Coronavirus lockdowns and mask mandates are another battle in the war collectivists are waging against individualism

There is absolutely nothing more destructive to the individualism of a human being then forcing that person to cover their face with a mask.  Forcing the entire population of a society to cover their faces whenever they leave their homes strips away the individuality of every person.

There is nothing a committed leftist despises more than a nation full of individualists, especially if that nation is truly prosperous as well free.  They will strive tirelessly to destroy the individualism at the core of that great nation.  That is just what progressives have been doing to the United States since the beginning of the 20th century.

Progressives firmly believe in the philosophy of collectivism.  They believe no one has free will or any true value.  They believe that the highest duty of government is to force every individual in the society to be exactly equal.  They believe that the government has the power and authority to sacrifice the lives of all individuals living in the society.

There are no scientific or medical justifications for the mask mandates that have been imposed by the governors of so may states, and even less reasons to keep them in force for the past year.  If you believe that mask mandates are backed by science check out these quotes from the article Mask-Wearing Represents Fear and Blind Obedience, Not Science by Dennis Prager:

Dr. Anthony Fauci himself told the truth about the uselessness of mask-wearing on “60 Minutes” on March 8, 2020: “Right now, in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks. … There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better, and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And, often, there are unintended consequences: People keep fiddling with the mask, and they keep touching their face.”

Dr. Paul E. Alexander, a Canadian epidemiologist, wrote: “Surgical and cloth masks, used as they currently are, have absolutely no impact on controlling the transmission of Covid-19 virus, and current evidence implies that face masks can be actually harmful.” (American Institute for Economic Research, Feb. 11, 2021.)

Roger W. Koops, who has a doctorate in chemistry from the University of California, Riverside, wrote: “A ‘mask,’ and that term usually refers to either a SURGICAL mask or N95 mask, has no benefit in the general population and is only useful in controlled clinical settings. Further, it has been considered a greater transmission risk than a benefit in the general population. … In the open environment, no one should be wearing face coverings.” (American Institute for Economic Research, Oct. 16, 2020.)

Finally, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on May 21, 2020, concluded: “We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.”

Lockdowns prevent individuals from earning a living, making them dependent on government which is very destructive to ones ego and individualism.  Small businesses are harmed far more than large corporations by the lockdowns, most often this is a planned feature of the restrictions.  Collectivists do not want millions of successful businesses owned by individuals employing small numbers of individuals.  It is far easier to centrally plan the economy if it is made up of a small number of immensely large corporations.

Lockdowns also prevent individuals from traveling and interacting with others which is very harmful because humans are social animals.  The nonstop Coronavirus fear porn splashed across TV and computer screens is meant to keep us from speaking out against the evils we see being perpetrated by collectivists.

Vaccine Passports would be unconstitutional, immoral, and unscientific

Many times a day we have heard liberal politicians and politically influenced medical professionals float the idea of requiring that individuals obtain a Coronavirus vaccine before they can participate in normal life again.  Requiring a vaccine passport before someone can eat at a restaurant, fly on an airplane, travel, or engage in any type if activity is fascist in the extreme.  The idea goes against every single ideal the United States of America was founded on.

Any type of vaccine passport imposed by any level or agency of the Federal Government would violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment because the right of conscience is integral to that clause of the First Amendment.  

A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom by Thomas Jefferson was the foundation for the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. As you can see, the right of conscience is a major component of Jefferson’s bill.

We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact, that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any relig[i]ous Worship place or Ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

Several States proposed amendments to the Constitution thet would be incorporated into the Bill of Rights.  From the text of this amendment proposed at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, the right of conscience was at the very heart of  what became the First Amendment.

Twentieth, That religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence, and therefore all men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience, and that no particular religious sect or society ought to be favored or established by Law in preference to others.

Here is the text of the First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievance.

This next quote is from transcript of the House of Representatives where they debated the Amendments to the Constitution that would become the Bill of Rights. In this Quote James Madison explains that the right of conscience was onr of the prime motivations for the First Amendment.

