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Putting a Smiley Face on Desperation

If the Public’s Radiiiiio wants to serve the public, its reporters should begin digging into the actual story of small business in RI, although it’s one where the Secretary of State and the political establishment will have to be challenged rather than simply cited as if they’re experts by virtue of their political success.

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Redhanded: Radical Environmentalists Want to “Break Your Will” To Pass TCI

The shocking words they admit they can’t say publicly… were just made public. They say, if YOU heat your homes or drive passenger cars, YOU are the “bad guys.”

Whether it is “you,” “the person up the street,” or “the senior on fixed income”… the radical environmentalists who support TCI say it is you who they want to “turn the screws on” and “point the finger at,” so they can “break your will” to force you to “stop emitting.”

See the alarming video of the MA Undersecretary for Climate Change talking about the abusive TCI scheme: https://youtu.be/muxVGmgykA4

Learn more by clicking here now to read about how the TCI Gas Tax is bad for Rhode Island families.

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Green on the Grid:  Texas is a Huge Red Flag

Count me among those somewhat surprised to learn that the electric grid of the State of Texas, perhaps best known for oil production (and proud of it), incorporates wind turbines in its electric grid. In fact,

… wind generation ranks as the second-largest source of energy in Texas, accounting for 23% of state power supplies last year

But as you have probably seen, this “green energy” source has turned into a big Achilles heel for Texas’ electric grid in the cold front that has descended on that state and much of the country. As of yesterday,

Frozen wind turbines have caused almost half of Texas’s wind generation capacity to go offline in the midst of an “unprecedented storm”.

The Lone Star state is under a state of emergency after freezing conditions swept the region, causing dangerously icy roads and leaving nearly 3 million people without power.

Update: frozen wind turbines led to a drop in Texas’ wind power from thirty one gigawatts to six and there are currently 3.4 million power outages. The situation is getting worse, not better.

Texas, and other states, has resorted to rolling blackouts. In below-freezing temperatures, this is literally a life-threatening situation for states like Texas which rely on electricity for heat (and lots of other critical activities).

A small but vocal group of advocates, promoted by many gauzy-eyed members of the mainstream media, have for years been pushing to transition to green energy away from fossil fuel.

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Rhody Reporter: Marijuana Sales in RI

Rhody Reporter Diana Lozowski takes a look at how the State’s Bureaucracy has morphed what could have been a simple licensing process using existing procedures into yet another feast for connected insiders. In short, You Gotta Know a Guy. Too bad that kind of overhead drives up the price. Too bad that those in the most need have to overpay because of cost structures designed to feed insiders. The surprising conclusion: At least it’s available now to those in need.

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California Numbers and Newsweek: Lockdowns Don’t Work

California’s response to COVID-19 has been to lock down and lock down hard. The harshness of its lockdown is confirmed by its decimated economy and heavy out-migration.

Ten months later, California currently has the second highest average daily cases per 100,000 in the last seven days per the CDC. A couple of weeks ago, it was at the top of the list. Rhode Island, also a state which misguidedly chose to lockdown, is currently fifth highest.

Lockdowns, even if they worked exactly as hoped, were never a good solution because of the enormous public health consequences they inflict. Now California’s experience confirms indisputably that lockdowns do not work to stop or slow COVID-19.

And a study just released via Newsweek confirms this.

A study evaluating COVID-19 responses around the world found that mandatory lockdown orders early in the pandemic may not provide significantly more benefits to slowing the spread of the disease than other voluntary measures, such as social distancing or travel reduction.

As she edges out the door, Governor Gina Raimondo has admonished us to “stay the course”. Meaning stay locked down. She is bewilderingly putting on auto pilot a completely failed, highly damaging public policy.

When asked whether he will continue the state’s lockdown, incoming governor Dan McKee has stated (I believe on WPRO radio), “The infection rate is going to drive that”. In light of the complete disconnect between lockdowns and the infection rate, I would respectfully urge him in the strongest terms to re-examine that course and not repeat the mistake of his predecessor of disregarding the data and evidence. He has no obligation to continue any of her policies – but particularly one that has so obviously failed.

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TCI: The Next Step in Government by Fiat

The governor gave herself unprecedented power to make us do and not do things for our own good (from her perspective) with COVID-19, and there was never any reason to believe she would restrict that philosophy to the pandemic if she could get away with pushing the envelope. Well… she’s pushing the envelope.

