Restoring America’s Interest Act

Something a bit different for a Saturday. A week or two ago, some of us kicked around some ideas, which led to this post. As a step forward, I took the time this morning to do a rough draft of legislation to start some of those suggestions. Here it is:

An Act 

To expedite the return of critical American research, development, and production to the United States so as to provide for increased national security and to provide opportunities to expand the American economy. 

Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. 

This Act may be cited as the Restoring America’s Interest Act of 2020. 

SEC. 2. FINDING. 

Congress finds that —

(1) it is in the national security interest of the the United States to ensure that American industry can provide a wide variety of products, goods, and services readily and without impediment of production, transportation, or quality; and

(2) it is in the national security interest of the United States to ensure that critical products, technology, research, and development are not subject to state-sponsored or commercial espionage, or to acts designed to interfere with research, development, production, or distribution; and

(3) it is in the national security interest of the United States to ensure that tax revenues are not used to directly or indirectly provide resources and opportunities for other nations, groups, or other entities to conduct direct or indirect espionage or to have means to cause damage to the United States by having control of critical products, services, and operations. 

(4) it is in the national security interest of the United States to reduce the regulatory burden on industry in order to both facilitate relocation of all phases of industry to the United States and to ensure that needless and unnecessarily complex regulations prevent effective response to future emergencies

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS 

TBD

SEC. 4.  MEASURES TO PROVIDE FOR RESTORING AMERICA’S INTEREST

(a) In conjunction with inputs from industry and relevant government agencies, a series of tax incentives will be developed for companies, sole-proprietors, or other businesses that

(1) move to return mining, harvesting, and other actions to produce needed industrial and agricultural products, materials, or other components needed as precursors for industrial and agricultural operations to the United States; and 

(2) move to return research, development, production, and logistic operations to the United States. 

(b) that same panel will also develop a series of tax incentives will be developed for companies, sole-proprietors, or other businesses who are unable to return such operations to the United States for reasons of regulation, scarcity of resources or raw materials, or other physical limitation that

(1) move mining, harvesting, and other actions to produce needed industrial and agricultural products, materials, or other components needed as precursors for industrial and agricultural operations to countries or locations within specially designated trade zones outside the United States; and 

(2) move research, development, production, and logistic operations to countries or locations within specially designated trade zones outside the United States. 

(c) A working group will be established to include members from the Executive Branch, appropriate government agencies, industry, and others as needed to 

(1) to create these special trade zones comprised of countries who have shown commitment to free and fair trade; open, transparent, and representative government; fair treatment of the United States and its Citizens in all areas; and, who are otherwise committed to improving the quality of life for its Citizens; and

(2) for purposes of this act, transparent and representative governments can and should include constitutional monarchies and other forms of government that provide for a truly representative government; and

(3) for purposes of this act, the zones must exclude all communistic governments, oligarchies, and other other one person, one party, or similar rule; and 

(4) for purposes of this act, Taiwan should be recognized as an independent entity and included in an appropriate zone.

(d) Any business entity taking part in the incentives provided may not purchase, trade for, or otherwise use equipment, technology, or other products from any company in any country specifically excluded from the trade development zones

(1) such companies may apply for an exemption for raw materials unavailable anywhere else. 

(e) no agency of government may expend any resources on raw materials, products, services, or other goods from any country specifically excluded from the special trade zones; nor may they use products, services or goods of any type from such companies even if provided at no cost

(1) agencies can apply for exemption if there is no other source for the raw materials, products, services, or goods of any type, with that exemption requiring review and a formal vote by the National Security Council after review by appropriate security agencies. 

(f) the ownership of companies or other business entities performing critical operations within the United States may no longer include ownership by foreign governments directly, indirectly through companies owned in whole or in part by those foreign governments, or by others acting as agents for those governments if those governments are specifically excluded from participation in the special free trade zones

(1) for purposes of this law, such companies include those doing port operations of any type, airport operations of any type, logistics operations, research and development of any type, and other operations as determined by the appropriate government agencies; and

(2) the Department of Justice is to review all previous purchases by such companies or operations as outlined above to determine legality and to review for anti-trust and similar issues.

(g)  outdated and needlessly complex regulations and standards having hampered or prevented effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and, such outdated, needless, and ineffective regulations serving to prevent both the full mobilization of the private sector and preventing the return of operations from overseas, an appropriate series of working groups will be developed to review all current regulations and related operations so as to allow the Executive Branch and Congress to eliminate unneeded and/or outdated regulations, update regulations and processes current levels of technology, and reduce the regulator burden on industry by executive action or the passage of new legislation as needed

(1) all such working groups must include independent and small business representatives from the field in question, and representatives from industry shall have one more individual representative than those from government; and 

(2) the agency who’s regulations are being reviewed may only have one representative in the working group, though other agencies may have representation if such expertise is required

(3) academia is limited to one representative in the working group 

COVID-19 3Apr20

Today will be a little different, as frankly there is nothing truly new about COVID-19. We are all watching the numbers, trying to figure out which model is correct while dealing with incomplete, inaccurate, and outright false information. All we can do is hang on and hope for the best. That, and try to figure out what we can given the above. Powerline has some good notes and queries.

