Alt-Market: America’s Economy Cannot Survive Another Lockdown

Brandon Smith at Alt-Market writes America’s Economy Cannot Survive Another Lockdown, And The Cult Of The Reset Knows It

The U.S. economy has been on the verge of collapse for at least a decade, ever since the crash of 2008 and the subsequent explosion in fiat stimulus from the Federal Reserve. While the mainstream media has always claimed that central bankers “saved” us from another Great Depression, what they actually did was set us up for a far worse scenario — a stagflationary implosion of our society.

Here is the primary problem: By injecting trillions of bailout dollars into the system, the Federal Reserve prevented the economy from going through its natural purging cycle. This cycle would have been painful for many, but survivable, and it would have removed large amounts of excess debt, parasitic corporations that produce little or nothing of use, as well as numerous toxic assets with no legitimate value. For a real free market to function, weak or corrupt elements must be allowed to fail and die. Instead, central banks around the world and most prominently the Fed kept all of those destructive elements on life support.

This has created what amounts to a “zombie economy:” a system that needs constant outside support (stimulus) in order to continue moving forward. In the process of keeping zombie corporations and other parts of the body alive, healthy parts of the economy, like the small business sector, get devoured.

The zombie economy is, however, highly fragile. All it takes is one or two major shocks to bring it down, and the moment this happens the whole facade will disintegrate, leaving the public in panic and disarray. This is what is happening right now in 2020, and it will get much worse in 2021.

Bailouts encourage and reward unhealthy financial behavior, and this is why national debt, corporate debt and consumer debt have recently hit historic highs. When every pillar of the economy is encumbered with the weight of debt, any instability has the possibility of bringing all those pillars down at once. The Federal Reserve turned the U.S. into an economic time bomb, and the Fed is itself more like a suicide bomber than some kind of fiscal savior.

The “Great Reset”

I first heard the term “global reset” or “great reset” back in 2014/2015. I wrote an article about how the reset was actually a long term process in my article The Global Economic Reset Has Begun. Christine Lagarde was the head of the IMF back then, and she mentioned it briefly in multiple interviews.

I made a mental note of it because it seemed planted into the discussion very awkwardly, as if it was scripted. I rarely heard it mentioned for years after that. In 2020, as we descend into social and economic chaos, I’m seeing the phrase used everywhere in the media and by globalists.

Over the past decade, globalist institutions have come up with numerous phrases that seem to refer to a worldwide planned and dramatic shift in human society sometime in the near future. The “great reset” is just another phrase for “the new world order.” It is important to understand that the reset these people are talking about has actually been engineered and staged for many years. This is not something that just popped up in 2020 — they have been talking about it since at least 2014. And before that, they talked about the new world order, and “multilateralism,” and the “multi-polar world order,” and Agenda 2030, etc.

The reset is the catalyst phase of an agenda that has been in the works for a long time now. The goal, as they have openly admitted many times, is to centralize the entire globe into one monetary structure, one highly interdependent and socialized economy, and eventually one faceless and unaccountable governing body.

One of the biggest obstacles to the finalization of the reset and the formation of the new world order has been liberty-minded populations across the planet — most of all, the liberty-minded people within America. The U.S. has to be destabilized or eliminated; the old world order has to be brought down before the new world order can be introduced. The people have to be beaten down and desperate, so that when the globalists offer their “reset” as the solution, the people will gladly accept it without question — simply because they want the economic pain and uncertainty to stop.

A common statement made by globalists from Klaus Shwab at the World Economic Forum to the current Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, is that the coronavirus pandemic is the “perfect opportunity” to trigger the “great reset.” As globalist Rahm Emanuel is famous for admitting, in crisis there is opportunity to do things you were not able to do before.

In other words, when people panic in the face of crisis, they become easy to manipulate. And, if a crisis doesn’t happen naturally, then why not create a crisis from thin air and use that to cause panic?

Enter the economic lockdowns…

The lockdowns have not only been proven to do nothing to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but they are also a clear attack on what’s left of our economic system. The small business sector in particular is being gutted as more than 60% of those that shut down during the first lockdown were unable to reopen. Small businesses provide more than half of all employment in the U.S.. When they collapse, the U.S. economy will have nothing left except the big-box corporations that the Fed put on life support over a decade ago.

Real unemployment, which is already at 26%, will skyrocket even further if a second national lockdown is initiated. The speedy collapse of the U.S. economy will be assured, and the “great reset” can commence. At least, that is what the globalists want to happen…

With the U.S. presidential election currently being contested, it is hard to say how the next few months will play out in detail. As I have been pointing out since July, a contested election is the best possible scenario for the globalists because it creates a Catch-22 situation:

  1. If Trump stays in office, the political left will accuse him of usurping the presidency and there will be mass riots in the streets. Conservatives will be tempted with the idea of bringing in martial law to suppress rioters, and such measures will undermine the flow of the U.S. economy, causing its fragile structure to implode.
  2. If Biden enters the White House, then he will attempt a Level 4 lockdown similar to the lockdowns we have seen in Australia, France, Germany and the UK; perhaps even worse. Our economy will crumble, conservatives will revolt, and Biden will attempt martial law measures.

Either way, the globalists get their crisis, and therein their opportunity.

Surviving the lockdowns and deterring the globalists

But here is where things get less certain for the elites. If liberty-minded Americans organize immediately for security and mutual aid, we can defuse the Catch-22. If we provide for our own security within our own communities, there will be no rationale for Trump to institute martial law. Community security is an awesome deterrent against leftist rioting and looting, and basic economic trade can continue.

By extension, if we organize our own community security as well as localize our economies with barter and trade, we also act as a deterrent to Biden and any ideas he might have of enforcing national lockdowns. The point is, we can’t allow the globalists to dictate the terms of the crisis. We must act to change the rules of the game.

The reset is not a natural inevitability, it is a con, a trap. No matter how bad the crisis in our nation becomes, it is the people — namely the liberty-minded people — who will determine the future, not the globalists. Their plan relies on our panic. Instead of panic, let’s show them a unified front and a plan of our own.

The Federalist: Your Political Leaders Hate You And Think You’re Stupid

From The Federalist, something you may have already suspected – Your Political Leaders Hate You And Think You’re Stupid

One thing should be abundantly clear by now, after ten months of this pandemic: our political leaders hate us and they think we’re stupid. Nothing else can explain the blatant hypocrisy we’ve seen, mostly from Democrat governors and mayors who are eager to impose harsh lockdowns and strict rules for the public at large but then turn around and do whatever they please with their own families, friends, and cronies.

Examples abound, but this week brought a fresh spectacle of hypocrisy in the form of a nervous, patently disingenuous apology from California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was caught dining at an opulent birthday dinner for a top California political operative at a fancy French restaurant in Napa earlier this month, in apparent violation of his own COVID-19 protocols.

The timing couldn’t have been worse. On Monday Newsom announced he was “pulling the emergency brake” on reopening his state amid a spike in COVID cases, dealing a crippling blow to shuttered businesses and out-of-work Californians who have been struggling for months under rolling lockdown orders.

Only after Newsom was widely criticized for his rank hypocrisy did he offer an attenuated mea culpa, explaining that upon his arrival he was surprised to find there were “just a few extra people” at the party, but quickly added it was an “outdoor restaurant” in Napa County, which has looser restrictions compared to other areas of the state. Blinking incessantly and smiling tightly, Newsom finally got around to saying, albeit in the passive voice, that “the spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted.” Indeed it was, governor.

But then we come to find out this week that the dinner wasn’t outdoors at all. Pictures obtained by the Fox News affiliate in Los Angeles show Newsom and a bunch of others dining at the French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, California. They are obviously not outside, not social distancing, and not wearing masks.

The woman who took the photos told the Fox affiliate that Newsom was with a “very large group of people shoulder to shoulder,” and that she was “surprised because it didn’t look like he was uncomfortable being there until the very end, until people were looking at him and staring at him as he was leaving the room.”

But it doesn’t end there! On Wednesday, Politico reported that two top officials with the California Medical Association were among the guests at Newsom’s fancy birthday dinner.

You might think the state’s top medical lobbyists would think twice about flagrantly disregarding COVID guidelines, or even feign an apology like Newsom, but no. A spokesman for the CMA told Politico that “the dinner was held in accordance with state and county guidelines,” which prohibit more than three households from gathering privately—but do allow restaurants to seat people from more than three households together. See?

Apparently this is a pretty common attitude among California politicians and their lobbyist buddies. With much of their state locked down by government fiat, last week a bunch of state lawmakers and corporate lobbyists flew off to Hawaii for a five-day conference and schmooze-fest at an upscale Maui resort. Legislators and their families mingled with representatives of businesses and trade groups that paid thousands of dollars for access to the lawmakers in what has become an annual lobbying tradition—even during a global pandemic!

Dan Howle, chairman and executive director of the Independent Voter Project, which hosts the conference, didn’t apologize. He told the San Francisco Chronicle, “Somebody has to be first to say, ‘OK, we’re going to do a group event safely.’” Yes, Dan, somebody does has to be the first, and why shouldn’t it be a handful of powerful politicians and corporate lobbyists instead of, you know, ordinary people trying to salvage their businesses and visit their loved ones?

Lockdowns For Thee, But Not For Me

On and on it goes. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who issued a citywide stay-at-home order last week, defended her recent appearance at a massive street rally celebrating Biden’s apparent victory, where a mask-less Lightfoot addressed the crowd through a bullhorn.

When asked about the obvious double standard on MCNBC last week, Lightfoot was defensive, insisting that, “There are times when we do need to have relief and come together, and I felt like that was one of those times.” She added, as if it excuses her hypocrisy, “That crowd was gathered whether I was there or not.”

Seemingly everywhere you look you find people in positions of power ignoring pandemic restrictions and doing as they please. Often these are the same people who are most outspoken about the need for lockdowns.

Back in September, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was defiant after being caught on camera (mask-less, of course) at a shuttered San Francisco salon in violation of a citywide lockdown order, calling it a “setup” and refusing to apologize.

