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.

Report from Louisiana: NOLA Mayor attacks Christian Singer Lauren Daigle

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – As Louisiana politicians go, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is on her way to being as infamous as any of them.

Cantrell has come under criticism for her harsh economic restrictions in response to Covid-19 in New Orleans compared to the rest of the state.  She has placed stringent restrictions on high school athletic events which likely contributed to the Louisiana High School Football Playoffs relocating their games from the Superdome in New Orleans to Natchitoches, Louisiana at Northwestern State University.  Her tough occupancy restrictions for the Superdome would not enable many fans in the stadium; conditions are more favorable in Natchitoches; this move will cost New Orleans a chunk of tourism dollars from the multiday event.

In her latest move, Cantrell has verbally attached Christian singer and Louisiana native Lauren Daigle for spontaneously singing at a French Quarter protest last month.

The rally was a pop-up Let Us Worship rally staged by Californian Sean Feucht who has been doing this all across the country to protest Covid restrictions on churches and worship services. Daigle, who lives near the French Quarter, was reportedly riding her bike in the area, stopped, and when she was recognized and asked to sing, she complied. Naturally, it hit social media as a clip was posted by Feucht, and the firestorm began.

The protest “flouted coronavirus restrictions.”  Participants were “not wearing masks.” There “were thousands of people there.” There were “hundreds of people there.” Daigle “endangered first responders.” Criticism rained down.

Mayor Cantrell lashed out at Daigle in a December 9 letter which she wrote to Dick Clark Productions – the organization organizing the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve event which was to spotlight New Orleans in an eight-minute segment of the broadcast.

Cantrell asked that Daigle not be involved with the broadcast because of her participating in the protest at the French Quarter. Cantrell wrote,

“Miss Daigle cannot and should not be rewarded with national media exposure and a public spotlight. She harmed our people, she risked the lives of our residents, and she strained our first responders in a way that was unconscionable – in the midst of a public health crisis. That is not who we are, and she cannot be allowed to represent New Orleans or the people she willfully endangered.”

Daigle responded to the kerfuffle last week with a statement which said, in part:

“I’m disappointed that my spontaneous participation has become part of the political discourse and I’m saddened by the divisive agendas of these times. I would have been, and still would be, honored to represent our city on New Year’s Eve and although I was aware of discussions regarding my involvement, an offer was never made. I have wept, pleading for this chaos to dissipate and for harmony to return. We need unity when people are desperate, suffering, starving or out of work.”

Mayor Cantrell’s attack on Daigle has been criticized by Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser who oversees tourism for the state. His office has pulled their financial subsidy for the city’s participation in the NYE event. In response, the city of New Orleans will pony up the $500,000 from their own “cultural fund.” This move has drawn criticism from some city council members who would rather spend the money locally in support of local artists, but the mayor contends that the national exposure is more important.

It’s all a huge mess, and really quite unnecessary.

Cantrell’s rush to criticize Daigle seems misplaced. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry sent a letter of support to Daigle should she and Dick Clark Productions choose to “relocate the event” to “more hospitable areas of the state.” He reminded her that Cantrell has previously allowed protests in the city, including a Black Lives Matter protest this summer. And the Naught Nawlins swinger convention was allowed to go ahead, which incidentally resulted in a Covid outbreak.

In light of that, Cantrell’s criticism seems rather harsh, and it does seem that she could be costing her city some tourism dollars in times when they are most needed.

I’ve never listened to Lauren Daigle’s music very much, but I think I’m going to give her a listen. And I will not be watching New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

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.

Sorry but I’m too outraged and disheartened to write a coherent article this week

For the past few days I’ve been struggling to come up with an idea for this week’s article but I’ve just got too much anger and disappointment coursing through my mind which is making concentration difficult. 

I am so absolutely outraged that so far all of the efforts to derail the theft of the presidential election by Joe Biden supporters have fallen short, leaving only increasingly desperate measures left. 

The failure by the Supreme Court to even hear the lawsuit brought about by Texas, and signed on to by more than twenty other states, was a particularly staggering blow.  It appears that the Supreme Court is not going to lift a finger to even investigate the all too obvious theft of the election by Democrats.  It was a particularly cruel blow when all three of the Trump appointed justices failed to vote to hear the case.