Beyond COVID-19, we know two things for sure. China started this, and both it and others are happy to take advantage of our focus on COVID-19.

That this originated in China is beyond doubt. Powerline has a good article here with lots of linky goodness. Legal Insurrection looks at the theory that it did escape from one of the labs in Wuhan. While I maintain my position that it is not a finished bioweapon, I would be very unsurprised to find one of their labs had screwed the pooch, if not ate it, yet again as they have a history of it. Even if not an engineered economic bioweapon, since it is having that result, why not take advantage of it?

China is engaged in a global propaganda campaign trying to both reshape it’s image as doing a good job in response to what was then an epidemic, and to deal with internal issues. Both of those have to do with the need for Xi and the leadership to be beyond reproach, as if they have to be if they are to retain control.

The Chinese people were, and apparently still are from indications, not buying the story. A new massive round of suppression is underway, with even a number of very prominent people being disappeared (wonder if the number of organs available for transplant has gone up as well?). The open contempt I saw a few weeks ago for the leadership caste — even from those in the caste — and for XI was something I never thought would never see in my lifetime.

But, there is more to it. Xi has global dreams, and has seen them rocked by the Trump sanctions and trade deals. Bad enough his bluff was called there, but then came COVID-19 to shake the people’s faith (or at least tolerance) of his rule. While we are focused so intently on our COVID-19 issue, why not take advantage of it?

This piece from the Asia Times showcases what is being done militarily. Now, in addition to that, we have things happening elsewhere in SE Asia, the Middle East, Venezuela, and in Mexico and Central America. On some of it, I will just say that there are swirls in the data. Straws in the wind if you will, but definite efforts by those who wish America ill to also seize this opportunity to get some licks on. Could there be some coordination on all these efforts? I highly suspect so, and suspect there is one player who sees a chance to take advantage and perhaps minimize the damage they have done to themselves. While I am not sure that they want a full-up war, as this article considers, I would be surprised if there is not some form of military incident in the China Sea in the next 7-10 days. I also would only be surprised if we don’t see something in the Caribbean or on the Mexican border soon.

Why? Let’s just say lots of swirls/straws. One thing that struck me on Wednesday at the briefing was the language used. Phrases, particularly certain phrases in government speak, have meaning. One thing that caught my ear and got my full attention, was when the phrase “National Security Threat” was applied to the Mexican (and other) cartels. There was some other discussion, including national intelligence data and how it could not be discussed. On top of the warning to Iran and their proxies, it is clear a lot of things are potentially incoming besides COVID-19. Buckle up kiddies, we could have A Deeper Blue.

Turning back more fully to COVID-19, here’s a good editorial in the Washington Examiner on the failures (complete in my book) of the media. It pairs nicely with this article from the Mises Institute calling for the FDA to be held accountable for the deaths they have caused (even before COVID-19). This NYT opinion piece looks at the possibility that more medical people are dying because they are getting a higher load of the virus. As discussed before, in The Game of Loads and Vectors, a single microbe will do nothing, a sufficient dose will trigger an immune response and make you resistant, a larger load will make you sick, and a higher load will kill you. The question here is how are the medical people getting the viral equivalent of LD50 despite precautions? For those screeching and thumping their chests that they don’t see the word quarantine in the Constitution, here are two very good articles: one at Powerline and one at National Review.

To end the day on a lighter note, a tobacco company says it has a vaccine for COVID-19 in animal testing that is made from tobacco. Who is a good boy? This dog delivering wine is, that’s who. Now, because it will piss off Winnie the Flu, er, Xi…

Since the media isn’t going to say it, once again, COVID-19 is not Capt. Tripps. It is not the flu. Chill, distance, and use good hygiene. STOP THE PANIC!

Also, a reminder once again: if you are sick or think you are sick, DO NOT GO TO WORK OR TO VISIT PEOPLE. Stay the frack home. Don’t be Stupid, go to work/out, and insist on getting up close and personal to everyone you meet. Yes, Stupid is capitalized as I work with Stupid, who did just that. Don’t be Stupid.

If my posts are enjoyable, helpful, or otherwise a benefit, please consider hitting the tip jar. Any help is very much appreciated, especially as I’m now off work without pay.


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As always:

If you suspect you have COVID-19 or have been exposed: call your state health department and work with them so that you can be dealt with in a way that minimizes the chance of spreading the virus to those helping you and to the general public. Can’t get them? Call your local department or see if your health service has online/telemedicine screening set up; or see if one who has will let you use it even if you are not in their network. Do not go out in public, and don’t go to an ER or other facility without calling ahead. Be smart.

