The desecration of the Cook County Forest Preserves

By John Ruberry

One respite from the hectic way of life in Chicago and its suburbs are the 70,000 acres that comprise the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. I run on trails there that are near my home. I take nature photos there. Others walk, ride bicycles, or just sit and collect their thoughts. Some picnic in the preserves, whether it’s a family or a group of hundreds.

On there is a seamy side too. Some parking lots at the preserves are popular spots for romantic hookups, once in a while some of those large picnics turn violent, occasionally the bodies of murder victims are dumped there, and the Forest Preserve District has a reputation of hiring otherwise unemployable Democratic Party patronage workers. Charles “Cap” Sauer ran the preserves for years. He once confided to Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko about some of his workers, “They know that if they are going to receive a day’s pay, they must give me at least a half a day’s work.”

Despite little or no evidence that outdoor activities pose COVID-19 risks, the FPDCC is making using the preserves more difficult and less enjoyable for the owners of them, that is taxpayers, even though exercise is essential for maintaining good physical and mental health. 

Many forest preserve parking lots, which are often strewn with potholes, are closed on weekends and even daily in some cases because of alleged overcrowding. Oh, if a parking lot is full, drivers do what? They leave. Public washrooms are closed. Where are people supposed to relieve themselves? As a runner, I know how to, let’s say, improvise a short distance from a trail. Let’s say you’d like to sit down during a long walk and you don’t care to plop down on the grass. There’s a rare bench here and there but during normal times people find a picnic table. At most of the preserves near me the tables are now stacked. wrapped in police tape, and barricaded by snow fences. There are “snitch signs” placed all through the preserves asking those full-bladdered visitors to rat-out large groups. Even though for most people their forest preserve experience is a solitary one, as it is with me, or it’s done in twos-or-threes.

Story continues below the photograph.

Barricaded picnic shelter with stacked tables at St. Paul Woods Forest Preserve

Water fountains have not been turned back on after being shut off last year for the winter. Yes, today is the last day of May. Oh, there is no shortage of FPDCC workers–none have been laid off.

Those most revealing sign is one outside St. Paul Woods here in Morton Grove. “Keep it moving. No picnicking. No congregating.” Or as Dean Wormer famously phrased it in Animal House, “No more fun of any kind.”

How did it come to this situation? Yeah, I know, the coronavirus outbreak. Cook County has over 5 million residents. There have been 45,000 confirmed cases of it in Cook with about 2,100 confirmed deaths. And of course most of those fatalities consist of people who were already quite ill.

But we got here because Cook County voters elected a hardened leftist,  Chicago Democrat Toni Preckwinkle, as president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Part of that job is overseeing the Forest Preserve District. Leftists remind me of the smug titular character in the underrated Coen Brothers movie Barton Fink. He loves “the people” but Fink doesn’t like people. The same goes with Preckwinkle and other leftists in government. And their idea of government is that we are a government with a people, not the other way around. 

These are their woods, not ours.

Stay out of my parking lot! 

Stay away from other people! 

No water fountains for you!

Hold your bladders!

No more fun of any kind!

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Blind obedience to the government has never been an American virtue

Every time I see large groups of individuals gather to protest the draconian restrictions many governors have placed on their citizens I am happy.  I am also relieved to know that decades of progressive indoctrination has not squashed this in everyone, even though educators and the media have made great inroads.  Far too many have blindly accepted the trampling of their rights and far too many oppose the efforts of their liberty minded friends.  Of course the liberal media has done an excellent job vilifying those who demand a return to the good old days when freedom and liberty were the only normal we accepted.

I am extremely happy and relieved that the mass protests have not resulted in spikes in   virus cases.  It it did happen I know the media would have trumpeted that news loudly. 

When researching last week’s article I came across the perfect example of the type of liberal indoctrination that takes place.  This example was this definition of the rule of law I found on the Merriam Webster Dictionary “a situation in which the laws of a country are obeyed by everyone.”  When I saw the definition I was angered because it goes against so many important principles that are at the core of our great republic.  These principles have been core principles since the first sparks of the American Revolution began.

