Coronavirus

California's COVID-19 Shutdown Was Driven by Science. Until It Suddenly Wasn't.

It's great that Gov. Gavin Newsom is finally looking at costs and benefits. But don't kid yourself. None of it has anything to do with "science."

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In response to Californians who were protesting his lockdown orders, Gov. Gavin Newsom in April politely encouraged them to follow social-distancing practices while protesting and assured all Californians that his COVID-19 responses would not be driven by public opinion or other similarly low-brow concerns.

"We are going to do the right thing, not judge by politics, not judge by protests, but by science," the governor said.

As I noted recently, "science" isn't a black-and-white, Ten Commandments sort of thing. It is a method for evaluating the best-known data. It shouldn't be used as a mantra—or a cudgel to beat opponents into submission. It changes. Scientific forecasts are speculative and often wrong. Lawmakers have the responsibility to weigh non-scientific concerns, including those involving our liberties, and not just blindly follow what select scientists say.

Nevertheless, we all assume the governor was saying that he was following the best scientifically available information to determine when he—through his largely unchecked emergency executive powers—would let Californians reopen their businesses, leave their homes, go back to work and head to the beaches and parks again. That sounds perfectly reasonable, but it's interesting how rapidly the governor's "science" has changed.

Around a week ago, Newsom's "science" had called for a little loosening in the rules, but for a continuation of the stay-at-home orders. He had allowed some counties to petition for a quicker reopening, but imposed pages of tough restrictions on them. He sent regulators to oversee Yuba and Sutter counties and threatened to yank their aid after they defied the governor's orders. His "science" was clear: The lockdowns must continue.

Then, without much notice, the governor last week announced a much-broader reopening, which seemed to take most Californians by surprise. The governor declared that he was giving local governments the go-ahead to move quickly based on their particular understanding of their own regional conditions. This includes a likely reopening of shopping malls and dine-in service at restaurants.

A KPCW reporter asked Newsom how he could allow further openings as the number of COVID-19 cases increases by thousands daily. "We never experienced the peaks that many other parts of the country experienced. And we're seeing not only stability, but we're seeing a decline over a two-week extended period of hospitalizations and number of patients in ICUs," the governor said.

The governor also said his new rules are based on "data" showing that the state has enough hospital space and protective gear.  Of course, such information has been pretty obvious for weeks. In reality, the science didn't change as much as the standard by which the state evaluates the science. Previously, the governor forbade counties from expanding any reopening unless there had been no deaths there from COVID-19 over a two-week period.

Now, as the Los Angeles Times reported, "The new standard removes the death rate requirement and replaces it with a more generous threshold based on rates of newly confirmed cases. Counties will be able to move toward a more expansive reopening if they can show fewer than 25 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents in the last 14 days—a standard that was originally 1 new case per 10,000 residents."

Sure, California has made progress in dealing with COVID-19 infections, but there have been no seismic shifts on that front. It's like the New Math, which focused students' attention on alternative math concepts. Now we can also embrace the New Science.

Obviously, there were no substantive changes in the medical science, but there were serious changes in two other important fields: economic science and political science. The governor knows that the Trump administration is likely to give California and four other Western states the $1 trillion bailout they have requested at half past never.

Newsom recently announced that California has gone from a surplus to a $54 billion deficit—and has burned through its rainy-day fund. Union officials are upset about the proposed 10-percent public-employee salary cuts. If the state's economy doesn't get started soon, then Democrats will have to give up their big-spending dreams and the pension funds could start circling the drain.

The shutdowns have created an enormous economic problem, the extent of which might take months to become fully evident.  Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall in any conversation between Newsom and California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) officials?

Politically, the natives are getting restless. Rural counties are in outright defiance. Even residents of urban areas are largely ignoring the restrictions. As longtime Capitol columnist George Skelton recently noted, Newsom has "barely been staying one step ahead of rural rebels who have been challenging his control and testing him" and "has wisely relented."

That's exactly right. This is excellent news, by the way. It shows that the governor is finally looking at costs and benefits. But don't kid yourself. None of it has anything to do with "science."

This column was first published in the Orange County Register.

