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

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.”

Of Two Minds: Pandemic Accelerating Trends That Disrupt Foundations of Economy

From Charles Hugh Smith at the Of Two Minds blog, The Pandemic Is Accelerating Trends That Are Disrupting the Foundations of the Economy

The problem is the economy that’s left has no means of creating tens of millions of jobs to replace those lost as the 1959 economic model collapses.

Fundamentally, the economy of 2019 was not very different from the economy of 1959: people went shopping at retail stores, were educated at sprawling college campuses, went to work downtown, drove to the doctor’s office or hospital, caught a flight at the airport, and so on.

The daily routine of the vast majority of the workforce was no different from 1959. In 2019, the commutes were longer, white-collar workers stared at screens rather than typewriters, factory workers tended robots and so on, but the fundamentals of everyday life and the nature of work were pretty much the same.

Beneath the surface, the fundamental change in the economy was financialization, the commodification of everything into a financial asset or income stream that could then be leveraged, bundled and sold globally at an immense profit by Wall Street financiers.

This layer of speculative asset-income mining had no relation to the actual work being done; it existed in its own derealized realm.

For decades, these two realmsthe structure of everyday life (to borrow Braudel’s apt term) and the abstract, derealized but oh so profitable realm of financialization–co-existed in an uneasy state of loosely bound systems.

If you squinted hard enough and repeated the mantras often enough, you could persuade yourself there was still some connection between the everyday-life economy and the realm of financialization.

The two realms have now disconnected, and the real-world economy has been ripped from its moorings, as patterns of work and every-day life that stretch back 70 years to the emergence of the postwar era unravel and dissolve.

The trends that are currently fatally disrupting retail, education, office work and healthcare have been in place for years. When I wrote my 2013 book about the digitized future of higher education in a low-cost union of high-touch and low-touch learning, The Nearly Free University, all these trends were already clearly visible to those willing to look beyond the models embedded in the economy for decades or even centuries.

Visionaries like Peter Drucker foresaw the complete disruption of the education and healthcare sectors as far back as 1994. Post-Capitalist Society.

The problem with this disruption is it eliminates tens of millions of jobs–not just the low-paying jobs in retail and dining-out, but high-paying jobs in university administration, healthcare, and other core service sectors.

The last real-world connection between everyday life and financialization was the over-supply of everything that could be financialized: the way to reap the big profits was expand whatever could be leveraged and sold. So retail and commercial space ballooned, colleges proliferated, cafes sprang up on every corner, etc.

Meanwhile, financialization’s unquenchable thirst for higher profits stripped everything of the redundancy and buffers required to stabilize the system in times of crisis. So hospitals no longer kept inventory because by the logic of financialization, all that mattered was maximizing the return on capital–nothing else could possibly matter in the derealized realm of speculative profiteering.

Now healthcare finds itself trapped between the pincers of financialization’s stripmining and the collapse of retail in-person demand–the financial foundation of the entire system. Under the relentless pressure of financialization’s stripmining and profteering, healthcare only survives if it can bill somebody somewhere a staggering amount for everything from office visits to procedures to hospital stays to medications.

Once that avalanche of billing dries up, the entire sector implodes: a sector that accounts for almost 20% of the U.S. economy.

Higher education is also imploding, and for the same reason: its output no longer justified its enormous cost structure. The same can be said of overbuilt retail and commercial space: the financial justification for sky-high rents have imploded and will never come back. The over-supply is so monumental and the collapse of demand so permanent, the gigantic pyramid of debt and speculative excess piled on all these excesses is collapsing.

A bailout by the Federal Reserve won’t change the fundamentals of the collapse of financialization; all the Fed can do is reserve scarce lifeboat seats for its billionaire banker-financier pals. (Warren, you know Bill, have you met Jamie, Jeff, Tim and the rest of the Zillionaire Rat-Pack?)

Despite the record highs in the stock market–the ultimate expression of financialization disconnected from the real-world economy–financialization is also imploding. Financialization still claimed a connection to the real world of income streams and the value of the collateral underlying all the speculative profiteering: the high rents paid by the restaurants on the ground floor and the businesses for office space above justified the high value of the collateral, the commercial building.

Foundational swaths of the real-world economy have been swept away, and so the collateral is largely worthless. Lots of people want their employer to start paying for business-class airline seats again so they can jet around the country on somebody else’s dime, staying in pricey hotels and attending conferences, but these activities no longer have any financial justification.

The economy of 1959 is finally expiring. The enormous time and money sinks of transporting humans hither and yon no longer have any financial justification.

The problem is the economy that’s left has no means of creating tens of millions of jobs to replace those lost as the 1959 economic model collapses. We all know that automation is replacing human labor, but the real change is the collapse of the financial justification for the enormously costly systems we now depend on to generate jobs: healthcare, retail, tourism, dining out, education, working downtown, and all the professions dependent on managing all this complexity.

While the elimination of low-skill jobs–a longstanding trend–is attracting attention, the implosion of the 1959 economic model and financialization will soon sweep away millions of high-paying professional jobs that no longer have any financial justification.

As the 1959 economy implodes, so does the tax system based on payroll taxes and property taxes. This article sketches out the perverse incentives for employers to invest in automation rather than hire workers: Covid-19 Is Dividing the American Worker (WSJ.com)

There are alternatives, but they require accepting the implosion of both the 1959 economic model and its evil offspring, financialization.

I sketched out an alternative way of organizing work, everyday life and finance in my book A Radically Beneficial World. There are alternative ways of organizing civilization other than the insanely wasteful and exploitive system we now inhabit.

 

Coronavirus Updates

Update 8/26/2020: Confirmed cases 24,111,616 with 824,702 fatalities. The US has 5,961,971 cases with 182,635 fatalities. Washington state has 71,705 cases and 1,876 deaths, Benton Franklin Health District has 7,871 cases with 177 fatalities; the largest number of cases by age range is the  20-29 age range with nearly one thousand cases. Yakima Health District has 11,490 cases with 224 fatalities. Relief workers for flooding in South Asia say that coronavirus restrictions are hampering relief efforts. Brazil has reported over 3.6 million cases and 112,000 fatalities. India reports over 3.2 million cases and nearly 60,000 fatalities.

Update 8/7/2020: Confirmed cases 19,319,011 with 718,765 fatalities. The US has 5,036,881 cases with 162,873 fatalities. US daily fatalities may have begun to decline again. The Univ. of Washington forecasts 300,000 US fatalities by December 1st. Washington state has 62,709 cases with 1,657 deaths. Benton Franklin Health District has 7,044 cases with 145 fatalities. The Prosser School District expressed concerns at their board meeting this week about low fall enrollment as parents choose other schooling options and over budget deficits. Yakima Health District has 10,742 cases with 203 fatalities. Brazil is nearing three million cases with over 98,000 fatalities. India has passed two million cases with 41,912 fatalities. South Korean study finds that asymptomatic Covid cases can carry as much of the virus as those with symptoms; transmission role undetermined. Iran reported case and fatality numbers found to be falsely reported; Iran government records show 451,024 cases with nearly 42,000 fatalities as opposed the health ministry’s publicly reported 278,827 cases with 14,405 fatalities. Cases are surging in Spain, leading to a lockdown in the northwestern parts of Castile and Leon.

Update 7/29/2020: Confirmed cases 17,300,759 with 672,366 fatalities. The US has 4,590,809 cases with 154,364 fatalities. Florida added 9,956 new cases and a record 252 deaths yesterday. Arizona also set a record for daily deaths. Daily new cases in the US may be tapering off as re-openings were rolled back, but daily deaths are still increasing as expected from the lag between new cases being identified and the deaths therefrom. Former Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and former Presidential candidate Herman Cain passed away from COVID complications today. Italy recorded its largest new daily cases since early June. Hong Kong also set a new record for daily cases. Melbourne, Australia set a new daily record almost 40% higher than its previous record. Germany’s new cases are at a six week high. Poland also recorded a new daily record. In Harare Central Hospital in Zimbabwe, seven babies were stillborn on one day earlier this week attributed to staffing shortages due to COVID; one doctor said, “These are not isolated incidents. This is repeated every day and all we can do is watch them die.”

Update 7/18/2020: Confirmed cases 14,242,950 with 600,487 fatalities. The US has 3,773,089 cases with 142,105 fatalities. New cases in the US have been steadily increasing over the past month, recording numbers over 72,000 for the past three days — more than double the daily highs during the April/May wave. While fatalities remain lower, they have started increasing over the past few days as well. Washington state has 46,506 cases with 1,442 fatalities. Benton Franklin health district has 5,372 cases with 129 fatalities; 15 of the deaths have been recorded in just the past week. Yakima Health District has 9,275 cases with 179 fatalities. Continue reading “Coronavirus Updates”

Rutherford Institute: The Building Blocks of Tyranny from A to Z

Consitutional law attorney and author John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute writes about much that is wrong in the USA in P Is for Predator State: The Building Blocks of Tyranny from A to Z

“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility.” — Professor Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Discourse in the Age of Show Business

While America continues to fixate on the drama-filled reality show scripted by the powers-that-be, directed from the nation’s capital, and played out in high definition across the country, the American Police State has moved steadily forward.

Nothing has changed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a convenient, traumatic, devastating distraction.

The American people, the permanent underclass in America, have allowed themselves to be so distracted and divided that they have failed to notice the building blocks of tyranny being laid down right under their noses by the architects of the Deep State.

Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton: they have all been complicit in carrying out the Deep State’s agenda. Unless something changes to restore the balance of power, the next president—the new boss—will be the same as the old boss.

Frankly, it really doesn’t matter what you call the old/new boss—the Deep State, the Controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the corporate elite, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—so long as you understand that no matter who occupies the White House, it is a profit-driven, an unelected bureaucracy that is actually calling the shots.

If our losses are mounting with every passing day—and they are—it is a calculated siege intended to ensure our defeat at the hands of a totalitarian regime.

Free speech, the right to protest, the right to challenge government wrongdoing, due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to self-defense, accountability and transparency in government, privacy, media, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government: all of these and more are casualties in the government’s war on the American people.

Set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized federal police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches, and the like—all of which have been sanctioned by Congress, the White House and the courts—our constitutional freedoms are being steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded.

As a result, the American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored, silenced, shot at, locked up, and denied due process.

None of these dangers have dissipated in any way.

They have merely disappeared from our televised news streams.

It’s time to get educated on what’s really going on. Thus, in the interest of liberty and truth, here’s an A-to-Z primer that spells out the grim realities of life in the American Police State that no one seems to be talking about anymore.

A is for the AMERICAN POLICE STATE. A police state “is characterized by bureaucracy, secrecy, perpetual wars, a nation of suspects, militarization, surveillance, widespread police presence, and a citizenry with little recourse against police actions.”

B is for our battered BILL OF RIGHTS. In the militarized police culture that is America today, where you can be kicked, punched, tasered, shot, intimidated, harassed, stripped, searched, brutalized, terrorized, wrongfully arrested, and even killed by a police officer, and that officer is rarely held accountable for violating your rights, the Bill of Rights doesn’t amount to much.

C is for CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE. This governmental scheme to deprive Americans of their liberties—namely, the right to property—is being carried out under the guise of civil asset forfeiture, a government practice wherein government agents (usually the police and now TSA agents) seize private property they “suspect” may be connected to criminal activity. Then, whether or not any crime is actually proven to have taken place, the government keeps the citizen’s property and it’s virtually impossible to get it back.

D is for DRONES. It was estimated that at least 30,000 drones would be airborne in American airspace by 2020, part of an $80 billion industry. Although some drones will be used for benevolent purposes, many will also be equipped with lasers, tasers and scanning devices, among other weapons—all aimed at “we the people.”

E is for EMERGENCY STATE. From 9/11 to COVID-19, we have been the subjected to an “emergency state” that justifies all manner of government tyranny and power grabs in the so-called name of national security. The government’s ongoing attempts to declare so-called national emergencies in order to circumvent the Constitution’s system of checks and balances constitutes yet another expansion of presidential power that exposes the nation to further constitutional peril.

F is for FASCISM. A study conducted by Princeton and Northwestern University concluded that the U.S. government does not represent the majority of American citizens. Instead, the study found that the government is ruled by the rich and powerful, or the so-called “economic elite.” Moreover, the researchers concluded that policies enacted by this governmental elite nearly always favor special interests and lobbying groups. In other words, we are being ruled by an oligarchy disguised as a democracy, and arguably on our way towards fascism—a form of government where private corporate interests rule, money calls the shots, and the people are seen as mere economic units or databits.

G is for GRENADE LAUNCHERS and GLOBAL POLICE. The federal government has distributed more than $18 billion worth of battlefield-appropriate military weapons, vehicles and equipment such as drones, tanks, and grenade launchers to domestic police departments across the country. As a result, most small-town police forces now have enough firepower to render any citizen resistance futile. Now take those small-town police forces, train them to look and act like the military, and then enlist them to be part of the United Nations’ Strong Cities Network program, and you not only have a standing army that operates beyond the reach of the Constitution but one that is part of a global police force.

H is for HOLLOW-POINT BULLETS. The government’s efforts to militarize and weaponize its agencies and employees is reaching epic proportions, with federal agencies as varied as the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration stockpiling millions of lethal hollow-point bullets, which violate international law. Ironically, while the government continues to push for stricter gun laws for the general populace, the U.S. military’s arsenal of weapons makes the average American’s handgun look like a Tinker Toy.

I is for the INTERNET OF THINGS, in which internet-connected “things” monitor your home, your health and your habits in order to keep your pantry stocked, your utilities regulated and your life under control and relatively worry-free. The key word here, however, is control. This “connected” industry propels us closer to a future where police agencies apprehend virtually anyone if the government “thinks” they may commit a crime, driverless cars populate the highways, and a person’s biometrics are constantly scanned and used to track their movements, target them for advertising, and keep them under perpetual surveillance…(continues)

Click here to continue reading at the Rutherford Institute.

The Survival Mom: TEOTWAWKI has finally arrived

The Survival Mom talks about some societal and cultural changes resulting from the pandemic in TEOTWAWKI has finally arrived.

This past spring while America was busy shopping for toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and panicking at their shortages, TEOTWAWKI happened.

The End Of The World As We Know It arrived. It slipped right past us while we were all distracted, but make no mistake. We are unlikely as a country and a world to ever go back to “normal”. We aren’t going to turn a corner at some point and magically, it will be as though the pandemic never happened.

Who knew, back in January and February of 2020, that the coronavirus pandemic would be the TEOTWAWKI event that changed our world?

There has been an upheaval in virtually every aspect of our lives. New divisions now exist between people that didn’t exist in the “before time”. Authorities, both elected and unelected, have expanded their powers. Data has been skewed, misrepresented, and at times, falsified in order to maintain an official narrative, and in the meantime, a near-panic-level fear has drilled its way deep into the hearts and minds of millions.

We went from “slow the spread,” “wash your hands for at least 20 seconds,” to now, altering everything about our lifestyles as we wait for a vaccine, which may or may not ever come.

However, it turns out that this TEOTWAWKI event isn’t wholly negative and full of doom as many of us once believed.

Some commentators, James Altucher for one, have called the virus, “The great reset”, meaning that society has a chance to re-imagine and re-create something better than what existed before. Mike Cernovich described it as an “accelerator” – The pandemic has accelerated events that would have eventually happened but are now occurring within weeks rather than months or years.

Our public school system, medical treatment and consultation, family relationships, and businesses are just a few things that are being reset and accelerated.

Public education and TEOTWAWKI

Public education will never be the same. As we speak, thousands, maybe millions of parents across the country are taking control of their children’s education and are seeking to hire teachers and tutors directly.

Image: parent message to find teacher

Nebraska’s homeschool filings are up 21% from the same time last year, and in social media, parents are clamoring to find other like-minded families to create “homeschooling pods”. Here’s a quote from a now-viral Facebook post:

“If you are not a parent/in a mom’s group, you may not be aware that a kind of historic thing is going on right now.

This week there has been a tipping point in Bay Area families looking to form homeschooling pods. Or maybe “boiling point” might be a better term… Essentially, within the span of the last 48 hours or so, thousands of parents are scrambling through an absolute explosion of facebook groups, matchups, spreadsheets, etc. to form homeschooling pods.”

She adds, “This is maybe the fastest and most intense PURELY GRASSROOTS economic hard pivot I’ve seen.”

Parents are learning about micro-schools and diving into homeschooling, even as teacher unions are making demands that might have made sense back in January but are now completely untethered to this new reality. A reality where millions of students and parents discovered the variety of options available and are continuing down that alternative path.

Yes, for public education, TEOTWAWKI is the new reality — the end of public education as we once knew it. There’s no putting the traditional public educational genie back in the bottle, ever.

TEOTWAWKI and the family — surprising results

Another positive result has been during the quarantine weeks, families discovered they quite like being at home together. A friend of mine living in Brooklyn was astonished by how well his family, including two teenagers, are getting along in their apartment, with only a nearby park available for outings and fresh air.

I read this quote from a mom who said, “It’s going to be very difficult to get back to normal because for the last eight weeks we’ve been having dinner together as a family, every single night. And for the previous 10 years, we never did that.”

Many families are facing dramatic financial hardships. I don’t want to minimize that, but at the same time, spending more time together and not less has resulted in, for many, strengthened family ties…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at The Survival Mom.

Survivopedia: Are We Looking At The Wrong Numbers?

Bill White at Survivopedia writes about some of the numbers that aren’t being talked about much related to the current coronavirus pandemic – people with permanent damage who didn’t die – Are We Looking At The Wrong Numbers?

As the second wave of COVID-19 continues sweeping the nation, it is becoming even more politically polarized than ever before.

This is sad to me, that we can’t unite over something that is really not a partisan issue but is affecting us all. Our focus, all of us, should be on doing what is best for the people of our county; and that includes both protecting their health and protecting their ability to provide for their needs, financially speaking. The two are not mutually exclusive.

But that’s not what’s happening. Those on the political left are trying to use the pandemic to make Trump and Republican governors look bad, focusing on the rise in cases, as we wade through the second surge. It doesn’t matter that this second surge was part of the plan all along, as the original lockdowns were just about flattening the curve, in their narrative, the surge has to be because of some grave error in judgment on the part of their political enemies.

Then we’ve got the political right, many of whom are focusing on how the left-leaning media is overreacting and overstating the danger of the current situation. Sadly, they aren’t serving us any better, when they’re saying that we shouldn’t have to be wearing masks. Yes, I understand their position that the government is infringing on our liberty, but at the same time, I’ve got to say that there’s enough evidence that masks help save lives, that it makes sense to do so.

The argument that’s being used is that only one percent of the people die of COVID-19. But just what do they mean by “one percent?” If they’re talking 1% of the people who come down with it, the numbers don’t jive. We’ve had 4,170,000 people come down with the disease and 147,342 deaths as of this writing. That works out to 3.53% of total cases ending up in death.

But we need to realize that 3.53% is a low number. Even if nobody else comes down with the disease, some of the 2,042,559 active cases will result in death. We just don’t know how many. If we divide the number of people who have died by the total number of closed cases, we get 6.9%. That’s probably too high. When all is said and done, the death toll will probably end up being somewhere between those two percentages; we just don’t know where.

On the other hand, if they’re talking about one percent of the total population dying from COVID-19, then we’re talking 3.31 million people. Since we have no idea of how many total people are going to come down with the disease, that number is not outside the realm of possibility. I personally don’t think it will get that bad, but I can’t discount the possibility…

o start with, for every person who dies of COVID-19, there are 19 others who require hospitalization. That’s a hard number, which can be substantiated by hospital records. So the 147,342 people who have died become 2.8 million who have been hospitalized. Unfortunately, I can’t find any data to substantiate that; as everyone is reporting hospitalizations on a weekly basis, not a cumulative total; and I can’t just add those up, because we don’t know how long any of those people have been in the hospital.

So let’s use that 2.8 million number for now. Supposedly for every person who dies of COVID-19:

  • 18 people will have to live with permanent heart damage
  • 10 people will have to live with permanent lung damage
  • 3 people will end up having strokes
  • 2 people will have to live with chronic weakness and loss of coordination due to neurological damage
  • 2 people will have to live with a loss of cognitive function due to neurological damage

Granted, I’m sure these numbers are preliminary and they will be modified in the future, as our medical community gains more information. But we’re talking about the potential for all of those 2.8 million people having to live with some sort of permanent or semi-permanent disability. And that number is only going to go up, as we’re nowhere near the end of this pandemic if an end actually even exists.

If we take the viewpoint that one percent of the population is going to die of COVID-19, as some are saying, then we’re looking at a total of:

  • 3,311,000 dead
  • 59,598,000 with permanent heart damage
  • 33,110,000 with permanent lung damage
  • 9,933,000 who have strokes
  • 6,622,000 with permanent weakness and lack of coordination
  • 6,622,000 with permanent loss of cognitive function

Obviously, we can’t afford that as a nation. While I’m sure that there will be a considerable amount of overlap, with people having more than one of those symptoms, that just means that those who do have long-term effects will be in that much worse shape. And before you say it will just be old people, I know people in their 20s who have come down with COVID and are still battling these sorts of long-term symptoms two to three months later.

When I say we can’t afford that, I’m referring to the loss in our labor force. While a large percentage of the people who have serious problems with COVID-19 and die are elderly people with underlying health problems, more and more younger people are having serious problems with the disease. Are those young people going to become disabled and end up needing public assistance their whole lives? (continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Survivopedia.

Organic Prepper: What It’s Really Like to Work in a COVID Ward

Chuck Hudson, a friend of Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper, who works at Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Roper Hospital in South Carolina takes time to write about what it is like to work in a COVID ward there. Because some people still believe that COVID-19 is entirely a hoax without any patients or full hospitals, Daisy had to preface with the article with her statement about Chuck being a personal friend of hers, so that people don’t think it’s some kind of planted fake story.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by a personal friend of mine. This isn’t some stranger who wrote to me to share some story that may or may not be true. This is a man I’ve known for years who has dedicated his entire career to caring for the health of others. In this essay, he shares an average day in the COVID ward of the hospital where he works. ~ Daisy

COVID virus has turned the world upside down. From the economy of the planet to pitting neighbor against neighbor and friend against friend. Never mind the violence destroying our cities. We are all dealing with this virus with totally unbelievable numbers, huge numbers of infected people, and a rising death toll.

Yet, I look out my living room window and see green grass, flowers blooming and some kids down the street playing basketball.

And then, I go to work.

The area where our day patients come in is called 2HVT. All 14 rooms of 2HVT are now negative pressure rooms. (Also called isolation rooms, negative pressure rooms help prevent airborne diseases from escaping the room and infecting others.) All the rooms of the old Cardiac ICU, which is attached to our cath lab by a short hall, are now negative pressure rooms. 4 South on the 4th floor is now a COVID unit. 6 south, an old Ortho ward, and 5 South have been converted as well. All these conversions are in the downtown hospital alone. All patient areas of the 3, newer hospitals in the system have been converted to handle COVID patients.

Watching the news here in my new home state of South Carolina, no matter the station, it is the same thing: doom and gloom. More and more infected people from testing, talking heads pointing the finger of blame, and numbers being sensationalized. After all, “If it bleeds it leads.” It’s gotten so bad that I turn on the news just long enough to catch the weather and traffic for the morning drive from Summerville to Charleston.

But enough of that. Let me tell you what it is really like in the COVID step-down unit. This unit is for people not sick enough to need high flow O2 or intubation, yet too sick to go to a “regular” floor. (Like there is a regular COVID floor!) As with any floor, the “permanent “ nurses and techs get morning reports from their night shift counterparts. After getting the reports we start our rounds with the patients.

Wait…no, we don’t just walk into a COVID room.

It takes about 3-5 minutes to gear up before entering a room.

Step 1 put on a set of gloves.

Step 2 Put on impermeable gown.

Step 3 Put on N95 mask.

Step 4 Put on face shield. ( We 3D print the frames for these. And use pieces of acetate we get from Staples. )

Step 6 Put on 2nd set of gloves.

Step 7 Triple check that everything is sealed and in order.

Now…we can go in the room.

We try to allow only 1 person at a time in the room, unless something demands that 2 people are needed. The nurse or tech who goes in the room does not leave the room until they have completed all tasks. If the nurse or techs needs something this is where I come in. If I am not assigned a patient, I run and get things. We are runners. We run and get whatever is needed.

What about emergencies?

Same procedure.

We have Mayday bags stapled to the wall in front of each room. Each of these Mayday bags contains the following:

  • 2 N95’s: small and regular
  • “Bunny Suit”
  • Face shield (We 3D print face shields in-house)
  • 6 pairs of separately bagged gloves (sm, med, lg)
  • Bouffant hat

All of this must be put on prior to entering a room. It is mandatory. Even if the patient is dying.

Very little is talked about…so much to tell.

Even the little things that the patients and the staff endure take a huge toll on us.

A majority of our patients have lost their sense of taste and smell. Some can only sense texture and temperature. This makes it difficult and frustrating for our patients and staff. The food delivered to our COVID patients is left at the “Airlock”. In normal rooms, insulated containers can be used for the food, keeping it hot. However, food in the COVID areas must be served using only paper plates, paper cups, paper serving trays and plastic ware. We have to use a microwave to heat the food just before it goes in the room.

In normal rooms a tech, nurse or CNA brings the food to the patients. In our world, only the assigned nurse or tech brings the food. And it may be a LONG wait due to having to microwave the food just prior to going in. We have to coordinate routine care to keep the number of times a room is entered to a minimum. (I have become an expert at microwaving paper plates of hospital grade food!)

One thing the virus does that many people outside of the medical field don’t know is it interferes with the blood clotting cascade. Believe you me, as a former Medical Lab Tech (MLT) I would LOVE to go over in mind-numbing detail the 12 steps of clotting. The intrinsic and extrinsic pathway that lead to a fibrin strand…”OUCH!” (My wife just tossed a crafts magazine at me. I started describing the steps. In detail.)

So, in addition to damaging the lungs, COVID can cause deep vein thrombosis. It also causes DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation.) Post mortem exams have revealed up to 30% of early COVID patients had elevated D-Dimer, C-reactive protein and lactate dehydrogenase. All markers for clotting system problems, which has led to death by stroke, even in young people.

Some patients are in denial until the last moment.

Recently, I was helping to discharge a fairly young patient, about the mid to late 40s. As I was getting his history and gathering information on his experience, I asked how he ended up in ICU and then in my area.

He told me he thought he had a summer cold. He thought the whole virus was a hoax and refused to wear a mask. When his wife brought him in he thought it was a bad cold AND an ulcer. He complained of stomach pain, severe diarrhea, and shortness of breath. He was admitted to our COVID floor, still in denial. What he had believed was a stuffed up nose was actually him losing his sense of smell. Then he crashed.

The anesthesiologist did what is called rapid sequence intubation. The patient is given sedative and paralytic drugs. That’s it. Once they are intubated, they are put out.

He told me when they jerked his head back and he saw that the young doctor looking scared though his protective gear he knew then it wasn’t a hoax.

Good news: we ARE saving more than we lose.

Here in Charleston where I work, our average patient stay is 4 days. If they go to the ICU their stay is about double that. In the last 3 weeks we have dropped from 44% to 31% of our inpatients being in for COVID. Our percentage of positive COVID tests is at about 21%. We test EVERY PATIENT that comes in the hospital.

We have a game plan:

  • Remdesivir
  • Lovanox
  • Plasma antibodies from COVID survivors
  • Intervene and intubate
  • ECMO: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (to treat some patients)

We have a long way to go. We still have shortages of protective gear, but we improvise, adapt and overcome. Up to 170 or so of our teammates, young and not so young,  have been out with COVID. Some ended up in the ICU. Our hospital is finding ways to use senior management. A large group of nurses that haven’t been bedside in years are filling in as runners, housekeepers, and patient transport.

This is part of a corporate email from this past week. (Patient sensitive information has been removed.)

Roper St. Francis Healthcare has tested and confirmed that 46 more patients since Tuesday have COVID-19, bringing our total to 3,806 since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Once each week, we will provide additional information about our testing and which segments of the population are most affected by the virus.

In the past seven days, 19 percent of our 3,014 COVID-19 tests have been positive, which is down from our 22 percent positive rate during the past 14 days. Our overall positive rate since we started COVID-19 testing is 15 percent. We have 949 tests pending.

Of those testing positive in the past seven days,

– 19 percent are under 29 years old

– 15 percent are 30-39 years old

– 12 percent are 40-49 years old

– 17 percent are 50-59 years old

– 16 percent are 60-69 years old

– 20 percent are over 70 years old

Thirty four percent of those patients have been white, 44 percent have been Black, 5 percent have been Latino and 16 percent have been other.

The areas where we’ve seen the largest number of new cases are North Charleston, Charleston and Summerville.

There have been 3,882,167 cases nationally with a total of 141,677 deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. South Carolina has had 73,101 confirmed cases and 1,203 deaths.

Hero’s? Nah…We signed up for this because we wanted to help.

I’m not going to berate, belittle, or bully anyone over their choice when it comes to personal protective equipment. I am going to ask that you be careful. You do not want someone like me or my old Ranger bud Johnny doing CPR on you. You will end up with damaged ribs.

I’m pretty blessed to be working at Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Roper Hospital. We show up to work each day to care for our patients, and we go home to rest up a little before doing it again the next day. Some of us, myself included, don’t care much for the term “hero”. It is MY job to take care of YOU if you end up in OUR hospital. It is YOUR job to stay healthy, be careful, and be smart about this virus.

Face Masks

There are have been a lot of untruths about face masks circulating in the US during this pandemic from both the government and the public. One of the earliest lies came from the Surgeon General in an attempt to save the limited face mask supply for the sole use of health care providers:

Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!

Two months later, an article in The New England Journal of Medicine would repeat this falsehood:

We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection…the potential benefits of universal masking need to be balanced against the future risk of running out of masks and thereby exposing clinicians to the much greater risk of caring for symptomatic patients without a mask…

Both of these statements were obviously meant to cover for a lack of preparedness by both government and private healthcare for a large scale pandemic and resulting lacking of masks for everyone. They sought to soothe the uneducated public with the idea that they had nothing to fear while preserving scarce mask resources for front line health providers, knowing that masks would protect them. These ill-advised statements have come back to bite those who would try to limit the pandemic spread as many point back to these statements among others to counter government calls and mandates for universal mask wearing (whether such mandates are legal or not is beside the point). Of course, face masks are not 100% effective! No one is saying that they are. Can they install a false sense of security? Yes, they can. Properly worn masks should be coupled with other effective measures as a defense in depth against infection.

Masks become less effective when they are worn or handled improperly – of course. And the issue is further complicated by the type of mask worn. N95 or N99 masks are much more effective at protecting the wearer of the mask than a simple surgical mask which is designed more to protect other people from you — though the surgical mask will still offer a little protection to the wearer. These complications are what lead voices in the government and the media to recommend not wearing masks. “It’s too complicated for the average citizen,” is what they think. You can prove them wrong with a little effort.

How to properly put on and take off a face mask:

The US tends to ignore research done in foreign languages, but research about mask wearing and its effectiveness have been performed, and the positive results known, for years. The Lancet recently published an article that surveyed some of these studies, showing the effectiveness of wearing face masks – Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis

The use of face masks was protective for both health-care workers and people in the community exposed to infection…Our unadjusted analyses might, at first impression, suggest use of face masks in the community setting to be less effective than in the health-care setting, but …we did not detect any striking differences in effectiveness of face mask use between settings…

The chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital says that these studies show “wearing masks decreases the risk by 65 percent.”

The above sums up some of the science of mask wearing in order to prevent the spread of contagious disease. Given the contradictory, illogical, and often untrue statements previously made by officials, it is understandable that people are distrustful of recent mandatory mask statements. On top of that, there is the genuine question of government authority to make such mandates. For a very vocal portion of the liberty movement, they have decided not to even try to sort out the science of mask wearing, and instead stake their lives on their believed right to infect whomever they please. However, just because a government official may not have any authority to tell you to do or not do something, that doesn’t mean that whatever they are telling you is a bad idea. So, in case science does not sway you, here are some voices from within the prepper/liberty/tactical communities, talking about mask wearing.

John Mosby/Mountain Guerrilla:

…What is interesting to me is how viciously partisan a medical issue has become. Of course, like I said last week, it’s not surprising. We live in a time in the imperial cycle when you can’t have a conversation about the weather without it turning into a political hot potato. That is what it is.

Our state recently finally got a masks in public mandate. Now, I get it, when the government tells people to do something, they don’t want to do it. I GET it. F… the government. I agree with that. I’m still wearing a mask, because I’ve been wearing a mask since before the government suggested it. I was wearing a mask in public when the government was still telling you that masks were pointless.

I had to go to the feed store the other day. As I was walking in, I stopped outside the front door to pull my mask on. An older farmer was walking out. He saw me adjusting the mask, and snarled, “You don’t have to wear that damned thing!”

“Mister, I don’t have to do a goddamned thing.” I replied. Admittedly, I was already kind of pissy, and his attitude didn’t help mine, at all.

“Well, why are you wearing it then!?”

“I’ve been wearing a mask since January—before you’d even heard of COVID-19, because I’m not a f’ing douchebag. I’ll keep wearing my mask.”

That old man stopped and looked me up and down, TWICE. I swear, you could see the gears turning, as he debated taking a swing at me!

Now, my response probably could have been less aggressive, but…

“I’m not wearing a mask, and I don’t care if the governor and the police tell me I have to!”

“F- those BLM and Antifa protesters. If they’d just do what the police tell them, they wouldn’t get shot!”

Breaking the law—and to be clear, I don’t actually have a problem with people breaking the law. For the most part, I encourage it, in many cases—is always a matter of scale and moral values. YOU may see violating the law—a city ordinance or a state ordinance—about wearing a mask as a statement about your individual rights, just like another person sees his ability to protest against what he perceives, rightly or wrongly, to be injustice, as his individual rights. You’re made because you’re being told to wear a mask. He’s mad because he’s being told WHERE he can protest (and, under the Obama administration, remember, there was a LOT of bitching about “1st Amendment Zones” from The Right).

(And before anybody gets all — about it, obviously I recognize the difference between an act of civil disobedience and a malum in se criminal violation that is violent…although I’d also point out that not following medical advice regarding the containment of a pathogen, during a pandemic COULD be interpreted, pretty easily, as a violent act…)

If you don’t want to wear a mask? I don’t give a s#@!. Don’t wear a mask. I’m not going to call the police on you, and I’m not going to get in your face, and go all Karen on you, telling you how you should be wearing a mask. I really don’t give a s#@!. MY family is wearing n95 masks, instead of just cotton masks, because we recognize that, while a cotton mask WILL help slow the spread of pathogen, if some huge f’ing percentage of people are unwilling to participate, then we need to focus on our welfare, so we can further decrease the chances of US catching the disease, by wearing a mask with better protective value.

Am I going to judge you for not wearing a mask in public? Of course I am. I believe that self-sacrifice for the good of the community is the foundation of civic virtue, and—like the Founding Fathers—I believe without civic virtue, there are no rights. Thomas Jefferson famously wrote a letter to a congregation of Baptists at Danbury, CT once. It’s often quoted, in part, but people overlook one part of the letter:

Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced HE HAS NO NATURAL RIGHTS IN OPPOSITION TO HIS SOCIAL DUTIES.” (emphasis added).

This is the part that everybody likes to ignore, as they complain about infringements on their “rights.” People—on both sides of the supposed aisle—want to claim that the Founders were all about liberty, which is not untrue. What they overlook however—or intentionally ignore—is the fact that every single one of them, not just Mr. Jefferson, believed, as Mr. Jefferson stated above, if you don’t fulfill your social/civic obligations, you don’t HAVE any claim to “rights.” That’s because, while they did believe in “natural” rights, they also believed that man is “naturally” a social creature, and those rights evolve from his position within a society.

So, yeah, I’m going to judge the f!@# out of you. You know what? Who cares? You don’t know me. Most of you wouldn’t know me from Adam, if you saw me on the street. Why do you care if I judge you? Maybe, when people are getting angry about being “judged” for moral transgressions (and failures in civic obligation ARE a moral transgression, however you define civic obligations), it’s not because strangers are judging them, but because they are judging themselves, and realize they are falling short. I know I’m always my own harshest critic, even if others don’t always recognize that fact.

What I’m not going to do? I’m not going to tell you you’re a piece of s#@! for not wearing a mask. I don’t need to…

Aesop of Raconteur Report (also a healthcare provider, treating COVID patients in CA):

CA gov. Gabbin’ Nuisance re-closed 30+ counties yesterday, all because of the morons that think wearing a mask is the Mark Of The Beast, and washing your hands is communism.

He was writing about wearing PPE (masks and gloves) back in April:

…people should be required to wear and use properly appropriate PPE, like masks and gloves, and given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own protection, and get out and about. I’ve taken care of 1-2 dozen Kung Flu patients already, at close range, using nothing more complicated than that. It works, and if I can do it, you darned sure can, if you have access to enough of the PPE to do it…

Aesop also commented himself on the NEJM article linked above back in May:

As a couple of posters have already referenced it, we’ll fisk this metric f**kton of bullsh…, er, rose fertilizer, originally posted in the NEJM a couple of months back, and unaccountably burped back up (or more likely, shat out) again this week.

1) That’s not a “study”. As it’s conspicuously labeled “Perspectives”, it’s sheer OPINION.
And we all know what opinions are like (and in this instance, for exactly the same reasons).
In this case, by an over-educated and under-bright pack of bumbling baboons.

2) The authors are clearly axe-grinding jackholes, their entire thesis is unsupported patent horseshit, and the purpose of wearing cloth/surgical masks (which is what 99.999% of people have on) is always to protect others from you, not to protect you from others, and anyone who doesn’t know that is not only a jackhole, they’re too stupid to be writing papers anywhere.

At their intended purpose, such masks excel, as they have for 150 years or so since they were pioneered for maintaining asepsis in surgery.

3) For bonus points, the Five Blind Mice who authored that codswallop have about 45 years of post-secondary education between them, and yet none of them noticed they contradicted themselves a couple of paragraphs after that corker:

…fundamental infection-control measures.

Such measures include vigorous screening of all patients coming to a facility for symptoms of Covid-19 and immediately getting them masked and into a room;”

IOW, fundamental infection control is masking people to curb the spread of cough and sneeze droplets, the exact method of transmitting Kung Flu against which face masks excel.

Some people tell me I can’t fix stupid; I say I can, if you’ll let me use a big enough hammer.
Those five degreed jackasses should be horsewhipped until the whites of their bones show, and then be dipped to the neck into a vat of rubbing alcohol. Daily. For a month.

4) Don’t get fooled by something just because it’s posted by NEJM…

Chris Martensen of Peak Prosperity has been talking about the effectiveness of mask wearing since March:

COVID-19 is still a new disease. Currently, doctors and scientists are still figuring out how it works in the body and how to treat it. It will be a part of our lives in the future just like any other disease.  Some people ask “Are you going to wear a mask for the rest of your life?” No. I won’t. But I will wear it until the disease is better understood, and there is a best practice for treating it other than putting the patient on a ventilator and waiting for them to die or there is some prophylaxis against it.

Even if you for some reason believe that COVID is no worse than the flu, as a prepper I hope that you have used this time to practice wearing a mask and for figuring out how many masks and other PPE you will need when a serious outbreak does hit. For example, I’ve learned around the head elastic banded masks don’t work well for me because of my huge melon head; the bands tend to break easily while donning the mask. I’ve found velcro masks work much better and are more easily donned and removed with less risk of touching contaminated surface. I’ve learned that you need a great deal more numbers of disposable PPE than I had expected previously. But if you’re not taking this disease seriously, then you probably won’t take the next seriously, either, so maybe it’s something that you don’t need to worry about in your preps.

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.

 

 

The Organic Prepper: The Second Wave

Toby Cowern at The Organic Prepper discusses the second pandemic wave and some things that you should be thinking of in order to be prepared in The Second Wave: Regardless of What You Think About the Virus, Things Are About to Change

…Regardless of your personal opinion about the virus, things will change for everyone with the second wave.

First, there’s GOING to be a second wave.

Firstly, we need to accept there is going to be a second viral wave. That is inevitable. That is absolutely inevitable. Now, regardless of your feelings on how bad the pandemic is, how lethal the virus is, what you think of the statistics, or the reporting, etc. I am not going to say that’s irrelevant, but I am going to say that it doesn’t undermine is the fact there’s going to be a second wave. Secondly, for any virus that spreads in the general population spread, there is always a risk of mutations, so just because we could say it hasn’t potentially been “that bad” until now, doesn’t mean that’s the status quo, and it’s going to stay the same.

So let’s first acknowledge those two things.

Now, here’s what’s important about that. Looking at historical trend analysis, which is fairly substantive, the second wave is always going to be worse than the first, not only in infection and fatality numbers but also in overall impact. And why is that? The fact is, the number spike will largely be due to people’s actions as they come out of the lockdown of wave one.

We’re already seeing that:

  • people are (understandably) demonstrating their frustration and venting their concerns
  • gathering in large groups
  • not following certain advice to minimize the potential infection spread

That’s happening and it’s happening worldwide. It is not exclusive to any country. Many, many countries are suffering from this same problem. This isn’t speculative. You can all see this occurring with your own eyes. So these actions are going to be reflected in wave two infection numbers.

For those countries already into the second wave, you can see that wave one is being dwarfed. For those that are not into the wave two yet, don’t worry, unfortunately, you’ll catch up in time.

Government measures

Now, the control measures that the government will try to utilize for wave two will initially be the same actions as wave one, but they just won’t be as readily accepted by the vast majority of the population that came through wave one. People are tired, they are frustrated and angry, and they are scared, largely due to exceptionally irresponsible media action.

So now it gets a bit more ‘wild west’ as the policy for wave two tries to replicate the policy for wave one, but the general populace is not as inclined to comply as it previously was.

That will vary from region to region and country to country as to how vehemently these measures will be pushed back against. The other thing to consider is that people have now had far longer and got far more information to make up their mind on how they feel about certain things. People went into wave one really in the dark. They were able to look at the historical pandemic examples, but not much more. Now, people have read up and formed their own opinion, and begun to crystallize their own thought processes AND will act (or refuse to act) accordingly.

The supply chain

All the problems that occurred in wave one will reoccur in wave two, possibly with more consequences and/or potentially with a deeper meaning. Let’s start with the supply line.

The weakening of the supply lines that has occurred, the lack of certain products, the panic buying, the herd mentality – that’s all still there, and large parts still ‘unsolved’ and it’s going to happen again, it’s inevitable. Things are not “going back to normal.”

I hate to say it, but people in packs, follow very set scripts. They are very predictable in their behavior. That is why we can make statements such as these with good authority. And as much as the suppliers are trying to assure us wave one was ‘well managed’ and ‘not that bad’, reports from various places are showing the contradiction that there was, is, and WILL BE impact on the supply line.

Financial problems

Now, there’s a twofold solution to these problems we are highlighting. One is just to keep preparing to always be prepared, keep chipping away, bit by bit, keep making your purchases, keep your stocks up.

But unfortunately, a lot of people got massive economic hits in wave one. So many are likely limited in their financial ability prepare via purchase. That we fully understand and sympathize with.

Things are going to be different for most of us.

Managing expectations

That brings us to the next point, and I would apply this across the board, regardless of your current situation, is you need to start managing your own and your immediate family’s expectations. You need to start thinking in terms of this:

As supplies dwindle and prices increase, we need to eat more simply, to accept things as they are. We might have to eat less meat, or in fact, we might just have to eat less food.”

Period.

Now this is very challenging because you will still naturally want to push back to get that “normalcy.” You’ll think, “Why should I have to *insert selected discomfort here*?”

Unfortunately, far too many people in the preppersphere were preparing on the basis of:

My lifestyle is never going to be interrupted no matter what.”

When we’re into a long-term scenario, such as this pandemic, there are going to be uncomfortable impacts for everybody.

There will be a point when you will start to feel the impact after you’ve gone as far as you can in your familiar lifestyle and kept to your original standards for as long as possible. If we are being honest, many of you are already at this point.

As much as you can adjust your mental attitude early and acknowledge and start to accept that the impact is happening, or coming, and will worsen, it positions you to be far more resilient further into this pandemic. Because that, folks, is where we are.

We are a LONG way from the end of this.

We can’t relax our preparations.

I’ve been having a number of very interesting online conversations lately, and the phrase that keeps re-occurring is that we’ve been given a “slow-burning virus.” In this modern, insanely paced world, it seems that everybody wanted to have a simple, quick ‘zombie apocalypse’, and in two weeks, it’s all over. Then we kind that we go from there, rebuild, and move on…(continues)

Mises Institute: The State – The Deadliest Virus

Professor Jesús Huerta de Soto, a Spanish economist, writes this piece for the Mises Institute about government tyrannies in Spain, but most of them could just as easily be applied to the US government — The State: The Deadliest Virus.

The deadliest virus is the institutionalized coercion which lies in the very DNA of the state and may even initially permit a government to deny the outbreak of a pandemic. Evidence has been suppressed, and heroic scientists and doctors have been harassed and silenced simply because they were the first to realize and expose the gravity of the problem. As a result, weeks and months have been lost, at an enormous cost: hundreds of thousands of people have died due to the worldwide spread of an epidemic which, in the beginning, the shamefully manipulated official statistics made appear less dangerous than it actually was.

The deadliest virus is the existence of cumbersome bureaucracies and supranational organizations, which did not manage or wish to monitor in situ the reality of the situation, but instead endorsed the information received, while offering constant support and even praising—and thus becoming accessories to—all the coercive policies and measures adopted.

The deadliest virus is the notion that the state can guarantee our public health and universal welfare, when economic science has demonstrated the theoretical impossibility of the central planner’s giving a coherent and coordinating quality to the coercive commands it issues in its attempt to achieve its pompous objectives. This impossibility is due to the huge volume of information and knowledge which such a task would require and which the planning agency lacks. It is also, and primarily, due to the fact that the institutional coercion typical of the agency impacts the social body of human beings, who alone are capable of coordinating themselves (and do so spontaneously) and creating wealth. Such coercion prevents the emergence of precisely the firsthand knowledge the state needs to bring about coordination with its commands. This theorem is known as the impossibility of economic calculation under socialism. Mises and Hayek discovered the theorem in the 1920s, and the events of world history cannot be understood without it.