There is nothing more American than taking a stand against unjust laws.  That notion was at the very heart of the American Revolution.  Thomas Jefferson immortalized this principle when he wrote this in a letter to James Madison:

I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccesful rebellions indeed generally establish the incroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medecine necessary for the sound health of government.

I want to make it clear that I am in no way advocating armed rebellion now or ever.  Nonviolent civil disobedience has always proved to be far more effective.  I am extremely grateful that we have the Second Amendment to protect our God-given natural right to bear arms which is our ultimate defense against a tyrannical government.

We must only accept laws that are just. If they are not we must speak out and protest.  Questioning unjust laws does not mean we do not value the rule of law, it means we properly understand it is a two way street. 

For the rule of law to apply the laws must also be passed by those who have the true authority to pass such laws.  Governors issuing stay at home orders and lockdowns most likely do not have the proper authority under the state constitutions therefore they are not valid laws.

The US Constitution is the supreme law of the land in the United States.  Laws that violate the Constitution are not valid therefore the rule of law does not apply.  We should protest unconstitutional laws more readily.

Many states, including Massachusetts, are way too slow with their reopening process even though the curve of the Coronavirus has trended downward and not just flattened. I am hoping the protests soon kick into high gear.

My wife and daughter escaped the Illinois lockdown and traveled to Wisconsin

By John Ruberry

As I wrote a couple of posts back the unemployment rate is 67 percent in the Marathon Pundit home here in suburban Chicago. Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, they were furloughed from their jobs.

Obviously in possession of free time Mrs. Marathon Pundit and Little Marathon Pundit decided to travel on this holiday weekend–they headed to Wisconsin. I stayed here to work.

Illinois, run by a Democrat from Chicago, J.B. Pritzker, remains under lockdown. You cannot enter supermarkets or any store with out a mask. Up in Wisconsin, its state Supreme Court struck down its shelter-in-place order made by its Democratic governor, Tony Evers. And its mask requirements.

Wisconsin is a free state. Illinois is a lockdown state. It’s that simple. My wife and daughter’s money is being spent not her3 but north of the Cheese Curtain. In a way they remind me of Poles in the last years of the Cold War visiting West Germany.

Illinois, according to WalletHub, has the most restrictive COVID-19 restrictions in the nation.

I just got off the phone with Mrs. MP. She enthusiastically told me about her first dine-in restaurant experience in two months. The restaurants in Illinois that are open are open for take-out only. On Friday outdoor dining will be allowed in the Prairie State. What if it rains? What if these diners aren’t equipped for al fresco serving? What if they don’t have the necessary permits? What if the restaurant owners can’t apply for an outdoor dining permit because their village hall is closed because of the coronavirus lockdown? Thanks for next-to-nothing, Pritzker.

Then my wife told me about their arrival yesterday in the small town of Mineral Point in the southwestern part America’s Dairyland. There was–wait for it–a parade! One for recent high school graduates. While the graduation ceremony was cancelled, grads in Mineral Point received their moment of glory on the streets. As far as I can gather all parades scheduled in Illinois in spring or early summer were cancelled. “A few people wore masks,” she told me of the people participating or viewing the parade, “but most didn’t.” Some stores are open–mostly the locally-owned ones as opposed to the big chains. “When you go in those places, you don’t have to wear masks,” she enthused.

My wife and daughter went inside, yes inside, a coffee shop, and drank coffee, although a sign outside of that establishment said, “Masks are recommended.” But masks weren’t even recommended when they entered an ice cream parlor.

Many other Illinoisans have escaped to Wisconsin too. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel spoke to one refugee from the Pritzker Lockdown who journeyed to Lake Geneva. “‘All for it,” said Dave Gragnani of McHenry, Illinois, who said he planned to visit a coffee shop and skatepark without any mask or hand sanitizer. “People should have a choice. I’m having a wonderful time.'”

Good for you, Dave!

As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”

Not as much as Wisconsin, but Indiana is opening up too. And of course the welcome mat is open there for Illinoisans fed up with the lockdown. I’m sure Iowa, where my family traveled last month, as well as Missouri and Kentucky, the other states that border Illinois, are enjoying an influx of cash-flush Illinoisans.

