Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Can We Believe Public Officials on the Fires?

I just saw Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts (11:00 mark) at a news conference saying that people setting fires is not a real problem. Though he said they want tips called in to 911, the only example he gave was a false one. So, his message was more one of downplaying any danger than asking people to help avert it. Of course, they are trying to be careful (if not politically correct) because one of their deputies said Antifa was setting fires. But, I have good reason to believe the sheriff is at best hiding part of the truth.

I was at a medical appointment this week and the doctor said his sign had "kill cops" graffiti written on it last week (which he cleaned off). Then over the weekend people set fire to his dumpsters which were next to a house fence and started to burn the fence. The fire department was alerted by home owners since no one was at the office.

Another friend received a text message from a friend living in Washington County that on the way to work she had seen a car driving slow with flashers on and shooting fireworks through the car window towards the trees. Apparently that person was apprehended due to car description and license information.

These are two clear cases I have heard verifiable testimony on. Contrast that with no one I know has had COVID-19 and no one I know knows someone in Oregon who has had COVID-19. No one in my entire friend/acquaintance network knows of a single person who has died from it. But here are two concrete fire cases coming from that same limited network. I have more personal evidence for arsonists than for COVID-19.

On the Multnomah County Sheriff's site:

We are at a loss for words. Patrol deputies, along with Corbett firefighters responded to a small brush fire in the 1700 block of NE Brower Rd at 3:52 p.m. Neighbors heard several pops and saw six foot flames in the forest about 100 yards off the road. Using a shovel and water, they were able to put it out before it spread further. Corbett Fire is mopping up. Upon investigation, deputies found spent fireworks. The case is open. 
 
Deputies are conducting high visibility patrols in rural Multnomah County until the fire threat is over. Corbett Fire will remain in the area.
 
If you see an active fire, call 911.
 
Fireworks are illegal this time of year and pose a huge risk. No burning of any kind is allowed in Multnomah County, as a burn ban is in effect.

None of this is from Clackamas County, but it's hard to believe that Clackamas County alone in the Metro area would have no similar activity. If nothing else, the sheriff should take note of the danger in neighboring counties and encourage his county residents to look out for possible arson.

Still, saying all this, police are in such a tough situation with Defund cops and most Oregon political leaders against them versus police still trying to keep people safe in spite of politicized orders to turn a blind eye to violence. I feel sorry for police, fire fighters and emergency workers who are now targets of wrath.



Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Comcast's Safe Browser Acts as Malware

I thought I had somehow installed malware because I tried going to a site and was blocked from doing so by this screen:


The "Proceed Anyway" link doesn't work. The service comes up from safebrowse.io. It turns out this is a flawed service that Comcast "provides". Fortunately, there is information on how to disable it on the Comcast user forum.

The fix there is to go to your xFi (internet service link)

1. Click on More (at the upper right)

2. Click on My Services (at the middle left)

3. Under xFi Advanced Security click on the disable button

I only happened on the fix because in the midst of a bunch of false fix sites seeking to sell their service, was an entry from an discussions.apple.com site that mentioned it and was obviously not trying to sell software. A poster there pointed me to the Comcast user forum.

Glad I found out it was Comcast's fault and not mine for somehow clicking on a malware link. I'm going to let Comcast know how buggy their helpful safebrowse fix is.


Thursday, August 06, 2020

Easy Remove of Obituary Search from Your Computer and Edge Browser

My cousin came over today with some laptop computer problems. One of them was a somewhat malware program that always came up when she turned the computer on and opened the Edge browser automatically.

I searched out various online fixes, and the ones you could do yourself on Edge didn't work because you couldn't get to the needed Advanced Settings section. Finally they directed you to buy their malware removal tool. Heh.

First I'll tell you what I did and then the steps that led to that. I hate to read "how to" lessons which lead you through a long introduction.

