They are making an example of Novak Djokovic. Here’s why.

By Kit Knightly

Source: Off-Guardian

Tennis star Novak Djokovic is being deported from Australia, after losing his final appeal the WTA’s top-ranked player will not be allowed to defend his Australian Open title.

It was reported this morning that an Australian court had refused Djokovic’s appeal against the cancellation of his visa, and as such he’s being put on a plane and flown out of the country.

To be clear: This is all because he’s not “vaccinated” against Covid19, and vocally speaks out against the practice. The government have clearly and publicly admitted as much…but we’ll get to that.

The rejection of Djokovic’s medical exemption and subsequent deportation has been accompanied by a wave of vitriol in the press the likes of which we have rarely seen.

One Australian sports presenter was “accidentally” recorded calling him a “lying, sneaky arsehole” in a video that was later “leaked” to the press.

The Spectator has one piece which is nothing more than a slew of ad hominem and mockery, against not just Djokovic but all “anti-vaxxers” and “conspiracy theorists”, calling the Serbian a “conspiracy super-spreader”. They have another blaming his “arrogance for his downfall”.

The Daily Mail ran a story headlined: “Welcome to the Wacky World of Novak Djokovic… and meet his equally wacky wife!”, and two more opinion pieces claiming his arrogance has “trashed his reputation” and calling him “a loser”.

The Guardian‘s Australian Political Correspondent Sarah Martin defends the decision and jokingly refers to it as a “no dickheads” immigration policy, attacking Djokovic’s “anti-science god complex” and calling him an “all-round jerk”.

The childish name-calling just doesn’t end. Even his fellow players are sticking the boot in.

Stefanos Tsitsipas attacked Djokovic for attempting to “play by his own rules”, adding “A very small minority chose to follow their own way. It makes the majority look like they are all fools”, which is at least true, but not in the way he means it.

Spanish star Rafael Nadal said Djokovic should just follow the rules like everyone else, perhaps flashing the kind of attitude which allowed a fascist dictator to stay in power in his country for 40 years.

Some players, at least, have come to Djokovic’s defense, including Australia’s own Nick Kyrgios, who has said he is “ashamed” of the way Australia has handled the situation and chastised other players for not showing solidarity with Djokovic.

But why is this happening? Why are they trying to punish such a public figure, and why now?

Well, firstly, I’m not sure it is about punishing Djokovic, and not just because getting to leave Australia is an odd thing to be considered any kind of punishment these days.

Rather, it’s about the performance of punishing him. It’s about making an example of him. Not so much preventing him from playing, as much as denying him a platform.

The Australian government basically admits that in their legal justification for cancelling the visa.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Djokovic had been barred from entry for “breaching the rules…it’s as simple as that.” But he is either mistaken or lying, as he directly contradicts the case presented to the appeal court by the government.

Yes, the visa was first cancelled on a technicality about incorrect information but, a judge overruled that decision, allowing Djokovic to enter the country.

That’s when Immigration Minister Alex Hawke stepped in to personally revoke the visa under section 133 of the Immigration Act 1958.

Under this (worryingly vague) legislation, the Immigration Minister is granted the power to cancel any visa at all, if:

the Minister is satisfied that it would be in the public interest to cancel the visa.

This was the argument put to the appeals court, that the minister can expel anyone, for anything, if he believes it to be in the best interests of the public.

That’s public interest, NOT public health.

Hawke admits in his written statement that Djokovic presents a “negligible risk of Covid19 infection” to those around him. So it’s nothing to do with protecting people from infection or stopping the spread of the virus.

Public statements from officials suggest that they consider any “anti-vaxxer” to be a threat to the public interest by undermining the vaccination programme. Thus they can justify barring entry to Djokovic (or, it should be said, any other “anti-vaxxer”) under the guise of “public interest”.

It’s about control, it almost always is.

In short, the government are scared that Djokovic’s very presence in the country is a threat to their neo-fascist lockdown.

If you look closely at the media messaging, there’s more than a little fear behind the wall of abuse and mockery.

Article after article is at pains to point out that “the majority of normal Australians want the Joker gone”, or some variation on that sentiment. Somewhat desperately selling the line that nobody agrees with, or supports, Djokovic’s position.

A statement which is given the lie by the regular huge protests taking place all across Australia’s major cities (like this one, just this weekend, in Sydney).

The Australian government are worried they’ve turned their country into a powder keg of public resentment, and that the slightest social spark could set it off. Increasing the size of the (already huge) protests against the lockdowns and vaccine mandates, maybe even tipping the country into full-blown chaos.

One of the Spectator articles mentions that Australians have been living in a “police state” for two years, and then vaguely references the subsequent public anger, even whilst attempting to downplay it, misrepresent its cause, and turn it against the unvaccinated.

Australia has fallen. Peace, prosperity and freedom have been sacrificed on the altar of “safety”, and Covid “vaccination” has become a quasi-religious rite in their country, even more so than the rest of the world.

As such, the unvaccinated are slandered, punished, threatened and othered at every turn. Locked down, locked up and locked out.

Can you only imagine what could happen if people found out it was all for nothing? Or that the heaven-sent vaccines aren’t the magical solution to all that ails us?

In this kind of political climate they simply can’t afford to have an “anti-vaxxer” on national television, healthy and athletic and winning championships against a field of vaccinated rivals.

Especially when three vaccinated players have already dropped out with “breathing difficulties”

Before anyone accuses me of a surfeit of cynicism, let’s review the actual words of Alex Hawke from the appeal procedure [our emphasis]:

I consider that Mr Djokovic’s ongoing presence in Australia may lead to an increase in anti-vaccination sentiment generated in the Australian community, potentially leading to an increase in civil unrest of the kind previously experienced in Australia

Elsewhere Djokovic is described as a “talisman of a community of anti-vaccine sentiment”.

This kind of brutal treatment of publicly unvaccinated famous faces will likely only intensify. It’s already spreading from country to country, with France announcing Djokovic will not be allowed to defend his French Open title unless he gets vaccinated.

It seems pretty clear that the public shaming of Djokovic is a power-play to secure what they perceive as their own tenuous grip on the narrative, one that could have far-reaching consequences moving forward.

Consider, Djokovic is not barred from entry just for being unvaccinated, but also because he has publicly spoken out against vaccination.

Australia is now not only requiring you be “fully vaccinated” to enter the country, but has barred someone for even expressing anti-vaccine sentiment.