Yes, I’m aware that nearly 100,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the United States, although nearly every one of them already had serious health problems. Nursing homes, hospitals, and senior centers need extra protection. 

It’s time to open up the rest of America. And the world. 

Dennis Prager earlier this month wrote that the worldwide COVD-19 lockdown might be biggest mistake in history

John Ruberry regularly writes at Marathon Pundit.

Coronavirus lockdowns violate the US Constitution and the Rule of Law

Thanks to our abysmal educational system most of us do not have a proper understanding of the US Constitution, mostly in regards to the relationship between the federal government and states. Under the original understanding of the Constitution the States are mostly independent nations held together by a weak federal government.  That has not changed, only our elected officials have ignored the original meaning. 

The US Constitution as originally ratified only restrained the states in a few key areas, all of which are listed in Article 1 Section 10.  It was very difficult for state laws to violate the US Constitution.   We have been conditioned to mistakenly believe the Supreme Court has the authority overturn state laws and state laws do regularly violate the US Constitution. 

If it was not for the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment the state Coronavirus lockdowns and other actions would not violate the US Constitution.  Here are the clauses of that amendment which are violated by the state lockdowns.

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The shelter in place orders and similar lockdown orders deprive a large percentage of the inhabitants of the states of their liberty.  Liberty is the freedom to do as you please as long as you don’t hurt anyone.  A state or local government can only deprive an individual of their liberty if that individual has been found guilty in a court of law. There are no exceptions for emergencies.  Forcing stores to close also violates the liberty of the owners and workers of the stores.

Labeling certain individuals as essential and others not essential workers and allowing them to travel based on that classification violates the equal protection clause.  Closing only certain stores also violates the equal protection clause.

According the Section Five of the Fourteenth Amendment the US congress through the formal legislative process not the Supreme Court has the authority to overturn state laws that violate that amendment.  That was done in response to the Dred Scott Case.

Lockdowns violate the Rule of Law.  This concept is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as:

The restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws

These lockdowns are arbitrary rules made up by governors.  They apply only to certain individuals.  They are not well thought out and do tremendous harm.  They are unjust rules.

Be careful which dictionary you use, some are deeply erroneous.  Here is how the Merriam Webster dictionary defines the Rule of Law “a situation in which the laws of a country are obeyed by everyone.” For the Rule of Law to apply the law must be just and it must be a valid law passed by those with the proper authority.  Ignoring or protesting unjust laws are valid methods of maintaining the Rule of Law.

The Coronavirus lockdowns and everything else violate state constitutions and state laws. That is the proper level for fighting these unjust rules and practices.

Masks dehumanize us

Discarded medical mask, Miami Woods, Morton Grove, Illinois

By John Ruberry

On my way to work here in Illinois–where Democratic governor JB Pritzker says I have to wear a mask–I was listening to Dennis Prager’s show when he said something along the lines that people connect to each other by way of seeing their faces. Very true. The most obvious example is by way of dating sites, nearly all of the profiles include face pics. Whether you are old or young, thin or heavy, bald or hairy, every expert on creating profiles for LinkedIn recommends using a quality head shot on that employment networking site. 

Faces are how we remember people. When you think of Angelina Jolie her lips come to mind. With Jay Leno it’s his prominent chin. With John Bolton his bushy mustache is his visual trademark. If they are wearing masks you won’t see their distinctive facial features. 

A masked face doesn’t allow you to see smiles.

It’s unclear how effective masks are in preventing the spread of COVID-19, with the exception of the N95 mask, which gets its name because it’s supposed to block 95 percent of small particles.  

What is clear is that the projections of the death total from the novel coronavirus have been alarmist. The most dire one predicted 2.2 million COVID-19 deaths in America–and that prediction likely led to many shelter-in-place orders being put in place, including the one that was extended by Pritzker, most likely illegally, until the end of May. The latter order opened a few more places, such as golf courses, but added a mask requirement for businesses open to the public, such as big box stores. Dine-in restaurants, hair salons, and health clubs remain shuttered. Churches too. 

