PowerLine -> John Hinderaker – A COVID Border Battle

Daily Digest

  • A COVID Border Battle
  • Raising the Barr
  • Memo to: Seattle Area Readers, and Yale Alums Everywhere
  • Crime Wave [Updated]
  • Corrupt St Louis prosecutor exposed again
A COVID Border Battle

Posted: 29 Jul 2020 05:11 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)Have shutdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus done any good? I doubt it. My guess is that in future years–once President Trump is safely out of office–a consensus will emerge that the shutdowns that U.S. governors have imposed, as the governments of a number of European countries, were a disastrous policy error. I think history will conclude that the shutdowns turned a relatively mild epidemic into a relatively mild epidemic plus a catastrophic economic setback, with adverse health consequences that approached and may even have exceeded, those of the virus.

In the ongoing debate over whether shutdowns have been useful, a comparison of Minnesota and Wisconsin is a valuable data point. These two adjoining states are of comparable population, demographics, history, and geography. A Wisconsinite is basically a Minnesotan without the smugness.

On the coronavirus, the states parted company on May 13, when the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down that state’s “Safer at Home” order. Minnesota, meanwhile, continued under a lockdown, eventually in modified form, to the present day. To an observer, the difference is obvious: Wisconsin is open for business. Minnesotans cross the St. Croix to eat out and hang out in the restaurants and bars on the Wisconsin side of the river. Wisconsin isn’t quite South Dakota, but compared with Minnesota it is a bastion of freedom.

What happened when Wisconsin’s courts lifted that state’s shutdown order? My colleague John Phelan has the story. Liberals associated with Minnesota’s Walz administration predicted a dire body count. Ken Martin is the Chairman of Minnesota’s DFL party, and Steve Sack is the editorial cartoonist for the DFL’s flagship newspaper, the Star Tribune:

Not sure what’s happening with our neighbors to the East, but I am quite certain we will see a huge increase in COVID related deaths thanks to their terrible courts. BTW – @thestevesack is the best political cartoonist in America hands down. @DemStateParties @TheDemocrats pic.twitter.com/rP3Hu2GJLO

— Ken Martin (@kenmartin73) May 15, 2020

Do cartoonists ever issue retractions or apologies? I suppose not. But Martin and Sack couldn’t have been more wrong. John Phelan picks up the story:

Figures from the Minnesota Department of Health and Wisconsin Department of Health Services show that, from May 14th to July 27th, Wisconsin suffered 472 Covid-19 deaths and Minnesota suffered 939, as seen on Figure 1. Again, given the two state’s broadly similar populations – 5.6 million in Minnesota and 5.8 million in Wisconsin – that means a much higher rate of Covid-19 deaths in our state as well as a much higher number. Indeed, between May 14th and July 27th, Wisconsin saw 81 Covid-19 deaths per million residents. In Minnesota, we saw 167 Covid-19 deaths per million residents – a rate 2.1 times higher.

John concludes with a good question: “To what does Mr. Martin attribute our state’s woeful performance?” Martin will never answer that question, of course. But a large part of the answer is that Minnesota’s governor, Tim Walz, is stunningly incompetent. Minnesota’s terrible COVID performance is due mostly to the fact that nearly 80% of its fatalities have been in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Minnesota has discharged infected patients directly into such long term care facilities, a practice that Governor Walz, apparently unwilling to admit error no matter the human cost, continues to this day. (For an in-depth discussion of Minnesota’s COVID disaster, go here, or else read Scott’s multi-part series on Coronavirus In One State.)

Carnage in the nursing homes explains Minnesota’s terrible record compared with its neighbors, but it doesn’t answer the broader question: why, after 2 1/2 months, hasn’t Wisconsin seen the spike in deaths so confidently predicted by liberals when its shutdown ended?

