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Posts Tagged ‘lockdowns’

Are We on the Cusp of a New Progressive Era? | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on June 18, 2020

The results of the Progressive Era were not pretty, and this leads to ominous predictions for the 2020s. Corrupt politicians will always use recessions, crises, and changing political landscapes as justifications for special interest policies that provide benefits to their benefactors and constituents at the expense of society overall.

https://mises.org/wire/are-we-cusp-new-progressive-era?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=08ac95970a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-08ac95970a-228343965

The 2020s started off horrendously. Thanks to an exaggerated coronavirus pandemic, government lockdowns sunk the economy into the most serious recession since the Great Depression. From February to April 2020, industrial production collapsed by 15.2 percent and official unemployment figures skyrocketed from 3.5 percent to 14.7 percent. To put these numbers in perspective, during the Great Recession industrial production fell by a similar amount (17.3 percent) from December 2007 to June 2009 and unemployment “only” peaked at 10 percent in October 2009. In other words, the current recession is breaking all of the wrong records.1

In order to prevent the economy from completely imploding, the US government engaged in massive expansionary monetary and fiscal policy. From February to April the Federal Reserve exploded its assets by $2.5 trillion and pumped up the money supply (M2) by 14.6 percent.2 On the fiscal side, in late March Congress passed a belt-busting $2 trillion stimulus bill,3 and in mid-May the House passed another stimulus bill of $3 trillion. Then in early June Fed chairman Jerome Powell declared that low interest rates were here to stay indefinitely.4

If current political and economic trends continue, the 2020s will usher in a new period of drastically increased government activity and regulation of the economy. Despite justification on the grounds of public interest and cutting-edge modern “science,” these interventions promise to be thoroughly crony: they will enrich favored businesses, politicians, bureaucrats, intellectuals, and labor groups at the expense of the overall public. In short, the 2020 recession will usher in a new “Progressive Era” of the early 1900s, or, more accurately, another “Regressive Era.”

Murray Rothbard brilliantly showed that during the Progressive Era, which mainstream academics and other proponents of intervention laud as the nation’s first step into modernity, big business, big government, big intellectuals, and big labor succeeded in securing cronyism that made it easier for corporations and trade associations to cartelize, for politicians to increase their power, for technocrats to exert influence over planning the economy, and for unions to exclude cheaper immigrant workers. These groups had failed to achieve their goals until the Panic of 1893 allowed William Jennings Bryan’s Populist Democrats to supplant Grover Cleveland’s laissez-faire Democrats, which ushered in political dominance by the moderate corporatist Republican Party. It unfortunately seems far too likely that the federal government will now pass similar legislation in the 2020s, such as corporate and safety regulation, environmental laws, welfare and other entitlements, and more taxation.5

In the name of weakening the trusts, eliminating “unsafe” products, and cleaning up “subpar” working conditions, the Progressives passed a flurry of business regulations that restricted entry, reduced production, and raised prices. Notable examples include the rejuvenation of the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act, the creation of the Department of Commerce and Labor in 1903 (split into two departments in 1913), the Meat Inspection and Pure Food and Drug Acts of 1906, and establishment of the Federal Trade Commission in 1914. These new crony laws and agencies blocked hostile socialist legislation and also stymied free market pressures by raising compliance costs on newer, usually smaller, businesses and crippling price and product competition.6

The 2020s will most likely see similar business regulations. Even before the crisis, big tech welcomed new federal red tape over the internet in order to consolidate their market positions and stave off hostile antitrust suits from radical socialists and competing businesses. The current recession has already ushered in calls for formal coronavirus safety regulations in the workplace—a new “modern” age of federal, state, and local intrusiveness in the employer-employee relationship and how businesses cater to consumer desires. All of these laws, far from encouraging competition or protecting consumers, will just cartelize industries and raise relative compliance costs on smaller businesses that cannot afford to retool their facilities to meet new technology and safety restrictions.7

The Progressive Era also witnessed the enactment of conservationist laws and agencies. These interventions, such as the Reclamation Act of 1902 and the Public Lands and Inland Waterways Commissions (established in 1903 and 1907, respectively), funneled taxpayer funds into the research and development of certain methods of resource production, particularly irrigation, while restricting the use of various raw materials, such as timber. Although environmentalists advocated for these laws in order to preserve nature and encourage “ecofriendly” production processes, the legislation raised the prices of restricted lumber (benefitting the land speculators and railroads that owned competing reserves) and encouraged the uneconomic development of irrigation in the West.8

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has led the modern environmentalist movement for a Green New Deal that would totally overhaul American society and enormously reduce well-being. This economic program—estimated by some to potentially cost a truly earth-shattering $93 trillion over the next decade—would “save the planet” by drastically restricting the usage of fossil fuels (which most of the world relies upon to maintain modern living standards) and encourage the production of ecofriendly energy sources that will supposedly make up the shortfall. After the recent crisis, supporters have argued that the population is already numb to drastic changes in living standards and will correspondingly be more receptive to the Green New Deal. If such a program is enacted, the government will pick winners and losers in the energy market like never before and open up a Pandora’s box of widespread cronyism and special interest subsidies.9

In the early 1900s, the wise stewards of the government did not stop at corporate and conservationist cronyism—they also looked out for the labor interests. In the 1910s the Progressives enacted compulsory workmen’s compensation laws on the state level that forced businesses and taxpayers to cough up funds for worker welfare. The federal government followed this up with the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act of 1916 (also known as the Kern-McGillicuddy Act), which provided workmen’s compensation to federal employees. Taxpayer funds socialized the costs of disability insurance, and the regulations raised compliance costs on businesses. The enactment of workmen’s compensation laws served as the opening wedge to the infamous Social Security Act of 1935.10

Andrew Yang gained notoriety during the presidential Democratic primary by advocating a “universal basic income” (UBI) of $1000 each month. Fortunately for Yang, the crisis has already led to a UBI of sorts through stimulus checks and generous unemployment benefits given to displaced workers. Now advocates are arguing for $2000 a month until the government decides that the coronavirus crisis is over. The results of these policies are already disastrous for the labor market’s recovery: a significant portion of the workforce is dependent on the US government (i.e., the taxpayer) and many smaller businesses cannot rehire workers, because they would actually take a pay cut. A new age of welfare and artificially high labor costs has dawned upon the nation.11

