Joining us the founder of the conservative Powerline Blog website, John Hinderaker.
The TEA Party has been revived. Bob MacGuffie who helped found the Connecticut TEA Party and wrote the handbook for conservatives everywhere. Teaching them how to be heard at town meetings. Teaching conservatives in a very blue state how to speak up and not be afraid. Not disrupt. So successful were his methods, they were adopted by the TEAM Party nationally. In the process he energized TEA Parties across the nation.
To quote an historical figure who will be nameless here: “There are decades when nothing happens; and then there are weeks when decades happen.” As many of us can sense, we may well be in such times. Two months ago we were governed with our consent (mostly). We had life, liberty and were pursuing happiness each in our own special way. We then entered an unprecedented national societal lockdown and told, for own safety, not to venture out. We complied – because literally there was no place to go. As time wore on, a trip to the supermarket became the highlight of the week.
We were told, “just a month longer.” We grew mighty restless. We materialized at our state capitals to petition our petulant rulers with our justified grievances. We were scoffed at, ridiculed, lectured, humored…anything to disperse us for the moment. As we returned to voluntary confinement, our “non-essential” businesses atrophied by the day. And then there were murmurs of a coming lifting of the insufferable pall. Yes, there will be a reopening, but our rulers warned – “not so fast…there will be rules…there will be a new normal.” Again, that term we have come to despise. It’s code for changes decreed under cover of a crisis. We’ll take plain normal, thank you.
And they weren’t kidding. Home Depot can open, but if you open your hair salon you’re going to jail. You can push your child in her stroller on the sidewalk, but if you push her on a swing in a park you’re taking a ride in a squad car. You must be masked in public, and if you don’t wear it properly in the New York subway you’ll be body slammed on the platform by six transit police. You’re now welcome at your local restaurant but only if you eat outside. You can have a drink, but only with a meal. If you’d like one at the bar, you may not – but you may get one to go. And if you’re dining in Washington state, Governor Inslee will have your name and cell number recorded just in case there’s virus lurking and you must be tracked down. What could be a more naturally social distancing setting than a beach (and Coronavirus hates sun and heat). But if you head to one of Long Island’s endless beaches and decide to stop and pitch a blanket, Governor Cuomo will have you summoned. And don’t even think of going in the water. If you do, NYC mayor de Blasio will have you removed, and you may ruin it for everyone, as he has threatened to fence off the water at Coney Island – just because he can.
Yes they’re jailing us for cutting hair, but they’re releasing criminals from prison “for their own safety” onto the public streets. You can go to church but only online – cause they’re handing out $500 fines for attending services in your car in the church parking lot. You can run a NASCAR race – but only if there’s no one watching in the stands. Illegals in California are now invited to apply for pandemic relief checks. Both legal immigrants and illegals can enter the U.S. with no bio-testing, but it’s said our rulers are rumbling about requiring immunity tests for citizens to come out in public. Of course this entire piece could be filled with such examples causing us mental backflips. But as Ayn Rand was fond of saying, “there are no contradictions – check your premises.” So, if most all of these measures seem insidiously confounding on their face, is there an organizing theme?
Any illumination requires we see past the immediate paranoia and widespread concern generated by the chaotic development of the Pandemic. Though the national cues were taken from the Coronavirus Task Force, the actions which have impacted our lives and communities have largely emanated from the governors’ offices. And while their motivations and justifications surely vary, tactically they involve heightened control and surveillance of the citizenry. The initial lockdowns descended upon us swiftly in mid-March. With the expectation they would be short-lived we played along “just to be safe” and to keep the healthcare system from being overwhelmed. But we were quickly bait-and-switched with a barrage of case, hospitalization and fatality data, into another thirty to forty five days of lockdown, lest we open too soon and risk the Son of Coronavirus in the fall!
The financial catastrophe envisioned in the first tick of our pandemic clock was now becoming real for small business owners, but state control rendered them unable to take action. While we were effectively under house arrest, our TVs blared at us from all channels that “we’re all in this together.” No we aren’t – the people who are incessantly telling us this, all have jobs. We’re told to clang pots and pans daily at 7pm to thank the healthcare workers and we’re shown pictures of people doing exactly that on the evening news. They’re testing our patience and testing our limits. To many of us it all feels like a psy-op. And just when there seemed to be a new state-capital protest each day, our rulers finally released some steam from the national pressure cooker, as limited reopening activities commenced state by state. But many businesses are mandated to function under the most ludicrous and financially debilitating regulations.
