Considering COVID-19 (2)

Opinions without context can be suspect.

Excess Deaths: 2019 vs. 2020

As I discussed in the previous post there is controversy surrounding the CDC counting of deaths due to COVID-19.  Some organizations publish articles making the case for over-counting and others for accurate-counting.  One of the main problems with these debates is the lack of any objective context within which to assess claims.  The over-counting group points out guidance that allows wide leeway for doctors on cause of death decisions and numerous but isolated instances where this leeway has clearly been abused.  The accurate-counting group claims that doctors would rarely if ever falsely claim a death was due to COVID-19 and discount any economic or social pressure that could motivate such an outcome.

How then can we objectively assess the strengths and weaknesses of these two diametrically opposed views?  One way is to compare the actual death data from (pre-COVID) 2019 with that of (COVID) 2020.  If the 2020 data shows significant “excess death” in 2020 compared to the previous year then that’s a pretty strong indication of a new source of death.  Also, note that this assessment uses death from all sources, not just death attributed to a specific source.  There may be uncertainty as to why a person died, but the death itself is unambiguous.  Thus this is data in which we can place extremely high confidence.

The CDC death data by week for the United States is found here.  The information is contained in large .csv (comma separated values) files that can be downloaded and converted into Excel files for manipulation and analysis.  Note that this data is raw death counts which includes all causes, be it COVID-19 or any other.  The following chart shows the number of deaths per week (week 1 is the first full week in January) for 2019 and 2020 through mid-November (i.e., week 45).

CDC-2019-2020-Death

It is immediately obvious that the claim of minimal excess deaths in 2020 due to COVID-19 is false.  The Illinois COVID-19 lockdowns began in mid-March and the increased number of deaths begins at week 12, which in 2020 ends on March 23.  The 2020 number of deaths remains above 2019 until week 45, which in 2020 ends on November 9.  The total number of excess deaths in 2020 as compared with 2019 (through week 45) is 305,562.  Due to the timing of these 2020 excess death events the only credible cause is COVID-19.

As of mid-November the total estimated number of COVID-19 deaths was 231,197.  Thus approximately 75% of the excess deaths in 2020 have been attributed to COVID-19. Although certainly not conclusive, this result weighs heavily in favor of the group claiming accuracy in the COVID-19 death counts.  Something has to be the cause for the significant increase in deaths between 2019 and 2020, with the new illness the most likely reason.  

Also, the fact that only three-quarters of these excess deaths are attributed to COVID-19 adds credibility to the assumption of accuracy.  For were there significant over counting we would expect more than 100% of the excess deaths to have been attributed to COVID-19, which is not the case.  But this result does raise the question of what caused the other 25% (almost 75,000) excess deaths in 2020.

However, we must also note that in October and November the number of 2020 excess deaths clearly decreased and in week 45 is actually lower than that week in 2019.  Thus, if we are using the significant excess deaths in the previous weeks as evidence for COVID-19 dominated mortality then, to be consistent, we must also use the reduction of excess deaths in October and November as evidence for the waning  of COVID-19 caused mortality.  Thus this data argues against the recent hysteria surrounding increased COVID-19 “cases.”  That is, if people are catching the illness in larger numbers but are not dying from it in any significant numbers then this should be a source of comfort rather than terror.

Thus the use of this death count data has provided the context necessary to assess the claims of the opposing camps.  One might think that the work is done and we can all go home unperturbed.  However, when we begin to evaluate the data by age group new and significant issues arise.

Considering COVID-19 (1)

The flawed figure that launched a valuable investigation.

Death Counting Controversy

One of the contentious issues within the COVID-19 discussion has been the death count accuracy.  Numerous organizations have published articles critical of the COVID-19 death count accuracy (i.e., claiming significant over counting) including the New York Post, Real Clear Politics and Canada Free Press.  However other organizations such as USA Today and Scientific American have defended the COVID-19 death count accuracy.

Recently there was an Internet kerfuffle over a paper published in the Johns Hopkins News Letter titled “A closer look at U.S. deaths due to COVID-19.”  The paper  made statements that appeared to undermine confidence in the government’s published data, in particular (emphasis added):

These data analyses suggest that in contrast to most people’s assumptions, the number of deaths by COVID-19 is not alarming. In fact, it has relatively no effect on deaths in the United States. This comes as a shock to many people. How is it that the data lie so far from our perception?

