Rioters: You Are Being Used

Of all the hundreds and hundreds of wild videos that have surfaced over the past few nights of rioting, this one is, to me, the most revealing:

This is not a spontaneous event. Maybe the first night in Minneapolis was, but everything since has been organized and planned by… someone.

That’s a pallet of bricks sitting out in front of a courthouse in what I believe is Dallas, Texas.

Those bricks were placed there deliberately by someone in order to facilitate greater mayhem and destruction.

These riots are not spontaneous and organic. These riots are planned and orchestrated.

I Don’t Want to Hear the Term “Social Distancing” Ever Again

Don’t tell me I can’t dine-in at a restaurant.

Don’t tell me I have to stay 6′ apart from everybody else.

Don’t tell me we can’t have gatherings of more than 10 people anywhere.

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Anyone who has seen one minute of the coverage of these riots knows that Coronavirus is done. It’s over.

Either we’re under lockdown or we’re not. There aren’t exceptions.

There is no “rioting and looting” exception to the lockdown.

Either these people all get arrested and fined for violating the stay at home orders (plus whatever other crimes they’ve committed), or we are completely done with the coronavirus.

I will not live in a country where it is illegal to go a bar, but it is legal to riot, burn, smash, steal, loot and vandalize.

I Hate to Say It…

. . .but George Floyd was killed because he resisted, not because he’s black.

If you don’t resist, you will be fine. If you obey the cops and pose no threat to their safety, you will be fine.

The cops don’t know you. They’ve seen some messed up shit in their lives. They don’t know your intentions, they don’t know what you’re going to do. They’re extra cautious. If they feel threatened, they’re not gonna hesitate to take action against you. If they feel like it’s your life or their life, they’re going to look after their own lives.

The moment you resist, they are not gonna treat you nicely. They’re going to look at you as a threat to their lives. You lose any benefit of the doubt they were willing to give you the moment you start resisting.

You are on your own the moment you start resisting.

Now, that cop in Minneapolis definitely was wrong to kneel on Floyd’s neck. And then to continue doing so after he had already lost consciousness (in all likelihood, died).

I am not on that cop’s side. Not even a little tiny bit.

Just because Floyd was giving them a hard time doesn’t mean he deserved to be killed.

The cop was wrong. What he did was indefensible.

And everyone acknowledges this.

But Floyd did himself no favors when he stopped cooperating with the police. There is no scenario where not cooperating with police can lead to any good outcome for you.

I’ll say it once again in case I wasn’t clear enough: even though he gave the cops a hard time it doesn’t mean he got what he deserved. But he opened himself up to that possibility when he started resisting.

So what “radical changes” do these “protesters” actually want? What are they hoping to achieve?

Make it illegal to call the cops on a black person? Make it illegal to arrest a black person?

You will never get to a point where the police are perfect and never make mistakes. You will never get to a point where there are no dickheads and assholes in the police force.

What do you want? Perfection? Does anything short of 100% perfection warrant riots?

It’s a noble goal to want police to be perfect, but it’s never going to happen. You’re dealing with human beings. There will never be a time in history where all cops are perfect angels who never make mistakes. You are setting yourself up for disappointment if your demand is perfection.

Nobody is defending the cop that killed George Floyd. No meaningful number of Americans think he was right.

The overwhelming number of Americans think the officer was wrong.

They were on your side–until you started burning your city to the ground.

What are these rioters and protesters so angry about? Who do they think they are opposing?

Who doesn’t think black lives matter?

People in Washington D.C, Atlanta, Los Angeles and all over the country are protesting one police officer in Minneapolis.

An officer who has already been fired, already been charged with third degree murder, and who is already under arrest. He’s sitting in a jail cell right now.

What more do you want?

I think the people involved in these riots and “demonstrations” just want to be angry. They want to riot. They want to feel like they’re part of a historical moment. They want to feel like they’re Doing Something Great.

The white people just want to virtue signal and show they’re Not Racist. That’s a given.

As a whole, they’ve been brainwashed by Hollywood and the media to believe America is a racist hellhole.

But honestly, what can be done to make sure this never happens again? What policies could be implemented?

Literally nothing. The cop broke the law.

George Floyd was murdered by a cop. It’s sad that it happened. It should not have happened. The cop should be brought to justice, and George Floyd’s family should be paid a fat settlement from the city of Minneapolis because they were wronged.

I’m not saying arresting the cop and paying Floyd’s family a settlement makes it right, because nothing will bring a dead family member back to life.

But sometimes these things happen in our messed-up world. If we lived in a perfect world, we wouldn’t even need police in the first place.

There is literally nothing that can be done to make sure this doesn’t happen in the future.

Except for people to not resist when they get arrested.

According to the Washington Post’s database, since 2015, there have been 49 unarmed, not-fleeing-the-scene black people in the US that have been killed by police.

There are 42 million black people in America. At the very least, you have to admit there is not an epidemic of black people being “slaughtered” by police.

There’s an epidemic of media coverage, of course. But there is no epidemic of killing.

Three unarmed black people have been killed by police this year. One was fleeing.

Last year, there were nine unarmed black people killed by police. Six were fleeing.

The WaPo database doesn’t even have information on how many were resisting arrest. Fleeing the scene is the closest thing they have.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics only has arrest data for years up to 2014, and in 2014, there were 11,207,143 people arrested in America. In 2015, there were 994 people shot and killed by police.

Since we don’t have data on total arrests for 2015, we can look at other years to see if we can ballpark it. In 2013, the number of total arrests was 11.3 million. In 2012 it was 12.2 million. In 2011, it was 12.4 million.

So the number of total arrests in America actually decreased by 1.2 million between 2011 and 2014.

Let’s just assume the number of arrests didn’t fluctuate very much from 2014 to 2015, and that 11.2 million is a fair estimate for the years since 2014, i.e. that we can reasonably estimate about 11.2 million people were arrested in America in 2015.

Only 94 of the 992 shot and killed by police that year were unarmed, and only 56 of those 94 were both unarmed and not fleeing the scene.

56 out of 11.2 million. That’s 0.000005%.