One only has to look back over the past few decades to see that government power, extended during a crisis, is never, ever fully returned to the people. Our Constitutional rights are consistently ratcheted away from us, and this episode promises to be the worst case of our lifetimes. The Pandemic has now been politicized and we can see distinct differences in the approaches of red vs. blue states.
In the blue states, generally home to the big cities teaming with knowledge workers, the governors are taking a hard line and are slow to reopen. “Stay at home, don’t be selfish, consider the health and safety of others” rolls so easily off the tongue of someone comfortably working from home, but still expecting their supermarkets to remain open and stocked. These people may never have faced real life risks before. Why should those who don’t daily face real risk have so much control over the rest of us who do? The unconnected workers and small “non-essential” business owners who are out of work and have so much more at stake, feel like they’re being incinerated by capricious government decrees, and those who issue them. Red state people know safety cannot be assured – we flattened the curve, now let’s get on with it.
Blue state governors are generally in worse financial shape, and have traveled to the White House seeking federal bailouts under cover of the pandemic. They are slow to open, worsening their financial condition, perhaps to bolster their case for a federal bailout, or perhaps to further weaken the economy to impair Trump’s prospects. Here in Connecticut, Governor Lamont has laid off his responsibility to the Reopen CT Advisory Group, a bevy of some 48 members, meeting in private. They announced a three phase reopening orchestration which stretches into the last days of July, and concocted a grid of metrics by which they can easily move the goal posts should they see fit. We small business people formed the “Council of Non-Essential Businesses” and just filed a FOIA request with the governor’s office to obtain access to his Advisory Group’s deliberations. It may be denied and we’ll have to sue. That’s what it’ll take to regain our rights. Over in the UK, when asked last week what he’s learned during this ordeal, Prime Minister Boris Johnson noted, “I’ve learned it is much easier to take people’s rights away than to give them back.” Ain’t that the truth!
In selected U.S. cities they’ve put drones in the air to monitor social distancing, and some have the capability to measure the relative body temperatures of the people under observation. Others have speaker systems ready to bark orders from the sky should we stray from proscribed behavior. Then there’s the steady hectoring that there’s not enough testing and tracing – now coupled with murmuring about a soon to be released phone app to do exactly that. Soon we won’t be able to leave our homes without a test and a phone with the tracking app in our pockets – don’t doubt it.
Yes, as our pandemic clock strikes three the theme is control and its coercive cousin – surveillance. They are on the march and must be met. No, we’re not in Kansas anymore – don’t know where we are exactly – could be at the dawn of the seventh crisis.
Conservative columnist at Radio Vice Online Don Pesci, and best selling author Michael Walsh talk with Jim and Jane about the heavy-handed government shutdown of the economy, reminding Jane of communist Czechoslovakia.
Bonus podcast interview with author Michael Walsh. You can find his current articles at The Pipeline.
Former assistant United States attorney and chief prosecutor for the Southern District of Florida Barbara Vicevich joins us on the podcast. She discusses how big government is using COVID-19 to restrict our rights.
We also go into the unwarranted surveillance, investigation and prosecution of Major. Gen. Mike Flynn.
Author John Hayward from Breitbart News talks with Jim and Jane about how government uses COVID-19 to rob us of freedom. Also, will the sexual abuse allegations dog Joe Biden through election?
Keith Phaneuf from CT Mirror talks with Jim and Jane about a federal bailout of they states snd why he expects higher taxes in Connecticut.
Sorry, no Facebook video from this week’s show.
[Steve adds] A note about this week’s show. A caller brought up Sean Hannity’s real estate investment in Georgia. We elected to remove those comments from the podcast.
Hannity has stated he invests in real estate and prefers that investment as compared to the stock market. Many people agree. He is not involved with the day-to-day operations of the property.
The investment property is certainly not a dump, even though extremely biased “news” stories – of which there are dozens – claim it is. It’s hard to find Hannity’s response, so here it is. The New Yorker actually sent a staff writer to check out the complex. Even though the writer used terms like “shell companies” to try to put a negative spin in the story and hunt for people who did not like Hannity, he did not find one tenant that did not like living there.
Evictions? Here’s another hint… if you do not pay your rent, you’ll likely have to find a new place to live.
Speaking of rent, at the complex you can currently get a 3 bedroom, 2 bath apartment for under $975 per month. It includes access to a pool, recreation rooms, playground and even car wash stations. Try getting anything close to that in Connecticut for less than $1,500.
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.
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.