Shortly after publication Johns Hopkins retracted the article with an explanation that began as follows.

Editor’s Note: After The News-Letter published this article on Nov. 22, it was brought to our attention that our coverage of Genevieve Briand’s presentation “COVID-19 Deaths: A Look at U.S. Data” has been used to support dangerous inaccuracies that minimize the impact of the pandemic.

We decided on Nov. 26 to retract this article to stop the spread of misinformation, as we noted on social media. However, it is our responsibility as journalists to provide a historical record. We have chosen to take down the article from our website, but it is available here as a PDF.

Of course many of the COVID-19 skeptical blogs rejected this explanation as just another “fake news” story.  Although there are many reasons to doubt the competence and honesty of our public health institutions given their recent performance, that doesn’t mean that they are always wrong.

Since the Johns Hopkins controversy centered on the issue of “excess deaths” I decided that this was a good place to look.  And, the source information on one of the retracted paper’s figures led me to the raw Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data in this area (see this p[ost’s leading figure).

In the following posts I will explore the controversy over COVID-19 death counts within context of the CDC death data.

Death is a natural and common occurrence for we mere mortals.  Every day people die for a huge number of reasons, from old age, illness, accident, suicide, overdose, and so many other causes.  So, were COVID-19 a new, significant cause of death then we would reasonably expect that in 2020 the nation would have experienced a large increase in deaths when compared to previous years.  That is, people would go on dying from all the normal causes, but many additional people would die from COVID-19.  This concept is called “excess death.”  

In this blog series I determine “excess death” by comparing the raw death data for 2019 with that of 2020.  The CDC data breaks death data into multiple age groups, which allow deeper analysis of the situation.  The time span of the comparison will be January through mid-November for both years.

COVID-19 Policy and Our Children


A friend recently sent a link to a blog titled Common Sense, and a specific post titled Children of the West.  The post discusses the cruel treatment of this nation’s youth with multiple specific examples such as COVID-19, education, violence, sexual predation and national debt.  I certainly encourage you to “read the whole thing.”

Upon reflection what struck me the most was that this post’s position is highly controversial.  For in it the author argues regarding COVID-19 policy:

In the current COVID crisis, the mortality rate among young people is practically negligible.   …   Yet, we are inflicting the burden of COVID19 on them in multiple ways. Despite the low hospitalization and mortality rate among children and teens, we are condemning them to “remote learning.” Remote learning is fairly ineffective and, among kids with special needs, simply unworkable. In certain subjects, like math, kids may never catch up. The social and mental health costs are beginning to pile up on these kids.   …   Yet, in the effort to try to protect the health of older citizens, we are shifting the costs to our children to bear.  I cannot speak for all adults, but I would happily accept a greater risk of sickness and, yes, even death to make sure that our younger generation is prepared for the challenges that are in front of them.  As a society, we have always done this—we bare costs and risks so our children don’t have to.  We sacrifice to pave the way for our children.  But our politicians have chosen otherwise.  

Here I partially part company with the author, noting that it is not just “our politicians” who have instituted these policies, but rather “our politicians” confident that these policies will be supported by a large segment of the voting public and almost universally by the media.  These destructive policies have also been almost uniformly supported by our religious institutions.

In a healthy society the difficult, painful tradeoffs between public health and our children’s futures (among many other contending issues) would have been openly debated and the ensuing policy decisions would have been acknowledged as imperfect compromises.  In our current damaged society there is no room for moral complexity, contending interests or policy flexibility.  No, there is only the headlong rush to isolate and enforce the one moral imperative that separates the “good” from the “evil” people.  

In the case of COVID-19 policy the resulting imperative was that death while infected with COVID-19 was the only outcome that warranted any moral weight.  Once identified our media, politicians and many in the general public began an enforcement strategy that beat down any dissenters as morally depraved killers.  If you brought up the devastating impact of the lockdowns on our youth you were accused of wanting to kill grandma.  If you pointed out the destruction of people’s livelihoods you were accused of putting money before lives.  If you pointed out the mental/physical health, relationship and third-world consequences you were simply dismissed and ignored.

But it’s actually much worse than this.  The terrifying fact is that, if you mouthed the COVID-19 monomaniacal party line, you could actually implement policies that led directly to the deaths of thousands of our grandmas and grandpas while maintaining public moral acclaim.  The poster boy for this appalling state of affairs is the current Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo.  He created policies that put active COVID-19 patients into nursing homes, resulting in massive death to the elderly patients.  Not only has this at best incompetent man avoided blame, but people seeking accountability are being actively suppressed.  And the final appalling straw is that Governor Cuomo has published a book (American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic) that brags about his performance.

