Against Lockdown – The Libertarian Case Reply

By Duncan Whitemore, Mises UK

Although I have written on the topic of how libertarian property rights can be applied to the situation of viruses in two, previous essays, it is useful to summarise this again for a clearer picture. Such an endeavor seems necessary now more than ever, for, in spite of increased opposition compared to the first round of lockdowns earlier this year, the various nations of the UK are again heading into some form of lockdown mode as the winter draws near.

Most skeptics of lockdown and restrictive policies designed to “curb” the onset of COVID-19 approach the matter from a utilitarian or technocratic angle – i.e. whether the measures that states are pursuing are an effective and/or proportionate response to the spread of the virus. While this is an invaluable exercise, it does not challenge the principle that the state has the prerogative to obliterate rights and freedoms in the manner that it has. In other words, the notion that, ultimately, our rights could be infringed on a future occasion when someone deems that it is “effective” and “proportionate” to do so is left untouched. Equally intact, therefore, is the notion that our rights are not immovably tied to our status as individual human beings, but are little more than privileges enjoyed at the sufferance of the state. This is not to imply that the principle of liberty has been ignored – former Supreme Court Justice Lord Sumption has been a notable high profile critic of the government in this regard.

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Supreme Court Blocks Covid-19 Restrictions on Religious Services in New York Reply

The First Amendment survives by one vote. What part of “shall make no law” do the other four not understand? Having a Republican-dominated SCOTUS is probably a good idea as the wider culture (and therefore the elected branches of government) move further toward the cultural faux “left” with its therapeutism, scientism, and fetishization of the Prussian-derived public administration state.

By Jess Bravin, Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court blocked New York from imposing strict limits on attendance at religious services to combat Covid-19, with new Justice Amy Coney Barrett casting the pivotal vote to depart from past cases that deferred to state authorities on public-health measures.

In orders issued shortly before midnight Wednesday, the court, in a 5-4 vote, set aside attendance limits that Gov. Andrew Cuomo imposed on houses of worship in areas most severely affected by the coronavirus: 10 people in red zones and 25 in orange zones. Chief Justice John Roberts and three liberal justices dissented.

New York classifies places where coronavirus infections are of increasing severity as yellow, orange or red.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox Jewish organization, alleged that the limits violated their First Amendment rights of religious exercise.

Mr. Cuomo said Thursday that the Supreme Court ruling had no effect on the state’s virus control efforts, and pertained only to a specific Brooklyn “red zone” that was no longer under such restrictions.

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New York City Police, Sheriff Won’t Enforce Thanksgiving Covid-19 Limits Reply

It’s interesting that the king’s knights are telling Prince Andrew the Other to fuck off. Even the pigs can practice pan-secessionism.

By Rich Calder, Wall Street Journal

New York City law-enforcement officers won’t be knocking on doors on Thanksgiving Day to see whether New Yorkers are following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order limiting household gatherings to 10 people.

Both the New York Police Department and the New York City Sheriff’s Office say they don’t plan to enforce the order, which aims to stop the spread of Covid-19 as hospitalizations continue to rise across the state.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and Sheriff Joseph Fucito are instead focusing attention on other priorities aimed at combating the virus and calling on residents to not pack their homes during the holiday season.

“We have to be smart,” Mr. Shea said in a NY1 interview last week. “We’re encouraging everyone to use common sense here and to get New York City through this.”

Mr. Shea also said police officers wouldn’t be breaking up Thanksgiving celebrations in private homes—even if they get complaints. An NYPD spokeswoman referred to the commissioner’s comments and declined to provide further comment.

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What NO ONE is Saying About The Lockdowns Reply

It is overwhelmingly clear that the response to the pandemic by virtually all governments everywhere has been to protect the health of the upper-middle and upper classes at the expense of the poor and working classes, who must either continue to work under increased hazards or simply lack any livelihood at all, while the affluent classes take a sabbatical and complain about a lack of Christmas parties.
“In 2006, a 15-year-old high school student from Albuquerque, New Mexico won third place in the Intel science and engineering fair for her project on slowing the spread of an infectious pathogen during a pandemic emergency. Using a computer simulation that she developed with the help of her father, she argued that in order to slow the spread of the disease, governments should implement school shutdowns, keep kids at home and enforce social distancing.

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Death by racism Reply

The SJWish terminology and rhetoric in this aside, this is actually a very good discussion of the class disparities associated with the impact of the pandemic. The impact of the responses to the pandemic has largely been to allow the upper-middle and upper classes to go on a sabbatical of working remotely while being served by the poor and working classes who are either exposed to increased on the job hazards or simply subjected to economic dislocation. The reasons why there would also be racial disparities in this situation are obvious enough.

