Ryan: Mayor Pete's last night in town

Photo by Kevin Ryan

Pete Buttigieg deadpanned the stage, barely out of view on the eve of great disaster.

For nearly a year, Buttigieg had practically lived in Iowa, as he competed with a veritable boatload of Democratic presidential candidates. Despite the outlandishly crowded field, he had risen from what the Washington Post described as "the most interesting mayor you've never heard of," to a frontrunner in the presidential race, edging his position among the seven remaining candidates.

Super Bowl Sunday. With the first-in-the-nation-vote Iowa caucuses in 28 hours, this "Get Out The Caucus" rally was Buttigieg's last pre-caucus event. Not a parking spot for ten blocks by the time Buttigieg was supposed to have appeared.

A couple thousand people inside the Roundhouse, a gymnasium that resembled an ant colony, with its spiraling dome built in 1965, situated on the campus of Abraham Lincoln High School, with its imposing Collegiate Gothic architecture, hilltopped on the south side of Des Moines, near Gray's Lake, which, on that February 2, 2020, had succumb to Iowa snow and shortened days, so the water was frozen. Not solid, not deep — only on the surface.

Inside the gymnasium, a profusion of red and yellow. Sultry, humid. People sweating. Warmed by a nagging fluorescence. And bustling. Frantic.

Abraham Lincoln High School, home of the Rail-SplittersPhoto by Kevin Ryan

Periodically, the crowd shouted "BOOT-edge-edge" to the cadence of "U-S-A." Some of their far more elaborate chants had surely been scripted.

Then, lightning shook the gymnasium in the form of Panic! at the Disco. An instrumental loop of their once-ubiquitous single "High Hopes," which you have definitely heard. And which turns out to be perfect for Buttigieg and his campaign, especially after this video went viral. The choreographed dance routine became a meme, and more videos appeared of Buttigieg-supporter flash mobs, at parks, in conference rooms, at Irish pubs.

And, just like that, Buttigieg, 38, took the stage. Behind him, a giant American flag and risers full of Pete-gear-bedecked supporters shouting "BOOT - EDGE - EDGE. BOOT - EDGE - EDGE. BOOT - EDGE - EDGE."

The floor rumbled. The bleachers and stairs and blinking scoreboards shook. It was a tribal war ceremony. A pep rally for a game that could cost us everything. Our freedom, our lives, our fast food whenever we want it.

The Maltese Chicken

In many way, Buttigieg represents the anti-Trump.

He's polite. He's intellectual. He's young. A church-going Episcopalian, a Rhodes Scholar, a veteran, a former McKinsey management consultant, a Harvard grad, a piano player. He even once accompanied Ben Folds for a performance of "Steven's Last Night in Town," a song about an enigmatic guy who's always about to leave but never does. Afterwards, Folds said, "It was a very difficult song he pulled off. I'm serious. He's a fine player."

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He's well-spoken, decorously well-spoken. Also fluent in French, Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Arabic and Dari, a dialect of Persian that he learned while serving overseas. Oh, and Norwegian.

Like former candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard he's a veteran. He joined the Navy Reserve at 27, achieved the rank of Lieutenant, with a Joint Service Commendation medal. Then, In 2014, he took a leave as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana to serve a seven-month deployment in Afghanistan, where he worked as an intelligence officer as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"I was packing my bags for Afghanistan while [Donald Trump] was working on Season 7 of 'The Apprentice," he said at a May 2019 rally.In his autobiography, "Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future," he says that, during his time in Afghanistan, he was mostly "behind a sophisticated computer terminal in a secure area," although he served as a vehicle commander on convoys through Kabul 119 times.

I would heave my armored torso into the driver's seat of a Land Cruiser, chamber a round in my M4, lock the doors and wave a gloved goodbye to the Macedonian gate guard. My vehicle would cross outside the wire and into the boisterous Afghan city, entering a world infinitely more interesting and ordinary and dangerous than our zone behind the blast walls at ISAF headquarters.