Governor Cuomo is only the most visible example of our COVID-19 mania.  Thousands, millions of our fellow citizens gain moral prestige by acting as enforcers of each and every policy restriction.  The rest of us submit either hopefully or sullenly to the unending torrent of scare stories and associated extensions of policies that assault virtually every aspect of our lives.

The sources of this tragic failure can be traced back to social media, educational institutions, religious organizations and politicians.  But ultimately we cannot avoid the core issue, which is that we have, by our own choices and actions, allowed this process to proceed virtually unopposed for decades.

We are now facing the consequences of these choices.  We must reclaim what has been lost by speaking openly and plainly about not just this specific instance, but also about the more general social environment that has led to it.  We must openly oppose people in positions of power who use this moral failing to advance their power.  By so doing we may actually begin to properly integrate the interests of “the children” into private and public life.

We Are in a State of Hysteria Over Covid-19 (6)

Nashville-Covid-Lie

Lies, Darn Lies and Government Lies (2)

Here’s the second egregious case of governmental lying about Covid-19 that has come to my attention.

The Nashville Mayor’s Office

Anyone willing to see can’t avoid noticing the disastrous impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns on restaurants and bars.  In a tourist destination city like Nashville the economic destruction is particularly acute.  So you might think that data showing minimal risk of Covid-19 exposure in these venues would be good news for Nashville’s government.  But when you have a dictator want-to-be in the Mayor’s office you would be wrong.

Officials in the Nashville health department and mayor John Cooper’s office are being accused of colluding to conceal the low amount of people whose positive coronavirus cases were traced to bars and restaurants, as Fox 17 revealed leaked emails.

One leaked email exchange, between mayor Cooper’s senior advisor Benjamin Eagles and health department official Leslie Waller, revealed that as of June 30th just 22 cases had been linked to bars and restaurants. After that data was disclosed, the exchange went as follows:

Waller: “This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor’s Office?”

Cooper: “Correct, not for public consumption.”

The implication of a deliberate plot to conceal information about low spreads from bars and restaurants is a desire to maintain strict restrictions. Thus, these emails represent an agreement between officials, who work to serve taxpayers, to prop up unpopular governing decisions.

This, of course, is a disgraceful scandal.  Thousands of citizen’s livelihoods and many businesses have been ruined by this deceitful administration.  When one wonders why, the fact that the contemporary Progressive party line demands that we tear everything down so their utopia can rise from the ruins comes immediately to mind.

If this claim seems doubtful, consider this article by a liberal columnist for the Seattle Times about the collapse of small business in the downtown core titled “Self-inflicted wounds make Seattle’s business losses worse” (emphasis added).

No wonder the council is hostile to business. Even the smallest shop is exploitative capitalism. The council’s loudest voices are running a “revolution.” Only in a city made so prosperous by hated capitalism could this intellectual Ponzi scheme be tolerated or seem without consequences.

Given the iron-clad enforcement of Progressive ideological conformity, the differences in public transparency between Seattle and Nashville administrations are likely due to practical electoral considerations rather than to actual difference of opinion.  So, the Progressive motivations and goals are the same, it’s just that in some cities the mask can safely slip further than in others.

Nashville’s Empty Streets…Consequence of a Lie

We Are in a State of Hysteria Over Covid-19 (5)

Sow FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), Reap Submission

Lies, Darn Lies and Government Lies (1)

Over the past few weeks two egregious cases of governmental lying about Covid-19 have come to my attention.  Were these shown to be isolated, non-representative incidents no significant concern would be necessary.  However, it’s entirely credible that these incidents represent the tip of a corrupt iceberg.  So, I will take note.

Kansas Department of Health

About a month ago the Kansas Department of Health published the following chart purporting to show the effectiveness of masks for Covid-19 suppression.

Image 8-17-20 at 5.34 AM

The blue line shows a rolling average number of daily Covid-19 cases for Counties that do not have a mask mandate, and the gold line for those with a mask mandate.  The initial take-away is that the mask mandate is highly effective in suppressing Covid-19 transmission.  