Then last week, Pelosi was forced to cancel a dinner for incoming Democratic House members after a viral tweet showing tables being set up for the soiree understandably provoked outrage. “It’s very spaced,” she explained to an NBC News reporter.

The truth is, our elites have been doing this since the pandemic began. Who knows how many ordinary Americans were barred from attending the funerals and burials of their beloved dead these past months? Yet thousands were allowed to gather in July for memorials of Rep. John Lewis, in services that stretched from Alabama to Washington, D.C. Thousands were allowed to gather for George Floyd’s memorial service in June in Minneapolis.

We all saw the way the media treated Trump rallies like COVID super-spreader events yet condoned the hundreds of large-scale protests over the summer and fall in cities all across the country under the idiotic pretense that the protesters were “all wearing masks.” Same with the post-election celebrations that brought out thousands, dancing in the streets cheek-by-jowl and passing around champagne bottles.

Again, there is only one possible conclusion you can reach, based on months and months of appalling hypocrisy from the media and our ruling elite: they think lockdowns are for you, not them. They think pandemic rules are for you, not them. They think suffering hardships and doing as you’re told are for you, not them. Why? Because they hate you and think you’re stupid.

Cato Institute: Government in a Pandemic

From Thomas Firey at the Cato Institute, Government in a Pandemic

When the threat of COVID-19 became apparent, some political commentators began arguing that Americans must accept much greater governmental intervention in their lives if the United States were to respond effectively to the disease. This idea was soon distilled into a pithy slogan: “There are no libertarians in a pandemic.”

In fact, government can respond effectively to the historic COVID-19 crisis while following the principles of limited government. However, federal, state, and local governments in the United States have done a poor job of identifying and implementing good policies for the pandemic that are compatible with those principles. Instead, policymakers have attempted interventions far beyond the powers of a properly limited government—with poor results.

Americans and their political leaders are understandably worried about COVID-19 and its effects, both on human health and the economy. That worry may indeed lead some people to reflexively demand broad government intervention. But if the United States follows the principles of limited government, those principles will help see us through this crisis.

Introduction

When the threat to the United States from the novel 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) became apparent, political leaders and commentators began calling for large governmental interventions to counter the disease’s health and economic effects. Many of these people added that the political philosophy of limited government—“liberalism” in the classical sense—would handicap the country’s response to the crisis and thus must be rejected. This was soon distilled into a pithy slogan: “There are no libertarians in a pandemic.”

As COVID-19’s grim health toll and economic statistics have accumulated, the criticisms of liberalism have grown louder.

Appropriate to the era, the “no libertarians” slogan was popularized by a Twitter post: Atlantic staff writer Derek Thompson used it to introduce a news item about Republican lawmakers advocating public funding for COVID-19 testing and for treatment of uninsured victims of the disease.1 A week later, his Atlantic colleague Peter Nicholas used a variant of the slogan as the title of a column criticizing President Trump for campaigning on “anti‐​socialism” while his administration pushed a host of extraordinary interventions into the economy in response to the pandemic.2 “Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, in a national emergency, there’s no truly laissez‐​faire government,” Nicholas wrote.

Others quickly picked up the theme. New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo, noting the same news item as Thompson, concluded, “Everyone’s a socialist in a pandemic.”3 Ryan LaRochelle, a lecturer at the University of Maine, wrote in the Washington Post that a “decades‐​long war on the safety net and the government’s administrative capacity [has] made our society particularly vulnerable to the pandemic’s impact on our economic life. This has seriously hampered the federal government’s response to the coronavirus and shown how dangerously ill‐​suited this ideology is to the crisis.”4

Perhaps the sharpest criticisms came from essayist and novelist George Packer, who bemoaned “a federal government crippled by years of right‐​wing ideological assault” and “politicians and donors who wanted government to do as little as possible for the common good.”5 He described a dystopian America that, without active management from Washington, DC, is nearly powerless against COVID-19:

Every morning in the endless month of March, Americans woke up to find themselves citizens of a failed state. With no national plan—no coherent instructions at all—families, schools, and offices were left to decide on their own whether to shut down and take shelter. When test kits, masks, gowns, and ventilators were found to be in desperately short supply, governors pleaded for them from the White House, which stalled, then called on private enterprise, which couldn’t deliver. States and cities were forced into bidding wars that left them prey to price gouging and corporate profiteering. Civilians took out their sewing machines to try to keep ill‐​equipped hospital workers healthy and their patients alive. Russia, Taiwan, and the United Nations sent humanitarian aid to the world’s richest power—a beggar nation in utter chaos.6

As for the idea that private actors could respond to the virus, Packer asserted simply, “It turns out that ‘nimble’ companies can’t prepare for a catastrophe or distribute lifesaving goods—only a competent federal government can do that.”7

The belief that COVID-19 shows the need for bigger, more interventionist government has not been confined to the left of the U.S. political spectrum. The right, which in previous decades repeatedly declared a commitment to “small government,” began talking about the need to boost “state capacity” to respond to the pandemic and other problems. Two of the right’s up‐​and‐​coming leaders, Sens. Marco Rubio (R–FL) and Josh Hawley (R–MO), pushed large‐​scale government financial assistance programs, with Rubio helping to craft the Paycheck Protection Program that has blossomed into a roughly $650 billion subsidy to businesses.8 Its creation was part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that provides federal support to businesses, households, and state governments.9 The CARES Act passed with overwhelming support from Republican lawmakers and was signed by President Trump, who had his name prominently stamped on the ensuing household subsidy checks.10

Those efforts are in accordance with the new “national conservative” movement, which endorses government intervention in the economy to promote a host of goals.11 As one of the movement’s intellectual leaders, Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told Politico about policymaking in response to COVID-19:

This is going to jump‐​start the already simmering debate over how the right should deal with domestic policy. Clearly there’s going to be demand for many types of stimulus. There’s going to be demand for the view that we’re not going to let this happen again. And a libertarian, hands‐​off policy doesn’t really respond to that.12

These calls for government to intervene in response to COVID-19 are understandable. The disease is often painful and sometimes fatal, and it is produced by a novel virus that spreads through social contact. As yet, there is no known effective vaccine against the virus, and treatment therapies are limited. People naturally want something to “fix” a crisis, and they look for government to be that powerful fixer. It is comforting to envision government scientists in their labs probing the virus, government doctors tending to the infected and uninfected alike, government financing research and development on therapies and vaccines, and government policymakers, counseled by sage experts, directing the public toward safety and away from danger.

That’s the vision; the reality is different. Government leaders and their advisers have been operating with imperfect knowledge about the recently discovered disease, resulting in public recommendations and policies that, especially in the early months of the outbreak, have been wasteful at best and harmful at worst. Though a number of those failures can be attributed to an especially inept Trump administration, they can be found across the political spectrum, at different levels of government, and among both the virtuous and dishonorable.

Government does have important roles to play in a pandemic. However, those roles are consistent with the principles of limited government. This analysis examines some of those interventions—constraining negative externalities and providing public goods—and notes instances where government has performed poorly in those areas when responding to COVID-19. The analysis also discusses interventions that limited government should not undertake—such as manipulating the production and distribution of private goods—but that government has attempted broadly in this crisis, with poor results.

Limited Government and Market Failure

Critics of limited government often equate it with anarchy, the lack of any government activity. That equivalence is false. The philosophy of limited government does place the highest value on individual liberty, including people’s freedom to privately arrange for the satisfaction of their wants. These arrangements often take place in the market, an arena for many forms of voluntary exchange. So, rather than rejecting government altogether, valuing liberty means creating important roles for government in protecting the freedom of exchange and private ordering.

Among the oldest roles of the state is defending its citizens from violent invaders, thereby protecting against a dramatic disruption of the market. This defense is difficult, if not impossible, to provide through purely private agreement. Residents operating individually would be hard‐​pressed to fend off an invading horde, and private mutual aid agreements or contracts employing mercenaries would be weakened by residents who did not join the arrangement or who joined only when a threat was imminent. A defense that protects only parts of a community is a defense penetrated by invaders.

Defense is an example of market failure: a want that cannot be adequately addressed through private exchange. Specifically, defense is an example of market failure known as a public good. Public goods are difficult to limit only to individuals who pay for them; the goods must be provided to everyone in a community if the goods are to have much value. If left to private exchange, residents would be tempted to not purchase the goods but instead free‐​ride on the purchases of others. That would result in only some residents—or perhaps none—purchasing the goods. That, in turn, would reduce the funding and quality of the public goods provided, to the detriment of all residents, including those who do purchase the goods.

Government can provide its citizens public goods via taxation. Government can produce the goods itself (e.g., by employing troops to provide defense) or contract with a private provider to furnish them (e.g., purchasing materiel to equip the troops). The key is that taxation overcomes the market failure by requiring citizens to pay for the goods. Besides defense, examples of public goods include police and fire services (private security and firefighters cannot ignore crimes and fires at noncustomers’ properties without putting their customers at risk), street lights (the lighting’s benefit cannot be limited to customers), and—at least until recently—local roads (before technological advances, it was prohibitively costly to toll local roads).

Other types of market failure exist. Though there is no definitive list, several forms are commonly recognized. One of these is externalities, which are costs or benefits of an exchange that are borne by some party other than the participants who agree to the exchange. Externalities result in less welfare than if all involved parties had voluntarily reached agreement. For instance, a polluting factory inflicts a cost (negative externality) on its neighbors, who may not be part of the voluntary exchange between the factory and its customers. Positive externalities, in which a third party receives a benefit, are less commonly cited as a problem, but they do exist.

Government can intervene to address other market failures.13 Often, such policies take the form of laws, regulations, and enforcement. For instance, environmental law is intended to reduce the negative externality of pollution.

Minimizing Government Failure

From an economic perspective, under a properly limited government, market failure is a necessary but insufficient condition for government intervention. Another necessary condition is that the proposed policy does not violate established liberties. Also, intervention always comes with costs, and those costs must not outweigh the benefits.

