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Assault on America, Day 579: America needs a bubble to isolate from media/political stupidity

Hangover
Seeking a bubble to insulate the human race from media-fanned pandemic head-sickness


Bubbles. We’ve heard a lot about ‘em lately, especially in connection to the Chinese Communist Party (or Wuhan, if you prefer) virus and supposedly “protecting” people from contracting the sickness that seems to be everywhere and nowhere simultaneously.

Last week Americans were treated to frantic media reports of a dozen-plus (20?) Miami Marlins players and coaches testing positive for the virus, which threw the sports world into a tizzy with many, many observers and commentators predicting that the “outbreak” would effectively terminate not only the southern Florida team’s season, but would also mark the end of professional sports until a vaccine is approved (and even then, who knows?). There was an additional report that 66-year-old conservative Texas Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert had apparently caught the “bug” (or is that too light of a term amidst all the paranoia these days?).

None of the aforementioned cases has thus far resulted in catastrophic health results (hospitalizations, deaths), but nonetheless, the media acted as though the latest news was another mile marker on the road to doom for the human race. Over 150,000 Americans have now died with the virus, though it still isn’t clear how many of those succumbed because of the virus. Figures fly across TV screens like birds of prey swooping to grab a fish on a placid lake.

Why did the asymptomatic Gohmert famously refuse to wear a mask (note: he disputes it)? Did his mask-less presence in Congress lead to his snaring the coronavirus (and to the infection of Rep. Raul Grijalva)? Did he infect others? And why didn’t the Marlins -- or major league baseball in general -- refuse to “create a bubble” like the NBA did? Now that NFL training camps have opened and the season is a month away, can football be isolated in a bubble? How about college athletics? There’s so much talk about “bubbles” these days you’d almost think everyone’s gone retro and bubble baths are a renewed fad again.

The 90’s hit comedy Seinfeld famously made fun of the “bubble” concept, satire that would not be acceptable to today’s intolerant thought police. But with the ceaseless ongoing back-and-forth debate over who’s responsible for the virus outbreak, how dangerous it truly is, the people who got sick and ultimately, those who died from it, there’s no getting around the “bubble” word any longer.

Unfortunately, business owners in the real world don’t have the luxury of isolating their establishments inside a virus-free sterile environment, and the latest round of restrictions and closures has pushed many to the brink of exhaustion, if not complete failure. Who speaks for them? Jay Heflin reported at The Washington Examiner, “Two-thirds of small-business owners worry that continued spikes in the coronavirus will either force them to close down operations again or, for those who haven’t reopened from the recent economic shutdown, remain closed, according to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce poll.

“The level of concern about shutting down is particularly high, 85%, for businesses that suffered through the economic shutdown earlier in the year and then struggled to reopen. The potential for shutting down has prompted owners to reevaluate staffing and future layoffs, purchase supplies so they can remain open for as long as possible, and increase their online presence, for instance by boosting online payment options.

“A majority of small-business owners, 56%, also want federal guidance on reopening as it remains unclear what procedures are needed to keep operations going. That percentage is up from June’s 48%.”

Of course they want federal guidance. In many places they’ve been held down like a sheet of notebook paper beneath a boulder by arbitrary dictates from (mostly) blue state governors like Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer who famously decreed that ambitious private citizen gardeners couldn’t purchase tomato seeds in the early spring. Why? There’s been no rhyme nor reason for much of the lockdowns. No wonder small business operators want a standard to live by.

Governments at all levels have a stake in the matter as well, since closed businesses heavily impact tax revenues. Sales taxes, utility taxes, income taxes, user fees -- you name it -- must be way down from a “normal” year and not even close to projections. Yet these same entities are still spending up a storm, including payroll for public employees and pensions for retirees. Is this the elephant in the room our elected “leaders” are simply ignoring?

In his piece, Heflin added that more than half of owners believe it will take six months to a year before the economy gets back to normal (what does “normal” mean anyway?). 7 percent more think things will never return to normal. I’m almost inclined to go with the impressions of the latter group since our societal norms and views on health have markedly changed in the past five months. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves this year, and it hasn’t been a beneficial lesson.

President Trump, and to a much lesser extent, his Democrat opposition, has been touting the coming of a vaccine to take care of COVID-19. While it’s correct that there’s never been a true vaccine for ailments like the common cold, the “experts” are in agreement that the worldwide singular focus on the “novel coronavirus” will produce a means to prevent it, if not cure the people who already have it. Of course, there’s been a lot said lately about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine (in combination with other drugs and vitamins) in treating cases in early stages.

This is good -- and vastly underreported -- news that should give people hope. But what’s needed as much as a medically approved solution is medicine to repair the psychological damage that’s plagued the country -- and the world. During his rambling semi-news conference last week, for instance, Democrat nominee-to-be Joe Biden pointed out that people aren’t returning to patronize businesses that are already opened. I haven’t seen the statistics, but here’s guessing he’s right. (Could it be the first true thing Joe’s ever said?)

