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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Buying into Distressed Property Politically ... and Democrats, BEWARE of Republican Lies!

Important Announcement:   Between now and the next full posting on this blog, new items will continue to come up.  Rather than wait for the blog's next full posting, they will be added ... with the date they are added shown ... at the tail end of this posting.  Scroll down right now to read the ones already added to this particular posting, if any.  (And see recent prior postings as well.)

Republican Lies Pose a Danger to Democracy

The election of Joe Biden to the presidency and majorities, however tenuous, in both Houses of Congress should not be reassuring to Democrats.  Remember that there is a solid conservative majority on the Supreme Court and many governorships and State legislatures remain in the hands of Republicans.  Biden will try to be a president of all of the people, but that will be very difficult in view of the entrenched opposition he faces.  Republicans are good at tearing things down and awful at rebuilding them because of the libertarian streak which permeates the G.O.P. and believes that the less government does, the better off the nation will be, regardless of the extent it benefits the citizenry. Reactionary Grover Norquist’s recommendation that “government be drowned in a bathtub” still appeals to many.

A recent Associated Press article addressed this situation, pointing out how this disease has spread throughout what used to be a legitimate political party, the G.O.P., but which is now no more than a haven for extreme radicalism.   This is paraticularly true at the State and local levels.

Manhattan GOP chairwoman Andrea Catsimatidis,
seen in September, this month retweeted:
'Corporate America helped rig the election.'

Here is the Associated Press article:

Local GOP Leaders use Falsehoods

Some manipulate social media to gain followers


By Garance Burke, Martha Mendoza, Juliet Linderman and Larry Fenn - ASSOCIATED PRESS 


A faction of local, county and state Republican officials is pushing lies, misinformation and conspiracy theories that echo those that helped inspire the violent U.S. Capitol siege, online messaging that is spreading quickly through GOP ranks fueled by algorithms that boost extreme content.


The Associated Press reviewed public and private social media accounts of nearly 1,000 federal, state and local elected and appointed Republican officials nationwide, many of whom have voiced support for the Jan.6 insurrection or demanded that the 2020 presidential election be overturned, sometimes in deleted posts or now-removed online forums.


'Sham-peachment,' they say, and warn that 'corporate America helped rig the election.' They call former President Donald Trump a 'savior' who was robbed of a second term – despite no evidence – and President Joe Biden a 'thief.' 'Patriots want answers,' they declare.


The bitter, combative rhetoric is helping the officials grow their constituencies on social media and gain outsize influence in their communities, city councils, county boards and state assemblies. And it exposes the GOP’s internal struggle over whether the party can include traditional conservative politicians, conspiracy theorists and militias as it builds its base for 2022.


This month, FBI agents visited Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan Vice President Londa Gatt to ask where she was on the day of the Capitol attack.

Gatt, a Bikers for Trump coordinator who roars, leather-vested, alongside political rallies on her Harley-Davidson, had helped organize busloads of Trump supporters to join her in Washington on Jan. 6. She says she climbed the scaffolding outside the Capitol building that day 'to take a picture of the whole view.' And she said she gladly told FBI agents that she did nothing wrong, and left the scene right away as things turned violent. Since then, Gatt has shared hashtags tied to QAnon conspiracy theories online and asked her Facebook friends who participated in Capitol intrusions to send messages directly to Trump explaining that he didn’t incite them.  'The lawyers need our help,' she posted. Gatt is among many conservatives organizing on Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Gab and Telegram and is working on a digital strategy under different monikers.'We were cheated out of our legit president, and we have no voice because our vote didn’t count,' she told The Associated Press. 'I’m getting ready to start opening up some new pages, focus on getting out people who voted against Trump and replace those with conservative Republicans.'