Further complicating matters, many of the troublesome dynamics that produce market failures also afflict government policymakers and bureaucrats, producing government failures.14 For instance, policymakers often suffer from imperfect information, resulting in bad policies.15 Also, policymakers and bureaucrats are motivated by private incentives just like everyone else, and those incentives can yield misguided—and even corrupt—outcomes.16 Unlike in the marketplace, where interaction is voluntary and participants can look for the exchanges that best fit their wants, citizens are compelled to abide by and pay for the choices of government policymakers and bureaucrats regardless of how sensible those choices may be. Classical liberal principles help to minimize those problems.

Despite the constraint of limited government, there is much it can do to address COVID-19 by focusing on the market failures associated with the disease. Unfortunately, the U.S. federal government and some state and local governments have struggled to identify and implement such policies. Instead, they have intervened in ways beyond the powers of properly limited government, with poor results. The following sections describe some of those government failures.

Limited Government and COVID-19

Several market failures are present in the COVID-19 crisis. Among them:

  • Negative externality: Infected persons can transmit the virus that causes the disease, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐​CoV‐​2), through common social contact. Transmission involuntarily inflicts costs on others, making it a negative externality. As libertarians often say, “People’s right to swing their fists ends at the tip of another’s nose”; likewise, people’s liberty ends at the point that they put others at involuntary risk.
  • The public goods of medical research: People want to avoid the disease and recover from it quickly if they are infected. That creates market incentives for research into the virus and disease and distribution of the findings. But the benefits from that work are difficult to confine to the individuals who pay for it. Information is easily transmitted, and the academic world rewards the broad distribution of many types of research to accelerate scientific discovery. That makes research into SARS‐​CoV‐​2 and COVID-19, and the resulting knowledge, public goods. Though some people would still pay for that work even if others free‐​ride on the results, private funding would likely be below optimal levels.
  • The public good of acquired immunity: Relatedly, an effective vaccine against the virus has public goods characteristics. A population can become resistant to an infectious disease if only a portion of its members develop resistance to it, a phenomenon known as “herd immunity.” Some diseases require high member immunity rates to produce this resistance—80 percent or more—but others have lower thresholds.17 Currently there is no scientific consensus on a threshold for COVID-19, though early guesses by epidemiologists fall in the 60–70 percent range, and one study argues that it could be as low as 43 percent.18 Those numbers suggest that a third to more than half of the population could free‐​ride on others’ bearing the cost of the vaccine, allowing for a public goods problem.

Some government interventions are justified to address these market failures regarding COVID-19, provided that the interventions’ benefits outweigh the costs and that the interventions do not violate protected rights. The U.S. federal government and state and local governments have made efforts at this sort of policymaking. Below are a few examples…(continues)

King 5: Gov. Inslee Bans Indoor Gatherings and Further COVID Restrictions

From King 5 News on Nov. 15, 2020 – Governor Inslee announces closures of indoor dining, other restrictions to curb COVID-19

Gov. Jay Inslee has announced new statewide restrictions to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, which includes closing indoor service for restaurants and bars and prohibiting indoor social gatherings.

These rules will mostly go into effect on Monday at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in effect until Dec. 14.

The announcement comes following days of increasing COVID-19 cases.

The impacted industries/areas are:

  • The biggest impact will be the closure of indoor dining at restaurants and bars. Outdoor dining and to-go service is permitted. Outdoor dining must follow the outdoor dining restriction. Table size limited to 5 for outdoor dining. These restaurant restrictions go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18.
  • In-store retail limited to 25% indoor occupancy and must close any common/congregate non-food-related seating areas. Food court indoor seating is closed.
  • Indoor social gatherings from people outside your household are prohibited and outdoor social gatherings should be limited to 5 people outside your household.
  • Fitness facilities and gyms are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor fitness classes may still occur but they are limited by the outdoor gathering restriction listed above.
  • Wedding and funerals receptions are prohibited. Ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people.
  • All retail activities and business meetings are prohibited. Only professional training and testing that cannot be performed remotely is allowed. Occupancy in each meeting room is limited to 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
  • Movie theaters are closed for indoor service. Drive-in movie theaters are still permitted and must follow the current drive-in movie theater guidance.
  • Religious services limited to 25% indoor occupancy no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service.
  • Museums/Zoos/Aquariums are closed for indoor service.

During an 11 a.m. press conference, Inslee announced $50 million for aid to businesses who have been impacted.

Watch the press conference below or by clicking here.

Christian Prepper Gal: Is another lockdown coming to America?

Christian Prepper Gal talks about getting ready – Is another lockdown coming to America? Biden’s Covid advisor recently talked about a nationwide 4-6 week lockdown, though it has been denied as being accepted by Biden.

The cases of Covid-19 are rising at a quick rate across America. So are the death rates from it. Just yesterday (11-11-2020) it was reported that our current cases are a higher count than they were when we had the first lockdown. I’m not trying to scare anyone. I’m trying to make sure that we are all ready for what could be our reality.

My thought on the increase in cases is that people have let their guard down. People are getting tired of the virus and are just wanting to get back to what used to be their normal. Therefore, they are ignoring it and carrying on as if it was gone. It doesn’t work like that…it won’t go away if you ignore it, it will only get worse.

If the current trend keeps up there will be no avoiding another lockdown. The upcoming holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) are predicted to cause a surge in positive cases. Another lockdown is getting closer to happening with each passing day. One thing that is for sure is if Mr. Biden does turn out to be in fact our president-elect, he has promised another lockdown once he takes office. It is rumored that his lockdown would be longer and stricter than the previous one. Unfortunately, the way things are heading there may be another lockdown before this year even ends.

Are you truly ready for what may happen?

Let’s take a moment to talk about this. I really hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but if you are one of those who has a 72 hour emergency kit (like the one in the pic to the left) and thinks you are ready for any type of emergency, you are wrong! Those may be good for evacuating due to a fire, hurricane, tornado, or earthquake, etc. But, they will not do you much good in a SHTF scenario such as what we are actually in the middle of with this pandemic. We are not at a point to where we would have to evacuate. In fact, as you know, we need to stay hunkered down. And if there is another lockdown, trust me, it will last longer than what’s in those kits will last. It has been estimated that a four to six week lockdown will be necessary.

So what do we need to do?

We need to make sure that we have at the very minimum 30 days worth of food and household essentials for our families. While most preppers who have been preppers since BEFORE the pandemic happened, will have at the minimum a six month supply of food and household essentials. And, then there are those who are long term preppers who have a year plus supply of food and household essentials.

If you haven’t already forgotten, toilet paper was the very first thing to disappear off the shelves, even before the last lockdown began. So, make sure you have enough toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, etc. to last a couple of months. Then, we had cleaning/sanitizing products, hygeine products, flour, and yeast disappear from the shelves. So you will want to make sure you have enough of those items on hand as well. And, if you’re going to have flour and yeast in your food storage, make sure you have a tried and true recipe for making bread and other foods using them. The same would apply to beans and rice, make sure you have some recipes 🙂.

We also need to ensure that we have shelf stable, non-perishable food items; foods that don’t need to be refrigerated or frozen. What happens if you lose power (for whatever reason) and your refrigerated/frozen food spoils? That’s where the emergency food meals and meals in a bag can come into play. They don’t need to be refrigerated and can be as quick as microwave meals to prepare. Plus, they take up much less space to store than canned and freezer foods. Click on this link for recipes for my meals in a bag. I started making my own emergency food meals when I discovered that most of those that were available for purchase cost way more than they should. In other words, I couldn’t afford them, lol. But, I found that I could make my own, using my own recipes and substituting dehydrated or freeze dried ingredients for fresh or canned ingredients. And, I knew those homemade emergency meals would be meals that my family members would eat.

Ummmm…it seems I kinda got off on a little bunny trail there. What can I say, I just love my meals in a bag!! Anyway, a good idea is to make sure you store foods that your familiy will eat. And, it’s a good idea to have a variety. So, while you have canned foods, pastas, and other non-perishable foods, it’s a good idea to have other choices also, such as the emergeny meals, on hand for those days you need a quick and easy meal.

I’m focusing on food here because that’s the main thing we are going to need in the case of another lock down. If nothing else, learn from the very reccent past with the first lockdown and think about what items were sparce, or not available at all, in your area. Those will be the things you need to make sure you have on hand now, if you have not already done so. Then, you need to try as hard as you can to build up a supply that will last your family at least three months. Minimum.

As I am proof reading this article, I am watching The Nightly News and it is being reported that some grocery stores are putting limits on some food items again. They mentioned the very same products that I mentioned above as having been in short supply during the first lockdown as being those items that are now having limits put on them again. It is my prayer that your eyes will be open to what is happening around you, and that you will listen to what God is telling you that you need to prepare you and your family during this pandemic. Please stay home as much as is possible, and stay safe.

Until next time…happy prepping, and God bless!

James 4:17, Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it,

to him it is sin. (NASB)

As an aside, I just want to say…As Christians, it is hard for some to realize that even though God has promised to be our Protector, He has also told us that we need to be vigilant and look out for ourselves as well. In other words, we know that if we put our hand in the fire and hold it there long enough we are going to get burned. In the same way, during this pandemic, if we carry on our lives ignoring the reality of the Covid-19 virus long enough we are eventually going to come into contact with someone who has the virus but is not yet exhibiting the symptoms, or someone who is asymptomatic. So, we need to protect ourselves by not putting our hand in the fire. In other words, we need to follow the protocols that have been set forth by the CDC. Just because you follow protocol DOES NOT mean that you are not trusting in God. Yes it’s true that if it is our time we are going to go no matter how careful we are. But, what if it is not our time and we act in a way that will accelerate that time?

Organic Prepper: A Personal Letter to Stressed Out Preppers

Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper writes A Personal Letter to Stressed Out Preppers Who Are TIRED of This Apocalypse

Dear Friends:

2020 has certainly been quite a year so far, and a defining one for the preparedness movement. No longer are our stockpiles of rice, beans, and hand sanitizer objects that make us strange. Our stashes of TP would make us the envy of the neighborhood if, of course, anybody knew we had it.

