Coronavirus Updates

Update 7/9/2020: Confirmed cases 12,270,729 with 554,375 fatalities. The US has 3,183,618 cases with 135,240 fatalities. Florida reports record COVID fatalities and hospitalizations for the day. Arizona also had record hospitalizations and reported 75 fatalities. The NYT calls Arizona the worlds largest COVID hot spot. Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia also set records for new infections. The US as a whole announced over 60,000 new infections for the first time. Covid fatalities in the US for the past two days have been highest since early June. The US reported 1.3 million job new jobless claims as reopening plans were paused or rolled back. The WHO acknowledges that the virus may be airborne indoors.

Update 7/6/2020: Confirmed cases 11,624,867 with 538,132 fatalities. The US has 2,996,027 cases with 132,664 fatalities. Washington state has 36,708 cases with 1,359 fatalities. Benton Franklin Health District has 3,606 cases with 106 fatalities. Yakima Health District has 7,855 cases with 146 fatalities. India has passed Russia to take third most cases in the world. Brazil exceeds 1.6 million cases.

Update 6/29/2020: Confirmed cases 10,409,518 with 508,091 fatalities. The US has 2,681,811 cases with 128,783 fatalities. The US has added over 40,000 new cases per day for the last five days. Yakima Health District has 7,316 cases with 138 fatalities. Benton Franklin Health District has 3,332 cases with 101 fatalities. New cases in Benton county exceed what is required to proceed with re-opening. California and Texas both had record spikes in new cases today. China identified a new influenza strain which also has “pandemic potential.” WHO warns that the worst may yet be to come. The US has been excluded from the EU’s list of countries deemed safe enough to allow to travel to the EU.

Update 6/27/2020: Confirmed cases 9,979,992 with 498,598 fatalities. The US has 2,569,139 cases with 127,774 fatalities. The US has had its third straight day of record new cases, with Florida adding over 9,000 new cases. Texas governor wishes he hadn’t opened re-opened bars because of new cases linked to them. The positive test rate is increasing in the US. Washington state has 31,863 cases with 1,305 fatalities. Prosser, WA appears to highest case rate (cases per capita) in the Benton/Franklin counties given available data. Brazil, with the second most cases globally, has reached around half as many cases and fatalities as the US and still appears to be increasing exponentially. Russia, with the third most, appears to have flattened their curve. India, with the fourth most, is also increasing exponentially still. Scientists are still increasing their knowledge of the virus, now concluding that it is not only a respiratory virus, but attacks the pancreas, heart, liver, brain, kidney, and other organs, can cause blood clotting disorders, strokes, and neurological disorders, among others.

Update 6/24/2020: Confirmed cases 9,527,124 with 484,972 fatalities. The US has 2,462,554 cases with 124,281 fatalities. The most recent one million cases of COVID-19 were reported in just one week, WA Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday that the state is imposing a mandatory requirement that people wear masks when they are outside their homes; not wearing a facial covering would amount to a misdemeanor crime. Kittitas County, WA approved for Phase 3 reopening.

Continue reading “Coronavirus Updates”

Doom and Bloom: Covid Fatigue and the Second Wave

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article up about Covid Fatigue and the Second Wave. A second spike in cases is coming.

COVID-19 cases may again be on the rise as a second wave of infections coincide with the reopening of many businesses throughout the United States.

Perhaps the first thing I should mention is that a second wave is going to occur as society reopened. I repeat: Regardless of the timing or the measures taken, at one point or another there is going to be a second spike in cases. This is to be expected; It’s what many pandemics do. Health officials and political policies can do little to stop it.

If we look at previous infectious disease outbreaks, like the Spanish Flu of a century ago, it’s clear that there were, not two, but three waves in Spring and Fall of 1918 and winter of 1918-19. Each wave claimed its share of victims.

Most health officials have long stated that more cases are expected. Social distancing, face coverings, and other important measures to prevent spread of infection may be breaking down. In some cases, it’s because of what I call “COVID fatigue”. People are weary of staying home, donning personal protection equipment, and avoiding the restaurants, movie theaters, malls, and other staples of normal American society. The New Normal compares poorly to the “good old days”.

Not an example of social distancing

Even for those who have adjusted to pandemic prevention guidelines, current headlines have sparked nationwide mass protests which are spilling over internationally. As you can imagine, large demonstrations don’t follow the rules of social distancing and hamper efforts to stop the spread of infection.

Public policy may also play a part. Reopening too quickly due to COVID fatigue-fueled anger may cause large numbers of new cases, while staying in semi-permanent lockdown must eventually throw the nation into a major economic depression. The balance is so delicate that a perfect solution is almost impossible to achieve. Either option is fraught with risk.

All of the above factors make it more likely that a second wave will be significant, but how significant? Will we see just a ripple in the pond or a massive tidal wave?

One expert, Dr. Lawrence Kleinman of Rutgers University, says: “I think people mistake the idea of society reopening with the idea that society is safer, but things are no safer today than they were weeks ago when we were in full lockdown,” said Dr. Lawrence Kleinman, MD MPH of Rutgers University. He goes on to say that the recipe for personal safety doesn’t change even as society opens up.

Others aren’t as pessimistic.  Columbia University virologist Dr. Vincent Racaniello said, “I’m hoping we can continue our lives without having to go back into quarantine in the fall, because we’ve learned that distancing and face masks can really make a difference.”

Indeed, we have learned much about SARS-CoV2, the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides social distancing, we have come to realize the importance of mass testing, and keeping close track of contacts. With a contagious disease, we have to know who is capable of spreading it. With workplaces beginning to reopen, this information becomes essential.

