Tag Archives: Covid-19 measures

Revolt of the Essential Workers, by Alex Gutentag

The restrictions for Covid-19 may have stopped worker protests for awhile, but most of the Covid-19 measures like lockdowns and involuntary unemployment have intensified worker dissatisfaction. From Alex Gutentag at tabletmag.com:

The resurgent labor movement may be the greatest challenge yet to the top-down class warfare of the pandemic era

Back before the COVID-19 pandemic started, the year 2019 saw anti-government demonstrations in Paris, Manila, La Paz, Port-au-Prince, Bogotá, Prague, Quito , Beirut, Hong Kong, London, Baghdad, Barcelona, Budapest, Santiago, New Delhi, Jakarta, Buenos Aires and more, earning the title “the year of the protest.” It was also a year of resurgent labor activity in the United States. After decades of declining union participation, the country saw 25 major work stoppages involving 425,500 workers, the highest number since 2001.

The economic discontent that propelled both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders to popularity had been building for many years. As a recent article in the journal American Affairs noted, $34 trillion of real equity wealth, in 2017 dollars, was created between 1989 and 2017. Nearly half that sum (44%) consisted of a reallocation of corporate equity to shareholders at the expense of worker compensation, while economic growth accounted for just 25% of that increase in wealth. In other words, despite the advent of seemingly near-miraculous, time- and space-saving digital technologies, the post-Cold War “economic boom” consisted mainly of America’s wealthy shareholders taking money from its increasingly insecure workforce.

America, and other Western societies, had moved from a model of real growth and expanding benefits for all to a model where the rich got richer by impoverishing the less wealthy orders of society—and the lower orders were fighting back. However, after lockdowns were imposed in March 2020, the balance of power abruptly shifted back toward billionaire oligarchs and large corporations. Tech-based U.S. monopolies widened their profit margins as workers and their children were confined to their homes and the Fed pumped money into Wall Street. As the Fed provided unlimited purchases of corporate debt and securities, millions of people filed for unemployment, nearly 1 in 4 households experienced food insecurity, and 200,000 small businesses closed. The result was an estimated loss of $1.3 trillion in household wealth for American workers. Meanwhile, U.S. billionaires gained $1 trillion.

COVID-19 stopped a nascent American workers’ movement in its tracks, as protests and acts of political rebellion were essentially banned. Amid intense fear and confusion, public health edicts effectively suspended the right to assembly. The concept of “social distancing” encouraged people to view their neighbors, colleagues, friends, and even family members as potential sources of disease. “Experts,” technocrats, and corporations became the heroes of the pandemic, while the masses became the villains.

Continue reading→

The Bizarre Refusal to Apply Cost-Benefit Analysis to COVID Debates, by Glenn Greenwald

Should the government pay $10 to save a life? $1,000? $1,000,000? $1,000,000,000? 10,000,000,000,000? That last number is $10 trillion, and there’s no way a government will bankrupt itself and pay that to save one life. At some point, whether it’s acknowledged or not, benefits are weighed against costs. People, businesses, and yes, even governments do it all the time. For some reason, though, it hasn’t been done for Covid measures. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

Gerald Josseph Trujillo Martinez watches a video on his tablet while his mother Ana Gabriela Martinez teaches a class inside their home in Matamoros, Mexico on May 25, 2021 (Photo by SERGIO FLORES/AFP via Getty Images)

In virtually every realm of public policy, Americans embrace policies which they know will kill people, sometimes large numbers of people. They do so not because they are psychopaths but because they are rational: they assess that those deaths that will inevitably result from the policies they support are worth it in exchange for the benefits those policies provide. This rational cost-benefit analysis, even when not expressed in such explicit or crude terms, is foundational to public policy debates — except when it comes to COVID, where it has been bizarrely declared off-limits.

The quickest and most guaranteed way to save hundreds of thousands of lives with policy changes would be to ban the use of automobiles, or severely restrict their usage to those authorized by the state on the ground of essential need (e.g., ambulances or food-delivery vehicles), or at least lower the nationwide speed limit to 25 mph. Any of those policies would immediately prevent huge numbers of human beings from dying. Each year, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “1.35 million people are killed on roadways around the world,” while “crashes are a leading cause of death in the United States for people aged 1–54.” Even with seat belts and airbags, a tragic number of life-years are lost given how many young people die or are left permanently and severely disabled by car accidents. Studies over the course of decades have demonstrated that even small reductions in speed limits save many lives, while radical reductions — supported by almost nobody — would eliminate most if not all deaths from car crashes.

Continue reading→

The Despicables, Eric Peters

The big social media companies have asserted their rights as private businesses to choose who gets to use their service. Fair enough, but why are other businesses who want to exercise their rights as private businesses and choose either to mandate masks and social distancing or not called out and demonized by the social media companies? From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:


One of the nuggets to be mined from the wholesale cancelling of politically unapproved speech by the Tech Oligarchs – soon to be empowered by government oligarchs, if the “kraken” doesn’t somehow prevent it – is how obvious their pathological dishonesty has become.

Amazon, Facebook and Twitter have asserted that, as private businesses, they have the right to decide with whom to do business – and not do business with. But do they feel the same way about the right of other private businesses to practice what they preach?

Only when it conforms with what they preach.

