Category Archives: Australia

Coffee & Covid. Monday, June 6, 2022: LET’S PLAY

*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY*

CBS NEWS ran an article Friday headlined, “Why Boosted Americans Seem to Be Getting More COVID-19 Infections.”

Weird!

The bottom line is that the situation is baffling. CBS says the problem could be that the way we’ve been measuring cases for two years is just too complicated: “the shift [to booster cases] underscores the growing complexity of measuring vaccine effectiveness at this stage of the pandemic.” So officials are looking for different ways to measure cases now. For accuracy, you know.

The CDC thinks a survey system might be better than all this testing. “Moving beyond this crisis, I do think the future is in random sampling. And that’s an area that we’re looking at closely,” CDC official Caitlin Rivers said.

But on the other hand, CBS’s handpicked covid expert thinks it could be jabbed people’s fault: “So, one of the dynamics here is that people feel, after vaccination and boosting, that they’re more protected than they actually are, so they increase their risks,” he said. “That, I think, is the major driver of these statistics.”

Let me see if I have this straight. For SOME reason, the expert worries that vaccinated people mistakenly feel they are PROTECTED. Which, apart from being unintentionally hilarious, is a mistake because they should be masking up and locking down, or something.

So … remind me — WHY did they take the jab again?

💉 Last week, the New York Post ran an alarming story headlined “Urgent Warning to Women Under 40 After Sharp Rise in Sudden Killer.”

It’s urgent!

The first line of the article urgently reports that healthy young women are now mysteriously dying of a sudden “killer disease.” A killer DISEASE? Is it monkeypox? Small pox? Chicken pox? Hog pox? Biden pox? Some other kind of pox?

No. It’s BLOOD CLOTS. That’s the “killer disease.”

Apparently, newly-released Scottish data shows that deaths from blood clots in young women doubled after 2019 and are still increasing as of the latest report. Don’t worry, the Post carefully hauls out an anecdote about a random young woman dying from a blood clot in 2002 — long before jabs — obviously trying to sneakily prove something it is too chicken to directly mention.

There are LOTS of things that cause blood clots these days, according to the Post. Pregnancy, contraceptives, smoking, being overweight, family history, and watching too much TV can all cause blood clots in people young and old. But the Post doesn’t speculate AT ALL about why young women should be particularly affected, over other groups, right now.

Baffling!

Even if the experts won’t, I’ll speculate. Young women take a unique combination of two medicines: contraceptives and jabs. If only we had a well-funded government agency that could look into that kind of coincidence.

🦘 Cheerleaders of the apocalypse might be about to learn a lesson. Last Thursday, New South Wales, Australia reported 82 of 98 people (84%) who died of covid for the week ending May 28th were jabbed, including 64 with at least one booster. Of 41 people sent to ICU, only two were unvaccinated, with 11 unknowns. Even counting the 11 unknowns, the vast majority were jabbed. But that’s just the beginning.

As you surely know, Ozzies aimed for covid-zero with a gusto exceeded only by the communist Chinese. Almost no sacrifice of other people’s rights was too great for Australians, who reckoned that a couple years of stripping their neighbors’ jobs and livelihoods, consigning thousands to lonely deaths in nightmarish covid wards and elderly care facilities, plus other punishing covid restrictions, would somehow shield the core crowd of selfish human wombats who happily cheered the government on to greater and greater heights of authoritarian excess.

Rarely does karma arrive on the scene as quickly as it has Down Under. I take no joy in reporting it, nor should anyone. But we must force ourselves to look and learn from the Australians’ errors.

As I’ve reported before, Australia is being pummeled by a tsunami of excess deaths. The most recent report issued May 25th, and shows excess mortality growing, now more than 20% over baseline levels. In other words, every month, thousands more Australians are dying than normal. Thousands.

At least half of the deaths are not covid. The covid deaths are surprising because Australians were told they’d be protected by the vaccines that many had cheered for. Australia didn’t really have any covid deaths till they started jabbing everybody. Now they have lots.

Most of the non-covid deaths in the recent report are from diabetes and dementia. A couple recent studies linked jabs to diabetes:

— September 11, 2021. “Severe Diabetic Ketoacidosis After the Second Dose of mRNA-1273 COVID-19 Vaccine.” Zilbermint, Demidowich.

— December 21, 2021. “Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) temporally related to COVID-19 vaccination.” Ganakumar et al.

We all hope this trend quickly disappears. But who knows what the ultimate cost to Australians will be, when you add up all the lives lost, productivity squandered in lockdowns, economies damaged, social trust vaporized, and so forth. It seems inevitable that pro-lockdown, pro-vaccine Australians are about to learn a very difficult lesson.

