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There is more than one amendment

I’m an unapologetic supporter of the Second Amendment. I’m also equally unapologetic in my support of the rest of the Bill of Rights. Please consider supporting the First Amendment by signing the petition.

 

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/president-trump-please-declare-paper-producers-and-booksellers-essential-first-amendment

One question

There are a lot is “isms” out there. Socialism, democratic socialism, communism, corporatism, fascism, yada, yada, yada. The list seems almost endless. Interestingly, almost all of them can be grouped under the umbrella of an even greater ism. Collectivism. This is actually very convenient, because isms tend to promise all sorts of good things, especially freedom. The specific convenience is this: you can determine if a particular ism is collectivist in its approach by asking a single, simple question of only four words.

Can I opt out? That’s it. It’s possible to expand and complicate the question, but that is its most basic, and I submit its most useful, form. Can I opt out? If you offer me freedom, can I opt out? If I want to pursue my freedom some other way, without limiting or infringing upon the freedom and rights of others, can I opt out of what you offer? If the answer is “no,” regardless of the high and noble sounding arguments to support it, then what is offered is not freedom. At best, what is offered is the chance to experience “freedom” the way someone else wants you to.

It does not matter

I have been a registered nurse since 1991. Wow. That’s almost 30 years. When I was still in college, earning my BSN, do you know what was being talked about? The nursing shortage. Guess what we are still talking about? Yep. The same thing. It has not gone away. We have a chronic shortage. There are multiple reasons for that, but the shortage remains.

There’s another group in short supply: respiratory therapists. Guess what those folks do? They manage ventilators and ventilator patients.

New York governor Cuomo says the state needs 30,000 additional ventilators and 140,000 hospital beds to adequately deal with the current pandemic. Here’s the problem. New York has neither the nurses nor the respiratory therapists to meet those needs. If we look at what other states need, the problem gets bigger and more apparent. We simply don’t have enough trained professionals.

Becoming a registered nurse takes 2-4 years, depending upon previous education. Becoming a respiratory therapist takes at least 2 years. What this means is that we do not have and cannot produce in time the number of trained personnel necessary to meet projected needs. We have been beating this drum for, quite literally, decades.

Let’s pretend you are the entirety of hospital administration. I am a registered nurse. The US Navy provided me with a wealth of experience and training beyond what I received in nursing school. I can manage ventilator patients and ventilators. Not all nurses have that training and experience, but I have done it. I can do it at your hospital…if you are willing to pull me away from other patients to do so. Which means you must replace me with another nurse to care for those other patients.

With the above in mind, it doesn’t matter how many ventilators or beds we have.  If tomorrow, we have all the beds and ventilators we need, we still won’t have the trained personnel to go with them.

For all of you hospital administrators, politicians, supposed experts, and professors of nursing who refused to listen as we warned you for the last 30-40 years, as we told you we needed less paperwork and fewer restrictions on practice, what the f*** did you think was going to happen when a situation like this inevitably arose? Responsibility for this does not fall on nurses on the floor. God knows it doesn’t fall on respiratory therapists. Hell, he’s not even served out his first term, so it doesn’t even fall on Donald Trump, given how long we’ve been warning you. It falls on you who have burdened nurses (and almost certainly RTs) with more and more that pulls them from doing what they need to be doing. You brought this on us. Any and all deaths because of it should be laid at your feet, you feckless, power hungry assholes.

Two quotes…

for your consideration. The first is from William Pitt the Younger, when Parliament was considering a bill to reform the East India Company. It was argued that the bill was necessary to save the company from bankruptcy. Pitt responded,

“Necessity was the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It was the argument of tyrants; it was the creed of slaves.”

Years later, F A Hayek would express a similar thought, though he would phrase it differently.

‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.

Regardless of the emergency, and regardless of its severity, it seems almost inevitable that some people will make the attempt to “fix” things, always at the cost of just a little more liberty. I submit the same thing is true now. Is the current pandemic bad? Of course. Pandemics are, almost by definition, not good or even neutral events. But here’s the deal: the world is not ending and the sky is not falling. Those who insist it is are either deceived or simply lying to you. Regardless of the issue, the challenge will always be how to deal with that challenge while preserving liberty. Not “preserving most of our liberty,” mind you but “preserving liberty.” As an American, I will go so far as to suggest that the preservation of our liberty is far more important than the preservation of some much vaunted place on the world stage. Those things can go hand-in-hand, to some extent, but liberty must always be the primary concern.

