What do you know that’s good?

I know we still can’t stop the common cold but luckily, most of us will get over it. Even the novel coronavirus.
I know that police can only do so much and when you ask them to follow up on what isn’t a crime against property or people, they can’t be safe or keep the peace.
I know that police aren’t supposed to be revenue generators and making them meaner with military tools won’t help anyone.
I know that people like to work when work expectations are reasonable and when they can get ahead by working.
I know that the Federal Reserve doesn’t stimulate the economy but instead can only limit opportunities for some people or groups relative to others.
I know that politics is more than force and repairing harm is a worthy political goal.
I know that politics has a moral side because legislators are meant to legislate for the sake of happiness and security.
I know that deregulating banking has caused malinvestments and fraud to grow.
I know that the economy consists of mutually beneficial exchanges and our government doesn’t have much influence over what people think of as beneficial.
I know that some people suffer from mental illness and those people need compassion.
I know that ignoring mental illness leads to more suffering.
I know that ignoring our economic and political problems is making them worse.
I know that humanity shares opportunities best when everyone can develop into their best self with their own realized talents and abilities.
I know that both organizations and individuals have important roles to play in society.
I know that most people hope that tomorrow will be better than today even if they have to work toward an improvement.

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Death rate from coronavirus continues declining since a peak in March.

I went to Macrotrends this morning. I went there to compare the rate of death in the United States in 2020 so that I could see if covid-19 is causing an increased number of fatalities as compared with the past. I was happy to see no change in the death rate in the United States when comparing 2019 to 2020. But then I noticed that Macrotrends is only estimating death rates for 2020 based on 2019 and that site doesn’t have official numbers yet. If you go back to 2018, the rate of death was slightly higher then than that being reported for 2019.

According to an article published by American Thinker, by Matthew Vadum in April, the CDC doesn’t have hard data either. They’ve been running estimates. Those estimates probably exagerrate the number of covid-19 deaths. Also, there isn’t a standardized way to declare that a death has been caused by covid-19. Some say there are several examples of deaths attributed to covid-19 that were actually caused by something else like a gun shot wound. The press continues to dramatize covid-19 deaths. It is up to you to decide what you think. In any case, there’s no reason today for you to be afraid that deaths from covid-19 today are outpacing the death rates in March. Deaths from covid-19 are declining even with some wrong reporting.

There’s another interesting statistic that you can see for yourself when you look at the Macrotrend numbers at the posting that I list for you below. The rate of deaths in the United States started going up in 2009. The Great Recession marked a turning point in U.S. mortality statistics. Previous to that time, people were living a little longer every year. 2009 was the year that the death rate stopped decreasing and started increasing. Increasing rates of mortality has been with us ever since. And that was before covid-19.

Dire assumptions were made about covid-19 in the early months that have proven false. One of the most serious mistakes was the assumption that everyone had no immunity to the novel coronavirus. But now it appears that many people are either immune to it or don’t become seriously ill from exposure to covid-19. As the virus passes through our population, fewer illnesses will break out over time. That’s why we see declining death rates since March.

If you want to learn more about the United States, about global politics and economics and about U.S. policies that affect your opportunities, buy a copy of Political Catsup with Economy Fries, available at Amazon.com.

U.S. Death Rate 1950-2020, Macrotrends, http://www.macrotrends.net/countries/USA/unitedstates/death-rate, accessed 26 June 2020.

Matthew Vadum, American Thinker, The CDC Confesses to Lying About COVID-19 Death Numbers, https://canadafreepress.com/article/the-cdc-confesses-to-lying-about-covid-19-death-numbers, April 13, 2020, accessed 26 June.

ADDENDUM: According to a Reuter’s article, found at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-cases/coronavirus-may-have-infected-10-times-more-americans-than-reported-cdc-says-idUSKBN23W2PU, the peak of infection was in April and the CDC considers that many more people have already recovered without symptoms. A lot of new cases include people without illness. Isolating healthy people and wearing masks appear to have failed to stop the virus.

Politicization of covid-19 continues.