So many of the things and beliefs that made us figures of mockery in the past are now proving their value. We’re learning, with a mixture of relief and perhaps dismay, that we weren’t so crazy after all.

When the first lockdown began, we weren’t out there emptying the shelves in the frenzied throng (even though we’re the ones who got blamed for it.) We were watchful but for the most part, comfortable with our preparations. We understood before things went sideways that extended events can result in civil unrest, crime sprees, and chaos. We realized that we could be facing shortages.

And then time went on.

And on.

And on.

This has been a year in which so many things have occurred that proved preppers have things right that it’s positively exhausting. We’ve had a pandemic, civil unrest, food shortages, increases in crime, exorbitant unemployment, and we’re facing an economic collapse, or at the very least, an economic crisis.

And we’re tired.

Maybe everyone doesn’t feel this way. Maybe you’re perfectly fine and you live on your back 40 and have been completely untouched by any of the above-mentioned crises. Maybe your finances are just fine, you never got out much anyway, and you’ve still got 8 years’ worth of food socked away to supplement the things you grow. Maybe you’re reading this as you spin goat hair into yarn from which you’ll make this year’s mittens. Maybe you have no relatives, friends, or loved ones in the path of danger. Maybe your area isn’t prone to a single natural disaster.

If this is the case, I salute you. I really do. Good for you.

But for most of us, this is not the case. A lot of us are tired.

And I mean tired.

I’m sure there will be plenty of folks in the comments who say, “Daisy Luther is such a whiner” but whatever. I’m just going to come right out and tell you how I feel about this.

This year has been difficult.

My life changed completely. The lives of people I love changed completely. I lost some people I cared for deeply to the virus. I watched people in my family frolic around blithely ignoring the virus for which they’re in a peak risk group for death. I watched my country get torn asunder by everything from the pandemic response to racial injustice to perceived insults or losses of rights. I have a family member who lives in a riot zone but due to work and finances, can’t just relocate. (Although those folks on the internet always make it sound so damned easy to just quit your job then up and move to the boondocks to raise sheep.)

I have friends who have developed such extreme political views on either side that I don’t even know what to say to them anymore. I still love them. I still know they’re good people or we wouldn’t have been friends in the first place. But what the heck, y’all?

Then we’ve got hurricanes and the worst wildfires ever in history and floods and droughts and snow in September and murder hornets and the Olympics got canceled and there was some radiation leak in Russia and police brutality, which you will say is alleged or real, depending on your personal perspective. Oh yeah, and the US Postal Service has gone to heck, a lot of kids can’t go back to school so they’re surfing the net while they’re supposed to be “distance learning” online, and Netflix is playing a child porn movie to prove that kids are getting sexually exploited. Our system is going downhill on a greasy slide.

Our presidential candidates are (in my humble opinion) like a choice between your favorite sexually transmitted infection, syphillis or gonhorrhea. And regardless of whether syphilis or gonorrhea wins, all hell’s going to break loose (or break looser because it’s already pretty freakin’ bad in a lot of places) before and after the election that may not even happen the regular way because of the pandemic.

And we preppers who were ready for an emergency are sitting here scratching our heads thinking, “Heck fire, I wasn’t actually prepared for ALL OF THE EMERGENCIES AT ONCE.”

And it’s going on and on and on.

And that’s the other thing.

This stuff is going on and on and on forever. Ad infinitum. We are still in the middle of a global viral outbreak that we don’t completely understand and lots of places are still under major restrictions. A lot of folks don’t have their jobs back and a lot never will. We have been dealing with this particular disaster since at least February and the mental toll of dealing with the restrictions, the loss of income, the isolation, and the loss of freedom has been harsh for many people. There are folks who are just plain mad that they didn’t get the apocalypse they signed up for and they haven’t gotten to shoot any marauders and quite frankly, lockdown is boring as heck.

Lots of us have family members and people in our inner circles who are chomping at the bit to get back to “normal” when things simply are not normal. We’ve got loved ones who want to head out to parties and who want to throw caution to the wind and who flat don’t give a hoot what they bring home to Grandma. We’ve got loved ones who are using this entire scenario to say how we’ve overreacted. We’ve got loved ones who still get aggravated when we bring home more toilet paper.

When we were prepping for all this stuff most of us never expected that our families who were also prepping for this stuff might not be on board with this specific scenario. We never thought we’d have to argue with children and spouses and friends and lovers about things like quarantines and masks and not eating all five years’ worth of the good snacks like Oreos in the first 6 months. We didn’t consider that we might not be able to replace our Bluetooth headsets or that we’d need them for work or that we’d have to have our offices in our homes or that our kids’ teachers might see their BB guns in their bedrooms and send the SWAT teams after us.

We can’t go to church but we can go to riots. We aren’t supposed to travel yet mysterious busloads full of “protesters” show up in other states and that’s just hunky-dory. The borders are closed except they’re not really and the restaurants can’t serve you except they can sort of and we can’t go to the beach but we can line up for a vaccine once the promised injection, untested for long-term side effects, is ready.

This is the worst apocalypse ever because it’s so dad-gum boring and it’s going on for-freaking-ever. That’s the thing that nobody warned us about. This monotony just goes on and on and on. It would be one thing if we were out there fighting for resources but in reality, we’re all just standin’ in line at Wal-Mart with our masks on waiting for our turn to get zapped with a thermometer to see if we are allowed to go inside. If it weren’t for wifi we’d all be crazy by now. Or – let’s be real for a moment – maybe it’s because of wifi so many people are crazy right now. Social media is a jungle – an outright vicious and bloody jungle – and may the most audacious mofo win because those of us who still retain our human decency are not going to be able to hang with the people out there flinging wild ungrounded insults like poop in the monkey cages at the zoo.

And folks – I hate to say it but we’re still on Round One.

We’re going to be dealing with this bizarre altered reality for quite some time. This virus ain’t over yet or if you don’t believe in the virus, then consider that this government response isn’t over yet. We’re never “getting back to normal” and we’re going to have to adapt. We’re going to have to hope our children who are going to school in personal bubbles aren’t going to have OCD and chronic anxiety for the rest of their lives. We’re going to have to learn to make do without all the imports that no longer seem to be populating stores.

We never really expected that a huge part of survival would just be waiting and adapting to the new world around us. Not this new world anyway. This isn’t one we can shoot our way out of or buy our way out of or wait our way out of.  We have to adapt to the new economy, the new precautions, and the new suspicions. We have to adapt to a different type of supply chain.  We have to move into survival mode as we watch civil unrest and riots break out in the most unlikely places, although it’s not really the survival mode we ever expected. We have to adjust to the nearly constant state of offense and unrest. We’re going to have to teach our children to be bold and fearless despite a system that wants them to be afraid. We’re going to have to forge a path through a labyrinth that is nothing like the one we expected when we began prepping for serious events because this event was so wildly unpredictable that nobody could have seen it happening the way it did.

But this is what we do.

We’re preppers. Preparing for the unexpected is our thing. Even when the unexpected is long-lasting, monotonous, boring, and stifling. Even when our family thinks we’re overreacting. Even when everything changes and things don’t get back to “normal.” Even when we’re just sitting there right on the edge of chaos wondering if today is the day that things will erupt in our neck of the woods.

Every.

Single.

Day.

For.

Months.

The way this unfolded isn’t the disaster any of us expected but it’s the hand we’ve been dealt. How well we’re able to handle it will tell us a lot about how mentally prepared we actually are. How we manage our friends, families, and expectations will help us determine how things might go in a future, more Mad-Max variety of apocalypse.

Take this as the learning experience that it is. And don’t be lulled by the boredom into a false sense of security.

Because this is not over. Not by a long shot.

Hang in there, my friends. Whether we have to pull our loved ones along by their collars, whether we have to buy our supplies and stash them away on the sly, whether we have to prepare all on our own, we have to deal with the apocalypse we’ve been given, emotionally and physically.

It’s going to be a long haul, but we’ve got this. I don’t know if you’re feeling the same way that I am, but just in case you are, I wanted you to know – you’re not alone.

Daisy

AIER: Fed District Court Holds Stay at Home Orders Unconstitutional

AIER has an article on a recent court decision from the federal District of Western Pennsylvania – Federal Court Holds “Stay-at-Home” Orders and Mandatory Business Closures Unconstitutional. The author hopes that the judicial branch is here to finally save people from executive overreach, but there is a way to go before one district court decision spreads across the land.

or six months, Americans in 43 states have lived under unprecedented executive orders restricting freedoms as basic as whether they can work, leave their homes, and expose their faces in public. These mandates are not duly enacted laws — they are orders issued by one of the three branches of government. They constitute a system of one-person rule — something none of us expected could ever happen in the United States — and no one, apart from the 43 newfound state dictators, is sure when it will expire.

Today, after six months of this, a Pennsylvania Federal Court in Butler County v. Wolf reviewed the indefinite “emergency” restrictions imposed by the executive branch of Pennsylvania government, declaring limitations on gathering size, “stay-at-home orders,” and mandatory business closures unconstitutional. Refusing to accept the alleged need for a “new normal,” the Court stated that an “independent judiciary [is needed] to serve as a check on the exercise of emergency government power.”

About time. The Judicial Branch is coming to save us.

The Judicial Branch exists to check Executive authority even in times of emergency.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the United States as our fathers made it inviolate. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” In 2020, sad to say, there are numerous governors across this nation who have perverted the Constitution — New Jersey’s Phil Murphy even declared its interpretation “above his pay grade” — with unprecedented orders restricting Americans’ rights to peaceably assemble, practice their religions, earn a living, travel freely, engage in commerce, and even manage their own health and exposure to risk. While global pandemics pose challenges for governors — particularly when the population is panicked by a hysterical mass media — entire populations cannot be indefinitely subjected to tyranny and deprived of fundamental rights and liberties. As the Court said today:

“There is no question that our founders abhorred the concept of one-person rule. They decried government by fiat. Absent a robust system of checks and balances, the guarantees of liberty set forth in the Constitution are just ink on parchment.”

