Looks like the First Amendment is going to be restored to the U.S. Constitution.

Um, that’s not how this freedom thing works. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

It’s about time.

As of this morning, places of worship in California will be allowed to resume full operations in Phase 4, which will be at some distant point in the future, likely the end of the year or sometime in 2021. Vague comments by state authorities hint the opening date may be after a vaccine is in use.

In Illinois, full worship services will not be allowed until after a vaccine is in use, with the governor acknowledging that will be 12 or 18 months from now.

Another state, I lost track of which one, put worship in the last category to reopen, along with concerts and stadium-filled athletic events.

Other states and counties, too numerous to bother gather articles for specific citation, have placed worship services low on the list of places to open.

It now looks like the First Amendment may be put back in the Constitution after having been removed by a wide variety of governors.

Several recent events for you to consider:

  • Catholic and some Lutheran churches in Minnesota will resume worship on May 24.
  • Around 500 California churches (primarily Protestant) are reopening May 31, with or without permission.
  • Roman Catholics in Orange County will resume Mass on June 14.
  • CDC issued guidance for worship services.
  • California governor is thinking about maybe allowing worship again. Will let us know Monday, May 25.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Why fuss over something like gathering to worship?

If you think I’m being too harsh on the long list of governors and bumbling public health officials who won’t allow in-person worship, be advised that too many of my relatives and ancestors fought for our freedom to let American freedoms be trampled upon.

Three of my relatives I personally knew came home from war with life-long physical or emotional injuries. Each suffered until he died.

One of my ancestors died in the effort to crush slavery and rebellion. His blood is in the ground at Champion Hills, east of Vicksburg.

The price paid for our freedom is measured in blood.

 

Reclaiming the First Amendment

5/20/20 – Tyler Bursch, attorney representing four named advocacy groups and over 1,200 pastors in the state of California – A Letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom from Churches / Declaration of Essentiality / Reopening May 31, 2020 – Letter indicates it is been signed by more than 1,200 pastors.

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Economic destruction from lockdown continues to expand.

There is severe danger that a growing number of businesses are going to look like this over the next few months. Abandoned Safeway store [01] by Ben Schumin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The damage from the lockdown is spreading. More news is emerging about the devastation that took place in just the first full month of the closure.

The damage will continue to grow the longer the shutdown continues. At some point it will start compounding, growing at a faster rate out of proportion to the time that is passing. Keeping the economy closed now is unnecessarily so the compounding damage is a choice.

Merely a few of the articles in recent days:

  • Guess on GDP shrinkage in next quarter
  • Disproportionate number of poorer households hit by job losses
  • Collapse of tax revenue in New York state
  • Collapse of home sales in Southern California
  • Another retail chain announce store closures and another announces liquidation

It is imperative to reopen the economy in full, not just for ‘curb-side delivery.’ If we don’t open soon, I fear the following articles will be mild in comparison to what we will see in the future.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

5/16/20 – Fox Business – US GDP could sink over 40%: Atlanta Fed – Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is forecasting a 42.8% drop in GDP for the second quarter of  2020.

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What word could be used to describe 44 million people filing for unemployment in just 9 weeks?

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I don’t have any word that can describe this disaster:

New unemployment claims for week ending 5/16/20 are just under 2.5 million, seasonally adjusted. An additional 2.2 million people who wouldn’t usually be qualified for unemployment filed during the week for Panemic Unemployment Assistance. The new PUA tally is shocking.

The tally of seasonally adjusted new claims is 38.6 million since the economy was put in an induced coma.

Data:

Weekly press release from the Department of labor: Unemployment insurance weekly claims

3/21/20– Wall Street Journal – Workers file 2.4 Million Unemployment Claims

Summary of new claims and running total

Here is my running tally of the new unemployment claims.

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The United States is in a mass casualty incident because of the lockdown. Damage to public health will get worse. Part 2 of 2.

Allegory of where US economy is now and where public health is headed. COD Hosts Mass Casualty Incident Simulation 2016 81 by COD Newsroom is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The continuing lockdown is directly leading to a decline in health. Large volume of articles for many weeks now have been pointing this out.

This is second of two posts describing recent articles. Part 1 here. This will be posted on several of my blogs.

5/11/20 – Wall Street Journal – Medical Lockdown Will Cause a Disease Surge – Two practicing MDs point out that lots of people have not sought treatment during the pandemic for initial signs of some other form of illness. There will be a surge of people visiting doctors after the lockdown ends. Six or eight weeks of delay will not be an issue for many people but for others it will make their illness far worse and for some, unrecoverable.

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The United States is in a mass casualty incident because of the lockdown. Damage to public health will get worse. Part 1 of 2.

Disaster exercise In Tel Aviv on November 11, 2010. Allegory to where the US public health will be in near term. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The continuing lockdown is directly leading to a decline in public health. Large volume of articles for many weeks now have been pointing this out.

This is first of two posts describing just a sampling of recent articles. This will be posted on several of my blogs.