I usually turn the radio on to hear the news while I ride my stationary bicycle for exercise, early every morning. There’s a lot of propaganda every day still telling us it’s good that we’re staying in and staying safe. Reporters still are eager to tell you whenever there are some more positive tests that show infections. The infection rate is so small right now that they make it sound scarier by presenting numbers in percentages. If there are only 7 people in the hospital and 2 more with covid-19 come in, how many scary percents is that?
What they aren’t saying is that most people who come in contact with the virus don’t get sick. They also don’t tell you how many people have fully recovered. They have been happy today to talk about dexamethazone’s effectiveness at reducing ventilator fatalities by about 20% but they won’t admit that hydroxychloroquine works well against covid-19 to eliminate the disease and to moderate the immune response. They absolutely won’t admit that it’s safe in careful dosages.
The recent press attacks claiming that hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work were based on a study that was done so poorly that it has been retracted. Too bad that they fail to mention that to you. The strategy to isolate healthy people has wasted a lot of money and destroyed a lot of jobs, but the press is eager to say to people who have lost their work that we are all in this together. That is a meaningless quip. I see a lot of informational efforts to continue economic disruption. Don’t you want to know why that is happening?
It may be happening in order to put more downward pressure on wages. Labor costs abroad are still cheaper and it would delight many employers if Americans got paid a lot less. Some businesses call that being more competitive. Monopoly enterprises that have high prices which don’t reflect market conditions keep causing a demand gap. You’d think employers would recognise that the demand gap is a growing problem. Perhaps the solution to small demand is to force people to buy like Congress tried to make everyone buy Obamacare. I hope not.
Prolonging the economic shut-down may also be happening as a political effort to destroy economic prosperity before the coming election–making President Trump look bad. It may also be happening so that an unnecessary vaccine can be marketed for release this fall.
Blacklistednews.com has a feature titled, “Ron Paul: is the second wave another covid-19 hoax?” According to this feature, covid-19 propaganda has nothing to do with healthcare at this point in time. Other online sources suggest that covid-19 and riots are just a distraction designed to help corrupt money handlers advance a new global money system. The old money system is being destroyed on purpose. This destruction will priviledge a new class of winners and make losers of everyone else.
So much of every day since the 2008 Great Recession seems unlikely—like it doesn’t make sense if you compare it with historical models that worked to advance American prosperity in the past. Why would covid-19 have been exploited in order to print trillions of new dollars unless it is a deliberate effort to wreck the United States monetary system? What do you think?
If you’d like to learn more about American history, about the relationship between politics and economics, and even about our current economic and political mess, buy a copy of Political Catsup with Economy Fries available at Amazon.com.

Here are important quotes from founding documents.

Founding documents from the classical liberal period can provide clarity at times like these when people in our government have exceeded their allowed power according to our United States Constitution. The monopoly press will ignore one problem in favor of another and it is now ignoring economic transgressions against people’s livelihoods in response to a virus scare while they turn their spotlight on George Floyd’s death and try to win a good opinion from you by virtue signalling instead of doing real journalism. You can contrast their deceptions with the truth revealing approach of our Founders. The Founders believed that paying attention to the function of government and limiting its power could keep peace in our nation. The Founding documents contain wisdom. This is some of the wisdom that influenced the men that wrote the Constitution.

Quotes from Thomas Hobbes Leviathan published 1651:

I authorize and give up my right of governing myself, to this man, or to this assembly of men, on this condition, that thou give up thy right to him, and authorize all his actions in like manner. This done, the multitude so united in one person, is called a COMMONWEALTH, in Latin, CIVITAS. This is the generation of that great LEVIATHAN, or rather to speak more reverently, of that mortal god, to which we owe under the immortal God, our peace and defense.”

“LIBERTY, or FREEDOM, signifieth, properly, the absence of opposition….a FREEMAN, is he, that in those things, which by his strength and wit he is able to do, is not hindered to do what he has a will to.”

“The obligation of subjects to the sovereign, is understood to last as long, and no longer, than the power lasteth, by which he is able to protect them.”

“Competition of riches, honour, command, or other power, inclineth to contention, enmity, and war: because the way of one competitor, to the attaining of his desire, is to kill subdue, supplant, or repel the other.”

Quotes from John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, published in 1690:

“The great and chief end, therefore, of men’s uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property.”