1. Open your control panel 

a. click on the magnifying glass search symbol next to your windows key at the bottom left of your computer screen and type "Control Panel" in the search box
b. Click on Control Panel app at the top left of the screen

2. Click on Programs - uninstall a program

3. Click on Programs and Features

4. Find Obituary Search in the list of programs

5. Uninstall it

It's not as malevolent as many malware programs because it can be easily uninstalled. But it is malevolent in that it changes your browser. You cannot uninstall your browser when it is active and it creates an Edge modification program that also cannot be uninstalled. Further, you can no longer get to the advanced settings section in Edge. So, it does bad things. But, thankfully, those can all be undone by uninstalling the Obituary Search program itself.

Once we uninstalled the program, Edge went back to normal, and Obituary Search did not come up running at computer startup.

By the way, McAfee was useless. I ran a scan on the Obituary Search application file, and it came out fine. I started to install a free McAfee malware tool, but never used it because I saw the Obituary Search program in her downloads list with the same date as the Edge modification program. I looked to see if it was in the installed programs list. It was and was uninstallable. I'm not sure if the McAfee malware program would help or not.


Monday, June 22, 2020

How Bad Will Kaiser Permanente Services Be When There Is a Widespread Medical Emergency?

Kaiser Permanente seems to have real problems in giving medical and information services even though the COVID-19 impact on Oregon has been quite low.*

I have a relative who works at the Oregon Clinic, a specialty medical facility. They are back to full speed and taking regular preventative care appointments. My source said they are concerned because lots of clients are now waiting for emergency health conditions to occur before scheduling appointments. Everyone knows that letting any problem go to emergency status before caring for it is a bad idea.  Letting one system get to emergency not only makes it harder to repair that system but you can have negatively impacted other systems as well.

So, I figured Kaiser Permanente might be up to speed too. They have pounded on the theme of preventative health care for years.

I called to schedule routine check up appointments that were overdue for my 96 year old father who has ongoing eye pressure check and ear cleaning needs to prevent loss of vision and ear infections. I was told Kaiser is only doing emergency type care and to call back in 4 to 6 weeks to see if they would be doing preventative or non-emergency care.

My dad isn't having notable problems with his eyes, but he is having discomfort with his ears. Tough luck. Anything that cannot be handled by text or a video visit is not available unless it's an emergency.

Further, we just got a note that he is due for labs that need to be done within the next four weeks and that he needs to have his eyes checked every year because he is a diabetic and to make an appointment if they haven't been checked in a year. Apparently the person sending the letter has no idea that Kaiser is not making eye check up appointments.

Kaiser's lab search feature on its facilities page does list all their facilities that do lab work. Unfortunately, most of them are not currently doing lab work. You have to go down the list and one-by-one check to see if the listed facility is using its lab. The ones I checked out only mentioned pharmacy services. Thus, the search feature was not enabled to find lab services currently functioning.

It seems that Kaiser is having a melt-down throughout its communication and medical services.

- Kaiser is unable to provide basic preventative medical services that the Oregon Clinic is now providing.

- The website is unable to clearly point to facilities currently giving specific medical services (which should be easy for its information technology people to update).

- Kaiser hasn't let it's basic preventative medical people know what services are available so they wrongly tell people they can and should schedule appointments.

This is a worrisome administrative breakdown. Their medical staff is still competent, but the people in charge of making that staff available to give medical care and advice are not.

One last small gripe. Apparently, they do not test their online letter links. The link at the end of the following sentence does not work because the link includes the period at the end of the sentence.
If you have questions about the contents of this letter, contact us at the phone number below. If you have questions about the refill status of your prescription(s), contact your local Kaiser pharmacy. For questions about clinic locations; services available; or business hours; check your Kaiser Permanente Medical Directory or online at www.kp.org/facilities.
I know enough to see the period problem when copying the link and pasting it in the url bar. But most of their clients don't know how urls work. They just end up frustrated by the error message when trying to use the link.

