Saturday, February 27, 2021

Ikea Is Now Selling Tiny Homes For Broke Millennials 

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Ikea Is Now Selling Tiny Homes For Broke Millennials 

The virus pandemic's economic hit has been particularly severe for millennials, considering many of them decided to get useless English degrees and rack up insurmountable student debt while choosing after college to become bartenders. As the story goes, in a post-pandemic world, the downturn has crushed the restaurant industry. Many youngsters are either collecting government checks or finding other jobs or attempting to retrain for a new career. As home prices soar (no thanks to Fed. Chair Powell), housing affordability has become out of reach for many. That's why Ikea, yes, the affordable furniture store that sells Swedish meatballs, is now marketing tiny homes for broke millennials. 

The tiny home crazy has been gaining momentum in the last decade as wealth inequality, driven mainly by the Federal Reserve, leaving most of the wealth concentrated in just a few hands, has resulted in the middle class's decimation. People are downsizing left and right and opting for tiny homes. 

Ikea launched the Tiny Home Project to capitalize on this trend. The 187-square-foot structure, or what could be viewed as a trailer, but commonly known as a "tiny home" to hipsters, is equipped with renewable, reusable, and recycled materials for inside furnishings, solar panels on the roof, running water, kitchen, and a ductless heat pump and air conditioner unit. 

Under the guise of eco-conscious minimalists, millennials who gravitate towards tiny homes don't realize that their living standard has collapsed. Say goodbye to the McMansion of the late 90s and early 2000s, and hello, to the double-wide trailer. 

Unlike assemble-it-yourself furniture that the Swedish company is known for, these tiny homes are preassembled in a factory in partnership with media firm Vox Creative and Wisconsin-based tiny home ESCAPE. 

During the pandemic, internet searches for "tiny homes" hit a five-year high. 

With Amazon already selling tiny homes, how long until Walmart joins the party?

Tyler Durden Sat, 02/27/2021 - 21:00

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RFK Jr. Opens 'CIA Can of Worms'



Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.

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Eviction Moratorium Ruled Unconstitutional, Largest Tsunami Of Evictions In U.S. History Incoming…

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Ever since last summer, a federal moratorium on evictions has prevented landlords from evicting millions of tenants that are behind on their rent payments.  This moratorium has caused extreme financial distress for many landlords, but it has also kept us from witnessing millions upon millions of Americans being thrown out into the cold streets.  Of course this moratorium on evictions was never actually legal, and it was just a matter of time before it was challenged in front of a federal judge that still had respect for the U.S. Constitution.  On Thursday, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas named John Campbell Barker ruled that the federal moratorium is completely unconstitutional

J. Campbell Barker, a Trump-nominated judge in the Eastern District of Texas, issued the 21-page ruling Thursday in response to a lawsuit from a group of landlords and property managers.

“The federal government cannot say that it has ever before invoked its power over interstate commerce to impose a residential eviction moratorium,” Barker wrote, noting that it did not do so during the Spanish Flu pandemic or during the Great Depression. “The federal government has not claimed such a power at any point during our nation’s history until last year.”

But Barker did not issue any sort of an injunction, and so the moratorium is still in effect for the moment.  In his ruling, Barker expressed his belief that the defendants will “respect the declaratory judgment” and will willingly withdraw the moratorium on their own…

The scope of the order is unclear. Barker wrote that given “defendants’ representations to the court, it is ‘anticipated that [defendants] would respect the declaratory judgment.’”

Federal officials could attempt to drag their feet, but the current moratorium is set to expire on March 31st anyway.

So whether it happens immediately or in a few weeks, the federal moratorium on evictions is ending.

Of course some states have their own moratoriums in place, and Barker noted that those are constitutional.  So renters in those states will still have at least some protection moving forward.

But for most of the country, things are about to change in a major way.

According to one recent study, a whopping 10 million U.S. households are currently behind on their rent payments

An analysis released last month by Moody’s Analytics and the Urban Institute said that some 10 million renters are behind on paying rent and risk being evicted. Moreover, the typical delinquent renter is almost four months and $5,600 behind on monthly rent and utility payments as of January, according to the analysis.

“To put that into some perspective, approximately seven million households lost their homes in foreclosure during the five darkest years of the global financial crisis,” the researchers wrote. “Here we have 10 million families facing a similar fate over a matter of months.”

Even if rent moratoriums remain in place in some states for the foreseeable future, we are still going to see millions upon millions of households evicted here in 2021.

It will be the largest tsunami of evictions in U.S. history, and homelessness is going to rise dramatically.

Needless to say, it isn’t going to be a happy time.

Meanwhile, we have already been witnessing a tsunami of bankruptcies.

In fact, the number of Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in 2020 was “at least 30 percent higher than any of the previous four years”

Bankruptcies filed by entertainment companies in 2020 nearly quadrupled, and filings nearly tripled for oil and gas companies, doubled for computer and software companies and were up 50 percent or more for restaurant owners, real estate companies and retailers, compared with 2019, data from the research firm show. There were 5,236 Chapter 11 filings in 2019, but 6,917 last year, a tally at least 30 percent higher than any of the previous four years.

This isn’t what an “economic recovery” looks like.

Sadly, the truth of the matter is that the U.S. economy is in the process of melting down all around us, and a whole lot more pain is ahead.

Up until just recently, the stock market had been one of the very few bright spots, but now chaos has returned to Wall Street.

On Friday, the Dow was down another 469 points

The Dow Jones Industrial Average swung wildly Friday to close near its session low as Wall Street struggled to shake off fears of rapidly rising rates.

The blue-chip benchmark ended the volatile session 469.64 points, or 1.5%, to 30,932.37 after trading in the green earlier. The S&P 500 fell 0.5% to 3,811.15 as energy and financial stocks pulled back. The Nasdaq Composite ended the day 0.6% higher at 13,192.34 as Big Tech names rebounded after a large sell-off in the previous session amid surging bond yields. Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon each rose more than 1%. The tech-heavy benchmark gyrated in Friday’s session where it jumped 1.9% at its high and fell as much as 0.7%.

As I discussed yesterday, I do not believe that a massive stock market crash is imminent.  But the early warning signs that we are witnessing now should definitely not be ignored.

Many are expecting economic conditions in the U.S. to improve as the COVID pandemic fades, but it is inevitable that many more “trigger events” will hit us in 2021 and beyond.

Considering how vulnerable we are right now, it certainly isn’t going to take much to send us into a death spiral from which we will never recover.