We cannot allow our freedom to become “ink on parchment.” Many of our governors seek to do just that — they won’t even designate an endpoint to their “emergency” powers. When does the “emergency” end? This should be easy to say — X number of deaths per million, X number of deaths over X number of weeks — yet they will not say it. They want us to live under the constant threat of house arrest and livelihood deprivation, even though all we ever agreed to was a two-week effort to “flatten the curve.” We never agreed to an indefinite or permanent “new normal,” or to do whatever our wise governor dreams up and declares necessary to “eliminate infections.”

“In times of crisis, even a vigilant public may let down its guard over its constitutional liberties only to find that liberties, once relinquished, are hard to recoup and that restrictions — while expedient in the face of an emergency situation — may persist long after immediate danger has passed.”

Thank you, Judge Stickman, for recognizing our predicament, and for taking the first step towards restoring our freedom today by reminding those with authoritarian leanings that “governors cannot be given carte blanche to disregard the Constitution for as long as the medical problem persists.” The response to an emergency cannot undermine our system of constitutional liberties, or the system of checks and balances protecting those liberties. Liberty before “governor-guaranteed safety” — this is the American way, famously stated by Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

“Stay-at-home orders” are so draconian as to be presumptively unconstitutional.

Substantive due process is “a recognition that the government may not infringe upon certain freedoms enjoyed by the people as a component of a system of ordered liberty.” Plaintiffs in Butler County v. Wolf argued that the governor’s “stay-at-home order” violated substantive due process in restricting intrastate travel and freedom of movement in a manner that exceeded legitimate government need and authority. Incredibly, Governor Wolf responded that his stay-at-home orders are “not actually orders at all, but merely recommendations,” and that they are constitutional because they do not “shock the conscience.” I’m willing to bet that Pennsylvania citizens would beg to differ.

In analyzing the constitutionality of “lockdowns,” the Court first traced the origin of the concept to its source — Wuhan, China — and recognized that population-wide lockdowns are “unprecedented in American law.” Even during the Spanish Flu, the deadliest pandemic in history by far, “nothing remotely approximating lockdowns were imposed.” Although the United States has faced many epidemics and pandemics, “there have never previously been lockdowns of entire populations — much less for lengthy and indefinite periods of time.” Quarantines are legally recognized, but refer to the isolation of sick people and those known to have been directly exposed to sick people. They are statutorily limited to the duration of the incubation period of the disease — a period which Governor Wolf’s “lockdown” plainly exceeded.

Not only have lockdowns never been imposed in American history, but they are not even mentioned in recent pandemic management guidance offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). In its 2017 guidelines for managing pandemics, the CDC recommends numerous protective measures such as hand washing, limited-duration school closures, and cancellations of mass gatherings, but nothing “even approximating the imposition of statewide (or even community-wide) stay at home orders or the closure of all [‘non-essential’] businesses.” Even for pandemics of “Very High Severity,” the CDC recommends only voluntary isolation of sick persons and their household members. “This is a far, far cry from a statewide lockdown such as the one imposed by [Governor Wolf’s] stay-at-home order.”

The Court speculates that United States lockdowns were imposed due to a “domino effect” instigated by China, a nation “unconstrained by concern for civil liberties and constitutional norms.” In the United States, by contrast, the default concept is liberty of movement. Our government has never before dreamt of implementing mandatory house arrest, no matter the threat — it has always used far less restrictive, voluntary means to manage pandemics, similar to those used by Sweden during COVID19. (Notably, Sweden has lower per-capita mortality for weeks 1-33 of 2020 than it did for weeks 1-33 of 2015 — a far better mortality outcome than heavily locked-down U.S. States such as NJ, NY, and MI).

Ultimately, the Court concludes that lockdowns are so draconian that they are nearly “presumptively unconstitutional”:

“The stay-at-home components of Defendant’s orders were and are unconstitutional. Broad population-wide lockdowns are such a dramatic inversion of the concept of liberty in a free society as to be nearly presumptively unconstitutional unless the government can truly demonstrate that they burden no more liberty than is reasonably necessary to achieve an important government end. The draconian nature of lockdown may render this a high bar, indeed.”

This bears repeating: the burden of proof that “lockdown” is absolutely crucial to achieve a scientifically-substantiated goal rests with the government. The burden does not rest with the people to disprove the necessity of lockdown. Liberty is the default!

Mandatory business closures violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee that every citizen may support himself in an occupation of his choosing.

Mandatory business closures, like “stay-at-home” orders, are utterly unprecedented in American law. There is not even any historical jurisprudence for the Court to consider in its analysis of the issue — a rare event, indeed…(continues)

WA Policy Center: WA State L&I Thinks Lockdowns Will Extend to June 30, 2021

From the Washington Policy Center, Washington State Labor & Industries thinks the COVID-19 lockdowns will last until June 30, 2021

In a recent request for proposal (login required), Washington State Labor & Industries (L&I) has asked for companies to submit bids for an new L&I Education and Communication Outreach program. The plan is to educate and make sure Washington employers remain in compliance for the continuing COVID-19 business restrictions. All bids are due September 21, 2020 and L&I plans on spending $250,000 on the effort.

The end date of the contract is June 30, 2021, 10 months from now.

Apparently, L&I is planning for an extended COVID-19 lockdown and believes that it will be continuing well into 2021. For many small businesses, being locked down that long will put them out of business.

Some of the compliance program goals include:

  • Increase knowledge of, and compliance with, L&I’s COVID-19 related requirements, particularly among small businesses and nonprofits.
  • Develop new partnerships statewide among organizations serving the employer community and increase the capacity of such organizations to serve as ongoing resources for information and compliance assistance.
  • Foster increased collaboration between L&I, employer-trusted groups, and business and nonprofit communities, and with other public agencies and organizations with regard to pandemic recovery.
  • Strengthen trust between employers and L&I and increase use of L&I’s many tools, resources and services, which can help employers meet their obligations effectively and efficiently.
  • Positively impact the health and well-being of business customers, nonprofit constituents, and others who come into contact with employers and employees.

The justification for the program is that not all businesses know what L&I requires of them, including compliance assistance, during COVID-19. It is yet another example of government overreach.

Washington Policy Center believes the correct course of action is not to require a business to be the enforcement arm of any government agency. The business, may of course, at their own discretion, refuse service to those who don’t follow the rules.

The safety of Washington residents is, of course, important but both residents and businesses have been sensible in their approach to the COVID-19 crisis and can self-regulate themselves to keep our communities safe. The vast majority of business owners will continue doing everything they can do to keep their customers safe.

Stars and Stripes: Hunger Is Threatening to Kill More People than COVID this Year

Volunteers distribute food packets people in need after a week-long restrictions were imposed by district officials to contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, in Kathmandu on August 31, 2020. PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES/TNS

Via Stars and Stripes, Hunger is threatening to kill more people than COVID this year details global hunger concerns because of supply chain problems and lockdowns.

The world is hurtling toward an unprecedented hunger crisis.

As many as 132 million more people than previously projected could go hungry in 2020, and this year’s gain may be more than triple any increase this century. The pandemic is upending food supply chains, crippling economies and eroding consumer purchasing power. Some projections show that by the end of the year, COVID-19 will cause more people to die each day from hunger than from virus infections.

What makes the situation unmatched: The massive spike is happening at a time of enormous global food surpluses. And it’s happening in every part of the world, with new levels of food insecurity forecast for countries that used to have relative stability.

In Queens, New York, the lines snaking around a food bank are eight hours long as people wait for a box of supplies that might last them a week, while farmers in California are plowing over lettuce and fruit is rotting on trees in Washington. In Uganda, bananas and tomatoes are piling up in open-air markets, and even nearly give-away prices aren’t low enough for out-of-work buyers. Supplies of rice and meat were left floating at ports earlier this year after logistical jams in the Philippines, China and Nigeria. And in South America, Venezuela is teetering on the brink of famine.

“We’ll see the scars of this crisis for generations,” said Mariana Chilton, director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities at Drexel University. “In 2120, we’ll still be talking about this crisis.”

COVID-19 has exposed some of the world’s deepest inequalities. It’s also a determining force in who gets to eat and who doesn’t, underscoring global social divides as the richest keep enjoying a breakneck pace of wealth accumulation. Millions of people have been thrown out of work and don’t have enough money to feed their families, despite the trillions in government stimulus that’s helped send global equities to all-time highs.

On top of the economic malaise, lockdowns and broken supply chains have also created a serious problem for food distribution. The sudden shift away from restaurant eating, which in places like the U.S. used to account for more than half of dining, means farmers have been dumping milk and smashing eggs, with no easy means to redirect their production to either grocery stores or those in need.

Don Cameron of Terranova Ranch in California took a hit of about $55,000 this year on his cabbage crop. Almost half the loss – $24,000 – came because Cameron decided to donate to local food banks after demand from his usual customers dried up. He had to pay for the labor needed to do the harvesting and truck loading. He even needed to cover the cost of some bins and pallets to get supplies moved. It would’ve been a lot cheaper to just let the crops rot in the field.

“We know other parts of the country need what we have here. But the infrastructure has not been set up, as far as I’m aware, to allow that. There are times when there is food available and it’s because of logistics that it doesn’t find a home,” said Cameron, who still ended up destroying about 50,000 tons of the crop since nearby food banks “can only take so much cabbage.”

Initial United Nations forecasts show that in a worst-case scenario, about a tenth of the world’s population won’t have enough to eat this year. The impact will go beyond just hunger as millions more are also likely to experience other forms of food insecurity, including not being able to afford healthy diets, which can lead to malnutrition and obesity.

The effects will be long lasting. Even in its best-case projections, the UN predicts that hunger will be greater over the next decade than forecast before the pandemic. By 2030, the number of undernourished people could reach as high as 909 million, compared with a pre-COVID scenario of about 841 million.

The current crisis is one of the “rarest of times” with both physical and economic limitations to access food, said Arif Husain, chief economist with the UN’s World Food Programme.