What is most disheartening to me is the absolutely spineless response by Republican law makers on the federal and state level.  This election is being stolen, where’s the outrage?  Why aren’t the Republicans on any and all news broadcasts and holding  nonstop TV news conferences demanding a full investigation and complete audit of all six battleground states?  Are the Republicans too afraid of bad press and provoking riots by those on the left that they are almost silently letting this outrage happen?

The dramatic turn to the left by Fox News was a particularly nasty surprise. I watched the coverage by Fox News on election night and it made me sick.  So few people are even aware of the rampant election fraud and other election shenanigans that took place simply because the mainstream refuse to admit that it happened.

I believe that we the people, rather than some level of the government, are the only agents who will prevent this election from being stolen.  Non violent mass protests are the key. The two massive Trump rallies that took place in Washington DC are a good start but much larger and more sustained rallies are needed and they are needed fast.  They need to take place across this nation. I’m afraid that there is too much fear and apathy for that to happen.

I am still worried that this whole situation could spiral out of control into violence as we get closer to Inauguration Day.  The stakes are just to high and the theft of the of the election was just so egregious.  I see a lot of calls for an actual civil war by those on the right on social media.  I hope and pray that I am worrying needlessly about the possibility of violence.

Report from Louisiana: Church

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I grew up in the Episcopal church; I went to Sunday School, was confirmed, sang in the choir, the whole thing. As I got older, and busier, and my focus became diverted in the wrong directions sometimes, I quit going. And when you stop going to church on Sunday, it’s really hard to get back in the swing of it.

For a variety of reasons, my husband believes “the end times are upon us,” or very near, and so he wanted to start going back to church. He’s not crazy or a zealot – he’s just retired and has a lot of time on his hands where he reads too much social media. If that won’t convince you that the devil is knocking on the door, nothing will.

Long story short, we have been attending services at the church where I grew up for the past several weeks, and I’ve found that I am actually enjoying it. Part of my reluctance about returning to St. Paul’s was not the church itself, but the memories within. So many of the people I loved that I share memories with there are gone…my mother, my godmother, my godfather, various members of the congregation, some favorite Sunday school teachers, the exuberant piano player who led us in song in the children’s choir….

And the memories have been hard to face. So many Christmases in that church, red poinsettias lining the altar. The traditional Christmas songs.

I get so sentimental this time of year anyway, and returning to the stomping grounds of my youth have been…challenging, but so worth it.

I’m making new memories there, remembering happy times, and I know those I miss so much would be glad I am there. And in a way, they are there with me, still.

One thing I’ve noticed, I’ve been so shocked at how low the attendance numbers are compared to what I remember. Obviously part of this is because of the pandemic, but I know just from the church directory that just came out that numbers are nowhere near what I remember. Is this the case everywhere? Do people not go to church anymore? I live in the South where pretty much everyone is either a Baptist or a Catholic, and I can say for certain that the Baptist church that I pass on the way to the Episcopal church is packed with cars.

I don’t know. It doesn’t matter, I guess. Maybe people stay home and do church on the internet.

Side note: the first Sunday my husband and I attended, about four weeks ago, our Rector announced his retirement later this year and the formation of the Rector Search Committee. I was really sad, because he’s been there for decades and is very popular.

The next Sunday, literally the next week, the bright, young, Assistant Rector announced that he has been transferred to another church; he and his family are being sent to Texas.

So. We were sort of scared to go back on week three, because….who else would be leaving?! But, things have been quiet since then and nobody else has hit the door.

Y’all have a good week, enjoy the Christmas season, and don’t get bogged down in the little stuff.

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.

Rest in Peace Walter E Williams

I was greatly saddened by the passing of Walter E Williams.  He was one of the two authors most responsible for me becoming a Libertarian and free market warrior, the other is Thomas Sowell. Through my teenage years, until I was in my early twenties I was a hardcore progressive/socialist.  It was through an exhaustive amount of reading and research that led to my great political enlightenment.  Walter Williams played a major, and very entertaining, part in that awakening.

