Category Archives: Science/Technology

Dystopian Movies Fit for a Dystopian World

The Internet is watching us now. If they want to. They can see what sites you visit. In the future, television will be watching us, and customizing itself to what it knows about us. The thrilling thing is, that will make us feel we’re part of the medium. The scary thing is, we’ll lose our right to privacy. An ad will appear in the air around us, talking directly to us.”
— Director Steven Spielberg, Minority Report

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by such science fiction writers as George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

Much like Orwell’s Big Brother in 1984, the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move.

Much like Huxley’s A Brave New World, we are churning out a society of watchers who “have their liberties taken away from them, but … rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing.”

Much like Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the populace is now taught to “know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away.”

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick’s darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state—which became the basis for Steven Spielberg’s futuristic thriller Minority Report which was released 20 years ago—we are now trapped into a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

Minority Report is set in the year 2054, but it could just as well have taken place in 2022.

Seemingly taking its cue from science fiction, technology has moved so fast in the short time since Minority Report premiered in 2002 that what once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike—facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on—are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, Spielberg’s unnerving vision of the future is fast becoming our reality.

Both worlds—our present-day reality and Spielberg’s celluloid vision of the future—are characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes, facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness—a philosophy that discourages diversity—has become a guiding principle of modern society.

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America.

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state. Much of the population is either hooked on illegal drugs or ones prescribed by doctors. And bodily privacy and integrity has been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

All of this has come about with little more than a whimper from an oblivious American populace largely comprised of nonreaders and television and internet zombies, but we have been warned about such an ominous future in novels and movies for years.

The following 15 films may be the best representation of what we now face as a society.

Fahrenheit 451 (1966). Adapted from Ray Bradbury’s novel and directed by Francois Truffaut, this film depicts a futuristic society in which books are banned, and firemen ironically are called on to burn contraband books—451 Fahrenheit being the temperature at which books burn. Montag is a fireman who develops a conscience and begins to question his book burning. This film is an adept metaphor for our obsessively politically correct society where virtually everyone now pre-censors speech. Here, a brainwashed people addicted to television and drugs do little to resist governmental oppressors.

 
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
The plot of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, as based on an Arthur C. Clarke short story, revolves around a space voyage to Jupiter. The astronauts soon learn, however, that the fully automated ship is orchestrated by a computer system—known as HAL 9000—which has become an autonomous thinking being that will even murder to retain control. The idea is that at some point in human evolution, technology in the form of artificial intelligence will become autonomous and human beings will become mere appendages of technology. In fact, at present, we are seeing this development with massive databases generated and controlled by the government that are administered by such secretive agencies as the National Security Agency and sweep all websites and other information devices collecting information on average citizens. We are being watched from cradle to grave.

Planet of the Apes (1968). Based on Pierre Boulle’s novel, astronauts crash on a planet where apes are the masters and humans are treated as brutes and slaves. While fleeing from gorillas on horseback, astronaut Taylor is shot in the throat, captured and housed in a cage. From there, Taylor begins a journey wherein the truth revealed is that the planet was once controlled by technologically advanced humans who destroyed civilization. Taylor’s trek to the ominous Forbidden Zone reveals the startling fact that he was on planet earth all along. Descending into a fit of rage at what he sees in the final scene, Taylor screams: “We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you.” The lesson is obvious, but will we listen? The script, although rewritten, was initially drafted by Rod Serling and retains Serling’s Twilight Zone-ish ending.

THX 1138 (1970). George Lucas’ directorial debut, this is a somber view of a dehumanized society totally controlled by a police state. The people are force-fed drugs to keep them passive, and they no longer have names but only letter/number combinations such as THX 1138. Any citizen who steps out of line is quickly brought into compliance by robotic police equipped with “pain prods”—electro-shock batons. Sound like tasers?

A Clockwork Orange (1971). Director Stanley Kubrick presents a future ruled by sadistic punk gangs and a chaotic government that cracks down on its citizens sporadically. Alex is a violent punk who finds himself in the grinding, crushing wheels of injustice. This film may accurately portray the future of western society that grinds to a halt as oil supplies diminish, environmental crises increase, chaos rules, and the only thing left is brute force.

Soylent Green (1973). Set in a futuristic overpopulated New York City, the people depend on synthetic foods manufactured by the Soylent Corporation. A policeman investigating a murder discovers the grisly truth about what soylent green is really made of. The theme is chaos where the world is ruled by ruthless corporations whose only goal is greed and profit. Sound familiar?

Blade Runner (1982). In a 21st century Los Angeles, a world-weary cop tracks down a handful of renegade “replicants” (synthetically produced human slaves). Life is now dominated by mega-corporations, and people sleepwalk along rain-drenched streets. This is a world where human life is cheap, and where anyone can be exterminated at will by the police (or blade runners). Based upon a Philip K. Dick novel, this exquisite Ridley Scott film questions what it means to be human in an inhuman world.

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984). The best adaptation of Orwell’s dark tale, this film visualizes the total loss of freedom in a world dominated by technology and its misuse, and the crushing inhumanity of an omniscient state. The government controls the masses by controlling their thoughts, altering history and changing the meaning of words. Winston Smith is a doubter who turns to self-expression through his diary and then begins questioning the ways and methods of Big Brother before being re-educated in a most brutal fashion.

Brazil (1985). Sharing a similar vision of the near future as 1984 and Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial, this is arguably director Terry Gilliam’s best work, one replete with a merging of the fantastic and stark reality. Here, a mother-dominated, hapless clerk takes refuge in flights of fantasy to escape the ordinary drabness of life. Caught within the chaotic tentacles of a police state, the longing for more innocent, free times lies behind the vicious surface of this film.

They Live (1988). John Carpenter’s bizarre sci-fi social satire action film assumes the future has already arrived. John Nada is a homeless person who stumbles across a resistance movement and finds a pair of sunglasses that enables him to see the real world around him. What he discovers is a world controlled by ominous beings who bombard the citizens with subliminal messages such as “obey” and “conform.” Carpenter manages to make an effective political point about the underclass—that is, everyone except those in power. The point: we, the prisoners of our devices, are too busy sucking up the entertainment trivia beamed into our brains and attacking each other up to start an effective resistance movement.