NEXT: The Hunt

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  1. It is, and always has been, political science.

    1. Also social science.

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    2. Political science, yes, but mostly in the sense of how science, e.g. human psychology, can be used to benefit politicians.

  2. The Democratic Governors shut their states down thinking they could destroy the economy and blame it on Trump while also getting Congress to bail out their pension plans. What is happening is these governors are starting to realize the public is blaming them instead of Trump for the damage they have done. So, suddenly they are all decided things are okay and the plebs can go about their business again provided they wear masks and behave themselves.

    None of this was ever based on science.

    1. It will be interesting to see if any impeachments or recall elections arise out of this execrable fiasco.

      1. There should be. I think states like New York and New Jersey are hopeless. There is literally no amount of criminality or deadly incompetence their governors could engage in that would cause their brain dead voters to turn on them. But I think the governors in Michigan and New Mexico might be toast over this.

        1. There is literally no amount of criminality or deadly incompetence their governors could engage in that would cause their brain dead voters to turn on them.

          I think there is, but it will take urban flight and deterioration of city conditions to mid-1970s standards. That could take another 10 years or more.

          1. It appears the people of Minnesota are finding out what they actually voted for.

          2. What have the people of Detroit learned?

            1. Nothing if they’re still living there.

        2. I’m in New Mexico, and unfortunately, i don’t see any big pushes to get rid of our governor. The news about her personal shopping connection isn’t making much headway, despite the clear message that rules only apply to little people.

          1. New Mexico turned blue for the long-term during the 2008 election. District 3 is big enough that the rural voters balance out Las Cruces, although it’s basically a toss-up district based on the political climate in a given year. D2’s always been a Dem stronghold, but D1 turned after the recession sent a bunch of Californians to Albuquerque, followed by the immigration bill in Arizona that led to illegal immigrant migration from that state.

            Lujan-Grisham is the epitome of a suburban soccer mom living out her PTA/HOA President fantasies on the entire state.

        3. New York is basically fucked because NYC runs the state. The upstate area could probably maintain a sane political climate if it just divorced itself from the five boroughs.

        4. I think you just covered the Democrat’s VP candidate short list.

        5. There is literally no amount of criminality or deadly incompetence their governors could engage in that would cause their brain dead voters to turn on them.

          Corzine was tossed after one term for that. Unfortunately, Christie was such an asshole that everything whipsawed back.

          1. because gravitational effect of Christie.

      2. Besides Trump? Trump has personally killed 100,000 people, and that’s a fact because you can see tons of people saying that on Twitter and there’s no fact-check on their tweets so you know it must be true.

        1. Trump is responsible for ordering the lock down and all of the economic damage it has caused. But when Trump tells the governor to end the lock down, then Trump is a tyrant who is destroying federalism and trying to usurp the power of states.

          Logical consistency and rationality is just not something these people do.

          1. To be fair, no regular human does that.

        2. Trump has personally killed 100,000 people
          Don’t forget to include all those killed abroad.

    2. While I place most blame on my Republican Governor; Trump’s daily press briefings didn’t help matters.

      1. Trump’s daily press briefings only mattered if you bothered to listen to them for any reason other than the entertainment value. It’s funny that the press is all agreed that Trump is a moron, a buffoon, a pathological liar, certifiably insane and an agent of Satan, and yet they keep broadcasting every bit of his hilariously stupid, crazy, lying, evil bullshit – almost as if they don’t really believe their own assessment of him.

        1. I didn’t except for one early on while visiting my dad. I saw enough when one of our noble civil servants said they were going to confiscate goods if your hoarding them. A real tough guy act that piece of shit point on.

        2. Of course they don’t and ,judging from your rather biting analysis, I expect you know exactly why?

          Trump makes good theater and that’s why the media keeps him around. He sells advertising. He knows it, they know it, and he’s unashamed. It isn’t much of a mystery is it? 🙂

          The sad part is the American people accept this nonsense and actually embrace it. Soap opera. They’re resigned to the idea they’ll never participate in policy making. They have no illusions anymore about living in even a representative democracy.

          We’re watching the death of the American dream, it’s happening on the front porch in plain sight.

