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Thinking Errors and the Coronavirus

Martin Cohen

“The end of everything we call life is at hand and cannot be evaded”
H. G. Wells (1946)

The coronavirus doesn’t just make individual people ill – it threatens the whole of society too. Measures used to control the virus destroy people’s livelihoods, trample basic freedoms and, if prolonged, could eventually bring about wholesale societal collapse.

However, thus far, talk about the virus has been focused on the medical and epidemiological facts – about which there seems to be an astonishing lack of agreement. We still have no real idea of how dangerous the virus is, nor how easily it spreads, nor how many people at the moment have it. Yet, the absence of real information hasn’t caused governments to move extra cautiously. On the contrary, it has encouraged them to take ever more radical steps.

To understand why, requires an appreciation of how all knowledge, most definitely including scientific facts too, is socially constructed, and how human beings, for all the philosophers’ assurances to the contrary, are at heart, irrational animals. We are fearful and gullible creatures whose response to crises is governed by deeply entrenched cognitive biases.

On January 11 2020, China announced its first death from the virus, a 61-year-old man who had purchased goods in a seafood market. For the following two months the world followed the story essentially as spectators.

But then, on March 7, an American public looking forward to the weekend instead woke to the grim news from Dr. James Lawler, a University of Nebraska Medical Center professor, that about 96 million Americans could become infected with coronavirus. Of these, Lawler calculated 4.8 million would be hospitalized and nearly half a million – 480,000 – would die!

For the Western world, watching the virus was no longer a spectator sport. Worse news followed only days later when British experts in London published their research. This seemed to show that without drastic action, not half a million but two and half million Americans faced an imminent and nasty end at the hands of the mystery virus. The detailed and apparently authoritative assessment by Professor Neil Ferguson and his team at Imperial College in London predicted at least half a million deaths in the UK alone.

Soon after, in London, the usually jocular Boris Johnson, the politician who had hung from a zip wire waving a union jack to the delight of the media, took unsmilingly to the airwaves to address the nation. “I must level with the British public,” the Prime Minister said. “Many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time.”

The broadcast was followed hours later by emergency regulations shutting down many aspects of normal life and announcing plans to quarantine all elderly people for a period – just to get started – of four months.

At the same time, even as President Donald Trump ‘hesitated’, over in the US, state legislatures began to rush out their own emergency plans. A bill in Alabama called on individuals to ‘fist bump’ rather than shake hands; New York suspended some mortgage payments for small businesses and Rhode Island formally requested that Trump ‘declare a National Emergency for the coronavirus Pandemic’.

The TV and newspapers lapped it up. Years of exaggeration plus a new internet-fueled appetite for ‘clickbait’ headlines and tantalizing images had left the press no longer minded to separate fact from fiction. Instead, all over the world, media, politicians – and health experts too – combined forces to convince the world that it was facing imminent doom.

The result was what social scientists call ‘an information cascade’. A radical shift in ideas and beliefs driven not by carefully assessed and evaluated data but rather by uncritically embraced observation and reinforcement of the views of others. In an information cascade, the actions and decisions of everyone else become more important than evidence you are directly acquainted with let alone your own judgement.

In this way, a particular view ‘cascades’ down the side of an ‘informational pyramid’ – like a waterfall.

How many waterfalls really cascade down pyramids? Not many. But that is not the point. Rather, the insight is that it is often easier for people, if they do not have either the ability or the interest to find out for themselves, to adopt the views of others. This is without doubt a useful social instinct.

As the economist Pierre Lemieux has put it, cascade theory reconciles ‘herd behavior’ with rational-choice because it is often perfectly rational for an individual to rely on information passed on to them by others. Often… but not always!

And in the grim spring of 2020, the news and media coverage, academic research and computer models and, above all, actual policy announcements all became a swirl of self-reinforcing misinformation.

A Reuters summary March 18, 2020 headed: ‘Factbox: Latest on the spread of coronavirus around the world’ [1] accidentally hinted at a kind of herd panic. Under the heading: DEATHS, INFECTIONS, it announced:

  • All 50 states in the United States have reported cases, with the total number of known infections surging past 6,400. The Senate is expected on Wednesday to vote on a multibillion-dollar coronavirus bill that passed the House of Representatives over the weekend.
  • Chile’s president declared a 90-day state of catastrophe on Wednesday.
  • Ukraine, where a lawmaker tested positive, has imposed a state of emergency in the region around the capital Kiev.
  • Indonesia’s death toll jumped on Wednesday from five to 19 and Malaysia warned of “a tsunami” of cases if people did not follow new restrictions as infections surged across Southeast Asia.

In a highly mediatized age, there is a bias towards seeing normal amounts of illness and death as exceptional. Perspective is lost. The seasonal toll of flu (or “flu like illness”), the virus everyone agrees is much less serious than the new corona one, is between 290,000 and 650,000 people.

Worldwide, every year, between four and fifty million symptomatic cases in Europe alone, with a death toll there estimated at between 15,000 and 70,000 each winter.

By comparison, as of March 16, 2020, a date at which a good proportion of Western Europe had entered ‘lockdown’, there had been 2,337 deaths in Europe overall from the coronavirus with the first recorded European death, in France, on February 15.

Put another way, by mid-March, amid peak political concern, the coronavirus had not killed exceptionally high numbers of people. And since in some countries (like China, Taiwan and Hong Kong) the numbers of deaths had peaked and then fallen back, it was surely speculative to predict huge increases in the future.

Speculative? But that’s where news stories and computer models played their part. As Yoram Lass, a former Director General of the Israeli Health Ministry, has put it, the coronavirus was an illness with top-flight public relations. PR which propelled politicians to draw up drastic measures; while the measures themselves drove academics and journalists to view the situation ever more apocalyptically.

Soon, in America, television anchors broke down in tears reading the news while The Guardian ran a characteristically self-serving feature about the ‘strain’ journalists were under.

Now, of course, illnesses are terrible things, and bring in their wake many personal tragedies, this virus no less than any other. But this story rapidly spun out of control with the result that a crucial element of perspective along with accuracy was abandoned early on.

One kind of cognitive bias is ‘Rear-view mirror syndrome’. This occurs when we evaluate a crisis by trying to find parallels with the past. But the parallels chosen in this case were not, for example, the Swine Flu fiasco, where terrible prophecies came to naught – but rather the great flu epidemic of 1918 and even the Black Death of the Middle Ages. Neither journalists nor politicians seemed to make even the quick trip to Wikipedia where they could have read that:

“Coronaviruses are a group of related viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections that can be mild, such as some cases of the common cold (among other possible causes, predominantly rhinoviruses), and others that can be lethal, such as SARS, MERS, and COVID-19.”

Fewer still tried to read even short pieces by specialists like Stanford’s Professor of Public Health, John Ioannidis, to discover that: ““mild” coronaviruses may be implicated in several thousands of deaths every year worldwide, although the vast majority of them are not documented. Instead, they are lost as noise among 60 million deaths from various causes every year.[2]

On the face of it, it’s quite an information failure when policymakers don’t appreciate the difference between terrifying science fiction scourges that can wipe out entire species and coronaviruses that actually infect many people every year, and are common especially in the elderly and in hospitalized patients with respiratory illness in the winter.

In a normal year, coronaviruses infect millions of people and kill thousands. However, this year every even a solitary case and every early death became headline news. Amazing, high magnification images of the virus exploding out of a human cell added a final ghastly, science fiction aspect to the tale.

Long, long ago, Aristotle, the man who said the Earth is fixed at the centre of the universe, proclaimed that Man was a rational animal, but In 2020, instead, the crisis revealed human beings as hopelessly irrational creatures whose thinking is driven not by calm consideration of ‘the evidence’ but rather by various kinds of deeply entrenched thinking errors and cognitive biases.

Here are some that throw light on the otherwise inexplicable worldwide response to the coronavirus.

First of all, there’s the bias caused by overconfidence. Overconfidence results from a false sense of your skills and capabilities. And governments are particularly prone to it.

One common manifestation is an illusion of control in matters over which you actually have no control – things like the spread of an essentially airborne virus for example, or the ‘contact tracing’ of tens of thousands of people.

Illusions of control prompt people to talk with over-optimism about events and timings, such as that the ‘curve of the epidemic will be flattened in two weeks or that a vaccine will be ready by September, or that virus spores will only travel a fixed distance of two meters. It is all linked to infantile delusions of control rooted deep in our reptile brain that something will happen because we want it to.

The flipside of overconfidence is ‘Loss Aversion’ and fear, things that with the coronavirus lead people to prioritise the threat of illness over concerns about writing off trillions of dollars of business and undermining the structures of society.

And, of course, fear is also at the heart of the phenomenon called ‘Herd Mentality’. The classic instance of this is finance, but herds rush about in many areas, from management innovations to everyday consumer fashions for clothes or foods. When people opt to follow others on the sole basis that if so many people are doing something, well, ‘there must be a good reason for it’, you have the potential for collective suicide.

Indeed, as many people including Stanford biophysicist Michael Levitt fear, the public health measures that have shut down large swaths of the economy could cause their own health catastrophe, as lost jobs lead to poverty and hopelessness. “What we need is to control the panic,” Levitt has said, adding reassuringly that in the grand scheme, “we’re going to be fine.”

Likewise, John Ioannidis, professor of Public Health at Stanford, says, that if you project the evidence of the mortality rate from the virus from the only real ‘case study’ of the virus that we have so far, the infamous cruise ship the Diamond Princess, onto the age structure of the U.S. population, the death rate among people infected with Covid-19 would be 0.125%. A death rate that is, in fact, rather similar to flu.

Unfortunately, since deaths drive clicks, much of the media instead plays the role of “availability entrepreneurs”, as Edward Chancellor has put it for Reuters Breaking Views, placing excessive weight on images that are particularly vivid – such as halls full of grim-looking beds inside emergency hospitals or workers clad in full biohazard gear lowering coffins into graves.

And just as herd thinking means everyone must join the rush. Groupthink requires everyone to defer to authority and individualism to give way to imitation. Because shared ‘social facts’ reduce anxiety by offering a sense of order and control. Indeed, as Edward Chancellor also says, in a crisis, contrarians are swiftly attacked by “mind guards”,. A quick trip to Twitter will illustrate this.

Here, people I’ve conversed with for years there have told me in no uneertain terms, to “just stop“ disputing the consensus, while even well-entrenched commentators like Peter Hitchens of Britain’s Daily Mail and Simon Jenkins of The Guardian, used to thousands of grovelling, approving comments on their articles, are attacked for daring to suggest that governments might be reacting inappropriately to the coronavirus.

Tolerating ambivalence and ‘not knowing’ plays a key role in maintaining openness to new information.

In contrast, anxiety during a perceived crisis leads to over-commitment to preferred narratives, and a failure to recognize their provisional nature.

It blocks out certain facts, such as that, for example, a surely noteworthy 99% of Italian Covid-19 fatalities had several co-morbidities, to use the now prevalent jargon term. (Research into 355 deaths found that just three of the victims, 0.8 per cent, had been clear of illnesses before they were infected.)

Yet reports didn’t make a clear distinction between deaths “precipitated” by the virus and those “caused” by it.

Above all, Groupthink suppresses and distorts the collective memory. Even though very recent history records multiple times when viruses sparked ‘pandemic scares’ in the West, and how each time the evidence for them was twisted to fit various agenda including the interests of Big Pharma – but lessons from past cannot be benefited from.

This kind of collective amnesia is very convenient for certain people. It would otherwise be notable that Neil Ferguson of London’s Imperial College, one of the leading voices calling for radical social distancing and lockdown measures to combat the ‘threat’ of the coronavirus, was likewise pressing very similar strategies, based on very similar arguments during earlier epidemics, such as Swine Flu, which in the event turned out to be much less dangerous than his models predicted, as well as the ‘Foot and Mouth’ one in which he insisted that all the cows not only from infected farms but neighbouring farms too had to be slaughtered.

Which they were, at a cost of many millions of pounds, producing apocalyptic scenes of vast funeral pyres. There never was a good argument for the policy and in due course it was seen as a dreadful fiasco.

After such ‘false alarms’, the world was supposed to have become more skeptical, and the WHO, in particular, to have changed its approach to pandemics.

Instead, only a decade after the ‘Swine Flu’ fiasco, it is striking how much the public and political coverage has again coalesced around certain myths and misunderstandings of the virus and how dissenting voices, even of specialists like John Ioannidis, have been marginalised (meaning confined to specialist publications) while a false ‘consensus’ of ‘all the experts’ is created.

In a world in which scientists with computers have replaced priests with crucifix as the sources of unchallengeable truth and wisdom, the history of science shows, in Thomas Kuhn’s phrase, that scientific progress is not and has never been solely and calmly about facts – far less, Platonic truths – at all, but is instead, a brutal fight in which the dominant view (or paradigm) invariably seeks to suppress its rivals.

Kuhn’s theory of so-called paradigm shifts should remind us how easily faulty reasoning can flourish and become entrenched. But it doesn’t.

For better or for worse, the philosophy of science should remind us that individuals can influence the way we see the world. For better, Louis Pasteur did it by challenging Aristotle’s thousand-year dogma that life is continually springing out of everyday chemicals in the air, mud and water, discovering germs and microorganisms.

For worse, activist researcher Ancel Keys managed to persuade governments and populations alike in the 1960s and 70s, that ‘fatty foods’ like cheese and butter really were killing everyone. And now it seems that a handful of activist mathematical modellers of epidemics have managed to change the way we view viruses – the invisible other halo the human biome, essential to life.

The problem is, as Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, those iconic figures in the study of human cognitive bias and the handling of risk, have pointed out[3], that there are really two kinds of human thinking: fast and slow. ‘Slow’ is when you work things out. ‘Fast’ is what we use in a crisis. We have evolved in desperate times to jump to conclusions, ignoring gaps in information and data. This leap before you look mindset may have had evolutionary advantages ago.

However, in the face of societal crises such as the coronavirus, it is careful, slow thinking that is needed. Alas, it is ‘fast thinking’ that it gets.

Take the work of the computer modelers, for example. These, just as much as members of the public, freely admitted ‘knowledge gaps’ and relied on ‘fast thinking’ – plugging in easy assumptions – instead. Unfortunately, as Maggie Koerth, Laura Bronner and Jasmine Mithani asked in an article for 538 Magazine, called ‘Why It’s So Freaking Hard To Make A Good COVID-19 Model’[4]:

“Every variable is dependent on a number of choices and knowledge gaps. And if every individual piece of a model is wobbly, then the model is going to have as much trouble standing on its own as a data journalist who has spent too long on a conference call while socially isolated after work.”

Academic point? Not at all. Take that influential model of Imperial College, the one said to have influenced particularly the UK and US responses to the virus.

In an interview [5] with Jemima Kelly of the Financial Times, Neil Ferguson, the academic in charge of the team behind it, seemed to reveal that the recommendations that included taking away millions of people’s basic rights and in some cases livelihoods too was based on… shifting sand. Or as Ferguson told Kelly:

…there is no master plan in the background being followed here. There is a lot of research being done in real time, which is feeding into policy, to try and work out: is there in some sense an optimal strategy which keeps the NHS functioning, allows more economic and social activity to continue than is going on at the moment and gets us through the next, frankly, 18 months? I don’t know quite what that will look like or even if it’s completely feasible. We don’t have a clear exit strategy at the moment.”

Crucial figures, like that for the ‘Case Fatality Rate’ for the virus were simply plucked from the general swirl of misinformation.

Recall the real-life case study of the spread and deadliness of the coronavirus that came about because several passengers on the cruise ship, ‘The Diamond Princess’, had contacted the virus – turning the whole ship, into a kind of giant, awful, experimental test-tube. The virus quickly spread through food service workers, particularly those cooking for other members of the crew.

Eventually, of the 3,711 passengers and crew aboard, some 700 tested positive. Seven people died. This was rapidly adopted as the benchmark ‘case fatality rate’ – 1.0% – (Ferguson uses 0.9%) but doing so ignored the crucial fact that the this was not a normal mix of people but instead a largely elderly population, in which the death rate from Covid-19 was bound to be much higher.

