One more post on the utter devastation from shutdown of the economy.

When done to a 60 year old building that destruction is understandable. When done to an economy, not so much. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The government ordered shutdown of the economy in 2020 has devastated primary education, secondary education, higher education, travel industry, entertainment industry, small businesses, restaurants, physical health, mental health, and detective/ preventive treatment of chronic and deadly disease. Level of unemployment is second only to the Great Depression. We have seen evaporation of wealth, savings, trust in government officials at all levels, and trust in every public health official in the country.

I have over 100 posts protesting the foolishness and destruction this year with those posts containing close to 90,000 words describing the devastation.

This will be the last routine post describing the intentional disruption we have suffered this year. I will have one more post describing actual science that is surfacing, which is in sharp contrast to the alleged “science” that has driven the demolition of the country.

Discussion in this post:

  • Devastation in travel industry
  • Drastic increase in U.S. poverty rate
  • Collapse of incoming freshman class at U.S. colleges

Indicators of the devastation in the travel industry

11/4/20 – Wall Street Journal – How Coronavirus Ravaged Travel in 2020 – The Middle Seat column tabulated a number of indicators showing the illness across entire travel industry.

What does the collapse of an entire industry look like? A few stats:

Traffic at three largest New York airports:

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Two websites track incidents of rule makers ignoring the rules they demand we follow.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

There are so many elected officials, political leaders, and public health officials ignoring the rules they demand you and I follow that two different websites are accumulating a list of the incidents.

Covid Hypocrisy: Policymakers Breaking Their Own Rules

Visualization from Heritage.org tracks incidents in the United States. A map shows location and provides one sentence summary.

Detail of incidence are listed, which includes date, name of the public official betraying the public trust, location, and description of incident. The description includes a link to news article explaining the hypocrisy.

On 12/24/20 I count 42 incidents. As you would expect, California is in the lead with eight incidents if you include the legislator’s junket to Hawaii for a vacation funded by lobbyists.

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The Supreme Court ruling reinstating free expression clause of First Amendment is harsher than you have read.

First Amendment of the US Constitution text. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Don’t know what you have read of the Supreme Court decision that has restored the free expression clause to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

This ruling is significant because SCOTUS has issued three additional temporary injunctions citing this specific ruling when ordering the District Court to reconsider their incorrect decision.

Several sentences in the ruling have been widely quoted.

After reading the full decision, I realize it is stronger than I realized. Harsh even.

I have brought plenty of sarcasm and ridicule to bear discussing the attacks on the First Amendment willfully carried out by many politicians and public health officials. My point-and-laugh-out-loud efforts pale in comparison to comments from the ruling and several concurring arguments.

The Supreme Court injunction is titled ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF BROOKLYN, NEW YORK v. ANDREW M. CUOMO, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK.

Link to the text can be found at No. 20A87 with the actual text found here.

I will quote a large number of the specific comments in the ruling with a few of my observations

Comments from unsigned opinion:

Some background:

The two applications, one filed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and the other by Agudath Israel of America and affiliated entities, contend that these restrictions violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, and they ask us to enjoin enforcement of the restrictions while they pursue appellate review. Citing a variety of remarks made by the Governor, Agudath Israel argues that the Governor specifically targeted the Orthodox Jewish community and gerrymandered the boundaries of red and orange zones to ensure that heavily Orthodox areas were included. Both the Diocese and Agudath Israel maintain that the regulations treat houses of worship much more harshly than comparable secular facilities.

In a red zone, while a synagogue or church may not admit more than 10 persons, businesses categorized as “essential” may admit as many people as they wish. And the list of “essential” businesses includes things such as acupuncture facilities, camp grounds, garages, as well as many whose services are not limited to those that can be regarded as essential, such as all plants manufacturing chemicals and microelectronics and all transportation facilities.

Because the challenged restrictions are not “neutral” and of “general applicability,” they must satisfy “strict scrutiny,” and this means that they must be “narrowly tailored” to serve a “compelling” state interest.

Not only is there no evidence that the applicants have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 but there are many other less restrictive rules that could be adopted to minimize the risk to those attending religious services. Among other things, the maximum attendance at a religious service could be tied to the size of the church or synagogue. Almost all of the 26 Diocese churches immediately affected by the Executive Order can seat at least 500 people, about 14 can accommodate at least 700, and 2 can seat over 1,000. Similarly, Agudath Israel of Kew Garden Hills can seat up to 400. It is hard to believe that admitting more than 10 people to a 1,000-seat church or 400-seat synagogue would create a more serious health risk than the many other activities that the State allows. (emphasis added)

.

