Christian Prepper Gal: From the 2020 Pandemic to the 2021 Polar Vortex

Christian Prepper Gal wonders What Have We Learned? From the 2020 Pandemic to the 2021 Polar Vortex.

Have we learned anything yet? With the 2020 pandemic a lot of people realized that preppers were not really all that crazy. They learned that it was pretty smart to have enough food and household essentials on hand to last, at a minimum, a month or so. Even our government(s) started pushing preparedness. Then, just one year later, the Polar Vortex of 2021 hit. Both incidents causing shortages of food and essentials on the shelves. Have we truly learned anything yet?

Okay, so maybe I was a little bit motivated to write this article by the fact that when I placed my grocery order for Walmart Pickup just a couple of days ago, there was no Diet Pepsi (in bottles) available. Can you imagine that?!? No Diet Pepsi? At Walmart?!? I was crushed! (I don’t know if they had cans of Diet Pepsi, as I don’t drink from cans.) Then my daughter came to my rescue and found some bottles of Diet Pepsi for me at another store in our small town. What a hero she was!! She literally saved my day!!

Not my local store, just a photo of soda shevles with no Diet Pepsi for emphasis.

But, the fact that this Diet Pepsi shortage affected me so much made me realize something. Even though I’ve known it for years…I am addicted to Diet Pepsi. Oh, I’ve tried breaking the addiction a few times over the past couple of decades, but to no avail. Then in acknowledging this addiction, I also realized that I am not truly prepared. But, I’m a prepper! Some might say I’m a “die hard” prepper! How can I not be prepared?!? Well, it kind of hit me right in the gut. The realization of it was pretty heavy. I mean, I’ve known it for quite a while now, but it was always in the back of my head…way in the back. You know, something you know, but you just want to ignore and so you do.

You might ask, how does my addiction to Diet Pepsi affect my prepping? Well, it doesn’t really. Not in the literal sense anyway. But yet, it does. How can it not affect it and affect it at the same time? I’ll try and explain. You see, I do not stockpile Diet Pepsi. Therefore, it must not be important to me as a prepper. Yet, when my grocer was out of Diet Pepsi (in the bottles) I pretty much panicked. Ugh. I guess what I’ve deduced from this small and yet very large inconvenience in my life is that I need to stock up on Diet Pepsi. Pronto! No! No! That’s not what I’ve deduced. It’s what I wish I could have deduced. But, it’s not what I deduced.

You see, there would be no way in the world I would have enough room to stock up on enough Diet Pepsi to get me through a long term SHTF situation. And, that’s what I personally prep for…long term SHTF. I would need a warehouse to be able to do that. A very large warehouse. So, what I need to do is wean myself off of this Diet Pepsi addiction. It just seems there’s always something more we need to do in order to be prepared to face and endure whatever this world throws at us.

Wow, that was a very long bunny trail I took! Okay, now to get back on subject. When the coronavirus turned into a world wide pandemic, some very important essentials became unavailable to us. For example, toilet paper. And, food. And, cleaning products. And, garden seeds. And, canning jars and lids. Things that we need in our every day lives to stay alive and well. That’s when the world realized that preppers weren’t so crazy! Well, at first we were accused of hoarding food, and that we were keeping others from being able to buy food. But, then “they” soon realized that we weren’t the ones out grabbing food and essentials off the shelves!! Not us real and bonified preppers. We already had everything we needed right and home. And, we stayed home (or at least we didn’t have to go out and scramble for food) so that those who did not have could have. It was those who had panicked that were hitting the shelves and taking everything they could get their hands on! Without a thought or concern for others. Now, I’m not saying that’s wrong, because it is human instinct. However, I am thankful that many who did that learned that it was better to have extra food on hand at home to ensure that if anything like that ever happened again, they would be prepared. Thus, they became preppers! Yay!!

Then, more recently, we have the 2021 Polar Vortex that hit our country (the U.S.A.). We are still in the middle of that and it’s repercussions as I sit here writing this. This was the reason that I had that Diet Pepsi crisis. I’m pretty sure it was the result of trucks not being able to travel and deliver food on time to many stores. Even UPS and the USPS had to stop deliveries. Once again, food is sparse on the grocery shelves along with necessary essentials. In fact, there were people, down in Texas, standing in lines outside in the cold (that they are not accustomed to) in order to purchase propane because they had no power. Millions of people all across the southern and lower mid western states have been without power for up to 3 days now. In temperatures they are not accustomed to nor were they prepared for. In other words, they did not have the necessary clothing for cold climates, they were not prepared to cook or heat their homes without power, and most were not prepared to dig themselves out of the snow. I’m not blaming them. They do not live in climates where these things are normal. In fact, I’m praying fervently for all who were affected by this polar vortex. They knew it was coming, but they did not know how to prepare for it. That’s why it’s important NOT to wait until the last minute to be prepared.

I am sure that many who have lived through this 2021 Polar Vortex have learned from it. At least, I hope they have. Even if we do not live in a certain type of climate, we need to be prepared for any type of climate. This world has gone crazy, and not just the people! I don’t mean being prepared by just having enough food. Even if those who live in the South did have enough food on their shelves, there are so many other things they need to survive this polar vortex. In fact, there are so many different things that could happen to cause us to be without electricity, water, sewer, and gas for extended amounts of time; not just the weather. You see, prepping is more than just storing up food. (See one of my first articles, There’s More to Prepping Than Food.) It’s about being ready for whatever circumstance may come our way. Whether it be weather related (heat waves or polar vortexes), natural catastrophic events such as fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, flooding; or job loss, unexpected illness, unexpected accidents (such as car accidents), pandemics, EMPs, etc. As a result of the 2021 Polar Vortex, many utility companies, across our great nation, in areas that have not experienced power outages, are having to affect manual blackouts or brown outs in order to prevent complete power outages (which could take several months to repair). The electrical grid cannot handle the stress of these states that are not normally cold climate states. They are using more power than normal to heat the homes. I can’t stress this enough…prepping is more than just food! (See an article I wrote a couple of years ago, A World Without Electronics and Electricity.)

First we had the pandemic, which taught us (or at least should have taught us) the necessity of having shelf stable foods stored up. Then, the polar vortex which is teaching us to be ready to live without electricity, water, sewer, and gas utilities. I can’t help but to wonder what’s next? Maybe it won’t take an EMP to shut down our power grid. Maybe our power grid is already weak and crumbling. Maybe it’s just a matter of time. And, maybe, just maybe, that time isn’t far off.

If we have learned anything from these two occurrences, it should be that we need to be preppers – in every sense of the word.

Here is the dictionary’s definition of a prepper:

prep·per:

a person who believes a catastrophic disaster or emergency is likely to occur in the future and makes active preparations for it, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies.

“there’s no agreement among preppers about what disaster is most imminent”

We all most likely know what it means to stockpile food and ammunition. What might those “other supplies” consist of? Well, that is a topic for another discussion (article). So, stay tuned for that upcoming article. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning and growing as a prepper take the time to browse through my other articles. There’s a lot of information to be gleaned from them.

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your time with me! If you have any questions on this article or prepping in general, please feel free to comment below, or send me an email message by going to the About/Contact page and filling in the contact form there. It is my prayer that you will heed the warnings that God has been sending us with these two incidents, and if you are not already doing so, that you will do all that you can to be prepared; and if you are prepping that you will push forward and keep on keeping on.

Until next time…happy prepping, and God bless!

1 Peter 5, 8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (KJV) 

Doom and Bloom: Double Masking

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have a post talking about the most recent recommendation for Double Masking. The mask mandate has been one of the worst handled public health campaigns that I have ever witnessed. The messaging from government health agencies at all levels has ranged from incorrect lies at worst and incompetent at best. Putting aside the deliberate prevarications at the beginning the ongoing failures are manifold:

(1) I have yet to see a campaign at any level on the proper procedure for donning and removing a mask. I should be seeing PSAs as YouTube ads, on TV, and maybe even in regular mail. Medical journal articles on the inefficacies of mask mandates often cite the lay person’s inability to wear a mask correctly, but no one has tried to remedy this.