It’s no longer enough to conform by action, you must now conform by speech.

Next is thought, but even they would never try to legislate against that…right?

Posted in Authoritarianism, civil disobedience, civil liberties, corporate news, culture, Dystopia, media, Media Literacy, news, propaganda, Psy-ops, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology, State Crime, surveillance state, Technocracy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Real Threat to Democracy is Corrupting Wealth Inequality

By Charles Hugh Smith

Source: Of Two Minds

Imagine a town of 1,000 adults and their dependents in which one person holds the vast majority of wealth and political influence. Would that qualify as a democracy? Now imagine that 100 of the 1,000 adults own 90% of all the wealth, collect 97% of all the income from capital and have virtually all the political power. How can a society in which 90% of the populace is decapitalized, disenfranchised and demoralized by political powerlessness be a democracy?

This is America: a kleptocratic autocracy that serves the few at the expense of the many, stripmining the bottom 90% under the guise of a fraudulent “democracy” in which only the few wield real power. Recall Smith’s Neofeudalism Principle #1: If the citizenry cannot replace a kleptocratic government and/or limit the power of the financial Aristocracy at the ballot box, the nation is a democracy in name only.

That our elected government responds only to the super-wealthy and corporations has been well-established:Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens.

It’s also a fact that the top 10% get virtually all the gains from the nation’s capital, and this wealth is concentrated in the top 0.1%:Monopoly Versus Democracy: How to End a Gilded Age
Ten percent of Americans now control 97 percent of all capital income in the country. Nearly half of the new income generated since the global financial crisis of 2008 has gone to the wealthiest one percent of U.S. citizens. The richest three Americans collectively have more wealth than the poorest 160 million Americans.

Exactly how can a system of governance that is nothing but an invitation-only auction of political favors in which the top 0.1% own more than the bottom 80% be a functional democracy? The answer is it cannot. Politics and government have been reduced to protecting and enriching a neofeudal autocracy while claiming to serve the stripmined public.

This extreme concentration of wealth and power is not accidental; the government’s policies have generated this concentration of wealth which has hollowed out democracy. The super-wealthy didn’t siphon $50 trillion from those earning their living from labor on their own; government policies aided and abetted this vast transfer of wealth.

Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018$50 trillion in earnings has been transferred to the Financial Aristocracy from the bottom 90% of American households over the past 45 years.

The catastrophic consequences of this systemic concentration of wealth and power are also well documented. For example, Human and nature dynamics (HANDY)Modeling inequality and use of resources in the collapse or sustainability of societies. Extreme inequality brings down societies, and America is now a society dominated by extreme inequality.

America is nothing but a vast moral cesspool that the public is told is a pristine pond of “democracy”. Self-enrichment is cloaked as “doing God’s work,” profiteering is sold as “value,” fraud is packaged as “finance” and rapacious monopolies are marketed as “enterprise.”

Institutions have become little more than rackets enriching insiders and the wealthiest few; they have lost moral legitimacy which is the fundamental foundation of democracy and a market-based economy.

As I explain in my new book Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United Statesmoral legitimacy is the foundation of social cohesion. Once moral legitimacy has been lost, social cohesion unravels and the nation falls.

It wasn’t just bad luck that financialization and globalization hollowed out America’s economy and democracy and turned the bottom 90% into debt-serfs and tax donkeys; it was government policies implemented by elected officials and the appointed handmaidens of the super-wealthy. Virtually every major policy implemented by either party served the interests of the super-wealthy and corporations: tax cuts had trivial impacts on the bottom 90% while vastly increasing the wealth of the super-wealthy; the Supreme Court’s rulings in favor of corporate “personhood” and “free speech” (a.k.a. the best government we can buy), and the evisceration of the rule of law for corporate fraud, collusion and embezzlement (“too big to fail, too big to jail”).

The Federal Reserve’s free money for financiers distributes gains on the order of 20-to-1 in favor of the super-wealthy: $2 trillion in gains for the bottom 90%, $40 trillion for the top tier.

The list is long and painful proof that the elected government of the United States serves the interests of the top few–a reality masked by expert PR and partisanship.

Partisanship reflects a core structural dynamic: America is now a two-tier society and economy. If you’re an executive at a big Wall Street investment bank, you can rig markets and embezzle billions and you’ll never face any personal legal consequences such as being indicted, convicted and imprisoned. (Bernie Madoff’s conviction was a classic Soviet-style show trial to mask the fact that thousands of other white-collar criminals kept their ill-gotten gains and faced no consequences.)

But try being an employee at a local credit union and embezzle $5,000–a prison sentence is very predictable.

If a spoiled-rotten rich kid gets caught with drugs, Mommy and Daddy’s lawyer kicks into gear and gets a suspended sentence plea bargain. The kid from the bottom 90% gets a tenner in the Drug War Gulag. And so on.

America is also a regional two-tier economy/society. When a society kneels down and worships financialization and globalization, it gives all the political and financial power to the already-super-wealthy and corporations who get 97% of the gains from financialization and globalization.

Since the majority of already-super-wealthy and corporate managers reside in coastal metropolitan areas, the tide of new wealth flooding into the hands of the few boosts the economies of these select regions. The Brookings chart below may look like a chart of political polarization, and superficially that’s obvious: the 500 counties Biden won hold 70% of the nation’s GDP while the 2,500 counties Trump won hold 30% of the nation’s GDP.

The real polarization is economic-financial: there are two economies in America and there’s very little commonality in the two economies. One benefited greatly from financialization and globalization, and the other was hollowed out and brought to its knees by financialization and globalization.

Since income and political power flow to capital, the disparity / inequality far exceed the 70/30 split depicted in this chart. The chart showing the soaring wealth of billionaires is a more accurate reflection of inequality in America.

What’s missing from the 70/30 map is the staggering percentage of residents in the wealthiest 500 counties who are precariats living paycheck to paycheck, the ALICE Americans: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

Is there any wonder that stripmined Americans who sense their powerlessness are attracted to virulent partisanship? The more extreme the pendulum swing of wealth-power inequality, the more extreme the political blowback.

America’s political class has no plan to reverse this destructive tide. Our leadership’s “plan” is something they know well first-hand: bribery and complicity: just send a monthly stipend of bread and circuses to all the disempowered, decapitalized households, urban and rural, so they can stay out of trouble and not bother the elites’ profitable pillaging of America and the planet.

