Corporate Socialism: The Government is Bailing Out Investors & Managers Not You

Corporate Socialism: The Government is Bailing Out Investors & Managers Not You, by Nassim Taleb.

The bailouts of 2008–9 saved the banks (but mostly the bankers), thanks to the execution by then-treasury secretary Timothy Geithner who fought for bank executives against both Congress and some other members of the Obama administration. Bankers who lost more money than ever earned in the history of banking, received the largest bonus pool in the history of banking less than two years later, in 2010. And, suspiciously, only a few years later, Geithner received a highly paid position in the finance industry.

That was a blatant case of corporate socialism and a reward to an industry whose managers are stopped out by the taxpayer. … This does not count the policy of quantitative easing that went to inflate asset values and increased inequality by benefiting the super rich. Remember that bailouts come with printed money, which effectively deflate the wages of the middle class in relation to asset values such as ultra-luxury apartments in New York City.

The banking business model. Privatize the gains, socialize the losses. Don’t bother with insurance if the government will bail you out — moral hazard.

We should learn from the Geithner episode that bailing out individuals based on their needs is not the same as bailing out corporations based on our need for them. …

Now it is the airlines that are lining up to be saved:

We must not conflate airlines as a physical company with the financial structure involved. Nor should we conflate the fate of the employees of the airlines with the unemployment of our fellow citizens, which can be directly compensated rather than indirectly via leftovers of corporate subsidies. …

But not you:

These corporations are lobbying for bailouts, which they will eventually get thanks to the pressure they can exert on the government via lobby units. But how about the small corner restaurant ? The independent tour guide ? The personal trainer? The massage professional? The barber? The hotdog vendor living from tourists near the Met Museum ? These groups cannot afford lobbyists and will be ignored. …

The virus is specifically NOT a “black swan,” by the man who wrote the book:

Some people claim that the pandemic is a “Black Swan”, hence something unexpected so not planning for it is excusable. The book they commonly cite is The Black Swan (by one of us). Had they read that book, they would have known that such a global pandemic is explicitly presented there as a white swan: something that would eventually take place with great certainty.

 

Videos Emerge Showing DOZENS OF PEOPLE Intentionally Spreading it on Benches and Elevators

Videos Emerge Showing DOZENS OF PEOPLE Intentionally Spreading it on Benches and Elevators. China’s role in this is looking worse and worse. Beware: the videos might be faked.

See 9:10 also. There were also videos on Twitter a while back of people (presumably Chinese) spreading the virus deliberately in China.

Like the spiteful mutants.

hat-tip Joanne

Soon Australians can test ourselves for virus: Kelly

Soon Australians can test ourselves for virus. By Elias Viontay.

Australians could soon be able to test themselves for COVID-19, as the first batch of the new testing kits arrive in Australia to be tested and approved by the regulatory body. …

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly … said Australia had carried out over 178,000 tests, and that the current testing capacity was “about 10,000 a day”.

Dr Kelly also said Australia’s testing rate was over 25 times as many per capita than had been carried out in the US — where 53 per cent of tests returned a positive result compared with 1.5 per cent in Australia.

Return of the gambler as Trump faces his own Sophie’s Choice

Return of the gambler as Trump faces his own Sophie’s Choice, by Cameron Stewart.

In a world that is shutting up shop, Donald Trump is calling for America to reopen. …

“We have to go back to work, much sooner than people thought,” Trump said, adding that he “would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter”, just over two weeks away. “Our people are full of vim and vigour and energy. They don’t want to be locked into a house or an apartment or some space. It’s not for our country and we are not built that way.”

Trump’s comments caused jaws to drop in many parts of the US. …

Health professionals in the US were stunned by Trump’s comments, having argued that the only way to slow the spread of the virus was to practise social distancing, meaning you stay and work from home, avoid bars, restaurants and almost everyone outside immediate family.

Yes. And after that?

At the heart of the President’s argument is a truly grim “Sophie’s Choice” calculation that had not been openly spoken about until Trump raised it publicly — could it be that the terrible cost of closing the US economy, the world’s largest, to slow the spread of the virus is worse than the impact of the virus itself, as bad as that may be? …

Perhaps only a president as unconventional as Trump would dare utter such words, regardless of their merit, as Americans are becoming more frightened every day by the encroaching pandemic. But Trump is Trump and that is why his supporters love him and his detractors loathe him.

Trump’s probably right, though deliberately too early. That earliness is to re-frame the negotiation, to get people focused on how soon we can open up again. He won’t open up too soon, and not by Easter, but he wants you to focus on opening up again rather than just on locking down. He is leading.