Unfortunately, it is always those at the very bottom of the economic food chain that get hit the hardest when challenging times arrive.

I feel very badly for the landlords that haven’t been able to collect rent for months and months, but I also feel very badly for the millions of Americans that will soon be thrown out into the streets.

The economic pain and suffering that we will soon see will be off the charts, and those that are expecting Joe Biden and his minions to save them will be bitterly, bitterly disappointed.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

The post Eviction Moratorium Ruled Unconstitutional, Largest Tsunami Of Evictions In U.S. History Incoming… first appeared on The Most Important News.



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The People Haven’t Risen Up For The Same Reason Abuse Victims Don’t Leave Their Abusers

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There was a great exchange in a recent interview with singer-songwriter FKA twigs regarding her relationship with actor Shia LaBeouf, who she is currently suing for “relentless abuse” including assault and sexual battery.

From The Independent:

In a CBS This Morning interview on Thursday (18 February), King asked the musician: “Nobody who’s been in this position likes this question, and I often wonder if it’s even appropriate to ask… why didn’t you leave?”
Twigs replied: “I know that you’re asking it out of love, but like, I’m just going to make a stance and say I’m not going to answer that question anymore because the question should really be to the abuser, ‘Why are you holding someone hostage with abuse?’”
She continued: “People say, ‘Oh, it can’t have been that bad, because she would’ve left.’ And it’s like, no, because it was that bad, I couldn’t leave.”

“Because it was that bad, I couldn’t leave.”

This is what so few people understand about abusive relationships. People see friends and family members stuck in relationships that are obviously horrible and say “She should leave him! Why doesn’t she just leave??” If the abuse happened in secret the first question your loved ones ask when you escape is “Why did you let it go on so long? Why didn’t you leave sooner?”

Those who have escaped abusive relationships know how intensely hurtful this question is, how violent it feels to have it inflicted upon you by people who are supposed to be on your side and supporting you. It feels so violent because you have perspective that others do not: you understand that your inability to leave the abusive relationship was itself a fundamental product of the abuse.

Abusive relationships aren’t just one partner doing cruel things to another. If they were, there would be no relationship: there’d just be a woman getting assaulted one time by her boyfriend and then immediately leaving. Abusive relationships necessarily include the construction of psychological barriers to leaving, or else they would not exist. Victims of abuse are kept constantly confused, off-balance, insecure and unsure of themselves, because their abuse always necessarily includes the element of psychological manipulation.

You’re being caged psychologically, and you’re kept too confused and off-balance to even be aware that that’s what’s happening. So you stay where you are, just as surely as you would if you’d been placed in a physical cage.

 — @caitoz

This is why people stay in abusive relationships, whether it’s abusive relationships with significant others or abusive relationships with empires.

As a collective, we remain in our current relationship with abusive power structures because we are collectively kept confused, off-balance, insecure and unsure of ourselves, as a critical element of our collective abuse is mass-scale psychological manipulation.

Vast fortunes are poured into keeping us from realizing that we are being exploited by powerful wealth hoarders while our nation’s resources are sent to fight wars of planetary domination. That our ecosystem is being destroyed for profit with no real plan for what to do when it’s gone. That we are being increasingly oppressed and impoverished to keep us from having enough awareness and wealth to dethrone our rulers. And that it doesn’t have to be this way at all.

And make no mistake, it absolutely does not have to be this way. The difference between our relationship with the oligarchic empire and FKA twigs’ relationship with Shia LaBeouf is that we are far, far bigger and far, far stronger than our abusers. This isn’t Shia LaBeouf abusing a small female pop star, this is Shia LaBeouf abusing a great giantess the size of a planet. They work so hard to keep us confused and manipulated because they know the second they cease to do so we can crush them like a mosquito.

But the dynamic is the same in both cases: we are being victimized by manipulative abusers. The manipulation is part of the abuse. It is not our fault that they cage our minds like this, it’s theirs. They are to blame, not the ordinary people just trying desperately to get by, voting for the status quo in election after election because they’ve been kept too confused and insecure to see clearly what’s going on. We haven’t left our abusive relationship yet because it is that bad.

The good news, of course, is that people do leave. They do escape their abusive relationships. The light of truth cannot remain hidden forever, and sociopathic manipulators do not understand the depths of human experience well enough to block it out. They are shallow, and we are deep. They cannot understand the dimensions of ourselves which are secretly moving toward freedom well enough to anticipate and prevent those movements.

If you have a loved one who is in an abusive relationship, you draw attention to what you are seeing, you let them know that you are there for them, you trust their inner wisdom to find a way to escape someday, and when they do you are there waiting for them with the engine running. When you have a collective that is in an abusive relationship, you draw attention to the abusive dynamics you are seeing, you trust humanity’s unfathomable depths to produce an escape route, and when the time comes to rise up, you are there at the ready.

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Coronavirus Fact-Check #10: Why “new cases” are plummeting.



The scary red numbers are all going down. Check any newspaper or covid tracking website you want. Cases. Deaths. Hospitalisations. They’re all going down, sharply, and have been for weeks, especially in the US and UK. So, why would that be?

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America’s Absurd Foreign Policy

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On February 24, General Tod D. Wolters, who leads the US European Command, gave a speech that should disturb everyone on earth.  

There are a number of reasons we should be disturbed. General Wolters claims that the projection of American force abroad “is about generating peace” and that the US must take on Russia in order to deliver world peace. We are locked in a struggle with Moscow, and if Russia continues to resist US hegemony, General Wolters says we are prepared to respond “primarily through NATO.”  General Wolters goes on to blame all destabilizing activities across the globe on Russia:  “Despite widespread international condemnation and continued economic sanctions, Russia engages in destabilizing and malign activities across the globe, with many of those activities happening close to home.”  He declares: “Russia remains an enduring existential threat to the United States and our European allies.”

We could dismiss the general’s speech as propaganda.  Unfortunately it is worse. It reflects the self-righteous, self-serving, and therefore blind American foreign policy position, a position highly likely to lead to war.  

General Wolters claims that “everything we do is about generating peace.”  US/NATO war games and military maneuvers on Russia’s borders are “generating peace,” not Russian apprehensions.  Washington’s incorporation of Eastern Europe into NATO and subversion of former parts of the Soviet Union such as Ukraine are not acts of aggression.  Washington’s two decades old wars in the Middle East and North Africa also generate peace as do the constant threats against Iran and China. The Washington orchestrated attack by the former Soviet province of Georgia on the Russian population of South Ossetia was also a peace generating invasion. Washington’s overthrow of noncompliant governments in Latin America are just more peace-making operations.  Constant false accusations and illegal sanctions against Russia are also in the interest of peace, as was Russiagate.

