By George Miller
For the last week or so, I have been getting emails, seeing web articles and social media postings warning about the “totalitarian,” “Nazi,” “New World Order,” “Big Brother,” H.R.6666 – COVID-19 Testing, Reaching, And Contacting Everyone (TRACE) Act grants bill in Congress- not passed at this time. I even saw signs attacking it while covering Saturday’s Ventura County Lockdown protest (see photos below). The bill was submitted on May 1 by Democrat U.S. House Rep. Bobby Rush.
I finally got around to actually reading it to see if all the fuss was justified. You can read it yourself HERE and I recommend that everyone does.
So, are those allegations true? Is it really “evil?” Well, my answer is yes and no.
No- Not Evil?
On the “no,” the idea of identifying and tracking down contacts to determine who, where and how infections are spreading is just common sense. Finding people who are infected and/or have a high probability of getting infected or infecting others, even before they show symptoms, is a proactive way of helping to stop or at least slow down the spread of serious communicable diseases. This is already being done by CDC, state and lower level jurisdictions for serious communicable diseases, but never on the scale, depth and intrusiveness of what is under discussion now. Some say that a massive jump start is needed to get tracing fully implemented in the U.S. for this and future pandemics. It’s good and constitutional that the states would be doing this rather than the federal government, although with legally questionable federal funding. There is nothing in the bill itself that supports most of things people fear about it. But it wouldn’t stop these from occurring and may even fuel them.
1. While the bill objective seems noble on the surface, there is much potential for abuse. The bill has no limits or accountability built into it and no penalties or strings for non-compliance or abuse. “Hot spots” where it would apply cover half of jurisdictions in the USA, since half are worse than average. Some have speculated that it could be used to hunt down and forcibly remove people from their homes and be used to help label infected people, even false positive-tested people, recovered people and those who are no longer contagious, then brand them in a way to block their full participation in society. When AIDS activists were threatened with this, they raised hell and stopped it cold. Big tech companies are already developing software to track the path of and people connected with COVID-19 infections and extrapolate who risky people are based on who they came into contact with and even where they went (Apple and Google unveiled a joint effort on new tools that would use smartphones to aid in contact tracing). Some tech companies have proposed that people could be denied certain mobility, entry, even from making purchases, via cell phone tracking, facial recognition, temperature sensing and databases built from that tracking.
Bills like CA AB-262 Local health officers: communicable diseases give the power to officials to act- but excessively. None of that appears in H.R. 6666, but so much money directed at such a vague objective without proper direction and oversight is just begging for trouble. Certain portions of AB 262 give officials a virtual blank check and are causing civil liberty advocates heartburn, such as:
“The bill would authorize the local health officer to issue orders to other governmental entities within the local health officer’s jurisdiction to take any action the local health officer deems necessary to control the spread of the communicable disease.”- From CA AB 262
4. $100,000,0000,000.00?? Those are BILLIONS. Per year? Seriously??? That is a staggering amount of money for the apparent objective. That’s at least $1 trillion over 10 years. The scale and pervasiveness that such funding would buy and would surely be fully spent and even more asked for is stunning.
5. While some of the hysterical interpretations of 6666 are over the top, it places no real scope constraints, is poorly defined and there is no firm sunset date- all red flags.
6. Finally, the bill number seems to be mocking the People- “6666”, filed on May Day – REALLY? Probably no coincidence.
The silence of so-called “Mainstream Media on a bill of such import with its obvious potential for abuse is deafening. We couldn’t find a MSM reference to this $100 billion/year bill anywhere in the first 10 pages of a Google search. That’s disturbing.