Use the interactive graphic to keep track of things. Is COVID19 an epidemic? Yes. Is it a Pandemic? Yes. Is there need for panic? NOHELL NO. Should you be paying attention? Yes. Hell yes. Should you be preparing? Yes, better late than never. And good luck finding/getting stuff.

Want to avoid catching COVID19 here in the U.S.? Wash your flippin hands frequently, wash them thoroughly every time you use the bathroom, then follow with hand sanitizer after every washing, use hand sanitizer liberally when you can’t wash on a regular basis. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and stay away from those who don’t. Also, keep your bugger hooks out of/away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Do NOT shake hands with anyone, and avoid touching or being touched by strangers. Or your strange friends.

Avoid travel if at all possible. If you have to travel, or go out for any reason, use lots of hand sanitizer and go to full flu protocols. If you have to use a public restroom, take full precautions including using paper towels and such to handle faucets, doors,etc.  Believe it or not, this was highly recommended before now, and major grocery chains have long told employees to use those practices to avoid getting or spreading colds, flu, etc.  Not many actually do it, but…  

If you own a business, make sure your employees know the above protocols. Have someone who refuses to wash their hands or otherwise follow the protocols? Talk to them, write them up, and if necessary fire them as they now pose a risk of infection to you and your customers. Extreme? Yes, but while the CDC and others are working to slow it down, odds are it is already here and could hit hard and fast. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

I want to reiterate that there is no need for panic, but there is a strong need to be alert, be informed, and be prepared.

Good Sources Of Information On COVID-19

Instapundit (no longer doing roundups, but great articles from Glenn and his team)

South China Morning Post (decent, some salt may be needed)

Business Insider (decent, even if they did fall for some lies about Trump)

New England Journal of Medicine

Additional link to Johns Hopkins

More to come

Local Independent Businesses That Need Your Support

Oaken Barrel (Twitter at @OakenBarrel)

Shapiros

Greek Islands

Bynum’s Steak House

Schoolhouse 7 Cafe

WIBC’s list of local

More to come

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

COVID-19 2Apr20

COVID-19 1Apr20

COVID-19 31Mar20

COVID-19 30Mar20

COVID-19 29Mar20

COVID-19 28Mar20

COVID-19 27Mar20

COVID-19 26Mar20

COVID-19 25Mar20

COVID-19 24Mar20

COVID-19 23Mar20

COVID-19 22Mar20

COVID-19 21Mar20

COVID-19 20Mar20

COVID-19 19Mar20

COVID-19 18Mar20

COVID-19 17Mar20

COVID-19 16Mar20

COVID-19 15Mar20

COVID-19 14Mar20

COVID-19 13Mar20 The Game Of Loads And Vectors Gets Real For America

COVID-19 12Mar20

COVID-19 11Mar20

COVID-19 10Mar20

COVID-19 9Mar20 The Game Of Loads And Vectors

COVID-19 8Mar20

Heh

COVID-19 7Mar20 How To Do It Right If You Have/Have Been Exposed To COVID-19

COVID-19 6Mar20

COVID-19 5Mar20

COVID-19 4Mar20

COVID-19 3Mar20

COVID-19 What Am I Doing?

COVID-19 2Mar20

COVID-19 1Mar20

COVID-19 29Feb20

Quick Additional Thoughts On The Bureaucracy

Panic Is Off And Running

COVID-19 28Feb20 Reasons To Hope, Reasons To Fear

COVID-19 A Plea To The Politicians (And Media)

COVID-19 27Feb20

COVID-19 Breaking A Chain?

COVID-19 26Feb20

COVID19 The Situation In China Gets Even Weirder

COVID19 25Feb20

COVID19 24Feb20 Raising DEFCON

COVID19 23Feb20

COVID19 22Feb20

COVID19 21Feb20: Just Look At The Blooms Dear

COVID19 Update 20Feb20

COVID19 Update

Update & Quick Thoughts On Preparedness

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

A Modest (?) Proposal

I am a defense/fiscal conservative, and while I am grateful to get a small bit of my money back via the stimulus bill, I am also outraged at both the pork and how it was done. Now, the President is proposing yet another multi-trillion stimulus bill aimed at infrastructure. For all that we need to put some serious money into infrastructure, this is not the time or the best way to do it in my opinion.

Over on Twitter, I put forth a recommendation on what should pass to get us going again. It would not add to the deficit per se, and would give us a great shot at a even better economy. I invited others to join in, and got some good ideas. I want to explore those a bit now, as I would like to have something to present that would form the basis of several good pieces of legislation. Why several? It would allow a better chance of keeping pork out, and let’s face it, Pelosi, Schumer, et al are going to do all they can to prevent an effective response and to add in everything they can think of to any legislation. This must be prevented at all costs.