Working with artificial intelligence company Deep Discovery, AP also helped build a classification algorithm that matched officials to accounts on the right-wing-aligned Parler. AP reporters hand-verified each match using an archived Parler dataset provided by New York University researcher Max Aliopoulios containing 13million user profiles and 183million posts between August 2018 and Jan.10, when Parler was taken offline for several weeks. AP also surveyed officials’ use of alternate social media sites such as Gab and Telegram, whose active users have soared in recent weeks since Twitter and Facebook barred users from posting extremist content and disinformation.


Republican National Committee spokeswoman Mandi Merritt didn’t answer specific questions about the GOP officials’ rhetoric, and instead referred AP to a Jan.13 statement by Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel: 'Violence has no place in our politics. Period.' In early December, Idaho’s Kootenai County Republican Central Committee Chairman Brent Regan boosted a Parler post: 'SIDNEY POWELL’S 'KRAKEN' IS DOD CYBER WARFARE PROGRAM! WE ARE AT WAR!' Powell, a lawyer who supported Trump, called her legal strategy 'the kraken,' powerful enough to destroy Biden’s presidency. However, the Supreme Court on Monday rejected several cases related to the 2020 election filed by Trump and his allies.


Regan has continued posting on Facebook, including on Jan.16: 'The thing I object most about democrats is that they incite my base instincts to retaliate in kind.'

When AP asked about his posts, Regan said: 'My message on social media, print media, and in person is consistent. ‘Pray for serenity. Be the eye of the storm. Stay calm. Think clearly. Don’t panic. Stay peaceful while demanding integrity and honesty.’'


Some Republican officials are posting theories related to QAnon, which the FBI has called a domestic terrorism threat. And the Department of Homeland Security has warned of the potential for lingering violence from extremists enraged by Biden’s election and emboldened by the Capitol attack.


Following Trump’s acquittal in his second impeachment trial, Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican, called claims the ex-president won the election 'wild myths.' Still, about two-thirds of Republicans say – contrary to all evidence – that Biden was not legitimately elected president, according to a recent poll by AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.


Free speech advocates say the legal definition of inciting violence is extremely narrow, and over-policing online posts could undermine democracy.

'We need to be very careful about not painting with an overly broad brush what incitement to violence is,' said Nora Pelizzari, spokeswoman for the National Coalition Against Censorship. 'We can’t allow anger at people in power to become punishable.'

In Arizona and Illinois, prominent Republicans who refused to support Trump’s bid to overturn the election have been rebuked by the state GOP and a central committee, respectively.


Earlier this month, Manhattan, New York, Republican party chair Andrea Catsimatidis retweeted: 'Corporate America helped rig the election.'  Catsimatidis told AP she believes it is political officials’ duty to reach as many people as possible. 'Political leaders have influence, and the fact that I have developed a social media following is exactly what you should be doing,' she said. 'I want to make sure that I can get information out.'

(It matters not to such Republicans that the information they are passing on consists of lies.) 


                                              *   *   *   *

Buying a Distressed Property Worked for Trump



Shrewd real estate operators are always looking for a bargain.  They are always on the lookout for otherwise fine properties whose owners are in financial distress, or which are devalued for other reasons … such as the possibility of nearby construction which would affect it.  They pounce on it and get it for a bargain price and figure out how to turn it around. 

Go into a “dollar store,” and notice the “name brand” merchandise on their shelves carrying brand names which once carried a favorable image, but no longer do in the “real” marketplace, brands like “Sunbeam” for example.  Also note the items peddled on TV carrying the “Bell & Howell” label, once renowned in many areas but now just a label owned by its successors, currently offering cheap sunglasses on TV for example. 

So it is with the political organization known as the Republican Party.  Once it lost its connection with the American voter because of programs which did little for them but benefit business and the wealthy greatly, it became no more appealing than the once respectable Sunbeam or Bell & Howell brand names.  In 2016, its backbone was weak, and it looked like a bargain to a shrewd investor looking for a distressed, underpriced property with a historic name to acquire.  (Sort of like the Doral Golf Resort in Florida, after it lost its fine reputation of earlier years, and which that investor purchased for a bargain price.) 