Members of this Court are not public health experts, and we should respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area. But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty. Before allowing this to occur, we have a duty to conduct a serious examination of the need for such a drastic measure. (emphasis added)

Look at that again:

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At least one flaming hypocrite in public leadership has enough shame to retire from public life. But just so you know, it is our fault, not hers.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

At least one person on the constantly growing list of flaming hypocrites in public leadership has a sense of shame. Or, at least enough shame to realize she should retire. Eventually. Someday.

After two days of publicity about her non-Thanksgiving non-celebration trip to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with family she doesn’t live with, Dr. Deborah Birx made the announcement.

12/22/20 – National Review – Dr. Birx Announces She Will Retire after Holiday Travel Controversy and CBS news – Birx says she plans to retire, citing strain on family.

After two full days of controversy, Dr. Birx announced she will retire shortly after assisting in the transition to a new administration. Presumably, that means sometime in late January or early February. Or maybe March. Or maybe June.

Recall from yesterday the day after Thanksgiving she traveled from her home in D.C. to one of her vacation homes in Delaware for a 50 hour stay with her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren, all of whom live in a different home she owns in Potomac.

When challenged about whether traveling to another state with people from a different household during the Thanksgiving weekend was appropriate given her very public advice not to travel at all over the weekend and not to be with anyone from a different household, she provided a splendiferous rationalization.

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The parade of alleged leaders who ignore their own Covid recommendations keeps growing.

Rationalization can blind our views and limit perspective. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

It is taking more and more time to keep up with the political and public health leaders who don’t bother to comply with the recommendations they give us.

This time it is Dr. Deborah Birx who blew off the travel restrictions and gathering size limits at Thanksgiving. Oh, pardon me. It doesn’t count as a Thanksgiving trip since she traveled to her destination the day after Thanksgiving.

Saddest part of this example of hypocrisy is it took place after a large volume of other supposed leaders drew massive criticism for ignoring the rules. It isn’t as if every political and public health leader hasn’t been given notice their behavior is being observed.

Scariest part is her rationalization that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the trip.

Last point in this discussion is the wish that every American had the same freedom she has exercised. Specifically, the freedom to make our own decisions on what is best for our family given our circumstances.

12/20/20 – Associated Press – Birx travels, family visits highlight pandemic safety perils – The day after Thanksgiving, Dr Deborah Birx, coordinator for the official White House coronavirus response team, traveled from her D.C. home to her vacation home in Delaware. Joining her in Delaware were her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. While in Delaware they ate meals together for two days.

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The hit parade of Covid-restricting political hypocrites marches on.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

List continues to lengthen of government officials who are exempt from what they demand you do.

Today’s examples are Shemia Fagan, newly elected Secretary of State from Oregon, and Gina Raimondo, governor of Rhode Island.

12/14/20 – PJ Media – ANOTHER Democrat Covid Hypocrite: Oregon’s Newly Elected Secretary of State Violates Governor’s Order on Gatherings for Kid’s Birthday Party – This time it is the incoming Secretary of State in Oregon who is above the law.

Shemia Fagan was photographed hosting a birthday party for one of her children at her home. There were seven adults from six different households visible. They are outside and inside the house. Of course only a portion of the people visible in the photographs were wearing masks.

It is unknown and unrevealed how many other people from how many households were present.

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News flash: Religious freedom is blooming everywhere. Three SCOTUS injunctions in favor of First Amendment and LA County to allow indoor worship.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The US Supreme Court has issued injunctions in three different cases in three different circuits overturning lower court rulings which restrict religious freedom. (Update:  make that four.)

On top of that, the County of Los Angeles has announced it will revise its public health orders to allow worship services to be conducted indoors.

Fantastic, wonderful news for your early Sunday morning reading.

(Update: Minor corrections for grammar and typos made without identify such changes. Substantive updates identified as such.)

Update: I just read the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn ruling. Wow. The sum total of all sarcasm and ridicule I have previously brought to the table regarding religious freedom pales in comparison to the scathing comments by Justices in that ruling. When I have time, I’ll recap some of the comments. Quick summary:  it is past time for governors to stop intentionally ignoring and flagrantly shredding the U.S. Constitution. Oh yeah, the Governor of New York is working hard to fight the case and violate the Constitution.