As John Ioannidis also pointed out, right from the start of the crisis, “Projecting the Diamond Princess mortality rate onto the age structure of the U.S. population, the death rate among people infected with Covid-19 would be 0.125%” – only one eighth as high.

Indeed, while other media ‘experts’, and academic ‘modelers’ were plugging in figures as high as 10% for coronavirus fatalities, Ioannidis calculated that a reasonable lower bound figure for the case fatality ratio in the general U.S. population was a mere from 0.05%!

However, it seemed that even with life and death issues of public health, the strategy for computer modellers and governments alike was, in the words of the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau centuries ago on social life in general, to start by saying: “Let us begin then by laying facts aside, as they do not affect the question”.

All of which highlights the thinking error dubbed, GIGO, for ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out, which is that of according the pronouncements of computers (and computer models) far more weight than anything produced by a human being – even though, in reality, what the computer says is determined by the information fed into it by humans.

As early as 1964, in an era when computers didn’t have any of the aura that they do today, the researcher Joseph Weizenbaum warned that even “extremely short exposure to a relatively simple computer program could produce powerful delusional thinking in normal people” [6]. And unfortunately, we are not talking about normal people in this case, but politicians.

For these, the fact, so cheerfully acknowledged by Ferguson in interviews, that the data he fed his computer models was largely provisional and debatable, did not detract from the enormous authority given to the computer’s eventual pronouncements.

And, what the computer models suggested, in their unchallengeable way, was that so-called self-isolation and social distancing was the universal solution. The ‘Italian model’ for dealing with the virus was to be backed up by medical staff in cumbersome protective clothing; soldiers patrolling the streets; and legally enforced, profound changes to the lives of the whole population.

The strategy was to be adopted by many other countries even though, in Italy, it didn’t seem to have worked. Indeed, the figures from that unfortunate country were so bad, that it looked if anything as if it was making things worse.

But then another cognitive bias is the so-called ‘Narrative Fallacy’. With things like the coronavirus, we have been offered many stories, but one of the most compelling is that about people going out, passing the virus on, and killing other people. Notice too, that we are subliminally wired to expect this kind of three-part story – the beginning, the middle and then the end.

In the U.K., the Prime Minister gave public addresses with not one but three messages strapped to his podium: ‘Stay home / Protect the NHS / Save lives’. Advertisers know the power of triples, but so do political advisors.

Newspapers described the virus as a tiny, streamlined machine, which engulfs the cells deep in the tiny air sacs of the lung, hijacks their command and control mechanisms, before finally killing them and spewing out more of the infectious virus.

In a mediatised age, storytelling is doubly important. The bias recognises that humans are story-telling animals who naturally try to arrange facts and events in a sequence. Alas, sometimes the story takes on greater authority than it really deserves, propelling us towards a supposed ‘conclusion’.

Speaking of storytelling, a harrowing series of tweets by a health official in the Obama administration outlined how the largest US cities and hospitals would be overrun with coronavirus cases by 23 March and a million Americans would die. The tweets by Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator of Medicare and Medicaid under President Barack Obama, helped shift public opinion in the US.

How much expertise is there in a tweet? Not maybe enough to take world-changing decisions on. But it didn’t seem to matter. Like the man shouting “FIRE!” in the cinema, Slavitt’s words had an effect.

“What are mayors, governors and their staffs reporting?” he asked. “That people are jamming the bars. I get it. Home from work. Cooped up. Crisis mentality. We need to let steam off. Shared experience. But stop that. All the bars and restaurants are closed now across Europe.”

Describing the situation in Italian hospitals in particular, and what it might mean for the US, he tweeted [emphasis added]:

“EVERY REPORT describes this as a tsunami. And if it happens like a tsunami, in major cities we will have tens of thousands more cases than we have beds and we will have one ventilator for every eight people who need one.”[7]

And there again you have the tell-tale fingerprint of an information cascade. The policy was right because “every report” says it is right. Another clue as to the quality of his diagnosis came in his final tweet about the origins of the crisis. It was a Republican President’s mismanagement that had caused it.

“The original sin is Trump’s months long denial and his dismantling of public health and response infrastructure.”

Thus politicians cannot help but play their usual games even as the world teeters on the brink of disaster. Which without doubt, it was doing. Only not because of the health crisis that Slavitt and so many others foresaw, a crisis caused by a biological virus – but because of a social and economic rupture caused by rash actions and misinformation.

But let’s not deceive ourselves that it is only politicians who misread information and rush about like fools. Consider two small stories making up the big virus tale.

One was the rumor that it was being transmitted by people with no symptoms. A report documenting transmission by an asymptomatic individual had been published in the New England Journal of Medicine on January 30. Of course, transmission by people without symptoms would be a huge problem.

A few weeks later, however, it turned out that the specific patient did have symptoms, it was just that the researchers had er… not asked.

Similarly, the respected medical journal The Lancet published on February 24 a shocking account by two Chinese nurses about their front-line experience fighting the coronavirus.[8]

Only it turned out that the account was not quite what it seemed: it was not a first-hand account. The authors soon retracted their contribution which was as a letter. Such examples show how sensationalism affects even the most prestigious scientific journals.

Or take an influential early report of the Case Fatality Rate figures, widely quoted, had been produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) [9]. Their really rather outrageously high figure of 3.4%, was arrived at by simply dividing the number of deaths by the number of documented cases as of early March.

But of course the number of documented cases was far less than the real level of illnesses. In Germany, for example, where testing for the virus was being carefully done, the CFR was… 0.2%.

A further reasoning error occurs when people trust information they have read in several places, without appreciating that the views may feed off each other. Journalists, for example, read each other’s reports and feel reassured to be part of a consensus. Politicians read the reports and shift policies to fit the journalists expectations.

In the coronavirus crisis, many journalists felt it was their duty to direct readers thinking in one direction only. In the case of ITV’s Robert Peston, their senior political editor, his obligations even involved controlling the way people walked.

Robert Peston @Peston
Among the many emails I receive with brilliant ideas to suppress and conquer #Covid19, I really like this simple one – that supermarket aisles should be made one-way lanes to reduce the risk of accidental proximity to other shoppers. Is this happening anywhere?

And don’t even mention statistics. Newspapers AND experts would endlessly note sudden surges in the number of cases, without ever linking that to the numbers of people tested. (If you text ten times as many people one day, then the number of cases is bound to go up.)

Objectively, all the shocking figures printed in counters everywhere for the ‘number of cases’ were meaningless. The elephant in the statistical bathroom was that most people avoided becoming a statistic – and if they had only mild or no symptoms – would stay away from doctors or hospital and thus never be tested or reported.

Nearly one-fifth of the passengers on the Diamond Princess who in fact turned out to be infected with the virus had no symptoms. When passengers were tested:

There were so many infected people with no symptoms onboard. They even surprised themselves. For example, there were spouses—the husband had a test, due to having the symptoms of the flu, while the wife, who did not have any symptoms, also had the test, just because she was in the same room with him—he was negative, but she was positive.” [10]

This lacuna was convenient because everywhere the political solutions offered revolved around ‘social distancing’ and the shutting down of all but ‘essential’ services. We were supposed to imagine only a few thousand people had the virus, not a quarter or a third of the population.
Bottom line: the computer modeling of the virus, that seemed so detailed and comprehensive, and fed fears of the disease, was based on very shaky assumptions.

For example, according to Professor Ferguson’s model, fewer than 5% of people are infected, but according to researchers at Oxford’s Evolutionary Ecology of Infectious Disease lab, it could be ten times that, higher than 50%. Unfortunately, as logicians say, any conclusions at all follow – perfectly logically – from false premises.

In an article for STAT Magazine[11], John Ioannidis explained: “If we assume that case fatality rate among individuals infected by SARS-CoV-2 is 0.3%…” (which he says is only the ‘mid-range’ estimate from Diamond Princess analysis) “…and 1% of the U.S. population gets infected… this would translate to about 10,000 deaths.” This sounds a huge number, but is “within normal flu toll”.

However, such voices were drowned out. Instead, terrifying predictions and lack of actual data were was the context for near universal calls for a strict policy of social isolation, and for medical systems to move quickly to reorganize and prioritize resources ready for the expected mass epidemic.

The immediate result was radical lockdowns of whole populations – actions that were unprecedented in peacetime. The longer term result was that the global economy and society sustained serious damage from an epidemic that, as Ioannidis also put it, otherwise accounted for “less than 0.01% of all 60 million annual global deaths from all causes and that kills almost exclusively people with relatively low life expectancy”.

And all the time, even as media and politicians rushed frantically from rash idea to rasher policy, the facts were there in plain sight – only no one was prepared to look at them.

No one even attempted to explain how long social distancing measures and lockdowns could be maintained for months, even years potentially, without major consequences to the economy, society, and mental health. Let alone how unpredictable effects including financial crisis, unrest, civil strife, war, and a ripping of the social fabric could be avoided. Instead, what people were fed were soundbites. Like this one from London’s otherwise ‘liberal’ radio station, LBC:

@LBC If you’re still planning to go out this weekend despite bars being closed, first listen to this remarkable call from an intensive care doctor who warned: “If you go out, it’s going to kill people.”

Lockdown was the most disastrous part of a policy taken by many countries and American states supposed to ‘slow down’ the spread of the virus, yet we must accept it had popular support. Even though, the idea was to discourage people from leaving their homes, for walks or cinemas or cafés, and to require them to stay in claustrophobic proximity with each other in their homes for weeks on end.

In France, President Macron made long, emotional appeals to his ‘compatriots’ to join in a national struggle against ‘an invisible enemy’, before listing respectfully those who had fallen already.

All public spaces were closed and citizens (like myself) were forbidden to leave their homes for weeks on end, except to buy essential foodstuffs in approved shops. And to do this, they had to clutch an official document downloaded from the government website, setting out their reasons for leaving their house.

The interior minister, Christophe Castaner, ordered 100,000 military police to spread around the country to enforce the lockdown. Of course, such people are immune from the virus – and can’t spread it either. (Such a thought was no more irrational than the rest of the government’s plans.)

Writing in The Guardian [12], Tobias Jones, that paper’s Italy correspondent, described his family’s life under lockdown. He recalled how some of his friends had started to neurotically wash their hands every half-hour and put on surgical gloves before doing everyday actions like opening doors. “It’s hard not to begin to doubt your own sanity and wonder whether it’s rational to be following all these restrictions and rituals”. Quite.

Public bodies too were neurotically washing things. Lorries sprayed streets with disinfectant, workers in rubber gloves and face masks stood by escalators wiping down the handrails, and of course everyone doing it wore facemasks. Yes, the ones that protect other people from your germs.

In the US, President’s Trump’s decision to close America’s borders made no scientific sense (and nor does health screening at borders as it cannot pick out people who may carry viruses but not yet have symptoms), even if in partisan political terms is seemed to reinforce his campaign themes of a strong fortress America – the one with a wall along the Mexico border. Rechristening the virus “the Chinese virus” seemed to underline this xenophobic message.

Tying together all the plans however was the central conviction that we had to ‘Flatten the Curve’. That is, to spread out the load of virus cases and relieve pressure on health services. This had rapidly become the One Thing Everyone Agrees. Yet even that simple relationship – lots of cases, overloading health services, so better to spread them out – is not entirely straightforward.

Because spreading infections out over a longer period of time can just as easily mean that instead of being overwhelmed during a short, acute phase, health services remain overwhelmed for a more protracted period. When health services are overwhelmed, people die. Because destroying livelihoods, disrupting social life and locking people in their homes for months kills people too.

In the absence of data, prepare-for-the-worst reasoning leads to extreme measures of social distancing and lockdowns. Unfortunately, we do not know if these measures work [13].

School closures, for example, may reduce transmission rates. But they may also backfire if children socialize anyhow, if school closure leads children to spend more time with susceptible elderly family members, if children at home disrupt their parents ability to work, and more. School closures may also diminish the chances of developing herd immunity in an age group that is spared serious disease.

So perhaps it is worth taking a moment to look at the background of one of the experts whose call for a swift clampdown on all social contact led to dramatic shifts in policy in both the UK and the US.

Professor Neil Ferguson, as I say, hails from Imperial College London – a university with a consolidated income of £1,033.0 million in 2017/18 including profitable links to the pharmaceutical industry.

Just days after the paper was published, Ferguson’s department of biomathematics announced it was sharing in £20 million of emergency coronavirus research investment courtesy of the UK government. Not bad for one paper! But the most revealing thing about Neil Ferguson and his department is that they had exactly the same concerns and exactly the same policy advice during the so-called ‘Swine Flu’ crisis back in 2009.

Flashback to June 11 that year, and the World Health Organization was declaring a ‘six-level alert’ – its grimmest ever – for a new pandemic sweeping the world.

This was the so-called Swine Flu or H1N1 virus, and despite having in previous years been found to have been wrong about the dangers of several other viruses, the WHO once again, sounded the deathly warning that ‘this early pandemic and flu is somewhat similar to the 1918-1919 pandemic swine flu that killed millions’.

Exactly what this strain would do in the Fall and Winter of 2009 and into 2010 was unclear, the WHO said, but ‘everyone needs to be prepared.’

Naturally, governments everywhere respected the advice of the World Health Organization, a U.N. agency which after all does so much good work combating disease and guiding research related to public health. And so, after the Swine Flu warning, where necessary, they promised, schools and offices would be closed.

Facemasks were bought in the millions, and vaccines were stockpiled. And also as part of their response, as I reported in my earlier book Paradigm Shift: How Expert Opinions Keep Changing on Life, the Universe, and Everything (2015), a fount of ‘advice’ was offered to the public.

For example, people were told, when back at home in the evening, to disinfect dishes, cups and utensils by thoroughly soaking in detergent and washing and rinsing thoroughly everything by hand or in the dishwasher. Everyone was to wash their hands frequently. And if, despite staying away from work ordering the shopping by phone and disinfecting the dishes, they still fell victim – there was advice on ‘the symptoms’. Fever, chills, coughing, fatigue, congestion, muscle and bone ache, and vomiting and intestinal upset. And then death.

No wonder governments spent so much to combat the threat. No wonder, more specifically, that governments swiftly came up with large amounts of money to buy huge amounts of vaccine from pharmaceutical companies.

Yet, at the end of the day, Swine Flu proved to be a paper tiger, just as the skeptical doctors had indicated. A year on, annoyingly, for the governments and their advisors, almost no people could be found to be said to have died from ‘H5NI’, even though ordinary ‘flu regularly kills several tens of thousands of people each winter. However, for a while, each of these viruses was the public health concern, we could say the fashion.

Quite possibly more people, suffering from other complaints, died from the ‘emergency precautions’ surrounding the virus, such as being refused entry to doctors surgeries or from being injected with the vaccine. But these could hardly be added to the statistics. And all over the (rich) world, millions of germ masks and vaccines began to deteriorate in storage, unused and unusable.

Back then, an erroneous piece of expert advice cost an unknown number of lives and enormous sums of money.

Not long after, two independent reports, one by the Council of Europe and another that appeared as a paper for the British Medical Journal (3 June 2010) put a belated spotlight on the fact that three of the crucial experts arguing for expensive programs of vaccine preparation by companies like Roche (the makers of Tamiflu) and GlaxoSmithKiline (the makers of Relenza) – were also paid consultants for the companies.

Now I don’t myself believe that individual researchers are knowingly skewing research reports in order to make money, either for themselves or their institutions. But the structural pressures are there and they can create the same effect. Research is a business and so its conclusions are skewed towards the ‘needs’ of the paymasters.

And you may well ask, how big a business is an epidemic? The answer is that they can be a very big deal indeed. In the US alone, Congress had appropriated $7.65 billion in June to fight the 2009 pandemic[14].

In the UK, in order to deal with the Swine Flu threat, the impressively titled and ennobled Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, said that a £1 billion ($1.5 billion) emergency program of vaccination was needed. If it sounds a lot for a small country, remember, without it – up to 65 000 people would die!

