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Politics This Week with John DePetro: In Search of Other Authorities

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for May 27, included talk about:

  • #WeWantOurSummerBack
  • Justice Flanders still protecting rights
  • Trump v. Gina
  • General Assembly… still out
  • Mail ballots
  • Money for insiders
  • No jobs for Rhode Islanders

I’ll be on again Monday, June 1, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Pockets of Rebellion

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for May 18, included talk about:

  • Providence College kids rebel
  • The Catholic bishop sends the governor a message
  • Narragansett Town Council considers resistance
  • Justice Flanders signals a challenge
  • Rally-goers take up the call
  • A delay of Phase 2 reopening
  • The teachers’ union flexes in Tiverton

I’ll be on again Monday, May 25, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Checks on the Governor

Yesterday, the Flanders Legal Center for Freedom, an initiative of the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, released a brief analysis of the laws under which Governor Gina Raimondo has been dictating rules for all Rhode Islanders and our businesses, churches, and organizations.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Push-Back Begins

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for May 11, included talk about:

  • The governor’s New Order
  • Cops push back
  • Protesters push back
  • The press pushes back
  • Will businesses push back?
  • Will the General Assembly push back?
  • Elorza gets push-back and stumbles

I’ll be on again Monday, May 18, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Contrary to the Impression We May Have, Survival Rate of COVID-19 in United States is Over 94%

This is to offer an important data point about COVID-19 that doesn’t get much attention. The United States has, to date, experienced 1,092,815 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19.  64,283 of those cases, or 5.88%, have resulted in death.  To be clear, 5.88% of people who got the disease have died from it, not 5.88% of the US population as a whole.  (If you want that figure, divide by 328,200,000.)

This is not the picture that you are getting from the mainstream media.  They largely mean well but if you notice, when reporting on this subject, the MSM crafts headlines that invariably include the words “COVID-19″ and “death” and content that is comprised of the number of new cases and new deaths. Most people only pay attention to the news with half an eye or ear. So they understandably may have gotten the impression that the death rate from COVID-19 is sky high.

So let’s repeat this figure because it is important.  Of the 1,092,815 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the United States, 64,283 deaths have resulted.  That means that over 94% of people who got the disease have survived it.

And 94% is almost certainly on the low side because the figure of 1,092,815 only includes medically defined “confirmed and probable” cases. People can have the disease or get it and recover from it without ever knowing or being tested. As they were not counted, those are not included in that denominator of 1,092,815. Anti-body test surveys unanimously point to COVID-19 being far more infectious and, therefore, far less deadly than originally feared. Accordingly, that case fatality rate of 5.88% will almost certainly drop.

Next for our consideration is the very serious implications of this data point with regard to our government’s choice of course (not to mention that the original goal of the chosen course was accomplished weeks ago). Those will be laid out here a little later this morning.

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An Unconstitutional Palm Slap

Of all the deprivations that Rhode Islanders generally and Catholic Rhode Islanders specifically have had to endure during the past month or so, the inability to collect palms on Palm Sunday is not the biggest.  That said, it is critically important to note that it was patently unconstitutional for Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo to direct that they not be provided:

Cranston Police Chief Michael Winquist confirmed Sunday that officers responded to St. Patrick’s Church after someone called to report palms were being given out.

“It turned out that the doors to the church were left open with a basket of palms left in the vestibule for parishioners to take one,” Winquist said in an email. “No clergy were present.”

He said police did not take any action, as Gov. Gina Raimondo’s directive not to hand out palms did not come with an official executive order.

Raimondo announced Friday there would be no distribution of palms for the holiday, which marks the start of Holy Week for Christians.

St. Patrick’s is not part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, so the suggestion of Bishop Thomas Tobin that parishes should comply with the “directive” did not apply.  Within his scope, however, it would have been preferable for Bishop Tobin to assert that the ban on palms was his decision, not the governor’s, rather than just cede his authority to her.

If the First Amendment means anything when it comes to religion, it means that the governor cannot decide what religious implements are “essential.”  Fundamentally, that is the government’s chief executive implementing her own religious worldview as the law (and her support for abortion proves that her worldview is not Catholic).  Flowers from the grocer are permitted.  Beer is permitted.  Delivery of newspapers is permitted.  Pickup of sporting goods, office supplies, and more is permitted.

In other words, Governor Raimondo isn’t only saying that palm branches distributed through churches are not “essential,” but that they are uniquely dangerous.  Satan, no doubt, agrees.

This is a travesty against our Constitutional rights. The governor could ask religious leaders and individuals to (please) consider whether a particular implement or ritual is “essential,” but she cannot direct that it is or isn’t.  If religious Rhode Islanders don’t protect this liberty during our slow-rolling crisis, we may never recover it.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Executive Takes All

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for April 6, included talk about:

  • The governor’s tough tone
  • Unemployment skyrockets
  • The General Assembly shirks its duties
  • Bad optics from Cranston mayoral candidate
  • Tyranny in Tiverton

I’ll be on again Monday, April 13, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Social Distancing Between States: RI Arrests Massachusetts Golfers

Welcome to the world of social distancing.  As a person-to-person strategy to slow a contagion, it’s absolutely reasonable, but it’s starting to sound like an ominous act by government to tear us apart.

Meet three golfers trying to walk the line between their state of Massachusetts, which closed golf courses, and the neighboring state of Rhode Island, which closed the state to outsiders who can’t quarantine for 14 days:

An Attleboro man and his two golfing partners are being charged with playing a round in Rhode Island in violation of a ban on people coming into the state for nonwork-related reasons. …

They were apprehended at a nearby McDonald’s restaurant, where police say the men changed cars to drive to the course in a vehicle with Rhode Island license plates.

Taunton and Attleboro, where the men are from, are part of the regular lives of Rhode Islanders.  The quarantine restrictions don’t apply to Rhode Islanders who travel across the border or to people heading in either direction for work.  In this case, the three of them came to Rhode Island to give a local business some money and to walk around a giant outdoor lawn for a few hours.

Perhaps in our current environment this outcome is a matter for reasonable debate (although some would surely say no debate is allowed and I’m wrong), but this seems to me to be an indication that we’re beyond the reasonable line.

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Move the Date for Declaration of Candidacy

As state and local governments take action to postpone various elections and grant themselves emergency powers (and abuse those powers), the people should keep an eye on an important deadline: the declaration of candidacy.

The state forces citizens who might run for office to declare their intentions by June 22-24 in an election year.  While this gives plenty of time for campaigning (and opposition research by incumbents) and prevents political surprises, it also means that voters may not be able to hold elected officials accountable for anything that happens between late June and November, especially if the incumbents are running unopposed.

Even if the coronavirus crisis subsides in time to make it reasonable for people to collect signatures following their declaration, the public is still at a disadvantage.  When it comes to potential candidates, they can’t be out there right now learning the landscape and getting a feel for their chances.  When it comes to incumbents, the public is too anxious and preoccupied, right now, to adequately assess their actions (or lack thereof), and this atmosphere may remain until well after the COVID-19 cloud lifts.

As much as government may have a fair claim to increased flexibility during this time, the public deserves an opportunity for increased accountability as things get back to normal.  If parties can replace their candidates into September (as we witnessed when Bob Healey jumped in at the last minute as the Moderate Party candidate for governor in 2014), the people should be able to have until then to decide whether incumbents deserve competition or other declared candidates are satisfactory as the only other choices.