“This gave me occasion to observe, that when Men are employ’d they are best contented. For on the Days they work’d they were good-natur’d and chearful; and with the consciousness of having done a good Days work they spent the Evenings jollily; but on the idle Days they were mutinous and quarrelsome, finding fault with their Pork, the Bread, and in continual ill-humour.” —Benjamin Franklin (1771)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- The Roiling Reopening Debate
- Church vs. State in the Time of China Virus
- U.S. Businesses Walking Away From China
- Beijing’s Lies Are Killing People
- Why Wasn’t NYC’s Ventilator Stockpile Replenished?
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
For weeks, we have been urging our elected leaders to come up with an exit strategy from the current shutdown. There must be a time when we can reopen for business to prevent the collapse of our economy. That strategy obviously has to balance public health with, well, public health — the virus with putting food on the table. Still, “There’s nothing smart about doing it too early,” says economist Arthur Laffer.
The good news is that President Donald Trump is launching a commission today to formulate a plan. The bad news is that President Donald Trump asserted Monday, “When somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total, and that’s the way it’s got to be. … The governors know that.”
That’s not true in our federalist system, of course, and it’s not the way Trump has acted throughout the crisis. We can’t say enough how regrettable it is that Trump is so quick to offer easily rebuttable hyperbole when he’s making his case. But the Leftmedia narrative is that Trump is both doing too much and not enough — that he is Hitler but also not enough Hitler — so the fact that he fights back is welcome.
According to the Associated Press, “Among those expected to be part of the new team: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and White House economic advisers, past and present, Kevin Hassett and Larry Kudlow. New White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is expected to chair the effort.”
Meanwhile, 10 governors — nine Democrats and one Republican on the coasts, representing one-third of the U.S. population — have banded together to formulate their own plan for reopening, which is very similar to the plan from two economists we noted last Thursday. Americans should all hope that this doesn’t devolve into nothing more than a political fight over who gets the credit.
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Massachusetts have formed one coalition, while California, Oregon, and Washington have banded together in another. Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is working on his own plan. The governors will use various benchmarks and health officials’ recommendations to slowly loosen restrictions and allow people to return to work, though likely not until May.
Why is returning to work so important? It’s far more than just making a profit; it’s about hope, and it’s about weighing which suffering is worse.
Former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey writes, “Job losses cause extreme suffering. Every 1% hike in the unemployment rate will likely produce a 3.3% increase in drug overdose deaths and a 0.99% increase in suicides according to data provided by the National Bureau of Economic Research and the medical journal Lancet. These are facts based on experience, not models. If unemployment hits 32%, some 77,000 Americans are likely to die from suicide and drug overdoses as a result of layoffs. Scientists call these fatalities deaths of despair.”
There have been roughly 24,000 U.S. deaths from coronavirus so far, with projections reaching nearly 70,000 into August. If there is a second wave of infections and deaths due to reopening, recriminations will be deafening. There are tradeoffs to whatever decisions are made. Ignoring them doesn’t make them go away.
This past Sunday was Easter, one of the biggest days on the calendar for Christians, who under normal circumstance would have gathered in large numbers to celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the grave. But the China Virus understandably threw a wrench in the works, as Americans everywhere have had their lives upended by state and local stay-at-home orders and closures of “nonessential” businesses.
While most folks have complied and understand the seriousness of this pandemic, there are always cases of people disregarding the warnings. Such is the messy reality of a nation established upon the principle of Liberty. At times, tensions will arise between the concerns and needs of the society at large versus the concerns and needs of the individual. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were designed as a means to delineate those boundaries and to protect individual rights from violation by other individuals or, more particularly, those with governing power.
Back to Easter Sunday. While the vast majority of Christians and churches have followed the recommendations of state and local authorities to avoid large gatherings and have either closed or implemented online church services, several state and local officials, ostensibly out of fear that masses of Christians would break quarantine and risk spreading COVID-19, overstepped their authority and crossed the Constitution.
One example out of Kentucky serves to highlight the issue. Last week, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer ordered a ban on all “drive-thru” church meetings. He stated, “If you are a church or you are a churchgoing member and you do that, you’re in violation of the mandate from the governor. You’re in violation of the request from my office and city government not to do that. … We’re saying no church worshiping, no drive-thus.” Fischer further threatened that police would record license plates of anyone seen at a drive-thru church service, track down violators, and enforce strict quarantines upon them.
For perspective, these drive-thru church services are essentially people gathering in their parked cars in a church parking lot — with their windows rolled up — in order to worship and listen to the pastor’s message via their car radio. They are not coming in direct contact with each other; they are not in danger of contracting or spreading the virus. For further context, Fischer has not forbidden people from parking in grocery-store parking lots while they enter to shop for needed supplies — touching what someone else touched, by the way.
