After many of my patreon subscribers said I should make the full podcast available to everyone I decided to unlock the whole of subscribercast #40. I appreciate that some of you will disagree or take issue with some of what I’m saying here so I am also making the transcript with source links available too, so you can at least see where I am getting my information and make your own judgements on its quality and integrity. Enjoy!
I imagine you have had quite a similar experience to me in recent weeks, what with all those emails from the CEOs of whatevercorp who desperately and earnestly wanted to talk to you about the coronavirus. I’m sure all of those emails were actually written by CEOs and weren’t in any way crafted by PR departments for the purposes of corporate virtue signalling.
Then came the wave of celebrities on social media recording themselves singing John Lennon’s imagine. Imagine all the people living as one, and all that. Except the people aren’t living as one. The week when the celebrity singing Imagine videos were trending, a lot of people were literally fighting in the aisles of supermarkets for the last few pots of instant noodles and a few scraps of toilet paper. I haven’t seen that in this country but some of the video footage from the US is hideous – worse even than those Black Friday videos where you see women kicking the fuck out of each other, competing to get the latest 2 in 1 vegetable blender and coffee maker. I’ve even seen a few stories about people taking stuff from the trolleys of old people, who can’t defend their shopping or themselves. It’s grossly Darwinian.
So it is nothing short of the height of hypocrisy for celebrities in their motherfucking 15,000 square foot mansions with private security and personal shoppers singing a song about uniting the human race. This whole process of ‘lockdown’ or ‘social distancing’ has done nothing of the sort – it has laid bare just how fragmented and hierarchical our societies really are. The richest sit atop their pile of wealth telling us plebs that we have to stay at home and not earn a living or see our friends and families or, in fact, do anything except watch celebrities on social media and gorge on Netflix and instant noodles.
Which, I’m sure, is all very sincere and heartfelt and isn’t in any way a form of upper middle class virtue signalling. I’m sure all these rich famous people are genuinely concerned for the lives of people they’ve never met and didn’t previously give any sign of giving a shit about and this isn’t at all about assuming positions of authority to protect their future earnings.
Just like when John Krasinski announced on Instagram that they were delaying the release of A Quiet Place 2 I’m sure that really was about him wanting us to ‘all enjoy it together’ and wasn’t in any way motivated by protecting revenues and profits. I’m sure Krasinski really cares about the people who see his movies and doesn’t in any way see them as walking ATMs who line his pockets. Ditto every other movie studio and actor who has recently announced delays to the release of their films, I’m sure that’s motivated by genuine concern for public health and isn’t at all about saving the bottom line and ensuring their production line of creative drek is as lucrative as possible.
Admittedly, I am ranting about celebrities which is something I have previously said people shouldn’t do but there’s a serious point here – social distancing is a privilege of the middle and upper classes, and this whole lockdown process has served to enhance and further entrench the divisions and hierarchies in our society. Put simply, we aren’t all in this together.
Indeed, the phrase ‘all in this together’ is the last description I would use for a society where we’re being encouraged not to interact, indeed, not to go anywhere near each other. ‘All in this apart’ would be a much better description, a much more accurate way of expressing what’s actually going on.
But even then, we’re not all in this apart. There are those who can afford to take weeks or even months off work and hide out in their homes while poorer people continue to stock the shelves in supermarkets, deliver takeaways, maintain the energy grid and water supplies, keep the internet running and, of course, staff the healthcare system. All those people are still at it – I see them during my daily violation of social distancing rules which used to be known as going for a walk.
And this is my first major point about this whole self-isolation international quarantine lockdown social distancing nonsense – namely, that it is nonsense. It only really works if everyone’s able to do it, but if everyone does it then our societies collapse in maybe three days. All those people who are unable to socially distance because we require them to do their jobs so the rest of us can still get what we want – they are exempt from the public shaming and the cancel culture that always, always results from virtue signalling.
But anyone who isn’t required so that the rest of us can still get what we want, they are subject to some of the nastiest, cruellest, stupidest, most neurotic hostility I have ever seen. One of the early examples I noticed was in the New Yorker, and was a piece about a guy who’d had an argument with his parents because they’d – shock horror, gone out to dinner. This was even before the officially announced lockdown in the US – which is key. The mass media had already taken on this role of shaming and bullying people who didn’t flee to their homes and barricade the doors before it was official policy. Indeed, governments have adopted these policies in response to media pressure, not because of any sound scientific basis that they actually work. But we’ll get to that later on.
This article was not only about one guy shaming and harassing his parents for daring to go out for a meal together in a restaurant, it also built in yet more generational conflict between millenials and boomers. I can’t recall the exact title but it was something like ‘Millenials, here’s how to convince your boomer parents to take coronavirus seriously’. The piece itself cited no evidence that millenials were taking this more seriously than boomers, he simply extrapolated from his own familial squabble to pronounce on a societal phenomenon that probably isn’t actually happening. From what I’ve seen, it’s older people who are taking this more seriously than younger people. So this was not only a thumbass piece of non-journalism, it was deeply ageist and sought to play into inter-generational conflict because virus. Or more accurately, because of mass media stoking fears about this virus in an almost entirely baseless way, and on an unprecedented scale. Because this guy is a hipster twat who lives in New York and is surrounded by other shallow, naive, easily led hipster twats who spent weeks banging on about coronavirus he assumed his parents would have the same mentality. When they didn’t, because they don’t live in a mass media hype bubble, he lost his shit and used his position as a media content producer to publicly shame them.