 

Dissent in a time of Covid

Dissent in a time of Covid, by Brendan O’Neill.

Two nasty ailments have gripped Britain in recent days. The first is Covid-19. The second is intolerance of dissent. The authoritarian instincts of the chattering classes have been on full display in this crisis.

You can see it in their daily pleas for Boris Johnson to turn the UK into a police state. You can see it in their sneering at people who visit parks or take a walk on a beachfront. And you can see it most disturbingly in their implacable rage against anyone who deviates from the Covid-19 script and asks if shutting down society really is the right thing to do. Like medieval scolds, they brand such people dangerous, insane, a virus, accessories to manslaughter. ‘Shut them down!’, they cry, thinking they are signalling their concern for the public’s health when really they are advertising their profound contempt for freedom of thought and critical debate.

In an emergency, freedom of speech doesn’t stop being important. It becomes more important. …

The speed and intensity with which questioning extreme responses to Covid-19 has become tantamount to a speechcrime is alarming. …

It could be worse

How swiftly we become McCarthyites. How naturally intolerance comes to that section of society that thinks it knows best. Partly, of course, this is always its default mode. As we know from the past couple of decades of social shaming, No Platforming and outright state assaults against people who are deemed to hold hateful or wrongthink views, the new elites are not exactly friends of freedom of speech.

But the rising tide of Covid-19 censoriousness also suggests that these people think that when things get serious, when society faces a genuine threat, then freedom of speech becomes a negotiable commodity. Words potentially become dangerous. Bad ideas can lead to loss of life. So police speech, shame the dissenters, silence the ‘virus’ of incorrect thought. This is as wrong as it is possible for someone to be. …

The second reason freedom of speech becomes even more important in a crisis is because of one of the key things that freedom of speech does — it encourages intellectual humility. Freedom of speech is the means through which all of us entertain the possibility that we are wrong. … It gives us that great liberty: the liberty to change our minds.

Dogma, in contrast, does the opposite. Dogma emerges where people shield themselves, normally courtesy of censorship, from the thoughts and questions and criticisms of others. Forcefielding oneself and one’s ideas from criticism gives rise to lazy, sclerotic thinking.

Hear hear.

Breaking bread: New York, California governors win in newfound ‘mutual respect’ with Trump

Breaking bread: New York, California governors win in newfound ‘mutual respect’ with Trump. By Paul Bedard.

Just a few months ago, they were the Three Amigos of political nastiness.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom was launching attacks at President Trump during the fires and power outages last fall. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, engaged in a long public war with the president, was lashing out at the administration’s criticism of the state’s liberal immigration policies.

Blasted first, Trump fired back. The war of words threatened to escalate.

But then, both governors changed strategies at the urging of a mutual friend, and almost immediately, the wars were over. Newsom got what he wanted from Trump and called the president his “partner.” Cuomo met with Trump to cut a deal and left without blasting the president, confident the two could work something out.

“The two governors have found a way to work with President Trump, and he immediately responded positively to that, it’s a lesson,” said Bill White, a friend and advisor to all three. “They found a way to work together from a place of mutual respect,” he told Secrets.

Now, he said, that lesson is playing out on the world stage as the three work especially close to fight the coronavirus war. Instead of nasty nicknames, Trump almost daily respectfully refers to “Gavin” and “Andrew.” And they have responded with supportive words as their states have received special attention from the White House during the crisis. …

“In Donald Trump’s code, you can actually criticize him. He’s fine with that. What he doesn’t want is pejorative or personal attacks,” said Trump friend and Newsmax chief Chris Ruddy.

I think that the president is not that partisan. The press has made him out to be that way, but as long as he is not being attacked or feels he is being targeted by these guys. If you see what Pritzger’s doing and de Blasio, they are using this as a platform to target and attack the president. And when you have governors that are pretty serious about their situation and want to get results, they are working with Donald Trump because he is a results guy,” said Ruddy.

Trump plays tit-for-tat. Politically, he is fairly middle of the road. He has much the same positions as 1990s Democrats, before they adopted identity politics and abandoned the working class.

Women hardest hit: Australian senator wants to remind us all that COVID-19 is a gendered crisis

Women hardest hit: Australian senator wants to remind us all that COVID-19 is a gendered crisis. By Brett T. at Twitchy.

Australian Sen. Mehreen Faruqi is not the first person we’ve heard remind us all that COVID-19 isn’t tied only to racism and xenophobia; it’s also a gendered crisis in which women are serving on the front lines.