By Sharrelle Barber, The Lancet

Racial violence and racial health inequities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impact on Blacks. Sharrelle Barber reports.
The murder of George Floyd, suffocated by a police officer who, for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, lodged his knee into Floyd’s neck on May 25, is just the latest example of a longstanding history of racial terror and police brutality against Blacks in the USA, and has sparked global outrage. While this act of violence is horrific in its own right, its occurrence against the backdrop of a global pandemic that has wreaked havoc in Black communities—causing over 30 000 deaths within the span of 4 months—has forced a collective reckoning with the fact that racism, in all of its forms, is deadly and has a devastating impact on Black lives.
Due to a reckless and uncoordinated federal response, the USA remains the global epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic with over 3 million confirmed cases and 135 205 confirmed deaths. Black people and other marginalised racial groups are shouldering a disproportionate burden in the current pandemic. Blacks comprise 13% of the US population but roughly one quarter of COVID-19 deaths and are nearly four times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to whites (94·2 vs 24·8 deaths per 100 000). Blacks across all age groups are nearly three times more likely than white people to contract COVID-19. These numbers, while striking, are not surprising and mirror well-documented patterns of morbidity and mortality across a wide range of health outcomes that have been observed in the USA for decades. Experts contend that “racism and not race” is the primary driver of these inequities with many citing “interlocking systems of racism” that have converged to increase exposure, transmission, and death among Blacks. These systems—from healthcare, to housing, to the carceral state—are all rooted in an ideology of white supremacy and the institution of slavery that dates back over 400 years and are maintained by racist policies and practices that construct and reinforce inequitable access to power and resources.
For example, racialised economic exploitation vis-à-vis racial capitalism has been cited as a major driver of increased risk of infection among Blacks. According to data from the US census, 43% of Black and Latino workers (compared with 25% of white workers) are employed in service or production jobs that have been deemed “essential” during the pandemic. Employees in these industries have been forced to work with inadequate personal protective equipment, crowded working conditions, and inadequate income protections such as paid sick leave and hazard pay, putting them at increased risk of exposure to the virus. Additionally, due to low wages and lack of affordable housing options, these same workers often reside in racially segregated neighbourhoods that have experienced decades of disinvestment. Structural factors in these communities such as over-crowded housing conditions further increase exposure and transmission. The impact of increased exposure is further compounded by limited access to quality healthcare which limits access to testing and follow-up treatment, discrimination within the healthcare system which makes it more likely for Blacks to be turned away when seeking medical care, and a wide-array of exposures such as toxic environmental hazards, chronic stress, and limited access to healthy foods all of which lead to underlying chronic conditions.

How Many Americans Are About to Die? Reply

By,The Atlantic

The United States has made huge advances in fighting the coronavirus. The astonishingly high death rates the country saw during the spring have fallen, and Americans are much more likely now than they were then to survive a COVID-19 hospitalization. New treatments have, in some cases, helped speed recovery—President Donald Trump has trumpeted his own bout with the virus as proof that there is a “cure” for the illness. (There is not.) These developments have given Americans the impression that no matter how high cases surge, deaths might not reach the heights of the spring.

But the truth is grimmer. The story people want to believe about how much treatments have improved in recent months does not hold up to quantitative scrutiny.

The U.S. health-care system has not reduced the deadliness of the coronavirus since July, according to a new estimate by a prominent COVID-19 researcher, which accounts for the lags in public reporting of cases and deaths. Instead, the virus has, with ruthless regularity, killed at least 1.5 percent of all Americans diagnosed with COVID-19 over the past four months.

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Second Wave: Another Lockdown, Another Rebellion What the Riots around Southern Europe Tell Us about the Pandemic and the State Reply

It’s good to see that Crimethinc recognizes that opposition to medical martial law is not just some crazy right-wing idea. It’s happening in countries that are much further “left” than the USA. Many left-wing anarchists have seriously dropped the ball on this question, just as many right-wing anarchists dropped the ball in response to the lumpenproletarian insurrection over the summer.

Crimethinc

In the United States, liberal opposition to Donald Trump’s bid for reelection crystalized around his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with millions charging that his government has not done enough to contain the spread of the virus. Yet in Europe, where governments have taken a more hands-on approach, their efforts have also provoked popular unrest, as the vast majority of their interventions have focused on expanding the power of the police, not extending resources to those struggling to survive the virus and the economic crisis. On the eve of a Biden presidency, we should revisit the question of whether we can trust any government to prioritize human life over capitalism and how we can respond when the government uses the pretext of protecting our lives to intensify social control.