Like fellow candidates Andrew Yang and Bernie Sanders, and former candidate Kamala Harris, Buttigieg is a second-generation American. His father emigrated from Malta in 1979, became a naturalized American citizen, then taught as a professor. "Buttigieg" is Maltese for "lord of the poultry."

History in the Making

Two types of people at the rally — Buttigieg supporters decked in PETE 2020 gear, and journalists, strutting or looking bored. Meanwhile, I desperately fished through my backpack for my Houston Astros, failing, dropping everything, a human spill. But with a smirk, because the Astros had just been disgraced following revelations that they cheated their way to a World Series win, something about banging a trash can like it was a kettledrum.

All through Buttigieg's speech, various media chattered. With their PETE press badges stuck to their arms, they gabbed like people do at annual conferences or family reunions, indifferent to the presidential candidate 80 yards away.

Chuck Todd, host of NBC's Meet the Press, gabbed right beside us. Media pundits, anchors, columnists, all the important people, had converged on Des Moines.

It was like a journalism catwalk. It was like was Homecoming, for us, the media, the eloquent vultures who stomp around with our wings stretched as a show of dominance or a remedy to fear, compensating always.

FoxNews anchor Bret Baier strutted up the aisle, flanked by an entourage. And it looked like he'd deep-fried himself in orange baby powder. Baier lacked the ordinariness that I'd sensed when I met him in Houston at the third Democratic debate. I liked Baier, even if he did snub me when I told him I write for BlazeMedia. Now, he was a puffin of confidence, resembling some American emperor as he walked, parting the crowd.

Didn't any of these journalists want to know what Buttigieg had to say? Sure, when you cover an election, you hear a stump speech 40 times and it loses its spark. But our whole job was to comb for lice.Buttigieg asked the audience, "So, are you ready to make history one more time?"

They'd be making history, all right, far more than they expected, but not like they'd imagined. By the end of the next day, American democracy would take a pie to the face.

Youth and Inexperience

If elected president, Buttigieg would be the youngest in our nation's history, just two years over the minimum age. He got his start as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana at the age of 29. After serving two terms, he left office on Jan. 1, 2020.

In a field of seasoned, much older politicians, including a former Vice President, Buttigieg has faced relentless scrutiny for his lack of political experience — it has come up every single debate. Most recently, in a now-viral campaign ad from former vice president Joe Biden, who like Buttigieg, coincidentally, entered politics at age 29 when he became the sixth-youngest senator in American history.

So much of this campaign has been about age, and not in a charming way, as when a 73-year-old Ronald Reagan responded to a question about his age by saying, "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."

Buttigieg has often championed the idea of "Intergenerational justice" as a means of establishing an "intergenerational alliance." Connecting the generations. During a May 2019 townhall for FoxNews, Chris Wallace asked Buttigieg about the constraints of age for a president. Here was Buttigieg's response:

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Which even caught the attention of President Trump.

At 38, Buttigieg is technically a millennial, and the first to become a serious presidential candidate.

"We're not a generation that feels sorry for itself," Buttigieg told one journalist. "But I think when somebody says, 'Gosh, why are you guys less likely to leave the home?' It's like, well, because college is unaffordable, most of the best opportunities are in cities that are unaffordable. And we graduated into a recession. So what do you expect?"

Politics Politics Politics

Despite all the chaos in the Roundhouse as Mayor Pete chanted to the crowd, I found Justin Robert Young, host of the Politics Politics Politics podcast.

Justin and I first connected last November, after my story on Kanye West's appearance at The Joel Osteen megachurch in Houston. Then Justin had me on his podcast. Immediately, we connected.

The Buttigieg rally was the first time we'd met in person.

Justin gave intermittent commentary into his ZOOM portable recorder, the kind with dual external microphones.

In person, as on his podcast, Justin Robert Young discusses politics with the grace and off-handedness and clarity of a philosophy professor explaining Immanuel Kant. Like a surfer gliding a wave.