We have also realized the importance of having personal protection items in our medical kits. Surgical and N95 masks are considered to be for medical workers only, leaving the average citizens with a limited array of less-effective cloth coverings. These were endorsed by health officials, but only because of the lack of standard supplies.

Yet, many folks ended up becoming “medical workers” when someone in the family came down with a mild to moderate case of COVID-19. You can bet that there will be more face masks to go around in future outbreaks; many of these will be made in the U.S.A…(continues)

Forward Observer: Is This a Revolution?

Intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer asks Is this a revolution?

Last night, a veteran friend and I were talking about our takes on the protests and riots.

Is this a civil war? A revolution? A rebellion or insurrection?

My initial assessment is that this actually is a revolution, in the sense of the Maidan or Tahrir Square, where organizers attempt to foment a popular uprising against the government.

Maidan, of course, was Ukraine’s 2014 revolution. Tahrir Square, Egypt’s during the 2011 Arab Spring. In both cases, mass protests and violence eventually succeeded in forcing the resignation of the countries’ leaders. There were other cases, too: Puerto Rico, South Korea, Spain, Iceland, and Finland each had their own bouts of widespread protests that led to political change.

All the way back in 2017, which now seems like 20 years ago, a U.S.-based militant socialist web magazine began promoting the idea of mass protests and small scale direct action as a means to bait President Trump into cracking down on Leftists nationwide.

The anticipated iron fist reaction would rally support for the Leftist cause, the authors explained, and expand the class conflict against capitalism and the state.

Since then, the idea of mass mobilization has become regular fare for both liberal and leftist think-pieces.

Rising to its highest popularity during the impeachment debacle, left wing authors encouraged mass protests where millions of Americans would fill the streets in major cities across the country, demanding an end to the Trump administration. According to this calculus, only mass mobilization could produce enough sustained political, social, and economic pressure to force President Trump’s resignation.

The country’s proponents of class conflict saw this push as a launching pad for socialist revolution. That mass mobilization effort fizzled along with impeachment, but what we’re seeing now is the result of the same organizing.

Riding on top of the protests against police brutality and the death of George Floyd is the socialist class war against law enforcement, capitalism, and the state. This is their revolution — not a singular event but a process.

In response to the protest demands, some municipalities are cutting police budgets. In some cases, there’s serious talk about dissolving police departments altogether. Ostensibly, this is to reduce police violence and redirect budgetary savings to social programs.

For the socialist revolution, without police, there are no evictions. There’s no one to stop looting, theft, and the forced redistribution of goods. Without police, there’s no one to enforce laws that protect the exploitative capitalist class against expropriation and violence from the proletariat, so the theory goes.

Now let’s answer the question: is this an actual revolution? Yes, for a few reasons.

1. These aims are nothing short of revolutionary.
2. The proponents of these political, social, and economic policy changes believe this is a revolution and describe themselves as revolutionaries.
3. We’re seeing some signs of success towards these revolutionary aims.

Success isn’t assured through electoral politics. This is why “dual power” exists. This is the concept of developing both political and social power. Institution-building in oppressed communities, outside of politics, is a form of power that can accomplish what politics often can’t. According to the theory, social power eventually grows larger than the opposition’s political power, and that becomes the basis for socialist revolution.

The bottom line is that the conflict here and it’s going to get much worse as the other side responds. Welcome to the next phase of our low intensity conflict.

Unz Review: The Systemic Collapse of the US Society Has Begun

The Saker has written an article for The Unz Review on the failing state of the USA, The Systemic Collapse of the US Society Has Begun. Other writers who have been featured on this site (such as John Mosby of Mountain Guerrilla) have been writing about the slow collapse of the US for some time. Empires collapse. The decline often takes place over decades with periods of slower or faster decline. Perhaps one day we’ll be saying that the US failed slowly, slowly, then all at once. Only time will tell.

Cops in DC

I have lived in the United States for a total of 24 years and I have witnessed many crises over this long period, but what is taking place today is truly unique and much more serious than any previous crisis I can recall. And to explain my point, I would like to begin by saying what I believe the riots we are seeing taking place in hundreds of US cities are not about. They are not about:

  1. Racism or “White privilege”
  2. Police violence
  3. Social alienation and despair
  4. Poverty
  5. Trump
  6. The liberals pouring fuel on social fires
  7. The infighting of the US elites/deep state

They are not about any of these because they encompass all of these issues, and more.

It is important to always keep in mind the distinction between the concepts of “cause” and “pretext”. And while it is true that all the factors listed above are real (at least to some degree, and without looking at the distinction between cause and effect), none of them are the true cause of what we are witnessing. At most, the above are pretexts, triggers if you want, but the real cause of what is taking place today is the systemic collapse of the US society.

The next thing which we must also keep in mind is that evidence of correlation is not evidence of causality. Take, for example, this article from CNN entitled “US black-white inequality in 6 stark charts” which completely conflates the two concepts and which includes the following sentence (stress added) “Those disparities exist because of a long history of policies that excluded and exploited black Americans, said Valerie Wilson, director of the program on race, ethnicity and the economy at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning group.” The word “because” clearly point to a causality, yet absolutely nothing in the article or data support this. The US media is chock-full of such conflations of correlation and causality, yet it is rarely denounced.

For a society, any society, to function a number of factors that make up the social contract need to be present. The exact list that make up these factors will depend on each individual country, but they would typically include some kind of social consensus, the acceptance by most people of the legitimacy of the government and its institutions, often a unifying ideology or, at least, common values, the presence of a stable middle-class, the reasonable hope for a functioning “social life”, educational institutions etc. Finally, and cynically, it always helps the ruling elites if they can provide enough circuses (TV) and bread (food) to most citizens. This is even true of so-called authoritarian/totalitarian societies which, contrary to the liberal myth, typically do enjoy the support of a large segment of the population (if only because these regimes are often more capable of providing for the basic needs of society).