Which I felt was nasty to the point of being sociopathic. He prioritised his own neuroses caused by media fearmongering over his love for his parents, but pretended it was because he loves them, because he’s worried about them, that he had to do publicly shame them in the New Yorker. Which is exactly the sort of behaviour you’d expect from a sociopathic spouse or abusive partner – they abuse you, but then blame you for it and say they only abused you because they care about you. That’s now become the norm in our societies.
Supermarkets During Lockdown
Next, I want to talk about supermarkets. Partly because it’s one of the few places I visit regularly, aside from the canal with the ducks and swans where I regularly go to violate social distancing rules a.k.a. go for a walk and get some sunshine. But also because I imagine these experiences are similar or identical to your own.
Currently in the UK they are enforcing some weird shit at supermarkets. You have to queue outside in the car park because they’re only letting a small number of people in at once. But once you get inside, you can roam around freely. There’s literally no enforcement of social distancing. You can walk up and down the aisles as close or as far away from the other people as you like. And while people are excessively social distancing in the car park – I’ve had several people give me foul looks because I got within about 4 metres of them – once you’re inside that’s all ignored. It’s truly bizarre.
Then you get the uniforms. I’ve seen people wearing masks and gloves, and masks but no gloves, and gloves but no masks, and regardless of their glove/mask combo many of whom were wearing shorts and t-shirts. It’s totally haphazard and irrational. I even saw a lady driving down the road in a car with all the windows up, still wearing a mask.
And yet all these people continue to shop in supermarkets where – aside from the odd tinpot checkout nazi – no one is actually enforcing social distancing. Except when you get to the checkout, at which point there are little signs stuck on the floor warning you to stay at least this far behind the person in front. Except those signs aren’t the recommended 2 metres apart – in the supermarket I most regularly go to they’re maybe 4 ½ feet apart. And there are two lines of them side by side. So you can be 2 feet away from the person next to you, but you must remain at least 4 ½ feet behind the person in front. What kind of sense does that make?
Again, haphazard and arbitrary behaviour driven by fear, not by sound science or good policy.
Then you get to the checkout itself, which is effectively a rubber belt being rotated round to move your shopping down to the till so it can be scanned through by hand by the nice young man or nice young woman.
But no one’s cleaning the rubber belts, and for the most part the checkout staff aren’t wearing gloves or using hand sanitiser between customers. So even though I’m supposed to stay 2 metres away from other people at all times, I am also supposed to unload my shopping onto a rubber belt that never gets cleaned so it can be handled by someone who has handled no end of other people’s shopping that day. And I do all this before walking past the person on the till, coming a lot closer than 2 metres away. And, unless you’re going through the last till in the row, you’re also coming a lot closer than 2 metres to the person on the till behind you.
Now, supermarket have started in the last week to put up perspex screens to help separate you from the person on the till. But they only put them up on one side. So the person behind me on the next till along is just as exposed as they were before.
Now, I remember all this from the swine flu panic when we were also told to socially distance, and the supermarkets put up signs and stuck up some perspex screens but did nothing about the most obviously contagious point in the entire shop – the rubber belts on the tills. Think about it – it’s the point every person goes through. It’s also the point where every single item of your shopping makes contact with another surface. And the shopping of all the people in front of you that day. And the shopping of all the people behind you.
It is by far the most likely place for an infectious disease or virus or microorganism or whatever to transfer from one person to another. Far more likely than in the fucking car park in the open air. But while they’re forcing people to queue up across the entire car park, they’re doing absolutely nothing about the most likely place for transmission and cross-contamination to occur. It’s completely irrational, completely driven by fear and not science or logical thinking, and completely busts the myth that social distancing is effective.
And like I say, we went through most of this during the Swine Flu panic a decade ago and I was saying all the same things then, that this would ineffective without actually looking at those places where huge numbers of people pass through in quick succession but which aren’t subject to any kind of decontamination or disinfecting whatsoever. This is the exact same ineffective stupidity – we haven’t learned a damn thing.
And yet, despite (or perhaps because of) the irrational basis for all this, people are buying into it. They’re suspicious of each other, they are acting like other people are some kind of threat when much greater threats are – literally – right in front of them. They will touch those threats with their hands, put their food all over them before taking it home, but will cross the street to avoid other people who pose little to no threat to them, all because this is what we’ve been told is the answer to the fear stoked by mass media coverage.
