Austin Dispatches No. 231 Feb. 28, 2021

For once, His Fraudulency has a valid point.1 Of course, anyone who's read Austin Dispatches since the century's first recession doesn't need Biden's babbling to know Travis County's a disaster.

Not when Feb. 16's record-setting snowstorm caused burst water pipes in other units and other buildings, knocked out my landline and Internet connections; deposited thick, slick crust on the external stairs, sidewalks and streets, and equally thick crust on the complex grounds, the better to conceal doggie droppings.2 A few hours later, the landlord shut off water for repairmen to fix the pipes.3 With the water off nearly a week for my building, I felt so scungy I began to hallucinate I was at a '70s bluegrass festival. Worse, without Internet access for two days, I had to rely on news from NPR.

At large, Austinites endured lack of power, clean water, food and gas, sometimes simultaneously.4 Local officials imposed power use restrictions on businesses, including the technology manufacturers they've been enticing.5

Both the Chronicle and the NPR affiliate have indignantly denied that wind and solar energy equipment failures had anything to do with the statewide power outages, which means they likely did and that fact can't be ignored or effectively spun.6 For all the Chronicle's post-outage preening about "our" local belief in "good government,"7 Austin Water Utility's failure likely had to do something with the subcontinental Indians running it, with their low technical competence and nepotistic hiring practices familiar to anyone who's worked in the computer industry -- or called a help desk.8 Our civic officials have known about this problem for at least 11 years without doing anything about it. Ponder that as you're dying of thirst.

COVID-19, Public 0

Naturally, officials acted decisively on what really matters to them: crushing Travis County and its disfavored inhabitants under a permanent medical dictatorship, using anti-coronavirus measures as their favorite cudgel.9 First, the freeze gave them an excuse not to ease measures, because they couldn't collect more statistics.10 Then, County Judge Andy Brown extended the lockdown into April.11

That's the closest the local power elite comes to a conservative policy: persisting in a failed approach, for which the likes of Mark Escott, acting Austin-Travis County health authority, blame the public for not following his orders.12 Problem is, it's his fellow officials guilty of that. The papers that quoted Escott didn't report whether he said that aboard a private jet or at a Mexican resort, like Mayor Steve Adler.13 Also, the Travis County commissioners grilled Escott, not us, in early January for botched mass injections of experimental gene therapies from multinational drug manufacturers.14 We need to yank his medical license.

The Chronicle's editor nags in the Jan. 1 issue, "We are failing as a community to stop the transmission of this disease...." What's this "we" shit?15

Meanwhile, increasing numbers of studies by real doctors conclude the anti-virus measures the power elite have imposed upon us don't work.16 Also, medical professionals have been subject to a lot of heavy, top-down pressure to refrain from mention of supplements and preexisting medicines as preventatives or cures. Nevertheless, a laudable, perhaps even a considerable, number have resisted, even at considerable risk to their careers.17

We've gone through this before:

In 2009 Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano declared a "public health emergency" over the swine flu; soon the World Health Organization jumped on the bandwagon to declare a "global pandemic," although in order to do so it had to change its own internal definition of "pandemic." President Obama's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology suggested that the swine flu could strike up to fifty percent of the population, that 1.8 million Americans could be hospitalized, and that 90,000 could die from it. The advisers called for Obama to rush through a vaccination program for 40 million people. As the hysteria mounted and the bandwagon rolled, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta began hosting swine flu forums around the country, and even paying people $50 to attend. It even went so far as to sell cute, pink, piggy-looking swine flu stuffed toys. As it turned out the swine flu was actually less severe than ordinary seasonal flu and responsible for only a tiny fraction of the deaths attributed to seasonal influenzas. The World Health Organization was accued of widely overplaying the prospect of a pandemic, and charges and countercharges flew, particularly in Europe, that the threat had been overblown because of the influence of major drug manufacturers looking for a booster shot in the $20 billion global vaccine market.

In the 1976 swine flu fiasco, 46 million Americans were persuaded by the Ford administration to be vaccinated, an initiative more about politics -- Ford was up for election and the first vaccines were given a month before the polls opened -- than good medicine. Indeed, only one person died from swine flu that year, while 500 cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a paralyzing neurological disorder now known to have been associated with the vaccine, were found along with twenty-five deaths from the condition. Of course billions of dollars in lawsuits ensued. The irony in libertarian eyes is that when the state acts as dispenser-in-chief of medication, the chain of responsibility is perversely upended. Manufacturers of untested and unsafe medicines, such as the 1976 vaccines, are better positioned than Gerald Ford or Janet Napolitano to assess the risks of their products. This is something do daily or risk their solvency. Yet they are generally relieved of that responsibility and indemnified by the government for the harms they may cause. In a pattern that has become tiresomely familiar, the major companies are guaranteed their profits, while the losses -- in this case their liabilities -- are shifted on the backs of the taxpayers. Equally troubling are repeated government attempts to criminalize those unwilling to participate in state medical partices, such as mandated vaccinations. In the 2009 swine flu scare, legislation was introduced in Massachusetts not only limiting the liability of those involved in propagating wrongheaded government medicine, but also threatening heavy fines and imprisonment for those who refused to be vaccinated. Of course, according to the rationale of the state mandate, those who refuse to be vaccinated are placing only themselves at risk and represent no threat to those who choose to be immunized, since they are by definition immune. So individuals exercising self-determination but harming no one else are criminalized, while the purveyors of real risk and harmful medications proceed without risk to their profit or fear of loss. Like a contrived casus belli or the outbreak of war, the proclamation of "public health emergencies" and "global pandemics" represents the health of the state, allowing it to assume powers and command resources without question. In such cases, dissent is always generous. But far more dangerous is the universal medicating of a nation.18

Neighborhood News

KXAN's traffic Web page reported collisions at MoPac Expressway and Braker Lane on Feb. 4, and at MoPac and Parmer Lane and Duval Road on Feb. 12.

A company that's never seen fit to hire me turned the knife by sponsoring that damned soccer stadium.19

Fry's died.20 Four businesses have opened and one has expanded.21


Home Archives


1 AD No. 230n12 (Jan. 30, 2021); Lopez, Brian. "Biden Declares Disaster in Texas." Fort Worth Star-Telegram 21 Feb. 2021: 1A+.

2 Folio Management. "Water Supply & Other Updates 2/16/21." E-mail to tenants; Lindell, Chuck. "Storm Spreads Snow, Ice, Misery Across Texas." AAS 16 Feb. 2021: 1A+; Osborn, Claire. "Snow Place Like Home." AAS 11 Jan. 2021: B1+; Sechler, Bob, and Lori Hawkins. "Damage May Rival Harvey." AAS 20 Feb. 2021: 1A+.

3 Folio Management. "Water Update 2/17 11:30 a.m." E-mail to tenants.

4 Autullo, Ryan. "40% in Austin Without Power." AAS 16 Feb. 2021: 1B+; Autullo, and Tony Plohetski. "ERCOT Asks Austin to Shed More Power." AAS 17 Feb. 2021: 1A+; Broyles, Addie, Eric Webb, and Kara Carlson. "Austin-Area Stores Facing Challenges." AAS 19 Feb. 2021: 5B+; Hawkins, Lori. "Gas Prices Rise, Supplies Remain Limited." AAS 23 Feb. 2021: 5B-6B; Jankowski. "Water Crisis Lingers; Frustration Builds." AAS 20 Feb. 2021: 1A+; Sanders, Austin. "It's Not Over Yet." AC 26 Feb. 2021: 14.

