The Pandemic Clock Strikes 2: “Let My People Go”

As our metaphorical pandemic clock strikes two it seems the oxygen breathing people of the country have caught a whiff of overkill in the air.  Boat owners in Michigan are told sailboats are approved on the lake, while motor boats are not.  Vermonters are told books and seeds are “non-essential” items and may not be purchased, even while sitting right there on the shelves.  Walmart is told to close certain aisles within open stores.  Fencing off an outdoor skateboard park in California is insufficient to compel compliance – bulldozers were hired to plow sand over the skateboard runs.  Kids daring to skateboard are a menace to society’s health. And in Raleigh, NC, protestors to the lockdown were met by police advising them “protesting is a non-essential activity”, and arrested and fined for assembling at a safe distance.

Some of the most concerning totalitarian theatre came on Easter Sunday.  Christians in Mississippi assembling in their cars for a service in the church parking lot were met with $500 fines for endangering the community – as they say, you can’t make it up.  Give a collectivist governor some discretion and he’ll have you in cuffs for saying your prayers.  And just so everything’s perfectly clear, churches and synagogues are “non-essential”, while liquor stores, lottery sellers and abortion clinics remain open.  Yep, every closet tin-pot dictator who made governor has been in full stride the past couple weeks.

Half the country would buy most anything these little dictators are pedaling as long as it’s packaged in a “health and safety” wrapper.  The other half of the country, the critical thinking types, aren’t surprised a bit.  We know, respect and value our Constitutional form of a government of laws, not men.  The diffusion of power is the greatest guarantor of liberty, and the entire nation is currently enduring a dangerous illustration of the timelessness and proof of that maxim.  Let’s hope we don’t have to arm-wrestle our way back to our normal, and not some new normal we’re utterly sick of hearing about.

Connecticut finally joined at least a dozen other states, and got into gear on the protest front.  I took my place in the caravan of some 100 plus horn-honking cars circling the Capital and Governor’s residence in Hartford.  We gridlocked the area for over an hour, along with many lining the streets with creative signs – it seemed like a tea party redux!  Naturally, the press reported the event as a couple dozen cars and was sure to put on the screen some admirable, bedraggled healthcare worker bearing witness to the fact the Wuhan Virus is real.  We know it’s real and we know it’s serious.  But the justification provided for the state lockdowns was to suppress the curve of the contagion and avoid overwhelming the nation’s healthcare system.  It was not to lock us up until there was a cure or until no new people became infected or died.

The protests are occurring because both the federal and state governments deployed their inherent and predictable blunt instrument solutions, i.e. locking down some 40 states and idling most all small businesses in the process.  It clearly was overdone, needlessly shutting businesses that could have stayed open with modifications to mitigate the impact of the Virus.  That reality has become abundantly clear to the segment of society most impacted by the government’s draconian response.  In no way did the economic carnage have to be this severe.  People are going to continue to die from this pandemic, but that fact must be balanced with the need for people to maintain their livelihoods.

That balance was surely on the President’s mind in February when he was trying to evaluate the information presented by the CDC and NIH.  After a month of being lied to by the Chinese, Fauci and Birx suddenly became alarmed as more accurate data began surfacing.  Since the mishandled SARS outbreak in 2003 they had been highly concerned that the Chinese would lose control of a virus outbreak – it was their nightmare scenario.  They believed it was being realized before their eyes, and presented Trump with some version of Hobson’s Choice between risking the lives of 330 million Americans or virtually shutting down the country.  He was captured by the “data”, and sure to face withering political criticism if he dare adopt a middle road solution – he relented to the draconian measures.

The very quickly apparent and unsurprising result is that small businesses and the families that run them were being virtually incinerated before our eyes.  Most Americans would be surprised to know that 99% of U.S. employers are small businesses.  There are 30 million small businesses employing some 57 million Americans or more.  Current polling indicates 54% of all small businesses are closing temporarily, 11% say they will close permanently within one month, and 24% say they will close permanently within two months.  Now THAT is a bleak reality that should send a chill down the spine of anyone who actually contemplates those numbers, and the magnitude and ripple effects of it all, with open eyes.