Before we move on to the next section I want to highlight a quick fact for you. First, that coronavirus is not a living organism. It isn’t the frankenvirus the media has made it out to be, it’s actually a protein chain surrounded by a layer of fat. It does not absorb energy and reproduce its cells like a living organism does – it needs to be inside a host in order to self-replicate. When it gets into certain tissues in the human body it actually changes the DNA in the cells of those tissues, causing them to produce more of it. This is what then causes the illness.
So all this stuff you’ve seen about killing it, and all those people buying anti bacterial disinfectants, is a total waste of time and energy. It simply doesn’t apply here. But such is the level of scientific ignorance both among the general population and in all the instant self-appointed coronavirus experts spitting their fear at you through the media that no one is pointing this out.
My point being that this is more akin to a toxic dust than a bacteria, and that you can destroy it relatively easily. Soap and hot water will break down the layer of fat surrounding the protein chain, and the chain then decomposes, breaks apart. So in terms of supermarkets it would be far more effective at limiting the spread of this virus to simply regularly wash down the rubber belts with hot water and washing up liquid that it is to line people up across the car park before letting them into the shop and then they do more or less whatever they want. Admittedly, the distancing must be doing something to limit the spread, but given everything else that’s continuing as normal because people just aren’t thinking straight, it’s an irrational, kneejerk response to media fearmongering, rather than a sensible public policy based in hard science.
Is it Too Late?
As I said in my previous episode on this, it also may be too late. I suspect that that this virus is already a lot more widespread than the current data would suggest. When I said before that from the WHO’s statement early in March announcing that this is now a pandemic that the data cited in the statement didn’t sound much like a pandemic to me, some people took that to mean that this is not a pandemic or anything like it. That idea has been doing the rounds, mostly in conspiratorial media circles, and I think it’s wrong.
Let’s clarify by looking at the three levels of infectious diseases – the first is an epidemic, which means a disease that is spreading rapidly in a limited population – a given area or city or country. A pandemic is basically the same thing but in lots of different countries. I have been unable to find a precise definition of why this coronavirus situation is considered a pandemic – it’s basically the international, transcontinental nature of it that seems to be the reason why it was declared a pandemic, rather than a specific number of cases per head of population or something like that. Beyond that there’s endemic, which means it’s out there in the world and there isn’t a huge amount we can do about it until someone develops a cure.
For example, norovirus is considered endemic, as is HIV/AIDS. Depending on which stats you read norovirus kills around 600 to 1000 people per day, on average. HIV/AIDS kills 2 – 2500 people per day. While in the richer countries you can access drugs which can deal with these to the extent that you can live a fairly normal life, the drugs are too expensive for a lot of poorer countries so the overwhelming majority of deaths are in those poorer countries.
I have been positing for several weeks the possibility that this coronavirus might already be endemic and that it emerged earlier than the outbreak in Wuhan in mid November. It seems a few scientific bodies are now exploring that possibility, suggesting it might go back years.
If true, the bad news is that this would mean we cannot contain it. The good news is that it means it’s so widespread that all these lockdown social distancing measures are a waste of time and can be abandoned, and that the lethality of the virus is far, far lower than expected.
Among the emails I’ve received recently was one from the Cinema for Peace Foundation, who I rate pretty highly which is why I signed up for their email newsletters. One reason I liked this email is that it was solicited – I never asked for the CEOs of companies whose products I have never bought to spam me with nonsense about coronavirus. Another reason I liked their email is that they were preaching caution, patience and not losing your head. It explored how Taiwan adopted quite different measures to China and managed to get their situation under control quickly and without panicking people into accepting massive restrictions on their civil liberties.
They also point out that:
The mortality rate in Germany for Coronavirus is 0.05 – 0.01%, which is less than that of influenza. The previous horror numbers are based on the number of deaths compared to registered infections, but now it has been stated by scientists that for every 1 registered case, there are about 10 – 100 non registered cases. Most European countries like Italy and Germany don’t test the infected and ask them to stay home unless they are in the hospital with severe symptoms. Even if you ask to be tested and wait for several hours, hospitals refuse to test. Some official places open at 9:00 am and close at 11:00 am and do not accept more than 50 tests per day, while other countries like Denmark are offering test kits for each household to determine the actual number of non registered infections.
There was also a report recently from Oxford University hypothesising that as many as two thirds of the people in the UK have already had coronavirus without realising it – which is what I suspect has happened. I’ll play you a clip from Sky news because it’s a wonderful example not just of bad journalism, but of why people are so confused and scared.
This in many ways typifies the media coverage we’ve been subjected to – some science stuff which isn’t really explained and so we can’t assess the conclusion for ourselves, some government officials saying they haven’t got a clue, and praise for social distancing because it will apparently protect the NHS and save lives.
In reality, if this study is right then social distancing is a massive con, because a huge number of those currently distancing themselves and hiding out in their homes have already had the virus, possibly without symptoms, and are therefore immune. It would also mean that the overall death numbers would actually be much much lower than predicted – more on that later. But because we cannot question the ‘OMG pandemic, be scared’ narrative, they somehow managed to twist this news item into a reiteration of the social distancing lockdown, when it should be a reason to doubt it.