Mr. Madison said, he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience. Whether the words are necessary or not, he did not mean to say, but they had been required by some of the State Conventions, who seemed to entertain an opinion that under the clause of the Constitution, which gave power to Congress to make all laws necessary and proper to carry into execution the Constitution, and the laws made under it, enabled them to make laws of such a nature as might infringe the rights of conscience and establish a national religion; to prevent these effects he presumed the amendment was intended, and he thought it as well expressed as the nature of the language would admit.

The Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution does not restrain the States in any way.  The Constitutions of all the individual States include a Bill of Rights to protect the rights of the people of that State.  Here are the two clauses of the Massachusetts Bill of Rights that mimic the Free Exercise of Religion Clause of the federal Constitution.  Vaccine passport laws would violate those clauses because they violate the right of conscience of every individual.

Article II.  It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession or sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship.

Article XVIII.  Section 1. No law shall be passed prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

Vaccine Passport laws would also violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment which states:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

The freedom to move as you wish, leave your house whenever you want, eat at a restaurant whenever you want, and so much more is included in the word liberty.  The only way the federal government can deprive an individual of their liberty is if that individual is found guilty in a court of law by a jury.   Vaccine passports are an obscene violation of that clause.

The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution prohibits the States from depriving the inhabitants of the States of their liberty unless individuals are tried in a court of law and found guilty by a jury.  Vaccine passports would violate that clause of the Constitution.  State Constitutions also include clauses that protect the liberty of every individual inhabiting that State.  They would be violated by vaccine passports.

I  have yet to see any valid scientific rational for vaccine passports.  None at all.   There is nothing preventing individuals from getting vaccinated if they wish to except restrictions based on age made by certain governors.  An unvaccinated individual is absolutely no danger to a vaccinated individual.  If someone wants to take the risk of eating in restaurant or living their life in any way without getting vaccinated it their choice and their right as an individual living in a free country.

Am I the only one who feels like I am no longer living in the United States of America?

There is just so much wrong with everything.  That is the best way I know how to describe life here in the United Sates right now.  I have read a ton of dystopian science fiction novels.  Rather than living in the land of the free, which all my life was the natural state of being here in the United States of America, I feel like I am stuck in the middle of something far worst than Aldous Huxley’s Brsve New World.

Like Brave New World, our daily life has become completely dominated by so called science experts and government totalitarians who use science as a weapon to dominate the lives of every single person.  In the Huxley novel science is nothing more than a tool used to impose a totalitarian nightmare.  Doesn’t that sound familiar?

Here in the United States science has been used as weapon to outlaw just about every single aspect of our every day lives.  Here in Massachusetts you cannot set a single step outside of your home without our fascist governor requiring that you shroud your humanity in a face diaper. Emperor Charlie Baker has decreed that all bars are closed and restaurants can only operate at 25 percent capacity.  If you eat in a restaurant you must wear a mask at all times except when you are taking a bite.  Oh what a miserable experience that is.

There is nothing more dehumanizing than forcing us to cover our faces with a face diaper.  We use facial expressions to communicate almost as much as speech,  That is now denied.  Nothing warms our hearts more than seeing smiling happy faces.  Denied also.

It has been decreed by those who rule over us that you must distance yourself from every other single person and physical contact such as hugging is verboten.  Human beings are social creatures. They are preventing everyone from behaving like human beings.  Most schools are closed, people are discouraged from leaving their homes.  No wonder I see headlines like this a couple times a day Pew Research: Lockdowns Prompting Devastating Levels of ‘Psychological Distress’ Among Young People.

I posted a meme on Facebook lamenting for a time when we all had freedom of speech.  I spent hours debating a swarm of liberal who found that meme controversial.  Everyone of them were brainwashed into embracing political correctness by our abysmal higher education system.  I remember a time not long ago when freedom of speech was the universal ideal in the United States.