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Roland Benjamin: COVID-19 Lockdown: The Preferred Intervention of the Elite

It is commonly accepted that an effective vaccine for COVID-19 will save lives.

The vaccine, be it BioNTech’s, Moderna’s, or any other pharmaceutical intervention, will most effectively bring an end to the COVID era. The “science” needed to bring this intervention into the world is astounding, with tens of thousands of test subjects undergoing trials for each version. Months and months and months of careful testing, and yet A SINGLE ADVERSE EVENT among any of the study participants halts the progress. One event. Savings lives is critical, so long as no harm is done in the process.

Simultaneously, governments all over the world have become obsessed with their own interventions. The non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) range from mask mandates, to required testing, to full scale economic lockdown. In the most extreme, China even resorted to welding people into their homes.

There has been no shortage of speculation that the lockdowns have caused harm. The argument has always been that they save lives by mitigating spread, but there really has not been comprehensive proof of that. Florida and California, two comparable states in climate and demography, have had comparable disease spreads with remarkably different approaches to inhibiting its residents. In other words, the NPIs adopted by California, draconian in some respects, have not proven any more effective than the “control group”…Florida’s non-interventionist approach.

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Demand Transparency on Covid-19 Cycle-Threshold Data

The full release and analysis of detailed testing data could be critical in shaping more focused and less intrusive COVID-19 restrictions for Rhode Islanders.

This data, which measures “viral load” (how much of the virus is present) and which is routinely collected by labs that conduct COVID tests, can be critically important in determining both public policy and individual regimens. Take action now to demand it.

The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity has launched a new campaign, sending over a sixteen hundred pre-written emails (in just days) to officials petitioning the state to take action to collect and publish this vital cycle threshold data.

We have good news to share… they have taken the first steps in making a small portion of this data available. Our campaign is clearly working, but we need full transparency on this critical information.

You can take action by clicking on the link here now. Don’t wait, because your voice is powerful and it will make a difference for the people of Rhode Island!

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Governor’s Court

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for November 30, included talk about:

  • The Pause arrives
  • The Queen’s bid for a higher court
  • McKee’s bid for the Queen’s attention
  • The General Assembly as courtiers
  • Is the jester in the Britt trial still relevant?

I’ll be on again Monday, November 30, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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UPDATED: Rhode Island Hospitalizations – Still Less than Half the Peak

Eight days ago, this is where Rhode Island stood with hospitalizations, the original and only goal of the lockdown. Now Rhode Island is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. Good time to update, especially with a press conference by Governor Raimondo coming up shortly.

At 168 “Currently Hospitalized”, we are still less than half the peak in late April of 377. And Rhode Island hospitalizations were not overwhelmed even at this peak. In fact, the Governor Raimondo herself stated mid-April that the need for hospital beds would peak in late April or early May and that Rhode Island was not going to see a worst case scenario. She was correct on both points. Nor has Rhode Island come close to the peak for hospitalizations

Yet despite achieving this goal, Governor Raimondo, with the express consent by inaction of Speaker Mattiello and Senate President Ruggerio, has inexplicably not lifted the onerous and damaging lockdown of Rhode Island.

Moreover, as we are now seeing in Europe, lockdowns do not work to stop the disease.

Yes, we need to be vigilant. Vulnerable populations must continue to take steps to protect them and we all need to be thoughtful of our interactions with them. But let’s also not overreact.

By continuing to impose what has now been demonstrated to be an ineffectual (yet highly damaging) measure to suppress spread when the singular goal of the measure was achieved six months ago, our state leaders are flexing power in a way that is completely detached from facts, science and data. This is, accordingly, an an abuse of power and an overreaction, the result of which, intended or not, is to punish Rhode Islanders in the short and long term for something that is beyond our control.

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More Information about Ineffectuality of Shutdown: Over 75% of RI COVID Deaths Are Occurring in Nursing Homes

WPRI Channel 12’s Eli Sherman and Walt Buteau reported on April 17 that 80% of COVID-19 deaths in Rhode Island have occurred in nursing homes. (All deaths from a pandemic are awful but somehow a nursing home setting is especially horrifying both because of the vulnerability of the residents and the perception, normally correct, that nursing homes are safe places.)

This disturbing pattern continues with the most recent COVID mortalities announced by the state yesterday: 10 of 13 were nursing home residents.