But then he throws in some humor. He is what you could call an outcast of the media world. Same as me. There aren't all that many of us. We work for different publications, networks, podcasts — media of every political orientation. But we take umbrage with the politics of new media, it's Trumpian snarl and disdain, it's blunt sense of apathy.

He asked me for my prediction, my "1, 2, 3, 4" on who would win Iowa.

I get asked questions like this fairly often. I don't pretend to be a political expert. But if you're at the horse races, you pick a horse, and sometimes you just go with the horse trotting the wildest and maybe it will win.

"For my number one," I said, "I'd guess Bernie. Two, Biden. Three, Warren. Four, Klobuchar."

"No Pete?" Justin asked.

"I mean, that would really surprise me."

Outside the Wire

Buttigieg is the first openly gay Democratic presidential candidate. He came out in 2015, at the age of 33, near the end of his first term as mayor, with an essay in the South Bend Tribune:

Like most people, I would like to get married one day and eventually raise a family. I hope that when my children are old enough to understand politics, they will be puzzled that someone like me revealing he is gay was ever considered to be newsworthy. By then, all the relevant laws and court decisions will be seen as steps along the path to equality. But the true compass that will have guided us there will be the basic regard and concern that we have for one another as fellow human beings — based not on categories of politics, orientation, background, status or creed, but on our shared knowledge that the greatest thing any of us has to offer is love.

Ten days later, the Supreme Court struck down all state bans on gay marriage, making same-sex marriage legal on the federal level. He married his husband, Chasten Glezman, a schoolteacher from Michigan, in 2018. The following year, he appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine, with his Chasten, and the the words "First Family."

The Atlantic said a Buttigieg presidency could "transform the relationship between gay and straight America for the better." One op-ed in the New York Times praised Buttigieg for changing America with what the author called "Mayor Pete's gay reckoning." Another, noted that" Mr. Buttigieg's ascent has made a sudden and unexpected reality of something [LGBT] donors thought was still years away, if not decades." Although the author added that the LGBT community is by no means monolithic.

Any criticisms of his gayness, or his being a white gay man, have come not from conservatives or Republicans, but from the left, from LGBT groups and openly left-leaning activism-journalists — a discord that the right has crudely exploited for their own benefit, with concern-troll schadenfreude. Because most of the writers who've criticized Buttigieg are themselves LGBT, most of the below examples. And, while they may focus far more on differences than unity, it's their prerogative.

Either way, it's complicated. All of it. For everyone. But especially for the people in the middle of the chaos.

The most cited Buttigieg hit-piece is probably the one from The Outline titled "Why Pete Buttigieg is bad for gays."

The author dislikes Buttigieg's ordinariness, his lack of overt gayness, and, finally, his status as a "democratic capitalist." The author concludes,

But it is hard to escape the way that American capitalism and American democracy have worked in tandem both to dissipate and to assimilate the radical democratic energies of queer liberation by giving a very circumscribed sort of gay a conditional membership to the club.

LGBTQ Nation responded with an article titled "Why Pete Buttigieg is good for gays," rebuking the Outline article, "That isn't an argument. That's self-hatred."

A journalist for Slate wrote

in a primary for the overwhelmingly pro-gay Democratic Party, Buttigieg can be more accurately lumped in with his white male peers than with anyone else.

Senior politics reporter for HuffPost Jennifer Bendery wrote

[H]is candidacy is already exposing tensions in the LGBTQ community between gay white men, who benefit from the economic and social privileges of being white men, and all the other queer people who don't.

Buzzfeed, "You Wanted Same-Sex Marriage? Now You Have Pete Buttigieg.

Vice, "Why Do White People Love Pete Buttigieg?"

The Root, "Pete Buttigieg is a lying MF."

The New Republic published an article in which author Dale Peck, who is also gay, referred to Buttigieg as "Mary Pete." LGBTQ Nation called the article disgusting. Within a day, New Republic editors removed it, saying that it crossed the line into "inappropriate and invasive." The removal of the article caused its own controversy.

