COP26 and Pope Francis’ Greening of Christianity

Amidst the early days of the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, Pope Francis made several accolades to world leaders and the entire global Catholica community alike to take bold action in the face of anthropogenic climate change and drastically alter our entire system of values towards a new order. Referring to the COP21 Paris Accords, the Pope said:

There is no alternative. We can achieve the goals set by the Paris Agreement only if we act in a coordinated and responsible way. Those goals are ambitious, and they can no longer be deferred. Today it is up to you to take the necessary decisions.

Just in case anyone had the idea of reviving nationalist policies in opposition to the globalizing forces of the post-nation state age which we are supposedly entering, the pope said:

We can confront these crises by retreating into isolationism, protectionism and exploitation. Or we can see in them a real chance for change, a genuine moment of conversion, and not simply in a spiritual sense.

This call for conversion of society towards climate action echoed the earlier 2015 encyclical Laudato Si produced by the Pope to usher in COP21 and the greening of Christianity under a new ethos.

Within the 2015 Laudato Si, the Pope took aim directly at the “old and obsolete” notion of Christianity that had seen humanity as a divine creature born with a Promethean spark saying:

An inadequate presentation of Christian anthropology gave rise to a wrong understanding of the relationship between human beings and the world. Often, what was handed on was a  Promethean vision of mastery over the world.

This new Christian ethos unveiled by Pope Francis saw humankind not as a species which could transcend the limits of nature, but rather as a species bound inexorably to the ecosystem within which he evolved. If the ecosystems of earth imposed limits on all species according to such variables as space, food and resource availability, then according to the secular priests of the new world order, humanity was expected to be no different. Nature was little more than a mother Gaia figure from ancient Babylonian times long past with the 2015 encyclical’s opening prayer reading:

Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her.

So I ask again, what sort of “conversion” was Pope Francis implying the Christian world engage in by supporting both the Paris Accords of 2015 and the COP26 goals today?

Was it the embrace of Christian values embodied in Christ’s message to love their neighbor and love god? Was it the embrace of Christ’s anti-imperial call to kick the money changers out of the temple or raise up the sick and poor?

Well, if one is to assess the purpose of COP26 and the World Economic Forum ideologues like Mark Carney who are stage managing this summit, the answer smells more like sulfur than love.

The Anti-Development Aims of COP26

Professing to reform humanity’s entire system of political, economic, security and cultural values around a new global green order, the COP26 initiatives call for making global carbon reduction targets legally binding and enforceable by new world governing mechanisms. Carney has called for $135 trillion to be rallied over the next 30 years to reduce CO2 emission 80% below 1991 levels by spreading windmills, solar panels, biofuel plants, and green grids over the face of the earth.

Broad swaths of nations- are expected to block off their land in defense of ecosystems (and thus banning actual hydro dams or real development from ever being built along regions like the Congo River basin).

Banking systems are being rewired by Carney’s Green Banker’s compact in order to channel funding towards expensive green energy systems while “dirty” companies that produce CO2 are expected to be destroyed. Carney has made it known that a linchpin for this new anti-carbon economy is founded upon new carbon indices which all companies are expected to showcase which will showcase their degree of green virtue based on a gradient of deep green to brown (and fifty shades in between). Depending where your company falls on this gradient will determine the levels of interest rates you will pay or whether you can or cannot access loans. Carney laid out this new system in 2019 saying:

Climate disclosures must become comprehensive, climate risk management must be transformed and sustainable investing must go mainstream… the firms that anticipate these developments will be rewarded handsomely. Those that don’t will cease to exist.

All this is being done of course with the supposed (and completely unscientific) belief that this will in turn keep temperatures within 1.5 degrees of pre-industrial levels.

Ignoring for the time being that CO2 has never been shown to play ANY causal role in temperature fluctuations, let us look at the sort of effect this global green new deal will have on human life.

The unreliable, and low-quality electricity derived from windmill and solar panel farms are magnitudes below the quality of energy derived from fossil fuel or nuclear power stations.

It is well known that these “green” energy sources may work to limited degrees within the residential sectors of an economy, but the transportation and industrial sectors which consume over 50% of industrial society’s electricity needs will not function on solar or wind power, since you can’t manufacture a windmill with windmill energy and you cannot process industrial steel with either wind or solar power.

And forget about ever powering a high speed or magnetic levitation rail grid. The heat densities of renewables are just too low, and any society dumb enough to shut down their “dirty” oil, natural gas and nuclear stations in favor of these renewables will irreparably incapacitate its industrial sector and if the country is among the undeveloped sectors of the world, it may find itself receiving piles of monopoly money as bribery to sign onto the COP26 green pacts as Boris Johnson has championed at COP26, but it would condemn itself to never build any heavy industry ever again.

Meanwhile, it is useful to hold in mind that windmills and solar panels only function at 26% capacity on a good day, but will occasionally fall to less than 1% capacity when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow resulting in the sorts of crises sweeping Europe as we speak.

Russian Security Council Secretary Nicolai Patrushev recently called out the absurdity of green energy grids saying:

Europe’s energy crisis has shown that the existing technologies don’t make it possible to meet economic demands only through renewable energy sources. Europe, an industrialized region turned out to be unable to replace coal, oil and gas with wind, solar and tidal power plants.

The overarching effect of this anti-scientific policy is a vast reduction of humanity’s means of supporting its eight billion souls. It is the abolishment of sovereignty of nations and the abolishment of the means to carry out the mandate to uplift humanity out of squalor, poverty, and despair… all under the self-righteous guise of virtuously protecting the environment.

It is really worth asking: Is the COP26 mandate to create a global decarbonization scheme truly premised on honest intentions to preserve the environment, and protect the poor? Are Pope Francis’ efforts to re-wire the entire Catholic church around the green agenda truly driven by Christian love as the pope is so fond of saying? Or is something darker at play?

Club of Rome Founder Sir Alexander King let the cat out of the bag quite directly when he stated in 1991:

In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill….All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.

The Anti-Malthusian Traditions of the Vatican

In better times many years past, a much healthier vision was advanced by leaders of the church who saw that the pathway towards resolving the Cold War was located in genuinely ending global poverty and war.

Much like devoted Catholic statesmen such as Enrico Mattei, John F. Kennedy, Konrad Adenauer or Charles De Gaulle who fought against an ideological Malthusian deep state within their nations, the Church as a whole was caught in a battle between opposing ideologies throughout the 20th century.

For those leading the humanist faction during these turbulent times (especially in the wake of the murders and coups conducted against the aforementioned leaders cited above), navigating through the Cold War did not mean simply “picking a side of communist or capitalist” as so many were expected to do within the rules of Game Theory. Their strategy took the form of a much more moral solution.

In Pope John Paul II’s 1981 Encyclical Laborem Exercens, the terms of the Manichean cold war dichotomy were laid bare with the pope taking aim at two opposing ideologies that suffered from inverse, though equally destructive poisons. On the one hand, the encyclical polemicized against those systems which value the liberties of the individual over the wellbeing of society (Smith’s hedonistic doctrine of Laissez Faire ‘each-against-all’ forms of capitalism for example). On the other hand, the Pope took aim at the destructive materialism of Marx’s ‘Dialectic Materialism’ which value only the whole but in total defiance of respect for the sacredness of the individual.

The Christian principle defended by the Pope within this seminal writing was found in the edict of Genesis 1:28 which called forth man to “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.”

If we are indeed to hold true to the belief that mankind was in fact made in the living image of the Creator, and if we thus understood the creator to be a living, creative being (and not an impotent tyrant who made the rules of the universe never to participate in its process of creation ever again), then certain truths followed.

Multiplying seemed straight forward enough, but being fruitful was the most important consideration. Multiplying meant something quantitative, but being fruitful meant something qualitative. In the encyclical, the Pope John Paul II wrote:

THROUGH WORK man must earn his daily bread and contribute to the continual advance of science and technology and, above all, to elevating unceasingly the cultural and moral level of the society within which he lives in community with those who belong to the same family. And work means any activity by man, whether manual or intellectual, whatever its nature or circumstances; it means any human activity that can and must be recognized as work, in the midst of all the many activities of which man is capable and to which he is predisposed by his very nature, by virtue of humanity itself. Man is made to be in the visible universe an image and likeness of God himself, and he is placed in it in order to subdue the earth. From the beginning therefore he is called to work. Work is one of the characteristics that distinguish man from the rest of creatures, whose activity for sustaining their lives cannot be called work. Only man is capable of work, and only man works, at the same time by work occupying his existence on earth.

As the encyclical demonstrated, “Fruitful” meant uplifting the standards of living, educational, and cultural standards of all people. It meant applying the fruits of scientific discoveries equitably in the form of technological progress for all human beings- since the absence of the application of this type of progress would condemn humanity to the fate of animals. Lack of scientific and technological progress would ensure that the carrying capacity and limits to growth of the species would be relatively fixed to whatever resources, minerals, agricultural land, techniques of production, etc that exist at a given moment in time.

Pope John Paul II recognized that the resolution to the dichotomy of the Cold War bipolarity was located in this higher understanding of the nature of work and human life saying:

human work is a key, probably the essential key, to the whole social question, if we try to see that question really from the point of view of man’s good. And if the solution-or rather the gradual solution-of the social question, which keeps coming up and becomes ever more complex, must be sought in the direction of “making life more human”, then the key, namely human work, acquires fundamental and decisive importance.

Describing the notion of “subdue the earth” and the interconnected infinite aspirations of humanity for self-improvement and the infinite bounty of new discoveries, the Pope had this to say:

The expression “subdue the earth” has an immense range. It means all the resources that the earth (and indirectly the visible world) contains and which, through the conscious activity of man, can be discovered and used for his ends. And so these words, placed at the beginning of the Bible, never cease to be relevant. They embrace equally the past ages of civilization and economy, as also the whole of modern reality and future phases of development, which are perhaps already to some extent beginning to take shape, though for the most part they are still almost unknown to man and hidden from him.

This banishment of creative discovery and the destruction of technology which could otherwise liberate countless poor slaves or serfs from the material shackles to a higher station in the cosmos as creatures of intelligence and dignity, has been a technique used by oligarchs since the days of ancient Babylon and Rome. It is the same technique that attempted to persuade the slaves of the confederate south that slavery was sanctioned by the bible with some born as chosen people destined to rule over the weak. It was applied by regressive regimes amidst the Church who sought to convince their parishioners that God willed humanity to be ignorant since eating from the tree of knowledge was the root of sin.

This perversion of Christianity unfortunately took hold of many thought leaders within the Catholic Church who had become won over to the Transhumanist agenda of such reformers as Jesuit modernist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and his countless minions within the Jesuit order. These same forces found themselves advancing a rotting liberalization throughout the years of Vatican II reforms of 1962-65, and took Chardin’s call to adapt Christianity to the rules of the age by picking sides in the bi-polar Cold War game of capitalism vs communism.

These same agencies increasingly worked to sever the Church from its own principles and render it a merely adaptive instrument susceptible to fluctuating tastes and standards of our age. If the style and norms of an age become polarised with modernism, liberalism, ecologism, and a war against global warming, then so too must the values of the liberalized Church thus adapt to said standards regardless of how detached from truth, morality, or the teachings of Christ they might be.

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When Have We Seen This Before?

When Have We Seen This Before?

Fifty years ago, global capitalism came to a crossroads. The enormous costs of the US’s long, costly Asian war produced great debt and pressure on the gold-backed US dollar. The imperialist alliance with Israel brought a disruptive, unprecedented boycott on the part of the oil-producing nations resisting Israel’s occupation of Arab territories. Intense competition between the dominant US economy and the resurgent Euro-Asian economies was shrinking profit margins. Traditional macroeconomic tools failed to meet the challenges of this new situation. The ensuing crisis came to be called the era of stagflation – stagnant economic growth coupled with persistent, intractable inflation.

Stagflation persisted through most of the decade and ended with shock therapy – a radical dose of deregulation, privatization, and market fetishism, a regimen of austerity now prescribed by all mainstream parties.

The crisis of the 1970s bears some similarities with today’s turmoil.

The pandemic, like the oil crisis, has shocked the global economy. The US economy and subordinate economies have been running on the fumes of fiat money and central bank stimulation, exposing remedies that are losing their effectiveness. Despite the lack of even phantom existential threats, the US has conjured costly foreign adventures and an extraordinarily wasteful and large military budget and “security” spending, crowding out social spending and amplifying national indebtedness. Commodity scarcity generates rising prices. And both slow growth and inflation are now reappearing and promise to continue.

Does this mean that we are bound to relive the crisis of the 1970s? Are we seeing a replay?

Maybe, maybe not. Time will tell. But we would be foolish not to study the 1970s to distill the lessons that might apply to today.

Despite the admonitions of the central bankers and financial gurus, inflation seldom self-corrects. It rarely runs its course. Instead, inflation tends to gather momentum because all the economic actors attempt to catch up and get ahead of it.

In the 1970s, it was popular with the capitalist media to blame workers who were demanding cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to ward off inflation. “Greedy” unions, welfare, senior, and disability advocacy organizations were claimed as the causes of inflation’s persistence and deepening.

Cynically, all were asked to sacrifice equally, while it was monopoly corporations that were raising the prices that constituted the core of inflation. They were using “catching up” as an opportunity to “profit up.” Under the guise of responding to inflation, dominant corporations raised prices beyond their growing costs to expand their profit margins.

Unlike monopoly corporations, small businesses were limited in their ability to raise prices because of intense competition. They were caught in a profit squeeze between their need to remain competitive and the grinding increases in their costs of doing business. They are especially victimized by inflation.

At the same time, inflation cheapened the value of debt, especially corporate debt, while choking new consumer debt with high interest rates.

Today, rising prices are eating up workers’ gains just as they did in the 1970s. Let the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) explain it: “From April 2020 to March 2021, the 12-month changes in real average earnings were all increases, between 4.0 percent to 7.4 percent. Prior to that, from January 2017 until March 2020, the over-the-year change in real average weekly earnings ranged from −0.5 percent to 2.0 percent.” But: “Real average weekly earnings of employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased 1.6 percent from October 2020 to October 2021. In every month from April 2021 to October 2021, the 12-month changes in real average weekly earnings have been decreases, ranging from −0.8 percent to −2.6 percent” [my emphasis].

In other words, real average weekly earnings exploded with the labor shortages induced by the pandemic, but they were wiped out by the five months of over 5% inflation culminating in the 6.2% rise in October, a 31-year high.

It is not workers’ wages that are driving inflation, but something else.