    3. If it had anything to do with science, they would have their experts out looking at data to see if the restrictions and other policies. Science is basically about trying to prove theories wrong.
      But lockdowns, masks, etc. have become an article of faith for a certain segment of the population. Which is the opposite of following the science.

      1. Most people not only don’t understand science, they could never “do” science. And anyone who says “I believe in science” does not have a clue.

        1. What? I can’t believe in atheism anymore?

          1. The 1A secures your right to indulge in whatever faith you choose.

            1. As long as you do so alone in your home – – – – – – – – – – – –

    4. Trump chose optimism while Democrats chose pessimism. Even Maher said how stupid Democrats were in that choice.

    5. “What is happening is these governors are starting to realize the public is blaming them instead of Trump for the damage they have done.”

      My favorite part if this is the betrayal felt by all my super liberal friends. Mind you, they aren’t saying anything explicit, but as I watch their facebook pages it has pretty much been a similar progression:

      1) How dare you people go to the beach!
      2) How dare you people protest- listen to the governor!
      3) Well, if you are going out, wear a mask, damnit!
      4) I’M NOT GOING OUT! YOU CAN’T MAKE ME! YOU PEOPLE ARE GOING TO RUIN THIS FOR ALL OF US!
      (And then after it is clear that their governor is not going to enforce their paranoia…)
      5) REEEEE!!! RACISM! Let’s not talk about COVID Any more, and instead talk about MN!

      1. You just identified the 5 stages of progressive politics
        1) denial
        2) anger
        3) bargaining
        4) depression
        5) shift the goalposts

        1. Same five stages believers in religion go through. Cog diss is a bitch.

      2. ROTFLMAO!

        I’m being held hostage in CA, in my own home. I’m not forcing anyone to go to the beach, but I’m literally being forced to not go to the beach.

        The irony is strong in this one..

    6. Nailed it.

      It’s crazy to me that Inslee shut our state down (WA), Inslee keeps it closed, Inslee botched the UI by allowing hundreds of millions to be stolen by Nigerians, but when November rolls around, I’m supposed to blame Donald Trump for my shitty year?

      Yeah right.

    7. Not only that, but that death toll they keep trying to hang on Trump is in large part the function of a few blue states that really screwed the pooch, like when Cuomo (D-NY) sent oldsters sick with COVID to nursing homes to make room in hospitals that ended up almost completely empty (and having to lay off health care workers in the middle of a pandemic) for the duration of this whole farce.

      Half of the deaths in the US, as with most countries of the world (Germany being an exception), are from nursing home residents. Those deaths are on the hands of the city, county, and state governments, not the feds, and most in those hands in the US belong to one particular political party, and it’s not Trump’s.

      As of the 29th of May, 993,472 of the reported COVID deaths have been in blue states. That’s from a total of 103,330. That’s 96 percent… with most of the rest of the deaths in purple states.

      Remember when Trump blustered that he and he alone had the power to decide when the states would open up? That was nonsense, of course, and I am sure Trump knew it was when he said it, as he often does. Everything he says is about positioning the opposition (including the media) and provoking them into statements or actions that are helpful to his agenda, like when the governments of various states where most of the deaths have taken place suddenly discovered the Tenth Amendment, and professed that these were state matters.

      And they were.

      They were state matters when all of those 96% were dying in blue states. I’m not one to argue in favor of a tyrannical government action on the basis of effectiveness, but if that’s the discussion that the authoritarian governors and mayors of the blue states want to have, then so be it. Our system of federalism makes the states the primary units of government, and if any politicians are to be blamed for what happened with COVID, it would be governors and mayors. Trump, for all of his bluster and street-brawling style, along with some spectacular misfires that turned into Biden-esque gaffes (like the “drinking bleach” thing, which he really should have known would be misreported in exactly the way that it was), has done what it takes to get the supplies that the state governments wanted. Cuomo wanted 40,000 respirators, and they got 40,000 respirators. They only needed a small fraction of them, but they got them.