Right now, I would argue that the US government has almost completely lost its ability to deliver any of those factors, or act to repair the broken social contract. In fact, what we can observe is the exact opposite: the US society is highly divided, as is the US ruling class (which is even more important). Not only that, but ever since the election of Trump, all the vociferous Trump-haters have been undermining the legitimacy not only of Trump himself, but of the political system which made his election possible. I have been saying that for years: by saying “not my President” the Trump-haters have de-legitimized not only Trump personally, but also de-legitimized the Executive branch as such.

This is an absolutely amazing phenomenon: while for almost four years Trump has been destroying the US Empire externally, Trump-haters spent the same four years destroying the US from the inside! If we look past the (largely fictional) differences between the Republicrats and the Demolicans we can see that they operate like a demolition tag-team of sorts and while they hate each other with a passion, they both contribute to bringing down both the Empire and the United States. For anybody who has studied dialectics this would be very predictable but, alas, dialectics are not taught anymore, hence the stunned “deer in the headlights” look on the faces of most people today.

Finally, it is pretty clear that for all its disclaimers about supporting only the “peaceful protestors” and its condemnation of the “out of town looters”, most of the US media (as well as the alt media) is completely unable to give a moral/ethical evaluation of what is taking place. What I mean by this is the following:

By repeating mantras about how “Black anger is legitimate” the US liberal media is basically placing a seal of approval on the violence and looting. After all, if Black “anger” is legitimate, and if “White privilege” is real, then it is quite “understandable” that this “anger” “sometimes” “boils over” and leads to “regrettable” “excesses”. Just take a look at this image of Biden kneeling down before a Black demonstrator:

Of course, Biden and his supporters will claim that Biden was only kneeling before a cute little girl and her peacefully protesting father, but when combined with the attacks against Trump’s “law and order” rhetoric by Biden and his supporters (including four former US Presidents!), I believe that these kinds of photo-ops are sending a very different message: keep “protesting” as we are on your side which, coming from a guy like Biden, the ultimate symbol of the 1%er elites and a perfect example of “White privilege”, just goes to show that the hypocrisy of US politicians really knows no bounds or limits.

I have to note here that these riots also represent a potential danger for both factions of the Uniparty in power: for the Demolicans the riots probably represent the very last chance to prevent a Trump-reelection, but if the Demolicans are too obvious in support of the riots, then it could backfire against them and turn all the frightened “law and order” types against them. But if they do not support the riots, then the Demolicans will alienate their core constituency (a hodgepodge of various “minorities” pushing their narrow identity-politics agenda). Likewise, for Trump this is an opportunity to show his “law and order” credentials and promise the White people and the relatively fewer Blacks of his base that he will protect them. However, if he is too direct about this and if Trump orders what might be seen by many as unfair or excessive force (of which there has been a lot almost everywhere), then he risks pushing many moderate Republicrats over the edge and side with the Demolicans (or, at least, withhold their vote). In other words, both factions of the Uniparty feel that the riots are both an opportunity and a threat and this is why neither faction can come out and speak truthfully about the real causes of the riots.

The exact same message of weakness and even submissive impotence is, I believe, sent every time a cop kneels when confronting even peaceful demonstrators like on this photo. While this might be intended as a message of compassion, and maybe even an apology, the only thing the rioters will see here is a powerful sign of surrender of the local authorities and I find that extremely dangerous.

Yes, there are plenty of racist, violent and otherwise incompetent cops in the USA. And yes, many of my Black friends reported feeling singled out and treated rudely by cops. But having extensively traveled the world, I want to assure you that the US most definitely does not have the worst cops out there. In fact, I believe that most US cops are decent people. Much more importantly, these cops are the “thin blue line” which protects society against criminals. And while I do believe that US policemen ought to be better educated, better trained, better led and better supervised, I also realize that there is also no short term alternative to them. It is all very fine to dream about educated, peaceful and non-racist cops, but if you remove the existing police force from the equation, there are no other alternatives (the national guard or the regular armed forces do not qualify and don’t have the correct training to deal with civilians anyway), especially in those states which have successfully killed the 2nd Amendment by means of what I call “death by a thousand regulatory cuts” (including NY and NJ)…(continues)

Forward Observer: Where Do We Go from Here? Riot Edition

Intelligence analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer discusses riots and low intensity conflict in Where to we go from here?

Are these protests and riots the beginning of something larger in our country’s low intensity conflict?  I’m going to try to answer that question here in a few points…

First, let’s start with a simple fact: These riots are what we consider “low intensity conflict,” which exists below the threshold of conventional war (tanks and bombers) but above routine, peaceful competition. This is a gray zone between the black and white of war where we see both violent and nonviolent activity that fails to meet the definition of declared war.

The United States is in a low intensity conflict and has been since at least 2016, if not 2008.

Second, these riots are a continuation of a broader conflict. While many were rather pure in their desire to protest the death of George Floyd, there were other elements using the opportunity to take other action.

Those who committed violence over the past several days can be separated into four categories.

1. Opportunistic actors who sought personal gain.

2. Social conflict actors who expressed their anger over the death of George Floyd and used violence as a means to coerce the political class into making desired changes.

3. Class conflict actors who committed acts of violence in their class struggle against the capitalist system. As one professor recently put it, “[L]ooting is an expression of power.”

4. And, yes, I’ve seen plenty of criticism over some of law enforcement’s heavy handed tactics. This violence should not go unnoticed, because police forces are a part of this conflict, too.