However, if we look more closely something strange becomes apparent.  That being the graph uses two different vertical axes with different scales.  The “Mask” axis (left side) scale goes from 15 to 25; while the “No Mask” scale goes from 4 to 14.  Thus the relative comparison between these two plots cannot be accurately discerned.

If we plot the “Mask” and “No Mask” data on a common axis / scale the visual effect is completely different, as is shown below.

Image 8-17-20 at 5.35 AM

This is a shocking result.  It shows that “No Mask” Counties have had a lower Covid-19 case rate than “Mask” Counties for the entire period disclosed.  Yes, there was a slight decrease in cases for “Mask” Counties, but this did not change the relative relationship.

Why would the Kansas Department of Health publish such a purposefully deceptive chart?  The obvious answer is to dishonestly support their compulsory mask policy.  The public health “experts” had to intentionally create this two-axis graph that was intended to deceive a credulous audience.  

Their credibility as an honest source of information on Covid-19 to the Kansas public should be in shambles.  It certainly is for some members of the public.  It certainly isn’t for most of the press.

Gaslighting in Practice (1)

When you hear about the “incompetent” Governors with regard to COVID-19 policy who is most commonly named?  My guess is the top three are Ron DeSantis of Florida, Brian Kemp of Georgia and Kristi Noem of South Dakota.  All three happen to be Republicans who in one way or another dared to deviate from the Progressive Left’s preferred COVID-19 policies.  So, someone credulous enough to take the mainstream media at their word would assume that the death rates in these states must be at or near the top for the U.S.  But, since this is all just another media gaslighting effort, you would be completely wrong.

Following is a figure of the top 20 worst states in terms of death rate due to COVID-19.  My observations are:

  • Of the above mentioned three most “incompetent” state governors, only Georgia shows up in the top 20, at #18 with a death rate at only 16% of the worst state (New Jersey)
    • Florida is at #25, with less than 11% of New Jersey’ death rate
    • South Dakota is at #35, with just over 6% of New Jersey’s death rate
  • The worst twelve states are all run by Democrat governors
  • The worst state with a Republican governor is Indiana’s (#13), with a COVID-19 death rate only 24% of the worst state (New Jersey)

So, if you believe that it is Republicans who have been the most truly incompetent it is because you have been lied to by the media as part of their ongoing and massive gaslighting campaign, which goes something like this:

  1. People hear about terrible death totals and scandalous incompetence in states with Democrat governors;
  2. The mainstream media saturates the discussion with stories claiming that:
    • it is Republican governors who are incompetent and corrupt;
    • it is Democrat governors who are competent and upright;
  3. People become confused and distracted, wondering if there is something going on here that they don’t understand;
  4. The actually incompetent, corrupt Democrat governors act like the false media stories are true and take “credit” for their “successes;”
  5. At worst the Democrat governors’ failure is obscured behind a fog of confusion and at best it is they who are perceived to have been competent and successful;
  6. Another successful gaslighting operation!

Here is the actual data:

us-top20-death-rate-by-state

State death rate data from statista.com.

We Are in a State of Hysteria Over COVID-19 (4)

USA-Daily-COVID-19-Cases-and-Fatalities-natural-scale

COVID-19 Cases and Deaths vs. Time (Cases Top and Deaths Bottom Plot)

Media Gaslighting Edition

Data Analysis

Everywhere you look the mainstream media (MSM) is hysterically reporting on the recent significant increase in COVID-19 cases.  The unstated assumption is that there is a direct relationship between cases and deaths (with a time delay).  The above figure shows daily COVID-19 cases and deaths on a linear scale.  While it’s easy to see the increase in cases after June 9, it’s virtually impossible to see what’s happening to deaths because they are so low.  Thus, even if the MSM showed the above plot their customers would be unable to see what is happening to deaths.

However, if we plot the same case and death data using a Log scale (see below) we can see the plot details for both.

Note that the death plot is clearly showing that the number of fatalities has been consistently falling since mid-April.  Thus, while the number of COVID-19 cases has recently significantly increased, the number of deaths has continued to fall.  This trend is confirmed using data from ourworldindata.org data.

us-covid19-deaths

COVID-19 Deaths vs. Time (ourworldindata.org)

The blue plot is the raw number of COVID-19 deaths per day.  Since the raw daily data is highly variable I have included a moving seven-day average (see the dotted red plot).  Note that this weekly average peaks at just over 2,500 on April 21 and generally decreases after that, with just over 500 deaths on July 7.

