Things heard and not heard at the Bismarck City Commission meeting

If you need a path back to freedom, that means you're not free. Who took you from freedom?

I didn't make it to the Bismarck City Commission meeting on September 8, 2020, but I, as well as many others, watched it live online.

It's important you know the lead-up to the meeting (which was the beginning of several meetings in which citizens showed up to speak, a pattern repeated around the state in the larger cities).

During the meeting, I heard the efforts of citizens being dismissed as a "social media hoax." Let me assure you that it wasn't.

These were citizens who, after watching a not-so-easily-found video, realized the Burleigh-Morton Covid Task Force was planning to request mask mandates. Online, they organized and did a mass emailing campaign to let their elected leaders know they did not want a mask mandate. A few managed to make it to the meeting to speak.

We were told by several leaders we contacted that there was no mask mandate on the agenda. We were assured this repeatedly.

One Morton County commissioner finally emailed and said it appeared that something had been put on the agenda late Friday and he hadn't been aware of that. 

"I have been told a request was made to our Auditor’s office late on Friday to place the mask issue on our agenda.  That item will appear on a revised agenda.  It is doubtful we will even vote, but we will express our views on the matter. "

This happened right before a long Labor Day holiday weekend. That's sneaky.

Despite being assured this wouldn't be on the agenda, lo and behold, the task force sent members in force and they surely did, in their update on the pandemic, request such a mandate at the Bismarck City meeting. To say a vote on the matter wasn't on the agenda may have been technically true, because it was tucked into Bismarck/Burleigh Public Health Officer Renae Moch's presentation on the pandemic.

We watched as the initial public comment period at the start of the meeting was a well-planned brigade of four different task force members speaking, and a few citizens who managed to speak out against mask mandates. It was a coordinated one-two punch, with the four task forcers presenting only one side, and then at the end of the meeting, during the presentation where mask mandates "weren't" on the agenda, the final press would be made.

In spite of all of that, in just a few days, concerned citizens organized, activated, and responded. 

So no, it wasn't a social media hoax. That's highly dismissive of several thousand area residents who watched as what they were told wouldn't happen did. The mask mandate was put forward as a recommendation, and it was a full-court press.

Only mandates change behavior, because being told what to do under threat of fine truly changes hearts.

I didn't log onto the live stream fast enough, so I didn't catch much of the first task force member's presentation. The second task force member, a nun, was the one who referred to the "social media hoax" of public pushback on mask mandates. 

She then amicably described how masks are good, useful, and the usual. She said that informational campaigns won't change behavior, only mandates would. After comparing mask madates to road construction signs, she said "after the road is fixed, we'll go back to the regular speed."

When there is no definition of an end date, when we're on month six of fifteen days to slow the spread, such placating statements should not rest easy with anyone. Moving goal posts and mission creep are the government standard.

Citizens, there are lots of way bad laws end up into being. This kind of thinking is one way. Mandates are precedents can become laws get renewed never go away and so it goes. You do NOT go quietly into "we'll just institute the Patriot Act for a little while" because it ends up never going away.

She said that kids were compliant in school, and it wasn't right if adults weren't complying at home, neglecting to mention that kids do what they're told at school because they don't really have an option. Neglecting to mention a recent Grand Forks NP and children's mental health professional who told of an eight-year-old who committed suicide and other kids who were having panic attacks because of the way government and schools were mentally abusing kids regarding the pandemic and insistence on mask wearing. Adults have to understand that when you tell kids they might kill their grandma if they don't wear a mask, it's not a win for compliance but a terribly destrutive thing for that child's mental health.

The mentally unbalancing and forced compliance is not what we want to mimic in the real world, where a governmental schoolmarm goes around smacking people's hands with fines. I applaud parents who work at de-brainwashing kids at home, who show them how to fake using hand sanitzer and give them permission to pull masks down to breath.

At one moment, the nun seemed to say that the city should go against the opinion of family, friends, and others who might not encourage mask use, repeating the meaningless phrases of "North Dakota Smart" and "North Dakota Strong."

It doesn't seem to occur to some people that citizens standing up, pushing back, and voicing their concerns against the tide are also smart and strong. It's as if the buzz words can only be applied to those in compliance. A compliant bunch of people is a mob, and smart and strong are not words usually applied to mobs.

To the idea that only mandates change behavior, I would submit that only mandates turn good people into criminals. Behavior isn't changed, but resentment and defiance is grown. And no one is really asking whether the behavior they want to change is in their lawful power to change.

I would also encourage people who do not wear masks to not be shy in stores. I've heard several stories of folks who lock eyes with someone wearing a mask who, upon seeing another person daring to go against the tide, removes their own, too. Because they just needed to see someone else model what they want to do.