The Matrix (1999). The story centers on a computer programmer Thomas A. Anderson, secretly a hacker known by the alias “Neo,” who begins a relentless quest to learn the meaning of “The Matrix”—cryptic references that appear on his computer. Neo’s search leads him to Morpheus who reveals the truth that the present reality is not what it seems and that Anderson is actually living in the future—2199. Humanity is at war against technology which has taken the form of intelligent beings, and Neo is actually living in The Matrix, an illusionary world that appears to be set in the present in order to keep the humans docile and under control. Neo soon joins Morpheus and his cohorts in a rebellion against the machines that use SWAT team tactics to keep things under control.

Minority Report (2002). Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick and directed by Steven Spielberg, the film offers a special effect-laden, techno-vision of a futuristic world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful. And if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams will bring you under control. The setting is 2054 where PreCrime, a specialized police unit, apprehends criminals before they can commit the crime. Captain Anderton is the chief of the Washington, DC, PreCrime force which uses future visions generated by “pre-cogs” (mutated humans with precognitive abilities) to stop murders. Soon Anderton becomes the focus of an investigation when the precogs predict he will commit a murder. But the system can be manipulated. This film raises the issue of the danger of technology operating autonomously—which will happen eventually if it has not already occurred. To a hammer, all the world looks like a nail. In the same way, to a police state computer, we all look like suspects. In fact, before long, we all may be mere extensions or appendages of the police state—all suspects in a world commandeered by machines.

V for Vendetta (2006). This film depicts a society ruled by a corrupt and totalitarian government where everything is run by an abusive secret police. A vigilante named V dons a mask and leads a rebellion against the state. The subtext here is that authoritarian regimes through repression create their own enemies—that is, terrorists—forcing government agents and terrorists into a recurring cycle of violence. And who is caught in the middle? The citizens, of course. This film has a cult following among various underground political groups such as Anonymous, whose members wear the same Guy Fawkes mask as that worn by V.

Children of Men (2006). This film portrays a futuristic world without hope since humankind has lost its ability to procreate. Civilization has descended into chaos and is held together by a military state and a government that attempts to keep its totalitarian stronghold on the population. Most governments have collapsed, leaving Great Britain as one of the few remaining intact societies. As a result, millions of refugees seek asylum only to be rounded up and detained by the police. Suicide is a viable option as a suicide kit called Quietus is promoted on billboards and on television and newspapers. But hope for a new day comes when a woman becomes inexplicably pregnant.

Land of the Blind (2006). In this dark political satire, tyrannical rulers are overthrown by new leaders who prove to be just as evil as their predecessors. Maximilian II is a demented fascist ruler of a troubled land named Everycountry who has two main interests: tormenting his underlings and running his country’s movie industry. Citizens who are perceived as questioning the state are sent to “re-education camps” where the state’s concept of reality is drummed into their heads. Joe, a prison guard, is emotionally moved by the prisoner and renowned author Thorne and eventually joins a coup to remove the sadistic Maximilian, replacing him with Thorne. But soon Joe finds himself the target of the new government.

All of these films—and the writers who inspired them—understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan, flag-waving, zombified states, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control at all costs.

Eventually, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, even the sleepwalking masses (who remain convinced that all of the bad things happening in the police state—the police shootings, the police beatings, the raids, the roadside strip searches—are happening to other people) will have to wake up.

Sooner or later, the things happening to other people will start happening to us.

When that painful reality sinks in, it will hit with the force of a SWAT team crashing through your door, a taser being aimed at your stomach, and a gun pointed at your head. And there will be no channel to change, no reality to alter, and no manufactured farce to hide behind.

As George Orwell warned, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.”

The post Dystopian Movies Fit for a Dystopian World first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Enticing Light of Progress

In November 1784, Berlinischer Monatsschrift published an article titled “An answer to the question: what is enlightenment?” The article’s author was Immanuel Kant. “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from self-inflicted immaturity (Unmündigkeit),” he famously replied. And Kant’s stance on the question has yet to lose its charm. Nearly two hundred years later, Michel Foucault still asserts the question of “what is the Enlightenment?” and claims that modernity finds itself in a constant desire to know where we are right now. This long standing question is a historical staple that continues to preoccupy the present.

American author J.B. Burys, in The Idea of Progress published in 1920, shows a conflicting and difficult interpretation of progress. According to its definition, progress is the belief that “civilization has moved, is moving, and will move in a desirable direction.” But what is preferred in this instance? When the elderly Rousseau went for a walk in a pasture he admired for its beauty, he discovered a knitting factory in the middle of the idyll. He was horrified and disgusted. Yet if his old adversary, Denis Diderot, had made the same discovery, he would have become curious and happily interested. Maybe even paid a study visit. For Diderot, but not for Rousseau, the factory in nature’s womb was a small sign of progress “in a desirable direction.”

Subjective perceptions cannot be used to define progress. Its solid foundation is the idea that man, through deliberate action, can change the circumstances of his existence. As a result, man has some control over his future. The advocate of progress believes that change can realize their dreams and desires. His detractors do not deny the shifting power of action. Nonetheless, they are convinced that it disrupts a natural order or simply confirms man’s attachment to an inherently hopeless existence.

Such a forward-thinking approach can be traced back to the 17th century. However, if someone is to be crowned as the subject’s founding father, only one man holds such esteem: the English philosopher and politician, Francis Bacon. He was the one who made the understandably serious claim that people could improve their lot with the help of new knowledge, new technology, and new forms of cooperation.

For a long time, this ideal of progress was a show with few followers; however, with the Enlightenment in the 18th century, it gained in popularity. Nonetheless, it was a perception that only a thin layer of so-called educated people shared. When one of the first hot-air balloons — which Kant saw as the pinnacle of technological progress — crashed to the ground outside of Paris, it was attacked by peasants armed with pitchforks and other weapons. They were under the impression that the moon had fallen from their firmament. In most places, a widespread shift in belief of progress did not occur until the end of the nineteenth century, if at all.

Optimism is never easy. It’s surrounded by “if” and “but” statements. At first glance, the English 19th-century philosopher Herbert Spencer appears unshaken in his belief in positive development of the future. He bases his theories on cosmic and biological evolutionary laws. The progress of man and society appears to be the result of the great universal law of evolution.

But when the laissez-faire society he envisioned ran into new, unexpected challenges in the form of not only trade tariffs – and other competition restrictions — but also measures that made the lives of the poor and oppressed more difficult, Spencer issued the pamphlet The Man versus the State (1884). If the authorities did not recognize that the struggle for survival was also a blessing for those who did not manage to survive, progress would come to an abrupt halt. The human race’s positive development was thus dependent on its conscious adherence to the laws of development.

There are few visions of a better future for humanity without reservations. Progressive thinking is never limited to asserting or establishing a specific process. It also identifies action that will allow for continued positive development. It warns of dangers and disasters that can only be avoided by following a specific, possibly difficult path.

Thus the concept of progress is never without a dark shadow of decay, degeneration, and threatening accidents. This is due to the fact that the concept of progress is always more or less action-oriented. It says: Do this, and things will improve. In the same breath, it threatens: If you do not follow my advice, you will suffer misfortune.

Only well-considered pessimists, such as Arthur Schopenhauer, deny the possibility of such an action. The pursuit of life is merely in captivity under the guise of blind will. The only freedom that exists is freedom from all desires and drives. According to Schopenhauer, the only way to achieve such peace is through pure music.

One of Schopenhauer’s successors, Eduard von Hartmann, combined optimism and pessimism in an unusual way. Humanity has truly advanced. Knowledge expanded. Everyone would one day gain a complete understanding of the essence of existence. Then they’d realize its nothingness and commit a massive collective suicide.

From Bury onwards, several books have been written about the concept of progress. They suffer from a lack of distinguishing the positive aspects of future images from the negative; the promises from the threats. The literature on modern concepts of degeneration and decay is more limited. Yet one powerful monograph on the subject, Arthur Herman’s The Idea of Decline in Western History, is well worth it.

The flowing documentation of various ideas of decay is the book’s best feature. Herman is an excellent narrator who has amassed a large amount of material. On the other hand, the analyses don’t accurately examine what they seek to understand. An example of this is Herman’s habit of grouping together performances that have little in common. He dislikes thinkers who try to test their readers’ patience with a certain level of complication.

On the other hand, he rightly emphasizes the close relationship between progress and the concept of maturity. They are, as he says on the first page, two sides of the same coin. He also observes that those who predict disaster usually point to a path that contrarily leads to a prosperous state.

Herman takes on a long list of characters for his treatment. Some are obvious, such as Joseph Arthur de Gobineau, one of Nazism’s ancestors with his aristocratic racism, and Francia Galton, Darwin’s cousin, with her warnings of humanity’s impending decline unless decisive action is taken to prevent the worst in society from multiplying. Oswald Spengler’s Destruction of the West (1918-22), as well as his more sympathetic English counterpart, Arnold Toynbee, are also difficult to avoid.

Others are less obvious and more refreshing to divulge. For instance, Henry Adams (1838-1918), the brilliant representative of a New England family that produced two U.S. presidents, belongs there. The historian and author was known best for his autobiography. Adams ideals of progress were no doubt shaped by those he knew as mentors. Two greats among that list of mentors being Auguste Comte, the father of positivism, and Karl Marx.

However, Adams drew pessimistic conclusions from both their theories. He seemed to be able to discern the disintegration of the times by relying on Comte. Marx, he believed, had taught him that industrial society bore an insurmountable injustice. Adams saw his contemporary United States as a decaying society due to its large influx of immigrants and restless modernization. His inner circle also shared that same belief. They dreamed of an arcadian existence in the United States, where the ideality of the constitution was alive and well. In reality, the ideal of the modern U.S. embraced materialism which brought about moral decay.

Another American (to whom Hermans refers), William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963), came from a less fortunate background than Adams. Du Bois was Black, but he was remarkable in that he was able to study at Harvard. Throughout his writing, he devoted himself to the future of Black Americans and Africans.

It was one of the tenets of vulgar Darwinism to predict the demise of dark-skinned races. Du Bois flipped the script stating: it was the whites who were doomed to decline, not the other way around. As it dissolved social ties and culture, industrialization was already a sign of such degeneration. For Blacks, there was still hope. Du Bois, who was in his eighties at the time, became a communist and eventually emigrated to Ghana, the first European colony to gain independence.

Adams and Du Bois’s discussion of decay is very limited. Both see industrialization as a symptom of decay, but seek salvation in a society where development takes different paths. Both are action-oriented: they talk about what needs to be done to avoid impending disasters.

Gradually, it becomes clear that Herman’s concept of degeneration is polemical. Attacking ideals that plant the seeds of degeneration in the hope to stunt its growth, while preserving those he favors.

In an afterword, Herman joins what he sees as an Enlightenment doctrine that he unequivocally associates with individualism. It appears that every non-individualistic thought was linked to a doomsday scenario, which I find absurd. In order to get on the right side of both modern progress and degeneration theories, the theories must be combined.

The story of Enlightenment is not a simple heroic tale of light versus dark powers. It’s a tale of power and control, superstition and the desire to win. It’s also not the story of a unified mind spreading knowledge and action, but of many different barriers, where scientific and technological progress can easily be combined with moral and political decline.

Modernity is frequently described as a period of “Disenchantment” in Max Weber’s imitation (Entzauberung). Everything that was once sacred is being sacrificed in the name of increased rationality and efficiency. But, in the end, we must present the critical notion that we too must also see modernity’s enchantment. Our own present time, in affirmation of progress and fascination with recent technology and organization, also demonstrates its enchantment. We can only begin to reflect on where we are when we can see the enlightenment project with this dual gaze.

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The Government’s Kill Switch for Your Car, Your Freedoms, and Your Life

A psychotic world we live in. The madmen are in power.

— Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle (1962)

If we haven’t learned by now, we should beware of anything the government insists is for our own good.

Take the Biden Administration’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Given the deteriorating state of the nation’s infrastructure (aging highways and bridges, outdated railways and airports, etc.), which have been neglected for years in order to fund America’s endless wars abroad, it would seem like an obvious and long overdue fix.