(2) All masks are not equal. No effort has been made to educate people on this front either. Presumably government health agencies at the beginning of the crisis though something like, “There aren’t enough N95 masks to go around. How do we protect people? We can’t. Let’s just tell them to slap anything over their face.” Like unarmed national guard soldiers at airports are for security theater, we can think of this failure as health theater. Different masks and different materials offer differing levels of protection to different parties. An N95 mask is far superior than a homemade cloth mask. If any air can be sucked in around the edges of your mask, then your mask only serves to protect other people from your breath, and it is not protecting you very much if at all.

(3) Related to taking off and putting on your mask, but different, people need to be taught what to do and not do with their masks while they are on. Sucking on your mask is bad. Wearing your mask below your nose is bad. Touching the front of your mask with your hands is bad. All of those either reduce or negate the effectiveness of your mask or contaminate other body parts.

Luckily private parties before and after the pandemic started have produced videos on proper mask wearing.

Both the CDC and the Mandalorian say “This is the Way

After a year of wearing masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has decided that wearing two masks on your face is really what you should do if you want to avoid COVID-19.

Recent studies using mechanical devices that simulate breathing and generate “cough droplets” gave the alarming result that you receive only 42% protection wearing a standard surgical mask and 44% wearing a cloth mask. The researchers used 3-ply masks for the experiment. Therefore, they recommend double masking: a disposable medical mask under a cloth mask.

I have been saying all along that I felt cloth masks were not enough to provide the protection needed to avoid getting the virus. I have also said that standard surgical masks are not enough either, at least compared to the well-known N95. Still, I was surprised to see a protection rate in the low forties for both cloth and surgical masks, since the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine published data in April 2020 suggesting that these masks gave protection rates in the 62-79 percent range.

N95 masks are supposed to give at least 95% protection against particles 3 microns in size or more. The SARS-CoV2 virus is actually smaller than that, though, so how can I say that wearing an N95 is the way to go? Is it better than the other options? Wouldn’t those tiny particles just go right through even N95s?

Studies were performed using medical workers dealing with the related (and similarly-sized) MERS virus in 2012. Results showed that those who used the N95 had less incidence of infection than those wearing lesser protection. The researchers stated that “policymakers might prefer to err on the side of caution and support recommendations for full protective equipment, including the use of N95 masks for MERS-CoV, an emerging novel respiratory virus.”

Well, in the 2020s, there’s a new novel respiratory virus (not so novel now), but the CDC has given mixed and confusing signals about mask wear since the pandemic began. They said not to buy N95 masks so that medical workers could have them.  This was in the face of a scarce supply of these masks in the Strategic National Stockpile.

Mask production has ramped up since then, but the FDA.gov website still publishes this statement: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend that the general public wear N95 respirators to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including coronavirus (COVID-19).”

They cite the importance of availability to health workers (certainly true), but then, the CDC endorsed home care for mild-moderate cases of COVID-19, cases that won’t kill you but certainly make you contagious. That made the average family caregiver a “health care worker” at risk too. The unavailability of quality masks, however, led to most people using cloth coverings or standard surgical masks.

The problem with these masks is that it’s hard to get a tight fit. The grand majority of procedure masks are fluid-resistant “melt blown” fabric secured with ear loops. They’re produced according to American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM International) standards and designed to protect from splashes and prevent aerosol particles from getting into the air. They don’t offer a perfect seal and tend to have openings where microbes can go in or out. Not a good thing, if you’re dealing with a virus that’s airborne.

N95 masks, however, are manufactured according to standards set by another body, NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health). NIOSH testing considers a “worst-case” scenario as the testing conditions are the most severe likely to be experienced by the wearer.

On top of discouraging N95 usage, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization on April 18th, 2020, allowing for the production of medical face masks without fluid resistance. These may be manufactured from materials other than melt blown fabric, such as cloth. This began the cottage industry in cloth coverings encouraged by the government.

N95 mask with elastic straps

The problem with these masks is that it’s hard to get a tight fit with ear loops.  All N95 “respirator” masks are equipped with elastic straps which hold the mask tightly to the users face. The recently-reported low percentage of protection from cloth coverings and standard procedure masks could possibly be improved with training in proper mask fitting.

standard surgical mask with ear loops tied together and tucked for better fit

A good mask fit forms a seal between the mask and the person’s face, decreasing the chance of infection. One recent recommendation is to tie a knot in each ear loop as close to their attachment to the mask itself as possible, in the hopes of getting a better seal. This involves modifying each mask, and making sure to tie it properly. It’s very important to tuck in material that may represent a hole in your defenses. This method, the government says, is almost as good as wearing two masks.

Poorly tucked, a surgical mask gives poor protection even if ear loops are tied together

Also important is training on how to properly remove masks so as not to contaminate one’s hands. The front of the mask should be considered at risk for contamination and shouldn’t be touched if possible. To learn how to get a proper fit and seal for different masks, and how to properly remove them to avoid contamination, see my video from January of 2020, at the very beginning of the pandemic, where I originally discussed the importance of correct mask techniques. Click below:

Truth is, there is nothing like having the right medical equipment in normal times as well as pandemic times. If you can find N95 masks, you should invest in a supply. If you don’t have the best mask, you end up wearing two or modifying a less protective one. Next month’s CDC recommendations? Use the contact form to let me know what you think.

The Organic Prepper: Facial Recognition – Cashing in on Covid

Robert Wheeler of The Organic Prepper talks about how facial recognition companies are thriving during Covid in Cashing in on Covid: Facial Recognition and Thermal Imaging Techs Are Booming at the Cost of Your Privacy

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be the biggest gift possible for tyrants all across the globe. From economic power grabs made by corporations and the incineration of basic civil liberties, the ruling class has introduced itself as the arbiters and dictators of virtually all human interaction.

And the surveillance industry has also benefitted massively from the pandemic.

What’s new in facial recognition?

For instance, facial recognition technology is being rolled out at an alarmingly fast pace. The tech is more and more exact in its capabilities and no longer handicapped by mask wearing or face coverings. In a report by the Department of Homeland Security released in early January 2021, the department admitted to having conducted tests regarding the efficacy of facial recognition technologies in relation to mask wearers.

The test was administered by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate and were conducted as a part of STD’s Biometric Technology Rally, an event held during the fall at the Maryland Test Facility. DHS claims that the success rate for this technology could reduce the need for passengers or travelers to remove their masks at airports or ports of entry.

According to DHS,

The third annual rally evaluated the ability of biometric acquisition systems and matching algorithms to reliably collect and match images of individuals wearing a diverse array of face masks. Previous rallies show biometric systems can excel at rapidly processing high volumes of travelers using face recognition. This year’s focused on using such systems to detect and recognize travelers without asking them to remove their masks, thereby protecting both the public and frontline workers during the COVID-19 era.

The event included 10 days of human testing which involved 60 facial recognition configurations (which used six face and/or iris scanning systems with 10 matching algorithms) and took advantage of 582 “diverse” test volunteers that represented 60 countries. The systems were then evaluated based upon their ability to take images of each volunteer reliably without masks, processing time, and overall satisfaction.

The results? According to the Biometric Rally website:

  • Without masks, the technology had an average 93% identification rate. The best system had a rate of 100%.
  • With masks, the technology had an average of 77% accuracy and the best performing system had a rate of 96%.

So much for the theory that “at least the masks will make it harder for them to use facial rec on us.”

Then there’s thermal imaging, too.

But that’s not the only technology that is booming as a result the meeting between the “pandemic” and the surveillance state. Thermal imaging is also in demand as governments across the world begin deploying the technology at airports, railways, and public gathering spaces. The technology is designed to measure a person’s body temperature. In this instance, it will be used to measure whether or not a person has a fever.

Although, a number of American companies are in on the act – Infrared Cameras, Inc. and Omnisense – Chinese companies are also making lots of money on the new rollout, including a company ironically from Wuhan, Wuhan Guide Infrared Co. In fact, the company is making so many that the Chinese military is having to wait for its orders for other products that the company makes.

And if Americans think their “representatives” are going to do anything to stop the rollout, they’re wrong. As TravelPulse writes,

On Friday, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Ranking Member Maria Cantwell of Washington and Senator Rick Scott of Florida introduced a proposal for bipartisan legislation that would require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to implement temperature screenings at existing airport checkpoints in order to enhance the safety of passenger air travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cantwell-Scott ‘Fly Safe and Healthy Act of 2020’ (S. 4623) would task the TSA with ultimately deploying a uniform temperature-check program across the nation’s airports; but, first, to thoroughly test the technology in various scenarios as part of a pilot program prior to the final rollout.

Airport temperature checks would be conducted using innovative, contactless, thermal-camera technology capable of automatically screening large numbers of passengers passing through existing TSA checkpoints. It’s seamless and non-invasive, and such systems have already proven effective for identifying infected individuals and mitigating COVID-19’s spread in other countries.

Senators like Rick Scott have been advocating heavily for the technology. His argument, like the argument of others, is that the tech is needed to help our economy rebound. Of course, the economic crisis in the United States was not caused by a lack of thermal imaging but by government itself, specifically people like Rick Scott. But that’s another story for another time….

It won’t stop with taking your temperature.

Of course, we all know the surveillance isn’t going to stop merely at temperature checks. Back in 2011, an article was published by the BBC entitled, “New Emotion Detector Can See When We’re Lying.” The system, like the temp checkers, is one of interlocked video cameras connected to a “high-resolution thermal imaging sensor and a suite of algorithms.”

The idea is that, since humans give away their emotions through a variety of unconscious means, the ability to read facial cues enables security to interpret the motives of “potential terrorists.” Of course, the label of “potential terrorist” is one that has been applied to virtually every citizen within and without of a western nations’ borders. Nevertheless, in order to measure “emotions,” the system uses eye movements, dilated pupils, biting, nose wrinkling, pressing lips together, heavy breathing, swallowing, blinking, and other facial movements as well as swelling blood vessels around the eyes.

Keep in mind, this technology existed in 2011 and already took advantage of thermal imaging. We are not in uncharted territory here, we are merely witnessing the unfolding of an agenda that was planned long ago.

Privacy is a thing of the past.

Privacy is a thing of the past and has been for a long time. We’ve warned about how frequently Americans are being surveilled, about Ring doorbells, about Amazon’s servers storing government databases to identify us, and about Smart appliances. We’ve talked about Chinese “mind-reading” technology and their social credit system. The pieces are in place – now they’re just perfecting what already exists.

FEE: Minimum Wage Hikes Kick in Across the Country—at the Worst Possible Time for Small Businesses

From the Foundation for Economic Education comes Minimum Wage Hikes Kick in Across the Country—at the Worst Possible Time for Small Businesses. Washington state’s minimum wage rose $0.19 per hour this year. Several states’ wage rose a full dollar, and New Mexico’s minimum wage rose $1.50/hr.

2020 was one of the worst years in modern American history for small businesses. And now, thanks to a wave of minimum wage legislation that kicked in on January 1, things are about to get even worse.

Make no mistake: small business owners are already seriously hurting.

When state and local governments responded to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the spring with harsh lockdowns and restrictions, businesses were forced to shutter. Many in the restaurant and hospitality industry remain shut down many months later, or were briefly allowed to reopen then shut down again this fall. Meanwhile, much of the taxpayer-financed aid meant to help these businesses was instead captured by big corporations or lost to fraud and waste.

To add insult to injury, thousands of small businesses were vandalized and looted during the summer unrest after the death of George Floyd. (No, insurance doesn’t eliminate the harm).

At least 100,000 small businesses that were forced to close in 2020 will not reopen, according to Yelp. In a recent survey, almost 60 percent of small business owners said that they don’t expect their enterprise to survive through June 2021.

Many of these same small businesses teetering on the brink of collapse are about to get slapped in the face with surging labor costs. A total of 20 states had minimum wage hikes take effect this month as part of scheduled ramp-ups.

“New Mexico will see the largest jump, adding $1.50 to its hourly minimum and bringing it up to $10.50,” the Hill reports. “Arkansas, California, Illinois and New Jersey will each increase their minimum wages by $1.”

Additionally, many localities have enacted area-specific minimum wage hikes. For example, Flagstaff, Arizona just raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour while Belmont, California just upped its rate to $15.90 an hour.

These might not sound like massive hikes in absolute terms, but you have to think of it like this. Payroll is often one of the largest expenses small businesses have—and it may have just arbitrarily spiked by 5 to 15 percent.

The timing here could not be worse.

“A dramatic increase in the minimum wage even in good economic times has been shown to be harmful,” Employment Policy Institute Managing Director Michael Saltsman said. “In the current climate, for many employers it could be the final nail in the coffin.”

And employees will suffer perhaps just as much as employers. Even though they’re ostensibly meant to uplift workers, increases in the minimum wage always and inevitably hurt more than they help.

Why? A wage is important for the living standards of the worker, but that isn’t its only important aspect. A wage is a price. Prices are essential for order in an economy, so price controls throw markets into chaos.

“By the simplest and most basic economics, a price artificially raised tends to cause more to be supplied and less to be demanded than when prices are left to be determined by supply and demand in a free market,” famed free-market economist Thomas Sowell explained in his book Basic Economics. “The result is a surplus, whether the price that is set artificially high is that of farm produce or labor.”

“Making it illegal to pay less than a given amount does not make a worker’s productivity worth that amount— and, if it is not, that worker is unlikely to be employed,” Sowell writes. “Unfortunately, the real minimum wage is always zero, regardless of the laws, and that is the wage that many workers receive in the wake of the creation or escalation of a government-mandated minimum wage, because they either lose their jobs or fail to find jobs when they enter the labor force.”

Thus, as free-market economist Murray Rothbard put it, the minimum wage amounts to outlawing jobs:

“In truth, there is only one way to regard a minimum wage law: it is compulsory unemployment, period. The law says: it is illegal, and therefore criminal, for anyone to hire anyone else below the level of X dollars an hour. This means, plainly and simply, that a large number of free and voluntary wage contracts are now outlawed and hence that there will be a large amount of unemployment. Remember that the minimum wage law provides no jobs; it only outlaws them; and outlawed jobs are the inevitable result.”

So, it’s no surprise that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that a national $15 minimum wage would destroy up to 3.7 million jobs. Of course, these hikes aren’t nationwide, and many aren’t quite up to $15 yet. Nonetheless, struggling small businesses already have so little wiggle room in their budgets and are on the brink of collapse. Thus the negative effect minimum wage hikes have on local economies will be severe.

Of course, there’s little doubt that the legislators who enacted these pre-planned minimum wage hikes hoped to help workers, not put them out of work amid an economic crisis. But the laws of basic economics are unmoved by compassionate hand-wringing—and good intentions never guarantee good results.

Raconteur Report: Keeping It Real

Aesop of Raconteur Report talks about how the COVID-19 pandemic is currently affecting the So. Cal. hospital in which he works in Anecdotally: Keeping It Real.

About that pandemic you might think we’re not having:

Nameless SoCal Hospital is full, bottom to top, wall to wall.

Because elective surgeries are cancelled, those nurses normally doing anesthesia recovery are now caring for overflow patients.

Nurses on floors normally holding stable telemetry patients are caring instead for ICU patients, because the ICU is full, wall-to-wall, and has been for days, so when someone gets worse, they can’t be moved to higher care, and the floors are stuck with them.

ER is holding ICU patients, now for multiple days. Entire ER is now set up for COVID isolation, which is running 75-90% of patients seen, 24/7. And those are only the ones too sick to send home.

Morgue overflow conex cold storage is now full of corpses. Who died from COVID, not just with COVID. We ran out of body bags day before yesterday, so until we got more, deceased patients had to stay in occupied rooms. Even with getting decedents out, new dead are piling up faster than we’re getting old ones off to coroner or mortuaries.

In the only state out of 50 with mandatory safe nursing:patient staffing ratios, those ratios have been thrown out indefinitely because of the current emergency. Because apparently an international emergency means we can use magic to do what we can’t do when we’re not redlined, at 110% of capacity and ability. (Roll two D6 to cast Spell Of Magical Healing.) I haven’t asked, but I’m pretty sure the Official Answer to overcrowded hospitals will be: Bunk beds! No, really.

Nearby hospitals have gotten so bad, some nurses have walked off the job. No small part of that is the ongoing insufficient supplies of PPE necessary to do the job without getting sick. We’re not there yet here, but morale is low, and the troops are pissed. And if someone calls in and says “I have a fever”, there’s not much anyone can say. It’s coming, in 3, 2,…

Between staff shortages and actual sick staff, we’re starting the day with 50% staffing in some units, and it’s virtually impossible to get hired guns to come in. Everyone is over this, and all they get by picking up registry work or extra shifts where they work, is more sh*t sandwich, every day, into infinity. And you can’t spend bonuses if you’re dead.

And in L.A. County, everything I just wrote? Worse. Squared.

Oh, and we’re still weeks away from the peak of the current surge, which is simply the sum total of people who decided Halloween and Thanksgiving get-togethers were more important than silly COVID restrictions, with predictable results.

We’re all dreading what happens when we get the Christmas/New Year’s Stupidity Surge, 3-5 weeks from now, but it’s definitely coming.

Things are spiffy where you are? Outstanding. Goody for you. No, really. Hope your luck holds.

Meanwhile, I’m hearing from nurses who blog in other states, e.g. Texas, that they’re getting, now, what we had here in Apr-July, and hospital manglement (not a typo. -A.) there learned nothing from what happened in NYFS, NJ, Atlanta, Nawlins, or CA, and accordingly planned for no such thing.

No points for guessing how that’s paying dividends for them now. (Two of the reasons I’m lifetime-banned from hospital administration is because I tested with an IQ over 80, and my parents were married, to each other.)

The next phase beyond this is when the healthcare system starts to collapse. That is already nibbling around the edges of things now. When we get to full collapse, we’ll be Italy: we’re going to have to start to decide who we see, and save, and who we move over to the “It was a good life, and best wishes” area for no further treatment. No one has broached the topic openly, so the docs haven’t decided whether they’ll sort out the oldest, the sickest, or just throw darts at the Big Board when they’re forced to actually decide who lives, and who dies. Mainly, they’re just hoping real hard we don’t get to that phase, ever. If we do, the word “unprecedented” is hardly going to cover our New Normal.

Of course, all this is just like we’ve done in every seasonal flu season for the last 90 years. (/sarc) NOT.

Keep pushing horsesh*t theories and crackpot stayed-in-a-Holiday-Inn-Express-once medical mail-order diploma explanations of what’s REALLY happening. We need the comedy relief.

Those of us holding the shitty end of the stick with gloved hands are too busy to give a wet fart for such prognostications, but to a person, everyone of them has expressed that the Internet jet-fuel geniuses who think this is a scam should STFU, and pull a shift here, any day of the week, with their eyes and ears open, and their pieholes shut.

Most of you would last about half an hour before you left skidmarks out the back door.

We don’t want thanks, or Starbucks gift cards, or hazard pay raises (though we wouldn’t turn any of those down). We knew the job was tough when we took it. We just wish the Gilligans driving this day in, day out, would stop being such overachieving jackholes, and use some common goddam sense, just for the novelty, if for no other reason. It stopped being cute to be blisteringly stupid about nine months ago.

And if you think there isn’t going to be a reckoning down the road that grabs you by the short curlies for the jackassery we’re seeing and dealing with now, once this is over with, I’m here to tell you, you’ve got another think coming.Think long and hard about that. TPTB in the medical field have memories like elephants, and you aren’t going to like what you get, nor get what you like. And health insurers will once again be driving the No Sense Of Humor bus, regarding future lifestyle choices. Mark my words.

The brighter lights among you, which has thankfully been a majority, had best make plans accordingly.

You will see this material again, and probably sooner rather than later, but even if not, being prepared for anything even roughly similar means you don’t have nearly as much to worry about, no matter what rolls down the pipe at you the next time Fate pulls the chain on the Flush Bowl of Life.

The Organic Prepper: I Had Covid. Here’s What It Was Like

Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper writes I Had Covid for 17 Days. Here’s What It Was Like.

A lot of folks are out there saying that COVID is a myth, that viruses don’t exist (wth?), or that the whole pandemic has been a scam. While I strongly disagree with the lockdowns and restrictions on our ability to make a living, there truly is a pretty bad virus out there. And I know this from personal experience.

I had Covid and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It was brutal and I had what would be considered a “moderate” case. This article isn’t meant to be used as medical advice or political fodder. This isn’t a treatise about a magical cure being kept secret by Big Pharma nor is it about the Deep State, some villain who cooked up a bioweapon, or any other theory du jour. My medical and treatment choices may be different than yours. I’m simply relating my experiences.

This virus hits people very differently. If you were fortunate enough to have a mild case, don’t disregard your next door neighbor who ends up with permanent organ damage. Some people are asymptomatic, some have minor symptoms, some are moderately ill, and some die. This is definitely not “just the flu” for many people. I never had a case of influenza that took me down like this, particularly not for this length of time.

I don’t think that there is a “typical” case of Covid because there are so many variables.

The only thing notable about the week before I began to have symptoms was an insatiable thirst. This hasn’t been mentioned in any of the literature that I’ve read but anecdotally, several other people I spoke with who had a case lasting a few weeks agreed that they’d never had a thirst quite like it.

I generally drink 4 liters of water per day. I was up to 6 liters a day (that’s a gallon and a half of water!) as well as electrolyte beverages and still I felt parched. I was waking up in the middle of the night and guzzling a water bottle. It was a little weird but I didn’t think too much of the sudden dehydration.

How it started

First of all, to answer the inevitable question, I have no idea how I got Covid. I work from home. I have been following the local rules and staying on my property aside from trips to the grocery store. I haven’t been to any gatherings, I wear a mask as required by regulations in the city where I’m staying, and I wash my hands at the appropriate times.

As far as risk factors go, I have mild asthma, the cough variant kind, where instead of wheezing I sound like I’m dying of bronchitis. I’m pretty fit and active and walk 3-5 hilly miles most days, rain or shine, so my lung capacity is good and I don’t get winded going up hills or stairs, generally speaking. I’m 51 and could probably stand to lose about 20 pounds but I have no health issues for which I require regular medication. I rarely eat processed food, get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and limit caffeine to one (okay two) cups of coffee per day.

Day 1: On Monday, the 7th, I started feeling kind of “off” for lack of a better word. I was tired – very, very tired – and I went to bed ridiculously early, at 7 o’clock because I just couldn’t keep my eyes open.

Day 2: When I woke up on Tuesday, I realized that I was sick and brushed it off as the flu or a cold. I figured a day with chicken soup, peppermint tea, and a nip of Jack Daniels for a stubborn cough would have me right as rain in no time. At that point, my symptoms were a dry cough, body aches, a very mild sore throat, and an all-encompassing fatigue. Later in the day, I got so cold that no amount of blankets and heat could warm me up. I was running a high (for me) fever that kept going up during the night.

What it was like to have Covid

Days 3-5: Over the next three days, chills and fever were almost constant. My joints and muscles hurt. Getting up to go to the bathroom felt like an expedition up a mountain.  I was tired and winded. I had very little appetite and even less of an inclination to cook food so I existed mostly on peanut butter and crackers and leftover soup. I was absolutely exhausted and so cold that I shivered violently when I got out from under my bed piled high with blankets. I had super-weird dreams. My cough worsened, my head hurt, and my throat was still mildly sore.

I drank lots of water and electrolyte beverages. My thirst remained unquenchable regardless of how much I drank. I took vitamins (C, D3) and took Zinc supplements. These are my regular supplements but I doubled that.

Days 6-9: The line to get a test at the local clinic was long and filled with people who were coughing up a lung. There was no way I’d be able to stand in that line for an hour, as sick as I felt. Besides, I figured if I didn’t have Covid, I’d get it standing in the line so I opted not to be tested.

This part made me think of the worst case of the flu I ever had, except intensified by about four times. It was terrible.

I usually let a fever run its course but by Saturday I felt so awful that I gave in and began treating symptoms. My normal temp is in the 96s and my temperature throughout these days stayed between 101-103. I staggered ibuprofen and acetaminophen, and I also used a mild muscle relaxant and my Ventilyn inhaler. The meds didn’t get rid of my fever but reduced the chills to a tolerable level. I slept almost around the clock, waking up for a couple of hours here and there to check on website stuff. Fortunately, I have a wonderful team who kept things running for us. One day blurred into the next and I considered going to the doctor again, but couldn’t muster the energy. I felt like if I just got a little more sleep I’d be okay.

My cough was getting far worse and now my ribs and abdominal muscles hurt. It was a deep painful cough that caused me to clutch my chest every single time inhaled deeply.

Day 10: I woke up feeling slightly better. My fever had finally completely broken and I was no longer feeling chilled to the bone. My cough, however, was even worse than before and I recognized the wheezing sound that meant I was headed for a bout of pneumonia. I’ve got mild asthma and quite often upper respiratory issues end up with pneumonia for me so I know the signs. I upped the vitamin C and hoped for the best.

Day 11: I hadn’t been drinking coffee, just peppermint tea and I was really looking forward to a delicious cup of coffee now that I was feeling better. Unfortunately, the Keurig at the rental where I’m staying seemed to be putting out tinted water. I was bummed that the coffee was bad but I just refilled my water bottle and went on with my morning.

My cough was horrible. I decided that I’d put it off for as long as was safe and that I was going to need a steroid inhaler to heal my lungs. I planned to visit the doctor as soon as I finished my morning work on the website. I made myself some toast with peanut butter to eat before I left because there’s nothing worse than going to the doctor hungry and grouchy. I was texting with my friend while eating and thought, “This tastes awful. Why is my toast so bland and sweet? Ohhhhhhhhhh…….”

I had lost my sense of taste. I could pick up slightly sweet or slightly salty flavors but that’s it. Eating only sweet or salty styrofoam is probably the most effective diet ever…(continues)

FEE: Gym Owners Who Racked Up $1.2 Million in Fines for Defying Lockdowns Go Viral

From the Foundation for Economic Education, Gym Owners Who Racked Up $1.2 Million in Fines for Defying Lockdowns Go Viral

Nearly 100,000 US businesses on Yelp failed to survive the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing government lockdowns. Ian Smith, the co-owner of Atilis Gym, was determined not to be one of them.

The New Jersey entrepreneur has defied Gov. Phil Murphy’s lockdown orders for months now. On a typical day hundreds of people go to the gym to exercise, and Smith estimates 84,000 people have worked out at the facility since the state resumed its lockdown in May.

For gym patrons, Smith’s lockdown defiance has brought benefits. They get to keep body, mind, and soul fit in what has been a stressful and strange year, and Smith claims not a single COVID-19 case has been traced to his facility.

For Smith and co-owner Frank Trumbetti, however, the decision has had consequences.

“Governor Murphy has thrown everything he possibly could to shut us down. He has arrested my partner and I, given us over 60 citations, some of them criminal. He fines us $15,497.76 per day for every day we’re in operation,” Smith recently told Fox News. “Our fines are totaling over $1.2 million, but every single day, Frank and I open our gym.”

The prospect of facing more than a million dollars in fines and criminal charges is enough to cow most business owners into compliance. Not Smith.

Following his interview with Fox, he posted a short video clip to Twitter showing people working out in his facility and had a simple message for Governor Murphy: “No Science. No Shutdown.”

The clip has already been viewed more than 7.7 million times on Twitter alone as of Monday morning.

Smith is hardly the only business owner to defy lockdown orders. As I wrote before Thanksgiving, Americans of all stripes—business owners, religious observers, and even political officials—are embracing the tradition of civil disobedience and peaceful resistance to lockdowns that have been shown to be largely ineffective at slowing transmission of the virus.

From city officials in Beverly Hills, to restaurants in Kentucky, to gym owners in Buffalo, New York, Americans have begun to stand up to lockdown orders that have ravaged small businesses and caused the first rise in extreme global poverty in decades.

The pandemic has been one of the most trying and terrible chapters in American history. More than 300,000 Americans have died of or with the virus, according to official statistics, and attempts to mitigate the spread of the virus have resulted in widespread economic destruction and mental health deterioration.

But a silver lining is that Ameircans are witnessing a renaissance of civil disobedience against government overreach. From seatbelt laws, to compulsory schooling, to smoking bans on a private property and beyond, in recent decades Americans have obediently acquiesced to laws that have violated individual freedom in the pursuit of an alleged collective good.

The lockdowns, however, have reminded Americans of the true nature of government.

“The essence of government is force, and most often that force is used to accomplish evil ends,” the late economist Walter Williams once observed.

By complying with laws that seem reasonable in the pursuit of a common good, Americans had largely forgotten that government is an evil—a necessary one, perhaps, but one that should be limited and shackled at every turn to prevent it from devolving into tyranny.

This is precisely why the American founders created a fractured system of government that decentralized power and was fortified with numerous checks and balances.

“An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among the several bodies of magistracy as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in Notes on the State of Virginia.

As strange as it may sound to many today, the raison d’être of government isn’t to create “a better world,” but the protection of liberty. Because it’s only through the protection of liberty that a better world will be created.

To be sure, the coronavirus is a serious and deadly threat. But it’s one individuals must manage, not central planners.

“Substituting democratic decision making for what should be private decision-making is nothing less than tyranny dressed up,” Williams once said.

Depriving healthy individuals of the ability to work or do commerce is tyranny—even if it’s wearing a dress.

Ian Smith sees that, and his defiance against Murphy—whose clumsy attempts to slow the virus have only resulted in New Jersey having the highest COVID-19 mortality rate in America—is an act of heroism.

Hopefully his act of civil disobedience will inspire others to remember man’s true nature and natural rights.

“I was not born to be forced,” wrote Henry David Thoreau, the American poet, abolitionist, and essayist. “I will breathe after my own fashion.”

Summit News: Bill Gates Says Lockdowns Should Carry On Into 2022

From Summit News, Bill Gates Says Lockdowns Should Carry On Into 2022

Billionaire vaccine pusher Bill Gates wants local businesses and services to remain closed, with lockdowns, masks and social distancing continuing throughout all of next year and into 2022.

Gates made the declaration in an interview with CNN Sunday.

Gates proclaimed that “Unless we help other countries get rid of this disease” and until there are “high vaccination rates” among Americans, the “risk of reintroduction” will remain.

Gates declared that “Big public gatherings” should remain banned, with the majority of most bars, clubs, and restaurants being “sadly” closed.

 

Owen explains the agenda to patent our DNA and label humans as aliens ahead of mandatory vaccines.

Gates said that there can only be a return to ‘normal’ after another 12 to 18 months, and only “if we manage it well.”

Gates also used the opportunity to take a swipe at President Trump, saying that his unwillingness to concede the election is somehow “complicating” the distribution of vaccines.

“The transition is complicating [things,] but the new administration is willing to rely on actual experts and not attack those experts,” Gates said, without explaining what ‘experts’ Trump is attacking or how the vaccine that the President helped to fast track, and is now ready to roll out, is being held back.

Gates previously declared that the world won’t return to normal until “a lot of people” take a second “super-effective” coronavirus vaccine that could be years away.

In October, Gates forcast that a “best case scenario” for a return to normal would be the end of 2021, a date that was qualified with the proviso, “We still don’t know whether these vaccines will succeed.”

The billionaire has also suggested that governments need to ‘brainstorm’ ways of “reducing vaccine hesitancy,” in the face of anti-vaccine “conspiracy theories”.

In November, Gates met with the CEOs of ten of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies to foment plans to roll out the coronavirus vaccine globally.

Here is the Bill Gates interview on CNN’s Youtube:

Mises Institute: New Lockdowns and More Regulations Are Disastrous for US Jobs

Economist and fund manager Dr. Daniel Lacalle at the Mises Institute writes New Lockdowns and More Regulations Are Disastrous for US Jobs

United States jobless claims have picked up, since the elections and the second wave of coronavirus have slowed down the economic recovery. Uncertainty about tax increases and changes in labor laws, including an increase in the minimum wage, add to the fear of new lockdowns, as employers see the devastating effects of these lockdowns in European employment.

While the United States has been able to recover fast and reduce unemployment to 6.8 percent, the eurozone jobless rate has risen to 8.3 percent before we consider the large number of furloughed employees who remain idle. The second wave of coronavirus in Europe has seen new government-imposed lockdowns and the impact on the economy is already severe. Estimates for the fourth-quarter gross domestic product assume a double-dip recession and another increase in unemployment.

Misguided lockdowns have created a deep and long-lasting impact on the economy and a dramatic social crisis, proving again that the response to the pandemic should have been similar that of Asian countries, which have successfully preserved health and the economy.

Employers all over the United States fear that a Biden administration will impose lockdowns, following the example of some European countries and thus generating a new decline in the economy and a wave of bankruptcies and job losses. Instead of giving simple and effective protocols for business to endure the crisis, some governments, whose members are completely disconnected from the day-to-day problems of small businesses and employers, resort to the drastic and ineffective measure of lockdowns, because it gives more power to governments and because the large corporations do not feel the impact as much as small enterprises. Governments like the idea of lockdowns, because it gives the impression of taking drastic measures to control the pandemic when, in reality, lockdowns simply destroy the business fabric and have proven to be extremely ineffective at reducing the mortality or hospitalization rates. The concerns about a Biden-enforced nationwide lockdown are not exaggerated. Dr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus advisor to Joe Biden, said a nationwide lockdown of four to six weeks would help bring the virus under control in the US and revive the economy. I am sorry to say that experience has shown us that none of those two things will happen. Massive lockdowns did not help European countries control the virus, rather the opposite, and have destroyed the economy with long-lasting implications for jobs, bankruptcies, and wages. Meanwhile, countries that have not implemented lockdowns and have provided simple and effective protocols have achieved better results in health and the economy.

Many citizens in the United States ask themselves if the country will recover its record level of employment and its low unemployment rate of 3.5 percent seen in March 2020, before the pandemic. Even if the United States avoids government-imposed lockdowns, which would delay the job recovery for at least another eighteen months, there is grave concern about the likelihood of more regulation, union control, and higher taxes that will make it more expensive to hire personnel and more burdensome both in terms of hiring as well as reducing payroll.

The United States has been an example of job creation during the growth period but, more importantly, rapid job recovery in a complex crisis like the covid-19 one. Adding rigidity to the labor market and increasing taxes will prove disastrous for small and newly created business, which are the largest job creators in the United States.

It is as simple as this. The United States cannot have the wage growth and low unemployment it deserves by copying the labor market legislation of Greece, Spain, or France, countries with extremely rigid job markets and high union intervention…and historically high unemployment.

The European Union used to have the same unemployment rate as the United States. Massive disincentives, a misguided excess of regulation, and heavy taxes have created a divergence by which unemployment in Europe stands at almost twice the rate as in the United States.

The fallacy of “protecting workers” with high taxes to employers and heavy intervention in the labor market only protects governments. Unemployment is higher, wage growth is weaker, and the flexibility loss means lower opportunities for youth employment. Youth unemployment in the eurozone and European Union is simply unacceptably high even in growth periods, and it is due to the barriers to employment created through aggressive intervention in the job market and government control. Incentives to hire are poor while disincentives to work are high.

If anything has been proven by the past two decades, it is that more government, higher taxes, and union intervention do not protect workers, they perpetuate unemployment and reduce wage growth and opportunities.

Lockdowns added to higher taxes and labor rigidity would likely prove very negative for the United States recovery. You cannot recover if you impose the burdens that some European countries have imposed. Labor market interventionism does not protect workers, it empowers politicians.

Organic Prepper: How Preppers Can Still Find Community in the Middle of a Pandemic

Joanna Miller at The Organic Prepper talks about How Preppers Can Still Find Community in the Middle of a Pandemic

The need for supportive communities in SHTF situations is something we talk about often. People know they need a support network because, let’s face it, in a long-term survival situation almost none of us can do it alone. However, one of the biggest tragedies to come from the Covid rules has been how hard it is to meet people and establish any kind of community these days. And many of us have learned things about our circle of people that aren’t overly positive during this stressful time.

Your own opinions about Covid aside, many states are greatly restricting opportunities for socialization. Some never really opened back up after the previous lockdown.

In my state, Colorado, public gatherings are severely curtailed. I still attend church, but we are no longer allowed to socialize afterward. At the kids’ activities, parents are discouraged from sitting near each other and chit-chatting, which was a major social outlet for a lot of parents (myself included) for a long time. You might strike up a conversation with someone friendly, or you might get someone who flips out over not social distancing properly.

This atmosphere of distrust is worse than any virus.

You have your friends, and then there are your “lockdown” friends

We have come together in ways I never would have expected. I don’t know what will work for everyone, but I can give an example of how a series of inconveniences gave rise to my own little group of people getting together to process chickens.

I have had a little side-gig producing a couple hundred chickens every year for meat. They are pastured birds raised on certified organic corn- and soy-free feed. I’ve learned a lot over the years, getting and training livestock guardian dogs after predator attacks, and so on. The only hitch has been getting the birds processed every year. My luck has been almost comically bad. I’ve seen a number of processors close.

I eventually met a couple, I’ll call them Andrew and Andrea, about nearby that had their own processing equipment who taught me how to process birds. I’d bring my birds over, we’d process together, and it was a social outlet as well as getting a chore done.

Then their house burned down in 2018, literally a day after we’d processed my birds.

They are still in the process of rebuilding, but in 2019 and 2020 Andrea brought her processing equipment to my house and we processed the birds ourselves. When we were at her house, Andrew would help, or sometimes they’d have friends hanging out that wanted to learn how to process. Processing 70 or 80 birds is a lot of work, and many hands make it go a lot faster.

It takes a community to process chickens

I wasn’t sure where we’d get the extra hands at my house, but sometimes problems solve themselves. My boys are in Scouts, and knowing that I have a hobby farm, one of the other parents asked if I had any big jobs her son, I’ll call him Josiah, could help with. He wanted a new computer game, and she told him he could pay for it himself. I asked how Josiah felt about processing chickens. She laughed and said she’d find out how badly he wanted that computer game.

It turns out Josiah really wanted it! I had him plus my own three children, plus Andrea helping me out. The work was exhausting but we got it all done, and it was done well. I gave Josiah $20 and a couple of chickens.

The next time around, I had another friend interested in homesteading skills come over and help, along with my three kids. Well, Josiah heard my kids talking about it and was disappointed that I hadn’t asked him to help again! He’d already gotten the computer game, but he said my chickens were the most delicious he’d ever eaten. Also, he just thought it was cool to be able to process animals. He bragged about it so much to the other boys in Scouts that some of them have started asking if they can help me next time.

Sometimes you can find community with people who aren’t necessarily preppers but who share an interest in self-reliance.

However, I’m not 100% sure there will be a next time

This year multiple groups of people parked at the perimeter of my property began honking and screaming that they wanted chickens. This went on for a couple of months in the early summer. In July, someone drove through my fence, pulling out a full 330-foot roll of fencing as well as half a dozen steel T-posts. I’m not sure that was related to the people harassing me, but it was terrifying and a ton of work to fix.

Then in August, in three separate events, fifty-five of my birds were stolen. I have guard dogs, but they do not bite people. They are wonderful at barking and scaring off all the foxes, coyotes, and eagles in my area, but I can’t have dogs that bite people. In the first incident, my birds were pastured a few hundred feet away from my house, but only twenty-five feet or so from my property line. My property is enclosed with 4-foot fencing but these people climbed it.

When I saw one morning that 40 of my birds were missing, with none of the gore that comes with animal attacks, I moved them to an enclosure closer to my house and put barbed wire on top of the fence. They came back and took 10 more anyway. I put my remaining birds in the insulated brooder close to my house; it’s in a well-lit area. However, our summer was incredibly hot and I left the small door of the brooder open for ventilation. The fenced-in run was closed but the door to the inner part was propped open.

In the morning, I saw that someone had pulled up part of the fencing and snagged five more of my birds. These people only stopped when I put motion-detecting cameras all over the brooder. So I can still raise some chickens, but I’m not sure how to raise true pastured poultry without putting my birds at risk. And frankly I cannot keep taking these financial hits.