Excluding people who were coerced into taking the jabs to save their jobs, of course: karma’s a hairy tarantula.

Meanwhile, Australia media is focused on stuff like THIS:

💉 A 2006 journal article titled “Sudden cardiac death in athletes: the Lausanne Recommendations,” provides data on historic athlete cardiac deaths. The study discloses that, over a 35-year period between 1966-2004, “sudden cardiac death” occurred in 1,101 reported cases in athletes under 35 years old, or an average of about 31 per year, or 2.5 deaths per month.

Another study on cardiac disease in US athletes, over a 26 year period between 1980 to 2006 in thirty-eight sports, found 1,866 deaths of athletes with cardiac disease — about 71 deaths per year on average, or 5.9 per month.

In 2021, 394 athlete deaths were reported, plus 279 for the 2022 year to date. That’s an average of 42 per month between 2021-2022. So, in other words, it’s not just your imagination.

💉 University of Massachusetts Amherst lacrosse player Aidan Kaminska, 19, died “unexpectedly” on May 30, according to an online obituary. No cause of death provided.

💉 Jayda Grant, 20, track athlete and daughter of Dayton basketball coach Anthony Grant, died suddenly and unexpectedly Friday. The Greene County Coroner’s Office told a WHIO-TV reporter that her death was “still under investigation.”

The loss of these young lives is a tragedy. I hope that one day the families will receive closure and transparency.

😷 For some reason the White House’s covid coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha isn’t too clear on whether we’re past school lockdowns yet or not. At a presser late last week, a reporter asked him about the issue, but our extra-diverse new press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre hustled him away before Jha could answer the question. After answering scads of media questions, it suddenly and unexpectedly went like this:

REPORTER: Doctor, do you believe all schools will and must be open this coming fall?

JEAN-PIERRE: We got to go.

JHA: Yeah, I unfor—

REPORTER: Parents want to know that.

JEAN-PIERRE: He has to go.

JHA: I’m sorry.

JEAN-PIERRE: We’re over time. We’re over time.

JHA: Thank you. Sorry.

JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you.

So, get ready. Who knows what’ll actually happen, but this fall could be a wild ride.

🔥 Still, miracles DO happen. For example, the Toronto Sun ran a miraculous staff editorial last week headlined, and I am not making this up, “EDITORIAL: Trudeau Needs to Drop the COVID Theatre.” It asked this excellent question:

“The virus has receded to the background of our lives … It’s now being managed like any other similar respiratory illness. So why is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau digging in his heels when it comes to keeping some pandemic measures?”

An excellent question. Next, the Sun peeked through the covid clouds and finally showed some sympathy for unjabbed people:

“While we have encouraged people to get vaccinated in this space before, we also see zero justification for continuing to restrict the lives of unvaccinated persons to travel.”

And amazingly, the editorial concluded with a call to end all covid restrictions:

“It’s time for Trudeau to do the right thing and drop these over-the-top rules. At this point, they’re nothing more than COVID theatre.”

So the question for Canadians is: Will Trudeau and his cabinet follow the political winds? Or will they follow the WEF?

🔥 In another example of karma arriving timely, former anti-trump lawyer and potential democrat presidential candidate Michael Avenatti was finally sentenced to 4 more years in prison late last week, for defrauding his porn star client Stormy Daniels out of $300,000. He’s already in jail on other charges for trying to extort millions from the Nike corporation.

During sentencing, the judge said that, while there were ways in which Avenatti had “done good in the world,” he had also committed “brazen and egregious” crimes and “breached the highest duty a lawyer owes” to a client. Mr. Avenatti, seeking to garner sympathy and a reduced sentence, told the court, “I own the conduct for which I was convicted. I disappointed scores of people and failed in a cataclysmic way.”

You don’t say.

🔥 Haha, the Hill ran an uncharacteristic op-ed last week with the hilarious headline, “It’s Biden v. Inflation — and Biden’s Losing.”

Um. Great headline, but is there really anything that Biden’s NOT losing at? That’s a serious question.

Anyway, the op-ed is a detailed analysis condemning Biden’s poor economic performance, and it’s a good read if you want the receipts. It ends with this warning: “The gross mismanagement of our energy resources – the squandering of our 100-year supplies of oil and natural gas – will fall directly on Biden, as will a stalling economy and continued inflation. Unhappily for Joe, voters place the buck at his door.”

🦸‍♂️ Last week, Governor DeSantis found out that the Special Olympics wasn’t letting unjabbed athletes play at its upcoming annual USA Games event in Orlando, Florida. So the State sent a stinky letter to the Special Olympics demanding $27.5 million dollars in fines for excluding over 5,000 athletes.

