During a pandemic, Democrats yell “Open Borders Or Bust!”

Summary: My previous two posts about COVID-19 described the incompetent response to it by Team Trump and federal agencies, as demonstrations of America’s increasingly dysfunctional institutions. Now the Democrats join the ClownWorld party.

Our leaders, Republicans and Democrats. We elected them.

Group of Clowns - Dreamstime-141583909
Photo 141583909 © Evgeny Savchenko – Dreamstime.

Democrats in the House show their deep commitment to open borders, even in the midst of a global pandemic. This is more evidence that America is in the midst of a broad collapse of its institutions. We can watch this, the ultimate reality TV show, or re-take the reins of America and stop it.

H.R. 2214 – The “NO BAN Act.”

Summary from Congress.gov.

“This bill imposes limitations on the President’s authority to suspend or restrict aliens from entering the United States and terminates certain presidential actions implementing such restrictions. It also prohibits religious discrimination in various immigration-related decisions, such as whether to issue an immigrant or non-immigrant visa, unless there is a statutory basis for such discrimination.

“The President may temporarily restrict the entry of any aliens or class of aliens after the Department of State determines that the restriction would address specific and credible facts that threaten U.S. interests such as security or public safety.

“The bill also imposes limitations on such restrictions, such as requiring the President, State Department, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to (1) only issue a restriction when required to address a compelling government interest, and (2) narrowly tailor the suspension to use the least restrictive means to achieve such an interest.

“Before imposing a restriction, the State Department and DHS shall consult with Congress. The State Department and DHS shall report to Congress about the restriction within 48 hours of the restriction’s imposition. If such a report is not made, the restriction shall immediately terminate.

“Individuals or entities present in the United States and unlawfully harmed by such a restriction may sue in federal court.

“DHS may suspend the entry of aliens traveling to the United States on a commercial airline that failed to comply with regulations related to detecting fraudulent travel documents.”

What is this bill?

This is carefully designed to slow decision-making during the pandemic and make any bans vulnerable to long delays from court challenges.

Also, this shows the increasingly widespread belief in Washington that the Executive branch bureaucracy has a constitutional life of its own beyond the President’s authority. That is, that the “interagency” runs America without the tiresome need for elections. But under the Constitution, the State Department is a mechanism to execute the President’s authority – not a check upon it.

Who supports it?

There are 232 Democrats in the House. This bill is sponsored by 220 of them and no Republicans. It was introduced in April 2019. But now, with a pandemic raging, the House Democrats spun into action! On March 5, the bill was discharged from the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Homeland Security Committees – and the Judiciary Committee approved the bill. Now, off to a vote in the House!

Is it big news?

Of course, this is not headline news. It is just another day in ClownWorld America. Our apathy about our government’s misdeeds is their power. But it need not be like this. See ideas about ways to reform America!

It’s easy to follow the coronavirus story

The World Health Organization provides daily information, from highly technical information to news for the general public. These are the best sources of information.

Also, see the wealth of information at the CDC website, especially their situation reports.

Posts about the coronavirus epidemic.

See all my posts about COVID-19, mostly excerpts from the publications of the CDC and WHO. Mostly about matters still subject of widespread ignorance due to the flood of misinformation on the internet.

For More Information

Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon. Also, see a powerful and disturbing story about “The Birth of a Holy War.

Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Also, see these posts about epidemics…

  1. See the ugly cost of the next big flu pandemic. We can do more to prepare.
  2. Stratfor: The superbugs are coming. We have time to prepare.
  3. Posts debunking the hysteria about the 2009 swine flu in America.
  4. Posts debunking the hysteria about the 2015 ebola epidemic in America.
  5. Important: A vaccine against the fears that make us weak.

The man who predicted 9/11 also predicted COVID-19

In his 1994 novel Debt of Honor, Tom Clancy described how a loaded civilian jetliner could become a powerful weapon – crashing down to destroy a giant building. In his 1996 novel Executive Orders, he describes how a president responds to early signs of a massive epidemic – a highly infectious form of Ebola. This is far worse than COVID-19, but illustrates a national application of the policies China used to contain the COVID-19 to Hubei Province.

Executive Orders
Available at Amazon.

“Therefore containment is the only option,” General Pickett went on.

“How do you contain a whole country?” said Cliff Rutledge, Assistant Secretary of State for Policy.