The first $350 billion federal tranche of small business loans and grants was vacuumed up within days, and too much of it went to investment and legal firms who are aces at quickly completing forms and applications, while auto mechanics struggled with the apps in their repair shops.  And of course, again it is the bankers who are the gatekeepers of the money…deja vu all over again.  But there just isn’t enough relief money to save these millions of businesses if this overkill of a lockdown goes on much longer.

A national breakpoint is approaching fast.  Nationally, the Administration has targeted April 30th as the decision point when it will advise whether to begin reopening the economy.  The governors appear to have the discretion to initiate action.  Let’s hope we get underway.  Here in Connecticut, as well as NY and the adjoining states, that decision point is May 15th.  Anyone in touch with social media can sense there’s a growing feeling among average people that we have been “played” buy our rulers with this draconian shutdown – our free republic seeks to be free again.  If wiser heads do not prevail at month end, I wouldn’t be surprised if the American people decide themselves that it’s time to get on with life again as we know and cherish it, and proceed to reopen our country without further instruction.

EP. 22 – The Left grabs power during COVID-19 crisis

Tonight, Jim and Jane talk about how the left seems to be using the COVID-19 pandemic to grab more political power.

Jane says Mayor Bill de Blasio’s (D-NYC) call for snitches reminded her of what happens every day under communism.

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EP. 20 – COVID-19 talk with Dr. Grey & Doc Zero

Chair of Medicine Dr. Michael Grey speaks with Jim and Jane about the topping out of the coronavirus in Connecticut.

John Hayward – Doc Zero from Breitbart News – discusses the return of the American economy.

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EP. 20 – Susan Mitchell from US Horse Welfare & Rescue

Special podcast today. Interview with Susan Mitchell, the president, founder and executive director of US Horse Welfare & Rescue.

US Horse Welfare and Rescue (USHWR) is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit located in Avon, Connecticut. They are dedicated to saving America’s unwanted and “at risk” horses from slaughter through direct rescue, advocacy, education, community outreach and solution-based supportive programs.

You can make your monthly or one-time donation to USHWR online at their website.

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EP. 19 – Republican Strategist Stephanie Conway and Charlie Gasparino from FBN

We kick things off with Republican strategist Stephanie Conway on millennials and their love affair with socialism. We also speak with Fox Business Network’s Senior Correspondent Charlie Gasparino concerning the current stock market situation. Bulls or bears?

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EP. 18 – With Dr. Michael Grey and Don Pesci

Jim and Jane talk with Dr. Michael Grey, medical chair at St. Francis Hospital about the Corona virus.

We also chat with Don Pesci about Connecticut liberal politics.

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The first tick of the pandemic clock

It’s still March and feeling like we’ve been cooped up forever, but we’re in only the first tick of a Wuhan Virus pandemic clock destined to possibly tick on for decades. In comparison to the multiple social, economic, geopolitical and military impacts of 9-11, we are only at the equivalent point in time of impact of the second plane on the World Trade Center.

We are separated and hunkered down to prevent an overrun of our health care system, while the virus is overrunning our lives without physically touching most of us. While we wait for the transmission curve to peak we pray for a miracle cocktail of drugs to mitigate the virulent effects of this nasty invisible invader. Meanwhile, we all know that real protection, a vaccine, is a year or more away. We’ve abandoned our schools, many are locked out of our jobs and we’ve got absolutely nowhere to go in our towns. For most of us, a trip to the supermarket has become the major outing of the week. We are reduced to the pathetic thrill of satisfaction to find a package of toilet paper on a grocery shelf.

Although virulent and highly contagious we know America will get through the pandemic attack. But how will we survive what are sure to be tectonic after-shocks to be driven through our social order, our economy and financial system, our politics, and the very fabric of our free republic? So many clichés fill the airwaves: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; don’t let the cure be worse than the disease; this is no time for politics…never let a crisis go to waste.” They’re not lightly called clichés – there’s a kernel of truth, or more, in them all.