The same week that this clip aired I saw two other news stories that suggest something like this scenario is accurate. The first is that Prince Charles has tested positive for the virus – one of the most socially isolated people in the country. If even he can get it then clearly social distancing isn’t going to work very well. The other story is that some people in prisons have already tested positive – literally the most socially isolated, socially distanced people in the country. If this stuff – reminder that it’s not a living organism, it’s more like a toxic dust – is already inside prisons then why the hell are the rest of us hiding out in our homes? Our homes which might already have the virus in them. Which many of us have already had without knowing it.
But rather than explore any of this, we get media coverage like this:
That was an oh so touching, oh so worrying, wheezing exhortation from someone who has had coronavirus telling you not to go outside, because it isn’t worth it.
But she also says in the video that she’s tested positive for the virus, basically recovered from that, and is struggling to breath and suffering in hospital because of something else. But ignore all that and just start crying because there’s an older woman on the TV who is struggling to breath. Don’t bother with facts or reasoning or take any confidence in your own ability to make judgements and decisions about your own life. Just give in to social pressure and hide indoors.
Another fact I’d like to highlight is that this is already – and was already, weeks ago – the most reported story in human history. Even when the global deaths were under 20,000 people there were over 2 billion news stories about coronavirus. And that’s just if you search for the English terms coronavirus and Covid-19. Stories that use other terms in other languages have to be added to that total.
Two billion. With a B.
As I say, that makes it the most reported story ever. More than the death of princess diana, more than 9/11, more than the invasion of Iraq, more than the release of the iPhone. I’m sure you’ve seen all this media coverage saying this virus is unprecedented. That isn’t true, it’s entirely precedented, as a species we’ve seen off much more dangerous, lethal and widespread viruses than this. What is genuinely unprecedented is the media coverage.
Two billion stories. The vast majority of which are extremely negative and fearful. If that doesn’t seem like overkill to you, if that doesn’t seem vastly out of proportion with the actual data we’ve been shown about the number of cases and the number of deaths, then I honestly don’t know what to say.
Other Stories You Might Have Missed
There are some other stories that caught my eye that have been reported, but not widely and without the implications being stated.
The first is from Albuquerque New Mexico, where a man didn’t show up for work so his boss called the police to ask them to do a welfare check on him. The police went round to his house, there was some sort of dispute (details unclear) and the police shot him. Dead.
Now, the police in the US kill people all the time but the reason I was interested in this particular one is that they were sent there to do a welfare check on someone presumed to be sick or injured. Somehow the police managed to turn checking on a potentially ill person into killing that person. Would this have happened without the 2 billion news media stories filling the police’s heads with the idea that any potentially sick person might have the virus and that they are risking their lives going anywhere near him? That message has been pumped into our collective psyche – on the basis of no hard science whatsoever since the vast majority of sick people aren’t sick with coronavirus – and therefore it does contribute to things like this.
Another story that pricked up my curiosity is that a man in North Carolina accused of kidnapping and murdering his girlfriend apparently told her relatives that she’d tested positive for COVID-19 and was in quarantine, which is why she hadn’t called or made contact with them. Now, I don’t know the facts of this case but it does illustrate how whenever you flood the media with a scare story that grabs lots of people’s attention that some will exploit that, especially psychopaths.
So, are we all in this together, or are some people exploiting this for their own gain? Because those two things are mutually exclusive. Again, stories like this put the lie to the whole #allinthistogether horseshit.
Another story that also puts the lie to it is one that anyone who follows English football will know about. When the government passed its emergency coronameasures they said that anyone who had to go off work in order to #stayhome and #protecttheNHS would get paid 80% of their expected earnings while under lockdown. This was supposed to be a help to small and medium sized businesses unable to operate due to the lockdown and social distancing measures.
So when several premiership football clubs decided to furlough thousands of non-playing staff and stuck them on the government wage-supplement scheme, quite a lot of people cried foul. Bear in mind that the English league is the richest in the world due to having massive TV revenues – something like 6 of the top 10 richest clubs in the world are in the English premier league. One of the clubs that made use of this scheme is Tottenham Hotspur, who recently spent a billion pounds building a new stadium. But now they’re pleading poor and forcing the working class people who sell burgers, clean up that brand new stadium after matches, man the turnstiles and so on to claim benefits from the government instead of paying them themselves. Another club was Liverpool, who have annual revenues of over half a billion pounds and made profits in the region of £150 million in the last two seasons. But they too are furloughing staff and forcing them to take money from the government to make up for their lost wages. (Note: Liverpool FC have now reversed this decision).
Likewise, all the supermarkets are currently making huge amounts of money, not just because of panic buyers but also because all the smaller food outlets have closed as part of the lockdown. I wandered through the city centre where I live because I had to pick up something from the post office and literally everything is closed. The only places you can buy food right now are supermarkets and chain convenience stores. All the little bakeries and butchers and so on are closed. Which will only further the already dominant market share of the supermarkets, and will put smaller shops out of business.