“That’s the problem we face,” President Ryan said. “The only way to contain the epidemic is to shut down all places of assembly – theaters, shopping malls, sports stadia, business offices, everything – and interstate travel. To the best of our information, at least 30 states are so far untouched by this disease. We would do well to keep it that way. We can accomplish that by preventing all interstate travel until such time as we have a handle on the severity of the disease we are facing, and then we can come up with less severe countermeasures.”

“Mr Presdient, that’s unconstitutional,” Pat Martin (representing DoJ) sid at once. Travel is a constitutionally protect right. … {But} Mr. President, I do not see that we have much of a choice here. …The Constitution is not a suicide pact.” …

“Thank you” Ryan said, checking his watch. “I am calling the issue on the table.”

Defense, Treasury, Justice, and Commerce voted aye. All the rest voted no. Ryan looked at them for a long few seconds. “The ayes have it,” the President said coldly. …This has absolute nad unconditional priority over any other matter.”

24 thoughts on “During a pandemic, Democrats yell “Open Borders Or Bust!””

  1. The Man Who Laughs

    I knew people would use the crisis to ride their pet hobby horses, but it’s worse than i thought.

    I actually think they’re worried about nothing. I’ve wondered why Trump hasn’t at least ordered the issuance of H1B and H2B visas put on indefinite hold, but I suppose that trying to make sense the decision making process in this Administration is a waste of time.

    I was never a huge fan of Tom Clancy’s later books, but he invented the technothriller genre and nobody ever really did it better. He got a lot of stuff right, but he never lived to see Clown World and could probably never have imagined it. We’ve got the pandemic, but Jack Ryan is not here, and the competent men that Clancy and Robert Heinlein liked to write about are not in charge. The bill for tolerating dysfunctional leadership may be coming due.

    1. The Man,

      Nicely said. But it is essential to remember that such people are available to lead us. But the American people prefer entertaining clowns and non-threatening NPCs.

      When that changes, perhaps we will again become a great nation.

  2. You see something similar happening in Greece right now. Turkey is dumping massive numbers of refugees on the border (which is probably at least in part motivated by a desire to destabilize their long-time rival/enemy).

    The response is polarizing. The wealthier EU nations, many of which have government almost entirely comprised of women (aged 30s-40s) mobilizing soldiers with the explicitly stated mission of overpowering Greek authorities at the border.

    Greece is impoverished (in the great recession, prostitutes were working tricks in exchange for a sandwich)… so of course they are against any refugees. Other equally poor neighbors like Poland have sent forces to ASSIST Greece.

    It’s an odd international class struggle within the EU. The rich feminist nations are trying to use brute force to throw their weaker members into chaos in the name of virtue signaling. The poorer nations are grouping together to prevent that.

    Even at the height of communism, in the USSR, feminism never took traction. Most Soviet women dismissed feminists as bourgeoisie who don’t care about underclass women. A hundred years later here is a clear example proving them right.

    1. “mobilizing soldiers with the explicitly stated mission of overpowering Greek authorities at the border.”

      This is an extraordinary claim. Do you have a link for this claim?

    1. Henrik,

      It’s total bs. As is easy to prove. Input China’s data. Or Singapore’s. Get bizarro wrong predictions.

      People will do anything, believe anything, rather than listen to the reports from WHO which have proven so correct.

      As I predicted at the start, Gresham’s Law rules. Bad info drives out good info. The more hysterical, the more clicks.

      Which is why sensible info providers are doomsters. At least in America. We want garbage info like pigs want swill.

      Note: I don’t know if pigs actually prefer swill. Any farmers out there who know?

      1. Larry: “People will do anything, believe anything, rather than listen to the reports from WHO which have proven so correct.”

        I’m glad to report that the quality of the reports for the US part of the WHO report have improved since my last comment.

  3. Henrik I read the article. It is a good article, though please keep in mind the large variance in such methods. If the Trump administration uses this weekend to come up with an aggressive plan, and starts Monday or Tuesday, it will greatly increase our likelihood of preventing deaths and temporary economic disturbances. Because of the lag time of the disease, and the lag of using good detection kits, it is likely that the numbers of infected is much more than admitted or believed. Not a conspiracy, but in emergencies you discuss what you know. After listening to the President’s press conference, if the plans are carried through, in a week, much better estimates of the disease will be available.

