Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Kristi Noem’

A “Case” of Headache – EPautos – Libertarian Car Talk

Posted by M. C. on June 19, 2020

Handing out COVID Cash was a big mistake.

An innumerate population is easily driven batshit crazy with fear when it is presented with thousands and thousands of new “cases” – exclamation pointed and frantically, breathlessly touted by Face-Diapered media personalities (just the right word) who long ago ceased being reporters, if they ever were.

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I had a “case” of headache this morning – probably from reading (again) about all the new “cases” of WuFlu. What is it with this “cases” thing? Does the media really not understand the difference between “cases” of something and whether people die from it?

Lot of “cases” of headache in this country.

Also indigestion, menopause and acne. If the media reported the daily tally of these, you’d think there was a  . . . crisis. Of course, the media does not do this. And didn’t do it, previously, with the common cold or the seasonal flu. If it had done so we’d have been “locked down” and  wearing face diapers years ago. There are millions of “cases” of  these things every year – in part because there are hundreds of millions of people in the country and it’s inevitable a percentage of them will get sick each year.

This never used to be considered a “crisis.” It was normal because it was life. Including, sometimes, death.

In 1799, George Washington caught a cold while riding the fence line during a snowstorm in December at his Mount Vernon home; being an older guy at this time, the cold worsened and – we don’t know for sure, but the evidence suggests – developed into pneumonia, which is hard to shake when you’re older, especially when the quack doctors attending you decide to bleed you as the “cure.”

Washington died – but the country wasn’t locked down. Because in those days, Americans understood that getting sick was part of life, especially when most people didn’t die because they caught a cold.

But then, in 1799 there was also no saturation media – able to speak with one very loud voice – drum-rolling a horrific-sounding “case” count on the hour, accompanied by lurid graphics and ominous implications.

The latter italicized to make the point which they always do – without actually saying it.

The daily “case” count is intended to make the viewer believe that mass death will follow. They practically lead the poor horse’s muzzle to the water trough. It is a deliberate attempt to pump up the numbers when the relevant number – the percentage of “cases” who end up dead – continues to decrease. Not just in numbers but also percentages – which is a function of the number of  “cases.”

An excellent example of this deliberate (it has to be – stupidity and journalistic negligence can no longer account for what is going on; it is too blatant at this point) shell game of death is the reportage of what is going on in South Dakota.

Or rather, what hasn’t.

This state is one of the only ones not “locked down” – because it has a governor, Kristi Noem, who does not believe in practicing what she calls “herd leadership,” by which she means imposing on South Dakotans what has been imposed on New Yorkers, Californians and Virginians, oh my!

Meaning, she left it up to South Dakotans to lead themselves. To weigh the risk of getting sick vs. the risk of getting dead and weigh those things against the certainty of going broke or out of business and leading a sad, neurotic, Face-Diapered life as the “new normal.”

Dutifully – you might even say gleefully – the media jumped as one on the chance to report “skyrocketing” cases of Corona in the not-locked-down/not-treat-everyone-as-a-Face-Diapered-leper state. “The number of confirmed cases has risen from 129 to 988 since April” – exclamation-pointed the New York Post a couple of months ago. Which went on to tantalize its readers with the schadenfreude news that “the state is now home to one of the largest single clusters of coronavirus outbreaks” – i.e., “cases” – in the entire country!

The New York Times piled on – “5,898 cases,” it reported the other day.

Oh, the humanity!

But what about the dead humanity?

In all of South Dakota – about 885,000 people – all of 75 people have supposedly died from – or with – the Corona virus in their system as of last week. The with is important because it credits WuFlu/Corona with a lethality it lacks. “Cases” of the very elderly who die of other things – such as being very elderly – are claimed as Corona victims if Corona is found in their bodies at autopsy. Which is like attributing the condemning of a house eaten up by termites to the bad storm that finally pushed it over last night. It is rotten – just the right word – in both instances.

A deliberate, malicious effort to deceive. To use fear for a political purpose, which – to her immense credit – Governor Noem did not do. She is a relic of a time when American leaders were not always rotten.

