Coronavirus is the Real World, and It Came Knocking

New York City has turned in a disaster area for Coronavirus. It is overwhelmed with cases and hospitalizations – and it is overwhelmed because it simply wasn’t prepared. Let us pause for a moment and review some salient facts:

The 2020 fiscal year budget for New York City is $92.5 billion. That’s about $11,500.00 in government spending for each person in the city. That is quite a lot of money, don’t you think?

Prior to the crisis, an N95 mask could cost less than one dollar. One dollar. So, for 8 million dollars out of the 2020 budget, NYC could have provided a mask for every man, woman and child in the city. After spending that 8 million dollars, NYC would still have $92,492,000,000.00 left over. If you want to have your eyes glaze over, you can read the entire NYC budget – I went through it a bit and found millions of dollars being allocated for such crucial things as replacing the skylights in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and providing illegal immigrants funds to defend themselves against deportation.

In addition to that, the directory of New York City is handy for you to see what the city is up to – among many, many other things, they have:

NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate Policy and Programs
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
Four different listings for housing departments
New York City Commission on Human Rights
New York City Loft Board
New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission

And on and on like that – and, rely on it, these things are staffed to the gills with people who make high salaries and get excellent health and retirement benefits. None of these things, though, provide a mask for a nurse working a Coronavirus ward. What is a city government supposed to do? Easy:

Water supply.
Police protection.
Fire protection.
Waste disposal.
Maintain public thoroughfares.
Non-Police/Fire Emergency services.

That’s pretty much it. Anything beyond that isn’t necessary for the city to function. That you might want to have it do other things is all well and good, but the purpose of the city is those six things – and only after those six things are completely done do you have anything left over for additional wants. New York City – like most governments – has got this all backwards. They act as if their primary function is to provide economic opportunity, to end bigotry, to make art – to do just about anything but what the government is supposed to do. The city has been living in a world of make-believe – a world in which the bad things simply won’t happen and so the crucial things can be slighted in favor of fashionable vanities.

Coronavirus has changed that. The real world does, indeed, exist and it is very insistent that we deal with it.

I’m not here just to knock New York City – as worthwhile as that exercise is – but the whole attitude of a world which has been whistling past the graveyard. It isn’t, after all, New York City’s fault that it can’t just make masks in the city. New York used to be a manufacturing powerhouse…but various taxes, regulations and trade policies over the years moved that capacity out of New York. And out of the United States, of course.

What Coronavirus is teaching us is that we have to act like adults and do the important things – and only after the important things are done can we spare any thought or effort to other desires. We have to build back our manufacturing capacity. We must stockpile the necessary equipment for emergencies. We have to make sure our transportation system is durable. That our water supplies are secure. That, at need, we can live for an extended period of time without one thing coming in from outside the United States. In other words, we have to start being adults, again. Cruel as that might seem.

One of the crucial parts of getting back to reality is to directly ask the people in charge just what the heck did they think they were doing? DeBlasio can be raked over the coals – and should be – but he’s not the only one out there spending money trying to keep immigration laws from being enforced. He and a host of others – including many Republicans – have prioritized all sorts of useless garbage over the necessities of American survival. To put it as bluntly as I can: because our leaders have had us spending on trivialities, Americans are dead of the Coronavirus. It is that one for one here, guys: because if we had been as prepared as possible for this – and had acted like adults at the first sign of trouble – many people now dead would still be alive. And many who are going to die wouldn’t. The vanity project of having a green new deal in your home town might have produced a glowing editorial, but it also produced a corpse. Or dozen.

And we had better get serious about this soon – because Coronavirus, by all historical standards, is mild. This is the alarm in the middle of the night waking us up to the threat…and if we don’t take it seriously, then we will pay a very high price in blood.

Day 15 of Lockdown

Plague. Earthquakes. And, now, a comet. Whomever is opening up the seals of the apocalypse really needs to cut it out.

OTOH, if it isn’t the End, that comet might be quite the light show in the sky – no danger to Earth as its closest approach will be 72 million miles…but if high estimates prove correct, you’re going to see it very bright in the night sky with the naked eye.

The Kennedy Center – basically, a welfare program for the rich – got $25 million from the Stimulus and then canned the workers. Rep Scalise wants to rescind the grant. That’s fine, but we really aren’t getting anywhere unless the directors of the Center are flogged.

More talk of Democrats dumping Joe for Cuomo. Can’t see it as other than a disaster for the Democrats – the only alternative to Joe is Sanders. Cuomo hasn’t even entered the race…the DNC works some crooked deal to put Cuomo on the ticket and the Bernie Bros will revolt. I doubt it would happen, anyway – and not because Biden would be opposed. He likely doesn’t even know where he is most of the time: but his handlers are licking their chops at the amount of patronage they’ll be able to dispense in Biden’s name and they won’t want Cuomo to barge in and mess up the program.

