A Question

I am struggling very hard to understand how the whole world became ‘taken in’ by Covid-19. How a simple Coronavirus, that causes a disease with a fatality rate similar to severe flu, managed to change our world for ever. How the whole world scarpered headlong, without thinking, in one direction like a herd of Wildebeest. There are a number of theories for this but I won’t dwell on those here. However, because of a new virus, for reasons of safety, security or health, the State of Emergency has been instigated, and continues to be used, to build a form of totalitarianism that, under new and renewed crisis events, has become the norm.

The so-called ‘War on Terror’ that followed the attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001 ushered in what the US calls the ‘Security State’ in which we have all lived for the past two decades. In France, the State of Emergency declared in November 2015 in response to terrorist attacks in Paris didn’t expire, after five extensions, until November 2017, two years later, when it was replaced by a raft of repressive measures embedded into ordinary law. And as we are seeing now in the response of the UK Government to the so-called threat of COVID-19, this surveillance state, which is transnational and therefore transcends the nation state of our parliamentary politics, is built around the total surveillance and control of the population through the use of tracking, location and monitoring devices in our phones and other communication technologies, and implemented with new police powers to enforce so-called health and safety regulations that have had neither parliamentary scrutiny nor legislative approval.

So I wish to ask a question as asked by the Italian philosopher, Giorgio Agamben and I have translated and rephrased his question (as best I can) for a British audience – as I don’t speak Italian I’m sure the original is much better; but I hope that you get the gist of it.

A QUESTION

‘The plague marked the beginning of corruption for the city. No one was willing to persevere any longer in what he had previously considered to be good, because he believed that he would perhaps die before achieving it.’

— Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

I would like to share with whoever would like to hear it a question on which, for over a month now, I have not stopped reflecting. How could it happen that an entire country, without realising it, has collapsed politically and ethically in the face of an illness? The words I have used to formulate this question have been carefully weighed one by one. The measure of abdication of our own ethical and political principles is, in fact, very simple: it is a question of asking ourselves what is the limit beyond which we are not willing to renounce them. I believe that the reader who takes the trouble to consider the following points cannot fail to agree that — without realising it, or by pretending not to notice it — the threshold that separates humanity from barbarism has been crossed.

1) The first point, perhaps the most serious, concerns older citizens and the bodies of the dead. How could we have accepted, solely in the name of a risk that could not be specified, that individuals dear to us and human beings in general should not only be discarded from hospitals to nursing homes to die alone, but — something that had never happened before in history, from Antigone to today — that their corpses should be buried without friends at their funeral?

2) We then accepted, without too many reservations, solely in the name of a risk that could not be specified, limiting, to an extent that had never happened before in the history of the country, not even during the Second World War, our freedom of movement. We consequently accepted, solely in the name of a risk that could not be specified, de facto suspension of our relationships of friendship and love, because proximity to our neighbour had become a possible source of contagion.

3) This was only possible — and here we touch on the root of the phenomenon — because we have split the unity of our lived experience, which is always inseparably made up of body and spirit, into a purely biological entity on the one hand, and an affective and cultural life on the other. Ivan Illich has shown us, and David Cayley has written about the responsibility of modern medicine in this regard, which is taken for granted but is, in reality, the greatest of abstractions. We know very well that this abstraction was created by modern science through resuscitation devices, which can keep a body ‘alive’ in a vegetative state. But if this situation is extended beyond the spatial and temporal confines that are proper to it, as we are trying to do today, and becomes a sort of principle of social behaviour, we fall into contradictions from which there is no way out

I know that someone will rush to respond that we are dealing with a situation that is limited in time, after which everything will return to how it was. It is truly strange that we could repeat such a statement other than in bad faith, since the same authorities that proclaimed the emergency do not cease reminding us that, when the emergency has been overcome, we will have to continue to observe the same directives, and that ‘social distancing’ — as it has been called with a significant euphemism — will be the new organising principle of society. And, in every case, what we have accepted submitting to, whether in good faith or in bad, cannot be reversed.

At this point, since I have declared the responsibility of each of us, I cannot fail to mention the even more serious responsibilities of those who would have had the duty of keeping watch over human dignity. First of all, the Church, which in making itself the handmaiden of science, which has now become the true religion of our time, has radically repudiated its most essential principles. The Church, under a Pope who calls himself Francis, has forgotten that Francis embraced lepers. It has forgotten that one of the works of mercy is to visit the sick. It has forgotten that the martyrs teach that we must be prepared to sacrifice our life rather than our faith, and that renouncing our neighbour means renouncing our faith.