Buttigieg addressed the negative press on "The Clay Cane Show,"

I just am what I am, and, you know, there's going to be a lot of that. That's why I can't even read the LGBT media anymore because it's all, 'he's too gay, not gay enough, wrong kind of gay. All I know is that life became a lot easier when I just started allowing myself to be myself and I'll let other people write up whether I'm 'too this' or 'too that'.

Negotiating

Outside, among the snow of things and the ice-veiled football field, a vendor wearing a Los Angeles Lakers beanie sold Buttigieg t-shirts and hats, prowling behind two poker tables.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

"Buttigieg gave quite a speech," I said to Justin. "But it was so neat and tidy."

"Nice, is the word," he replied. "What we saw was a coordinated effort to be the nice guy."

"That's not so bad."

Buttigieg has repeatedly championed the importance of dialogue between the left and the right. Which would involve broadening the information we consume. Twitter, obviously, perpetuates echo-chamber tribalism. But the news media are guilty of ideological biases also, so it's a matter of media literacy, what Buttigieg calls "correcting our media diet." He was the first Democratic candidate to appear on FoxNews. He'll negotiate, not above criticizing his own.

"I also think sometimes there's a sense of condescension coming from our party," he told Bill Maher. "I think a lot of people perceive that we're looking down on them." Which can lead to radicalization. A loss in the sense of belonging.

After graduate school, I happen to have wound up at a conservative news site, but I could just as easily work at a left-leaning or mostly-center outlet. I will, at some point. I hope. Because I'm a journalist, not a politician or an activist. And it's time to make the border between left and right more porous. Especially in the media. Both sides are to blame.

Truth

Later, Justin and I drank cheap beer and watched the Super Bowl at Beechwood Lounge in Des Moines' Historic East Village, with its boutiques and microbrews and pedestrians. Hell of a place to watch the Super Bowl. That long narrow room, steep, a revamped house of some kind. Low lighting. No frill from the bartenders, just abrupt conversation so you know they meant what they said. Home to fashionable outcasts, such as ourselves. The less militant kind with their passion and their certitude, the profound disquiet, a disgust with the status quo.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

Toward the end of the night Justin raised his finger, squinted his left eye, and said, "For your series. You should find a universal truth. Something everyone knows but hasn't said or can't express. Give them a universal truth."

On the flight to Des Moines, I read Forrest Gander's Pulitzer-prize-winning poetry collection "Be With." All, week I kept thinking about one line. A seeming non sequitur. A sentence fragment. "Intuition of the infinite."

Is that truth? When we discover truth, are we grasping something infinite? A constant strain. Reaching for feathers as they float through the breeze. Chasing a rabbit near a busy road and all you want to do is save a creature but it's just too fast and now the danger has spread. Still, in the words of Robert Browning, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?"

Our era had already resigned itself to a life of mistruth, the Age of Fake News Supreme. We know the chaos of doubting whether something is the truth or a lie. A pattern that seems to worsen each day. So it has become harder than ever to apply a universal truth to hundreds of millions of people. But I would do it.

"You're going to see some ads saying there's only two ways to go," Buttigieg had said earlier that day at the rally. "Either you're for a revolution or you're for the status quo. But the good news for Americans today is we have a historic majority ready not only to rally around what we're against to get a better president, but to come together in the name of what we are for as a country."

During an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Dr. Phil perfectly described how this is possible.

"Why do you think that nobody can talk to each other anymore," asked Colbert.

"You know, to tell you the truth, I don't think anybody's trying to get along right now," said Dr. Phil. "Everybody is pissed off and it's like they don't want to get along. If I'm negotiating with somebody — if I'm negotiating with you, the first thing I'm going to do is figure out how to get you the most of what you want I possibly can."

Colbert recoiled. "Is negotiating all about winning?" he asked.

