Thursday, May 28, 2020

Coercive vs. Cautious Response

We’re seeing daylight after the onset of the pandemic now. Coming back, not quite to the normal we knew, but toward more functional than a shutdown. We don’t know all the data we would like for a complete picture, but it’s enough to conclude some things in general.

It has been a scary thing. The illness is real. It has taken many lives. But it has not taken anywhere near as many lives as we were told were likely—the scare that caused the world to shut down. In fact, the Imperial College model used to make that call was so wrong that it takes one’s breath away. Looking into it, people who do the technical work and coding for such things report they are appalled at the sloppy work and wonder how anything so full of trash was ever given credibility.

That’s a question I’d like answered at some point. How did a model by a British doctor who had been wildly inaccurate in every data model he’d ever produced—a person who violated his own lockdown protocol to carry out an adulterous affair—how did this person’s model get put forth as credible in the first place, let alone so credible that the world shut down over it?

The good news is that the virus was much less virulent than the model predicted.  And the changes society made to keep it from spreading at overwhelming rates accomplished their purpose.

But the accomplishment may not be in lives saved, but in deaths postponed. Because the virus spread slower, but not halted. Slow and steady wins the race, as the fable says. So the virus will still make it’s way through the population. The two advantages to a slower spread are preventing the hospitals from getting overwhelmed, and giving time for development of treatments.

Both of those goals are worthwhile, but it is debatable whether they have been worth what they have cost us. It isn’t a matter of saving lives vs. saving an economy. It is postponing lives lost in this particular way vs. losing lives in other ways as a result of the economic and social shutdown.

There are tradeoffs with almost any decision. Do you risk X to get Y? Do you know enough to judge whether the risk is worth it? Leaders in policy-making positions have to make this kind of decision every day.

But one thing I think we’re observing from this pandemic response is that there have been generally two categories of response: coercive or cautious. There has been very little cavalier, incautious response. So let’s look at just the two ways.

I’m in a state with a cautious response. We did do a statewide economic pause—with most businesses closed or working from home. Food, electricity, and emergency hospital care were still available. People began wearing masks a week or so into that time. And now that we’re nearly a month into slowly opening back up, most people in stores and more crowded places (by these new standards) still wear masks.

While Harris County, which contains most of Houston, has a comparatively high number of cases for the state, it has a low rate per population. Some of the darker spots in the graphic are actually smaller populations with a fairly low number of cases that wreak havoc on their stats.

Covid-19 cases per 1,000 residents in Texas, by county, as of May 28, 2020
Interactive graphic from Texas Tribune

The news from the Department of State Health Services today says that Texas is approaching the million tests milestone. With the increase in testing, positive responses are down in the 3% range. Hospitalizations for the virus peaked three weeks ago and have remained flat for a month. Active cases are down over 600. We’ve had our first two-day decline: down 391 Tuesday, down 216 more Wednesday.

In other words, even though we worried about a spike in new cases following phases 1 and 2 of opening up—which was certainly a common and logical expectation—we had a temporary rise, but that spike did not happen.

It may be that we’re coming into the hot humid weather that this virus doesn’t like. Florida's outcomes are similar to ours. 

But New Zealand, in their fall/winter season, just announced that their last Covid-19 patient left the hospital; they have zero active cases. So it may be that the virus has simply run its course, at least for now. It’s unknown whether we’ll get another surge in the fall. That will depend on whether there has been sufficient mutation of the virus to become essentially a new strain—like we get with the annual flu, which, if I understand correctly, is the ever-present remnant of the 1918 flu pandemic. So, that information is still unknown.

But, if the virus has actually been running its course, and we’ll be done with it, then some lives actually were saved by our slowing the spread. I’m open to that possibility. I know I’ve personally felt safer in public when people around me wear masks. Since I’m badly affected just by a common cold, I have to say the mask wearing and better hygiene by everyone has actually made me personally feel safer. But, I don’t think I have the right to ask everyone to wear masks forever (they’re not comfortable, and they cover everyone’s smile) just so I feel a bit safer.

So, for now I’m willing to look at mask wearing as a gesture of goodwill. But you don’t shame people for failing to step up to a particular level of goodwill just because you’re willing to step up there. Shaming is the opposite of a gesture of goodwill. And besides, you can’t coerce people into actual goodwill.