Twitter responses include:

The virus has her trumped. Last I looked it’s very disproportionally killing men. …

And this virus mostly kills men by a 2 to 1 margin. …

Latest statistics show men are more vulnerable to infection and serious progression, as well as death from COVID-19. Logically, women should therefore be at the forefront because they have a better chance of escaping infection and surviving if they do get infected. …

What’s worse, coronavirus or gender studies? …

Odd. No mention of the male doctors, nurses, security, facilities managers, and all of the different specialties…Physical therapists, x-ray techs, janitors. You’d almost think she hates men. …

Or the high ratio of men in law enforcement, firefighters, national guard, etc….

At least she didn’t commend the virus for fighting toxic masculinity …

Weird, yesterday I was just thinking about how I hadn’t heard much of this garbage since the pandemic started. I thought maybe people saw COVID-19 for what it is, a virus that indiscriminately goes after anyone. Nope, the oppression Olympics are still on.

Beautiful.

What about this?

The Three Stages of Understanding the Coronavirus

The Three Stages of Understanding the Coronavirus, by David Evans. To summarize:

So, for our health and our economy, stay home for the next three weeks.

Too many people see step 1, check out step 2, but then turn back to step 1 because killing the economy seems worse than some unspecified number of dead and injured. As if there were only two choices. They are then left quibbling over exactly how many might die or be severely sick, trying to downplay the numbers.

Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Scott Morrison, Justin Trudeau, and Jacinta Ardern are all now at stage 3. It’s pretty much inevitable.

Of course, they were all too slow getting there. As we advocated in February, closing the borders would have saved us this pain. Imagine if we were virus free because we had closed the borders — as we inevitably did anyway — back in February. Because no one in the media nor politics can see any advantage  in asking why the borders weren’t closed in time — after all, they were all too slow, too complacent, and not paying attention — no one is asking the obvious question publicly. This virus has revealed that we are ruled by incompetents. What will test us next, Joseph?

South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and now Japan are succeeding in crushing the curve.

Coronavirus: Wall Street all in as Donald Trump plays his hand

Coronavirus: Wall Street all in as Donald Trump plays his hand, by Robert Gottliebsen.

The huge rise on Wall Street — the biggest since 1933 — was no accident.

US President Donald Trump called major investment houses to tell them that he planned to take on the medical establishment and ease the clamps in the US economy after Easter [Easter Sunday is April 12]. At the same time the massive US stimulus bill looked like passing the Congress and the US Federal Reserve was out there printing money by buying US bonds, including corporate bonds.

The President’s actions were in stark contrast to the actions of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and what is happening in Australia where we are looking to increase the clamps and are talking about a six months shut down.

In taking these steps Trump is gambling his presidency, because if the US goes into a medical morass as a result of the easing of clamps then Joe Biden will be the next US president.

But Trump has gambled that if there is a deep recession in the US, he will lose the election anyway. …

Why the US market went up last night:

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arranged a call with Wall Street’s top investors and hedge funds, including Third Point, Blackstone, Vista Equity, Intercontinental Exchange and Paul Tudor Jones, hedge fund manager and co-founder of JUST Capital.

The call focused on how America’s top money managers are viewing markets and the US economy. It extended to what more the Federal Reserve could do to support industries that are under pressure and how the central bank could help companies from seizing up.

Trump’s view that the US economy cannot be allowed to crash was reinforced by the views of the investment leaders.

At the end of the call, the “buy, buy” signal a went out and Wall Street surged. And once it started to move, computer-driven “buy signals” appeared from all directions. …

Price discovery? Hah, this is how it was done. But every market move requires a story, and this one is of hope:

Two existing drugs have jumped into contention as a possible cure: chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.

President Donald Trump has called the drugs, which are used to treat malaria and other conditions, game changers, and a rush to procure the pharmaceuticals spurred several US states to take measures to prevent shortages.

Ex-Clinton adviser: Coronavirus pandemic ‘changes the presidential race overwhelmingly in Trump’s favor’,

Ex-Clinton adviser: Coronavirus pandemic ‘changes the presidential race overwhelmingly in Trump’s favor’, by Caitlin Yilek.

“This crisis completely changes the presidential race overwhelmingly in Trump’s favor,” Dick Morris, who was Clinton’s political adviser and later campaign manager, told radio show host John Catsimatidis on Sunday.

“There is no more oxygen left in the room for Joe Biden. … He can’t say anything. He can’t campaign. He can’t attack Trump. He can’t talk about [the coronavirus]. There is nothing left for him to say” …

Biden … and his rival Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have been sidelined from campaigning across the country because of the pandemic. Trump has also canceled campaign events, but the White House has held daily news briefings on the crisis.