Comparing free citizens to prisoners as proof of what success looks like is sad.

The next task force member to push masks was from the North Dakota State Penitentary. He came off as aw shucks NoDak nice, all jokes and puns, suggesting that just like pants are part of a uniform, so now are masks.

He then bizarrely used the prison as his proof.

Remember that in a prison, people who are imprisoned (i.e. lack freedom) are under strict controls. He was very proud that insisting that prisoners and staff wear masks means they don't have any outbreaks. The day I think comparing free citizens with personal choice to a prison with a warden is a solid convincing case for anything is the day I take my brain out of my head and put it in a canning jar.

Who cares what numerical case count success you have in the prison? The very point we're making here is that we AREN'T prisoners. We have rights and liberty. We aren't under tight control. We aren't chasing numbers. What motivates a prison in regards to their prisoners ought not be at all what motivates public servants and free people. We're guarding our freedom! His pride in zero case count with a tight hand of control sounds like a communist country and did more to prove the case of those standing for personal liberty than anything.

"Wearing masks is showing consideration for the folks around you," he said, using one of the mind screwing techniques I wrote about four months ago. We're polite, we hold doors, so why not wear a mask? he asked, attempting to associate his desired behavior with good, normative behavior.

News flash: with all the fear you public health officials have put into people, not too many wearing masks are holding doors. They're afraid to touch their mail. And, as mentioned, you're creating serious mental health problems in kids and even adults with the creepy persuasive advertising.

"The folks who wear masks stay alive and stay healthy," he said, with not a bit of irony considering this virus has a 99% survival rate and you can darn well bet that some of those who have tested positive have both worn and not worn masks and are alive and healthy today.

THIS IS PURE MANIPULATION. See it for what it is.

The vocal tone and slow speaking of the task force members was intentional. It was creepily soothing and calming. Most private citizens who get up to the podium are nervous, fumbling, with notes, going off track, or speaking quickly. They are just regular people who don't do this kind of thing very much. Since we are a culture that mistakes the delivery of the speech for the validity of what the speech is about, this calm and methodical delivery was effective.

The public is a hazard unto themselves, I guess.

The last of the task force members to speak was Guy Tangedal (sp?). He was brief, to the point, and maybe a bit angry that the plebes had spoken up.

"Wearing masks limits the spread of disease. Wearing masks saves lives. People who choose not to wear masks in public places during a time of pandemic are a threat to public health. I ask you please to deal with this issue and not leave it to public health to deal with," he said, perhaps thinking he was an emperor.


We're not playing cards that you shuffle around and toss onto the table to play your games with.

We are not the problem you have to solve, but instead, are the public you are to serve. DON'T FORGET THAT.

Not to be cruel, but this fellow didn't look too healthy. It isn't me who is the public health threat. I've never had the flu! I got sick for a week once in 5th grade and missed school and that's it! I exercise, get sun, take vitamins, don't drink or smoke, don't take drugs, don't take prescriptions, get plenty of rest, have good hygiene, don't douse myself in disinfecting chemicals that kill good bacteria, don't get winded walking up to the podium -- I AM NOT THE PUBLIC HEALTH THREAT. It is disgusting to have a public health officer state such a thing.

I reiterate: if public health officials really cared about your health, they would have responded differently. Public health should never believe they have the duty to enforce, the right to restrict, fine, and censure. They appear to think they do, since the implication here is that that the public must be dealt with. Not served. Not offering services and allowing people to choose.

No, they think we are to be dealt with. Ante up.

What did the city of Bismarck do?

Ultimately, at the end of the meeting, the city kicked the can down the road.

The city did not vote on the mandates, but instead wanted two weeks to allow the "public information" campaign to work. I don't understand why they think those of us still holding the line are doing so because we haven't seen enough advertisements and posters.

"Our passion is to make a difference. I'm here to tell you the facts and improve the health and safety of our community," said Renae Moch, from Burleigh County Public Health. She didn't mention that her facts were selective. I have a hard drive full of studies and articles of facts that don't support the task force's plan of action. She is insistent on mask mandates and all of the rigamarole, with contact tracing and a very slow return to normal.

At the end of the discussion, commissioner Nancy Guy had this doozy to say, as if, should the suspect virus case count not go down in two weeks after a PR blitz, mask mandates were be the only route: "People need to start making a difference or else."

People need to start making a difference or else.

Let me tell you about people who are making a difference.

First, the people behind the "social media hoax" were literally active and making a difference right then.