"Certainly you want to win," said Dr. Phil, "but you gotta define 'win'. If 'win' is all one-sided, that's not gonna last very long. If you and I make a deal and I say, 'Okay, here's the deal, you do all the work and I'm gonna get all the money,' I might talk you into that today, but three-four days later you're gonna go, 'Excuse me, can we — kiss my ass, I'm not doing that anymore. Nobody's gonna go along with that, you've gotta have a sense of saying, 'All right, let's start by saying, what do we agree on?"

"Okay, that's it," replied Colbert. "What do we agree on? Because it seems like, right now, during the campaign and right now, too, people are having trouble agreeing on reality. People are having trouble agreeing on what is a fact, what is an alternative fact … Why is this happening, Dr. Phil?"

"Any time there's a dispute, the first thing I do is say, 'Okay, let's figure out what it is we agree on, because we might agree on more than we think, and then we can have these things over to the side that we disagree on.'"

He added, "So. What do we agree on? Everybody agrees that we're all Americans, that we all enjoy the freedoms that we want, we all want to be safe — everybody agrees with those things, right? If you say, 'What do we not agree on' — okay, now we're talking about the disagreements, but we at least have some common ground. Nobody's talking about that."

New stories come out every Monday and Thursday. The next few will take you through the chaos of the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Send all notes, tips, corrections to kryan@blazemedia.com

Bill O'Reilly joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Friday to talk about how he thinks President Donald Trump will fair in the 2020 election given the current struggling economy due to the coronavirus crisis.

O'Reilly said he believes President Trump will win in November if the coronavirus pandemic is under control by this summer, but if schools and businesses are still closed by September, it may be trouble for Trump -- even with former vice president Joe Biden's seemingly declining health.

"What I've said from the very beginning of this whole ordeal, is that if Donald Trump can get the pandemic under control this summer, he wins. If by September, it's not under control, the kids cannot go back to school in many places, people are not opening up businesses again, he loses," O'Reilly said.

However, the Democrats have a major problem because Joe Biden ... is tottering. His mental acute is not what it used to be and everyone around him knows that. That's why Andrew Cuomo is warming up in the bullpen," he added. "But Trump knows that his whole future in politics depends on getting this pandemic to subside."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

BILL O'REILLY: Trump 2020 Election Based on Controlling Coronavirus Pandemic by Summer youtu.be


In response to the COVID-19 quarantine, BlazeTV is offering our BIGGEST discount ever! Get $30 off your subscription when you use promo code GLENN. Claim your special offer at https://get.blazetv.com/glenn/.

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Glenn gives the latest coronavirus numbers, updating YOU on everything needed to know as Americans and officials monitor China's new COVID-19 virus:

Daily Stats as of 5:30 AM CT (from John's Hopkins)