The United States was a nation created by a rabble of individuals who saw government as a necessary evil to keep people from hurting others rather that an all powerful master who provides us with everything as if it is something we must worship.

 Previous generations would not have accepted the theft of an election for town dog catcher let alone president of the United States, which is exactly what happened in 2020.  In pervious generations immensely large groups across the US would have grabbed their pitchforks, muskets, and torches.  I believe mass non violent protests across the US would have put an end to the stolen election but sadly they were not even attempted.

The docility displayed by the vast majority of the population is mostly what makes me feel like I am no longer living in the United States

Joe Biden’s first public address was proof that he is clueless about the founding principles of the United States

When Joe Biden finally gave his first speech since being installed in the White House he demonstrated just how frail he is and how diminished his mental faculties are.  He also displayed to the country how clueless he is when it comes to the core principles that were at the founding of this great nation.

This first quote from the Transcript: President Joe Biden on the coronavirus pandemic proves that he is a the most radical leftist that has ever inhabited the Oval Office.

Look, we know what we need to do to beat this virus: Tell the truth. Follow the scientists and the science. Work together. Put trust and faith in our government to fulfill its most important function, which is protecting the American people — no function more important.

We need to remember the government isn’t some foreign force in a distant capital. No, it’s us. All of us. “We the People.” For you and I, that America thrives when we give our hearts, when we turn our hands to common purpose. And right now, my friends, we are doing just that. And I have to say, as your President, I am grateful to you.

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison would be outraged to hear a president state that we should “put our trust and faith in government” even an illegitimate president.  They would condemn the locking down of this nation and the widespread theft of the liberty from more than half the population of this country under the guise of protecting us.

Sorry Joe Biden but the government of the United States and “we the people” are not the same thing at all.  Not even close. Sorry but America does not thrive “when we give our hearts, when we turn our hands to common purpose.”  That is collectivists garbage that is spouted by socialist dictators.

This next quote goes against science, medical knowledge, and the Constitution all at the same time.

in the coming weeks, we will issue further guidance on what you can and cannot do once fully vaccinated, to lessen the confusion, to keep people safe and encourage more people to get vaccinated.

How dare the government at any level tell the American people what they can and cannot do.  That is as un-American as ou can get. The Constitution does not grant  any branch of the federal government the power to dictate what we the people can or cannot do.  Why the hell would you need to restrict the freedom of those vaccinated in any way?  Vaccinated people are immune from the virus and cannot spread it.  There is not even any scientific basis for restricting the freedom of non vaccinated individuals.

The next quote pinged the irony needle so forcefully that it broke.  Imagine the chutzpah of the “president” telling Americans what they can do on Independence Day.

Because here’s the point: If we do all this, if we do our part, if we do this together, by July the 4th, there’s a good chance you, your families, and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout and a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day. That doesn’t mean large events with lots of people together, but it does mean small groups will be able to get together.

This next quote made me laugh hysterically.

So my message to you is this: Listen to Dr. Fauci, one of the most distinguished and trusted voices in the world.

As you can see from this next quote, Joe Biden is threatening us wittle childwen with more punishment if we do not behave according to his dictates.

And national unity isn’t just how politics and politicians vote in Washington or what the loudest voices say on cable or online. Unity is what we do together as fellow Americans. Because if we don’t stay vigilant and the conditions change, then we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track.

Happy one year anniversary of two weeks to flatten the curve

It is hard to believe that it has only been one year since the Coronavirus lockdowns began in earnest.  It feels more like ten years to me here in Massachusetts because the restrictions imposed by Governor Charlie Baker have been that disruptive to everyone’s lives.  These restrictions will prove to be absolutely devastating for bars, restaurants, and all other types of small businesses across the state.

All of these restrictions were supposed to last only two week and were meant only to flatten the curve so hospitals were not overwhelmed.  The freedom of everyone in the state was flattened along with so many businesses.  Instead of being lifted after the promised two weeks the restrictions were continuously ramped up over the course of the past year.  The governor went as far as imposing a curfew despite the fact that viruses cannot tell time.