Fortunately, U.S. District Court Judge Justin R. Walker struck down Fischer’s order, calling the mayor’s decision “stunning” and “beyond all reason, unconditional.” In issuing his ruling and opinion, Walker states, “On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter. That sentence is one that this Court never expected to see outside the pages of a dystopian novel, or perhaps the pages of The Onion. But two days ago, citing the need for social distancing during the current pandemic, Louisville’s Mayor Greg Fischer ordered Christians not to attend Sunday services, even if they remained in their cars to worship — and even though it’s Easter.” In his decision, Walker went on to pointedly note one of the primary founding principles and indeed reasons for the existence of our nation as enshrined in the First Amendment: religious liberty.
We hope Chattanooga Mayor Andy Burke, who issued a similar order to Fischer’s, has taken note.
One of the biggest dangers of state governors and local authorities overstepping their authority during this national crisis is that it sows greater distrust of government in the general public, and therefore less willingness by the public to heed government advice and instructions. As Nate Jackson observes, “When the government clearly doesn’t trust people to follow instructions, it issues excessive ones. Then the people don’t trust the government, and the cycle continues.” The eventual outcome will be a government aligned against the citizens rather than government upholding the rights of citizens.
These past few weeks have been some of the most challenging we’ve ever encountered in The Patriot Post’s 23-year history, but all of us in our humble shop have remained on the front lines, wading through the barrage of information to distill it each day for you with essential context. We aim to be your one-stop source, as we know all too well how the panic and bias within the mainstream media can overwhelm and dishearten us.
This weekend is the deadline for our annual Patriots’ Day Campaign. Your generosity and commitment have made it possible to offer The Patriot Post without a subscription fee to military personnel, students, and those with limited means. If you can, please help us meet the budget requirements that will keep our operations running strong by making your gift today. From all of The Patriot Post staff, a big thank you to those who have already stepped up to the plate — we couldn’t do it without you! —Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
With growing evidence that the Chinese Communist Party not only covered up the initial outbreak of the China Virus but is still engaging in disinformation, many conservatives want the ChiComs to pay a price. There is good news on that front: It’s already happening.
It looks like companies across the world are carrying out an economic and geopolitical #WalkAway movement from China. They have already looked at the vulnerabilities our dependence on China is causing and taking mitigating steps. Japan is shelling out $2 billion to encourage companies to leave China and head back.
That’s a smart investment, and one Japan will quickly recoup. If companies move to Japan and set up factories, the workers hired there will become taxpayers as opposed to receiving welfare checks. That is not just financial savings for Japan, it also is far less destructive over the long term to the people themselves. Larry Kudlow, director of the United States National Economic Council, makes a similar argument.
This is the type of thing that should be encouraged, especially when it comes to taking the cost of COVID-19 recovery out of the economic hide of the Butchers of Beijing. Again, this is one place where the money will be recouped, and for the same reasons as Japan. In addition, this could very well help bring back many of the smaller cities and towns devastated by the loss of manufacturing over recent decades.
One way to fuel a manufacturing boom would be a military buildup. One very likely consequence of companies walking away from China would be efforts by the ChiComs to retaliate. A strong military would help deter them from that path.
Think they won’t go after American companies? Look what they did to the National Basketball Association over one tweet from one front-office official of one team. Note how the NBA fell in line.
The fact is, the truth is out, and China’s continued cover-up — and demands for companies to go along — is going to have companies looking for an exit. Eventually, the temptations of the huge market offered by China and its cheap manufacturing won’t make up for the bad press that China will cause.
Dealing with the Chinese Communist Party comes with its own set of expenses. Temporarily, it can be ignored. While President Donald Trump is right about how Communist China has been ripping us off, it’s beyond that now. The moral compromises are too great. Sooner or later, companies will want a way out before they are in too deep. It’s best to make #WalkAway also apply to Communist China.
It is a fact that should be beyond dispute: The China Virus, a novel coronavirus, originated in Wuhan, China. Yet politics has a way of pressuring even those supposedly most concerned with scientific accuracy of finding ways to dance around the truth. Case in point, the widely respected scientific journal Nature released an editorial last week blasting those “who had erroneously been associating the virus with Wuhan and China,” even as the editors issued a mea culpa, saying, “That we did so was an error on our part, for which we take responsibility and apologize.” Are Nature’s editors apologizing for misinforming their readers as to the regional origin of COVID-19? No, they’re actually apologizing for failing to toe the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) line. Nature’s editors are so worried about being labeled as promoting xenophobia by the political elitists of the world that they are more than willing to play the role of CCP apologists.
