Discussion of the governors expensive, indoor dinner party.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Details are leaking out every few days on the California governor’s dinner party he said was held outside when the rest of us have been told not to eat inside and not to have more than three households present for a meal and to make sure we wear our masks between bites of food.

There is a deeper issue than merely the flaming hypocrisy of leaders demanding we follow harsh rules while blatantly ignoring the rules themselves.

The real issue is the governor and his friends (including at least three lobbyists) made a self-assessment of the risks to themselves of going out to dinner with a group of at least five other couples. They concluded that was an acceptable risk to given their age and health.

Good for them. They have the ability to make decisions for themselves as to what is acceptable or what is too risky.

The serious, freedom-threatening issue is you and I should be able to do the same thing.

We should be able to decide for ourselves what is an acceptable risk and what is unacceptable.

 

Here is a listing of the coverage by your humble correspondent:

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About the governor’s dinner…it keeps getting worse.

Bar tab at party is reportedly $15,000. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Hard to believe, but details get worse every few days about the governor’s “outside” inside dinner with more than 12 people and no masks in sight.

Looks like we need to increase the estimated cost for the meal.

A reporter for California Globe reports on 11/23/20: Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “Dinnergate” Apology Grows From Little White Lie to Whopper.

Last tidbit at the bottom of this post:  some of the people at the party are laughing at you and me.

New info on size of dinner party and bar tab

The article pulls together a variety of information from other reporters.

One reporter, who lives in the town where the French Laundry is located, did some digging. He is hearing stories that the bar tab was $15,000 for the party.

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Take the hot newsflash about the Sturgis motorcycle rally being a super-duper super spreader event with a humongous grain of salt.

Suggested amount of salt to consume when reading some research reports. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

(Dark humor alert:  Sarcasm is not a healthy form of humor. Sometimes though, a healthy dose of ridicule accompanied by pointing and laughing is necessary to emphasize the ridiculousness of something. So, check out the following research…)

 

Breathtaking reports on social media claim there is scientific proof that the Sturgis motorcycle rally was a massive super spreader event.

Solid evidence.

Incontrovertible proof I tell you.

Study is described at Wall Street Journal on 11/21/20: CDC Study Links Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to Covid-19 Spread in Minnesota. Hosts of other news sites are doing their own re-write of the story.

Guesses are somewhere around 460,000 people attended the huge motorcycle rally held every year in Sturgis, South Dakota. This year it ran from August 7-16.

The lack of mask usage, the closeness of the event, and massive number of people was dangerous I tell you.

Coverage at the time and headlines now say this was obviously a super spreader event that would obviously cause 7 or 8 gazillion infections and just over half a bazillion deaths.

CDC research shows there, uh, weren’t, um, quite that many infections.

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More data is emerging about coronavirus infections and it is getting fuzzier instead of more informative.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Our political leaders have led us to believe they have incredible knowledge about the coronavirus, including how we get sick, how many are sick, transmission vectors, spread rates, etc. etc. As time passes there is an increasing amount of data that suggests the understanding of the virus is fuzzier than we have been told.

Merely a few of the recent articles pointing out the uncertainty surrounding the virus:

  • Officials across Europe (and New York City) are not able to figure out how most people catch the bug.
  • Estimated 1/5th of New York City residents were infected by early March, at the very beginning of the pandemic.
  • Estimated 1/8th of Orange County, California residents were infected by the end of the summer, far higher than the reported positive test rate.

11/15/20 – Wall Street Journal – As Covid-19 Surges, the Big Unknown Is Where People Are Getting Infected – Health authorities are having difficulty figuring out where people are catching the coronavirus.

Statistics on the percentage of cases that can be traced to a source:

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Wow. News about that outdoor dinner served indoors to six households gets worse by the day.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Details keep emerging about the governor’s $500 a person dinner with six households present which was held inside even though the governor said it was outside.

Previously it was disclosed that a longtime friend who is a heavy hitter lobbyist was also at the meal. One article said what a deal for the lobbyist – the entire world knows he has the ear of the governor of the state of California. Superb advertising, huh?

New info is tumbling out. Photos of the meeting emerged Monday showing the meal was served inside.

News yesterday was names of two of the other diners.

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The governor’s $500+ per person outdoor dinner wasn’t all that much, um, outdoorsy.