We need to decouple from China hard and fast. For me, that means not buying anything from China unless it is a true emergency or there is no other current source. Note the current, as I expect to see many companies move out on their own. But, we need to push that hard, and grease the skids as much as we can. How?

First, we need to recognize Taiwan. Let’s cut the bull and do it. They are sending us masks and more right now, and have been a reliable ally and partner on multiple levels for decades. They deserve better than they have gotten. So, first bill is a simple and straightforward recognition of them — screw One China. Also, as a part of this, per Commander Salamander, we need to place limits on the number of PRC students and investigators in the U.S. Again, multiple stories and links to some of those professors and students both stealing samples and intel to take back to China, and to bring dangerous agents into the U.S. They are a disproportionate number of our STEM graduate programs. Also, such a law should ban efforts to by influence and places within academia either directly or through friendship centers and other means of indirect funding.

Second, we need to take a hard look at all the rules, regulations, laws, and bureaucrats who have hampered our response. If you’ve read my daily updates, there are link after link to stories showing how the CDC, FDA, and others have hampered — and still are hampering — a fast, effective response after creating the need for that response. Then, create a bill that returns these agencies to a focus on their prime mission rather than all the mission creep they have added on, and puts limits on future expansion as well as putting into law ways to step aside normal function when in an emergency. Some form of sanctions for those individuals or agencies who do so is needed. It will also need to explicitly render existing laws that hampered response null and void. In addition, the President needs to issue orders to eliminate as many of the excess regulations as possible.

Third, while it could go in the first bill, some form of meaningful tort reform and immunity from frivolous lawsuits and other attempts to place ridiculous indemnities on companies and individuals that step up in the face of an emergency. Again, if you go through my updates here, and on Twitter, you will find links to stories where companies could not step up as they would have faced company-ending lawsuits if things were not perfect. While there are some rules in place for situations like this, again, the bureaucracy sat on things until forced to extend those protections. How many will have suffered or died as a result? End it, now.

Fourth, introduce legislation that will provide tax incentives to companies to encourage making in America as much as possible, and to reward moving anything that can’t be done here from China to other, more friendly and free countries. There are a number of such out there, and if we go for a global distribution of such, we cut down on dependence on any one geographic area outside of the U.S. Anything done overseas must be predicated on free and fair trade, to the benefit of all parties. If no free and fair trade, no deal.

Note, not funding, but tax and other incentives that will encourage businesses to return as many functions as possible to the U.S. It will also need to encompass the other industries needed to support such efforts, from logistics to those that supply components/ingredients/etc. to those businesses. Just removing the regulatory overburden will help, but if we encourage without directly funding, we can get a booming economy quickly, without adding to the deficit.

Fifth, this pandemic having unleashed American ingenuity, provide tax incentives to companies and individuals to continue to modernize and manufacture the better/cheaper medical and other devices being designed right now. The Obama-era war on the medical/biomedical industries needs to end now. This is the right time to do so, and to encourage innovation in all fields. Remove the regulatory burden and make it possible to make a profit, and watch out.

Sixth, the degree that attempts by state and local governments to restrict the growth and improvement of hospitals has been shown to be a clear and present danger to the Republic and it’s Citizens. These laws need to be struck down on a state and local level, but we may also need a Federal bill to open the healthcare system up to the free market. This also needs to extend to the medical insurance industry, which needs reform and the removal of burdensome regulations that have made it bloated and expensive. Any such bill should formally end the restrictions on telemedicine, which have been waived for now. Telemedicine can and will help expand medicine into both poorer areas and areas with lower population density; and, telemedicine offers opportunities to deal with future pandemics while minimizing the risk to medical professionals and other responders.

Seventh, provide tax incentives to companies and individuals to develop better monitoring and modeling systems so that we can better identify and respond to pandemics and other emergencies. Even in the face of lying by any government anywhere. Better open-source intelligence could have prevented much of the disaster we face, as well as botched responses by any number of governments. Global companies have security sections that are, in many cases, supposed to look for such signs. Let’s see if there is a way to expand their ability to do so, as well as companies custom-built to provide that service. They are going to be far more agile and responsive to changes in technology and systems for response than any government agency (where this is the way we’ve always done it and Not Invented Here rule).

So, there you go. A modest set of proposals for consideration and rational discourse. If we trim the government, especially the regulatory environment, provide legal protections needed (along with tort reform), watch America take off. This will provide prosperity and an economy better than before without the corrosive effects and financial insolvency of WPA/ShovelingIt II.

Discuss.

UPDATE 1: Legislation to defund WHO based on COVID-19 and covering for China. Sound idea in my mind.

The Odd Things

That cross your mind sometimes. Looking at the current political divide makes me nostalgic for the days when even if you disagreed with someone on matters politic, you could still talk with them — cheerfully even — on a range of other subjects.