The most ‘optimistic assessment’ was for 19 000 deaths. His fears were confirmed by virologists such as one Dr. John Oxford, who added that without immediate action he had calculated that soon half the population could be infected. Imagine, tens of millions of people dying – and only the government able to save them.

But the funds made available for the coronavirus were on a totally different scale. Even with the number of cases globally still relatively tiny, in March 17, 2020, the World Bank had set aside $14 billion to help its members to respond to the threat [15].

What sort of things was the money to be spent on? One component was to pay for everyone in the population to be tested for the virus. Vaccines make for profits, but testing is a great earner too. Often in this case tests were to be followed by the isolation of anyone who tested positive. Even though, as Galli, Prof. at Milan, warned, in a rare note of rationality, carrying out mass tests on the asymptomatic population could be useless:

The contagions are constantly evolving, a man who tests negative today could contract the disease tomorrow.” ‪

Governments wouldn’t wish to implement pointless and even dangerous polices though, would they? Alas, the herd memory is short and nor are herds known for their willingness pause and reflect.

Otherwise they might have learned lessons from 1976, when President Gerald Ford’s administration reacted at speed to the swine flu outbreak, ignoring the World Health Organization’s words of caution and vowing to vaccinate “every man, woman and child in the United States.” After 45 million people were vaccinated, the flu turned out to be mild.

Worse, researchers discovered that some of the vaccinated — roughly 450 in all — had developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves, leading to paralysis. At least 30 people died.

Or from 2017, when a rushed campaign — endorsed by the WHO — to vaccinate nearly 1 million children for mosquito-borne dengue in the Philippines was halted for safety reasons. The Philippine government indicted 14 state officials in connection with the deaths of 10 vaccinated children, saying the program was launched “in haste”.

But back to the earlier Swine Flu outbreak in the UK, the one where the Chief Medical Officer swept aside skeptical voices, and instead advised the British government to order without further delay 32 million face masks to go with that £1 billion-plus worth of vaccines.

In France and other European countries, a similar story had played out – another billion-dollar supply of vaccines stockpiled here, another mountain of unused face masks there.

With hindsight it seems just silly – and expensive.

Yet it’s worth recalling thought that for a few months the Swine Flu pandemic was also genuinely terrifying everyone. Like the coronavirus, it had appeared around March and rapidly spread throughout many places on the planet, (invitation for luridly colored world maps on websites) all doubtless helped by sniffling travelers on airplanes.

The Center for Disease Control in the US started a website page to keep track of the death toll for 50 U.S. states and territories: by June 2009 the HTML counter registered 6,506 cases and 436 deaths. The next month, a special counter on the World Health Organization website registered total cases already at 177,457 with a toll of 1,462 deaths.

Admittedly, the figures were not yet exceptional, but the question everyone was asking was how many more might die soon? Basing their view on U.S. statistics, and the lack of a jab for swine flu experts thought there would be ‘about 300 million’ at risk initially: ‘typically, anyone who has not had the vaccine’.

For a few weeks back then too, it had seemed to a terrified public that the only real way to avoid dying was to ‘Get vaccinated as soon as possible’. Advice, in other words coming from the drugs industry funded labs that certainly suited the industry. Unfortunately, the vaccines would be available only in … early October. Just as in the spring of 2020, there were endlessly repeated helpful hygiene tips, such as to:

  • Avoid putting fingers and hands to the mouth or eyes since these are portals of entry for microbes.
  • Stay away from large crowds, and all infected people.
  • Remember to wear a face mask. Certainly if going out of the house.
  • Wash hands regularly, before eating or drinking and after visiting the restroom.

With Swine Flu, much of the advice related to safety at school. But with the coronavirus, even though school-age children were recognised as very low risk, schools were immediately shut down.

We should be suspicious of experts recycling old advice. After all, they may be guilty of two more cognitive biases: the phenomenon known as ‘one model thinking’ whereupon only evidence that fits the model is visible. There is either a duck, or a rabbit [16] but not both, to use the example that Wittgenstein made famous, but originated in 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter, a German humour magazine.

And there is Confirmation Bias, which is the idea that people seek out information and data that confirms their pre-existing ideas while ignoring contrary information however potentially significant for the decision. The almost non-existent political and media examination of the range of views and strategies for the coronavirus shows that this is one of the most dangerous biases of them all.

Martin Cohen (Twitter @docmartincohen) is a writer, lecturer and researcher who specialises in social science whose books have been translated into twenty different languages. His doctoral research involved looking at social and psychological myths constructed around the power of computers and his books, including, Paradigm Shift: How Expert Opinions Keep Changing on Life, the Universe, and Everything (2015) have explored key issues in philosophy of science including food myths and previous pandemic scares as well as the groupthink that enabled them.

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Don Paul
Don Paul
Apr 23, 2020 2:50 PM

Good piece! Thank you!

Bert
Bert
Apr 22, 2020 9:29 AM

This article is about 15 times longer than it needed to be and so all over the place that I don’t know where to start, really. One thing I will say is that ‘the Guardian’ doesn’t have a capital t.

Helge
Helge
May 1, 2020 3:04 PM
Reply to  Bert

No wonder, its written by a Jew. (They are alle Jewed here!)

please note this comment and similar is why we are forced to put a few contributors here, including Helge, on pre-mod. – ed

Angus
Angus
Apr 21, 2020 10:30 PM

The best possible thing that could result from this whole sorry episode, other than the outing of the elite satanists behind it, is the overturning of the germ theory of disease, by final refutation of the existence of ‘viruses’. There is no virus. Quite literally. e.g.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=259&v=fpTUlPLVtE0&feature=emb_title

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 21, 2020 1:54 PM

This is an EXCELLENT video by forensic psychiatrist, Andrew Kaufman, on the fraudulence of papers published on SARS-CoV viruses 1 (2003) and 2 (2019). He points out systematically how the researchers haven’t followed the correct protocol and how their conclusions are meaningless.

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Apr 24, 2020 5:36 AM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

Finally! Was going thru slightly older articles trying to find a comment from you.
Hope your day is going relatively good and you are okay? By the way, RobG was wondering where you’ve got too.
Question for you Petra – can you give me the names of a few sites or blogs that you think are genuine and above board, and are not ‘controlled opposition’ as I saw you put it a wee while ago.
As I have an entire day of spare time (and tomorrow, and the next day) will check them out, and let you know what I think, Cheers.

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 24, 2020 8:21 AM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

I’ve posted quite a few comments Gezzah so not sure why you and RobG haven’t found me. Also, bear in mind that if you want to find a commenter using the Find function (Ctrl+F) where the article has lots of comments you have to continue clicking the Load More Comments button at the bottom of each page until the end of the comments and then press Ctrl+F to search through all comments. The Find function only finds comments on one open page. Your question is a very good one, Gezzah, and not an easy one to answer. If you asked me a year ago I would have put forward far more sites than I’m prepared to do now. My perception now is that practically all opposition is controlled whether it be paid people or genuine people whose thinking has been controlled by the paid people – I know my own… Read more »

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Apr 24, 2020 10:21 AM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

Maybe I need to go to Specsavers? No, I avoid the mainstream media like you would avoid an angry Rottweiler with rabies! I try and boycott all media, however do check the headlines on ABC News 24 to see if something big has happened. I almost never have TV on. Total retarded brainrot, which is exactly what it was designed to do: dumb us down. Was just watching a film then on the fraud that is greentech and renewable energy, that the proponents of never mention the huge environmental damage caused in achieving this ‘renewable energy’. And the billionaire psychopaths and huge banks and mining companies investing in it and John and Jane Public are sold more lies and bullshit. Smoke and mirrors everywhere to prop up the system Petra. As you know. Never heard of any of those names you mentioned – will check them out in the next… Read more »

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Apr 25, 2020 8:07 AM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

Petra. 2 words: Thank you! Okay, there’s more than that… I’ve checked out nearly all of those links you provided, and very pleasantly surprised that Mayortwilleger, Anaconda MaltLiquor 17, Jon Le Bon, and Peekay Censored are all Aussies. I thought nearly everyone here was fast asleep and busy snitching on their neighbours. Jon Le Bon just sent me a message I think, but will reply to you first before checking. My god…. the censorship is going Full Monty now. Even OffGuardian early today was under heavy attack apparently; videos increasingly being deleted from YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts removed. We know it’s going to get a lot worse. A long time ago (in a much different time in my life) I learnt the phrase: ‘take what you want, and leave the rest behind’. So am applying that adage too those links also. Parts of what I heard, strongly agreed with,… Read more »

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 25, 2020 1:00 PM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

Daniel Andrews a communist? That’s a good one. Yep, Peekay can say ridiculous things but his video on the presaging of this alleged pandemic at 2012 London Olympics is gold. It’s just insane.
https://archive.org/details/2012-london-games-predictive-programming-1

I’d tend to suspect that Daniele Ganser is controlled opposition although what he says about WTC-7 is probably perfectly good … but I know enough about WTC-7, Gezzah. Done that to death. I’m sure there’s so very much more to know but I know enough. WTC-7 was given to us on a platter, Gezzah. WTC-7 wasn’t needed for the terror event, it was provided for those who are skeptical of the official story to put their noses in and keep them there, distracting them from the most important lie of 9/11: that 3,000 people died and 6,000 were injured. If Daniele came out and exposed that lie then I’d certainly pay attention.

invitado
invitado
Apr 21, 2020 11:09 AM

Great piece. Just one very minor thing I’d like to point out: Pasteur was a big fraud and a plagiarist of the work by brilliant chemist, biologist and doctor Antoine Bechamp. Unfortunately Pasteur was not a good enough cheater and his theory of germs as the cause of infectious disease reflects his poor understanding of Bechamp’s deep

Talking about paradigm shifts, it seems that one is long overdue: the absurd view of infections being the result of a fight between Evil (invasive parasitic micro-entities out there) and Good (the inmune system of our bodies). Just how culturally determined (biased) can a scientific theory be!

Greetings from sad, physically and mentally enclosed Spain. Your work (and readers’ comments too) has been, and continues to be, so precious to me.

invitado
invitado
Apr 21, 2020 11:14 AM
Reply to  invitado

* Bechamp’s deep discoveries.

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 22, 2020 1:49 PM
Reply to  invitado

He was a fraud, his notes revealed that – in the 1970s! This is how long it takes to reveal cheating in science, and by then, of course, history books have been written and the facts no longer count for very much. “On the other hand”, he was right that life doesn’t spring magically out of nothing but a few chemicals.

Torontonian
Torontonian
Apr 20, 2020 5:59 PM

Excellent read! Thanks!

1of7billion
1of7billion
Apr 20, 2020 5:17 PM

Where I shop the public totally ignored the “Peston” suggested one way lanes in the supermarkets, and quite reasonably so too.

It’s hard enough finding things you want on supermarket shelves without being told you have to go round the block again if you missed something, especially if you’re an old and not terribly fit person who has difficulty getting to the shops at all, and walking round the now huge supermarkets which can often be a very tiring experience even before this lockdown madness.

Tony Yacht
Tony Yacht
Apr 20, 2020 4:37 PM

Great article. Couldn’t help but roll out the ‘calling it by it’s place of origin is omfg xzeonfobic!’ trope though. By the same logic the terms SARS and MERS are those things too. Lazy. Aside from that, very good read.

Alan Tench
Alan Tench
Apr 20, 2020 3:39 PM

From The Grundian Coronavirus live feed:

Ofcom has ruled that London Live broke broadcasting rules and posed “significant harm to viewers in London during the pandemic” by broadcasting an eighty minute interview by David Icke.

The media regulator imposed a sanction on ESTV, which owns London Live, following the interview in which Icke suggested the coronavirus pandemic was part of a plot by governments to destroy the economy and conduct mass surveillance.

“Our investigation found David Icke expressed views which had the potential to cause significant harm to viewers in London during the pandemic,” Ofcom said in a statement.

This sort of thig makes my blood boil!!! I don’t particularly agree with much of what Icke has to say, but WTF are these ARSEHOLES who decide what can and can’t be said … or thought?

JohnB
JohnB
Apr 20, 2020 7:45 PM
Reply to  Alan Tench

Views with the potential to cause serious harm to viewers. You couldn’t make it up.

Ofcom are a bunch of cnuts.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 21, 2020 9:20 AM
Reply to  JohnB

OfCom have always been the Establishment’ s Thought Police.

mikael
mikael
Apr 20, 2020 2:30 PM

Hehe, no wounder the, I cant help it to use profanitys, dumb f…. hates OffG, when you come up with this, witch is abolutelly an home run, and if you dont get that, they have an problem, not OffG and as another person wrote it, its excellent, rips thru it all. And hats of for BigB, I cant brag of much, say intellegence while my wife hears it she would roar of laughter, but I am good in some few arenas, and one of the is Objectivity, I have learned that a long time ago, to dissect whatever I get in front of me, and look for ways to build up an narrative that dont indulge into whats wrong, like some people, whom reads this in the light of trying to find one inconsistency or something wrong, anything matters and use that to deseccret an entire atricle, and then whines… Read more »

Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
Apr 20, 2020 12:29 PM

In England Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, on 10 April 2020, at the Coronavirus Daily Update press briefing, admitted that the government had not considered how many people would die as a result of the government’s anti-coronavirus measures. This was an admission that the government had adopted an irrational approach to policy-making. Yet, hardly anyone seemed to notice. https://viewsandstories.blogspot.com/2020/04/coronavirus-policy-making.html

Personally, I think when the author puts this irrational approach to policy-making down to thinking errors, he is being too kind. It is more than mere susceptibility to cognitive biases: the elites have gone collectively mad; and their madness has infected many, many ordinary people, who lack either the time or inclination or ability to find out for themselves and therefore take at face value what appears to be a unified, authoritative, scientific position.

BigB
BigB
Apr 20, 2020 11:16 AM

Excellent essay. I think Michael and I are very much on the same wavelength. In fact: I wrote something a bit similar earlier today (yesterday) on the Ed Curtin forum. The entire human knowledge-base kinda all hangs together: as an inter-relational society of knowledge (the socio-cultural nomos). Each part informs the other (domains are said to transact meanings that are polysemous and context-relative). Even seemingly diverse and autonomous knowledge domains – such as the medical and the legal – might seem paradigmatically incommensurable …but they all share the same set of ontologically primitive categorical constructivisms: Being (self); Time (spatio-temporality); Number (commensuration); Agency and Intention (which together yield determinate cause and effect). These are the basic archetypes of the architecture of socially constructed knowledge – named by Aristotle as the Episteme. Paradigms are themselves are cultural-created constructivisms of the foundational Episteme. Which are heuristic sets of assumptive beliefs and Rules of… Read more »

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 20, 2020 1:08 PM
Reply to  BigB

According to tweet https://twitter.com/Femi_Sorry/status/1251816874712739840
Neil Ferguson called for a lockdown by sending a report to the government on 24th January, the day of its first Emergency Cobra meeting on Coronavirus, a meeting Boris Johnson didn’t even attend.

The first reported case was on January 11 in Wuhan.

This is a psyop, BigB, that Neil Ferguson is in on just as he was in on the swine flu, Zika, MERS and Ebola psyops.

You know the only thing it’s got under Personal Life on Neil Ferguson’s Wikipedia page? Take a guess.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Ferguson_(epidemiologist)#Personal_life

Ferguson reported on 18 March 2020 that he had developed the symptoms of COVID-19, and self-isolated.

Paul too
Paul too
Apr 20, 2020 2:41 PM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

Does he get a massive performance bonus from the Gates of Hell Foundation every time he pushes their control and dominate agenda forward I wonder?

Torontonian
Torontonian
Apr 20, 2020 6:03 PM
Reply to  Paul too

Thanks for that very true description of the Gates Foundation!!! LOL!!!