One factor is that for young people, those under 25, COVID is less dangerous than the average seasonal flu. (Details at the link above.) So all those young people congregating in Wisconsin bars might be risking a cold, but they aren’t risking fatality. A state’s overall performance probably depends more than anything else on how well it protects its old people. Wisconsin has done a much better job of this than Minnesota, without restricting the rest of its population to their homes.

In any event, Wisconsin’s experience casts serious doubt on the claim that draconian shutdowns successfully prevent COVID fatalities.


Raising the Barr

Posted: 29 Jul 2020 03:50 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)We’ve been all over Attorney General Bill Barr’s adventures in congressional “oversight” this week, but as it happens I just received the summer issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, which is the academic journal of the Federalist Society. And the lead article in this issue is Barr’s Barbara Olson Memorial Lecture from last fall’s annual Federalist Society conference, which has the anodyne title, “The Role of the Executive.”

Don’t be fooled by that bland title. It is a terrific lecture, with many important themes, and extremely well-sourced. This passage in particular jumps out:

Immediately after President Trump won election, opponents inaugurated what they called “The Resistance,” and they rallied around an explicit strategy of using every tool and maneuver available to sabotage the functioning of his administration. Now “resistance” is the language used to describe an insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power. The term obviously connotes that the government opposed is not legitimate. This is a very dangerous—indeed, incendiary—notion to import into the politics of a democratic republic. What it means is that, instead of viewing themselves as the “loyal opposition,” as opposing parties have done in the past, they essentially see themselves as engaged in a war to cripple, by any means necessary, a duly elected government.

A prime example of this is the Senate’s unprecedented abuse of the advice-and-consent process. The Senate is free to exercise that power to reject unqualified nominees, but that power was never intended to allow the Senate to systematically oppose and draw out the approval process for every appointee so as to prevent the President from building a functional government.

Yet that is precisely what the Senate minority has done from his very first days in office. As of September of this year [2019], the Senate had been forced to invoke cloture on 236 Trump nominees—each of those representing its own massive consumption of legislative time meant only to delay an inevitable confirmation. How many times was cloture invoked on nominees during President Obama’s first term? Seventeen times. The second President Bush’s first term? Four times. It is reasonable to wonder whether a future President will actually be able to form a functioning administration if his or her party does not hold the Senate.

Barr really gets rolling later in the lecture. Like this:

The fact of the matter is that, in waging a scorched earth, no- holds-barred war of “Resistance” against this Administration, it is the Left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law. This highlights a basic disadvantage that conservatives have always had in contesting the political issues of the day. It was adverted to by the old, curmudgeonly Federalist, Fisher Ames, in an essay during the early years of the Republic.

In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion. Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the state to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection. Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end. They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implications. They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.

No wonder Democrats are so angry with Barr. He has their number.


Memo to: Seattle Area Readers, and Yale Alums Everywhere

Posted: 29 Jul 2020 03:18 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)Here are two good opportunities for readers to express themselves in meaningful ways against the craziness of the moment.

First, for our Seattle area readers, next Monday the Seattle Commissars City Council will vote on defunding the police, which could result in reducing the number of officers by as many as 800. What a great idea!/sarc. There is an online petition you can sign to express your opposition to this madness.

Second, for our readers everywhere who are alumni of Yale University, you can help fight back against the relentless political correctness of Yale by supporting the petition candidacy of Victor Ashe for Yale’s Governing Board. Ashe was the longtime mayor of Knoxville, TN, and then served as U.S. ambassador to Poland, and he’s intent on shaking up Yale’s complacent and compliant leftism. (You can read his statement here.) Yale makes it cumbersome for a petition candidate to qualify for the ballot to be elected to the board; it requires 4,394 alumni signatures by October 1st, but Victor has already gathered over 2,400.

It’s been 18 years since Yale even had a petition candidate on the ballot and the last trustee elected in such a manner was William Horowitz (the first Jewish member of the board) in 1965. So if you’re a Yale alum who would like a practical way to register your displeasure with the state of things, you can sign the petition for Victor online here.