      Anyone expecting the federal government to be the main handler of any emergency, whether it be a perfectly milquetoast respiratory virus like COVID or a real natural disaster like hurricane Katrina, is barking up the wrong tree. It is always the municipal and state governments that have the authority, the on-the-ground presence, and the local knowledge to handle these things. As much as people scream and holler for FEMA or CDC or other federal agencies that were not mentioned in the Constitution to do more, the reality is that more federal action is the last thing anyone should really want. Governments are inherently incompetent, dysfunctional, ineffective, inefficient, and malicious, and the bigger the government, the more it is each of those things.

      I’m glad that the governors of those states where all the deaths have taken place have publicly taken ownership of the relevant COVID responses. The media, of course, have not mentioned this in any context other than trying to say Trump is out of his mind if he thinks the responses to COVID are within his authority (and if he actually believed it, I’d think he was out of his mind too), but in doing that, they also owned their own death statistics.

      1. Oops… the death toll I reported was missing a 0. It should read 1,003,330.

        1. Ack, why can’t we edit posts?
          The totals seemed wrong to me, so I went back and rechecked the source, and I was citing confirmed case totals in the state by state totals. 103,330 was correct; the total deaths number was actually cases.

          The real number is 68,109 deaths in blue states out of 103,330, so it’s about two thirds. The rest were mostly in purple states (leaning blue). I considered Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia as purple states, and those had some heavy deaths too.

  3. The only science being used consistently here is estimated probability of open citizen revolt.

    1. Lol this!

    2. And the scary part is that’s happening as we speak…

  4. It is, and always has been, political science.

    Agree with that

    1. More like political engineering.

  5. From last night’s article on the riots, just so it doesn’t get memory holed:

    In response to my comment that while their isn’t a racist bone in my body, I have no problem admitting I’m an unabashed culturist, mad.casual tosses off:

    Heh. “I’m not racist because I can (refuse to) use a dictionary to lie to myself.”

    Projection much? Seriously, fuck off, fucktard. Hood counterculture is just as defective and inferior whether it’s being promulgated by whites, blacks, or purples. It has nothing to do with the race of the idiots who perpetuate and exploit that particular milieu.

    1. There are plenty of whites who buy into that counter culture. People have this idea that it is an exclusively black problem because deep down they think whites are somehow above that. They are not.

      1. Stupidity goes way deeper than skin deep.

        1. Stupidity is an innate feature of being human. You have to unlearn it.

      2. Exactly. It’s analogous to the point you made about how racist it is to assume that anyone who riots must have been black or that any victims of police shooting must have been black. I couldn’t agree more.

        1. Or to assume an entire group of people should vote for you based on the color of their skin.

    2. In fairness, whenever anybody begins a statement “I’m not racist, but…” what follows is usually something racist.
      At least thats been my experience

    3. I’d never considered Barney the purple puppet dinosaur a possible racists? I don’t know what to do now. I believe you’ve caused me irreparable emotional trauma.

      If you’d be so kind as to post your name and mailing address I’ll go ahead and file suit.

      Thanks for your cooperation.

  6. Using “science” as a justification to impose his own qualitative preference for safety over jobs on other people who didn’t share them had a number of advantages in Newsom’s estimation. For one thing, it allowed him to blame others for his decisions. Don’t blame me for all these jobs losses–it was the “science” that did it! Another big advantage, perhaps the biggest, is that imposing policies on the unwilling that are supposedly in the best interest of society generally is a feature in the progressive mindset rather than a bug.

    “Gov. Gavin Newsom in April politely encouraged them to follow social-distancing practices while protesting and assured all Californians that his COVID-19 responses would not be driven by public opinion or other similarly low-brow concerns.”

    That’s the gist of it right there, but it doesn’t deserve the objective reading. The best reason to impose policy on the unwilling, in the progressive mind, was people didn’t want it. This bears repeating for emphasis: Forcing policies on the unwilling is a virtuous thing to do in their minds because people don’t want it.

    In the progressive mind, this is also the solution to problems like climate change and racism. Newsom wasn’t merely ignoring the concerns of the public. Newsom went against huge sections of the people of California because they hated what he was doing.