BigB
BigB
Apr 20, 2020 3:18 PM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

I know all about Neil Ferguson. I read the Imperious report when it was published. I was commenting on it weeks ago. That’s not the point. Our thinking errors are deeply flawed: but not from the point Ferguson published …or the nature of the deceit – from at least two and a half millennia ago …from what some call the Axial Age. To use the GIGO metaphor: you can’t just factcheck the facts or ”error codes”, or ”debug the script”. Facts and events mean nothing individually. Sense-making and meaning emerge from putting facts and events in meaning structures – via protocols, paradigms or theories – and making sense of states of affairs with coherent narratives. Which validate the paradigm and make sense of the fact. Facts are easy: explanatory paradigms, models and theories are harder to construct. That is why we take so much for granted as ”paradigmatic”: so we… Read more »

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 21, 2020 2:56 AM
Reply to  BigB

I think I kind of get what you’re saying, BigB, but as I’ve said before I’m a prosaic, logical thinker – if philosophers such as yourself can work out a better way to think I’m all for it. Let me know when you work it out. At my basic level this is what I think: pointing out lots of anomalies in a story is a worthless exercise when you can take off the coat-rack an hypothesis that fits perfectly – no need to take up the hem or adjust waistline – it fits perfectly and that hypothesis is that this alleged pandemic is, in fact, Trauma-based Mind Control Psychological Operation in the form of a pandemic exercise that exhibits the characteristics of the strictly rule-governed psyops they perpetrate on us with great regularity: 1. They tell us with clues above and beyond the naturally occurring anomalies. 2. They never present… Read more »

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 21, 2020 4:25 AM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

Just to add to the Emperor’s New Clothes theme:

What writers above the line on OffG do is look at the alleged gossamer threads and point out that there’s issues with their gossameriness rather than simply say straight out, “There are no gossamer threads, the Emperor is naked.” A slight change in perception but massive in significance.

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 21, 2020 11:41 AM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

Just noticed in the first video above that the alleged patient has tubes clipped together at her neck and they look quite tightly clipped (8 seconds in is best view). This seems odd to me, especially if someone is having trouble breathing. Any medical opinion out there on this? Also, why would she have a catheter?

JohnB
JohnB
Apr 20, 2020 7:51 PM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

You know the only thing it’s got under Personal Life on Neil Ferguson’s Wikipedia page? Take a guess.

I guessed auto-eroticism, but I was wrong. Maybe it’s wikipedia that’s wrong though …

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 21, 2020 1:52 AM
Reply to  JohnB

LOL. No doubt the MI6 editors of Neil’s page know things about him that they’re keeping to themselves.

John Ervin
John Ervin
Apr 20, 2020 9:18 AM

The phenomenon of the global mass hallucination known quaintly as Covid19 brings instantly to mind ~for minds that have achieved in its throes an event-specific “sartori”~ that first truly unspeakable event, one like this, of the Hiroshima A-bomb. Articulation from a void. Hence, per Thomas Merton’s sense, unspeakable, as in “how can a void speak?” And it is the kind of “object” (the virus and panic) around which fascist minds can coagulate, like a global fetish. For those who have, on their worst days, an inversion of values by prizing thoughtlessness as some kind of “manly” accessory, such things can be perfectly weaponized, and take on lives of their own, like a perpetuum mobile. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were proposing a nuclear strike on Cuba to a clearly shocked JFK, who realized the line being drawn between his rational analysis and their fascist unchecked impulses and lack of rational… Read more »

Jihadi Colin
Jihadi Colin
Apr 20, 2020 9:14 AM

A long but excellent article, which I would have endorsed wholeheartedly but for this line: “School closures may also diminish the chances of developing herd immunity in an age group that is spared serious disease.” “Herd immunity” is a ridiculous concept. It is dependent on totally unproven and illogical beliefs, namely: 1. That the disease under question can only affect one person once. This assumption is false in the case of most diseases. It is almost always untrue for RNA viruses, especially coronaviruses, which mutate constantly. That is why everyone gets colds multiple times in their lives and influenza on more than a few occasions. 2. That in the age of mass air travel and will almost no isolated populations, except possibly the Sentinelese in the Andaman Islands, herd immunity is possible or even means anything. If by “herd” immunity one means the idea that if enough of a population… Read more »

Mark
Mark
Apr 20, 2020 10:45 AM
Reply to  Jihadi Colin

Herd immunity is an absolutely basic, standard concept of epidemiology which makes perfect sense and is perfectly apt for many situations. Your criticisms of it seem rather perverse. Yes, there are situations in which herd immunity has less effect, such as rapidly mutating viruses, but even in those cases it s herd immunity that usually slows and limits the spread of particular forms before new ones evolve. Granted, immunity can be limited in duration. So what? As for your comment about isolation, that one is just flat out incorrect. It’s precisely the inevitability of reintroduction, whether from distant communities, from animal reservoirs or whatever, that makes herd immunity important. When there is a reintroduction, it is the presence or absence of a level of herd immunity that determines whether the reintroduced pathogen spreads as a renewed epidemic or not. Would it make you feel better if it were termed “population… Read more »

Jihadi Colin
Jihadi Colin
Apr 20, 2020 12:51 PM
Reply to  Mark

“Epidemiology” is mostly a pseudoscience. By your logic, smallpox should have disappeared long ago without any need for a vaccine – and it’s a large, stable, DNA virus. Your contention is ipso facto laughable.

Mark
Mark
Apr 20, 2020 1:22 PM
Reply to  Jihadi Colin

No, you are misusing the term. The term was coined precisely to explain the effect of rising partial population immunity in slowing the spread of an epidemic. It does not, or did not originally prior to the use of vaccines, at all mean complete immunity and therefore elimination of a pathogen in a population, and using that idea in the way you try to here is basically a straw man.

John Ervin
John Ervin
Apr 20, 2020 7:30 PM
Reply to  Mark

Thanks Mark, for the clarity.

I’m only an armchair epidemiologist, but long experience gives that the ring of truth. And the other does seem on its face “perverse”. As stated.

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 20, 2020 6:04 PM
Reply to  Jihadi Colin

Without wanting to join the epidemologists on their grand plinth looking down on the rest of us, I understand that (for example) cold and flu viruses do tear through remote communities for example, when Western missionaries arrive bringing them, and are realtively innocuous in countries where resistance has evolved. Secondly, and related, is that it seems immune systems respond faster and more effectively to viruses that have been encountered before, and to viruses ‘similar’ to one encountered before. With the coronavirus, there is a lot of media chatter about people who have had it no longer having antibodies, hence being vulnerable “to getting it again”, or maybe “spreading” the disease, and less interest in the possibility that viral resistance is not just antibodies by things like T-cells too. But now I see I am climbing halfway up the plinth!

Steve Jack
Steve Jack
Apr 20, 2020 8:57 AM

This article was over-long and full of proofing errors, by OffGuardian’s usually high editorial standards. But I will share it with the unenlightened anyway, as it’s another useful contribution to perhaps getting them to engage their brains. However, I do this in hope rather than in expectation.

George Mc
George Mc
Apr 20, 2020 9:38 AM
Reply to  Steve Jack

full of proofing errors

Many of my recent ones have been error strewn due to panic over this recent COVID coup. Indeed it is a positively Lovecraftian panic. cf. the end of “Dagon”:

The end is near. I hear a noise at the door, as of some immense slippery body lumbering against it. It shall not find me. God, that hand! The window! The window!

Jihadi Colin
Jihadi Colin
Apr 20, 2020 10:36 AM
Reply to  George Mc

Ph’nglui mgwl’nafh COVID-19 Media wgah’nagl fhtagn! Iä iä COVID-19 fhtagn!

George Mc
George Mc
Apr 20, 2020 11:15 AM
Reply to  Jihadi Colin

How about:

“Iä iä COVID-19 fhtagn, the Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Bollocks!”

John Ervin
John Ervin
Apr 20, 2020 7:42 PM
Reply to  Jihadi Colin

J. Colin: I knew it. That’s a little known dialect of the Black Speech of the Nazgûl. Right?

johny conspiranoid
johny conspiranoid
Apr 20, 2020 8:37 AM

So has this panic been engineered to cover an economic collapse caused by political decisions?

lundiel
lundiel
Apr 20, 2020 9:26 AM

According to the article, which makes perfect sense to me, no. Much of the blame can be laid at the door of Professor Neil Ferguson, a repeat offender.

clickkid
clickkid
Apr 20, 2020 9:31 AM
Reply to  lundiel

The two are not mutually exclusive.

lundiel
lundiel
Apr 20, 2020 9:55 AM
Reply to  clickkid

Indeed not. One takes advantage of the situation in which one finds oneself.

Jihadi Colin
Jihadi Colin
Apr 20, 2020 9:33 AM
Reply to  lundiel

Ferguson is only in Britain. He has no influence on the rest of the world.

lundiel
lundiel
Apr 20, 2020 9:53 AM
Reply to  Jihadi Colin

Unfortunately, he does. Other scientists applied the same models to their populations and cascade theory took control.

Torontonian
Torontonian
Apr 20, 2020 6:08 PM
Reply to  lundiel

Strong wiff of Mr. Colin being a troll (really Jihadi??) time to stop feeding the troll

Torontonian
Torontonian
Apr 20, 2020 6:07 PM
Reply to  Jihadi Colin

There is this thing called the Internet and another great device– a phone. Let me make this clear for you– Mr (sic) Ferguson publishes in my local Toronto paper– sorry you were saying? Wake up Colin

Jihadi Colin
Jihadi Colin
Apr 20, 2020 9:31 AM

That has been my belief from the start and what I had said in my first article on the subject well over a month ago.

lundiel
lundiel
Apr 20, 2020 8:34 AM

What an excellent article. I have just read on Sputnik that the British cabinet is split on the lockdown exit strategy. Gove and Sunak favour exiting sooner while Cummings and Hancock favour the long haul as do the public. The policy is now self-perpetuating. As Mr Cohen points out ” all over the world, media, politicians – and health experts too – combined forces to convince the world that it was facing imminent doom.” Now they have to somehow convince the world that it’s safe to come out again, in fact, they have to convince the world it’s imperative they come out again.

axisofoil
axisofoil
Apr 20, 2020 8:05 AM

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself — that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 20, 2020 5:27 AM

To me a very important thinking error present in most discussion of the alleged pandemic is not investigating the most obvious hypothesis and to keep pointing out errors in the “official story” hypothesis which consumes masses amounts of energy and time that is, effectively, wasted. Loads of anomalies in the “official story” hypothesis. And? What are you going to do with these anomalies? If the “official story” hypothesis contains so many anomalies then the scientific approach would be to not waste time continuing to point them out but to look at competing hypotheses that better fit the evidence. Surely, we should be more interested in what explains the evidence rather than what doesn’t explain it. On Day One the most obvious competing hypothesis is that the alleged pandemic is, in fact, a Trauma-based Mind Control Psychological Operation (psyop) in the form of a “live pandemic exercise” following Event 201, a… Read more »

milosevic
milosevic
Apr 20, 2020 8:01 AM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

I favour the null hypothesis.

John Ervin
John Ervin
Apr 20, 2020 9:50 AM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

It’s a rather solid chain of science reasoning, Petra, but this Event (y’all know the one!) has become such a lightning rod for so many things, my inclinations suspect psyop, but there is a lot more to it. In all fairness to the little Bug. Although psyop looks a lot like the seed out of which it all grew. Or perhaps it just hitched a ride. (Like someone commented, never let a good crisis go to waste. And how!) To wit, I do believe there is psyop(s) as key component(s), but that doesn’t yet exclude other explanations/hypotheses. Ever? I think by definition it will be hard to say for this baby. 9/11, 7/7, WMD: PROVEABLE Psyops. This one, it is so baroque, it may be hard to ever prove. Even when all the votes are counted (if by hand, that is!). I will nominate you for the original blue ribbon… Read more »

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 20, 2020 12:38 PM
Reply to  John Ervin

Hitched a ride. Doesn’t exclude other explanations/hypotheses. If you can suggest alternatives/extras, John, please do. I don’t claim there aren’t extras but I do claim most emphatically that the alleged COVID-19 pandemic is an exercise, not a real pandemic or an exaggerated claim of a virus problem. Of course, this psyop has multiple and significant agendas about which I have virtually no understanding (the agendas – while being the most important aspect, of course – are not my baby I can only manage the psyop part). There is no evidence whatsoever of a specific virus causing sickness out of the ordinary. I’d like to claim there is no specific virus but I won’t because my knowledge is not authoritative enough but the point is whether there is a virus or not is irrelevant because what we do not see are: — any mortality figures that show a mortality rate beyond… Read more »

John Ervin
John Ervin
Apr 21, 2020 3:31 PM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

Slow to get back, but I read your post several times and appreciate the very well-measured and scientifically chaste boundaries you place on your focus, regarding the Psyop “component” of this indescribable global extravaganza we are all sharing. And an excellent choice it is, since it would appear more and more from evidence piling up over the last twenty years, especially, but interestingly, long long before that, that all humanity’s interests and security are most vulnerable, practically, at the various levels of the aggressive psyop “assault”, for which this virus baby looks good as our age’s “poster child”. And on a practical level, any worthwhile input that people give on that aspect is extremely useful to us all. Few studies could be more so? If we can find some therapy, let alone cure, for that, we may be back in business…. I’m going to give more time to considering your… Read more »

Binra
Binra
Apr 20, 2020 3:09 PM
Reply to  John Ervin

If you extend the idea of the psyop, you have the ‘Matrix’ – but this operates AS IF something ALIEN has subjected and control of your will. An alien will is by definition – NOT ours – but set apart and in opposition to it. The idea of a thought set apart from the mind of its own thinking IS alien to the Mind that embraces All That It Is, but THROUGH such a glass darkly – Life can destroy its own means of support by alienating the very Life that lives it. Such is the mind of dissociation running AS IF a thing in and of itself – and as a decontextualised ‘lockdown’ in self-isolating ‘defences’. To undo the error by which we run off in mis-idenification, requires willingness to question the premises from which we act or react. The old story has it than only when we cant… Read more »

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 21, 2020 6:58 AM
Reply to  Binra

… undermines critical thinking by setting up an extreme position. I do not see my position as extreme, binra, simply a position that takes the evidence by the horns, checks it for fitting various hypotheses and ensures it can only fit one. Why other people do not do the same I do not know. It’s so straightforward. Event 201, a tabletop pandemic exercise, occurred in October 2019 and on January 11, 2020, allegedly, the first case of COVID-19 was recorded. So you think that’s a coincidence, binra? You see, I don’t and because I don’t then it’s only natural that I’d think there is no special virus causing a problem, isn’t it? It would have to be a pretty big coincidence that a VIP tabletop exercise occurred just 3 months before this earth-shattering pandemic started and I’m not buyin’ it when there is zero evidence of this alleged pandemic. Of… Read more »

Binra
Binra
Apr 21, 2020 9:40 PM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

You put all your eggs in one basket – and for what? THEY DO IT? Where do you go with that? I’m not unaware of the narratives being engineered. I wrote about self deceit as the primary factor. Because self responsibility is transformational. Regardless what THEY do or don’t do. I don’t subscribe to germ theory – as currently held – and see that WE participate in all kinds of self-illusion. One way to maintain self-illusion is to set it against exposing that of others. So you are starting to see the deconstruction of what was and may still be clung to as real. But if you really see, then the spell is broken and you can seek the truth it was made to hide or divert – yes? So many woke people persist in focusing on a stepping stone as some sort of consummating self vindication. People use stories… Read more »

John Ervin
John Ervin
Apr 21, 2020 11:08 PM
Reply to  Binra

I disagree, Petra performs very valuable service, suspiciously too absent elsewhere, by taking such events as psyops , training exercises, and then trying to disprove that, not the other way around. Coroners approach a death that may look like a suicide and BEGIN by assuming homicide, until they are confident they have eliminated that verdict. If unobstructed. Sometimes it takes years, especially if the victims are politically, financially entangled. A great example and I’ve presented it here in several posts, is my own father’s demise. It was *implied* to me it was a suicide, he was cremated the next day, before I could see the body, i was 2000 miles away, then I found out 20 years later that LAPD still considered it an open case, though bitter cold. (Robin Williams was cremated the next day. Can you say, very slowly, “destruction of evidence”? ) Anyone who tries to steer… Read more »