Which explains why she has been targeted. Vilified as “uncaring,” irresponsible.”

Granny will die!  

Also why the number of deaths attributed to the WuFlu in her state – in most states – is rarely mentioned and never parsed.

A fractional mortality rate that decreases with each uptick in “cases” doesn’t a “crisis” make.

An innumerate population is easily driven batshit crazy with fear when it is presented with thousands and thousands of new “cases” – exclamation pointed and frantically, breathlessly touted by Face-Diapered media personalities (just the right word) who long ago ceased being reporters, if they ever were.

Be seeing you

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Coronavirus Pandemic: South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem Stayed the Course | National Review

Posted by M. C. on June 8, 2020


‘The people themselves are primarily responsible for their safety.’

Pierre, South Dakota — The coronavirus crisis hasn’t been kind to the reputations of many governors.

New York’s Andrew Cuomo held effective news conferences that at first burnished his image, but he’s now ducking responsibility for sending virus patients back into nursing homes where the disease promptly spread. Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer is now seen as a scold who on the one hand has kept pot dispensaries open but, on the other, last week told residents who’ve gone three months without hair care to just “Google how to do a haircut.”

Among the governors whose reputation has clearly been enhanced is South Dakota’s Kristi Noem. The 48-year-old Republican, who still ranches her family’s land, didn’t issue a shelter-in-place lockdown order for her state. “The people themselves are primarily responsible for their safety,” she said in a public statement in April. She added that the state and national constitutions “prevent us from taking draconian measures much like the Chinese government has done.”

But that didn’t mean South Dakota didn’t take clear steps to control the virus. Noem issued an executive order in March urging the elderly and those with preexisting conditions to stay home and encouraging employees to practice social distancing and to telework if possible.

“We do follow Center for Disease Control guidance,” Noem told Greg Kelly of Newsmax TV. “But we also made decisions that were best for South Dakota. South Dakota is not New York City.” Indeed, per square mile, New York has more than 26,000 residents per square mile, while South Dakota has only 12.

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What Governors Can Do | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on April 10, 2020

The bad press is already started regarding Sweden. How they make out will be interesting.

Too bad it will be years before reliable information will be leaked.

To my Pennsylvania comrades-don’t expect relief anytime soon.

Jeff Deist

Which state has the courage to become the Sweden of the US, and take a different (read: better, freer) approach to coronavirus?

As of yesterday, five US states remain at least reasonably “open” in terms of their implemented measures to fight the pandemic. Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota have no state orders in place closing businesses and forcing residents to stay home, while Iowa and North Dakota shut down “nonessential” businesses but have not issued stay-at-home orders.

Three states, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Utah, have partial lockdowns in place.

The other forty-two states have varying orders in place, and some regions such as the San Francisco Bay area have issued their own stricter shutdown policies. Population-wise, nearly 95 percent of all Americans today live under some kind of restrictions on movement and business, decreed either statewide or by counties and cities.

There is a tremendous opportunity here for state and local politicians to distinguish themselves. South Dakota governor Kristi Noem in particular has been steadfast in resisting political pressure to order a statewide lockdown, and surely most Americans readily understand how sparsely populated Western states might approach a pandemic very differently than big urban cities.

What should that approach look like? Here are some broad brushstrokes:

  • First, one brave governor (or county supervisor, mayor, etc.) gets the ball rolling by forming an impromptu coalition of states interested in staying open or reopening. Political pressure to go along with other states is strong, and the federal government has a long and sordid history of bullying states into compliance with national edicts using the carrot and the stick. The Trump administration thus far has been surprisingly reluctant to issue a nationwide shutdown, and governors looking for daylight should seize on this. They will need each other to stand against the tide—see, e.g., this broadside, against Noem.
  • Hold a press conference to announce the coalition, pick a marketable name for the effort (something like “South Dakota—Open for Business!”), and hold weekly calls open to media. Discuss conditions, options, and ideas, but make it clear that each state is wholly independent and that decisions are necessarily localized—this is not an interstate compact.
  • Announce guidelines, not orders, to citizens along these lines: people over seventy are strongly encouraged to self-quarantine in a strict manner. Those over fifty who have existing medical vulnerabilities to the virus are encouraged to do the same. Healthy people under fifty are welcome to return to daily activities but are strongly encouraged to wear masks (proven to be effective in several Asian countries). Of course many residents will self-quarantine regardless, and some businesses will choose to shut down regardless, per their individual choices.
  • Reopen government courts, and set a deadline of sixty or ninety days hence for resumption of contract enforcement (including evictions). Ask the state bar association to set up statewide centers for landlords and tenants to meet and renegotiate—using realistic numbers—rental agreements. Hard-line landlords can go to court, and hard-line tenants can refuse payment, but evictions benefit neither party in the immediate term.
  • In stages, reopen public schools and universities based on local conditions. Hold parental votes online to determine whether each school district will continue online classes or revert to physical attendance.
  • Announce that restaurants, bars, and retail outlets are open as usual, with the strong caveat that provable cases of virus transmittal will be heard in state courts under a broad doctrine of premises liability. This will encourage the kind of measures by owners that have been seen in Taiwan and Singapore, ranging from using digital thermometers at store entrances to relentless scrubbing of surfaces in restaurants.
  • Immediately bid out a statewide insurance claims facility for coronavirus deaths so that in worst case scenarios families will be compensated for loss of loved ones. Insist that payments are retroactive to cover deaths prior to the bid, and use the model of airlines after crashes (quick payouts, little paperwork, claims personnel with good bedside manner). Payouts of $1 million would not be impossible to insure against in low-population states, where deaths likely will remain well under five thousand. Insurers themselves can go to the reinsurance markets, and insurance companies would have every incentive to test, treat, and take measures necessary to keep citizens alive. They would become de facto partners when it comes to securing medical equipment, hospital beds, and personnel. Insurance companies also would have a strong incentive, unlike politicians, to determine what constitutes death “from” the virus as opposed to death with the virus simply present in the body. Use bond revenue (discussed below) to cover premiums.
  • Immediately bid out to pharmaceutical companies for a supply of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and other promising drugs. Eliminate unnecessary state restrictions on prescribing and dispensing such drugs, and consider making them available over the counter until infections subside. Distribute them widely across the state, and charge break-even (cheap) prices for generic versions.
  • Issue state bonds for sale to private equity investors, hedge funds, foundations, and individuals. Take a deep breath, and secure them with real estate owned by the state—make government, rather than taxpayers, sacrifice for once! Price them aggressively, with higher than market rates of interest (but not junk bond rates). Make these bonds nontaxable by the issuing state itself, both with respect to income and capital gains. Use the funds to provide insurance, medical equipment, hospital capacity, testing centers, and protective gear as needed.
  • Encourage regional airlines, or major airlines serving the state, to relocate aircraft there and resume “domestic” flights (and/or flights between “open” states).

None of these ideas is particularly difficult to implement per se, but do any governors have the political will to do so? They should if they take an honest look at the landscape of a country that is coming unglued. Every day there is less and less to lose by trying something different. In a crisis, bold usually wins. So the choice at present appears to be bold freedom or bold tyranny.

Americans are reconsidering federalism and even nullification in an era of intensely polarized anti-Trump sentiment. The Left argues for soft secession in the form of “Bluexit” from the hated red states; conservatives such as Angelo Codevilla call for strategic defiance of the feds in what he terms a “Cold Civil War.” Golden State governor Gavin Newsome even recently referred to California as a “nation-state,” and why not? With 40 million people, a huge economy, tourism, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, ports and coastlines, and major universities, not to mention beaches, deserts, and mountains, the state easily could be an independent nation.

We were already in uncharted territory, but the coronavirus truly laid bare the deep and intolerable political divisions wracking our country. Governor Noem and others could begin the healing process now, literally and figuratively, by showing us a way forward without DC. The virus could be the catalyst for a new map of America.

Be seeing you




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