And we still don’t even know how many of those 56 people were resisting. We don’t know how many of those 56 cases the police were actually justified in killing the suspect.

But even if we assume all 56 cases of unarmed, non-fleeing perps being killed were unjustified and wrong, that’s still only 0.000005% of arrests.

56 out of 11.2 million comes out to 1 in 200,000. You have a 1 in 200,000 chance of being killed by a cop while you’re unarmed.

And the media focuses on the 1, not the 199,999.

Reminder: 80k Americans died during the Flu Season 2017-18

Coronavirus has killed 100k Americans, according to official figures, and we had to shut our entire country down for two full months.

Not only are the death numbers likely inflated, it’s also worth pointing out that 80k Americans died of the flu just two years ago and nobody batted an eye:

The point of all this was not the virus, it was the lockdown.

The elites know that the best way to get Americans to give up all their freedoms is a “global pandemic.” This has been a success for them beyond their wildest dreams.

Rubicon Moment: Twitter Censors the White House

The White House Twitter account retweeted the President this morning. But Twitter hid the tweet:

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If you click on it, you can see the whole thing:

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Leftwing “journalists” have been begging Twitter to censor the President since the day he took office. Most of them want him outright banned.

Now Twitter has given them what they want. I’m sure this has nothing to do with the fact that it’s an election year.

This is a major moment in the Social Media Era. The Social Media Giants are now so confident in their own power that they are now comfortable strong-arming the White House. The Social Media Giants are out of control.

Why Did George Floyd Die?

I’ll preface this by saying I’m well-aware the horse is already out of the barn. The court of public opinion has already long since made up its mind that George Floyd was killed for the crime of being black, and for no other reason.

I’ll also add that I’m completely open to the fact that the police killed him.

I just want to figure out what happened. Because it seems like nobody really knows. Again, I understand nobody really cares, either, but there should at least be some priority given to facts, shouldn’t there?

I’ve seen two videos of the incident: the one with officer with his knee on Floyd’s neck, and then the security camera footage from the storefront that shows the officers apprehending Floyd. In the latter footage, which people are citing to prove Floyd didn’t resist, the officers can be seen slapping the cuffs on him and then starting to lead him towards the police car. Here’s a still:

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Somehow, Floyd ended up in this situation:

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What I don’t understand is how Floyd went from being escorted by police to being on the street underneath an officer’s knee.

What happened between Picture 1 and Picture 2?

New York Post says “video doesn’t appear to show George Floyd resisting arrest”:

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But we don’t have video of the entire sequence of events. So how do we know he wasn’t resisting?

Most people are recoiling at the visual of the officer with his knee on Floyd’s neck. I agree, it looks very bad. There’s a video that’s over 9 minutes long that shows the officers with Floyd on the ground:

But it doesn’t show how he got into that position. I would be willing to bet a scuffle or something happened from the time he was first apprehended to the time he wound up underneath the officer’s knee.

When you’re handcuffed, you go to the police cruiser and they put you in the back. For some reason, that did not happen with George Floyd. The process did not go smoothly, for some currently unknown reason.

No cause of death has been released, according to Star Tribune.

The DA investigation is still ongoing, and today the DA of Hennepin County said that “there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge” against the officers involved in George Floyd’s death.

The knee on the neck video looks bad. The officer is in that position on top of Floyd for over nine minutes, and Floyd is clearly unconscious for a good 4-5 minutes of that. The officer has to know Floyd is unconscious because the bystanders on the street keep yelling it at him over and over.

We’ll have to wait and see what the official verdict is. We need to see the full video of his arrest: from the moment he is handcuffed to the moment the police officer gets him on the ground and puts Floyd’s neck under his knee. We need to see how it went from A to B.

The DA is in a horrible position. There is no more impossible job in America than the DA investigating this case. Either you clear the cops and provide the mob with an excuse for more looting and rioting, or you sentence a potentially innocent man to a very long prison sentence.

I don’t know if the cop is innocent or guilty. He definitely doesn’t look innocent from the video. Although I’m sure he didn’t have his full weight on the knee that was on Floyd’s neck, that still didn’t look good.

Why I’m Inherently Skeptical of 5G

Lately there’s a lot of talk about 5G.

Does it cause coronavirus? I don’t know.

Is it bad for you in general? I don’t know.

There’s a lot I don’t know about 5G. I’m not an expert in this field so I’m not going to pretend to be one.

But I’m inherently skeptical of 5G for one simple reason: because there is no obvious need for it.

4G LTE works perfectly fine for me. It’s plenty fast. I’ve never once thought “Damnit, LTE sucks! I wish we had something faster!”

There is nothing wrong with 4G. I can watch YouTube videos perfectly fine with no buffering 99% of the time. Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and HBO Go work perfectly over LTE.

Yet 5G is sold to us as being super fast:

“Remember in “The Amazing Spider-Man” when Peter Parker runs a Bing search (we know, Bing?) on Dr. Kurt Connors and instantly gets results? Your Web pages never load that fast. “That’s Darth Vader’s computer there,” Ericsson Chief Technology Officer Ulf Ewaldsson quipped. Pages usually take a second or two to load, even on a fast connection. With 5G, those results will come immediately.

Or if you wanted to kick back and download the movie “The Guardians of the Galaxy,” it would zip to your device in 15 seconds instead of the 6 minutes it takes via 4G.”

Yes, how did we ever live with one second loading times for search engine results and six-minute movie download times?

We don’t need 5G. LTE is fast enough.

Yet they’re selling 5G to us based on how much faster it will be.

I’m not buying it. There’s got to be some other reason for 5G.

And as if there weren’t enough reasons to be wary of 5G, the New York Times has already played the “RUSSIA!!!” card:

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Putin wants you to be afraid of 5G! If you are skeptical of 5G, you are a Russian Agent!

You wouldn’t want to be a traitor now, would you? Good. Then shut your damn mouth while the 5G antenna is installed on the streetlight in front of your house.

Scientific American published an op-ed in October 2019 entitled, “We Have No Reason to Believe 5G is Safe.”