And so that’s how Donald Trump seized the G.O.P., turning it into a party dedicated to his personal glory.  And that’s what it remains today, the Trumpublican cult ...  with a claim to being the party of Lincoln (which Trump might believe is a city in Nebraska or a luxury car made by Ford). 


Item Added 2/28/2021 

The major weapon, if not the only one, the Republicans are using to try to win elections is voter suppression.  

Americans at the local level must figuratively "take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them." Every elected Republican State official should be put on notice by phone calls, emails, demonstrations, letters to local newspapers and at town meetings that voting suppression will not be tolerated.  

State legislatures are where these undemocratic laws are promulgated. Examples are limitations on early voting opportunities, voting by mail, voter registration procedures, reduced numbers of "drop boxes," excessive "ID" requirements and interference with voting results by State legislatures.  

It is not enough for Democrats to complain among themselves and post on sites (like this one) that Republicans never visit.  Voters cannot sit idly by as their number is intentionally depleted by Trumpublican forces of evil.


Item Added 3/02/2021

Old Glory!

For years I have had a “garden flag” standing among the plantings in front of my house. (When the sun fades it, I replace it.) Because any official American flag, even those without fifty stars, may be displayed, this is perfectly acceptable.  The flag I display is the “Betsy Ross” flag with thirteen stars arranged in a circle.  It has great historical significance.   The American Legion’s website points out that “According to the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry, the United States flag never becomes obsolete. Any officially approved American flag, irrespective of the number or arrangement of the stars and/or stripes may continue to be used and displayed until no longer serviceable.”

Washington Reviewing Troops -1777

Garden Flag in front of my home

But not everyone fully understands this.  I have been asked why I display a “Confederate” flag in front of my house.  More recently, domestic terrorists, convinced by conspiratorial lies that they are the true defenders of American democracy, have displayed it prominently along with their other banners, many of which were turned into weapons when these terrorists attacked the Capitol on January 6. The former president always used innumerable flags as the backdrop when he spoke, making his connection with the flag unmistakable. Hence, in the eyes of many, displaying the flag is a sign of loyalty to a conservative political position rather than a patriotic display, not denoting any political position.  I am sure that some driving by my house, seeing my flag, believe that I am a conservative Republican, since in their mind, that’s what it represents. 

They are wrong.  It is every American’s flag, and if there are any who do not deserve to display it, they are those whose actions show that they despise democracy, and that includes the forty-fifth president.


Item Added 3/04/2021

In "A Very Stable Genius," Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker provide tremendous insight into the mind of former President Trump.  Published a few months before his defeat (still not acknowledged by him) at the polls in November, 2020, it describes the kind of person who not only should never be elected to the presidency, but should be kept out of government service at any level, at least in a democracy.  Here's an example from a section dealing with his efforts to close the Mexican border, where the actions he asked be taken were clearly illegal:  (page 307)

"Trump did not see the law as an impediment, a mind-set forged as a real estate developer.  A developer could always just sue, battle it out in court, and negotiate some middle ground."  He is further quoted as saying to then Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Neilsen, "Look, we'll get sued and then we'll work it out." (after breaking the law.)

This is enough to suggest that no one with any connection to the real estate field should ever be nominated for political office, by any party.  The book's title, "A Very Stable Genius" is a statement Trump sometimes used in describing himself.

Item Added 3/06/2021

Security Clearances

We note that among those now charged with lawbreaking in the January 6 invasion of the Capitol is a State Department employee who had a "top secret" security clearance.  Unless you were a relative of the President during the past administration, like Ivanka and Jared, such clearances required extensive "vetting."  That ought to have revealed his history of involvement in extreme right wing connections which should have disqualified him.  I suspect that any security clearances granted during the past administration need to be reviewed.  Of course, they should be removed from those no longer in government service and who still would be subject to penalties for disclosing information to which the clearance had given them access.