Morris argued Hurricane Sandy had a similar effect on President Barack Obama’s reelection and other policy issues that could derail Trump’s chances of keeping the White House have been brushed under the rug as the coronavirus pandemic takes precedence.

“There are no other issues anymore in America. Nobody’s thinking about immigration, or income inequality, or climate change,” he said. “All Trump has to do now is be a good president. … Ride out this epidemic. Succeed in containing it, and he’s home free.”

Depends on whether Trump’s response to the virus is seen as good. He was complacent and slow to recognize the danger, missing the chance to avoid it by closing borders. His actions since then have been effective, and he looks presidential. But now he is gambling on opening sooner rather than later. This will probably prove popular and the right move, but it’s risky.

Nine Liberal Pet Projects Smuggled Into Pelosi’s Coronavirus Bill, by Tyler O’Neil.

On Monday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate blocked a $2 trillion bipartisan bailout effort they had negotiated with Republicans. Later that day, Democrats in the House of Representatives filed their own coronavirus bill, stuffed with liberal pet projects. The $2.5 trillion bill includes many provisions entirely unrelated to the coronavirus. …

1. Minority banks. … [Their] package includes a specific program to help banks and credit unions owned by blacks, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and women. …

2. $300 million in funding for programs to prevent and prosecute violence against women …

3. $35 million earmarked for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Why should the Kennedy Center receive this money, instead of all the other theaters across America? Why does theater feature in the coronavirus bill? …

4. $90 million to fund the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. Which disease is this bill fighting again? …

5. LGBTQ+ financial literacy …

6. Collective bargaining…

7. Airline carbon emissions reporting …

8. $15/hour minimum wage … as a “permanent requirement” on all companies receiving federal aid.

9. Sixty pages on elections … to advance their partisan interests and take advantage of election systems.

Outrageous. The elite left have lost the plot. No matter how badly Trump handles this, he looks good compared to this lot.

UPDATE: Pelosi’s extortion is a spark that may start a national fire.

Pelosi Caves, by John Hinderaker.

Nancy Pelosi has thrown in the towel on her attempt to misuse the Wuhan virus epidemic to sneak partisan legislation that has never been able to make it through Congress into law. … One can only imagine how bad the Democrats’ polling must have been to cause such a hasty retreat.

Democratic Networks Tune Trump Out, by John Hinderaker.

The Trump administration’s daily coronavirus briefings have been carried live by Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, as well as the broadcast networks. These briefings have been highly informative, and apparently impressive, as recent polling indicates that a clear majority of Americans approve of President Trump’s handling of the Wuhan virus issue. This caused MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow to urge on Friday that television networks stop covering the press conferences because of the President’s “lies.” In other words, the briefings informed Americans about the vigorous actions the administration is taking and thereby hurt Maddow’s political party. …

MSNBC, through a spokesperson, said that “we cut away because the information no longer appeared to be valuable to the important ongoing discussion around public health.”

Really? As opposed to whatever programming followed? But this is the key point:

For the three cable news networks, five Trump briefings last week each had more than double the audience the networks had for the same time period a year earlier, the Nielsen company said. …

People are interested and are tuning in? That is a problem, if your goal is to advance a left-wing agenda and not to make a profit for your shareholders. Based on the numbers, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that MSNBC and CNN have cut back on broadcasting the administration’s press conferences because they give viewers a good impression of the administration and thereby hurt the prospects of the Democratic Party, whose interests those networks are dedicated to advancing.

This crisis is exposing the sheer corruption of the modern left/media.

New York’s virus outlook darkens, even as Trump pushes to reopen economy

New York’s virus outlook darkens, even as Trump pushes to reopen economy, by Reuters.

The worst of the coronavirus outbreak will hit New York state faster and harder than previously thought, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday …

Cuomo’s state, home to the most populous U.S. city, is the worst hit by the outbreak …

The expected need for hospital beds in New York at the peak of the outbreak has jumped to 140,000, Cuomo said, compared with 110,000 projected recently. Only 53,000 beds are now available.

The rate of infection is now doubling every three days in New York and the worst of the outbreak, known as the apex, could arrive in 14 to 21 days, putting huge pressure on health services, Cuomo said.

A week after New Yorkers and millions of other Americans began taking shelter at home from the coronavirus, state officials and financial investors warned on Tuesday against easing restrictions too soon even though the clampdown is devastating the U.S. economy. …

Trump said on Monday he was considering how to restart business life when a 15-day shutdown ends next week, even as the highly contagious virus spreads rapidly and poorly equipped hospitals struggle with a wave of deadly cases. …

Trump told Fox News Channel that he would like to see U.S. businesses opening their doors by Easter, to be celebrated this year in mid-April. …

As President Donald Trump pressed his case for a reopening of the U.S. economy within a few weeks, Cuomo said that being too hasty to ease the limits on travel, socializing and working together would cost lives.