Which brings us back to the coercive version of leadership. Our county judge, Lina Hidalgo, is a handy example. She has tried mandating mask wearing—stopped by the governor. She has attempted to shut down parks. She has attempted to keep businesses closed longer than the governor’s recommendation—even though our hospitals have plenty of capacity and our population has not been hard hit. She has tried letting felons out of prison out of her compassion while simultaneously threatening to jail regular citizens for daring to go about their lives in some way she’s not willing to permit.

Last Thursday, when Mr. Spherical Model and I drove up to see our kids and grandkids for the first time in all these months, Hidalgo announced that the shutdown in Houston had to remain in effect until June 10. It took her an additional 15 hours to post the edict. Whether she has power to enforce it is another question. 

Yet we have, safe, cautious, goodwill moves to open things back up—not a sudden mobbing of the public spaces and businesses. So coercion was never necessary.

Coercion has a purpose other than our safety.

There is a direct correlation between coercion and economic damage; the harsher the shutdown rules, and the longer they are left in place, the more unemployment and economic fallout, obviously. But there is no correlation between coercive long shutdown and low death rates, at least in the United States. In fact, there appears to be almost an inverse correlation. Texas, Georgia, and Florida so far are getting great numbers after opening up. In fact, after some brief worry in mid-March, none of these states had much to worry about.

The hardest hit states seem to be those with more coercive measures.

Texas is 15th in order of total deaths. But when you take into account population, it's down near the bottom, in 41st place. 

Rate of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population, by state, as of May 28, 2020
Original chart from

I considered developing a graphic, to see whether there was a correlation by party and death rate. Maybe another day. I think we have the more typical urban/rural divide to explain many differences.

But I’m guessing that there are personality differences between the different reactions. People who are fearful submit more easily to more coercion. People who generally feel they’re in control of their own lives and destinies tend to resist coercion.

So, if you’re a power monger, a tyrant (or would-be tyrant), you stir up fear as a strategy to control your subjects.

Since you’re not a subject, but a citizen, you need to assert your own authority. In order to avoid being oppressed by a tyrant, you need to know as much as you can, to decide for yourself what you are willing to do for your own health and for others (two quite different values).

If you’re scared enough, you might trust government to decide for you when to attend church in person again. But if you’re capable of figuring out how to be as safe in a church as you are in Walmart or on a city bus, then maybe you don’t trust a government that keeps your church doors closed. Maybe you find something really wrong with how Chicago’s mayor sent authorities, swat style, to shut down a church. 

Or maybe you can decide, without the help of an overseer, when to go get a haircut from a stylist who wears a mask and washes everything carefully between customers. 

You might be living under tyranny if you are allowed to go to Walmart, but not to the beach and go out, alone, on a surfboard, because of the need to “flatten the curve.”

You might be living under tyranny if you’re allowed to take your family to the beach, but can’t sit on or picnic on the sand; you have to go directly from your car into the water. (Ben Shapiro suggested maybe he should use a cannon to shoot his children into the water from his car.)

You might be living under tyranny if golfing or skateboarding are considered risky for spreading a respiratory virus.

You might be living under tyranny if you’re allowed to walk on a path but not bicycle, because of the need to prevent spreading coronavirus.

You might be living under tyranny if you’re allowed to have online services broadcast from your church, but only if no one sings.

The stories pop up daily. Consider looking at each story and asking, does this make logical sense? And than ask, is this a cautious response or a coercive response?

One thing I think we’ll see is that coercive governments lead to much worse economic situations for their people, possibly combined with worse health outcomes. Again, some of the health differences will be because of urban density. And the density of Houston or Los Angeles is simply not the same as the density of New York or New Jersey. But, what if the coercive measures—for the sake of public safety—don’t actually accomplish public safety? What if your protective government enforces policies that put nursing homes at risk, and continue to run public transportation, but force you to lose your job or shut down your small business, stay in your home, and don’t leave for any reason except to get food? Are they keeping you safe, or keeping you controlled?

At what point are you willing to consider reasserting your own authority?

That’s what I’m suggesting. Breathe deep. Look at the actual real-time data for your location. Get a full picture—not just number of deaths, which goes up with no chance of going back down, obviously. But death rates per population, infection rates per population, intensity of infection for your demographic, and anything else that gives you something other than just the scariest numbers without context.

We can beat this thing. We’re doing that. And it seems to be letting up, possibly naturally without our doing anything but pray. (By the way, it looks to me that the worldwide fast day we had April 10 marked the beginning of the downward trend of the virus. Like this chart shows for Houston’s new cases per day.)
The 7-day rolling average of new cases is better than
the daily count, because testing gets reported irregularly. The upper line is
Harris County, which is much more populous than surrounding counties.
The chart is from the Houston Chronicle today, p. A20.
I added the red line to mark the date of our worldwide fast.