The insurrection and coup happened long ago, when financialization and globalization hollowed out the real economy and disempowered the bottom 90%. When the whole rotten palace of corruption collapses in a putrid heap, look no further for the cause than the extremes of wealth-power inequality that rendered “democracy” a convenient facade for the stripmining of the bottom 90%.

Try to find a developing-world kleptocracy in which the top few collect more than 97% of the income from capital. There aren’t any that top the USA, the world’s most extreme kleptocracy. We’re Number 1.

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What they REALLY mean by “living with Covid”

Why are media dialling back on the Covid hysteria? Is it because the “pandemic” is really over? Or is it an important part of the gaslighting process?

By Kit Knightly

Source: Off-Guardian

The past few days, even weeks, have seen a definite alteration in the media’s attitude to the Covid “pandemic”.

There have been numerous examples of what, if the media were not so tightly controlled, might be referred to as “dissent”. But, since the media is tightly controlled, we must call it an apparent change in the message.

Famously, Dr Steve James, a consultant anaesthetist, confronted UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid over the weakness of the science supporting vaccine mandates. Note this was actually aired on Sky News:

A few days ago Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, went on Good Morning America to discuss the “Omicron” wave, and ended up pointing out that most “omicron deaths” have multiple co-morbidities.

In another interview, with Fox News, Dr Walenksy said the CDC was going to publish data on how many people had died of Covid, and how many died with it.

This begs a series of important questions.

  1. Why is the director of the CDC (seemingly) engaging with these Covid skeptic arguments after two years of pretending they don’t exist?
  2. Why would Sky News air, and then tweet out, the video clip of a doctor challenging the health secretary?
  3. Why is the Guardian running headlines like “End mass jabs and live with Covid, says ex-head of vaccine taskforce” and quoting medical personnel who say we need to “treat Covid like the flu”?
  4. Why are new studies being promoted that claim T cells from ordinary colds can “protect you from Covid”?

There’s no denying the messaging, the deceleration of the narrative. There’s a new thread being woven into the story: “living with Covid”.

For over a month that has been a popular buzz phrase all over the Western press.

On December 1st, Forbes headlined:

Why Endemic Covid-19 Will Be Cause For Celebration

An article which argued, among other things, that “Endemic Covid-19 will be no worse than seasonal flu”. This sentiment has been repeated ad nauseum across multiple outlets.

We already mentioned the Guardian article from January 8th, there’s also an earlier one from Dec 5th titled “From pandemic to endemic: this is how we might get back to normal”.

CNBC ran three almost identical stories on this topic in the space of two weeks:

On New Year’s Day, Vox had a piece titled:

Despite omicron, Covid-19 will become endemic. Here’s how.

Bloomberg is reporting that Omicron signals the end “of the acute phase of the pandemic”.

Just yesterday the New York Post headlined: “COVID will become endemic by later this year, ex-Biden task-force head predicts”, and USA Today asked The pandemic is changing. Will omicron bring a ‘new normal’ for COVID-19?

And earlier today Channel 4 opined that “Covid in 2022” means “learning to live with the virus”.

The messaging isn’t just media-based, either. Reports are coming out that “living with Covid” is going to be the UK government’s strategy moving into 2022, with an official publication on this topic expected “within weeks”.

So, “living with the virus” is going to be added to the Covid phrasebook alongside “flatten the curve” and “the new normal”. But what does it actually entail?

When they say “living with Covid”, what do they really mean?

Well, firstly, let’s not make the mistake of trusting any government, media, or “expert”, just because they start telling 20% of the truth.

They are liars, they have an agenda, this is always true, you should always be aware of it, even when – or especially when – they are suddenly telling you what you want to hear.

They have not seen the light, they are not correcting their mistakes, they not finally seeing sense, and they are not switching sides.

There have been no Damascene conversions. There is no wave of guilty consciences sweeping through the elite.

They have an agenda. They always have an agenda.

You should also dispel all notions of “getting back to normal” from your mind. That isn’t happening.

How do we know? Because they said so.

Half the articles talking about “living with Covid” go into detail about how things won’t really change. Take this one, from the Guardian yesterday:

‘Living with Covid’ does not have to mean ditching all protective measures

It outlines that Covid could become endemic soon, that the mass testing of asymptomatic people may be counter-productive and possibly should stop, but it doesn’t reverse course on masks or vaccines and leaves the door wide open for a new “variant” to jump-start more lockdowns in the future:

“Living with Covid” does not have to mean reversing every protective measure. If better ventilation and face masks reduce the impact of winter respiratory illnesses, that is a positive, even if the NHS is no longer under imminent threat of being overwhelmed. We will also need to remain vigilant about the threat from new variants, which could still cause big setbacks. There is no guarantee that another variant, more infectious and more virulent than Omicron, could emerge in the future. Scientists say that supporting global vaccination efforts will be crucial to securing the path to normality.

Masks, working from home, and social distancing in crowded settings could all be “sticking around”, according to one of the above CNBC articles. And “Covid Boosters could become like annual flu shots”.

Meanwhile, “experts” are warning that even once Covid is endemic we should prepare for “surges” every three or four months.

It seems “living with the virus” means maintaining the status quo, loosening a few restrictions, but leaving the path clear for new waves of fear porn should the need arise.

But why? Why are they doing this now?

It could be that there are splits and factions, fractures along the floors of the corridors of power. Perhaps some members of the great big club want to halt the Pandemic where it is, afraid that any more progress along the “Great Reset” path may imperil their own position or their own wealth.


What I see as more likely is that they sense they have over-extended themselves already, and that stretching further could break their entire story to pieces.

To use an apt metaphor, imagine the “Great Reset” agenda as an invading army, marching through town after town, winning battle after battle and burning as they go.

There comes a point where you have to stop. Your supply lines are pulled taut, your men are tired and numbers dwindling, and the occupied citizens are putting up more and more resistance. Push on now, and your entire campaign could crumble.

What you do in that situation is withdraw to a defensible position and fortify it. You don’t give back the land you’ve taken, or not much of it at least, but you stop pushing forward.

The people whose land you have invaded will be so glad the war is over, so tired of fighting, they’ll be so relieved by the respite before realising how much of their land you’ve taken away. They may even say “let them keep it, as long as they stop attacking us”.

That’s how conquest works, from the days of ancient Rome and beyond. A cycle of aggression followed by fortification.

