Todd Smith: TJ Donovan’s COVID cops

By Todd Smith | The Caledonian Record

The COVID-19 police were out over the weekend. They were seen patrolling local businesses for compliance of Gov. Scott’s “Stay Home” directives.

The watch is overseen by Attorney General T.J. Donovan. Last week he outlined punishments for non-compliance of stay-home and stay-closed orders. They include an escalating series of steps that can culminate in $1,000/day fines and and up to six months in jail.

As we’ve written a number of times, we understand the public health mission to flatten the coronavirus curve. We’ve embraced the science and diligently followed the social distancing prescriptions.

Todd Smith

Todd M. Smith is the publisher of the Caledonian Record.

At the same time we cringe at the side effects, including injuries to personal liberty; wholesale economic destruction; and the creeping license government is taking on little matters like due process, open records, and public meetings.

We’re obediently taking our bitter medicine for the promise of better public health. And we realize that, until the government comes up with some reliable and accessible method for testing and tracking the disease, social distancing efficacy is a “where we go one, we go all,” proposition.

Not everyone, though, buys the science and/or is convinced that public health should wholly subjugate economic health and personal freedom. Since the coronavirus makes no exceptions for late rent or loan payments, we can’t wholly begrudge these folks from trying creatively to pay the bills amid calamitous economic circumstances.

But Donovan is a special breed of government operator. We’ve come to know him as someone who bristles at the notion of government restraint. It strikes us as fitting that he would be the guy at the front, devising a system to criminalize decent folks trying to eke out an existence.

There is one thing that befuddles us, however. What happens after Donovan turns decent citizens into criminals? After all, just two days before he outlined procedures for police to criminalize local business owners with threat of jail, he held a press conference in which he said he would move mountains to incarcerate almost nobody in Vermont.

It’s unclear why, on Wednesday, Donovan thought violent thugs and repeat offenders were inappropriate for lodging, but by Friday mom-and-pop storeowners were a scofflaw too far.

One thing that is clear, knowing Donovan, is that he’ll be sure to bury any public records derived from his war-on-proprietors. The man never met a FOIA exemption he didn’t like.

Todd M. Smith is the publisher of the Caledonian Record, where this editorial first appeared. He lives in St. Johnsbury.

Images courtesy of Vermont Secretary of State's Office and Todd Smith
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15 thoughts on “Todd Smith: TJ Donovan’s COVID cops

  1. These jokers should have listened to Bill Barr last night on FOX. He said the DOJ will be watching states and municipalities for just these kind of over extension of curtailing constitutional rights. He said there is reasonableness, but over the top restrictions on personal rights he will not tolerate.

    There was a comment above about never letting these left mongers take your guns away. Absolutely right…. New Orleans did it during Katrina. Some officials there paid a heavy price for that indiscretion. But it was too late for the citizens who were damaged by the action. In this case, “you” the citizen will have to hire an attorney to beat down TJ’s power trip. That will cost you thousands of dollars, for what?

    All this, and the Governor says he doesn’t have the power to way-lay implementation of outlawing single use plastic bags on July 1st. What hypocrisy! These people work only those items that seem advantageous to their own political “career”. Sad, sad!

  2. Ignore Donovan and stage massive resistance if the government fails to remove ALL restrictions in two weeks!

  3. Dangerous times require a serious response. However, there are limits. I wouldcsugest issuing a warning with the understanding that future transgressions would serious consequences.

    • Mike, With all due respect, what would those consequences be that would follow the threat? Aren’t you the same person who couldn’t understand why it’s okay for the government to limit magazine sizes while government authorities can use whatever they want? I would hope that we would never have to use citizen force against the government. We do have to remind them that they get their power from us and we can take it away. The means in which that happens is up to them. Safe guarding our rights is our job and the government must never be allowed to take the tools that we might need in the distant future. The phrase that comes to mind is, “I would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it”.

  4. Donovan ASSUMED POWER he wasn’t GIVEN POWER of this magnitude. Need a similar Gun Control assembly on the State House steps. Furthermore, the striped pants enforcers should use common sense, respect the Constitutions and tell TJD they won”t comply with lawless orders as the Sheriffs in VA are. There’s more than one meaning for creating sanctuary towns and counties.