Another category or persons that has failed in their duties is that of lawyers. For some time now we have been accustomed to the reckless use of emergency decrees through which executive power is effectively substituted for that of the legislature, abolishing that principle of the separation of powers that defines democracy. But in this case, every limit has been exceeded, and one gets the impression that the words of the Prime Minister, as was once said of those of the Führer, have the immediate force of law. And it is not clear how, once the temporal validity of the emergency decrees have been exhausted, the limitations on our freedoms could, as is asserted, be maintained. With what legal arrangements? With a permanent State of Exception? It is the duty of lawyers to ensure that our freedoms are maintained; but the lawyers are silent. 

I know that there will inevitably be someone who will answer that the sacrifice, which is serious, has been made in the name of moral principles. To them I would like to recall that Adolf Eichmann, apparently in good faith, never tired of repeating that he had done what he had done according to his conscience, to obey what he believed to be the precepts of Kantian morality. A rule which states that good must be renounced in order to save the good is just as false and contradictory as that which, in order to protect freedom, orders us to renounce freedom.

Much of the above has been compiled from this excellent Blog Giorgio Agamben and the Bio-Politics of COVID-19

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The Great Lockup

Following on from yesterday’s post about Covid-19 ‘The Illogical Nonsense of Fear‘ I was so impressed by this recent Facebook post (below) allegedly from a doctor at Broadgreen Hospital, Liverpool that I have reposted most of it below. As it neatly answers the question “Why is the lockdown continuing as we were told it was to ‘flatten the curve’ meanwhile the NHS is currently running on empty.

“What was the aim of lock down? What did every single health “expert” say was the reason to justify a lockdown? And why do we have a Flu season at all? And why have we continued to have a steady incidence rate despite being in lockdown? And why are thousands of elderly people dying in nursing homes?

The reason we had lockdown was to “flatten the curve” or buy time to increase ITU/critical care beds. Well with 4 nightingale hospitals mothballed and 50% of hospital beds lying empty, I think we have achieved that.

Not one “expert” worth his salt will tell you that we can stop a respiratory virus, and if they did they would be lying or I am deluded and we have no common cold or Flu cases every winter. So with a fifth of the country likely to have already had the virus and a health service with a massive amount of level 2 and level 3 beds, we are more than ready for a second spike, as it stands. Remember we cannot lock down forever and we need to come out, which brings me on to the Flu season.

Why do we have a flu season? The main reason we have a Flu season is because as it gets cooler people coop up and spend more time in close proximity, the population becomes denser and therefor it’s easier for a virus to travel, also people tend to eat less fruit and veg and see less sunlight and our natural defences are slightly depleted, sound familiar?

The longer we stay locked down, the closer we will be to the next Flu season, so essentially you will be hitting a second spike as people begin to mix, late summer early Autumn which will be just as the next Flu seasons hits, so a second spike will lead nicely into a third and if you want to overwhelm the NHS then this is the exact way to do it.

Lastly why are so many elderly people dying of COVID, well it’s largely down to the paranoia that people are displaying on platforms like facebook. GP’s are not assessing elderly patients face to face, they are not being taken to hospital or they are terrified to go to hospital incase they get COVID, so they stay at home until it’s too late.

Strokes are down up to 70%, where have these patient gone? MI’s down 50%, Hospital attendances down 90%, where are all the falls?? But why do they all have COVID signs?

Well anyone who has worked with elderly patients, and I suspect lots of you have, will know there are multiple reasons an elderly person can develop a pneumonia (COVID symptoms). They might fall and be in pain therefore not fully expand their lungs and develop atelectasis and then pneumonia.

They may have reduced mobility, due to quarantine, and become constipated and this may push up on the diaphragm and cause atelectasis or cause them to vomit and aspirate leading to pneumonia.They may develop urinary retention and UTI, secondary to constipation, and become bed bound, causing more time in a prone position and develop a basal collapse of the lungs and again atelectasis and pneumonia. The fact that they have reduced mobility may even mean they spend more time in bed or just sitting, which again is enough to cause chest infection/pneumonia.

Strokes may not present (they aren’t) and develop swallow issues and aspirate leading to pneumonia, MIs may present late and develop pulmonary oedema with a secondary infection again leading to pneumonia, and many may have a cold or a Flu (which is down 95%) and go on to develop a pneumonia.

All of the above reasons would cause a patient to have COVID symptoms and will kill elderly patients if not treated, and all of them are enough to be classed as a COVID death currently. And this is why so many nursing homes are being decimated, it’s as much through fear as it is through COVID.