“The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced through a press release that the commission will soon reaffirm the radio frequency radiation (RFR) exposure limits that the FCC adopted in the late 1990s. These limits are based upon a behavioral change in rats exposed to microwave radiation and were designed to protect us from short-term heating risks due to RFR exposure.  

Yet, since the FCC adopted these limits based largely on research from the 1980s, the preponderance of peer-reviewed research, more than 500 studies, have found harmful biologic or health effects from exposure to RFR at intensities too low to cause significant heating.”

In other words, the FCC’s radio frequency radiation exposure limits are out of date.

“Citing this large body of research, more than 240 scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on the biologic and health effects of nonionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal, which calls for stronger exposure limits. The appeal makes the following assertions:

“Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.”

So all these bad things can happen to us (and animals and plants) even at radio frequency radiation exposure levels that the FCC has deemed “safe.”

Here’s where 5G comes in, and why it’s unique compared to previous generations of wireless technology (4G, 3G, etc.):

“The latest cellular technology, 5G, will employ millimeter waves for the first time in addition to microwaves that have been in use for older cellular technologies, 2G through 4G. Given limited reach, 5G will require cell antennas every 100 to 200 meters, exposing many people to millimeter wave radiation. 5G also employs new technologies (e.g., active antennas capable of beam-forming; phased arrays; massive multiple inputs and outputs, known as massive MIMO) which pose unique challenges for measuring exposures.”

So what are the effects of millimeter waves on humans? I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that they’re not good:

“Millimeter waves are mostly absorbed within a few millimeters of human skin and in the surface layers of the cornea. Short-term exposure can have adverse physiological effects in the peripheral nervous system, the immune system and the cardiovascular system. The research suggests that long-term exposure may pose health risks to the skin (e.g., melanoma), the eyes (e.g., ocular melanoma) and the testes (e.g., sterility).”

Virtually every part of the elite’s overall agenda has depopulation in mind: abortion, LGBT rights, female empowerment, male disempowerment, vaccines, etc. It can’t be a coincidence that 5G can cause sterility.

The government doesn’t seem to care what health risks 5G–or any wireless technology at all, for that matter–cause:

“Since 5G is a new technology, there is no research on health effects, so we are “flying blind” to quote a U.S. senator. However, we have considerable evidence about the harmful effects of 2G and 3G. Little is known the effects of exposure to 4G, a 10-year-old technology, because governments have been remiss in funding this research. Meanwhile, we are seeing increases in certain types of head and neck tumors in tumor registries, which may be at least partially attributable to the proliferation of cell phone radiation. These increases are consistent with results from case-control studies of tumor risk in heavy cell phone users.

5G will not replace 4G; it will accompany 4G for the near future and possibly over the long term. If there are synergistic effects from simultaneous exposures to multiple types of RFR, our overall risk of harm from RFR may increase substantially. Cancer is not the only risk as there is considerable evidence that RFR causes neurological disorders and reproductive harm, likely due to oxidative stress.”

Neurological disorders? That’s some scary shit.

“As a society, should we invest hundreds of billions of dollars deploying 5G, a cellular technology that requires the installation of 800,000 or more new cell antenna sites in the U.S. close to where we live, work and play?

Instead, we should support the recommendations of the 250 scientists and medical doctors who signed the 5G Appeal that calls for an immediate moratorium on the deployment of 5G and demand that our government fund the research needed to adopt biologically based exposure limits that protect our health and safety.”

I don’t trust 5G.

If you do trust it, that means you’re simply accepting the word of telecom industry “experts” and leaving your fate in their hands. What, exactly, have the elites done to earn your trust?

There is no obvious, pressing need for 5G, yet they’re rolling it out anyway. This, to me, has always struck me as suspicious. “5G is faster,” they tell us. But LTE is fast enough.

There’s something else they’re not telling us.

I’d advise getting out of cities as soon as possible.

***

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on 5G:

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NBC News is a Chinese Propaganda Organ

Who’s keeping score? NBC News is keeping score:

Who’s side is NBC News on? That should be obvious by this headline.

To them, it’s a competition between the US and China, and China is winning. NBC News couldn’t be happier.

This is an off-the-charts level of sycophancy. You’d be hard-pressed to find more blatant cheerleading in actual Chinese state media organs. NBC News is literally saying, “America sucks, China is the greatest.”

And this barely even scratched the surface of the many ways the US Media has shown itself to be an unequivocal enemy of the United States during the Coronavirus crisis.

From absurdly focusing on “racism” against Chinese even as the virus was rapidly spreading in America, to discouraging the use of chloroquine for weeks before finally admitting recently that it is an effective treatment for Coronavirus, costing untold lives that could’ve been saved had the media not spent so much time spreading Fake News about the drug, the media has proven to be the Enemy Of The People.

China Must Pay

This morning, news broke that 6.6 million people have filed for unemployment over the past two weeks:

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The “Back To Work Now!” crowd sees this as vindication for the dire warnings they’ve been issuing the past couple weeks, and understandably so. This is by far the biggest unemployment spike in the past 50 years, and probably on par with the economic calamity experienced during the Great Depression.

Now, it’s important to note that we don’t know how many of those unemployment claims are for people who are temporarily out of work, and how many are for people who have actually lost their job. I filed for unemployment because my employer told me to, but I haven’t lost my job.

This is still an important caveat in this data. So until we actually know how many people truly lost their jobs vs. how many people have been furloughed with eligibility for unemployment, we don’t know just how bad this situation is.

For what it’s worth, the stock market has largely shrugged off the news:

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But then again, perhaps the market had already assumed this would happen long ago and priced it in when the S&P 500 declined by 35% between Feb. 20 and March 20.

Who knows?

What we do know, though, is that the “Back to Work!” crowd is taking this as validation, and they’re blaming Trump and his task force for all the job losses and small business closures sure to happen over the next month of CDC-advised social distancing:

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One thing to keep in mind is that we don’t know how much economic activity would have slowed down even without the social distancing measures and government-mandated closures of “non-essential” businesses–i.e. naturally, out of widespread public fear of the virus. Before my work was shut down, we were already experiencing a significant slowdown in business simply due to people voluntarily self-quarantining. So let’s not act like the slowdown in economic activity is 100% due to government action–a lot of it would’ve happened anyway.