To pay for the cronyism of the Progressive Era—legislation diligently administered by job-seeking bureaucrats, scientists, and technocrats—the Progressives “reformed” government revenue with the Sixteenth Amendment of 1913, which legalized the income tax. The federal government could now extract from taxpayers funds far greater than what was possible with tariffs and excise taxes. Initially, the income tax applied only to the contemporary “1 percent,” but World War I extended the government’s depredations to the rest of the public. This ensured that the cost of government was shifted to up-and-coming entrepreneurs and the middle class.12

A similar situation could appear during the present recession or later in the decade. The cost of the current stimulus programs and projected future legislation simply cannot be financed under the current revenue system. One “solution” is to monetize the deficits, a disastrous option that would lead to runaway inflation. Another option is to embark upon wealth taxes—the siren song for advocates of redistribution—on the wealthiest members of society. Although advocates argue that they will only apply to the most “privileged” strata, the government net will inevitably extend to the rest of the population. This is because big businesses will use their political influence to spread the burden upon the less wealthy (Social Security, after all, is still a regressive tax) and governments will use the newfound source of revenue to spend beyond their initial estimates and will subsequently clamor for more money. The result of widespread wealth taxes will be a harsh disincentive to work, save, and innovate, all to the detriment of society.13

The results of the Progressive Era were not pretty, and this leads to ominous predictions for the 2020s. Corrupt politicians will always use recessions, crises, and changing political landscapes as justifications for special interest policies that provide benefits to their benefactors and constituents at the expense of society overall. The year 2020 has already provided all three excuses, which means we may be headed for another Regressive Era—a disaster for the economic recovery and Americans’ freedoms.

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COVID-19 Lockdowns are Neither Necessary, nor Scientific, nor Helpful | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on June 16, 2020

During the debate over secession from Britain at the Second Virginia Convention held in 1775, Patrick Henry asked the audience, which included Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?” Patrick Henry concluded his address with a passionate answer: “but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!” This quote is synonymous with a core American value: that the freedom to live one’s life as one chooses is even more important than life itself. Individuals should choose whether the risks of socializing (including risks of contracting COVID-19) are worth the benefits of social exchange. It is not a matter of putting a dollar value on life; it is a recognition that people regularly risk their lives voluntarily in pursuit of happiness.

https://mises.org/wire/covid-19-lockdowns-are-neither-necessary-nor-scientific-nor-helpful?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=4ef0911661-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-4ef0911661-228343965

A viral disease known as COVID-19 has been declared the cause of death of over one hundred thousand Americans. When cases first appeared in the United States, individual states considered and then implemented various forms of mandatory lockdown to “flatten the curve” of new cases and minimize the death toll. I have previously questioned the wisdom of these lockdowns here. Although some of the lockdowns have been relaxed or lifted, there is ongoing debate over whether the lockdowns should be reinstated to avoid a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

A lockdown is one form of mandatory restriction of freedom of action. Restrictions in the US have included bans on serving customers in restaurants and other places of business, bans of peaceful gatherings of too many people in one location (in violation of “social distancing” requirements), and bans on religious worship by groups deemed to have too many people in one place of worship.

The First Amendment to the US Constitution lists the right to peaceably assemble and the right to free exercise of religion. The First Amendment is part of what is called the Bill of Rights. Note that these amendments are not known as the Bill of Privileges or the Bill of Nice Things to be Purchased by Taxes. The US Constitution could not have been ratified without the Bill of Rights, so these rights are fundamental to what it means to be an American. There is no question that the COVID-19 lockdowns denied Americans these fundamental rights. The only question is whether the denial of these rights was necessary.

Some proponents of lockdown start and end their argument by stating the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19. The magnitude of the number is supposed to end any further discussion. Anyone who questions whether the lockdowns have actually saved any lives are dismissed as having a callous disregard for human life. Back when the death toll from COVID-19 was around thirty thousand, I compared COVID-19 deaths to the annual deaths from influenza. Some of my colleagues repeatedly notify me when the death toll from COVID-19 is updated. Their point is that if deaths from COVID-19 exceed some arbitrary number the lockdowns will have been vindicated. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the deaths occurred during lockdowns or not; deaths from COVID-19 justify any action by government.

Comparisons with flu epidemics provide a frame of reference. The point is that in the past American civilization somehow survived comparable crises with similar death tolls without requiring lockdowns. Freedom of worship and freedom of peaceable assembly are constitutionally protected rights. The only plausible justification for suspending those rights would be an imminent and credible threat to the existence of America that required immediate and united effort to avoid. A final death toll from COVID-19 of two hundred thousand or even 1 million would not change the argument despite being a substantially greater tragedy.

Some of my colleagues argue that life is priceless and is more important than any economic consideration. This is contrary to the foundation of America. During the debate over secession from Britain at the Second Virginia Convention held in 1775, Patrick Henry asked the audience, which included Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?” Patrick Henry concluded his address with a passionate answer: “but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!” This quote is synonymous with a core American value: that the freedom to live one’s life as one chooses is even more important than life itself. Individuals should choose whether the risks of socializing (including risks of contracting COVID-19) are worth the benefits of social exchange. It is not a matter of putting a dollar value on life; it is a recognition that people regularly risk their lives voluntarily in pursuit of happiness. We could completely eliminate deaths from motor vehicle accidents by banning motor vehicles. We continue to voluntarily use them, because the economic benefits of doing so are more valuable to us than the risks to our lives.

Another argument made by lockdown proponents is to “follow the science.” This is another phrase intended to end further discussion. Scientific hypotheses must be falsifiable by observation. The scientific method is the process of testing falsifiable hypotheses by empiric observations that either support or reject them. The “science” is never settled and is never closed to challenge or discussion. What proponents of lockdowns mean by “follow the science” is that statements made by scientists should be accepted as axioms and that anyone who challenges these statements is an ignoramus or a conspiracy nut. An obvious problem exists when different scientists make conflicting statements. This problem is worse when the same scientist makes conflicting statements at different times.