It took less than 24 hours. Late Friday, the Special Olympics caved and rescinded its odious mandate. “We don’t want to fight. We want to play,” it confessed in a statement.

Last year, Governor DeSantis was named the “honorary co-chair” of the 2021 Special Olympics, for what it’s worth.

Ron DeSantis @GovRonDeSantis

Special Olympics Int’l was planning on banning Special Olympians from competing based on covid vaccine status—in violation of Florida’s ban on vaccine passports. Thanks to the efforts of our administration, this mandate has been removed so athletes like Isabella can now compete!

Casey DeSantis @FLCaseyDeSantis

This is what standing up for your rights is all about – Isabella will now be able to compete in the Special Olympics because @GovRonDeSantis fought their vaccine mandate (which is illegal in FL) and won.  Isabella’s smile says everything. https://t.co/PkGUL3BQi9

✈️ Israel’s El Al airline has moved its headquarters from New York City to South Florida, for some reason. I wonder what it could be.

Have a magnificent Monday! I’ll see ya’ll back here tomorrow for more.

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Coffee & Covid. Friday, May 27, 2022: OPTIMAL, or not.

I would like to see some published studies on the Australian excess deaths. mrossol

*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY*

💉 Last October, Meghan Roth collapsed after the Boston Marathon, but the exact reason why was not made public at that time. After a long silence, Meghan has now gone public. It turns out, don’t be shocked, she says the cause was a vaccine injury. The 34-year-old lifelong marathoner told Alpha News she had taken the J&J shot 15 days before the race, in order to avoid having to deal with the testing requirement.

“All I’m saying is this is what happened to me. If you are an athlete, maybe just be careful of running an event too closely to getting vaccinated. Or, here’s what happened to me, at least you have the information to at least be able to make your own decision,” Roth explained.

   

Roth said in the days that followed her shot she noticed some changes. “I was a little bit like, ‘why is my heart rate so high, especially in taper weeks when my mileage is reduced so much?’” she wondered. Then after the race started, “all of a sudden I just went fuzzy. I don’t even remember hitting the ground. It happened so sudden and the next thing I knew I was waking up in the ambulance,” Roth said.

   

Roth’s heart had stopped, a sudden cardiac arrest. Two nurses who happened to be nearby kept her alive with CPR until an ambulance arrived. Roth said that she’d told reporters who interviewed her about the event that she was concerned about the vaccine but, you’re probably not going to believe this, her comments about the jabs never appeared in print.

It’s like the reporters didn’t want to report, or weren’t allowed to report, the vaccine’s involvement in her injuries.

💉 There were three more sudden and unexpected celebrity deaths yesterday: actor Ray Liotta (66), Depeche Mode icon Andy Fletcher (60), and Hall of Fame drummer Alan White (72).

White is reported to have died “after a brief illness.” Fletcher died “of natural causes.” Liotta “died in his sleep” in the Dominican Republic while filming a new movie.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these hardworking artists.

🔥 Bill Gates, of COURSE, attended this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he has been outgassing his pie hole again. Apparently he’s an expert on vaccine science because he finagled the rights to the source code for Windows out of his developer business partner back in the day.

Anyway, the first thing Gates opined about was vaccine passports, which apparently are now “out.” Speaking on a WEF panel, Gates, looking thoughtful and throwing his hands up in frustration, ventured that “the idea of checking if people are vaccinated; you know, if you have breakthrough infections, what’s the point?

Yes, Bill, that’s the point: there is no point.

So I guess this means we can question vaccine passports on Facebook now without going to virtual jail?

Then Gates made some other interesting comments — as an expert on pandemics — about how pathetic the current vaccines are. I am not making that up. Chuckling ruefully, he complained, “we should have much better therapeutics … as we do come up with vaccines, we want vaccines that are infection-blocking and long-duration, which, today — you know, the vaccines have saved millions of lives — but they DON’T, uh, have much in the way of duration, and they’re not, they’re not good at infection blocking.”

No duration? Not good at preventing infection? How DARE he! Anti-vaxxer! Hesitant! Science denier!

Here’s a fact about the world we live in: He who has a checkbook is an expert on whatever subject he says he is.

📉 Canadians aren’t exactly snapping up their fourth booster shots, for some reason. It’s not even close. Fourth booster uptake in Canada is scraping the bottom of the pie chart.

   

📈 On the other hand, in Australia 2021-2022 excess deaths are off the chain, far, far over the normal baseline range. For some reason, a LOT of Australians are dying from non-covid illnesses. So weird.

   

Oddly, the excess deaths track the timing of the rollout of booster shots Down Under. I’m just saying. It’s a covid coincidence.