By the end of the year, as many as 12,000 people could die a day from hunger linked to COVID-19, potentially more than those perishing from the virus itself, charity Oxfam International estimates. That’s calculated based on a more than 80% jump for those facing crisis-level hunger.

Projections for increased malnutrition also have a profound human toll. It can weaken the immune system, limit mobility and even impair brain functioning. Children who experience malnutrition early in life can see its impact well into adulthood.

“Even the mildest forms of food insecurity have lifelong consequences,” said Chilton of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities. Problems with physical and cognitive development in children and adolescents can hamper the chances of staying in school or getting a job, continuing a cycle of poverty.

Government programs, food charities and aid organizations have mobilized across the globe, but the need far outstrips their reach. The UN’s WFP aid group alone needs a record $13 billion for the year to deliver food in 83 countries, and at the start of the second half faced a shortfall of $4.9 billion to meet the goal.

Hunger can spark seismic shifts in the political landscape. Going back to the days of the French Revolution, food insecurity has sent people into the streets demanding better conditions. Surging food prices were part of the economic crisis that helped fuel recent protests in Lebanon and demonstrations over shortages erupted in Chile earlier this year.

Deep-seated inequalities along gender and racial lines also correspond to disproportionate impacts from hunger. In the U.S., for example, Black Americans are two-and-a half times as likely as their White counterparts to have low or very low access to enough food for an active and healthy life. Globally, women are 10% more likely to be food insecure than men.

“We have to make sure that we’re addressing gender inequality – if the international community is not doing that, we will fail to avoid the worst of the hunger crisis,” said Tonya Rawe, a director at hunger relief and advocacy group Care.

Data from the UN show that throughout the world, there are more than enough calories available to meet every individual’s needs. But even in the U.S., the richest country in the world, almost 2% of the population, or more than 5 million people, can’t afford a healthy diet (one that protects against all forms of malnutrition). More than 3 million Americans can’t afford to even meet basic energy needs. In India, 78% of people can’t afford healthy diets – that’s more than 1 billion people. Those figures don’t even take into account the pandemic and its lasting effects.

Costs and logistics prevent food surpluses from being easily shifted to areas without. That’s the dilemma faced by potato farmers in Belgium. When freezers filled during the pandemic, most of their spuds weren’t fit for food banks or grocers. The main variety that’s grown to meet demand from places like the country’s famous fry shops get black and blue spots after just a few days, said Romain Cools of industry group Belgapom. Sales to supermarkets quickly stopped after complaints, and a bulk of the region’s 750,000-ton surplus was instead used for animal feed or biogas.

“It’s hard to take surplus milk in Wisconsin and get it to people in Malawi – it’s just not realistic or practical,” said William Moseley, a geography professor at Macalester College who serves on a global food-security panel.

Despite the abundant supplies, food is growing more expensive because of bungled supply chains and currency devaluations. Costs are up in parts of Africa and the Middle East and they’re also rising in developed countries, with Europeans and Americans paying extra to stock their fridges.

Even within major food-producing countries, being able to afford groceries is never a given.

Latin America, an agriculturally rich region that exports food to the world, is leading this year’s surge in hunger, according to the UN’s WFP.

In Brazil, a huge cash-distribution program has helped millions and driven poverty rates to historic lows. But that hasn’t met all the need. In the country’s northeast, Eder Saulo de Melo worked as a guard at parties until the virus arrived. With events suspended, he hasn’t been paid in months. He’s been locked out of the emergency cash program and the 130 reais ($25) he gets in regular monthly aid goes to energy, water and gas bills, leaving little to feed his three children. Baskets of non-perishables, vegetables, bread and eggs from a non-governmental organization are the family’s main sustenance.

“I needed to stop buying fruit and meat,” he said. “Instead of a slice of chicken, I buy offal to make a soup.”

The hunger estimates for this year have a “high degree of uncertainty,” and the disease’s devastation is largely unknown, the UN cautioned about its figures.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization began tracking global hunger in the mid-1970s. Current data can’t be compared past 2000 given revisions in methodology, said Carlo Cafiero, team leader for food security statistics. But general trends can be observed, and they show that hunger moved lower over the past several decades until a recent reversal started in 2015, spurred by by climate change and conflicts.

The increases in the last few years are nothing like what is forecast now – even the best-case of the UN’s tentative scenarios would see hunger surge in 2020 more than the past five years combined. And when looking at other notable periods of need in the world, such as the Great Depression, the level of food surplus that exists today is without comparison thanks to the advent of modern agriculture, which has seen crop yields explode.

“It’s impossible to look at the situation and not think we have a problem,” said Nate Mook, chief executive officer of food-relief group World Central Kitchen. “This pandemic has really exposed the cracks in the system and where it starts to break down.”

Alt-Market: The Delusion Of A Seamless Reopening Is About To Be Obliterated

From Brandon Smith at Alt-Market, The Delusion Of A Seamless Reopening Is About To Be Obliterated

During the first wave of pandemic lockdowns, America became a rather surreal place. The initial shock that I witnessed in average people in my area was disturbing. Half the businesses in the region closed and a third of the grocery store shelves were empty. The look in people’s faces was one of bewilderment and fear; their eyes were like saucers, no one was staring into their cell phones as they usually do, and people huddled over their shopping carts like wild dogs protecting a carcass.

Luckily, this tension has subsided, but only because the majority of Americans have been assuming for the past couple months that the pandemic was going to fade away in the summer and that the “reopening” was permanent. Sadly, this is a delusion that is going to bite people in the ass in the next month or two.

In “The Economic Reopening Is A Fake-Out”, published at the end of May, I stated:

“The restrictions will continue in major US population centers while rural areas have mostly opened with much fanfare. The end result of this will be a flood of city dwellers into rural towns looking for relief from more strict lockdown conditions. In about a month, we should expect new viral clusters in places where there was limited transmission. I suggest that before the 4th of July holiday, state governments and the Federal government will be talking about new lockdowns, using the predictable infection spike as an excuse.”

I also noted:

Certainly, it appears that most Americans hate the lockdowns. But will they be fooled by the “reopening” into complacency for the next several weeks while the government gets ready to hit them with the next round of restrictions? Will they be so caught off guard they won’t know how to react? Imagine the economic devastation of just one more nationwide lockdown event? It will be carnage, and a lot of hope within the population will be lost.

In “Pandemic And Economic Collapse: The Next 60 Days”, published in April, I predicted:

The extent of the crisis will become much more clear in the next two months to the majority. The result will be civil unrest in the summer, likely followed by extreme poverty levels in the winter. No measure of “reopening” is going to do much to stop the avalanche that has already been started.

My position at the time, on secondary infection spikes in the summer as well as renewed lockdown restrictions, appears to have proven correct. Currently, daily reported infections in the U.S. are at a record 50,000 per day or more and cases are rising in 40 out of 50 states. Many of the new infection clusters are in more rural areas and states that a lot of people thought had dodged the initial wave, including California. There has been a massive rush of home buyers moving to rural and suburban America away from the cities. The great migration has begun.

Subsequently, public anxiety is rising yet again. Protests such as those in Michigan over the lockdowns were overwhelmingly peaceful, yet liberty movement activists were demonized and accused of “inciting violence” and “spreading the virus”. Some groups with left-leaning political agendas used the death of George Floyd to create civil unrest. The mainstream media mostly lavished these groups with praise and refused to acknowledge that they might be spreading the virus.

The double standard is clear, but this is just the beginning.

As I have argued for the past few months, the REAL public crisis will strike when the secondary lockdowns are enforced, either by state governments or the federal government. Make no mistake, these orders are coming. We can already see restriction in some states being implemented, though they refuse yet to call the situation a “lockdown”.

California has recently added 24 counties to its “Covid watchlist”, and most of these counties have added new restrictions, including many non-essential businesses being ordered to remain closed.

The governor of Arizona announced statewide restrictions including business shutdowns, suggesting there may be a reopening at the end of July. If the previous lockdown is any indication, this means the next reopening will probably not happen until early September.

Similar restrictions have been announced in Texas, Florida, Georgia, etc. This is essentially a new shutdown that has not yet been officially labeled a “shutdown”.

So what does this mean for the U.S. economy going forward?

Well, the first lockdowns caused an explosion in unemployment, with 40 million jobs lost on top of around 11 million existing jobless. Beyond that, you can add the 95 million people without work that are no longer counted on the rolls by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only a portion of these jobs were regained when the reopening occurred. According to Shadowstats.com, the real unemployment rate including U-6 measurements is 31% – around the same level as it was during the Great Depression.

So far in 2020 there have been 4,300 major retail store closings, added onto the thousands of businesses already hit in 2019 in what many are calling “The Retail Apocalypse”. Small business closings are harder to gauge at this time, but according to Yelp, over 41% of their listed participants are announcing they are closing for good.

This outcome was easy to predict when it became clear that only 13% to 18% of businesses applying for the small business bailout loans received aid, and half of those businesses were actually large corporations

What happens next? The companies that did survive the first phase lockdowns are now going to get hit again, hard. I expect another 50% of small businesses to either close permanently or announce bankruptcy over this summer and fall. This means a second huge surge in job losses in the service sector.

It’s important to remember that the U.S. economy is 70% service based, and around 50% of total jobs are provided by small businesses. The lockdowns hit both these areas of our system mercilessly. And, with most of the aid from the government bailouts being diverted to major corporations, it’s as if someone was trying to deliberately crush the small business pillar of support for our economy. If you were attempting to drag the U.S. into an economic collapse, the Covid lockdowns are a perfect cover to make this happen.

Another economic threat is the slowdown in the supply chain. There will be renewed shortages in many goods. I have received numerous emails from readers who work in manufacturing, repair and acquisitions of vital parts for major companies who have told me that simple components, such as electronic and industrial parts that are required for factories to produce goods and repair goods, are almost gone. Meaning they are not being produced overseas in places like China, either due to the pandemic or geopolitical conflict. They tell me there is a maximum of two months before these components are completely gone.