That is General Wolters perspective, and the perspective of the US foreign policy establishment.  From the Russian perspective it looks very different. Russia is surrounded by military bases of a power that constantly displays its animosity and hostility in military maneuvers, false accusations, and sanctions.  Russia witnessed President Trump removed from office because he expressed his intention to “normalize relations with Russia.”  Any American policymaker who supports an arms control agreement with Russia or any reduction in tensions that serve the US military/security complex risks being denounced as a “Russian agent.”  Even people, such as myself, who explain the dangerous situation are labeled “Russian agents.”

The Kremlin has made it clear over and over that Russia is not a threat to the US and Europe and only desires normal business-like relations.  The Kremiln has responded to endless provocations in non-provocative ways.  But now the Russian attitude shows signs of hardening. Putin and Lavrov cannot forever turn the other cheek to Washington and European hostility without eventually being seen inside Russia as American agents.

Putin and Lavrov are ideal Russian leaders with whom the West could arrange friendly and profitable economic and political relationships, removing the specter of nuclear war and unnecessary military expense.  The same is true for China and Iran.  But as General Wolters says, “we compete to win.”  

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Friday, February 26, 2021

27% Of All Household Income In The US Now Comes From The Government

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27% Of All Household Income In The US Now Comes From The Government

Following today's release of the latest Personal Income and Spending data, Wall Street was predictably focused on the changes in these two key series, which showed a surge in personal income (to be expected in the month when the $900BN December 2020 stimulus hit), coupled with a far more modest increase in personal spending.

But while the change in the headline data was notable, what was far more remarkable was data showing just how reliant on the US government the population has become.

We are referring, of course, to Personal Current Transfer payments which are essentially government sourced income such as unemployment benefits, welfare checks, and so on. In January, this number was $5.781 trillion annualized, which was not only up by nearly $2 trillion from the $3.8 trillion in December it was also $2 trillion above the pre-Covid trend where transfer receipts were approximately $3.2 trillion.

This means that excluding the $2 trillion annualized surge in govt transfers, personal income excluding government handouts actually declined by $22.3BN from $15.696TN to $15.673TN, hardly a sign of a healthy, reflating economy.

Shown in longer-term context, one can see the creeping impact of government payments, shown in red below.

This, as noted earlier, was due to the latest round of government stimulus checks hitting personal accounts which in turn helped push the savings rate to a whopping 20.5% from 13.4% at the end of 2020.

Stated simply, what all this means is that the government remains responsible for over a quarter of all income, or 26.9 to be precise!

Imagine what that income chart will look like after Biden's $1400 checks go out?

Putting that number in perspective, in the 1950s and 1960s, transfer payment were around 7%. This number rose in the low teens starting in the mid-1970s (right after the Nixon Shock ended Bretton-Woods and closed the gold window). The number then jumped again after the financial crisis, spiking to the high teens.

And now, the coronavirus has officially sent this number into the mid-20% range, after hitting a record high 31% in April.

And that's how creeping banana republic socialism comes at you: first slowly, then fast.

So for all those who claim that the Fed is now (and has been for the past decade) subsidizing the 1%, that's true, but with every passing month, the government is also funding the daily life of an ever greater portion of America's poorest social segments.

Who ends up paying for both?

Why the middle class of course, where the dollar debasement on one side, and the insane debt accumulation on the other, mean that millions of Americans content to work 9-5, pay their taxes, and generally keep their mouth shut as others are burning everything down and tearing down statues, are now doomed.

The "good" news? As we reported last November, the US middle class won't have to suffer this pain for much longer, because while the US has one one of the highest median incomes in the entire world, with only three countries boasting a higher income, it is who gets to collect this money that is the major problem, because as the chart also shows, with just a 50% share of the population in middle-income households, the US is now in the same category as such "banana republics" as Turkey, China and, drumroll, Russia.

What is just as stunning: according to the OECD, more than half of the countries in question have a more vibrant middle class than the US.

So the next time someone abuses the popular phrase  "they hate us for our [fill in the blank]", perhaps it's time to counter that "they" may not "hate" us at all, but rather are making fun of what has slowly but surely become the world's biggest banana republic?

And as we concluded last year, "it has not Russia, nor China, nor any other enemy, foreign or domestic, to blame... except for one: the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States."

Tyler Durden Fri, 02/26/2021 - 11:45

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German Chancellor Merkel says vaccine passport has unanimous support within European Union

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GettyImages-1227713787.jpg?h=bc62b519&it

Angela Merkel says "everyone agreed" that vaccination documents are needed, and the requirement could be implemented by summer.

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The World Is Suffering From Mass Delusional Psychosis



Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.

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WHO Investigation Into COVID-19 Origin Is Blatantly Corrupt



Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.

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31 Reasons Why I Won’t Take the Vaccine

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LRC-share.jpg

The following list was created by the Israeli rabbi Chananya Weissman. Many thanks to MC for the tip.