Brought to mind my interactions with Senator Herman Talmadge of Georgia. Parts of my family were quite active politically, with one uncle being a force within the Republican party not just on the state and local level, but national. You don’t get to be National Commander of the American Legion without some clout.

I never had the heart to tell Herman that I was the one who helped scuttle his efforts to stay in office, rather than my Dad. Dad avoided politics, and was not interested in having or exercising any of the power the family had. One afternoon, when I was home alone as a teenager, the phone rang. It was a senior member of Herman’s team, asking for the family’s support.

I knew from the moment he called that he did not know my Dad, as he asked for Clifford. Also being Clifford, I said that yes I was Clifford. I let him make his pitch, and then let him know that I/the family would not back Herman in his bid, and may have even hinted we would oppose, forcefully. Herman was in trouble over corruption charges at the time, and I was not impressed. I still say that if he had done as his father had, and said he took the money for the people of the state of Georgia that I might would have backed him, as the voters backed his father.

The funny thing was, I met Herman later when I had graduated college and was working my first job after graduation. He was a bit stiff when he heard my name, and established my family. However, we did share some common interests and found we could agree on those. Never did have the heart (courage?) to tell him that I was the one who helped scupper him rather than my Dad. We avoided that subject.

There have been others through the years, that while we disagreed — strongly — on matters of policy and action, that we could agree to disagree. That seems to be mostly gone now, and that is truly a sad, sad thing.

COVID-19 14Mar20

If you want to see innovative and effective leadership, you need look no further than to Donald Trump and the Task Force on COVID-19. Rather than seize a crisis to increase the size and scope of the stagnant and ineffective government, he instead showcased the best of American Exceptionalism to partner with industry on innovation that is already having dramatic results. I’m not surprised given some of the partnerships and investments in private enterprise solutions to find cures and speed development of vaccines, but yesterday was unprecedented. The declaration of emergency is clearing out the logjam of regulation so that real and effective steps can be taken and a host of problems solved.

Apparently others noticed this as well. The stock market didn’t just stage a rally, it had what is being reported as a record rise after the President announced his declaration and outlined the various steps being taken and had the leaders of the companies involved say a few words. Then, he had real experts on pandemics and related issues talk — as usual. He pointed out, correctly, that this is something that affects us all and requires government, industry, and even private citizens to work together to address. Contrast this with Pelosi et al and the despicable efforts to load the spending bill with pork and efforts to expand the bureaucracy. For me, I’m noting those who would play politics with the lives and safety of our Citizens and the Republic, and urge you to do so as well.

Also, contrast this with a media that has repeatedly lied, deliberately provoked panic, and now is openly promoting Chinese assets spewing propaganda. And the talking heads wonder why public trust in, and viewership/readership, has taken a nose dive.

More to say, but for now it will have to wait. I simply note that if not for the Trump economy, we would be in real and severe financial trouble. If not for the quick response of the President, responses taken despite efforts by political opposition and the deep state, the infection rate would be far larger and the spread far faster. I am more than impressed with his leadership in this crisis, and anyone who can look at the facts should be as well.

If my posts are enjoyable, helpful, or otherwise a benefit, please consider hitting the tip jar. With the levels of stupid out there, really do need to up the strategic alcohol and tobacco reserves…


•My Amazon Wishlist

As always:

If you suspect you have COVID-19 or have been exposed: call your state health department and work with them so that you can be dealt with in a way that minimizes the chance of spreading the virus to those helping you and to the general public. Can’t get them? Call your local department or see if your health service has online/telemedicine screening set up; or see if one who has will let you use it even if you are not in their network. Do not go out in public, and don’t go to an ER or other facility without calling ahead. Be smart.

Use the interactive graphic to keep track of things. Is COVID19 an epidemic? Yes. Is it a Pandemic? Yes. Is there need for panic? NOHELL NO. Should you be paying attention? Yes. Hell yes. Should you be preparing? Yes, better late than never. And good luck finding/getting stuff.

Want to avoid catching COVID19 here in the U.S.? Wash your flippin hands frequently, wash them thoroughly every time you use the bathroom, then follow with hand sanitizer after every washing, use hand sanitizer liberally when you can’t wash on a regular basis. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and stay away from those who don’t. Also, keep your bugger hooks out of/away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Do NOT shake hands with anyone, and avoid touching or being touched by strangers. Or your strange friends.

Avoid travel if at all possible. Right now, there is no way I’m going to a trade show, major convention, etc. If you can telecommute, get that set up now. If you have to travel, use lots of hand sanitizer and go to full flu protocols. If you have to use a public restroom, take full precautions including using paper towels and such to handle faucets, doors,etc.  Believe it or not, this was highly recommended before now, and major grocery chains have long told employees to use those practices to avoid getting or spreading colds, flu, etc.  Not many actually do it, but…  

If you own a business, make sure your employees know the above protocols. Have someone who refuses to wash their hands or otherwise follow the protocols? Talk to them, write them up, and if necessary fire them as they now pose a risk of infection to you and your customers. Extreme? Yes, but while the CDC and others are working to slow it down, odds are it is already here and could hit hard and fast. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

I want to reiterate that there is no need for panic, but there is a strong need to be alert, be informed, and be prepared.