The greater danger, however, is the higher likelihood of civil unrest. I’ve heard many people suggest that Americans will “never” put up with another round of shutdowns. I think it depends on the state you live in. If you live in places like California, Illinois, New York, or even Florida, the majority of people are going to conform to lockdowns even in the face of financial calamity. Interior states with more conservatives are not as certain. Regardless, I expect at least half the country to be shut down in the next few weeks, and those places that don’t shut down will be accused of “selfishly endangering others”.

As I have said many times since this crisis began, it does not matter how dangerous or deadly a virus is; shutting down the economy is assured destruction and is not an acceptable response.

Of course, certain special interest groups benefit greatly from the increased fear and chaos that economic instability brings. Right now, states like Georgia are pushing to stage the national guard to quell unrest, and I think this will spread to many places in the U.S. over the summer. They know what is coming, and they are worried about people hitting the wall of poverty that is ahead and reacting angrily.

As the globalist Imperial College of London published in March, the plan is for lockdowns to continue on and off for the next 18 months or more. This is not going away, and after the next wave of lockdowns, most Americans are finally going to realize it.

Rather than promoting localized production, independent economies and self-sufficiency, the establishment is going to suggest martial law and medical tyranny as the solution to the pandemic problem. In other words, they will demand total control over the population and the erasure of constitutional liberties in the name of “the greater good”.

These are the same people that downplayed the pandemic at the beginning of the year and refused to stop travel from China until it was too late. They are also the same people (including Dr. Anthony Fauci) who gave the Chinese millions of dollars to play around with the coronavirus at the Level 4 lab in Wuhan, which is the likely source of the current outbreak. I’m not sure why ANYONE would want to give more power to the people that caused the crisis in the first place.

Three factors are working hand-in-hand to undermine U.S. stability and create a rationale for totalitarian controls including the economic crash, civil unrest and the pandemic itself. Understand that preparations to protect yourself and your family must be finalized NOW. There will not be even a minor recovery after the next shutdown.

The Organic Prepper: What 75 Preppers Learned During the Lockdown

This article from The Organic Prepper complies short takes from seventy-five preppers on what they have learned during this pandemic and lockdown. Some are only a sentence, while others are a full paragraph. Here’s What 75 Preppers Learned During the Lockdown

The lockdown that recently took place due to the pandemic was like a practice run for a bigger SHTF event. Many of our prepper theories played out and were accurate, while others weren’t as realistic as we thought beforehand.

People who weren’t preppers already learned a lot about why they would want to be better prepared in the future, but they weren’t the only ones who learned lessons. These preppers took a moment to answer questions about the lessons they learned during the lockdown. (Here’s an article about the things I learned.)

What did you learn about preparedness during the lockdown?

Trisha…

I learned two main things. First, I was very surprised at how strongly the isolation hit me. I am a person who is “energized” by interacting with other people. I knew that already, but I was shocked at how MUCH it affected me. Second, I got a taste of normalcy bias. I kept trying to see ways in which our situation was still “Normal”. As a school teacher of little ones for thirty years, I was pretty much used to switching into action immediately to deal with a crisis and putting my feelings on the back burner. So, I was shocked that it took me a couple of months to “accept” the changes in our lives and start looking for creative ways to make life work and meet our needs.

Maria…

I learned it is so important to pay attention to what’s going on and stay ahead of the crowd. My husband and I were able to stock up two weeks before everyone else panicked. I also learned my plan of being stocked up and shopping only for replacements is a great system. For example I have 3 jars of mayo on the shelf, when I open one I put it on the list to purchase next time and replenish. Same with Costco TP. Every time I shop there I grab one package. We didn’t even go through half our stock pile and I was able to leave it for those who really needed it. I also learned to listen to your instincts, inner voice, the spirit, God or whatever you call it. I listened every time and we have made it through very comfortably. Also, look for opportunities to help others prepare. I have gotten several people to prepare seriously because of staying ahead of everyone else. I couldn’t have done what I did with[out] Daisy and her spot on articles. Like I said earlier, they kept me two weeks ahead of the crowd.

Angela…

That individuals mental state can be intrusive to yours. For me-it preteen having her 1st period.

Annabel…

That things happen really fast. If you act when things happen it is too late. Act now.

Judith…

That prepping is far more than one type of crisis. Organization of preps is vitally important ( I am still not where I need to be). Having a list of recipes and items needed helps with how and what to shop for. Alternative sources for cooking, cleaning etc. are important.

Angela…

Being in a lockdown during the spring was great. House was cool and could bake. Once it got hot, there was no baking. Need to learn to bake more via the fire, not just cook.

Maya…

I had anticipated shortages like food, soap, TP, and PPEs, but I underestimated how short in supply durable consumer goods would be – like the fact that freezers would pretty much become extinct, all gardening supplies, etc. Luckily, I had stockpiled seeds (although this year I brought veggie starts because everything started late this year.) It took until June to get the raised bed kits (industrial area, it’s not safe to grow anything you want to eat in the ground). Canning jars have also become in short supply. I anticipated has shortages, which did not take place – in fact, gas became dirt cheap with nobody able to go anywhere. I did fail to anticipate that the border would be closed for half a year! Living in a border city, I tend to rely on the much cheaper US prices for many things. I really should not have put off dentist and eye appointments, or a haircut! I will get that attended to before the next wave of contamination and lock-downs. I am working now on beefing up food growing and preserving supplies. Desiccants, oxygen absorbers, Mylar bags, food grade buckets, canning lids, canning jars, and food saver bags are all likely to become harder to obtain as food prices rise and more people become aware of how to grow and preserve foods. I am also stocking up on organic fertilizers and indoor growing options. And sprouting seeds – I think I have at least 2 years’ worth of those…

Continue reading at The Organic Prepper by clicking here.

 

 

Mises Institute: COVID Lockdowns Crippled the Division of Labor, Setting the Stage for Civil Unrest

Photo courtesy Associated Press

Associate Professor Jonathan Newman of Bryan College writes for the Mises Institute about how the breakdown of voluntary participation in the economy created fuel for social disturbance in COVID Lockdowns Crippled the Division of Labor, Setting the Stage for Civil Unrest.

In his podcast, Dave Smith has likened the lockdowns to gasoline and the murder of George Floyd to a spark.

But why were the lockdowns fuel for social unrest? One of the reasons the lockdowns paved the way for social unrest is that they led to a widespread breakdown in the division of labor. This could only result in more conflict and social unrest.

Economist Ludwig von Mises has explained why this is so. In Human Action, Mises presents the division of labor as more than a purely economic concept. Although he certainly expounds the increased productivity attributable to the division of labor, he also heralds it as civilization itself. It is social cooperation and mutuality. He presents it in opposition to conflict and violence. The division of labor is predicated on and also results in peaceful relations between individuals.

Here, I want to discuss the gasoline, and not the spark. Mises.org writers have discussed the spark and the related issues of institutional problems with police departments, police brutality, a breakdown in trust in the police, and police militarization.

What Is the Division of Labor?

The division of labor is just what it sounds like: one person does one job while another person does a different job. In a market economy, these jobs are not assigned randomly, but are purposefully chosen by each individual according to his or her own skills and values. Instead of trying to produce everything we want to consume on our own, we produce one good and offer it in exchange for a variety of goods we prefer.

The ability to consume a larger variety of goods is not the only benefit of the division of labor. Total production increases enormously, such that each individual who participates in the division of labor enjoys a massive increase in his standard of living. The division of labor allows us to emerge from bare subsistence and flourish as a civilization, producing art, writing philosophy, celebrating holidays, and exploring space. These things are impossible for man in economic isolation.

One of the greatest laws of economics is the law of association, which Mises proves mathematically (uncharacteristically) in Human Action. The law of association shows that everyone who participates in the division of labor gains as a result. No one is excluded from this opportunity. Thus,

The law of association makes us comprehend the tendencies which resulted in the progressive intensification of human cooperation. We conceive what incentive induced people not to consider themselves simply as rivals in a struggle for the appropriation of the limited supply of means of subsistence made available by nature. We realize what has impelled them and permanently impels them to consort with one another for the sake of cooperation. Every step forward on the way to a more developed mode of the division of labor serves the interests of all participants. (p. 159)

Unraveling the Division of Labor

The undoing of the division of labor and the social cooperation that it both requires and entails is social conflict.

The market economy involves peaceful cooperation. It bursts asunder when the citizens turn into warriors and, instead of exchanging commodities and services, fight one another. (p. 817)

During the months of government-imposed lockdowns, everybody was prevented from participating in the division of labor as they were accustomed to. Even those who kept their jobs could not exchange goods with those who did not keep their jobs. The entire social nexus was reduced to a small list of government-defined “essential” services. The increase in unemployment is really only a part of the picture of the economic harm caused by the lockdowns. Everybody who relied on the goods and services produced by the so-called nonessential businesses was harmed: consumers, employees, and proximate businesses in the structure of production alike.

Man shall not live by government-defined essential services alone, however. For a short time, and where possible, citizens resorted to black markets and self-sufficiency (which, as we have seen, is hardly sufficient). But a spark and the cover of protests in the streets gave some a chance to acquire goods by theft. These opportunists are aided by additional mayhem like vandalism, violent assault, and arson. Unfortunately, both insufficient and over-the-top responses by police also add to the mayhem, giving violent rioters more opportunity and also poorly reasoned, two-wrongs-make-a-right self-justification for their aggression.

We only have three options for getting what we want: we can produce it, we can take from somebody who has produced it, or we can exchange peacefully with somebody who has produced it. The third option is the division of labor, and it is the only one that involves peaceful cooperation with others. It is also the only option that sustains civilization. Looting, vandalism, assault, and arson are regressive—they are not a means to advance society. They are the unraveling of society and the social harmony brought about by the division of labor…

Peace can only resume when entrepreneurs find it profitable to reopen their businesses. Government lockdowns and violent mobs are data for the entrepreneur’s decision-making process. Mises warns that it can get so bad that civilization crumbles…(continues)

Doom and Bloom: Reopening After a Pandemic

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article up about Reopening After a Pandemic – what it looks like, the CDC recommendations, and federal and state plans.