5/19/20 – A Doctor a Day letter-signed; letter to Pres. Trump signed by over 500 doctors – You can read the letter yourself at the link.

A mass casualty incident is currently underway in the United States.

Letter explains the assessment protocol in a catastrophe:

“During a mass casualty incident, victims are immediately triaged to black, red, yellow, or green. The first group, triage level black, includes those who require too many resources to save during a mass crisis. The red group has severe injuries that are survivable with treatment, the yellow group has serious injuries that are not immediately life threatening, and the green group has minor injuries.”

Goal of medical providers during such a catastrophe is to focus treatment on the red group while making sure the yellow and green groups do not deteriorate a level.

Assessment by the doctors of where we are in the United States?

Red – millions of Americans are currently at triage level red. There are normally 150,000 Americans who are given a cancer assessment each month.

We now have two months of no testing which means there are over 300,000 Americans who have detectable cancer, don’t know it, and have not started any treatment. An unknown but calculable number of those will die because of the lack of testing during the shutdown.

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Remember that good ol’ “consent of the governed” thingie? It is evaporating.

Our very form of existence as the United States of America is based on the idea that the power of government is based on having consent of the governed. In other words we, free citizens, give government the power it has.

Phrased more eloquently, the Declaration of Independence declares:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, …

We are beginning to see damage to trust in public policy and confidence in government. Governors who continue to keep their economies locked up when there is no consent to do so and no justification for doing so are whittling away at that “consent of the governed” concept.

Politicians urgently need to pay attention to this. There is danger of long-term damage which nobody is going to like. More on the risks at the end of this post.

The growing resistance to the harshness of state policies is becoming more visible with each day that passes.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Many churches planning to open in California on May 31

I just came across this issue in the news. It has been brewing for a couple of weeks.

5/7/20 – San Bernardino Sun – Evangelical church leaders vow to reopen sanctuary doors early in Southern California – A number of churches in Southern California will be resuming worship services on May 31. I recognize several of the quoted pastors as being from churches in my local area.

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Home detention is rapidly winding down whether politicians want it to or not. Free Americans did not consent to an unknown number of months of economic and health destruction.

It is past time to open the economy. Shopping by Antonio Tourino is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

On my daily walk yesterday I noticed a girl’s softball team (high school or younger) practicing. In other corner of park, six or eight boys were in football scrimmage (high school age). At another park I noticed a boy’s baseball team (elementary school age) practicing and half a dozen high school age boys working on their pitching arms. Also saw a few coaches, one coach, six parents, one coach, and one coach. Not a mask in sight.

I have noticed surface traffic on main streets in my area is picking up over the last week or two. Have had opportunity to be on the freeway during evening commute time recently and noticed the traffic volume has definitely picked up over what it was a couple weeks ago.

Other indications compliance with statewide house arrest is evaporating:

5/16/20 – Daily Bulletin – Some Inland Empire businesses reopened – defying coronavirus orders – Reporter was able to find eight businesses in Riverside and San Bernardino counties that have opened. Officials report they received a number of complaints about some of those businesses.

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Some wild guesses on the near-term impact of the pandemic.

Lots of people are starting to make guesses on what the impact will be from the pandemic on different industries over the next few years. No guess is better than another, so here is some speculation for your consideration.

The longer the economy of major states stay closed by deliberate choice of multiple governors the worse the effect is going to be. At some point there will be a disproportionately compounding effect with every extra week.

Discussion in this post brings together speculation for

  • higher education,
  • retail, and
  • airlines.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Higher Education

A flood of articles are discussing damage to the higher education world. Eventually all colleges and universities will concede they have to refund something in the range of half a semester of room and board.

More institutions are getting pressure, if not getting served with litigation papers, to refund a portion of Spring 2020 tuition. Pressure is growing to discount tuition in the fall if classes are held online.

There is a growing probability there will be a severe impact over the next few years. One of many articles discussing the possibilities:

5/11/20 – New York Magazine/Intelligencer – The Coming Disruption/Scott Galloway predicts a handful of elite cyborg universities will soon monopolize higher education – One commentator perceives there has been a substantial drop in the value, price, and product of higher education.

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Intentional decisions by state governments increased death tally in nursing homes.

New York order sending people sick from coronavirus to nursing homes.

Multiple states, including New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania required nursing homes to admit or readmit people who were sick with COVID-19. A lot of articles have appeared describing the impact of these intentional policies.

In case you are like me and have a hard time believing reports that government officials would knowingly implement such policies, a copy of the New York order is provided above.

Just a small selection of the articles appearing of late:

5/13/20 – Newsweek – Pennsylvania Health Secretary moved mother out of nursing home as coronavirus death toll increased in state – The Health Secretary of Pennsylvania, Dr. Rachel Levine relocated her mother out of a care facility as the death tally of senior citizens in care facilities increased.

Pennsylvania is one of the states that ordered care facilities to admit people who were COVID-19 positive and thus contagious.

5/13/20 – Daily Wire – Some States Forced Nursing Homes To Accept Corona virus Patients. Many Died As A Result. This Is A Massive Scandal. – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and California all required that nursing homes take in people who were COVID-19 positive.