The ordeal was so nerve-wracking. My children and I didn’t sleep normally for weeks. To have your property violated that many times is terrifying. I had been so satisfied during the shut downs and grocery shortages about raising so much of my own food, but it doesn’t matter how much you produce if you can’t keep other people from stealing it.

In times of instability, a new skill learned can create stability for some

The truth is, there will always be bad actors in any given group of people. There will always be individuals looking for a chance to steal, hurt others, and just in general cause trouble.  It’s human nature and we can’t get away from it. When we had stable rules, stable jobs, and the kids all had stable school schedules it was easier to notice people looking for trouble. That stability is gone, and I don’t know if it will come back.

However, the eagerness of my own children, as well as their friends, to have real-life skills makes me want to try and figure something out. Kids these days are so glued to screens most of the time for school; many of them are itching to get out and do something tangible. Learning how to turn animals into dinner is a total change, and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it would have been for me to get help processing birds this time around.

While there are hidden (or not-so-hidden) troublemakers out there at any point in time, there are always people willing to help, too. If you are new to homesteading or the country lifestyle, five years ago trying to meet like-minded people online might have been a good idea. I’m hesitant to recommend that now. I’m pretty sure the people that caused so much damage to me found me through social media. I have friends that also have sustainable agriculture little side-hustles that they advertise online; one, in particular, has been repeatedly targeted by animal-rights activists.

Maybe it’s time to figure out a new way to find community

If you have the skills to make money with farm products, then taking the risk of potentially exposing yourself to troublemakers is something you need to weigh against the value of advertising. It’s a business decision that’ll be different for everyone.

However, if you are new to the country/homesteading scene and just want to make friends, I personally would have a hard time recommending looking for people online. There have been plenty of other articles written about not advertising your prepper status, and I wholeheartedly agree.

As the holidays approach, hopefully many of us will be calling and checking in friends and relatives. Whether it’s some homesteading project or a specific survival scenario for which you’re trying to prepare, get a feel for how interested other people are in participating. I have my one good farm friend, Andrea. The rest of my various helpers over the years have been a mixture of friends from church, Scouts, neighbors, and relatives. A lot of them live in the suburbs. You might be pleasantly surprised to find who is receptive to preparing with you.

I have lived in the same area for the better part of a decade, so my pool of friends and acquaintances is fairly wide. If you have just moved to the country, or are not so established in your community, it may be different and will probably take longer. However, the principles are still the same. Pursue your interests; be a good neighbor; if you have solid family relationships, sustain those; and things will eventually fall into place. But it is never too soon to reach out and start building your network of like-minded folks…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “Great Reset”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enter the economic lockdowns…

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

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

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

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

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

Surviving the lockdowns and deterring the globalists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lockdowns For Thee, But Not For Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cato Institute: Government in a Pandemic

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

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

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

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

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Limited Government and Market Failure

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minimizing Government Failure

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

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

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

Limited Government and COVID-19

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

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

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

Raconteur Report: COVID – Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Healthcare professional Aesop at Raconteur Report talks about the current COVID-19 resurgence in Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.

Much has been made by bloggers whom and on sites which I respect, about certain prognostications by Mssr. Briggs, statistician, regarding Kung Flu.
 
I’m not quibbling about his numbers, just what he makes of them, evidently from an utter lack of knowledge about that of which he speaks.
 
Unfortunately, Briggs’ combines his statistical skills with what he doesn’t know about science in general, and epidemiology in particular.
 
1) There are, indeed, “good” flu years, and “bad’ flu years. But it’s not a 1- or 2- variable problem set.
    a) there are always older people, some of whom are more frail, and many of whom are going to die. But surviving flu one year doesn’t, ergo, make you another year older and thus more likely to die the next year. That’s kindergarten math thinking.
 
    b) How many other conditions does any given grandpa or grandma X have?
 
    c) What is their general health condition?
 
    d) Did they get a flu shot that year, or not?
        d1) Did the flu vaccine witch doctors guess the actual flu strain mutations well, and formulate a great shot (a year with a 95% efficacy) or poorly (a year with 15% efficacy). {e.g., in 2018, IIRC, there were 635 individual strains of flu rampant in the US, and that year’s shot had about a 15% effectiveness. This is nigh on to worthless, relatively speaking.}
        d2) Was there even a flu shot at all?
(In, to my best recollection, 2010, there was no flu vaccine available at all. Whichever year it was, it was a record low flu year. Because CDC and FedGov bombarded the airwaves with PSAs telling people to “Wash your goddamned nasty hands! Stay home if you’re sick!” in so many words, and mirabile dictu, old people and parents of young children actually did it. Flu visits to the ER that year were negligible.)
 
That exact level of concern, plus masks, and distancing, is why, by all accounts, this year’s flu season cases will probably be contained in a thimble.
 
Those are just some of the 100-500 variables behind who dies, and why, from flu, Kung Flu, or any other thing, in any given year. Not just whether it was a “good” or “bad” flu year, last year.
 
Yes, it was world-record @$$holian to put known COVID+ cases into convo homes, which are the lowest form of medical care other than anything found in the Turd World, and you get a perfect storm of the most vulnerable patients, and the most execrable level of care not delivered by actual gypsies and witch doctors (and in most convo homes, there’s little difference between them. The fact that they reek of sh*t and piss the moment you walk in is what poker players call a “tell”.) Those deaths were, indeed,  low-hanging fruit.
 
That such deaths may have accounted for nearly half the initial wave is bad.
It does nothing for the next wave, unless you stop doing that. I have yet to hear that it’s no longer policy. And even if it was, that overlooks the obvious problem: Kung Flu presents asymptomatically in up to 50% of cases (which is why checking for fever temperatures at building entries is like looking for elephants in trees: asinine and pointless.)
 
If they really wanted to keep infected people out of convo homes (which are still chock full of vulnerable patients, in 50 states and 7 territories), they’d have to be rapid-testing every patient they admit, before entry, and rapid-testing every staff member, daily, and every single visitor, vendor, etc., and holding them in quarantine outside until they test negative (an hour or two later). We don’t even do that in first-class hospitals.
 
Doing so would cost a large fortune, and bankrupt everyone, everywhere.
 
So the exact same thing is going to happen, over and over and over, because you won’t pay for doing it right. No one will.
 
Own that.
 
It’s the exact asymptomatic Gilligans – the young and “healthy”,  who won’t get really sick nor die from this – who have been and will continue spreading this virus around, until it hits the susceptible victims, and makes a guaranteed percentage of them very sick, and some of them very dead.
 
Some of them, yes, will be the aged, infirm, and those with levels of disease that were killing people at age 66 in 1933. (That’s why FDR had Social Security kick in at age 65; FedGov expected you to be dead within a year. And then medicine, the same bunch that know-nothing idiots bitch about for the cost, went and started increasing everyone’s life expectancies to the 80s. See if you can guess why SS is broke.)
 
And yes, we know a little bit better what to do (and not to do) to care for those hardest hit by Kung Flu. Which will make about a 1-25% difference in fatalities in subsequent waves. Because those in the roughly 3% likely to die, are still going to die. So maybe now the death rate goes down from about 3% to 2.7%. (The death rate for flu, BTW, is about 0.1%, since ever. Don’t you feel better now, knowing this is only 27 times worse than flu, instead of 30 times?)
 
The biggest problem with those prognosticating from ignorance in general is overlooking the fact that most of the population, in this or any country, has yet to be exposed to the virus.
 
E.g. Califrutopia, last I looked, has tested about 10% of our 40M people.
The rate of those infected at some point, is running damned near 10%.
With millions tested now, rather than dozens, those numbers are statistically valid (unlike, say, Biden’s pre-election poll numbers) and thus (unlike Biden’s vote tallies) aren’t going to widely fluctuate. Right up until we throw open the floodgates, eliminate any precautions, and start spreading Kung Flu virus around like it was welfare money in a Blue State. (Or blank mail-in vote bundles at any Democrat HQ building.)
 
Then, the more people you infect, the more people will die.
 
Yes, only at that +/- 3% rate.
We’re pushing 250K dead now, with the infection rate of 10% in certain places (mostly highly populated areas), and probably less than 0.1% in most of the country denigrated as Flyoverland.
 