    There is a fundamental misconception among critics of progressivism that so many of them don’t get. It’s sort of like the difference between conventional Christianity, in which God rejects you because you sin, and predestination in Islam, where you sin because God has rejected you. Progressives aren’t being dismissive of people’s will. Once you’ve accepted that you know what people want better than they do, your mission is to actively suppress what the people want. The reason the terrorists scream “God is great” before murdering innocent people is not because they’re asking God for forgiveness. They’re claiming a divine mandate for murder. And the reason Gavin Newsom ignores the will of the people isn’t because he cares so much about the outcomes of his policies. Going against the will of the people is the primary intent of his policies.

    1. Using “science” as a justification to impose his own qualitative preference for safety over jobs on other people who didn’t share them had a number of advantages in Newsom’s estimation. For one thing, it allowed him to blame others for his decisions. Don’t blame me for all these jobs losses–it was the “science” that did it! Another big advantage, perhaps the biggest, is that imposing policies on the unwilling that are supposedly in the best interest of society generally is a feature in the progressive mindset rather than a bug.

      Yes, it is taking expert authority and misusing it as moral authority. The “experts” even if they had been correct, only have authority to tell you what the possible outcomes will be. They have no moral authority to judge which outcomes are preferable. Only the people affected by the outcomes or somehow accountable for the decision have the moral authority to decide which is preferable.

      So what Newsome and politicians seem to always do these days was pretend the expert authority was also moral authority. This allowed him to defer to the expert authority in making a moral decision and in doing so avoid accountability for the results. No matter what happened, it wouldn’t be Newsome’s fault because “he was just following the experts.”

      1. “So what Newsome and politicians seem to always do these days was pretend the expert authority was also moral authority.”

        The primary force behind keeping people locked down in California was because opening the economy back up became associated with support for Trump, Republicans generally, and racist militias in Michigan. The whole purpose of government, in their minds, is to suppress the will of the people and impose what is best for the people on them, which is to say that the more people don’t want something, the more necessary it becomes to impose it as a central feature of Democratic rule. Their mindset is entirely elitist and authoritarian.

        I think this is the part people don’t understand: Newsom wants to be called out as an elitist and as an authoritarian in the same way that President Trump wants to be called out for opposing riots and burning down Minneapolis. We are not exposing Newsom for being an elitist authoritarian. That’s what he wants us to say about him. He is a proud of being an elitist authoritarian–even if he wouldn’t use those exact terms to describe himself. A rose by any other name–Newsom is proud to be accused of suppressing the will of average Californians and imposing his own elitist preferences on them.

        Newsom is the opposite of populism, which in all its forms, from left to right, is always a reaction to elitism.

        1. I get that the “betters” feel that their self-proclaimed status justifies them as a ruling class. But I will always be puzzled by the portion of the masses that also embraces this moral authoritarianism.

          1. They genuinely believe they know what’s better for you than you do for yourself, and they support politicians like Newsom to protect the rest of society from deplorable people like you.

            1. “They genuinely believe they know what’s better for you than you do for yourself”

              Mike Bloombgerg’s blunt honesty on this point is why a certain part of the techocractic left loves him and others hate him.

          2. “I get that the “betters” feel that their self-proclaimed status justifies them as a ruling class. But I will always be puzzled by the portion of the masses that also embraces this moral authoritarianism”

            Because those who embrace it are vicariously experiencing being a “better”

          3. I will always be puzzled by the portion of the masses that also embraces this moral authoritarianism.

            Does it help if you think of their response as similar to this offer:
            “support me as your lord and I will reward you”.

            Patronage works.

    2. Forcing policies on the unwilling is a virtuous thing to do in their minds because people don’t want it.

      That’s the key to the war on drugs. The main determination of whether to control a certain substance is whether people want it. If they want it, then it’s virtuous to prohibit them from getting it.

      1. And, if you notice, the progressive governments of California, Washington State, etc. didn’t make recreational marijuana legal by way of the Democratic controlled legislature or the Democrat governor. Those laws were imposed on the government by way of referendums. It’s the same thing in New Jersey and New York. The reason they don’t have legal marijuana in those states isn’t because the Republicans are in charge. It’s because the progressives who are running those states don’t think you should be allowed buy large sized sugary soft drinks for yourself–much less consume cannabis.