So clearly we’re not ‘all in this together’, this is actually exacerbating the class system and the corporate dominance of capitalist societies, which will kill people through poverty. ‘Lockdown’ and ‘social distancing’ are just austerity and a police state by other names. That’s not all they are, but they are that and almost no one is talking about it, except for hyperbolic weirdos claiming this is all a NWO plot or whatever.
Moving on, a couple of stories from India that I thought were worth mentioning. First, a 35 year old man who’d recently returned to his town from Tamil Nadu was placed on a mandatory self quarantine, even though he showed no symptoms and no one tested him for the virus. His wife died last year and clearly the guy was going spare being locked up in their home despite not being ill, and he killed himself.
Similarly, a 23 year old man who had returned to the country from Australia had complained of a headache so he was sent to hospital in Delhi where he was immediately put into the isolation wing. He also killed himself, by jumping off the seventh floor of the hospital.
I said this would happen. I said that there would be coronasuicides in my last episode on this and though it gives me no joy to be proven right, it comes as no surprise at all. But none of the coverage of these stories even suggested that maybe – just maybe – we should rethink draconian social policies and hysterical media coverage in the wake of these tragedies. After all, these men didn’t die of coronavirus and therefore their deaths don’t count. Their stories only merited a few short paragraphs on a handful of websites. Whereas Tom Hanks testing positive for the virus was picked up by hundreds of outlets, and Prince Charles testing positive was picked up by thousands. Both men are still alive.
Again, I cannot stress enough how this whole situation has only reinforced the existing system, not called it into question. Even though tons of people are sick of corona-themed news the media keeps pumping this shit out minute after minute, trying to terrify people into accepting severe limitations on their lives. I’ve spent decades of my life, ever since I was a kid, despising news media for the poison they drip into people’s minds on a constant basis, but I’ve never seen anything quite like this.
The final story, which also illustrates this perfectly, also comes from the world of football. Two very well respected African footballers – Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast and Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon – spoke out after two French doctors said that Africa should be used as the testing ground for any experimental treatments or vaccines for COVID-19.
I love Didier Drogba, not just for being a fantastic footballer and a very funny, theatrical player but also for his role in stopping a civil war in his home country. He’s a genuinely impressive human being, which is pretty rare for a footballer. And on this I totally agree with him, it smacks of
There’s too many ruddy blicks, they breed like bloody rabbits, so if we are be testing any new vaccines and whatnot, let’s give em to the ruddy blicks first, eh?
Again, if you go back to the Swine Flu panic you’ll find similar stories, of scientists and medical ‘experts’ suggesting that we use poor black people as a testing ground for any possible vaccines. This is old world colonial thinking, that because these people contribute little if anything to global GDP that we can just inject them with experimental vaccines because if they die it won’t really matter. And they are black, after all, so fuck em, right?
Again, the worst of our societies is being entrenched as a reaction to massively overblown and fear-inducing media coverage. But because the mass media have caused this in the first place, they consistently refuse to explore the negative consequences. As far as they are concerned, it’s all going to plan.
British Government Propaganda
Which brings me to the British state’s propaganda efforts. I’m not entirely sure who is driving this because the Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently quarantined after testing positive for the virus, so he’s not in charge. It’s not clear who is actually running the country, if indeed anyone is running it.
Here in the UK we’ve spent the last three years talking about nothing but Brexit, though I’ve withdrawn from that conversation because it’s full of insanity, misinformation and recriminations on all sides. Nonetheless, it has absolutely dominated political media coverage for years, it’s the one story the press kept coming back to even when nothing was happening.
That’s now been replaced, lock stock and barrel, by coronavirus. No one is talking about Brexit, or about austerity, immigration, climate change, crime or anything else. It’s pretty much impossible to get a story published right now if it doesn’t have coronavirus in the title.
So I want to break down some of the rhetorical tricks being deployed, from the government on down through the mass media and social media.
The first is how the language shifted from self isolation to social distancing. Initially the government policy was to let the virus run through the population in the hope of establishing herd immunity (which may, of course, have already happened without us realising it). People with symptoms were told to self-isolate, as were people classed as vulnerable.
But that term didn’t catch on, because it sounds like what it is – people having to cut off from their friends and loved ones just in case they have a contagious disease. So the language and policy shifted to ‘social distancing’ and ‘stay at home’ because that sounds more like something we can all participate in. After all, most people like staying at home, and anything with the word ‘social’ in it makes it sound like a social activity, rather than the anti-social behaviour it really is.
This has also fuelled the rise of the shame game, whereby anyone who ‘breaks lockdown’ is called out as some sort of national security threat. This happened to a female radio host from Manchester who went out for a walk with her daughter and was recognised, because she’s a minor local celebrity, leading to social media mobs abusing and harassing her.
