Now that the provocative title has gotten your attention, an immediate proviso: Joe Biden holds the office of President of the United States, while Jorge Mario Bergoglio holds the office of Pope. In neither the Oval Office nor the Holy See is the chair of authority empty; a body occupies it in each case, even if in Biden’s case the body is barely alive. Neither presidential nor pontifical sedevacantism as such is at issue here—all arguments in favor being academic discussions of no practical effect on the possession of the offices in question, at least in my view. The issue to be considered is what we are to make of these two office holders beyond the bare possession of their respective offices. A number of disturbing parallels are apparent.
Are we really happy here / With this lonely game we play? / Looking for words to say / Searching but not finding understanding anywhere / We’re lost in a masquerade.
Remember me? I used to write regularly for this newspaper until the advent of COVID-19 and the overnight installation of police states by Democrat governors (and their counterparts throughout the Western world) on the pretext of “containing the spread of the virus”—an effort that has proven about as successful as containing the spread of malicious gossip.
I’m taking a break from my engagement in the COVID-19 lockdown war in three different states—suits in New York and New Jersey and one soon to be filed in California, all involving priests of the Society of Saint Pius X—to reconnect with Remnant readers on a subject I believe to be of immediate interest to them. Namely, the COVID-19 lockdown war. But in particular, one theatre in the war that threatens to dominate the conflict and determine its final outcome: the battle over “mask mandates.”
The “mask mandate” has now clearly emerged as the one mechanism by which the Blue State-Fake News (BS-FN) complex intends to perpetuate the “COVID-19 pandemic” in the nation’s collective psyche long after it has ceased to exist in reality. And cease to exist it surely has, as all the objective data demonstrate, including those published by Blue State governors themselves.
Even the inflated and wholly unreliable “Provisional Death Count” maintained by the CDC, which includes “probable” or “presumed” COVID-19 deaths without laboratory confirmation, shows a bell curve that peaked in April, “spiked” briefly in July and then rapidly plunged toward zero:
But we will never know from the CDC’s statistics, or any other national database, the real number of Americans who have actually died from the effects of COVID-19 as opposed to any number of other conditions present “with,” or merely presumed to have been present “with,” the virus. That COVID-19 was the immediate cause of death for tens of thousands is undeniable, just as influenza is undeniably the cause of death for tens of thousands each flu season. But the COVID-19 death data are corrupted beyond any possible reliable reconstruction, just as those who fudged the data, following the CDC’s novel COVID-only reporting protocol, intended. Even these all-but-worthless data, however, negate the claim of a continuing pandemic.
Meanwhile, Blue State governors in New York and New Jersey have handily negated their own claims of a continuing health emergency. Here are New York State’s own conclusive statistical admissions that, in spite of Governor Cuomo’s best efforts to keep the “emergency” alive, it’s over:
As for New Jersey, here is the bell curve that definitively proclaimed the end of Governor Murphy’s fake emergency by the late May, at which statistical zero-point the data have remained ever since:
As the virus runs out of victims, however, the BS-FN has turned to “surging cases” as the go-to strategy for keeping fear and the Blue State lockdowns alive. Not “cases” in the usual sense of people who are actually sick—as in, “I have a bad case of the flu”—but merely people who, according to patently unreliable testing, have had an encounter with COVID-19 that has left even a trace of its RNA in their blood. In other words, by “cases” the BS-FN means the uncovering of widespread immunity in the general population—people who will never need treatment and whose “cases” would never have been discovered if not for the fanatical testing regime now in operation. In like manner, there are millions of “cases” of influenza every year, with asymptomatic infections ranging up to 85% of total infections, depending on the study and its methods, but commonly estimated at 50%.
By the way, recall that back in March we were told that testing was necessary only to determine whether sick people had the virus so they could be isolated. Recall as well that during one of his early COVID-19 briefings, President Trump rightly observed that it would be “ridiculous” to test 330 million people for a virus. What would be the point of testing the entire population of the United States for COVID-19? As I warned back on April 21, the point is to find millions of “cases” in asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic people in order to keep the panic going and the lockdowns in place indefinitely.
But, confounding the BS-FN’s panic narrative, even “cases” in this deceptive sense are stubbornly in decline toward zero as COVID-19, like every other viral illness, inexorably wanes to the vanishing point. Hence, for example, this surely disappointing dataset showing that the virus is simply not cooperating with the panic narrative and has failed to show up in more than 1.8% of those tested in New York State, the national “epicenter” of the pandemic:
With New York now coming up almost empty on “cases,” the BS-FN has turned to “hotspots” and “surging cases” in a few southern and western states, meaning an irrelevant increase in positive test results among people who will not die, will not be hospitalized, and for the most part have no symptoms. For example, we have the “terrifying hotspot” of Florida, where exactly 9 people, no doubt almost all very elderly with life-shortening comorbidities, are said to have died from COVID-19 on August 11 out of a population 21.4 million. In fact, the higher the number of positive tests in Florida, the lower the number of deaths, which now stand at statistical zero no matter how many swabs are jammed up however many nostrils.