Humans are primates and primates are social beings. We’re not cats. While there are a few among us who choose the life a hermit, even existences commonly connected with solitude, such as that of a monk or a nun, involve a community where people see each other. Monks typically live in monasteries with other monks. Nuns dwell in convents with other nuns. 

So far COVID-19 is not nearly as deadly as the 1918 Flu Pandemic which killed anywhere from 50-100 million people worldwide–and many of those who died of it were in their twenties and thirties who were otherwise healthy. It is not the Asian Flu of the late 1950s which killed roughly two million. While every death of course is a tragedy, so far 300,000 people have died of COVID-19. In 1918 the world population was about 1.6 billion, in 1958 it was a bit short of 3 billion. Today’s world population is 8 billion. 

A few weeks ago I questioned whether the draconian methods to shut down our economy were worth it, bankruptcies and unemployment are common triggers for substance abuse, depression, spousal and child abuse, and suicide. Since that post we’ve learned nearly all of the coronavirus fatalities suffered from pre-existing conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. 

Now because of masks we are becoming the faceless, like the disturbing images in the “Life of Julia” Obama-Biden campaign video from 2012 that preached to the masses–not to individuals–the inherent power of a government that does everything for you. But remember Barry Goldwater’s warning, “Any government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.”

Like Prager, I’m not a conspiracy nut. But a couple of weeks ago he wrote that the coronavirus overreaction is a dress rehearsal for a police state. Chicago’s vast expanse of lakefront parks–which is 18 miles long–have been closed for six weeks and counting. Churches and dine-in restaurants are closed statewide, as I mentioned earlier. In regards to the latter, for health reasons will the state or local governments in Illinois retain the power to shutter restaurants that serve, let’s say, too much high-fat food? That possibility is no longer far-fetched. 

The lakefront parks won’t be closed forever. But I can easily see Lori Lightfoot or a future Chicago mayor limiting Lincoln Park or Jackson Park to a few hundred visitors each day–with government workers with internal passports first in line of course–in the name of nature preservation or fighting global warming. It will of course all be done in the name of the faceless masses. 

I’m running low on orange juice. I may need run to the supermarket. Where is my mask?

I’ll be less of a human wearing that mask. Is that the plan?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

My Wuhan Virus Regimen

by baldilocks

So, this is how I’m maintaining my physical health during the LA lockdown.

My daily intake:

  • Calcium 1000 mg
  • Vitamin D 3000 units
  • Zinc 15 mg
  • Aspirin 325 mg
  • Old person multivitamin (age 50+); two things of special value in this: vitamins B6 and B12

Home juicer squeezed fruit juice consisting of:

  • Strawberries or beets
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Tomato
  • Apple
  • Ginger
  • Lime (sometimes)
  • Kiwifruit

Home juicer squeezed juice consisting of:

  • Carrot
  • Tomato
  • Garlic

I drink that last concoction when I’m not going to be near anyone for a bit. A friend told me that it knocks down cold/flu symptoms, but I haven’t had either one since I started drinking it … that may or may not be proof of its effectiveness.

(Disclaimer: I am not a vegetarian and have no plans to become one.)

Nighttime: big glass of water with a spoonful of food-grade diatomaceous earth. Allegedly this stuff does a lot of things, but it does one very important thing: it makes everything come out right in the morning, if you get my drift.

Daily output:

Recently I was diagnosed with a condition called spondylolisthesis. It is literally a pain in my butt on the right side, but that wasn’t what caused me to have it checked out. It was this: if I lay on my back for more than about a minute, my right foot starts to tingle.

It stems from an injury I received many years ago while helping someone move a heavy object. So, that diagnosis has resulted in three things.

The first is physical therapy, during which I learn how to strengthen my core, how to properly stretch and where a cute young guy gives me a back(side) massage twice a week. And, yes, they are open during the lockdown.

The second is power walking; 45-60 minutes, roughly 3 miles, 5-6 times a week. When I reach a speed that puts me under 45 minutes, I increase the distance the next day. It’s a good time to listen to audiobooks, but I don’t do it that often. I get out and walk very early and I like the sound of silence.