What a mess. If Kaiser has clear problems when there is no big COVID-19 impact in Oregon*, how bad will their medical care and system competence be when there is a widespread medical crisis?
----
*as of 6/19/20 6,344 total cases, 946 hospitalizations, and 188 total deaths in three and a half months of high level concern (they just updated the site to 6/22/20: 6,836 cases, 969 hospitalizations, 192 deaths)

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Oregon Supreme Court Rules Governor Has Few Limitations in Issuing Laws During an Emergency

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that Governor Brown has full police authority for her emergency orders.
"As discussed in greater detail below, 366 Or at 527-31, the declaration of a state of emergency pursuant to ORS 401.165 gives the Governor the authority to exercise certain powers and to take certain actions. The powers include, but are not limited to, “all police powers vested in the state by the Oregon Constitution in order to effectuate the purposes of [chapter 401].” ORS 401.168(1); see also ORS 401.168 to 401.198 (setting out additional powers)." p. 513 [emphasis added]
Page 524 of the opinion further describes the state's police power as all power the state possesses "within constitutional limitations".
The term “police power” refers to “the whole sum of inherent sovereign power which the state possesses, and, within constitutional limitations, may exercise for the promotion of the order, safety, health, morals, and general welfare of the public.” Union Fishermen’s Co. v. Shoemaker, 98 Or 659, 674, 193 P 476 (1920).
On page 525-526,  the court lists the limitations. Some are statutory (have to do with the declared emergency, only exercised during the declared emergency, and can be terminated by joint resolution of the Legislative Assembly).  The others are limitations imposed by the state and federal constitutions.

The court also said that emergency powers under ORS 401 may make use of the powers of ORS 403:
"The statutes in ORS chapter 433 regarding public health emergencies were enacted to give the Governor an additional tool with which to respond to public health emergencies. They were not intended to prevent the Governor from declaring a state of emergency under chapter 401. That is clear from a statute in chapter 433 itself: ORS 433.441(4), which provides that '[n]othing in ORS 433.441 to 433.452 limits the authority of the Governor to declare a state of emergency under ORS 401.165.' In addition, the powers granted by ORS 433.441 to 433.452 are not powers that may be used only during a public health emergency declared under ORS 433.441(1). ORS 433.441(4) expressly provides that the same powers may be used during a state of emergency declared under ORS 401.165: 'If a state of emergency is declared as authorized under ORS 401.165, the Governor may implement any action authorized by ORS 433.441 to 433.452.'” Page 529
But, apparently the court deems that the limitations included in ORS 433 do not apply when the powers given in ORS 433 are used under ORS 401.
"Declaring a state of emergency under chapter 401 gives the Governor greater authority: it enables the Governor to take all the actions authorized by the emergency provisions in both chapters 401 and 433. By contrast, if the Governor declares a public health emergency under ORS 433.441, the Governor’s emergency powers are more limited." Page 529
That raises the question of why the more limited power of ORS 433 required strict time limits whereas the broader power of ORS 401 has none. Circuit Court Judge Shirtcliffe reasoned it was because the power to restrict "the rights of citizens to assemble and operate their business became significantly curtailed" and was severe enough to need a statutory limitation.
"ORS 401.165 and ORS 433.441 are in conflict over the length of time the Governor’s orders last. ORS 433.441, enacted in 2007, is the more specific statute and relates directly to public health emergencies. It is the more specific statute pertaining to the restriction of citizens in the Governor’s executive orders and also carries restrictions in time that the legislature saw fit to impose. Once the Governor began utilizing the specific provisions of ORS 433.441(3)(d) in Executive Order 20-12, the rights of citizens to assemble and operate their business became significantly curtailed, thereby ensuring the need for further justification and the statutory limitations in time which create a check on this additional power of the Governor. Although ORS 433.441(4) indicates that nothing in ORS 433.441 to 433.452 limits the authority of the Governor to declare a state of emergency under ORS 401.165, it also does not suspend the time limitations of section (5)." Pages 4-5
That there was a reason for the statutory limitation in ORS 433 ("a result of the passage of House Bill (HB) 2251") is not addressed in the Oregon Supreme Court's opinion except to say that it made ORS 433 "more limited in scope".
"Thus, the emergency provisions set out in HB 2251 were intended to give the Governor an additional option for responding to an impending public health crisis, particularly one that is more limited in scope. Accordingly, HB 2251 included a durational limit on the proclamation of a state of impending public health crisis. It provided that such a proclamation “expires when terminated by a declaration of the Governor or no more than 14 days after the date it is proclaimed unless the proclamation is expressly extended for an additional 14-day period.” HB 2251 § 1(4)." Page 533
Thus, governors would be more likely to use it than the broader ORS 401 powers.
"To summarize: The legislature enacted the original ORS chapter 433 emergency statutes in 2003 to give the Governor “an additional tool” to respond to public health emergencies. Those statutes enable the Governor to exercise certain emergency powers as an alternative to declaring a “full blown” state of emergency under ORS chapter 401." Page 536
Though the court has lots of information on why various parts of the bill were passed (pages 531-535), they give no information on why the 14 day limitation expandable to 28 days was put in the law other than to clearly give actions taken under it a "temporary" nature. Surely, someone mentioned why. And ORS 401 also assumes a temporary nature (all actions are required to address the stated emergency).