As daily deaths dwindle to zero, health bureaucrats in Florida’s local version of the Deep State have taken to the desperate measure of reporting deaths in batches just below the chart of deaths-per-day, the only meaningful statistic. This allows them to state, for example, “204 new deaths reported today,” thus creating the false impression that 204 people died that day when the deaths actually occurred over a period of days or weeks or who-knows-how-long before the report was issued.
With no more deaths or hospitalizations to speak of, and with even “cases” in the “hot spots” rapidly declining toward zero, the BS-FN now realizes that The Mask is the thing that will keep this farce going. Thus, it should be no surprise that on August 13, Joe Biden kicked off Kamala Harris’s Presidential campaign by announcing the first priority for the Democrats: not the usual demands for unlimited abortions or more better sodomy, which have been put aside for the moment, but rather a “nationwide mask mandate.”
Yes, forcing 330 million people to put diapers on their faces is now a major plank in the Democrat Party platform. “Today I want to talk about one thing,” said Biden in a robotic monotone, looking down at the crib sheet he needs for any comment longer than “Come on, man!” One thing, and one thing only! The most important thing! And here it is: “Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months, at a minimum. Every governor should mandate mandatory mask-wearing.”
Mr. Smith is wearing a mask because the people on TV told him to, and he wants to follow the science. He's saving lives in the new normal dimension found somewhere between sanity and madness in a place called the Twilight Zone.
Every single American in a mask. The healthy along with the sick, and every child over the age of two, just as the Blue State governors demand. It is the most ridiculous proposal in the history of medical science, to which the only rational response is incredulous laughter and a refusal to participate in such insanity. Herewith Biden’s semi-incoherent attempt explain why 330 million people must do such a stupid and destructive thing:
Wearing a mask will give the life of a clerk in your local store, the letter carrier, your child’s teacher, it [sic] will increase their prospects of not contracting the virus. Wearing a mask is going to get our kids back to school sooner and safer. Wearing a mask—every American wearing a mass—outdoors is going to get our businesses back and a [sic] full strength, long-term. And we’re gonna get our country back on track… This is America. Be a patriot. Protect your fellow citizens. Protect your fellow citizens. Step up! Do the right thing! Do the right thing.
There’s overwhelming evidence, overwhelming evidence, that the mask, and depending on the type of mask you wear, increases expidentially [sic] the prospect that you, if you are a carrier and you don’t even know it, that you will not infect anyone when you cough, sneeze, sing, shout….
So, this doddering political hack, who does not even know the word “exponentially,” was sent to the podium by his handlers to deliver this gibberish, which struggles to convey the inchoate idea that everyone must wear a mask because everyone is a presumed carrier of COVID-19 who can transmit the virus to others. Expidentially! But if everyone is a presumed carrier of the virus, yet deaths and hospitalizations have plummeted to near-zero over the past six months, then everyone must also be a presumed contributor to herd immunity, in which case there is no longer a pandemic. Or, if everyone is a presumed carrier then everyone is already a presumed “case” of COVID-19, which means it is too late to protect anyone from everyone else.
Biden claims “overwhelming evidence” for his nonsensical demand. Here is his bumbling attempt present the “evidence” his handlers fed him, fragments of which he appeared to remember:
And I’ll end by saying that it goes a little, it goes back to the study some months ago by Columbia University, saying that it didn’t have to be this way. If the President had acted sooner, it would have saved—just one week earlier—it would have saved thirty-some thousand lives. Two weeks earlier I think it was 51 or 57 thousand lives.
I hope we learned our lesson. I hope the President has learned the lesson. But again, this not about Democrat of Republican or Independent. It’s about saving Americans’ lives. So, let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide, starting immediately, and we will save lives. The estimates are we will save over 40,000 lives in the next three months if that is done. Now [donning a massive black mask] let me turn it over to my colleague and running mate. She has a few comments to make.
“Estimates”? What estimates? Biden has no idea. And there are no “estimates.” Biden was imperfectly recalling, not a “study” by Columbia University, but a non-peer-reviewed article by two economists at the University of British Columbia joined by another at MIT, found here, which, according to Bloomberg Businessweek—always a reliable source of unbiased reporting—opines that according to “statistical analysis” 40,000 lives “would have been saved in two months if a national mask mandate for employees of public-facing businesses had gone into effect on April 1 and had been strictly obeyed.”