1. It’s not a vaccine. A vaccine by definition provides immunity to a disease. This does not provide immunity to anything. In a best-case scenario, it merely reduces the chance of getting a severe case of a virus if one catches it. Hence, it is a medical treatment, not a vaccine. I do not want to take a medical treatment for an illness I do not have.
2. The drug companies, politicians, medical establishment, and media have joined forces to universally refer to this as a vaccine when it is not one, with the intention of manipulating people into feeling safer about undergoing a medical treatment. Because they are being deceitful, I do not trust them, and want nothing to do with their medical treatment.
3. The presumed benefits of this medical treatment are minimal and would not last long in any case. The establishment acknowledges this, and is already talking about additional shots and ever-increasing numbers of new “vaccines” that would be required on a regular basis. I refuse to turn myself into a chronic patient who receives injections of new pharmaceutical products on a regular basis simply to reduce my chances of getting a severe case of a virus that these injections do not even prevent.
4. I can reduce my chances of getting a severe case of a virus by strengthening my immune system naturally. In the event I catch a virus, there are vitamins and well-established drugs that have had wonderful results in warding off the illness, without the risks and unknowns of this medical treatment.
5. The establishment insists that this medical treatment is safe. They cannot possibly know this because the long-term effects are entirely unknown, and will not be known for many years. They may speculate that it is safe, but it is disingenuous for them to make such a claim that cannot possibly be known. Because they are being disingenuous, I do not trust them, and I want no part of their treatment.
6. The drug companies have zero liability if anything goes wrong, and cannot be sued. Same for the politicians who are pushing this treatment. I will not inject myself with a new, experimental medical device when the people behind it accept no liability or responsibility if something goes wrong. I will not risk my health and my life when they refuse to risk anything.
7. Israel’s Prime Minister has openly admitted that the Israeli people are the world’s laboratory for this experimental treatment. I am not interested in being a guinea pig or donating my body to science.
8. Israel agreed to share medical data of its citizens with a foreign drug company as a fundamental part of their agreement to receive this treatment. I never consented for my personal medical data to be shared with any such entity, nor was I even asked. I will not contribute to this sleazy enterprise.
9. The executives and board members at Pfizer are on record that they have not taken their own treatment, despite all the fanfare and assurances. They are claiming that they would consider it unfair to “cut the line”. This is a preposterous excuse, and it takes an unbelievable amount of chutzpah to even say such a thing. Such a “line” is a figment of their own imagination; if they hogged a couple of injections for themselves no one would cry foul. In addition, billionaires with private jets and private islands are not known for waiting in line until hundreds of millions of peasants all over the world go first to receive anything these billionaires want for themselves.
10. The establishment media have accepted this preposterous excuse without question or concern. Moreover, they laud Pfizer’s executives for their supposed self-sacrifice in not taking their own experimental treatment until we go first. Since they consider us such fools, I do not trust them, and do not want their new treatment. They can have my place in line. I’ll go to the very back of the line.
11. Three facts that must be put together:
  • Bill Gates is touting these vaccines as essential to the survival of the human race.
  • Bill Gates believes the world has too many people and needs to be “depopulated”.
  • Bill Gates, perhaps the richest man in the world, has also not been injected. No rush.

Uh, no. I’ll pass on any medical treatments he wants me to take.

12. The establishment has been entirely one-sided in celebrating this treatment. The politicians and media are urging people to take it as both a moral and civic duty. The benefits of the treatment are being greatly exaggerated, the risks are being ignored, and the unknowns are being brushed aside. Because they are being deceitful and manipulative, I will not gamble my personal wellbeing on their integrity.
13. There is an intense propaganda campaign for people to take this treatment. Politicians and celebrities are taking selfies of themselves getting injected (perhaps in some cases pretending to get injected), the media is hyping this as the coolest, smartest, most happy and fun thing to do. It is the most widespread marketing campaign in history. This is not at all appropriate for any medical treatment, let alone a brand new one, and it makes me recoil.
14. The masses are following in tow, posting pictures of themselves getting injected with a drug, feeding the mass peer pressure to do the same. There is something very alarming and sick about this, and I want no part of it. I never took drugs just because “everyone’s doing it” and it’s cool. I’m certainly not going to start now.
15. Those who raise concerns about this medical treatment are being bullied, slandered, mocked, censored, ostracized, threatened, and fired from their jobs. This includes medical professionals who have science-based concerns about the drug and caregivers who have witnessed people under their charge suffering horrible reactions and death shortly after being injected. When the establishment is purging good people who risk everything simply to raise concerns about a new medical treatment — even if they don’t outright oppose it — I will trust these brave people over the establishment every time. I cannot think of a single similar case in history when truth and morality turned out to be on the side of the establishment.
16. This is the greatest medical experiment in the history of the human race.
17. It is purposely not being portrayed as the greatest medical experiment in the history of the human race, and the fact that it is a medical experiment at all is being severely downplayed.
18. Were they up front with the masses, very few would agree to participate in such an experiment. Manipulating the masses to participate in a medical experiment under false pretenses violates the foundations of medical ethics and democratic law. I will not allow unethical people who engage in such conduct to inject me with anything.
19. The medical establishment is not informing people about any of this. They have become marketing agents for an experimental drug, serving huge companies and politicians who have made deals with them. This is a direct conflict with their mandate to concern themselves exclusively with the wellbeing of the people under their care. Since the medical establishment has become corrupted, and has become nothing more than a corporate and political tool, I do not trust the experimental drug they want so badly to inject me with.
20. We are being pressured in various ways to get injected, which violates medical ethics and the foundations of democratic society. The best way to get me not to do something is to pressure me to do it.
21. The government has sealed their protocol related to the virus and treatments for THIRTY YEARS. This is information that the public has a right to know, and the government has a responsibility to share. What are they covering up? Do they really expect me to believe that everything is kosher about all this, and that they are concerned first and foremost with my health? The last time they did this was with the Yemenite Children Affair. If you’re not familiar with it, look it up. Now they’re pulling the same shtick. They didn’t fool me the first time, and they’re definitely not fooling me now.
22. The government can share our personal medical data with foreign corporations, but they won’t share their own protocol on the matter with us? I’m out.
23. The establishment has recruited doctors, rabbis, the media, and the masses to harangue people who don’t want to get injected with a new drug. We are being called the worst sort of names. We are being told that we believe in crazy conspiracies, that we are against science, that we are selfish, that we are murderers, that we don’t care about the elderly, that it’s our fault that the government continues to impose draconian restrictions on the public. It’s all because we don’t want to get injected with an experimental treatment, no questions asked. We are even being told that we have a religious obligation to do this, and that we are grave sinners if we do not. They say that if we do not agree to get injected, we should be forced to stay inside our homes forever and be ostracized from public life.
This is horrific, disgusting, a perversion of common sense, morality, and the Torah. It makes me recoil, and only further cements my distrust of these people and my opposition to taking their experimental drug. How dare they?
24. I know of many people who got injected, but none of them studied the science in depth, carefully weighed the potential benefits against the risks, compared this option to other alternatives, was truly informed, and decided this medical treatment was the best option for them. On the contrary, they got injected because of the hype, the propaganda, the pressure, the fear, blind trust in what “the majority of experts” supposedly believed (assuming THEY all studied everything in depth and were completely objective, which is highly dubious), blind trust in what certain influential rabbis urged them to do (ditto the above), or hysterical fear that the only option was getting injected or getting seriously ill from the virus. When I see mass hysteria and cult-like behavior surrounding a medical treatment, I will be extremely suspicious and avoid it.
25. The drug companies have a long and glorious history of causing mass carnage with wonder drugs they thrust on unsuspecting populations, even after serious problems had already become known. Instead of pressing the pause button and halting the marketing of these drugs until these issues could be properly investigated, the drug companies did everything in their power to suppress the information and keep pushing their products. When companies and people have demonstrated such gross lack of concern for human life, I will not trust them when they hype a new wonder drug. This isn’t our first rodeo.
26. Indeed, the horror stories are already coming in at warp speed, but the politicians are not the least bit concerned, the medical establishment is brushing them aside as unrelated or negligible, the media is ignoring it, the drug companies are steaming ahead at full speed, and those who raise a red flag continue to be bullied, censored, and punished. Clearly my life and my wellbeing are not their primary concern. I will not be their next guinea pig in their laboratory. I will not risk being the next “coincidence”.
27. Although many people have died shortly after getting injected — including perfectly healthy young people — we are not allowed to imply that the injection had anything to do with it. Somehow this is anti-science and will cause more people to die. I believe that denying any possible link, abusing people who speculate that there might be a link, and demonstrating not the slightest curiosity to even explore if there might be a link is what is anti-science and could very well cause more people to die. These same people believe I am obligated to get injected as well. No freaking thanks.
28. I am repulsed by the religious, cult-like worship of a pharmaceutical product, and will not participate in this ritual.
29. My “healthcare” provider keeps badgering me to get injected, yet they have provided me no information on this treatment or any possible alternatives. Everything I know I learned from others outside the establishment. Informed consent has become conformed consent. I decline.
30. I see all the lies, corruption, propaganda, manipulation, censorship, bullying, violation of medical ethics, lack of integrity in the scientific process, suppression of inconvenient adverse reactions, dismissal of legitimate concerns, hysteria, cult-like behavior, ignorance, closed-mindedness, fear, medical and political tyranny, concealment of protocols, lack of true concern for human life, lack of respect for basic human rights and freedoms, perversion of the Torah and common sense, demonization of good people, the greatest medical experiment of all time being conducted by greedy, untrustworthy, godless people, the lack of liability for those who demand I risk everything… I see all this and I have decided they can all have my place in line. I will put my trust in God. I will use the mind He blessed me with and trust my natural instincts. Which leads to the final reason which sums up why I will not get “vaccinated.”
31. The whole thing stinks.