Binra
Binra
Apr 22, 2020 9:40 AM
Reply to  John Ervin

Oh I have no doubt in the basic premise of lies and deceit and nor need I doubt your appreciation of finding a sense of support in meeting her post. You are perhaps also somewhat binary in your reaction and took nothing in of what I wrote – only seeing me as a potential ‘dark operative’ or perhaps ‘sheeple’. I don’t try to change anyone’s course, but petra has been posting here a long while – and has a web site and is free to operate what I see as a one trick pony. That goes around the same arena. I have NO doubt myself that the covid19 is a pretext for leveraging not just the minds of the many but the world we live in – BY our own reactions. It is part of a long line of such ‘conditionings’, drills, and live acting out. To some, this is… Read more »

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 22, 2020 3:35 AM
Reply to  Binra

I readily admit I’m a one trick pony, binra, all I know is psyops and even there only the actual psyop part, not the agenda part (the most important aspect) but the fact that I point out endlessly – absolutely endlessly – that the power elite let us know that they’re psyopping us, means my point is that we LET them psyop us and, in fact, collaborate with them in psyopping us by insisting on being blind – so I’m not making it all about “them”, I think we’re responsible for letting them do to us what they do. For those who don’t know that they let us know, who, when they see a woman with tubes up her nose flashing her cannulated wrist and saying, highly anomalously, “They had to sew that into my artery,” just wave it away as an anomaly (as I used to) fine. I don’t… Read more »

Binra
Binra
Apr 22, 2020 11:08 AM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

I just posted reply to John in this thread. Why do you include yourself in: ‘We keep on falling for it’ ? Do you? You persist in telling people they are being deceived by ‘Power’ that doesn’t really try to hide that it lies. Is this not because many choose to align in or under ‘Power’ and don’t really care to question why, or what for? Pulling the wool over our own eyes is choosing to align in narratives that keep us hidden and work as a social masking in which to gain or bolster personal identity in the face of losing it. Fear and control. It takes different forms. But is one coin with two sides that can flip back and forth in incredibly complex patterns of mind. Mind can operate as incredibly fast complex of fear and control – but can NEVER more than believe it true. So… Read more »

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Apr 20, 2020 11:05 AM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

The most successful psyop of all time has been run by the Coca Cola Company and then copied by advertising agencies and governments everywhere.
That is: Keep repeating your lies until the plebs are saturated.
We work.
We buy.
We die.
What else is there?

DanielInDenial
DanielInDenial
Apr 20, 2020 4:11 AM

What a masterpiece of investigative reporting, someone finally put it all together succinctly. I was sorry to finally reach the end. Thank you. I just bought your 2015 book on Kindle, think I’ll be up late tonight:) Kudos!

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 20, 2020 5:53 PM
Reply to  DanielInDenial

Thanks, Daniel. Positive comments are relatively rare (I understand why, we all tend to focus on what is NOT quite right!) but much appreciated. Hope you enjoy the book!

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 23, 2020 4:26 AM
Reply to  Martin Cohen

Martin, I think you did a great analysis, however, I can’t see the point of a great analysis without making the obvious conclusion where it exists.

You point out anomalies in previous events. You point out the anomalies in this one. Will you do the same for future events? Where does it get you?

I’d argue that the evidence clearly shows that these events are all psychological operations (psyops) displaying typical psyop characteristics: obvious anomalies above and beyond any naturally occurring ones; no evidence faked so well it can be used to defend the event’s reality – in this case all the alleged patients they show us are not convincing. In addition, mortality figures are no higher than normal so there is absolutely zero to support any kind of pandemic or even virus spread “blown out of proportion”.

What do you conclude is the actual nature of this alleged pandemic?

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 23, 2020 1:24 PM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

Hi Petra, well, the general aim is to ask people to look behind the psychological smoke and mirrors stuff and evaluate both the problem and the solutions more rationally. With an emphasis on social justice. The scary thing is that ‘herd effect’ where arguments let alone policy recommendations are ignored (not so much thinking of commentaries by people like myself but indeed many people who have made a speciality of advice on epidemics – like the experts Off Guardian has brought together – in favour of what become, I agree, very like psyops. You will have noticed the news now of the UK government using NHS staff prfiles to tweet out scary messages, and also supposedly samizdat billboards in cities and the ‘clap for the NHS’ routines. In such a climate the detail of what needs to be done seems to me to need to be preceded by a change… Read more »

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 23, 2020 2:05 PM
Reply to  Martin Cohen

OK, I’ll make my question more specific.

Do you believe that there is clear evidence there is no pandemic?

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 23, 2020 5:53 PM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

Certainly there is a ‘pandemic’. But the term is just irrelevant to the real issues. My own reading of the evidence is that threat from Covid is similar in nature and scope to that from flu, and like flu, it will hang around for many years. It needed a response in terms of healthservice provision, not in terms of dismantling society.

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 24, 2020 1:58 AM
Reply to  Martin Cohen

I came to this “event” with a different understanding from yours, Martin. Six years ago I woke up to the Emperor’s New Clothes / Big Lie world we live in after watching the film by British historian, Francis Richard Conolly, JFK to 9/11: Everything is a Rich Man’s Trick, on YouTube. After a further four years of study of 9/11 I woke up to the pivotal truth of that event: death and injury were staged, making 9/11 the psyop that people often refer to it as but incorrectly when they believe death and injury to be real – a psyop is not a psyop when you kill 3,000 people and injure 6,000 you have no desire to harm. That is not a psyop but 9/11 was indeed a psyop in the correct sense of the term, specifically a Trauma-based Mind Control Psychological Operation. My case for 9/11 being a psyop… Read more »

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 24, 2020 10:52 AM
Reply to  Petra Liverani

I don’t really see why people think they have to be suspicious of ‘everything’ here. The thesis I have outlined is that there are a series of new viruses, each one is presented in hysterian terms as global pandemics and each one is in fact within the range of normal, natural virus behaviour. The thing that is remarkable about the new corona virus is not that it kills a certain amount of people, I am sure it does, and your suggestion that I need ‘evidence’ implies a vast number of people in a ‘conspiracy’ which makes no more sense than, well, things like contact tracing. So I stick to my position that there is indeed a corona virus, it has some new characteristics over previous corona and flu ones, but that it has been deliberately inflated in significance by people with various agenda, all of which are against the public… Read more »

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 24, 2020 12:02 PM
Reply to  Martin Cohen

Very interesting about your experience with Slim Virgin. I noticed after I posted that the quote contained the word “former” in relation to “intelligence officer”. I don’t believe in ex-intelligence generally speaking. They’re always telling us about ex-CIA agents spilling the beans – it’s just a method of pushing out more propaganda or seducing others into revealing their secrets. Edward Snowden is definitely not ex and the three statues of him, Chelsea and Julian in Berlin are pretty funny as only Julian is genuine. See https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/wikileaks-controlled-opposition.html … requires a vast number of people in a ‘conspiracy’ which makes no more sense than, well, things like contact tracing. Martin, the number may be eye-watering and it may seem to make no sense, however, it’s the evidence that counts. Also, when people are “involved” in a conspiracy their level of involvement can be simply “going along with”, “turning a blind eye”, “not… Read more »

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 24, 2020 1:28 PM
Reply to  Martin Cohen

The distortion of the case fatality rate, the suppression of evidence that the virus has already spread widely (but largely harmlessly) and the creation of a state of fear are to me the real conspiracy. But even that is an informal one.

To pin you down a little more in your response, Martin. If the conspiracy is an informal one how do you explain the fact that all alleged patients shown to us do not convincingly display signs of sickness and either things they say or other things about them are against expectations?

Do you agree that this evidence better supports planned psyop featuring the characteristic that nothing is faked so well it can be used by someone who believes the story in defence of it better than it supports “informal conspiracy” or similar?

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Apr 27, 2020 1:49 AM
Reply to  Martin Cohen

Martin, you haven’t responded to my last comment which doesn’t in the least surprise me because when you apply critical thinking the only hypothesis that perfectly fits this “event” is Trauma-based Mind Control Psychological Operation in the form of a “live exercise” that evinces two psyop hallmarks: 1. We are given the clues above and beyond any naturally occurring anomalies. 2. Nothing is presented so convincingly that a believer of the story can brandish it in support. And you don’t want to go to that level of truth, you wish to stay safe at “blown out of proportion” or similar. You see, how it doesn’t work to talk about level of conspiracy being too great. By not responding to my last comment you are showing that you are willing to be part of the conspiracy. For the power elite, getting the population to participate in their conspiracy at whatever level… Read more »

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Apr 20, 2020 2:27 AM

Perhaps it’s time to disconnect.
Dump our compulsive, neurotic, digitalised behaviour and float free.
We can’t stop the psychopaths, because they can fool most of the people most of the time.
Let’s just sit back and watch the world self destruct.
Mother Earth will see us off with a sigh of relief.

John Ervin
John Ervin
Apr 21, 2020 4:13 PM
Reply to  Fair dinkum

Rather than the popular planetary petulance that is a feature of so many discussions, we are referred to Sarah, in the Book of Tobit, chapter 3, and Susanna in Daniel 13, just to name two exemplars of people who are “sad at heart”, in the distress of extremity, offering up supplication like tea kettles beginning to whistle and sing more or less right on schedule…..

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Apr 22, 2020 1:24 AM
Reply to  John Ervin

As the Bard once remarked (tis rarely quoted):
‘Better the petulance of the plebs, than the flatulence of fools’.

John Ervin
John Ervin
Apr 22, 2020 2:57 AM
Reply to  Fair dinkum

Well, Fair…. Metinks you’re taking it too hard.

This pleb takes it too hard, m’self. But I hope to move on.

wardropper
wardropper
Apr 20, 2020 2:18 AM

In a highly mediatized age, there is a bias towards seeing normal amounts of illness and death as exceptional. I was wondering when this phenomenon, which I first noticed about ten years ago, would finally explain itself. The version I am thinking of is when the media state something like this: “Scientists say that this is the first time such an overwhelmingly dramatic change has occurred in the field of ( supply your own scenario here…) since – wait for it . . . wait for it . . . since last August!“, when we were all expecting, of course, “since 3,000 years before Christ”… This has happened often enough to cause me great amusement, followed by a serious questioning of the sanity of the reporters who say such things. Now we not only get statistics in this vein thrown at us on a daily basis, but most of them… Read more »

The Coming Revolutio
The Coming Revolutio
Apr 20, 2020 1:36 AM

[please forgive my English as it is not my native language] I think that all the fuzz about this “new” coronavirus, and not at all fuzzy consequences of lockdowns worldwide, which most people are tragically suffering from right now especially in poor countries, is due to a particular view about disease in general, which is not new. There is an interest (guess from whom) in depicting disease as something that should not occur and therefore as something that must be “fought” at all cost; that our lifes should be devoid of dis-ease. The reason is simple, workers in the medical profession and in related activities need to eat like the rest of us, but people, if left alone, don’t need medical treatment often enough for the simple reason that most inconveniences of life are of no major consequences and could be taken care of without medical assistance by the immune… Read more »

Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
Apr 20, 2020 12:41 PM

Viruses are not forms of life. They are intermediate between not life and life.

The Coming Revolutio
The Coming Revolutio
Apr 20, 2020 5:17 PM
Reply to  Steve Hayes

Right. Let’s say that I meant by “life” existence, the same sense Wells gave it in the quote above.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 21, 2020 9:26 AM
Reply to  Steve Hayes

Like Tories?

Maritn Cohen
Maritn Cohen
Apr 20, 2020 6:09 PM

Yes, I agree with you. Children should be taught not to fear viruses, but to realise that half our genome is necessarily made up of these fellow ‘life froms’ (why not call them that, Steve? They would count for life if found on Mars!). A virus free world is a dead world.

Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
Apr 21, 2020 11:19 AM
Reply to  Maritn Cohen

Because Martin they are not life. Life has the capacity to reproduce. Viruses do not. They reproduce by getting a living organism to reproduce them. A further reason not to call them life is because facts matter, and inaccurate facts are falsehoods.

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 21, 2020 12:58 PM
Reply to  Steve Hayes

Well, sure, but maybe we can have a bit of a philosophical debate here. Firstly, viruses do reproduce, as you yourself say, and you are surely ‘alive’ but you can’t reproduce yourself either. (You need another, female, living organism.) Okay, second argument is if viruses are not alive then as I mentioned, half of the human body is not alive either, which sounds odd doesn’t it? But worse, if you took away all the bits of the human body that are viruses, what remains cannot survive. So saying viruses are not lifeforms requires you to redefine ‘life’ to exclude pretty much all lifeforms.

Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
Apr 21, 2020 1:11 PM
Reply to  Martin Cohen

Martin, Biology is not Philosophy: you cannot just sit in an armchair and invent stuff. Viruses are not self replicating, but all life forms are. These are just facts.

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 21, 2020 2:02 PM
Reply to  Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
Apr 21, 2020 2:10 PM
Reply to  Martin Cohen

It is not a Philosophical question; it is a matter of Biology. And the argument in the link that attempts to argue that viruses are alive is not only flawed but obviously flawed, as it is based on the misuse of language to pretend that viruses are capable of self replication: they aren’t.

The Coming Revolutio
The Coming Revolutio
Apr 21, 2020 7:49 PM
Reply to  Martin Cohen

Don’t mind him Martin, you are talking at cross purposes. Steve talks of Philosophy and Biology as divisions of the Formal Sciences and Life Sciences respectively; bodies of knowledge taught in educational institutions with their respective axioms, postulates, formalisms, definitions, divisions and discoveries; whereas you are talking of philosophy with a humble p, as I would, as every human attempt to understand himself and the universe.

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 21, 2020 9:08 PM

Exactly. It’s the division of expertise that leads ‘epidemologists’ to offer pronouncements on policy without actually knowing much about the medicine, the sociology or the economics. I wouldn’t even ask them to consider a bit of ethics and philosophy!

Godfree Roberts
Godfree Roberts
Apr 19, 2020 11:46 PM

An excellent analysis! Many thanks. There is another angle to the Covid-19 story worth considering: all NATO governments planned to treat the outbreak commonsensically, as Martin Cohen suggests: as an element of the regular ‘flu season. There is abundant institutional history for this approach: previous attempts to control novel Coronaviruses, like 2008’s H1N1, were expensive, humiliating failures. That’s why Anthony Fauci announced, on January 26, “The American public shouldn’t worry about the coronavirus outbreak in China. It’s a very, very low risk to the United States. But it’s something that we as public health officials need to take very seriously… It isn’t something the American public needs to worry about or be frightened about. Because we have ways of preparing and screening of people coming in [from China]. And we have ways of responding – like we did with this one case in Seattle, Washington, who had traveled to China… Read more »

Reg
Reg
Apr 20, 2020 12:07 AM

Vaccinated, tagged, branded,microchipped, tracked, shackled to a “Social Credit Score” . . . No, thanks, Godfree. You can keep your Utopia. Let me know if, in that paradise of yours, you can write books that make people question things around them, music that burns into your soul like the blues, art that rips through the mask society wants you to wear, innovation that comes from just curious minds tinkering in a garage, and – this is important – change that comes from people coming together to protest against a tyranny. I’ll give you the answer because I KNOW the answer. It’s NO. Because in your land of milk and honey, anyone outside the norm is an agitator. And the agitator has to be taken out. Fuck me, I’m astounded you can’t see where this is going.

Godfree Roberts
Godfree Roberts
Apr 20, 2020 1:51 AM
Reply to  Reg

Vaccinated, tagged, branded, microchipped, tracked, shackled to a “Social Credit Score”?

Vaccination is a problem in a population of 1.4 billion people living in close quarters?

Tagged? Nope. Nobody in China is tagged.

Branded? Nope.

Microchipped? Nope.

Tracked? Nope.