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

COVID-19 13Mar20 The Game Of Loads And Vectors Gets Real For America

COVID-19 12Mar20

COVID-19 11Mar20

COVID-19 10Mar20

COVID-19 9Mar20 The Game Of Loads And Vectors

COVID-19 8Mar20

Heh

COVID-19 7Mar20 How To Do It Right If You Have/Have Been Exposed To COVID-19

COVID-19 6Mar20

COVID-19 5Mar20

COVID-19 4Mar20

COVID-19 3Mar20

COVID-19 What Am I Doing?

COVID-19 2Mar20

COVID-19 1Mar20

COVID-19 29Feb20

Quick Additional Thoughts On The Bureaucracy

Panic Is Off And Running

COVID-19 28Feb20 Reasons To Hope, Reasons To Fear

COVID-19 A Plea To The Politicians (And Media)

COVID-19 27Feb20

COVID-19 Breaking A Chain?

COVID-19 26Feb20

COVID19 The Situation In China Gets Even Weirder

COVID19 25Feb20

COVID19 24Feb20 Raising DEFCON

COVID19 23Feb20

COVID19 22Feb20

COVID19 21Feb20: Just Look At The Blooms Dear

COVID19 Update 20Feb20

COVID19 Update

Update & Quick Thoughts On Preparedness

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

My Politics

While there are many who presume my politics, I think it is time to lay them out again so that people who think can know what they are. In some regards, it is simple:

I’m a cranky individualist who is getting crankier by the day.

In more refined terms, I am a small-L libertarian, classical liberal, fiscal and defense conservative, and strict Constitutionalist. I believe that the best government is a small government, and that real (not crony) capitalism is the best system to bring people out of poverty and ensure prosperity for all.

I despise the current leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties. There may be a few exceptions in there, but neither party puts the well-being of the Republic and its Citizens ahead of their own power and money. That is changing a bit in one case, but absent constant push they will go back to what they’ve been doing for decades to the detriment of the Republic.

I’m a small-L libertarian because the Big L party is nuts and unserious. I really want something like what is described in The Probability Broach, but that is for now a dream. Yes, I’m an Amazon Affiliate, see the disclaimer upper right.

I’m a classical liberal in that I believe that property rights are inviolate, and the first and most important property we have is ourselves and our lives. I believe that each individual should make the decisions that are best for them, free from interference. Yes, people will make bad decisions, and in that case it is not up to the government to save them from themselves (impossible anyway), especially using taxpayer dollars taken at gun point from the rest of us. That is not charity, it is mugging dressed up in a fancy suit. If individuals or a group of individuals working as a charity want to do something, that’s great and fine as they are doing it with their own funds and of their own free will.

I believe that freedoms do come from God as noted in the Constitution, not the government. I want to see freedom restored and expanded, so that we can (and will) do more. Everyone should be free to live as they see fit, with their rights only coming to a stop when they impinge on the rights of another. Morality can’t be legislated or forced on people. So, please quit trying. Also, stop trying to force immorality on others.

I do believe that we need the best defense possible, and that such is incorporated into the Constitution. I think that whatever size government, though I want a small one, needs to be frugal and stretch every dollar as far as possible.

I believe in trimming the government back to the limits of the Constitution. It is bloated, the regulatory environment onerous and out of control, and all branches of government have failed to do their sworn duties and obligations.

I believe that we, the Citizens, need to make educated and informed decisions for ourselves and for our voting.

I don’t think that those who disagree with me are automatically evil, mean, etc. In fact, there are any number of people who disagree with me that I like and can talk to. The othering, the denial of Grace and forgiveness, and the violence have to stop.

What you do in your own home is up to you, provided that all involved consent. Who you love, and how, is really none of my business — again, provided it is between parties capable of forming consent. Don’t demand that I endorse anything you say or do, on any subject, as that impinges on my rights and even on my responsibilities. That includes the extremely anti-freedom (fascist even) PC and related codes. Cancel culture needs to go, now.

Don’t demand I vote a certain way, for a certain party, or anything else that removes my right to vote my conscience and beliefs. My Dad raised me to vote for the best person, not a party, and his words are wise. Heed them.

Equal opportunity does NOT mean equal outcomes. Every system that tries to create equal outcomes has failed, and in the process killed millions over the ages even as they eliminated all concepts of freedom.

Finally, going back up a bit, freedom means taking responsibility for our own actions. For good or for ill, step up and own your convictions and your actions. Don’t blame society for your choices. Live, learn, and grow. That’s what each of us should be doing. We sometimes learn more from our mistakes.

