Starting month three, we are learning that the experts were guessing. Some things they got right, some wrong. The radical left however, remains relentless in pursuing their pre-Covid 19 agenda, beat Trump by killing the economy and empty the jails and prisons.
The story they told us was we were risking a catastrophe in our jails with thousands of deaths. So what has happened? In Harris County, 7,000 in jail, no deaths as of May 7, 2020. They thought they had one, but he died of a heart attack and just happened to be positive for coronavirus without any symptoms.
Recent data from mass testing of prisoners in Arkansas, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia shows 3,300 prisoners tested positive for coronavirus and 96% of those positives had no symptoms. These numbers translate into a death rate from coronavirus of .15 to .2 percent. Maybe that's why the mainstream media and its leftist allies only tell us about positive tests, not who actually gets sick with the coronavirus.
Yet, the lawsuit in Harris County, Texas Federal Court, Russell vs. Harris County, is still pending and the radical advocates continue to push to empty the jails they say because of coronavirus, but the real reason is the agenda to decriminalize crime and drastically reduce those in jail regardless of crimes, an agenda being pursued by the left for years.
By the way, this effort is being repeated around the country. The traditional way to evaluate bond risk is irrelevant to those pushing mass jail release. We also notice a crime increase in the areas where mass release takes place. In Houston for example, we are on our way to a record murder year.
In Harris County, the culprits behind this mass jail release attempt are County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Commissioner Rodney Ellis, the Houston Chronicle and their radical allies.
General Flynn Exonerated,
But What Does It Say About Our Country?
The Flynn story is almost what one would expect from Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany, no rights, a citizen entrapped by law enforcement on made up charges, where there is no crime and as a result, the target is left bankrupt, with threats to his family if he did not cooperate, and all along the FBI knew it was made up.
There are more shoes to drop in the investigation, but powerful government officials destroying lives because of the pursuit of power is un-American. If they, Comey, Mueller, Rosenstein, Clapper, McCabe, Brennan, Page, Strzok and Congressman Schiff, in no particular order, don't get prosecuted for running roughshod over the Bill of Rights, something is terribly wrong. If the left-wing media continues to present them as reliable experts they should no longer claim to be just covering the news, as they presented these liars for years on the Russia collusion hoax. The free press has been compromised by its efforts to get Trump, no matter what the truth is.
Radical Judge Locks Up Hardworking Citizen,
There's Hope For America As She Is Released
Thanks to the Texas Supreme Court, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Shelley Luther was released from the Dallas County jail after two days in custody. What was her horrible crime? She reopened her hair salon so she and her employees could make money to feed their families.
She was arrested, charged and then told to "apologize" or go to jail. All this makes perfect sense, should not working for a living be a crime in a free nation? Keep in mind, this same Democratic judge and his radical allies around Texas are pushing to empty the jails of people charged with real crimes like theft, burglary, assault, etc.
In Dallas County, which should be called the twilight zone, the elected radical District Attorney John Creuzot (D) refuses to prosecute theft of "necessary items" up to $750. How did this clown get elected to such an important job?
The Lesson: Who We Elect Matters
This proves the old adage that who we vote for matters. Straight ticket voters over the years in Texas created sweeps. With sweeps, we elected some well-qualified officeholders, but unfortunately we also elected inexperienced, arrogant, radical ideologues who are not factually qualified candidates. When that is done, the whole political body suffers. This is not party specific.
We need to reform our system. We need to have real, serious standards required for our judiciary, which currently are minimal, requiring only being licensed for four years and ages 25 to 74. We need to ensure the political parties are careful about who they nominate. The voters in general elections need reliable, accurate information so they can select the truly best qualified to serve in public office. Right now for the most part, it is not happening.
If we do this, we can ensure that these accidental officeholders now serving in various offices in Texas don't happen again. These accidents in public office create dangerous and wasteful public policy.
Can Baseball Timely Start?
It's time to get back to normal life and what better way than baseball? My favorite quote in my favorite baseball movie Field of Dreams:
"The one constant through all the years has been baseball, America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again."
Let's play ball as soon as our guys are ready to go. It's time to open up America and get back to work and play. Go Astros!
We Have Met The Enemy
By Neland D. Nobel, Contributing Editor
As I sat down for breakfast, I opened the Wall Street Journal to the news that "Decade of Job Gains Erased in April." Somber news to digest along with some eggs. The article goes on to say the unemployment rate surged "as the coronavirus pandemic hit the economy."
The day before, Bloomberg reported, "coronavirus unemployment hit 14.7 percent, highest since the Great Depression."
The same day, the otherwise sane and stable National Review stated that "Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on workers. The economy has plunged so quickly that official statistics can't keep up..."