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Unknown to the blithering Biden is that the article does not even address the absurdity of a mask mandate for 330 million Americans, but only for employees of “public-facing businesses.” And, as a disclaimer appended to the article warned as of July 13: “This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.” This is Biden’s “overwhelming evidence”—an article by three undoubtedly leftist economists, accompanied by a disclaimer that it is not medically reliable.
A small problem here, not noticed by Biden, who has enough trouble with big words and the correct names and locations of things: It is not possible to use “statistical analysis” to calculate how many lives “masks” will save without first establishing what you mean by “masks” and then establishing that whatever you mean by “masks” does in fact prevent the transmission of a virus—which the authors merely presumed, as they are not medical doctors or epidemiologists. As the article itself admits, “there is no randomized controlled trial evidence for the effectiveness of face masks” but only “indirect evidence… to support the argument for the public wearing masks in the Covid-19 pandemic.” By “indirect evidence” the authors mean nothing more than speculation in the form of “observational studies” that do not demonstrate that masks actually prevent viral infections.
And as Biden has never read the article he imagines was a “study by Columbia University,” he has no idea that it discusses lockdown policies generally, devoting only one section to the subject of a mask mandate for employees dealing with the public—not “every American”—and that this section concludes with the worthless speculation that “mandating masks [for employees of public-facing businesses] on April 1st could have led to… 37% fewer cumulative deaths by the end of May” which “roughly translates into 18 to 55 thousand saved lives.” Could have. Roughly. Or it could have had no effect whatsoever. Then again, wearing masks could have made things worse.
Remember this guy:
That’s the Surgeon General of the United States, telling us back in February that masks do indeed make things worse. The CDC and the WHO were telling us the same thing in March, only to reverse themselves abruptly in April. Nothing suspicious there.
But, even after its abrupt reversal, on May 20 the CDC published a meta-review of 10 randomized controlled studies showing “no significant effect of face masks on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.” The same review warned that “in lower-income settings, it is more likely that reusable cloth masks will be used rather than disposable medical masks because of cost and availability” and that “[p]roper use of face masks is essential because improper use might increase the risk for transmission.”
Accordingly, the CDC still warns: “Don’t touch the face covering, and, if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to disinfect.” New York City’s “face covering” advisory likewise warns: “Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer every time you put on and take off your face covering. If you are unable to clean your hands, be very careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.” New York City further warns that “face coverings” are such dangerous objects that they must not be left lying around the house: “Do not put face coverings where others can touch them or where germs trapped in your face covering can touch other surfaces, such as counter tops or your kitchen table.”
In fact, as the CDC’s advice suggests, the “mask mandates” already imposed by Blue State tyrants are not actually mask mandates at all but rather face covering mandates, because even these tyrants recognize they cannot plausibly demand that millions of people buy a particular product: i.e., still-useless medical grade masks. Thus, like King Murphy in New Jersey, King Cuomo in New York defines “face covering” to include “cloth masks (e.g. homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana)” as well as “surgical masks, N-95 respirators, and face shields.” There are no protocols for the filtration effectiveness of the mandated “face coverings.” Everyone must simply wear a “face covering” of some kind because a tyrannical Democrat politician says so.
So what the Democrats are now demanding is this: 330 million Americans must be ordered to wear “face coverings”—or masks, if they want to spend the money—that have never been proven to limit viral spread and become so contaminated that one can’t even touch the damned things or leave them lying around lest someone else touch them. Every American, however, must spend hours each day breathing through the very thing that cannot be touched because it is contaminated—as if microbes that collect on its outer surface would not be inhaled by the wearer, possibly including COVID-19 itself. But it is especially important, say Biden and the rest of these lying demagogues, that not only every adult, but every child over the age of two be forced to breathe through contaminated pieces of cloth that must never be touched. And who can better follow this life-saving medical advice than a three-year-old?
There is only one reason for this devilish nonsense: With COVID deaths, hospitalizations and now even “cases” declining to zero, The Mask will be the only way to maintain the hysterical germaphobia that is the key to a Democrat victory in November. The intent here is both tactical and strategic.
Tactically, The Mask helps perpetuate the Big Lie that the world outdoors is a COVID-19 danger zone, like the environs of Chernobyl, such that in-person voting at the local polling place is just too risky to require. Enter universal mail-in balloting in at least all the Blue States, unless judicial challenges are successful.