US Supreme Court – Harvest Rock Church, et al. v. Newsom, Gov. of CA

In a 10 line, unsigned order SCOTUS vacated the ruling by the District Court for the Center District of California which ruled against Harvest Rock Church in their lawsuit to allow indoor worship.

Ruling can be found here.

The ruling was dated Thursday 12/3/20, which is 2 ½ weeks ago.

The court ordered the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to order the District Court to reconsider their ruling in light of Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.

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Two more courts uphold the free expression clause of the First Amendment. Part 3 of 3.

It is possible the above activity might soon be protected by the First Amendment. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

This three part series looks at rulings which show courts are beginning to recognize that imposing severe restrictions on religious worship constitutes a violation of the free expression clause of First Amendment. Just in case you think I’m being too harsh in my sarcastic, ridiculing comments regarding the attacks on the First Amendment, check out some of these court rulings. When it comes to criticizing unconstitutional government rules, I’m a lightweight compared to any of these judges. These posts focus on two lower courts that re-read the U.S. Constitution after the U.S. Supreme Court started the refreshing trend of actually reading said Constitution before issuing a ruling. The cases:  

Ninth Circuit –Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak.

12/15/20 – Hill Faith – First Amendment: Court Strikes Down Nevada’s Covid Church Attendance Limits – Nevada issued rules restricting the number of people who can gather for worship to the lesser of 50% of fire code capacity or 50 people. Large number of other activities have a restriction level of 50% of fire code capacity. The 50% only limit without a numerical cap applies to “casinos, bowling alleys, retail businesses, restaurants, arcades, and other similar secular entities.” (more…)

Two more courts uphold the free expression clause of the First Amendment. Part 2 of 3.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

This three part series looks at rulings which show courts are beginning to recognize to impose severe restrictions on religious worship constitutes a violation of the free expression clause of First Amendment.

Just in case you think I’m being too harsh in my sarcastic, ridiculing comments regarding the attacks on the First Amendment, you really need to check out some of these court rulings.

In terms of criticism of constitution-ignoring governments I am a mere simplistic lightweight simpleton with lightweight  rhetoric compared to any one of the following judges. I wouldn’t think of calling the alleged thought process of the California government specious.

These posts focus on two lower courts that re-read the U.S. Constitution after the U.S. Supreme Court started the refreshing trend of actually reading said Constitution. The cases:

  • Supreme Court – Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn (previous post)
  • California Superior Court – Bakersfield Division – Father Trevor Burfitt vs Gavin Newsom (current discussion)
  • Ninth Circuit –Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak.

California Superior Court – Bakersfield Division – Father Trevor Burfitt vs Gavin Newsom

12/11/20 – Hill Faith – California Court Delivers Stinging Rebuke To Newsom’s Anti-Church Covid-19 Regulations California Superior Court Judge Gregory Pulskamp granted a preliminary injunction allowing several churches to continue worship, after finding the state requirements violate the California Constitution.

The ruling is titled Father Trevor Burfitt vs Gavin Newsom and can be found here.

The core issue is concealed in this technical sentence on page 1:

“Although Defendants collectively advocate for the use of a “rational basis” standard, it is clear that when restrictions appear to treat religious activity less favorably than comparable secular activities, the restrictions are subject to “strict scrutiny.””

If you understood that sentence, you can already guess what the ruling will be.

To my little pea-brain, the case is almost resolved when this sentence is provided on page 2:

“In this case, the restrictions are not “neutral” and of “general applicability” because they assign entities into disparate classifications which results in religious activities being treated less favorably than comparable secular activities.”

Following comment is so scathing it ought to be wrapped in fire-resistant fabric:

“Entities permitted to engage in indoor activities – also known as “essential businesses” or “critical infrastructure” – include big-box retail stores, grocery stores, home improvement stores, hotels, airports, train stations, bus stations, movie production houses, warehouses, factories, schools, and a lengthy list of additional businesses. It is important to note that almost all of the entities that are allowed to host indoor operations do not engage in activity that is constitutionally protected, whereas houses of worship do.

Nowhere does the Constitution mention home improvement stores or movie production companies, yet they are allowed to continue indoor operations while constitutionally protected worship services are not. Ouch.