Previous post explained that while you and I are prohibited from having more than three households gather for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, and our gatherings must be in the backyard, and we must provide turkey, potatoes, and dressing in single serve containers, and we can only let guests use the bathroom if we sanitize the bathroom regularly, the governor of California attended a lavish private dinner party with at least 12 people present, meaning there were likely six or more households present. The governor, the lobbyist whose birthday was being celebrated, and the restaurant all say the meal was outdoors.

Well, turns out the “outdoor” dinner wasn’t quite so outdoor.

If your idea of outdoor dining consists of a room that’s enclosed on three sides with a ceiling and chandelier, along with sliding glass doors on the fourth side that can isolate your party from the rest of the dining room, then the meal was outdoors.

For us unwashed masses unable to rise above our lowly submissive serf status, that sounds like an indoor meal.

A more deadly issue than the hypocrisy

Before we explore the increasing depths of flaming hypocrisy in this story there is a severe side issue.

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Flagrant examples of hypocrisy just keep on rolling… This time $500 per person dinner with five other couples.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

It is corrosive to public trust when those in charge issue harsh rules for you and me but those making the rules can ignore them when they wish.

The corrosion will undercut our democracy, create more distrust of politicians than already exists, erode respect for public health officials, and eventually undermine compliance with all government rules not just the silly ones.

We do not want any of that to happen.

I sincerely hope governors, federal health officials, elected county officials, and everyone in the public health world will quickly realize the damage they are causing and change their ways fast.

Is it possible to shout my warning any louder?

Today’s illustration of flaming hypocrisy is from the governor of California.

As I was composing the previous post, this story broke, which is a postcard-perfect illustration of corrosive leadership.

11/13/20 – San Francisco Chronicle – Newsom attended French Laundry party with more households than California advises during pandemic – California guidelines prohibit private gatherings with more than three households.

Such gatherings may only be outside.

You may allow guests to use the bathroom if you sanitize it regularly.

In spite of these requirements, the governor of California and his wife attended a dinner on 11/6/20 with at least 12 people with more than three households present. Neither the people involved nor the restaurant will say how many people were present nor how many households were represented.

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Rising danger from leaders revealing their hypocrisy during the pandemic lockdown.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Politicians and public health experts are undercutting public trust in their leadership. While a certain level of distrust of politicians is a good thing, ongoing hypocrisy and poor leadership destroys credibility of the entire political class and appointed public health officials. Destruction of trust is dangerous.

Many incidents have been in the news over the last several months. A few articles of late have illustrated the problem. For your consideration:

11/12/20 – Commentary magazine – Pandemic Hypocrites Produce Pandemic Cynics – Author suggests the level of cynicism is growing. Distrust of political leaders is accelerating.

Why is this corrosion of trust taking place? I will mention merely four of the many illustrations in the article.

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Restrictions on holiday celebrations in California. This is not a spoof. You will think it is a joke, but it is not.

No fun allowed sign. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The California Department of Public Health has listed their specific restrictions on holiday gatherings. There are serious limits on what you can do for your Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year celebration.

I’m not making this up.

Check out for yourself the Guidance for Private Gatherings published on 10/9/20.

In case you think I imagined all this, I will quote select portions of the guidance.

So, if you happen to be one of the people who have not yet moved out of California, or you are waiting for the moving van to arrive, here are the requirements for your holiday celebrations –

(Again, this is not a spoof.)

You may not gather with friends inside your home. You are still allowed to let guests use your bathroom, assuming you scrub down the bathroom quite frequently:

“All gatherings must be held outside. Attendees may go inside to use restrooms as long as the restrooms are frequently sanitized.”

No more than three households may gather together.

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Did the lockdowns have any beneficial impact on the rate of new infections?

Enough time has passed that there is enough information to start analyzing the lockdowns. Preliminary info is not pretty. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Indications are starting to emerge that the answer to the question may actually be no.

Previously mentioned one analysis which found a weak statistical correlation between weaker lockdown requirements and lower infection rate. The study found no correlation between the date that states started releasing the lockdown restrictions and subsequent infection rates.

 

The rate of infections accelerates rapidly and then hits an inflection point where the rate of infections either plateaus or the rate slows dramatically.

The following study suggests the lockdowns have no correlation to when the infection rates hit that transition point. In fact, the inflection point normally is reached before the lockdowns could have had any impact.

10/4/20 – National Review – Stats Hold a Surprise: Lockdowns May Have Had Little Effect on Covid-19 Spread

Authors pulled the daily infection rate for 13 states and graphed the data on a logarithmic scale. Seeing infections on a log scale makes it easier to see trends. There are visible transitions in every state from rapid acceleration to a flattened or greatly reduced infection rate.