Consider the religious tenets of the Sickness Cult; specifically, the dogma that requires all to wear a Face Burqa within a privately owned business, even if the owner isn’t religious and isn’t interested in proselytizing to his customers, much less insisting they show respect for a religion he doesn’t subscribe to.

Continue reading

Pelosi used shuttered San Francisco hair salon for blow-out, owner calls it ‘slap in the face’, by Brooke Singman

Rules are for the little people. From Brooke Singman at foxnews.com:

In security footage obtained by Fox News, and timestamped Monday at 3:08 p.m. Pacific Time, the California powerhouse is seen walking through eSalon in San Francisco with wet hair, and without a mask over her mouth or nose.

The stylist doing her hair can be seen following her wearing a black face mask.

Salons in San Francisco had been closed since March and were only notified they could reopen on Sept. 1 for outdoor hairstyling services only.

Salon owner Erica Kious, in a phone interview with Fox News on Tuesday, shared details of Pelosi’s visit. Kious explained she has independent stylists working for her who rent chairs in her salon.

“One of the stylists who rents a chair from me contacted me Sunday night,” Kious said.

A screengrab of the text message she received from one of her stylists, and obtained by Fox News, said: “I’ll be there at 2:45 tomorrow. Pelosi assistant just messaged me to do her hair.”

Kious replied: “Pelosi?”

A text message from a hairstylist to Erica Kious, salon owner, that he would open the salon to provide House Speaker Nancy Pelosi services.

“I was like, are you kidding me right now? Do I let this happen? What do I do?” Kious told Fox News, while noting that she “can’t control” what her stylists do if they rent chairs from her, as “they’re not paying” at this time.

Kious cast Pelosi’s visit as a double standard.

“It was a slap in the face that she went in, you know, that she feels that she can just go and get her stuff done while no one else can go in, and I can’t work,” Kious told Fox News, adding that she “can’t believe” the speaker didn’t have a mask on. (From the footage, it appears Pelosi had some kind of covering around her neck.)

“We’re supposed to look up to this woman, right?” Kious said. “It is just disturbing.”

Asked for comment, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill maintained that the speaker was following the rules as presented to her.

“The Speaker always wears a mask and complies with local COVID requirements. This business offered for the Speaker to come in on Monday and told her they were allowed by the city to have one customer at a time in the business. The Speaker complied with the rules as presented to her by this establishment,” he said.

Continue reading→

How Germany’s Lockdowns Have Fostered Resentment and Violence among the Nation’s Youth, by Maurus Adam

German youth have exhibited far more hostility to Germany’s Covid-19 response than American youth have to the US response. Of course, American youth have been engaging in George Floyd protests and riots. From Maurus Adam at mises.org:

Riots against police have not only occurred in the US. Two events have spurred a public debate in Germany recently. On the night of June 20, police officers in Stuttgart stopped a 17-year-old to check for drugs in an area popular with young partygoers. Two to three hundred people in the crowd of bystanders sympathized with the young man and attacked the police. The situation escalated into riots and lootings. Forty stores were damaged, 9 looted, and 32 police officers were injured. The damage is estimated at between six and seven figures. Police believe that as many as five hundred people participated in the riots. Twenty-five arrests were made the same night; 12 of the arrested were German citizens and 3 of them had an immigrant background. The rest were citizens of other EU and non-EU countries. On the night of July 18, police officers in Frankfurt were attacked in front of the opera. Five police officers were injured, several vehicles damaged. Witnesses reported that the crowd of five to eight hundred people cheered when bottles hit the police. Thirty-nine people were arrested. All but one woman were young men between the ages of 17 and 23; most of them had an immigration background.

These events seem small compared to the riots in the USA, but there are important similarities: young people united against the police after several months of covid-19 restrictions. The events in Stuttgart and Frankfurt were found to be spontaneous outbreaks of violence without a political motivation. This is despite the fact that there have been Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Germany as well against alleged racism in the police, which were followed by riots in the US. These demonstrations may just have served as a catalyst for built-up anger. The root cause of this violence is the government’s massive interference in personal liberties through drug prohibition and the lockdowns.

Continue reading

Crime Is Crime, by Robert Gore

You can fool most of the people most of the time, but you can’t fool reality any of the time.

The reigning chaos reflects perfectly what passes for thought in millions of minds. Minds that have been taught that reality is whatever one believes it to be. That reason is a superstition and is inferior to random feelings and emotions. That observation, hypotheses, experimentation, discovery, and science itself are akin to voodoo rituals. That consumption precedes production and is morally superior to it. That anyone’s work, income and wealth are subject to anyone else’s proclaimed need. That actions have no consequences.

Rioters and looters are faithfully adhering to the distilled essence of what our rulers and intellectuals have been telling them for decades: If you need it, or just want it, it’s yours to have or destroy. They are simply eliminating the government middleman. The only surprise is that it didn’t happen long ago.

The Age of Chaos has arrived. Violence is accomplishing what violence always accomplishes—destruction, ruin, and death. The only theoretical justification for government is that it employs force to protect its citizens from violence—invasion, violence against persons or property, and the indirect violence implicit in procuring and keeping value through fraud or extortion.

Amazon Paperback Link

Kindle Ebook Link

Continue reading