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Burt Prelutsky / May 23, 2020

The Upside of the Shutdown

Considering that the insane response to the Chinese virus has resulted in about 40 million unemployed workers, many of whom may not have jobs to return to, it is a herculean task to find something good to say about the current situation.

Considering that the insane response to the Chinese virus has resulted in about 40 million unemployed workers, many of whom may not have jobs to return to, it is a herculean task to find something good to say about the current situation. But if there is a ray of sunshine sneaking through, it’s that more and more people are rising up and saying “Enough is enough! We’re willing to risk coming down with a virus that is very contagious but not terribly dangerous. We had a booming economy in January and now it may take us a decade to climb out of the financial malaise, and the response of Democratic mayors and governors is to prolong the suffering with additional regulations. Well, in the immortal words of Howard Beale: We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!”

Recently, there were signs of the old revolutionary spirit popping up in places not known for their conservatism.

In Maine, restaurant owner Rick Savage opened up his place of business in spite of Governor Janet Mills’ threat to pull his liquor license.

In New Jersey, a guy who owns a gym in Bellmawr is opening up his place and daring Gov. Phil Murphy to do something about it.

In the meantime, in Pennsylvania, State Health Secretary Rachel Levine, announced that moving Covid-19 victims into nursing homes was a perfectly safe policy. But she, herself, moved her 95 year old mother out of just such a facility.

In the meantime, the state’s governor, Tom Wolf, vowed to crush any store owner who opened his business before Wolf gave him permission.

In Illinois, Gov. Pritzker is still taking flak for allowing his wife to fly down to Florida for the duration while he imprisons everyone else in their own homes and apartments.

Even before the arrival of the virus, we all had a hunch that politicians felt there was one set of laws and rules for them and another for the rest of us. But not even someone as cynical as I ever dreamed they all saw themselves as King George.

The good news is that more and more Americans are rising up and showing the kind of spunk we have long associated with the likes of Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry and the farmers and townspeople of Lexington and Concord.

The bad news is that China is once again trying to steal our intellectual property. This time, they’re trying to snatch the research that several of our facilities are conducting in the hunt for a vaccine. It’s bad enough that the creeps unleashed the virus on the world and spent at least a month keeping it a secret, but now they want to take credit for finding a cure if there’s one to be found.

The good news is that in a special congressional election here in California, a Republican named Mike Garcia beat out a liberal. What makes it newsworthy is that it’s the first time in several years that a district that had previously been represented by a Democrat has been flipped.

A portent of things to come? We can only hope so.

After Chuck Schumer has spent the past three years hyping a non-existent Russia-Trump collusion, it’s amusing to see the very rattled Senate minority leader trying to dismiss the documented evidence of President Obama and his flying monkeys’ attempt to destroy Gen. Michael Flynn as a “ridiculous conspiracy.”

Acting Director of National Security Richard Grenell did the nation a great service when he declassified the information relating to the members of the Deep State who were determined to destroy Michael Flynn’s life.

Among the 39 people who were anxious to do Obama’s unconstitutional bidding by unmasking Flynn were the despicable “J’s”: Joe Biden, John Brennan, James Comey, James Clapper and Jack Lew (Treasury Secretary), in addition to Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough and U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power.

The remaining question is who went the extra step of leaking Flynn’s name to the Washington Post, which then resulted in the FISA warrants that, in turn, led to the three year, $35 million, fiasco known as the Mueller investigation.

Apparently, Obama wasn’t one of the people who filed paperwork requesting the unmasking of Flynn. But, then, why would he, when he had 39 eager beavers anxious to do it for him?

Joe Biden is so desperate to ensure he can get Bernie Sanders’ fans to support him, he announced from his bunker, I mean his basement, that he has appointed none other than the Green New Deal’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to be his climate and energy advisor.

What’s next? Will he be appointing Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib to be his ambassador to Israel?

The problem with experts is that they tend to have tunnel vision. They tend to be so focused on their single area of expertise that their solution to a problem is often myopic.

I’ve made no secret of my antipathy to Dr. Anthony Fauci, but even if he hadn’t been consistently wrong about the virus, his advice should have been taken with a grain of salt the size of Mount Everest.

When the cure is worse than the disease, some adult has to step in and stop the madness.

It’s true that the virus has killed a lot of people, most of whom weren’t long for this world, but a death is a still a death.

But one has to weigh the danger of the virus against a cure that leads to a total disruption of normal life. Economics aside, people do not thrive in isolation and unemployment. They often turn to booze, opioids and even suicide. Poverty and despair are far greater dangers than any damn virus.

The only adult around who can bring this nonsense to an end is President Trump. With so many states begging for federal funds, if I were in his position, I would release the money based on how quickly or slowly the governors were returning their states to normalcy.

Something I’ve been remiss about is Alcoholics Anonymous. I have never written about the organization even though it’s played a fairly important role in my life, not because I was ever a member, but because others that I cared about have been.

One of my dearest friends nearly drank himself to an early grave in his 40s. Fortunately, a serious driving violation brought him before a judge who offered him jail time or enrollment in the A.A. program. Wisely, he went for door two, the one without bars. He’s now 81 and has been sober since 1982.

The second person was my first wife, Diane. It was a very short marriage, mainly because even half a glass of wine acted on her the same way that the potion worked on Dr. Jekyll. It turned her into a monster.

I take some credit for her salvation because I had moved away from L.A. for a few years and once, in the wee hours of the morning, she decided to phone and leave a series of vile messages on my answering machine. I wasn’t aware of the calls until I woke up the following morning and heard the three obscene phone calls. Luckily, I had a brainstorm. Figuring if she phoned after I’d gone to bed, she would still be sleeping. So I dialed her number and played back the messages. Then I hung up without saying a word.

It worked because Diane never thought she had a drinking problem because she drank such a small amount. But, apparently, she was one of the unfortunates who was actually allergic to alcohol.

In any case, as I later found out, the shock of the reality was so great, she joined A.A. that same day and remained sober until she died a few years ago. Her sobriety at least allowed us to salvage a friendship if not a marriage.

My second wife also had a bit of a drinking problem. But she was just as mean when she was sober, so I doubt if even A.A. would have made any difference.

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