Now, is it true that we could be doing things differently in a way that would cause less economic harm and still “flatten the curve?” Sure. In my last piece I said I agreed with the idea of only quarantining the most vulnerable subsets of the population–i.e. the elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions. If we did that, and also urged everyone to simply wear a mask and gloves out in public, we would probably be okay.

But the problem is that most people in America aren’t going to wear masks and gloves out in public. It’s just not in our culture the way it is in Asia. I don’t think you can tell Americans life can go back to normal as long as they promise to wear masks and gloves whenever they leave the house. Americans just won’t do it. What are you going to do, ticket everyone seen outside the house without a mask and gloves? Jail them? It would never work.

So for now, “social distancing” and “shelter in-place” remain the most practical policies for slowing the spread of the virus. They’re not ideal by any stretch; I only said they are the most practical.

And no matter what the “Back to Work!” crowd says, it’s not as simple as “just ignore the virus and go back to work.” As bad as things may seem at the moment (25k new cases of the virus per day), things would probably be much worse had we not enacted social distancing measures.

The hard thing to grasp about prevention is that there is no way for us to see what would have happened had we chosen another course of action. We cannot simply peer into an alternate universe and see what would have happened had we taken a different course of action.

This is how life works in general. We make decisions based on incomplete information and amidst uncertainty. We can’t see into the future. Most of the time, we just have to go off instinct and best judgement. Our leaders often use “sophisticated models” to try to convince themselves they know precisely what would have happened had they chosen Path B over Path A. But as we know, models are faulty and often wildly inaccurate; anyone remember Al Gore’s “models” predicting mass calamity by 2015 due to Global Warming?

Prevention is a messy business. It really is impossible to know with certainty how many lives you saved by choosing Course A instead of Course B, because Course B never played outAnd then when Course A does play out and there are still some negative consequences, people inevitably take those as the worst case scenario having played out anyway. They only focus on the bad things that did happen because of your decision, instead of comparing them to the even worse things that would have happened had you made a different decision.

What if 9-11 had somehow been foiled or stopped, whether by passengers on the World Trade Center flights retaking the cockpit Flight 93-style, or by the FBI intercepting the hijackers before they got on to the planes? Very few people would actually be aware today how big of a difference those actions made. It would have been a minor news story even at the time, and probably quickly forgotten.

In fact, the Flight 93 situation itself is a perfect example of this: the official story is that the terrorists were intending to fly that plane into the Capitol Building, but instead the passengers stormed the cockpit and wrestled control of the plane away from the terrorists, and flew the plane into the ground, making the ultimate sacrifice to prevent it from being flown into the Capitol. But Flight 93 is an afterthought when people think about 9-11. Most people just think about the image of the planes flying into the World Trade Center. We don’t have an image of a destroyed Capitol Building burned into our minds.

But Flight 93 wouldn’t be an afterthought if it had actually been flown into the Capitol Building as intended.

Similarly, it is impossible to tell how many lives have been saved and will be saved by social distancing and “flatten the curve” measures. We have know way of knowing for sure how many people would’ve died had we chosen to deal with this differently. It’s impossible for us to understand how fortunate we were because we don’t know what we avoided.

We would only know the worst case scenario for this virus if we simply did nothing and allowed it the worst case scenario to actually play out. Then we could look back with the benefit of hindsight and say, “If we had implemented social distancing measures and quarantines, then fewer people would’ve died.”

I still think Trump made the right call in trying to flatten the curve. The worst thing for a President during a crisis is to be perceived as not doing anything. It makes it seem like you’re not in control.

Trump was put in a horrible situation with the media hyping this virus up as the End Of All Things. Had he done nothing and said, “It’s no big deal, just go about your business as usual,” then no matter how many people would have died, he would have taken the blame. Not taking any action at all leaves you open to easy criticism: “Trump did nothing and 100,000 people died! They would still be alive today had Trump taken action!!”

Trump was forced to choose between maintaining the economy and stopping the virus, and he chose to stop the virus. He can always hang his hat on the fact that he did everything he could to save lives, and that it would have been much worse had he not taken the actions he did.

And I think most Americans will more or less support him on that–poll numbers show the public gives him high marks for his handling of this situation.

But still: once the virus peaks and tapers off, and we go back to normal life, we’ll be left with the economic fallout of “social distancing,” and there will be a lot of angry, unemployed people on the other side.

Will the same Americans who currently approve of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus turn on him when they survey the economic damage “social distancing” inflicted? It’s possible, although that will depend a lot on whether they themselves lost their jobs.

But the thing is, we shouldn’t even be viewing it in these terms.

It’s not Trump’s fault people died. It’s not Trump’s fault people are losing their jobs.

It’s China’s fault.

Trump is doing the best he can to deal with a problem created by China.

China is why millions of people filed for unemployment. China is why 200,000+ people are sick. China is why over 5,000 Americans have died.

Everything bad that happens as a result of this virus is China’s fault.

China created this virus in a lab and it either got out, or it was unleashed.

Certainly the globalist free traders who have run America and Europe for the past several decades deserve a lot of the blame for putting us in a position where a virus in China becomes our problem.

But it’s still ultimately China’s fault.

China did this to us, and they should have to pay for it.

For all the people who lost their jobs, for all the businesses that have and will have to close down. For all the pensions and 401Ks that have been crushed. For all the medical bills and funeral costs.

For everything.

When this is all over, China must be forced to pay reparations to the rest of the world like Germany had to do after World War I.

There must be consequences.

China cannot be allowed to get away with this.

They did this to the world.

If Western world leaders do not come together when this is over and levy punishing, crippling economic fines on China, then it’s over for the West.

If China is allowed to get away with this, then this is their world and we’re just bystanders. They will be the superpower of the world that can do anything and get away with it, no matter how much it harms everyone else.

Do we really want to live in a world where China sits at the top of the heap of world nations?

