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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After restoring some portion of religious freedom, California again revokes large portion of First Amendment.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

On Monday, May 25th, California allowed churches to resume meeting in person, as long as they restricted participation to 25% of seating capacity and had no more than 100 people in attendance.

That 100 limit was in substance a ban on worship for large churches, which often have facilities that can hold 500 or 2,000 worshipers or even more.

But at least religious freedom was partially reinstated after a strict ban on in-person worship. Many counties consented to outdoor worship after actual or threatened litigation reminded them to read the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

On Thursday, July 2, the state dialed back the amount of allowable religious freedom by banning singing and chanting during worship services. I am not familiar with Jewish and Muslim worship practices. For Christians singing or chanting or both (depending on the specific tradition) is a major component of worship. It allows Christians to give praise and glory to God at the same time as being encouraged and uplifted by the concepts embedded in the songs.

On Tuesday, July 14, the state again prohibited in-person worship services held inside.

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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…)

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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In spite of some preliminary signs of restoration of the First Amendment, there is resistance to the idea.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

California and Minnesota may be taking tiny baby steps to reinstate the First Amendment to the bill of rights, but there are indications here and there of opposition to any such efforts.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Excessive focus on the First Amendment is a “suicide pact”

5/23/20 – CNN – Federal appeals court upholds California’s ban on in-person Church services – A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the ban on in-person worship does not violate the First Amendment.

The ruling can be found here.

Astoundingly the ruling stated:

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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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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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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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Growing levels of devastation from the shutdown.

Recession by EpicTop10.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Previous post explains the County of Los Angeles intends to continue the stay-at-home orders for another three months. That will make five months of the economy being shut down. Poor people falling behind five months on their rent and car payments. Five months of no revenue for most businesses.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

To highlight the devastation caused by the shutdown here are merely a few of the recent articles to consider for the consequences of said shutdown:

Increase in suicides

5/7/20- Breitbart – Report: Suicide rise from lockdowns to kill more than coronavirus in Australia – Researchers at a university in Australia estimate there will be a doubling of the suicide rate in the country because of the economic lockdown. If that horrible estimate is even close to correct, far more Australians will die by their own hand than are killed by coronavirus.

Devastation in healthcare industry

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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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