At the risk of being pedantic, it really needs to be pointed out that the virus ABSOLUTELY DID NOT CAUSE THE ECONOMY TO PLUNGE INTO DEPRESSION.
If this is not emphasized, an erroneous narrative will circulate, become adopted, and stifle critical examination of what we are going through.
No, the cause was entirely manmade. It was the choice and response of public health officials and political policy makers from the President down to governors and mayors that caused mass unemployment. It was the lockdown that did this, not the virus.
It was also the choice of the Federal Reserve, Congress and the Executive branch to allow a giant credit bubble to be blown, which would leave the economy vulnerable in the face of external shocks.
We have had pandemics before and we did not see this kind of behavior. A good example was the Asian Flu Pandemic of 1957. With a population slightly more than half of the present day, the US suffered 116,000 deaths related to this virus. Adjusted to today's population, that would be comparable to about 230,000 deaths.
We are nowhere near that level of death at the present time.
General Motors continued to make its beautiful 1957 Bel Air model and Elvis continued to swivel his hips. Schools remained open. The economy kept chugging along. GDP growth was 3.6%, almost identical to the previous year of 1956. The unemployment rate was 5.6%, as compared with 6.6% by 1960.
A number of countries like Sweden have not gone into lockdown, while others like South Korea and Japan pursued many measures short of lockdown. A number of European countries like Austria implemented more moderate policies and have shortened their lockdown period.
Seven US states chose not to go into lockdown. Some went into it late and with a moderate touch such as Florida while others like California opted for near tyranny.
To date, it cannot be proven that lockdown saved lives or reduced the spread. As of this writing, New York is reporting the surge in new cases is coming from those who have been homebound. The Governor says despite severe measures, new cases are "infuriatingly constant."
We point this out to once again reiterate that lockdown severity may not translate to saved lives but does kill the economy. In the present case, this is clearly the choice of officials. If they did not know it was their choice, they were mistaken. If they don't know it now, they are willfully ignorant.
It recalls to memory the famous quote of a US Army officer, after the leveling of a South Vietnamese village that it was "necessary to destroy the village in order to save it." Then, like today, the basic policy was designed by the "best and the brightest" of our public servants.
While we can sympathize with their situation, it is clear that they did not have clear information about this virus. Data was fragmented and the models were way off in their predictions. What is less easy to sympathize with is that as new information became available, most stuck with the decisions they made before better data became available. Some states, such as Michigan doubled down and extended the lockdown.
Faced with uncertainty about the virus, our leaders chose this fragmented data over the certainty of the data that lockdown would cause a depression. That they would tip the world into depression on such fragmented data speaks of an arrogance that is truly breathtaking. Combined with the fear of being blamed, and the CYA a patina of science could provide, they made a catastrophic error of global proportions.
This could be viewed as uncharitable. Really? It does not take a doctorate in economics to understand that if you simultaneously stop supply and all demand at once, the economy would crater.
Equally as odd, is the almost gleeful destruction some have wrought on the economy. Whether it was the aphrodisiac of the exercise of arbitrary power, or a test run to condition us for a new scare (likely the existential threat of global warming), it appears that a lot of politicians really like power and getting in front of TV cameras.
Environmentalists seems particularly gleeful at mass human misery. See, they say, this is what you get for fouling mother earth. When all commerce stopped, the air got clearer and dolphins could be seen in canals of Venice! How wonderful for nature and the dolphins.
Yet it was nature that created the virus, or the Chinese Communists had a bio weapon based on nature that escaped. Neither has anything to do with carbon emissions.
In the end, words need to mean something to understand what we have done to ourselves. The virus is bad to be sure, but the number of deaths or the number infected, would not, and has not in the past, caused this kind of massive shock to the economy. Did the destruction of the economy substantially change the mortality outcome? Will more people die as a result of the lockdown than would be killed by the virus? These are the questions we must ask ourselves.
Needless to say, this event will hopefully produce considerable introspection as to the behavior of our political class, the media, and the sheep like nature of the American people. But to make any of this analysis productive insofar as guiding future responses to such crisis, we need to get causation correct.
We had choices about how to respond to the virus. Choices have consequences. It was a choice to treat Billings like Brooklyn, even though multiple factors were different. It was a choice to treat the young like the elderly. It was a choice to shut down commerce.
As Pogo said in 1972, "we have met the enemy and he is us." Walt Kelly got it right.
Neland D. Nobel is an Arizona based free market economist and a contributing editor for TCR.
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About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his twenty-fifth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last nineteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 17 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his 18th year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on Houston Public Media TV 8 PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary serves on the Board of Directors of American Values, a national pro-family, pro-faith, conservative organization supporting the unity of the American people around the vision of our founding fathers and dedicated to reminding the public of the conservative principles fundamental to the survival of our nation. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.