When I was in the Army back in the mid-1950s, my job required a relatively high security clearance.  On leaving the service, and no longer having that clearance, I was made well aware of the penalties (fines and/or jail terms) which could be imposed on me with no time limit, for disclosing information to which my former clearance had given me access. 






Monday, February 22, 2021

Important Announcement:   Between now and the next full posting on this blog, new items will continue to come up.  Rather than wait for the blog's next full posting, they will be added ... with the date they are added shown ... at the tail end of this posting.  Scroll down right now to read the ones already added to this particular posting, if any.  (And see recent prior postings as well.)

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Political Thoughts and Florida Senate Bill 90

Here in Floriduh, the Republican controlled Senate is likely to approve a pending piece of legislation, Senate Bill 90, which limits requests for "vote by mail" ballots to the current election.  The existing law enabled those who asked for "VBM" ballots to be listed to receive them for the next years' election as well.  That is the current law, passed when the GOP felt voting by mail helped them.  Now, they think it favors Democrats so they are retroactively taking away something existing law gave to voters who requested it in the last election.  This is just another example of voter suppression by Republicans who know that the more people who vote, the less chance Republicans stand of getting elected.

Here's a thought.  Nationally, the Democrats did not do as well as they expected to in the last election.  They hoped to win more than those Senate seats they picked up and to expand their House majority, and score gains in State legislatures.  None of this really happened.  Biden was elected President by the Electoral College and also had a massive popular vote margin, but other than that, the Republicans did well in the 2020 elections.  This was due to a general antipathy of the public toward Donald Trump, to put it mildly.  It didn't extend further down the ballot.  So, the Democrats have a lot to do to prepare for the 2022 midterm elections.

The Republican Party is still controlled by believers in the big lie (that Trump really won in 2020 but the election was stolen from him) and seem to live in another reality.  They are willing to pretend that the "trickle down" economy they are peddling, favoring the wealthy and large businesses, is good for the people and that those opposing that concept are "socialists."  They feel government regulation, even in the people's interest, is bad.  They have not yet learned from the Texas disaster.  Ignorance and gullibility remain their tools and the militant far right its flag bearers. 

Here's a letter I sent to the Palm Beach Post on this subject.

A letter writer in Monday's Post criticizing Florida Senate Republicans for supporting Senate Bill 90 limiting “vote by mail” requests to one year concluded by suggesting that since they have chosen party politics over country, ”they should all resign.”  Believe me, they won’t.  The only way to get them out of office is by voting them out of office, an unlikely happening in most of Florida’s gerrymandered State Senate districts.


 Item Added Feb. 23, 2021

The defeated 45th president still can't get over losing.  Here is his latest collection of lies.  Note in the last paragraph where he criticizes prosecutors and attorneys-general using the law against him as a threat to the very foundation of our liberty. For years he has employed lawyers to get around laws but now that day is past and he openly considers laws to be his enemies.  He will be talking this way all the way to his sentencing for whatever crimes he might be convicted.

*  *  *  * 

Wrong or Right?

Had a discussion with a friend the other night where I pointed out the vast numbers of Americans who still believe the big lies Republican leaders support and spread, and resemble the bitter Germans of 1932. 

She had much more faith than I did that the basic intelligence of Americans, over the next few years, would rise to diminish the influence of the ignorant and gullible whom I still fear. I hope I'm wrong and she's right. 


Item Added - February 24, 2021

Here are three pieces from today's Palm Beach Post.  With much news content reaching the public via TV and the Internet, a lot of the emphasis and "readers' choice" which a local paper provides is lost.  It is very important that the public subscribe to and read their local papers, which often contain pieces from major national papers like the Washington Post, USA Today and the New York Times as well.  I urge you to subscribe!  

Here's a column with which I disagree, but millions of Americans do think this way.

