Katie Hobbs certainly seems to like power. That’s probably why she was so giddy with laughter and excitement during her swearing-in ceremony last month. Now, she’s gotten to work. And despite her claims that Republicans and Democrats will have an open door to her office to get to work on bipartisan compromise, her preferred method appears to be executive action.
In just over a month since beginning her reign as governor, Hobbs has already signed seven executive orders. And there’s no sign that she’ll stop there. Her first executive order, prohibiting gender identity discrimination in state employment and contracts, was particularly eye-opening. Consider it a small taste of the woke agenda Hobbs is looking to implement over the next four years. And while it’s good to see that groups like the Arizona Freedom Caucus are planning to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of such an order, it will take more than that to stop Hobbs from overstepping her authority…
America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was possibly the most consequential public policy blunder in our history.
The enormous costs included $5 trillion or so in unproductive federal spending, inflation, reduction in our standard of living, and permanent economic damage that will be felt for generations to come.
There was massive learning loss and the specter of loved ones dying alone. The incidence of depression and drug addiction skyrocketed. Businesses were shuttered while many Americans seemingly lost their work ethic.
What happened? The short answer is that we panicked and listen to “experts” who vowed we could halt this virus if we were willing to sacrifice enough.
At first, with imperfect information around a deadly new phenomenon, projecting a worst-case scenario and drastic measures to prevent it made sense. However, more data and experience with the virus soon tended to support a strategy of containment (“stop the spread”).
Still the decision makers at the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), doubled down on their zero-COVID based recommendations. Lockdowns ensued. We scoffed at cost-benefit analysis. “If only one life…” and “in an abundance of caution…” became the guiding standards of policymaking.
The American people mostly went along with it. Why wouldn’t they? They were provided little awareness of alternate approaches.
Once the narrative had been established that eradication was the only permissible strategy, opposing viewpoints were excluded to a degree any Third World dictator would have envied.
Dissenters were shamed and censored. Professional reputations were attacked. Dr. Fauci informed us that “I am the science” and thus all who disagreed were “science deniers.”
Consider the case of Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a Professor of Health Policy at Stanford. He also directs Stanford’s Center for Demography and Economics of Health and Aging and is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economics Research. So, the doc isn’t exactly an empty suit. He was also a co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD), signed now by thousands of medical scientists and practitioners, which advocated for “focused protection” against COVID.
Since COVID is dangerous only to a relatively small proportion of the population, it was argued that the greatest efforts should be in protecting people most at risk, the chronically ill and elderly. This would focus resources where they do the most good, saving lives and money.
Agree or not, there is nothing looney about this notion that one-size-fits-all doesn’t make sense for COVID-19. It was mainstream common sense, advocated by highly qualified, non-political scientists.
Yet the blogosphere and leading scientific opinion channels exploded with vitriolic denunciations. The authors were accused of promoting infections among the young to achieve a cruel herd immunity strategy. The claimed the GBD was promoting a wholesale return to our pre-pandemic lives—that they were encouraging fringe groups who distrust health officials and prioritizing individual preference above public good.
None of it was true, but to the social media tyrants, that didn’t mean that Dr. Bhattacharya should be vigorously debated. It meant that he must be threatened and silenced.
We just recently learned that he was indeed censored and intentionally shadowbanned by Twitter. His account was tagged with a label of “Trends Blacklist.” He was censored before he tweeted a single message.
He had violated no rules. He spread no “misinformation.” He only defied the approved consensus. He was silenced by the mob at Twitter, none of whom had anything like his knowledge or experience.
The GBD authors were right, of course. None of the isolations, lockdowns, or school closures affected the eventual course of the virus. We received virtually no benefit from the massive self-inflicted harm.
It’s ironic in our supposedly modern, enlightened age that dogma won out over science. That is, we based our societal decisions on knowledge rooted in deemed authority, not the open inquiry of the scientific method.
We paid a big price for listening to the Fauci’s of the world with their refusal to balance benefit with cost. Dr. Fauci bragged of not caring about the cost of his demands.
They convinced our leaders to spend money we don’t have in a vain attempt to achieve the impossible.
Bad idea. We can’t afford to let it happen again.
Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.
On Sunday, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero announced that she contracted COVID-19 — despite being vaccinated and up to date on booster shots.
Romero clarified that her symptoms were mild.
Under Romero’s leadership, the city of Tucson instituted a vaccine mandate for employees last August. Romero has characterized the vaccine mandate as a “policy” and “requirement,” though previously she acknowledged the county’s requirement of masks as a mandate.
In response to the mandate, Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a civil rights lawsuit in August (CV2022-011416). Brnovich accused the city of disparate treatment between unvaccinated and vaccinated employees. Brnovich claimed the city punished unvaccinated employees awaiting approval of their exemption or accommodation requests with unpaid suspension, denied additional sick leave to recover from COVID-19 or to quarantine if a family member contracted COVID-19, and required to undergo regular COVID-19 testing at their own expense.
However, vaccinated employees were given additional sick leave.
About 377 employees requested a medical exemption for the mandate, and 352 employees requested a religious exemption.
Brnovich’s lawsuit against the city is ongoing in the Arizona Superior Court.
Tucson’s vaccine mandate also prompted state intervention last year. Prior to the Arizona Supreme Court overturning a newly-enacted law banning state or local government from mandating the COVID-19 vaccine, Brnovich threatened to withhold over $175 million in state revenues.
The city also required election workers to be vaccinated ahead of the special election in May. The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted in July to rescind that mandate for the primary elections. That decision followed requests from their elections officials concerned that they wouldn’t have adequate staffing with the mandate in place.
