The newest fad surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 panic and anxiety by the chattering class is a push for “vaccine passports” to ease our way back to normal life. A life filled with indoor concerts and festivals, dinner at the newest urban hotspots and jetting off to exotic locales will be no problem, as long as you download the app, sign away your medical privacy and consent to tracking every move you make, as well as anyone around you who doesn’t know how to work their cell phone security settings.

It is all for safety and health, you see, so how could anyone possibly be against that?

And private business can absolutely control what they require from customers, don’t you know. I’ve never seen so many pundits yell “free markets” as their line of argument, especially pundits who rail against the evils of capitalism in every other discussion. It is a novel hill to stand on, that tyrannical control and loss of rights are of no concern, since those who control the levers of power in this instance come from the hand of business rather than government edict.

Never mind that that edict is sanctioned and planned with government agents and appointees, who conveniently have grant money, an outside 501c3 created just for this purpose and a convenient tech partnership to get the ball rolling.

Make no mistake, this crackdown will be just as vicious and result in the same loss of freedom, tax collectors and bureaucrats are extraneous.

Red state governors, like DeSantis in Florida - and hopefully soon in Tennessee, are calling for their state legislatures to protect citizens from this intrusive overreach, whether it comes at the hand of big business or big government. Much like mandates for COVID vaccinations, these vaccination passports may seem well-meaning and convenient right now, but will end up being anything but.

Where will we end up by following this path....paved as it is with good intentions?

I can see it now... a hierarchy of corporations and brands exclusively serving the papered class. Want to fly home to see your family? Make sure your paperwork is in order....you can upload your certificate directly to the airline.

Favorite band coming to a city near you? Make sure you download the app to confirm your health status and disclose medical information to everyone involved.

Don’t forget to check the box for tracing, so the app can log your locations for the two weeks after the event....just in case there’s an outbreak.

Maybe Apple Wallet will have a share option, making it convenient for a group reservation, you know if you have a big fund-raiser at French Laundry.

You can totally trust that the databases of information will never be hacked, mined or used for any kind of nefarious purpose.

Have a concern about the implementation, collection of information, security, or any of the other issues surrounding such a policy?

You should probably be classified as a tinfoil hat wearing domestic terrorist. Isn’t that how this works now?

The idea of medical privacy has become a novel relic for the ages, lost to photos of vaccine cards and selfie stations at shot clinics.

It shouldn’t shock the sensibilities that those in power will try to further consolidate more power. What should shock is how many willingly sign up to help them.

An interesting poll came across my Twitter feed this week. Not that I hold much stock in horse race election polls, but I still like to watch off year issue polling. Sometimes it can give you a window into the electorate in a way that party polling can miss, where less is clouded by tribal political identity and political affiliation.

At issue in this poll was voter I.D. After months of election rhetoric, lawsuits and Congressional speeches over 70 percent of Americans support legislation requiring photo identification to vote, contrary to the law Democrats in Congress are currently lobbying for.

Some might find it ironic that many who are pushing to make vaccine passports necessary to everyday life for working Americans have such a problem with voter I.D. laws and absolutely no problem with illegal immigration where people show up to the border with zero documentation or proof of identity.

The hypocrisy of holding these positions all at the same time isn’t a problem for progressives and globalist sorts once you realize that it’s about winning elections, and punishing perceived enemies, not about legislation and uniting.

Politics hasn’t been about that for more than a generation. At least.

It’s will to power all the way around.

The mouse hunt continues... and I’m not really sure who is winning, but we’ve gotten quite the impressive body count racked up.

After a weekend reprieve, when I thought we were over the worst of the mice in my house and all the traps were quiet, I got to take a break. But Monday became a textbook example of why I hate Mondays.

My phone went on the fritz Sunday night, and after leaving it on the charger all night was beyond hope come Monday morning.

No worries, I thought to myself... and headed over to the dresser drawer where Vince and I stash all our old phones and electronics for just such a necessity.

Imagine the horror when I picked up the phone box and uncovered a nest filled with baby mice.

Needless to say I hysterically screamed, shut the drawer and went upstairs to paint trim until Vince could get home to handle it.

That is a trade-off we made in the early days of marriage....I handle spiders, he gets mice. That arrangement is definitely working out for me now, but I’m hoping next spring doesn’t bring a rash of black widows or brown recluses.

It’s better for our wallet too, because my suggested solution was to burn the bedroom furniture and start over.

Although, after the nest cleanup, I think Vince might be coming around to that idea, too.

Staff columnist Toni Butero can be reached at tbutero@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 862-2222.