When we switch from “pandemic” to “endemic”, we won’t be getting our rights back, the vaccine passes and surveillance and the culture of paranoia and fear will remain, but people will be so relieved at the pause in the campaign of fear and propaganda they will stop resisting.

They won’t push back, and the “New Normal” will literally become just that, normal.

Hell, they’ll probably greenlight funding for anything Bill Gates wants to do make sure “Covid is the last pandemic”.

And then, one day when people are nice and docile again, a new variant will come back, or we’ll need a “climate lockdown”, and the push for control of every aspect of our lives will start up again in earnest.

The best thing we can do is not fall into the trap.

The press politicians and Big Pharma didn’t all just realise the truth, they’re just using some small parts of truth they’ve been ignoring for two years to fortify their position.

But that doesn’t make it a bad thing.

The very fact they feel the need to do so shows that the resistance is building, and that they’re are trying to lull us into relaxing.

Now would be the worst time to stop fighting.

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Two for Tuesday


Dead Prez

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The Lesson of Covid: When People Are Anxious, Isolated and Hopeless, They’re Less Ready To Think Critically

People crowd along a street of Barcelona to buy books and roses at makeshift stands as Catalans celebrate the day of their patron saint, Sant Jordi. Emilio Morenatti | AP

The corporate media is not our friend. Its coverage of the pandemic is not there to promote the public good. It is there to feed our anxieties, keep us coming back for more, and monetize that distress. The only cure for this sickness? A lot more critical thinking.

By Jonathan Cook

Source: Mint Press News

When I criticize meddling in Syria by Britain and America, or their backing of groups there that elsewhere are considered terrorists, it does not follow that I am, therefore, a cheerleader for the dictatorship of Bashar Assad or that I think that Syrians should be denied a better political system. Similarly, when I criticize Joe Biden or the Democratic party, it does not necessarily follow that I think Donald Trump would have made a better president.

A major goal of critical thinking is to stand outside tribal debates, where people are heavily invested in particular outcomes, and examine the ways debates have been framed. This is important because one of the main ways power expresses itself in our societies is through the construction of official narratives – usually through the billionaire-owned media – and the control and shaping of public debate.You are being manipulated – propagandized – even before you engage with a topic if you look only at the substance of a debate and not at other issues: such as its timing, why the debate is taking place or why it has been allowed, what is not being mentioned or has been obscured, what is being emphasized, and what is being treated as dangerous or abhorrent.

If you want to be treated like a grown-up, an active and informed participant in your society rather than a blank sheet on which powerful interests are writing their own self-serving narratives, you need to be doing as much critical thinking as possible – and especially on the most important topics of the day.

Learning curve

The opportunity to become more informed and insightful about how debates are being framed, rather than what they are ostensibly about, has never been greater. Over the past decade, social media, even if the window it offered is rapidly shrinking, has allowed large numbers of us to discover for the first time those writers who, through their deeper familiarity with a specific topic and their consequent greater resistance to propaganda, can help us think more critically about all kinds of issues – Russia, Venezuela, Iran, Israel-Palestine, the list is endless.

This has been a steep learning curve for most of us. It has been especially useful in helping us to challenge narratives that vilify “official enemies” of the west or that veil corporate power – which has effectively usurped what was once the more visible and, therefore, accountable political power of western states. In the new, more critical climate, the role of the war industries – bequeathed to us by western colonialism – has become especially visible.

But what has been most disheartening about the past two years of Covid is the rapid reversal of the gains made in critical thinking. Perhaps this should not entirely surprise us. When people are anxious for themselves or their loved ones, when they feel isolated and hopeless, when “normal” has broken down, they are likely to be less ready to think critically.

The battering we have all felt during Covid mirrors the emotional, and psychological assault critical thinking can engender. Thinking critically increases anxiety by uncomfortably exposing us to the often artificial character of official reality. It can leave us feeling isolated and less hopeful, especially when friends and family expect us to be as deeply invested in the substance – the shadow play – of official, tribal debates as they are. And it undermines our sense of what “normal” is by revealing that it is often what is useful to power elites rather than what is beneficial to the public good.

Emotional resilience

There are reasons why people are drawn to critical thinking. Often because they have been exposed in detail to one particular issue that has opened their eyes to wider narrative manipulations on other issues. Because they have the tools and incentives – the education and access to information – to explore some issues more fully. And, perhaps most importantly, because they have the emotional and psychological resilience to cope with stripping away the veneer of official narratives to see the bleaker reality beneath and to grasp the fearsome obstacles to liberating ourselves from the corrupt elites that rule over us and are pushing us towards ecocidal oblivion.

The anxieties produced by critical thinking, the sense of isolation, and the collapse of “normal” is in one sense chosen. They are self-inflicted. We choose to do critical thinking because we feel capable of coping with what it brings to light. But Covid is different. Our exposure to Covid, unlike critical thinking, has been entirely outside our control. And worse, it has deepened our emotional and psychological insecurities. To do critical thinking in a time of Covid – and most especially about Covid – is to add a big extra layer of anxiety, isolation, and hopelessness.

Covid has highlighted the difficulties of being insecure and vulnerable, thereby underscoring why critical thinking, even in good times, is so difficult. When we are anxious and isolated, we want quick, reassuring solutions, and we want someone to blame. We want authority figures to trust and act in our name.

Complex thinking

It is not hard to understand why the magic bullet of vaccines – to the exclusion of all else – has been so fervently grasped during the pandemic. Exclusive reliance on vaccines has been a great way for our corrupt, incompetent governments to show they know what they are doing. The vaccines have been an ideal way for corrupt medical-industrial corporations – including the biggest offender, Pfizer – to launder their images and make us all feel indebted to them after so many earlier scandals like Oxycontin. And, of course, the vaccines have been a comfort blanket to us, the public, promising to bring ZeroCovid (false), to provide long-term immunity (false), and to end transmission (false).

And as an added bonus, vaccines have allowed both our corrupt leaders to shift the blame away from themselves for their other failed public health policies and our corrupt “health” corporations to shift attention away from their profiteering by encouraging the vaccinated majority to scapegoat an unvaccinated minority. Divide and rule par excellence.

To state all this is not to be against the vaccines or believe the virus should rip through the population, killing the vulnerable, any more than criticizing the US war crime of bombing Syria signifies enthusiastic support for Assad. It is only to recognize that political realities are complex, and our thinking needs to be complex too.

