Happy 244th birthday America!

American militia reenactors at Redcoats & Rebels Revolutionary War Reenactment by Lee Wright is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In the 1770s and 1780s, a ragtag collection of citizen soldiers waged a war of independence against the most powerful empire on the planet…

British Army reenactors at Redcoats & Rebels Revolutionary War Reenactment by Lee Wright is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

…and defeated them.

 

Two hundred forty-four years ago today marked the start of this wonderful, aspirational, fantastic, heaven-blessed, messy, delightful, powerful, flawed, and glorious experiment called the United States of America which has delivered unimaginable levels of freedom to hundreds of millions of people here in the US of A and contributed massively to the freedom of hundreds and hundreds of millions more around the world.

That experiment had multiple severe flaws baked into the design which are taking a long time to correct, yet the aspirational dreams then drove and still drive that wonderful experiment to constant improvement.

Before our independence, anything resembling a democracy had been absent for so many long centuries. Apart from the ruling elite, ordinary people were merely the subjects of their ‘betters.’  Common folk only had the very few rights and freedoms that those born to power consented to give them, like crumbs thrown from the table.  You and I would only have been able to do what those controlling us allowed us to do.

And then came those rabble-rousing founding fathers.

The results of this grand experiment in self-government, not tried before, has produced fabulous results.

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Religious freedom partially reinstated in California and Minnesota.

The state governments of California and Minnesota have given their permission for people of faith to partially engage in the free exercise of their religious beliefs.

5/25/20 – Daily Bulletin –Newsom: California places of worship can reopen with limited capacity and San Francisco Chronicle – Newsom issues plans for places of worship in California to reopen at limited capacity – Places of worship in the state can begin having in-person worship.

At least that’s what all the headlines say.

Look at the detail for more than 15 seconds and you realize there’s only a fractional restoration of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, along with the fractional restoration of the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

Remaining restrictions include:

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It is even more important this year to remember that we are the land of the free because of the brave.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

With our freedom under assault by many state and local politicians across the United States, it is more important than ever before that on this Memorial Day we remember those who shed all their blood so that we may be free.

A ‘thank you’ from me is so trivial.  I will demonstrate my appreciation for freedom purchased by others by exercising my freedom of speech today. Yesterday I exercised my freedom of religion. Today and tomorrow I will exercise my economic freedom, also called pursuit of happiness, by running my business the way I choose to do.

Following post was first published on May 29, 2017. It reprints an earlier post of May 30, 2011. I will update the discussion slightly. Deletions are struck through, new comments are in italics. This feeble tribute to those who have gone before will be posted across several of my blogs.

 

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

From May 29, 2017:

Those of us living in the United States are blessed with religious freedom, political freedom, and economic freedom because those who went before us fought for freedom.

Many of those fighting offered up their life for freedom and the offer was accepted.

I am humbled and grateful to God that some of my ancestors are included in the long list of those who fought. I am especially humbled that a great, great grand-uncle is in the list of those who died in the defense of freedom and the effort to crush slavery.

Because of their sacrifice, I get to enjoy this kind of freedom:

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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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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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These government actions during the shutdown are not the first chapter in some hot-off-the-press dystopian novel.

Ninety days ago the following stories would have been nothing more than the opener to a scary fantasy about some dystopian future. I am nowhere near creative enough to guess how bizarre the plot line would have been to incorporate these fantastical events.

Now approaching the end of the eighth week of California lockdown it is still hard to believe the stories are true instead of the figment of a creative sci-fi writer.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

5/6/20 – ABC news – Historic New York City subway shutdown for cleaning deemed “successful” – For the first time in over 100 years the entire New York City subway system was closed for a while overnight, specifically between 1 AM and 5 AM so that staff could clean every subway car.

The shutdown will be repeated every night in order to clean the cars.

Based on numerous comments I have read elsewhere, but for which I don’t have specific citations, this is apparently the first time the subway cars been disinfected since the coronavirus pandemic erupted.

If I get this straight after having read multiple articles, the subway cars had not been disinfected until 5/5/20, making them a major source of viral spread in the city.