As the debates over continuation or resumption of lockdowns continue, what is the current state of knowledge? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released their best estimate of symptomatic case fatality rates based on records of symptomatic cases, records of deaths, and antibody tests of wider populations. The symptomatic case fatality rate is the risk of death after developing symptomatic disease. This is different from the mortality rate, which is the number of deaths per hundred thousand. The symptomatic case fatality rates are 0.5 deaths per thousand symptomatic cases for those under 50 years of age, 2 per thousand for those age 50–64, and 13 per thousand for those over 65. As a frame of reference, the case fatality rate for the Spanish flu of 1918 was greater than 25 deaths per thousand cases. The existing scientific data for COVID-19 do not justify the suspension of civil liberties.

The debate will always return to the total deaths, which now exceed one hundred thousand for the United States. There is nothing extraordinary about the death toll from COVID-19. Total deaths in the US from all causes were 2,839,205 in 2018. The current mortality rate from COVID-19 in the US is 31.7. The total mortality rate in the US from all causes was 723.6 in 2018. The mortality rate in the US in 2018 was 163.6 for heart disease, 149.1 from cancer, 48.0 from unintentional injury (including motor vehicle accidents), 39.7 from chronic noninfectious lung disease (mostly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]), 37.1 from stroke, and 30.5 from Alzheimer’s disease. The mortality rate from suicide was 14.2 in 2018. These comparisons do not ignore the tragedy of deaths from COVID-19; the figures provide a frame of reference.

There is no evidence that lockdowns saved any lives. Different political entities have tried different severities of lockdown. Sweden tried a very liberal approach; their mortality rate from COVID-19 was lower compared with some other countries with more severe lockdowns such as Britain, Spain, Italy, and France. There is no clear relationship between severity of lockdown and mortality rates from COVID-19 for different states in the United States either. New York had one of the strictest lockdowns and has the highest mortality rate from COVID-19 of all states at 152.9. My own state of Texas had a relatively liberal lockdown and has a mortality rate from COVID-19 of 5.7. Texas had a mortality rate from motor vehicle accidents of 12.7 in 2018. More than twice as many people in Texas died from motor vehicle accidents in 2018 than have died from COVID-19. Each lockdown represents a different experiment in policy. If we “follow the science,” we will conclude that lockdowns had little or no beneficial effect and that policy should be set at local levels rather than state, national, or global levels.

Mandatory lockdowns should be ended. We have enough data for individuals to make decisions about whether they should stay in the safety of their homes or risk their lives by socializing. Young people are at the least risk from COVID-19 and have the most to lose by economic deprivation. The elderly are at the highest risk and have the least to lose by staying at home since many are retired or disabled. People who live in New York may very well make different choices from people in Texas.

In my home community of Lubbock, Texas, people have changed their behavior voluntarily. Some people wear masks and others do not. If you are afraid of those who do not, it is easy enough to avoid them. I take outdoor walks. During these walks, people wave to each other. We give each other space voluntarily, but nobody calls in a SWAT team if some child or pet breaches the capricious and arbitrary six-foot barrier. Calls for resuming lockdowns out of fear of second waves should be ignored. The lockdowns have dug a very deep economic hole, and we need to stop digging it deeper.

 

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Do Conservatives Really Believe Than Unconstitutional Law Is No Law? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on June 2, 2020

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/06/laurence-m-vance/do-conservatives-really-believe-that-an-unconstitutional-law-is-no-law/

By

I see that all manner of conservatives are saying in response to the draconian lockdowns across the country that an unconstitutional law is no law. They are praising district attorneys, sheriffs, and local police for saying that they won’t enforce the decrees of state governors. Some conservatives are advocating rebellion and civil disobedience. Their focus, of course, is mainly on states with Democratic governors. But it is typical of conservatives not to criticize Republicans too much.

But do conservatives really believe that an unconstitutional law is no law? Do they really believe that district attorneys, sheriffs, and local police should not enforce unconstitutional laws?

Of course they don’t.

Now, I am glad to see that conservatives are actually talking about civil liberties. But the greatest violation of civil liberties, private property, individual liberty, personal freedom, and free enterprise is the federal government’s war on drugs.

Under federal law

Possession of marijuana is punishable by up to one year in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first conviction. For a second conviction, the penalties increase to a 15-day mandatory minimum sentence with a maximum of two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Subsequent convictions carry a 90-day mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

And that is just possession.

Manufacture or distribution carries tougher penalties. The sale of paraphernalia is punishable by up to three years in prison. And “the sentence of death can be carried out on a defendant who has been found guilty of manufacturing, importing or distributing a controlled substance if the act was committed as part of a continuing criminal enterprise.”

And that is just marijuana.

Woe unto the American who possesses, manufactures, or distributes cocaine, heroin, meth, or fentanyl.

Drug laws are certainly unconstitutional laws.

Does the Constitution authorize the national government to regulate, criminalize, or prohibit the manufacture, sale, or use of any drug?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to intrude itself into the personal eating, drinking, or smoking habits of Americans?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to restrict or monitor any harmful or mood-altering substances that any American wants to consume?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a drug war?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to concern itself with the nature and quantity of any substance Americans inhale or otherwise take into their body?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government regulate, monitor, or restrict the consumption, medical, or recreational habits of Americans?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have an Office of National Drug Control Policy?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a Drug Enforcement Administration?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a drug czar?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a Controlled Substances Act?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a National Survey on Drug Use and Health?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have any federal crimes other than treason, piracy, and counterfeiting?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a National Drug Control Strategy?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to institute drug prohibition without a constitutional amendment?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to wage war on a plant?

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to ban anything?

Of course it doesn’t.

Since an unconstitutional law is no law, shouldn’t conservatives be opposed root and branch to the federal government’s war on drugs instead of being its biggest supporters?

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Listen to the Doctors, End the Lockdowns

Posted by M. C. on June 2, 2020

The lesson of the unnecessary lockdowns is clear: Government bureaucrats and politicians, even the media’s beloved Dr. Fauci, must be stripped of the ability to infringe on our liberty and prosperity.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/june/01/listen-to-the-doctors-end-the-lockdowns/

Written by Ron Paul

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Six hundred physicians recently signed a letter to President Trump calling for an end to the coronavirus lockdowns. The physicians wrote that, far from protecting public health, the lockdowns are causing “exponentially growing negative health consequences” for millions of Americans.