But can we beat the tyranny that has opportunistically used our fear for its evil purposes?

As plagues go, Covid-19 has been bad but not “Black Death” bad. But the government-caused economic and social devastation in the name of safety from the virus has been a worldwide plague not seen since—I don’t know. Pompeii? The flood?

Our recovery depends on reasserting our God-given rights to life, liberty, and property—to pursue happiness. It’s doable. Maybe in a relatively short time. But we have to throw off the fear to take away the tyrants’ power.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Have a Reverent Memorial Day

I’ve been rereading the Constitution lately, finding ways of describing what the founders were trying to accomplish in this sacred document.

It isn’t rocket science. It’s only about 5000 words, just a few pages. It’s in the English commonly spoken a couple of centuries ago, but words haven’t changed so significantly that you can’t ascertain the meaning. It’s not written for only lawyers to understand; it’s written for all Americans to understand. And it’s important that we do.

It actually takes a great deal of effort to write words clearly and briefly. Our Constitution was written with remarkable care and inspiration. What a gift that is! It is unmatched in the history of the world.
When we abide by the Constitution, we get not only political freedom; we also get economic prosperity and thriving civilization. But abiding by the Constitution is the challenge.

Some years ago someone asked Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi whether a particular legislative act—some million-word-long monstrosity—was Constitutional? Where in the Constitution was the power granted? It’s a question that ought to be asked, first and foremost, of every piece of legislation. But she actually responded with shock that such a provincial, archaic, irrelevant question would even be asked.

That’s a problem.

We have one party that uses the term “constitutional” to mean “whatever we want to do can be construed to fit; it’s a living document.” And we have another party, some of whom understand we need to restore and preserve the Constitution, but some others do no more than try to prevent the slippage into tyranny from going so fast. That’s not good enough. Pumping the breaks to slow a decline does not get you back up the mountain. You need to ascend that mountain to have freedom, prosperity, and civilization. Down at the bottom of that descent you unavoidably get tyrannical oppression, poverty, and savagery.

The Constitution is the best vehicle ever created to ascend that mountain.

But it requires actually abiding by it. That means some things are required of us citizens—We the People—who are self-governing sovereign citizens, rather than subjects of a ruler. We’re required to pay attention. We need to know the law, know our rights, assert our rights. We need to resist even the small usurpations of our rights, on principle. And—if at all possible—we need to do this with convincing words and civilized actions, rather than physical battle.

But there have been times—many times—when battle to protect our nation has been necessary. And this day we celebrate Memorial Day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

I’m going to repeat a photo essay I shared for Memorial Day a few years ago, from a trip in 2014 to Arlington Cemetery and some other memorials in Washington, DC. The reverence of Arlington especially touched my heart. Reverence is honor and respect you give to show awe and profound love. Awe and profound love are the least we owe to those who gave their lives for us, so we can enjoy what our Constitutional Republic affords us—if we can keep it.


Changing of the Guard
at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

We got to witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This was one of the most reverent moments of our trip. We all stood, in silence, throughout. No one forced us to be so respectful; yet it’s hard to imagine someone refusing to give reverence in that setting.

The ceremony takes place whether people are there or not. The soldiers revere those sacred dead; we are invited to join them in that honor. We felt privileged to witness it.

Retiring the Flag at Arlington Cemetery
After the ceremony, we were waiting for our tour bus, and I ran off to take a few more photos. I happened to notice this additional ceremony, the retiring of the flag in early evening. There was no crowd around. The soldiers were doing the honorable ceremony, because that’s what they do. I took the photo from a distance; I was glad I got to see this sacred moment.

Among the Acres of Graves at Arlington Cemetery

I know it doesn’t sound like a thrilling vacation to go to a cemetery, but Arlington Cemetery is worth experiencing. It’s vast, and beautiful, and sacred. If you’re not used to experiencing reverence, plan in a trip like this to help you learn what it feels like.

Iwo Jima Monument

The Iwo Jima Monument relates to World War II. It is located just outside the Arlington Cemetery. We saw it just before sunset, which made photography a challenge, but the sky toward the sun was stunning. This photo is taken with back to the sun so the monument shows up as more than a silhouette.

World War II Memorial

One of my favorite memorials was the World War II Memorial, located between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Memorial. We were there on a day when buses were bringing WWII veterans, many in wheelchairs and in their 90s, to honor those they served with most of a lifetime ago.