Right now all bars are closed unless they serve food, classifying them as restaurants.  All restaurants are only allowed to operate at 25 percent indoor capacity, relying mostly on takeout and delivery.  Most other businesses are also restricted to 25 percent capacity.  It is difficult to imagine that businesses such as restaurants can stay in business long with such restrictions.  The number of businesses that have failed is staggering and will only get worse until the restrictions are lifted.  Governor Baker never produced one shred of evidence proving scientifically that these restrictions limited the spread of this virus in any way.

 Governor Baker went so far as to limit the number of people anyone can have in their own private homes to 10 and impose indoor mask restrictions.  This went into effect just before Thanksgiving and remained in effect during Christmas.

Thanks to our governor everyone must wear a mask whenever they are outside of their homes.  Even people walking by themselves on a deserted street or by themselves in a large open park must wear a mask.  That is a rule I break every day.    I would love to ignore the stupid rule about wearing masks in stores and restaurants but I’m living in Massachusetts.  Anyone who dares to not wear a mask faces a mob of brainwashed busybodies screaming bloody murder.  The managers of the establishment call the police and file paperwork with the police so you can’t shop there anymore.  The police will then fine you a few hundred bucks.   Facing that is too much for single individuals to face,  We need mass maskless protests and a large segment of the population to say no more masks.

The case count here in the state skyrocketed to almost 9000 new individuals testing positive a day during early January.  That is three times the number of new cases at the height of the previous peak in April.  Even though the number of cases tripled, the number of hospitalizations were only half the previous peak along with the peak in deaths.  So many asymptomatic people were testing positive along with those who were never sick enough to need hospitalization.  The massive Coronavirus surge the past several months was only a surge in positive tests.

Since the peak in early January the number of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths has plummeted to just one sixth of the peak.  That is because we have reached herd immunity along with two million being vaccinated.  With all of this Governor Baker must end all of his freedom and business killing edicts.  We the people of this state must demand that emergency powers of the governor be slashed so the people of this state never will have to go through the hell we went through this past year ever again.

Detroit’s stillborn revival

By John Ruberry

I hit the road last week–to a regular stop for me–Detroit–my fourth visit there. Coincidentally last Monday, when I arrived, was the first day that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lifting of Michigan’s ban on indoor dining, replaced by low-capacity dining, took effect.

Yet central Detroit was still nearly void of people last week.

During my first visit, in 2015, while I noticed a fair amount of bustle on the streets and sidewalks downtown, I also walked past empty skyscrapers. On my next trip, two years later, most of those same buildings were occupied or being rehabbed. And the city’s light rail line, the QLine, an expensive and impressive showpiece, had just opened. As I noted at the time on my own blog, these trolley cars ironically echo Detroit’s monorail, the People Mover, the 1980s Stalinist boondoggle championed by Coleman Young, the five-term mayor of Detroit who may have been a closet communist. Both the QLine and the People Mover serve only the downtown area. They look stunning though.

Also in 2017 Little Caesars Arena opened in the adjacent Midown part of the city. It brought the Detroit’s NBA team, the Pistons, back to the city for the first time in nearly four decades. The NHL team, the Red Wings, made the short jump from downtown’s Joe Louis Arena to Little Caesars too. Since the early 2000s the NFL entry, the Lions, and its MLB team, the Tigers, have been playing downtown. Which made the many gamedays in central Detroit a magnet for hungry and thirsty people with fat wallets. Now the teams play in front of no fans.

Quicken Loans has been based in Detroit since 2009 and is now America’s largest mortgage lender. While Detroit is still the Motor City it is the Mortgage City now too.

But meanwhile in the neighborhoods the decline of Detroit continued. For urban explorers like myself, that is, people who photograph or shoot videos of abandoned homes, factories, offices, churches—am I leaving anything out?–oh yeah, schools, there is no shortage of material to work with.