Since the lockdowns began, there have been increases in alcoholism, drug abuse, and domestic violence. There has also been an increase in calls to suicide hotlines. This is a direct result of the mass unemployment and limitations on people’s activities resulting from the lockdowns. As long as millions of Americans are sitting at home wondering how to survive until the government says they can go back to work — assuming the lockdowns did not drive their employers out of business, there will be more substance abuse and suicides.

At the start of the lockdowns, Americans were told to stay away from emergency rooms and doctors’ offices to avoid exposure to coronavirus. This has led Americans to neglect their health. US hospitals have seen a 40 percent decline in the number of patients admitted for severe heart attacks since March. Does anyone believe that the coronavirus panic just happened to coincide with a miraculous decline in heart attacks?

Physicians have also become unable to help many stroke victims who coronavirus lockdowns have kept from seeking medical assistance.

Early in the coronavirus panic, hospitals were told to cancel elective procedures to ensure space was available for an expected wave of coronavirus patients. But hospitals were not overwhelmed by coronavirus patients. Beds and other resources were unused.

According to the American Hospital Association, this has cost healthcare providers tens of billions of dollars in lost revenue. Inner-city and rural hospitals that already operate on slim profit margins are especially hard hit by the financial impact of the lockdowns. These hospitals may have to cut back on services. Some may even close. This will make it even more difficult for rural and inner-city Americans to obtain quality, affordable healthcare.

Postponing needed surgeries will have serious consequences. Many patients whose surgeries have been delayed will find that their once easily treatable conditions now require intensive and expensive care.

Some people are forgoing disease management and checkups that could keep them from developing more serious problems. The coronavirus lockdowns have even caused the canceling of chemotherapy treatments.

According to the physicians’ letter to President Trump, the coronavirus lockdowns are preventing 150,000 Americans a month from finding out they have cancer. Skipped routine cancer screenings mean cancer is not detected in an early stage, when it is most easily treated.

The coronavirus lockdowns have upended the lives of Americans to “protect” them from a virus with a 0.2 percent fatality rate, with the majority of those fatalities occurring in nursing homes and among people with chronic health conditions. Instead, the rational response would be to protect the vulnerable, and let the rest of the people live their lives. But politicians and government-anointed “experts” do not respond rationally to a “crisis,” especially when a panicked reaction can increase their power and prestige.

The lesson of the unnecessary lockdowns is clear: Government bureaucrats and politicians, even the media’s beloved Dr. Fauci, must be stripped of the ability to infringe on our liberty and prosperity.


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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Is Violence Necessary To Suppress the Violence of Antifa? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on June 1, 2020

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/06/michael-s-rozeff/violence-necessary-to-suppress-violence-of-antifa/

By

There has been some local violence in Buffalo. Buffalo’s Mayor Brown and Erie County’s Supervisor Poloncarz both said that outsiders instigated violence:

“Both Brown and Poloncarz indicated some members of the protest were not from the city.”

“‘There are people who are here in this community who are not from this community,’ Brown said, ‘and their intent is to create violence and mayhem.’”

“‘The vast majority of protesters were peaceful, we expected them to be peaceful,’ Poloncarz later added, ‘but we’re also getting intelligence that there were individuals coming from outside this area who had nothing but violence on their mind.’”

“Poloncarz said he has been in contact with Monroe County, and that he believes splinter groups sent people to both Rochester and Buffalo ‘for the sole purpose of inciting violence.’”

This blog focuses on one thing: antifa and its role in the recent riots. It’s preliminary and incomplete. Evidence one way or another will be accumulating. Even before that, we know already that there is an organized group of vandals inside America that wants to destroy the republic and the country by means of violence. Because they’ve made their position known years ago and because they’ve acted violently before in places like Portland, it’s a good bet that they are almost surely inciting and causing violent destruction throughout the country. This group is antifa. They are violent anarchists, and they should be destroyed. It will be very surprising if we find that antifa hasn’t been exploiting the bad situations caused by government failures of many kinds, including the lockdown fiasco.

One expects videos to be analyzed and other evidence to build up that shows antifa’s participation. They may even take credit and boast about it. We’ll see.

Antifa’s agenda has been evident for years. The need for its suppression was evident years ago.

When and if evidence surfaces of other collections of people or individuals acting as vandals, then they too should be treated with whatever level of violence it takes to stop them and end their violent activities for good.

Only violence and the threat of violence can suppress such unlawful violence as that of antifa and violent rioters who have no knowledge of antifa or participation in it. Self-defense is essential or else the thugs and/or thuggery take over.

Antifa needs to be singled out because of its past known activities and professed agenda to cause mayhem and to destroy whatever it can.

  No government can exist without keeping order. This is its main purpose, according to Hobbes; and his analysis best describes the situation we face. Therefore, unless governments ramp up their own violence against instigators like antifa, they will be failing in their fundamental mission; and these government failures will return us to a multitude in some version of the Hobbesian state of nature. No one knows what that would look like, but it would be very bad, as one can well imagine, until local peoples united and violently suppressed offenders against the peace. But this process would involve disruption of everyone’s lives for an indeterminate period. It is far better to suppress the agitators through existing governments and do it now.

The good people who are against such outrageous violent rioting are already demanding far more violent government action against the perpetrators. And they want it now. Just read the comments underneath videos of the rioting.

The reason why antifa or like violent instigators and vandals could gain in strength and determination is that governments have so far failed to suppress them.

Antifa is one piece of a situation in which responsibilities for crimes reach to various groups. Rioters are not off the hook because they never heard of antifa or follow their lead on the street or the lead of someone else. Non-antifa persons who riot and loot are responsible for their individual behavior. They are exercising their will, and if they go for immoral, unethical or unlawful behavior, they are responsible. One cannot discount personal responsibility by referring to social forces, antifa, lockdowns, anger, or the many government failures like police brutality, etc.

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Why You Might Rent Yourself A Mustang This Weekend – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on May 30, 2020

Great idea. A Camero would be better.

Don’t be dismayed if the chicken littles attack that courage in you. That’s merely a way for them to assure themselves that the courage is real. In time even the most chicken little of the group will be ready to follow the strongest leader that they can find.