This originally appeared on Gates of Vienna.

The post 31 Reasons Why I Won’t Take the Vaccine appeared first on LewRockwell.



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Thursday, February 25, 2021

COVID: Here Come the Antibody Tests - Quick, Easy, and Insane



There are two worlds. In the first, independent researchers with no conflicts of interest, and, hopefully, a sense of logic, sort out what is actually going on behind propaganda parading as medical research. In the second world, it’s all official propaganda, wall to wall, posing as science.

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Chicago Has Become A Rotting, Decaying, Crime-Ridden Hellhole – And The Rest Of America Will Soon Follow

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I don’t know why anyone would want to live in Chicago at this point.  According to the latest estimate that I could find, “over 117,000 gang members” currently live in the city, and there is so much violence that it regularly makes headlines all over the globe.  Some of the wealthy areas of Chicago still look nice, but many communities have been transformed into something straight out of a war zone.  Large churches, hospitals and factories that were once so beautiful are now rotting and decaying all over the city, and a vibrant open air drug market scares customers away from local businesses.  Sadly, the truth is that the entire country is going down the exact same path that Chicago has gone.

Coming into last year, Chicago was known as one of the murder capitals of the world, but nobody expected the murder rate to spike “by more than 50% in 2020”

Chicago police also released the final crime number for 2020 Friday which showed that shootings and murders jumped up by more than 50% in 2020.

In 2020, there were 769 murders, up considerably compared to the 495 murders tallied in 2019.

As for shootings, the city logged 3,261 last year, a big jump from 2,140 shootings in 2019. The number of shooting victims climbed to 4,033 in 2020, up from 2,598 in 2019.

But even though last year was so horrific, some officials are expressing optimism about the future.

For example, Dr. Faran Bokhari believes that the COVID vaccine is going to make a tremendous difference

“I think our savior is going to be the COVID vaccination,” Dr. Faran Bokhari, Chief of Trauma at Cook County Hospital. “I think people are so tired of being indoors and not being able to do what they usually do.”

Yes, gang members and drug addicts will feel so much better about life and will become a lot less violent once they are vaccinated and can get out into the streets a lot more.

Good luck with all that.

State Representative Marcus Evans has a different strategy in mind.  He believes that banning “Grand Theft Auto” will solve this crisis

It’s no secret that crime is out of control in Illinois and one lawmaker has a solution. In response to an increase in carjackings in Chicago, State Representative Marcus Evans Jr. wants a law passed making it illegal for retailers to sell violent video games to minors. “Grand Theft Auto” is not mentioned in the bill but Evans pointed to that specific game during a press conference on Monday.

Meanwhile, people continue to flee the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois at a staggering pace.

In fact, the exodus that we witnessed in 2020 is being described as “historic”

Illinois recorded a seventh straight year of population loss from July 2019 to July 2020, but the year’s drop was historic – 79,487 residents, the most since World War II and the second largest of any state in raw numbers or percentage of population. Larger declines year over year have also caused Illinois to suffer the largest raw decline in population, and second largest on a percentage basis since 2010, shedding 253,015 people – triple any other state’s losses.

I can understand why so many residents are leaving for greener pastures, but other major cities are also seeing dramatic spikes in crime too.

One study that was recently released found that murder rates in 34 major U.S. cities rose by an average of 30 percent last year

THE HOMICIDE RATE across 34 American cities increased by 30% on average during 2020, according to experts, as the U.S. reeled from the coronavirus pandemic and widespread protests against police brutality.

The newly released report from the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice found that homicides rose in 29 of the 34 cities studied and that the three largest cities in the sample – New York, Los Angeles and Chicago – accounted for 40% of the additional homicide victims in 2020.

At this point, nearly all of our big cities are becoming unsafe.

If you want to avoid all of the violence, you could try moving to a small town, but that might not work either.

For example, the small town of Chickasha, Oklahoma sounds like it would be a nice place to live, but look at what just happened there

A repeat felon has confessed to killing his neighbor, cutting out her heart and feeding it to his family before murdering his uncle and a four-year-old girl, Oklahoma authorities say.

Lawrence Paul Anderson, 42, allegedly stabbed the neighbor, Andrea Lynn Blankenship, to death at her home in Chickasha on February 9.

Unfortunately, the truth is that our entire society is in the process of melting down all around us, and this process is only going to accelerate during the very difficult years ahead.

The worse economic conditions become, the more desperate people are going to get, and right now more businesses are shutting down with each passing day.

For instance, we just learned that Fry’s Electronics will be permanently shutting down all of their stores

Consumer electronics retailer Fry’s Electronics is going out of business after nearly 36 years.