Beijing has engaged in a major propaganda campaign aimed at spreading the lie that it had nothing to do with initiating or allowing the global pandemic. As is commonplace with totalitarian regimes, the Chinese communists led by Xi Jinping have engaged in a massive cover-up effort. Just one example is Beijing initiating obvious censorship — Fox News reports, “Two websites for leading universities in China seem to have published and then deleted academic research about the origins of the coronavirus.”
Senior research fellow of Chinese studies at Monash University, Kevin Carrico, explained, “[The ChiComs] are seeking to transform it from a massive disaster to one where the government did everything right and gave the rest of the world time to prepare. There is a desire to a degree to deny realities that are staring at us in the face. … That this is a massive pandemic that originated in a place that the Chinese government really should have cleaned up after SARS.”
On Saturday, Dr. Anthony Fauci blasted China for lying about human-to-human transmission of the virus back in December. “Early on we did not get correct information, and the incorrect information was propagated right from the beginning,” Fauci stated. He explained that this was why, back on January 21, he told the American public that the coronavirus was “not a major threat for the people in the United States.” Fauci continued, “It was in January, at a time when the Chinese were saying first that it was only going from an animal to a human and then, when there were human cases, that [they] looked like they were … inefficiently transmitted. It was at that time in mid-January that we made the statement.”
Meanwhile, over the weekend, the U.S. overtook Italy as the nation suffering the most number of deaths from the novel coronavirus. And while that may be the official number, the likely case is China has systematically hidden its number of dead in an effort to propagate the myth that Beijing’s reaction in addressing the pandemic should be praised. The truth is the ChiComs’ direct malfeasance is the reason tens of thousands around the world are dead and dying. No matter how much Nature, the WHO, or China may bloviate about political concerns, the scientific fact remains the same: China started this.
New York City has been hit hard by the China Virus. Images of an empty Times Square and barren streets are unsettling and sad enough. Even more unsettling is the human toll that the virus has taken on this great metropolis. Virus deaths in New York City account for approximately one-third of the U.S. death toll to this point, and hundreds more die each day.
This outbreak has stretched medical resources to the breaking point and left the city scrambling for ventilators, masks, and other vital equipment. Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, both Democrats, frequently shout out their requests for assistance and have cast a significant amount of blame at the federal government for not doing enough. Confusingly, Cuomo also praises President Donald Trump for his responsiveness.
There is a more pressing question than whether the federal government could be doing more for New York City: Why is it that the nation’s largest city, in one of the nation’s largest states, was caught so unprepared? ProPublica recently published a detailed account of how New York’s elected leaders completely and repeatedly dropped the ball on disaster preparedness.
Since 9/11, America’s cities have been forced to reckon with planning for unthinkable scenarios and how to manage precious first response and medical resources in such events. In 2006, then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered development of an action plan in the event of a pandemic in New York City. With major viral outbreaks in Asia becoming common news, it was not a question of if the U.S. would bet hit, but when.
The plan noted that in a major outbreak, New York would not be able to count on the Strategic National Stockpile for medical supplies; it needed to build its own reserves. As emergency management official Nicholas Cagliuso presciently said a few years later, “If a resource is not available by foot, it does not exist.”
The 2006 plan modeled a viral outbreak along the lines of the 1918 Spanish flu and determined that the city lacked thousands of ventilators needed to combat the emergency. The order went out to purchase the required thousands of ventilators. But only 500 were purchased, and the need and desire to buy more soon evaporated. Bloomberg and everyone else moved on to other things.
Later outbreaks like the avian flu and H1N1 reminded New York City and state officials of how underprepared they were, but when the crises passed without much local impact, so too did interest in preparing for the next emergency. Instead, the city and state governments chose to spend their money on other things, like Gov. Cuomo’s Buffalo solar-panel factory that never materialized, plus various gifts to New York City teachers’ unions and perks to other Democrat political constituencies.
Even the meager supply of NYC ventilators were auctioned off due to aging and manufacturers ending service support. That’s understandable, but they were not replaced, and New York hospitals, many suffering from ObamaCare-caused financial difficulties, could only focus on immediate need, not long-term planning. As recently as 2015, Cuomo had the opportunity to purchase 16,000 ventilators, but passed on it due to a supposed lack of funds.
Cuomo’s response at the time was to put together a task force to develop a rationing plan for the ventilators that the state did own. Medical services would triage the afflicted and provide services based on a sliding scale of survivability. In the parlance of the ObamaCare debate, this means the death panels leftist supporters of single-payer healthcare tell us would never exist.