When this is all over, China must pay the price.

It will be trillions of dollars, and China must pay all of it.

The biggest outrage of this entire coronavirus crisis is that China did this to all of us.

If there is any sort of accountability at all in this world, China must pay a steep price for what is has done to the rest of the world.

The Elites Want You Living in Fear

As the coronavirus-induced economic shutdown continues, a divide has emerged in Americans’ opinions over What To Do About It. Not so long ago, it used to be that most people agreed that pretty much everything should be shut down and that people should stay home until this blows over. The Trump Administration publicly declared on March 15 that the country would begin “15 Days to Slow the Spread” with the hope that two weeks of social distancing and closure of “non-essential businesses” would reduce the spread of the virus significantly. After the 15-day period, then we could see where things are and potentially allow things to go back to normal. Most Americans were on-board with this plan.

But as time has passed since March 15, two developments have caused a divergence in public opinion into two camps:

  1. “Testing in the US has ramped up significantly, revealing thousands of new coronavirus cases every day. Therefore, the 15-day economic shutdown period will not be long enough, and the country should be shut down for even longer. If we do not double down on our efforts to suppress the virus, then countless more people will die.”
  2. “The collapsing stock market (which has rebounded some over the past few days), spiking unemployment claims, and testimonies from small business owners hurting from the shutdown, show that we need to Get Back To Work ASAP and re-open the economy before this turns into Great Depression 2.0.”

And so now, many Americans are split into the two camps: one that thinks that if we don’t keep it all shut down indefinitely then 1-2% of the US population will die, and another that thinks if we don’t all go back to work ASAP we’ll have 50% unemployment and be lined up around the corner for the soup kitchen by April.

The two camps are increasingly intolerant of one another. The Quarantine Indefinitely crowd thinks the Back To Work crowd wants to sacrifice grandma so the stock market can go back up, while the Back To Work crowd thinks the Quarantine Indefinitely crowd are hysterical idiots.

I’ve got problems with both sides–especially how they act like the other side’s fears are completely unfounded and irrational–but I want to focus on the side panicking about the virus.

Re-opening the economy does not mean “sacrificing lives for the stock market.” This is nonsensical and disingenuous.

The virus is not going to kill a significant percentage of the population no matter what we do. As it stands now, the virus has a death rate of 1.4% in the US. But that death rate is only derived from the denominator of confirmed cases. Loads more people have it or had it and recovered already, and they’re not counted in the official figure of ~66,000 cases. So the death rate is definitely even lower than 1.4%.

You can’t claim that if half the country catches the virus, then 1.4% of those who catch it will die, resulting in the deaths of millions of Americans. The death rate only factors in those who have already been tested. And not only that, if you go to the tracking website, at the bottom it will give you descriptions of the people who have died from the virus. Overwhelmingly the descriptions are like this:

“March 21 (GMT) — New deaths include:

    • 1st death in Minnesota: a Ramsey County resident in their 80s [source]
    • 1 new death in Oregon, first in Marion County [source]
    • 1st death in Tennessee: a 73-year old man with underlying health conditions in Nashville [source]
    • 1st death in Arizona: a Maricopa County man in his 50s with underlying health conditions [source]
    • 1 death in Ohio: an 85-year-old man was an Erie County [source]
    • 2 new deaths in South Carolinaelderly people suffering from underlying health conditions [source]
    • 1 death in California: the first death in Contra Costa County: a patient in their 70s [source]
    • 1 death in Maryland: a Baltimore County resident in his 60s who suffered from underlying medical conditions  [sourceD.C. schools will be closed until April 27
    • 1 death in Missouri: a woman in her 60s, who suffered from multiple health problems prior to being diagnosed with COVID-19 [source]”

Because we’re now over 100 deaths per day, the site doesn’t provide a blurb for every death anymore. But you can go back a few days when deaths were much lower and get some background information for most of the deaths. Older people with underlying health conditions are the ones dying. This is not to minimize their deaths at all, it’s only to point out that the death rate is not the same for everyone.

The death rate is also going down over time. On March 4, there were 138 people confirmed infected with 11 deaths. That’s a death rate of 8%. On March 13, with 2,126 people infected, there were 48 deaths, or 2.2%. And now, March 25, the death rate is 1.4%. It keeps going down the more testing we do.

A couple of Stanford Professors published an article today elaborating on this:

“If the number of actual infections is much larger than the number of cases—orders of magnitude larger—then the true fatality rate is much lower as well. That’s not only plausible but likely based on what we know so far,” the professors argued.

The professors cited data from Iceland, China, the United States, and Italy, which is arguably the hardest-hit region when it comes to the coronavirus.

“On March 6, all 3,300 people of Vò [Italy] were tested, and 90 were positive, a prevalence of 2.7%,” the professors said. “Applying that prevalence to the whole province (population 955,000), which had 198 reported cases, suggests there were actually 26,000 infections at that time. That’s more than 130-fold the number of actual reported cases. Since Italy’s case fatality rate of 8% is estimated using the confirmed cases, the real fatality rate could in fact be closer to 0.06%.”

The professors argued that current epidemiological models aren’t adequate for two key reasons.

“First, the test used to identify cases doesn’t catch people who were infected and recovered. Second, testing rates were woefully low for a long time and typically reserved for the severely ill. Together, these facts imply that the confirmed cases are likely orders of magnitude less than the true number of infections,” it reads.”

They also said this:

“Ultimately, while stressing the seriousness of the virus that has infected almost half a million people, the professors aren’t convinced a universal quarantine is the most logical course of action.

“A universal quarantine may not be worth the costs it imposes on the economy, community and individual mental and physical health,” the article concluded. “We should undertake immediate steps to evaluate the empirical basis of the current lockdowns.”

One might object thusly: “Okay, even if the death rate is actually much lower than current figures show, ending the quarantine and allowing people to go about their business as usual means lots of people are going to get it who wouldn’t have gotten it had they stayed in self-quarantine.”