Fry’s “has made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently as a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the company said in a statement on its website. The company said it has begun the “wind-down” process as of Wednesday and has stopped its normal operations.

As I have discussed in numerous recent articles, poverty is exploding all over America and this economic downturn is hitting those at the bottom of the economic food chain particularly hard.

As this economic crisis grows, those at the bottom of the economic food chain will increasingly be venturing into wealthy neighborhoods to take our their frustrations.

Those with a “Robin Hood mentality” will try to claim that there is “justice” in taking from the rich and giving to the poor, but in reality it will just be a way to justify the rampant lawlessness in our streets.

The rioting, looting and violence that we have seen so far is just the beginning.

Much worse is coming, and it won’t be too long before the entire country looks like the streets in the worst parts of Chicago.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

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Politicians Shouldn’t Be Managing Pandemics. They Will Bend Science To Fit Their Political Objectives

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“The COVID-19 Pandemic In The United States Is Currently As Much A Political Problem As It Is A Public Health Problem.”

The politicization of the COVID-19 pandemic has not been overlooked in the health literature.  University-based researchers from different quarters conclude political party affiliation is the strongest factor in the COVID-19 pandemic.  Here is a sampling:

  • Party affiliation was shown to drive policy decisions and impact COVID-19 infections and deaths across the US. University-based researchers concluded: “Future policy decision should be guided by public health considerations rather than political ideology.”
  • A report published in the Journal of Health & Politics & Policy Law states “Actions driven by partisanship, rather than public health expertise and scientific recommendations, may exact greater tolls on health and broader society.”
  • Yet another journal, Nature Human Behavior, publishes a report that concludes: “the possibility that political partisanship in the United States is now sufficiently far-reaching and pernicious enough to threaten the health of citizens during a pandemic.”
  • Again, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, university-based researchers concluded that “political partisanship influences citizens decisions to voluntarily engage in physical distancing in response to communications by their governor.”
  • A letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine also confirms political affiliation influenced physical distancing and restrictive recreational activities.
  • In a pre-publication report at MedRxIV, from March to early June 2020 investigators indicate Republican-led states had lower COVID-19 incidence rates compared to Democratic-states. This association reversed on June 3, 2020.  For death rates, Republican-led states had lower rates early in the pandemic, but higher rates from July 4 through mid-December, as if a virus somehow recognized political party affiliation.
  • A report published in Science Advances reveals 80% of Democrats but jut 40% of Republicans reported being concerned about catching COVID-19 in the early months of lockdown and quarantine.
    I hope readers understand this.  Not only did politicians invoke guidelines for face masks, social distancing and avoidance of large crowds for political purposes, the public accepted these guidelines along political party lines.
    The news media then portrayed these restrictions as public law rather than unauthorized decrees which is what they are.  Laws require a vote in the state legislature.
    Now public health agencies were “kicking a_s” on restaurant chains and owners who are largely Red-Party elephants, not Blue Donkeys.  The National Restaurant Association largely contributes to the Red Party.  The Red plates outnumber the Blue plates in the restaurant business.
    Annihilate the political opposition by putting them out of business, which is the objective of the World Economic Forum and its global government push.
    Researchers at Vanderbilt University proclaim: “The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is currently as much a political problem as it is a public health problem.”  One party failed to heed social mobility restrictions “required to mitigate the further spread of the pandemic,” said researchers, though as you will read below, those measures were only based on manipulated data.

State governors, not Federal authorities, have legal control over public health emergencies.  Stay-at-home orders were issued by nearly all state governors.  Republican governors were slower to adopt stay-at-home orders, if they did so at all, while Democrat governors issued stay-at-home orders of long duration.  Political party affiliation was shown to be the most important predictor of state mandates to wear face masks.

The problem is that the protective measures employed to impede the spread of infection and reduce deaths were often nothing more than arbitrary rules with little or no substantiation.

My own investigation found countries where face masks are commonly worn have the highest COVID-19 death rates.

Social distancing is a farce.  It is more likely someone will acquire any infectious disease at home due to close contact with family members.  The social distancing could be a covert measure to block public meetings against government.

Social distancing, use of face masks and population lockdown could not have been responsible for any decline in COVID-19 infections or deaths as they only delay, not prevent, infectious disease. In fact, lockdowns just resulted in forty-percent of elderly patients getting sick from family members in the same living quarters.

PCR testing has led to restrictions for large groups of people who do not present an infection risk.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Infectious Disease, states in a July 16, 2020 podcast, says that when the PCR test is run at 35-doubling cycles or higher it cannot be believed or accepted.  Most PCR tests have been conducted at 35 doublings.

The COVID-19 deaths also appear to be fraudulent, with patients on their death-bed, diagnosed with COVID-19 infection by a flawed test, are tagged with COVID-19 on their death certificates.  Upon audit The Centers For Disease Control itself concedes 94% of COVID-19 deaths were accompanied by life-threatening comorbid conditions, most deaths occurring among elderly patients.

More than 90% of human populations are already positive for at least three of the “common cold” coronaviruses.  Prior coronavirus infections confer protection for COVID-19.

About 9 in 10 people diagnosed with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 may not be carrying enough of it to infect anyone else.  The guidelines established by public health authorities to slow or halt the pandemic may be nothing more than stress relievers.

Understand all these lockdowns and social distancing and face masks were to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed while the masses wait for a vaccine.  But there may never be a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.

In the end, political operatives needed deaths to frighten the public into acceptance of these draconian measures. Without scrutiny by the nation’s politically slanted news press, fear of death spread rapidly.  Reports of shipping containers in hospital parking lots filled with dead bodies that could not be accommodated in hospital morgues was one fear-mongering publicity stunt.

And deaths they did produce, in at least once instance by returning hospitalized infected patients to nursing homes.  Then to side-step the political heat for all the deaths, COVID-19 fatality numbers in nursing homes were not completely reported.  Americans allowed this to go on because they too were sucked into applying political blame.  The pandemic became political theatre.  Americans were swept into the false drama.  If you refused to wear a face mask you were a public threat.  Americans will never face up to reality because the news press keeps beating a political drum.  God help you if your loved ones got caught up in this contrived tragedy and paid for it with their lives.

The post Politicians Shouldn’t Be Managing Pandemics. They Will Bend Science To Fit Their Political Objectives appeared first on LewRockwell.



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Twitter’s Discrediting of Leaked Docs That Show UK’s Covert Activities Against Russia Is a Shocking Case of Media Manipulation

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On some platforms, whistleblowing is only considered an acceptable form of journalism when it exposes enemies of the West. Twitter’s labelling of a Grayzone story that reflected badly on Britain shows the double standards at play.