  • Total Confirmed Cases Worldwide: 1,030,324 (up from 950,638 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Deaths Worldwide: 54,226 (up from 48,289 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Recovered Worldwide: 219,896 (up from 202,631 Yesterday)
  • 5% of Active Cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization) Steady from 5% Yesterday, but down from 19% high back in February
  • Note that 12% of US Confirmed Cases require Hospitalization, roughly on par with Italy at 12% requiring hospitalization and lower than Spain, where 18% of patients require hospitalization.
  • US has 245,380 Confirmed Cases and 6,095 Deaths, up from 215,344 cases and 5,112 deaths yesterday
  • The US currently has 228,874 Active Cases of COVID-19, with about 1% of the US Population tested
  • 15% of Americans who have been tested have been diagnosed with COVID-19
White House to Recommend All Americans Wear Face Masks in Public https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/04/02/coronavirus-facemasks-policyreversal/
  • The White House is poised to urge Americans to wear cloth masks or face coverings in public to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, in a reversal of earlier advice.
  • President Trump said Thursday at a coronavirus task force briefing that "a recommendation is coming out," but "I don't think it will be mandatory. If people want to wear them, they can."
  • Later, however, a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to relate internal discussions, said that the guidance being considered is "narrowly targeted to areas with high community transmission" and that the matter remains under discussion.
  • A new Memo from the CDC states: "In light of new data, along with evidence of widespread transmission in communities across the country, CDC recommends the community use of cloth masks as an additional public health measure people can take to prevent the spread of the virus to those around them."
  • The recommendations represent a major change in CDC guidance that healthy people don't need masks or face coverings.
  • The news comes as Laredo, TX joins more than a dozen American cities or Counties that have mandated the use of face masks for all persons in public spaces such as grocery stores or shopping centers. Violaters without a facemask risk up to a $1000 fine. https://www.foxnews.com/us/texas-city-fine-people-who-dont-cover-faces-outside-coronavirus
  • Similar provisions are being considered for the entire State of California, according to Governor Gavin Newsom's office.
Anti-body Tests Getting Accelerated Availability https://news.yahoo.com/antibody-tests-key-ending-covid-19-lockdowns-162305617.html
  • Unlike Vaccine testing and production which could take months or years, SARS-CoV-2 Antibody tests could be available in the US in a few weeks.
  • Such tests could be key in enabling the partial lifting of lockdown and shelter-in-place orders, as authorities could determine who might already have immunity to the virus and could return to work.
  • "If we can determine someone's already had the virus and now has immunity and is no longer contagious to others, that's what we're looking for here," said Anthony Fauci in Thursday's White House COVID-19 Task Force update.
  • However, it should be noted that researchers have yet to determine if anti-body production renders people permanently or only temporarily immune to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
  • While some Virus immunities, such as Chicken Pox, are generally permanent immunities, others, such as SARS-1 and Rhinovirus (the common cold) grant only short-term, multi-month immunity...which is why people can get a cold each year.
  • Most known Coronavirus immunities in humans are not permanent, researchers have noted. Influenza, for example, grants only seasonal immunity and can be caught again only a few months later.
Lord Have Mercy...Hospital Ships Sit Empty https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/02/nyregion/ny-coronavirus-usns-comfort.html
  • The much-touted Navy Hospital Ships in New York and Los Angeles sit 95% empty as of Thursday evening.
  • In New York, The USNS Comfort's 1,000 beds are largely unused, its 1,200-member crew mostly idle. "We're waiting for patients," one nurse was quoted by the New York Times.
  • Only 20 patients had been transferred to the ship, officials said, even as New York hospitals struggled to find space for the thousands infected with the coronavirus.
  • Another Navy hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, docked in Los Angeles, has had a total of 15 patients, officials said.
  • "If I'm blunt about it, it's a joke," said Michael Dowling, the head of Northwell Health, New York's largest hospital system. "Everyone can say, 'Thank you for putting up these wonderful places and opening up these cavernous halls.' But we're in a crisis here, we're in a battlefield."
  • What's the issue? In classic government style: Red Tape.
  • On top of its strict rules preventing people infected with the virus from coming on board, the Navy is also refusing to treat a host of other conditions. Guidelines disseminated to hospitals included a list of 49 medical conditions that would exclude a patient from admittance to the ship.
  • Ambulances cannot take patients directly to the Comfort; they must first deliver patients to a city hospital for a lengthy evaluation — including a test for the virus — and then pick them up again for transport to the ship. With 911 call centers already massively over-capacity, ambulances aren't available to take non-infected persons to each ship.
  • Meanwhile, across New York hospitals are overrun. Patients have died in hallways before they could even be hooked up to one of the few available ventilators in New York. Doctors and nurses, who have had to use the same protective gear, again and again, are getting sick.
  • "So many people are dying that the city is running low on body bags," Dowling said. "The Coroner's office told our administrator to start double-wrapping bodies in sheets for the time being."
In Hopeful Sign, University of Pittsburgh Researchers May Have Found COVID-19 Vaccine https://nypost.com/2020/04/02/scientists-believe-they-found-potential-coronavirus-vaccine/
  • Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine believe that they've found a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus.
  • The researchers announced their findings Thursday and believe the vaccine could be rolled out quickly enough to "significantly impact the spread of disease," according to their study published in EBioMedicine.
  • The vaccine would be delivered on a small, fingertip-sized patch. When tested on mice, the vaccine produced enough antibodies believed to successfully counteract the virus.