Each star represents 100 lost lives in WWII

There’s a wall of stars at the memorial; each star represents 100 who lost their lives. There are 4048 gold stars, representing the 405,399 American dead or missing.  

Vietnam Memorial Wall

The Vietnam Memorial Wall is most impressive maybe because of its length, full of names of those lost in service in that war.

Korean War Memorial

On the opposite side of the Lincoln Memorial is this Korean War Memorial. It also has a reflective wall, this one with faces looking out. The wall is alongside a garden of statues, soldiers walking through undergrowth, as you might have seen them in action. I hadn’t been aware of this memorial before the trip. But I saw it in a scene of a TV show after returning home. This was another place I really felt the reverence. Maybe it relates to having had a son stationed in Korea.
May the reverence of this day help you appreciate all other days.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Breaking Out

We’re heading out to visit our kids for the first time in 2 ½ months. It was supposed to be moving day for son Economic Sphere—their first house. But an additional inspection put that off for another week. So, instead of moving the big furniture, we’ll just help pack up. And share a birthday cake. And hug kids.

I think we may end up stopping at Buc-ee’s on the way; we usually do. They were OCD about cleaning way before the lockdown; that’s what made them famous.

Found on Facebook. Source unknown.

Is it safe to go out? I think so. The grandkids haven’t been anywhere to see anyone, and they’re in a rural county with single digits of active cases. The other kids have been working at home or away from the public.

And we’re pretty certain we’re not spreading anything to them. We’re coming from a zip code with a total of 70[i] cases (no known deaths) in a population estimated at 37,146[ii], so I do the math and only 19 per 10,000 people have been infected—that is, have been tested and confirmed. Some unknown number of these 70 cases are no longer infectious. Infection rate in the population is likely several times higher, but since that is not increasing the death rate, it’s only relevant to show that the death rate is even lower than reported. Anyway, the stats available say I need to come into contact with 1,000 people to have the likelihood of running into anyone with the virus. I’m not that sociable.

We get a daily count in the Houston Chronicle of cases so far. And we get a total death count. But we don’t get how many of those accumulated cases have recovered. I found some data from a few days ago that listed those recovered[iii]. So I subtracted deaths (90) from total confirmed cases (3958), and then used the number recovered (2484) to learn that 64% of cases are no longer infectious. We have 1,384 known active cases in a population of 4.6 million. That’s .03%. Your odds of randomly running into an infected person in the county are about 3 in 10,000.

And, among that number are those who know they’re ill, so, unless you’re caring for them, you’re not coming into contact with them. That means for the average person in the county, only the asymptomatic spreaders are a risk. It would be nice to know how many of those there are. But, for those of us who haven’t known anyone who has Covid-19, this is why.

What we do see, three weeks into Texas’s slow reopening, is no spike.

Chart from a Sean Trende tweet a week ago
found here

Florida hasn’t seen one either. Neither has Georgia, which has had a full month of opening up to see that data pop up. Governor Abbott won the internet with this chart he tweeted:

Tweet from Texas Governor Greg Abbott
(Note: pretty sure he means "mortality rate," not "morality rate.")

Worldwide, there’s reason to think the lockdown is not only no longer necessary, but maybe it never was. There’s this data, coming out of The Netherlands, showing odds based on age. Co-morbidities (other conditions) are not separated out, so healthy people in any of these groupings are better off than these numbers show.
Dutch data, charted by Daniel Horowitz; found here

Notice that, of people age 80-85, 91 out of 100 who get the disease will recover without hospitalization. If you’re 80-85 and you get the virus, you have a pretty high fatality rate: 7.836%. But that means 92.164% do not die from it; they live. The more risk factors, the more likely in that list of those who don’t make it. But all things mixed together, 92 out of 100 in that age range get through it.

If you’re in your 30s, only 3 in a thousand who get the disease end up hospitalized, and only 8 in 100,000 die. If you have no additional risk factors, the odds are even more in your favor. This chart from Massachusetts shows just how skewed the data is toward that upper age range:

Massachusetts government data,
also provided by Daniel Horowitz, here

Here are some more Dutch projections, charted by Daniel Horowitz, for the younger to middle age groups. Notice how likely that an infection is mild or asymptomatic:

Dutch data gathered from 4000 blood donors,
chart by Daniel Horowitz, found here

The math is pretty uplifting.