   

🔥 The USDA has announced an exciting new program this month! It’s supposed to prevent “discrimination” against LGBTQI++ kids. The gist is that elementary and secondary schools will be required to let boys in the girls’ bathroom and showers, or their federal meal funding grants will be snipped off, just like … well, you know.

In a May 5th press release, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said the Department is totally committed to probing, er, “rooting out” discrimination. Vilsack explained, “we must recognize the vulnerability of the LGBTQI+ communities and provide them with an avenue to grieve any discrimination they face. We hope that by standing firm against these inequities we will help bring about much-needed change.”

Religious schools can “apply for” a waiver. No waivers will be offered to public schools. Is it just me, or does it seem like the “Porky’s” script writers are running the FDA?

🔥 Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who has been on the company’s board of directors since 2007, and was Twitter’s CEO from mid-2015 until he resigned, resigned from the board of directors yesterday without comment. Technically, he didn’t resign, but he did not seek re-election to the board at the annual meeting, which is effectively the same thing.

🔥 Yesterday the Hill ran a story headlined, “FDA Chief Admits Slow Response to Formula Shortage.”

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf admitted to a House committee yesterday that the agency had made a number of mistakes that worsened a nationwide shortage of baby formula. Califf admitted the FDA was “too slow, and some decisions in retrospect could have been more optimal.” More optimal! Nobody needs to get fired over this, see, because the decisions WERE optimal; they just could have been MORE optimal.

But don’t worry! Vilsack PROMISED to update the agency’s food safety division to ensure American babies never starve because of imperfectly optimal government regulation again.

Representative Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee, snapped at Visack, “I don’t understand how the FDA can justify three months to respond to this crisis. I expect to learn why the FDA did not move heaven and earth in an attempt to get the Sturgis plant back up and running as soon as possible.”

Me, too.

Despite widespread news reports claiming it would be back online soon, Abbott’s Sturgis manufacturing plant remains shuttered. Should be any day now, optimally.

🔥 NewsMax reported a story yesterday headlined “UK ‘Partygate’ Report Blames Culture of Johnson’s Office.”

British folks have been peeved for some time about whistleblower reports exposing top politicians in that country who frequently frolicked at boozy unmasked parties throughout the lockdowns. Wheee! The disclosures led to an official government investigation, which released its final report this week.

The commission investigated sixteen (16) get-togethers attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his staff in 2020 and 2021 while everyone else in the U.K. was barred from socializing under covid restrictions. The events, which clearly could have been more optimal, included “bring your own booze” parties and regular “wine time Fridays” in the prime minister’s 10 Downing St. office at the peak of the pandemic.

The report expressly contracts Johnson, who’d previously promised British lawmakers that NO parties were ever held at Downing Street, and he never broke ANY covid rules. Whoops!

But don’t worry! Boris should have made more optimal decisions, that’s all. A public official defending the prime minister explained, “The prime minister himself … recognizes there were of course failings and therefore there’s got to be some changes to the way the place is run.” Things are going to get a lot more optimal, never fear.

According to the article, a separate police investigation resulted in 83 people being fined, including Johnson — making Boris the very first British prime minister ever found to have broken the law while holding office. A fine record.

I can’t imagine why British people would be upset about something like this. Rules are for the little people, as Americans know full well. Gavin Newsom and Nancy Pelosi could not be reached for comment.

It will be interesting if this leads to Johnson’s removal, which would make him yet another covid over-reach casualty.

🦸‍♂️ Governor DeSantis signed a bill yesterday that bans state lawmakers and judges from lobbying Florida’s government until six years after their last date of public employment. The new law extends a previous two-year ban on official lobbying.

🚀 *THE MINORITY REPORT* 🚀

🔥 Issues & Insights ran a story yesterday headlined, “This is the Worst Possible Time for The FHFA to Mess With Lending Standards.”

The magazine explained that the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is considering a proposal to ban the use of traditional, long-standing credit scoring in favor of a more equitable and more forgiving new standard. This would only be for mortgages underwritten and guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, meaning taxpayers.

What could possibly go wrong? Something about 2008 is tickling my memory but I can’t quite grasp hold of it.

🚀 Connecting a few more dots. I’ve previously reported about Sri Lanka and Pakistan over the last week or so. Both countries are facing massive civil unrest. Sri Lanka is failing as a nation state, its starving citizens literally burning politicians out of their homes. Pakistan, a nuclear power, is coming apart at the seams. Both countries have one more thing in common: they both abstained from the vote to sanction Russia in the U.N., after being warned by the U.S. State Department not to do so.

   
   

They defied the U.S. and now they are experiencing some bad luck.

   

Guardian, April 6th: “Sri Lanka Facing Imminent Threat of Starvation, Senior Politician Warns.”