If someone screws up, owns up, do what you can to help them get back up. Encouragement, support, or more — it’s up to you.

So, in a nutshell, there you go. Each point can be debated and expanded upon, but it gives you a rough idea of where I stand.

Quick Additional Thoughts On The Bureaucracy

Given the idiots out there, as well as those who will deliberately try to mis-represent my thoughts (Outrage! Cancel! No Grace For You!), let me add the following thoughts and suggestions for consideration.

First, there are some very good and talented people that work for the CDC, HHS, etc. If they are allowed to truly do their jobs, they are going to break the back of this thing.

But, they also work for a political, not a medical, organization. Which means they have a political administration for most of whom the first thought on response will be politics. They also have a lot of deadwood supporting that administration. These are the type who hang up when someone protests an idiotic decision, and who make that decision because that’s the way it was last month.

Since pour encourager les autres is not going to be an option (hyperbole people, hyperbole), such deadwood (management and staff) needs to be publicly named and shamed and find themselves on a permanent unpaid leave as soon as discovered (since firing takes a lot of time and effort). Find someone playing politics on the job? Out the door. Doesn’t matter the level, boot them. Immediately and publicly.

Anyone who impedes the response to this, or any other epidemic, through incompetence or deliberate malice (and that is what it is), needs to go immediately and with fanfare. It’s also well past time to prune the CDC back to it’s job, so that is lean, mean, and responsive.

Just my thoughts.

COVID-19 28Feb20 Reasons To Hope, Reasons To Fear

Yesterday, I wrote that I was fairly happy with what I had heard of the press conference and the steps that have been taken by President Trump. I stand by that, and in fact will double down on it. I think that if we get through this in good shape, that it will be because of the steps taken by him, by Vice President Pence, by Alex Azar, and others in that team. They, along with a robust public hygiene system and fairly decent personal hygiene, are my hope. My fear is the bureaucracy, as it has already botched things in other countries. In this case, my fears are compounded by the incest and corruption in our own bureaucracy.

Since some seem determined to spread fear and panic, let’s start there. In fact, let’s start with the CDC refusing initially to test the positive case in California because it didn’t meet bureaucratic criteria that was already set in stone. This led, in turn, to a press conference by Nancy Messonnier at the CDC which led to a lot of fear and even panic. There was, at the time, also a strong media push to note that she was not part of the White House response.

Well, there might be a reason for that. One of which is that she is Rod Rosenstein’s sister. If you don’t know who he is, shame on you. Look it up and write his name 50 times on the blackboard. When I say the swamp that is our bureaucracy is incestuous, this is what I mean. I also agree very much with Trent Telenko’s take:

In hind sight the gloom and doom CDC newsconference  Tuesday by Doctor Nancy Messonnier, the Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease in the CDC seems to be an attempt to distract the public from the CDC’s role in delaying this identification of community spread in California with the uber-flawed CDC testing program and guidelines.

I would also commend his article as he also notes the CDC is not allowing better testing being used elsewhere because those tests have not been through the full FDA approval. Again, the bureaucracy is our greatest enemy, not coronavirus. Bureaucratium and Administratium are two of the densest materials in the known universe, and if our efforts fail, it will fail because of them.

For all that St. Rod has lit the virtue signal and flounced to the holy fainting couch (his symbol) over Trump (won’t someone note my piety!), he notes that there may be another case almost identical to the refusal to test the patient in California. If so, this needs to be gotten to the White House asap. If you have a patient you think is infected and you get stonewalled, go public and go large. Call the White House (switchboard number is readily available) and leave a message; tweet at Trump, Pence, Azar, etc.; call the media, and they are going to be appreciative as it gives them a chance to go after Trump and create a panic. Just make sure to get the names of the people at the CDC and give them out too. Name and shame, and hold them accountable. Not joking. If this complaint is true, hope someone does here too.

As I’ve noted a time or two before, the CDC is first and foremost a political agency, not a medical. The abandoned that role a few decades ago as they sought to increase their budget and their reach, as such is the way one moves up in the entrenched DC elite. Glenn Reynolds took them to task in 2014, and it is even more relevant today.

So, my greatest fear in the fight is our bureaucracy. So what’s my greatest hope? That comes in two parts.

The first part is that we have a robust and modern public hygiene system. This includes modern and effective (for the most part) sewage transport and treatment. We also have a different cultural “look” at personal hygiene. Both of these are important, as they limit the spread of not just COVID-19, but a number of other diseases. Not eliminate, but limit — often to very small amounts not seen before in human history.

The second part is that the team announced by Trump is solid, and rather pointedly excludes swamp dwellers. Don’t take my word for it, take a look at what a biochemist has to say about that team.