The county and city of Tucson implemented similar vaccine mandates. However, in September the Pima County Board of Supervisors rescinded its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees and $45 monthly penalty for unvaccinated employees. It also implemented a reward for those vaccinated employees who stay up to date on booster shots: 16 hours of paid time off every year.
A newly-enacted state law (HB2498) prohibits state and local governments from mandating the COVID-19 vaccine.
Romero has affirmed consistently that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective.
“The decision to not get vaccinated does not just affect personal health, it unjustly exposes others to the risk of illness; including coworkers, members of the public, and children,” stated Romero.
Republican Reps. Paul Gosar (AZ-04) and Andy Biggs (AZ-05) joined an amicus brief with 15 other lawmakers to prevent future airplane mask mandates.
Specifically, the lawmakers challenged the CDC’s legal authority to issue a mask mandate for airplane travel in Health Freedom Defense Fund v. Biden. They contested that Congress hadn’t and couldn’t grant the CDC the authority for such a mandate.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY-04) led the amicus brief, joined by Biggs and Republican Reps. Barry Moore (AL-02), Lauren Boebert (CO-03), Bill Posey (FL-08), Brian Mast (FL-18), Andrew Clyde (GA-09), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14), Matt Rosendale (MT), Dan Bishop (NC-09), Warren Davidson (OH-08), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Chip Roy (TX-21), Bob Good (VA-05), and Alex Mooney (WV-02).
Sen. Rand Paul (KY) also joined the amicus brief. These Congress members represent 13 different states.
The case is before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals currently.
The Florida Middle District Court ruled against the Biden administration in April, finding that the CDC exceeded its statutory authority and failed to follow notice and comment rulemaking. Following the loss, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a joint statement with the CDC pledging an appeal of the ruling.
“The Department continues to believe that the order requiring masking in the transportation corridor is a valid exercise of the authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health,” stated the DOJ.
The lawsuit follows legislative attempts to end the mandate and prevent future ones, and years of aggressive crackdowns on resistance to mask-wearing on flights.
Last July, Biggs and Paul introduced legislation to prohibit mask mandates for public transportation. Neither version of the legislation made it to a committee in the Democratic-controlled Congress.
For two years, airlines put passengers who refused to mask up on their “no-fly list.” In February, Delta Airlines asked other airlines to share their no-fly lists to expand its own.
Negative public response to the move caused the company to backtrack. By April, Delta began removing people who refused to adhere to masking requirements from its no-fly list.
Last December, the CEO of Southwest Airlines testified to the Senate his doubts about masks’ ability to prevent COVID-19 transmission in airplanes. The fully vaccinated, double-boosted CEO caught COVID-19 a day after that testimony.
Even though I was raised in a loving, conservative home, and first registered to vote as a Republican, I switched to Democrat. Why? Partly out of pressure (basically bullied by my husband), but also, like many others, I had heard liberals were the compassionate ones, concerned about protecting the rights of others.
I justified that my husband was one of those liberals, and I could help the Party by sharing my conservative ideas. But he turned out to be a Leftist—insisting that we were “entitled to state benefits,” always angry about supposed racism (but without evidence), and always in fear of COVID or global warming. This was not the compassion I expected from liberals but instead a lot of ‘righteous’ anger. Eventually I woke up tired and worn out from the anger of the Far Left. I still have dear liberal friends, but I had to escape the mindset that took away my sanity and hope. Here’s what I learned.
1 – Democrats are no longer “the compassionate ones.” They’re either old school liberals (like John F. Kennedy or even Bill Clinton) OR they’re Leftists. The true liberals still care, but they don’t realize that their party has been taken over by socialists, and it’s demolishing what they believe in—what our forefathers created in our Constitutional Republic. The Democrat platform no longer cares about the rights and freedoms of the people; only about taking control.
2 – The Democrat media is NOT fact-based. When I registered as a Democrat, I noticed the videos posted to my Facebook made AOC look like the American Joan of Arc, standing up to Big Pharma and Big Tech. Nowhere was I shown the full sound bites where she makes no sense: ‘the Green New deal is going to save us from certain death in a decade!’ They use terms like fossil fuels, but have no idea what it really means. They say renewable energy is a great innovation that will keep improving, but it’s nowhere close to beating petroleum or nuclear power—both of which help most people in poorer countries.
3 – Democrat activists are kind of shady. Whenever someone found out that I was a registered Democrat, and they were too, the conversation turned SUPER secretive. They lowered their voice and looked around making sure no one else was listening, like we were part of a spy network. No joke. Every time! Once I was part of an activist group talking about staging a protest in front of a local GOP office—again it felt shady, rather than doing good work…. Eventually, I thought to myself: if what the Republicans (my family) are standing for is so bad, why is there a need to always be looking behind your shoulder? Why is everything in the Democrat party secretive?
After four years of living like this, I was obese, SUPER in debt, angry, and impatient with people: things I never wanted to be or have my son see. It hit me one day that my parents’ “normal” life was healthy. It had schedules, hard work, gratitude, and hope. Conservative values actually made happiness possible.
Leftist thinking had derailed my life. I had to make some tough choices, but now I’m free! Today, with my family’s support, I’ve lost and kept off over 20 pounds, paid off debts, been at peace with who I am, and become strong in my faith. Now, I have the ability to be fully present for my son. (He goes to the gym with me, and we even go to Republican meetings together!) Honestly, I can say it’s when I embraced conservative thinking that we started getting healthy.
Now I’m part of Chandler/Gilbert Republican Women, I’ve worked on campaigns, and contribute research and admin support for Arizona Women of Action. I’m excited to be an activist for freedom! I hope my story encourages others to think about their beliefs, and remember WHY we’re fighting—for a healthy, happy country.
Sarah is a part of the Chandler/Gilbert Republican Women and contributes research and administrative support for Arizona Women of Action.