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Chris Maxwell: Allow All Businesses to Re-Open Immediately Under “Manufacturers’ Pledge Model”

“Non-essential” businesses in Rhode Island remain shut down by order of Governor Gina Raimondo even as unemployment filings shoot up and COVID-19 projections drop markedly. While much of trucking has not been directly impacted by the shutdown order, as an industry that interacts with all businesses in Rhode Island – manufacturing, farms, restaurants, small shops, big box stores – trucking has a unique position and voice as Rhode Island looks to re-open.

The governor has said that she doesn’t know what regulations will be issued to allow businesses to re-open. But this is quickly and easily fulfilled: the state simply need to tell all businesses to follow the manufacturers’ lead and take the same pledge that was exclusively afforded to this sector several weeks ago.

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COVID-19: A Plan To Restore Financial Security to RI

In these trying times, with well over fifty thousand Rhode Islanders recently laid-off, common-sense public state-based policy can help mitigate the destructive economic impact of the Rhode Island COVID-19 crisis … and can help restore a sense of normalcy and financial security.

We need your help to tell lawmakers you want them to take action.

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Time for Government to Pop the Superficial and Focus on What’s Important

Being in the car less, recently, I’ve fallen behind on podcast listening, so the episode of Changing Gears to which I listened while working out last night was a few weeks old.  The guys were explaining the various reasons (having to do with materials, labor, and politics) that Rhode Island’s roads don’t last.

Not long afterwards, I was back at the computer and thinking (again) how far Internet technology has come in the past year… when the power went out.  All the Zooming, podcasting, on-demand streaming, and other innovations that this viral crisis has made so critical to basic life fell of the table of social organization in an instant.  On a clear night, the flow of electricity just stopped.

Growing up, I don’t remember ever losing power when the weather didn’t provide an obvious explanation, and it seems to be becoming more common in recent years.  Every time it happens, I can hear a few more generators running, as my neighborhood adapts to this new reality over time.

While the world has been substantially shut down, I’ve also been catching up on reading legislation that managed to receive floor votes.  Here’s one to ban disposable plastic shopping bags, and I note the news today that San Francisco has now banned reusable shopping bags to prevent spread of COVID-19.  Another bill that didn’t manage to get a vote in the innocent days before the pandemic (House, Senate) would have criminalized the intentional release of balloons into the air.

Yes, while a virus was spreading around the planet bringing death and economic ruin, Rhode Island legislators were pondering a bill titled “Relating to Health and Safety – Balloons.”

Whether we’re talking about the roads or the power grid or the budgetary desperation we’re hearing from our elected officials, the message ought to be clear:  Rhode Island has to get back to basics.  Stop worrying about balloons.  Stop micromanaging the economy.  Stop confiscating tax money from people in order to fund superfluous things or pet projects.

This crisis is illustrating the necessity of government for a variety of functions, but it is also proving the need for government to do those critical things well.  And that means focusing on them, including a halt to the drain of taxpayer money to things that just shouldn’t be priorities.  Both basic government functions and private-sector activity are more important.

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McNamara’s Bid to Make Others Pay for His Heroism

The legislative proposal by Warwick/Cranston Democrat state representative Joseph McNamara has made the news rounds, but it deserves a stronger point to be made.  The press release says he’s “drafting new legislation that would help businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis by guaranteeing that business interruption insurance would cover their losses regardless of policy language.”

It’s kind of a dishonest move.  Insurance companies charge their clients rates based on the risk involved in their policies.  These charges go toward a fund to cover the estimated payouts based on the risk for each thing that’s insured.  There is competition in insurance just as there is in every other private-sector market, so companies can’t charge fees that are so high they’re disconnected from this relationship to payouts.

If the General Assembly and governor pass a law that requires insurance companies to pay for events that were deliberately left out of the calculation of risk, the insurance companies will have to find that money somewhere.  One way or another, that means distributing the cost among other clients.  The complications of reinsurance (insurance for unexpected insurance payouts), do not change this fundamental fact; they just mean the spread is broader.

If government officials want to insure Rhode Island businesses against a loss during a crisis, they should do it the more-honest way of using government funds.  The legislature and governor should make the statement that this is a worthwhile priority and will therefore either displace lesser priorities or require tax increases.

Of course, cost comes at a political price, which politicians prefer to avoid.  Thus, these sorts of mandates that make other people pay for government policies (aka hidden taxes) ensure that the McNamaras of the state can pat themselves on the back for giving away money while hiding the fact that it has to come from somebody.