As lockdown lurches on through its third month, a restive citizenry begins to suspect that their rulers are not quite as constrained by the prevailing conditions as are the masses. For example, as John Hinderaker has wondered, who's doing Fauci's hair?
Meanwhile, as summer comes to the Emerald Isle and temperatures climb, Irishmen are still not free to travel more than three miles from home and cannot attend funerals, of which there are rather a lot just at the moment. Only last week, the Department of the Taioseach confirmed that picnics remain banned.
Yet over the weekend the self-same Taioseach - Leo Varadkar - was seen picnicking with his "partner" (in the official government designation; Mr Varadkar is Ireland's first gay Taoiseach) and two male friends in Phoenix Park by the monument to the Duke of Wellington. He was topless. Mr Varadkar, that is, not the Duke. As far as I know, His Grace, having risen like Leo to the top of the greasy pole, kept his kit on while out and about as prime minister.
During his frolicking and gamboling around the Wellington obelisk, the Taoiseach was also more than three miles from his Dublin apartment. The Irish Government has purported to explain this by revealing that, during the lockdown, Mr Varadkar and his partner are living at Steward's Park, a building that since 2006 has been at the disposal of the Taoiseach, although Leo is the first to avail himself of it as an ongoing domestic abode, at least for the duration. Regardless of distance, he's not observing social distancing "laws", and the telltale hamper in the picture at top right makes a strong case that he was also engaged in illegal picnicking.
Across the Irish Sea, the London press continues its frothing over lockdown breaches by Dominic Cummings. If you've never heard of him, he's Boris Johnson's Rasputin. I don't know him, although a few years back I took his wife Mary (a great-granddaughter or some such of the fourth Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada) to a John McCain campaign event preceded by a burger at the Littleton Diner in New Hampshire. But her hubby's rise to Fleet Street hate figure has largely passed me by: the media bigwigs regard Cummings as Boris's brain, and loathe him for Brexit and for December's Tory landslide. Then came the lockdown, and the perfect cudgel: a few weeks back, Mr and Mrs Cummings felt the Covid coming on and, concerned about who'd be around to care for the kid, decided to take their four-year-old autistic son to stay with his grandparents a hundred-and-thirty miles away.
Like Professor Pantsdown - the Imperial College codswallop modeler ordering in his open-marriage swinger in to do the old horizontal Corona-mambo - Mr Cummings stands accused of breaking the lockdown laws he's been a key figure in imposing on everybody else. Unlike Pantsdown and Varadkar, he wasn't doing it for illicit sex and even more illicit picnics, but for the wellbeing of his child. I'm utterly revolted by the spectacle of the press and every caller on every third-rate call-in show presuming to second-guess the parents on such a question. The goons protesting outside Cummings' front door in London - "Demon Scummings Must Go", "Cummings You Are Full Of Sh*t", "One Rule For The Elite" - are menacing and contemptible.
And yet and yet... it is one rule for the elite, isn't it? Canadians are enjoined from inter-province travel and a weekend in cottage country, but Justin goes to the cottage and to Montreal with impunity: as he'd say in his blackface moments, he'd walk a million miles for one of your smiles - but you can't walk a single mile without permission of the state. Pennsylvanian seniors' homes are ordered to accept Corona-positive patients, but the state's health director takes the precaution of moving her own mother out to somewhere less contaminated. For over two months on The Mark Steyn Show, we have chronicled our Brit Wanker Coppers of the Day bullying and harassing ordinary members of the public for doing what Varadkar and Cummings are doing - going to the park, visiting relatives, taking a drive... And not one member of the Government Cummings serves has said a word about the heavy-handedness of the British police defining the Cummings-Johnson-Pantsdown rules as de facto house arrest. I am in favor of Cummings retaining his job - and the restoration of the same rights of freedom of movement for every British subject.
~On a related theme, David Brooks, the house "conservative" at The New York Times, writes:
Aside from a few protesters and a depraved president, most of us have understood we need to suspend the old individualistic American creed. In the midst of a complex epidemiological disaster, to be anti-authority is to be ignorant. In the midst of a contagion, to act as if you are self-sufficient is just selfish.
Brooks foresees a new age in which "shared vulnerability" leads to "fierce solidarity" throughout the land. I can't see it myself. Rather, it seems obvious that the Covid lockdown has intensified and deepened the the politico-cultural chasm in America.
~Last week I interviewed Sidney Powell, the bulldog lawyer who has singlehandedly turned around the fortunes of her client Michael Flynn, to the point where the United States government has abandoned its own worthless case. Unfortunately, a corrupt rogue judge, Emmet Sullivan, driving a coach and horses through judicial norms, has determined to keep it going, notwithstanding the parties' motion to dismiss.
Nevertheless, just when you think American justice can't get any more perverted, some hack jurist finds a new wrinkle. Ordered by the Court of Appeals to reply to Ms Powell's writ of mandamus, Judge Sullivan has instead hired a lawyer - Beth Wilkinson. In what cockamamie world does a judge require counsel? He's not a party to the case; he's simply been asked by a higher court to explain himself. Will the appellate judges even recognize his attorney? The old saw is that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client; a judge who can't represent himself without counsel is a fool, period.
Exit question: Who is paying for Ms Wilkinson? With respect to Mr Flynn, Judge Sullivan is supposedly acting as the federal trial court. Is it then the court that is funding his "defense" - or is he paying for it himself?
~We had a busy Memorial Day weekend at SteynOnline, starting and concluding with new episodes of The Mark Steyn Show: Our weekend edition included the latest on Michael Flynn's courtroom battles and Beijing's crackdown on Hong Kong, plus essential Nigerians, conquistadores and codebreakers, and lessons on liberty from a lioness. Our Memorial Day edition looked at war, sacrifice and remembrance, from Afghanistan and France to Tennessee and New Hampshire. In between Kathy Shaidle's Saturday movie date picked scary scenes from non-horror movies, and our Sunday song selection celebrated the above-mentioned Peggy Lee. If you were too busy wondering where all the parades and gun salutes went, I hope you'll want to catch up with one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.