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Michigan Attorney General unloads on 77-year-old barber with shame-filled rant: ‘He’s not a patriot’

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The longer the coronavirus pandemic lasts, the more Americans living in some parts of the country realize they have elected tyrants to public office, and that seems especially to be the case in Michigan.

On Friday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, blasted a 77-year-old barber for opening his shop in violation of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdown order, even going so far as to question his loyalty and love for the country.

“We’re not looking to throw people in jail,” Nessel said regarding Karl Manke, owner of Karl Manke’s Barber & Beauty Shop in Owosso, who opened his shop last week despite it being deemed a ‘non-essential’ business. “That is, to me, a very, very, very last resort. We want him to discontinue his conduct, which we think is aiding and abetting in the spread of the virus.”

She then questioned Manke’s loyalties.

“Mr. Manke, he’s not a hero to me,” she continued. “He’s not a patriot. A patriot is a person that fights all enemies, foreign and domestic, and does everything possible to protect his fellow countrymen and countrywomen. And to me, Mr. Manke is doing just the opposite of that, and he’s being selfish in his behavior in that what he’s doing is allowing the virus to spread.”

She went on to note that it wasn’t clear when the state would permit businesses like barbershops to “reengage” — reopen — with the community.

There is no evidence for Nessel’s medical claims, and in fact, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest she’s wrong, considering that other businesses — grocery stores, for instance — have remained open throughout the pandemic and have not been blamed for ‘spreading the virus.’

Besides, if anything, Manke’s more susceptible to contracting the illness than most other people simply because of his age; we know the virus strikes (and kills) older Americans more easily.

Then, of course, there is the issue of legality, and whether or not the state’s demand that some businesses be shut down until the governor says they can open is enforceable.

At least one state judge has said the order isn’t legal.

“Today, the Shiawassee County Circuit Court denied the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ request for a temporary restraining order seeking to have Karl Manke cease all business operations at his Owosso barbershop,” Nessel’s office announced Tuesday after failing to obtain a temporary restraining order against Manke.

“The courts are going to be deciding these things. Are these executive orders legal or not. It’s our position that they’re not,” an attorney for Manke said following the ruling. “Certain businesses are favored, they can open. Other businesses are unfavored, they stay shut and their businesses get destroyed. That’s what we’re fighting in this case.”

Added Manke: “I had to get back to work, I feel it is my right to work.”

“The government charged Karl with criminal misdemeanor violations for allegedly violating Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders (EO),” said a statement from the law firm representing Manke.

“All the EOs issued by the governor after April 30, 2020, however, are illegal and unlawful because the Legislature refused to extend her declared state of emergency past that date,” the statement added, noting further that citations were “personally served on Karl at his barbershop by six Michigan State Police Officers.”

A statement from the Shiawassee County Sheriff, where the city of Owosso is located, said the department would not be enforcing Whitner’s order.

The Republican-led legislature has filed suit against Whitmer’s recent extension of her original lockdown order.

As for Manke, the Whitmer administration has had the last word thus far. Nessel announced earlier this week that the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has suspended his barber’s license, meaning he’ll incur more fines if he continues to cut hair.

He is scheduled to appear in court in late June and faces a fine of more than $1,000.

“The government is not my mother. Never has been. I’ve been in business longer than they’ve been alive,” Manke said.

Jon Dougherty

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