If we had taken care to protect those two 70+ age ranges, our national death rate would be so much lower that it would be on par with a bad flu year. Again, that’s not a zero risk; that’s on top of flu and all other risks.

But, except for the elderly and those with conditions that really need to stay away from this, Covid-19 would have passed through the population without much notice—except for the lockdown, which has meant economic catastrophe and plenty of other health and life issues.

We couldn’t imagine that our elected officials—and not just local, but national, and in countries around the world—would impose these severe measures on us unless the risk merited it. We didn’t have good data to say otherwise.

The panicked response had me picturing lines out the door of hospital ERs. Of course that never happened here. It didn’t happen really anywhere in the US outside of New York and New Jersey, and they never got so overwhelmed that they couldn’t provide care.

But they did send nursing home patients who still had the virus back into their nursing homes—where so many of the deaths happened. They only lifted that insane policy earlier this month. Also, they kept public transportation open—with its enclosed spaces for long enough periods of time for spread to happen. They didn’t even start wiping them down at night until a couple of weeks ago—and they still don’t do that between trips during the day.

There’s so much we didn’t get right. Some of it, common sense should have resolved.

Daniel Horowitz, in a piece with plenty of links to support his claims, lists these six things we got very wrong: 

1.       Covid-19 death numbers were inflated.
2.       States with longer lockdowns had worse results.
3.       Outside nursing homes, the fatality rate never warranted such action, even if it would work.
4.       Outside New York, this is barely worse than bad flu seasons.
5.       Excess deaths are from the lockdowns, not the virus.
6.       Social distancing was invented by a high-school kid and politicians, not scientists.
Let’s do a hypothetical. Suppose a population like the rest of the country (without NY or NJ), with less population density, much less mass transit. And let’s say we looked at the data early enough to recognize the need to protect the elderly. Such a population may have wanted to take some precautions, but we never needed to lock down. We didn’t need to close schools or parks.

Maybe some adjustments were needed for restaurants and other places where we spend time close together. Maybe it was wise to shut down large events until we learned what we were dealing with. I’m not willing to use too much 20/20 hindsight and say we should have known never to shut down. But this has taught us a couple of very important things:

·       Don’t trust someone else’s experts; do your own homework in your search for truth.
·       Don’t trust a politician who takes away your liberties, calls it keeping you safe, and ignores the data when it says we’re safe enough making our own risk decisions.
My concern is that this crying wolf scenario we’ve lived through will keep us from ever trusting anyone who cries wolf again. Once in a while there is a wolf. But then, we can probably figure out how to handle a wolf without being forced to cower in our caves. And now we’ve had a clear view of the leaders who’ve said, “Stay afraid; let us keep you safe by controlling you.” Those aren’t leaders; they’re tyrants.

So, we’re starting to break out of our confinement.

Mr. Spherical Model, whose ankle has healed enough that he can drive now, has had two trips for physical therapy this week. And a haircut (they worked around a required facemask). And he went to lunch with a friend for the first time since early March. The guys sat at an actual table to eat wings at a little place that deserved their patronage.

A new report says that—all that worry about groceries, packages, and mail bringing viral contamination into our homes has been unwarranted. That’s a great relief to me. I’ve been kind of paranoid since watching this video (well-meaning, I’m sure) on how to decontaminate your groceries and food orders as you bring them into your home.

Also, playground equipment, out there in the sunshine, has been safe all along. And gyms, while sweaty and icky all the time, would probably never have been viral hot spots. It really does take mainly direct contact, and probably prolonged contact (several minutes of an infected person breathing in your face, or talking with some spittle emission, or coughing on you). There needs to be some minimum amount of viral particles that get inside you, or else your body just does its normal protective thing.

My rational side says not to fear—and has said that all along. My naturally worried side will have to work through the anxiety for a while. But seeing family in person is going to help with that. I think breaking out is long overdue.

[i] I got the count by zip code at the Harris County Public Health site, here.
[ii] I got this population data at for my zip code.
[iii] That data is from KPRC News

Monday, May 18, 2020

Secret Acts Shall Be Revealed, Part II

In our last post we talked about corruption coming to light at a local level, related to voter fraud in Harris County, Texas.

Today we’ll talk about corruption coming to light on a national level.