I’ve been doing this for about a month and I had thought about doing some jogging, but because of the spondy-blah-blah, that’s out. Good thing, too. In spite of my Kenyan heritage, I hate running.

Walking while wearing a N95 mask: I keep it on the tip of my nose unless I’m near someone. It’s more for their peace of mind than mine.

The third thing: planking. This practice has greatly increased the length of time that I’m able to lie my back before my foot starts to tingle. And it has noticeably decreased my computer hunch.

I feel really great after I finish, both physically and emotionally.

No claims on whether this regimen cures or prevents anything, but it can’t hurt.

I was taking almost all the vitamins and the home-juice long before the onset of COVID-19, so I’m not making any claims on effectiveness against that or any other virus. Mostly I began taking these things to ward off pain, anxiety and lethargy. I have only one prescription – the vitamin D – and I plan on keeping it that way for as long as possible.

And I top all this off with a big dollop of prayers for success. God rewards action.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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We the People decide what is normal not the government

One phrase that has been bandied about far too often during this Coronavirus crisis is “the new normal.”  It deeply disturbs me every time I hear an elected member from our government, at any level, declare that the end result of their plans for reopening our country will be a new normal. 

Whenever one of our elected representatives uses that phrase they are acting like a dictator.  They are treating us like subjects rather that citizens of a Constitutional Republic.  Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts acted like a dictator when he declared this to be phase four of  his torturously slow plan for reopening this state:

Phase 4 will be the “New Normal” – development of vaccine and/or therapy enables resumption of new normal.

The use the phrase “new normal” as the end goal is a sign of surrender to the virus.  It is defeatist.  It is not something we Americans should ever strive for.  The only acceptable end result for any challenge facing this country is a complete return to the normal we had before the challenge began.

When a  politician declares that the end scenario of any crisis will result in a new normal they are declaring that they want to fundamentally transform this nation in some way.  It is unacceptable to us Americans that our government will unilaterally transform this nation in some way. We the people must always be the the agents of change for any change no matter how small or local.

It also bothers me greatly that phase four of the Baker plan will only commence when a vaccine or therapy enables it.  There is no guarantee when that would happen.  Until then we are stuck in phase3 which is defined as “Phase 3 will be “Vigilant” – additional industries resume operations with guidance.”   It will mean nothing but government interference,

The entire Baker plan, as unveiled on this past Monday, is as slow and arduous as I feared when I wrote last week’s article.  I’m afraid that by the time we reach the end of it the economic devastation will be quite catastrophic. We need to let Governor Baker know that his plan is way too slow.

The Pritzker disaster in Illinois

Apple River Fort State Historic Site last month in Elizabeth, Illinois, located in a county that has 18 reported cases of COVID-19 as of May 10, 2020.

By John Ruberry

Illinois has the wrong governor at the wrong time. 

Oh, I’m not talking about the political positions of Chicago Democrat J.B. Pritzker, the billionaire who was elected governor in 2018. 

Let’s first discuss how he was elected. Largely because of support of unions, who probably fell in love with his wallet, as well as the tacit support of the most powerful politician in Illinois, longtime state House speaker Michael Madigan, Pritzker won the Democratic gubernatorial primary. That’s quite ironic as the Pritzker family has had a troubled relationship with organized labor, starting with the Pritzker-owned Hyatt hotel chain

Pritzker largely self-funded his campaign. So did his hapless general election opponent, multi-millionaire Bruce Rauner. The one-term Republican achieved nothing as governor, other than get bested by Boss Madigan, the mother hen of Illinois’ pension bomb

Illinois’ shelter-in-place order in response to the coronavirus was eased a bit earlier this month. Golf courses, those germ cesspools, are now open. Dine-in restaurants, health clubs, hair salons and the like are closed. Nearly one million Illinoisans, including my wife and daughter, are newly out of work. 