In a revealing article, the Wall Street Journal exposes the real cause of escalating inflation. Inflation Helps Boost Profit Margins: Companies seize rare opportunity to increase prices and outrun their own rising costs [print edition] tells that “[n]early two out of three of the biggest U.S. publicly traded companies have reported fatter profit margins so far this year than they did over the same stretch of 2019… Nearly 100 of these giants have booked profit margins– the share of each dollar of sales a company can pocket– that are at least 50% above 2019 levels” [my emphasis]. The authors note: “Executives are seizing a once in a generation opportunity to raise prices…”

It is apparent from this candid article that monopoly capitalism is leading this profiteering. And it is important to recognize that this profit-taking has and will continue to fuel inflation. Once again, the commanding heights of the US economy– the monopoly corporations– are using the excuse of catching-up to profit-up.

If history’s repeat is not to be farcical, the workers’ movement must avoid the mistakes of the 1970s. It must fight against monopoly price increases and not join the purveyors of common sacrifice, like the silly WIN (Whip Inflation Now) campaign of that period.

The workers’ movement must not follow its false partner, the Democratic Party, down the road of wage and benefit restraint. The inflation-directed restraint of the 1970s gave way to the give-backs of the 1980s and 1990s.

Workers must understand that inflation is not a self-inflicted wound, but a feature of the capitalist system, especially in its finance-dominated, monopoly stage. And it must be contained by attacking the profit-taking that spurs the inflationary spiral.

Further, the working class must bring this understanding to the frightened petty bourgeoisie who feel threatened and are threatened by the scourge of inflation, a stratum that otherwise turns in great numbers to the extreme right for answers.

Of course, this task would be made easier if we had a robust Communist movement in all of the capitalist countries.

The post When Have We Seen This Before? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

New Zealand: Charter School Corruption

The U.S. is home to the largest number of privately-operated charter schools in the world (about 7,400). While they take different forms and are called different things, charter schools also exist in much smaller numbers in New Zealand, England, United Arab Emirates, Australia, and Canada.

Charter schools are privatized, marketized, corporatized school arrangements buttressed by the ideologies of individualism, consumerism, and competition. Charter school promoters openly, frequently, and publicly embrace “free market” ideology and see no problems with an obsolete “survival of the fittest” outlook; they are comfortable with a win-lose perspective.1

Since privatization produces the same problems everywhere, charter schools everywhere are often riddled with fraud, corruption, and scandal—more than what is typical and standard in most sectors and institutions.

One of the most common and persistent forms of corruption in the crisis-prone charter school sector is the misuse and mismanagement of public funds by owners of capital. Charter school owners, operators, and managers regularly “innovate” new ways to funnel public funds into private hands, which is bound to happen when schools operate mainly for financial gain instead of operating to meet social needs.

Every week, the news is full of articles on financial malfeasance and mismanagement in charter schools, especially in the U.S.

New Zealand is no different. A recent audit of two former charter schools by the New Zealand Office of the Auditor General examined “$450,000 in management fees the Combined Establishment Board of South Auckland Middle School and Middle School West Auckland paid to Villa Education Trust in 2018.” Not surprisingly, and as is so often the case with charter schools elsewhere, “The trustees of the Establishment Board were also the trustees of Villa Education Trust, which was the sponsor for the charter schools. This meant that the trustees were effectively wearing two hats.” This is what many charter school researchers have repeatedly identified as “self-dealing” and “shady arrangements” in the charter school sector.

“Such an obvious mishandling of public money that should be spent on benefiting the schools, educators and tamariki is shameful and the Board needs to be held to account,” said Liam Rutherford, president of New Zealand’s largest education union

Accountability in general, and financial accountability in particular, have always been weak in the charter school sector. In the U.S., even the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, a major advocate of privately-operated charter schools, has indicated on numerous occasions that weak accountability characterizes the charter school sector. This goes hand in hand with poor transparency.

A 2021 report by the Network for Public Education (NPE) reminds the public that non-profit and for-profit charter schools, unlike public schools, operate for financial gain. Such schools typically “maximize their profits through self-dealing, excessive fees, real estate transactions, and under-serving students who need the most expensive services”.  In short, charter schools are plagued by many conflicts of interest, unethical practices, and irresponsible behaviors.

Charter schools in New Zealand, also known as “Partnership Schools” or Kura Hourua, were terminated at the end of 2018 because of all the problems associated with them.

  1. See 5,000 Charter Schools Closed in 30 Years, September 18, 2021.
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Project UATX: New Universities, Old Problems

Among the motivations behind establishing a university is a desire to leave old ones.  Old in tooth, depraved, decayed, the assumption is that a new institution will return to original purposes on the pretext that these are truly radical.  This, on the face of it, is the purpose of The University of Austin (UATX) – at least as originally advertised.  “We’re done waiting for America’s universities to fix themselves,” came the words of a promotional video for the incipient body.  “So we’re starting a new one.”

This is the sentiment of Pano Kanelos, who left his position as president of St. John’s College in Annapolis to, in his words, “build a university in Austin dedicated to the fearless pursuit of truth.”  What riles Kanelos is the “gaping chasm between the promise and reality of higher education.”  Harvard proclaims a dedication to veritas.  Stanford students are told Die Luft der Freiheit weht: The wind of freedom blows.   Nice to have such “soaring words” – but he is not convinced that the “pursuit of truth – once the central purpose of a university” is the “highest virtue”.  Campus life is now characterised by “illiberalism”.

The picture painted of the American academy is one riven, culturally torn, and intellectually insecure.  A quarter of American colleagues, Panelos states, favour removing colleagues for holding “a wrong opinion about hot-button issues such as immigration or gender differences.”

The announcement would have caused less fuss were it not for the luminaries on the advisory board.  There was former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss, who had received such shabby treatment from colleagues at the Gray Lady.  Others included the voracious self-promoting Steven Pinker from Harvard and former president of that institution, Lawrence H. Summers.

Much of what is said by the founders should be seen as justifiably alarming.  Whether it is “wokeness” or illiberal, authoritarian scrubbers going through curricula as being undesirable, the old principle stands: fundamentalism, whatever its shape, is the enemy of learning.  Education, by its nature, should be a difficult matter of exploration, an opening of the mind which is bound to cause some discomfort.  It should never be truth prejudged, those set of agreed upon facts that turn out, on closer inspection, to be mere acceptable mistruths.

But this is but one aspect of an education system that has become, certainly in the United States, crushing in debt while claiming to be “client” oriented.  As William Bunch writes with pertinence, “students who list their pronouns as their biggest concerns aren’t the same ones who crowd campus food pantries to get enough calories to study without hunger pangs, or who worry constantly about whether any diploma will be worth debts that sometimes pass $100,000.”

To hunger can be added issues of mental health, the absence of affordable childcare, reliable transportation and adequate housing.  A 2019 survey of some 167,000 college students by The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in Philadelphia found that 17 percent of community college students experienced hopelessness in the previous year.  On such titanic struggles, UATX has little to say.

Apart from the struggles facing students, academic staff continue to face a disturbing trend towards dour anti-intellectual managerialism, which must surely count as grave a threat as any.  Universities are becoming notable for their careerist administrators who sport incomprehensible titles of stunning vacuity.  These reptiles serve little purpose other than creating their own industry of work, a nightmarish, fictional world of endless committees, needless meetings and cretinous babble about teaching and research without ever engaging either.  True careerists, they engage in institution hopping with happy promiscuity, taking up positions of such bland horror as “Manager for enabling talent” or “Office for External Engagement”.

As this happens, University Councils are becoming increasingly tyrannical and unaccountable.  (This problem is particularly acute in Australia.)  Accessing accounts of university expenditure is a pursuit of Sisyphean dimensions; seeking explanations for some of the more daft, self-interested decisions regarding the next “Five Year Plan” are nigh impossible.  There is job insecurity, mass casualisation of the workforce, bullying, and institutional trauma.  These are not points remarked upon by the UATX board.

Reduced then, to a project of some indulgence, it did not take long for the usual problems of vanity, conceit, and spinelessness to manifest themselves, as they often do when it comes to pledges made by academics.  A statement from UATX released on November 15 revealed that some wobbliness had turned up in the ranks.  “The University of Austin is just one week old and has thus far succeeded in generating huge public interest. Yet, as is often the case with fast-moving start-ups, there were some missteps.”

The misstep in question seemed to be more of a bruising trip, and shows that academics, for all their high-minded aspirations to independent thinking, find themselves packaged as obedient sheep rather than independent wolves.  And when it comes to commitment, it’s best not to be too committed to a cause lest it tarnish your reputation.

According to the statement, “unnecessary complications for several members of the advisory board” had emerged.  This was largely because the website of the organisation had “initially failed to make clear the distinction between the Founding Trustees and the Advisory Board.”  While this “conflation” was corrected, confusion had arisen between those who were generally aligned with the enterprise as opposed to being in full agreement with the actions of the founding trustees.  “The advisory board was never intended to be a corporate body that endorsed everything that UATX did or said.”

This did not convince either the Chancellor of the University of Chicago Robert Zimmer or Steven Pinker of Harvard University, both of whom decided to step down from the advisory board.  Much back-arching took place in praising both men: Zimmer with his “Chicago principles” and his “central” importance to UATX; Pinker, for his usefulness in giving advice on “the place of science and critical thinking in higher education”.

Zimmer conceded that the board in question “had no fiduciary, oversight or management responsibilities.”  But the organisation, despite having a commitment to “a liberal arts education and free expression” that were dear to him, had “made a number of statements about higher education in general, largely quite critical, that diverged very significantly from my own views.”

In the time-honoured traditions of cowardice and vagueness, he never mentions which views grated.  Zimmer also makes a point of letting his employers know that he was hardly going to do a runner, ingratiatingly stating that his “focus and commitment have been, and will continue to be, to the University of Chicago.”  UATX proved to be some little bit of academic skirt, a brief autumn romance.

The unpalatable Pinker, with little shame, was another who felt he could no longer be involved.  “By mutual & amicable agreement,” he tweeted mid-November, “I’m stepping off the Board of Advisors of U of Austin”.  He wished them well, but preferred “concentrating on Rationality (the book) and Think with Pinker (the BBC radio & podcast series)”.  Even when leaving a ship that has barely sailed, Pinker could manage a nice spot of self-promotion.  That’s loyalty for you.

The post Project UATX: New Universities, Old Problems first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Where the Rome-Paris axis is taking us, by Manlio Dinucci

The Quirinale Treaty promoted by President of the Republic Mattarella, signed on November 26 by Prime Minister Draghi and President of the Republic Macron, is a 360-degree political treaty by which Italy and France "undertake to develop their coordination and foster synergy between their respective actions at the international level," implementing "industrial partnerships in specific military sectors" and other programs involving financial burdens for the state. In order to be ratified by (...)

Don’t Take the ‘New Strain’ Omicron Bait

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We’ve seen this movie before.

Since early 2020, the “new, dangerous, unprecedented COVID strain” playbook has remained the same. It’s now been almost two years since the first “new strain” came on the scene.

Here’s how the hype cycle works:

A random nation-state detects a new coronavirus strain. That information is then introduced to the public by the press through hysterical means, setting off a chaotic few days in global financial markets, and a frenzied churnalism race to get the most eyes locked in on their respective publications. “Is a new plague on the horizon?” the ruling class sycophants ask. Academics in credentialed organizations will present a baseless statistical model or two that are totally detached from reality, igniting more government and press hysteria over the coming “plague.”
Next, your local and federal power-drunk politicians comes to the “rescue,” reminding you plebs that they’re here to help! The government first signals that there is nothing major to worry about, at least, for now. They’ll let you know if something changes, and assure you that their best people are monitoring the situation.

Initial government “measures” are restored. This is the first step in the direction of COVID tyranny. It comes in the form of nonsensical edicts like directed travel bans to the region where the new strain surfaced.
The ruling elite will then tell you to start acting like the good cattle that you are. Based on the advice of their “expert” Government Health bureaucrats, if you remain well behaved and extra compliant, COVID won’t come to get you. The Faucists will remind you to “trust the science” of masks and other forms of submissive virtue signaling, and ask you to thank the “public health experts” who are working day and night to protect you. You need government. No one is safe without the CDC and FDA. No one. The bureaucrats are the science and they know best. Questioning them is akin to questioning the concept of science itself.
As the new strain becomes more dominant and envelops more PCR tests, suddenly, the new strain is no longer mild. It’s the plague! Worse than ever! Government must now spring into action with “measures” (lockdowns, business closures, curfews and the like) that will further steal your basic rights and liberties.
The “war on the virus” is now in full bloom, and you better take a side, because you don’t want to be “on the side of the virus.” The new strain is the biggest threat yet. Worse than all the other new strains that caused the “plague of the century.” Academics and Government Health bureaucrats will show you another model or two to hammer home this point.
They insist that all of the things that didn’t work to stop a virus last time must be employed to stop a virus this time. And the more compliance, the better. Four shots, not three. Three masks, not two. Quarantine camps not only for the infected, but for close contacts too. The government will insist on quadrupling down on "the measures” as the only way forward, because this strain is the worst of them all.
The cycle repeats itself every time there is a new variant. And regardless of whether it’s the Alpha variant or any of a possible 100,000 mutations to the coronavirus, every tyrannical measure taken by governments to “slow the spread” or “stop the virus” has only made overall health significantly worse. As evidenced by the last two years, the government can only cause harm in embracing authoritarian coronavirus policies. Omicron is just their latest excuse. Don’t buy into the new variant hype. Don’t take the bait this time.

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Reprinted with permission from The Dossier.
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Pathologized Totalitarianism 101

Triumph of the Will (1935)

So, GloboCap has crossed the Rubicon. The final phase of its transformation of society into a pathologized-totalitarian dystopia, where mandatory genetic-therapy injections and digital compliance papers are commonplace, is now officially underway.

On November 19, 2021, the government of New Normal Austria decreed that, as of February, experimental mRNA injections will be mandatory for the entire population. This decree comes in the midst of Austria’s official persecution of “the Unvaccinated,” i.e., political dissidents and other persons of conscience who refuse to convert to the new official ideology and submit to a series of mRNA injections, purportedly to combat a virus that causes mild-to-moderate flu-like symptoms (or no symptoms of any kind at all) in about 95% of the infected and the overall infection fatality rate of which is approximately 0.1% to 0.5%.

Austria is just the tip of the New Normal spear. Prominent New-Normal fascists in Germany, like Der Führer of Bavaria, Markus Söder, and Minister of Propaganda Karl Lauterbach, are already calling for an allgemeine Impfpflicht (i.e., “compulsory vaccination requirement”), which should not come as a surprise to anyone. The Germans are not going to sit idly by and let the Austrians publicly out-fascist them, are they? They have a reputation to uphold, after all! Italy will probably be next to join in, unless Lithuania or Australia beats them to the punch.

But, seriously, this is just the beginning of the Winter Siege I wrote about recently. The plan seems to be to New-Normalize Europe first — generally speaking, Europeans are more docile, respectful of all authority, and not very well armed — and then use it as leverage to force the new pathologized totalitarianism on the USA, and the UK, and the rest of the world.

I do not believe this plan will succeed. In spite of the longest and most intensive propaganda campaign in the history of propaganda, there remain enough of us who steadfastly refuse to accept the “New Normal” as our new reality.

And a lot of us are angry, extremely angry … militantly, explosively angry.

We are not “vaccine hesitant” or “anti-vax” or “Covid-denying conspiracy theorists.” We are millions of regular working-class people, people with principles, who value freedom, who are not prepared to go gently into the globalized, pathologized-totalitarian night. We no longer give the slightest shit whether our former friends and family members who have gone New Normal understand what this is. We do. We understand exactly what this is. It is a nascent form of totalitarianism, and we intend to kill it — or at least critically wound it — before it matures into a full-grown behemoth.

Now, I want to be absolutely clear. I am not advocating or condoning violence. But it is going to happen. It is happening already. Totalitarianism (even this “pathologized” version of it) is imposed on society and maintained with violence. Fighting totalitarianism inevitably entails violence. It is not my preferred tactic in the current circumstances, but it is unavoidable now that we have reached this stage, and it is important that those fighting this fight recognize that violence is a natural response to the violence (and the implicit threat of violence) that is being deployed against us by the New Normal authorities, and the masses they have whipped up into a fanatical frenzy.

It is also important (essential, I would argue) to make the violence of the New Normal visible; i.e., to frame this fight in political terms, and not in the pseudo-medical terms propagated by the official Covid narrative). This isn’t an academic argument over the existence, severity, or the response to a virus. This is a fight to determine the future of our societies.

This fact, above all, is what the global-capitalist ruling classes are determined to conceal. The roll-out of the New Normal will fail if it is perceived as political (i.e., a form of totalitarianism). It relies on our inability to see it as what it is. So it hides itself and the violence it perpetrates within a pseudo-medical official narrative, rendering itself immune to political opposition.

We need to deny it this perceptual redoubt, this hermeneutic hiding place. We need to make it show itself as what it is, a “pathologized” form of totalitarianism. In order to do that, we need to understand it … its internal logic, and its strengths, and weaknesses.

Pathologized Totalitarianism

I have been describing the New Normal as “pathologized totalitarianism” and predicting that compulsory “vaccination” was coming since at least as early as May 2020. (See, e.g., The New Pathologized Totalitarianism). I use the term “totalitarianism” intentionally, not for effect, but for the sake of accuracy. The New Normal is still a nascent totalitarianism, but its essence is unmistakably evident. I described that essence in a recent column:

The essence of totalitarianism — regardless of which costumes and ideology it wears — is a desire to completely control society, every aspect of society, every individual behavior and thought. Every totalitarian system, whether an entire nation, a tiny cult, or any other form of social body, evolves toward this unachievable goal … the total ideological transformation and control of every single element of society … This fanatical pursuit of total control, absolute ideological uniformity, and the elimination of all dissent, is what makes totalitarianism totalitarianism.

In October 2020, I published The Covidian Cult, which has since grown into a series of essays examining New-Normal (i.e., pathologized) totalitarianism as “a cult writ large, on a societal scale.” This analogy holds true for all forms of totalitarianism, but especially for New Normal totalitarianism, as it is the first global form of totalitarianism in history, and thus:

The cult/culture paradigm has been inverted. Instead of the cult existing as an island within the dominant culture, the cult has become the dominant culture, and those of us who have not joined the cult have become the isolated islands within it.

In The Covidian Cult (Part III), I noted:

In order to oppose this new form of totalitarianism, we need to understand how it both resembles and differs from earlier totalitarian systems. The similarities are fairly obvious — i.e., the suspension of constitutional rights, governments ruling by decree, official propaganda, public loyalty rituals, the outlawing of political opposition, censorship, social segregation, goon squads terrorizing the public, and so on — but the differences are not as obvious.

And I described how New Normal totalitarianism fundamentally differs from 20th-Century totalitarianism in terms of its ideology, or seeming lack thereof.

Whereas 20th-Century totalitarianism was more or less national and overtly political, New Normal totalitarianism is supranational, and its ideology is much more subtle. The New Normal is not Nazism or Stalinism. It’s global-capitalist totalitarianism, and global capitalism doesn’t have an ideology, technically, or, rather, its ideology is ‘reality’.

But the most significant difference between 20th-Century totalitarianism and this nascent, global totalitarianism is how New Normal totalitarianism “pathologizes” its political nature, effectively rendering itself invisible, and thus immune to political opposition. Whereas 20th-Century totalitarianism wore its politics on its sleeve, New Normal totalitarianism presents itself as a non-ideological (i.e., supra-political) reaction to a global public health emergency.

And, thus, its classic totalitarian features — e.g., the revocation of basic rights and freedoms, centralization of power, rule by decree, oppressive policing of the population, demonization and persecution of a “scapegoat” underclass, censorship, propaganda, etc. — are not hidden, because they are impossible to hide, but are recontextualized in a pathologized official narrative.

The Untermenschen become “the Unvaccinated.” Swastika lapel pins become medical-looking masks. Aryan ID papers become “vaccination passes.” Irrefutably senseless social restrictions and mandatory public-obedience rituals become “lockdowns,” “social distancing,” and so on. The world is united in a Goebbelsian total war, not against an external enemy (i.e., a racial or political enemy), but against an internal, pathological enemy.

This pathologized official narrative is more powerful (and insidious) than any ideology, as it functions, not as a belief system or ethos, but rather, as objective “reality.” You cannot argue with or oppose “reality.” “Reality” has no political opponents. Those who challenge “reality” are “insane;” i.e., “conspiracy theorists,” “anti-vaxxers,” “Covid deniers,” “extremists,” etc. And, thus, the pathologized New Normal narrative also pathologizes its political opponents, simultaneously stripping us of political legitimacy and projecting its own violence onto us.

20th-Century totalitarianism also blamed its violence on its scapegoats (i.e., Jews, socialists, counter-revolutionaries, etc.) but it did not attempt to erase its violence. On the contrary, it displayed it openly, in order to terrorize the masses. New Normal totalitarianism cannot do this. It can’t go openly totalitarian, because capitalism and totalitarianism are ideologically contradictory.

Global-capitalist ideology will not function as an official ideology in an openly totalitarian society. It requires the simulation of “democracy,” or at least a simulation of market-based “freedom.” A society can be intensely authoritarian, but, to function in the global-capitalist system, it must allow its people the basic “freedom” that capitalism offers to all consumers, the right/obligation to participate in the market, to own and exchange commodities, etc.

This “freedom” can be conditional or extremely restricted, but it must exist to some degree. Saudi Arabia and China are two examples of openly authoritarian GloboCap societies that are nevertheless not entirely totalitarian, because they can’t be and remain a part of the system. Their advertised official ideologies (i.e., Islamic fundamentalism and communism) basically function as superficial overlays on the fundamental global-capitalist ideology which dictates the “reality” in which everyone lives. These “overlay” ideologies are not fake, but when they come into conflict with global-capitalist ideology, guess which ideology wins.

The point is, New Normal totalitarianism — and any global-capitalist form of totalitarianism — cannot display itself as totalitarianism, or even authoritarianism. It cannot acknowledge its political nature. In order to exist, it must not exist. Above all, it must erase its violence (the violence that all politics ultimately comes down to) and appear to us as an essentially beneficent response to a legitimate “global health crisis” (and a “climate change crisis,” and a “racism crisis,” and whatever other “global crises” GloboCap thinks will terrorize the masses into a mindless, order-following hysteria).

This pathologization of totalitarianism — and the political/ideological conflict we have been engaged in for the past 20 months — is the most significant difference between New Normal totalitarianism and 20th-Century totalitarianism. The entire global-capitalist apparatus (i.e., corporations, governments, supranational entities, the corporate and state media, academia, etc.) has been put into service to achieve this objective.

We need to come to terms with this fact. We do. Not the New Normals. Us.

GloboCap is on the verge of remaking society into a smiley-happy pathologized-totalitarian dystopia where they can mandate experimental genetic “therapies,” and any other type of “therapies” they want, and force us to show our “compliance papers” to go about the most basic aspects of life. This remaking of society is violent. It is being carried out by force, with violence and the ever-present threat of violence. We need to face that, and act accordingly.

Here in New Normal Germany, if you try to go grocery shopping without a medical-looking mask, armed police will remove you from the premises (and I am saying this from personal experience). In New Normal Australia, if you go to synagogue, the media will be alerted and the police will surround you. In Germany, Australia, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, and many other countries, if you exercise your right to assemble and protest, the police will hose you down with water cannons, shoot you with rubber bullets (and sometimes real bullets), spray toxic agents into your eyes, and just generally beat the crap out of you.

And so on. Those of us fighting for our rights and opposing this pathologized totalitarianism are all-too familiar with the reality of its violence, and the hatred it has fomented in the New Normal masses. We experience it on a daily basis. We feel it every time we’re forced to wear a mask, when some official (or waiter) demands to see our “papers.” We feel it when when we are threatened by our government, when we are gaslighted and demonized by the media, by doctors, celebrities, random strangers, and by our colleagues, friends, and family members.

We recognize the look in their eyes. We remember where it comes from, and what it leads to.

It isn’t just ignorance, mass hysteria, confusion, or an overreaction, or fear … or, OK, yes, it is all those things, but it’s also textbook totalitarianism (notwithstanding the new pathologized twist). Totalitarianism 101.

Look it in the eye, and act accordingly.

Keith Olbermann/Twitter
The post Pathologized Totalitarianism 101 first appeared on Dissident Voice.

A President Betrayed by Bureaucrats: Scott Atlas’s Masterpiece on the Covid Disaster

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I’m a voracious reader of Covid books but nothing could have prepared me for Scott Atlas’s A Plague Upon Our House, a full and mind-blowing account of the famed scientist’s personal experience with the Covid era and a luridly detailed account of his time at the White House. The book is hot fire, from page one to the last, and will permanently affect your view of not only this pandemic and the policy response but also the workings of public health in general. 

Atlas’s book has exposed a scandal for the ages. It is enormously valuable because it fully blows up what seems to be an emerging fake story involving a supposedly Covid-denying president who did nothing vs. heroic scientists in the White House who urged compulsory mitigating measures consistent with prevailing scientific opinion. Not one word of that is true. Atlas’s book, I hope, makes it impossible to tell such tall tales without embarrassment. 

Anyone who tells you this fictional story (including Deborah Birx) deserves to have this highly credible treatise tossed in his direction. The book is about the war between real science (and genuine public health), with Atlas as the voice for reason both before and during his time in the White House, vs. the enactment of brutal policies that never stood any chance of controlling the virus while causing tremendous damage to the people, to human liberty, to children in particular, but also to billions of people around the world. 

For the reader, the author is our proxy, a reasonable and blunt man trapped in a world of lies, duplicity, backstabbing, opportunism, and fake science. He did his best but could not prevail against a powerful machine that cares nothing for facts, much less outcomes. 

If you have heretofore believed that science drives pandemic public policy, this book will shock you. Atlas’s recounting of the unbearably poor thinking on the part of government-based “infectious disease experts” will make your jaw drop (thinking, for example, of Birx’s off-the-cuff theorizing about the relationship between masking and controlling case spreads). 

Throughout the book, Atlas points to the enormous cost of the machinery of lockdowns, the preferred method of Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx: missed cancer screenings, missed surgeries, nearly two years of educational losses, bankrupted small business, depression and drug overdoses, overall citizen demoralization, violations of religious freedom, all while public health massively neglected the actual at-risk population in long-term care facilities. Essentially, they were willing to dismantle everything we called civilization in the name of bludgeoning one pathogen without regard to the consequences. 

The fake science of population-wide “models” drove policy instead of following the known information about risk profiles. “The one unusual feature of this virus was the fact that children had an extraordinarily low risk,” writes Atlas. “Yet this positive and reassuring news was never emphasized. Instead, with total disregard of the evidence of selective risk consistent with other respiratory viruses, public health officials recommended draconian isolation of everyone.”

“Restrictions on liberty were also destructive by inflaming class distinctions with their differential impact,” he writes, “exposing essential workers, sacrificing low-income families and kids, destroying single-parent homes, and eviscerating small businesses, while at the same time large companies were bailed out, elites worked from home with barely an interruption, and the ultra-rich got richer, leveraging their bully pulpit to demonize and cancel those who challenged their preferred policy options.”

In the midst of continued chaos, in August 2020, Atlas was called by Trump to help, not as a political appointee, not as a PR man for Trump, not as a DC fixer but as the only person who in nearly a year of unfolding catastrophe had a health-policy focus. He made it clear from the outset that he would only say what he believed to be true; Trump agreed that this was precisely what he wanted and needed. Trump got an earful and gradually came around to a more rational view than that which caused him to wreck the American economy and society with his own hands and against his own instincts. 

In Task Force meetings, Atlas was the only person who showed up with studies and on-the-ground information as opposed to mere charts of infections easily downloadable from popular websites. “A bigger surprise was that Fauci did not present scientific research on the pandemic to the group that I witnessed. Likewise, I never heard him speak about his own critical analysis of any published research studies. This was stunning to me. Aside from intermittent status updates about clinical trial enrollments, Fauci served the Task Force by offering an occasional comment or update on vaccine trial participant totals, mostly when the VP would turn to him and ask.”

When Atlas spoke up, it was almost always to contradict Fauci/Birx but he received no backing during meetings, only to have many people in attendance later congratulate him for speaking out. Still, he did, by virtue of private meetings, have a convert in Trump himself, but by then it was too late: not even Trump could prevail against the wicked machine he had permissioned into operation. 

It’s a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington story but applied to matters of public health. From the outset of this disease panic, policy came to be dictated by two government bureaucrats (Fauci and Birx) who, for some reason, were confident in their control over media, bureaucracies, and White House messaging, despite every attempt by the president, Atlas, and a few others to get them to pay attention to the actual science about which Fauci/Birx knew and care little. 

When Atlas would raise doubts about Birx, Jared Kushner would repeatedly assure him that “she is 100% MAGA.” Yet we know for certain that this is not true. We know from a different book on the subject that she only took the position with the anticipation that Trump would lose the presidency in the November election. That’s hardly a surprise; it’s the bias expected from a career bureaucrat working for a deep-state institution.

Fortunately, we now have this book to set the record straight. It gives every reader an inside look at the workings of a system that wrecked our lives. If the book finally declines to offer an explanation for the hell that was visited upon us – every day we still ask the question why? – it does provide an accounting of the who, when, where, and what. Tragically, too many scientists, media figures, and intellectuals in general went along. Atlas’s account shows exactly what they signed up to defend, and it’s not pretty. 

The cliche that kept coming to mind as I read is “breath of fresh air.” That metaphor describes the book perfectly: blessed relief from relentless propaganda. Imagine yourself trapped in an elevator with stultifying air in a building that is on fire and the smoke gradually seeps in from above. Someone is in there with you and he keeps assuring you that everything is fine, when it is obviously not. 

That’s a pretty good description of how I felt from March 12, 2020 and onward. That was the day that President Trump spoke to the nation and announced that there would be no more travel from Europe. The tone in his voice was spooky. It was obvious that more was coming. He had clearly fallen sway to extremely bad advice, perhaps he was willing to push lockdowns as a plan to deal with a respiratory virus that was already widespread in the US from perhaps 5 to 6 months earlier. 

It was the day that the darkness descended. A day later (March 13), the HHS distributed its lockdown plans for the nation. That weekend, Trump met for many hours with Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and only a few others. He came around to the idea of shutting down the American economy for two weeks. He presided over the calamitous March 16, 2020, press conference, at which Trump promised to beat the virus through general lockdowns. 

Of course he had no power to do that directly but he could urge it to happen, all under the completely delusional promise that doing so would solve the virus problem. Two weeks later, the same gang persuaded him to extend the lockdowns. 

Trump went along with the advice because it was the only advice he was fed at the time. They made it appear that the only choice that Trump had – if he wanted to beat the virus – was to wage war on his own policies that were pushing for a stronger, healthier economy. After surviving two impeachment attempts, and beating back years of hate from a nearly united media afflicted by severe derangement syndrome, Trump was finally hornswoggled. 

Atlas writes: “On this highly important criterion of presidential management—taking responsibility to fully take charge of policy coming from the White House—I believe the president made a massive error in judgment. Against his own gut feeling, he delegated authority to medical bureaucrats, and then he failed to correct that mistake.”

The truly tragic fact that both Republicans and Democrats do not want spoken about is that this whole calamity is that did indeed begin with Trump’s decision. On this point, Atlas writes:
Yes, the president initially had gone along with the lockdowns proposed by Fauci and Birx, the 'fifteen days to slow the spread,' even though he had serious misgivings. But I still believe the reason that he kept repeating his one question—'Do you agree with the initial shutdown?'—whenever he asked questions about the pandemic was precisely because he still had misgivings about it.
Large parts of the narrative are devoted to explaining precisely how and to what extent Trump had been betrayed. “They had convinced him to do exactly the opposite of what he would naturally do in any other circumstance,” Atlas writes, that is 
...to disregard his own common sense and allow grossly incorrect policy advice to prevail…. This president, widely known for his signature 'You’re fired!' declaration, was misled by his closest political intimates. All for fear of what was inevitable anyway—skewering from an already hostile media. And on top of that tragic misjudgment, the election was lost anyway. So much for political strategists.
There are so many valuable parts to the story that I cannot possibly recount them all. The language is brilliant, e.g. he calls the media “the most despicable group of unprincipled liars one could ever imagine.” He proves that assertion in page after page of shocking lies and distortions, mostly driven by political goals. 

I was particularly struck by his chapter on testing, mainly because that whole racket mystified me throughout. From the outset, the CDC bungled the testing part of the pandemic story, attempting to keep the tests and process centralized in DC at the very time when the entire nation was in panic. Once that was finally fixed, months too late, mass and indiscriminate PCR testing became the desiderata of success within the White House. The problem was not just with the testing method:
Fragments of dead virus hang around and can generate a positive test for many weeks or months, even though one is not generally contagious after two weeks. Moreover, PCR is extremely sensitive. It detects minute quantities of virus that do not transmit infection…. Even the New York Times wrote in August that 90 percent or more of positive PCR tests falsely implied that someone was contagious. Sadly, during my entire time at the White House, this crucial fact would never even be addressed by anyone other than me at the Task Force meetings, let alone because for any public recommendation, even after I distributed data proving this critical point.
The other problem is the wide assumption that more testing (however inaccurate) of whomever, whenever was always better. This model of maximizing tests seemed like a leftover from the HIV/AIDS crisis in which tracing was mostly useless in practice but at least made some sense in theory. For a widespread and mostly wild respiratory disease transmitted the way a cold virus is transmitted, this method was hopeless from the beginning. It became nothing but make work for tracing bureaucrats and testing enterprises that in the end only provided a fake metric of “success” that served to spread public panic. 

Early on, Fauci had clearly said that there was no reason to get tested if you had no symptoms. Later, that common-sense outlook was thrown out the window and replaced with an agenda to test as many people as possible regardless of risk and regardless of symptoms. The resulting data enabled Fauci/Birx to keep everyone in a constant state of alarm. More test positivity to them implied only one thing: more lockdowns. Businesses needed to close harder, we all needed to mask harder, schools needed to stay closed longer, and travel needed to be ever more restricted. That assumption became so entrenched that not even the president’s own wishes (which had changed from Spring to Summer) made any difference. 

Atlas’s first job, then, was to challenge this whole indiscriminate testing agenda. To his mind, testing needed to be about more than accumulating endless amounts of data, much of it without meaning; instead, testing should be directed toward a public-health goal. The people who needed tests were the vulnerable populations, particularly those in nursing homes, with the goal of saving lives among those who were actually threatened with severe outcomes. This push to test, contact trace, and quarantine anyone and everyone regardless of known risk was a huge distraction, and also caused huge disruption in schooling and enterprise. 

To fix it meant changing the CDC guidelines. Atlas’s story of attempting to do that is eye-opening. He wrestled with every manner of bureaucrat and managed to get new guidelines written, only to find that they had been mysteriously reverted to the old guidelines one week later. He caught the “error” and insisted that his version prevail. Once they were issued by the CDC, the national press was all over it, with the story that the White House was pressuring the scientists at the CDC in terrible ways. After a week-long media storm, the guidelines changed yet again. All of Atlas’s work was made null. 

Talk about discouraging! It was also Atlas’s first full experience in dealing with deep-state machinations. It was this way throughout the lockdown period, a machinery in place to implement, encourage, and enforce endless restrictions but no one person in particular was there to take responsibility for the policies or the outcomes, even as the ostensible head of state (Trump) was on record both publicly and privately opposing the policies that no one could seem to stop. 

As an example of this, Atlas tells the story of bringing some massively important scientists to the White House to speak with Trump: Martin Kulldorff, Jay Bhattacharya, Joseph Ladapo, and Cody Meissner. People around the president thought the idea was great. But somehow the meeting kept being delayed. Again and again. When it finally went ahead, the schedulers only allowed for 5 minutes. But once they met with Trump himself, the president had other ideas and prolonged the meeting for an hour and a half, asking the scientists all kinds of questions about viruses, policy, the initial lockdowns, the risks to individuals, and so on. 

The president was so impressed with their views and knowledge – what a dramatic change that must have been for him – that he invited filming to be done plus pictures to be taken. He wanted to make it a big public splash. It never happened. Literally. White House press somehow got the message that this meeting never happened. The first anyone will have known about it other than White House employees is from Atlas’s book. 

Two months later, Atlas was instrumental in bringing in not only two of those scientists but also the famed Sunetra Gupta of Oxford. They met with the HHS secretary but this meeting too was buried in the press. No dissent was allowed. The bureaucrats were in charge, regardless of the wishes of the president. 

Another case in point was during Trump’s own bout with Covid in early October. Atlas was nearly sure that he would be fine but he was forbidden from talking to the press. The entire White House communications office was frozen for four days, with no one speaking to the press. This was against Trump’s own wishes. This left the media to speculate that he was on his deathbed, so when he came back to the White House and announced that Covid is not to be feared, it was a shock to the nation. From my own point of view, this was truly Trump’s finest moment. To learn of the internal machinations happening behind the scenes is pretty shocking. 

I can’t possibly cover the wealth of material in this book, and I expect this brief review to be one of several that I write. I do have a few disagreements. First, I think the author is too uncritical toward Operation Warp Speed and doesn’t really address how the vaccines were wildly oversold, to say nothing of growing concerns about safety, which were not addressed in the trials. Second, he seems to approve of Trump’s March 12th travel restrictions, which struck me as brutal and pointless, and the real beginning of the unfolding disaster. Third, Atlas inadvertently seems to perpetuate the distortion that Trump recommended ingesting bleach during a press conference. I know that this was all over the papers. But I’ve read the transcript of that press conference several times and find nothing like this. Trump actually makes clear that he was speaking about cleaning surfaces. This might be yet another case of outright media lies. 

All that aside, this book reveals everything about the insanity of 2020 and 2021, years in which good sense, good science, historical precedent, human rights, and concerns for human liberty were all thrown into the trash, not just in the US but all over the world.

Atlas summarizes the big picture:
...in considering all the surprising events that unfolded in this past year, two in particular stand out. I have been shocked at the enormous power of government officials to unilaterally decree a sudden and severe shutdown of society—to simply close businesses and schools by edict, restrict personal movements, mandate behavior, regulate interactions with our family members, and eliminate our most basic freedoms, without any defined end and with little accountability.
Atlas is correct that “the management of this pandemic has left a stain on many of America’s once noble institutions, including our elite universities, research institutes and journals, and public health agencies. Earning it back will not be easy.” 

Internationally, we have Sweden as an example of a country that (mostly) kept its sanity. Domestically, we have South Dakota as an example of a place that stayed open, preserving freedom throughout. And thanks in large part to Atlas’s behind-the-scenes work, we have the example of Florida, whose governor did care about the actual science and ended up preserving freedom in the state even as the elderly population there experienced the greatest possible protection from the virus. 

We all owe Atlas an enormous debt of gratitude, for it was he who persuaded the Florida governor to choose the path of focussed protection as advocated by the Great Barrington Declaration, which Atlas cites as the “single document that will go down as one of the most important publications in the pandemic, as it lent undeniable credibility to focused protection and provided courage to thousands of additional medical scientists and public health leaders to come forward.”

Atlas experienced the slings, arrows, and worse. The media and the bureaucrats tried to shut him up, shut him down, and body bag him professionally and personally. Cancelled, meaning removed from the roster of functional, dignified human beings. Even colleagues at Stanford University joined in the lynch mob, much to their disgrace. And yet this book is that of a man who has prevailed against them.

In that sense, this book is easily the most crucial first-person account we have so far. It is gripping, revealing, devastating for the lockdowners and their vaccine-mandating successors, and a true classic that will stand the test of time. It’s simply not possible to write the history of this disaster without a close examination of this erudite first-hand account. 

Reprinted with permission from the Brownstone Institute.

Uncontacted Tribe’s Land Invaded and Destroyed for Beef Production

A recent overflight has revealed large-scale cattle ranching inside the Piripkura territory, a blatant violation of a new Land Protection Order. © Rogério Assis/ISA

New overflight photos have revealed that the land of one of the world’s most vulnerable uncontacted tribes is being illegally invaded and destroyed for beef production.

The land invasion now underway is in flagrant violation of a 6-month Land Protection Order issued in September which bans all outsiders from the Piripkura Indigenous Territory.

A major cattle ranching operation is now underway. © Rogério Assis/ISA

Only two members of Brazil’s Piripkura tribe are known to live in the territory, though others are also believed to live there, having retreated to the depths of the forest. Many Piripkura have been killed in past massacres.

Piripkura men Baita and Tamandua, photographed during an encounter with a FUNAI unit. The two men, who are uncle and nephew, have had sporadic interactions with the local FUNAI team, but returned to live in the forest. © Bruno Jorge

The overflight was conducted last month for the “Uncontacted or Destroyed” campaign and petition organized by COIAB (the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon) and OPI (the Observatory for the Human Rights of Uncontacted and Recently Contacted Indigenous Peoples), with the support of APIB (Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil), ISA (Instituto Socioambiental) and Survival International.

Photographs revealed an airstrip within the Piripkura Indigenous Territory. © Bruno Jorge

The campaign has just released a dossier “Piripkura: an indigenous territory being destroyed for beef production.“ It’s revealed:

– Land clearances for cattle ranching have now reached an area where the uncontacted Piripkura are known to live.

– Roads, fencing and even an airstrip have been constructed, and hundreds of cattle brought in.

– The rate of deforestation in the territory has “exploded” – by more than 27,000% in the last two years.

Huge swathes of rainforest have been cleared, right next to the headwaters of the Duelo River (circled), where the Piripkura are known to live. © ISA

OPI has also released a report on the invasion of the Piripkura lands. Their research has revealed that the Piripkura’s is now the most deforested uncontacted indigenous territory in Brazil. More than 12,000 hectares has already been destroyed.

The Uncontacted or Destroyed campaign highlights several uncontacted territories currently shielded by Land Protection Orders which are due to expire soon.

The only contacted Piripkura, a woman known as Rita, recently told Survival in a unique video appeal that outsiders operating illegally inside her people’s territory could soon kill her relatives, and described how nine of her relatives were massacred in one attack.

Sarah Shenker, head of Survival’s Uncontacted Tribes campaign, said today: “There could be no greater proof of the total impunity – indeed, active support – that land invaders enjoy under President Bolsonaro than this: commercial ranching operations in a vitally important indigenous territory that’s supposed to be protected by law. The invaders are fast approaching the uncontacted Piripkura. They’re resisting with all their might, and so must we. Only a major public outcry can prevent the genocide of the Piripkura and other uncontacted tribes. And an added bonus? A far cheaper and more effective way to protect Amazon rainforest than the fatal ‘solutions’ pushed by governments at COP.”

Elias Bigio of OPAN said today: “That area we flew over has been newly-cleared for beef production. They’ve already logged it, now they’re turning it into pasture for cattle.”

OPI said: “The Indigenous Territory and the Piripkura are extremely threatened. It’s the same thing that’s happened in other uncontacted tribes’ territories – the destruction is the ‘Bolsonaro Effect’, as it’s accelerated since 2019.”

The post Uncontacted Tribe’s Land Invaded and Destroyed for Beef Production first appeared on Dissident Voice.