‘Herd immunity

These ruminations were prompted by a post on social media I made the other day referring to the decision of the Guardian – nearly two years into the pandemic – to publish criticisms by an “eminent” epidemiologist, Prof Mark Woolhouse, of the British government’s early lockdown policies. Until now, any questioning of the lockdowns has been one of the great unmentionables of the pandemic outside of right-wing circles.

Let us note another prominent example: the use of the term “herd immunity,” which was until very recently exactly what public health officials aimed for as a means to end contagion. It signified the moment when enough people had acquired immunity, either through being infected or vaccinated, for community transmission to stop occurring. But because the goal during Covid is not communal immunity but universal vaccination, the term “herd immunity” has now been attributed to a sinister political agenda. It is presented as some kind of right-wing plot to let vulnerable people die.

This is not accidental. It is an entirely manufactured, if widely accepted, narrative. Recovery from infection – something now true for many people – is no longer treated by political or medical authorities as conferring immunity. For example, in the UK, those who have recovered from Covid, even recently, are not exempted, as the vaccinated are, from self-isolation if they have been in close contact with someone infected with Covid. Also, of course, those recovered from Covid do not qualify for a vaccine passport. After all, it is not named an immunity passport. It is a vaccine passport.

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, has at least been open about the “reasoning” behind this kind of discrimination. “In a democracy,” he says, apparently unironically, “the worst enemies are lies and stupidity. We are putting pressure on the unvaccinated by limiting, as much as possible, their access to activities in social life. … For the non-vaccinated, I really want to piss them off. And we will continue to do this, to the end. This is the strategy.”

Notice that the lies and stupidity here emanate from Macron: he is not only irresponsibly stoking dangerous divisions within French society, he has also failed to understand that the key distinctions from a public health perspective are between those with immunity to Covid and those without it and those who are vulnerable to hospitalization and those who are not. These are the most meaningful markers of how to treat the pandemic. The obsession with vaccination only serves a divide and rule agenda and bolsters pandemic profiteering.

Crushing hesitancy

The paradox is that these narratives dominate even as the evidence mounts that the vaccines offer very short-term immunity and that, ultimately, as Omicron appears to be underscoring, many people are likely to gain longer-term immunity through Covid infection, even those who have been vaccinated. But the goal of public “debate” on this topic has not been transparency, logic, or informed consent. Instead, it has been the crushing of any possible “vaccine hesitancy.”

I have repeatedly tried to highlight the lack of critical thinking around the exclusive focus on vaccines rather than immune health, the decision to vaccinate children in the face of strong, if largely downplayed, opposition from experts, and the divisive issue of vaccine mandates. But I have had little to say directly about lockdowns, which have tended to look to me chiefly like desperate stop-gap measures to cover up the failings of our underfunded, cannibalized, and increasingly privatized health services (a more pressing concern). I am also inclined to believe that the balance of benefits from lockdowns, or whether they work, is difficult to weigh without some level of expertise. That is one reason why I have been arguing throughout the pandemic that experts need to be allowed more open, robust, and honest public debate.

It is also why I offered a short comment on Prof Woolhouse’s criticisms, published in the Guardian this week, of national lockdown policies. This evoked a predictably harsh backlash from many followers. They saw it as further proof that the “Covid denialists have captured me,” and I am now little better than a pandemic conspiracy theorist.

Framing the debate

That is strange in itself. Prof Woolhouse is a mainstream, reportedly “eminent” epidemiologist. His eminence is such that it also apparently qualifies him to be quoted extensively and uncritically in the Guardian. The followers I antagonize every time I write about the pandemic appear to treat the Guardian as their Covid Bible, as do most liberals. And they regularly castigate me for referring to the kind of experts the Guardian refuses to cite. So how does my retweeting of a Guardian story that uncritically reports on anti-lockdown comments from a respectable, mainstream epidemiologist incur so much wrath – and seemingly directed only against me?

The answer presumably lies in the short appended comment in my retweet, which requires that one disengage from the seemingly substantive debate – lockdowns, good or bad? That conversation is certainly interesting to me, especially if it is an honest one. But the contextual issues around that debate, the ones that require critical thinking, are even more important because they are the best way to evaluate whether an honest debate is actually being fostered.

My comment, intentionally ambiguous, implicitly requires readers to examine wider issues about the Guardian article: the timing of its publication, why a debate about lockdowns has not previously been encouraged in the Guardian but apparently is now possible, how the debate is being framed by Woolhouse and the Guardian, and how we, the readers, may be being manipulated by that framing.

Real, live conspiracy

Interestingly, I was not alone in being struck by how strange the preferred framing was. A second epidemiologist, Martin Kulldorff, a biostatistician at Harvard who serves on a scientific committee to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), saw problems with the article too. Unfortunately, however, Prof Kulldorff appears not to qualify as “eminent” enough for the Guardian to quote him uncritically. That is because he was one of three highly respected academics who brought ignominy down on their heads in October 2020 by authoring the Great Barrington Declaration.

Like Woolhouse, the Declaration offered an alternative to blanket national lockdowns – the official response to rising hospitalizations – but did so when those lockdowns were being aggressively pursued, and no other options were being considered. The Guardian was among those that pilloried the Declaration and its authors, presenting it as an irresponsible right-wing policy and a recipe for Covid to tear through the population, laying waste to significant sections of the population.

My purpose here is not to defend the Great Barrington Declaration. I don’t feel qualified enough to express a concrete, public view one way or another on its merits. And part of the reason for that hesitancy is that any meaningful conversation at the time among experts was ruthlessly suppressed. The costs of lockdowns were largely unmentionable in official circles and the “liberal” media. It was instantly stigmatized as the policy preference of the “deplorable” right.

This was not accidental. We now know it was a real, live conspiracy. Leaked emails show that Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to the president, and his minions used their reliable contacts in prominent liberal media to smear the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration. “There needs to be a quick and devastating published takedown of its premises. I don’t see anything like that online yet – is it underway?” a senior official wrote to Fauci. The plan was character assassination, pure and simple—nothing to do with science. And “liberal” media happily and quickly took up that task.