When things get back to what we might call normal, many of businesses won’t be here anymore. Pritzker is a trust fund baby who has never had to worry about economic survival. I’m sure he’s had a few setbacks, but he could always reach into that perpetually-full cookie jar of a trust fund or his accounts in the Grand Cayman Islands. Contrast that situation to the husband and wife who met while working as servers at a restaurant twenty years ago, then saved their money and took out a second mortgage on their home to open their own restaurant. They’ve laid off their servers and bussers, and only half of their cooks kept their jobs. Revenue has plummeted. Taking a third mortgage out on their home to bail out their restaurant isn’t an option. So their dream business, their livelihood that supported children may have only one destiny. Closing down. And then they’ll have no choice but to declare bankruptcy. 

Pritzker doesn’t get it. 

Since the governor issued his shelter-in-place order nearly two months ago most state offices were shuttered. Yet every state employee is being paid. Let’s zoom in on Illinois’ secretary of state office, which is mainly what other places call the DMV. Driver’s licenses aren’t being issued or renewed, the same goes with license plates, unless, with the latter, you are buying a car as most car dealers in Illinois have the ability to provide at the very least temporary state tags. 

Why haven’t state employees like these been laid off? Union rules just might prohibit that but we are told by Pritzker that Illinois is facing an emergency. I’m sure if he wanted to he’d find a state law to justify layoffs. But Pritzker couldn’t simply buy the governor’s office two years ago, he needed votes to win and unions supply lots of voters. And Pritzker, who is not the most dynamic campaigner–he comes across as an arrogant jerk because he is one–will need labor support again if he chooses to run for reelection. 

Sales tax revenue is of course way down in Illinois. Because of that and the state’s mountain of unpaid bills and its appallingly-underfunded public worker pension plans, last month Fitch lowered Illinois’ bond to one level above junk

Unlike its governor, Illinois has no trust fund to bail it out nor does it have bank accounts in the Grand Caymans. Courtesy of Boss Madigan Illinois hasn’t had a rainy day fund for years. 

Pritzker is facing several lawsuits challenging his shelter-in-place order. But his wife violated that order by leaving the state for the refuge of their Florida equestrian estate, in the manner of a medieval royal escaping a plague. 

It’s good to be king. It’s better to be a billionaire living off a trust fund who can use that cash to be elected governor and then lecture people like me as to how I should live my life. He’s been doing so in his daily press briefings on live television that pre-empt talk shows and soap operas. What fun! The Great Oz has spoken!

Rural Illinois has been particularly devastated by Pritzker’s shutdown. Many Illinois counties have fewer than ten reported cases of COVID-19. Three of them have none. 

With great fanfare and expense–$65 million–Pritzker transformed Chicago’s cavernous McCormick Place Convention Center into a hospital because he told us our existing hospitals would be overwhelmed by the coronavirus and there’d be no more hospital beds. After treating 37 patients the McCormick Place hospital closed down. Pritzker took bad advice from so-called experts.

Whether the shelter-in-place order in Illinois and other states worked–or perhaps it was never needed–the lockdowns need to end, with exceptions such as preventing visitors at places with vulnerable people, such as nursing homes. Densely populated cities such as New York and Boston–but not Chicago–probably need to keep up additional protections against COVID-19.

As I wrote a few weeks ago here, a new epidemic is coming. Perhaps it’s here already. One consisting of addiction, spouse and child abuse, and suicide. Economic hardship often brings out the worst in people. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

It looks like Massachusetts may not be opening any time soon

Governor Charlie Baker had originally announced that all nonessential businesses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would remain closed until May 4th.  That date was later postponed another two weeks.  Most of us in this state were hoping and expecting that when that date is finally reached things would rapidly return to normal  I was one of them.  My hopes were rudely squashed when I saw this article on social media: Baker: Mass. Businesses Closed Due To Coronavirus Won’t Be ‘Off To The Races’ On May 18.

Here is how Governor Baker describes his plans for the opening process:

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said that while he hopes some businesses will be able to resume operations soon after May 18, he added it will be a gradual process and not “off to the races.”

“There won’t be anyone firing a starting gun on May 18 and saying everybody’s off to the races, but we do hope certain types of businesses and workplaces will be able to begin resuming operations, under the guidelines established through this process, and based on the fact that we will have hit certain triggers, with respect to the status of the virus here in Massachusetts,” said Baker.