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Three million new claims for unemployment insurance last week.

Unemployment by Kevin Smith is licensed under CC BY 2.0

New unemployment claims for week ending 5/9/20 are just under three million, seasonally adjusted.

The tally of seasonally adjusted new claims is 36.5 million since the economy was put in an induced coma.

Data

Weekly press release from the Department of labor: Unemployment insurance weekly claims

3/14/20 – Wall Street Journal – Nearly 3 Million Jobless Benefits Last Week – Seasonally adjusted new claims for unemployment were 2.981M in the week ending May 3. That brings cumulative new claims to around 36.5M.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Summary of new claims and running total

Here is my running tally of the new unemployment claims.

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Los Angeles County will extend safer-at-home order for another three months. Goal is to test every resident every day.

How much more of this will we see if L.A. County is closed for five months?  Poverty by Joe Green is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

“With all certainty” the safer-at-home orders that have shut down the County of Los Angeles will be extended another three months, through August 15. That will make five months of crippling shutdown along with devastation to the economy along with expected damage to physical and emotional health and the consequent increase in excess mortality.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

5/12/20 – Daily Bulletin – Ferrer: L. A. County likely to extend stay-home orders for another three months

Had to check that report against other media sources to make sure that it wasn’t just one outfit making it up. Turns out it is not an April fool’s day joke.

The county’s Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer later issued a press release which said the goal is to test every citizen of the county every day.  (These posts are going to start naming names for future accountability of the reasonably foreseeable, fully expected excess deaths that will take place.)

Current level of testing in LA County is running at 15,000 per day.

Testing in the United States is running about 150,000 per day.

Population of Los Angeles County is 10,040,000 in 2019.

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U-3 and U-6 Unemployment rate.

For a number of years I have been tracking the monthly unemployment data. That information is shown in the graph above. Included is monthly information back to April 2010. Prior to that I only picked up a few data points.

This graph shows the hit from the Great Recession and the painfully slow recovery which followed.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Six different ways to measure unemployment

There are actually six different ways to calculated labor underutilization, all provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The economic devastation caused by the shutdown of the US economy means we need to start looking at these different indicators.

The above graph shows what is referred to as the U-3 and U-6 rates.

“What in the world are you talking about,” I hear you ask.

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Unemployment rate rises to 14.7% in April.

Shutting down the economy has predictable, expected consequences. One that became visible on Friday was 20 million jobs vaporizing in the last month which resulted in an expected soaring unemployment rate.

A ban on everything other than immediate emergency medical care has cratered revenue of hospitals bringing layoffs to the entire industry.

Finally, making unemployment benefits higher than the earning capacity of a large portion of people has the fully expected consequence of making people hesitant to return to work.

This discussion will be posted across several of my blogs.

5/8/20 – Wall Street Journal – April Unemployment Rate Rose to a Record 14.7% – Thirty-three million people filing a first-time claim for unemployment drove the unemployment rate to 14.7%. Oh, lots of those new claims were filed after the cutoff for the April calculations.

A staggering 20.5 million jobs disappeared. Article points out the number of jobs destroyed are equal to all the job gains over the last decade.

Picture it this way – that is the equivalent of everybody who found a job over the last decade getting laid off.

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More big businesses failing. Revised budget forecast for state of California shows even governments are going to have a hard time when the economy is frozen. Maybe it is time to restart the economy.

Even the state government in California may be starting to realize that putting the economy in a deep freezer for an extended and unknown period of time might have some adverse consequences.

Just a few of the business casualties over the last few days:

  • Neiman Marcus (bankruptcy filed)
  • Souplanation/Sweet Tomatoes restaurants (all 97 stores permanently closing)
  • Lord & Taylor (likely BK)
  • J. Crew (bankruptcy filed)
  • J. C. Penney (likely BK)

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

California budget deficit

5/7/20 – ABC news – California doom: Staggering $54 billion budget deficit looms 

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3.2 million new claims for unemployment last week. Running out of negative words to describe the severity of job losses.

Unemployment by Sean MacEntee is licensed under CC BY 2.0

New unemployment claims for week ending 5/2/20 are 3,169,000, seasonally adjusted.

The tally of new claims is 33.48 million since the economy was put in an induced coma.

That means about 1 out of every 5 people in the civilian labor force back in February are out of a job today.

I’m running out of words to describe how horribly the economy has been hit. Seem to have exhausted the adjectives that apply. We have a terrible mess and it is going to take a long time to fully recover from the lost jobs and even longer to recover consumer and business confidence.

This discussion will be posted across several of my blogs.

Data:

Expectations from economists interviewed by the WSJ, or perhaps we should say their wild guesses, are the flood of new claims will taper off in May. Will likely be months before the new jobs exceed the new unemployment claims. Will likely be years before new jobs offset the tidal waves of job losses in March, April, and May.

Summary of new claims and running total

I have prepared a running tally of the new unemployment claims, which is shown below.

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