Shackled to a Social Credit score? Participation is voluntary for individuals, but not for government officials and departments or businesses. It’s 90% carrot and 10% stick for individuals and 90% of Chinese are in favor of it. IF that puzzles you, ask a Chinese friend to explain its unique appeal to them.

Your personal preference is for an extroverted, individualistic lifestyle but that’s just you. To me it sounds adolescent.

Reg
Reg
Apr 20, 2020 4:02 AM

Oh dear, you really are blind. No, little Godfree, it doesn’t puzzle me whatever the Chinese want to think and do. Great people, by the way. They are free to do things their way, we are free to do things ours. Hard for you to grasp, I know. And the fact that you want Big Pharma, Big Ag, Big Tech and Bill Gates to decide what goes in your bodies and how you’ll fall in line tells me you’re unsalvageable. This crush of yours for top-down control is going to blow up in your face, boy.

Jean Wilson
Jean Wilson
Apr 20, 2020 5:30 AM

Godfree, I guess you haven’t seen this about modern China. They will release this announcement to the world in a few days, on 25th April.

https://coingeek.com/china-gears-for-global-domination-with-national-blockchain-network-rollout/?fbclid=IwAR1WvZYJSaD3I0vMv3o6Z-_ZE2ajMijzP4fXVLXhV0KyY2NAJ9cOZh30wvM

Godfree Roberts
Godfree Roberts
Apr 20, 2020 6:10 AM
Reply to  Jean Wilson

I, for one, welcome our new masters…

Thanks!

George Mc
George Mc
Apr 20, 2020 12:02 PM

Why would you welcome ANY masters?

Godfree roberts
Godfree roberts
Apr 20, 2020 12:55 PM
Reply to  George Mc

It’s a line from an old sci-fi movie

Sam - Admin2
Admin
Sam - Admin2
Apr 21, 2020 2:00 PM

Still he asked a valid question, though.

Godfree Roberts
Godfree Roberts
Apr 22, 2020 2:12 AM
Reply to  George Mc

To imagine that we are masterless is the height of adolescent delusion. The US is the master (it sounds clunky, I know) of the NATO countries: it occupies them militarily and dictates their foreign policy. The US also kidnaps, assassinates, and tortures people every day. That is a kind of ‘mastery’. IT dictates the use of its currency, regardless of where it is used, etc., etc. So in that sense, I meant the joke to also be taken seriously: I would prefer that China, rather than the US, to exercise hegemony because I expect it to be far more benign. Nor am I alone in this. President Macron recently, and publicly, said that China’s vision for the future (a shared future for all humanity) is more attractive than America’s. Why? Because it offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving… Read more »

George Mc
George Mc
Apr 22, 2020 8:24 AM

I see you point but I find the term “adolescent” unnecessarily insulting. The notion of NOT having masters is part of our delusional self image which has been carefully nurtured. It is therefore a delusion which most of us have. But here is where it gets complicated. It is a “promising” delusion i.e. it has a revolutionary potential. As Terry Eagleton says somewhere, we should constantly measure bourgeois propaganda up against the reality. It promises liberty, freedom etc. and we should be consistently attacking it when it doesn’t deliver. The ideal of NOT having a master is an ideal we should be pushing towards.

Godfree Roberts
Godfree Roberts
Apr 22, 2020 11:28 AM
Reply to  George Mc

Like adolescents who wants to borrow their mothers’ car but ignore her terms for doing so, our society is ambivalent about dependence and independence. Our relationship to authority is unresolved because we do not, as a society, practice self-mastery–the development of the will–nor teach it, nor have exemplary models for it. Indeed, our media encourage both self-indulgence and bombastic ‘resistance to authority.’ But another world is possible. We can master ego, mind, and desire and willingly submit to legitimate authority. One of the many things we are about to learn from China has obsessed them for 2500 years: how to be a mature human being, or what they call a junzi. Such people practice the five Confucian virtues–Benevolence, Rightness, Propriety, Wisdom and Trustworthiness–all the time. Such people are social models and parents inculcate those virtues in their kids when they turn two, using the Three Character Classic, their version of… Read more »

George Mc
George Mc
Apr 22, 2020 12:52 PM

I would say that every society has different ideas on dependence and independence. Furthermore that these things are changing all the time anyway. “Self-mastery” is another shifting matter. As is “authority”. To put it one way: the Western ideal of the self-made individual is ideology. No-one can create themselves out of nothing. Everyone depends on what is already there – both materially and socially. Everyone inherits a notion of “right conduct” that has evolved with their people’s economic and cultural history. The West right now is a product of the affluence and consumerist ideology of our favourable post WW2 situation. You might say that we are the “spoiled brats” of the globe. But I think all that is about to change severely.

Godfree Roberts
Godfree Roberts
Apr 20, 2020 12:54 PM
Reply to  Jean Wilson

Their work with blockchain and digital currency is going to shock a lot of folks, I suspect

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 21, 2020 9:34 AM

Most brainwashed Westerners seem to believe that the Chinese are ‘backward’, and that the West is superior in all ways. The most ludicrous racist and Orientalist self-delusion ever.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 21, 2020 9:32 AM
Reply to  Jean Wilson

About time-the 500 year reign of terror of the West over humanity is ending. Surely you should be happy at the prospect.

clickkid
clickkid
Apr 20, 2020 10:26 AM

China has always laid much more emphasis on social harmony than on individualism. I think there’s a quote from Joseph Needham -I’m paraphrasing -that in Chinese culture, as opposed to the West, there was no necessary conflict seen between the individual and the social. That’s the Chinese way perhaps,and if that’s what Chinese people want, then fine, if it works for them. But it’s not our way. Chinese and Western cultures developed under different conditions produced different values, different societies, different people. Societies, like individuals, play best when they play to their strengths.The art, the literature, the science of Europe since the Renaissance, going back to ancient Athens, is built on the idea that the individual has the right to be the architect of his own life. Vive la difference. I always enjoy reading your articles Godfree. We need a counterbalance to all the China-hating that’s going on, but you’re… Read more »

Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
Apr 20, 2020 12:49 PM
Reply to  clickkid

‘The art, the literature, the science of Europe since the Renaissance, going back to ancient Athens, is built on the idea that the individual has the right to be the architect of his own life.’ You seem to have missed such things as the extermination of the Cathars, the Inquisition, the witch hunting, the centuries of oppression, exploitation, torture and murder, often all over nothing more than mere differences of opinion.

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 21, 2020 2:27 PM
Reply to  Steve Hayes

Steve, I’m just responding to your point about “are viruses alive”. I’m not going to argue it any more, but if you look at any number of standard sources, you’ll see people considering them to be just that. All you are doing here is offering your preferred ‘definition’ of life, saying I think rather arrogantly that what life is is “not a philosophical question” and then on the strength of the assumptions YOU have made in that definiton saying that x and y follow. But as I already argued, there are some pretty odd implications in your assumptions about what is and is not ‘alive’. Picking a definition and insisting everyone else must use a word exactly the same way as you do it called ‘Humpty Dumptying’. Yes, it’s a thinking error. At least, it is given my definition of the term!

Godfree Roberts
Godfree Roberts
Apr 20, 2020 1:00 PM
Reply to  clickkid

Wrong about China’s leadership? Objectively, no. They’re ahead in money, technology, alliances, human rights, science, having their act together, and money. And, of course, money.

We’re ahead in bullshit, cruelty and having the world’s reserve currency.

Tony Yacht
Tony Yacht
Apr 20, 2020 4:48 PM

Ahead in cruelty? You are delusional and truly lost.

Torontonian
Torontonian
Apr 20, 2020 6:20 PM
Reply to  Tony Yacht

Define cruelty. Enjoying your lock down? Do you have a relative that has died because they cant get medical treatment for their health condition due to the BS that a lock down can help? Hmmmm who is cruel?

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 21, 2020 9:40 AM
Reply to  Tony Yacht

Never heard of the genocide in Iraq? Never heard of the US prison-industrial complex with its two million plus inmates, 100,000in the Hell of solitary? Never heard of the masses of homeless in the USA and Uk? Never heard of the 200,000 murdered by Tory austerity since 2010? Never heard of the Western controlled World Bank that just made a pittance of ‘aid’ to the poor world contingent on further privatisations, particularly in health? Never heard of the US ‘health’ industry, where diabetics die because they cannot afford insulin, tens times more expensive than in Canada? Etc. The West is nothing if not the Empire of Sadism.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 21, 2020 9:30 AM

Well said, Godfree, but the Sinophobes will not listen. Racism is hard-wired in the Right, part of their generalised xenophobia. Living in ‘societies’ where Sinophobic hate-mongering is ubiquitous and relentless, they have little chance and less inclination to learn the facts.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 20, 2020 4:11 AM
Reply to  Reg

Your racist arrogance is nauseating. You see the Chinese as untermenschen, below the level of White Herrenvolk like yourself. And I can see where this is going-deranged racists living in self-delusion in a crumbling hell-hole where the poor and elderly are left to die(THAT ‘burns into the soul’)just itching for a Great Race War against the despised ‘Yellow Devils’.

Reg
Reg
Apr 20, 2020 2:18 PM

Fuck me, you’re a demented moron. You have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about.

Torontonian
Torontonian
Apr 20, 2020 6:20 PM
Reply to  Reg

Temper temper –try reason Reg

JohnB
JohnB
Apr 20, 2020 8:08 PM
Reply to  Torontonian

Nah, I prefer the “Fuck me, you’re a demented moron” approach. Expressive, and more fun for us spectators. 🙂

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 21, 2020 9:44 AM
Reply to  Reg

Just re-read your original ‘contribution’ and I stand by my every word. You made very clear what you are talking about-the Chinese have no music, art, innovation or souls. And you seem unaware of your racist contempt.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 20, 2020 4:08 AM

Absolutely. While China protects and saves, if possible, all its people, in the USA and UK they are left to die, on the streets, in ‘nursing homes’ where unattended bodies pile up, and among the uninsured and the despised minority underclasses. At the same time several trillion is created ex nihilo and handed to Wailing Wall Street, and the peasants and small business get crumbs that have already run out, as the banksters looted the program. Hence the mounting frenzy of Sinophobic, warmongering, lying by the eighth-rate psychopaths of US politics and MSM, aped by Imperial stooges throughout the West.

George Mc
George Mc
Apr 20, 2020 9:46 AM

This resonated with parents and grandparents everywhere and forced NATO governments, cursing China, to alter course 180º, and set sail towards another, more expensive and even more humiliating failure.

This would seem to suggest that the lockdown was in response to public pressure. That’s the bit I find hard to swallow. Our governments and the entire political class have never shown the slightest interest in following the public demand. Nor do they have to since the media, under the control of the ruling class, can spout whatever image of public demand they want i.e. present the wishes of the leaders as “public demand”.

Godfree Roberts
Godfree Roberts
Apr 20, 2020 1:03 PM
Reply to  George Mc

Yes, I’m still puzzling about that. I haven’t analyzed the media yet but suspect that our media hyped and excoriated the Wuhan outbreak in apocalyptic terms then when it hit us they had to abandon their plan to ignore it.

George Mc
George Mc
Apr 20, 2020 2:12 PM

I assume that your position is that the situation we were in before the pandemic (or, if you prefer, “pandemic”) was unsustainable anyway. That capitalism – or, at least, the capitalism that the West has been following – has to be changed. However, if the ruling class has sanctioned this lockdown, then it is clear that they will have their own ideas about restructuring. Which will not bode well for us.

Torontonian
Torontonian
Apr 20, 2020 6:22 PM
Reply to  George Mc

or you could just call it what it is –a seasonal flu. Not even a real epidemic by definition.

George Mc
George Mc
Apr 20, 2020 10:31 PM
Reply to  Torontonian

Hence the scare quotes.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 22, 2020 4:26 AM

I find Roy Unz’s take compelling, and that of some of the commenters even more. The USA launched a bio-warfare attack, the latest of several (ie bird flus and African Swine Fever)unleashed in the last year or so, designed to ‘bring China down’. The attributes of low lethality, easy transmission, and symptomless transmission during an extended incubation period, are perfect to cause a vast epidemic, hard to toss off and causing maximum economic damage. As Unz notes, the current crop of psychopaths running the US are reckless imbeciles, and they are driven by Messianic ‘Christianity’ and Judaism. So they did not expect the ‘mere Asiatics’ those Godless Carmnists, to successfully suppress the disease, so plainly spread at New Year in the transport hub, with a bio-lab nearby for plausible misattribution. Then, as should have been expected, it spread, first, amazingly, to that other US target, Iran, hitting its Government elites… Read more »

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 20, 2020 6:18 PM

Thanks, Godfree. I’m sure you’re right that had not China made “conceivable” this kind of totalitarian control of millions of people, the Western governments would not have dared go so far. What struck me about China, though, is that given the size of that country, they were always following a kind of ‘localized’ quarantine approach. Italy too responded only be ‘”region”. Somehow European leaders in their zeal to ‘act decisively’ found it absolutely necessary to lock down regions with almost no cases of the virus along with those cities where there were significaint numbers of people needing treatment. So yes, China made thinkable what should have remained unthinkable. but the West then went even beyond the unthinkable.

Godfree Roberts
Godfree Roberts
Apr 21, 2020 1:42 AM
Reply to  Martin Cohen

To us Romans, what China did looks like totalitarian control to millions of people. Our monarchic style of governance hasn’t changed much in 2000 years and it has always pitted us, the plebs, against them, the equites and nobiles. Western governments didn’t go so far because they couldn’t. We don’t trust them sufficiently.

But it doesn’t look like that to Confucians. They’re a family and they expect their government to be motivated by ren, compassion which, as every metric demonstrates, it is. China’s government is the most trusted on earth so when they say, ‘lockdown,’ everyone thinks, well, you know best so we’ll cooperate.

The West’s heterogeneous response is a reflection of its heterogeneity more than anything, I think. That plus the difference strains of Covid-19 they were dealing with.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 21, 2020 9:49 AM

The Chinese Renaissance is nothing if not syncretic. It has imbibed of Marxism, Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism and countless other philosophies and ideologies. The West, in contrast, is driven by the cult of ‘The Market, ie the power of money, that turns everything into a commodity for sale to the highest bidder, and replaces the spiritual dimension of life with various fundamentalist, God-bothering, cults of mass stupidity and ruthless xenophobic hatred.

BigB
BigB
Apr 21, 2020 12:46 PM

Sorry Godfree: Zhen-Shan-Ren …

…Ren = renminbi.

I’ve been studying Chinese Cha’an and Yogacaran texts for 40 years. If you think that China is a harmonious Tianxia community uniting Heaven and Earth …as an exponential metastasisation of growth; mega-extractivist; and globalist expansionist order …all I can do is vehemently disagree.

Compassion has nothing to do with it.

When natural creative patterning – Li – becomes ritualised and naturalised created order …compassion is lost. The greater commitment to the Earth and the Way decays. What we have today is not the harmony of man and nature – but the opposite.

Filial piety to sustainable globalism? Please.

🙁

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 22, 2020 4:28 AM
Reply to  BigB

The opposite? Do you mean the harmony of nature and man? The Chinese are the only great power striving to create an ‘ecological civilization’. If they fail, no-one else will succeed.