Things looked even better for Detroit when I spent a day there in 2019.

Then COVID-19 hit. Whitmer’s statewide lockdowns have been among the nation’s most restrictive. As I witnessed in Chicago last year, the streets were also eerily empty in Detroit in 2020 according to media reports, such as this one from AP in October:

Downtown Detroit was returning to its roots as a vibrant city center, motoring away from its past as the model of urban ruin. 

Then the pandemic showed up, emptying once-bustling streets and forcing many office workers to flee to their suburban homes.

And if you work for Quicken and its Rocket Mortgage wing, many of your job responsibilities, perhaps all of them, can be done from a suburban home, as Quicken performs most of its transactions online.

But lets say you need to come downtown for your annual review. What else is there to do? On Day 1 of the partial-lifting of the indoor dining lockdown, it looked to me that about half of the restaurants there were still closed. Most retail outlets were shuttered. And all of the shops and eateries were closed at the Little Caesars Arena, where I hoped to buy a hockey souvenir for Mrs. Marathon Pundit. But of course there is always Amazon to fall back on for that. Oh, Kid Rock’s Made In Detroit restaurant at Little Caesars closed last spring, although that departure had nothing to do with COVID.

So in downtown Detroit last week you still had to struggle to find a place to eat. Yes, there were a few of those ludicrous tents outside some eateries–by the way temperatures were in the 30s all last week during our visit.

Story continues below photograph.

Diners last Monday in downtown Detroit

Part of the allure of big-city centers has been the array of shopping and cultural choices offfered. That’s mostly gone now in Detroit. Sure, New York, Chicago and other large cities are facing similar challenges under COVID lockdowns, but many of their eateries and shops have been operating for decades. And yes, such businesses usually have narrow profit margins but being a going concern for many years means there will be an established customer base that might remember you a few years later. What if you are a Detroit boutique that has been open only for a couple of years?

The QLine and the People Mover haven’t run since last spring. There aren’t a lot of people in downtown Detroit to well, move. Buses are still running, however.

Back to those cultural choices: The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of America’s premier art museums. I wanted to attend Wednesday but the DIA was sold out that day. I was able to purchase tickets, online of course, for myself and my traveling companion the following day for one of the available time slots. And do you know what? Outside of employees there couldn’t have been more than 50 people inside the sprawling museum when we were there. I’m confident that Wednesday’s “sold out” day wasn’t much different. On the positive side I was able to stand and stare in front of the DIA’s four Vincent van Gogh paintings as long as I wished–there was no one to push me aside and tell me, “You’re done, now it’s my turn.” Yes, we were forced to wear masks and we had our temperature taken at the museum’s entrance. Precautions were taken.

My companion visited Dearborn’s Henry Ford museum on Tuesday–a fabulous place that I experiended in 2015–and it was nearly empty too, I was told. 

The Motown Musuem in New Center remains closed, it re-opens February 18. Man, oh man, we really wanted to see that place.

Will COVID-19 and Michigan’s lockdowns kill Detroit’s revival?

Many people have their life savings and their mortages invested in small businesses that have been closed for months in Detroit and other large cities.

The dominos will start falling.  Which is something most Detroiters know a lot about.

Meanwhile in Florida, life and business continues, with masks, but without the lockdowns. The Florida COVID death rate is lower than that of Michigan.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Report from Louisiana: Our turn with Covid

By: Pat Austin

Well, it was really just a matter of time, but here we are with Covid.

Last week my husband felt really fatigued and felt “sinusy.” It didn’t get any better so he went down for a Covid test; in twenty-four hours his negative results came back. Thinking he just had a cold, and that the incessant rain and damp weather might be part of the problem, he went on about his routine.

This past Tuesday, I was at school when I noticed a dry, non-productive cough come up. I was tired. No fever. I decided to take Wednesday off and rest; but then fever started. I went to Urgent Care and got a rapid test. 