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How Progressives Can Push Biden Further Left 1

Krystal and Saager totally lose me with their affirmation of Richard Wolff’s praise for China’s response to COVID-19. China is a test market for the kinds of state repression global and US national elites want to bring to the West. Unfortunately, if you scratch a right-wing populist like Saager, you often find a national socialist underneath. And if you scratch a social democrat like Krystal, you often find a Marxist underneath. They make for great journalists, but crummy ideologues.

Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti look back at their favorite interviews from the week including Host of the Kyle Kulinski Show, Kyle Kulinksi on how progressives can push Joe Biden further left on policy. The speak with Economics Professor, Richard Wolff, on America’s approach to handling Covid and Host of the Bad Faith Podcast, Briahana Joy Gray discusses how climate activists can combat the Biden administration’s appointment of Cedric Richmond.

‘This f—ing virus’: Inside Donald Trump’s 2020 undoing Reply

By NATASHA KORECKI, ALEX ISENSTADT, ANITA KUMAR, GABBY ORR, CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO and MARC CAPUTO ,Politico

Brad Parscale was on the phone with President Donald Trump and top White House officials in mid-February when someone on the line asked the campaign manager what worried him the most.

Parscale, speaking from his Arlington, Va. apartment, had just told the president how good his internal poll numbers looked. But now he had an urgent message: The coronavirus was a big problem – and it could cost him reelection.

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How Do Medical Students Get More Experience in the US than Cuba? Reply

By Don Fitz

During the last 10 years I have written multiple articles documenting how Cuba has better medical practice and education than the US.  To be honest, I have known for a long time that there is an area of medical training where medical students in the US get considerably more training than do those who study in Cuba.

This realization came to me when my daughter Rebecca was in her first year of medical school in Havana. When I phoned after she had been there for a few months, she said, “Dad, I am really glad that when I was a girl you gave me a needle and thread to sew up rips in my clothes.  In clinic today, we saw someone with his head whacked open by a machete and a medical student was sewing it back together.

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Lockdowns Recreated a Pre-Modern Caste System Reply

By Jeffrey Tucker, American Institute for Economic Research

Every pre-modern society assigned to some group the task of bearing the burden of new pathogens. Usually, the designation of the unclean was assigned based on race, language, religion, or class. There was no mobility out of this caste. They were the dirty, the diseased, the untouchables. Depending on the time and place, they were segregated geographically, and the designation followed from generation to generation. This system was sometimes codified in religion or law; more commonly this caste system was baked into social convention.
In the ancient world, the burden of disease was assigned to people not born as “free;” that is, as part of the class permitted to participate in public affairs. The burden was borne by the workers, merchants, and slaves who mostly lived away from the city – unless the rich fled the cities during a pandemic. Then the poor suffered while the feudal lords went to their manors in the country for the duration, forcing the burden of burning out the virus on others. From a biological perspective, they served the purpose of operating like sandbags to keep those in city free of disease. Pathogens were something to be carried and absorbed by them and not us. The elites were invited to look down on them, even though it was these people – the lower castes – who were operating as the biological benefactors of everyone else.

HALF say WORST is YET TO COME regarding coronavirus 2

On today’s What America’s Thinking, a new Hill-HarrisX poll finds half of voters believe cases will continue to rise. Featuring Rising’s Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti. This survey was conducted online within the United States from October 19-22 among 2,822 registered voters by HarrisX. The sampling margin of error of this poll is plus or minus 1.85 percentage points. The results reflect a nationally representative sample of registered voters. Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, income, political party, and education where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

Covid-19 could kill more people through hunger than the virus itself, warns Oxfam Reply

By Harriet Barber, Telegraph

More people will die of hunger caused by the pandemic than of coronavirus this year, according to a report from Oxfam.

An estimated 122 million of the world’s poorest people could be plunged deeper into hunger and poverty, equating to 12,000 extra deaths a day, the charity said. The global mortality rate for Covid-19 reached a peak at 10,000 deaths per day in April.

It comes as the after effects of the pandemic and lockdowns have led to mass unemployment, plummeting incomes, disruption to food production and declining humanitarian aid.

Last year, 821 million people suffered from food insecurity of which 149 million faced crisis level hunger or worse. But now the dramatic slowdown of the economy and severe restrictions on movement has led to mass unemployment.

The report revealed the world’s 10 worst hunger ‘hotspots’, including Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and South Sudan. Middle-income countries such as India, South Africa and Brazil are also experiencing rapidly rising levels of hunger with millions being tipped over the edge.

Sana, a single mother of four children and owner of a hair salon in Yemen, told the charity: “I barely get a customer to visit my salon since the past few months, I am falling short to pay expenses and rent for over two months, and buying food on credit. I don’t know what to do.”

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