This result (i.e., increasing cases but decreasing deaths) seems counter-intuitive until we recall the following figure from an earlier post on this topic.  Note the drastic decrease in number of deaths per 100,000 cases as age decreases.

Thus, the mechanism by which cases can increase while deaths decreases can be posited, that being the average age of the recent cases is lower than in the past.  Of course the treatment protocols have likely also improved over time, thus also lowering the death rate.

Commentary

I refer to gaslighting because this is just another example of how the MSM and Progressive politicians manipulate information with the intention of:

maintaining and intensifying an incessant stream of lies and coercions, the gaslighter keeps the gaslightees in a constant state of insecurity, doubt, and fear.

Remember how, at the beginning of all this the goal was to “flatten the curve” for a few weeks so that hospitals would not be overwhelmed?  Then the goalposts were repeatedly moved to extend the scope, depth and length of the lockdown.

But something had to give, as keeping a nation of 330 million inhabitants in their homes indefinitely is an impossible task (at least in a somewhat free society).  So states began reopening at different rates, resulting in people congregating in bars and beaches (among other places).  We also had the massive protests (and riots) where generally young people mixed in large crowds without social distancing.

Thus there could be no other logical consequence of these events than an increase in cases.  Only a group of “experts” as ideologically lobotomized as our public health officials could imagine that the virus’ spread was ideologically dependent.

However, since the average age of these cases is likely lower, the number of deaths per case has also continued to decline (as well as from improved treatment protocols).  Obviously past performance is no guarantee of future results.  But this highly selective use of information to maintain hysteria about the threat of COVID-19 is without doubt part of the gaslighting campaign that occurs constantly and on many fronts in the United States.

We Are in a State of Hysteria Over COVID-19 (3)

3050

Progressive propaganda role playing to shame Americans for using a beach.

When You’ve Lost The Guardian You’re Finished

The Guardian is the left-wing newspaper of record in the United Kingdom.  It also has a United States edition.  Recently they published an article by Thomas Chatterton Williams with the following heading and subheading:

We often accuse the right of distorting science. But the left changed the coronavirus narrative overnight

Progressives blithely accepted throwing millions out of work to fight coronavirus – but now urge street protests to fight racism

This is a stunning development, not because it is illogical but rather because the odds of any Mainstream Medial news organization in the United States publishing such an article is virtually nil.  Apparently on the far-left radical fringe of United Kingdom media there is at least one reporter who’s critical thinking capability hasn’t been utterly destroyed.  In addition, there must exist editors and a publisher on the same far-left extreme whose critical thinking capabilities are similarly intact.  And, beyond these miracles, they chose to publish this piece even though it goes against “the narrative” that supports Progressive goals.

The fact that something so obvious and newsworthy has been ignored by the U.S. Mainstream Media cements their shameful position as being worse than Pravda.  The employees of Pravda had to toe the Communist line or be shot.  The supposedly free journalists in the United States toe the line out of ignorance, cowardice, stupidity and ideological fervor.

So, just what did this amazing article say?  Here are some key excerpts (emphasis added).

Poverty destroys Americans every day by means of confrontations with the law, disease, pollution, violence and despair. Yet even as the coronavirus lockdown threw 40 million Americans out of work – including Floyd himself – many progressives accepted this calamity, sometimes with stunning blitheness, as the necessary cost of guarding against Covid-19.

Yet even here, in the time it takes to upload a black square to your Instagram profile, those of us who move in progressive circles now find ourselves under significant moral pressure to understand that social distancing is an issue of merely secondary importance.

This feels like gaslighting. Less than two weeks ago, the enlightened position in both Europe and America was to exercise nothing less than extreme caution. Many of us went much further, taking to social media to castigate others for insufficient social distancing or neglecting to wear masks or daring to believe they could maintain some semblance of a normal life during coronavirus. At the end of April, when the state of Georgia moved to end its lockdown, the Atlantic ran an article with the headline “Georgia’s Experiment in Human Sacrifice”. Two weeks ago we shamed people for being in the street; today we shame them for not being in the street.

“The risks of congregating during a global pandemic shouldn’t keep people from protesting racism,” NPR suddenly tells us, citing a letter signed by dozens of American public health and disease experts. “White supremacy is a lethal public health issue that predates and contributes to Covid-19,” the letter said. One epidemiologist has gone even further, arguing that the public health risks of not protesting for an end to systemic racism “greatly exceed the harms of the virus”.

