I remember vividly the day, at the tail end of March, when facemasks suddenly became synonymous with morality: either one cared about the lives of others and donned a mask, or one was selfish and refused to do so. The shift occurred virtually overnight.
Only a day or two before, I had associated this attire solely with surgeons and people living in heavily polluted regions. Now, my friends’ favorite pastime during our weekly Zoom sessions was excoriating people for running or socializing without masks in Prospect Park. I was mystified by their certitude that bits of cloth were the only thing standing between us and mass death, particularly when mere weeks prior, the message from medical experts contradicted this new doctrine.
The defining moment in the “rules for thee but not for me” ethos of the ruling class during the COVID-19 pandemic may have come when Neil Ferguson, the epidemiologist behind Britain’s lockdown policy, met with his married girlfriend in defiance of the restrictions he promoted. Eager to threaten the common people with penalties if they failed to socially distance, he saw no reason to inconvenience himself the same way—although at least he conceded that propriety required him to resign his government post when the trysts were discovered in May.
“He has peculiarly breached his own guidelines, and for an intelligent man I find that very hard to believe,” marveled Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a prominent member of the ruling Conservative Party. “It risks undermining the Government’s lockdown message.”
Well, yes. But like all too many officials, Ferguson obviously never thought he’d be caught violating rules that he’d never intended be applied to himself. As we’ve since learned, Ferguson’s above-the-law attitude is common among those who feel entitled to write regulations and impose penalties on others for violating them.
In just the past week, the national-security states of the United States and United Kingdom have discreetly let it be known that the cyber tools and online tactics previously designed for use in the post-9/11 “war on terror” are now being repurposed for use against information sources promoting “vaccine hesitancy” and information related to Covid-19 that runs counter to their state narratives.
A new cyber offensive was launched on Monday by the UK’s signal intelligence agency, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which seeks to target websites that publish content deemed to be “propaganda” that raises concerns regarding state-sponsored Covid-19 vaccine development and the multi-national pharmaceutical corporations involved.
Similar efforts are underway in the United States, with the US military recently funding a CIA-backed firm—stuffed with former counterterrorism officials who were behind the occupation of Iraq and the rise of the so-called Islamic State—to develop an AI algorithm aimed specifically at new websites promoting “suspected” disinformation related to the Covid-19 crisis and the US military–led Covid-19 vaccination effort known as Operation Warp Speed.
Both countries are preparing to silence independent journalists who raise legitimate concerns over pharmaceutical industry corruption or the extreme secrecy surrounding state-sponsored Covid-19 vaccination efforts, now that Pfizer’s vaccine candidate is slated to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by month’s end.
Pfizer’s history of being fined billions for illegal marketing and for bribing government officials to help them cover up an illegal drug trial that killed eleven children (among other crimes) has gone unmentioned by most mass media outlets, which instead have celebrated the apparently imminent approval of the company’s Covid-19 vaccine without questioning the company’s history or that the mRNA technology used in the vaccine has sped through normal safety trial protocols and has never been approved for human use. Also unmentioned is that the head of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Patrizia Cavazzoni, is the former Pfizer vice president for product safety who covered up the connection of one of its products to birth defects.
Across Canada, long-term care homes and retirement homes are seeing rising cases of COVID-19 and deaths yet again, a worrisome trend that is leading to more restrictions for the residents.
But these lockdowns are taking another toll among those who don’t get COVID-19.
Residents eat meals in their rooms, have activities and social gatherings cancelled, family visits curtailed or eliminated. Sometimes they are in isolation in their small rooms for days. These measures, aimed at saving lives, can sometimes be detrimental enough to the overall health of residents that they find themselves looking into other options.
Russell, described by her family as exceptionally social and spry, was one such person. Her family says she chose a medically-assisted death (MAID) after she declined so sharply during lockdown that she didn’t want to go through more isolation this winter.
Two megachurches decided to open Sunday services with some safe-for-work joke stripteases, in a cheeky protest against California’s closing down of churches due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while letting strip clubs stay open.
Before the start of Sunday’s sermon, pastors at two churches opened with short burlesque dance routines, taking off their jackets and even throwing their ties into the cheering audience.
“Strip clubs (Not Churches) are exempt from the Covid lockdowns, and are deemed essential by our governor!” said senior pastor of Awaken Church Jurgen Matthesius on Instagram. “So we decided we are NOW Awaken family friendly strip club!” he quipped.
The pastor then rolled with the joke, clarifying, “we strip the devil of his hold, power & authority over people’s lives!”
Maryland has deployed police “compliance units” across the state to ensure adherence to its Covid-19 restrictions at bars, restaurants and anywhere else people might gather, ramping up enforcement just in time for Thanksgiving.
The “High Visibility Compliance Units,” announced by Republican Governor Larry Hogan earlier this week, hit the streets of Maryland on Wednesday, led by state troopers in coordination with local officials and law enforcement.
The units will “focus on educating the public about existing orders and protocols, preventing super-spreading events, and taking enforcement actions when necessary,” Hogan’s office said in a statement, adding that the patrols would “continue throughout the holiday season.”
This week, Vermont’s Republican Governor, Phil Scott announced the state’s plans to have children questioned next week about what they did over the Thanksgiving break and if they attended any gatherings outside of their home. If children respond to the questions with the wrong answer, they will be quarantined for 14 to 7 days.
The idea of the state essentially interrogating children without their parents’ permission and then implementing consequences as a result is chilling. But it is exactly what’s happening and the governor had no problem Tweeting it out to the world.
“Unfortunately, we know some will still get together and schools have asked for help,” the Republican governor tweeted Tuesday. “[The Vermont Agency of Education] will direct schools to ask students or parents if they were part of multi-family gatherings and if the answer is yes, they’ll need to go remote for 14 days or 7 days and a test.”