Diary

Authoritarians Gotta Authoritarian!

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s (D-MI) executive orders to fight COVID-19 have been declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court, but the Governor continues to try to enforce them via other means.

And now, Governor Whitless Whitmer, through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, is trying something even more draconian:

Michigan orders restaurants to collect customers’ information amid COVID-19 surges

by Craig Mauger and Beth LeBlanc | October 29, 2020 | Published: 3:26 PM CDT; Updated: 7:04 PM CDT

Lansing — Michigan restaurants will have to begin tracking the names and numbers of customers in case of COVID-19 outbreaks starting Monday under a policy announced Thursday as the state experiences surges in cases of the virus.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services unveiled orders that limit non-residential indoor gatherings without fixed seating to 50 people — the limit was 500 — and restrict individual table sizes at restaurants to six people.

The health department’s order on Thursday came on a day when Michigan set a daily case record at 3,675, along with 41 more deaths. That’s the most new confirmed cases in a single day during the seven-month pandemic for the state.

The coronavirus trends in Michigan are “incredibly concerning,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive. As of Wednesday, the state reported 1,348 adults with COVID-19 in hospitals, three times the 405 adults with COVID-19 in hospitals one month ago.

“We are taking targeted actions via the order to address areas that are particularly severe sources of spread, and we are issuing guidance that is a very clear road map for what we need to do bring cases down,” said Robert Gordon, the director of the Department of Health and Human Services.

There’s more at the original.

According to Wikipedia, only three countries still require internal passports, red China, North Korea and Russia. Will Governor Whitless Whitmer decide that Michigan must have such, because not everybody entering a restaurant will have an identification.

As far as I can tell, the directive does not require restaurants to check identifications. Were I a Michigander, my reaction would be to get plenty of cash, and when asked for my name and address, identify myself as Snodgrass Q McGuillicuddy of some fictitious street, and give as my telephone number as (313) 596-2200, which is the number of the Detroit police department.

I’m waiting for Governor Whitless Whitmer to issue orders requiring that all automobile license plates be recorded in Michigan restaurant parking lots, the way Governor Andy Beshear (D-KY) once did in church parking lots, just in case restaurant patrons do not identify themselves accurately.

Will Bunch, a columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, this morning posted an article entitled “Rising tide of violence, propaganda reveal Tuesday’s stakes for America: freedom or fascism?” Mr Bunch, a very liberal writer, claimed that it was President Trump who was the fascist.

I know there’s some kind of corollary to Godwin’s Law that any piece that mentions fascism in America — it can’t happen here, right? — must be discounted as hysteria. But as I write I find myself at a loss for any other word for the growing embrace of brown shirt-style violence both by vigilantes and, increasingly, by pro-Trump uniformed cops, even as the president’s political movement has taken on a cult-like embrace of “Order” with a capital “O.”

Yet, it isn’t President Trump who has ordered that everyone patronizing a restaurant must be identified and recorded, is it? It wasn’t an evil reich wing Republican who prohibited gatherings of more than three families for Thanksgiving, was it? Was it the Department of Homeland Security who ordered the police to stop anyone with New York plates for questioning, and sent police and the National Guard “going door-to-door” in coastal communities, asking people if they’ve been to New York and requesting their contact information, or was it the Democratic Governor of Rhode Island?

Perhaps the real corollary to Godwin’s Law is that anyone who uses it is likely to be supporting fascism from his ‘side’ of the debate far more than the target of his claim? Nahhh, that’s very much overly broad, but it is wryly amusing, at best, that the side Mr Bunch sees as supporting freedom is the one which is employing restrictions on our constitutional rights, for our own good, of course!, in the fight against COVID-19.
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