This next story is more weird. It is sufficiently out there into the surreal realm that I had to cross check it with other articles to make sure it wasn’t fabricated. Turns out it’s actually real.

Required spreading of coronavirus into at-risk communities

5/5/20 – New York Post – New York’s coronavirus nursing home death toll didn’t have to be so high  and  5/1/20 – New York Post – Cuomo’s nursing home policies amid coronavirus “a disaster,” says ex-Gov. Pataki

Nursing homes in New York were forced to take COVID-positive patients as residents. Let me rephrase that…

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Economic devastation from shutdown spreads. Signs showing of deteriorating health and increased deaths caused by shutdown.

Indications of damage caused by the shutdown are getting stronger. First articles are appearing to describe the harm to health from the shutdown.

Comments today:

  • Estimated 35 deaths from not getting cardiac care in Ontario, Canada
  • Indications people are not seeing doctors and not getting meds they need
  • Harsh impact on Jewish owned businesses
  • New vehicle sales collapsing
  • Temp layoffs transition to permanent
  • More students suing more universities, now claiming discount on tuition for missing out on the on-campus experience

Damage to health from shutdown

5/5/20 – Daily Wire – Dozens Dead After Lockdown Measures Delayed Their Heart Surgeries; Health Official: “Certainly Was Not Intended” – Count this as the first in what I predict will be an exquisitely long list of unintended consequences from putting the economy into an induced coma. The sad part is these unintended consequences were predictable and expected.

Thousands upon thousands of needed health procedures were canceled in Ontario, Canada in order to make room for the massive surge of coronavirus patients which never arrived.

New study in Ontario estimates that 35 people are dead because their heart surgeries were postponed. There were 12,200 surgeries and other procedures postponed each week.

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Three states tighten the shutdown while others start to revive their economy.

Green line is the unemployment rate in every state of the country. Red line is the financial health of universities, restaurants, airlines, and every small business.  Sinkender roter und steigender grüner Pfeil symbolisieren das Auf und Ab des Aktienmarktes by Marco Verch is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

With extremely short notice, governors of Arizona and Tennessee extended the lockdown and economic shutdown in their states. California governor orders beaches closed in the county with lowest infection rate, leaving open beaches in county with three times higher rate.

Meanwhile, many other states are trying to allow their economies to re-start.

Arizona extends lockdown

4/29/20 – Fox 10 Phoenix – Gov. Doug Ducey extends Arizona’s stay-at-home order to May 15 – The shutdown and lock-in for Arizona was scheduled to expire in one day as the governor extended the economic catastrophe by 15 more days.

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Plans for California economy to slowly, gradually revive over the next year or more.

It will be months before you can visit one of these places in California. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The California governor has laid out some general plans on how the state eventually will be taken off lockdown. There are four overall phases stretched over the next year or more. Highlights include:

  • Curb side pickup from retail stores will be allowed perhaps in weeks.
  • In-person worship services and getting a haircut will be allowed months from now.
  • Stay-at-home orders will not be lifted for a year or more.

Schools may start early, perhaps even in July. That will be conditioned upon schools having the ability to maintain safe distances between students.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

The graphic provided by the state describes the four stages:

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The shutdown will be relaxed, one way or another.

Time to use the other side of those signs. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

If the politicians don’t start relaxing the lockdown and letting people pay their rapidly accumulating bills, bunches of people are going to take the initiative and do so on their own.

I sense there is a limited time for those in power to start loosening the extreme restrictions or people are going to start ignoring parts of the rules.

At a deeper level, the concern I have is what’s referred to as the “social contract.” Government gets its authority from consent of the governed.

If a large number of people get to the point of concluding the rules in places like California and Virginia are unnecessarily severe and are causing more health, mental, social, and economic damage than they prevent, people will conclude our leaders have broken the contract.

If we get to that point, respect for law and respect for public officials will decline. That is not a good place to go.

