Thursday, May 28, 2020


The curve has been flattened at enormous expense. Most expect Covid will eventually go through the entire population and take many more elderly with comorbidities. It cannot be stopped without a vaccine — or a series of them since the virus will likely mutate. An initial vaccine won’t be available until the end of this year at the earliest. Many governors, however, are reluctant to relax their shutdowns. Instead, they predict a second wave, keeping fear levels high.

Everyone cooperated to flatten the curve, which didn’t take long. People understood the logic and it got done. Reasons to continue the shutdown are not logical and more than a few medical professionals have been censored by Youtube, Facebook, and other social media outlets for declaring that it’s past time to fully reopen the economy. Many people are openly rebelling against continuing restrictions; many more quietly ignore them.

Ninety-something percent of deaths are in one vulnerable, elderly cohort which must continue to quarantine until a vaccine is available. However, death rates for all people infected from this point — including our vulnerable elders — is below one percent. Hospitals are not overwhelmed. Instead, they’re laying off staff! Yet still, Democrats and their media allies continue pumping up fear. The danger now is that lots of people are afraid to go to emergency rooms. Cancers are not caught early. Heart problems are not detected, and so forth.

Motives for continuing the shutdown seem primarily political, though disguised as concern for humanity. The left wants to keep things locked. Conservatives want to reopen. The left says conservatives would sacrifice human lives for money. Conservatives believe the left would keep the economy depressed so they can defeat Trump and take the Senate in November.

Pre-virus divisions are widening as nearly everything now is seen through a political lens. The left sees Dr. Anthony Fauci as the virus guru and he would keep schools closed next fall. It’s hard to envision economic recovery if parents must continue homeschooling. Going about in public without a mask is becoming a sign of resistance to government control. Wearing one is becoming a sign of virtue, not unlike driving a Prius.

Snitches call police when their neighbors entertain guests. Some cops try enforcing guidelines while others declare they have enough to do already. When mainstream media focused on crowds ignoring social distancing at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri over the weekend, Camden County Sheriff Tony Helms issued this statement: “Social distancing is not a crime and therefore the sheriff’s office has no authority to enforce actions in that regard.” The left was appalled. Conservatives cheered.

Traveling between rural, mostly-conservative Lovell, Maine and coastal, mostly-leftist South Portland, Maine each week, I see contrasts. Rarely do I notice anyone wearing a mask in Lovell but it’s very common in South Portland. Picking up a curbside order of fried clams there last week, I parked next to a pickup truck in which a small dog was wearing a mask. I don’t know whether it was a sarcastic political statement by the driver or genuine concern for a beloved pet.

There’s little point going across the Casco Bay Bridge into Portland these days. Yes, it’s pretty to watch the sun rise at the Eastern Promenade, but nothing is open. The left runs everything in Portland and is less than welcoming to those with differing world views. Last summer I was harassed and assaulted for wearing a MAGA hat on a Congress Street art festival. Will people without masks be harassed? If the City of Portland allows another art festival this summer, I’ll let you know.

My habit is to keep a mask in my car and another in my truck. If I drive up to a store that requires one to get in, I’ll go back to my vehicle and get it. Wearing it makes my glasses fog up though and I can’t see what I’m looking for, so I pull it down. That, of course, negates any virus-inhibiting effect it’s supposed to have, but no one has so far ordered me to pull it up. Many around me do the same thing. Otherwise, I never wear a mask.

Clearly, response to this virus is exacerbating already-serious political divisions. How will that affect the election in November? I don’t want to venture a guess. I will predict, however, that whatever the result, the other side will not take it well. Should the left lose, I expect civil unrest.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Deconstructing Deconstructionism

Finishing graduate school in 1977, it’s been forty-three years now since I was a full-time college student. School came easily to me, except for math, and I could work a full-time job.which kept me grounded in the real world. Most of my professors were classical liberals as opposed to doctrinaire liberals who became so common in the 1980s and after, and who predominate on today’s campuses. Back then, nobody had ever heard of “trigger warnings” or “safe spaces.”  Contrary ideas were welcomed, not condemned. 

Then along came French philosophers Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida who had outsmarted themselves. Their deconstructionist and relativist ideas strongly flooded campuses across the western world. Objective reality was scorned in favor of perceived reality. The real world was whatever you wanted it to be, they thought. Nothing was real. Everything was socially constructed, they believed. You could have your own reality. There were no absolutes and the dictatorship of relativism ruled.

None of it influenced my formation and for that I’m grateful. Would it have if I’d been born twenty years later? Maybe, but I don’t think so. As an outsider, an anachronism, I could impartially observe creeping nihilist deconstructionism and the resulting erosion of collective sanity in a world that denied objective reality. I remember singing along with the Kinks’ “Lola”: “Boys will be girls and girls will be boys; it’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world…” but I never took that seriously. I suspect the Kinks didn’t either.