As you can see from this quote, which appeared in the February 8 2006 article On Bogus Right, Walter Williams was a very outspoken critic of the federal government, and of the redistribution of wealth.

Three-fifths to two-thirds of the federal budget consists of taking property from one American and giving it to another. Were a private person to do the same thing, we’d call it theft. When government does it, we euphemistically call it income redistribution, but that’s exactly what thieves do — redistribute income. Income redistribution not only betrays the founders’ vision, it’s a sin in the eyes of God.

Walter Williams was an Economics professor at George Mason University.  I know he must have been a very informative and entertaining teacher because I’ve watched a great many videos of him speaking and T saw him on TV quite often. He was an outspoken critic of socialism. Here is a  quote from the article Evil Concealed by Money, 19 November 2008.

This is why socialism is evil. It employs evil means, coercion or taking the property of one person, to accomplish good ends, helping one’s fellow man. Helping one’s fellow man in need, by reaching into one’s own pockets, is a laudable and praiseworthy goal. Doing the same through coercion and reaching into another’s pockets has no redeeming features and is worthy of condemnation.

Here is another quote on the subject from Socialist Promises 25 May 2019.

Socialism promises a utopia that sounds good, but those promises are never realized. It most often results in massive human suffering. Capitalism fails miserably when compared with a heaven or utopia promised by socialism. But any earthly system is going to come up short in such a comparison. Mankind must make choices among alternative economic systems that actually exist. It turns out that for the common man capitalism, with all of its alleged shortcomings, is superior to any system yet devised to deal with his everyday needs and desires. By most any measure of human well-being, people who live in countries toward the capitalistic end of the economic spectrum are far better off than their fellow men who live in countries toward the socialist end.

Walter Williams was as big a proponent of free market capitalism as he was a critic of socialism.

Capitalism, or what some call free markets, is relatively new in human history. Prior to capitalism, the way individuals amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. With the rise of capitalism, it became possible to amass great wealth by serving and pleasing your fellow man. Capitalists seek to discover what people want and produce and market it as efficiently as possible as a means to profit. A historical example of this process would be John D. Rockefeller, whose successful marketing drove kerosene prices down from 58 cents a gallon in 1865 to 7 cents in 1900. Henry Ford became rich by producing cars for the common man. 

Here is a quote by Walter E. Williams from All It Takes Is Guts that I’ve shared on social media many times

But let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then tell me how much of what I earn belongs to you – and why?”

The following two quotes are from memes I shared on Facebook.  I tried to track down the source of the quotes but Google failed me.  I’m 100 percent positive they’re accurate. I remember reading them in articles recently,―

Most of the great problems we face are caused by politicians creating solutions to problems they created in the first place

Whether we want to own up to it or not, the welfare state has done what Jim Crow, gross discrimination and poverty could not have done,  It has contributed to the breakdown of the black family structure and has helped establish a set of values alien to traditional values of high moral standards, hard work, and achievement.

I’m going to end this article with a very recent quote from a Daily Wire Article

The biggest casualty from the COVID-19 pandemic has nothing to do with the disease. It’s the power we’ve given to politicians and bureaucrats. The question is how we recover our freedoms.

Report from Louisiana: Treading Water

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I know you are with me when I reiterate I will be so glad when this pandemic is over.

Everyone is dealing with this in their own way: the anti-maskers, the maskers, the “no-way-will-I-take-that-vaccine” people, to the ones who say bring it on. Has any disease ever so divided a people or become so politicized as this one?

And I know people are working from home, working on the front lines, and everything in between. I can only tell you about what I see in the schools.

I teach in a Title 1 high school with an enrollment of around 600, give or take. As with most places nationwide, our Covid numbers are surging once again. The only number I really pay attention to is the hospitalizations number.

In August, on the day school started, our hospitalization number was 536. I wrote it down. As of today, December 7, our hospitalization number is 1392.

Our district is 100% face to face every single day, although there is a virtual option offered for those who want to be 100% virtual. There are some who do that. I have about twenty kids in each of my English II classes. Friday, I have five kids present in fourth block. Five. Everyone else was absent or in quarantine. We had twelve teachers in quarantine Friday, and our faculty has about 60 teachers.