The Guardian, of course, went right along with those smears. This is why Prof Kulldorff has every right to treat with disdain both the Guardian’s decision to now publish Prof Woolhouse’s criticisms – so very belatedly – of lockdown policy and Prof Woolhouse’s public distancing of himself from the now-radioactive Great Barrington Declaration even though his published comments closely echo the policies proposed in the Declaration. As Prof Kulldorff observes:

Hilarious logical somersault. In the Guardian, Mark Woolhouse argues that [the] UK should have used focused protection as defined in the Great Barrington Declaration, while criticizing the Great Barrington Declaration due to its mischaraterization by the Guardian.”

Reputational damage 

If we put on our critical thinking hats for a moment, we can deduce a plausible reason for that mischaracterization.

Like the rest of the “liberal” media, the Guardian has been fervently pro-lockdown and an avowed opponent of any meaningful discussion of the Great Barrington Declaration since its publication more than a year ago. Moreover, it has characterized any criticism of lockdowns as an extreme right-wing position. But the paper now wishes to open up a space for a more critical discussion of the merits of lockdown at a time when rampant but milder Omicron threatens to shut down not only the economy but distribution chains and health services.

Demands for lockdowns are returning – premised on the earlier arguments for them – but the formerly obscured costs are much more difficult to ignore now. Even lockdown cheerleaders like the Guardian finally understand some of what was clear 15 months ago to experts like Prof Kulldorff and his fellow authors.

What the Guardian appears to be doing is smuggling the Great Barrington Declaration’s arguments back into the mainstream but trying to do it in a way that won’t damage its credibility and look like an about-face. It is being entirely deceitful. And the vehicle for achieving this end is a fellow critic of lockdowns, Prof Woolhouse, who is not tainted goods like Prof Kulldorff, even though their views appear to overlap considerably. Criticism of lockdowns is being rehabilitated via Prof Woolhouse, even as Prof Kulldorff remains an outcast, a deplorable.

In other words, this is not about any evolution in scientific thinking. It is about the Guardian avoiding reputational damage – and doing so at the cost of continuing to damage Prof Kulldorff’s reputation. Prof Kulldorff and his fellow authors were scapegoated when their expert advice was considered politically inconvenient, while Prof Woolhouse is being celebrated because similar expert advice is now convenient.

This is how much of our public discourse operates. The good guys control the narrative so that they can ensure they continue to look good, while the bad guys are tarred and feathered, even if they are proven right. The only way to really make sense of what is going on is to disengage from this kind of political tribalism, examine contexts, avoid being so invested in outcomes, and work hard to gain more perspective on the anxiety and fear each of us feels.

The corporate media is not our friend. Its coverage of the pandemic is not there to promote the public good. It is there to feed our anxieties, keep us coming back for more, and monetize that distress. The only cure for this sickness? A lot more critical thinking.

Posted in Authoritarianism, censorship, conditioning, Corporate Crime, corporate news, Corruption, culture, Deep State, Dystopia, Health, media, Media Literacy, news, propaganda, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology, State Crime, surveillance state, Technocracy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Covid: A Collision of Historical and Scientific Illiteracy

By Kevin Ryan

Source: The Burning Platform

It’s been a year since I’ve written anything for this blog. The reason, frankly, is that I have been at a loss for words. What has happened to human society in the last two years has been, for anyone with an understanding of history, beyond belief.

Of course, it should not be beyond belief because we know history repeats itself. And in the last two years it has been repeating with a vengeance.

I spent 18 years working to understand, and help others understand, the crimes of September 11, 2001. Those crimes were never honestly investigated apart from the work of independent researchers. The official accounts are widely known to be false and those who have taken the time to look deeper have found that there are good reasons to believe that people within government and major corporations were involved in planning and executing the attacks.

September 11th was a deception used by rich and powerful people to steal resources, consolidate power, and control the masses. It was just one example of such a mass deception.  Others include the following.

  • The CIA’s assassination of JFK
  • The false Gulf of Tonkin incident that escalated the CIA’s war in Vietnam
  • The deceptions used to justify the 1991 Gulf War
  • The government-sponsored 2001 anthrax attacks
  • Claims of weapons of mass destruction used to justify the second invasion of Iraq
  • The many manufactured terrorist events following 9/11
  • Previously hyped pandemics, including the 2005 “Bird Flu” and 2009 “Swine Flu” that were grossly exaggerated by the World Health Organization for the benefit of big pharma companies

Along with these conveniently over-looked crimes, the last 18 months have shown that the 9/11 lie was not taken seriously. Anyone who still believes that governments and media care about our health has forgotten that deep state actors murdered thousands of citizens on 9/11. The corporate media and corporate-owned governments then covered it up so that a million more could be murdered to steal resources and control people.

Historical illiteracy is largely to blame for the Covid scare although much of that illiteracy is by choice, through willful ignorance of events that cause cognitive dissonance. The examples cited above are but a few in the long history of deceptions used by governments to drive the agendas of the powerful few. People who ignore these historical facts not only turn a bind eye to history, they ignore painfully obvious features of current affairs including that “terrorism” has mysteriously disappeared.

People don’t want to acknowledge the fact that we do not live in democratic societies any longer. Yet today the world is fully run by an oligarchy and that oligarchy wants us to be diverted and outraged about superficial things while staying ignorant or silent on issues important to us like the following.

  • Indefinite detention without charges at Guantanamo Bay
  • Unwarranted mass surveillance
  • Voting machine hacking and election theft
  • Failure to prosecute the crimes of previous administrations (e.g. drone killings targeting weddings and funerals, torture at CIA black sites)
  • The increasing totalitarian censorship of dissenting views

Some people have accepted or ignored the poverty and famine being driven by the reckless response to Covid. And they have also ignored that the people driving the Covid scare have a history of crimes against humanity.  Not the least of these are Bill Gates, who has monopolized healthcare and has tried to buy off the media, and Anthony Fauci, who is known for having killed nearly 200,000 HIV patients with the toxic drug AZT.

How has the public’s willful ignorance been established so easily?  The Covid crimes were carefully practiced beforehand through a series of exercises conducted by governments and corporations since 9/11. And the operation builds upon elements utilized in all the previous government crimes against humanity.  Here are three primary components.