Adeshola Ore:

The governor of New York is warning the city could become the next centre of the coronavirus pandemic, warning over a drastic shortage of ventilators.

Andrew Cuomo warned the infection rate is accelerating and with the rate doubling every three days, the state could be just two weeks away from seeing 40,000 people in intensive care.

“We are not slowing it. And it is accelerating on its own,” he said during a briefing at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Centre. “One of the forecasters said to me we were looking at a freight train coming across the country. We’re now looking at a bullet train.”

The lag between infection and symptoms showing means that the effect of a lockdown doesn’t show up on the infection curves for one to two weeks after the lockdown begins.

The Democrats now realize that Biden and Sanders are duds, and they have made a poor choice. They will try to find another candidate, and at the moment Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, is looking good.

Iraq: We Have Met The Enemy, and they are us

Iraq: We Have Met The Enemy, and they are us, by James Dunnigan.

The Iraqi Sunni Arab minority had run Iraq for centuries and considered that domination as their right. Iranians have always seen Arabs as inferior and the Kurds as ungovernable.

These are ancient attitudes are not easily changed. Iraqis or Iranians who have migrated to a place like the United States find that it takes several generations to completely dilute enough of the religious and ethnic animosities that make the Middle East so toxic and hard to govern.

After centuries of Moslem cultural isolation, it came as a shock, in the mid-20 century, as Western films and TV became widely available in the Middle East. Suddenly there was exposure to a different way of doing things that did not depend on religion but did demand much less corruption and a lot more tolerance to other ethnic and religious groups. Watching these two systems for several generations has made it clear who has a better life. Even the popular Middle Eastern custom of blaming local problems on foreign influence is losing support. As the Western saying goes, “we have met the enemy and they are us.”

Cultural attitudes are slow to change because conservatives see such change as a disaster, not an opportunity. That is what has kept Islamic terrorism in support of Islamic fundamentalism alive for over a thousand years. Dealing with that beast is dangerous and frustrating as this is a stubborn belief that has a lot of support within the core teachings of Islam. Most Moslems now agree that some change is needed but that is not enough to solve the problem. It takes time and during that process, the violent religious conservatives will be doing what they have always done; kill and terrorize Moslems who disagree with them.

In Iraq and throughout the region reducing corruption is seen as an important goal as is suppressing Islamic extremism. There are more corruption and Islamic extremism at play in Iran and is why Iran is a major threat to Iraq. The collapse of the Iranian religious dictatorship is seen as a major goal in Iran and the rest of the world.

Dictatorships are difficult to remove from power because such governments threaten major destruction and loss of life for the entire nation if there is an uprising. The alternative is to wait, often for decades, for the corruption and mismanagement to anger even government loyalists. That’s how the Iranian monarchy lost power in the 1970s and the communist states of Europe in the 1980s. Waiting for the internal collapse can be painful to watch and even more painful to live within. That’s how these things work out and there is no known way to predict when the major changes will occur. In the meantime, the best you can do is deal with the expensive symptoms and side effects. Which is what most Iraqis and their Western allies are enduring. …

Iran is now openly at war with these Westerners, correctly seeing them as a major factor in supporting counter-corruption activities and upgrading the Iraqi security forces. Iraqi leaders protest that confronting Iranian forces inside Iraq is dangerous and Westerners point out that this comes with the job. You cannot just sit in the presidential palace of parliament and get rich via corrupt deals. …

Iran is hard hit by covid19, in part because the government dismissed the virus as a threat. Now the Iranians are claiming, along with China and Russia, that virus is actually a biological attack by the Americans. Such government sponsored conspiracy theories no longer gain a lot of popular support. …

While covid19 is not a major problem (compared to Iran) inside Iraq, the virus is just getting started. So far there have been several hundred confirmed cases but less than three percent are fatal and those victims tend to be elderly or someone already very weak from illness. The covid19 threat has not eliminated the anti-corruption protests but the crowds are smaller and dressed to resist spreading or catching the virus.

Australia’s Construction Industry “On Brink of Collapse”

Australia’s Construction Industry “On Brink of Collapse”. By Nick Corbishley.

Australia’s construction industry, which accounts for 13% of Australia’s GDP and one in ten jobs, is unsustainable and on the brink of collapse, according to Joe Barr, the CEO of John Holland, one of Australia’s biggest infrastructure firms and a wholly owned subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC).