Back in 2012, just after Obama’s reelection, I said this:

President Obama divides the people, ignores the Constitution, and has a four-year record of failed economic policies. His behavior toward our allies has been offensive. His behavior to our enemies has been apologetic and submissive. His specific lies following the Benghazi attack are so egregious as to require impeachment. His history, while sketchy, clearly indicates a disdain for our beloved constitutional ideals. He seems incompetent as a leader (specifically failing to persuade others to follow his actual ideology when truthfully stating it). Meanwhile, I think he is consistent in moving to transform the nation from a constitutional republic into a Marxist tyranny. His tone is condescending and his attacks on his opponent are petty and small-minded. Because I love my homeland and the blessed freedom we inherited from our forefathers, I see him as an enemy.
His second term did not change my mind; it only gave me more evidence. At the end of his second term almost 3 ½ years ago, he didn’t go home and get off the political stage. He remained in Washington, DC, and speaks out against his successor. In and of itself, that’s weird. Unprecedented. And low class. If there’s a political purpose for it, above and beyond bad character, that’s even worse. And it appears that is the case. He’s staying there to keep running a personal army within government, against our country.

Obama, screenshot from The Epoch Times

We’re going to get to the Flynn case, but first, let’s just list again what Obama’s “scandal free” administration included:

·         Gun-running in Mexico, the Fast and Furious scandal.
·         SEAL Team 6 Extortion 17.
·         State Department lying about Benghazi.
·         Voter fraud upon voter fraud.
·         Failure to count military votes.
·         Boston bombing, followed by temporary suspension of rights.
·         Assassinating Americans overseas with drones.
·         Wanting to assassinate Americans with drones in our own country without the benefit of the law.
·         Supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, setting off the Muslim Spring.
·         IRS targeting of conservatives.
·         DOJ spying on the press.
·         Lying to the American people: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor; if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” and “The average family will save money in healthcare costs,” when costs actually rose for almost all Americans.
·         NSA monitoring phonecalls, emails, and more; meta-data being kept on innocent Americans
·         Ordering the release of nearly 10,000 illegal immigrants from and prisons—falsely blaming the sequester.
·         Threatening to impose gun control by executive order to bypass Congress.
·         Failure to propose and submit a budget, suggesting his priorities to Congress.
·         Unconstitutional recess appointments in an attempt to circumvent the Senate’s advise-and-consent role.
·         State Department interference with Inspector General investigation on departmental sexual misconduct.
·         HHS employees being given insider information on Medicare Advantage.
·         Hillary Clinton, IRS officials, James Clapper, and Eric Holder all lying to Congress.
·         Illegal FISA warrant to spy on an opponent’s presidential campaign.
·         Conspiring with corrupt Ukrainian oligarchs to supply dirt to be used in fake FISA warrant.
·         Threatening to cut military aid to Ukraine if they didn’t immediately fire a prosecutor that was investigating VP Biden’s son’s connection with corrupt Burisma.
·         Temporarily taking over sectors of the economy, such as the automotive industry, and interfering with the banking industry.
·         Stonewalling investigations into Hezbollah crime and terrorism, renaming them a legitimate party, as part of his efforts to negotiate with Iran, which included giving Iran pallets full of cash to get them to sign onto the deal that would guarantee them the right to have nuclear weapons in ten years. [12-19-2017]
·         Promising “more flexibility” to the Russians after the 2012 election, when he wouldn’t have to worry about voter opinion any longer.
·         Using more executive orders than any previous administration for actions clearly beyond the powers granted to the executive branch.
·         Requiring slap-downs, with multiple unanimous rulings from the Supreme Court on issues related to religious freedom.
If you were unaware of these things, or thought they were just rumors or yet another “nothing burger,” it is because the biased media you are paying attention to has been purposely covering up for Obama's wrongdoing.

Now, about the Flynn case.

Lt. General Michael Flynn
image from The Federalist

While this is in the midst of investigation, let’s cover what we think we know.

I keep wondering where to start, but let’s go back to spring 2016, during the Trump campaign. Lt. General Michael Flynn became part of the campaign team. This upset the Obama administration. Flynn knew things that could come to light. As Glenn Beck put it (Wednesday, May 13), Flynn “knew where all the bodies were buried.” I don’t know exactly what details Flynn knows that he has been unable to reveal these past several years, but I hope we find out soon.

The FBI started an investigation into Flynn, based on nothing but his being part of the campaign. This in itself is corruption. This investigation ties in to the rest of the Russia investigation, based on the Steele dossier, a Hillary-campaign-purchased oppo research pack of lies intended to create doubt about Trump’s loyalties prior to the election.

That didn’t work, and several years of investigations proved there was no Russia-Trump collusion—which we knew from the get-go, but which the Mueller investigation proved.

Documents justifying investigating Flynn
screenshot from here
During the investigation, it appears that surveilling noncitizens who had contact with Flynn was a way of surreptitiously surveilling Flynn, a US citizen, which is illegal, but, under such wiretapping, citizens do get swept up. Normally their names are not revealed, since they are not relevant to the surveillance of the foreigner, but when officials ask for the name to be revealed to give them context concerning conversations that have been recorded, that unmasking can be requested. Under those conditions, the name is known by the official requesting it, who has a valid reason to know, and who is under obligation to keep the name secret so as not to violate that citizen’s 4th Amendment rights. Multiple unmaskings were requested involving Flynn; it appears he was the actual object of surveillance and not the innocent citizen accidently caught up in surveillance. Without warrant. In other words, if motive is proven, this is a crime.

Beyond that, Flynn’s name was leaked to the media as being under suspicion for his connection (known and valid) with Russians. Unmasking to the media is a felony. Stephanie Powers testified under oath that she had not only asked for much fewer unmaskings of Flynn than were done in her name; she had asked for none. Whoever used her name and official top secret clearance to get the unmaskings is guilty of multiple counts of that crime as well.

One of the issues involving Flynn was his giving a speech in Russia, for which he was paid about $40,000. That is not illegal. And it was before the election and any official appointment. Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for a speech in Russia, and no one jumped on that claiming illegal dealings.

On December 29, General Flynn spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The call was recorded, purportedly aimed at surveilling the Russian Ambassador. Flynn’s name was unmasked—and mysteriously leaked to the media. But there was nothing wrong with what he said in the call, according to FBI investigators.

The Justice Department had looked at everything Flynn had done for months and found nothing that could be construed as wrongdoing, so they said they were closing the investigation.

Almost immediately afterward, on January 4, 2017, FBI officials openly discussed their concern that, if they couldn’t stop Flynn, he would soon be privy to their Russia investigation—which would unveil what they had done against the Trump campaign and plans they had to undermine the Trump presidency. They wished the case could be reopened, so they would have the excuse that someone under investigation shouldn’t be briefed on state secrets he was entitled to see. Then (Strzok and Page, possibly others) realized that, because of a sort of clerical error, the case hadn’t been officially “closed,” so they would make use of that error and proceed with it as still open.

Obama was aware of this. Yates, Brennan, and Clapper have all testified that they did not inform Obama about it. In fact, Yates was unaware of the information until Obama shared it in a January 5th meeting. Strzok had told Page in an email, however, that Obama wanted to know everything about what they were doing. It may have been them. It’s also likely the information came to Obama from Susan Rice.

So, on January 5th there was a briefing related to Russia matters in the Oval Office. Attending this meeting were President Obama, Vice-President Biden, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and FBI Director James Comey.

Following the briefing, intelligence officials not staying beyond the Obama term left, but Obama asked Yates and Comey were asked to stay. I believe at least Susan Rice and Joe Biden also remained. We learned of this meeting because of a memo email Rice wrote to herself upon leaving office on inauguration day.

The Flynn situation was discussed in that after-meeting. If it is as it appears, Obama not only was aware that the Flynn case was not “officially” closed; he directed, either obliquely or directly, the others to pursue Flynn using the Logan Act. This is a very old (1799), never successfully used piece of legislation, possibly needed back in days before phones or transportation faster than sailing ships, to prevent ordinary Americans from going to a foreign country and representing themselves as speaking on behalf of the country, and declaring our foreign policy. The phone conversation Flynn had was official, as the incoming National Security Advisor, and there was nothing in it that was expressing anything contrary to the elected administration’s position. Not only couldn’t the act be used because it was irrelevant for Flynn in his position; there wasn’t anything Flynn had done that could have been construed as acting on his own behalf instead of the Trump administration.

Additionally in the meeting Obama (presumably) directed those “deep state” officials to not share any Russia-related information with the incoming administration—a breech of law and the biggest failure to turn over power to a duly elected next administration ever. Banana republics, and Venezuela, fail to turn over power without a bloody coup. Up until now, America was exemplary for its peaceful transitions of power. This Obama policy is unprecedented.

It is likely not because of sheer cussedness; it may have been a desperation move to keep bigger secrets hidden. We don’t know what else has been withheld.

Moving forward with the Flynn, the FBI set up an interview—to entrap him. They told him he was not under investigation; it was just a friendly chat. He wouldn’t need a lawyer. Except, they were there to entrap him; we have their handwritten notes discussing that purpose.