New York City is being hammered while Las Vegas, so far, is getting off lightly…perhaps gambling and whoring isn’t as much an affront to God as being largely in favor of infanticide, as New Yokers – by their votes – seem to be? Just a thought.

The Great Facemask Debate goes on. As for me: from what I’ve learned, most transmission is via being in close contact with the infected for a significant period of time or literally touching the virus (on a person or surface) and then touching your face. This is why hand washing and social distancing are so important: from what I can gather, if you do the washing and distancing, your chances of catching the disease fall remarkably. But, for anyone who does have to go around people…wearing a mask seems to be an effective way of not touching your face, which would help.

China simply rebroadcast MSMers and American Democrats as part of their propaganda effort. Seriously, that’s all they did: the MSM and the Democrat Party are broadcasting Chinese Communist propaganda. I only hope they got paid for it – I don’t want to think some of my fellow Americans are stupid enough to do that for free. We woke up one fine morning to discover that a pandemic exposed how much of America China has purchased.

Related: backlash against China grows. China really screwed the pooch on this one – I’m with those who theorize that China knew what sort of problem they had back in December and made the conscious choice to ensure the whole world got the same problem.

Open Thread

So, had my first work from home day.

Plus: when I suddenly wanted a hot dog, I went and got one. Getting up half an hour later and immediately being home after work.

Minus: Dull.

Still don’t know anyone who has caught Coronavirus – and I’ve lots of friends and family in hot zones. Also rather surprised at how relatively lightly we’ve got off in Las Vegas. It can change, of course, but we went into lockdown 9 days ago and we’re at 350 cases and 10 deaths so far. The number of Chinese and other foreigners who come through this town is very large, so I really expected us to be hammered by it. I mean, look at New York! But, also, we didn’t have our leaders and health people telling us to get out there and hug a Chinese because Orange Man Bad. That might be the difference.

There is a theory that warm weather will abate the virus – we’ll find out in about a week as we’re supposed to get up into the 80’s with dry weather.

The stimulus bill is hot garbage, for the most part and they will have to re-work it in the near future. Be that as it may, it will at least provide some help for those dislocated by the virus. Seems there’s a bi-partisan consensus that every corporation and special interest group out there should be showered with cash but regular folks just aren’t smart enough to handle it.

Some Democrat rumblings about scratching Biden and putting Cuomo on the ticket. This is not an indication of a party which likes its chances in November. I’m thinking that absent a real virus meltdown in the USA (increasingly unlikely at this point), Trump will win rather easily, and likely get the House back into the bargain. Huge amount of time until election day, but Trump has done well and the Democrats got nothing.

The biggest problem with the virus is that we don’t know what its all about – the Chinese data has to be discarded as entirely untrustworthy. Italy and Spain are terrifying, but there seems to be local reasons for how bad it is there. Other places are not bad at all. Until we know the real rate of infection and mortality, we’re rather stumbling in the dark. And this is why it is wise to socially distance…but as we get better numbers and learn what the real threat it, it will be time to start reopening the economy.

Open Thread

Well, I’m officially work from home, now. Got all the stuff I need; so, one less thing to worry about.

The Democrats, in my view, really messed up on the stimulus…not that the GOP plan is all that great, but trying to lard up the program with abortion and green new deal stuff was an act of political idiocy I don’t think we’ve ever seen in human history. But, they did it – and I think it is because they are in a closed-loop: they simply don’t get much information which isn’t a mere variation on Orange Man Bad.

A recent poll showed Trump’s overall support rising and especially giving him high marks on handling the virus and the economy – it was the sort of poll number that would make him invincible if it holds to November. But the odd thing I saw in it was that Trump’s support among GOPers and Independents on the virus was about the same (around 60%) while his support among Democrats was sub 30%. Theoretically, everyone is getting the same sort of news, right? Well, I guess not: Democrats are clearly getting a set of information which is widely at odds with what GOPers and Independents are getting…and I think this is largely a function of GOPers and Independents tuning out the MSM while Democrats still follow every word of it. If you only watched CNN and MSNBC, you would believe that we’re days away from bodies piled up in the streets and 30% unemployment for a decade.

Now, it’ll be interesting to see what happens if, in the event, we don’t have bodies piled up in the streets and the economy makes a brisk recovery through the Summer. How will our Democrats square that with what they watch on the news? If it finally does penetrate, then Trump may win in an epic landslide.