And one thing is for sure – this pandemic seems as potent a wellspring of conspiracy theories as to rival the Kennedy assassination. For all the predictable reasons, our government is unlikely to tell us the whole story of the origin of this particular coronavirus. So, investigative reporters will likely spend years speculating on what happened in Wuhan in the fall of 2019. Mountains of material will be generated about just what was going on inside the walls of the Wuhan National Biosafety Lab within the Wuhan Institute of Virology. There’s plenty of grist for the speculation mills here, and many creative explanations of the outbreak are sure to take hold in the American psyche in the coming months and years regardless of what we are told by our officials.

But let’s examine the lines along which the pandemic’s after-shocks will play out over time.

After our amazing scientific industry tames the virus, when will we shake hands again – will we ever, or will the reflexive outstretched hands of our more seasoned citizens be met with elbows, fist bumps or merely waves from the Millennials and Gen-Zers? Will hugs and kisses be strictly reserved for family members, or retired to a pre-pandemic memory? Surely our personal hygiene habits will be more thorough. Will arenas and theaters put us into every other seat while they plan massive retrofits? Will restaurants rearrange seating with a minimum of six feet between tables? Will they ever reopen self-serve buffet tables? Will food servers and cashiers face us with masks or plastic face shields? Will we ever stack-in at the bars shoulder to shoulder to get a drink – yeah probably. Will we ever pack into the subways again – we’ll have to if we want to get to work.

Sadly some industries, such as retailers, movie theaters and playhouses, and other entertainment venues already struggling against seemingly endless media and online alternatives, will likely shrink significantly. Other industries will be transformed by online collaboration and video technology enabling effective remote working and education.

The university system in particular is in for a virtual tsunami of financial, physical campus and live attendance challenges. U.S. universities have been bloating themselves up on low-interest, government-backed loans and crushing the family budgets of America’s middle class for decades. The virus has forced a long overdue reckoning for these indoctrination mills, and for those of us who value critical thinking, thankfully they will never be the same on the other side of this passage. Online higher education is now reaching critical mass. Corporations will accelerate the hiring of applicants with two-year degrees and specialized training focused on the job at hand. The value of obtaining a BA with a major in gender studies is thankfully about to pass over the horizon. The universities will shortly become incredibly cash-squeezed and likely many will implode before our eyes. Quinnipiac University has already instituted five percent professor and staff salary cuts, and indicated this is just for starters. This is all of their own making – you cannot deny reality forever.

But it is the damage and dislocation to our economy and financial system which will have the most devastating and far-reaching impact on the lives of every American for years after the virus is defeated. The reasons go back to the financial crisis of 2008 and earlier. The sub-prime mortgage rush, accelerated by collateralized debt obligations and “insured” by credit default swaps precipitated a credit freeze in the national financial markets, a cascading stock market crash, liquidity crisis, and unemployment spike rendering the country in a “great recession”. The cascading events petrified the financial elite both on wall street and in government, most of whom saw their personal fortunes evaporating before their eyes.

Rather than go through the financial pain of letting the economy find its rightful, economically justified footing through true “price discovery”, our leadership’s response was to borrow unprecedented sums of money into existence, aka debt, and inject a massive financial narcotic into the U.S. economy. And the narcotic of near-zero interest fiat currency continued to be administered to the system monthly over the ensuing decade. The Fed’s intervention in the overnight repo market is one simple tell. To prevent interest rate spikes the Fed, after QE was ostensibly wound down, began purchases of banks’ overnight repos in quantities of $100 billion per night. The Fed Chair has recently advised these repo purchases may now be as high as $1 trillion.

The result was an unprecedented bubble in government, corporate, consumer and education debt – just waiting for a pin, in the form of a “black swan” event, to burst it all.

The pandemic now seems to be just that event. Rather than have to bear public responsibility and criticism for having created the financial disaster, the Federal Reserve now has the cover of the pandemic to take all the controversial actions it deems necessary to prolong its illusion of a functioning healthy economy. But this time they will not be able to reassemble the pieces. Before March was over the Fed was injecting an additional $4 trillion into the financial system and economy, and Congress was adding an additional $2 trillion of relief and fiscal “stimulus.” Most sober observers have noted this will likely not be enough – there will surely be more to come.