        1. Actually they realize they’ll have to allow it soon, and are just negotiating a price for it. They’re looking to bundle it with something to buy off a minor constituency.

          1. The political machines that run New York and New Jersey are largely controlled by various public employee unions–especially the police. In California, and other states, as the cannabis industry started joining various unions, the opposition to the cannabis industry changed. They never got enough support to legalize it in the Democrat controlled legislature, but the nature of their opposition to a referendum changed.

            When cannabis growers and retail workers start joining unions that are also affiliated with police, sheriffs, teachers, and prison guards, the whole situation changes, and that will happen if and when those cannabis workers organize in New Jersey and New York, too.
            But so long as the police, sheriffs, and prison guards see their best interests as keeping cannabis illegal, that’s the way it will be–without a referendum to impose on them over their objections and against their will.

            “In New York, citizens do not have the power to initiate statewide initiatives or referendums. Voters of New York have never voted on a ballot measure to authorize a statewide initiative and referendum process.”

            https://ballotpedia.org/New_York_2021_ballot_measures

          2. The United Food and Commercial Workers union, for instance, is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, and they’ve organized cannabis workers.

            http://www.ufcw.org/cannabis-workers/

            The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is also affiliated with the AFL-CIO, and so is the American Federation of Teachers. Those unions would have been leading the charge for the drug war in the past. Now that cannabis workers are dues paying members, not so much.

            As the pension crises in states like California and Illinois demonstrate, the government in those states is run for the benefit of unionized employees. Cannabis legalization will come by way of a referendum process if there is one, that’s probably the path of least resistance, next would be by way of medical cannabis workers and growers organizing in the state and joining the same public employee unions as the other public employees that dominate that state, and last and most unlikely outcome is that those states stop being single party states and power is taken away from the unions by way of divided government.

    3. It can be boiled down to the Christian concept of original sin and it plagues western culture. You are born into sin and your task is redemption.

      Progressives in general and Newsom in particular hold with the idea they are saving you from yourself. Left untended, you will continue to belch at the table, fart in the living room and laugh at your dad’s bad jokes.

  7. F=ma is about all the science you need to prove that a 5 mph speed limit will save thousands of lives annually, that ladders and buildings over 6 feet high should be outlawed, that mountain climbing and airplanes should be similarly banned and that all trees should be chopped down lest someone climb up them and then fall. The science is settled!

    But we don’t do that kind of thing because that would be silly. The question is just where the line between common sense and nonsense gets drawn and who gets to draw the line. I would suggest that question got clarified somewhere between the point where auto manufacturers were required to include seatbelts as standard equipment and auto drivers were required to wear them. Once you get the public habituated to eating shit sandwiches, you can gradually decrease the amount of bread until you no longer even have to bother with it at all.

    1. But we don’t do that kind of thing because that would be silly.

      Someone needs to tell that to OSHA.

      1. [i]But we [s]don’t[/s] didn’t used to do that kind of thing because that would be silly.[/i]

        1. Well that didn’t work.

          1. Use instead of [].

            1. That didn’t work, either.
              I’ll try again.
              Use the “less-than” symbol at the beginning, followed by the “greater-than symbol, instead of [ and ].
              You got the part about how to close it right.

  8. Those two idiots in the picture wearing masks at the beach is the epitome of scientism.

    It never was rooted in science.

    Ever.

    It was rooted in ‘We fucked up and we don’t know what to do so let’s shut this down to save our asses and figure it out from this point while telling people they’re heroes and we’re following Toucan Sam’s nose and then we’ll call it science and shit while keeping this run-on sentence going and then tell them to wear masks six months after the fact to control the fears we helped stoke because we’re fucken irresponsible and incompetent hacks. Ta-dah!’

    THAT’S what happened.

    1. Hello, Rufus.

      You may find this, um, amusing.

      I consider myself a scientismist. I know it is supposed to be a perjorative, but I am reclaiming it. And I know it has many definitions, but this one is mine:

      A view of hypothesis-space that accounts for human fallibilities, as revealed by past experiences.

      And a very, very high burden of proof before zeroing in on any one area of that space.