Before you campaign and sign petitions to lock yourselves and your family away, remember also that lock down has consequences.

The first 2 reasons are clear above, the elderly will become frail, not be treated and die in their thousands, and thousands of people will not attend A&E at all, or until it’s too late and again will die. This is before you factor in the 60 thousand cancer patients that will lose their lives because of missed screening or delayed operations. And then there is the burden on mental health services and the deaths caused by domestic abuse or suicide. And that’s before the biggest killer by far which will be austerity.

We are heading for the biggest recession in 300 years, the last one has cost an estimated 500000 lives, why will this one be any different? And even with the lock down measures prolonged, will we have saved any lives any way, as our frail residents face a second and third spike in quick succession.

I understand that you my be scared and its overwhelming being constantly bombarded with negativity and fear, but before you completely isolate yourselves and fall out with loved ones and friends, ask yourself is lockdown still working, and what are the potential benefits of staying locked down versus, carrying on with some semblance of a normal life?”

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Covid-19 The illogical Nonsense of Fear

So here we are mid way through May still under house arrest because of a pathogen that is now proven to be about as deadly as severe flu. This fact has been clear for a long time and I wrote about that at the end of March. Thousands are dying now because of the collateral damage not the disease. It is simply complete and utter madness.

I just cannot believe how society has fallen for it. I’m particularly depressed at how the ‘Left’ in the UK have fallen for it ‘hook, line and sinker’. I had associated those on the left as being capable of more critical thought but in the main it has been left to the likes of Peter Hitchins in the Daily Mail to be pointing out how flawed the whole thing is. Never in my life did I think I’d be linking to a Daily Mail article.

The ONS also released data yesterday about registered deaths in England and Wales in Week 18 (April 25th – May 1st). All deaths are down, including those involving COVID-19. You can see the year-to-date trend lines in the ONS graph below:

The total number of deaths in Week 18 – 17,953 – is lower that the previous week but still 8,012 more than the five-year average. 6,035 of the deaths mentioned “novel coronavirus”, meaning 1,977 excess deaths in that week weren’t from COVID-19, at least not according to the doctors who signed the death certificates – and, remember, they don’t even need a positive test result to write down “novel coronavirus” as the cause of death.

So why did these people die? When he appeared on Marr on May 3rd, Sir Bob Diamond, the head of the ONS, said the ONS had looked into the cause of non-Covid excess deaths since the beginning of the year and would publish its findings “in the next few days”. Evidently, he was nobbled because that piece of work has yet to see the light of day. Here’s a transcript of what he said on Marr:

The last week we had records for the excess was approaching 12,000 deaths of which, I would suggest, between eight and 9,000 were Covid and the rest were what we call indirect deaths. Those could be for example people who would normally have gone into hospital for some reason but the beds were not available. Just give you an example: in my late mother’s last couple of years of her life she went into hospital and back out again a few times. Had she not been able to go in one of those times she may well have died a little earlier than she did. So I think it’s important to recognise there are indirect deaths as well as the Covid-related deaths. We have a piece from the Office of National Statistics that we’ve done jointly with the Government Actuaries Department, the Home Office and Department of Health coming out in the next few days which will show also a third group which will come out over the next few years where changes in the prioritisation of the Health Service, for example, reductions in cancer screening, will lead to deaths over the next few years.

So ask yourself why has this data has been delayed ? – may be because the Government doesn’t want to face the enquiry that might be needed?

All this hysteria and panic is made even more alarming by Joe Public’s inability to assess risk. Even if you accept that at the time of writing there have been around 33,000 deaths associated with Covid 19 (there have probably been less as anecdotal evidence is that Covid 19 is being put on death certificates without supporting evidence) this is not serious. At this stage the frightened rabbits will poke their heads out of their burrows and tell you how ‘every life is precious’. Well if it is so fecking precious love why the feck have you been driving your car everywhere and contributing to the culling of at least 40,000 (more recent studies say 64,000) people every year from air pollution? The Royal College of Physicians’ report ‘Every Breath We Take‘ points out that ‘Each year in the UK, around 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution which plays a role in many of the major health challenges of our day’.

If your life is really so precious (and we know that Covid19 particularly affects those with conditions like obesity and diabetes etc.) why the feck have you been stuffing yourself with junk food and clearing the supermarket shelves of booze for your incarceration rather than taking the opportunity to lose weight and get super fit to fight this ‘scary killer’? In reality no one will bother to take the opportunity to reduce their risk factors; the ‘fat feckers’ will still be stuffing their faces with high fat foods whilst ‘snitching’ on their neighbours (who take more than the permitted exercise) whilst waiting for the government to protect them.

If anyone can explain the logic of an ‘off licence’ in Wales being essential and a walk in the Brecon Beacons being illegal please do so.

As for this whole phenomenon of ‘snitching on your neighbours’ I have been thinking how this behaviour is very familiar elsewhere.

It’s a basic and dirty part of human nature, that when we are scared and hurting, we look for someone to blame. And it is far, far easier to turn our attention towards people who are as weak as us for answers. Then the problem is right there in front of us, it’s tangible, it’s far easier to solve. You see it time and time again throughout history, in all kinds of people, in all kinds of situations. It’s posting about Belinda three doors down who had a barbecue with too many people. It’s narrowing your eyes at a disabled person getting out of their wheelchair and walking at a pace you deem too fast. It’s keeping your community safe from ‘People Who Don’t Belong’.

It’s much nicer to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when you put a stop to those people, those people who you think are causing all your problems.

It’s much more enjoyable to have a real tangible person to take out all that pent up rage on, someone you think deserves it, someone you think is making your world unsafe. You’ve been oppressed for too long, and you’re scared and lost and angry, and it’s so, so nice to take all that frustration and put it to good use, to take all that righteous fury and focus it on ‘The Enemy’, the solid and tangible creature who is the source of your problems. That’s a fight you can win.

But it’s not a fight, not really. All it really is is a power trip at the expense of vulnerable people. Vulnerable people just like you. And you’re doing exactly what those in power want you to do. You’re not a hero. You’re a victim of brainwashing and the sense of power you feel is just an illusion.

The reality is that Covid 19, almost exclusively, is a disease that affects the elderly – especially those with other health conditions. In many cases these are the elderly in nursing homes who are cycled in and out of hospital for stabilisation before being returned to their nursing homes. Back in early April, to free up as much hospital space as possible, the care home beds were being filled up with elderly COVID positive patients. Because of the crisis they were not sent back to hospital when they then deteriorated. We have just been harvesting the elderly who are normally kept alive by this merry go round. Don’t believe me? Well here is a doctor in the UK telling it like it is and saying just this. Two members of my family work in the NHS and tell me that the general wards are very quite indeed.

Edit June 2020- The National Audit Office have produced a report showing the numbers of elderly who were sent from hospital to nursing homes without being tested and confirming that “not all patients were tested for COVID-19 before discharge”.

Another consultant at a London hospital wrote in an email:

“Our policy was to let the virus rip and then ‘cocoon the elderly’,” he wrote. “You don’t know whether to laugh or cry when you contrast that with what we actually did. We discharged known, suspected, and unknown cases into care homes which were unprepared, with no formal warning that the patients were infected, no testing available, and no PPE to prevent transmission. We actively seeded this into the very population that was most vulnerable.

“We let these people die without palliation. The official policy was not to visit care homes – and they didn’t (and still don’t). So, after infecting them with a disease that causes an unpleasant ending, we denied our elders access to a doctor – denied GP visits – and denied admission to hospital. Simple things like fluids, withheld. Effective palliation like syringe drivers, withheld.”

I am fairly confident that the excess death curve you see above will fall eventually to below the five year average and that the overall deaths for 2020 will not be very far away from the previous five year average.

When you ask people why they are running around hysterically panicking, or why they are posting on Facebook about how they don’t want their children to go back to school yet (despite the fact that as of yesterday only 10 people under 19 had ‘possibly’ died of Covid-19) they look at you as if you are mad. It’s mass hysteria, like when Princess Diana died and mountains of flowers and teddy bears were being piled up because some vacuous, rich clothes horse had died.

The economy has been trashed, driven over a cliff. You and your children and their children will be paying for the biggest economic disaster ever. Remember that without an economy there is no health care, education or infrastructure.

There are numerous other things going on that I won’t bore you with but if you’d like to find out more about these I’d suggest that you read these two articles
Who controls the British Government response to Covid–19?
COVID–19: The Big Pharma players behind UK Government lockdown

I would also highly recommend that you start watching UK Column news for an alternative view of what is going on and balance it with the state propaganda from the BBC.

It is NONSENSE.

Update 16.05.20
I just came across this amazing blog that has put a huge amount of work into documenting the situation. Kudos to the writer.

The State of Emergency as Paradigm of Government: Coronavirus Legislation, Implementation and Enforcement

Manufacturing Consensus: The Registering of COVID-19 Deaths in the UK

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