Be that as it may, no one can really predict what is going to happen in November – though that hasn’t stopped our Experts from proclaiming that Trump is doomed. The situation is entirely fluid and while Trump is getting good poll numbers, now, a major change for the worse in a week or two would likely knock him down. Until it all happens, we won’t know what will happen. But I’m suspecting as bad as the virus might get, it won’t be a catastrophe and, also, as bad a hit as the economy is taking, it won’t take us long to get back out of it. And with Biden – who looks like he’s aged ten years the past month – leading the Democrat charge, I’m liking our chances in November.

Parishoners bought their ill priest a respirator. Priest found out someone else needed it and gave it up. The priest has now died. No greater love…

The Dow rose 2,112 points and so we’re back in Obama’s economy again – we’ll be in Trump’s if it drops tomorrow, for those keeping score at home.

The virus is not a flu – and you should familiarize yourself with the symptoms. Still, after all we’ve learned, the prime markers seem to be fever and a very bad cough. But it can also start with other symptoms and you can actually start to feel better before getting very much worse. Stout hearts, though: most people who get it survive and most who die have underlying conditions. If you have underlying health conditions, I really do suggest you barricade yourself at home and ride this out.

Trump wants to re-open the economy as fast as possible and in general I agree: we can’t stay locked down for a very long time. I think it should be a phased re-opening. As we get better numbers on how many are infected and what the real mortality rate is, we’ll be able to assess the actual danger and start letting up on the restrictions. Overall, oldsters should probably be the last to come out – and everyone who is work from home had probably better stay there for at least a couple months.

Lockdown Thoughts

Allergy season is in full swing in Las Vegas – and its a bad one; things are coated in pollen. This means I’ve got a headache, runny nose and a cough…so, every five minutes or so I’m worrying “am I sure this is allergies?”. Tiresome, to say the least.

But, I did check CDC for symptoms of Coronavirus – and if you haven’t, the primary symptoms are fever, coughing and shortness of breath. If you get real bad shortness of breath, confused or turn a bit blue, that’s when its time to go to a doctor. The word is that the oldsters are in the highest risk – especially over 65. I’m under 65 – and in pretty good health overall.

How are the lockdowns going with you? I’ll be heading to work from home as soon as I get this odd device which allows me to prove remotely that I work for my company…it was shipped out a while back ago, but it hasn’t arrived. I’ve noticed the mail isn’t exactly a thick packet any longer, either. I suspect that transport capacity has been commandeered for medical and food deliveries. Be that as it may, I’ll eventually be work from home and for a good while, too. And there’s nothing to do in Vegas as everything other than necessities are closed. So, we cleared a much larger vegetable garden this year than usual.

I still view this is an overreaction. But, that’s a horse well outside the barn: the reaction is what it is and it will have its effect. The primary effect, outside the virus, is the crushing of the economy. I expect 20% unemployment in a month or two. But I also expect us to roar back once this thing clears. The direct payments of money to people will be a great psychological help…and it will result in a fairly large pool of unused money once we’re allowed to go outside again. In the end, this pricking of the Dow price may be a blessing in disguise…everyone was wondering how long the market could keep surging like that. Well, that’s one less worry…it’ll probably drop a bit more before its over but when its time to go back to work, it’ll have no place to go but up. Do not look at your portfolio…and I’m thinking if you haven’t sold by now, don’t sell at all…wait for the rebound.

The stimulus is gigantic and will be larded up with pork – but it can’t be overestimated how good people will feel that in this time of crisis they’ve got the money for the necessities. This will have a political effect. Also having a political effect is how tin-eared the Democrats are on all this. They are still stuck on Orange Man Bad when Trump is out there leading doggedly in a time of national crisis. They could jump on board and prove to people that they are about something other than hating Trump…but they can’t manage that trick. I’ve heard unprompted praise of Trump from people you wouldn’t remotely think as prospective Trump voters…they are pleased he’s hammering the fear-mongering press and are waiting for their stimulus checks.

China is a lousy nation we should have nothing to do with – their lies (and the lies continue, I bet: I ain’t buying their story they’ve had no new cases) are what allowed a completely manageable problem to become a global crisis. And those EU-weenies begging for Chi-Com help are just morons, plain and simple. The Chinese can’t help – like all tyrannies, they only look splendid on the surface. Underneath it is a nation where most still live in grinding poverty and prisoners fill the camps. They’ve got a couple showplace cities to wow the rubes of the West while the rest of the country is garbage…and that is why this virus came from there: because they don’t know how to actually deal with something as simple as a flu.

The good news here is that, at last, people are coming around to the view I’ve been harping on for more than a decade: we have to make, mine and grow our own stuff. Having our supply chain outside our control is national suicide. Bring our factories back home…at least to the Americas, where we can keep an eye on them.