    The data available now indicates that if we do not use China’s method, we must begin massive testing in order to make better decisions. If we do neither, we will be in incalculable danger.

    1. John,

      The problem is that those graphs are functions of small numbers. Going from 1 to 300 looks like the apocalypse. Extrapolating from small numbers makes the Black Death look like a cakewalk. It’s fear-mongering.

      Henrik is impressed with chart 5, which is the silliest chart in the pack. Belgium has 23 cases on March 5, and from the change over the next day he draws a chart that makes its future look more dire than in 1914.

      Obscrured by all that chart junk is the big picture: it’s clear that the developed nations screwed up big-time – ignoring WHO’s warnings, ignoring China’s successful methods, taking few precautions, making few preparations – and squandering the 8 weeks of invaluable time. But predicting what comes next is unknowable. WHO has repeatedly made this point.

      The similarity of this with climate change is profound. Similar graphs extrapolated from small changes to the apocalypse, ignoring deep uncertainties to make giant claims with sandy foundations. More broadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has been like the climate change debate at warp speed – with science and experts quickly displaced by those making bigger and bolder (more exciting claims).

      A people that treats every crisis as an opportunity for fun and excitement – like watching a horror film or riding a roller coaster – might not have a pleasant future. That’s the real scary picture.

      1. Actually was not so much impressed by Chart 5 but puzzled. I couldn’t see where the doubling every day came from and found it implausible.

        Otherwise, it seemed not far off WHO guidelines. I did find the reconstruction of what the situation looked like, versus what it really was, quite interesting. The Chinese went into local lockdown in Wuhan when the case load they could see was fairly limited.

        And then, if he is right, the presented cases continue to rise even when the lockdown has had an immediate and dramatic effect on new cases. But you will not know this for several weeks.

        Yes, I understand that when small numbers are presented as doubling every few days, the resulting curve can look doom laden even while the numbers stay small. But of course as you all well know, the point about exponential phases is that the numbers don’t stay small for long.

        Why don’t people trust the WHO (or the IPCC for that matter). Partly I suspect it because, as Larry has documented, there have been lies from official bodies in the past. Partly because of pieces like this in well regarded mainstream media:


        Judicious skepticism is different from conspiracy theory. The other reason for the lack of trust is people do not know and apply the difference. They want either to believe or disbelieve, and once they have started to disbelieve, they disbelieve the lot, and start to believe anything at all.

        Critical caution is what we need, but its in short supply.

      2. henrik,

        From that WaPo article you were so impressed with.

        ““Myself and other public health experts, based on what the World Health Organization and China were saying, reassured the public that this was not serious, that we could bring this under control,” he continued.”

        That is total nonsense. For good reason he does not give any specifics. See the timeline of responses by WHO and the major global health agencies. Careful but rapid escalation as the epidemic spread and knowledge was gained about it. Compare this with the escalation during any previous pandemic. This is much faster. Much much faster.

        But I well understand the need for a US health expert to blame others. America had 8 weeks to prepare based on warnings from WHO and the successful lessons from China. And we totally screwed it up. That’s a brutal indictment of the public health profession. Since this is America, they cry “it’s not our fault – we blame the guys over there.”

        Pitiful. Predictable.

        The big lesson from this might be the contrast between the performance of China, Singapore, S. Korea, Taiwan, and Japan – and the West. It might point to the future leaders of the world.

      3. Henrik,

        I forgot to reply to this:

        “The other reason for the lack of trust is people do not know and apply the difference. They want either to believe or disbelieve, and once they have started to disbelieve, they disbelieve the lot, and start to believe anything at all.”

        I don’t see anything remotely like that in America. And I’ve followed the threads closely on Twitter, and comments to my posts here and at WUWT.

        I see a credulous people who disbelieve expert sources, but eagerly lap up exciting extremist statements and predictions – often by people with little or no relevant training. Worse, that bias infects experts. If they make judicious statements or those that don’t fit America’s parochialism (China can’t be doing better than us!), they’re ignored. If they make big bold doomster statements – they get their 15 minutes. That’s how reputations are built in America – big claims are better, there is no penalty for being wrong.

        This is exactly like our response to climate change, but happening at warp speed. It took 30 years for the climate change activists to become full-time science deniers. It happened with COVID-19 in two months.