Instead  of the rapid reopening we were expecting it looks now like it will be a long arduous process. According this quote from Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito the process might not even begin on the 18th.

“There seems to be some with an understanding that May 18 is a magical date. May 18 is the date that we said the report of this advisory board will be released,” she said, adding “It doesn’t mean that the economy across our Commonwealth will just reopen. It’s just not possible.”

How arduous will the process be? Check out this quote from Governor Charlie Baker.

“In the coming weeks we’re prepared to have more concrete plans on what each phase of reopening will look like, where certain activities and industries fit into which phase, general business guidance about social distancing, personal protection, and cleaning protocols that all businesses will need to adhere to upon reopening, and industry specific guidance and protocols for reopening safely,”

If Governor Baker’s reopening plan proves to be as slow and torturous as it seems from this article I’m not sure how many businesses will be left to open.  How many people will have their livelihood destroyed for good?  I believe the economic carnage by a painfully slow process will be staggering.  I don’t believe the people of Massachusetts will stand by and let such a slow process play out.  A major protest took place on this past Monday with at least a couple thousand in attendance.  The protests will soon spread and become larger,  Hopefully Governor Baker will listen.

Rather than relying on a committee of experts to come up with a plan which will be implemented by bureaucrats I believe Governor Baker should just let the business owners and the people of  Massachusetts come up with their own plan.  Decentralized decision making is always far superior to mandates from bureaucrats

State of Shock (Update)

by baldilocks

I find it almost impossible to write anymore because in the last few months, like nearly everyone in the country – in the world, probably – I live in a state of open-mouthed shock.

The list of reason is long, and I think it would be boring to display them here. Chief among them, however, is this: how many times that conservatives and Christians defend living in a state of fear and discovering how many of them would choose peace and safety over liberty.

And don’t tell them about signs of hope! This will cause them to ridicule you, your intellect, and even your lineage – assuming that the one doing the ridiculing isn’t part of your lineage. Because only the ignorant have hope; only fools are looking for the end of the pestilence.

And only the stupid are willing to hang onto their freedom, by their fingernails if necessary.

Turns out that the embrace of the US Constitution was just talk in many cases. Just a nice theory.

But now that some risk is involved, not only are they not willing to risk peace and safety for theoretical liberty, but these so-called conservatives would shame those who are willing to put it on all on this line for phantom called freedom.

They might even be the ones on the phone to the cops when the real conservatives are outside exercising their liberties by doing things like … taking their children to a babysitter so that they can go to their “essential” job.

So it is that I agree with Dennis Prager.

All my life, I have dismissed paranoids on the right (“America is headed to communism”) and the left (“It can happen here” — referring to fascism). It’s not that I’ve ever believed liberty was guaranteed. Being familiar with history and a pessimist regarding the human condition, I never believed that.

But the ease with which police state tactics have been employed and the equal ease with which most Americans have accepted them have been breathtaking.

People will argue that a temporary police state has been justified because of the allegedly unique threat to life posed by the new coronavirus. I do not believe the data will bear that out. Regardless, let us at least agree that we are closer to a police state than ever in American history.

(SNIP)

[W]e are presently living with all four of the key hallmarks of a police state:

No. 1: Draconian laws depriving citizens of elementary civil rights.

No. 2: A mass media supportive of the state’s messaging and deprivation of rights.

No. 3: Use of police.

No. 4: Snitches.

Prager expounds on each item.

I think there is still hope, but our state and local governments will not relinquish their new powers easily, as Michigan Governor Whitmer has demonstrated through her actions in the face of active resistance.

Strangely enough however, I don’t think that it will be violence that will break the stranglehold, at least not mass violence. [UPDATE 6/3/2020: Holy cow was I ever wrong about this!]

I think that there are enough Americans out there – regardless of party – who will tire of government incarceration and will simply ignore their jailers and take the risk of pestilence, ridicule and arrest. Heck, it’s already happening, even here in California.

And I guarantee that a goodly portion of them will go outside while invoking protection under the wing of the Most High. Without fear, naturally.

Because that’s how you hold onto your freedom. Fortune favors the bold.

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Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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