But the government’s guidelines say you’re allowed to go out to take exercise, and indeed that’s a very good idea for general health and especially mental health reasons. This woman didn’t even violate the new rules, but she still faced a horrific mob-mentality backlash for daring to go out for a walk with her daughter. Woman goes for walk is now not only a news story, it’s treated like she’s some sort of serial killer threatening the lives of everyone else.
This cuts to the heart of the logic behind social distancing and why it’s so horrific. It’s one of those things suggested by scientists who look at the data and see – quite accurately – that disease spreads more quickly in more densely-populated areas. So when they are asked what can be done to prevent the spread of a given contagious disease they come up with social distancing, because the further apart people are the less they catch diseases from each other.
We have to recognise that many scientists are just high-functioning autists, and like all autistic people they have trouble relating to other people as having emotions and rights and so on. They don’t see them as people, but as red dots in a computer model, as disease vectors.
And through the government and mass media this mentality has now been projected onto a huge proportion of the population, who are now seeing other people as some sort of risk to be controlled and avoided and even despised. Now, we’re all bio-terrorists. That’s what 2 billion+ media stories gets you – a horrible world.
And even though I live in a place where most people are working class and not taking this especially seriously, I’ve experienced a lot of people treating me like this – crossing the road and looking at me suspiciously because I transmit fearlessness and reassurance. I’m trying my best to make people feel less scared, but that’s made me something of a target because I’m not reinforcing the emotions the media has got people addicted to. They’ve internalised the media paranoia and are now projecting that internalised fear onto anyone who doesn’t join the paranoid mob sheltering in place.
Again, I had this in the supermarket recently. I queued up in the car park, went inside to find a giant supermarket with less than 100 people in it – far more space than is required by the 2 metre rule. The supermarket shelves were basically empty, so I found some Edam and some croissants and a couple of other things then went to the checkout. The woman in front of me was unloading a massive trolley full of stuff, and I must have – shock horror – got within 2 metres of her because she looked at me, scowled, then moved her trolley to create a sort of artificial barrier between us.
But at the same time there was a big milk spillage on the floor – I’m guessing at least two of those big 6 pint bottles had fallen off the till, broken and the milk had gone everywhere. And there were four – count them, four – members of staff knelt down wiping up and mopping up all this milk. She was far closer to them than she was to me, and of course they’ve been dealing with people and stock all day so they’re far more likely to have some toxic corona dust on them or be carrying the virus without realising it. But because they’re the staff they somehow don’t count as a threat, while I – someone who’d spent most of the day indoors at home – was deemed a threat.
This is what I mean about the haphazard, irrational way that social distancing has been implemented that renders it mostly useless. And again, no one was wiping down the rubber conveyor belts on the tills and the staff weren’t wearing gloves or using hand sanitiser or anything. It’s a complete farce, but also an emotionally poisonous situation that we’re in that I reiterate will cause more damage and suffering than the damn virus will. This is state-sponsored and media-induced coronagoraphobia. People are scared to go outside because they think the virus is ‘out there’ but not ‘in here’ because that’s what they’ve been told to think. But they continue to behave in ways that – if the virus is widespread – are pretty much guaranteed to bring that virus into their homes. It’s sheer stupidity driven by fear.
The other element to this that I want to bring out is that the NHS – the National Health System – has been rebranded as though we’re fighting a war and they are the military. We’re constantly told how brave NHS workers are, how they’re protecting us, keeping us safe, and how we have to do our part. We have to respect their sacrifice, all that. It’s the exact same language that’s applied to the military during wartime.
But in reality NHS workers face the possibility of contracting dangerous, potentially lethal diseases all the time. In reality, most NHS workers aren’t caring for patients who’ve tested positive for coronavirus, they’re fixing broken legs and helping deliver babies and so on. A friend of mine had a baby recently – Christ knows why, but she did – but none of the pictures she posted on Instagram suggested the medical staff were wearing PPE or constantly washing their hands our of corona-fear.
In reality, the Tory government has consistently fucked over the NHS for the last decade, starving it of funds, employing ludicrous management practices, taking away bursaries for student nurses which in turns reduces the number of people who become nurses, and so on. In reality, they don’t give a fuck about the NHS or its workers, they’re just rebranding them for PR purposes and to use people’s natural respect for health workers as a means of controlling the population and getting them to accept these astonishingly broad and rapidly-imposed ‘emergency measures’.
Here’s an idea, if you really care about the NHS then stop voting Tory. If you really care about health workers then give them better salaries, less job pressure, a more efficient and effective system, more face masks and other PPE, and maybe a day off. Don’t use them as a prop to further the agenda of capitalists and the security state.
Again, this is sociopathic behaviour, the sort of thing that abusive partners do. But again, you’re not allowed to question this because if you do then you’re pro-virus and want to overwhelm and destroy the NHS. The NHS are being used by the government as a protective shield for themselves. It’s kinda clever, and surprisingly effective, but nevertheless utterly sociopathic.