“I won’t sugar coat it,” he told The Australian Financial Review. “Tier one contractors in Australia are not making any money, and governments across Australia keep having successive project cost blowouts.”

The underlying message was not exactly subtle: Unless the government recognizes the pressures the industry is under and allows construction companies to renegotiate contracts that are either behind schedule or beset with cost overruns, companies could begin dropping like flies. Bailouts, while not explicitly mentioned in the interview, may also be on the docket.

It’s a message that has been conveyed by captains of all kinds of industry in all kinds of countries since Financial Crisis 2 began. As the economy freezes, companies suddenly see their revenues and earnings drop precipitously. Out of force of habit, they then ask the government to make up the difference.

In the case of Australia’s construction industry, it was already in trouble before the virus crisis hit. By the tail-end of last year, a multi-year boom had begun to turn to bust.

And companies in the sector are now beginning to panic.

“We are in the midst of Australia’s biggest infrastructure boom, but as an industry, we are teetering on the brink of collapse,” Barr said. “While [the government has] projects worth hundreds of billions in planning along the east coast, it is unclear if there will be an industry left to build them.”

Sounds like bailouts are arriving just in the nick of time, and the construction industry is crying poor to government again. But disruption due to the virus is real. Our next door neighbor is an electrical contractor with a few employees, and they’ve nearly had to stop work because their supplies of gear — mainly from China — have dried up.

Covid Will Not Kill Social Justice Warriors

Covid Will Not Kill Social Justice Warriors, by James Lindsay, who is interviewed by Rod Dreher. Lindsay is of the political left, but he is one of the smartest analysts of “Critical Social Justice, seeing it as a dangerous new religion.

The “Critical Social Justice” Theorists … are activists, first and foremost. … Their primary occupation isn’t being an academic, an administrator, a legislator, an HR director, an educator, or any other such profession you might find them in; it’s being an activist and making their professional role about doing their activism. …

Of course they’re going to find ways to use this crisis to their advantage. They go around inventing problems or dramatically exaggerating or misinterpreting small problems to push their agenda; why wouldn’t they do the same in a situation where there’s so much chaos and thus so much going wrong?

Not only do they think about almost nothing except ways that “systemic power” and “dominant groups” are creating all the problems around us, they’ve more or less forgotten how to think about problems in any other way. The underlying assumption of their Theory — and that’s intentionally capitalized because it means a very specific thing — is that the very fabric of society is built out of unjust systemic power dynamics, and it is their job (as “critical theorists”) to find those, “make them visible,” and then to move on to doing it with the next thing, ideally while teaching other people to do it too. This crisis will be full of opportunities to do that, and they will do it relentlessly. …

Appeals to safety are pretty much the main tool that they use when not outright calling people highly morally charged names (like “racist”) … They will make hay out of every possible instance of a preventable death of a member of a minority group and, more importantly, every single disparate outcome by identity groups, whether there are other explanations for this or not (like poverty, trust or lack thereof for the medical establishment, language barriers, etc.).

Some of this kind of watchdog behavior needs to be happening, of course, and helps us improve our systems, but the critical approach we see in Critical Social Justice will be overwhelming, tendentious, and often downright exaggerated, misinterpreted, underinformed, or ginned-up. …

It’s important to recognize that, in this crisis, we will see a necessary expansion of state power and will therefore need to be vigilant on the far side to make sure that it isn’t abused, as has happened in previous calamities. Because Critical Social Justice is ultimately a kind of bureaucratic takeover, that is, it’s fundamentally an institutional effort, it will certainly seek to use any expansions in state (and other institutional) power to its advantage. It will do this by bending the will of these institutions to their vision.

So watch out, more of the same from the hard left coming up.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Locked Down in Third World California

Locked Down in Third World California, by David Cole.

As I type these words, Californians are under a mandatory “stay at home” edict issued by the Patrick Bateman cosplayer in our statehouse. Any Californian caught leaving his, her, its, or zir home for “nonessential” reasons is subject to fine or imprisonment.

Yes, the state that removed criminal penalties for knowingly giving someone AIDS has imposed criminal penalties on anyone who might inadvertently spread Wuhanvirus. Yes, the open-borders governor who claims he has no moral authority to tell Mexicans to stay out has ordered all Californians to stay in.

And yes, the state that’s rapidly decriminalizing property crimes has criminalized going outdoors. A Californian who decides to take a walk in a park risks more severe penalties than an illegal alien who steals a TV. Cities like San Francisco have reclassified property crimes as non-arrest offenses (citation only, as if for jaywalking), and California as a whole has deemed theft of items valued at less than $950 a non-arrest offense (as a result, such thefts are rarely pursued by police). On the other hand, any violation of Gavin Newsom’s “stay at home” edict is “punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or by imprisonment for no more than six months” (L.A.’s separate “stay at home” order carries the same penalties).