Hope you all are healthy and getting through this ok!

Open Thread

My odd work scheduled has me off today and tomorrow; we’ll see if I really have to go in on Thursday. Probably will: even a massive shutdown will still leave a few vital things we must support. But, it’ll be as it is.

I think Democrats and the MSM are getting rather tin eared here: this is a time of national crisis, not a time of Orange Man Bad. We’re busy wondering about our jobs and getting supplies and if we’ll get sick and we want to know if we’ll have our jobs and our supplies and if we’ll get sick…that is pretty much all anyone wants to hear about right now…not DNC hit jobs. We’ll see how it plays out, but I suspect this will be a backfire of epic proportions on the Democrats.

We’re pretty well stocked here, as it turns out: did hit the grocery store yesterday and while they were mostly out of meat, I did hit upon the turkey breast…so, we’ll soon have Thanksgiving in March. We had already secured our corned beef for today, of course! What was dumb was they put out a pallet of water and some people grabbed multiple cases. Come on, people: just take one. Leave something for the next guy. When they happened to put out potatoes as I was passing by, I just grabbed a couple pounds and left the rest.

Hope you guys are all doing well!

How You Taking the Zombie Apocalypse?

MGM and Wynn shut down in Vegas – as it turns out, I work with a lady who has family working at MGM and the rumor was that only 8% of the rooms were booked for next week…so, closing down would make sense.

I’m guessing that after all is said and done, we’ll pretty much be on a national lockdown in a few days, even if it isn’t official. People are scared – heck, even I get a little flutter in the tummy; but I’m mostly worried about people doing stupid things resulting in injury and death.

As for the Coronavirus, itself: still no real clarity on it. Likely because the MSM isn’t being helpful here. If we could really nail down the mortality rate and the most at-risk populations, that would be tremendously helpful…but without such data, fears are able to run free. And running free, they are.

I think that Trump is doing all that can be done but, as we Conservatives know, there’s only so much the government can do. Liberals are going bonkers over it – and I mean seriously nuts: I’ve seen comments where they say that Trump is deliberately letting the disease spread so he can be dictator. I guess that is what comes from TDS…and it is being fueled by malignant actors out there. Seen more than one social media post where someone, who seems on the up and up, is spreading the most alarming news…only to be proven false when checked out. Meanwhile, though, tens of thousands of people repeat the falsehoods on social media and very few, I bet, ever check to see if the story was true, or not. This is the new normal: social media can be a tremendously useful and fun thing, but it is also ready-made for exploitation by con artists…and some of the con artists have networks news gigs.

Keep safe; get yourself two-three weeks worth of supplies laid in and pray for a swift end to this disease.

Heck of a Year This Week Has Been, Huh?

Here in Vegas, the Coronavirus is positively hammering the casinos – MGM and Wynn have already announced various closures and lay offs. It’ll probably get worse over the next two weeks. It is all temporary, but sucks for those affected – and I hope President Trump jumps in to help out the workers who are going to be hurt here. As locals, we don’t go to the Strip, of course, but we did head out to a locals casino tonight – I was curious about how it would be going. I did win $100, so that’s good. The place was thin crowd for a Saturday night – but, still quite a few people there. I asked one of the workers there how its going: no word about layoffs at the moment but the buffet isn’t getting a lot of business these days so their feeling is that it might shut down for a while.

In my particular work world – a slight slowdown from normal; maybe a 10% dropoff. Contingency plans are ready for us to work from home. Hope it doesn’t come to that – but the panic is pretty deep now, and no one wants to be the guy who kept things rolling and a bunch come down sick.

Our economy is fundamentally strong but this is going to be a hit, no doubt about it. But probably not as much as feared: the panic buying is stuffing retailer and supplier pockets with money…and in my particular line of work, I can assure you that “non-critical” retail stuff is still going on a brisk pace. We’ll come roaring back once this is over…and as we now have real incentive to decouple from China, the long term benefits to our country will be good.

President Trump, in my view, did just fine in his first statement – others thought otherwise, and that’s, I guess, why he did the second one…which went over much better. You could tell because the MSMers were taking pot-shots at trivia rather than hitting the President on substance. President Trump has really stood the test of time, hasn’t he? The guy gets it at the most fundamental level: that it is we, the regular folks, who do all the work and who need to be cared for, first. I’ve never actually been more confident of his re-election.