It was not a lack of money that caused New York City and the state to be so embarrassingly short of emergency supplies like ventilators and medical masks when the China Virus hit. Both governments have a long and notorious history of passing huge budgets and inventing new methods of taxation to make up for shortfalls. They could have purchased the needed equipment. Instead, they chose to ignore a potential emergency while keeping their political machine running and their leftist allies happy.
While our hearts go out to the people of New York City, the next time they go to the polls, they should consider just who the candidates really are, and whether they truly have the public interest in mind.
Above the Fold
“We’ve got to get our country open”: New White House panel to explore path to reopening the economy (AP)
Ten U.S. governors on the east and west coasts banded together on Monday in two regional pacts to coordinate gradual economic reopenings as the coronavirus crisis finally appeared to be ebbing (Reuters)
Government & Politics
Trump administration to unveil $15.5 billion in first phase of farm aid (Reuters)
Due to pandemic, a reluctant Supreme Court will allow live audio broadcast for first time (Los Angeles Times)
Democrat-backed candidate Jill Karofsky wins race for Wisconsin Supreme Court, which greenlighted the much-maligned April 7 primary (The Hill)
Leftmedia personified: New York Times editor admits editing article on Biden sexual-assault allegation after campaign complained (The Washington Free Beacon)
Expanded early voting, voter ID repeal, and Election Day holiday: Virginia is reborn as a leftist enclave following governor’s weekend bill signing (CNSNews.com)
Michigan bans “all public and private gatherings” but still allows lottery sales (Reason)
Meanwhile, petition to recall Michigan Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer passes 150,000 signatures (Bongino.com)
Christian baker Jack Phillips sued again by relentless Rainbow Mafia, this time over transgender cake (The Daily Wire)
Policy: Is higher education COVID-19’s next victim? (Issues & Insights)
Policy: More medical innovation, less regulation (City Journal)
Humor: Medical experts confirm Democrats have developed herd immunity to sexual-assault allegations (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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Video: Supreme Court Backs Cop Who Stops Car on a Hunch — Are you willing to give a cop discretion to stop you if he “lacks information negating an inference”?
Video: New Yorkers Hate Trump More Than COVID-19 — “He’s more dangerous to the American people than the coronavirus.”
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Upright: “Truckers have become a new wave of front-line responders in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. … Before the realities of this pandemic, trucks were often ignored. They were considered an annoyance in our daily lives — chugging slowly up the winding hills of our back roads to that grocery store, hospital, department store or Amazon distribution center. Never mind that they are filled with those essentials or nonessential things we thought we had to have. Too often people mindlessly assume what they buy at Target or Walmart or Whole Foods comes from the back room, not from a farm upstate, or a factory four states away.” —Salena Zito
For the record: “Every 1% hike in the unemployment rate will likely produce a 3.3% increase in drug overdose deaths and a 0.99% increase in suicides according to data provided by the National Bureau of Economic Research and the medical journal Lancet. These are facts based on experience, not models. … Overall, the death rate for an unemployed person is 63% higher than for someone with a job, according to findings in Social Science & Medicine. Layoff-related deaths are likely to far outnumber the 60,400 coronavirus deaths predicted through August. This comparison is not meant to understate the horror of coronavirus for those who get it and their families. But heavy-handed state edicts to close all ‘nonessential businesses’ need to be reassessed in light of the predictable harm to the lives and health of the uninfected.” —Betsy McCaughey
We concur: “I don’t like what I do professionally. I don’t think it’s worth my time.” —CNN’s Chris Cuomo
Non compos mentis: “I’m really tired of reading how business owners are ‘forced’ to layoff workers. No one made them do that. They chose to do that. Not saying it isn’t a hard choice, during a hard time, but to say they were forced obscures their agency AND casts owners/CEOs as the victims.” —CNN’s Sally Kohn
Braying jackass: “As we prepare to reopen America, we have to remember what this crisis has taught us: The administration’s failure to plan, to prepare, to honestly assess and communicate the threat to the nation led to catastrophic results.” —Joe Biden
A blind squirrel finds a nut: “The answer is we should blame China. Not Chinese Americans. But we can’t stop telling the truth because racists get the wrong idea. … We can’t afford the luxury anymore of non-judginess towards a country with habits that kill millions of people.” —HBO’s Bill Maher
And last… “Modern men and women have substituted ‘experts’ for prophets and priests. Science is the secular religion, and ‘experts’ are its prophets and priests.” —Dennis Prager
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Join us in prayer for our Patriots in uniform and their families — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way, and for our nation’s First Responders. We also ask prayer for your Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the Spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis