My August reads

22 Aug

There’s been more than one reason for my long silence on CV-19, so readers might forgive me – if they forgive me on nothing else – for so long an introduction to my first read of the month, by the Oxford theoretical epidemiologist, Sunetra Gupta.

My second read’s a characteristically close argued piece by Craig Murray on the transparency – in and of itself worrying – of the UK government’s attempts to silence “Russia trolls”. Yes, we know who they are by their use of the dog-whistle term, cui bono?

Finally, for the second time in less than a week, I’m offering in all seriousness a piece on China by that crypto-marxist outlet, the Economist. Try as it might, it can’t quite conceal its grudging respect for Mr Xi’s China!

*

We may already have herd immunity – interview with Sunetra Gupta (4426 words)

I’ve been having a hard time over Covid-19. It’s not that I lost a dear friend to it in May. It’s more that, while I’m open to the views of some sceptics – Kit Knightly at OffGuardian, Profs Bakhdi and Wittkowski, Prof Piers Robinson and the Swiss Propaganda Group – my refusal to commit on a matter I don’t know enough about enrages or disappoints even some of my friends.

I’ve spoken of a religiosity of tone in many who challenge the idea that CV-19 is as serious as claimed. They may be right, though epidemiologists have been telling us since SARS 2003 that a global pandemic is a matter of when not if. (See Mike Davis, Planet of Slums author and one of my three April reads.)

Is this the big one we’ve been promised for the best part of two decades?

I don’t know, though I suspect not. But my agnosticism angers some. Which begs the question, what are they doing? It’s clear what those named in my opening paragraph are doing. They are tireless in alerting us to their view that we’re sleepwalking into ever more dangerous losses of liberty, or at the very least have bought into a suboptimal response to a threat overstated.

Like Professors Bhakdi (his open letter to Chancellor Merkel ignored by mainstream media) and Wittkowski (censored by Youtube) Professor Sunetra Gupta, my first read, insists that even on clinical, let alone socioeconomic grounds, wholesale lockdown is not the way to go.

But my experience is that those who apply Believes/Does Not Believe ‘the official narrative’ on CV-19 as the acid test of a person’s right to be heard on pretty much any subject are zealots. Yes, this is a moral judgment. And unlike those named earlier, most do nothing. No, this is not a moral judgment. My point – I paid top dollar for this insight from a flawed but brilliant spiritual teacher – is that the importance of the internal babble we call thought is more overegged than even the most draconian of claims by the CV-19 ‘official narrative’. How could it possibly matter a bean what a person believes, if no practical consequences follow?

It’s the same with 9/11. There’s a hard core of ‘truthers’ for whom a person who Gets This Wrong need not be listened to on any political matter. Not only is this an absurd piece of reductivism.1 Again the question is begged: what does it matter what we believe unless belief informs praxis?

We can’t all be writers or epidemiologists. But we can all apply our energies and organisational skills to advance causes we hold dear. If we mean business, why would we confine ourselves to sneering at the saps who’ve been taken in? It might make us feel good about ourselves, but it’s lousy salesmanship.

I take the questions arising from CV-19 and governmental responses seriously, but less so than the war fever on China (too similar in its drivers and implications to that on Russia for either to be viewed in isolation from the other). Even on its own terms I don’t see the question – is CV-19 truly as bad as they say? – as the most important. That honour goes to one more pressing, more practical, and in principle capable of uniting sceptics, agnostics and believers.  Who will decide the terms on which lockdown ends and how will we resist our rulers’ inevitable attempts to saddle us, as they did after 2008, with the bill for its immense economic consequences?

But back to Sunetra Gupta. Call me a dirty lowdown agnostic, but might my promoting her here be an act almost as useful as sneering at the deluded?

*

The Russian Interference Report, Without Laughing (5233 words)

.. the UK was asking its  paid propagandists what they thought of Russian propagandists. Every one of the witnesses makes their living from postulating the Russian threat. They said the Russian threat is very big indeed.

.. the Intelligence and Security Committee Report on Russia is so flawed it is tempting to mock it. But it calls expressly and repeatedly for the security services to be actively involved in “policing the democratic space” and castigates the security services for their unwillingness to interfere in democratic process. It calls for tough government action against social media who refuse to censor and remove material it believes inspired by foreign states. It accepts Integrity Initiative’s Christopher Donnelly and Ben Nimmo as good identifiers of material which should be banned – though Nimmo stated that use of the phrase “Cui bono” is indicative of a Russian troll

… It remains the most important single fact in British politics that, despite the fact almost everybody now acknowledges it was a disaster, nobody ever lost their job for supporting the Iraq war. Quite a few lost their job for opposing it, Greg Dyke, Carne Ross, Elizabeth Wilmshurst and Piers Morgan among them. It is a simple matter of fact that the Iraq War’s biggest cheer leaders dominate the London political and media landscape, whereas there is no critic of the Iraq War in an important position of power.

As the drive towards war on Russia (and more immediately China) continues apace – see my recent post, Our beautifully democratic wars – former UK Ambassador Craig Murray applies his forensic skills to the risible notion that “Russia, rather than deep disaffection of the less privileged classes, ’caused’ Trump, Brexit and even support for Scottish Independence.” 

*

Xi Jinping is trying to remake the Chinese economy (3529 words)

Mr Xi is not simply inflating the state at the expense of the private sector. Rather, he is presiding over what he hopes will be the creation of a more muscular form of state capitalism. The idea is for state-owned companies to get more market discipline and private enterprises to get more party discipline, the better to achieve China’s great collective mission. It is a project full of internal contradictions. But progress is already evident in some areas.

As in my post earlier in the week on Huawei, I’m again recommending a China piece from the Economist. The well read red keeps tabs on that organ, whose mood music carries truths liberal media daren’t deliver.

Not that this fascinating read, replete with every prejudice in the Economist book – above all private profit good; state control baad – reveals any deep state secrets, or highlights fissures within Western ruling classes on matters China. It’s a good read simply because its look at China’s economy, under Xi’s stewardship, is not only more detailed than anything you’ll get in more general media. It is also, for all its obligatory deprecations, shot through with what looks suspiciously like grudging respect.

* * *

  1. Jan Oberg – Syria blogger who actually makes frequent trips there, splendid writer and photographer, and one of the few pacifists I truly have time for – has been attacked for not “speaking out” on 9/11 as an inside job. His response? “I blog only about things I know with certainty.” With you all the way, Jan.

18 Replies to “My August reads

  1. There is another angle to the COVID matter. As Marx once said, in any age, the ruling ideas are always the ideas of the ruling class. Thus the ruling class is in a position to offer their view as the “fundamental fact of the matter” and therefore as “the serene voice of reason”. While naturally those who query it appear as strident. In this way the virus skeptics are portrayed as unreasonable as well as being on the receiving end of that reversal of the burden of proof so familiar from 9/11.

    • I’m not saying all CV-19 sceptics are zealots. Some, like those I name, have my respect. Nor am I saying no CV-19 believer is strident. But on balance I’ve encountered greater and more frequent religiosity from the former. I take your point about challengers having to shout louder. Mine is that shouting is meaningless – of no more consequence than whether one supports Man United or Man City – if not backed by practical action. I don’t count BTL sneering as practical action. Nor the smug satisfaction of belonging to an elite club.

      That’s never been your bag.

      • Thanks Phil – although I have to say that from my side, I have noticed a certain aloof superciliousness from SOME on the “mainstream” side – although that certainly doesn’t apply to you. (Of course, it also applies to some on the other side too. It’s odd – and perhaps inevitable that we are individually attracted to one side rather than the other according to our presuppositions.)

        On a possibly related note, I got into an argument BTL on OffG where I was defending Marx against some “deep ecologist” who accused me of “over-intellectualising”! But I must admit that some Marxist writers are, frankly, not very elegant with prose. I’m reminded of a comment made by a critic regarding Hungarian Marxist Istvan Meszaros and referring appropriately to his “ineptly abstract, obscurantist writing style”. Marx himself was, I think, a writer of considerable power. Trotsky too. One thing I note is that there is a wonderful mordant wit running through the best Marxist writing.

        • Trotsky was a magnificent writer. Alas, he inspired legions of lesser pensmen unable to tell diamond hard reasoning from tub thumping bombast.

          Agreed, the best marxist writing sparkles with wit. These authors rate highly on intelligence, with which a keen sense of humour – especially but not exclusively irony – comes gratis.

    • The problem is that the ideas of the Covid sceptics are also those of the ruling class. What distinguishes them from the likes of Johnson (Cummings) Trump, the Swedes and Bolsonaro is that, like all good propagandists for the ruling class they are much more uncompromising and unrestrained in their claims than the politicians dare to be.
      The ruling ideas, of which Marx talked, are often superficially disavowed: the British ruling class cried crocodile tears over the famines in Ireland and Bengal, and urged private charities to help. But the governments did as little as possible and the ideologists of capitalism made it quite clear why.
      The less eligibility idea still lives, in fact it is dominant as is clear from listening to the discussion of unemployment benefits in the pandemic.
      My problem with the ‘sceptics’ is that they are carrying the capitalists’ water for them. Firstly by denying the existence of an emergency. Secondly by urging a return to work, school and the way things were until Covid struck- denying the widely perceived need to re-examine social verities and, in particular, to explain the obvious link between failures to respond to the pandemic and decades of austerity, privatisation and putting profit before health. And life.
      As to the ‘evidence’ adduced by the sceptics, most of it is pretty thin stuff: was there alarmism in the days when the pandemic was approaching? Of course there was. And it was entirely proper. Alarms are like that- they assume the worst, they urge us to take every precaution. As time passed and more was learned about the virus we adjusted our behaviour to take account of the new knowledge. We still are.
      Then there was the “co-morbidity” discovery: most of those dying had had their health undermined by other problems, including old age. So what? Whoever would have expected otherwise- that is why we have a Health service and “care” regimens. We understand that as people grow older they become more vulnerable, just as the forty year old down my road with cystic fibrosis is more vulnerable, just as the fellow who used to work in a mine or a limekiln, or a heavy smoker is more vulnerable.
      Most of the scepticism has been expressed in terms of fairly specious arguments. And what they have in common is a contempt for weakness, whether it takes the form of old age, poverty, low caste status, aboriginal race or whatever. Our old friend-from 9/11 days, the apathetic witnesses of Kennedy’s killing- the sheeple are dying and whining as they do so. And clever people, who understand what is really going on, can’t bring themselves to pretend that they care.
      Which leads us to the biggest question of all: of there isn’t a real pandemic then what is happening ? Who is to blame, if it is not the capitalist class collapsing into a foetid swamp of their own making, not unlike the cholera that spread out of the slums and into the west end. Or the crime waves that workhouse rules produced as sure as night followed day.
      There are explanations, proffered, but none worth the labour of refuting.
      Is scepticism wrong? Not at all. But denying a crisis born of the system is not scepticism it is entertainment for ‘the man’. And it is hard not to believe that those promoting this entertainment are not auditioning for positions among the legion of clowns falling about at the feet of the cannibal’s court.

      • Its also worth observing the amount of smoke an mirrors taking place and how too many have bought into some of the myths about over reaction.

        Because actions speak louder than words and despite the amount of verbalised and written ‘alarm’ the actual policy implementation was a complete dogs dinner.

        It took several months – from February until at least June for any formal travel restrictions and containment protocols to be introduced into UK ports of entry. Leaving the UK wide open to people in transit entering the Country for onward internal travel with no checks. That’s basic risk assessment protocol. Even today the actual measures in place are nothing short of an impractical joke.

        Then we have the shifting of vast numbers of vulnerable people, mainly elderly, from hospitals into ill prepared care homes in order to free up NHS Critical Care beds which would have been better utilised for those same elderly people rather than culling them as the economically inactive.

        But then risking a collapse of the NHS and its soft assets – reputation, efficacy etc – when you need it is a bargaining chip to unload in a post no deal Brexit scenario with US Big Pharma was never likely to occur with these Carpetbaggers and snake oil salesmen.

        Coupled with the piss poor statistics – manipulated beyond all use except as a smoke screen to convince the terminally gullible that the pudding was over egged when its just as likely that there was gross under reporting, particularly of critical cases or, for all practical purposes, the number of recoveries on closed cases so no comparison can be made with the number of deaths.

        Bevin is spot on here. The weak are the highest risk – the elderly, those with pre-existing conditions who would normally survive something like this without those conditions etc. And there are an awful lot of useful idiot water carriers out there doing a sterling job covering the arses of and for the Capitalist class/ Government/Establishment muddying the waters by essentially arguing that these deaths don’t really count on grounds such as those pre-existing conditions being the cause of death.

        And we have not even considered the procurement issues which they have also got away with scott free.

        I bet they can’t believe their luck in managing to persuade so many people to argue the toss about whether this existed or not.

        Because whilst that’s at the top of the Agenda the culling of the weaker members of society; the lack of meaningful practical action – even the lockdown decision was based on the threat by the French to close the Channel ports five days after it was supposed to have been implemented rather then a health risk assessment, because throughout the policy of culling the uneconomic weaker members of the herd has been the real priority; the procurement cock ups; the lack of resources in the NHS etc etc barely feature.

        The standard divide and rule approach has clearly worked once again.

      • Well you see there’s so much I disagree with there. There seems to me to be a huge amount of wishful thinking involved in this Left response. Lines like “the capitalist class collapsing into a foetid swamp of their own making” and all that stuff about Boris being dragged “kicking and screaming” are just so attractive to the ears of any Leftist. It’s the kind of thing I’d want to hear. Suspiciously so. And the tempting exhilaration of it is summed up beautifully by this:

        “Is scepticism wrong? Not at all. But denying a crisis born of the system is not scepticism it is entertainment for ‘the man’.”

        Well there is the wishful thinking in full view. “Born of the system” is just so irresistible. It’s really begging the question, but the logic is that we shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

        And this “entertainment for the man” is rather off to the side stuff. The skepticism is hardly mainstream. The real “entertainment” – which cannot be missed as it is wall-to-wall on the media – is the non-skeptical COVID coverage. And this is so exciting! The media has truly gone revolutionary!

        It used to be said that the revolution would not be televised. This time round it is. Pardon me if I smell a very large rodent.

        • There is certainly more than enough wall to wall coverage in the Corporate media. Unfortunately, the verbal and written narratives around this do not in any meaningful and practical way match the actual actions. Only some examples of which have been mentioned previously.

          But then, in this post modernist dystopia, thinking that actions speak louder than words is so modernist and symptomatic of those who still reside in the reality based community rather than creating their own.

          However, having said that, it is most certainly having an effect along political lines.

          Despite the (non Government collated issued) figures – the Government ones being largely not fit for purpose – showing higher additional deaths above the recorded trend (though doubtless there will be claims that previous years mortality rates were under reported and fiddled in anticipation of this event in order to fit a pre-determined “conclusion”) it should come as little surprise that in the US, at least, those on the Right of the political spectrum view the number of deaths (of the weaker members of society) as acceptable.

          As well as claiming, more with wishful thinking than with solid evidence, that the mortality figures are higher than actually the case.

          https://www.rt.com/usa/498841-us-coronavirus-death-toll-acceptable/

          Which leads to pondering the question as to what the current ratio is between people who do and don’t believe six impossible things before breakfast?

          • I’m afraid that, as customary, you have an odd prose style which I don’t find clear.

            I have read accounts of reportage of statistics that are unreliable for various reasons, one being the muddiness of the issue as to who died WITH and who died OF the virus.

            I get the impression that “six impossible things before breakfast” is a sneer presumably aimed at the skeptics.

            The issue as to whether the number of deaths is “acceptable” seems to me to be a way of emotively rephrasing the matter of those who will die as a matter of course due to age and the various complications that inevitably accrue i.e. whether these deaths really are due to COVID and totally bypassing the issue as to increased mortality due to the effects of the lockdown.

            • Sure we are all going to die of something at some point.

              However, the fact is that there currently exists a great many people who are alive today, for various reasons, who would not be alive if they had been born in a previous era.

              The fact they are alive is down to something known as progress. This includes not just improvements in medicine and health care but also a whole range of preventative health and safety measures from better hygiene standards (washing/bathing; not coughing and sneezing on other people, not spitting in public or defecating in the street etc) through to clean drinking water, sewage systems, better quality housing standards, compulsory seat belts in motor vehicles, emergency and rescue services and so on.

              What does seem, in general terms, to be being argued is that just because there has been a significant rise in excess deaths from the norm in previous years that the accelerated, and therefore earlier, deaths than would have been the case arising from Covid-19 tipping that balance are acceptable on the grounds that medical and health actions and reactions to prevent that are, in principle, a general inconvenience.

              And to be clear here on the basis of the principle of the words are the words, the words “In general” and “in principle” are just that. nothing more.

              Point being that the direction of travel here is more than likely to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

              The fact of various elites and establishments making a dogs dinner in terms of policy reactions – and there has been, so far, no challenge or refutation to the details presented in terms of the UK/US cock ups nor the claim that they are being let off the hook on the part of those carrying the water for them by this narrative – should not detract from the general medical and health principles.

              Because its just as feasible that the weaker, older and more vulnerable could also be pushed over the edge and ushered off to an earlier, unnecessary, grave from some other cause than health complications from Covid-19.

              Like for instance living in sub-standard housing not fit for human habitation. A principle which was actually voted on in the UK Parliament a few years back with many Tory MP landlords voting against.

              Or having to come into contact with someone who happens to have ordinary run of the mill flu symptoms who cant be arsed to accept their responsibility of fellowship towards others by taking adequate precautions because their self identified (ie selfish) “right” not to have to bother with the inconvenience of taking such precautions trumps the rights of others not to suffer the inconvenience of dying earlier than would be the case.

              After all, they were ill/had a pre-existing condition/old/weak and were going to die anyway. Because that’s ultimately whats being put forward by those in the previous link.

              Why bother with the expense of annual flu jabs for the over 65’s? They are going to die any way. Its so inconvenient having to pay the taxes necessary to keep them alive a bit longer. And where does that line stop?

              Why provide expensive medical care for those suffering from Cancer, or diabetes? Or facilities for the disabled? Or hospitals, decent housing, care homes, sanitation and a thousand and one other things which contribute to the weak living longer and which infringes on individual personal liberties through the inconvenience of having to accept reciprocal responsibilities rather than just taking the rights?

              An attitude again encapsulated here:

              https://www.rt.com/op-ed/490639-second-wave-coronavirus-left-right-war/

              “At an ideological level, they saw the restrictions enacted around the world as inherently un-American, and that abiding fully by similar measures in the United States would allow a symbolic undermining of the notion of American exceptionalism. Wearing masks and meekly following government dictates was not “culturally” American.”

              Which is where bevin’s argument comes in. Its not about some kind of “emotional” rephrasing of the issue. Its about civilised norms and progress. Yes, its clear to a blind man on a galloping horse that Governments and elites are taking advantage and kicking the arse out of things in various ways – which bevin has succinctly outlined.

              But providing cover for their cock ups and deliberate culling policies – which have not been refuted with any evidence – other than picking and choosing which statistics fit an already made conclusion that this is some sort of grand planned event which does not really exist is certainly chucking the baby out with the bathwater.

              In that regard it would be interesting to see some meat put on that particular bone.

              Like what’s in it for the Chinese? Are they really, secretly, voluntarily taking the blame for this which is being bestowed upon them? Along with what that means in terms of further sanctions and international tensions and so on?

              What about the Venezuelans; the Cubans; the Iranians; the Syrians; the North Koreans; and the Russians? Are they in on it too? Are they prepared to stand their ground on every other issue but are willing to side with and stand shoulder to shoulder with those making life painful for them in every conceivable way on some kind of global level hoax?

              Of course not. Lets accept a serious risk exists and, as bevin observed, the cause and inadequate/inappropriate reactions in various places is a systemic one arising from an unsustainable and collapsing system rather than providing cover for, and excuses on behalf of, that system.

              • I was just making a simple observation – namely that we don’t know how many of these deaths are due to COVID specifically – which is after all what this is all about. We also don’t know how many of these excess deaths are due to the lockdown.

                I never ventured some over-arching conspiracy theory. It’s the same with 9/11 i.e. I reckon it’s enough to note oddities and conclude that whatever happened it wasn’t what we were told. The demand to offer some fully coherent alternative theory is one of the devices used to stifle dissent – known as the reversal of the burden of proof.

                My feeling of suspicion is due mostly to the media reaction which is certainly not what I would have expected if this virus is truly an indication of capitalism’s “Achilles’ heel”.

                Although at this point it probably doesn’t matter. The “old normal” is gone and the situation is enormously mutable. Perhaps we should just concentrate on what seems undeniable i.e. that the ruling powers, as always, will be using this virus to their advantage as much as is possible by e.g. cutting away services now presented as “doubly unaffordable”, and “unnecessarily risky” etc. As a care worker I have already seen a suspension of the norm which, I suspect, will result in actual termination of many services.

  2. I fired off a response to bevin above which may seem intemperate and for that I apologise. Having had more time to think about it I would like to put my case differently. Philip has noticed the dismaying tendency for this issue to provoke unprofitable belligerence. From my own experience of the last few months, there has been a gap opening up in what might be optimistically described as the “internet community” and it seems to me that I am one of the few who has been, as it were, trying to keep a foot in both camps. My case is as follows:

    One thing which I would assume we can agree on is the nature of the mainstream media. Now I know there is a lot of monolithic notions about this media e.g. that it is totally under the control of the ruling class (or, in some formulations, “the banksters”, “the Jews” or “The Reptilian overlords” etc.) Nevertheless, it seems inarguable to me that this media overwhelmingly represents the interests of the ruling class. The most egregious recent example being the disgusting treatment dealt out to Jeremey Corbyn on the build up to the last election (which treatment, to be sure, had been going on for years). And this is where a certain devastatingly effective simple device can be observed: the never-stated presupposition which sets the terms of the debate. Thus, the question was never, “Is the Labour Party anti-Semitic?” but “What are we going to do about Labour anti-Semitism?”

    Of course, the virus cannot be compared to such political cases. The virus renders us dependant on the judgements of medical experts. (And although I have always had my doubts, I dutifully wear the mask and do the hand washing. Indeed, I have no choice in the matter since I am a care worker.) But expert opinion is not unanimous as Philip has very generously shown through inclusion of articles querying both the severity of the virus and the lockdown strategy.

    However, I disagree with Philip’s assertion that we are dealing here with a dispute with two sides arguing – sometimes fanatically as if both were on equal terrain. As far as the mainstream media is concerned, there is only one side that I have heard: that which automatically asserts that the virus is as deadly as reported by some experts and therefore merits the extreme measure (I’ll avoid the overused word “draconian”) of lockdown. This assumption by the media was accompanied by another – that “this is going to change everything forever” – an assertion I have always had the most extreme suspicion of. Now bear in mind what I said about the nature of the mainstream media i.e. it’s representation of ruling class interests and ponder on the sentiment that ruling class “don’t want the lockdown”. Also ponder on the implication that the lockdown is being portrayed as a “Left cause”. There is an enormous amount of cognitive dissonance here.

    Anyway – the above is the mainstream account. The skeptical voice is a marginal matter and has been precluded by association with an outlook described as “libertarian”, “Right wing”, “pro-capitalist” etc. This too coming from that mainstream media who by implication are setting themselves up as “Left” or “dissident”. Cognitive dissonance increasing.

    I would like to believe the account being put forward by bevin and Dave Hansell above. But I have voiced my reservations.

    • ““Born of the system” is just so irresistible. It’s really begging the question, but the logic is that we shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
      Superficially, yes. But in fact the MSM has not put up much resistance to the various plans of reopening-schools, workplaces etc.
      The media is complex. It loves an opportunity to scream panic in its headlines. It is so addicted to promoting the fear that sells ads that it doesn’t worry too much about the ‘harm’ it might cause to its owners. But when the ruling class wants people to go back to work, the media adjusts and does what its masters want.
      The underlying problem with the, largely right wing, thatcherite libertarian, critiques of the quarantine, trace and test measures, the mask wearing and the social distancing, is that they are grounded in a desperate desire to return to normality- for these people the Capitalist class system is a given. And if keeping the bars open and getting the supermarket aisles and the airlines buzzing again comes at a price expressed in human lives then…well, it always does doesn’t it?
      The reality is that there is a crisis and that the pandemic was born of the global economy and the sort of relationship that we have with nature in a system in which commodity production rules.
      As to “the man” I was referring to the ruling class and looking for a synonym. In an era in which opinion is ‘click commodified’ the auditioning to which I alluded is inevitable.
      Unhappily the ruling class is much more diligent in its political education than the degraded working class movement is. Hence the prevalence of alt-right commenters and blogs on the internet, and the constant process of seduction whereby critics of capitalism are transformed into supporters of conspiracy fantasies inspired by science fiction and diverted away from political action.

      • “But in fact the MSM has not put up much resistance to the various plans of reopening-schools, workplaces etc.”

        I wouldn’t say that was significant. It would only take one report of an increase in cases and the whole lot will close again. But these comments between us only serve to show that we are approaching the situation from fundamentally different perceptions. It is obvious that I am a skeptic whereas for you the lockdown cannot be severe enough.

      • “The reality is that there is a crisis and that the pandemic was born of the global economy ….”

        Again this is simply asserting one side as if it were true. Furthermore the matter of some skeptics wanting to go back to the old normal is irrelevant to their skepticism.

  3. Pertaining only to the issue of Covid-19: has the ’cause’ of the purported illness been isolated and identified?

    The medical scientific establishment takes it for granted that it has, but where is the study that spells out the procedures and methods by which this was accomplished?

    Is it zeal of a religious kind that raises questions about the scientific bases of scientific claims, or is it rather zeal of almost religious kind that takes a perceived ‘consensus’ among so-called ‘experts’ to be all of the ‘scientific proof ‘ necessary for ‘confidently believing’ in the claims of those ‘experts?’

    In this regard, two pertinent reads: Thoughts and Concerns Regarding the New Corona Virus by John Hardie BDS, MSc, PhD, FRCDC; and Virus Mania by Torsten Engelbrecht and Claus Kohnlein.

    And speaking directly to what may in fact have been and continues to be an overreaction by way of the lockdowns: Public health lessons learned from biases in coronavirus mortality overestimation by Ronald B. Brown, PhD, School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo.

    Medicine, like all other human pursuits, is as susceptible to corruption and elementary error as are all other fields of institutionalized professions.

    Links to references:

    a) http://theinfectiousmyth.com/coronavirus/COVIDThoughtsConcerns_JohnHardie.pdf

    b) https://normanpilon.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/virus-mania-how-the-medical-industry-continually-invents-epidemics-making-billion-dollar-profits-at-our-expense-torsten-engelbrecht-and-claus-kohnlein-2007.pdf

    c) https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/disaster-medicine-and-public-health-preparedness/article/public-health-lessons-learned-from-biases-in-coronavirus-mortality-overestimation/7ACD87D8FD2237285EB667BB28DCC6E9#

    (Apologies for the format, but your spam filter would not let me post otherwise.)

    • The zeal(otry) I speak of has to do with name calling by people who themselves aren’t doing anything but name calling. In which case it doesn’t matter what they believe.

      Because of the circles I move in, I’m more aware of smugness and zealotry from sceptics. (I already made clear, I hope, that I do not deem all sceptics zealots.) But I readily concede there’ll be zealots on the believer side of this polar – IMO far more so than necessary – divide. Probably fewer of them, for the reason George gives in the opening comment, and in any case less known to me.

      I’ve made live your links, Norman.

Leave a Reply to George McI Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.