Ultimately, this is the price of both globalism and the welfare State – the tearing down of borders and the placing people in a position where they depend on government is what got this disease really cracking through the world. People have to use more sense – but I think a lot were waiting for government to take care of it…meanwhile the “come one, come all” attitude about travel around the world made sure that once the virus caught hold, there was zero chance it was going to stop. Strict border controls at all times: that is the way it has to be. And, yes,we should check foreign arrivals for disease…there is technology which can swiftly reveal if someone coming in should be more closely checked.

I hope you all are safe – and have all the toilet paper you need!

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Coronavirus?

Not me. Several reasons.

1. It’s a flu. I know, I know – people say it isn’t like other flu viruses…but, it’s a flu. We don’t even really know how deadly it is – 0.5% to 2%…which means, no one has a clue. It seems slightly more deadly than regular flu, but the deaths seem to be heavily concentrated in people with underlying health problems. The bottom line is that if you’re healthy, you’ll probably get through it after a miserable couple weeks. Any one of us is highly unlikely to die.

2. We have much better sanitary conditions and health care than China – or, it would seem, Italy or Iran. We’re not as densely packed into cities; our pollution levels are much lower; the free market provides vast amounts of medical services at short notice.

3. The MSM is lying. A lot. They are hyping this up as the End of Days in order to harm Trump. Have you heard that the disease has already peaked and started to recede in China? Of course not – that wouldn’t fit the Narrative. Whatever they’re telling you is designed to scare you.

4. President Trump is a great President – he’s doing a good job; I’m confident he’ll be up to meeting whatever this throws at him.

It must be kept in mind that everything you’re going to see from now until Election Day in the MSM is designed to harm Trump and/or help the Democrats. Trust nothing of what they say. Look around. Seek alternate sources. Use your own common sense.

In the other bad news: stock market flop. Partially Coronavirus, partially oil price war – not sure if the Saudis are trying to blow up our oil industry or kill Iran…could be a little of both. But the underlying economy is strong and the Saudis can’t long sustain low oil prices…equilibrium will eventually prevail…but we might get a shot at really cheap gas over the Summer, and that will help the economy as much as the oil disruption harms.

Open Thread

We went on our first trip to Sedona, AZ; It is far more beautiful than advertised. Just absolutely stunning. Now, to be sure, its got a huge amount of dirty liberal hippie about it…you’ll never run out of essential oils while you’re there…but well worth anyone’s time to go.

Coronavirus has come to Las Vegas and I’m sure everyone is going to go ape about it. Except me: its a flu. The MSM – on orders from the DNC, I’m sure of it – has decided to keep hyping this as the next Black Death…all in service of harming Trump. I don’t think it’ll work – mostly because millions of us won’t die.

Jeff Sessions was forced into a GOP runoff in the Alabama Senate primary – we’ll see how he does; Trump tweeted out that this is because Sessions recused himself and allowed the witch hunt to start. That is probably correct. Sessions, policy-wise, is a solid guy – but he did allow the Establishment/Deep State to go after Trump on what he must have known was a ridiculous charge. Hopefully, he’s one of the last GOPers who will work from the assumption that the Democrats are remotely interested in truth and justice.

Warren called it quits: and though she is ideologically closest to Bernie, she’ll endorse Biden, I bet…because more than anything else, she’s nakedly ambitious and everyone knows that Bernie is done for: the Democrat Establishment has engineered the race to come out with Biden on top, regardless.

As for Biden – he is the empty suit. Always has been; a mere carnival barker…but now, even more so: he’s senile and the real competition on the Democrat side, now, is going to be over who pulls the strings. This will be crucial if the Democrats managed to drag his carcass over the finish line in November…because Biden won’t even know what he’s doing most of the time. As for Biden’s chances – I really don’t see how he keeps up with Trump, let alone beats him. You can already see it: by September, Trump will be doing 4 rallies a week as he criss-crosses the country…meanwhile, Biden will be kept under wraps as much as possible and only allowed out to do carefully scripted appearances in front of absolutely friendly audiences…with the MSM ordered to cut away if Biden goes off on a tangent and cover it up if they can’t pull the plug fast enough. 2016 proved that literally anything is possible in politics, so Biden can win…but I’m expecting Trump to rather roll over him.

Chuck Schumer, being Chuck Schumer, essentially threatened to punish the Supreme Court if they rule the wrong way. This caused all sorts of fussy people to go well, I never! all over social media. I was less concerned about it: the Democrats have always been like this. And I mean from the moment the party was founded…Democrats never accept that their will shouldn’t prevail. If they lose an election, then the election system is wrong; if they lose a court case, then the court system is wrong. Democrats only kept up a pretense about respecting the Courts because from FDR until just recently, it merely rubber stamped whatever the Democrats wanted. Now that they can’t win in the courts, the courts are bad.