Today though, the Democrat left is determined to continue pushing the idea that boys really can change into girls, and vice versa, if they simply declare it. Twenty years ago, no one would have predicted this concept would be accepted by any but a wacky few, much less such a large portion of American citizenry. Efforts to criminalize those still daring to publicly voice a contrary opinion continue nationwide. Nonetheless, there’s a chink developing in the Democrat LGBTQIA… armor: women’s sports. They have been infiltrated by men pretending to be women, and real women cannot compete.

Cheryl Radachowsky, mother of a champion high school track star, wrote in a New York Post article last October: “As a parent, it is gut-wrenching to know that no matter how hard my daughter works to achieve her goals, she will lose athletic opportunities to a pernicious gender ideology. Left unchecked, this ideology will in the long run eliminate fair play for all biological females in all sports.”

Radachowsky pointed out that men are stronger and faster than women “Even when the men’s testosterone levels matched that of ­biological women [according to a recent Swedish study], the men’s competitive advantages remained almost fully intact, with muscle size and bone density remaining virtually unchanged in some and decreasing only 5 percent in others.” Men are setting records in women’s sports. They’re taking championships and scholarships away from real women like Radachowsky’s daughter, Alanna Smith.

As a sophomore, Ms. Smith set two new records at a recent New England championship meet held in Maine and is a complainant in an ongoing Title IX investigation with the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. She and about 30,000 others would like to prevent males from competing against females. The reader may notice that I’m not calling them “trans-females” because I don’t accept that there’s any such thing.

If the so-called Equality Act passes Congress and is signed by a Democrat president, I would be subject to lawsuits by LGBTQIA… litigants for writing such things. President Trump won’t sign it, but a President Biden would. Should it ever become law, Alanna Smith and other real females athletes would have to permanently give up their dreams of an athletic scholarship. Doctors and nurses who refuse to cut off healthy breasts, penises, and testicles would be fired. The 15% of our hospitals that are Catholic and would be sued for sticking to their beliefs.

As the Heritage Foundation puts it: “[The Equality Act] would empower the government to interfere in how regular Americans think, speak, and act at home, at school, at work and at play. Any bill promoting such authoritarianism is a danger to our freedoms.” The feminist movement is divided on the Equality Act and some radical feminists have joined conservatives in opposition. Has the LGBTQIA… “community” finally pushed the envelope too far? Could be, but then who ever thought it would get half as far as it has?

Monday, May 11, 2020


You may soon be visited by a “contact tracer” now being recruited by your state government, which is building armies of them. He or she could tell you that you’ve been in contact with a Covid-infected person and require that you be tested. They may even force you into stricter quarantine than you’re already enduring. It’s happening all over the country as you may have heard, but Maine and New Hampshire won’t need as many as Massachusetts which has far more Covid cases.

Though they have the same population, New Hampshire has twice the number of contact tracers (over sixty) than Maine has (thirty) for some reason. A former CDC Director says the entire United States needs 300,000. “The use of contact tracing is one of the oldest public health tactics, dating back centuries,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer for the National Association of County and City Health Officials according to WebMD. It’s been employed at the start of almost every public health threat except one.

My last few columns have dealt with the politicization of Covid-19, but that’s nothing new for the CDC. Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks often of his experience from the earliest stages of the AIDS epidemic and is now advising the USA to implement contact tracing for Covid as a key element in the plan to reopen our economy. Try as I might, I cannot find any online reference to Fauci recommending contract tracing for AIDS. In a 2005 interview broadcast on NHPBS Fauci was asked: “What do you see as some of the missed opportunities [of dealing with AIDS] in the United States in the early years?” 

Homosexual activists blamed everybody but themselves
Fauci didn’t mention contact tracing in his response, but he did say: “It may have been better to be much more aggressive in those very early years about targeting populations, such as the gay population, about safe sex … But I can tell you, having been there, the gay population themselves were very reluctant to hear the safe-sex message, because they were concerned that they had just recently won their sexual liberation that they had fought so many years for, and they didn't want this disease to be used as a way to retarget them.”

Fauci folded under pressure
At an early AIDS conference, Fauci urged homosexuals to use condoms, but, “To my surprise, there were a considerable number of people in the audience who actually got up to the microphone and hooted me down like I was trying to impose my standards of sexual conduct on them.” Fauci hasn’t survived government service for over fifty years without being politically malleable, and he bent to pressure from homosexual activists early on.

Although HIV in the first decades of the epidemic was a death sentence, and the biggest vector for transmission was anal sex, Fauci didn’t seem to push for contact tracing. Writing in a 1993 edition of The Atlantic, Chandler Burr said that, just before the FDA approved first HIV test, two powerful homosexual lobbies filed petitions to prevent the CDC from screening homosexual men. The CDC buckled and declared it would only use HIV tests to screen the blood supply.