Earlier this week, journalist Max Blumenthal published a series of leaked documents from the British Foreign Office on his news website the Grayzone, revealing that the BBC and the Reuters Foundation had participated in a covert programme targeting Russia and its neighbours, seeking to push political change within the country.

Former Labour MP Chris Williamson commented on the findings, noting, “These revelations show that when MPs were railing about Russia, British agents were using the BBC and Reuters to deploy precisely the same tactics that politicians and media commentators were accusing Russia of using.”

For those familiar with the BBC and its history as an extension for British foreign policy goals, the leaks are not a surprise. However, that does not mean the news was met with a warm welcome.

Shunned by the mainstream media, the Grayzone report was subsequently targeted by Twitter, with each link being tagged with a warning stating: “These materials may have been obtained through hacking.”

The warning led to an information page stating: “The use of hacks and hacking to exfiltrate information from private computer systems can be used to manipulate the public conversation.”

Although the warning was not carried on some subsequent retweets, at the time of publication it was still present on Grayzone’s original tweet.

Twitter’s accusation is a classic case of it jumping to conclusions, as there is nothing at all to suggest the leaks were a product of hacking. However, this attitude is a direct manifestation of the enormous double standards at play in response to this kind of journalism.

Whistleblowing and leaks which reveal secrets from enemy states constitute a form of journalism and reporting which deserves to be praised. But to many governments in the West, especially those in the United States and the United Kingdom, leaking is considered out of bounds when they are on the receiving end. It is as if the standards they preach to other countries – in particular, transparency and freedom of information – suddenly don’t count.

In exploring this phenomenon, the cases of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are good places to start. If these men were Chinese, Russian or Iranian, they would be widely celebrated and lauded by the mainstream media as heroes and martyrs who have been subjected to state oppression for simply daring to reveal the truth, as was the case with doctor Li Wenliang and ‘citizen journalist’ Zhang Zhan in Wuhan.

Yet because Assange and Snowden are Western, and in turn directly challenged the US-led security establishment with their leaks on surveillance and various atrocities, they are treated differently, as criminals and fugitives. The mainstream media minimize the coverage accordingly, and make sure their cause or work cannot gain public sympathy. State action against them is not given scrutiny.

In the simplest terms, we see a scenario where whistleblowing against the US and its allies is bad, but whistleblowing against designated enemies is good. And so, Twitter is following suit with this logic in its decision to now target articles by the Grayzone as apparent ‘hacking’.

It perfectly illustrates this very binary mode of thought that those who leak documents against the British government are not fuelled by a desire to advocate truth or transparency, but malicious motivations to spread misinformation and influence public opinion.

Is Twitter saying that it is best the public don’t know how the BBC is essentially being weaponized as a front for British foreign policy? That the notion of public interest essentially does not matter if a given revelation has political ramifications that might be considered undesirable for the West? Or that other journalism is not designed to influence views on a particular subject? So, some secrets are better kept?

Twitter itself is becoming an increasingly unreliable platform on this front. Donald Trump’s presidency has changed the game, from beginning to end. The enormous controversy of the so-called ‘Russiagate scandal’ and then the Capitol riot in January proved to be two enormous turning points which have tipped the platform towards growing regulation and outright censorship.

This would be understandable, if it were not so one-sided. The site’s proliferation of ‘state affiliated media’ labels – which unfairly target certain countries, and not others – as well as its warning labels, are all directly consolidating a status quo advocated by Western powers that only they possess a ‘valid’ notion of truth. In turn, everyone who seeks to criticize their narratives is simply promoting falsehoods and is fuelled by bad intent.

Therefore, what might be described as ‘public interest journalism’, which involves the leaking of confidential documents, is only valid if it compliments one side of the argument as opposed to the other. Deception, censorship and state-led misinformation campaigns are never to be queried if the UK or the US or behind them, while the distinction between ‘criminal’ and ‘whistleblower’ is upheld completely according to preference.

These documents were a massive discovery. If China had been caught doing the same thing it would be front-page news, but instead we have Twitter trying to bury the truth. The Grayzone findings deserve to be shared as widely as possible.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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Millie Weaver’s stunning new documentary about the January 6th Capitol Riot has just been released, showing how what happened on January 6, 2021 was part of a well-prepared contingency plan to prevent the contesting and the overturning the fraudulent election results by any means necessary.

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US: Ex-Policeman Implicates NYPD, FBI in Malcolm X Murder

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A former New York City police officer has, before his death, implicated the NYPD and FBI in the murder of civil rights leader Malcolm X on February 21, 1965.

A letter written by ex-undercover NYPD policeman Raymond Wood alleges his department and the FBI covered up details of the assassination, saying he was ordered to infiltrate the civil rights movement and had members of Malcolm X’s security detail arrested shortly before the killing.

On February 21, 1965, minister and civil rights activist Malcolm X, 39, was shot dead inside Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom in New York by assassins identified as members of the Nation of Islam. Three men were convicted of murder and imprisoned, and all were eventually paroled.

“I participated in actions that in hindsight were deplorable and detrimental to the advancement of my own Black people. My actions on behalf of the New York City Police Department were done under duress and fear,” said Reggie Wood, a relative who read Raymond’s letter aloud at a press conference on Saturday.

The letter said the arrests carried out in February 1965 by Wood meant Malcolm X did not have security at the entrance to the Audubon Ballroom where he was speaking that day.

It is unclear when Wood died, but he did not want the letter made public until after his death, saying he feared repercussions from authorities if he came forward with his allegations, according to Reggie Wood.

Read the Whole Article

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Harvard study: an epidemic of loneliness is spreading across America

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Loneliness among Americans has been growing in recent years, but the policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically exacerbated the problem. A new report by Harvard University researchers finds that 36 percent of Americans are experiencing “serious loneliness,” and some groups, such as young adults and mothers with small children, are especially isolated.

Researchers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s “Making Caring Common” project analyzed data from an October 2020 online survey of 950 Americans. “Alarming numbers of Americans are lonely,” they conclude in their paper, and those surveyed “reported substantial increases in loneliness since the outbreak of the pandemic.”

Young adults are the loneliest group. According to the research findings, 61 percent of young people ages 18 to 25 reported feeling lonely “frequently” or “almost all the time or all the time” during the four weeks preceding the fall survey. Forty-three percent of these young adults indicated that their loneliness had increased since the pandemic and related lockdowns began. These results echo similar findings of other Harvard researchers who found that nearly half of young adults were showing signs of depression amid the pandemic response. And in August, the CDC reported that one in four young adults in this age range had contemplated suicide during the month of June.