They questioned him about the Kislyak conversation—not to gain information; they had the transcript, which he apparently realized, so when he was unsure of details, he deferred to their suggestion of how it was, which turned out to be incorrect. And that “incorrect” statement, that couldn’t possibly have interfered with an FBI investigation, because it was information they already held and that didn’t relate to any crime—that is what they used to claim he gave a false statement to the FBI.

When they came after him for that, they used organized crime tactics to pressure him to plead guilty. They told him he was being prosecuted under the Logan Act (even though he wasn’t), and that he’d provided false information (which he hadn’t intentionally done), and that if he didn’t plead guilty, they were going after his family. I understand they were going after his son in some way, but I don’t know what that is about.

Anyway, this case has been hanging over his head for three years already. Finally it goes to trial, and the Department of Justice is looking at the case and realizing, there’s no case here. That’s the announcement we got a couple of weeks ago.

Then, in another unprecedented move, US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan invited amici—that is, instead of saying, “OK, no prosecution, no case; we’re dismissed,” he says, “Calling anyone out there. If you have something to say in favor of keeping the prosecution going, let’s hear from you.” Judges Do. Not. Do. That.

His pretext for not giving up is that Flynn lied by pleading guilty. I am not kidding.

There are several good sources on what has happened. One is a piece by Molly Hemingway on May 8th, offering a detailed timeline of what happened from January 4 through March 2, 2017, concerning the railroading of Flynn. 

Glenn Beck, "Collusion Confirmed, How Obama Sabotaged Trump"
screenshot from here

Glenn Beck did a video exposé, chalkboard and all, on May 13th, called “Collusion Confirmed: How Obama Sabotaged Trump,” on his weekly show, available on YouTube. He provided all the documents he had used. You can find them and read them for yourself, here

Most of these are photos of the documents. A couple are links to documents, which I’ve also provided, but here's the list:

·       The Susan Rice email header, when she emailed herself on inauguration day about the January 5, 2017 meeting.
·       The letter sent February 12, 2018, by Senators Grassley and Graham asking Rice why she sent that email to herself. 
·       Sally Yates’ testimony, including who attended the January 5th briefing and the followup meeting, where using the Logan Act came up.
·       The FBI’s justification for opening up an investigation of Flynn, dated 8/16/2016
·       Harry Reid's email to the FBI, dated 8/27/2016, specifically mentioning the Steele Dossier contents regarding Carter Page. 
·       The FBI's justification for opening an investigation into Mike Flynn.
·       The FBI’s final communication on Flynn, closing communications on the investigation, dated 1/4/2017.
·       The FBI’s handwritten notes, discussing using the Logan Act as pretext for getting Flynn fired.
·       Mike Flynn’s statement to the FBI, used to charge him of a crime.

Since the airing of Glenn Beck’s show (he says the first of several on what’s being called Obamagate), I’ve come across more.

·       “Obama White House Kept Key Officials in Dark About Brennan’s Russia Intel” in today’s The Epoch Times. 
·       The Daily Wire praises new press secretary for her explanation, video included. It’s epic. “Reporter Asks Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany To Explain ‘Obamagate.’ She Gives A First-Class Education.” 
·       Former Obama officials testified under oath that they had no evidence linking the Trump campaign with Russia, no matter how much many of them had insinuated there was. Western Journal commentary by C. Douglas Golden. Former Obama Official Admits She Lied to Media About Evidence of Trump-Russian Collusion
Title graphic from Glenn Beck's show
screenshot from here
Remember how Obama used to use that word audacity? It never made sense to me in the way he used it, as if it’s some sort of revolution to “hope” for something vague and undefined. It makes more sense in the normal meaning of hubris or shamelessness.

After word comes out about his wrongdoings—his personal role in the multiple crimes—he has the audacity to speak to graduating seniors across the country, telling them what a terrible president we have, and how terrible the administration’s response to the virus has been. Dispicable.

Never has an ex-president worked so hard to undermine a sitting president.

We know Obama lied. We know he recruited, directed, and endorsed weaponizing government agencies against American citizens. We know, by our own experience, that he was feckless and disparaging while representing us internationally. He relished the long economic malaise as a new normal. And we know he divided us racially and politically beyond what we’d seen since the Civil War.

Imagine what would be happening to us if his cohorts had been elected instead of President Trump, and all the secret corruption remained hidden.

This man—and everyone in government still doing their damage to our constitutional republic—must be held accountable.

Light is a disinfectant, and we need all of this corruption to come to light so we can clean it out.