Editor’s note: This is an opinion piece from David Krouse. David lives in Los Angeles and wanted to make sure readers understand he is writing from that perspective. He also provided an update on what is happening in L.A.:
“As I am writing this Los Angeles is in complete uncertainty.
The City Council has first canceled all scheduled meetings, although now there is word that they may meet remotely Friday to discuss the situation. (LA Mayor) Eric Garcetti is threatening to keep the entire city shuttered for a minimum of two months and use both the police and utility cut-offs to enforce this. California has seen one million people file unemployment claims in less than two weeks.
The Mayor of Los Angeles has even tried ordering people in Los Angeles not to leave the city for their vacation homes.
At least one person I know only has a month’s worth of cash left and has had every job they were supposed to work canceled. Multiple companies are refusing to call their shut-downs layoffs and are just cutting employees hours to zero, which will undermine their unemployment claims.
Garcetti’s announcement that we should consider ourselves stranded for months with no end in sight took everyone here by surprise. Multiple people, myself included were, led to believe when the mayor’s order came down that everything would be shut down for two weeks and re-open around March 31st.
Now, all we know is that we are stranded in Los Angeles with no resources. Most people in Los Angeles were surviving paycheck to paycheck and carrying balances. Eric Garcetti’s only response so far has been “apply for unemployment” and hope EDD helps you. The State EDD office is overwhelmed beyond capacity and only had half-day call hours from 8 am – 12 pm anyway.
We don’t know what is going to happen here.”
It should now be clear to everyone that the Covid-19 virus is not nearly as deadly as the American Public was led to believe, although the government response to it has been dangerous for human rights and more so for billions of human beings around the globe subject to arbitrary mass detainment on the recommendation of “the experts.” Americans have been warned by the News Media, Social Media, Elected Officials and their neighbors that the Covid-19 virus was the new Spanish Flu or Smallpox or the Plague. Yet since the first confirmation around December 31, 2019, in Wuhan China (as of this writing) worldometers.info/coronavirus/ has recorded only 471,794 cases world-wide falling far short of even half-a-million in four months. Of those confirmed cases (as of this writing) 114,703 have recovered and only 21,297 have died world-wide (Woldometers numbers differ from WHO which reports a lower death toll). As of this writing, there are only 335,794 active cases worldwide of which 320,999 are mild and only 14,795 are considered critical.
Further according to the World Health Organization:
“The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.”
By comparison, the Center for Disease Control provides the following statistics regarding the H1N1 Flu pandemic of 2009:
“From April 12, 2009, to April 10, 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (range: 8868-18,306) in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus. Additionally, CDC estimated that 151,700-575,400 people worldwide died from (H1N1)pdm09 virus infection during the first year the virus circulated.** Globally, 80 percent of (H1N1)pdm09 virus-related deaths were estimated to have occurred in people younger than 65 years of age.”
H1N1 spread in much the same way that Covid-19 spreads currently, from person to person, common surfaces and normal transmission of viruses. Despite the fact that H1N1 had a higher death toll, the world economies, or what was left of them from the recession, remained open for business. The United States did not go into lockdown and there was no mass disruption of American lives. This was despite the White House and Congress being controlled by the US Democrat Party and lead by then-President Barack Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who at the time had made healthcare the number one issue in the public eye by pushing the Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2009.
No comparable action was taken to the response we have seen to Covid-19.
Even in Italy which has the highest death toll in the world of Covid-19 cases, exceeding 7500, the situation has been misconstrued to the rest of the world. Italy also has one of the oldest populations in the world. March 18, 2020, Bloomberg Media reported that 99% of the deceased also had other illnesses and the average age was 79.5 years old. By comparison, the average life expectancy in Italy is only 82.8 years old. Covid-19 also has a higher death toll among men and Italian men have a life expectancy of 80.5 years old.
Healthy people are not dropping dead in the streets of Italy or anywhere else.
The same cannot be said for American Democracy and Human Rights.
In a short-time postponement of elections, the introduction of command economies and the use of digital tracking devices have become acceptable responses. It was March 16, 2020, a judge refused to order the postponement of the Ohio Primary and only in the morning hours of March 17 that the Ohio Supreme Court issued a last-minute order. Either way, The Ohio Department of Health announced it intended to shut-down polling places. Ohio wasn’t the only state however, they were preceded by Louisiana, Georgia and Puerto Rico. Despite delaying multiple state primaries, former Vice-President Joe Biden was declared the de facto nominee of the US Democrat Party by multiple media outlets. Bernie Sanders was challenged for even remaining in the race and Tulsi Gabbard announced an end to her own grassroots campaign. Biden hadn’t and (as of this writing) still has not accumulated enough delegates to be the nominee at the Democrat National Convention.