   

MSN, May 25th: “Pakistan On the Boil as Imran Khan’s ‘March to Chaos’ Continues, Army Deployed in Islamabad.”

Gee, it’s a nice country you have here. Sure would be a shame if anything bad happened to it. Sub-optimal.

Have a fabulous Friday! I’ll catch you all back here tomorrow morning for the weekend edition. Till then, stay caffeinated.

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☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Friday, January 14, 2022

Just discovered another good writer, and detective/analyst. mrossol

It’s an auspicious Friday here at C&C, as we begin to figure out the Supreme Court’s double decisions from yesterday.

🗞 *THE C&C ARMY POST* 🗞

🥷 I’m in jail, again. Something about yesterday’s post triggered the censors on that OTHER PLATFORM — I have no idea what — and now my account is under lockdown for three days. I feel like an Australian who just tested positive at CVS.

My poor followers on that OTHER PLATFORM are probably frantic. We could overcome the lockdown-happy censors by directing folks back over here, social media’s version of Florida. Please feel free to share a link to this post on that other platform.

👩‍⚕️ Update on Dan Pisano’s case. The Hospital filed its brief yesterday by its 10am deadline. That gave us till 3pm today to draft and file our Reply, at which time the case will be fully briefed. I’ve been buried in drafting, which is why I didn’t notice the two Big Decisions come down until my email and texts began blowing up yesterday.

Since I’m still working furiously to save Dan’s life, I’m going to keep today’s post focused just on the decisions, since I know everyone wants to hear about my first impressions. I have thoughts.

👨‍⚖️ As I said, I was deep in furious drafting and researching when two strands of messages started coming in from all my contacts over email and in my texts. The OSHA group’s messages were ecstatic; a steady stream of high-fives and champagne emoji’s. The CMS folks were streaming an electronic river of tiny mad faces and that little emoji where the top of the guy’s head is going up in a mushroom cloud.

(I can’t believe I just used the word “emoji” in a serious sentence. Anyway.)

I will have more to say about the two decisions in coming days, as I have more time to unpack them and calculate the effects. Today you get my “hot takes.”

A LITTLE DISCLAIMER

Lawyers are referred to as “officers of the court.” We are often described as “part of the court system.” This sometimes translates into advantages like getting to enter the courthouse through the court’s private door, with no lines and simplified security. Some courts — a few — even let lawyers carry their concealed weapons in. Some judges don’t require lawyers to be sworn to testify, since we already have ethical duties of candor as officers of the court.

The ethical rules for lawyers prohibit us from criticizing specific judges and the legal SYSTEM generally. That doesn’t mean we CAN’T criticize them, but we are required to be professional and circumspect about it. The rule, exquisitely frustrating at times, does make sense. It’s kind of like the rule that an employee shouldn’t criticize their own company or their managers. Quit, then you can say whatever you want, otherwise keep your mouth shut.

Obviously, lawyers often dissect Supreme Court opinions and note silly things that Justices say. I can do that. I’m just letting you know, ethical lawyers aren’t supposed to tear them a new one or anything.

A LITTLE HISTORY

In the early part of the 1900’s, FDR — who never saw a socialist he didn’t love — tried to implement lots of federal control over the economy, which he called the “New Deal,” and the Supreme Court didn’t like it much. For example, FDR tried to pass a national minimum wage, and the Court struck it down as unconstitutional. A personal conflict between FDR and the Chief Judge spilled over into the nation’s headlines.

In 1936, Roosevelt was re-elected in a landslide. Shortly after, he announced a plan to increase the number of Supreme Court Justices from 9 to 13, which would give him five immediate appointments and allow him to “pack” the Court with friendly judges. His public explanation was that the Court just had too few Justices and couldn’t hear enough cases. So FDR sent a bill to Congress, which was held up in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

But in the meantime, the Justices got the message, loud and clear, and started finding new things to like about the New Deal and FDR’s socialist laws to be Constitutional. That sordid saga is now required history in law schools these days. It’s described as an extreme way that the executive branch can get control over the Supreme Court.

A LITTLE CURRENT EVENTS

Biden knew he would be taking office facing a conservative Court with three Trump-appointed Justices. Even during the elections in 2020, liberal pundits waxed eloquent on all the good reasons that a bigger Supreme Court would be a great benefit to the entire country.

On April 9, 2021 — four months after taking control — Joe Biden signed an executive order creating the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. The Commission’s purpose was to consider and recommend “improvements” to the Supreme Court including “the membership and size of the Court.”