      1. It’s a consequence of the fall of Christianity that people – progressives obviously – who aren’t fulfilled but have natural questions about the soul and morality look to government and science to fill those voids. Those entities can’t answer such profoundly deep emotions.

        Science can’t answer what is right and wrong. Scientism is a game of deception – hence, you get this weird ‘wearing a mask shows I love you and you love me back because probably it saves us’ superstition passing off as science.

        Know what answers these questions?

        Christianity.

        But there’s such a deep hatred now of the Church it’s hard to even get people to go back and read the great philosophers, economists and scientists of the Church. I know a doctor who went off on such an anti-Catholic tirade I couldn’t even attempt at a rebuttal. It was self-serving drivel.

        1. As I argued elsewhere, Christianity also is the source of the progressive worldview. Specifically American Mainline Protestantism. They’ve mostly lost the religious trappings now, but at least until the 50’s it was explicitly what those denominations thought the world needed.
          I don’t really get it. I’m basically a born atheist. I grew up going to church, but never really felt like it was about something real. But I’ve never looked to authority to provide my life with meaning either.

          1. Progressivism developed directly from Puritanism

            1. I even once heard Progressivism described as Puritanism practiced by people so consumed by self-deprivation that they won’t even indulge in a belief in God.

        2. Know what answers these questions?

          Christianity.

          LOL

          1. For centuries philosophers and Christian theologians together did indeed ponder them. The literature on the subject is quite astounding actually.

            Laugh away.

    2. As the outbreak spread from Wuhan to South Korea, Italy, and New York City, the governments’ lock down response always lagged. In all those places, people started isolating themselves before the government put any lock down orders into effect.

      Even in China, they only started locking people down after 20 million people in Wuhan locked themselves down without any prompting from government (the government was actually denying there was a problem).

      The government hates it when people do things like that without prompting because it makes the government seem unnecessary. And that was true in South Korea, Italy, and New York City, as well.

      Afterwards, of course, they want to keep people locked down, in no small part, because it gives them a chance to seem necessary after that embarrassing episode. The end of the lock down is coming more or less the same way.

      Catholic and Lutheran churches in Minnesota sent a joint letter to the governor telling him that they were reopening their churches whether it was legal or not. He suddenly decided that reopening churches was okay, which is just pointing out that the government continues to be the tail on this dog.

      The reason the economy is reopening is because the American people won’t accept the lockdowns anymore. The rest of this is just platitudes and rationalizations for what the American people have decided to do–and they have no ability to stop. They’re not the ones driving the bus here. They’re taking orders but pretending to be in charge.

      1. Yup. Was in Rome in March. People were pulling out on their own. The government shut down schools a week after they saw parents were keeping their kids home.

        1. Oh. And the south of Italy (with the exception of the province of Molise) didn’t get hit hard including Rome itself.

    3. Look closely. The one farther from the camera isn’t using the mask as a mask. He has it only on his chin. Probably he came from somewhere where he was required to wear one, and is going back there, and for convenience he has it on his chin in the meantime.

      1. Maybe.

        But wouldn’t surprise me he’s cool with it.

        Everyone likes to be deceived. It’s why entertainment is so popular.

    4. “because we’re fucken irresponsible and incompetent hacks.”

      would have worked all by itself.

    5. They’re probably wearing them (at least she is) because the government demands it, not because of fear of any virus.

  9. Lawmakers have the responsibility to weigh non-scientific concerns, including those involving our liberties, and not just blindly follow what select scientists say.

    “I’ll have to see what my Chief Scientist has to say about that — what do you call it — hypothesis.”

  10. Of course it’s about science. But real science takes a long time to sift through data. The bullshit science and models that prompted lockdowns were the problem. The drumbeat from the left was the problem. Now there’s data and now we see what we suspected was true. This is not nearly as deadly and there was no reason to act this way. The left should pay for their lame attempt to sabotage the economy over one election.

    1. Science is only science if it’s a guess in a computer model.

      Actual data, not science.

    2. “This is not nearly as deadly and there was no reason to act this way. The left should pay for their lame attempt to sabotage the economy over one election.”

      Yes, but the obvious problem will be getting “the left” to identify themselves and stand up against the wall so justice might be dispensed?