        This is not the behavior of a people with a great future.

      4. Larry, I am not ‘so impressed’ by the WaPo article. I did not mention it to endorse it. What I am saying is, you wonder why there is the skepticism about the WHO.

        A lot of people think of the WaPo and NY Times as being very trustworthy. They have both published articles on similar lines earlier on in the epidemic.

        Of course it has an effect.

        I don’t have a view about the WHO in general, not knowing much about them. They seem to have got China pretty much right as far as I can see. It also looks like events in Europe are about to bear out their warnings.

    2. John,

      Well, he does at least have falsifiable predictions. Just as the wilder stuff in ZH did, and it has been falsified.

      Roughly he says (at least if I have understood his math properly, I think this is what he’s saying) that deaths x 750 gives you the number of cases in a country. So if we take Italy, which now has 1,809 deaths, this would suggest about 1.3 million cases. You can then use his death rate to calculate the total number of deaths in 18 days, at 3% of infections. It ought to be about 40,000 in total then. And this, if I understand him correctly, is regardless of what measures they take from now on, because its purely a function of those infected at the moment, whether they have been confirmed through testing or not.

      We’ll see. For the UK, the scientists have suggested last week that they thought a number of about 10,000 real cases was plausible. That is roughly in line with his 750 per death number based on the deaths at the time.

      My impression is that in the UK, regardless of what government is deciding and what the scientists are recommending, the population is deciding to lockdown and isolate. Every other minute some other event cancels or venue closes. The government is behind the population, and at the same time appears to be worried about making too rigorous demands. They have probably got their worries in the wrong direction though. My impression is people would accept a total lockdown on Chinese lines, and that the government is worried about quite the wrong thing.

      Whether they would accept one person being allowed out per week to buy food…? Don’t know. Probably. But this does not seem to be in the government’s mind at the moment. Though it is proposing to isolate the over 70’s for a period of 4 months. Quite an ask and with some major implications.

      We shall see. I must put my energy now into putting my affairs in order.

      1. Henrik,

        death rate “at 3% of infections”

        Garbage in at the start of your “calculations” (or his, or whatever). That high death rate was calculated from Hubei Province in China – a poor nation in which one province was the core of the epidemic – and whose public health machinery totally collapsed.

        The WHO survey team reported the fatality rate outside of Hubei Province as 0.7%. It is highly sensitive to the demographic characteristics of the population. The death rate of passengers on the Diamond Princess is (so far) stable at aprox 1% (probably a much older population than China’s).

        The death rate is also highl sensitive to the degree of medical care available.

      2. “The death rate is also highl sensitive to the degree of medical care available.”

        Of course. And his estimates for Italy are specific to Italy, just as he makes different estimates for Iran. His Italian estimate has some rationale for the following reason. If you read the accounts coming from the trenches on the Italian situation, the healthcare system, however good it was at the start of the epidemic there, has been overwhelmed. What counts is the actual level of care the system can deliver to the numbers it is presented with, and this may be better than Hubei, but its nothing like that available to early cases in the West. Or indeed to the much smaller number of cases in China outside of the red zone. The difference between Hubei and the rest of China is striking.

        3% for Italy may well turn out to be wrong, but its not just an idiotic made up number. You cannot extrapolate from the situation on the Princess to the totally different one in Italy today. Or in three weeks time.

        The interesting observation on these lines is that the death rates in Hubei and in the rest of China are hugely different, with the rest being in line with the Princess numbers. All this is in his Charts 13 onward. Once the health service somewhere runs out of beds and ventilators, we are in a different world.

        The UK is about to tell everyone over 70 to stay at home in complete social isolation, ie no physical social contact at all, and they expect it to be for four months. To try to stop the hospitals being overwhelmed. They have reasons. One is that there are only 5,000 ventilators in the whole country. And not all that much oxygen. If you run out of them and intensive care beds and staff, its a different world.

        the UK may be (as Italy was at the start) a 1% environment now, in most hospitals, but it won’t be for much longer if infections proceed at current rates.

        To be clear, I am cautiously skeptical about the piece and its conclusions, he may well be wrong, and the margin of uncertainty even if he is right is quite large, but I do think the guy has tried to put together real information into a considered analysis. I hope he is wrong, but I don’t think this is evidence-free doom laden idiocy like quite a lot I have read on the net.