A couple more things before we move on to the final section of this podcast. Firstly, the number of deaths from coronavirus in the UK is being grossly exaggerated. This is simply a fact – if the deaths to confirmed cases ratio was correct then it would be over 10% – higher than almost any other country, even ones with much poorer public health and public healthcare systems like Italy and Spain. I’m not kidding, the numbers I saw last night showed a death rate over 10%.
How is this happening? Two ways. Firstly, anyone who tests positive for the virus who subsequently dies is counted as a corona-death. Regardless of how reliable the test is, and regardless of whether that person was already dying of lung cancer or whatever, that is counted as a coronadeath. I’ve seen headlines saying ‘man, 67, who tested positive for coronavirus has died’ but the story doesn’t mention anything about what he died of. It’s simply presumed.
The other way is that even people who haven’t tested positive but who have symptoms and subsequently die are also being treated as coronadeaths. Not that I’m saying this has actually happened but it means if you’ve reported having a cold or flu-like symptoms and then get hit by a fucking train and die because you’ve been hit by a fucking train, you can end up on the paperwork as a death from coronavirus.
As part of the government’s emergency measures they reformed the whole autopsy/death certificate system so now you can register a death without even presenting a body, let alone having an autopsy to determine the cause or causes of death. So on the one hand it’s a great time to fake your own death, if that’s on your bucket list, but it’s also a great time to fudge the numbers for political reasons because no one is checking up on this stuff.
In reality, we’re actually below the average deaths per year that we’d expect in this country at this point in the year, and the deaths from respiratory diseases aren’t any higher than average. Which pretty much proves that a lot of those deaths attributed to coronavirus weren’t caused by that, because otherwise they’d be extra deaths on top of all the usual deaths, so the overall numbers should be higher, not lower or the same.
But try finding a media outlet willing to report on this.
The final news story I want to throw your way is perhaps the most depressing of all the ones I’ve mentioned today. An old guy in Manchester who’d self isolated because he was worried that he’d got coronavirus didn’t eat for five days because he’d run out of food, but was too scared to leave the house.
He was found by a nurse after he finally went out in a desperate search for food. He was taken to hospital and died a couple of days later.
But the way this was presented was a tale of a ‘hero nurse’ who ‘rescued a man who hadn’t eaten for days’, and then when he died it was ‘man rescued by hero nurses dies in hospital’. In reality, the nurse was just doing her fucking job and this man died as a direct result of media fearmongering, plain and simple.
Let me say that again – this man starved to death because of fear generated by mass media hype. But the same media responsible for his death rebranded it as a story of the heroism of the state. I cannot emphasise this enough – this is the behaviour of sociopaths.
Questionable Science and Dodgy Data
Before I leave you I do want to point you in the direction of some resources for trying to make sense of all this. The first is the site information is beautiful, who have put together some great infographics putting the COVID-19 in context, comparing it to other viral outbreaks and pandemics and so on, other causes of death. They are updating them every few days so it isn’t a great place for the very latest data, but it’s far better to have slightly less up to date information that’s in context and doesn’t scare the fuck out of you than to have contextless up to the minute information that does scare the fuck out of you.
The other resource I recommend is an in-depth article by The EMF Guy, a site run by a guy who specialises in the health effects of EMF radiation from all the wifi and mobile networks and so on. Like me, he’s a serious sceptic of the lockdown and his piece delves into a lot of the problems with the science behind the statistics.
I am not endorsing this article wholly, I do have some problems with his logic in places but it’s still well worth the time it takes to read. It is titled Navigating Through The “Coronavirus-Panic”: 8 Inconvenient Facts To Consider. The 8 are
Fact #1: We’re Locking Down Entire Countries To Stop the Coronavirus… And The Consequences Are (And Will Be) Disastrous
Fact #2: “Confirmed” Cases Of COVID-19 Are… Well… Not-So-Confirmed
Fact #3: “Confirmed” Deaths From COVID-19 Are Not-So-Confirmed Either
Fact #4: The WHO’s Panic-Inducing Death Rates Are Akin To Comparing Apples To Oranges
Fact #5: Overall Mortality Rates From Respiratory Infections Have Still Not Increased Significantly
Fact #6: A Slew Of International Experts Warn That The Danger Of COVID-19 Has Been Dangerously Overblown
Fact #7: The Data Confirms That Lockdowns Are Possibly Useless & Surely Damaging
Fact #8: Things Are Getting Better, And Better, And Better
I won’t go through all this because if you’re interested you can read it on your own time, but let’s look at some of the important take-aways. The first is, as I discussed on the last subscribercast, that the economic consequences of lockdowns will be a disaster. On the other hand the environmental consequences will be very good – that’s the nature of an economic system that pitches us into a fight to the death with the natural world. He doesn’t get into that, but he’s right that in our present system lockdowns will cause poverty, which will kill people.