Limbaugh championed the ‘forgotten Americans’

Marc Thiessen


Americans of a certain age remember the days before Spotify when we made mix tapes of bands we loved. In college in the late 1980s, my friends and I would play them during long road trips, savoring the chance to expose each other to new artists.

On one particular trip, a friend popped a tape into the cassette player – but instead of music, a voice came on the radio. It was a scratchy recording of a talk show from New York’s WABC. 'You have to hear this guy,' my friend said. The voice was that of Rush Limbaugh. My friend had recorded a week’s worth of shows, and we listened to them the whole trip.

For a budding young conservative at the dawn of the age of political correctness, Limbaugh was a revelation. He was funny, irreverent, iconoclastic and unapologetically conservative.

How did he become such a sensation? First, he made conservatism fun. He feigned arrogance, declaring that he possessed 'talent on loan from God' and that he spoke with 'half my brain tied behind my back, just to make it fair.' And he made fun of the left. Just like his hero, Ronald Reagan, who told jokes to mock communism and big government, Limbaugh used humor as a powerful weapon in the battle of ideas. His adversaries wanted to be taken seriously; he made them the butt of the joke.

Second, he connected with millions of Americans who felt ignored, derided and marginalized by the political elites. Long before Donald Trump came along, Limbaugh rallied these 'forgotten Americans.' He understood that the conservative movement has always been populist at heart. In 1964, Reagan declared that conservatives refuse to 'confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.' And Buckley famously said, 'I would rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the Boston telephone directory than the 2,000 people on the faculty of Harvard University.'

Limbaugh gave a voice to folks in the phone book and elevated them over that little intellectual elite. He rarely had guests on his show, choosing instead to give a platform to ordinary Americans who called in. He gave them a voice in our political discourse and affirmed the validity of what they believed. He assured them that 'our beliefs are not the result of a deranged psychology,' and they felt they finally had a champion.

He loved his audience, and they loved him back. They arranged their schedules around his show, doing their shopping so they would be in the car when he came on. Long-haul truckers listened to him on the job, while workers gathered in 'Rush Rooms' at local restaurants to listen to his show during their lunch hour.

The left hated him – in part because they didn’t like being the on the receiving end of his sometimes over-the-top approach, and in part because they could not replicate his success. But Limbaugh kept succeeding - three hours a day, five days a week, for more than three decades.He did it while overcoming addiction and hearing loss that would have ended other careers. He continued to broadcast to the very end, even while fighting the stage four lung cancer that finally took his life. In 1992, Buckley invited him on 'Firing Line' to talk about his success. The intellectuals dismissed Limbaugh, Buckley said, because they 'assumed that nobody who really counts spends time listening to people talk over the radio.' They recoiled at his irreverent humor, but 'only the humorless are really offended.' Like Julius Caesar, Buckley said, Limbaugh 'came, he saw, and he conquered.'


Follow Marc A. Thiessen on Twitter, @marcthiessen.


Frank Cerabino's column from today's paper deals with talk radio and periphically, on the man Marc Thiessen writes about.

 Talk radio in PBC died before Rush Limbaugh

Frank Cerabino

Columnist Palm Beach Post USA TODAY NETWORK

When Rush Limbaugh died this month, I found myself mourning – not for Limbaugh, but for WJNO, the Palm Beach County radio station that carried his show.


I remember WJNO before Limbaugh, when it was a real radio station. It was back before the deregulation that fueled the Limbaughs of the world and led to the homogenization of talk radio through mergers and acquisitions.

My introduction to WJNO was in the mid-1980s, when it was an AM-radio station run out of a one-story studio on North Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach.

It was a 24-hour news station back then. I used to run into the station’s intrepid court reporter, Dan Bryan, who covered the same murder trials I did. Except he had a bulky tape recorder on a shoulder strap and a microphone in his hand, and I had a pen and a notepad.