 

Next two articles point out a small number of people who have already reached that conclusion:

4/20/20 – Daily Wire – “Social Shredding”: Defiant Residents Grab Shovels, Dirt Bikes After Cali Authorities Dump Tons of Sand In Skateparks For ‘Social Distancing’ – Officials in San Clemente California noticed teenagers were committing the grave sin of skating in the city’s skate park. Well, that is patently unacceptable, so the city dumped 37 tons of sand into the skate park in an effort to shut down the skating. Since the park is at the beach, sand was readily available.

Well, the city officials did not take into consideration the incredible level of creativity present in humans, especially Americans.

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It is time to end the physical, emotional, and financial destruction caused by the lockdown.

With the ongoing shutdown we are getting way out there onto dangerously thin ice. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

We are past the point where the damage caused by the lockdown is greater than the damage caused by the coronavirus.  The damage could start compounding.  Here are just a few of the recent articles making this point:

4/22/20 – The Hill – The data is in – stop the panic and end the total isolation – A medical doctor says it is time for our leaders to examine the evidence instead of hypothetical guesses and then carefully let the country start operating again. He cites five factors ignored by people who want to keep the country in ongoing lockdown:

Fact 1: The overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19.

Fact 2: Protecting older, at-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding.

Fact 3: Vital population immunity is prevented by total isolation policies, prolonging the problem.

Fact 4: People are dying because other medical care is not getting done due to hypothetical projections.

Fact 5: We have a clearly defined population at risk who can be protected with targeted measures.

Keep in mind California will probably be on lockdown until August and Virginia may be locked down until a vaccine is in use.

Two severe medical problems are being caused by and will be prolonged by the severe lockdown.

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Good news in some states for people who like to pay their rent and put food on the table. Bad news for California and Virginia.

A deep freezer, used for keeping large volumes of meat and vegetables frozen. That’s where the economies of California and Virginia are going to be stored for a long time. Image (but not commentary) courtesy of Adobe Stock

Many states are starting to open up their economy.

Virginia may be closed down tight for up to 24 more months.

California may not open up until August.

August.

There will be incalculable medical, emotional, and financial damage in California and Virginia from the lockdown. More on that momentarily.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Good news

On the bright side, getting most attention for opening are:

  • Texas
  • Georgia

Other states are thawing because they also don’t want to bankrupt everyone, destroy all the hospitals, further tear down overall health levels, and permanently cripple their economy. List includes:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Mississippi
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

And then there is Virginia and California.

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This shutdown is damaging our health, collapsing the economy, and shredding our freedoms. What will be the tally from ‘avoidable deaths?’

Will the Grim Reaper get more business from the coronavirus or the shutdown?

Every additional day of the shutdown is causing horrible damage. Not only is the economy suffering with record high unemployment, soon-to-be record high bankruptcies and shuttered businesses, but also there is now and will continue to be a decline in overall health. We will see increased mortality from other causes because of the shutdown. The damage to our freedoms is widespread and immeasurable.

Point made by the author of the column linked below puts it this way:

This is not a trade-off between lives and the economy. It’s a trade-off between lives and lives.

In a series of articles over the last week I attempted, in my own feeble way, to describe the wide ranging damage we are watching grow every day.

The question our governors and mayors urgently need to consider is whether we have already passed the point at which there will be more damage (including deaths) from the shutdown than from the coronavirus.

This post will be published on several of my blogs.

Trading off lives for lives

4/17/20 – Colorado Politics – Opinion/It’s time to shift tack – and contain the virus while reopening Colorado’s economy – Author was sounding the alarm on a pending medical disaster well before others realized there was a problem. That danger is now past.

He draws the analogy to a hurricane expected to make landfall at category 5 but deteriorated to a bad thunderstorm the morning it landed. In that analogy the cat 5 which was expected to land on the entire country only hit New York, New Orleans, and Detroit.

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More attacks on constitutional freedoms.

This dream of so many elected politicians is flagrantly illegal. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Because a large and growing number of elected officials do not have a functional awareness of the Bill of Rights, I will recite the first and second amendments to help them out. Will then cite merely a few of the recent violations thereof.

Article I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Article II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

 

..the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

4/17/20 – NJ.com – Woman charged for organizing protest of Murphy’s coronavirus stay-at-home order(more…)