  11. Newsom allowed more opening because he realized he was loosing control of the counties and this makes him look like he is still in control.

    1. Exactly. They’re ordering people to do things they were already doing.

  12. Now we can also embrace the New Science.

    The New Science looks a lot like old Lysenkoism.

  13. The California shutdown is indefinite. There is no end date. There is no plan to think about an end date. It’s like the War on Terror, it’s not meant to end.

    My own county has switched to indefinite as well, apparently because they are no longer allowed to state an end state in defiance of state orders.

    And the proggies here love it! I have friends who sincerely do not want this to end. They won’t want the lockdown lifted until mass vaccinations can happen (which is a year off at minimum), and want to make masks mandatory after that, and openly state they want social distancing rules to become the social norm. I have neighbors who wear a mask to walk twenty five feet to take out the trash.

    Never in a million years would I have imagined the progressive left would championing total social isolation, but I guess they’re willing to pay that price so they can have a Big Progressive Autocrat issue a steady stream of orders.

    1. It is now known as a chronic crisis.

      1. Sort of like jock itch?

  14. It was never based on science. It was based on mathematical models by plugging in hypothetical numbers. Just because the people creating the models are scientists, doesn’t make the results of their fiction science.

    If the science community wants to save face, they should return to the days when they would be willing to answer questions by saying “we don’t have enough information yet to accurately assess the situation.” You know, the truth. To be fair, imagine most scientists are more inclined to lean this way and it’s far more the fault of the media and politicians who always have the need to seem authoritative even when they know absolutely dick.

    1. >>You know, the truth.

      if money isn’t real why should any basis to achieve money be?

  15. practice for a Logan’s Run or something.

    1. Skeet-shoot the elderly!

      1. Better not miss the first shot; you won’t get a second.

      2. You can’t be serious? Skeet?

        Buckshot. It’s the only way to be sure.

  16. “…Newsom recently announced that California has gone from a surplus to a $54 billion deficit—and has burned through its rainy-day fund…”

    The greaseball who, by fiat, closed down the majority of the economic activity in the state professed to be ‘surprised’ at this!
    I guess the braceros he sent to the Franklin tree orchard came back with empty baskets.

  17. CDC estimates for the Oct 2019 – Apr 2020 Ordinary Flu season:
    39 to 56 million flu illnesses
    18 to 26 million flu medical visits
    410 to 740 thousand flu hospitalizations
    24 to 62 thousand flu deaths

    Pretty precise medical science going on there.

    Why haven’t we been tanking the economy over Ordinary FLU? This has been going on like this for decades.

    [sarcasm] Why aren’t people outraged that Trump murdered 62,000 people with ordinary flu this season just as assuredly as if he shot them all on 5th Avenue? Add in the 100,000 he murdered with Covid19 that makes him a literal Hitler, Stalin, Mao among political mass murders. [/sarcasm]

    1. “Why haven’t we been tanking the economy over Ordinary FLU?”

      Election year. Large numbers of self-agrandizing social justice-warriors.

  18. This is exactly the same basic issue as what is happening with climate science. Yes, there is a science, there is a truth, we have nearly doubled the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere over the past 150 years (+/-), and CO2 is greenhouse gas. Most likely, the temperature is going to go up some, on the average. And that is where the science ends. Beyond that is speculation and best guesses, and debate about costs and benefits based on some very uncertain best guesses.

    Same thing here. Shutdowns and masks have bought us some time. And in about another week we will know what a bit of relaxation of the shutdowns (for Memorial Day, whether approved by Government or not) will look like. But absolutes like F=ma are not going to be seen. Wait and see….

    1. “CO2 is greenhouse gas. Most likely, the temperature is going to go up some” and “Yes, there is a science”

      There most certainly is a science. The rest is pure speculation.

  19. In the uk here our lockdown is slowly ending, our business http://www.escorts-near-me.com is finally able to operate again

  20. We already have enough issues with retirement, 401K’s, IRA’s, pensions, social security, etc. If the state’s economy doesn’t get started soon, then Democrats will have to give up their big-spending dreams and the pension funds could start circling the drain waco electricians

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