Basically, the Oregon State Supreme Court is saying that an Oregon governor can do anything by declaring a state of emergency except what is explicitly forbidden by the state and federal constitutions. The only check is a joint resolution of the Legislative Assembly which is a very weak stop if a state is basically run by one party. It offers the thinnest of protections for minorities not in favor whose actions or mere presence may be declared the basis of an emergency. The court and we may live to regret their decision.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Coronavirus may never go away. Duh!

From the Washington Post:
There’s a good chance the coronavirus will never go away.
Even after a vaccine is discovered and deployed, the coronavirus will likely remain for decades to come, circulating among the world’s population.
Experts call such diseases endemic — stubbornly resisting efforts to stamp them out. Think measles, HIV, chickenpox.
Do you remember when everyone was scared to death of getting HIV? Sports figures especially were afraid of getting spattered with blood from their gay teammates/opponents. Hasn't turned out that way. In part the fear factor was quashed because it was politically incorrect to be scared of homosexuals--even in situations where blood getting on you when you have an open wound is not unlikely (like in sports). No one called for a shutdown of all sports or identifying all gay people so that non-infected people could stay away. There has been an amazing lack of society-wide response even though lots of people die from HIV each year--770,000 worldwide in 2018.

But, the coronavirus is different according to the Washington Post. We need to have a national response.
So, It is a daunting proposition — a coronavirus-tinged world without a foreseeable end. But experts in epidemiology, disaster planning and vaccine development say embracing that reality is crucial to the next phase of America’s pandemic response. The long-term nature of covid-19, they say, should serve as a call to arms for the public, a road map for the trillions of dollars Congress is spending and a fixed navigational point for the nation’s current, chaotic state-by-state patchwork strategy.
We don't have a national response for HIV, but for coronavirus we supposedly need one which unfortunately includes shutting down major portions of the economy and causing widespread poverty, depression and in some places higher suicide death rates than coronavirus death rates. Some fear a major uptick in US suicide rates and domestic violence rates.