Persevere.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/05/allan-stevo/why-you-might-rent-yourself-a-mustang-this-weekend/

by

I don’t know you, but if I did, I would wish you a lot of rumble and chrome.

I don’t know you, but if I did, I would wish you a muscle car and the bravado of classic rock.

I don’t know you, but if I did, I would wish you a long road with no radars for ages — no authority other than you, nature, and the big guy.

You’ve got male energy and you’ve got female energy. Every human has both. The lockdowns, in their insular, protective way, have come, to some extent, out of a plethora of caring female energy. Cradle-to-grave government tends to be that. More time at home lowers the testosterone. More time on Netflix. More time on the couch. More time eating carbs. It reduces some of nature’s way of putting a little more swagger in your step. And while that’s not why corona turned into a thing, there are plenty of folks on this planet, mostly within the United States who are happy to see a certain type of American male with a little less swagger in his step.

I don’t know you, but in a moment like this, if you were a man who I knew and cared for, I’d probably suggest something that helps the testosterone surge, like a pickup game of 3-on-3 basketball, or a game of tackle football in the lawn of the park that no one is using.

Maybe if I knew you and wanted to help you feel more like yourself, I might gather people who respect you and I might ask you to lead, follow, or help in an activity. That sense of camaraderie, of accomplishment, of leadership can all help to build the participant and to surge in him his understanding of himself as a producer on this planet, a provider, a man who gives the world more than he takes from it.

I know. That’s sort of like work, in its best moments, a human activity of cooperation that builds far more together than anyone is capable of doing alone. Work is not always like that sadly, but when it is done right, that is exactly what it is.

Perhaps if I knew you, and I wanted to help you feel more like yourself, I might choose something you are good at. If you are a man who knows theology, I’d say let’s get some friends together and hear you preach the most daring sermon you can. That frightening experience is sure to put hair on your chest. If you aren’t a little scared, you aren’t doing it right. Every time a good preacher speaks, greenhorn or veteran, I want to know he’s delivering the kind of sermon that makes him a little nervous as he pushes beyond his boundaries.

When I was a child, a classmate delivered a solo performance of “The Living Years” by Mike and the Mechanics at the talent show. He wasn’t amazing, but he forever earned the admiration of those who understood how gutsy it was to do what he did. Perhaps if I knew you, I might gather a large group of people together packed into a grade school gymnasium, to watch you perform something daring. Afterwards we would go out for a celebratory pizza for the man of the hour.

Perhaps if I knew you, and wanted to help you feel more like yourself, we wouldn’t even need to put you onstage. That might not be your thing. We might go to an ice hockey game, sit along the boards, and feel the surge of brute strength every time the puck came near us.

I know. It’s all been banned. Pickup games, church, human gatherings, sports, offices, large swaths of economic activity.

This period is corona communism, because it is the artificial stunting of human activity in the name of the greater good. It is the artificial stunting of human achievement and human cooperation. It is the most awful, misery-inducing behavior that the world has seen in a long time, and it doesn’t matter what the rationale for it is. What is happening is inexcusable.

If I knew you, I’d probably get you a blue Mustang convertible. Or some similar car.

It’s not as hard as you might think. There’s an app for that. I use Turo (turo.com). My last rental was a $69 a day blue Mustang convertible. Driving it hard on the empty roads was a welcome antidote on my 71st day of lockdown.

If I knew you, I might even make you a mix tape for your adventure.

There wouldn’t be anything too catchy on the mix tape. Catchy bubble gum pop is for a different kind of mood: pedicures.

Nor would it be overly sentimental. It would be music intended to evoke the beast in you, the warrior. And ultimately the king too. But it would be mainly intended to evoke that fighting spirit.

And there wouldn’t be any rap. Because while rap can echo the warrior spirit and contains wisdom, it just doesn’t evoke authenticity in me. The key to this moment is to fit as much authenticity into your day as possible, to be as much of yourself as possible, to feel the joy of pure bliss surging through your veins as you feel yourself in your body and live life.

Confident. Drums and electric delivered without apology. If I knew you, that’s what I might do for you: Steppenwolf — Born To Be Wild, AC/DC — Thunderstruck, Bruce Springsteen — Born To Run, Whitesnake — Here I Go Again, George Thorogood & The Destroyers — Bad To The Bone, Led Zeppelin — Immigrant Song, Norman Greenbaum — Spirit In The Sky, and I would add one song that you might not understand the words to, but I would mention that this was a Czechoslovak rock band prior to and during the fall of the Iron Curtain, that reminded people how “truth prevails,” in Pravda Vitazi by Tublatanka.

Warning the cowed reader “It’s important to be able to say the word masculine without imagining that we are saying a sexist word,”

Robert Bly in Iron John writes “The activity men were once loved for is not required,” before unapologetically spending the rest of his book elegantly addressing such concerns through the words of sages of the past.

Feminist Camile Paglia, who is quick to praise what she describes as male obsessiveness, in Sexual Personae writes “If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts.” One of the theses of her carrier is how our era preferences the feminine and deceives itself into pretending the masculine has little to offer, when in reality men need women and women need men. Problematically, there is hardly room in this stifling era for men to be men. More so now.

Moore and Gillette in King Warrior Magician Lover describe the noble energy of the warrior as “might for right.”

Each of us are called on to lean into that energy, to develop that might for right. To be the obsessive builder of the proverbial skyscrapers of our lives, families, and societies.

There’s a passion inside each of us that has been dampened by this corona communism. And for many men it’s been dampened the worst. Their most natural instinct to risk and to live has been suppressed.

On cue, the anti-male has entered the fray claiming suspiciously that testosterone increases Covid deaths.

Testosterone also makes you more prone to live a life that’s worth a damn. It pushes a person to take risks and do things that others wouldn’t dare. We each have masculine and feminine in us. That masculine could use a little nurturing.

This weekend is called Pentecost in the western church, 50 days after Easter. The disciples had 50 days to say “What the heck just happened?” and to process that before they did some bold stuff.

No one is expected to be able to know everything in the moment. Even the finest soldiers can need years to make sense of what took place in the heat of battle.

Perhaps one day soon, you can purposefully stoke some of that passion in you. This Saturday is a natural day for that.