Ronald Bayer
"U.S. officials had no alternative but to negotiate the course of AIDS policy with representatives of a well-organized gay community and their allies in the medical and political establishments," wrote Ronald Bayer, a professor at the Columbia University School of Public Health. "In this process, many of the traditional practices of public health that might have been brought to bear were dismissed as inappropriate.” AIDS thus became the first politically-protected disease and Dr. Anthony Fauci was complicit.

Not only was contact tracing not practiced with the HIV-infected, it was actually forbidden. “During the first years of the disease,” said Burr, “legislation urged by civil libertarians [like the ACLU] prohibited physicians and public-health officials from notifying even the spouses of living people who had tested positive for HIV [emphasis mine], some of whom continued to have unprotected sex with their partners.” Evidently the ACLU was more worried about privacy rights of the HIV-infected than the very lives of their spouses. Is Fauci still more sensitive to political pressure than to science? You be the judge.

Governor Mills extends quarantine
Fauci is pushing it hard, but the efficacy of contact tracing for anyone who came within six feet of a Covid-19 infected person in an urban environment is questionable. Sex partners of the HIV-infected would have been much easier to locate, excepting anonymous bathhouse encounters.

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Backcountry Resistance

Good will toward government is diminishing in Oxford County, Maine. There has always been healthy skepticism toward centralized authority during the forty-three years I’ve been in residence, but it has grown over the last month of coronavirus shutdown. When Democrat Governor Janet Mills announced her decision last Tuesday to extend the shutdown across the state through most of summer, it took off.

Saturday Demonstration against Mills (from Portland Press Herald)

Shortly after moving here in 1977 as a leftist Democrat from Massachusetts, I was elected to Lovell’s three-man Board of Selectmen on the floor of town meeting. The other selectmen were descendants of our town’s original settlers and we met twice per week. By the end of year one my outlook started moving toward center. By the end of nine years I’d gone past center into right-wing territory. I’d become a strong believer in local control.

The land of Bernie bumper stickers

The rest of Maine and New England, however, was moving in the opposite direction and now all six states are run by left-wing adherents of centralized government control. In early weeks of the pandemic there was little dissent over lockdown and social distancing, but as people learned more about both the virus and about different approaches taken by other countries, many now see lockdowns as ineffective and unnecessary. They figure most of us are going to get it eventually and only the elderly with comorbidities need isolate themselves.

Now that President Trump has allowed governors to make their own decisions about quarantine, Democrat governors, including Maine’s, are exerting what locals see as arbitrary authority over their lives and livelihoods. Maine has not been hit hard and what effect there has been is limited to southern counties of York and Cumberland.  As of last week, Oxford County had no deaths and only fifteen confirmed cases of which twelve have recovered — yet Governor Mills ordered restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, and many other businesses to remain closed.

Saturday's anti-Mills demonstration (from Portland Press Herald)

Tourism is the mainstay of our economy here and local businesses depend on the summer season to get through the rest of the year, so Mills is going to kill off many local businesses permanently. The question now is: will they roll over and die or will they fight? Rick Savage, owner of Sunday River Brewing Company in Oxford County was the first to openly defy Governor Mills. Two days after her order, he went on national TV with Tucker Carlson who owns a place in nearby Andover, Maine and announced he would open on Friday.

Governor Mills pulled Savage’s health license and liquor license immediately and the Boston Globe reported that he shut down again. During a protest at the state house in Augusta Saturday, Savage was interviewed by Newscenter 6 saying he would stay open, pay the daily fines, and fight the order in court. He said other businesses planned to join him. Has Mills’ intimidated them into compliance or will they fight too? It should be an interesting week here in Oxford County.

Saturday's anti-Mills demonstration (from Portland Press Herald)
On Monday Republican leaders declared that Mills didn’t consult them about her shutdown plan. They’re asking majority Democrats to call legislators into special session and end her emergency powers but Democrats refused. Tuesday, Mills’ press secretary said she did communicate with Republicans through a computer portal. Although America’s initial virus response was bipartisan, it no longer is. Efforts to restart the economy have broken down along party lines in Maine and everywhere else.

Maine was supposed to celebrate its bicentennial this year but that’s not likely. It’s nice to be free of Massachusetts but Maine has since spawned its own oligarchy with Mills at the head. What I see in rural Maine seems another manifestation of similar conflicts during Maine’s early settlement. Lately I’ve been reading Liberty Men And Great Proprietors, a 1990 book by historian Alan Taylor. Revolutionary War veterans who settled in backcountry Maine hadn’t been paid for their service and believed they had a right to stake out claims and settle in wilderness areas away from the Province of Maine’s coast.

Maine then was part of Massachusetts whose government and courts were largely controlled by Great Proprietors like Henry Knox, Charles Vaughan, Josiah Little, and their ilk. They claimed ownership of vast land grants — some going back to colonial times. These proprietors wanted veterans and other settlers — the Liberty Men — to pay them for the land. Lawsuits continued for decades before the political influence of wealthy proprietors in the Massachusetts statehouse eventually won out. Rural resistance to state control thus has a long heritage here in backcountry Maine.