During the next few months, I noticed and commented about a remarkable series of 9-0 opinions coming from the Court. What I said at the time — and still believe — is that the Supreme Court was sending the Biden Administration some kind of message. Something like, “you can add five justices but it won’t change anything because we’re going to vote together.”

But there was also a silk glove along with the iron fist of voting uniformity. During the same period, the Court turned down review of ALL the cases related to Biden’s signature “accomplishment”: high vaccine rates. Arguably, Biden has utterly failed in every single other area of governance: foreign policy, managing (or MIS-managing) Afghanistan, the economy, his poll numbers, and losing Democrat seats in state and local elections. The ONLY thing that was going his way was his vaccine plan — through brute force.

Which is why, if Biden can’t announce that he shut down the virus on March 1, he doesn’t really have a lot of good news to talk about. None, if you think about it. And, as I’ve explained earlier, I believe that’s why Narrative 2.0 — all-of-a-sudden — is that the pandemic is over. But that’s a separate issue.

On December 7 — a month ago — the Presidential Commission sent Biden its final report — which did NOT recommend packing or otherwise increasing the size of the Supreme Court. Leftwing media expressed outrage, and reported lots of Democrats, including lawmakers and influencers, frantically calling on Biden to pack the court anyway. In Twitter’s fever-swamps, this debate rages on, right now.

So the timing of the Court’s review of the two mandates could not possibly have been at a worse time for the Court, politically speaking. Note that I am NOT accusing the Supreme Court justices of being influenced by politics rather than reason in their decisions yesterday. I’m just noting some interesting and possibly-related historical and current political trends. I’m just saying.

A LITTLE BABY SPLITTING

My initial reaction to the two decisions is to note a bunch of curious elements. I haven’t put it all together yet, but let’s just take a gander at a few things that stand out as we try to wrap our lockdown-fatigued brains around what — superficially, at least — looks at first blush like a very schizophrenic pair of decisions.

Judges love “baby splitting.” The term refers to that old story about King Solomon where he suggested the solution of cutting a live baby in two to find out who the real mother was. But that’s not what it means in present vernacular. It just means that judges like to give both parties something, to divide the decision somehow, so that nobody’s completely happy but — more importantly — nobody’s completely left high-and-dry and outraged at the judge.

It seems to me that, it must have been very tempting to shoot for a baby-splitting solution at a time when the Court’s composition rests precariously on top of a giant pile of political tinder, with social and emotional court-packing gasoline soaked all through it, deciding the issue that could shatter the microscopic Biden legacy at a time when he and the Democrats control all the levers of power in Washington. Regular readers may recall that, after hearing oral arguments, I predicted the exact result that we saw: the OSHA Mandate was stayed, and the CMS Mandate was green-lighted.

Having two cases gave the Supreme Court a political opportunity to split the baby.

So, even if it wasn’t their express objective, the dual decisions did split the baby and did defuse a court-packing atom bomb. In other words, if both mandates had remained stayed, and not just one, then liberal demands for a packed court would have spiked higher than Omicron cases in New York.

A LITTLE COINCIDENTAL TIMING

It is interesting that both decisions issued simultaneously. If you think about it, apart from the fact that the two cases were both about vaccine mandates, they were two different lawsuits, two completely different sets of statutes, with two different sets of issues, and — most important — two different configurations of Justices.

There is no question that the Court must have held up one of the decisions, the one that was finished first, until the other decision was also done, before releasing them both together.

Why? Why not issue the first decision as soon as it was ready, then later issue the second decision when that one was done? It could have helped SOMEBODY. The fact is, I do not know the reason. Only the Supreme Court knows why. But it was extremely POLITICALLY convenient for them both to issue together. Had the OSHA decision come out first, the media would have gone crazy calling for court packing. Had the CMS decision issued first, a massive tsunami of conservative dissatisfaction would have begun to form somewhere off the Atlantic coast.

Issuing the two decisions together stopped both sides from developing momentum. Coincidentally.

A LITTLE ODD AUTHORSHIP

The majority opinions of Supreme Court decisions can be written several ways. The most common one is where the deciding Justices sign the opinion, and you can tell who wrote it and who joined it, fully, partially, etc. For example, in Janus v. AFSCME (another prominent case from 2018), the majority opinion was signed like this:

ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, and GORSUCH, JJ., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed a dissenting opinion. KAGAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined.

But both of the decisions issued yesterday were signed in a much less common way: “PER CURIAM.”

Wikipedia defines the term: “In law, a per curiam decision is a ruling issued by an appellate court of multiple judges in which the decision rendered is made by the court acting collectively.” It notes “the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court are usually NOT per curiam … Per curiam decisions tend to be short. In modern practice, they are most commonly used in summary decisions that the Court resolves without full argument and briefing.”