Related to the above is this: there are those who will tell you that America’s only hope is for us to reelect the current POTUS. There are those from the other side who will tell you our only hope is to elect someone else. Allow me to suggest both of those are lies. Our hope as a nation is not dependent so much upon who we elect as it is upon us. If we wish to remain free, we must elect those who will pass laws consistent with freedom, and hold them immediately politically accountable if they do otherwise, regardless of what else they may promise, even if they deliver on those other promises. Pork is a poor substitute for freedom.

If we wish to remain free, we must be committed to the principles that once made us free. We must reject authoritarians of any stripe. It is a challenge. I pray we are equal to it.

“…somewhere in the darkness

the Gambler, he broke even…”

How very, very appropriate.

RIP, Kenny Rogers

Let’s see…

In spite of his rather acerbic assertion, Bernie Sanders is not dealing with a “f***ing global crisis.” The person dealing with that is someone he likely despises. Hell, I don’t like him much either, but let’s at least have something that approximates honesty about who is doing what. What Bernie is dealing with is his increasing irrelevance and the growing realization he will never be POTUS.

Presumably, now that Canada has closed its borders, it is now okay if ours are closed, too.

When Sarah Hoyt doesn’t sound a hopeful note, it catches my attention. I encourage you to read her post. The most important parts are summed up this way:

Look, there is a possibility, a bare possibility that we come through this okay. The mess Obama left behind, Trump could only get us out of one of two ways: grow past the debt, or inflate past the debt.

The first one was working, but now the enemies-domestic have thrown it in the pot, and all that remains is the painful second. Thank heavens we used the last of our savings getting the kids through college. (She says bitterly.) The smart money now is to spend it all and borrow as much as you can. It’s how inflation works.

But unlike the panicky spokes-twat for the know-nothings, I remember the seventies. Ladies and gentlemen, this one is going to hurt like a MOTHER.

Followed by

Work, my friends. Work as hard as you can. Build under, build over, build around.

And let’s hope G-d in His infinite sense of humor still looks after Fools, Drunkards and the United States of America. And that as grandma assured me, He can write straight on humanity’s crooked lines.

This last week and the events thereof will be playing themselves out for the rest of my life, even if I — which is unlikely — should live to see a 100.

And we’re going to need all the luck, all the work, all the desperate struggle we can muster so that our children and grandchildren don’t live in one of many competing national socialism(s).

Socialism kills, fast or slow. National or international it’s just a matter of speed and directness.

Let’s keep it from our shores yet once more.

On a more pleasant note, the brisket is in the smoker and the smoker is producing nice, clean smoke from a mixture of oak, pecan and hickory. Soon, it will be noon and I can have a frosty beverage of choice.

 

Covid-19 thoughts

I’ve been trying to come up with a creative and witty way of phrasing this post, but it appears my muse is currently quarantined.

Preparedness

Once more, preparedness, properly conceived and executed, is part of a normal, healthy lifestyle. Panic buying is not preparedness. Actions which declare “my plan is to panic” is not preparedness. Those things are, instead, an indication that you have either decided

  1. nothing can ever go sufficiently awry to disrupt your life, or
  2. you simply don’t want to think about such things

If that is what you’ve done, so far, I have a single question: How’s that working out? If you don’t have a plan, don’t panic. You can still come up with and implement one. You cannot do that, however, if you don’t force yourself to remain calm and to objectively consider your circumstances and resources.

Memes

If you are sharing memes which suggest people can avoid (or even, I kid you not, cure) Covid-19, by

  • drinking water
  • gargling with vinegar
  • any other asinine idea floating around in meme-land

then please pay attention. Those things are not true! They are, at best, the idle speculation of the grossly misinformed. At worst they are willful, deliberate lies. So, please, stop sharing them. What did other people do to you that lead you to hate them so much you would willingly contribute to their possible demise?