The campaign to crown Biden the Democrat nominee before Democrat voters cast their ballots was underway before the Covid-19 postponements. Debate rules were repeatedly and arbitrarily altered to keep Tulsi Gabbard off the debate stage and put Michael Bloomberg on it. Media outlets ran articles about Sander’s being too far behind in the delegate count. On March 11, 2020, politoco.com ran “Bernie Sanders is all but done” with the opening statement:
“The night was so debilitating for Bernie Sanders that after retreating to his home state of Vermont on Tuesday, he didn’t even make a speech. In every way, other than mathematically, his presidential campaign is done.”
Ten days later, March 21, 2020, The New York Times ran a piece “How It All Came Apart for Bernie Sanders.” On March 24, 2020, politico.com reported:
“Joe Biden has racked up endorsements from four of the largest — and most politically influential — unions in the past 10 days, a show of force that has bolstered his standing as the de facto Democratic nominee for president and dealt a serious blow to Bernie Sanders’ flickering hopes.”
Finally, after Senator Sanders committed too the planned April debate, multiple outlets from The New York Times to The Washington Times quoted the former Vice-President stating :
“I think we have had enough debates’ in 2020 primary race.”
Yet as of this writing, half the country has NOT had their primaries.
Voters in twenty-four states have not cast ballots yet.
And when they do cast their ballots it is noteworthy that due to prohibitions on mass gatherings, Bernie Sanders will face difficulty both campaigning and from the added handicap of being required to execute his current responsibilities as a US Senator during a crisis. The Democrat Nomination, however, is not the only area where troubling precedents are being set concerning elected officials.
Since the announcement, multiple members of Congress have tested positive for Covid-19 and there have been increased calls for “remote voting.” Remote voting has become the rallying cry for lawmakers who are determined to maintain power at all costs and at the expense of their home states. March 23, 2020, politico.com reported :
“70 House Democrats on Monday sent a letter to their leadership in support of voting remotely amid the coronavirus crisis . . .”
Senators Dick Durbin and Rob Portman introduced a bi-partisan resolution to allow for remote voting as well. No explanation was offered from any of these members why minimum-wage grocery store employees deemed “essential workers” should be required to report for work, but Congress should be allowed to work from home. The real reason is to continue and enable elderly senators who have sat in Congress for decades. But the Constitution did not intend for ill or unfit members of Congress to continue in office indefinitely or for duties and tasks to be redesigned around unfitness of its members.
The 17th Amendment provides its own contingency for this vary situation :
“. . . When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.”
If votes are allowed remotely rather than from the chamber itself how will the integrity be preserved? If Senators are to vote remotely kidnapping, coercion and any number of other behaviors can and may become political practice. The real danger is that rather than retiring Senators, who many feel have served too long as it is, we are treating the Senate as though it is a life position to be remolded to fit the needs of the office-holder. It also establishes the dangerous precedent of keeping unfit Senators, who may suffer from decreased Cognitive ability or even be on life-support, in-office rather than allowing another American to take the position and holding elections. Once this entitlement becomes entrenched, more entitlements follow.
While Free Markets and Mixed Markets are hallmarks of Democratic Government, Command Economies are essential to Totalitarian polity whether it be Socialist, Communist or Fascist. Political Scientist and UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick warned :
“The Nazi regime left ownership in private hands, but the state assumed control of the economy. Control was separated from ownership but it was really a command economy because it was controlled by the state. A command economy is an attribute of a totalitarian state.”
As we have seen in a matter of days, Governors and Mayors have by edict reduced their markets to command economies again on the advice of “the experts.” They have been allowed to decide and define what is essential and what is not and to arbitrarily order all employees into unemployment and businesses to close doors. While at first, this appeared a temporary measure for no more than two weeks due to the pandemic, multiple statements have been issued that they intend to make it permanent for weeks and possibly months.
On March 25, 2020, Eric Garcetti, currently the Mayor of Los Angeles announced his orders may stay in effect for two months and possibly longer warning against “mass death” if he was disobeyed. He also announced he would be cutting water and power to “non-essential” services.
As of this writing, the Los Angeles City Council has also canceled all meetings and governance for the rest of the month, tabling a proposed rent freeze and provide relief to tenants.
March 24, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that his orders shuttering the California economy could last three months. This came after and in response to President Donal Trump’s announcing his intention to re-open America for a business no later than Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020. Newsom had also used as part of his justification the death of a teenager in Los Angeles County, failing to vet his information, only to have LA County Health Officials now backpedal on this claim.
Newsom is no stranger to making unbelievable and outrageous statements during this crisis, going as far as claiming 22.5 million people in California would be infected in eight weeks (again as of this writing half-a-million people have not even been infected in four months). The fact that such a man has claimed, almost unchallenged, the power to dictate the Fifth Largest Economy in the World should trouble everyone. Not only is it the loss of freedom and increase in hardship for billions of people worldwide concerning, but it is also the fact that men like Gavin Newsom have given themselves the power to decide who the winners and losers will be in such an economy.