More to come, but that’s some good food for thought to start your day. Meantime, note those who are politicizing this event, from pundits to politicians. They deserve your contempt, your opprobrium, and to be shunned in all things by all good people.

As always:

Use the interactive graphic to keep track of things. Is COVID19 an epidemic? Yes. Is it a Pandemic? Not Yet Is there need for panic? No. Should you be paying attention? Yes. Hell yes. Should you be preparing? Yes, better late than never.

Want to avoid catching COVID19 here in the U.S.? Wash your flippin hands frequently, wash them thoroughly every time you use the bathroom, then follow with hand sanitizer after every washing, use hand sanitizer liberally when you can’t wash on a regular basis. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and stay away from those who don’t. Also, keep your bugger hooks out of/away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Do NOT shake hands with anyone, and avoid touching or being touched by strangers. Or your strange friends.

Avoid travel if at all possible. If you can telecommute, get that set up now. If you have to travel, use lots of hand sanitizer and go to full flu protocols. If you have to use a public restroom, take full precautions including using paper towels and such to handle faucets, doors,etc.  Believe it or not, this was highly recommended before now, and major grocery chains have long told employees to use those practices to avoid getting or spreading colds, flu, etc.  Not many actually do it, but…  

If you own a business, make sure your employees know the above protocols. Have someone who refuses to wash their hands or otherwise follow the protocols? Talk to them, write them up, and if necessary fire them as they now pose a risk of infection to you and your customers. Extreme? Yes, but while the CDC and others are working to slow it down, odds are it is already here and could hit hard and fast. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

I want to reiterate that there is no need for panic, but there is a strong need to be alert, be informed, and be prepared.

Other COVID19/COVID-19/2019-nCoV articles:

COVID-19 A Plea To The Politicians (And Media)

COVID-19 27Feb20

COVID-19 Breaking A Chain?

COVID-19 26Feb20

COVID19 The Situation In China Gets Even Weirder

COVID19 25Feb20

COVID19 24Feb20 Raising DEFCON

COVID19 23Feb20

COVID19 22Feb20

COVID19 21Feb20: Just Look At The Blooms Dear

COVID19 Update 20Feb20

COVID19 Update

Update & Quick Thoughts On Preparedness

Expansion On A Theme

Well Maybe I Was Wrong

Some Quick Thoughts On Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Why Should You Be Prepared?

Keeping Alert

Coronavirus And Practical Preparedness

COVID-19 A Plea To The Politicians (And Media)

COVID-19 is a threat to the Citizens and economy of the United States. It is not a threat to any single race, creed, color, or other manipulative subject of division. It is a threat to us all, and to our lives and fortunes.

For some, it is a threat to whatever sacred honor they may have. These creatures are so bereft of honor, decency, and basic humanity that they have gleefully tried to use it for political ends. They have used it to promote party, creeds, idiologies, or things other than the Republic and the Citizens of same.

For those who may still have some small spark of integrity, I beg you now, please stop. Pull back, reclaim some measure of manhood, and do what is right for all, not just yourself and your party.

For the others, I will steal a page from the far-left: How Dare You! How dare you put your venal interests ahead of my life, the lives of my family and friends, the lives of ALL Citizens and our economic well-being.

I would remind one and all that the Citizens are watching, and they will remember. They will remember who was willing to put their lives, and the lives of those they love, at risk for purely personal gain. When this is over, those who have lost those they love, and who have suffered adverse economic impact, will rightly look at you as being in part or in large measure responsible. And, they will be most right to do so.

Frankly, given the current climate, you will be lucky if they simply hold out for elections to hold you accountable. You may well be lucky if they only go so far as to try to recall you. You will be very lucky if they do not vent their rage in ways large and small at both you and whatever political party of which you are a part.

So, if honor and integrity are not enough, you have some strong motivation towards self-interest to stop this venal idiocy now. Show some maturity, some vestige of honor, some self-interest, and drop the politics.

If you don’t feel enough is being spent, propose more and put it towards really dealing with this and not underwater basketweaving/climate change. Don’t like a process or idea? Propose something else that is effective, efficient, and again FOCUSED ON THE DAMN PROBLEM AND NOT YOUR ELECTION/RE-ELECTION/PARTY!

This isn’t about you! It’s about all of us, and our lives and fortunes. Dig deep, dig hard, and find what it takes to do what is right for all, not just for you.

Chinese Operatives

Image stolen from Liberty.Me/Ombreolivier

If there are competent counter-intelligence officers and operations out there (something I’m beginning to doubt), they should be having a field day with the number of operatives and influencers working for the Chinese government who have self-identified over the last few weeks. Here in the U.S. it has been amazing to watch how many have come forth, including in the media. One hopes that any such hypothetical competent officers and operations are quietly investigating same.

Meantime, things have reached a point where the U.S. has declared five Chinese media operations as state propaganda efforts. Long overdue.