The Washington Post concludes that the virus will continue:
With so much else uncertain, the persistence of the novel virus is one of the few things we can count on about the future. That doesn’t mean the situation will always be as dire. There are already four endemic coronaviruses that circulate continuously, causing the common cold. And many experts think this virus will become the fifth — its effects growing milder as immunity spreads and our bodies adapt to it over time.
The CDC has a very interesting web article on the reconstruction of the 1918 flu virus. They found a key element of its ability to kill was quick replication:
The fully reconstructed 1918 virus was striking in terms of its ability to quickly replicate, i.e., make copies of itself and spread infection in the lungs of infected mice. For example, four days after infection, the amount of 1918 virus found in the lung tissue of infected mice was 39,000 times higher than that produced by one of the comparison recombinant flu viruses.
Well, what happened to the 1918 flu virus? It mutated and people gained immunity.
The first identified influenza virus, a direct descendant of the 1918 pandemic virus, was isolated from a pig in 1931;3 the human 1918 virus was itself sequenced between 1995 and 2005 from pathology specimens and from a frozen corpse.4 Virus reconstruction and experimental study has led to important findings about its origin, evolution, and pathogenicity.5 The 1918 virus was a novel “founder virus” that has, over the past century, served as the mother of the descendant influenza A viral progeny that have been infecting and killing humans ever since.6,7
, , ,
Although partial 1918 mortality protection of elderly persons (in this case, protection from incident influenza despite the expected higher case fatality) was not definitively observed in 1889, it has been observed in every pandemic since, most recently in the 2009 swine influenza pandemic, in which a cause was first clearly characterized. In 2009, persons who had lived through the first decades of the 1918 pandemic H1N1 era, especially those born before about 1950, were substantially protected from the 2009 pandemic virus by having acquired immunity to the antigenically similar H1 or N1 of the 1918 virus, or both, or to the descendant seasonal H1N1 viruses that circulated over subsequent decades. This is because the 2009 H1 gene was a 1918 viral progeny that had survived for more than 90 years, with minimal antigenic drift, in a domestic pig “time capsule.”18
The key is not for people to keep six feet away from all other people for the rest of their lives. And even the latest research says touching surfaces is not the main way people get the virus. So, all the expert advice that has transformed our lifestyle and economy in the last two months apparently is not going to get rid of coronavirus or keep us safe. We will encounter it eventually if not already (since "up to 80% of COVID-19 cases exhibit mild symptoms").
We know that up to 80% of COVID-19 cases exhibit mild symptoms. Complicating matters, pulmonologist Joseph Khabbaza, MD, says symptoms may sometimes not be evident for up to two weeks. And because those non-specific symptoms (fever, sore throat, cough, diarrhea, chills, headache) can mirror other more common illnesses like the flu or a cold, many of those infected — especially early in the outbreak — didn’t realize they were carrying the virus.
The key is developing immunity to it as has already happened to most people who have been infected by coronavirus. Developing immunity seems to be a natural happening since the current people with immunity did not get special vaccines or treatment.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Circuit Court Judge Finds Gov. Kate Brown's Orders "Null and Void"