Yet there’s a catch.

There’s always a catch.

Tucked into the whopping $1 trillion bipartisan spending bill is a provision requiring automakers to prescribe a “federal motor vehicle safety standard for advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology, and for other purposes.”

As Jason Torchinksky writes for Jalopnik:

It’s pretty clear that the goals of this section of the law are to reduce drunk driving fatalities and crashes via still-undetermined technological tools that somehow are able to “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired,” and/or “passively and accurately detect whether the blood alcohol concentration of a driver of a motor vehicle is equal to or greater than the blood alcohol concentration described in section 163(a) of title 23, United States Code,” and if either or both of these conditions are proven to be positive — if the car thinks you’re drunk, then it may “prevent or limit motor vehicle operation.

As expected, the details are disconcertingly vague, which leaves the government with a wide berth to sow the seeds of mischief and mayhem. For instance, nowhere does the legislation indicate how such a so-called “kill switch” would work, what constitutes a driver who is “impaired,” and what “other purposes” might warrant the government using such a backdoor kill switch.

As former Rep. Bob Barr explains:

Everything about this mandatory measure should set off red flares. First, use of the word “passively” suggests the system will always be on and constantly monitoring the vehicle. Secondly, the system must connect to the vehicle’s operational controls, so as to disable the vehicle either before driving or during, when impairment is detected. Thirdly, it will be an “open” system, or at least one with a backdoor, meaning authorized (or unauthorized) third-parties can remotely access the system’s data at any time.

This is a privacy disaster in the making, and the fact that the provision made it through the Congress reveals — yet again — how little its members care about the privacy of their constituents… The lack of ultimate control over one’s vehicle presents numerous and extremely serious safety issues… If that is not reason enough for concern, there are serious legal issues with this mandate. Other vehicle-related enforcement methods used by the Nanny State, such as traffic cameras and license plate readers, have long presented constitutional problems; notably with the 5th Amendment’s right to not self-incriminate, and the 6th Amendment’s right to face one’s accuser.

Once again, the burden of proof is reversed, and “we the people” find ourselves no longer presumed innocent until proven guilty but suspects in a suspect society.

These “vehicle kill switches” may be sold to the public as a safety measure aimed at keeping drunk drivers off the roads, but they will quickly become a convenient tool in the hands of government agents to put the government in the driver’s seat while rendering null and void the Constitution’s requirements of privacy and its prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Indeed, when you think about it, these vehicle kill switches are a perfect metaphor for the government’s efforts to not only take control of our cars but also our freedoms and our lives.

For too long, we have been captive passengers in a driverless car controlled by the government, losing more and more of our privacy and autonomy the further down the road we go.

Just think of all the ways in which the government has been empowered to dictate what we say, do and think; where we go; with whom we associate; how we raise our families; how we live our lives; what we consume; how we spend our money; how we protect ourselves and our loved ones; and to what extent our rights as individuals can be displaced for the sake of the so-called greater good.

In this way, we have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by such science fiction writers as George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

In keeping with Dick’s darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state—which became the basis for Steven Spielberg’s futuristic thriller Minority Report, which was released 20 years ago—we have been imprisoned in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

Minority Report is set in the year 2054, but it could just as well have taken place in 2022.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike—facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on—are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, Spielberg’s unnerving vision of the future is fast becoming our reality.

Both worlds—our present-day reality and Minority Report’s celluloid vision of the future—are characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes, facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness—a philosophy that discourages diversity—has become a guiding principle of modern society.

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America.

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state. Much of the population is either hooked on illegal drugs or ones prescribed by doctors. And bodily privacy and integrity has been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

We’re on the losing end of a technological revolution that has already taken hostage our computers, our phones, our finances, our entertainment, our shopping, our appliances, and now, our cars. As if the government wasn’t already able to track our movements on the nation’s highways and byways by way of satellites, GPS devices, and real-time traffic cameras, performance data recorders, black box recorders and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications will monitor our vehicle’s speed, direction, location, gear selection, brake force, the number of miles traveled and seatbelts use, and transmit this data to other drivers, including the police.

In this Brave New World, there is no communication not spied upon, no movement untracked, no thought unheard. In other words, there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

Herded along by drones, smart phones, GPS devices, smart TVs, social media, smart meters, surveillance cameras, facial recognition software, online banking, license plate readers and driverless cars, we are quickly approaching a point of singularity with the interconnected technological metaverse that is life in the American police state.

Every new piece of technologically-enabled gadget we acquire and technologically-boobytrapped legislation that Congress enacts pulls us that much deeper into the sticky snare.

These vehicle kill switches are yet another Trojan Horse: sold to us as safety measures for the sake of the greater good, all the while poised to wreak havoc on what little shreds of autonomy we have left.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, we’re hurtling down a one-way road at mind-boggling speeds to a destination not of our choosing, the terrain is getting more treacherous by the minute, and we’ve passed all the exit ramps.

From this point forward, there is no turning back, and the signpost ahead reads “Danger.”

Time to buckle up your seatbelts, folks. We’re in for a bumpy ride.

The post The Government’s Kill Switch for Your Car, Your Freedoms, and Your Life first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Thoughts for the End of Days: A Morning Star, Insatiability, DishBrain, Xenobots

He had also gone through a bad divorce, become estranged from his only daughter and been diagnosed with skin cancer, but he insisted that all of that, however painful, was secondary to the sudden realization that it was mathematics—not nuclear weapons, computers, biological warfare or our climate Armageddon—which was changing our world to the point where, in a couple of decades at most, we would simply not be able to grasp what being human really meant.

We can pull atoms apart, peer back at the first light and predict the end of the universe with just a handful of equations, squiggly lines and arcane symbols that normal people cannot fathom, even though they hold sway over their lives. But it’s not just regular folks; even scientists no longer comprehend the world. Take quantum mechanics, the crown jewel of our species, the most accurate, far-ranging and beautiful of all our physical theories. It lies behind the supremacy of our smartphones, behind the Internet, behind the coming promise of godlike computing power. It has completely reshaped our world. We know how to use it, it works as if by some strange miracle, and yet there is not a human soul, alive or dead, who actually gets it. The mind cannot come to grips with its paradoxes and contradictions. It’s as if the theory had fallen to earth from another planet, and we simply scamper around it like apes, toying and playing with it, but with no true understanding.