WJNO was the station I listened to during working hours when I’d have to get in my car and go from one spot to another. You could hear breaking news on WJNO during a time when there were no chirping cellphones. And you could be entertained by a wide variety of talkshow hosts talking about that day’s stories on the local news pages of the local newspaper. 

A collection of quirky personalities, an endless parade of local content -

Lee Fowler tended to find something to laugh about. I remember once pulling off to the side of the road to get on a payphone to call into his show to join the fun.

Dick Farrel was an over-the-top rightwing provocateur – imagine an unmedicated Glenn Beck living in Century Village. He was unintentionally hilarious.

Farrel called the newspaper I work for “The Palm Beach Putz” and he was an early practitioner of low-stakes patriotism porn: Each show began with a devoted listener reciting the National Anthem.

Jack Cole was a cantankerous, erudite liberal who referred to himself on air as “The Inquisitor General.” He had a law degree and liked to sing on his show, often in original song parodies to news stories.

I hated being a guest on his show, because he’d always cut you off and go to a commercial before you had a chance to respond to one of his pithy remarks.

During the O.J. Simpson case, Cole empaneled his own “O.J. jury” who watched and listened to the case with him from a room in the Palm Beach Kennel Club while the greyhound races were going on. It

was a feast of quirky personalities. There were others too. Mike Miller. Randi Rhodes. Barry Young.

And skilled local politicians like former congressman Mark Foley would float among the shows, somehow sounding conservative on Farrell’s morning show, then a couple hours later miraculously liberal on Rhodes’ show.  And for a time, baseball great Pete Rose would join the lineup at the end of the day broadcasting a sports-talk show from a studio in his Pete Rose’s Ballpark Cafe in suburban Boca Raton. It was a never-ending parade of local content.

Compare that to now. WJNO still has a local morning-drive show, but the lineup of talk-show hosts from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. is syndicated three-hour chunks of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin. It has become a playground for rightwing hyperbola and misinformation that covers the alphabet all the way from A to B.  It’s four shovels-worth each day from the same pile. And it’s the lineup of limited-bandwidth commentary that is identically playing in hundreds of other affiliated stations all over the country.

Cookie-cutter dreck.

What do national talking heads know about South Florida stories? -

WJNO started in 1936, and for years it was the only AM radio signal between Orlando and Miami.

It didn’t become a news station until 1979, and it was five years later when it went to a format that used local talkshow hosts instead of out-of-town talent.

You could say that the beginning of the end of that version of WJNO was 21 years ago when Cole was fired a halfhour before he would have gone on the air.

Bryan, the news director then, had quit earlier that week, and the station was going in a new direction driven by its corporate changes.

Formerly owned by Fairbanks Communications, a company that ran about 20 radio stations across the country, WJNO had been bought by Clear Channel, a Texas-based conglomerate that owned about 400 stations, including two other AM radio stations in South Florida, WIOD and WINZ.  “They’re basically not a radio company. They’re an advertising agency,” Cole said in an interview after being released.

Cole said he couldn’t imagine a local radio station better serving its audience with nationally syndicated outof- area hosts.

“There are so many stories unique to South Florida. We have the Eli├ín Gonzalez story, the Haitians, beach erosion, global warming, immigration from the Caribbean,” he said during that interview.

“What does Rush Limbaugh or Laura Schlessinger know about any of these things?”

At the time, Limbaugh was broadcasting from New York City. He bought a home in Palm Beach in 1998 and moved here for good about a decade later.

But even when he broadcasted his show from Palm Beach County, he was never a local broadcaster. Clear Channel became iHeartMedia, which owns more than 850 radio stations, and Limbaugh’s show was carried on nearly 600 of them. One of them just happened to be here.

Limbaugh told his radio audience in 2007 that he found Palm Beach County too liberal for his own tastes.

“They’ve drunk the Kool Aid down here, folks, and they drink it every day,” he had said.

“It’s one of the reasons I don’t cross the bridge much,” he said, “except … to like go to the airport and get out.”