But that’s what we’re having the debate over. Is it really worth it to keep the economy running on half (or fewer) cylinders over a disease that may have a death rate as low as 0.06%? Someone should be able to answer “no” and not be considered evil.

What if people want to take the risk and go back to work and start spending money like normal? I’m sure a lot of small business owners who are hurting due to the quarantine measures would gladly take that risk. Given the number of people who catch the flu every year–CDC says at least 38 million Americans caught it this season–it’s just as risky to go out in public and go to work during flu season as it is now.

It’s not as if right now is the only time that going to work and going out in public put Americans at risk of getting sick. At any point from November to March you have a pretty high risk of catching the normal flu by going out in public and going to work, but most people don’t care–they don’t even think about catching the flu. Now is not the only time it has ever been dangerous to leave your house.

But the Keep Everyone Quarantined! crowd doesn’t want to hear it.

What is behind their extreme precaution and fear? Many, I would guess, see America’s cases of coronavirus (and deaths) increasing exponentially and quickly conclude that we do not have this thing under control, so it is idiotic and borderline-wicked to reopen the economy.

If you look at the data, they’ve got a point:

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We’re over 66,000 total cases as of right now after adding about 10,800 today. Yesterday was a little over 11,000 new cases.

In terms of deaths, yesterday was our worst day yet: 225 deaths nationwide.

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Today, we’ve had about 151 deaths today as of 7:15pm EST. No telling yet if this the start of a reversal, or if it’s just a blip. Still, things are clearly much worse now than they were even a few days ago.

Italy, however, is starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. It appears daily new cases are leveling off:

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Today, Italy had about 5,200 new cases.

Deaths in Italy appear to be leveling-off as well:

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Today’s tally for Italy was 683.

So the situation in Italy is by no means better yet, but it at least seems that things aren’t getting worse. It might be too early to say, but it appears the virus has plateaued in Italy.

This does not mean the same applies to the U.S. We began our 15-day period of self-quarantining on the 15th, so we’re only on Day 10. If Americans are doing their part (and that’s a big assumption given that our quarantine was a recommendation rather than a government order, like Italy’s was) then we shouldn’t expect to see things turn around for another several days.

If daily new cases and deaths do begin to slow in the next few days here in the US, then hopefully we’ll be able to avoid the “Everyone Dies/Great Depression 2.0” debate. You would think it’s a no-brainer to err on the side of caution and keep the country locked-down for longer, given that if things really get out of control and we do suffer massive amounts of deaths, we’ll have an economic depression anyway. So why not just play it safe and keep everything shut down for even longer?

Well, the Back To Work crowd would argue that it’s a false choice to say we have to choose between a hundred thousand people dying (or more) and another Great Depression. And they’re right: I don’t think there’s any scenario where tens of thousands of Americans die from the coronavirus.

Trump seems to have made up his mind already. Last night, he tweeted:

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“The cure cannot be worse than the problem.” This is essentially what the Back To Work crowd is arguing; we can’t wreck our economy for a virus that has only infected 66,000 people in a nation of 330 million. The Back To Work crowd also points out that the Swine Flu epidemic of 2009 was worse than this, with over 115,000 confirmed cases in the US and over 3,400 deaths, and we did not freak out anywhere near as much as we are now. We never considered shutting our economy down for that.

Trump tweeted this today:

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He’s completely correct. I don’t doubt for one second that a major reason most “news” channels and bluecheck “reporters” are pushing non-stop fear porn over the virus is because they think it’ll hurt Trump. Does the media want an economic collapse? Absolutely. They think it will turn the country against Trump.

Trump has figured out the game. While the vast majority of the Keep It Shut Down! crowd feel that way because they’re genuinely afraid of the virus, the media, which is chiefly responsible for making all these people so scared is completely exploiting this situation. And since Trump is aware of what they’re trying to do, he’s pushing for things to go back to normal soon.

In Trump’s most recent press briefing tonight, he said “There are large sections of our country, probably, that can go back to work sooner than others. We’re looking at that. People are asking ‘Is that an alternative?’ and I say absolutely, that is an alternative.”

Trump is targeting Easter (April 12) as hopefully the day everything can go back to normal, and that would mean almost a full month of social distancing. That seems like enough, but the Back To Work crowd says it’s too long, while the Quarantine Indefinitely crowd thinks it’s insanity.

But I don’t see why we can’t, after the 15-day period, lift the quarantine for parts of the country that haven’t been hit as hard as others. After all, more than half of the nation’s cases right now are in the immediate New York City area:

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We definitely should not lift the restrictions on NYC anytime soon. But for the rest of the country, as long as we take the necessary precautions and avoid New Yorkers, it should be fine.

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo says the peak is still 2-3 weeks away for New York, but that shouldn’t mean the whole country has to remain shut down. Quarantine New York. Don’t go there unless you absolutely have to, and when you return, self-quarantine for 14 days. Don’t leave New York unless you absolutely have to, and if you do, you self-quarantine for 14 days.

We can and should keep the current restrictions in place for the most at-risk subsets of the population, namely the elderly and those with preexisting health conditions. Keep the elderly–nursing homes especially–cordoned-off while the rest of us go about our business as usual. This seems like the path Trump is leaning towards, and to me it makes perfect sense. It’s a smarter, more efficient selective quarantine policy rather than a blanket nationwide quarantine.

But the Quarantine Indefinitely crowd is still very upset by this. Most of them, I’d guess, are motivated primarily by fear.

Specifically, there’s a widespread belief that This Virus Is Just Different, uniquely bad, and that if you catch it, it will permanently damage your health. Is this true? It could be true. It’s not really known for certain yet because it hasn’t been around for very long. But stories about how the virus left male survivors sterile turned out to be false. As far as permanent lung damage, that could well be true. But it varies from person to person. Probably most people who get it will recover and be just fine for the rest of their lives.

The regular flu and the common cold can even can have lasting effects on your body, from hearing loss to Guilliane-Barre Syndrome and even lasting lung damage. The Wuhan Virus is not the only widespread virus that can potentially inflict permanent damage on your body. Yet all the scary stories in the media have people convinced they should be downright terrified of getting the coronavirus.