And with that passion, perhaps you could commit to go back to being your usual bold self, only at the 110% level, to make up for all the chicken littles out there who need some of that courage.

Don’t be dismayed if the chicken littles attack that courage in you. That’s merely a way for them to assure themselves that the courage is real. In time even the most chicken little of the group will be ready to follow the strongest leader that they can find.

Persevere.

The Ides of March are behind us, Easter Sunday is behind us.

You’re needed this weekend.

In your full glory and a little more.

Be seeing you

 

 

 

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A Black Swan With Teeth | SchiffGold

Posted by M. C. on May 28, 2020

From his basement-based presidential campaign, Joe Biden has repeatedly asserted that trade-offs between safety and economic activity are a “false choice,” and that any policies that may just prevent “one more death” should be implemented, no matter the costs. Such claims are symptomatic of a politician who prefers cheap posturing to reality.

The insanity of this idea can be seen in California, a state under total control of the Democrats. Despite a per capita death rate that is less than 30% of the national average, based on current data from Wolrldometer, the state seems to be prepared to commit economic suicide.

https://schiffgold.com/commentaries/a-black-swan-with-teeth/

by

For years, I have been warning that during the age of permanent stimulus (which began in earnest with the Federal Reserve’s reaction to the dotcom crash of 2000), each successive economic contraction would have to be met with ever larger, increasingly ineffective, doses of monetary and fiscal stimulus to keep the economy from spiraling into depression. I have also said that the enormity of the asset price gains over the last 10 years had increased the danger because reflating the bloated stock, real estate, and public and private debt markets would bring on doses of stimulus that could prove lethal for the economy. But even though I expected that the next financial crisis would be catastrophic, I thought that it would come into the world in the usual way, as a credit crisis triggered by over-leverage. But the Coronavirus ripped up those stage notes, and instead ushered in a threat that is faster and deeper than I imagined, and I imagined a lot. It’s a perfect storm, a black swan with teeth.

Even in my most pessimistic assessments, I did not expect that so many seemingly distant sectors of the economy would simultaneously evaporate, almost overnight, or that government deficits would expand to nearly $4 trillion in the first wave of the crisis, or that the Federal Reserve would so suddenly launch its largest-ever experiment in quantitative easing, (with almost none of the forward guidance they have used to telegraph lesser moves), which would expand its balance sheet by more than $3 trillion in a matter of just a few months. Nor did I expect that at its outset the Fed’s new buying plan would include, for the first time, corporate bonds and high yield debt ETFs. (I thought those expansions would come eventually, not immediately.)

To make matters even worse, the crisis has struck in the midst of a presidential election year, which guarantees that every policy decision has been made through a political prism. Democrats are seizing on the crisis to paint the Trump Administration as incompetent, ineffective and uncaring, often twisting themselves into knots to do so. (Trump has done himself no favors by using his daily briefings to showcase his inconsistent policy positions, combative political style, and his tenuous grasp of medical concepts.) So, in contrast to prior national crises that had tended to pull the country together (think 9/11), this event is tearing us apart.

But there is one thing upon which both sides seem to agree: the need for the Federal government to shower the economy with newly created money, bail out everyone who can claim that the virus “was not their fault,” and to fully liquefy the financial markets. The result has been an increase in government spending that dwarfs everything we have ever seen in the past, including the government’s response to the 2008 financial crisis. The $3 trillion increase in Federal debt accumulated this spring may just be the beginning.

The major political differences now center on matters of degree, particularly how long the economy should remain closed and how many jobs, businesses, and family financial plans should be exchanged for each life that may be saved through extended lockdowns. This is where it gets ugly. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Didn’t the 1958 and 1918 Pandemics Destroy the Economy? Hint: It’s the Lockdowns – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on May 25, 2020

That’s the equivalent of 220,000 deaths in the United States today.

Yet, Americans in 1957 did not respond by shutting down commerce,
forcing people into “lockdown,” or driving unemployment up to
Depression-era levels. In fact, reports show that Americans took little
action beyond the usual measures involved in trying to slow the spread
of disease: hand washing, staying home when ill, etc.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/05/ryan-mcmaken/why-didnt-the-1958-and-1918-pandemics-destroy-the-economy-hint-its-the-lockdowns/

By

Mises.org

Media pundits and politicians are now in the habit of claiming it was the pandemic itself that has caused unemployment to skyrocket and economic growth to plummet. The claim is that sick and dying workers, fearful consumers, and disrupted supply chains would cause economic chaos. Some have even claimed that economic shutdowns actually help the economy, because it is claimed allowing the spread of the disease will itself destroy employment and economic growth.1

Leaving aside the fact there’s no evidence lockdowns actually work, we can nonetheless look to past pandemics—where coercive government interventions were at most sporadic—we should see immense economic damage.  Specifically, we can look to the the pandemic of 1957-58, which was more deadly than the COVID-19 pandemic has been so far. We can also look to the 1918-19 pandemic. Yet, we will see that neither produced economic damage on a scale we now see as a result of the government mandated lockdowns. This thoroughly undermines the claims that the lockdowns are only a minor factor in economic destruction, and that the virus itself is the real culprit.

Economic Reactions in 1957–58, and in 1918–19

The CDC estimates that as of May 18 this year approximately ninety thousand Americans have died of COVID-19. Adjusted for population size, that comes out to a mortality rate of 272 per million.

This is (so far) less than half the mortality rate for the 1957–58 flu pandemic. In that pandemic, it is estimated that as many as 116,000 Americans died. Yet, the US population was much smaller then, totaling only 175 million. Adjusted for population size, mortality as a result of the “Asian flu” pandemic of 1957–58 was more than 660 per million.

That’s the equivalent of 220,000 deaths in the United States today.

Yet, Americans in 1957 did not respond by shutting down commerce, forcing people into “lockdown,” or driving unemployment up to Depression-era levels. In fact, reports show that Americans took little action beyond the usual measures involved in trying to slow the spread of disease: hand washing, staying home when ill, etc.

Although the virus does appear to have been a factor in the 1958 recession, the economic effects were miniscule compared to what the US now faces from the reaction to the COVID-19 virus. This suggests that most of the economic damage now being experienced by workers and households in the US is more a product of the policy reaction to the virus than to the virus itself.