Because of the Family Medical Leave Act, teachers have ten excused Covid days but these expire in December, unlike the virus itself, and nobody seems to be talking about renewing that.

One of the things that worries me is that Pete hired me to make a contribution to this blog, and I often feel like I’m giving him (and you) short shrift, but damn, I’m trying to keep my head above water here, and I know you understand. I am simultaneously teaching kids online through Google classroom who are absent from class, teaching my in-person kids, covering classes for teachers that are out, pulling together makeup assignments, cleaning and sanitizing my classroom, Chromebooks, and high touch surfaces.

Our state is continuing on with high stakes End of Course testing in January (we are on block schedule so one semester ends in January and another will begin), and I have to get whatever kids are here ready for that and help the absent ones get caught up.

It’s madness.

So, bear with me if my posts right now are too Covid, too teacher focused. Today is Pearl Harbor Day and I really wanted to write something beautiful about that and call attention to this date. My mind isn’t working in the direction I want it to, so that post is just not coming together.

We’re all just doing the best we can right now, aren’t we?

Thanks for your patience with me!

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.

Governor Baker’s Coronavirus edicts violate the Massachusetts Constitution

The draconian restrictions issued by Governor Charlie Baker in the name of fighting Coronavirus violate many provisions of the Massachusetts Constitution, along with provisions of the United States Constitution.  The proper level to undo these unconstitutional edicts is on the State level not the federal level. Thanks to our abysmal educational system far too many of us have been brainwashed into believing that the Supreme Court is the one and only venue for addressing all wrongs committed by any level of government.  The founding fathers of this nation along with the framers of the US Constitution and the State Constitutions would be completely dismayed by that level of constitutional ignorance.

The system of government enshrined in the United States Constitution is a distributed constitutional system where legal and constitutional disputes involving state governments are supposed to be solved on the state level and only those involving the federal government are supposed to be solved on the federal level.

Stay at home orders and the orders to close businesses clearly violate the following clause of the Massachusetts Constitution because  liberty, or the freedom to live our lives as we please, is one of our most important natural rights.

Article I.  All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

The government of the State of Massachusetts can only take away the freedom of individuals to come and go from their homes as they please if they are found guilty in a court of law.  That is spelled out in this clause:

Article XII.  And no subject shall be arrested, imprisoned, despoiled, or deprived of his property, immunities, or privileges, put out of the protection of the law, exiled, or deprived of his life, liberty, or estate, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land.

Police officers have absolutely no authority under the Massachusetts Constitution to knock on your door and check to see if you have more than ten people attending a Thanksgiving gathering, Christmas party. or any social event.  If they do the we have every right to demand they produce a warrant.  You are guaranteed that right by the following clause:

Article XIV.  Every subject has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches, and seizures, of his person, his houses, his papers, and all his possessions. All warrants, therefore, are contrary to this right, if the cause or foundation of them be not previously supported by oath or affirmation; and if the order in the warrant to a civil officer, to make search in suspected places, or to arrest one or more suspected persons, or to seize their property, be not accompanied with a special designation of the persons or objects of search, arrest, or seizure: and no warrant ought to be issued but in cases, and with the formalities prescribed by the

Only laws passed through the formal legislative process are valid laws in the State of Massachusetts.  These edicts issued by Governor Baker were not passed through the formal legislative process therefore they are not valid.

Article II.  No bill or resolve of the senate or house of representatives shall become a law, and have force as such, until it shall have been laid before the governor for his revisal; and if he, upon such revision, approve thereof, he shall signify his approbation by signing the same. But if he have any objection to the passing of such bill or resolve, he shall return the same, together with his objections thereto, in writing, to the senate or house of representatives

This article specifically prevents any governor of this state from issuing any edicts of any kind.

Article XXX.  In the government of this commonwealth, the legislative department shall never exercise the executive and judicial powers, or either of them: the executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them: the judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them: to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men.

This article clearly states that we the people are in charge of the State of Massachusetts, not the politicians we elect.