So, if I needed another reason to fly a flag at half-mast today – other than for the half-million Americans who have died from the COVID-19 pandemic – it wouldn’t be for Limbaugh. It would be for WJNO.

fcerabino@pbpost.com @FranklyFlorida

Finally, here's a "Point of View" piece which I initially thought was a joke.  It's from a libertarian whose distaste for government extends to distribution of the Covid19 vaccine.  Imagine if he, and those who think this way, were in charge of a government they would prefer never existed.

Point of view

We’re stuck with ‘worst possible’ vaccine rollout

Bottlenecks, scheduling issues plague coronavirus inoculations

As the federal government and state governments around the country continue to roll out their COVID-19 vaccination programs, problems real and imagined abound.

The real problems include bottlenecks caused by limited availability, stringent storage requirements, and, most of all, the confusion and scheduling snafus that inevitably accompany large-scale mobilizations of resources.

The imagined problems boil down to belly-aching about how those who 'should' be getting the vaccine aren’t getting it as soon as they 'should,' and about how people who 'shouldn’t' be getting it as soon are 'jumping the line.'

At the extreme we hear claims that old 'white' people shouldn’t be getting it before people of color for reasons ranging from the former being more at risk to older people having already lived enough and to payback for past institutional racism, the latter two of which are ghoulish. More on the reasonable side of things are complaints that some younger, less at risk, people are getting it before some older, more at risk, people.

Disclosure: I’ve already received my first jab and will go in next week to get my second, but I’m not displacing anyone else. I’m participating in the Phase III clinical trial for a new vaccine that hasn’t been approved yet. You’re welcome.

The biggest real problem is water under the bridge: Governments always do things more expensively and less efficiently than markets. The Food and Drug Administration held up approval of the first vaccines for unnecessary months, and government inefficiency is almost certainly holding up your shots for unnecessary weeks.

Retrospectively, the best way to handle things would have been to push the state aside and let the market get this thing done quickly and cheaply. But instead of listening to anarchists like me, people just went along to get along yet again and are likely to continue doing so for some time.

We’re stuck with the worst possible way of doing things. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make the best of it.

How DO we make the best of it? If government policies were written in English, we’d look for something like this from President Biden and 50 governors:

'We’re shipping vaccines to hospitals and doctors and pharmacies as fast as we can, and ask them to put as many two-dose courses as they can in as many arms as they can, regardless of age, sex, race, or other considerations, using whatever scheduling and allocation methods they find work best.'

If the vaccines work, every immunized person is one person less likely to catch COVID-19 or pass it on, and puts us one step closer to hopefully achieving herd immunity.

Every vaccination administered is a win, if the goal is to reduce the numbers of cases, reduce the numbers of deaths, and hopefully bring this ugly era to an end.

Every missed opportunity to stick a needle in an arm is a loss on those same criteria.

Let’s stop letting jealousy over the ages, sexes, and races of the arms in question get in the way.

THOMAS L. KNAPP, GAINESVILLE Editor’s note: Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism.

Okay ... Save me the trouble of passing on stuff like this.  Subscribe to your local newspaper!  Today!

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Item Added - Feb. 25, 2021

When the domestic terrorists who attempted to stop the count of electoral votes on Jan. 6, invading the Capitol, are brought to the bar of justice, I would hope they are not let off the hook because of First and Second Amendment rights.  

They are sure to claim the Second Amendment permits armed militias to force out a tyrannical government and that is what they had been convinced came into power when the Democrats seized power fraudulently on November 3 ... and that the First Amendment guarantees their rights to free speech and assembly with the aim of righting that wrong.   (It was Trump and his lackeys ... Cruz, Hawley, Nelson, Gohmert, Jordan, etc. who convinced them of this lie.)

If and when convicted for attempting to stage a coup d'etat on January 6, they all should  be imprisoned for lengthy periods, preferabley in a jail intended for terrorists, such as Guantanamo Bay.