Everyone knows that the argument for mail-in balloting is a sham and that in-person voting is no riskier in terms of exposure to a virus than a trip to the supermarket, the liquor store, Wal-Mart or a George Floyd protest of 5,000 packed onto a street, which is to say a risk of zero.
But in-person voting is just too risky!
But The Mask as necessity for personal safety allows the BS-FN to create the illusion of an outside world in which the virus, like a cloud of poison gas, hovers everywhere. Surely, then, at least the vulnerable elderly cannot be expected to wade through this sea of poison gas to cast their votes. So they, at least, must receive mail-in ballots. But then, why not everyone else?
The massive and uncontrollable potential for fraud with mail-in ballots will be enough to cast into doubt the outcome of not only the Presidential election but numerous Congressional elections as well. On November 4, and for weeks if not months thereafter, we may not know the President-elect or the makeup of the 117th Congress. Think civic Armageddon: innumerable election challenges wending their way through the courts; riots in every major city; a total breakdown of the machinery of the Republic.
But beyond this tactical intention, there is a deeper strategic one. The BS-FN perceives that the omnipresence of The Mask will insure continuation of the requisite state of popular fear as a visible sign and quasi-sacramental symbol that continuously reinforces fear and makes it an intrinsic element of daily life—along with the preposterous six-foot bubble zone around every living soul the masses have also been induced to accept without protest. With the aid of the “national mask mandate,” the overnight radical alteration of social order we have already seen, a state of continual punishment that conditions the masses to blind obedience to the authorities as a way of life, will sustain the lockdowns that are destroying the Trumpian Carthage and insuring dependence on government “assistance.” But the “national mask mandate” will also pave the way to permanent institutionalized acceptance of social engineering by executive order and the consequent abandonment of the entire framework of representative government, at least in the Blue States where the majority of America’s population resides. Our only hope here is judicial intervention of the kind I am seeking in COVID-19 litigation.
“It’s not about your rights, it’s about your responsibilities as an American,” said Biden on August 13 concerning our patriotic duty to Don the Mask and Show Thy Obedience. After which Kamala Harris, that demon in human form, took the stage to chirp: “That’s what true leadership looks like.” Following that appearance by these two evil clowns, the Democrats have launched a massive blitz of “coronavirus-focused ads — one of which, titled ‘Ready to Lead,’ calls for… a national mask mandate ‘starting immediately’ and will run across six key battleground states — Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.”
Biden is literally running for President on the promise that he will order every American to wear The Mask. Of course, that’s insane, but insanity is precisely the point: we are dealing with the symbol of a death cult of the insane partisans of partial birth abortion, a 21st century equivalent of Jacobinism and its movement toward The Terror. As I warned three months ago in my reply to the insufferable Rod Dreher, The Mask—meaning, again, any symbolic piece of cloth on one’s face, it doesn’t matter what—is an implicitly sacred oath of loyalty to the Covid Revolution of 2020, which seeks to deconstruct every remaining sound element of social, economic, political and even spiritual life just as the Jacobins did in Year One of Liberty.
It should now be obvious to us all that The Mask, that dirty thing one must not touch but only wear, never really had anything to do with health, much less “saving lives.” To don the Mask is to make a show of submission to the Revolution like the one that sealed the fate of Louis XVI when he donned the revolutionary cockade: red and blue, with the royal white later added to symbolize the King’s fatal concession to being absorbed into the new order. To quote Simon Schama’s account of the moment:
Conceding the reinvention of his kingship, Louis then accepted the cockade that Bailly offered him on the steps of the Hôtel de Ville and pinned it to his hat as trumpet and cannon shot accompanied bursts of cheering…. With his court virtually abolished and his royal ceremonial stripped from him, Louis XVI had become, at last, just another pére de famille.
From the steps of the Hôtel de Ville that day in July of 1789, it was only a carriage ride to the guillotine at the renamed Place de la Révolution in January of 1793. What is to be Trump’s fate, seeing that he has already donned and expressed approval for the facial cockade of the revolutionaries who seek his destruction—and ours? Like the revolutionaries of 1789, they are busy renaming many places, rioting, looting, tearing down statues, and burying even the memory of what little passes for an American tradition. And yet, in the midst of all their shouting and their whirling violence, every single one of them wears The Mask they vehemently insist be fastened upon every single one of us.