5 Autullo. "Travis County: Don't Price Gouge or Waste Power." AAS 18 Feb. 2021: 1B+; Cronin, Mike, and W. Scott Bailey. "Lasting Weather Worries." ABJ 26 Feb. 2021: 6; Fisher, Lina, and Sanders. "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground." AC 19 Feb. 2021: 14; Hardison, Kathryn. "$17B Samsung Deal Hinges on Incentives." ABJ 12 Feb. 2021: 4; Hardison. "Travis County Mulls Major Incentivized Deal." ABJ 4 Feb. 2021: 4; Jankowski. "Power to Industrial Users Is Shut Off." AAS 18 Feb. 2021: 1B+; "Perfect Storm: Pandemic, Monster Winter Storm Event Cripple Business Productivity in Austin." ABJ 19 Feb. 2021: 3+; Sullivan, Beth. "Say Yes to the ... Silicon Silver?" AC 5 Feb. 2021: 13.

6 Fisher and Sanders. "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground." AC 19 Feb. 2021: 13.

7 Clark-Madison, Mike. "Help Is Not on the Way." AC 26 Feb. 2021: 10+.

8 AD No. 134n25 (July 10, 2010); Autullo. "Parts of Austin Area Under Boil Water Notices." AAS 18 Feb. 2021: 1A+; Jankowski. "Backup Failure Deepened Crisis." AAS 28 Feb. 2021: 1+.

9 Sullivan. "At Dell Med, Fauci on What Comes Next: 'A Serious Look' at Pandemic Preparedness." AC 22 Jan. 2021: 12.

10 Osbourne, Heather. "Freeze Delays Pandemic Data, Hinders Lifting Limits." AAS 24 Feb. 2021: 1B-2B.

11 Hardison. "Gatherings Still Prohibited, Stalling Foreclosures." ABJ 26 Feb. 2021: 8.

12 Aldridge, Olivia. "Health Officials Say COVID-19 Spread Moving in the Wrong Direction." CIN Dec. 2020, Northwest Austin ed.: 15; Osbourne, Heather. " 'This Is a Real Crisis?' " AAS 28 Dec. 2020: A1+.

13 AD No. 228n41 (Dec. 8, 2020); Autullo. "Emails Show Outrage Over Adler's Trip." AAS 19 Jan. 2021: B1+.

14 Osbourne. "County Leaders: Vaccine Rollout 'Chaotic.' " AAS 6 Jan. 2021: A1+.

15 Jones, Kimberley. "Babies on the Brain." AC 1 Jan. 2021: 2.

16 Coleman, Dr. Vernon. Proof That Face Masks Do More Harm Than Good. Worcester, U.K.: Vernon Coleman, 2020; Heslin, Kevin C., and Jeffrey E. Hall. "Sexual Orientation Disparities in Risk Factors for Adverse COVID-19-Related Outcomes, by Race/Ethnicity -- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States, 2017-2019." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 5 Feb. 2021 149-154; National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Rapid Expert Consultation on the Effectiveness of Fabric Masks for the COVID-19 Pandemic. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press, 2020.

17 America's Frontline Doctors on Experimental Vaccines for COVID-19. Reston, Va.: America's Frontline Doctors, 2021; Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance. I-Mask+ Prophylaxis & Early Outpatient Treatment Protocol for COVID-19. Washington, D.C.: FLCCC Alliance, 2021; McCullough, Dr. Peter A. et al. "Pathophysiological Basis and Rationale for Early Outpatient Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Infection." American Journal of Medicine Jan. 2021: 16-22; Zimmer, Carl, Noah Weiland, and Katie Thomas. "Vaccine Success Muffles Missteps on Treatment." NYT 31 Jan. 2021: A1.

18 Goyette, Charles. Red and Blue and Broke All Over: Restoring America’s Free Economy. New York City: Sentinel, 2012: 150-151.

19 Sauveur, Trace. "Construction of Austin FC Stadium Nears Completion." AC 29 Jan. 2021: 16.

20 "Fry's Out of Business." (Palo Alto, Calif.) Daily Post 24 Feb. 2021: 1.

21 "Impacts." CIN Jan. 2021, Northwest Austin ed.: 6.