What are we to make of such whiplash-inducing messaging? Merely pointing out the inconsistency in such a polarized landscape feels like an act of heresy. But “‘Your gatherings are a threat, mine aren’t,’ is fundamentally illogical, no matter who says it or for what reason,” as the author of The Death of Expertise, Tom Nichols, put it. “We’ve been told for months to stay as isolated as humanely possible,” Suzy Khimm, an NBC reporter covering Covid-19, noted, but “some of the same public officials and epidemiologists are [now] saying it’s OK to go to mass gatherings – but only certain ones.” 

Public health experts – as well as many mainstream commentators, plenty of whom in the beginning of the pandemic were already incoherent about the importance of face masks and stay-at-home orders – have hemorrhaged credibility and authority.

However, there is one inconvenient truth that cannot be disputed: more black Americans have been killed by three months of coronavirus than the number who have been killed by cops and vigilantes since the turn of the millennium. We may or may not be willing to accept that brutal calculus, but we are obligated, at the very least, to be honest.

It is certainly not just “public health experts” who “have hemorrhaged credibility and authority.”  It is also the pastors and other church leaders who cravenly support destructive, capricious lockdowns while turning on a dime to support street riots.  It is also our political leaders  who used this crisis to increase their arbitrary political power.   It is also our Mainstream Media who used their positions to terrorize us into submission and then maintain that terror lie for as long as it was politically convenient.

This entire sequence of events has fundamentally undermined the  credibility of virtually all our institutions.  With this COVID-19 response followed by the “systematic racism” rioting debacle they have sown the wind and may well reap the whirlwind.  We have for far too long deferred to their presumed expertise and good faith.  They have revealed themselves to be ideological / political tools used to destroy civilization as we have known it.

We must cease being silent before their pronouncements.  They are terrified at the thought of having to defend the indefensible in open debate, so they will try to shut us down via intimidation and worse.  If we submit our  nation and along  with it the world will disappear, to be replaced  by a tyranny yet to be fully understood.  Take courage and speak up!

Ideological Conformity and Civilizational Decline (4)

Screen Shot 2020-06-05 at 5.20.49 AM

This is what cowardly, craven surrender to a proto-totalitarian ideology looks like.

Where This is All Going

While I don’t claim to know with any certainty where this is all going I am confident about where our Progressive elite photo-totalitarians want it to.  And that is a U.S. Cultural Revolution that by force and intimidation destroys our Republic.  This Federalist article describes the contemporary fruits of this effort under the rubric of fighting “white supremacy.”

Amid the scenes circulating on social media this week of protesters and rioters and burned out storefronts and police barricades, two of them stand out as harbingers of what all of this means for the future of mainstream American society.

The first was a video clip of a small group of white people kneeling down before a group of black people. A white man at the head of the kneeling group was praying, his voice shaking with emotion: “Father, we ask for forgiveness from our black brothers and sisters for years and years of racism, of systematic racism.”

The second was a clip of a large gathering in the affluent DC suburb of Bethesda, Maryland. Nearly a thousand protesters, most of them white, their hands raised as if in prayer, engaged in a kind of collective woke sermon, repeating after a man on a microphone: “I will use my voice in the most uplifting way possible, and do everything in my power to educate my community. I will love my black neighbors the same as my white ones…”

More than the rampant looting and the street battles, more than the clashes between police and protesters, these scenes of white people genuflecting in mass public affirmations of their own guilt is the key to understanding where all this is headed.

The model at work here is the Chinese Cultural Revolution, with its mass “struggle sessions” in which anyone deemed insufficiently sympathetic to the proletariat, or thought to have an excessively bourgeois lifestyle, was subjected to public humiliations, paraded through the streets, assaulted, denounced, and put on display as objects of scorn. Often these struggle sessions ended in false confessions and pleas for mercy.

Obviously, no one in America is being paraded through the streets against their will. But by rushing to profess their supposed guilt for racism, these people are admitting that they need publicly to affirm their allegiance to woke identity politics. This represents nothing less than the emergence of a new regime in American life. What is now a voluntary and seemingly spontaneous public affirmation of progressive ideology will in time become a requirement. If you want a career or a public platform or a professional life in mainstream society, you’ll have to profess allegiance to the cultural left.