After summarizing the government’s response to the strict scrutiny issue, the ruling continues:

“To the contrary, based on the evidence presented (or lack thereof) and common knowledge, it appears that shoppers at a Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, etc. may – and frequently do – congregate in numbers, proximity, and duration that is very comparable to worshippers in houses of worship. Defendants have not convincingly established that the health risks associated with houses of worship would be any different than “essential businesses” or “critical infrastructure,” assuming the same requirements of social distancing and the wearing of masks were applied across the board

So, no difference in risk between a trip to Costco and sitting through a worship service. Double ouch.

Ruling then cites comment by Justice Kavanaugh in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn:

“Assuming all of the same precautions are taken, why can someone safely walk down a grocery store aisle but not a pew? And why can someone safely interact with a brave deliverywoman but not with a stoic minister?”

Why indeed.

The ruling continues to identify that the New York restrictions of 10 people in “red zones” and 25 in “orange zones” were categorized by the Supreme Court as “very severe restrictions.” What then to make of the California restrictions which set the restriction at zero for indoor worship? Seems to me that zero would be an order of magnitude beyond “very severe restrictions.”

Ruling then explains the government has not demonstrated that are indoor worship word “negatively impact public health.”

The court finds as specious the government’s argument that watching TV is the same as worshiping in person. Don’t believe a court could be that harsh? Check it out for yourself:

“Similarly, Defendants’ protestations that religious services may still be offered through means of modern telecommunication, such as TV or web-based platforms, seem specious because, as noted in Roman Catholic Diocese, “such remote viewing is not the same as personal attendance.” “

I just had to go look up the definition of specious:

specious

adjective

superficially plausible, but actually wrong.

misleading in appearance, especially misleadingly attractive.

Let me rephrase the comment:

Government protestations that religious services may still be offered through means of modern telecommunication are superficially plausible but actually wrong and in fact are misleading in appearance.

Specious arguments. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

The court ruled the state requirements are a clear violation of the California Constitution:

“The free exercise of religion clause in the California Constitution prohibits Defendants from treating religious activities worse than comparable secular activities. California’s current Covid-related restrictions do exactly that.”

The court granted a temporary injunction against the state of California until a full trial is held on the merits of the case.

Care to make any wild guess what the court will be thinking at trial, guided by the recent SCOTUS ruling?

Next post: ruling from the Ninth Circuit applying the Supreme Court ruling to rules in Nevada. Hint: the rules violate the U.S. Constitution.

Two more courts uphold the free expression clause of the First Amendment. Part 1 of 3.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Courts are beginning to recognize that imposing more severe restrictions on religious worship than other similar activities constitutes a violation of the free expression clause of First Amendment.

Just in case you think I’m being too harsh in my sarcastic, ridiculing comments regarding the attacks on the First Amendment, you really need to check out some of these court rulings.

The following rulings entail complex sentences with multiple subordinate clauses, systematic use of multisyllable words, embedded legal citations, technical legal verbiage, and subtle nuance. Hidden behind those comments are harsh and brutal critiques of the egregious violations of religious freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

In terms of criticism of constitution-ignoring governments I am a mere simplistic lightweight simpleton compared to any one of the following judges.

This series of posts will provide more background on the Supreme Court ruling that started this trend of courts on actually reading the Constitution and then discuss two more rulings. The cases:

  • Supreme Court – Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn
  • California Superior Court – Bakersfield Division – Father Trevor Burfitt vs Gavin Newsom
  • Ninth Circuit –Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak.

12/14/20 – Hill Faith – Justice Samuel Alito’s Christmas Present For America – Article calls attention to a speech given by Associate Justice Alito to the Federalist Society’s National Wires convention back in November.

In his speech he opined the religious freedom protections outlined in the first amendment are in more danger now than ever before with politicians using the pandemic as an excuse to walk all over the Constitution (my paraphrase of the article).

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Guesses, assumptions, and common sense are the “science” behind lockdown restrictions.

Secret photo of scientific research supporting lockdowns. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

News reports are emerging which explain the double-blind, peer-reviewed, easily replicated science behind various lockdown requirements is assumptions and guesses. Oh, and in Virginia the hard-core science supporting a curfew is the governor’s “common sense.”

Consider:

  • Medical doctor on the White House coronavirus task force says there is no science behind concept of banning outdoor or even indoor dining.
  • Research studies which are cited to prove restaurant dining is dangerous are seriously flawed.
  • Only support for a midnight to 5 a.m. curfew in Virginia is the governor’s common sense.
  • Senior WHO official suggests not using lockdown as primary tool to fight the virus becuase of the severe side effects.