Positive.

I’ve got to say, the fella at Oschner Urgent Care was wonderful; his enthusiasm for his job was great! He was so pleasant and he asked if it was my first Covid test. 

“Yes…” I said. He could sense my panic as he held this very long swab in his gloved hand.

He explained exactly what would happen; I said okay and he did the test. 

He sent me back out to my car and said he’d call in ten minutes.

In five he called.  “You are POSITIVE for Covid-19!” like I’d won the lottery. 

“You’re kidding…” I said.

“I would NOT kid about something like that!” He gave me the stay at home directions, told me Oschner would be reaching out to check on me, and that was it.

Once my positive results came back, my husband went to Urgent Care and did a rapid test; Positive.

My son is also positive. So, here we are.

I feel like he should be on the tail end of his Covid because we both feel like he was positive last week but just tested too soon. An article in the Washington Post explains:

Early in an infection, the virus may not have reproduced enough to be detectable. The false negative rate of PCR tests on the day of exposure is 100 percent, but falls to about 38 percent five days later as symptoms usually set in, according to an analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The rate decreases further, to about 20 percent, after three more days.


My husband’s PCR test last week may have been too soon.

Our symptoms have been manageable, if certainly uncomfortable. Initially, I felt like I had a mild cold although there is a tightness or light pressure in my chest, and behind my ribs in the back. It’s weird. We are both very fatigued. I have low fever in the evening, around 99. No cough right now. I have headache but that’s not all that uncommon for me. I have unbreakable chills every night.

This is not like any flu I ever had. It is weird in that there is some odd new symptom every day. You feel okay one day and the next like a bus hit you. We lost two more people we know to Covid this week. They were otherwise both perfectly healthy. Not. The. Flu.

Neither one of us knows where we got this. I assume I got it from my husband which is crazy because I was always so certain I would get it from my classroom. There is certainly Covid in the schools. My classes are full and we are only two feet apart. I am very grateful that my students were probably not exposed. Monday and Tuesday they were working on Chromebooks writing narratives and I was able to monitor and assist from my own computer through Google classroom. I was not within six feet of any of them and I stay masked all the time.


Going forward in our quarantine, I’m trying to take it easy and let my body fight the virus. It is so hard for me to sit still, so I have to make myself leave the laundry alone, not clean out a closet or drawer, not do yardwork. I’m trying to stay in touch with my students through Google Classroom.


If you’re a praying sort, we will certainly be grateful for your prayers for a mild bout and a quick return to good health! 

Stay safe and wash your hands!

Report from Louisiana: The Vaccine

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Happy New Year! We are spending the holiday in south Louisiana in our cabin on Bayou Teche. Because I will be driving back on Sunday and back at work on Monday, I’m writing this post on the actual first day of the year. We just finished our traditional “good luck” New Year’s meal which of course includes cabbage and black eyed peas. I also cooked a bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin stuffed with andouille sausage and shrimp. We are sitting pretty fat and happy right now.

I took a moment to check some emails today and I see where the school system will soon be offering the Covid-19 vaccine for teachers and school staff. The vaccine should be available to us in the next couple of weeks. Am I going to take it? You bet I am. Sign me up. We will be getting the Moderna vaccine, I am told.

I’m so sick of this virus and the limitations it has put on everyone. I guess it varies somewhat from state to state, but honestly the restrictions that so many business owners must face seem so absurd. For example, we drove over the levee this morning to stop by Turtle’s Bar which is on the Atchafalaya Basin. The swamp is beautiful at any time of year, but there is something about it in the winter that just draws me.

Steve asked Tanya, the bartender, “Well! Did y’all have fun last night?” because, of course, New Year’s Eve, right?

“Yeah,” she said, “until 11:00.” Bars in Louisiana are required to close at 11:00. Because apparently the virus does not spread until after 11?  Who knows? We were the only people in there at that hour, along with one other guy and with the exception of the people who live on houseboats there that walk up to her window to place an order.