Simple observations demonstrate the point. Prior to the COVID-19 panic, establishments in Williamsburg, Virginia, were doing fairly healthy business (again, during the tourist seasons). At the onset of the panic, folks largely shutdown. Not only were there mandates from the governor to close, the people themselves -- at least the ones in the most threatened categories -- stopped going out. They’ve also ceased socializing. No more get-togethers. No more club meetings. No more groups going to restaurants, breweries or wine tastings. No coffee at church. I saw one defiant gathering of 20 or so folks under a tree at Colonial Williamsburg, but that’s the exception rather than the norm.

If all the recent reports of UFOs are accurate, what a strange earthly world the aliens are seeing! From a distance of miles, the extraterrestrials are examining empty stadiums and other large community venues standing silent with nothing but vacant seats. True, there are the city centers where black-cladded humans riot and set fires, but is this indicative of typical animal behavior? Can extra-earthly intelligent life explain Antifa? Perhaps a topic for another time.

Closer to home, playgrounds are mostly empty. Tennis courts barely utilized. Basketball courts with no players. Parks with only a few persons in them. Where the heck did all the people go? If this were a prairie dog down, there wouldn’t be any pups. The hotel parking lots have started filling up -- at least more so than a few months ago -- but they’re nowhere near capacity. Their big money window is shutting by the hour. How can they make ends meet?

Can’t we construct a huge bubble to save us? Where is normal?

I’ve never operated a restaurant but I know they depend on a certain level of patronage to break even and require a significantly higher percentage to be profitable. There’s no way these places can sustain themselves at downwards of fifty percent of clientele no matter how many curbside orders they receive. The wait staff that’s largely paid by tips is virtually non-existent. If small businesses shutdown again -- or completely fold -- where are the jobs going to come from?

The political class is currently negotiating another gargantuan “aid” package to be financed through more currency devaluation and borrowing. As the American Spectator’s Daniel Flynn pointed out in his excellent morning newsletter last week, no one wants to lend money to the government because interest rates are kept artificially low. Inflation will explode when citizens stop hording their money and start spending. There’re a lot of dark clouds on the horizon.

What we really need is a bubble isolating us from media sensation and political theater

I’ve always maintained that the good lord has a quirky sense of humor, and the recent pandemic panic is a terrific demonstration of the philosophy. Try and envision what the media world would be like if all of this hadn’t taken place in a presidential election year. Joe Biden wouldn’t be on TV (when he takes a break from his basement bunker, that is) sniping about the president’s coronavirus response.

Nancy Pelosi would be blaming Trump for something else rather than assigning culpability for tens of thousands of deaths to the chief executive. The president never does anything correctly in their estimation, but Democrats wouldn’t find as many willing ears for their rancid conspiracy theories if people were busy living “normal” lives rather than hanging on her every word at the Capitol building.

Events are magnified every four years with the media fixating on small statements or actions that don’t mean much in the big picture. The talkers love to cover the supposed disaster-in-the-making for people who aren’t bailed out by the government but devote no energy to future considerations. The debt was unmanageable before anyone heard of the CCP virus and now it’s even more distorted.

Sure, we can cut more checks and pile the stack of IOUs even higher, but the balance sheet won’t mysteriously vanish. What “bubble” is going to save us when our children’s household share of government debt exceeds the value of their dwellings? Why don’t we speak up (like Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz did last week) when there’s a chance to do something? Do the proposed “relief” bills meet the true needs of the crisis?

Reactionary elected government officials usually take the easy way out, and that’s exactly what they’re doing here. Democrats and establishment Republicans apply a Band-aid to the economic sores but the infection still rages underneath. When it’s all over, we’ll (presumably) have a vaccine and everyone will return to “socializing” again, but the world won’t be the same. I feel for the small business owners who can’t go back and save their livelihoods.

Can’t we all just crawl into a bubble to keep us safe from debt?

2020, COVID-19 and our place in history

Speaker Pelosi was at it again last week in attempting to rationalize holding out for another monolithic government bill to sustain us during the supposed dire threat that is the health pandemic. Terence P. Jeffrey wrote at CNS News, “If the speaker gets her way, Americans born this year will be paying interest on the additional trillions of dollars she hopes to add to the debt this year — for their entire working lives.

“Americans now face two great challenges: a virus and a malignancy. The virus has imposed a great cost on this country, but it will be defeated — through prudential behavior by private citizens, excellent health care provided by dedicated doctors and nurses, and the eventual discovery and mass manufacture of a safe and effective vaccine.

“The malignancy is a federal government that is relentlessly growing into the dominant force in American life. Future generations will look back and admire the courage and ingenuity their ancestors showed in containing COVID-19. But they may also look at their federal tax bill and wonder why we did not do the same to government.”

If you’ve ever woken up the next day after a rather intense social interaction (sometimes referred to as a “party”) and listened with astonishment as a more responsible friend relayed all that took place after the alcohol had drained your capacity to recall, you can relate to what is going on now in America. The “crisis” seems scary enough and hypothetically speaking, some people will be adversely impacted if the government shuts off the cash payment “relief” spigot.

But is all of this worth it? Didn’t private charities used to step in and take care of basic needs? Do communities not help those temporarily down on their luck? Why is it up to Uncle Sam to bail everyone out? And finally, why is this a purely political debate?

It goes without saying a lot of people will have much to answer for once the “bubble” is burst and there’s no longer a need to worry about the CCP virus. Will we all look back on these times with humor and understanding of what went on? Or will it be more like a gigantic societal hangover with people asking, “I did what?”

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