Despite dictating that millions of people and thousands of businesses in California no longer have income, Newsom has not issued a similar edict to the real estate and housing markets. Americans in California are simply assured that they will not be evicted — for the time being. They will still owe rent as those receiving it must not have any interruption to their income. In other words, one man has claimed the economic power of life over death over millions of people for as long as “the experts” deem necessary. It should be remembered that both the Soviet Murder State and Holocaust were both preceded by deciding who received Ration Cards and who didn’t according to their particular ideology regarding who was essential.
Then there is the fact that Command Economies rarely run on reason or experience as much as dangerous rationalizations. Mao Zedong destroyed the People’s Republic of China with his disastrous “Great Leap Forward” that resulted in mass starvation and War Communism proved to be an unworkable failure that alienated even Bolshevik Emma Goldman. On March 17, 2020, Reason Magazine pointed out some of the equally flawed aspects of the Covid-19 response with its article “Stop It With the Coronavirus Curfews Already”:
- Shutting most everything down creates real shortages, not just the no-toilet-paper-at-Whole-Foods kind. The more people and industries you order locked down, the more supply chains get broken, the more stores shutter, the fewer goods are available. We all still need stuff, even if we’re sitting indoors all day. And in cramped, big cities like New York, where living space is at a premium, there is frequently neither storage space nor predilection for stocking up on weeks’ worth of food at a time.
2) Compressing the commercial day will mean more people shopping together in close quarters. The smart play until now among germaphobes has been hitting up the local Rite Aid in the wee small hours. Mayors, county executives, and governors are increasingly foreclosing that option.
It should also be noted that viruses don’t stop for “essential services” and reducing all resources to a few small stores and warehouses will most likely have the opposite effect. What isn’t over-run by demand will be infected with the disease.
Finally, there has been a resort to technology depriving human beings of their privacy. Smartphone location data is being collected to determine who is obeying the State and who is not. Multiple states including Russia, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, China and Israel have all started using them and the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy may follow.
Apart from the invasion of personal privacy, political freedom and human rights are at stake. We already have seen the abuse of this technology in America by both Uber and Facebook. In 2014, Uber’s top New York Executive Josh Mohrer resorted to using the “God View” a tracking device allowing him to see someones every ride. His particular target was Buzzfeed Journalist Johana Bhuiyan doing a story about Uber. She was not the first to make this complaint but it suddenly got attention.
And while 2016 Russian trolls on Facebook has gotten attention, in 2014, Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook performed psychological experiments on 700,000 users in 2012 without their knowledge or consent.
Neither Mohrer or Sandberg were punished as they deserved or faced what should have been the end of their careers in technology. Neither was fired by their companies and both have their careers of choice in technology. The definition of Totalitarianism is a government that has unchallengeable power and claims jurisdiction over the entire person. Meanwhile privacy — also in the name of “security” — is maintained by selective individuals heading the State. We have already seen the willingness of multiple governments to use technology to try and hide information and cases of Covid-19. What other diseases might be lurking behind the Bamboo Curtain and what further ones will arise if the level of unlimited power is handed to the State?
Jeane Kirkpatrick further cautioned that technology is required to maintain Totalitarianism:
“. . . I think totalitarianism is really unique because it is dictatorship plus technology as Alfred Cobban once said. Plus, of course, an insane human ambition to have power over others. Put them together and you have totalitarian government.”
Rather than abandoning hope, we need to re-affirm American values and principles. Faith in elections, free markets and ethical use of technology. While terror over a virus, that is less dangerous then other pandemics the world has faced, has overnight become the standard for the political reaction we should also remember the actual death toll of totalitarianism. From 1917 to 1991, a minimum of 181,000,000 human beings died as a result of Totalitarianism. Fascism in Europe resulted in the holocaust that claimed 11,000,000 lives and a Second World War that killed an estimated 70,000,000 world-wide. Communism is credited with 100,000,000 deaths world-wide between the Russian Revolution and the end of the Cold War.
Further, as we have seen with the Covid-19 outbreak, Totalitarian Countries are more likely to censor information and dictate a response that is in accordance with the agenda of whoever is at the helm of the Totalitarianiship. If that individual (and it generally is an individual) is benevolent towards his fellow man then he may order all measures taken to help his fellow human beings. More likely though, having already displayed an obsession with power, he will order whatever measures necessary to maintain power no matter the cost. There is the additional danger that the power cliques supporting the Totalitarian State, Russia’s Politiburo, Mao’s Gang of Four and Hitler’s Gestapo, will further skew things according to their own agendas for maintaining power.
The solution is and remains an understanding and unshakeable faith in the American Way of Life and taking decisive action to remove from power those that do not share it.