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 21, 2020 1:13 PM

Mmm… I know China has extended its social net now, but in the year I visited, about 15 years ago, you could see lots of abandoned people begging in the streets – people with no legs for example. And most of the time, if you got ill, you had to pay for treatment. I’d say it was really a feudal system with the Communist Party replacing the aristocracy. (That’s why political power there is handed down from father to son, as with the current leadership.) As for the West not going too far – you’re in the UK I guess, but I’m in France. I am not allowed to leave the house with my small childfor a walk down the street (it must be done “alone”) and with a piece of of official paper stating the time at which I left the house and “for what purpose”. I can go… Read more »

Godfree Roberts
Godfree Roberts
Apr 21, 2020 1:48 PM
Reply to  Martin Cohen

Fifteen years ago incomes were 30% of current levels. Beggars and homeless people disappeared in 2016. Children’s healthy life expectancy is better than American kids’ and, by next June, everyone in the bottom 50% income bracket will own a home and have an income, plenty of food and clothes, better education than Americans, safe streets, health insurance, a pensions, and old age care. By then, 300,000,000 urban Chinese will have higher net worth and more disposable income than the average American, their mothers and infants will be less likely to die in childbirth, their children will graduate from high school three years ahead of American kids and live longer, healthier lives and there will be more drug addicts, suicides and executions, more homeless, poor, hungry and imprisoned people in America than in China. China abandoned feudalism thousands of years ago and the only aristocracy was the imperial family, whose function… Read more »

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 22, 2020 4:34 AM

Which makes the stinking chutzpah of psychopaths like Pompeo or Bannon speaking as if THEY, the White Bosses, represented the true interests of the Chinese people against the Evil CCP, more than normally villainous and nauseating.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 22, 2020 4:31 AM
Reply to  Martin Cohen

You seem to have China mixed up with the DPRK. China has now abolished all extreme poverty, unlike the USA, UK or Israel. The lack of universal health insurance, which is now being introduced, was a Dengist policy to force the public to save, rather than consume, to amass capital for economic expansion. It’s not really necessary now, although the Chinese still have one of the highest rates of savings in the world.

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 23, 2020 1:31 PM

I think I mentioned I was referring to my observations from a trip 15 or so years ago now. I do believe strides have been made in this area, as you suggest. However, you DO have to be very careful with claims by totalitarian regimes to have aboloished poverty! Just as you have to be sceptical with claims by Western governments to have mastered the spread of viruses through massive invasion of privacy and curtailment of movement rights.

Sam - Admin2
Admin
Sam - Admin2
Apr 21, 2020 2:21 PM

This is some ideological storytelling which supports the very fear narrative which has made it all possible, in an ironic catch 22 kinda way, and very possibly represents exactly the socially-conditioned level of double think we have become accustomed to. There is as yet no published evidence that this virus is anything more than a manageable strain of coronavirus, similar to the many flu-like pathogens we deal with constantly, as the Diamond Princess, Iceland, Vo and, most recently, the Stanford test population samples all support. Basic epidemiological protocol has been flouted, leaving us utterly in the dark about WHAT we are dealign with, if anything, and still people insist on reasoning backwards to justify the narrative which the propaganda could well have originated in the first place, all the time thinking that creating a different, less plausible scary origin story is somehow digging out the REAL truth. No, in terms… Read more »

Godfree Roberts
Godfree Roberts
Apr 21, 2020 2:34 PM
Reply to  Sam - Admin2

Except that we know the USA has launched bioattacks on China before

Sam - Admin2
Admin
Sam - Admin2
Apr 21, 2020 3:48 PM

This is a straw man argument. This is not necessary to explain the behaviour of this virus which, looking at the statistics, would have to be the shittest bioweapon ever created, to be quite honest. A discerning person should require FAR MORE evidence than actually exists to ever justify assisting the narrative and buying into the fear porn in such a counterproductive way. Right now, Occam’s Razor must rule that out.

Also, I’m not familiar with the evidence for the above statement, so please could you post a link?

Godfree Roberts
Godfree Roberts
Apr 22, 2020 12:44 AM
Reply to  Sam - Admin2

You said, ” I have yet to see any reason why a bio-attack makes ANY SENSE” so my observation that it was US policy is hardly a straw man argument. It is an observation about our MO. See The Report of the International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China. Sir Joseph Needham, Lead Author

Good bioweapons wound and sick people tie up 10x more resources than corpses, and Covid-19 does that extremely well, as we are seeing.

There is far more evidence available and I suggest you start here: https://www.unz.com/article/the-hunt-for-patient-zero/

Sam - Admin2
Admin
Sam - Admin2
Apr 22, 2020 1:14 AM

I do not see why a bioweapon is necessary to make sense of this scenario. Replying that it IS necessary because Post hoc ergo proctor hoc is a straw man argument. It’s presence contributes nothing except raise more questions, hence occam’s razor. It also ties in with the scare narrative which does more harm than good. Also this link isn’t establishing any prior evidence of US bio attacks. It is speculating about Covid.

Except that we know the USA has launched bioattacks on China before

I was after some links for this.A2.

Godfree Roberts
Godfree Roberts
Apr 22, 2020 1:43 AM
Reply to  Sam - Admin2

There is no link to The Report of the International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China., since every copy of the Report was destroyed and every witness threatened with imprisonment. I have a copy which I am preparing for publication but it’s 490 pages long with tables and illustrations, so it’s hard work.

Ron Unz summarized my suspicions well, “It therefore appears that elements of the Defense Intelligence Agency were aware of the deadly viral outbreak in Wuhan more than a month before any officials in the Chinese government itself. Unless our intelligence agencies have pioneered the technology of precognition, I think this may have happened for the same reason that arsonists have the earliest knowledge of future fires.”

I suggest beginning with the work of Thomas Powell, here: https://www.opednews.com/articles/Biological-Warfare-in-Kore-by-Thomas-Powell-Germ-Warfare-190915-398.html.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 22, 2020 4:35 AM

And in Korea, Cuba and against their own people.

John Thurloe
John Thurloe
Apr 19, 2020 10:39 PM

Soon, the weather will be lovely. The outdoors beckon. Young people out of school, out of work. Out of patience at being locked indoors. Cabin fever sets in. People frantic about losing their jobs, business, out of money. The smarmy liberal media talking down to them. As the rich, bailed out, sail on.

People will go out. To visit, party, play sports. To hell with it. The cops will issue tickets, make arrests. There will be protests. Police will beat, shoot and kill. As sure as God made little green apples. Hell will break loose. Pandora’s Box opens.

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Apr 20, 2020 2:04 AM
Reply to  John Thurloe

The weather here in Australia is ‘lovely’ most of the time (except for the 40+days in Summer) and the people are still doing what they’re told by the fear mongers.

May Hem
May Hem
Apr 20, 2020 5:32 AM
Reply to  Fair dinkum

Beautiful, sunny weather here in Oz and we’re not allowed to go to our beaches! Locked down and Locked out – or be locked up!

Juirui
Juirui
Apr 20, 2020 3:50 PM
Reply to  Fair dinkum

You don’t have big conurbations (the firewood) or many of a certain ethnic type (the fire accelerant) in Oz…to get real firestorm going ..We do.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 21, 2020 9:50 AM
Reply to  Juirui

Yeah-we all live in villages.

Mo Youngs
Mo Youngs
Apr 20, 2020 12:58 PM
Reply to  John Thurloe

The media is hardly liberal. It’s corporate and only about making money. Stop with the polital divide that pits people against each other.

AnonSkeptic
AnonSkeptic
Apr 19, 2020 9:40 PM

This article is an excercise in damage control. Acknowledging what OffG audience have already come to understand about this hoax already, but covering more malevolent aspects such as corporate media comlicity as “information cascade”. I expect the discerning readers here to see through this obfuscation.

livingsb
livingsb
Apr 20, 2020 12:52 AM
Reply to  AnonSkeptic

IMO, the article was good but way too long winded. Can you elaborate on what you are saying?

AnonSkeptic
AnonSkeptic
Apr 20, 2020 5:10 AM
Reply to  livingsb

Essentially the author is explaining away the mendacity of mainstream media and government in their purveying of hysteria as simply an “information cascade’. When we clearly saw an effort to push one narrative. Surely if this was an organic reaction, eventually the 30 experts who have featured on OffG would have found their compelling interpretations at least entertained on MSM. Instead we had articles for example on the BBC titled “Why intelligent people believe in coronavirus myths”. The headline alone speaks volumes. This insidious article like the post Iraq invasion remorse narrative is setting up the failure of intelligence type angle where good intentions and poor due diligence lead to disastrous war. When it was media and government mendacity and calculated influence shaping that set the war footing. Just like Iraq, millions will suffer and many will die and it is not ok to be philosophical when we should be… Read more »

Livingsb
Livingsb
Apr 20, 2020 5:57 AM
Reply to  AnonSkeptic

I agree with you. Thanks.

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 20, 2020 6:42 PM
Reply to  AnonSkeptic

As mentioned in another comment above, the problem isn’t the people who seem to have a cunning strategy to exploit the EVENT for selfish purposes (the “Bootleggers”), but the vastly greater numbers of people who have been persuaded that the new policies are both necessary and somehow virtuous (the ‘Baptists”). The MSM is staffed by thousands of people who are not so much wicked as deluded. How otherwise smart, principled people can be manipulated and how a view can spread beyond even the intentions of its originators is what the article is seeking to explain. In no way is it exonerating individuals.

belgique
belgique
Apr 22, 2020 8:47 PM
Reply to  Martin Cohen

How smart or principled can one be without seeing the obvious truth of this nefarious hoax, especially when one has a hand in it? No quarter for these whores. Thanks for spurring discussion with the article.

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 20, 2020 6:26 PM
Reply to  AnonSkeptic

The problem is not the small number of plotters, but the large number of followers. People like the nurses pleading with everyone to “stay at home”! These people are not following some secret agenda in which they become rich. Nor are most of the journalists. They actually imagine they are performing a virtuous service when they pen an attack on dissident experts. Sociologists recognise the power behind a political movement when it manages to co-opt not just the people whose practical interests they serve, but also those who may act directly AGAINST their own interests believing themselves to be doing the “right thing”! This is what sociologists call a Baptist and Bootlegger coalition. It’s the ‘Baptists’ who are the most dangerous at the present time!

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Apr 19, 2020 9:31 PM

Yeah yeah

That’s a long scroll down!

Glad i gave up paying any serious attention when getting to

“On January 11 2020, China announced its first death from the virus”

We know China had already announced it to the WHO before the end of December. So a simple fact wrong. The rest is the same, leaping from the wrong January date to denying anything significant happening until March.

It seems like more of the same and relying on the foundation man Ionnades.

Next!

Torontonian
Torontonian
Apr 20, 2020 6:24 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

Have a problem reading? ahhhhhh– you fit the type of “follower” he outlines in the article. That is if you read down far enough.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Apr 20, 2020 9:20 PM
Reply to  Torontonian

Whatever.

You don’t deny the fake news by the author, that i identify in my post.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 21, 2020 9:52 AM
Reply to  Dungroanin

The latest refutation of the racist lies that ‘China lied’ is the fact that Americans at the WHO were contacting officials in the USA, in the CDC etc, warning of the virus from mid-January at least.

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 21, 2020 1:22 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

Maybe you’re confusing announcements of ‘cases’ with ‘deaths’. The date is standard and agreed.
https://www.businessinsider.fr/us/coronavirus-pandemic-timeline-history-major-events-2020-3

BDBinc
BDBinc
Apr 19, 2020 9:18 PM

Cognitively the Great Virus Hoax does also rely on the negativity bias. And that people have become “believers”especially when their weakened brains have been( deliberately) shut down by fear ( the freeze response) .The first thing these believers do is look to authority for what to do (and ” experts” as to what to think). Medically “any Covid19 deaths” are just medical fraud as the CDC test even says testing positive is not even cause of disease let alone deaths! quoting Jon Rappaport CDC quote “Positive [test] results are indicative of active infection with 2019-nCoV but do not rule out bacterial infection or co-infection with other viruses. The agent detected may not be the definite cause of disease.” CDC on the PCR test RE The test Do you know how can they differentiate between SARS-CoV( global spread 2002-2003) and SARS-CoV-2 ( 89.9% nt identity with SARS-CoV) ? The PCR test… Read more »

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 21, 2020 1:27 PM
Reply to  BDBinc

I agree entirely, but look at how well the “test, test, test” line (started by the WHO) has gone down! That’s surely because we are in thrall to “science”. People simply can’t grasp that scientific knowledge is fallible and invariably open to revision.

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood
Apr 19, 2020 9:01 PM

This is only The Metro, but hey, it quotes “scientists” so it must be true: https://metro.co.uk/2020/04/18/coronavirus-may-started-september-scientists-say-12576961/ Coronavirus may have started spreading in September, scientists say James HockadaySaturday 18 Apr 2020 10:14 pm The coronavirus outbreak could have began in mid-September, British scientists studying the diseases mutations have claimed. They also believe it may not have started in the Chinese city of Wuhan as is widely believed. Researchers from the University of Cambridge are trying to trace the origins of the deadly disease by mapping its genetic history to patient zero. So far they have mapped out its journey from China, to Australia, Europe then the rest of the world. The scientists have found three distinct but related variants of the bug more prevalent in different parts of the world. Having created a network using over 1,000 coronavirus genomes, researchers believe the pandemic kicked off some time between September 13 and… Read more »

livingsb
livingsb
Apr 19, 2020 8:41 PM

Judge Chamberlain Holler: That is a lucid, intelligent, well-thought out objection.
Vinny: Thank you, your honor.
Judge Chamberlain Holler: Overruled.

Willem
Willem
Apr 19, 2020 7:51 PM

So the blame game has started. Let’s start that I am not buying anything in as if ‘we’ were dumb, by letting ‘our’ fast mind work instead of thinking ‘slowly’. If I would have had the power to lock down a country because of Covid19, I wouldn’t have done it. and if I would have the power to open up a country, I would do it straight away. So it is definitely not ‘me’. If anyone is to blame it is ‘them’, not ‘we’. What happened is this: First it was concocted how the orchestra (the media, the experts, the politicians, the population at large) would play when a ‘deadly’ virus caused a pandemic, and only when it was absolutely clear how the orchestra would play ‘they’ catalyzed the event and let the orchestra play. Now the historian, the investigative journalist, the scientist, the psychologist and the population at large… Read more »

Lost in a dark wood
Lost in a dark wood
Apr 19, 2020 10:49 PM
Reply to  Willem

My theory is that there were at least two scams being played. There was the Bill Gates, Event 201 scam, and there was the vulture capitalism scam (mega-wealthy Trump supporters). There may be some overlap, but in general they are different groups of elitists.

T Brites
T Brites
Apr 19, 2020 7:46 PM

“The contagions are constantly evolving, a man who tests negative today could contract the disease tomorrow.” ‪ This is NOT CORRECT! The correct way is: “The contagions are constantly evolving, a man who tests negative today could contract the virus tomorrow.” ‪ And this is another PROBLEM! When even those that can use Critical Thought in times like these use the wrong words, the Ignorant & Irresponsible aren’t able to perceive the errors! It’s like the propaganda slogan “Tested positive for COVID-19″… just another moronic thing to say, but almost everyone is saying it! Reject Ignorance… “Most people, including ourselves, live in a world of relative ignorance. We are even comfortable with that ignorance, because it is all we know. When we first start facing truth, the process may be frightening, and many people run back to their old lives. But if you continue to seek truth, you will eventually… Read more »

Torontonian
Torontonian
Apr 20, 2020 6:25 PM
Reply to  T Brites

Geez total semantics– get over your breathless self!

T Brites
T Brites
Apr 21, 2020 3:40 PM
Reply to  Torontonian

Yes… ignorant people always enjoys a good dose of semantics! It’s entertaining…

crank
crank
Apr 19, 2020 7:34 PM

The key passage: Long, long ago, Aristotle, the man who said the Earth is fixed at the centre of the universe, proclaimed that Man was a rational animal, but In 2020, instead, the crisis revealed human beings as hopelessly irrational creatures whose thinking is driven not by calm consideration of ‘the evidence’ but rather by various kinds of deeply entrenched thinking errors and cognitive biases. A false dichotomy. ‘Man’ is a being capable of rationality, even if it is argued that this capability is realised only sporadically or rarely. The further ‘Man’ is driven from his/her own self-reflective thinking, the less capacity and readiness for rational thought he/she has. For me, the acknowledgement that our information systems ‘encourage thinking errors and cognitive biases’ does not sit easily with the ‘cock-up theory’ described in this article. If it serves those in power to alienate the populace from their capacity for critical… Read more »

tonyopmoc
tonyopmoc
Apr 20, 2020 3:02 AM
Reply to  crank

crank,

“I know some pretty smart people who cannot think rationally about this matter, they cannot form coherent thoughts about it, they cannot offer an argument. Their minds are scrambled ”

Yeh, I get that too, and its really pissing me off, but I can’t verbalise my reaction, though they may be able to see it in my eyes, how shocked I am at their reaction. It’s like someone you know and have massive respect is having a nervous breakdown. They simply can’t handle what is happening, so all you can do is empathise with them, and not tell them it will probably get 100 times worse, though I haven’t tried that technique yet,cos now we are not allowed to meet (snif, snif, atishoo, all fall down). Still in a state of terror.