Here’s the funny part: Newsom has stated that he doesn’t believe imprisonment will actually be necessary in order to enforce the lockdown, because the mere threat of it will create a “social pressure” that will persuade Californians to comply on their own. A fascinating theory…the very presence of the threat of arrest and imprisonment acts as a force to compel compliance. So what happens when you remove that threat from crimes like robbery? You get looters running wild, because they risk no consequences.

In cities like Philly, the DA has directly ordered cops to stop making arrests for property crimes during the crisis, while in New York and other Democrat enclaves, activist DAs are pushing for the mass release of prisoners to “mitigate” the outbreak (see, quarantine only makes the law-abiding safe from the virus; for reasons left unexplained, quarantine is somehow unsafe for criminals).

Tucker Carlson has been rightfully enraged by the way in which these “progressive” DAs have been exploiting the virus to push an anti-enforcement agenda.

Australians must brace for a ‘Big Brother’ intrusion on the personal liberty we all take for granted

Australians must brace for a ‘Big Brother’ intrusion on the personal liberty we all take for granted, by George Williams, dean of law at the University of NSW.

Government officials can impose a human biosecurity control order on any person displaying one or more symptoms of COVID-19, as well as any other person they have been in contact with. These orders permit the government to bypass the need for personal consent.

Anyone subject to such an order can have their liberty and freedom restricted in numerous ways. They can be compelled to reveal every other person they have been in contact with and to remain at their residence or in isolation at a government facility. They can also be subject to medical examination and be compelled to provide body samples and submit to treatment. Anyone who fails to follow such directions can be detained by the police and jailed for five years.

The government can determine who comes to Australia and can establish human health response zones to restrict who enters or leaves a location within Australia. Areas with an outbreak, including towns, suburbs and streets, can be closed and quarantined. This might involve roadblocks and other means of preventing free movement. …

A possible dictatorship:

The most remarkable power lies in the federal Biosecurity Act. It permits the governor-general to declare a human biosecurity emergency to limit the spread of a disease that is posing a severe and immediate threat on a national scale.

Once the emergency has been declared, the federal health minister is vested with unfettered personal power of a kind normally only found in a dictatorship. The minister may determine “any requirement” and make “any direction” needed to prevent or control the disease. These cannot be disallowed by parliament and override any other law. Failure to comply is liable to five years’ imprisonment.

This is the “whatever-it-takes” clause. …

Did you know that we are already there?

Last Wednesday, the Governor-General declared, in accordance with the Biosecurity Act, that “a human biosecurity emergency exists”. This had the effect of vesting Health Minister Greg Hunt with the most significant powers that can be conferred upon an individual in Australia. Power that will last for three months at least.

Dictator of Australia … yep, this guy

Events have moved so quickly that last-resort options now need to be deployed. … Governments will use the very large sticks at their disposal to remove the last vestiges of complacency in the community and ensure compliance with biosecurity measures in the interest of all Australians.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Liberty and the Coronavirus: Not An Either/Or Proposition

Liberty and the Coronavirus: Not An Either/Or Proposition, by Ted Carpenter from the US.

World War I not only resulted in blatant assaults on the First Amendment (including the jailing of war critics), it led to statutes and executive orders that haunt us to this day. Various administrations have trotted out the Espionage Act of 1917 to punish whistleblowers and intimidate investigative journalists. Subsequent presidents used other laws passed during the war in ways never contemplated by the legislators who enacted them. For example, in August 1971, Richard Nixon declared a national emergency under the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 to impose import tariffs, close the gold window for international payments, and establish wage and price controls.

World War II produced additional abuses and alarming precedents. The most egregious was President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order putting Japanese Americans in “relocation centers” (concentration camps) for the crime of being Japanese Americans. In an especially shameful ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the legality of his action, which made it an ongoing policy option. During the Korean War, President Harry Truman attempted to seize control of the nation’s steel mills as a wartime measure.

More recently, the policy responses to the 9/11 terrorist attacks included the so-called Patriot Act and its legendary erosions of the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as the weakening of other rights guaranteed in the Constitution. The result has been an intrusive surveillance state that no one can seem to control. …

And for the virus?