(I’ve also seen some claims that “white supremacists” were in some way responsible for the violent rioting, which comes as no surprise when one considers the outlets pushing that narrative. Pressed on that claim, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said over the weekend that “nobody really knows” the political motivations behind the violence. It didn’t stop him from making that claim prior to the interview. I’ll wager a guess: those responsible for the violence weren’t doing it on behalf of white supremacy.)

Third, it’s important to note the development of soft power. Some on the Right minimize the capability of the Far Left because the Far Left is largely unarmed. This is a mistake.

Aside from hard power — the ability to project force — there’s soft power, which exists on the moral and information plane of conflict.

Over the weekend, we saw much of mainstream media excuse the behavior of the rioters and deflect responsibility for what’s happening.

CNN’s Don Lemon complained on his show that America’s power class weren’t coming to the defense of the protestors and rioters.

“Why aren’t they helping these young people? These young people are out there standing on a platform at the edge of an abyss by themselves… Get on television or do something and help these young people instead of sitting in your mansions and doing nothing. And have some moral courage and stop worrying about your reputation and your brand,” Lemon begged.

That’s soft power. Money and funding, influence, moral support and framing the moral authority — these are the elements that enable hard power. And Don Lemon pleaded with celebrities and the donor class to help develop this soft power.

Finally — let’s look at where we could go from here because the worst might still be ahead for at least two reasons.

First, over the past few days, I’ve seen numerous examples of protestors and rioters saying they want to go to the suburbs next.

With the exception of the one video that was linked to the Drudge Report, the evidence has been on social media, with organizers and influencers putting out these suggestions to those who want to continue the protest outside of urban areas.

I read most of these comments with some skepticism, but I’m completely open to the possibility that protests and violence do migrate in some instances. That would be a mistake, in my opinion.

Today (Sunday), Attorney General Bill Barr published a press release in which he warned that the Department of Justice and the states will “reestablish law and order” through a large scale presence of police and the National Guard.

Barr also threatened that federal law enforcement is out for “violent radical agitators,” and labeled the antifascists as engaging in acts of domestic terrorism. The Department of Justice is working with all 56 regional Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) to facilitate this action.

The risk in either of these cases is that violence is escalated.

For one, some suburbs might make easy targets in the beginning, but just as we saw militias forming to protect businesses, the suburbs are likely to become harder targets for would-be rioters and looters. If it develops, this scenario obviously brings a likelihood of violence.

And two, law enforcement actions, to include arrests or raids on the homes of “violent radical agitators,” are going to aid the argument that the United States has descended into fascism. That could spark more protests and more unrest.

Mises Institute: Three Ways Lockdowns Paved the Way for Riots

Ryan McMaken at the Mises Institute has an article on Three Ways Lockdowns Paved the Way for These Riots

There were many reasons to oppose the COVID-19 lockdowns.

They cost human lives in terms of deferred medical treatmentThey cost human lives in terms of greater suicide and drug overdoses. Domestic abuse and child abuse have increased. There is also good reason to believe that lockdowns don’t actually work. The lockdown activists capitalized on media-stoked fear to push their authoritarian agenda based not on science, but on the whims of a handful of experts who insisted that they need not present any actual evidence that their bizarre, draconian, and extreme scheme was worth the danger posed to human rights, health, and the economic well-being of billions of human beings.

Those who lacked the obsessive and irresponsible tunnel vision of the prolockdown people warned that there were other dangers as well, in terms of social and political conflict.

It didn’t require an especially clear crystal ball to see that destroying the livelihoods of countless millions while empowering a police state to harass and arrest law-abiding citizens would create a situation that maybe—just maybe—could lead to greater social and political conflict.

Specifically, there are three ways in which the lockdowns laid the groundwork for our current state of unrest.

The Lockdowns Created an Economic Disaster

The COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, business closures, and other forms of coerced social distancing have so far led to job losses for well over 30 million Americans. The unemployment rate has risen to levels not seen since the Great Depression. Food banks are under strain as Americans line up for free food. Thanks to government moratoria on evictions in many areas, it is still unknown to what extent homeowners and renters are unable to pay mortgages and rents, but a wave of delinquencies is almost certainly coming.

To advocates of lockdowns, this is all “worth it” even though these sorts of economic stresses often lead to suicide, stress-induced disease, and death. But impoverishment, unemployment, and financial ruin are all merely “inconvenient,” as described by head lockdown advocate Anthony Fauci.

To someone who isn’t enamored of lockdowns, however, it is clear that millions of job losses are likely to worsen a variety of social ills, sometimes even resulting in violence. Moreover, the current job losses appear to be affecting the young and those who earn lower incomes most.

Lockdown advocates have attempted to avoid responsibility for all this by claiming that it is the pandemic itself that has caused the current economic disaster, and not the lockdowns. This is a baseless assertion. As has been shown, neither the pandemics of 1918 or 1958 led to the sorts of job losses and decline in economic growth that we’re now seeing.

The Lockdowns Destroyed Social Institutions

Another outcome of the lockdowns has been the destruction of American social institutions. These institutions include schools (both public and private), churches, coffee shops, bars, libraries, barbershops, and many others.

Lockdown advocates continue to claim that this is no big deal and insist that people just sit at home and “binge watch” television shows. But researchers have long pointed to the importance of these institutions in preserving peace and as a means of defusing social tensions and problems.

As much as lockdown advocates may wish that human beings could be reduced to creatures that do nothing more than work all day and watch television all night, the fact is that no society can long endure such conditions.

Human beings need what are known as “third places.” In a 2016 report, the Brookings Institution described what these places are:

the most effective ones for building real community seem to be physical places where people can easily and routinely connect with each other: churches, parks, recreation centers, hairdressers, gyms and even fast-food restaurants. A recent newspaper article on McDonald’s found that for lower-income Americans, the twin arches are becoming almost the equivalent of the English “pub,” which after all is short for “public house”: groups of retirees meeting for coffee and talk, they might hold regular Bible study meetings there, and people treat the restaurant as an inexpensive hangout.