“When any one, or more, shall take upon them to make laws, whom the people have not appointed so to do, they make laws without authority, which the people are not therefore bound to obey;”

“Where-ever law ends, tyranny begins, if the law be transgressed to another’s harm; and whosoever in authority exceeds the power given him by the law, and makes use of the force he has under his command, to compass that upon the subject, which the law allows not, ceases in that to be a magistrate; and acting without authority, may be opposed”

“The legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands; for it being but a delgated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it over to others.”

“But if a long train of abuses, prevarications and artifices, all tending the same way, make the design visible to the people, and they cannot but feel what they lie under, and see wither they are going; it is not to be wondered, that they should then rouze themselves, and endeavour to put the rule into such hands which may secure to them the ends for which government was at first erected;”

Here are some quotes from Charles de Secondant Baron de Montesquieu from his Spirit of the Laws, published 1748:

“Before laws were made, there were relations of possible justice.”

“The united strength of individuals …constitutes what we call the body politic.”

“In republican governments, men are all equal: equal they are also in despotic governments; in the former, because they are everything, in the latter because they are nothing.”

“Political liberty is to be found only in moderate governments; and even in these it is not always found. It is there only when there is no abuse of power. But constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it, and to carry his authority as far as it will go. Is it not strange, though true, to say that virtue itself has need of limits?…to prevent this abuse, it is necessary from the very nature of things that power should be a check to power. A government may be so constituted, as no man shall be compelled to do things to which the law does not oblige him, nor forced to abstain from things which the law permits.”

“There would be an end of everything, were the same man or the same body, whether of the nobles or of the people, to exercise those three powers, that of enacting laws, that of executing the public resolutions, and of trying the causes of individuals.”

Here are some quotes by Thomas Paine, “Commonsense” was published in 1776:

“Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a Government, which we might expect in a country without Government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”

“A government of our own is our natural right: and when a man seriously reflects on the precariousness of human affairs, he will become convinced, that it is infinitely wiser and safer, to form a constitution of our own in a cool deliberate manner, while we have it in our power, than to trust such an interesting event to time and chance.”

We have seen Federal Reserve experiments that are destroying the value of our money. These experiments, ZIRP, QE, unregulated derivatives trading, TARP, damage people’s wealth and property. We have also seen government officials who don’t respect our nation’s Constitution and choose to do whatever they imagine will give them money or power over other’s people’s money and property. We see trouble now on every side. George Floyd’s death happened because of local police using stronger policing tactics. They are the wrong tactics. It’s time for all Americans to reflect on the history of our nation. Consider next steps carefully.
It’s time to hold officials accountable for operating outside of our laws and principles of good government. It’s time for those officials to gather together some humility and admit that they have made mistakes that have hurt other people. It’s time to end abuses of power that exceed the powers allowed in the Constitution. It’s time to address hurts and harms that are being done against ordinary people across America. This isn’t a game where game theory is all-important. This looks like it could be a turning point that requires good care and attention so that our nation ends off better instead of worse.

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More aggressive state policing is only a piece of the problem.

Recently I read a book called Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. The book’s heart isn’t really centered upon achieving better communication. It concerns instead a problem with policing in the United States under neoliberalism. I know that because the author stated that a particular instance of policing in Texas, an incident involving Sandra Bland, inspired him to pick up his pen and write Talking to Strangers. You may wonder what has happened to policing in the United States, and I’ll tell you about that in a few more paragraphs. But first, some background.

Neoliberals have wanted to change the United States in so many ways. Their ambition seems boundless. How police do their jobs is only one example of something they have been changing.

After all, we’ve seen changes in our schools, in financial deregulation, communications deregulation, transportation deregulation, energy deregulation. More recently, in our ailing economy, we’ve now seen a seizure of power in our job markets by officials who have blown covid-19 fears out of all reasonable proportion. First, trillions of dollars bailed out banks again when they couldn’t get paid in the repo market. But this bad response to pay banks for making bad loans wasn’t enough. Local economies were also misdirected. At first, taking their cue from health officials and the President, local governments comandeered a health emergency and responded to it by pretending that isolating healthy people has been a proper response when it isn’t. They shut down large parts of the economy. Private businesses were harmed the most when they were sorted into a category the government called “non-essential.” The closure of independent places of work has been wrong. This has become a terrible economic storm. It has swept millions of people’s livelihoods away. Rent and other debts are due and some can’t pay who could have paid before the covid-19 panic.