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Stats on infection coronavirus rates not showing what you would expect. Time to open the economy.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

We have been locked down long enough for the volume of statistics to build up to the point of allowing deeper analysis. As is always the case, the statistics can also be manipulated to give whatever answer you want. Deeper, honest analysis is starting to show surprising results, for example, the lack of correlation between infection rates and lockdown policies.

Surprising results on the low correlation will be mentioned after some game playing is described.

Wall Street Journal – 9/9/20 – The Sturgis Statistical Misfire – For this story remember the old saying

  • Figures don’t lie, but liars figure

The annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota routinely draws huge numbers of people to the town, whose population is only 7,000 people. Attendance at the 10-day event this year was lower than usual with an estimated 460,000 motorcycle enthusiasts hanging around.

Frightening news reports at the time said this would cause massive numbers of Covid infections leading to massive numbers of deaths.

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Devastation from government ordered shutdown of the economy – 3 of 3

What the California economy might look like by the time it is allowed to reopen. Photo of abandoned farm in North Dakota by James Ulvog.

This is the third in a series of posts describing the damage caused by shutting down the economy. First post discussed recent news on economic damage. Second post described ongoing health damage.

Some things are *not* going wrong

Just under half a million people attended the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota from August 7 through 16.

9/1/20 – PJ Media – OH THE HORROR! Sturgis Motorcycle Rally COVID-19 Numbers Are in and They Are Shocking

Half a million. Official tally is 462,000.

In one small town.

Check out any of the pictures from the rally and you will notice a distinct lack of masks and social distancing.

Expectations in most media sources were for this event to produce massive amounts of infection.

Half a million people. In one town.

The tracking results are in from the massive numbers of people who were infected and the resulting fatalities from this massive event.

It is shocking. Amazing. Head-shaking. Astounding.

Best info available is that:

  • 196 people tested positive for COVID with results linked to attending Sturgis.
  • 4 people died.

To put that in context, 5 people died of motorcycle accidents in Sturgis during the rally.

Growing awareness something is wrong with lockdowns

8/24/20 – Wall Street Journal – New Thinking on COVID Lockdowns: They are Overly Blunt and Costly – Article has a massive amount of information on the course of the pandemic, wide range of strategies by national and state governments, and large volume of statistics. The story is told basically scrambled egg style with no pattern or trends or storylines that I can easily summarize.

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California shut down again.

Economic performance, health outcomes, and educational achievements in California after a second round of shutdown. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

We are a week into our second shutdown here in California.

Restaurants may only provide food to-go or for outdoor dining. The outdoor dining option only helps restaurants stay in business if they have enough outdoor patio space to have enough tables to seat enough customers to stay in business and then only if the temperature (during July and August!) is tolerable.

Churches are prohibited from having worship services inside. Churches who are rich enough to have lots of outdoor space to sit and well off enough to afford two sets of audio equipment can worship live. The first amendment has been partially suspended again.

Gyms, salons, and bars are closed.

On 7/14/20, the Wall Street Journal also explained the issue in a short editorial: California’s Second Shutdown.

The core issue:

A lockdown will cause more harm (economically, socially, physically, psychologically, educationally, and emotionally) than the pandemic will cause.

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Settled matters outlined in the Declaration of Independence.

John Trumbull: The Declaration of Independence painted by John Trumbull. Photograph by Thomas Cizauskas is in the public domain (Public Domain Mark 1.0)

 

Several statements in the opening of the Declaration of Independence are settled matters. The issues are resolved. They are final.

If those key issues are not final but are instead malleable or alterable or subject to revocation the consequences will be horrible.

A speech by Pres. Calvin Coolidge explained this idea back in the 1920s. Let’s expand the concept of those ideas being resolved issues.

Please consider President Calvin Coolidge’s Speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence on July 5, 1926.

He lists the three resolved issues:

“Three very definite propositions were set out in its (the Declaration of Independence) preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that

all men are created equal,

that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that

 therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.” (emphasis added)

He explained these issues are settled, resolved, final.

We can expand on those ideas. We need to bring them into further fruition. We can dive deeper into their meaning.

Setting them aside or replacing them means we go backwards. Declaring they are no longer true is regression to the ancient past.

More eloquently than I could ever describe, the president said:

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”

Expanding those foundational concepts

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Text of the Declaration of Independence:

From the National Archives:

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. (more…)