  1. As has been demonstrated through all of history, the most effective way to dumb down a population is through fear.  Communism, terrorism, WMDs, virus… it all works the same way. This basic feature of the Covid scare is one of many features and outcomes that it shares with previous psychological operations.
  2. Censorship is another hallmark of authoritarian tyranny and we are seeing it raised to a new level in the media today. Any doctor or scientist who has spoken out about the obvious lack of scientific scrutiny applied to the Covid scare has been blocked on social media and ignored or smeared on television, radio, and in print.
  3. In America the most useful tool driving willful ignorance has been the narrative behind the phony 2-party system in politics. The Covid scare works in part because many Americans are easily controlled through the farcical theater of “right-left” identity politics. Today if you want “the left” to take a position, all that is needed is to frame it as opposition to Trump.  Control of “the right” is just as easy. This works despite the fact that we are ruled by an oligarchy that does the same things no matter who is in office.

Added to this formula of fear, censorship, and cartoonish politics has been the complete abandonment of science. Scientific illiteracy is known to be quite high in America, but that has become the case for many nations and today anyone with a lab coat and a pointer promoted by the media is accepted as a scientific authority. What people often forget is that it was doctors, not soldiers, who committed the worst crimes in Nazi Germany. These days it is just as easy to buy a doctor or a scientist as it is to buy a politician.

Scientific literacy in America took a giant leap downward after 9/11. The absurd anti-scientific approach taken by the government for the destruction of the Word Trade Center buildings was either accepted or left unquestioned by many Americans. No doubt the death of science with respect to 9/11 was a key step in enabling the Covid scam.

Here are a few examples of how people around the world abandoned science when it came to Covid.

  1. The PCR test for Covid infection in the U.S., which was used in many other countries as well, did not identify a unique coronavirus. In other words, the test had a high rate of false positives. Still, people accepted the narrative of “cases” that drove the fear.
  2. The policy endorsed by the WHO and the CDC that attributed Covid as a cause of death for anyone who tested positive using the false PCR test, no matter what their actual cause of death was, dramatically inflated the number of deaths attributed to Covid.
  3. Both the word vaccine and the word pandemic were redefined by agencies like the WHO to enable the Covid scare.
  4. The “vaccines” are experimental gene therapies that are making people sick and killing them. Those bought into the vaccine narrative responded to this fact with the diversionary claim that the Covid drugs do not change your DNA. But most gene therapies do not change your DNA. Instead, they provide a functioning gene in addition to your DNA. More importantly, all the Covid “vaccines” provide genetic material that drives the production of toxic spike proteins that cause blood clotting, endothelial tissue damage, antibody dependent enhancement, and death.
  5. The Emergency Use Authorizations under which these Covid drugs were granted temporary approvals were based on fraudulent attacks against long-established, effective treatments like Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine.  The suppression of these effective drugs is responsible for the deaths of the patients who did die from Covid (instead of just with Covid).

How do we go forward realizing that many of our friends, family, and coworkers have decided to remain willfully ignorant of history and science and the facts about the Covid psychological operation?

It is a difficult question but one that has a few clear answers. First, we must stop parroting the absurd official narrative regarding Covid. It is an illness that has a 99.7% survival rate for the elderly and higher for everyone else. And it is very obviously a tool of propaganda in a psychological operation that exhibits all the features and outcomes of previous psychological operations. So, the first step is to not accept or repeat the nonsense narrative.

Secondly, since social media and other corporate media are completely compromised and engage in censorship of any facts related to Covid, we must reach people directly. This means speaking out locally, and contacting your city, county, and state government representatives to oppose the Covid agenda.

There are creative ways to resist as well. For example, if you are forced to wear a mask in public areas in order to conduct your life, put a message on the mask that lets like minded people see you. Something like “Mind Control” or “You stay safe, I’ll stay free” would work.

Finally, realizing that this will all get much worse before it gets better, plan to reduce your dependence on goods and services controlled by the oligarchy. If you can, get off the grid. In other words, find alternative sources of power, food, water, and the other necessities of life before the ultimate tool of control—the vaccine passport—limits your access.

The psychological operations of the media and political establishment are ramping up. They’re targeting every weakness of the gullible public, from its scientific and historical illiteracy to its most banal prejudices, in order to inflame superficial separations from the farcical left/right division to racial tensions. They know us better than we know ourselves.

Let’s resist these provocations and see if we can establish control groups within this corrupt system that can survive and educate future generations.

Kevin Ryan is a chemist, former laboratory director, and prominent voice in the 9/11 Truth movement. You can read more his work at his blog. You can also watch his testimony to the Toronto Hearings on 9/11 here, his video on the parallels between 9/11 and Covid here and his interview as part of our Covid19/11 series here.

Posted in Authoritarianism, censorship, civil liberties, conditioning, Conspiracy, Corporate Crime, culture, Deep State, Dystopia, elites, freedom of speech, Geopolitics, Health, History, media, Media Literacy, news, police state, propaganda, Psy-ops, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology, State Crime, surveillance state, Technocracy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Let Our Vision Overcome The Narratives

By Doug “Uncola” Lynn

Source: The Burning Platform

When “taking the vax” became a means to signal ones virtue as part of the moral high ground, the right side of history, etc. many people were indulging themselves by taking the vaxx. It became not just an act of personal health or even collective health but a signal, a ritual of their faith in something much bigger and much more sinister.

The origin of that faith and purpose of that ritual should not be ignored. Especially given how by nature of the vaxx being a moral position many of those people entered into that contract full knowing that those of us who refused would be indicted by that same moral position.

– Comment by Dangerous Variant,  Dec 13, 2021

Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

― Voltaire

Where there is no vision, the people perish

– Proverbs 29:18

I read an opinion column early in the new year written by a local woman scolding The Unvaccinated in my area. Ironically, she addressed her article to the “my body, my choice” crowd and argued those who don’t get vaccinated should have their health insurance capped. She claimed taxpayers should not be burdened by those too selfish to care about overwhelmed health care systems or for those who are oppressing future generations.

Where does one even start?

The Irish author and satirist, Jonathan Swift, once wrote:  “Reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired”.  Obviously, that particular maxim applies to the fairer sex as well.

People act upon what they believe and this is, in fact, the very definition of “faith”.  For even the Bible says faith (i.e. belief) without works (i.e. action) is dead.  It means the woman’s article was written and published as the result of her faith in the Covid narrative; and reason be damned.

Certainly, the Covid Deceived have been made to fear. And they were tricked by the most powerful people and organizations on the planet. But their faith is more akin to superstition – cult-like and hypnotic; the end result of media-induced propaganda programming psychosis.

It’s been said that neurotics build castles in the air and psychotics live in them. Except a majority today reside in mental castles that were, in fact, constructed by psychotics. Yet the masses have entered those castles on their own volition and it means Voltaire was right: Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

Hasn’t this been the story of mankind since time immemorial?