So the OSHA and CMS decisions don’t match the normal characteristics of a per curiam decision, which itself is a rare form. So these decisions are a super-rare type.

The term basically means, “for the whole court.” One consequence is that you can’t tell who authored the decision. Nobody takes the credit or the blame. I’m not saying it proves the Court had political concerns about the decisions, but it is suggestive.

A LITTLE ODD LANGUAGE SELECTION

You aren’t going to see a lot of quotes from either main opinion. The Court didn’t wax eloquent in either the OSHA or the CMS case. It’s not that the decisions were ineloquent. They were neutrally-toned, workmanlike, boring. They focused, by and large, on very technical issues of statutes and doctrines. There were no high principles expressed. No new law was made. I would be surprised if either case is ever cited by any other case except maybe for technical issues like the bare existence of the “major questions doctrine.“

The dissenting opinions in both were slightly more passionate, but even in those, one can’t help but feel a little disappointed. They were predictable, merely tracking comments already made by the Justices at oral argument. Nothing new. No strong condemnations. And — in particular — they didn’t point out the huge weaknesses in the reasoning, especially of the CMS case.

There were notable facts missing. Neither the OSHA opinion nor the CMS opinion cited the number of deaths from Covid, for example. You’d think that at least the CMS opinion would have mentioned it. Neither opinion — and this is really remarkable — discussed the efficacy or lack of efficacy of the vaccines, except only to attribute conclusions to the Secretary or the lawyers. The Court usually FINDS things, not quotes the parties or their lawyers.

If I had to choose one word to describe the language and tone of both opinions, it would be, “restrained.” It is almost like the decisions were written in order to offend the fewest number of folks.

A LITTLE MISSING AUTHORITY

Since I’ve been litigating in this space for almost a year now, I was looking to see how the Court handled one case in particular — and I was shocked when I didn’t find it. I tried searching the PDFs — nothing. I tried a different PDF viewer thinking that there might be a problem with my default one. Nope. I tried searching for a bunch of other stuff just to make sure search was working. Zip.

The Jacobson case has gone missing.

Jacobson v. Massachusetts — the only Supreme Court case that has previously discussed vaccine mandates, the case that has been cited, at length, in almost every single lower-court decision, has apparently vanished from the Earth.

It’s vanished from the Supreme Court, anyway. Neither of the two opinions mentions Jacobson — EVEN IN DISSENT. Not even in a footnote.

Why is this important? Because Jacobson held that the authority to coerce people to take vaccines comes from STATE POLICE POWERS. From the States. It’s a problem for both mandates. But it wasn’t used to deny the OSHA Mandate, and it wasn’t distinguished or overridden to support the CMS Mandate.

Where, oh where, has my Jacobson gone? Where, oh where, could it be?

I suppose this is a stealth way to override precedent by just ignoring it. Not a good look.

A LITTLE “I TOLD YOU SO”

Regular readers will recall that when I predicted that the Court would uphold the CMS Mandate, it would rely on the fact that hospitals have already been requiring healthcare workers to take influenza vaccines. Well, this is what the Court said in its CMS opinion:

Vaccination requirements are a common feature of the provision of healthcare in America: Healthcare workers around the country are ordinarily required to be vaccinated for diseases such as hepatitis B, influenza, and measles, mumps, and rubella. As the Secretary explained, these pre-existing state requirements are a major reason the agency has not previously adopted vaccine mandates as a condition of participation.

See? This is the slippery slope in action. We should have pushed back against vaccine mandates in hospitals ten years ago.

I know, I know! Don’t swamp the comments explaining how different the Covid injections are from all those other ‘real’ vaccines. I get it. I do. And I totally disagree with the Court’s reasoning in the CMS case, not least because it didn’t follow or even try to deal with the Jacobson precedent.

A LITTLE WHAT’S NEXT

So what do we do now? My Disney and Florida Power & Light clients are super happy, understandably. All my healthcare clients are freaking out, understandably.

The first thing we have to do is see how the Biden Administration will react. This isn’t terrific timing for them. If they were smart, they’d put a hold on the CMS Mandate themselves, for two reasons. First, the Narrative 2.0 project kicked off AFTER these cases were at the Supreme Court. The mandate, and all its fallout, isn’t exactly consistent with the new narrative. So there’s that.

But second, all we hear about now are the “critical staffing shortages” in hospitals. This decision is going to spray kerosene on the staffing bonfire. CMS will have to do something; as it stands, uninjected employees are already too late, past the original deadline. They are due to be fired immediately. That’s a lot of nurses and doctors. Can they possibly do that during an Omicron surge, with hospitalizations still leaping forward and facilities already underwater?

Are they going to send military doctors to every hospital in the country? Are there even that many military doctors?