The Fed has been suppressing interest rates through both public QE programs and under-the-radar purchases of bonds and even stocks for over a decade. In so doing they have “managed” the yield curve and inflated stock prices. Now, the Treasury and Federal Reserve are working in concert publicly to enable the Fed to take equity stakes in companies to which it is providing funds – the President and his economic spokesmen have confirmed the equity program in numerous public statements. Trump actually said “we have to get something for the American people for their investment.” It all sounds so compassionate and helpful, but with the federal government taking ownership stakes in American businesses, specifically the airlines and other strategic industries, the government will be setting the foundation to control these markets. There’s a specific, historical descriptive term for such an arrangement – “economic fascism.” Regardless, the nation’s financial picture and its health will look vastly different on the other side of the pandemic.

Men of good faith could theoretically justify such an unprecedented action, but if not reversed, men utterly lacking such good faith most assuredly will eventually follow in their footsteps. As the financial effects of the national shutdown manifest, we will likely see unemployment levels at 20 percent or more as Secretary Mnuchin has already publicly speculated. Such a national calamity will be fertile grounds for spreading the Marxist propaganda and solutions we are certain to see from the Leftist politico-media complex during this fall’s election. In fact they have already been previewed in the Sanders campaign. Being locked down in our houses and emerging to find unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression is a crisis far too tempting for the American Left to avoid exploiting. And a V-shaped bounce-back full recovery is much more a prayer to the almighty than a rational expectation.

The financial shock waves to come from the government’s reaction to the pandemic will likely shake Americans to their core, and an analysis of their potential awaits a subsequent article. And if you naturally distrust this government’s massive federal bureaucracy, with its regulatory fiefdoms always itching to control more of American society, the cover of the pandemic provides them the opportunity to amp-up surveillance activities to levels of which they’d only dreamed. The busy beavers within the Administrative State will most certainly be developing liberty-restricting “protocols” to use medical emergencies to restrict our Constitutional liberties. New York’s mayor de Blasio has already threatened to “permanently close” houses of worship that do not comply with mandated shutdowns. We’ve already read that there can be apps on your cell phone to alert you when you are approaching people with documented virus cases. The “feature” would be to alert you, but the potential peril is a government tracking it all, which then decides to step in and physically constrain you – just for your own protection of course. Recognition of the Franklin quote about the folly of “giving up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety” is appropriate here. For the “surveillance state” is sure to exploit our current highly vulnerable situation to advance its interests. Do not doubt it – it is simply human nature.

It certainly seems we are in a pivot point in our history. To borrow from the Strauss & Howe book, we have been in a “fourth turning”, since 2008 and we have now entered its “crisis phase”. Unbelievable as it seemed just a month ago we may now be in the biggest national crisis since WWII. Returning to the pandemic clock metaphor, this piece has looked ahead several ticks in an effort to illuminate the tracks along which the major national impacts will develop and play out. Let’s be aware and vigilant in guarding our liberty as events unfold. And we’ll return to assess the state of play after a couple more ticks run off the clock.

EP. 17 – Featuring Don Pesci and Bob McGuffee

Jim and Jane talk with conservative columnist and RVO contributor Don Pesci about Democrats holding up the COVID-19 small business rescue bill.

We also chat with one of the founders of the Connecticut TEA Party Bob McGuffee.

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EP. 16 – Dr. Michael Grey on COVID-19

Tonight’s podcast features Dr. Michael Grey, chairman of the Department of Medicine at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut.

Jim and Jane discuss the Wuhan Flu (COVID-19), stimulus packages and Dr. Grey provides and update suggesting it will all be over by summer. Grey also states he has plenty of respirators at this time. CDC Coronavirus (COVID-19) website.

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EP. 15 – Jazz Shaw on Biden’s ability to be president

Our guest this week is  Jazz Shaw, weekend editor for Hot Air.  Jazz thinks Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden has has some serious mental deficiencies.  Is it cruel for the Democrats to run him for president?

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