  • The scientists say they were able to act fast because they had already done research on the similar coronaviruses SARS and MERS.
  • The Trump Administration ordered the FDA to fast-track the next phase of Animal trials for the experimental vaccine.
  • Officials did warn that even if successful, human trials and ultimate production could still be as many as 12-18 months away.
  • "It's early, but this is a very positive result," the lead scientist said in an interview. "We're well on our way."
Vermont, Maryland Make Buying Seeds to Grow Food Illegal https://www.eagletimes.com/covid_19/large-retailers-stop-in-person-sales-of-nonessential-items-in-vermont/article_c1d0e43c-7432-11ea-8ca9-a30ed891d9fd.htmlimage.png Canada's Farmers Warn of Food Supply Impact Due to Non-Essential Designation https://ipolitics.ca/2020/04/02/the-sprout-canadian-farmers-worry-for-food-supply/, https://business.financialpost.com/commodities/agriculture/agriculture-sector-scrambling-to-offset-consequences-of-covid-19-crisis
  • Canada's government issues a list of industries and jobs it deemed essential, including food delivery, shipping & logistics, medical care, energy production & delivery.
  • One industry that was glaringly absent: agricultural production.
  • Like the US, Canada's agricultural industry relies on migrant and seasonal workers to plant and harvest foods, especially key fruits and vegetables that must be picked by hand.
  • Industry representatives have begun to petition the government to include Ag production an essential service so travel restrictions can be relaxed to allow workers to travel into Canada and use of public transportation systems to get to where planting activities must occur soon to allow for Fall food harvests.
  • Canada's Federation of Independent Grocers also extended a warning to the Government that it projects food costs in Canada could rise by as much as 90% in the coming months due to COVID-19 related disruptions. https://nationvalleynews.com/2020/04/01/grocers-group-warns-rising-food-costs-come/
Industry Expert Warns Illness Among Agricultural Workers Could Threaten US Food Supplies https://www.msn.com/en-us/finance/markets/an-outbreak-among-farm-workers-would-be-catastrophic/ar-BB1257dl
  • Much of the US food supply chain is staffed by low-wage workers, many of them undocumented immigrants with limited ties to health services.
  • The Pew Research Center has estimated that about one-quarter of U.S. farmworkers are undocumented.
  • A 2019 U.S. Department of Labor survey estimated that the share of field workers who are undocumented is closer to half of all farmworkers.
  • The food processing industry also has high numbers of undocumented workers, as do many of the nation's smaller grocers and fast-food restaurants.
  • Immigrant farming communities are often close-knit, with laborers living and working in close proximity, with workers sharing hotel rooms and even make-shift Tents with cots, to save on costs.
  • As the California-based Western Growers Association states, "Social distancing is difficult or perhaps impossible in certain settings such as harvesting, transport (of workers) and housing."
  • One California grower told National Public Radio that if the coronavirus penetrates the agricultural community, "it will spread like wildfire."
  • The news comes as Mexico only recently restricted movements and travel, issuing shelter-in-place orders for 90% of the country.
  • The Trump Administration recently eased restrictions on H-2a Ag Worker visas, but industry experts warned many workers planned to stay in Mexico or other Central American countries due to travel restrictions now in effect in those countries. https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-03-27/state-department-eases-requirements-for-h2a-visa
  • The Western Growers Association currently estimates a 30% reduction in labor force this year, which may be further impacted if COVID-19 spreads among workers who live and work in tight close quarters.
LA Mayor: "Snitches Get Rewards" https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/03/31/coronavirus-los-angeles-eric-garcetti-snitches-get-rewards/
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced new guidelines for construction sites that continue to operate during the coronavirus pandemic while encouraging the community to report businesses that violate the Safer at Home order.
  • Garcetti said that since the stay at home order was put in place, the city has been told about construction sites that have not been following the guidelines set out in that order.
  • "You know the old expression about snitches, well in this case snitches get rewards," Garcetti said. "We want to thank you for turning folks in and making sure we are all safe."
  • As of Tuesday afternoon, Garcetti said "business ambassadors" from the city had visited 540 businesses that had not complied with the Safer at Home order. Of those, 144 were visited by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department to ensure compliance with the order.
  • So far, Four businesses have been referred to the city attorney's office for misdemeanor filings.
  • The story comes as business owners across the US have been cited and even arrested for violating House Arrest orders, many turned in by way of anonymous calls to police departments. https://apnews.com/343ed4a8e95dfc8f8dda87b9e450ca57
In Germany, Hundreds of Citations Handed Out Based on Anonymous Reports and Emails to Police Departments https://news.trust.org/item/20200402160625-8y12u
  • (Headline Bloomberg News) Germans snitch on neighbors flouting virus rules, in an echo of the Stasi past
  • Law-abiding Germans are zealously helping police crackdown on people flouting new social distancing rules aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus by reporting on strangers, neighbors and friends.
  • In a country where denunciation was commonplace under the Communists in East Germany and Hitler's Nazis, police forces across the country are getting tip-offs on anything from "corona parties" to people driving to weekend cottages.
  • Rules introduced in March forcing restaurants, pubs and sports facilities to shut and banning gatherings of people have given police plenty of work. With the number of corona cases and deaths climbing fast, there is no sign of easing enforcement.
  • Since March 14, police in the German capital have ordered 830 pubs, shisha bars and other establishments to shut and recorded 898 crimes.
  • "We are getting tip-offs from the public about open restaurants or large gatherings of people in parks," said a spokeswoman, adding officers were, as always, ready to deal with information from the public.
  • Forces around Germany are in a similar situation. Munich police took up to 150 calls every day last week from citizens reporting alleged breaches of corona rules, according to Spiegel Online.