The COVID-19 pandemic has rampaged throughout the planet, but a few encouraging signs are giving some citizens the impetus to emerge from their homes. Although the number of cases and deaths continue to rise, several countries have flattened or are clearly on the far end of the bell curve.

Testing in the U.S. has surpassed 10 million and the percentage of severe cases requiring ventilator support are dropping somewhat compared to total cases.

Although some pandemic supplies are still generally unavailable to the average citizen, hospital staffs (in our area, at least) seem to be getting more personal protection equipment than before. While still accepting donations, Cleveland Clinic Florida states on its website: “…through months of planning for the pandemic it had “adequate supplies and medical equipment…”

As time goes on, personal protection gear will become more available

Aside: This may not be the case everywhere. If you have a lot of extra personal protection equipment, consider donating some to your local hospital in case of a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

While we are beginning to get more optimistic with regards to public health, the financial news is terrible. 36.5 million unemployment claims have been filed. Businesses are reaching the point of no return; some brick-and-mortar enterprises may not survive if they don’t reopen soon.

And the customers? Just because the businesses are reopening doesn’t mean the patrons will come flowing back. Many people have been traumatized and are scared to venture out into the New Normal. Some have been able to work from home, cook dinner instead of eating out, and otherwise fend for themselves. They won’t be seeking these services outside the home so much anymore, even if money isn’t an issue.

Cooking at home

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a detailed 17-page document of its recommendations for reopening. Some believe the criteria may be too strict. The battle between public health and public policy continues.

What are the criteria that must be met before reopening occurs in the U.S.? The federal government is giving leeway to state governments, but there are 50 states, and almost as many different plans of action.

FEDERAL PLANS

The federal government (and most states) want a phased approach to return to normal (or at least the New Normal). Optimally, certain milestones should be reached before beginning phases:

SYMPTOMS: The federal government recommends that the reopening should begin when there is a downward trajectory on the graph of cases of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) within a 14-day period as well as a similar trajectory specific to COVID-19 signs and symptoms.

CASES: The federal government wants to see a downward trajectory of documented COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period, or at least a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percentage of total tests conducted with a 14-day period. This assumes at least a similar (or larger) quantity of tests performed during the same time period.

HOSPITALS: The goal is to have a robust testing program in place for at-risk healthcare workers with a particular interest in checking for antibodies against COVID-19. Also, hospitals would need to have no or few patients requiring “crisis care”.

PHASE 1

INDIVIDUALS SHOULD…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Doom and Bloom Medical.

EFF: COVID-19 and Digital Rights

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Here are their thoughts on threats and opportunities arising from COVID-19 response, COVID-19 and Digital Rights.

Surveillance. Governments around the world are demanding extraordinary new surveillance powers that many hope will contain the virus’ spread. But many of these powers would invade our privacy, inhibit our free speech, and disparately burden vulnerable groups of people. Mindful of the stakes, we ask three questions when analyzing proposals that would provide greater surveillance powers to the government: Would the proposal work? Would it excessively intrude on our freedoms? Are there sufficient safeguards? Different proposals raise different issues. For example:

  • Government has not shown that some intrusive technologies would work, such as phone location surveillance, which is insufficiently granular to identify when two people were close enough together to transmit the virus.
  • Some surveillance proposals are too dangerous to a democratic society, such as dragnet surveillance cameras in public places that use face recognition or thermal imaging, mounting such technologies on drones, or giving police officers access to public health data about where people who have tested positive live.
  • Some technologies, such as aggregate location data used to inform public health decisions, need strict safeguards.
  • No COVID tracking app will work absent widespread testing and interview-based contact tracing. Bluetooth proximity is the most promising approach so far, but needs rigorous security testing and data minimization. No one should be forced to use it.

Many new government surveillance programs are being built in partnership with corporations that hold vast stores of consumers’ personal data. We need new laws to protect our data privacy.

Free speech. The free flow of ideas about COVID-19 is vital. This includes anonymous whistle-blowing about containment efforts, online criticisms of government responses to the crisis, and prisoner access to social media to tell the world about outbreaks behind bars. Governments will inevitably abuse any new powers to censor what they deems false information about the virus. When online platforms increase their reliance on automated content moderation, in part because human moderators cannot safely come to work, those moderation “decisions” must be temporary, transparent, and easily appealable

Government transparency. Government decision-making about the virus must be transparent. When governments temporarily close the physical spaces where they make decisions, for purposes of social distancing, they must adopt new transparency accommodations, such as broadcasting their proceedings. While government responses to public records requests may be slower during this public health crisis, the outbreak is no excuse to shut them down altogether…(continues)

AIER: Why Didn’t the Constitution Stop This?

Robert Wright at the American Institute for Economic Research writes about Constitutional issues surrounding the pandemic and lockdown orders in Why Didn’t the Constitution Stop This?

constitution

The genius of the U.S. Constitution is that the Framers, especially James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, saw it as a constraint on bad policymaking. Given the number of really bad policies that various US governments and officials, from school boards to POTUS, have implemented, especially recently, it is high time to restore weakened or lost Constitutional restraints against arbitrary rule.

Five forces threaten Americans with destruction: 1) nature; 2) foreign powers; 3) the national government; 4) state and local governments; 5) themselves. The threat from 3, 4, and 5 is double-edged, meaning that Americans can be harmed by the actions of those forces as well as by their inaction.

The national government, for example, can harm Americans by being insufficiently prepared for natural catastrophes and foreign incursions, as with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the 9/11 attacks. It can also harm Americans, though, by doing too much, as with the invasion of Iraq and the way-too-long occupation of Afghanistan. (Relying too much on FEMA instead of states or private initiatives may be another example, but less clear cut than the needless wars.)

The national and state governments are supposed to check each other’s power, so that if one overreaches, the other can thwart it. We usually think about this in terms of “states’ rights” but in fact federalism, as the concept is sometimes called, runs both ways: the states should check the national government when necessary but the national government should also check the power of the states when they overreach, as they sometimes do.

Advocates of states’ rights often cite the Tenth Amendment, which reads in its entirety “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Because the word “expressly” does not occur before “delegated” in the ratified version of the amendment, however, it is among the weakest parts of the Constitution.

Traditionally, though, the states retained primary control of so-called “police powers,” the powers that form the legal basis for the economic lockdowns that have imprisoned most Americans for over a month now. Books have been written about this stuff so obviously I cannot relate all the details and nuances involved but ultimately they matter little in the present case. The key point is that police powers, national, state, or local, do not provide carte blanche to governments. Specifically, the Constitution constrains state police powers in numerous ways.

Importantly, courts see Constitutional rights as tradeoffs between conflicting interests. So while the Constitution says that the national and state governments cannot infringe individual speech rights, they can pass laws that make it illegal for an individual, for example, to falsely yell “fire” in a crowded theater. The notion is that the property and natural rights of the theatergoers trump the free speech rights of the liar.

Similar restrictions apply to the right of assembly. All Americans have the right to assemble with other Americans for any lawful purpose but state police powers, the positive duty of states to protect the physical safety of assemblers and non-assemblers, mean that governments may restrict assemblies through permit systems.

Similar arguments are made to defend the pistol permit systems common in many states. They are bogus but show how far courts go to balance one person’s rights with those of others. If you believe that gun control laws should be followed because they are laws passed by democratically elected representatives you have missed the point of the Constitution, which, again, is to constrain policymakers, to protect individual Americans from the national and state governments and also other Americans.

Just because a majority wants some policy doesn’t mean that that policy is a good idea, after all. I imagine at one point in March 2020 a majority of Americans might have thought it a good idea to deport, tax, infect, or maybe even kill Chinese-Americans in order to make “them” pay for what “they” did to “us.” (I don’t want to link to evidence of that … just look at your social media feeds if you need evidence.) That is a typically ugly human reaction to trauma but one that would have been proven empirically wrong as well as morally bankrupt and economically inane (sunk costs). Thankfully, the Constitution remained strong enough to prevent that horror.

It did not, however, prove strong enough to prevent state governments from taking their police powers too far. They engaged in fancy word play to hide the fact that they acted without a shred of precedent. What they imposed is not a quarantine, which constrains the movement of sick people, nor a cordon sanitaire, which locks people into an afflicted area, nor a protective sequestration, which locks people out of an unafflicted area. Instead, they have implemented partial martial law (military rule essentially) by imprisoning Americans in their own homes without due process of law and stolen their property by shuttering their businesses. (Some recompense has been attempted but of course only bluntly and at a cost to all taxpayers, including those in states that did not shutter most businesses.)

Remember, just because a state has general police powers doesn’t mean it can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, simply because its actions are popular, or passed into law, or urged by some scientist. Imagine, for example, if some executive thought everyone ought to drink bleach, crazy as that seems, and actually mandated it. Would you do it? (Hint: Don’t do it! Even if some guy in a suit or lab coat tells you that you must.) What if some leader believed that the coronavirus is spread primarily by clothing and mandated that we all go naked in public, except for our masks and gloves of course? Or if one thought an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) would solve the problem (and destroy all computers in the process)?

Any promulgation that violates the Constitution, in any way, shape, or form, is null and void. A federal judge has the authority to declare any state law or executive order unconstitutional and demand that it be revoked. Judges generally give governments broad leeway to protect “public health” but the policies must be rational and they must weigh the rights of all involved parties. Historically, many government epidemic responses never got litigated because the crises passed before suits could be brought and because quarantines, cordons, and sequestrations can make rational sense in specific situations. But, again, state governments for some reason have tried to combat the novel coronavirus with novel policies that come with huge negative side effects for everyone — workers, consumers, and taxpayers — and that have and will continue to cause deaths, minimization of which is the ostensible goal of lockdown policies.

Why draconian lockdown rules have not yet been deemed unconstitutional I still do not know, but the fact that a former federal judge who teaches at Harvard apparently does not know the difference between a quarantine and a lockdown might provide a clue…(continues)

Click here to continue reading at AIER.