So, roll the dice, and tell me what happens when the infection rate goes up everywhere.
Especially if the infection rate goes up by leaps and bounds, rapidly.
And for a special bonus, in the exact places where true modern medical care is 1-4 hours away.
On a good day.
 
Then we get to the fun questions:
 
Does infection confer immunity?
I have no godd…d idea. Neither does WHO. Neither does CDC.
Neither does Pfizer, or any-effing-body else.
I have one firsthand example of repeat infection, hospitalized in front of my face.
I have dozens of cases reported anecdotally.
 
I have seen zero literature explaining this.
I have seen or heard of zero literature documenting exactly how widespread this is.
 
No one knows how much, or how widely, the original strain is mutating.
 
Thus any claims of vaccine efficacy are so much bulls…t.
Any claims of herd immunity are so much whistling past the graveyard.
Any extrapolation of how bad this is going to be, with those exact unknowns being so glaringly obvious, are nothing but Bandini Mountain, with a sewage frosting from downstream of the septic plant.
 
Do I want fiat lockdowns again?
 
HELL NO!
 
Make a case, trot out evidence, not SWAG bulls…t, and weigh the benefits and costs.
Medical, scientific, economic, everydamnedthing. Talk it over, and think it through, FIRST.
Then have the legislatures pass laws, or not, and have governors sign or veto them.
 
Y’know, like republican government has worked going back to, oh Magna Carta, or even Rome and Greece. If only for the novelty.
 
I went over a month in a SoCal ER with no likely COVID patients. I tell you, it was heaven. A crappy night with no COVID patients was like old times.
 
That ended last week. Just about 3 weeks behind the spike in cases, we just had, on my shifts alone, 3 slam-dunk sure-as-hell-got-it COVID patients. I had 2 of them personally, and one of them was the re-infection case I wrote about previously. When I left yesterday, we had a guy who literally desatted from 80% to 60% oxygen level in the two minutes it took to get him from the triage tent to an iso room inside. He was in his 50s.
 
The ICU nurse who died from my hospital got it from a patient who was uninfected, then exposed by an asymptomatic patient in a regular ward, brought it to the ICU, and infected 10 nurses there before they knew it was a COVID case. That nurse was in her early 50s, not her late 80s.
 
Times, in 25 years of my career, that happens with flu: never.
Not one godd…d time.
Not even a consideration.
 
So I’m getting pretty damned tired of ignorant @$$holes burping out pure undiluted horses…t quotes like the following:
 
Young (under 65) healthy people are not being killed by the doom—or much of anything else.
Yes, they are. On a regular basis.
Pointing out that they do so at a lesser rate does nothing to remove the lie from the quote above.
And noting that old people die more often is cold comfort to someone whose 30- or 40-year old spouse died because to pointy-headed number crucncher, they were just a rounding error, or “within the margin or error”. If you don’t have to look the survivors in the eye while their loved one’s bodies are still warm but heading for room temperature, kindly STFU about things when you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.
 
Suppose I told you, with absolute statistical confidence, that if you ran red lights, you only had a 3% chance of getting bashed to hell, killing someone, or going to prison. 
Would you do it?
Suppose I told you that your meatloaf was 97% steak, and only 3% bullsh*t.
Would you eat it?
 
If you answered “yes”, how much shit could I put in your meatloaf before you’d turn it down??
 
You can tell me that driving is hazardous, because of drunks and idiots. I’ll still drive.
Mainly because I don’t drive 100% of the day.
But unlike bar fights, liquor store robberies, or drunk driving deaths, everybody alive on the planet breathes, non-stop, 24/7/365, without any choice in the matter.
 
So unless you can live isolated, or hold your breath for years on end, or live in a spacesuit 24/7, that makes a respiratory ailment in widespread circulation one hell of a lot bigger concern than the other causes of death which, exactly as the CDC and Briggs note, knock off about 50,000 people every year in this country.
 
Which makes statistical prognostications from someone like Briggs sound to me exactly like a fresh hot steaming pile of cows…t smells.
 
I can listen to statistical bulls…t from people who don’t know what they don’t know, or I can believe my lying eyes, backed up by medical evidence, and common sense.
 
You guess where I’ma come down on that one.
 

In one of the comments to the above post, Aesop talks a little about the issue of co-morbidities:

BTW, people don’t die because of the co-morbidities, those just make them more likely.

Just like few, if any, people die from drunk driving because they were drunk. Unless they had a BAL of 900, and fell asleep, and stopped breathing. They die because of that pole they hit at 90MPH while drunk, and because the one leads to the other.

The people who got wrapped around the axle of deaths with COVID (or co-morbidities, like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc.) vs. because of. People don’t die from the co-morbidities, they died because those things sapped their body’s ability to deal with things when the COVID pneumonia in both lungs, everywhere, simultaneously, taxed their ability to breathe and survive beyond what it could handle. Generally because they were too frail, fat, old, weak, and sedentary, which is how you get to be fat, diabetic, hypertensive, etc.
But when you walk around for decades fat, sedentary, diabetic, and hypertensive, then get COVID, and die in 3 weeks, it wasn’t those co-morbidities which killed you, it was the Kung Flu.

Just like if you had all those co-morbidities, and got eaten by a lion while on safari. The lion killed you, not the co-morbidities. The co-morbidities just made you easier pickings.

What they died from, in all cases was cardio-respiratory failure caused by COVID pneumonia. Everything else just piled on to decrease their survival prospects, but noting that sick people die more frequently than healthy people isn’t exactly a blazing piece of medical insight.

People who focus on the co-morbidities like it’s an “A HA!” moment are as ignorant as the idiot-savant people that actually think guns just randomly jump up and kill people, all by themselves, and they don’t seem to get that focusing on them just underlines their ignorance on the topic.

There may be some genetic component as well, but absent evidentiary research, that’s just a Hail Mary guess by some people uncomfortable with admitting that they have NFI what causes the Kung Flu to kill 3 people, hospitalize another 7, get 30 sick, and leave 60 completely untouched. I’d rather wait for the answers rather than grunt and squeeze them out of my hindquarters.

And in the meantime, wear a mask and gloves, and wash my hands, which has worked flawlessly for 10 months, to date, in close proximity to rampant cases, to leave me uninfected.

Seattle Times: Toilet Paper Shelves Bare, as Shoppers Worry about Washington Restrictions

At the Costco in Seattle on Sunday, shoppers waited in a long line and a whiteboard listed out-of-stock items: toilet paper, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, all Kleenex products. (Paige Cornwell / The Seattle Times)

The Seattle Times has a story about people in the state once again caught unprepared as new COVID-19 restrictions were announced yesterday. Toilet paper shelves again left bare, as grocery store shoppers worry about Washington restrictions

In announcing new statewide restrictions aimed at reducing the spike in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Jay Inslee on Sunday urged people not to hoard “supplies.”

“Buying up everything really hurts everybody,” Inslee said, “and there’s no necessity of it right now.”

But while the man didn’t specifically call out toilet paper, the toilet paper sure did call to shoppers.

At some Seattle stores on Sunday, in a throwback to earlier days of the pandemic, people were already buying up stacks of bathroom tissue, which seems to turn to spun gold when things look grim.

Costco ran out of the stuff over the weekend, and there was none to be found Sunday at the Safeway on Madison Street in Seattle, or the QFC on Rainier Avenue South.

(The Costco on Fourth Avenue was also out of paper towels, disinfectant wipes and all Kleenex products, according to a whiteboard posted outside).

There was still some left at the Safeway just down Rainier — but it was going at a steady clip. Angel Soft, Charmin. Quilted, cotton or mega. Didn’t matter.

“Is there a limit?” asked a woman named Pat.

Pat didn’t want to give her last name, which makes a certain kind of sense. Much as we talk about the stuff — how much we need for how many people and for how long — toilet paper is still a very personal thing.

“There’s only two of us,” Pat said, grabbing a package of 12 rolls of Charmin, then dropping her voice. “But my daughter goes through it quite fast.”

OK. Understood. No judgment.

“When I was growing up, my Dad, his rule was one sheet,” she continued. “We may have to go to Grandpa’s rule.”

She stopped, scanned the semi-bare shelves and grabbed another package.

“Maybe I’ll try for three,” she said. “Put them under my bed.”