  5. This is exactly why you don’t give up ANY GUN RIGHTS TO LEFTIST FASCIST.
    The little keystone kop Teejay is the perfect example of these power hungry Freedom
    haters..

  6. The Furhrer Scott, and TJ Himmler are employing their Green mountain Gestapo, to carry out their orders, such as the 1920-1940s Secret Service did under Hitler. Stopping innocent bystanders and asking for their papers. Imposing unconstitutional fines, and even the threat of concentration camps ( jail ) if you do not comply.
    Never mind the guaranteed rights, and civil liberties given to us under the United States constitution.
    Scott and Donovan were sworn into office to protect our rights and uphold the laws of this country, NOT to violate them to fit their own agendas.
    Yes we have a crisis on our hands, but we also have rights regardless of what’s at stake.
    I call for the immediate resignation of these 2 under the cause of dereliction of duty, and violation of oaths of office !

    • Governor Scott isn’t entirely to blame. He’s following the lead of the fear-monger-in-chief, Dr, Fauci, while we continue to hear estimates of deaths heading downward after the damage was done (“millions in the US will die” was the original story, thanks to a Dr. Ferguson who also wildly overestimated Foot and Mouth disease in animals.) Yes, the disease is serious but still, the majority have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic, and this is simply not the mark of a killer disease that is capable of shutting down the entire country; it’s rather the mark of a disease that’s apparently slightly more virulent than the flu. Many notable physicians and epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists have argued against extreme lock-down measures, but these voices of reason– who ask for accurate counting of cases and of deaths from COVID instead of inflated counts and of comparison of these deaths with what normally happens during flu season– are being shouted down by people like Dr. Fauci, who continues to argue against the use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, despite that many doctors are using this and it seems to be the best thing we have going. Whose side is he on?

      No, Dr. Ioannidis– a world-renowned expert on evidence-based medicine and science– was correct when he called this an evidence fiasco. We hear horror story after horror story but the media isn’t being objective and is instead inciting fear, as it recently did when it claimed that bodies were backing up at funeral homes and crematoriums in NYC while failing to acknowledge that due to safety concerns, manpower for burials has been curtailed and this, and not “excessive deaths” in a metropolitan area that sees some 14,000 deaths per month in any case, is the reason for these back-ups.

      Then we had Elmhurst hospital in NYC plastered over the news and reports of patients dying in tents. Problem is, these tents were used for testing, not for overflow patients, and citizen videos have shown us that there is no one, NO ONE, in these tents or in these lines after the cameras leave, having splashed fear-mongering images all over America. The press is complicit in this nonsense. Look for yourself: I have verified, through comparison of key landmarks, that this video is indeed of the same exact location that just days earlier was the scene of pandemonium that the entire US, if not the world, saw: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0z8NhxNTaU This video was up, then taken down, then up again, so … watch it while you can.

      Ya can’t make this stuff up. But, it sure looks like someone is.

      • I saw the video of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens NY . It looks like a ghost town. The sky is not falling like they say.

  7. Somebody should send TJ and the Governor copies of the Vermont and U S Constitutions .

    However the best prescription for freedom and liberty of Vermonters is to toss both of these Constitutional scofflaws from office.

  8. The Naval War College ran a War Game in September 2019 called Urban Outbreak 2019. Among the lessons learned: ‘Forced mass quarantine or other top down approaches to an outbreak that securitize the response with law enforcement and/or military enforcement may not be successful and could increase the spread of the disease.’

    Somebody should send TJ and the Governor a copy of the report, released one week ago.

    https://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=civmilresponse-program-sims-uo-2019

  9. Wow, sounds like Vermont is becoming a ” police state ” and the head of the
    gestapo is no other than ” let them out of jail ” Donovan ……. outstanding !!

    We all know that the brain trust under the ” Golden Dome ” knows best, just look
    at the condition, the state was in before the virus.

    So what’s really essential, as the citizens………. we don’t need mandates or a
    police state …………………..

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