“Hogan’s Zeroes” make 15,000 stay at home compliance police checks in MD

On the 7th of April, MD Governor Hogan’s spokesman Mike Ricci brazenly tweeted that cops in MD have made 15,000 “compliance checks” related to Gov Hogan’s stay at home order, made 14 arrests,and issued 665 warnings. Over 50 of the warnings went to MD residents at their homes. This is heavy-duty “health Fascism” well beyond events in other states, and related more to power than to actual virus concerns.

Mike Ricci’s remarks have also been reported by WTOP Radio at https://wtop.com/coronavirus/2020/04/coronavirus-updates-dc-maryland-virginia-april-7/ so this is not something MD’s own rumor control website can later attempt to deny even if the tweets are later deleted.

Governor Hogan appears to be attempting to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to catapult himself to national prominance in the Republican Party. He is doing this even as other members of his same poltiical party are planning a Saturday, April 11 protest on the National Mall against any and all stay-at-home orders.

This kind of power play by politicians rather than the virus itself is why the author of this article left MD on the 30th of March before Hogan’s order could go into effect and has not returned.

If Hogan wanted to reduce dangerous coronavirus clusters in MD, he could start by releasing prisoners in state prisons and ordering counties to release prisoners trapped in county jails as well. People trapped behind prison walls are often immunosupressed by the extreme stress and and are held by armed force and violence in close quarters. An outbreak of any disease in any jail or prison can spread like fire in a tinder-dry forest. Instead of releasing prisoners however, MD Governor Hogan has arrested 14 more people over the virus, literally feeding people to the coronavirus to burnish his reputation.


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Escape From Maryland: An activist’s story

I write this as one of many thousands of US residents driven from their homes by full-on, hard authoritarian government response to the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, the 30th of March, Maryland Governor Hogan imposed one of the most severe stay at home orders in the entire US, brazenly threatening residents with prison if they left home for any but a few reasons. With hours until it went into effect, I hurredly packed up the things I care about the most and escaped from MD with hours to spare.

On the same day MD Gov Hogan imposed his order and began blustering threats of jail,Virginia governor Northam imposed a similar order, though he was less threatening and brazen in his language. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser then followed suit with a stay at home order of their own.

All of this occurred just days after the Washington Post ran a story about the growing movement of refugees inside the United States from places with hard shelter in places orders to states such as Florida. Both hotspots of virus and hotspots of strong stay-at-home (de facto house arrest) orders are driving the flow of refugees, myself among them.Trump’s talk of a national quarantine of the entire NY area spurred further refugee travel. Things have deterioriated a long way since the barren toilet paper shelves in stores I saw on the way home from the March 11 Bike Party

As for me, I am in a safe, secure location, well away from other people beyond a very few trusted friends, out of reach of Governor Hogan’s police and violence. A warrant should be legally impossible, as I was never in MD while this order was legally effective and will not return until it is repealed, overturned by court action, or overthrown by an uprising in the Baltimore 2015 manner. Just getting out was not easy. First up was desperate emergency packing, knowing anything left behind could not be reacquired elsewhere and that I could never return to MD for it until this is over. After that, I had to ensure that I was all the way out of MD before this could go into effect, avoiding the county seat in Rockville and known police-heavy areas on the way out.

I then had to worry about any attempts by first Virginia and then by North Carolina to pull over vehicles bearing license places from areas with new stay-at-home orders or attempting to enforce their own stay-at-home orders on nonresidents passing through. Thankfully most cops were busy elesewhere, so I got out without ever even seeing one in these states. At this writing though, targetting still seems to be limited to NY/NJ/Connecticut and Louisina, but for the whole trip I had to figure that opening of business, noon, and close of business of each day that could change. Finally I had to add almost 200 miles to the trip and 50 miles on back roads to avoid checkpoints at or near the last state line. Only once that border was 100 miles away could I truly relax.

For the entire trip I had to behave as though I was infected with one dangerous illness and all other persons infected with another, different one: sterilize hands and mask up before entering any building for gas, toilets, etc and sterilize hands again on exit or after touching any object that I had not myself provided.

Where I am now MD cannot reach me at all, and the virus only with difficuly. If worst comes to worst and the virus came with me, it will have great difficulty getting back out as well. I may not be in Governor Hogan’s approved living arrangement but rather in another one that is at least as effective in controlling this virus. I do NOT believe I can stay sane in any form of confinement and did what I had to do to defend myself from “Hogan’s Zeroes,” who will seek to enforce the lockdown with threats of jail or prison.

It appears Governors Hogan and Northam plus Mayor Bowser conspired together on this. In MD, Hogan blamed young people packing beaches for an outbreak AT THE SAME TIME in a nursing home. He chose group punishment of the entire state as his response, While the nursing home outbreak is an absolute catastrophe, it was reported while the young people were still on the beaches, and interaction between these two groups is probably little or none. All nursing homes in MD have now been barring visitors for longer than the 14 day maximum common incubation period of COVID-19, so that outbreak probably rode in with a doctor or nurse who did not have access to sufficient personal protective equipment elsewhere.

Possible enforcement modes for stay at home orders based on behavior in other nations include cell phone tracking and facial recognition surveillance as well as police patrols of disfavored neighborhoods and recruitment of neighborhood snitches. Anyone remaining in the area of one of these orders and going out for an “unapproved” reason or farther from their home than the nearest grocery store should probably leave their phone at home and if they have a drivers license or state ID should consider wearing a real or fake respirator mask plus sunglasses to block facial recognition cameras.

As an alternative to wholesale lockdowns I propose this alternative solution that lets people make their own choices, modelled on “sero-sorting” as a response to HIV. Already some grocery stores are offering special “senior and immunicompromised” shopping hours early AM when stores have just opened after cleaning. The grocery store and the drugstore are essentially the only evironments where people attempting to defend themselves from the virus by self-isolation are forced to break quarantine. Removing this risk would allow unilateral self-defense without regard for what anyone else does.

Next up, prioritize those who self-isolate for medical service (instead of prioritizing the rich like we do today). Finally, it may pay to add one more risk category at stores: those known to be infected and requiring food plus those attending parties or gatherings would be asked to shop ONLY in the last two hours the stores are open, and staffing would be limited to those workers who themselves fall into this same category. In other words, staffers who went to Spring Break and Mardi Gras serve customers who also did.

Those who choose to take risks and who if they get sick at all will all get sick at once are free to do so, but with the understanding that they will NOT be able to take resources away from those who did not freely choose to take these risks. Thus those who self-isolate are not exposed to those who don’t, and their supply of ventilators and hospital beds etc is as independent as possible of the “leftovers” that are available for any flood of cases among those who do not self-isolate.

If this breaks down because of cases spreading between the two groups anyway, we might be dealing with a disease so contagious nothing is going to slow it down anyway and all these restrictions are futile. What happens in Wuhan will tell. If removing restrictions does not cause a new outbreak, than “silent spread” by asymptomatic carriers saturated the population and China’s lockdown had nothing to do with stopping the initial outbreak. If the disease comes roaring back, on then can we assume the restrictions stopped it.

If the coronavirus is defeated or after it burns out, new government powers are likely to remain unless removed by force. Facial and phone location surveillance, curfews, etc all will have constituancies (especially among the rich) seeking to keep them. Trump now has requested the power of arbitrary detention without charge to enforce coronavirus quarantines, and the Dept of Injustice has a similar proposal covering both pandemics and “civil disobedience” to allow courts to order detention without trial or legal recourse.

To all those who deem sweeping now government powers an acceptable price for defeating the coronavirus, ask yourself this question: If a colonizing power from outside sought to impose these same restrictions so they could benefit economically, would not that be met with war? How many people would be prepared to die fighting that war so as not to live under a fascist regime? How many people would never surrender to authoritarianism no matter how many bombs the attackers dropped?

FInally: to Governor Hogan in MD, Mayor Bowser in DC, and all the rest of the governors threatening people with cages for not submitting to house arrest I say this: take your stay at home orders and use them for toilet paper! You certainly won’t find anything else suitable for that job now anyway. I do not know when if ever I will see my home again, but you will never be able to impose your year in prison for leaving my home on me, because I was never in Maryland while this sorry excuse for a law was in effect.

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Mayor Bowser lifts “Cherry Blossom Blockade”

On the 26th of March, the swarm of cops and occasional National Guard vehicles were gone from the Tidal Basin area, but the cherry blossoms were still out. With very few people present beyond some car traffic it was an utterly safe time for the few who braved reports of the Mayor calling out the Guard over the cherry blossoms and got to see them in privacy.

Video-“private showing” of Haines Point cherry blossoms after Mayor Bowser withdraws National Guard 1 min 34 sec Publication delayed nearly a week after I had to flee MD Governor Hogan’s very nasty “stay at home” order and his threats of prison.


Some car traffic but relatively few people on foot

Part of the Haines Point area remained closed to cars, giving a few cyclists and pedestrians a near private viewing of the flowers

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National Guard called out to block Cherry Blossom crowds from defying Trump and Bowser

Update March 23 early AM:Mayor Bowser orders National Guard as well as MPD to block access by cars AND by bike/pedestrians to cherry blossom areas excluding some parts of Constitution Ave. Cops failed, they send in the Guard. Same pattern as Europe and Middle East.

Update March 22: MPD closes Tidal.Basin streets thinking no cars allowed will make people stay home, not go in on foot and create still denser crowds.

On the 21st of March, substantial crowds defied Donald Trump’s demands to stay home and took significant personal risk to see the cherry blossoms. Whether they realized it or not, this is a political act. Every person seeing the blossoms is voting NO to curfews, no to enforced closures elsewhere, and NO to people being arrested for daring to step outside their homes.

Lets get real folks: going to the cherry blossoms was no more exposure coronavirus than going to the grocery store one additional time based on the Friday, March 20 crowd photos.

The cherry blossom tourists join the global wave of resistance to crackdowns and curfews that from Europe to the Middle East have faced enemies ranging from police to soldiers who in desperation have resorted to forcible dispersal tactics only to have people defy them again in the same or another place. The most extreme case was in Iraq, where hundreds of thousands entered a Shiite shrine over the government’s objection to practice their religion before being forcibly dispersed by troops. From the shrines of Iraq to the beaches of France and Italy, to the very heart of Washington DC where the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, people are defying demands to essentially stop their lives for up to 18 months. People are refusing to submit to being prisoners in their own homes. Whatever it takes, whatever the risk, people are fighting back.

On Twitter, Denis Wirtz reported “Today, the crowds were out in DC. People in close quarters admiring the cherry blossoms, kids playing frisbee and beach volleyball. Business as usual” He appplied a #covidiot hashtag but in reality the whole world is now balanced on the edge of a knife between TWO deadly hazards: the virus and governments that want perpetual curfew and stay-at-home powers they can later use to muzzle dissent, suppress voter turnout in unfriendly areas, etc.

It is likely Donald Trump is hoping to find a way to use the virus to indefinately postpone the 2020 election that could throw him down from power after his incredible bungling destroyed a large part of the US economy.

A Washington Post editorial pointed out that all this “social distancing” will NOT stop the epidemic unless continued until either a vaccine is developed or so many people have already had it that “herd immunity” stops further spread in the manner of an old flu strain that dies out. Either of these is expected to take about 18 months. The Post thus has called for a return to normal living for the bulk of the population while those at special risk and ONLY them seek to isolate themselves from possible sources of the virus for the entire 18 months. The Post did not go into details, but such measures as “Seniors-only” shopping hours already being implemented at some grocery stores are the sort of measures that can make such unilateral defenses effective as well as sustainable.

In the meantime, many are warning that 18 months of stay-at-home orders, curfews, and community wide quarantines would wreck the economy to the point that food can no longer be produced.The resulting hunger and outright starvation could be deadlier than the virus itself. If the political contagion is not stopped soo, the best case estimate some give is sustained 20% unemployment, similar to the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Worst case has been compared to “wartime Europe.” We had best remember that the economics of Germany in 1930 led directly to the horrific politics of Germany in 1932. Already white supremacists are chomping at the bit, and the FBI reports smne of them want to use the virus as a biological weapon against their foes. Trump for his part is launching racist attacks on all of China and targeting the domestic media as well.

Some very serious stupidity about the virus also exists globally, from crowds of pilgrims in Iran supposedly licking doorknobs at sacred sites to a “trend” among some young folks in the US deliberately coughing on produce or worse, directly at elders. One US megachurch has told their parishoners to report for services (normally packed) claiming God will protect them from the virus. As for the cherry blossoms, it’s one thing to go and see what you can, quite another for the crowd to pack in tight. Correct move would have been for the same number of people to turn out, see the trees, and put Trump in his place, but carry out this “mass gathering” without ever getting inside six feet of oneanother. In other words, take necessary risks but not unnecessary risks, don’t “give it away” to the virus.

Reports of crimes related to price gouging and exploitation regarding the virus are already spreading too. In North Carolina, some greedhead stole a truck because its cargo was 18,000 pounds of toilet paper. Cops redacted his name from court documents to keep him from being killed if he was doxxed. Elsewhere, some piece of (what you use toilet paper to clean up) was reportedly caught with 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer that were to be sold ($$$) on Amazon and “persuaded” to donate them when Amazon delisted his first batch of 300.

Video-scenes near the Tidal Basin on 3-25 after cops, guard called out 2 min 2 sec


Crowds at the cherry blossoms on March 21, Good thing is people are standing up to Trump’s demands to sit at home. Bad thing is people are too close together: six feet minimum safe distance. (Photo Nancy Russell via Twitter)

Park Police at cherry blossom roadblock on March 22. National Guard to be added to these(Photo by Darcy Spencer via Twitter)

Cherry blossom blockade at night (Darcy Spencer photo via Twitter)

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DC Bike Party’s Gender Equality Ride takes place safely outdoors as pandemic of fear grips DC

On the 11th of March, a pandemic of fear could not stop the DC Bike Party’s Gender Equality Ride from taking to the streets. Organizers warned riders to leave some distance between each other, but also reminded everyone that the ride is outdoors and thus well ventiliated. The ride was a success, and was seemingly the busiest traffic in otherwise near-empty streets

The original halfway stop for the ride was at RFK Stadium, but two police cars sat at the periphery and shined lights into the stopped ride. Seeing the spot was hostile, riders moved on to a backup location and the rest stop went without incident there. Finally the ride returned to the streets, ending at a Barracks Row location.

On the way home after the bike party, the author of this story encountered more fallout from the World Health Organization’s declaration that the Covid-19 coronavirus is now a global pandemic. Radio news was reporting (and possibly CAUSING) runs on toilet paper and hand sanitizer in grocery stores. Indeed those shelves were empty as shoppers pushed mountainous loads in their carts, even after midnight. There was no toilet paper whatsoever to be seen, possibly due to radio newscasters going on the air and telling people that a toilet paper crisis was coming while it was still available. This is not the first time toilet paper has been stripped from store shelves due to rumors and hysteria and probably won’t be the last. The first “toilet paper crisis” was at least as far back as the 1970’s and even spawned “the toilet paper crisis is a load of crap” bumper stickers.

The DC Bike Party was an anchor of normalcy on a crazy day where it seemed that the only thing missing was the zombies to go with the apocalypse!

Video: Early portions of the DC Bike Party-and ugly reality on way home 2 min 28 sec


A rider pulls a wheelie early in the ride

Another scene early in the ride

Beautiful steel tandem bike

Entering the RFK Stadium area for first attempt at the mid-ride rest stop

These cops disrupted the original location for the halfway point stop by shining their lights and were deemed enough of a threat to move the halfway point stop

Riders lit up by cop lights

Back to reality: store shelves stripped bare as shoppers (thinking a 2 week quarantine will somehow use up two month’s worth of toilet paper) hoard vast mountains of toilet paper

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Apache tribe members and allies rally to save Oak Flat from Rio Tinto’s copper mine

On the 11th of March, members of the Apache nation and their allies rallied on Capitol Hill to support the Save Oak Flat Act. This bill would revoke the 2015 “stealth approval” of a land transfer to make possible the proposed Rio Tinto/Resolution Copper copper mine would would destroy Apache sacred land at Oak Flat.

In 2015, Senators Flake and McCain slippped an “Oak Flat land exchange” rider into the annual National Defense Authorization Act to transfer this sacred land to Australian-owned Rio Tinto’s Resolution Copper subsidiary. Resolution Copper wants to replace Oak Flat with a crater 2 miles wide and 1,000 feet deep, and ship the copper ore to China for refining.

On the 12th of March, not a single Republican dared to show up at the subcommittee hearing for the Save Oak Flat Act. This was posted to Twitter by “Natural Resources Committee” @NRDems:

“Generations of Native Americans have celebrated traditions at Oak Flat in central Arizona.
Now a copper mine threatens to destroy it.
We held a hearing today on what happens when corporate greed endangers sacred sites.
No Republicans showed up.”

link broken with (dot) to exclude 3ed party javascript
earthworks(dot)org/stories/oak_flat_apache_leap/

Video: highlights of the speakers 5 min 31 sec

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Vigil held in Columbia Heights for likely innocent man executed in Alabama

On the 9th of march, opponents of the death penalty and racist Alabama “justice” system held a vigil to remember Nathaniel Woods. He was executed for a 2004 killing of three cops in a crackhouse in spite of another person being convicted of the same killing stating he acted alone and flat-out evidence of innocence.


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