For weeks now, our political leaders and the media have been repeating the World Health Organization's claim that non-medical-grade face masks don't work when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19. So, why are infectious disease experts now reconsidering their guidelines?

According to the New York Times, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, said the guidance on wearing non-medical masks is "being critically re-reviewed, to see if there's potential additional value for individuals that are infected or individuals that may be asymptomatically infected."

In actuality, they didn't trust the American people to do the right thing and prioritize healthcare workers to receive masks first, opined Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday. But they do work, and "if we're going to open the country up, we are going to all have to wear face masks," he said.

Listen to the clip to hear more details:

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Face Masks DO Work, US Cases Per Capita, and WHO Lies for Communist China youtu.be

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William "Bill" Kelly is 95-year-old World War II veteran from Oregon. He lived through the Great Depression.
He served in the South Pacific during World War II. And now he has just fought the coronavirus -- and won.

Bill joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday to share his experience and a hopeful message about why the younger generations can overcome this crisis.

"I want to tell the people, it wasn't pleasant, but on the other hand, you know, if you do what you're supposed to do, and you have some loved ones around you, and do a lot of praying, why, you'll come through okay. We [American's] have been through a lot. We've been through Pearl Harbor. We've been through the Great Depression, and who knows what else. We're tough. We'll get through it. Hang in there," Bill said.

"You know, it's just -- it's in our American blood," he added. "We're that type of people. We take care of each other, and we are not going to break down. We're going to make it through, every time. Every time."

"There are people that don't think we are those people anymore. That it was the greatest generation -- your generation -- that did it, but now we're not the same people. Do you agree with that? Glenn asked.

"No," asserted Bill. "And the reason I say that is because I remember when I was a young kid, you know, and people, the older people, said 'all those young kids are soft' ... but when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor -- sneak attack, you know -- it's surprising how those so-called goofy kids turned into mighty fine fighting people. And they're very loyal. I have lots of faith in them ... no, I don't have any problems with this new generation. They'll take care of us. We're Americans."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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