 

(Might want to get a fresh cup of coffee – takes lots of words to deliver this double dose of ridicule)

12/9/20 – Red State – Video: CA HHS Secretary Admit Outdoor Dining Ban Is About Control, Not Science – Coverage of the story is a bit thin. My brief research shows major news outlets are not discussing it.

The point? There is no evidence to support the idea of shutting down outdoor dining. None.

12/8/20 – Fox News – White House Coronavirus Task Force members Fauci, Giroir at odds over California lockdowns – In the Monday meeting of the task force, Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services said it is important to limit indoor crowding but also said, as quoted, that he has not yet seen

“Any data that says you need to shut down outdoor dining or outdoor bars.”

The Admiral is also a medical doctor.

He also said:

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Lockdowns kill people. Also, it’s not your imagination that the lockdown is ‘making you crazy.’

You are not the only one who is struggling. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Clear trends and solid statistics are not presented in modern news stories unless there is a specific individual who illustrates whatever point is being explained.

So, in accordance with modern journalist standards, this post will provide a specific story of a specific teenager who killed himself specifically because of the lockdown. Then we will look at overall statistics showing the lockdowns harm mental health. In other words, we will look at actual science.

So, here is the story: Lockdowns kill people.

Check out the following:

  • Lockdown led one teenager to take his own life.
  • Lockdowns are reducing the number of people in good or excellent mental health.
  • Lockdowns are depressing elementary school children.
  • Lockdowns are causing increase in binge drinking.

Power-hungry governors and economically ignorant, science-impaired public health officials, please take note.

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Good news for California churches from the Supreme Court ruling regarding New York State.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Okay, this will take a bit of explaining. Short version is there will be a hearing on whether the California restrictions on church worship services are constitutional or not.

Longer version is Harvest Rock Church sued the state of California over restrictions on worship services. The District Court for the Center District of California ruled against the church. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to issue an injunction upon the church’s appeal.

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When, oh when, will we see an end to rule makers blatantly ignoring the rules they demand we lowly peasants follow?

image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

If our ruling overlords continue on their current path, I’ll have to order an extra terabyte of pixels to keep covering them.

I’m about to exhaust my quarterly budget of pixels covering the flaming hypocrites who don’t bother to follow the rules to which you and I must bend the knee.

(Bending the knee is a medieval practice of getting down on your knee in front of the monarch to show you are meekly submissive to his unquestionable, divine, royal authority.)

 

If my ridicule is dripping off your screen and you can hear through your speakers what vaguely sounds like my laughter, you know the rest of this post will discuss the foolishness of those high and mighty leaders who have taken it upon themselves to decide how we must live our life.

Please join me in laughing at the following:

  • Another French Laundry party.
  • Mayor chastises citizens for leaving the house…while he is vacationing in Cabo. He also can’t quite recall whether he got a Covid test upon his return and he “generally quarantined” when he got back.
  • Judge signs order to extend pandemic restrictions then immediately goes to his grandson’s birthday party because he misses the little guy. Earns a Class C misdemeanor conviction for ignoring his own court order.

I will dial back the ridicule for the rest of this post.  Of course, since the above mayor is my role model for today, the pointing-and-laughing will be “generally” dialed back only those times I “recall” making said plan.

 

Rich hypocrite, French Laundry edition:

12/1/20 – San Francisco Chronicle – S.F. Mayor London Breed had her own French Laundry party – the night after Gavin Newsom’s – The “rules for thee but not for me” stories keep surfacing.

This time it is San Francisco Mayor London Breed who also attended a private dinner party at the ultra-elite French Laundry, with eight people attending in total. Presumably that is four households.

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Supreme Court finds dust covered Constitution in storage closet. You won’t believe what happened next…

Text of First Amendment quoted in a textbook. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A majority of the Justices actually read the Constitution and realized the First Amendment was still there, including something about free expression of religion.

After re-reading those odd comments, they realized it was an attack on the U.S. Constitution when the New York governor picked a spot on the map and said within that area indoor worship services must be limited to 10 people. Thus they issued an injunction against the state pending a full trial on the merits of the case.

The limit of 10 is a particular burden for the Orthodox Jewish congregations who filed the litigation. For a routine worship service, Orthodox Jews require 10 adult males be present. See Minyan explanation at Wikipedia.

This means that under the arbitrary rules issued by the state, an orthodox congregation could meet but no women, no children, and no men beyond the quorum of 10 could participate in the worship.

In essence, Orthodox Jewish congregations may not worship. Sure does seem like that would be an infringement on free expression.

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