The deadliest virus is the dependency and complicity shown toward the state by countless scientists, experts, and intellectuals. When authorities are drunk with power, this symbiosis leaves a manipulated civil society unarmed and defenseless. For instance, the Spanish government itself urged citizens to take part in mass demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of people while the virus was already spreading exponentially. Then, just four days later, the decision was announced to declare a state of alarm and coercively confine the entire population to their homes.

The deadliest virus is the demonization of private initiative and of the agile and efficient self-regulation characteristic of it, combined with the deification of the public sector in every area: the family, education, pensions, employment, the financial sector, and the healthcare system (a particularly relevant point at present). Over 12 million Spanish people, including—quite significantly—almost 90 percent of the more than 2 million government employees (and among them a vice president of the Spanish government), have freely chosen private healthcare over public healthcare. The doctors and nurses of the public healthcare system work hard and selflessly, and their heroic efforts are never sufficiently recognized. However, the system cannot possibly do away with its internal contradictions, its waiting lists, or its proven incompetence in the matters of universal prevention and the protection of its own workers. But, by a double standard, any minor defect in the private sector is always immediately condemned, while far more serious and flagrant defects in the public sector are viewed as definitive proof of a need to spend more money and increase the size of the public sector even further.

The deadliest virus is the political propaganda channeled through state-owned media and also through private media outlets which, nonetheless, are dependent on the state as if it were a drug. As Goebbels taught, lies repeated often enough to the population can be turned into official truths. Here are a few: that the Spanish public healthcare system is the best in the world; that public spending has continued to decrease since the last crisis; that taxes are to be paid by “the rich” and they are not paying their fair share; that the minimum wage is not detrimental to employment; that maximum prices do not cause shortages; that a universal minimum income is the panacea of well-being; that the northern European countries are selfish and unsupportive, because they do not wish to mutualize the debt; that the number of deaths officially reported reflects the actual number of deaths; that only a few hundred thousand people have been infected; that we are performing more than enough tests; that face masks are unnecessary, etc. Any moderately diligent citizen can easily verify that these are all lies.

The deadliest virus is the corrupt use of political terminology involving misleading metaphors to mesmerize the population and make people even more submissive and dependent on the state. We are told that we are fighting a “war,” and that once we win, we will need to begin the “reconstruction.” But we are not at war, nor is it necessary to reconstruct anything. Fortunately, all of our capital equipment, factories, and facilities are intact. They are there, waiting for us to devote all of our effort and entrepreneurial spirit to getting back to work, and when that happens, we will very quickly recover from this standstill. However, for this to occur, we must have an economic policy that favors less government and more entrepreneurial freedom, reduces taxes and regulations, balances public accounts and puts them on a sound footing, liberalizes the labor market, and provides legal certainty and bolsters confidence. While such a free market policy enabled the Germany of Adenauer and Erhard to recover from a far graver situation following World War II, Spain will be impoverished and doomed to move at idling speed if we insist on taking the opposite path of socialism.

The deadliest virus consists of the deification of human reason and the systematic use of coercion, which the state embodies. It appears before us in sheep’s clothing as the quintessence of a certain “do-goodism” that tempts us with the possibility of reaching nirvana here and now and of achieving “social justice” and ending inequality. However, it conceals the fact that the Leviathan thrives on envy and thus fuels hatred and social resentment. Hence, the future of humanity depends on our ability to immunize ourselves against the most deadly virus: the socialism which infects the human soul and has spread to all of us.

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)

KIMA: Yakima Hospitals Overwhelmed with Covid Cases

From KIMA TV:

The Yakima Health District says Yakima County Hospitals are being overwhelmed by COVID-19, and the district is pleading with local people to take the steps necessary to stop the spread.

The release from the Yakima County Health District is below:

As of last night Virginia Mason Memorial had no intensive care or non-intensive care beds available.

There were multiple patients waiting for hospital bed space overnight.

This was after at least 17 patients had already been transferred out of the county.

Several individuals are still currently waiting for available bed space.

Across Yakima County, there were 61 COVID-19 positive individuals hospitalized, the highest we have seen to date.

Over the past week, all hospitals have reported critical staffing shortages. Many of these shortages are due to staff being out for either having COVID-19, demonstrating COVID-19 symptoms or because they are a close contact to a COVID-19 individual and are now under quarantine.

Not only do we have the highest rate of COVID-19 infections, but as of last night, Yakima County represented 22% (61 of 242) of all hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Washington State. This was more than King County, the most populous county in Washington State. Yakima County COVID-19 patients also represented 24% (11 of 46) of all ventilated COVID-19 patients in the State, which is the same as King County.

Nearby, the Benton and Franklin Counties health care system is also reaching capacity. “Benton and Franklin Counties are seeing a steady, rapid increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19, with the number of patients nearly doubling the past two weeks. While hospitals are not overwhelmed yet, if the rate continues, we will exceed capacity quickly.” Said Malvina Goodwin, Benton-Franklin Health District.

Yakima County cannot continue to rely on other counties to absorb patients that need additional intensive care. As our case counts continue to spike after large celebratory weekends, we are seeing hospitalizations also sharply increase shortly after. The entire health care system in Yakima County is exceeding capacity.

Today, as of 3PM we have already seen an increase of 180, one of the largest single day increases of COVID-19 positive cases to date. These numbers will likely be higher when we finish reporting later this evening.

PUBLIC HEALTH RECOMMENDATIONS

Stay at home as much as possible

Avoid close contact with anyone outside of your household

If you must go out, ensure at least 6 feet of distance from others and wear a mask

Wash hands frequently and sanitize common surfaces frequently

If you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or new loss of taste or smell, get tested for COVID-19 within 24 hours. For testing locations, call 2-1-1.

If you have any symptoms of illness, stay at home and isolate except to get tested. Make sure those you have been in close contact with know they need to quarantine.

Yakima Health District:

“This is the day we have been fighting to avoid for months, when our hospitals can no longer provide their highest level of care because they are overwhelmed caring for patients with severe COVID-19 infection. We have a choice to make today- whether we continue to do what we have been for the last three months and keep watching our neighbors get sick and our local healthcare system break down; or whether we commit to keeping each other safe and healing our healthcare system by avoiding close contact with those outside of our households and masking when we do need to be out. We need to stop having in-person parties, barbecues, large family gatherings, celebrations, and happy hours and figure out how to connect with each other virtually. These adjustments have been made all over the world and have been proven to work to slow the spread of COVID-19. We need to do the same in Yakima and we need to do it now, to ensure the safety of our families. As a community, we have no choice but to come together to protect Yakima County. We must take immediate action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that we can provide complex medical care needs to our sick community members. Not just those with COVID-19, but those needing care for any severe illness or injury. We cannot allow our friends and neighbors to die waiting for space at the hospital or waiting to be transferred to another hospital” said Dr. Teresa Everson, Health Officer of the Yakima Health District.