The pandemic of 1957–58 was a serious and deadly problem for many. As cases of the Asian flu began to spread, it became clear to many scientists and other observers that there was something different and deadly about this flu. Indeed, according to D.A. Henderson, et al in “Public Health and Medical Responses to the 1957–58 Influenza Pandemic, “Humans under 65 possessed no immunity to this H2N2 strain.”1 This meant that the “highest attack rates were in school-age children through young adults up to 35 or 40 years of age.” Total deaths due to the flu over this period range from 70,000 to 116,000. This is cause for concern, to say the least. With younger Americans, many of them in prime working age, susceptible to the disease, one could anticipate significant costs in terms of economic growth and health.

What was the policy reaction to this? Henderson et al. continue:

The 1957–58 pandemic was such a rapidly spreading disease that it became quickly apparent to U.S. health officials that efforts to stop or slow its spread were futile. Thus, no efforts were made to quarantine individuals or groups, and a deliberate decision was made not to cancel or postpone large meetings such as conferences, church gatherings, or athletic events for the purpose of reducing transmission. No attempt was made to limit travel or to otherwise screen travelers. Emphasis was placed on providing medical care to those who were afflicted and on sustaining the continued functioning of community and health services….there were no reports that major events were canceled or postponed except for high school and college football games, which were often delayed because of the number of players afflicted.

In 1957–58, there was concern over the availability of medical services. But the emphasis then was on increasing medical services rather than state-enforced quarantines and “social distancing” measures. Nor did a vaccine offer an easy way out:

Health officers had hopes that significant supplies of vaccine might become available in due time, and special efforts were made to speed the production of vaccine, but the quantities that became available were too late to affect the impact of the epidemic.

Schools and workplaces were affected by absent students and workers, but absenteeism at schools was a larger factor, with some schools even closed for short periods as a result of so many missing students. Absenteeism did not rise to the level of causing shortages:

Available data on industrial absenteeism indicate that the rates were low and that there was no interruption of essential services or production. The overall impact on GDP was negligible and likely within the range of normal economic variation.

Overall, the economy declined by approximately 2 percent during both the first and second quarter of 1958, but this could not all be attributed to the effects of the virus. Unemployment at the time also surged, peaking at 7.5 percent during July 1958. Economic growth was positive again, however, by the fourth quarter of 1958 and had soared to over 9 percent growth in 1959. Unemployment had fallen to 5 percent by June of 1959.

But the overall economic impact of the virus itself was hardly disastrous. Henderson, et al conclude:

Despite the large numbers of cases, the 1957 outbreak did not appear to have a significant impact on the U.S. economy. For example, a Congressional Budget Office estimate found that a pandemic the scale of which occurred in 1957 would reduce real GDP by approximately 1% ‘‘but probably would not cause a recession and might not be distinguishable from the normal variation in economic activity.’’

The 1918–19 pandemic, which caused an astounding ten times as many deaths per million as the 1957–58 pandemic, also failed to produce economic disaster. Although the US entered the 1918–19 pandemic in poor economic shape thanks to the Great War, according to economists Efraim Benmelech and Carola Frydman,

The Spanish flu left almost no discernible mark on the aggregate US economy….According to some estimates, real gross national product actually grew in 1919, albeit by a modest 1% (Romer 1988). In new work, Velde (2020) shows that most indicators of aggregate economic activity suffered modestly, and those that did decline more significantly right after the influenza outbreak, like industrial output, recovered within months.

Nor can the pandemic be blamed for the 1921 recession, because “by then the decline in output had all to do with a collapse in commodity prices when post-war European production finally recovered.”

How Do Pandemics Affect Economic Growth? Read the rest of this entry »

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10 Best Quotes from “Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau | The Daily Bell

Posted by M. C. on May 25, 2020

https://www.thedailybell.com/all-articles/news-analysis/10-best-quotes-from-henry-david-thoreaus-essay-civil-disobedience/

By Joe Jarvis

Although the essay was written 168 years ago, the subject of Civil Disobedience is more relevant than ever.

As people debate the scope of government power in regards to Covid-19 lockdowns, some are openly defying the law.

Henry David Thoreau believed that it was not only proper but necessary to disobey bad laws.

Civil Disobedience, or Resisting Civil Government as it was originally titled, was published in 1849. Thoreau was 32 years old, living in Massachusetts. At this point, Thoreau had already spent his time at Walden Pond.

Thoreau had also spent a night in jail years earlier after refusing to pay a poll tax, which he discusses in Civil Disobedience. He was actually annoyed when an anonymous person paid his bail because Thoreau saw his time in jail as a worthy sacrifice to protest the injustice of extortion AKA taxes.

Here are the ten best quotes from his 25-page essay.

1.

“I heartily accept the motto, ‘That government is best which governs least:’ and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe,-‘That government is best which governs not at all;’ and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.”

This is how Thoreau begins the essay. The point is that government is only required when things need to be forced, and someday, we will live in a world where everything worth being done at all is done voluntarily.

2.

“The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted, before the people can act through it.”

Sometimes people need to get together to make things happen. A government is one way to do that, if you need to build a road, or keep people safe. But sometimes governments also murder millions of people, keep entire segments of the population in slavery, and bring the earth to the brink of nuclear holocaust.

But they do build the roads… Read the rest of this entry »

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America Is Drowning in Problems – PaulCraigRoberts.org

Posted by M. C. on May 23, 2020

The blame China game is really an effort to cover-up the failure of Western governments to deal with a crisis.

Throughout America, state, local, and federal government  epitomize  failure. Trillions of dollars have been poured into weapons systems that cannot be used without destroying the United States along with the rest of the world, while dams fail, bridges collapse, communities deteriorate, and homelessness grows. The government in Washington spends time, effort, and money manufacturing enemies to justify the budget of the military/security complex, while  jobs and the US economy are offshored, the environment is degraded, and health care needs go unaddressed.

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2020/05/22/america-is-drowning-in-problems/

Paul Craig Roberts

Washington is picking yet another fight with China. On top of the trade war we now have the coronavirus war.  China is accused of being responsible for the virus by withholding information about it.  Some in Washington want to make China pay for the cost of the virus by reneging on US debt held by China in the form of US Treasuries.

What information about coronavirus is China supposed to have withheld?