Third places have a number of important community-building attributes. Depending on their location, social classes and backgrounds can be “leveled-out” in ways that are unfortunately rare these days, with people feeling they are treated as social equals. Informal conversation is the main activity and most important linking function. One commentator refers to third places as the “living room” of society.

The lockdown advocates, in a matter of a few days, cut people off from their third places and insisted, in many cases, that this would be the “new normal” for a year or more.

Yet, these third places cannot simply be shut down—and the public told to just forget about them indefinitely—without creating the potential for violence and other antisocial behavior.

Indeed, third places act as institutions that provide a type of social control that is key to a well-functioning society. In his trenchant book The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy, historian and social critic Christopher Lasch described the importance of third places in communicating political and social values and conventions to young people, and in setting the bounds of acceptable behavior within the community. Lasch notes that these institutions are also important in defusing violent impulses among the young. Also of great importance is the fact that third places provide a means of social control that is voluntary and not a form of state coercion.

Writing in the 1990s, Lasch was lamenting the decline of third places, although he emphasized their importance even in their modern reduced form. Thanks to the lockdowns, however, these places have been crippled far beyond what Lasch might ever have imagined.

The Lockdowns Empowered the Police State

The lockdowns have created a situation in which millions of law-abiding citizens have been deemed criminals merely for seeking to make a living, leave their homes, or engage in peaceful trade.

In many areas, violations of the lockdown orders have been—or even still are, in many places—treated as criminal acts by police. This has greatly increased negative interactions between police and citizens who by no moral definition are criminals of any sort.

Many have already seen the stories: police arresting mothers for using playground equipment, police arresting business owners for using their own property, police beating people for the “crime” of standing on a sidewalk.

Complicating the issue is the apparent fact that police have not enforced social distancing edicts “uniformly.” Some have alleged, for example, that the NYPD has lopsidedly targeted nonwhites in enforcement:

of the 40 people arrested [for social distancing violations in Brooklyn between March 17 and May 4], 35 were African American, 4 were Hispanic and 1 was white. The arrests were made in neighborhoods—Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Cypress Hills and East New York—which have large concentrations of blacks and Latinos.

This may or may not reflect the reality of the general situation, but the fact is that the lockdowns created the perception among many that this is just yet another case of law enforcement targeting certain populations over small-time violations.

Moreover, it is quite plausible that lower-income populations have more often been on the receiving end of state harassment in the name of social distancing. After all, compliance with lockdowns is something of a luxury reserved for higher-income, white-collar residents who can work from home and remain comfortable for long periods in their roomy houses. Working-class people and those with fewer resources are far more likely to need to find income and venture outside during lockdowns. This attracts the attention of police.

Lockdown advocates, apparently in their usual state of extreme naïvete, perhaps believed that further empowering police to violently enforce government decrees against petty infractions would not lead to any unfortunate side effects down the road. Yet criminalizing millions of Americans and subjecting them to heightened police harassment is not a recipe for social tranquility.

Worsening a Volatile Situation

Of course, my comments here should not be interpreted as making excuses for rioters. Smashing up the property of innocent small business owners—or worse, physically harming innocent people—is reprehensible in all circumstances. But this isn’t about making excuses. We’re talking about avoiding extreme and immoral government policies (i.e., police-enforced lockdowns) that remove those institutions and conditions which are important in helping minimize conflict.

Some may insist that the riots would have occurred no matter what, but it’s easy to see how the lockdowns made a bad situation worse. Yes, some of the rioters are lifelong thugs who are always on the lookout for new opportunities to steal and maim. But experience suggests that the pool of people willing to engage in riots is often larger during periods of mass unemployment than during other periods. In addition, those people who exist on the margins of criminality—the sorts of people for whom third places serve an important role in moderating their more antisocial tendencies—are more likely to be swept up in these events when third places are abolished. And, as we have seen, lockdowns also create more opportunities for police abuse that ignite riots of the sort we’ve seen in recent days.

It’s true the responsibility for the riots lies primarily with the rioters. But we cannot deny that policymakers fuel the flames of conflict when they outlaw jobs and destroy people’s social support systems by cutting them off from their communities. It’s also wise to not provoke people by pushing for widespread human rights violations and additional police harassment. But this is what lockdown advocates have done, and their imprudence should not be forgotten.

End of the American Dream Blog: Almost Everyone Is Wrong About This Coronavirus Pandemic

Michael Snyder of the End of the American Dream blog shares his thoughts on The Facts That Prove That Almost Everyone Is Wrong About This Coronavirus Pandemic. Mr. Snyder is mostly trying to point out in this piece that both the group saying that Covid-19 is nothing/a hoax/the flu/etc. and those thinking it is a pandemic holocaust are wrong and that the facts show something in between.

When it comes to COVID-19, most Americans seem to be gravitating toward one of two extremes.  Some are treating this pandemic like it is the end of the world, while many others are dismissing it as a “nothingburger”.  But the truth is somewhere in between.  Nobody can deny that lots of people are getting sick and lots of people are dying.  In fact, the U.S. death toll has doubled in a little over a week and it has now shot past the 47,000 mark.  And as this pandemic progresses, a lot more people are going to get sick and a lot more people are going to die, and this is going to be true whether the lockdowns continue or not.  The lockdowns were never going to stop COVID-19, and anyone that believed that was just being delusional.

 The only time a lockdown should be instituted is if a pandemic has gotten so bad in an area that hospitals are being absolutely overwhelmed, because if people can’t get treatment that is a factor that could potentially increase the overall death toll substantially.

In most of the United States that is not happening right now, and so in most of the nation the lockdowns should be immediately ended.