Fines have been levied against some businesses for opening outside government guidelines. These fines have also been wrong even though the courts have supported the closures and the fines. Our courts supported the business closures based on the theory that a real epidemic that constitues a health emergency requires a government response. The courts have ignored the fact that covid-19 isn’t a healthcare emergency (because it doesn’t have an unusually high death rate as compared with the seasonal flu). They have ignored the inappropriateness of business closures over the whole span of time since March until June, well after covid-19 has proven to be a non-emergency.

Courts are behaving as though they exist in a land of judicial argument rather than this real world that we all live in. The real world has arguments that are reality based and arguments that are fantasy based. Courts are supposed to be able to tell the difference. By now it’s obvious that the covid-19 emergency is a fantasy. Why isn’t it acknowledged by our courts and politicians? Covid-19 has certainly enabled a power grab and a money grab. The covid-19 power grab and money grab seems to have found it’s own new purpose in power-seizure and money-seizure.

I heard that stacks of bricks have been brought to downtown city-centers. Riot instigators were active in the 2016 election and now I hear that they are back. Bricks are brought in order to provide ammunition to rioters so that they can damage property. With cameras on every corner, why haven’t riot instigators been identified? After all, isn’t that what all those cameras were installed to do? It looks like a group of trouble-makers want to vie for power with all the other power grabbers. It’s enough to make you wonder. Are the riots a further excuse for a power and money grab? Aren’t riots a great excuse for even more policing? Is this social destabilization just the outcome of a larger political and economic failure?

If one of the things you’re wondering about is what happened to policing in the United States, I can now explain what Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book. Gladwell said that a new book encouraged police to take a more agressive stance whenever they stopped someone for a traffic violation or any other problem that grabbed the police’s attention. This book was published in 1995. It was titled Tactics for Criminal Patrol, and it was written by Charles Remsberg.

Many ordinary people in police and government responded to this book in a way that supported their interests from a certain point of view. That is the logic of neoliberalism: self interest from a narrow perspective.

Police reformers wanted to improve crime control. They wanted to use the book’s methods to patrol areas that are more crime-ridden and to reduce the crime there. If you could only get more agressive policing in those areas, it would reduce crime, they believed. This was a spirit of focusing policing where it would do the most good.

But that’s not what city officials wanted. City officials wanted more revenue. They used the new strengthened policing to get more revenue by encouraging officers to ticket as many offenses as they could discover after any stop. The ordinary person would get multiple citations for any infraction of any law that the officer could cite at the time of the stop.

Police officers wanted something different than what reformers or politicians wanted. Police officers faced enough trouble that couldn’t be avoided and they responded to the new agressive guidelines and higher ticketing requirements by seeking out more docile citizens in more peaceful settings. Police officers wanted to face fewer agressive and problem causing criminals. They wanted to apply more agressive policing to people who would comply. And if those people didn’t comply, police would respond with stronger force, sometimes deadly force.

The Sandra Bland arrest happened in 2015. It was an instance of aggressive policing that ended with the patrol officer’s firing and her suicide. Sandra Bland wasn’t a criminal-type. She was a law student. Her experience of having ten previous police encounters, and 5 tickets that left her $8000 in debt due to fines, made her feel like her life wasn’t hers and she was found hanged in her cell after being arrested for failing to signal after she yielded to a police officer. Her death was determined to have been a suicide. The more recent death of George Floyd was a death by strangulation during a police arrest. It has led to the firing of four police officers and criminal charges laid against the arresting officer who has been accused of killing George Floyd by choking him to death. George Floyd and Sandra Bland were both black Americans. Their deaths resonate strongly with people from the Black Lives Matter group. Prejudiced policing is only part of the problem.

As more people have become jobless in a shrinking economy, there are more opportunities to police. Police agression has grown. Even now, there are lots of power grabbers who want even more power, even more trouble, even more strife, even more violence. What will you do? Can we all demand a different approach to policing–one that is less agressive in stops, arrests and ticketing? It’s time to end this crazy neoliberal power grab. It’s also time for wider economic and political reforms in the United States.

If you want to understand more about our nation in these times of uncertainty, buy a copy of Political Catsup with Economy Fries available at Amazon.com. I will explain all the details that the news agencies aren’t explaining about how we got to our political and economic here and now.