If you imagine that there will be a time gap between voluntary and mandatory abasement then you haven’t been paying attention.  Human beings in our nation have been destroyed in mind, soul and body for years by social media mobs for failing to “keep up” with social justice ideological conformity.  Now this general movement has been sharpened and intensified by the claim of “systematic racism” that has justified wanton rioting, looting and arson in many cities.  This PowerLine post describes the swift brutality that anyone who has a prominent position in our culture can expect should they dare to exceed the ever changing bounds of ideological conformity.

Item: Grant Napear, the longtime television play-by-play announcer for the Sacramento Kings basketball team, resigned under pressure after tweeting “ALL LIVES MATTER…EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!” DeMarcus Cousins — Mr. Technical Foul — had asked Napear what he thought of the Black Lives Movement. Napear responded as quoted above.

Imagine losing your job for saying that all lives matter. Think about this the next time you hear a liberal talk about uniting the country.

Item: Drew Brees has issued an abject apology after saying, in response to a question during an interview, that “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States.” The question, of course, pertained to Colin Kaepernick.

Brees explained that the National Anthem reminds him of his grandfathers who served during World War II. He stated:

In many cases, it brings tears to my eyes thinking about all that has been sacrificed and not just in the military but, for that matter those throughout the civil rights movements of the ’60s and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point.

(Emphasis added)

Brees was promptly attacked for this expression of patriotism. LeBron James led the charge. He said:

WOW MAN. . .You literally still can’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute [sic] nothing to do with disrespect of [the flag] and our soldiers (men and women) who keep our land free.

James is a useful idiot. In reality, “Kap’s” kneelng had everything to do with disrespect for our country and our soldiers. He is on record saying that America is an imperialist nation whose military is intent on attacking “black and brown bodies” for the purpose of “plundering the non white world.”

Obviously, what these Progressive elite proto-totalitarians want is to impose a real totalitarian regime on us.  We can either curl up in a pathetic little ball and whimper for mercy or stand up and fight back like the free men and women that we are.

Screen Shot 2020-06-10 at 4.46.25 AM

This is what the courage and conviction of a free American citizen looks like in practice.

 

Gov. Pritzker Backs Down on Church Closures

firstamendment-2

The  Governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, has unceremoniously backed down on his order closing all churches to any gathering greater than 10 people.

Gov. JB Pritzker has lifted all restrictions on churches in the state after challenge by the U.S. Supreme Court, and has issued a set of guidelines instead.

The surrender was ignominious and complete.

“Per the Governor’s announcement today, religious organizations are no longer subject to any of the gathering restrictions in any phase,” Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Solicitor General Jane Notz wrote in the state’s submission to the Supreme Court on Thursday night.

Context for this stunning development is provided in this article.

(The Center Square) – Just hours before his administration was to respond to a challenge to his authority in the U.S. Supreme Court, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office has announced guidance for places of worship to reopen, signaling he’s lifting his restrictions.

Pritzker has been under fire from churches that filed a handful of lawsuits, including one before the U.S. Supreme Court that his administration had to respond to before 8 p.m. Thursday.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver, representing the two Chicago churches said, “The unilateral actions of Gov. J.B. Pritzker is the classic example of tyranny. He knew he did not have authority to trample on the First Amendment rights of churches and houses of worship, but he did anyway and continued to do so until his case reached the U.S. Supreme Court. He cannot be trusted to obey the Constitution. The fact that he recently said that churches would never get above 50 people for at least 12 to 18 months, and now a few hours before he had to file with the Supreme Court he removes all restrictions, illustrates that he had no basis for the orders in the first place. The only thing that changed was he was dragged to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Let’s be absolutely clear.  Gov. Pritzker did not collapse under the weight of a broad uprising of churches and their leaders.  No, it was only “a handful of lawsuits” by a few churches that brought down this man’s arbitrary and capricious (and unConstitutional) restrictions on our religious freedom.

The fact that so many churches passively accepted these orders is a scandal that will not soon be forgotten.  It will not be forgotten by the parishioners who watched their leaders submit without complaint and sometimes with enthusiasm to this illegitimate use of state power.  Nor will it be forgotten by those politicians and organizations who seek to destroy the Christian Church in the United States (for example, see herehere and here for attacks on our tax-exempt status and  here  here and here on the general situation).

No church is forced to reopen.  Nor are the policies of any church controlled.  Rather, the leadership of each church now has the reestablished right to make decisions unhindered by the state.