Update 2: From Judge Shirtcliff's opinion:
These two statutory provisions and Article X-A of the Oregon Constitution carry with them certain powers for the Governor and certain restrictions. The general provisions of ORS 401.165 have allowed Governors since 1949 to direct state resources in times of emergencies. This is the most expansive statute of the three laws and has the least restrictions, especially as to the time limitation of the emergency declaration. However, the statute does not grant the Governor power directly over the movement of citizens and gatherings. ORS 433.441 and its various provisions gives the Governor additional and more specific powers to control or limit entry into, exit from, movement within and the occupancy of premises in any public area subject to or threatened by a public emergency in specific times of public health emergencies. See ORS 433.441(3)(d). This statute gives the Governor power over the movement and gathering of citizens. Reference to provisions of ORS 433.441 through 433.452 and more specifically ORS 433.441(3)(d) are found throughout the Governor’s various executive orders. ORS 433.441(3)(d) is specifically cited in areas where the Governor has ordered that business and retail establishments are prohibited from operating. See Executive Order No. 20—12 p. 4 sec. 2 Closure of Certain Business and p. 3 sec. 1 Stay Home and Save Lives regulating nonessential social and recreational gatherings, which would include churches. Additionally, ORS 433.452 gives the Public Health Director or the Local Public Health Administrator the power to detain individuals that the director or administrator reasonably believes may have been exposed to the virus.  
When granting this additional power over the movement and gatherings of citizens, the legislature saw fit to add additional time restrictions. Those time restrictions contained in section (5) of that provision only allow the Governor to extend the emergency declaration for 14 additional days from the original 14-day period. This provision makes the maximum time restriction to be 28 days by operation of law. The Governor in her original executive order 20-3 set her executive order to 60 days. This is well beyond the maximum 28-days allowed by ORS 433.441. This court finds that when the Governor utilized the provisions of ORS 433.441 in her executive order, she triggered all the provisions of ORS 433.441 including the time restrictions in ORS 433.441(5). By doing so, the executive order became null and void beyond the maximum 28—daytime period allowed by the statute. Moreover, by not complying with ORS 433.441(5) timelines, the Governor’s subsequent Executive Orders 20—05 through 20-25 are also null and void. (see Executive Order 20-12 extended until terminated by the Governor; Executive Order 20-24 extended for an additional 60-days; Executive Order 20-25 extended until terminated by the Governor as examples of extensions beyond 28 days).  
The statutes are to be read to work together with the more specific statute governing. ”Where there is a conflict between two statutes, both of which would otherwise have full force and effect, and the provisions of one are particular, special and specific in their directions, and the other are general in their terms, the specific provisions must prevail over the general provisions.” Colby v. Larson, 208 Or 121 (1956). ORS 401.165 and ORS 433.441 are in conflict over the length of time the Governor’s orders last. ORS 433.441, enacted in 2007, is the more specific statute and relates directly to public health emergencies. It is the more specific statute pertaining to the restriction of citizens in the Governor’s executive orders and also carries restrictions in time that the legislature saw fit to impose. Once the Governor began utilizing the specific provisions of ORS 433.441(3)(d) in Executive Order 20-12, the rights of citizens to assemble and operate their business became significantly curtailed, thereby ensuring the need for further justification and the statutory limitations in time which create a check on this additional power of the Governor. Although ORS 433.441(4) indicates that nothing in ORS 433.441 to 433.452 limits the authority of the Governor to declare a state of emergency under ORS 401.165, it also does not suspend the time limitations of section (5). 
I'm updating on the fly as I get new documents. This seems very well reasoned. We'll see what the Oregon Supreme Court says. In my first update I was relying on the Oregonian's reporting (never a wise thing to do). They said the difference was she was depending on ORS 401.165 rather than ORS 443.441. But Judge Shirtcliff said she was relying on both. From the fuller text above:
"Reference to provisions of ORS 433.441 through 433.452 and more specifically ORS 433.441(3)(d) are found throughout the Governor’s various executive orders. ORS 433.441(3)(d) is specifically cited in areas where the Governor has ordered that business and retail establishments are prohibited from operating. See Executive Order No. 20—12 p. 4 sec. 2 Closure of Certain Business and p. 3 sec. 1 Stay Home and Save Lives regulating nonessential social and recreational gatherings, which would include churches."
Update: oregonlive.com is reporting that Gov. Brown is basing her power on ORS 401.165 rather than ORS 443.441 which Judge Shirtcliff ruled is the applicable statute since COVID-19 is a public health issue and she invoked it as one basis for her actions.

ORS 401.192 (4) indicates the governor's power has few limitations.
The powers granted to the Governor by ORS 401.165 (Declaration of state of emergency) to 401.236 (Rules) shall continue until termination of the state of emergency. The powers granted to the Governor by ORS 401.185 (Providing temporary housing during emergency) may continue beyond the termination of the state of emergency and shall be terminated by proclamation of the Governor or by joint resolution of the Legislative Assembly.
However, ORS 401.661 ties ORS 401.165 with ORS 443.441 so the question is does 401.165 have to do with all emergencies (which may have public health needs) except public health emergencies since those are specifically addressed in ORS 443.441 or can the governor choose to treat a public health emergency as a general emergency.
- - - - -

The Associated Press is reporting that Baker County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Shirtcliff has ruled against Gov. Kate Brown's orders because she did not get legislative approval within a month.

I guess Oregon does have limitations on executive orders requiring legislative approval. The Democrat legislature apparently cared not a whit about it's duty to protect the public from executive power overreach. Not that they wouldn't rubber stamp anything she wanted. But, they didn't even try to fulfill their constitutional duties.

Most of the Oregon media didn't care either. So much for the media as watchdogs.