We stood at the bar and swapped stories for a while, and I tried to pull up one of the bar stools to sit down. “Oh, you can’t do that!” Tanya said. “It’s against regulations because of Covid. You can’t sit at the bar.” But…you can stand at the bar and that is okay. 

Even stranger – the bartender can serve you at the bar but she can’t walk over to your table and serve you. You have to walk to the bar to get your drink, and you have to wear a mask when you walk to the bar, but once you sit back down, you can take it off again.

It all borders on the absurd.

I have several musician friends who were at home last night, without a gig, for the first time in their careers. No live music is allowed.

But hey, the casinos are apparently non-viral zones because all of our local riverboat casinos are in full swing.

The numbers for new cases and hospitalizations are higher now than they have ever been. I have more friends now who are sick than I ever have. One of my best friends has had fever for two solid weeks now and it runs about 102 even taking Tylenol and Advil every three hours. She has no taste or smell and says it’s the worst she’s ever felt in her life. Her husband is a heart patient and he has recently tested positive as well. I’m quite concerned for both of them.

I’m ready for people to be able to get back to work, for businesses to reopen and recover, and for the music to begin again. I’m ready to see full sports stadiums and concerts. I’m ready to teach school mask-free and to see my students’ faces and smiles again.

So, yes, I’ll take the vaccine. I’m not concerned. Bring it on.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Report from Louisiana: Wuhan Diary

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – As an avid and constant reader, I decided to do the Reading Challenge on Goodreads again this year; last year I set the lofty goal of 100 books and missed the mark with 63 out of 100 books.

This year, because of the pandemic, probably, I did better. I set a lower goal of 75 books and so far I’ve read 82. I’ll probably be at 83 by the end of the year.

Currently I am reading Wuhan Diary by Fang Fang, which is the collected dispatches, or posts, from the renown Chinese author during the 76 days of the Wuhan lockdown. While most of us are tired of Covid, tired of reading about Covid, and tired of all things Covid, I am enjoying the book.

To me, it is interesting to see what it was like in Wuhan in the days after the pandemic broke. Fang Fang’s frustration with the situation is evident and she is well aware that the government censors are reading and taking down her posts. Her readers would screenshot the posts and share them via text message to each other, and in many ways she became the voice of the pandemic in Wuhan as people in lockdown were starved for information that was not filtered for them.

Her frustration with the initial position that the virus is not contagious from person to person is clear. She does not mince words, despite the censors. As the lockdown in Wuhan drags on, it has been interesting to read how neighbors worked together to supply each other with fresh food, medicines, and supplies.

The book also shows that we are not all that different; Fang Fang loses many friends and colleagues to the virus; she deals with the same problems we all have: shortages, misinformation, isolation.  She worries a great deal about the mental health issues that result from the lockdown and she worries about the marginalized who cannot get medical treatment, especially in the earlier days before the temporary hospitals were constructed.

She also has very relatable problems, like running out of dog food. (She cooked rice for her dog when this happened.)

Sometimes she even challenges the censors. She wants to be seen as a witness, not necessarily a critic. As a result, her voice is honest, and heartbreakingly real.

I’m not finished with the book yet, but I do recommend it. Somehow it seems fitting to end this year of the pandemic with Wuhan Diary.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

The latest Coronavirus stimulus is an enormous lump of coal in the stockings of every American

After nearly six month of petty partisan bickering the Republicans and Democrats finally agreed on a stimulus package to help the American people who are suffering due to the Coronavirus lockdowns.  The package they came up with is a major slap in the face to every single American, a slap that is all the more brutal because it comes just days before Christmas. 

Shame on the Democrats for being the party that blocked the second round of stimulus for months while Americans suffered just so they could score political points.  Shame on the Democrats for stuffing the stimulus package with so much garbage that help foreign countries and Democrat special interests far more than the American people.  Shame on the Republicans for going along with this travesty.