He moves onto the testing, which is nowhere near as reliable as you might think. The instructions on the test itself concede that it can produce a lot of false positives, where it says people have coronavirus when they’ve actually got flu or a number of other similar things. So a lot of these people who’ve tested positive and then died might actually have never had coronavirus and have died from other things entirely. He also cites a Chinese study that suggests the test might produce false positives up to 80% of the time, which makes it functionally useless. This study has now been withdrawn and retracted for mysterious reasons, but it would explain why so many people have tested positive despite being nowhere near anyone else who has tested positive. He does overlook the other possibility is that the virus is endemic and that if we tested everyone we’d find that tons of people had it without realising because they didn’t get any symptoms.
This poses a similar problem for deaths, as I mentioned earlier. Anyone who tests positive and then dies – no matter what they die of – is being recorded as a corona-death. This artificially inflates the death numbers to the point that they’re basically meaningless.
He also quotes a fairly large number of prominent experts in contagious diseases and the like who’ve said the reaction to COVID-19 is totally overblown and based on fragments of dodgy data and that we should hold our horses. Some of these are very senior, respected people in these fields but we’ve not heard their voices and perspectives because they don’t endorse the desired narrative.
The piece also references to how this works, including when Dr Joel Kettner called up CBC and got cut off when he openly said the reaction to all this is ridiculous. Kettner is professor of Community Health Sciences and Surgery at Manitoba University, former Chief Public Health Officer for Manitoba province and Medical Director of the International Centre for Infectious Diseases. CBC were doing an episode on March 15th on ‘is enough being done to stop the spread of coronavirus?’ because they’d never ask ‘is too much being done…’ it’s always got to be ‘is locking down the country, killing thousands through poverty, thousands more through suicide, and wrecking any semblance of a cohesive, united society actually enough or should we just shoot everyone on sight?’
So Kettner, bless him, phoned up to tell them his opinion and the interviewer cut him off, then when he tried again they ended the interview.
This is how you build a consensus based on shit science, or even non-science. You just don’t give dissensus a platform, you ignore or sideline anyone who doesn’t say the things you want them to say, and then pretend there are no dissenting voices. This is how the scientific establishment tends to operate anyway, but throw in the sociopathic mass media and this is what almost always happens.
I particularly liked the reference to the WHO director calling the virus ‘public enemy number one’ like he’s J Edgar Hoover in the 1930s talking about John Dillinger. Again, what this all represents is the co-opting of the health services and healthcare industries as part of the security state, and quite a lot of people within those institutions are willingly going along with it.
I have asked the author of this article for an interview but at the time of writing I’ve not heard back so who knows if that will happen. But I do recommend you read this piece because it echoes a lot of my thinking and reading on this and adds a bunch more stuff too. Well worth your time. But for those of you who won’t read it or don’t have the time, the takeaways are that the test for the virus is dodgy as fuck, the number of deaths is being exaggerated and dissenting voices are being ignored in favour of the rush to judgement in favour of the lockdown and social distancing.
The final thing I wanted to say is about how indie media has responded to all this. I was going to do a live show on Twitch about this but for various reasons that hasn’t happened, but I do like the idea of doing a live radio show with graphics and visuals, which is what Twitch allows for, so hopefully I’ll be able to get that going at some point.
In any case, I am truly dismayed by how so many independent media people who I respect and like have jumped on board the public shaming bandwagon. I’ve seen people who would usually be opposed to mass scale police state tactics joining forces against those people who are keeping their businesses open. Because imagine trying to make a living at a time like this. When people are dying. That’s literally the extent of their logic. I even had one self-proclaimed left winger tell me he’s happy to live in a totalitarian society as long as his grandparents don’t die.
Well, I’ve got news for these people – they are going to die. We’re all going to die. That’s not something we can stave off, no matter how draconian our approach to life and joy and human rights becomes. We’ll all die anyway, and in the meantime I intend to live, not cower in fear and project my irrational paranoia onto others and shame them for not reflecting that paranoia back at me.
This is another reason I’ve come to question journalism as an occupation – as I say, a lot of people I like and respect have just accepted this without any scepticism. And with some of them I’ve made gentle – well, gentle for me – attempts to show them information that contradicts the narrative they’ve accepted. But all that comes back is reiterations of their emotional state, they’re incapable of listening to an alternative, such is the mental grip that 2 billion media stories has generated.
That’s ultimately the lesson here – that while the lockdown isn’t actually being enforced, it has been effective because it has constructed a mental, emotional prison that a huge number of people have voluntarily walked into. Nevertheless I am confident that this bullshit narrative will fall apart, and I’m quite optimistic about the opportunity this presents to reassess what we want our societies to be and what we want our economies to do.
So, in spite of the frustration I feel at how dumb this all is I am going to press on. If for no better reason than because now is certainly not the time to change career paths because half the country has shut down, there aren’t any fucking jobs unless you want to work in supermarkets and be at greater risk of this virus than most healthcare workers.
And on that note I think we’ll wrap up this lengthy exploration of these weird and disturbing times we find ourselves in. I can only reiterate – resist the fear, try as best you can to get on with your life, be confident and optimistic. And if you want to defy the lockdown go right ahead, chances are you’re not putting anyone’s life at risk.