But won’t a lot more people start getting sick if that happens?

Of course, and this is something that the “nothingburger” crowd doesn’t understand.  Lifting the lockdowns is going to cause the virus to cycle through our population at a much faster rate, and the numbers will get pretty ugly.  But as long as the medical system can handle it, lockdowns are not necessary.

What “the end of the world” crowd does not understand is that when you are dealing with a virus that spreads as easily as this one, it is inevitable that most of the population will eventually become infected.  You can “flatten the curve” and delay the inevitable with lockdowns, but that also prolongs the pandemic.  In the end, roughly the same number of people will get sick and roughly the same number of people will die no matter how the pandemic is “managed”.

This week, the “nothingburger” crowd has made a really big deal out of the fact that a study conducted in L.A. county discovered that about 4 percent of all residents had already developed COVID-19 antibodies, and they were trying to use that study to prove that this pandemic is not much of a threat at all.

Actually, it shows just the opposite.

This pandemic is not going to be over until herd immunity is achieved, and according to Johns Hopkins that does not happen until 70 to 90 percent of a population has developed immunity…

When most of a population is immune to an infectious disease, this provides indirect protection—or herd immunity (also called herd protection)—to those who are not immune to the disease.

For example, if 80% of a population is immune to a virus, four out of every five people who encounter someone with the disease won’t get sick (and won’t spread the disease any further). In this way, the spread of infectious diseases is kept under control. Depending how contagious an infection is, usually 70% to 90% of a population needs immunity to achieve herd immunity.

So let’s do some really quick math.

Let’s assume that the study conducted in L.A. County is representative of the nation as a whole and that approximately 4 percent of all Americans have now developed antibodies.

And let’s also assume that herd immunity for COVID-19 will be achieved when 80 percent of the total population has developed antibodies.

If 47,000 Americans have died at the current 4 percent level of exposure, that means that we could potentially be looking at an overall death toll of 940,000 once we hit an 80 percent exposure level.

Does anyone in the “nothingburger” crowd want to try to claim that 940,000 dead Americans is not a big deal?

I keep hearing people say that this virus “is just like the flu”, and that is absolutely absurd…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at the End of the American Dream blog.

KIMA News: Donations of Respirator Masks and Other Medical Supplies Needed

From KIMA news, Donations of respirator masks and other medical supplies needed

Health care providers are in critical need of supplies as COVID-19 continues to hit Washington. Critical health supplies are in demand for Trios, Lourdes, Kadlec and Prosser Memorial. The Tri-Cities Business and Visitor Center is volunteering to be a central donation point to drop off supplies. Jim Hall, a representative of area health organizations, explains what type of items are needed.

“Hand sanitizer, wipes, PPE equipment, gowns and more, the more we can accumulate the better position we are going to be,” explained Hall. According to Hall, the Tri-Cities community is stepping up.

“Thank you to the community and thank you to the Business and Visitor Center for putting this collective effort together,” said Hall. You can drop off supplies Monday through Wednesday from 11 am to 7 pm at the Tri-Cities Business and Visitor Center.

“I know all of the medical providers in the area have really been swamped with inquiries from the public on how they can help,” said Hall. You can help by donating or help by practicing good hand washing and social distancing.

Health officials say we will get through this together. “I know nurses and doctors and health care providers are working around the clock to take care of our entire community,” said Hall.

Here is a list of supplies in critical shortage:

  • Masks- Surgical Masks, N95 Masks, or Handmade
  • Face Shields / Goggles
  • Finger Oximeter
  • Gloves (Non-Latex preferred)
  • Disinfecting Wipes
  • Thermometers
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Isolation Gowns

According to the Washington State Department of Health, many items were delivered to Washington State given from the Federal Strategic National Stockpile.

Here are the numbers of supplies given:

  • Gowns: 26,459
  • Gloves: 104,250
  • Masks: 133,760
  • Suits: 13

Here are the numbers of supplies given directly to the state:

  • 1.6 Million N95 Respirators
  • 560,000 Masks
  • 12 Million Disposable Gloves
  • 600,000 Masks
  • 74,000 Disinfectant Wipes

ABC: 7.7 Earthquake Strikes Between Jamaica and Cuba, Jan. 28, 2020

A tsunami warning has been issued. A building in downtown Miami was evacuated because of the shaking.

From ABC News

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake occurred north of Jamaica on Tuesday afternoon. The epicenter was located in the Caribbean Sea about 83 miles north of Montego Bay, the capital of St. James, according to USGS.

It was a relatively strong but shallow quake with a depth of about 6 miles. A 7.7 magnitude earthquake is at the high end of the Richter Scale.

It was initially reported at 7.3 but was quickly revised up to 7.7.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damages.

From KAKE ABC:

The quake also hit the Cayman Islands, leaving cracked roads and what appeared to be sewage spilling from cracked mains. There were no immediate reports of deaths, injuries or more severe damage, said Kevin Morales, editor-in-chief of the Cayman Compass newspaper.

The islands see so few earthquakes that newsroom staff were puzzled when it hit, he said.

″‘It was just like a big dump truck was rolling past,”’ Morales said. “Then it continued and got more intense.”

 

Peak Prosperity: Coronavirus Is Worse Than You’ve Been Told

Dr. Chris Martenson of Peak Prosperity has a PhD in pathogenic biology. He’s not a practicing doctor, but he does have an understanding of viruses. In this video he gives an overview of the dangers of the coronavirus and explains why the airport screening methods in use are only security theater.