That China was doing coronavirus research?  How could this information have been withheld when the US State Department knew about it, the N.I.H. was funding it, and US scientists were complaining about the danger?

That coronavirus was ravaging Wuhan?  How was this information withheld when it was in the media every day?

The United States and its vassals knew about the virus outbreak in China two months prior to its outbreak in the West and did nothing. Through either inaction or intent, the US, Canada, and Europe imported the virus.  The governments refused to stop flights in and out of China and to prevent cruise ships from welcoming passengers from infected areas. Governments did not want to interfere with profits, which came before public health.  Absolutely nothing was done.  No efforts were made to stockpile protective masks and gear, or to protect nursing homes, or to segregate hospital facilities, or to think outside the box about treatments.  The Swedish government was so unprepared that it did not even try to do anything and just let the virus run its course with devastating effects on the elderly.  [Note: There is much disinformation about Sweden from those who believe the virus is a plot to impose police state controls, such as claims that Sweden has kept the economy open without paying for it in a higher death rate and is gaining “herd immunity” against Covid-19.  These claims are contradicted by news reports.  For example: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-world-health-organization-said-lessons-could-be-learned-from-sweden—now-its-daily-deaths-are-soaring-2020-05-21  and https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/21/just-7-per-cent-of-stockholm-had-covid-19-antibodies-by-end-of-april-study-sweden-coronavirus.]

In an attempt, more or less successful, to reduce the infection rate so that health facilities were not over-burdened, every other country imposed social distancing rules, bans against crowd events, and workplace closures.  As little was known about the disease and the Chinese mortality rate was believed to be vastly understated, there was no responsible alternative to the so-called “lockdowns.”  It remains to be seen whether the concern for profits has produced a premature reopening that will result in a second wave of rapid infection rates. Many suspect that Big Pharma and Bill Gates want to keep the infection spreading in order to panic us into being vaccinated with an inadequately tested vaccine.

The blame China game is really an effort to cover-up the failure of Western governments to deal with a crisis.

The failure of governments to deal with crisis is ubiquitous.  Just think Katrina, the hurricane that devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.  If you don’t remember or are too young to have experienced the 2005 hurricane via TV, read Douglas Brinkley’s The Great Deluge ( https://www.amazon.com/Great-Deluge-Hurricane-Katrina-Mississippi-ebook/dp/B000GCFX5Y/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+Great+Deluge&qid=1590082177&s=books&sr=1-1 ).

Everyone knew that the levies protecting New Orleans and surrounding areas were unable to withstand a storm of Katrina’s intensity.  The city was a bowl waiting to fill up with the water that wiped out 80% of New Orleans and 150 miles of Gulf Coast communities.   Evacuation orders came too late.  There were no steps taken to evacuate those without cars and resources. The sick and elderly were left in place.  The few steps that were taken to assemble buses, boats, and first responders located the scanty resources in areas that flooded.  The New Orleans Police Department went AWOL. Some joined in the looting. FEMA was a total failure.  President George W. Bush and Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff were not focused on the unfolding tragedy but on their creation of a terrortist hoax that was used to justify 20 years of US bombing and invasions of Middle Eastern and North African countries. As Bush had deployed Louisiana’s National Guard to Iraq, the Louisiana governor had to borrow guardsmen from other states.

The US Coast Guard, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries personnel, and private individuals formed the force of first responders. People from Louisiana and from other states showed up on their own time, their own money, and with their own boats and began organizing rescues.  There were many heroic and generous people involved in the rescue. As most of the rescuers were white southerners and most of the rescued were black, it put the lie to the propagandistic picture of the white southern racist. For example, Sara Roberts and her husband Buisson, a descendant of Confederate General P.G.T.Beauregard, organized the Cajun Navy.  Sara enlisted clients of her accounting firm who came up with 35 boats and crews to man them.  One of her clients, Ronny Lovett, paid his construction crews triple wages for their rescue time and spent $200,000 of his money equipping the boats with food, water, medical supplies, chain saws, life jackets, spotlights, ropes and whatever else could contribute to successful rescues. It was individual citizens, not the governments in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Washington that rescued many thousands of people who otherwise would have perished. 

From its founding day, New Orleans was a man-made disaster waiting to happen.  Dredging, canals, watercourse alterations, pipelines and a variety of other environmental damaging mistakes had over the years destroyed the wetlands that protected the city and Gulf Coast. In order to serve private profit, failure was built into the system. The Great Deluge is an external cost of a political and economic system that puts private profits first.

We are undergoing it again at this moment as areas of Michigan are inundated from floods caused by dam failures. One of the dams, the Edenville Dam was a long known public safety hazard . Boyce Hydro, the owner of the dam, repeatedly failed despite the intervention of regulators to address the known risk.  Not only was Boyce Hydro negligent, but also were the government authorities that permitted the known risk to persist unaddressed.  The lost of life and property from the flooding is an external cost imposed on third parties by Boyce Hydro whose agenda was limited to its profits.

It is as difficult to understand the liberal and progressive belief in government as it is to understand the libertarian belief in the efficacy of the invisible hand that allegedly causes private greed to serve the public’s interest.  Humans are a built-in failure machine.  Their time perspective is short term.  They are always surprised by the unintended consequences of their own thoughtless actions and inactions.

Throughout America, state, local, and federal government  epitomize  failure. Trillions of dollars have been poured into weapons systems that cannot be used without destroying the United States along with the rest of the world, while dams fail, bridges collapse, communities deteriorate, and homelessness grows. The government in Washington spends time, effort, and money manufacturing enemies to justify the budget of the military/security complex, while  jobs and the US economy are offshored, the environment is degraded, and health care needs go unaddressed.   The US rivals third world countries in terms of the percentage of its population that has no savings, no access to health care, and no prospects for advancement in life.   

But we can blow up the world several times over and make mindless interventions in the natural environment that multiply the destructive power of storms, heavy rains, and other natural phenomena.

Another election approaches and yet again there is no acknowledgement of the real problems our country faces or any interest in discussing what to do about them. America and the Western World in general are simply going to drown in their unaddressed problems just as New Orleans drowned in Hurricane Katrina.

Be seeing you

fema_closed_due_to_weather

 

 

 

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