        And I am spending this week putting my affairs in order.

  4. LK: “Obscured by all that chart junk is the big picture: it’s clear that the developed nations screwed up big-time – ignoring WHO’s warnings, ignoring China’s successful methods, taking few precautions, making few preparations – and squandering the 8 weeks of invaluable time. But predicting what comes next is unknowable. WHO has repeatedly made this point.”

    I totally agree. With that said, the rule “Report what you know, prepare for the worst” (probable scenario), means we, in the US, are behind the curve. One of the reasons was the decision to make our own test kits. An addition I would make, is that it is good that we look at the worst case scenario as this article describes. But that is so that we understand the nature and requirements of the most probable worst scenario. In risk management, worst case is used in order to complete the matrix. Completing the matrix allows one to look at what can be done, and concentrate on that. In the perversity of human interactions, those who determine, implement, and prepare are not the ones who end up experiencing the worst cases.

    LK: “The similarity of this with climate change is profound.” Also totally agree. We need to look at what China did, and decrease the time between implementing those steps.

    When looking at the results to date, the waste of 8 weeks to start preparing is the key to our failure. Ironically, the reason I became the risk management expert at our facility was it was a legal requirement set by the government with attending fines and prison time for incompetence or failure to comply. Using the same rules for epidemics as for highly hazardous chemicals, the US government and leadership would be facing serious fines. If they do not improve before people start dying in large numbers, the government and its leaders would face jail time, including charges of voluntary manslaughter. Process Safety Management -PSM (USOSHA) and Risk Management Program-RMP (USEPA) were functioning safety requirements by 1995. We obviously learned from chemical accidents. We did not learn, as required by PSM and RMP, to apply what has been learned to similar processes and from incidents (SARS). And that is why we will fail, if we do.

    When the experts got together for chemicals, the government made industry become safer, when SARS came along the government did not make itself accountable. As you have stated so many times “It is just another day in ClownWorld America. Our apathy about our government’s misdeeds is their power. But it need not be like this.”

    The really sad part is I remember that some health experts warned that we should take SARS as a wake up call and prepare. I also remember the China bashers who said SARS was so bad because of the Chinese culture, and would not therefore apply to USA. “The stupidity, it burns.”

    PS: I am starting to socially distance myself and stay at home.

    1. Yes, agreed with Larry’s point which you quote: “few precautions, making few preparations – and squandering the 8 weeks of invaluable time”.

      Yes indeed, this observation is spot on, and we shall see shortly what the result of that will be.

  5. Larry,

    “More broadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has been like the climate change debate at warp speed – with science and experts quickly displaced by those making bigger and bolder (more exciting claims).”

    That covers half of it. The other half could care less about anything but hording toilet paper.

    The show must go on while China has some explaining to do.

    1. Ron,

      China has no explaining to do.

      What I would like explained is why the automatic response of Americans to problems is “it’s not my fault.”

      A more aware people would be asking about the gross failures of our leaders and institutions to prepare for the epidemic – and our preference for misinformation over information. Such answers might make America stronger.

  6. On the bright side, it proves that John Maynard Keynes was correct about everything.
    “In the Long Run, we are all dead.”

  7. Henrik, the problem with predicting is that this is a multi independent exponential rate equation that would be difficult in a stable chemical reaction. Think of polymerization.

    In polymerization one has to account for immeasurable small variances that will cause exponential responses. This is much worse. Persons and governments are doing things that will increase and decrease exponentially the final numbers. In polymer reactions, a matrix of time, temperature, and often catalyst effectiveness is used. The results are given in percentage expected. It is a wide range.

    But polymerization is very predictable compared to this. Controlled versus uncontrolled makeup, controlled versus uncontrolled catalyst, controlled time versus uncontrolled time, etc. A proper estimate for CoV19 could easy be 2k to 20K if made at day one of detection. That is why they use curves. But remember such curves are really dimensionless. Total deaths and infections are dimension-ed.

    These curves are good for planning and communicating risk. But the underlying math and its effects on the model versus reality should be taken into account.The curves are also good for telling one how effective the response was. The curves can be used to estimate if an action has been helpful during a crises. They are not good at giving estimates except near the end of the crisis, and even then, a relaxation of a working policy can cause double humps, or a long tail distribution.

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