CA Gov. Newsom Reinstates COVID Lockdown...and Adds 'Strike Teams' To Enforce It

P. Gardner Goldsmith | July 6, 2020

It appears as if California Governor Gavin Newsom is a fan of the Hollywood “reboot.”

On July 1, he rebooted his arbitrary, anti-constitutional “COVID19 Lockdowns” in, fittingly, 19 state counties, stating that his extra-legislative edict would apply for the next three weeks. It’s the kind of unilateral command that inspires many Californians to ask how he can justify it constitutionally, why he still cannot seem to grasp the simple concept of free association on private property, and, finally how he intends to enforce it – since it’s not a statute passed by the Assembly, and even law enforcement members are scratching their heads.

July 1 saw The Sacramento Slickster, aka Gavin The Kid, cited in the LA Times for reinstating his lockdowns:

The governor took action to halt visits to indoor restaurants, bars, wineries and tasting rooms, entertainment centers, movie theaters, zoos, museums and card rooms for the next three weeks in Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and Sacramento counties and other regions hard hit by the virus.




But, of course, as I and many others have noted, the phrase “hit hard by the virus” is impossible to define, because no one knows the actual infection rate or the mortality rate of COVID19. The PCR tests are not reliable as sole diagnostic tools. The federal government has issued guidelines to states letting them list a patient as “COVID19 Positive” after mere visual assessment and a determination of “probable” infection, and the federal government offers financial incentives to medical establishments to list “COVID19” as a cause of death even when that has not been determined.

Additionally, health workers have increased the number of “antibody tests” in the past two weeks, which, naturally, would see a resultant rise in the number of people testing positive.

But that is beside the point. Even IF there were objectively verifiable evidence that infections were increasing and that health workers were justified in marking-up mortality rates as “COVID19-caused,” Newsom still would not be justified in issuing state Executive Branch “commands” shutting down businesses and prohibiting free association.

Nor would the commands be constitutional if passed by the CA Assembly.

As I have noted when covering Newsom's original lockdowns, this kind of state action stands in towering contravention of not only the First Amendment assurance of free association, but also of the Fourth Amendment protection against unwarranted searches and seizures, the Fifth Amendment prohibition against deprivation of life, liberty, or property without due process, and against the taking of property without just compensation (and even that relies on the government to determine “just compensation).

His lockdowns also stand contrary to the Sixth Amendment assurance of a trial by jury, the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment (if there is no trial, how can anyone be called guilty in order for the state to punish him?), the Fourteenth Amendment reiteration of the Fifth Amendment assurance of due process and a jury trial, and the Contract Clause within the Constitution itself, which prohibits states from interfering in the fulfillment of a private contract.

Moreover, in studying this phenomenon, it is essential that Americans remember the difference between public property and private property. Public property is that which uses tax money to function. It’s run by the government, inspiring many residents to argue with each other over how the land or building (or government-managed money) will be used, and politicians and bureaucrats issue all manner of edicts about it.

Private property is owned by individuals, and is properly understood as mutually “hands-off.” Ownership of it is not an offensive, aggressive action, and welcoming people onto it is not aggressive either. Likewise, one “has a property in” himself, and can make peaceful choices with his own free will. He can accept an invitation onto private property, or decline; he can accept the rules the other owner sets down, or go someplace else. By this exercise of free will, the rest of us can see real, verifiable indications of how people value things like masks, social distancing, and worries over a virus, compared to their desires to associate with others, trade, and better their lives.

The costs and benefits can be adjudged by each person based on his own valuations, and we can see that, and use it for our own calculations.

But through his “edict reboot,” Newsom indicates to the public that he either doesn’t understand the distinction between public property and private property, or he doesn’t care.

And there could be one more possibility. He might actually like and agree with the 1946 Supreme Court ruling in the case of “Marsh v. Alabama” in which the justices erroneously claimed that any business that is open to admitting people is, somehow, “public property” – even though it’s privately owned. It was that ruling which opened the Pandora’s Box to all the licensing and mandates that Newsom and others use as ways to send threats of closure and fines to restaurateurs, bar owners, salon operators, and many other private business proprietors.

He did it in his previous lockdown, and now he is creating “Strike Teams” – are those like The A-Team? – to enforce his edicts.

As Don Thompson writes for the Associated Press:

California is creating “strike teams” from 10 state agencies to enforce guidelines designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

Which, as so many reports on Newsom’s actions do, makes one pause.

If these are “guidelines,” then why is there “enforcement” of them?

Wouldn’t guidelines be… suggestions? The word Mr. Thompson used is a lot less strident-sounding than “mandates,” “commands,” “threats,” and “diktats” – which is precisely what state lockdown orders actually are.

Perhaps the English language is just so delightfully magical, a word can mean something completely different than what it’s supposed to mean, even while hiding what is really going on.

And Thompson adds:

The teams include representatives from the California Highway Patrol; the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, as well as people from Alcohol Beverage Control; Barbering & Cosmetology; Business Oversight; Consumer Affairs; Food and Agriculture; Labor Commissioner’s Office; and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

A nice, cozy “team” of “representatives” to smother individual rights.

But, as Anita Chabria writes for the Los Angeles Times, not all of the “representatives” who receive tax cash for their police work are comfortable enforcing Newsom’s edicts. She notes that on May 6, Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones expressed his concerns on Facebook, writing, in part:

It is time to recognize that We the People have willingly acquiesced to loss of freedoms, loss of income, and loss of social connection for the greater good, but now we are ready to responsibly get back to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In fact, some officers are concerned because not only are Newsom’s commands arbitrary and unbalanced (for example, he shuts down theatres, but says “protests” are okay) the Newsom commands are not statutory – there is no actual law to enforce. And this is a worry that police officers in other states, such as New Mexico and Texas, also have expressed.

As California-based M.D. Jeff Barke noted in May, the Newsom-lockdown narrative is unsupported by facts, and it is very, very dangerous.

The message that is getting out is the mainstream narrative: The government is here to keep you safe. We know best, from a government standpoint. Individual liberty, individual risk assessment be damned. That we know what’s right for you, and you stay inside.

It’s doubtful that Gavin Newsom thinks about these things, or that he wants people to consider Dr. Barke’s salient observations as the “Crackdown Team” readies to punish people for making their own decisions and controlling their own property.

(Cover Photo: Gage Skidmore)