Our successor to This Week in the Guardian, This Week in the New Normal is our weekly chart of the progress of autocracy, authoritarianism and economic restructuring around the world.
1. Yearly Covid vaccine updates “like new iphones”
The CEO of Moderna gave an interview with CNN this week where he claimed the company is working on releasing a single yearly booster vaccine capable of targeting Covid variants, flu strains and all other common viruses.
It’s a remarkable claim – considering that Moderna’s Covid “vaccine” was (alongside Pfizer’s jab) the first EVER coronavirus vaccine OR mRNA vaccine to be approved for use on people, despite years of research on both. Indeed, before Covid Moderna had existed for over a decade and never successfully brought a single product of any kind to market.
Yet now they are confident in bringing out a new “safe and effective” mRNA vaccine every year, and not just against Covid but against pretty much every respiratory virus you can name.
2. CBDCs roll ever on
More and more countries are signing up to go fully digital with their money.
Meanwhile in the US a “bipartisan group of lawmakers” wants to pressure the Federal Reserve to take a digital dollar more seriously, talking up the “threat” of the digital yuan.
Just yesterday it was reported that the digital ruble is very much still a thing and may be launched as soon as 2023. More worryingly the report describes how some digital rubles could be “colored” or “targeted”, meaning only usable for specific goods or services.
That’s a dangerous step, reducing currency from a simple guarantor of value to essentially government-issued vouchers.
We’ve covered that danger many times before (in Western nations the term used is “programmability”). Indeed the benefits of programmability were discussed the Bank of England’s CBDC Summit, the minutes of which were published on Friday.
But whether they call it “programmability”, “targeting” or “coloring” it all amounts to the same thing – massively increased government surveillance and control of your money.
3. FBI raids Trump’s Mar-a-Largo home
You doubtless heard about this. On August 9th the FBI raided the Florida resort home of Donald Trump, allegedly to seize confidential documents Trump should never have taken with him when he left office. Whether or not this is the real reason – or if these documents ever even existed – we will never know.
What is undeniably true is that it re-establishes Trump as the “drain the swamp” candidate. It ingratiates him with the anti-establishment right while giving the pro-establishment left something to cheer.
It’s a calculated move. Handing ammunition to both sides ahead of the next presidential election.
On the one side, you have the “Democrat” voters so conditioned by “Orange Man Bad” that they’ll cheer on anything done by anyone to target the man, no matter how dystopian or anti-democratic it is. That includes show trials, government raids, and any other authoritarian crackdowns you can think of.
On the other side, you have “Republicans” incensed at their figurehead’s treatment and becoming increasingly angry at the state of the country, economy and world in general. Their anger is fostered and encouraged so it can eventually be directed by a tool of state who makes sure it never threatens the real problem – this tool could be Trump or someone else.
This anger is then used as a pretext to promote fear of “domestic terrorism”, stage some “terrorist incidents” and further justify political and social media crackdowns on various civil rights (we’ve already seen “online threats turn to real world violence”).
If you doubt that, check this article from the Atlantic:
Now They’re Calling for Violence – Trump loyalists have reacted to the search of the ex-president’s Mar-a-Lago residence with unhinged fury.
This “violence” was literally the entire point of the exercise. As the article points out, “Civil war” was trending on social media after the raid hit the headlines, that was no accident.
However the details eventually work out, it is a classic case of Orwellian control – controlling not just the mainstream, but the alternative – and it seems to be headed to a contrived civil war. “The Party” are deliberately fanning flames on both sides of the US, hoping the nation tears itself apart.
BONUS: Fun activity of the week
The WHO announced on Friday that – after three months – they’ve finally come up with new names for the variants/clades of monkeypox.
The old geographical names “Congo Basin” and “West African” were deemed potentially stigmatizing and racist, so after twelve weeks of consulting the experts…they’ve decided to number them instead.
They will henceforth be known as clade I and clade II.
The good news is they still haven’t come up with a new name for monkeypox itself, but they are – rather foolishly – throwing that open to suggestions. Anyone interested in contributing can click here, go to “add proposal” and sign in.
It’s not all bad…
Neil Oliver’s monologue on how hard it can be to overcome our own assumptions of benevolence, and wake up to the threat of state power, is something that will doubtless resonate with a lot of readers:
And Bob Moran is his usual acerbic self…