Article V.  All power residing originally in the people, and being derived from them, the several magistrates and officers of government, vested with authority, whether legislative, executive, or judicial, are their substitutes and agents, and are at all times accountable to them.

If we do not like what our elected servants are doing we the people of this state have the absolute authority to reform the government and make sure they listen.

Article VII.  Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men: Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require it.

This Thanksgiving we should all take time to read the Mayflower Compact

In the minds of Americans the Mayflower Compact should rank right up there with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.  Unfortunately this document has been all but forgotten by us Americans.  I’m a history fanatic and I never read it before seeing it spread across conservative and libertarian websites which marked the 400th anniversary of the document’s drafting and signing on November 11th.

This Federalist Article describes in detail the importance of that document.  As you can see from this quote that free exercise  of religion was central to the drafting of the Mayflower Compact and the founding of Plymouth Plantation.

We think of the Pilgrims as our forebears, and it is legitimate to do so. But it’s important to remember that the Pilgrims, and the other Puritans who settled New England in the seventeenth century, did not imagine that they were establishing the United States of America. Nothing could have been further from their minds. They were doing something entirely different. They were about the business of establishing a haven where they could enjoy a pure and uncorrupted church.

Religious freedom was at the heart of the Mayflower compact because the pilgrims fled England because of religions persecution which led to a painful exile.

After 11 years of living in increasingly difficult exile in the city of Leiden in the Netherlands, they secured a land patent from the Virginia Company permitting them to establish an English colony where they could practice their faith freely. That was their dream. Across the ocean, they came aboard the Mayflower and made landfall at what is today Cape Cod — outside of the Virginia Company’s jurisdiction, and indeed, outside the jurisdiction of any known government.

Self governance was also at the very heart of Mayflower compact.

This would turn out to be one of the most primal constitutional moments in history, one that established the foundational principle of self-rule that would become the heartbeat of the American republic and its free institutions.

As you can see from this quote from the Text of the Mayflower Compact that Pilgrims were deeply religious individuals who were still loyal to the King of England.  You can also see that they were creating a colony that they would govern themselves.

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereigne Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc., having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honour of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe, by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politick,

This next quote is very reminiscent of the Preamble of the United States Constitution.  Self governance and equal protection under the law are spelled out quite clearly.

for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enacte, constitute, and frame such just and equall laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for the generall good of the Colonie unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

Report from Louisiana: The Social Dilemma

By:  Pat Austin   

SHREVEPORT – Most of the time I feel like we are living in a dystopian universe.  If you watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix you might agree.  Absolutely terrifying.

Come sit in a high school classroom for any length of time and you’ll see the problem that is social media. In my school, the English teachers got together and decided to all take up phones before class each day. You put your phone in in the box before you enter class and they are returned at the end of class. Otherwise, I promise you, kids are staring at their phones and not doing their classwork. There are varying degrees of this truth depending on what school and how motivated the student population is in general.

The Social Dilemma docudrama makes the point that we have an entire generation of kids more anxious, more depressed than ever before due to social media. They are so bound up in that instant gratification from “Likes” and “Shares” that for so many their entire self-worth is connected to this. I see this daily.

This is a subject that has interested me for a long time; when Matt Richtel’s book, A Deadly Wandering, came out in 2014, I eagerly developed lessons around it, shared it with my students, and tried to reinforce its thesis, to no avail. Students thought it was crazy. It’s the “they aren’t taking to ME” syndrome: “I don’t have this problem.”

Social media is so insidious, so pervasive, so much a part of our lives, and we all know it. But we don’t stop. We are so absolutely dependent on it. It controls us.

Nearly everyone has had this experience, or something similar: you are driving by a store…say, Lowe’s, or Home Depot. You say out loud, “Oh, I need to go one day and get a new ladder!” What kind of ads show up on your social media feed next time you go online?

True story: I was outside one day with three friends. One person had a device around her neck with little fans at each end that blew air toward her face and she used this while gardening in our southern heat and humidity. Friend number two said something like, “Oh, that’s cool! Does it work well?” Friend no 1 assured her it worked great. End of conversation. I never uttered a word. What kind of ads were on my social media when I opened Facebook later that afternoon?  Why, ads for little fans you wear around your neck, of course.