Alt-Market: The Virginia Gun Rights Conflict: Best And Worst Case Scenarios

This excerpt of The Virginia Gun Rights Conflict: Best And Worst Case Scenarios comes from Brandon Smith at Alt-Market. This might be a good time to mention that there is actually a difference between Leftists and Liberals, as Brandon Smith keeps using the word Leftist in his article. In general, a leftist is anti-capitalism; they may be pro socialism or communism. Liberals, on the other hand, are generally pro-capitalism, or at least some form of regulated capitalism that they have “fixed.” Leftists are less likely to believe in the concept of nations, preferring instead the brotherhood of all peoples, while liberals may still believe in the concepts of patriotism in their own terms. In the current Democrat Presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders is a leftist, while Elizabeth Warren is a liberal. Leftists and liberals, while existing within the same Democrat party don’t like each other very much and don’t like being conflated. I point this out merely because many leftists do consider themselves pro-gun because socialists in history (like Marx and Orwell) have said that the proletariat must have arms in order to smash the capitalists.

“Citizens, turn in your weapons.” 1918 Russia

In my article ‘Trump Impeachment And The Civil War Scenario’, I warned that conservatives and leftists are being pushed to the brink of a shooting war using various methods of social manipulation and 4th Gen warfare, and that this conflict, if dictated by gatekeepers of the false Left/Right paradigm, would only benefit establishment elites in the long run. Internal division among the public is designed to keep us at each other’s throats while losing focus on the real enemies.

Hard line democrats and the social justice cult are merely a symptom of the disease, they are not the source of the disease. However, I also acknowledge that the rift between conservatives and the political left has become so extreme that reconciliation is almost impossible. War might be unavoidable, and the globalists love it. If they can pretend like they had nothing to do with creating tensions, and if conservatives are so blinded by anger against Democrats that they refuse to admit that some of their own political leaders (including Trump) have been co-opted, the elites win.

The danger in any civil war is that BOTH sides end up being manipulated and controlled, and that the situation is maneuvered towards an outcome that only serves the interests of a select few…

Leftists argue that sanctuary county resolutions are “purely symbolic” and have no force of law behind them.

This is a rather naive (perhaps deliberately naive) position, as it ignores the fundamentals. The force of law is either compelled by conscience, or it is compelled by violence. The law itself is meaningless without these two factors.  If groups of citizens choose not to follow a law because they find it morally reprehensible, there is nothing the state can do except try to frighten them into compliance with the threat of violence. The concept of a law by itself has no energy, and claiming that something is “right” because it is now “law” is not a valid argument.

In the case of anti-gun laws in Virginia, the VAST majority of counties in the state and the people in those counties have made it clear that they will not comply. The leftists have completely ignored this fact by simply saying “They have to comply because the law says so…” This is the type of attitude that leads to war…

Leftists claim that 2nd Amendment sanctuaries are not comparable to illegal immigrant sanctuaries.

Leftists are correct, the two situations are NOT the same.  Illegal immigration is not a constitutionally protected right, and gun ownership is.

I find it fascinating that not long ago leftists and statist Republicans were arguing fervently against the idea that states and municipalities could nullify federal law.  During the 10th Amendment and nullification uprisings that led to such confrontations as Bundy Ranch, these people viciously attacked anyone that supported sovereignty activism.  They used to claim that the federal government was the alpha and the omega; the final word.  Now, suddenly, leftists have pulled a u-turn and are attempting to assert sovereignty rights for illegals in sanctuary states and cities.  Again, illegals are not afforded constitutional protections, gun owners are.

One could try to make a moral argument in favor of protecting illegal immigrants from deportation, but there is no legal argument…

The worst case scenario is that this is an establishment beta test for the rest of the country, and that they may WANT to start a conflict in the hopes that this will spread into a national civil war. This kind of scheme would require accelerated and violent enforcement of gun laws by Democrats in Virginia to illicit an immediate response. If this is the case, and a wider conflict is triggered, conservatives MUST NOT lose sight of the bigger picture. The globalists should be the focus of our ire; the democrats are being used. A conflict based only on political division will mean defeat for us all, and a win for the elites.

Click here to read the entire article at Alt-Market.

Rutherford Institute: Anti-Gun Laws, Sanctuary Cities and the Second Amendment

Constitutional attorney John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute has written this article on the dangers of red flag laws and the current trend of Second Amendment Sanctuaries amidst growing government tyranny – Red Flag Nation: Anti-Gun Laws, Sanctuary Cities and the Second Amendment. The article is rather lengthy, but John Whitehead writes informative pieces; it’s worth your time.

Seventeen states now have red flag laws on their books.

That number is growing.

As The Washington Post reports, these laws “allow a family member, roommate, beau, law enforcement officer or any type of medical professional to file a petition [with a court] asking that a person’s home be temporarily cleared of firearms. It doesn’t require a mental-health diagnosis or an arrest.

In the midst of what feels like an epidemic of mass shootings (the statistics suggest otherwise), these gun confiscation laws—extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws—may appease the fears of those who believe that fewer guns in the hands of the general populace will make our society safer.

Of course, it doesn’t always work that way.

Anything—knives, vehicles, planes, pressure cookers—can become a weapon when wielded with deadly intentions.

With these red flag gun laws, the stated intention is to disarm individuals who are potential threats… to “stop dangerous people before they act.”

While in theory it appears perfectly reasonable to want to disarm individuals who are clearly suicidal and/or pose an “immediate danger” to themselves or others, where the problem arises is when you put the power to determine who is a potential danger in the hands of government agencies, the courts and the police.

We’ve been down this road before.

Remember, this is the same government that uses the words “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” interchangeably.

This is the same government whose agents are spinning a sticky spider-web of threat assessments, behavioral sensing warnings, flagged “words,” and “suspicious” activity reports using automated eyes and ears, social media, behavior sensing software, and citizen spies to identify potential threats.