God knows what happens next, but I am frightened too.

Tony

milosevic
milosevic
Apr 20, 2020 8:18 AM
Reply to  crank

I know some pretty smart people who cannot think rationally about this matter, they cannot form coherent thoughts about it, they cannot offer an argument. Their minds are scrambled (perhaps even their brains damaged physiologically) by the information warfare of the schooling and media systems under which we all live.

in what sense would such people qualify as “smart”? that sounds much more like the dictionary definition of “stupid”.

crank
crank
Apr 20, 2020 7:48 PM
Reply to  milosevic

in what sense would such people qualify as “smart”? that sounds much more like the dictionary definition of “stupid”.

In the sense of they have studied and worked in fields that require some serious cognitive involvement : medicine, engineering, architecture. They have well demonstrated (to me at least) the ability to delve into concepts and to critique, and they have taken on responsibilities of a profession where their judgement has impacted the lives of others.
They are ‘smart’ in the sense that in certain instances they definitely can think rationally, can form coherent thoughts and can offer arguments (which they realise need to be substantiated). In the case of this (covid) and other current events however, these abilities seem to evaporate. That is the point I was trying to make.

Kratoklastes
Kratoklastes
Apr 21, 2020 8:50 AM
Reply to  crank

What you’ve just described is the Dunning-Kruger Effect (DKE). Most people have a completely ill-formed understanding of what DKE is, so it’s worth clarifying (note that’s not being directed at you, but people further up the thread who think that truly smart people are immune to ignorance outside their domain). The study cohort for the original Kruger-Dunning paper wasn’t made up of dummies. It was made up people around 1.8σ north of the median. It was a group of Cornell undergraduates. The average SAT score for admission to Cornell is 1470 (on the 1600) – i.e., 96th SAT percentile. Kruger and Dunning found their ‘metacognitive’ effect (being unskilled outside your domain of competence, but unaware of it) in all but the top quartile of their subjects (the top quartile for Cornell admissions is 1570 – the top 0.4% of SAT). Let’s assume that K&D’s subjects were a distributed ‘dumber’ than… Read more »

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 21, 2020 9:56 AM
Reply to  Kratoklastes

I do like ‘midwit’. The Midwit Cuckoos would be a good name for a political party.

BigB
BigB
Apr 21, 2020 2:40 PM
Reply to  Kratoklastes

Kratoklastes: You perhaps overlooked the main implication of DKE. That it takes multiple linguistic competences over multiple domains – acting as communicative behavioural order – to create and sustain the behavioural diversity and hypercomplexity of modern societies. All those domain competencies have to connect and communicate in subordinations of superventions of systematic order. They are not all horizontal and equal: they can’t be …otherwise you’d have no order. If you got a group of people with different linguistic competences: all you got is a group …with no social relations or order. Only when the begin to communicate can they align mental states and coordinate behaviours. Social order emerges from communication, the coordinated behavioural relations, and shared participatory sense-making. Only then can you say there is a social unit …which may not be that unified [See Bruno Latour: sticking the word ‘social’ in front of something only implies semantic unity …not… Read more »

BigB
BigB
Apr 21, 2020 2:46 PM
Reply to  BigB

“compete-tences” was a typo that works better than competences. The order is not that ordered and competition makes it frail and decoherent – not competent. The sociologists have created a false orderly order which is anything but.

Toby Russell
Toby Russell
Apr 20, 2020 8:19 AM
Reply to  crank

I give this comment many hundreds of up votes! (And so would like to build on its observations, or perhaps look beneath them…) Part of the logic of hierarchical rule requires domination of the narrative for reasons of survival: cohesion of the system over time. Any large, complex, hierarchical social system requires ‘propaganda’ – or a vision that needs constant fine tuning – of some sort. Without that binding ingredient – “religion” means, etymologically, a story that binds us – large groups of people split up into smaller groups. Hierarchy means top-down rule, ownership, control, etc. The perennial problem is that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The trick is sustaining a workable transparency that can be trusted. In extremely complex societies, the degree of specialisation is also extreme. This means we need to trust strangers who are expert in important things we don’t have the time to learn.… Read more »

Kratoklastes
Kratoklastes
Apr 21, 2020 9:02 AM
Reply to  Toby Russell

The perennial problem is that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Nope. The perennial problem is that only corrupt people seek power in the first place.

Acton’s famous phrase is a misdirection. It’s designed to make the mouth-breathers believe that the political class – like the priest-hood – enter full of noble aims but are led astray.

That’s hogwash: with virtually no exceptions in the entire history of manknd, people go into politics because they want to force people to behave in ways that the political class wants but the average person doesn’t want.

Another one is the one attrubited to (but never actually said by) Abraham Lincoln: “you can fool some of the people [snip] etc”… a parasite only needs to fool about 30% of the people twice in 4 years, in order to be a 2-term president.

Toby Russell
Toby Russell
Apr 21, 2020 12:35 PM
Reply to  Kratoklastes

I agree. Though in keeping with my choice of the concept of health as a wiser guiding principle for governing human societies, I would say only sick/unhealthy people hunger for power. In the end though, that’s a relatively unimportant distinction. The point I make in my comment stands one way or the other. For people to hunger after power, power – whether ‘illusory’ or ‘real’ – is an object ‘out there’ that is part and parcel of how corruption operates. Health, in the full sense I mean – emotional, environmental, societal, etc. –, dissolves power, or rather transcends any need for it in the negative sense of manipulation, control of others via fear, secrecy, subterfuge, FUD, etc.

BigB
BigB
Apr 21, 2020 3:17 PM
Reply to  Toby Russell

Toby: New thinking = biological systems theory New subjectivity = subjectless subjects New relations = neural network relations (network effects = co-participatory, co-emergent synergies) New communications = ecological communication All effects and properties – including subjectivites – emerge from the interdependence of relational properties ….not from intrinsic determinate attributes. In other words: the biological system determines (not via determinate strict lawful cause and effect relations) the properties of its subsystemic parts and processes to align with the purpose (autonomous self-production: not a metaphysical teleology (of infinite growth)) of the system. In plain English: the system produces the people: not the people produce the system. Sure, there is a causal feedback loop created: but it’s inter-generational and epigenetic and linguistically heritable. The people who made the system are deader than DoDoes. As we will be if we cannot break out of this rational linear cause and effect reductive analytical bollocks and… Read more »

George Mc
George Mc
Apr 19, 2020 7:33 PM

The manufacture of hysteria has been glaringly obvious. As in that computer generation of someone infecting someone else by a cough from behind a shelf and standing 20 feet away. I can’t believe that the button pushers behind that one did not see the inevitable and futile panic that would cause. Everyone in a supermarket who hears someone coughing even from a distance will go into headless chicken mode. Not only is all this deliberate but it is screamingly obviously deliberate. But does this panic mode just completely destroy everyone’s critical faculty? Or did they have no critical faculty to begin with?

Jean Wilson
Jean Wilson
Apr 19, 2020 10:43 PM
Reply to  George Mc

The button pushers are busy while most people are under house arrest. They are planning a nightmare world of super digital control, and this is just the first step. “We are being conditioned to accept that there will be repeated campaigns of vaccination tied to future outbreaks. Remember, this is meant to be a “permanent crisis.” Pay for success demands it. It is the crisis framework that legitimizes intrusive surveillance framed as a public benefit. In this way social systems can be regulated to conform to the expectations of global technocrats.” Look at what is behind the manufactured hysteria. How could so many fall for it and will they continue their delusion. If so, we are stuffed, as our future techno-hell depends on the continued fear of the masses. And the button pusher are about to get much, much richer. Waves of crises and disasters, often engineered, have made it… Read more »

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 21, 2020 1:38 PM
Reply to  Jean Wilson

It is terrifying, yes. And I agree with you that a lot of pre-existing social control strategies are being wheeled out and made permanent under cover of ‘this emergency’.

Torontonian
Torontonian
Apr 20, 2020 6:26 PM
Reply to  George Mc

Just reading some of the posts here proves that!

Tommy Prince
Tommy Prince
Apr 19, 2020 7:33 PM

In mid-November 2019, Natos countries along with israel were warned by US intelligence sources of the impending epidemic that was starting in Wuhan China.

How did they know? Why wasn’t China alerted? Why did thoses who were warned sit on that warning until March of 2020?

T Brites
T Brites
Apr 19, 2020 7:48 PM
Reply to  Tommy Prince

It wasn’t a warning!

Objective
Objective
Apr 19, 2020 7:51 PM
Reply to  Tommy Prince

US intelligence sources of the impending epidemic that was starting in Wuhan China.

Sounds to good to be true, or just pure CIA propaganda, to divert blame. However I have seen documented evidence asserting a SARS like virus was found in Bat populations back in 2015, with fears it could pass to humans.

comment image

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Apr 20, 2020 4:15 AM
Reply to  Tommy Prince

Smoking gun, ignored by the MSM presstitutes.

breweriana
breweriana
Apr 19, 2020 7:26 PM

I fully agree with the author’s frustration at trying to get the message through to people at street level, and his concern over case counts, concerning the latter I add an official NHS link below. The Covid Cult madness has reached a new fever pitch. The regular work of treating patients, even serious cases, seems to have been suspended. The NHS has now stopped using death statistics seen here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/critical-care-capacity/ Quote: “Critical Care Bed Capacity and Urgent Operations Cancelled…Due to the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) and the need to release capacity across the NHS to support the response, we are pausing the collection and publication of these and some of our official statistics. This will apply to the releases listed HERE” Unquote. A click on the ‘HERE’ hyperlink in the webpage quoted above, for the “releases listed HERE” turns out to be… 404 error “Not Found. The requested URL was not… Read more »

T Brites
T Brites
Apr 19, 2020 7:51 PM
Reply to  breweriana

Forget “people at street level”, their brains are directly connect to MSM!

breweriana
breweriana
Apr 19, 2020 8:05 PM
Reply to  T Brites

Yes.
It’s like hypnotism, brainwashing, or something. Facts do not cut it with these people.

The worry to me is, that the authorities may see this as an indication they can now direct them to do anything:
‘Just climb into these railway cars, folks – you’re going to be vaccinated – for your personal safety and well-being.’

Nightmare.

The Coming Revolutio
The Coming Revolutio
Apr 20, 2020 2:34 AM
Reply to  breweriana

“Facts do not cut it with these people.”

That’s the most terrifying.

Reg
Reg
Apr 20, 2020 12:19 AM
Reply to  T Brites

T Brites
T Brites
Apr 20, 2020 9:36 AM
Reply to  Reg

That’s a classic!

McGillicuddy
McGillicuddy
Apr 19, 2020 7:21 PM

Despite innumerable editorial errors- it would appear this was written in a rush- an excellent piece, and worth sending out to friends and family in hopes a little light and air will get in. There likely will be an increase in such thinking as more facts emerge on the fallacies of charting Covid deaths. What is certain is, we’re in the midst of an unprecedented fear campaign to which the vast majority have succumbed.

George Mc
George Mc
Apr 19, 2020 7:12 PM

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_psychogenic_illness

Note the bit about the Middle Ages:

The earliest studied cases linked with epidemic hysteria are the dancing manias of the Middle Ages, including St. John’s dance and tarantism. These were supposed to be associated with spirit possession or the bite of the tarantula. Those afflicted with dancing mania would dance in large groups, sometimes for weeks at a time. The dancing was sometimes accompanied by stripping, howling, the making of obscene gestures, or even (reportedly) laughing or crying to the point of death. Dancing mania was widespread over Europe.

Of course the present hysteria over coronavirus is based on solid authoritatively established scientific medical knowledge. Just as the Middle Ages hysteria was based on solid authoritatively established ecclesiastical knowledge of spirit possession!

milosevic
milosevic
Apr 19, 2020 7:36 PM
Reply to  George Mc

mediaeval spirit possession was a perfectly scientific subject. they even had academic experts, who wrote whole textbooks on the subject. and academic experts would never just make up stupid bullshit.

https://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/mm/

Objective
Objective
Apr 19, 2020 7:55 PM
Reply to  milosevic

and academic experts would never just make up stupid bullshit.

I’m assuming that’s sarcasm?

milosevic
milosevic
Apr 19, 2020 8:11 PM
Reply to  Objective

no, it’s just showing the proper deference and respect due to authority.

Objective
Objective
Apr 19, 2020 10:02 PM
Reply to  milosevic

Hmmm afraid i’ve had enough of “experts” look where they get you.

JohnB
JohnB
Apr 19, 2020 11:18 PM
Reply to  Objective

He’s saying it was sarcasm.

(Are you Sheldon Cooper ?)

Objective
Objective
Apr 19, 2020 11:33 PM
Reply to  JohnB

These nuances can be difficult to detect in text only. I have no idea who Sheldon Cooper is.

George Mc
George Mc
Apr 20, 2020 7:41 AM
Reply to  Objective

He’s the autistic lead from Big Bang Theory. You’re right about ironic/sarcastic nuances being difficult if not impossible to detect. I recently had an exchange with some posturing little smartarse and I said this:

Sarcasm is an impotent matter and there’s none more stupid than those who think they are smart. I have read plenty of this kind of sophomoric humour and I have wondered if the writer is writing from a position of A or not-A or not-not-A. And I realise that there is no point in continuing with them.

cf. Poe’s Law:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law

Torontonian
Torontonian
Apr 20, 2020 6:30 PM
Reply to  George Mc

Really? Wikipedia ?????? is your authority?—sigh. It was about poisoning (ie spider bites). try reading a real authority (eye roll)

George Mc
George Mc
Apr 20, 2020 10:30 PM
Reply to  Torontonian

The actual medical reasons were not my concern but the way this phenomenon was interpreted. My point is that the inhabitants of medieval times were as sure about spirit possession as we are about what the media backed medical authorities sanction as knowledge.

Gwyn
Gwyn
Apr 19, 2020 7:08 PM

2018 = 1 B.C. (Before Coronavirus).

jay
jay
Apr 19, 2020 7:06 PM

Whether or not you believe…
There is no way that this hoax could have happened in a country which retained it’s Christianity.

Objective
Objective
Apr 19, 2020 7:38 PM
Reply to  jay

oh dear…

livingsb
livingsb
Apr 19, 2020 8:47 PM
Reply to  jay

This statement is ludicrous; however, I do find myself in agreement with an inordinate amount Christian(spiritual)-based article writers on the virus nonsense these days.

Binra
Binra
Apr 19, 2020 9:17 PM
Reply to  jay

You cant ‘retain’ Christ. You can live in Christ – whether of not given such a name. The issue of fear operating as the denial of love is older than Caesar. The undoing or transmuting of fear to love is willingness to heal or make whole. The use of religion for virtue signalling and ‘respectability’ set it in the Establishment as a masking over truth that presents itself as protector or representative of truth. Hidden hates, guilt and fear of exposure work covid stories – just as fig leaves covid a sense of self conscious lack and ‘fine new robes’ covid the Emperor’s fear of illegitimacy. Masking is used as survival in a world of threat and malice. It is also used to mask malice in cunning stunts – such as as ‘Sanctimony of Guardian Collumnists’ (lifted from a recent Spectator comment 😉 The shutting down of the Churches and… Read more »

Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen
Apr 21, 2020 1:47 PM
Reply to  Binra

Christian belief and traditions seems to have been one of the ‘opportunity’ targets, with church services banned, even entering churches in family groups for private prayer fobidden, and Christian funerals replaced by medieval plague victim burials.