Paranoid? Nope. This happens all the time.

Last week I saw one of those ads on Facebook for some shirt with a dragonfly design. I did not click on it. I did linger for a moment, looking at the photo. Now, dragonfly shirts are all over my feed.

This sort of thing is a tiny example of how social media controls and influences us. It is enough for me to want to pull a Travis McGee, unplug from everything, and go off the grid.

Now watch, Travis McGee books will be all over my feed.

Watch The Social Dilemma. It’s an eye opener.

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.

Sorry Governor Baker but your latest edicts are tyrannical and not based on science

On Monday, November 2 Governor Charlie Baker announced extremely draconian restrictions on all residents of the State of Massachusetts  These totalitarian restrictions were announced because Governor stated that the Coronavirus pandemic is becoming dire. A careful examination of the WCVB daily Massachusetts Covid19 tracker will show that is not accurate. 

The number of positive tests per day, which has now risen to 2000 per day, looks alarming compared to June when it was only around 200 a day. In reality that ten fold increase is not alarming because it is the result of a drastically increased number of daily tests, the vast majority who test positive are asymptomatic.   The number of deaths per day has not shown the same 10 fold increase as the number of positive tests, increasing from a low of 13 to 26 or so.   Hospitalizations have only modestly increased from an average low of 400 to a current rate of 600 per day with intensive care numbers increasing from a low of 70 to a current average of 110.

This WCVB Channel 5 article discusses the draconian new mandates in great detail.  This one mandate is as anti liberty as you can get and not based on science in any way.  As far as I know a virus cannot tell time.

Baker announced an overnight stay at home advisory, resembling a curfew, from 10 p.m. through 5 a.m. It will allow activities such as commuting to or from work, running essential errands and talking a walk.

This next mandate boggles the mind and makes no sense.  Now you will have to wear a mask if  you walk down an empty street with no one around you for miles.

Baker’s orders include a change to the statewide mask order. Under the altered order, masks will be required for anyone in any public space, indoor or outdoor, regardless of the ability to maintain social distancing.

Governor Baker will win the Grinch of the year award with this next mandate.  We usually have a few dozen relatives over forThanksgiving and Christmas Eve.  Governor Baker has no right to dictate what people do in their own homes.  That is tyrannical in the extreme.

Gathering limits at private residences across Massachusetts will be reduced, Baker said. Indoor gatherings at private residences will be reduced from 25 to 10, and outdoor events will be reduced from 50 to 25.

Here is Governor Baker’s rational for this tyrannical mandate.

“Young people need to stop having big house parties, and we’re planning to talk to local officials about how we can work with them to prevent these events going forward. Folks need to postpone or rethink any indoor get-togethers, like big birthday parties, baby showers or watching football or some other big sports event with your neighbors. These are places where COVID spreads, unregulated gatherings, even if they’re small, where people let down their guard, ” Baker said.\

This next mandate makes no sense scientifically because for it to have any effect on the transmission  of Coronavirus the virus would need to be able to tell time.

Restaurants will be required to cease in-person dining by 9:30 p.m., although takeout or delivery of food can continue. Liquor stores and other establishments will be required to cease alcohol sales at 9:30 p.m. Several other categories of recreation and entertainment businesses will also be required to close at 9:30 p.m.

This Federalist article proves that mask mandates are not backed up by science in any way at all yet we are all forced to wear them, even alone in a large public park.

Scientists have long tested the value of masks for the general public. The results are not, on the whole, in favor of masks for general use because there are just too many trade-offs and exceptions. Besides, not all masks are created equal. A clean, properly-fitted N-95 respirator and face shield worn, and never touched while worn, by a trained health professional is one thing. A dirty cloth neck gaiter worn begrudgingly at the gym is quite another.

Even Dr. Anthony Fauci used to admit this. “In the United States, people should not be walking around with masks,” Fauci told “60 Minutes Overtime” back in the spring. “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.”

The people of Massachusetts have become such a pathetic bunch of sheeple. Only a small minority are voicing any opposition to these tyrannical restrictions.  They won’t end until enough individuals demand they stop.