But even more importantly, we're six months into a pandemic that has devestated businesses, ruined lives, caused drug relapses, led to depression and suicide. And an elected official says we need to start making a difference, whipping the cart horse that has collapsed under the burden of the cart.

You make a difference, or else.

Or else what?

Tell me, elected public servant, or else what?

What mandate that would hold up in court do you think you're going to slap the naughty citizens with? Will we finally find out if we have a Constitutional sheriff's department in two weeks?

During press conferences we've heard the governor make suggestions that some people were making more sacrifices than others to imply those who won't comply with masks and other preferred behavior were selfish and not doing their part.

Citizen, do not forget that public servants serve the public. 

Politicians are public servants. They serve the public. They do not dominate nor control them like a CEO, king, or lord. They do not save you. They cannot promise to keep you safe. They serve you, and they serve the Constitution. What was done during the Spanish Flu isn't the Constitution, I might add, nor is it the same kind of pandemic. It's not a proof of or for anything.

You owe them nothing. You hold them to the Constitution because you owe that to your nation as a good citizen. 

We pay taxes, including outrageous property taxes that fund "free" public education and make it so no one ever owns any property (so I can joyfully be lectured on being a selfish citizen for not wearing a mask from apartment dwellers whose kids enjoy free school). We make the community a community. If you ever hear a politician say that the people who elected them ought to start making a difference "or else," particularly citizens who are standing for liberty, you take note to NEVER vote for that person in any future election ever again.

What didn't I hear from the meeting?

"Wear a mask and protect a life" I heard from my health leaders. 

"Masks are the only way we can fight this thing" I heard from my health leaders.

These are lies.

There are other far better options.

States with draconian lockdown and mask mandates are seeing an increase in cases. Masks do not work. They are not the only way to fight this thing, but they are a good way to staph infections, mental health problems, and other health issues.

At that meeting, I heard why masks were like Obi Wan Kenobe, our only hope. I heard about how more information will do the trick to get compliance. I heard a tentative question not about the Constitutional legality of mask mandates, but the liability issue if an expert recommended them and then the mandates weren't put in place. I heard one commissioner say that people should just be "good Christians" and put on a mask; my faith in Jesus Christ has nothing to do with a mask, never mind the theology of whether anyone is good. I heard all kinds of questions about how to look at numbers and tallies and data inconsistencies and pretty much everything peripheral...

...but I heard nothing about liberty and personal health freedom.

I didn't hear from the many medical personnel or experts who don't agree with the task force's conclusion. I didn't hear the studies referenced that show mask use is not a conclusive method for reducing new cases. I didn't exactly hear joy and pleasure to see citizens becoming actively involved in something that would affect their lives.

The only mention of personal liberty came from the two citizens who spoke against the mandates. Shouldn't at least one elected public servant have brought it up?

There is no room for a passive citizenry anymore.

You must fight for personal liberty at the most local level possible.

Is this a precursor to the vaccine?

Yes, I believe it is.

What you saw here is what we'll see with the vaccine.

If the mask is a path to freedom, as we are being told, then so will the vaccine be. They have shifted the goal post from 15 days to slow the spread to six months of various lockdowns and mandates and power grabs. Dictators lurk in every little department from city all the way up to federal, apparently eager to see themselves as some kind of enforcer dealing with wayward people. So yes, you will soon hear that the path to freedom is to take a vaccine because shifting goal posts and shell games are what this year has been about. 

No one will talk about herd immunity, except in terms of vaccines creating an artificially induced version.

We already know they are testing to see what messaging would convince people to take a vaccine if they were reluctant. We see that messaging being used right now with masks, which makes the mask mandate approach a nice little sandbox for the vaccine.

From the mouth of Renae Moch, with Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health, I listened as she talked about how the approach used to do mass drive-through testing at the Bismarck Events Center would be what will be used to get people to get the flu vaccine, and then the Covid vaccine. Mass vaccination is the goal. 

I guess you can measure and make a nice chart and show your work has numerical value if you can count the arms out the windows of the cars, waiting for their injections.

The messaging and the system has proven successful. From a "public health" standpoint, in which we aren't told what to do to stay healthy but instead are directed to masks, chemical disinfectants, isolation, and injections, this mass faceless impersonal approach makes sense. Like a rancher, you line up the cattle in the shoot and start sticking in the needle.

Please do not be a passive citizen any longer. Where you live, email and call your city, county, district, state, and federal public servants. Today. Go to your meetings, take notes, and share online.

UPDATE October 19, 2020: Looks like even all the controls in prison (including masks) can't stop the virus from spreading after all.

But I'm sure we'll still hear "masks work" no matter what.