In eighty days, we will know Trump’s fate and the course of the Revolution, assuming the votes can be counted accurately enough to know the winner—failing which, total disaster. November 4th will be either Day One of Year One of Liberty in America, the final triumph of American neo-Jacobinism, or the beginning of another period of reprieve while the revolutionary forces regather for yet another assault in their endless war on the good, the true and the beautiful—a war in which all the ground we have already lost is humanly impossible to regain. We can only hope and pray for the reprieve, and for the miracle of grace that will deliver this nation from the final outcome of its social apostasy. Meanwhile, it is our patriotic duty not to wear The Mask but to refuse it or at least evade it, come what may.
With the decision in Soos v. Cuomo, federal district Judge Gary L. Sharpe has removed religious gatherings from the virtual ghetto in which Governor Cuomo, his Attorney General and New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio had placed them under Cuomo’s crazy-quilt scheme of executive orders by which he is enforcing his increasingly indefensible, and in many applications patently ridiculous, COVID-19 lockdown.
A hearing by Skype was held today before the Honorable Gary L. Sharpe of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York. The proceedings went well, and the Court has permitted final submissions on Monday, June 22 with a decision by next Friday on my motion for a temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction barring Cuomo and de Blasio from enforcing their limits on religious gatherings as presently constituted.
The hearing was largely taken up with the development that Cuomo and de Blasio have approved of mass demonstrations on behalf of George Floyd in every major city in New York State, with de Blasio even personally participating, while enforcing strict limits on other gatherings, above all religious gatherings.
I implore Remnant readers to keep praying for a just and speedy outcome in this very important case affecting the lives of 19 million people.
I haven’t appeared on these pages for a while because, as Special Counsel to the Thomas More Society (TMS), my time has been consumed with filing and prosecuting major litigation against the Governors of New York and New Jersey and the Mayor of New York City over their tyrannical and increasingly ridiculous COVID-19 “lockdown” regimes of executive orders that micromanage literally every aspect of the lives of millions of people on the pretext of a virus that is going the way of all seasonal viral epidemics.
Both suits involve an unusual alliance between priests of the Society of Saint Pius X—the only Catholic priests willing so far to challenge the lockdowns in court—and Orthodox Jews, who likewise are the only willing Jewish plaintiffs in suits against this tyranny.
Introduction: the Usual Incoherence
Unlike so many of the blowhards who infest cyberspace, Rod Dreher has a gift: a verbal adroitness that makes him exquisitely annoying to rational observers of his reason-free, grandstanding polemics against the conservative/traditionalist unwashed by which he has made his name as an Internet sage—that is to say, a shallow demagogue.
As followers of this series will know, my father Joseph, age 96, has tested positive for the Wuhan virus. He received the diagnosis on Good Friday in the midst of a statewide coronavirus “lockdown” of his VA nursing facility in Paramus, NJ that began on March 12. My sister and I were barred from visiting him until April 17, when my sister was informed that family members would now be allowed a “compassionate visit” as my father had been transferred to the “COVID ward,” which is considered an end-of-life scenario. Fear of contagion was suddenly no longer a concern and we would be permitted to see him, but only to send him off.
On Easter Sunday evening, we reached a turning point in the monumental, wholly unprecedented, nation-wrecking fiasco that is Coronagate: President Trump retweeted a post with the hashtag #FireFauci. Both the original tweet and Trump’s telling retweet were prompted by Anthony Fauci’s latest appearance on Fake News CNN. On Easter Sunday, no less, Fauci, who has been undermining Trump since the day this fiasco began, implied in response to loaded questions by the insufferable Jake Tapper that Trump could have saved lives had he announced “social distancing guidelines” that Fauci supposedly recommended to him as early as the third week of February.
Fauci made no such recommendation in February, but was rather saying the exactly opposite that month, as even the left-wing Politico shows in an article entitled Virus 'Experts' Early Statements Belie 'Prescient' Portrayal. Thus, on Easter Sunday Fauci cooperated with Tapper in disseminating a demonstrable lie to the nation. Before we get to the lie, here is the background that demonstrates it.
What is in dispute here is not the potential lethality of this particular virus, but the ongoing COVID-19 agitprop campaign by the media, their Democrat allies, and clearly left-leaning elements of the globalist medical establishment.
As I write this piece, I have just been informed by my sister that my 96-year-old father, Joseph, who has been locked into a veteran’s nursing facility since March 12 because the Wuhan virus is present, now has fever of more than 102°. While his COVID-19 test results will not be available for days, as a precaution he will be taken by ambulance to the local hospital where we hope he will receive the drug hydroxychloroquine—the same drug the evil, lying media have been on a “jihad” to discredit, as Attorney General Barr put it, merely because President Trump endorsed it. My father has an iron constitution, so we are hoping and praying that if he has the Wuhan virus he will overcome it, as did this 103-year-old woman in Italy.