph,” or “my word.”  The Karen’s in the Morning are only a symptom of how quickly the science and social convention have flipped on face masks.

Let’s step back into the wayback machine to that long ago era of less than two months ago.  It seems like a different age, but at that time the Surgeon General, back on March 2nd said:

“You can increase your risk of getting it by wearing a mask if you are not a health care provider,” Adams said. “Folks who don’t know how to wear them properly tend to touch their faces a lot and actually can increase the spread of coronavirus,” he added.

Adams’ comments Monday reiterate his blaring tweet from the weekend, urging people to “STOP BUYING MASKS.” He said that they were “NOT effective” to the general public and noted that the increased demand in masks puts medical professionals at risk.”

Besides the Surgeon General, the CDC agreed with the boo masks policy.

“The CDC said last month it doesn’t recommend people use face masks, making the announcement on the same day that first case of person-to-person transmission of coronavirus was reported in the U.S.”

So that was the state of SCIENCE (PBUH) just a few weeks ago.  Masks were for dum dums.

But that was then…

Now of course, we live in a different age, in which to mask or not to mask has great social and legal significance. In Philadelphia the cops dragged a man off a bus for not wearing a mask, and there have been several fights over to mask or unmask.  At this stupid point of societal change, the face mask is a social statement.  The good people wear masks, and the ne’er-do-wells have none.

Mask shaming has elevated the nation’s Karen’s, who a mere two months ago were a mocked and derided group, into America’s version of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, seemingly authorized to wave their fingers in the face of any unmasked person and of course, waving the threat to call the manager.

I’d like to say that it takes a nation of Karen’s to keep me down, but in the past week I’ve twice had to go to places that required the mask, and…I wore the mask, fully aware that I was participating in a weird sort of face mask theater, where my wearing the mask was a social marker of approval more than any medical one.  I just find it bizarre how public attitudes can turn on a dime. Who knew it was so easy to manipulate human behavior?

Well they know now.

 

New York Was Always the Problem

I’ll give credit to The New York Times for outing their home town as the major source of COVID-19 infections in the United States.

Travel From New York City Seeded Wave of U.S. Outbreaks

“The coronavirus outbreak in New York City became the primary source of infections around the United States, researchers have found. 

New York City’s coronavirus outbreak grew so large by early March that the city became the primary source of new infections in the United States, new research reveals, as thousands of infected people traveled from the city and seeded outbreaks around the country.”

Thanks New York.

Just reading that, this leads to the obvious conclusion that Trump’s European travel ban was the right decision, however not so fast say the Times.  We can’t give Trump credit for nuthin’!

“During crucial weeks in March, New York’s political leaders waited to take aggressive action, even after identifying hundreds of cases, giving the virus a head start. And by mid-March, when President Trump restricted travel from Europe, the restrictions were essentially pointless, the data suggest, as the disease was already spreading widely within the country.  Acting earlier would most likely have blunted the virus’s march across the country, researchers say.”

Hear that?  Trump enacted the ban too late.  It seems like everyone has forgotten who opposed the ban in the first place.  As Breitbart reported:

House and Senate Democrats are responding to the coronavirus outbreak in the United States by supporting measures to effectively strip President Trump of his authority to impose travel bans to protect American citizens.

While Trump has implemented travel bans on China and Iran — two of the most coronavirus-affected nations in the world — House Democrats are looking to roll back the president’s authority to enact travel bans from regions of the world.

The “No Ban Act,” introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and co-sponsored by 219 House Democrats, would have prevented Trump from immediately implementing a travel ban on China once the outbreak of the coronavirus spread past its origins of Wuhan.

I don’t expect much action on the “No Ban Act” now, but it’s a good reflection on what sort of response we could have expected from the Democrats if they had been in charge.