This is the same government that keeps re-upping the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allows the military to detain American citizens with no access to friends, family or the courts if the government believes them to be a threat.

This is the same government that has a growing list—shared with fusion centers and law enforcement agencies—of ideologies, behaviors, affiliations and other characteristics that could flag someone as suspicious and result in their being labeled potential enemies of the state.

For instance, if you believe in and exercise your rights under the Constitution (namely, your right to speak freely, worship freely, associate with like-minded individuals who share your political views, criticize the government, own a weapon, demand a warrant before being questioned or searched, or any other activity viewed as potentially anti-government, racist, bigoted, anarchic or sovereign), you could be at the top of the government’s terrorism watch list

Click here to read the entire article at The Rutherford Institute.

King 5: Community Brings Supplies to Residents Stranded Along Hwy 2

In another example of the importance of being prepared and the importance of community, some residents who live along US Highway 2 have been stranded in their homes and without electricity since last Friday as over three feet of snow fell in the area. Miles of the highway are still closed, but WSDOT was able to open a portion of the road and community volunteers have been bringing supplies to some.

Patience is wearing thin for residents impacted by the closure of US Highway 2 near Skykomish. Most living in the area have been without electricity since 2 p.m. Friday.

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) opened a portion of US 2 on Wednesday at 2 p.m. for local access to Skykomish for people living between Money Creek tunnel and Skykomish. US 2 remains closed between Skykomish and the Stevens Pass summit.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 10,” said Baring resident Charlie Preston. “It’s hell.”

But help arrived Wednesday when WSDOT escorted a group of volunteers across US 2 with supplies donated by community members for residents stranded by the closure.

“We’ve got like four trucks packed full right now with more coming. Everything from pellets for pellet stoves, gas for generators, diesel, the normal amenities that everybody needs,” volunteer Dave Mergenthaler said. “Food, bread, milk, tons of water, anything and everything we could gather between last night and this morning is going up.”

“This is the type of help that just warms you when nothing else does,” said one resident when the help arrived.

Some residents have posted videos showing at least three feet of snow on the ground. Mergenthaler said some people have been trapped in their homes for days.

“We don’t have news, we don’t have phones, we don’t have internet. We’re totally isolated,” said Preston. “I don’t know if the governor has called this an emergency. If he hasn’t, he needs to. We need all the help we can get.”

 

Organic Prepper: Northam Declares State of Emergency in Virginia

In Northam Declares State of Emergency in Virginia Because “armed militia groups plan to storm the Capitol” Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper, pulls some info together while discussing how Virginia Governor Northam has declared a State of Emergency for the January 20th Lobby Day protests. By declaring the state of emergency he bans firearms and other weapons from the grounds. In addition to the rights-destroying bills that have incited the most unrest, she notes that when the people of Virginia said they would vote out the representatives next term in response to the introduction of the bills, Dems introduced a bill to eliminate voter ID. Then when the people said they would petition to remove the legislators from office, Dems introduced a bill that would nearly triple the amount of signatures needed.

Interestingly, former Virginia House member Mike Watson said of the declaration:

Perhaps he should take a look at VA Code first: Del. Tony Wilt & I patroned this bill in 2012 so that no one could declare an emergency in an effort to prohibit citizens from exercising their 2nd Amendment rights. Signed into law 3/1/2012

Supposedly the governor has declared the capitol grounds an emergency “shelter” in order to give a façade of legality to his declaration.

GOA and VCDL challenged the ban on Jan. 16th seeking an injunction, a few hours later the judge denied the challenge. GOA and VCDL are appealing to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Here is an excerpt from the Organic Prepper article:

…Citing violence that erupted in Charlottesville during a Unite the Right rally in 2017, Northam said that there are credible threats that “armed militia groups plan to storm the Capitol” during Monday’s rally. In an executive order,  he announced he is banning all weapons from Capitol Square for the day.

Credible intelligence gathered by Virginia’s law enforcement agencies indicates that tens of thousands of advocates plan to converge on Capitol Square for events culminating on January 20, 2020. Available information suggests that a substantial number of these demonstrators are expected to come from outside the Commonwealth, may be armed, and have as their purpose not peaceful assembly but violence, rioting, and insurrection. Assuring that Virginia’s Capitol Square and surrounding public areas are sheltered safe places for those who come to participate in the democratic process, as well as those who work on or near Capitol Square, is my greatest priority.

The anticipated effects of the potential convergence of tens of thousands of demonstrators on Capitol Square, some of whom may not come to assemble peacefully, constitutes an emergency as described in § 44-146.16 of the Code of Virginia (Code)…

When you push a population to the brink, threatening them with gun confiscation at the hands of the National Guard and telling them that their lawful actions of rebellion are meaningless, you have to expect that population to push back. Particularly a rural, gun-loving population that makes up most of the counties in Virginia…

On their Facebook page, they said of Northam’s emergency declaration:

VCDL is going to have our attorneys investigate this situation once we hear Northam’s statement on Wednesday and we will let you know what we find out. (source)

Based on the comments on the VCDL Facebook page, a lot of Virginians are not planning to comply and it looks like there could be widespread civil disobedience on Monday. You can find out more information about Lobby Day here

Click here to read the entire article at the organic prepper.

According to an article at VPM, Virginia House Democrats have repeatedly said they were acting on the recommendation of the Capitol Police in restricting firearms. However, Police Chief Pike has told reports that neither he nor his agency recommended the ban, but they did comply with a Democrat request to figure out how to put such a plan into effect.

Also, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. has said that he is “pretty sure” that he will call for civil disobedience if the Virginia bills pass.

The VCDL issued a statement on the ban today, Jan. 16th: Continue reading “Organic Prepper: Northam Declares State of Emergency in Virginia”