— Benjamin Labatut, When We Cease to Understand the World

Karl Nausgaard’s novel A Morning Star and Insatiability by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz are two brilliant and vitally important works of literature that should be required reading by students and adults in the Western World. Insatiability, written in 1927, and set in the year 2000, is an often prescient work that speaks, in some instances, to our fractured and dystopian times, particularly  the loss and creation of new identities. Both novels speak in their own way to the decline and destruction of the West, although Witkiewicz culminates with a definitive result. Witkiewicz, upon learning of the Soviet Army tanks rolling into Poland killed himself rather than live in a world he had largely predicted in his exceptional novel. Daniel Gerould writing in Science Fiction Studies, November 1979, summarizes the book nicely.

This wild, lunatic, and phantasmagoric book has proved to be one of the most prophetic works of 20th-century fiction, not so much in its particular predictions (although some of these are quite uncanny) as in its capturing of the age’s sensibility through brief composite portraits of the “psychosocial” environment. The fractured picture that results is that of an incoherent ersatz world which resembles our own. In the Witkacian era of insatiability, everything from genius to revolution, from food to mystical experience, from art to patriotic heroics, is an inauthentic manifestation of pseudo-culture. Change has accelerated so strongly that ‘the distances between generations had diminished to the point of being ridiculous: people just a few years younger than others were apt to refer to the latter as their ‘elders’. Throughout all the media there is systematic falsification of the news, while the government is perceived by all as an organized mafia behind a mafia, causing such a loss of belief in politics that the state becomes regarded as a sport. In the background, the superbly disciplined Chinese communists, after subduing counter-revolutionary Russia, are poised to take over the blandly Bolshevized states of Western Europe and ultimately eliminate “the poison of the white man”. Murti-Bing pills pushed by the Chinese softens up the already demented and debilitated Europeans so that they can painlessly adjust to the political control which will definitively liberate them from their own madness and despair and turn them into smoothly functioning members of the state machinery.

Knausgaard’s Morning Star, exactly 666 pages in length, concludes with this ominous phrasing:

And last night a new star appeared in the sky.
It shines above me now.
The Morning Star.
I know what it means.
It means that it has begun.

There are any number of ways to interpret those five lines above. I don’t want to spoil what comes before; but for me; with much of A Morning Star’s focus on the boundary between life and death—and the biblical significance of the Morning Star—I think that Knausgaard has a both painful and joyous reckoning for Norway and the Western World. This passage strikes me as a clue to the fate of the Western World, “…the dead, like the sun, descended in the West, the land of the dead being referred to accordingly as the West and the dead as westerners.” For what is “the West” now other than automatons pushing through the daily grind. Knausgaard has the uncanny ability to go from horrifying at points to another form of horror: the excruciating steps involved in making a cup of coffee, working the cellphone, and summoning up the mundane words necessary to be a social human being in meatspace. None of the characters seem certain of anything, particularly the priest who doubts like Thomas. God and myth are largely absent in the Western World now, having undergone an incision and removal in the cultural body by science and capitalism.

Knausgaard, via one of his characters, asks if death is dead. In other words with genetic manipulation, synthetic biology might not one day see a humans leading a relatively “eternal life.” Eternal life after death is something that certainly Christianity proposes. And yet, it is science that holds out the offer of eternal/extra life, not religion. People believe the scientists, not the priests or gods.

Xenobots: They Did That?

Late in 2020,reconfigurable organisms or Xenobots were created by the University of Vermont and Tufts University researchers. The Xenobots are about the size of the period located on a computer keyboard. They were created by an evolutionary Artificial Intelligence software program and frog DNA cells. They appear as little Pac-man type cells that developed, unexpectedly, the ability to reproduce.

According to Science News, “The fact that they were able to do this at such a small scale just makes it even better, because you can start to imagine biomedical application areas. Minuscule xenobots might be able to sculpt tissues for implantation, for instance, or go inside bodies to deliver therapeutics to specific spots. Beyond the possible jobs for the xenobots, the research advances an important science, one that has existential importance for humans, says study coauthor Michael Levin, a developmental biologist at Tufts. That is, ‘the science of trying to anticipate and control the consequences of complex systems,’ he says. ‘Originally, no one would have predicted any of this,’ Levin says. ‘These things are routinely doing things that surprise us.’ With xenobots, researchers can push the limits of the unexpected. ‘This is about a safe way to explore and advance the science of being less surprised by things,’ Levin says.”

And so it should be no surprise that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) had a hand in funding the creation of the Xenobot life forms, part of the Pentagon’s push into Synthetic Biology: a means to enhance human warfighters metabolisms and, henceforth, reduce the cycle time of the kill chain.

DishBrain Cyborgs: Would You Like to Play a Game?

Big news in 2021! Scientists in the UK and Australia taught human brain cells growing in a petri dish to play the legacy video game Pong. According to the authors of In vitro neurons learn and exhibit sentience when embodied in a simulated game-world (writing at bioRXiv)

Integrating neurons into digital systems to leverage their innate intelligence may enable performance infeasible with silicon alone, along with providing insight into the cellular origin of intelligence. We developed DishBrain, a system which exhibits natural intelligence by harnessing the inherent adaptive computation of neurons in a structured environment. In vitro neural networks, from human or rodent origins, are integrated with in silico computing via high-density multielectrode array.

Some hundreds of years from now, there will be human sized cyborgs created in the public and private genetics/bio-machine laboratories around the world. It is inevitable. What military wouldn’t want super human fighting organisms? What Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk billionaire would not want to be biologically modified to live longer?

The ethics of it all is a bunch of malarkey. The sanctity of human life? Ha! When the Director of the CDC Rochelle Walensky jumps for joy at the fact that Covid is killing mostly the elderly, you know eugenics will return somewhere in the future. On Good Morning America during an interview, Walensky said this: “The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75 percent, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities, so really these are people who are unwell to begin with, and yes,  [this is] really encouraging news in the context of Omicron.”

Can’t you hear it? Sometime, one day in the future, this decision comes down: “After all, grandma and grandpa just don’t make the cost-benefit analysis cut and so they will have to kill themselves. They did not make the human augmentation life extension program either, so that’s it for them. I mean they are part of humanity 1.0, older models, sorry,” says the social services cyborg.

This is the End

The current version of humanity just isn’t up to the task of running this planet or governing it. It is as if the entire species is shooting and asking the tough questions later. Take the Xenobot example. Researchers had no clue that the Xenobots would procreate on their own. It’s just one small experiment, but over the coming years these “surprises” are likely to explode into the wild. There will be a Humanity 2.0 for sure: genetically altered, machine augmented, superior to the current model. Humans are well on the way to becoming their own gods at their own peril. They believe in nothing but production and consumption, and the selfishly gratifying sense of being the center of the world. We simply do not know what we are doing nor do we seem to care about outcomes. There is no guide post, no apparent order as 2022 begins. Belief and faith are absent in government, each individual or in something beyond oneself. Order is necessary.

Maybe Knausgaard and Witkiewicz are right: the beginning of the end has begun.

But maybe the late Roberto Calasso is on to something. In his The Book of All Books, he wrote:

We should hardly be surprised, then, looking back to the origins of human thought, if we invariably run into works like rta, asha, ma’at,me,dike, simati, dao, torah. Their can be no gods, no God, unless connected to those words that indicate an order. Divinity itself is inseparable from those words. What much later came to be understood with the term Science is just our most recent attempt to articulate an order that had already been spoken of with many other names. All endless, open, provisional, unsettled. All indispensable if some form of life was to keep going. The figure of the Messiah is the shadow one glimpses behind the perennial branches of order.

The post Thoughts for the End of Days: A Morning Star, Insatiability, DishBrain, Xenobots first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Oil Companies Tell Us About Climate Change and Big Pharma Tells Us About Variants

They never call that Conflic$ of $ntere$t

Doctors are urging everyone to get vaccinated and boosted as cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant are popping up in more states, but the vaccine may also need to change to keep up with the mutations of the virus.

“It is, probably, one of our worst-case scenarios in terms of the combination of mutations that exist in one variant,” said Dr. Stephen Hoge, president of Cambridge-based Moderna. (source)

Again, this discussion around SARS-CoV2’s origins, and I mean, LAB origins, is so stunted that I have zero faith in the ability of people running the show and those following the show, and those who bombast and tell me to follow the science, to really have the guts and mental acumen to think outside their pathetic boxes. So, getting the low down from Moderna is not only bizarre, more than the fox watching the hens, but deeper. Here, a wrap up:

Our novel coronavirus is a LAV — live attenuated virus — derived from the work being done at University of North Carolina, the only place on earth trying to make a LAV for SARS-like viruses, which are also obviously not going to be fully acclimated to the human genome like the human influenza virus, which seems to have been with us at least since the Trojan War thousands of years ago.

Until SARS-CoV-2 is understood as a LAV that’s deattenuating towards a highly-pathogenic chimeric coronavirus that’s going through gatekeeping mutations and has no intention whatsoever of following the assumptions drawn from observing natural evolution or even the paths of the H1N1 LAVs which melted back into their original endogenous human hosts – humanity is going to continue to be standing on its head as it attempts to battle this pandemic, and misunderstanding the basic fundamental nature of what its up against.

It’s something we seem to be particularly good at, since all the way back in 1977 when the first H1N1 LAV emerged to a mass global panic, a massive push was made to create and distribute vaccines against what was thought to be a potentially pandemic strain. But it turns out that one of the ways a LAV isn’t a natural virus, is that when you attempt to vaccinate against it, neurological side-effects appear to proliferate among the vaccinated population, as the virus blows through this attempt at protection.

Because unfortunately for all of us, this isn’t the first time we’ve all been down the horrific rabbit-hole of trying to rush out an incredibly profitable vaccine against an enigmatic mystery virus that’s really a military LAV that deattenuated faster than expected. A vaccine which only provides only weak and temporary protection – but also causes wide-spread side-effects because it turns out the pharmaceutical companies were lying about their vaccine studies, and knowingly risked the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of Americans so they could make as much money as quickly as possible: (Source)

Now, watch an old swine flu paranoia story, 60 Minutes:

So, follow the “other” science, and follow the protests. Marketed as life-saving public health measures, lockdowns triggered death and economic devastation on a global scale while doing little to slow the spread of Covid-19. Now, they’re back with a vengeance. — Grayzone.

That Moderna —this one —

Digital Health Pass: IBM and Moderna Hook Up to Capitalize on COVID Reset

Digital Health Pass: IBM and Moderna Hook Up to Capitalize on COVID Reset

Not that Whitney Webb is listened to by the mainstream and left-stream Media —

Moderna attempted to offset the bad press over having to delay the Crigler-Najjar drug with claims that they had developed a new nanoparticle delivery system called V1GL that “will more safely deliver mRNA.” The claims came a month after Bancel had touted another delivery system called N1GL to Forbes. In that interview, Bancel told Forbes that the delivery system they had been using, licensed to them by Acuitas, “was not very good” and that Moderna had “stopped using Acuitas tech for new drugs.” However, as will be explored in detail in this report as well as Part II of this series, it appears that Moderna continued to rely on the Acuitas-licensed technology in subsequent vaccines and other projects, including its COVID-19 vaccine. (Whitney Webb)

Former Moderna employees and those close to their product development were doubtful at the time that these new and supposedly safer nanoparticle delivery systems were of any consequence. According to three former employees and collaborators close to the process who spoke anonymously to STAT, Moderna had long been “toiling away on new delivery technologies in hopes of hitting on something safer than what it had.” All of those interviewed believed that “N1GL and V1GL are either very recent discoveries, just in the earliest stages of testing—or else new names slapped on technologies Moderna has owned for years.” All spoke anonymously due to having signed nondisclosure agreements with the company, agreements that are aggressively enforced.

 

And so we have the constant un-News from the billionaire class, Big Pharma, and the bought-out (prostituted) media. It is worth looking at this piece’s subheading,

Turns out you can’t vaccinate your way out of highly-transmissible RNA viruses in crowded commercial settings, but it also turns out that humans have a little issue trying to play God, and as so here we are.

…tied to this point by the writer, using Harvard To the Big House as his moniker:

It’s probably worth a brief moment to consider that every major industrial poultry farm on earth is stuffed to the wattles with potential viral hosts which are unable to self-segregate when they get sick like they are in wild populations, and so despite the fact that modern poultry farms have vaccination programs with 100% genomic coverage, 100% compliance, and 100% surveillance  – a perfect experimental situation with far more controllability that human societies – the emergence highly-pathogenic influenza strains that easily cull half the flock in a matter of days and sometimes result in 100% mortality are a constant threat. (Bottling-Up the Quasispecies Origins of SARS-CoV-2’s Enigmatic Furin-Cleavage Site)

It’s worth reading this piece, and try to not multitasking why reviewing it, since there are genomics and virology and basic and mid-genetics cited. But you all are caring, smart and patient readers. I know.  The reality is, there are no jobs in Oregon now that do not require the jab, and, for me, 64, over-educated, overly socialistic, well, how can I get a job when, well, this is what is typical of Indeed and other staffing sites put down right up front before a job description:

The State of Oregon requires all executive branch employees to complete their COVID-19 vaccination series or have an approved exception to the requirement due to a medical condition or sincerely held religious belief. Successful candidates for this position must submit vaccination documentation or be approved for an exception prior to their first day of employment. Failure to provide proof of full documentation or receipt of an approved exception will lead to withdrawal of the job offer. For more information, visit our policy listed here.

And what is a “vaccination” series, then? Is it two-three-four or every-three months a jab mentality? Is my age, 64, the kicker? Do I get to opt out of two-three-infinity shots? How easy is it to get an exception for whatever course of jabbing the state of Oregon requires, per the “Chosen Few” in the VaX Biz$, such as, well, here, December 4, 2021, DV covers one of these fellows, still alive, chosen, this elite “chosen few” — ‘Meet the “Godfather of Vaccines”’: Stanley A. Plotkin? (see Mickey Z!)

Is this existential the entire disaster and disaster mismanagement/management? A thought experiment? Ground-truthing? Or, something else?

The consciousness that biodiversity collapse is anthropogenically caused and in many cases avoidable prompts frequent use of the rhetoric of disaster to portray the human-induced shock to earth’s ecosystems. Amid such environmental distress, the collapse of biodiversity,global warming, melting glaciers, peak extraction of natural resources, structural poverty, intense pollution, high impact industries, and large zones of monocropping anticipate the scenario of a planet becoming orphaned of life. The main risks are created and increased inconsequently by men, in their infinite saga of nature domination (of which they are part, even when they do not realize it). The culture of immediacy pushes society to forget the past and to not care about the future. (Disasters, pandemic and repetition: a dialogue with Maurice Blanchot’s literature)

Look, I was on a Zoom call two days ago. Again, environmental topic; i.e., delta-wetlands “expert” zooming 41 folk. Amazingly flat, dead, and the Q & A, almost like putting in a number for the DMV. I don’t think the people running the show really get the colonization of science and outdoors sciences by this stupidity? In the Oregon-State? Making more and more people suspicious of each other, the Omicron Paranoia.

Estuaries are not only federally designated as Essential Fish Habitat, they’re a Habitat Area of Particular Concern (HAPC). The HAPC designation is for high priority areas for conservation, management, or research because they are important to ecosystem function, sensitive to human activities, stressed by development, or are rare. Habitat types within estuaries vary substantially and consist of either natural (seagrass, large woody debris, natural rock, etc.) or man-made structures. Research from OSU over the last two decades indicates that (1) the fish communities in Oregon estuaries are changing, and (2) natural estuary habitats, particularly seagrasses, play an outsized role in the feeding and growth of juveniles fishes, particularly in years of poor ocean conditions. Given that ocean conditions on the west coast are changing, maintaining healthy natural habitats may become even more important in the future.

Interesting to read Alison McDowell’s latest, Wrench in the Gears. She opened up the Pandora’s box of blockchain connections to military-money-medical madness two years ago.

Check her work — She’s burnt out, and now, reenergized with Texas, where she was recently. Texas at the petri dish for all of the 5G/6G world of digital wallets, digital medicine, digital Gulag.

I am convinced Texas is in the crosshairs of a program of blockchain human capital predation that has been in the works at least since the 1950s. They’re coming in the back door with digital identity tied to electronic government, precision medicine, personalized learning, and equity-based workforce re-skilling tied to the Dallas Federal Reserve. Academic institutions pumped up with government life science grants and defense sector partnerships are in on it, as well as back-slapping non-profits waiting on their next philanthrocapitalist cardboard check. I have seen the web of this agenda. I have mapped a good bit of it. I’ve been caught up in it too, in the enormity of it. Now I finally think I’ve mustered up the psychic energy and clarity to deconstruct it and lay the parts out for all to see. Teasing apart the Texas blockchain web might help me regain my sense of purpose, which started to slip away these past few months. (Source)

Interesting fellow, just interviewed on a Covid-19 series, and that’s not available yet for public dissemination, but here he is in an older video. Covid-Revealed. His talk here on this 13 hour series is pretty clarifying. He does know his virus history, and he is anti-Empire, and this is usually not something these doctors who question the lack of treatments, the mRNA vax, etc. question. Many of the experts fighting the vaccination narrative and the rise of the corona paranoia yammer about socialism, how the WEF and Fourth Industrial Revolution is about global socialism. WHICH it is NOT. The rich — filthy Eichmann Types below them — are not gaming the system to have truly socialism for-by-because of the people, bottom up. Try and find the series, Covid Revealed. Of course, I am watching free, but with a time-frame, and then it is for sale! Capitalism, uh?

Here, Zach Bush, January 2021, on viromes and viruses. The entire kitchen sink of microbiome.

With the Branch Covidians and their Draconian Digital Dungeon, we who resist this maximum jab-jab-jab mentality — forced medical procedures —  are to be put where? Repurposed Indian Boarding Schools? FEMA camps? Think about that. No job, no home, no unemployment, no humanity!

Gov. Sisolak apologizes for Nevada’s role in relocating Native American children

Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum on August 27, 2021.

“They ripped babies from the arms of my ancestors and brought them thousands of miles to this campus,” Stacey Montooth, executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission and a direct descendant of a Stewart student, said. “The intent was to absolutely remove all aspects of Native American culture, but I’m still here.

“Keep in mind, it was not Uncle Sam’s priority to keep track of the Native people they sent here. There were bounties put out on little Indian children. … In 2021, we’d call it kidnapping.”

An estimated 20,000 students from at least 200 tribal nations attended Stewart between 1890 and 1980, including plenty from far-flung tribes based in New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. The boarding school was just one of more than 350 such institutions once propped up by the federal government.

Some families sent their children to the school to get an education, but many were snatched off the road unbeknownst to their parents, according to Bobbi Rahder, director of the Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum. (Source)

Stewart Indian School Museum Director Bobbi Rahder stands looking out of a room in a girls dormitory on the school campus on August 27, 2021.

The small graveyard across the street from the Stewart Indian School. Buried here are some of the students who died while attending school here.

Interesting, Zach Bush looks at the political fight, the elections, as imflammation, looking at how as the candidates move closer toward the election their bodies, and their souls, are actually worn and show major breakdown of their mind-body connection. He discusses bacteria, looks at the sterilization aspect of modern medicine at war with viruses and not understanding the human microbiome — 10 to the 15th power the number of viruses in our body. Lining up for vaccines to rely on antibodies? It is not right, and it’s all tied to germ theory not being right. Listen to him, and it’s easy, and goes to biodiversity on many levels, and the air pollution, the cyanide taken into the human cell. Listen hard to the one above and then this one. It isn’t so difficult.

And to beat a dead Covid-19 horse to death, I highly recommend this interview, 25 minutes. You will understand the breadth of this fellow, Zach Bush, and he is coming at viruses, sustainability, terrain disease theory, humanity — birth and dying — from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Oh, I wish I was teaching college again, my courses on critical writing-thinking, from composition 101 to literature.

I have broached so many topics tied to systems thinking, directly relatable to students who are not majoring in English or journalism, per se, but those topics were fodder and incubators for deep knowledge and outside the thousand boxes thinking.

I am locked on Highway 101. The local college is Oregon Coast Community College, and the same people are teaching writing classes, for credit, who have been teaching that for years. There are no advanced classes or special topics classes, such as — critical thinking, research and expression in a time of conflict, runaway consumerism, media and educational control. You know, opening up the discussion with people majoring in say, nursing, or early childhood ed, or aquarium sciences. This society has for decades turned humanity into robots, silo-loving pencil pushers, err, knowledge workers on a laptop. That is exactly why we have a country of broken ideas, unrealized discussions, and flabbergasted people of all shapes and forms.

Zach Bush, on what we are — Homo Virome Sapiens!

The revolution that we are in the midst of — the massive paradigm shift that is one of the biggest scientific discoveries of human kind — is that human health does not reside within the human cell. Human health is dictated by the biodiversity that is at the center of our vitality, the biodiversity of the microbiome.

Dr. Zach Bush

The post The Oil Companies Tell Us About Climate Change and Big Pharma Tells Us About Variants first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Reminder: The Rich are Vampires

Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.

F. Scott Fitzgerald,  “The Rich Boy,” published in 1926 by Red Book magazine

The rich are vampires. In 2020, for example, workers lost $3.7 trillion while billionaires gained $3.9 trillion. Some 493 individuals became new billionaires while an additional 8 million Americans dropped below the poverty line. Indeed, the very rich are different. But it goes further than money. Much further.

The rich are vampires. In 2020, for example, workers lost $3.7 trillion while billionaires gained $3.9 trillion. Some 493 individuals became new billionaires while an additional 8 million Americans dropped below the poverty line. Indeed, the very rich are different. But it goes further than money. Much further.

In early 2019, the Los Angeles Times wrote about “enormous wealth being focused on endeavors and technological breakthroughs that promise at least a shot at longevity, if not immortality.” The article details:

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison has channeled much of his fortune into keeping the Grim Reaper at bay. Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page reportedly are heavy into anti-aging research, as is Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Dmitry Itskov, a Russian billionaire, has launched the 2045 Initiative, which aims to map the brain so our minds can be downloaded into robot bodies or synced with holograms.

I’ve already told you about transhumanism, in general, but this is a more specific example. A company named Nectome claims it can “back up” your mind. It aims to do this by preserving your body for as long as it takes for technology to be able to turn your brain into a computer simulation. Again, the very rich are different. But it goes further than some delusional form of “immortality.” Much further.

The very rich have been paying hefty sums for transfusions of blood “harvested” from young people. Allegedly, this will slow the aging process by rejuvenating all those affluent organs. This is allegedly possible thanks to a heinous, Dr. Frankenstein-like procedure called parabiosis — surgically connecting two organisms or parts of two organisms.

You can look up the specifics if you dare. What I’ll end with are some questions:

  • How and why has aging become so stigmatized and who benefits from this perception?
  • Where are the “mandates” for basic self-care instead of experimental gene therapies?
  • Why can’t humans be encouraged and motivated to eat healthy, get enough sleep, do exercise each day, and practice stress management? Could it be that Big Pharma (and others) can’t make billions off such fundamentally helpful, free-from-side-effects guidance?
  • If “young blood” transfusions for the wealthy become more of a thing, where will all these young blood donors be found? What’s to stop the already thriving black market of trafficking children from “harvesting” blood for parasitic, billionaire vampires seeking immortality?
  • We already have things like tortured calves locked in veal crates to satisfy discerning palates. Why would anyone think the opulent class wouldn’t create young blood “harvesting” dens if they imagined it would allow them to live longer?

Coda: At a New York Times Dealbook conference in 2018, billionaire PayPal founder and parabiosis aficionado Peter Thiel stated: “I want to publicly tell you that I’m not a vampire. On the record, I am not a vampire.”

Thanks for the clarification. Sure sounds like something a non-vampire would say.

Reminder: The very rich are different from you and me.

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