Crime Wave [Updated]

Posted: 29 Jul 2020 02:12 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)Is the Minneapolis Effect real? Check out these news stories from the last 24 hours, all collected at SupportMNPolice.com

BREAKING: 2 Minneapolis police officers injured attempting to stop vehicle in suspected carjacking https://t.co/ccVAqfYkEZ

— FOX 9 (@FOX9) July 29, 2020

Good Samaritan Shot After Risking Life To Help Stranger Being Robbed In Minneapolis https://t.co/gaEjFtkJe7 pic.twitter.com/DajI8oF6fa

— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) July 29, 2020

Recent Surge In Brazen Robberies, Car Thefts Highlight Growing Problem In Twin Cities https://t.co/jBkxtWtePJ pic.twitter.com/Q35HpTpecl

— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) July 28, 2020

Yesterday, Minneapolis’s 3rd Precinct (that is the one whose station was burned by rioters) sent out this memo to residents of the precinct:

100 robberies and 20 carjackings in July, in just one precinct. Minneapolis has been a crime-ridden city for a while, but the current attacks on law enforcement, accompanied by demands to dismantle the city’s police department, threaten to make it uninhabitable.

UPDATE: One more, via an email from a friend received a few minutes ago:

Going to meeting tonight w/ 100% liberals and Democrats in mansion in Lowry Hill to talk about crime, defund police and encampments.

My son rides his bike to this spot every day …

“Kids mugged.” Yeah, that will entice a lot of people to move to Minneapolis.

STEVE adds: The problem of soaring crime isn’t limited just to what we used to call “transitional” neighborhoods. It is affecting the University of Minnesota, too, where, naturally, the wokerati demanded that the U cut its ties with the police, with predictable results.

Students see spike in reported violent crime after University of Minnesota cuts ties with Minneapolis Police Department

Students saw an increase in reported violence just weeks after the University of Minnesota announced that it would cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Department after the death of George Floyd.

In the weeks following the University of Minnesota’s announcement that it would cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Department, students received multiple systemwide public safety alert messages, telling them to be cautious on and near campus due to various reported violent crimes. This is a substantial increase in safety notifications for Minnesota students, given that prior to the announcement, only seven such announcements with only two emergencies were made in a six month period.


Corrupt St Louis prosecutor exposed again

Posted: 29 Jul 2020 12:39 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)We have noted that, in addition to her many other defects, St. Louis prosecutor Kim Gardner is ethically challenged. She used contributions to her last campaign for personal expenses.

This may not have bothered George Soros, whose operation funded Gardner’s campaign, but it didn’t sit well with Missouri ethics regulators. They fined Gardner $63,009. In the end, she was able to get off for $6,314, but the violation stood, and Gardner apparently went on probation.

Unchastened, Gardner quickly returned to her old ways. From Ed Morrissey, I learn that, once in office, Gardner took a series of trips paid for by her left-wing backers, and that she failed to disclose this. KMOV, a CBS media outlet in St. Louis, says that Gardner’s junkets were “prolific and problematic,” at times interfering with her public duties. According to its sources, Gardner was unreachable on trips, making it difficult to get decisions made.

In 2018 and 2019, Gardner’s subsidized travels reportedly took her to Portugal, Connecticut, Texas, and Selma, Alabama. According to KMOV, she was required by law to report these trips but declined to do so.

KMOV’s sources say that Gardner’s junkets were paid for in full or in part by a leftist organization called Fair and Just Prosecution. This outfit has applauded many of Gardner’s actions, including the charges she brought against Mark and Patricia McCloskey for showing guns to protect their property from a mob.

Gardner is dreadful enough to have undertaken this prosecution without being influenced by outsiders. However, when a leftist group that pays for her personal expenses and travel desires the non-prosecution of rioters and the prosecution of those who protect their property from a mob, it’s reasonable to wonder whether Gardner’s prosecution decisions to these effects are being made in good faith.


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