CMS paused its own mandate on December 1, after the Missouri decision. It will have to un-pause the mandate now. And probably, at least, revise the deadlines. What will it do? We wait to see.

After that, we will need some good, practical strategies for our fellow citizens who are in healthcare jobs and are under the mandate’s hanging Sword of Damocles. We’ll be working on that. Stay tuned.

Those are just my initial thoughts about all this. More to come.

Have a fantastic Friday and I’ll be back here tomorrow morning with more.

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How Politicians Deal with Rebellion: Lessons from Australia

How Politicians Deal with Rebellion: Lessons from Australia

It pains me to read this about Australia, but from my experience it is true. My daughter and family have lived thru “covid hell” for over two years… mrossol

By Gigi Foster, Paul Frijters, Michael Baker   January 21, 2021 in The Brownstone Institute

In the Middle Ages a recipe emerged for the powerful to deal with peasant uprisings: kill the rebel leaders, adopt their most popular slogans as one’s own, and quietly give in to the most important demands. 

A spectacular example of this was the ‘Pilgrimage of Grace’ uprising in 1536/1537 against Henry VIII of Britain. The rebellion was against new taxes and the move against Roman Catholicism. Henry hanged the leaders but adopted the most important elements of Roman Catholicism into the emerging new faith, pacifying the masses. As the famous Italian political saying summarises this strategy goes: “if we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change”. 

We can see a glimpse of the same strategy in Australia this very week.

The cruelty and total failure of the Australian lockdown policies have been plain for many to see the last two weeks, with record numbers of covid cases and covid deaths despite the infliction of some of the harshest restrictions in the world over the past two years, and nearly 90% of the population having been ‘protected’ by vaccines. Australian politicians have been shown to be naked and are scrambling in the face of derision and malcontent. How have they been reacting?

The world saw what the Australian government did when facing the loud, flashing “FAILURE” sign of over 100,000 new recorded cases a day. It overturned the decisions of its own courts by invoking draconian discretionary powers to ban “Novax” Djokovic from the Australian Open, essentially doubling down on the story that a total removal of the non-compliant untermensch from public life is warranted, contrary to all evidence. 

This ‘blame the non-complier’ tactic was loudly applauded and supported by the vast majority of the Australian public, telling you something about their true nature. This is the modern analogue of a rebellion leader being hanged, with much rejoicing by the public. 

Second, the politicians started to adopt the language, arguments, and stated objectives of the very people who, a political second previously, were railing against them. The Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison said the following earlier this week:

As we face Omicron, we must respect it, but we should not fear it. We must respect it with sensible, balanced rules, sensible precautions, but at the same time, not shutting Australia away, not locking ourselves up, not destroying people’s livelihoods and bringing our society to a halt.

No kidding. This sounds like The Great Barrington Declaration in new bottles – the prime minister’s bottles, with a fancy label that he desperately hopes will promote sales. This is the prime minister of the same government that in the same week banned Novax Djokovic, a man who generously donated to victims of the Australian bushfires of early 2020, not to mention his other significant contributions to Australia over the years. Novax might have been hanged, but his slogans live on. 

Third, the stranded politicians started acting like nothing ever happened out of the ordinary. This tactic is founded in the fervent hope that amnesia will speedily return: that the public will not want to admit the horrors of the past, that apathy and a drive for self-preservation on the part of the people will prevent them from seeking justice. 

An example of this is that just last Saturday it quietly became possible to cross into Queensland over state borders unencumbered by covid regulations, after months of severe restrictions relating to vaccination status, testing, quarantine, and goodness knows what other nonsense.

Australian politicians are effectively showing us what good students of history they are. They have hanged a rebel leader, adopted his slogans, and quietly given in to some of the rebellion’s demands. 

Who says it won’t work? During his reign, the ‘Killer King’ dealt similarly with many uprisings, reportedly executing over 50,000 rebels in total but remaining in power all the time. To this day, Henry VIIIth is one of the most popular kings ever, with regular TV series and the Tower of London celebrating some of his atrocities. 

When it comes down to it, the public really does enjoy a good hanging.

Authors

Gigi Foster Gigi Foster, senior scholar of Brownstone Institute, is a Professor with the School of Economics at the University of New South Wales, having joined UNSW in 2009 after six years at the University of South Australia. READ MORE

Paul Frijters Paul Frijters is a Professor of Wellbeing Economics at the London School of Economics: from 2016 through November 2019 at the Center for Economic Performance, thereafter at the Department of Social Policy READ MORE

Michael Baker Michael Baker has a BA (Economics) from the University of Western Australia. He is an independent economic consultant and freelance journalist with a background in policy research.

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