We are already witnessing edicts in other countries that amount to the regimentation of entire populations. Such measures have shuttered virtually all businesses, barred “nonessential” travel, prohibited most gatherings, imposed curfews, and established martial law in all but name. This has taken place not only in dictatorial China and North Korea, but in democratic countries such as Italy, Spain, and France. …

The raw emotions underlying the arguments in favor of comprehensive lockdowns, such as those that Newsom and Cuomo have ordered, are understandable, but the economic costs are enormous and the damage to basic civil liberties may ultimately prove great. Officials have imposed restrictions without any provisions for appeal. Worse, it does not appear that they recognize any limits to their power.

What if it’s not a one-off to which we develop long-term immunity, like the ‘flu?

There is no realistic way of running a complex, interconnected economy for an extended period of time when a country—or even major portions of it—are on lockdown. A similar problem arises if the coronavirus does not prove to be a one-time visitor, but resembles influenza outbreaks that ebb and flow each year but never entirely go away. In addition to the economic obstacles, forcibly cocooned populations will (and should) become deeply resentful if their lives are repeatedly upended by bureaucratic edicts. …

We don’t want either overcautious or egotistical public officials to be tempted to impose drastic measures in response to lesser health or other emergencies.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus Update. First, some insight into the US political split over the virus that has developed due to the polarization and fake media of the last three years:

The stand-out country at the moment is the USA which is paying a terrible price for the apparent downplaying of the virus in its early stages by President Trump, who as recently as February 28th referred to information about the virus incidence in the U.S. as a hoax, and saying the virus would miraculously go away. He also repeated several times that the U.S. had the virus incidence under control, but the lack of testing availability left the information he was no doubt receiving, totally inaccurate. No doubt many Trump believers thus treated any dire warnings of the pandemic as hugely overblown.

Now we are in a situation where the U.S. is the third most affected country in the world and if the virus spread continues at its current rate could even overtake China as the world’s most affected nation within a month or so! New York State alone reports more people testing positive to the virus than all but six countries globally.

In Australia the issue is not politicized, with a both sides of politics working in unison on the issue. Meanwhile, the disease is spreading exponentially in Australia:

(A straight line on a log graph means an exponential increase.)

Study: Women more likely to vote for parties that celebrities, friends, and mass culture approve of

Study: Women more likely to vote for parties that celebrities, friends, and mass culture approve of, by Christoffer.

Many often wonder why support for national populist parties is much higher among men than it is for women, despite women being affected by mass immigration-related problems just as much, if not more so, than men are.

Scientists at four European universities — Gothenburg, Amsterdam, Bergan, and Aarhus — have investigated why this is the case, and have concluded that much of it has to do with women being more fearful to deviate from culturally accepted norms. …

Interestingly enough, the scientists found that women and men actually have quite similar opinions when it comes to immigration and other issues, but only when the women taking part in the study did not know which parties the views presented came from. …

It’s entirely possible that because celebrities and the mainstream press are nearly all left-wing or liberal, this makes women much more hesitant to vote for politically incorrect parties than men are. As this study would suggest, men have a much easier time standing up for their views, even when those views are controversial or considered by the mainstream culture to be socially unacceptable.

Swedish debater Erik van Der Heeg, who has read the study, shared his conclusion regarding its findings on Facebook, saying: “Women’s attitude to a party can change very fast when the party passes a certain normalization threshold. Women will then collectively change direction like a group of fishes who swim.”

Young women especially seem more fearful to deviate from the accepted norm.

Not really news for most of us I expect, more confirmation. Women are most interested in social signalling that appeases the authorities.

hat-tip Philip Barton

Every day matters. See which day each US state loses the chance to protect thousands.

Every day matters. See which day each US state loses the chance to protect thousands. By Joanne Nova.

Look at State by State outcomes: visit Covid Act Now

New York:

Oops, too late for them, hospitals are going to get overwhelmed. Should have started shelter in place a few days earlier.

There are four levels of action modeled here (from March 19th). The final death tolls are very different.

Important points:

  • Social distancing merely delays things a bit, and reduces the final death toll by 100,000 to 292,000.
  • Shelter in place for three months makes a big difference, but still 50,000 deaths eventually.
  • Wuhan-style lockdown for three months is required to keep the death toll to just a few thousand.

How much inconvenience and interruption to the economy is worth 50,000 or 300,000 deaths in New York?

Australia’s population is 25 million, New York’s is 20 million. Broadly similar health facilities and demographics. Scaling up the results above to Australia, there will be maybe half a million Australian deaths unless something is done — as we estimated on the Wentworth Report several weeks ago when we were urging that the borders be closed immediately.

Now that the virus is in Australia, the cost is going to be horrendous. We can limit the deaths to a few thousand by going full-Wuhan, or maybe only 350,000 deaths by just doing social distancing. How many dead are acceptable in order to continue doing our normal activities and keep the economy “normal”?

Foreseeable and foreseen.