But others in the Shut It Down! camp–I’d say a minority, but definitely a sizable number of individuals, and predominant on social media–are motivated by something else. It’s not really fear of the virus and mass deaths, either.

Some people just want to watch the world burn. Most of them are younger people, and this, right here, is the closest they’ve ever been to Chaos.

Maybe they’ve grown up on too many post-apocalyptic movies and video games, but they feel like life would be more fun if society collapsed. I’m not sure the reason, but there are a lot of people out there who want society to collapse. To them, the near-total shutdown of the economy is “cool” because it’s such a break from the ordinary. And some feel that if it continues for longer, then society itself will totally collapse, and after that, a new type of society will arise from the old one’s ashes. And it will be Better, they imagine.

I know this because I have a little bit in me, although not nearly as much as when I was younger. Really, it’s more of a yearning for adventure that cannot be satisfied in our world of urban/suburban orderliness and 9-5 jobs. So, some people think, maybe if everything collapsed and we went back to the Stone Age, life would be full of adventure. And maybe, if there is a “great reset” of human civilization, could end up on top.

This Societal Collapse Fantasy largely disappears once you’re invested in the stock market, but there are still lots of people who want to see the world burn.

Whether it’s young would-be socialist or anarchist computer-chair revolutionaries, or simply people who hate the modern world and wish for things to be completely different, there are a lot of people that are secretly (maybe even unconsciously) hoping the coronavirus basically brings the modern world to its knees. (And I’m not saying these are bad people for hating modern society! I’m no fan of modern life myself. But I don’t think society needs to collapse in order for me to get the kind of life I want out of it.

That said, I still think the broad majority of the “THE VIRUS IS GOING TO KILL US ALL!” crowd are motivated by fear of the virus rather than a desire to bring down the modern world.

Fear is a very powerful emotion. Some would say it’s the most powerful. Most people who are gripped by fear cannot be reasoned with (although some can). The only thing that will snap them out of the fear currently governing their words and actions is if real-world events prove their fears to be overblown and unfounded. And even then, they will credit their own over-cautiousness for the fact that the world didn’t end.

The people gripped by media-induced fear–while most of them certainly have noble intentions and valid reasons for being fearful–can’t be allowed to call the shots here. We just have to move forward and get the economy firing on all cylinders again. Eventually the people who want to stay quarantined until August will get over it.

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All that said, when we do re-open the economy, we should still emphasize washing our hands and social distancing and generally try to keep our hands in our pockets as much as possible. We should wear masks and gloves whenever possible and not look at people who do wear masks like they’re crazy. We should avoid large crowds of people and mass gatherings for at least another month.

But we should re-open the economy ASAP. Small businesses can’t hold out much longer.

The government has told many of them to shut down, and so businesses–small and large–need a way to recoup lost revenues. You can’t just tell businesses to shutter and then not expect to compensate them for lost revenues. That’s pure evil. Bailouts or bust. Wall Street nearly killed the global economy back in 2008 and they got bailed out. You could even argue that the big banks that survived ’08 were rewarded for their recklessness.

Those were bad bailouts because the banks didn’t deserve them.

This time around, however, the bailouts are infinitely more justifiable. Most of these businesses are not in trouble because they were reckless and immoral, but because they were simply doing what the government told them to do. There is nothing wrong with a bailout here.

Not every case is the same, of course. For instance, the airline companies that nickel-and-dime the hell out of us (carry-on fee, booking fee, checked-bag fee, seat selection fee) and spent 96% of their free cash flow over the past decade on stock buybacks, now they want a bailout because they have no money?

That’s the kind of stuff that should piss Americans off. But still: what else are we supposed to do? Let the airlines go belly-up? It might Feel Good for a little while to see those greedy bastards get what’s coming to them, but it would be terrible for our country in the long (and short) run. (Thankfully, it appears the stimulus bill will prohibit stock buybacks for any company that gets government money. I still think the weasels will find a way to weasel around this, but it’s at least encouraging that this language has been included in the bill.)

If, by keeping the economy shut down well into April and we force businesses to fold–both mom and pop stores and the larger publicly traded companies–then it will only accelerate the consolidation of our economy, in other words, monopolization. The big trend of the past 20 or so years has been consolidation: the big firms get bigger by buying up the smaller firms. The market share of the various sectors of the economy held by the largest corporations has only increased over the past couple of decades, and if we let businesses fail now, that will only get worse.

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This is what happened in 2008-2009 and it’s what’s going to happen today if we let small businesses fold.

What I’m trying to say is that there’s a lot of validity in what the Back To Work crowd is saying. It will be very bad for our country if lots of businesses have to close, and not just because of all the people who will lose their jobs. The big corporations that can weather this storm just fine will emerge with more power and market control.

Which is why I wonder if this has been the plan all along: a mass economic genocide of small businesses so that big businesses can swoop in and buy all their assets up for cheap. The conspiracy theorist in me fears that this has been the plan all along, and until I see very generous terms from the government on the small business bailout that make it clear the government wants small businesses to come back, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to disabuse myself of that suspicion.

I saw something about the government promising small businesses “low interest loans” and that phrase set off my Conspiracy Alarm. The government is going to force small businesses to shut down and then act like it’s doing the small businesses a favor by offering them “low interest loans” to deal with problems they encountered for doing what the government told them?

I certainly hope this is not what happens when all’s said and done. But it might. I guess low-interest loans are better than nothing.

That said, I do think some of the Back To Work crowd’s concerns are overblown.

This chart of the ridiculous spike in unemployment claims is misleading:

I filed for unemployment, but I wasn’t fired. Not all of these people have lost their job. Many of them have actually just been temporarily furloughed.

As for the US economy not being able to handle a two-week pause: European countries shut down for a whole month every year. Scott Adams provoked a good discussion the matter today:

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But if the American economy shuts down for a week then everyone goes bankrupt and businesses can’t keep their doors open? What happened to rainy day funds?

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Yes, that’s because 300 years ago we were all farmers and our economy did not rely on complex international supply chains and financial leveraging products. People didn’t rely on much other than themselves. They knew how to budget–and I’m not just talking about money, I mean crops and food. They had to stretch the harvest through the winter months or else they died.