Mothers with small children were another group experiencing high rates of loneliness according to the recent survey analysis, with more than half of mothers reporting serious loneliness. Forty-seven percent of these mothers said that their loneliness increased during the pandemic response.

While everyone has been forcibly cut off from normal social interaction as a result of government lockdown measures, social distancing mandates, and other public health orders, young people and mothers with small children may be particularly harmed by these policies.

In many cases, older teenagers and young adults have been unable to meaningfully connect with their peers during school closures and remote learning plans. Additionally, social distancing requirements on many college campuses have halted normal social interaction and can contribute to loneliness and depression among this cohort. As a fall semester article in BU Today, a publication of Boston University, explained:

“BU’s aggressive coronavirus safety protocols — no large groups, fewer in-person classes and meetings, and restrictions on the amount of people allowed in an elevator, laundry room, and even around a dining hall table — can equal loneliness.”

For mothers with small children, being disconnected from other mothers, as well as lacking in-person support from family members and friends, can take its toll and make days with little ones seem even longer and more intense. Additionally, as the Harvard researchers found, periodic daycare and school closures have made the last year particularly challenging for mothers.

In their paper, the researchers cite developmental psychologist, Niobe Way, who says:

“We are in danger of alleviating one public health problem — the transmission of disease — while exacerbating another.”

Indeed, economists have been pointing out these tradeoffs of the pandemic response since last spring. As FEE’s Antony Davies and James Harrigan wrote in April:

“Regardless of whether we acknowledge them, tradeoffs exist. And acknowledging tradeoffs is an important part of constructing sound policy.”

Loneliness was worsening prior to the pandemic

Loneliness in America has been a mounting concern for decades. In his groundbreaking 2000 book, Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam documented the growing alienation of Americans, as previously robust aspects of civil society that fostered connection, such as bowling leagues, faded away.

More recent research showed that loneliness was worsening prior to the pandemic. In 2018, a joint Kaiser Family Foundation and Economist survey found that one in five Americans “often” or “almost always” felt lonely or socially isolated, and results from a large-scale Cigna report released in January 2020 found that three out of five Americans reported being lonely.

Lockdowns and related pandemic response measures amplified feelings of loneliness and isolation, as local businesses and organisations were shut down or forced to reduce capacity and change operating procedures. Restaurants, bars, coffee shops — even playgrounds — have been closed in many areas, limiting opportunities for social connection. Several states continue to restrict the number of people allowed in one’s own home, including Vermont where residents have been prohibited from interacting with anyone outside of their immediate household since November.

Not surprisingly, loneliness has deepened as a result of these lockdowns and restrictions that sever individuals from their communities, and mental health continues to deteriorate. Youth suicide and depression rates are increasing, and drug overdose deaths are climbing. The tradeoffs of these strict pandemic response policies are becoming increasingly clear.

Solutions to the loneliness epidemic

The most obvious solution to the accelerating loneliness epidemic during the pandemic response is to lift the lockdowns and related public health policies that keep people cruelly separated from one another.

In their new paper, the Harvard researchers acknowledge the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on increasing rates of loneliness but continue to endorse the current policy response, including indicating that we “may need to enter another lockdown phase as new variants spread.” They argue for sweeping efforts to combat the loneliness epidemic both during and after the pandemic response.

While the Harvard researchers acknowledge that individuals can take some action to ameliorate loneliness by identifying and reversing their own negative feedback loops, they focus most of their attention on a “collective” response to loneliness in America.

Specifically, they criticise what they call “this age of hyper-individualism,” saying that we must “restore our commitment to each other and the common good.” To achieve this, the researchers recommend “national, state, and local public education campaigns” that highlight the loneliness epidemic.

They recommend that schools, colleges, and workplaces provide more resources to combat loneliness, and they urge a much larger role of government in this process. “The federal government should greatly expand its commitment to national service for young people, and state and local governments can do much more to promote many forms of organised service that bring people together to work on common problems,” the researchers state.

More pressingly, the study authors explain that we must shift from “Americans’ focus on the self” toward “the common good.” The undermining of the individual in favor of the collective, or “common good,” typically means empowering government with more authority to try to fix social problems. As the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman said:

“I think a major reason why intellectuals tend to move towards collectivism is that the collectivist answer is a simple one. If there’s something wrong, pass a law and do something about it… On the other hand, the individualistic or libertarian argument is a sophisticated and subtle one. If there’s something wrong with society, if there’s a real social evil, maybe you will make better progress by letting people voluntarily try to eliminate the evil.”

Still, the Harvard researchers are right to point out that the loneliness epidemic is a result of disconnection from community. Encouraging this community connection is a goal that can be best achieved through a robust civil society, or the non-governmental, voluntary institutions of our lives — such as extended family, church, clubs, sports leagues, and benefit societies — that have been tragically eroded at the same time that government has grown and taken on roles that were previously reserved for families and communities. An expanded role of government in trying to combat the loneliness epidemic, or any other social problem, will only make matters worse.

In his 1835 book, Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville reflected on the vitality of American civil society. He wrote:

“Americans of all ages, all conditions, all minds constantly unite. Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but they also have a thousand other kinds: religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small; Americans use associations to give fĂȘtes, to found seminaries, to build inns, to raise churches, to distribute books, to send missionaries to the antipodes…”

Tocqueville warned that as these voluntary institutions and associations become usurped by government power, individuals slowly lose their free will. He wrote:

“Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

The steady rise of government influence in areas that were previously the domain of civil society has been documented most recently by Howard Husock in his book, Who Killed Civil Society? The Rise of Big Government and Decline of Bourgeois Norms. Husock explains how non-governmental organisations and community nonprofits increasingly rely on government funding that can dilute their local impact. He writes:

“Thousands of organizations, which were once independent of the government and funded by their communities, are instead government contractors now. Today, the U.S. government enters into some 350,000 contracts with 56,000 nonprofit organizations. In doing so, our federal government has changed not only the source of funding — it has changed the character of civil society and its ability to serve local communities best.”

The loneliness that many Americans currently feel is heartbreaking. Big government’s ascent prior to the pandemic, and the role of government in responding to the pandemic with coercive measures, have contributed to and exacerbated the loneliness epidemic. Relying less on government and more on the voluntary fabric of civil society can make us all happier, healthier, and more connected to each other and to our communities.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

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