It would be far better for the American people if these small minded, cowardly politicians did not lockdown large segments of the American economy.  These lockdowns do, at best, hardly anything to stop the spread of Coronavirus.  These lockdowns do far more harm to the American people than any possible good they could do. If it wasn’t for these lockdowns the American economy would be roaring and no stimulus would be needed.

This Breibart Article describes the monstrous pork filled betrayel of the American poeple passed by both parties.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a massive $900 billion coronavirus relief and stimulus bill on Monday evening, mere hours after the nearly 6,000-page legislation was released.  It was unlikely any members read the entire legislation.

The bill, which included $1.4 trillion in stopgap spending to prevent a government shutdown, was ostensibly the result of bipartisan negotiations that reached an agreement less than 24 hours before. It includes $600 stimulus checks for American households and a temporary expansion of federal unemployment benefits by $300, half the amounts paid earlier this year.

But the legislation also includes many hidden provisions completely unrelated to coronavirus, many of which appear to be the work of individual legislators, acting at the behest of specific lobbyists and interest groups who seized the opportunity.

Here is only a small sample of goodies foreign governments will receive from the stimulus bill. The list is from this Breitbart article.

  • For some countries, Christmas came early:
  • $169,739,000 to Vietnam, including $19 million to remediate dioxins (page 1476).
  • Unspecified funds to “continue support for not-for-profit institutions of higher education in Kabul, Afghanistan that are accessible to both women and men in a coeducational environment” (page 1477).
  • $198,323,000 to Bangladesh, including $23.5 million to support Burmese refugees and $23.3 million for “democracy programs” (page 1485).
  • $130,265,000 to Nepal for “development and democracy programs” (page 1485).
  • Pakistan: $15 million for “democracy programs” and $10 million for “gender programs” (page 1486).
  • Sri Lanka: Up to $15 million “for the refurbishing of a high endurance cutter,” which is a type of patrol boat (page 1489).
  • $505,925,000 to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama to “address key factors that contribute to the migration of unaccompanied, undocumented minors to the United States” (pages 1490-1491).
  • $461,375,000 to Colombia for programs related to counternarcotics and human rights (pages 1494-1496).

This Breitbart article documents a rather egregious betrayal of the American people.

A year-end spending package meant to provide Americans with economic relief during the Chinese coronavirus crisis includes using United States taxpayer money to fund border security in foreign countries.

As part of the more than 5,590-page spending bill, the deal provides the country of Jordan with “up to $500,000,000” in taxpayer money “to provide assistance to the Government of Jordan to support the armed forces of Jordan and to enhance security along its borders.”

The title of the American Thinker article Republicans and Democrats come together to rob American taxpayers says it all.

Late Monday night, in a huge, secretive rush, Congress passed a combined virus relief and omnibus spending bill that’s almost 6,000 pages long and, in less than a year, will spend $2.3 trillion that does not exist.

The bill’s length alone is enough to justify a second American Revolution. It should have been a simple bill: Checks for Americans in need (with provisions to prevent the French Laundry and its ilk from ever receiving another penny of taxpayer money) and basic funding for basic government. I’m thinking maybe 100 pages, max.

Here is more from the American Thinlker article

What’s in this super-secret bill that Monoparty doesn’t want us to see? People are frantically trying to acquaint themselves with its contents but a few hours is not enough time to familiarize oneself with the details of a document more than 5,600 pages long. The broad outline is that $900 billion, or 39% of the $2.3 trillion, will go to Covid relief, with the remaining $1.4 trillion slated for funding the government through September 2021.

For Americans hurt by the Democrats’ (and some Republicans’) sustained attacks on the American economy, there will be a $600 stimulus check for people earning less than $75,000 per year or married couples earning less than $150,000. I may be speaking out of turn here, but I don’t think $600 will make a big difference to people in the upper brackets, while a larger check would make a huge difference to people in the lower brackets.

Thank you for the Christmas slap in the face Democrats and Republicans.