The replies to Adams’ tweet from Europeans were interesting:

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This Businessweek article from 1993 provides a small glimpse into how life is in Italy during August:

“It’s just no fun being a journalist in Europe during the summer. I had wanted to write about the spiffy new Punto subcompact that Italian auto giant Fiat will be rolling out next month, but nobody answers the phone at company headquarters in Turin. Then I thought, surely BUSINESS WEEK readers will want to know about how the Sicilian Mafia finally seems to be on the run? Alas, every prosecutor I try to call in Palermo is at the beach. Hey, I’ve got it! I’ll do a Letter From Rome–and describe how no one over here works in August. “Now that’s not a bad idea,” says Antonella, my Italian wife, who has been on holiday since July. “And while you’re at it, fetch me another Diet Coke.”

It’s mandated by most governments in the big European countries that employees get about a month’s worth of paid vacation:

“It’s August again and in Europe that means “out of the office” messages, “closed” signs, and desolated streets. August 1st marks the unofficial start of summer vacation in Spain, France and Italy, and even in times of economic crisis, most employees are dead-set on taking their summer days.

And why not? According to a report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, European countries lead the world in guaranteeing paid leave for its workers. Among OECD countries, 16 of the 18 most generous governments when it comes to paid vacation are European.

Spain and Germany are among the most holiday-happy, both offering 34 days of paid leave each year. Italy and France guarantee 31 days of paid vacation, and Belgium requires 30. These numbers include both mandatory vacation and public holidays.

CEPR reports that the United States is the only nation among advanced economies that does not provide a legal guarantee of paid leave. New Zealand and Australia ensure respectively 30 and 28 days of paid leave, and Canada’s federal government stipulates 19 paid days, with some provinces adding on additional time. Even in Japan, where thousands commit suicide every year because of work-related stress, all employees are guaranteed 10 paid vacation days.

To be clear, many American companies do provide paid leave. According to CEPR, 77 percent of private sector companies offer employees at least some paid vacation, and those workers get an average of 21 paid days.

Still, that leaves nearly 1 in 4 Americans without any guarantee of paid time off from work. Those workers are noticeably overrepresented in the lower classes, notes CEPR. Half of the workers whose wages scale in the bottom 25 percent enjoy no paid leave.”

It seems like a matter of respecting basic human dignity to simply not expect employees to devote their entire lives to increasing The Company’s Profits. Maybe Americans who are off work right now will realize how nice it is to have a European-style vacation, and perhaps there will be a new push for some form of government-mandated paid vacation time for the most over-worked nation on earth.

To be sure, even though European countries have very generous state-mandated paid holiday requirements, it’s not as if it all happens at once. Lots of Americans have this belief that basically the entire continent of Europe shuts down for the month of August, but that’s not entirely accurate. Lots of Europeans do take their vacations in August, but not everyone. There’s a big difference between “much of the economy” and “the whole economy.”

But then again, it’s not as if the whole American economy is currently shut down. I’ve been out and about a few times over the past 10 days and plenty of businesses are open. I guess we’ll see when the Q1 GDP print is release just how much of the U.S. economy was shut down, but I don’t think it’ll be as bad as the alarmists are saying.

The whole point of the European example is that European businesses plan ahead for August, and the fact that all their employees get a full month of paid vacation. I’ve never heard any stories about how Europe descends into chaos and economic depression every August. They get by just fine.

In a globalized world of free trade, free travel and largely open borders (at least in the West, i.e. the countries everyone else wants to move to), we’re going to have to get used to events like this. A viral outbreak in one country will quickly spread and overwhelm the whole world. Maybe it’s time we structure our economy to be more prepared for stuff like this. It’s all part of the game our elites have chosen to play.

***

Now, all that being said, the one thing both the Back to Work and the Stay Quarantined crowds ought to be able to agree on is that

Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats she leads are not taking this seriously. They’re totally exploiting this crisis to load up the stimulus bill with pork and leftwing wishlist items that are not even remotely pertinent to the matter at hand.

By no means am I saying every last thing the Republicans put into the stimulus bill is pertinent and awesome. I am under no illusions that this is the case. There’s probably tons of corporate welfare and other bullshit handouts put into the bill by Republicans.

But Pelosi is on another level:

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She’s trying to squeeze “Green New Deal” agenda items into the coronavirus bill, as if limiting airplane emissions has anything to do with re-starting the economy.

Not only that, she’s pushing for mass amnesty:

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Amnesty for DACA illegal aliens? Unbelievable. She’s saying, “If you want to provide relief to small businesses, you have to legalize 800,000 illegals, too.” Can you make it a little less obvious you want to destroy America, Nancy?

I understand that Nancy has to do this kind of shit to appease the Sanders-wing of her party. She’s upholding her end of the deal, as required by Ocasio-Cortez and the rest to allow her to be Speaker: intransigently push for the most radical and idiotic Social Justice™ and Climate Change Cult agenda items at every opportunity.

But still, it makes me wonder: if Nancy and the Very Opinionated Young Women Of Color Whose Voices Will Be Heard she serves aren’t taking this coronavirus situation seriously, then why should I?

As I wrote earlier, I think this economic shutdown was probably part of the plan–whether China’s as part of the trade war, or the elite’s. I still don’t know who exactly was behind this but the goal was to tank the economy and make people give up their freedoms out of fear.

I’m ready to go back to normal. I like normal. It takes abnormal for us to realize how much we like normal.

But I can’t help but think that’s what the special interests and lobbyists want us to feel. They want us to be so afraid of losing our jobs and the economy tanking that we’ll acquiesce to whatever they want in the stimulus bill and just get back to normal. And the rest of us, they want so terrified of the virus that we

This headline just about sums it up:

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The government is preparing to hand out $2 trillion and the lobbyists for the most powerful special interest groups in the country are preparing to feast.

I think it’s a little more than convenient for the special interests that this coronavirus crisis will be capped off with a $2 trillion spending bill.