In the middle of December 2021, blogger Jim Quinn ( posted an article entitled “They Needed the Omicron Variant”  and included a total of 37 bullet-points…“mile-markers”, if you will, on the road to The Great Reset – and concluded with these words:

As Euripides warned centuries ago, when the mob is persuaded by the honeyed words of evil men, great woes befall the state. Gates, Soros, Schwab, Fauci and Biden are evil men attempting to remake the world in a way that benefits them and their Davos co-conspirators. We will not comply. We will not obey. We will not give up our freedoms and liberties without a fight to the finish.

Irrespective of the financial elite’s motivations, the simple truth is this:  They have successfully pulled it off.  As of this writing, the U.S. Supreme Court has yet not decided on the Biden/OSHA-mandated Covid vaccinations but these will either be upheld or not.

If the mandates were upheld prior to this article’s post, then it would have been titled:  “Let Our Vision Overcome False Narratives & Unjust Laws”.

But, even if the OSHA mandates are struck down by the Supreme Court, or get overridden by state lawmakers with common sense, be assured those administering The Great Reset have more tricks up their sleeves.  Just this week, Dr. Robert Malone, an early pioneer of mRNA technology, has warned of an “Ebola-Like Hemorrhagic Fever Virus Now Spreading In China”.

So, bearing all that in mind, I believe it would be dangerous to underestimate those administering the New World Order… or to overestimate the wisdom and intestinal fortitude of a majority of Americans; and, by extension, the entire global citizenry.

To the financial elite, the masses are viewed as a means to an end. Their end, that is. Or, stated another way, the plebeians are viewed as base material  – simple resources to get the “elite” where they are going.

On the popular entertainment streaming service, Netflix, the elitist worldview is revealed in the “Squid Game” series. The show is rife with symbols and messages that are, perhaps, most aptly deciphered at The Vigilant

The outline of this game is also the main logo of the series. The reason: It perfectly illustrates the core philosophy of Squid Game and, by extension, the elite. The rectangle represents the masses. The circle at the bottom of it represents those who are poor and heavily in debt. The triangle above the rectangle represents the elite ruling over the masses. The upper circle represents the all-powerful occult elite that controls the world.

Appropriately enough, the narrator explains that the children who play Squid Game must make their way to the upper circle to win.

Win or lose. Zero sum gain.  Rich versus poor. Us against them. Polemics.  Dialectics: A life and death game where the winners win the world.

In the end, though, the game is about survival.  Both the financial elite and the masses have near-reptilian instincts to survive. The innate survival mechanisms range from cold calculation to obvious ignorance dependent upon one’s position in the pyramid; as the masses are kept constantly confused, in the dark, and at each other’s throats.  Until, that is, mission accomplished. Game over.

Belief materializes through perspective and perspective derives from context and context is defined by narrative.  Surely, it all distills down to the stories in people’s heads. In fact, that is exactly how shit happens.

On January 6, 2022 one of my liberal acquaintances, an enthusiastic reader of the New York Times, expressed to me his gratitude that our “democracy survived”.

I calmly showed him how our democracy has NOT actually survived and he hasn’t broached the topic with me since. In any event, the keys of truth were given and he will either escape the imaginary castle in his head, or simply build a bigger moat.

What this guy will likely never understand, however, is that his insanities and absurdities were generated on purpose – the result of carefully crafted, and, quite often, chaotically circulated, narratives.  Irrationality has become the essence of madness as logic, truth, and reality have been upended into Clown World.

So how do we fight back? And how do we win?

In the thread of a previous blog post, a commenter by the name of “Stucky” had this to say:

Hope works remarkably well when it is part of one’s Belief System.

….But, hope sucks when it’s a strategy

I agree. Hope alone cannot restore the Old Normal.  In fact, nothing will at this point. But be assured of this:  If we don’t resist, we are guaranteed to lose our liberties initially, and, later, our very lives.

One simple offensive strategy might be to generate different stories, fresh metaphors, and new allegories, to replace the elite-constructed narratives that have become the castlesfortresses, and high towers, in people’s heads.  An example could be to challenge Big Pharma’s financial mining of the human immune system through endless Covid booster “subscriptions” with a metaphor describing mandatory organ donation by the state and in the service of The Collective.

Another method could involve sharing these websites (below) that give voice to the Covid vaccine-injured:

In my own locality, I have been hammering away at the foundational premises and assumptions underlying the Covid Agenda as follows:

– If the vaccines don’t stop infection or transmission, then what/who is behind the apparent agenda for vaccine passports?

 – And, if the shots work, then why are boosters needed?

By so doing, I would like to express my gratitude to those who have become the tip of the spear, so to speak, in the War Against Covid Propaganda:  Brave souls like Robert F. Kennedy, Dr. Peter McCullough, Professor John Ioannidis, Dr. Christina Parks, Dr. Judy Mikovits, Catherine Austin Fitts, Joseph Mercola, and the entire “Disinformation Dozen”, as well as ALL of the writers, bloggers, and commenters posting here on the alternative internet.

Robert F. Kennedy’s book, “The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health”, could be an effective weapon in converting progressives in the propaganda war because Kennedy is RFK’s son and JFK’S nephew. He has, additionally, been a champion of liberal causes including environmentalism.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend, so it was gratifying to see Kennedy’s take-down of the global medical cabal become a well-reviewed best seller this past Christmas season.

Posted in Activism, Authoritarianism, civil liberties, conditioning, Corporate Crime, culture, Dystopia, elites, Health, Law, media, news, Oligarchy, Philosophy, propaganda, Psy-ops, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology, State Crime, surveillance state, Technocracy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Saturday Matinee: District B13

By Brian Eggert

Source: Deep Focus Review

If the movies from French producer Luc Besson’s factory of B-grade actioners, District 13 (Banlieue 13, 2004) stands among the best. This is your typical martial arts-laden action extravaganza, filled with thumping techno music, a thin plot, and impressive stunts. But the increasingly prosaic clichés evident in Besson’s other films, which are also evident here, electrify with an uncommon kinetic energy. The action feels and looks real thanks to its stuntmen stars. The plot seems to have a social resonance behind it. And indeed the French soundtrack of techno and rap augments the no-holds-barred attitude of the movie.

The setting is Paris, 2010, which upon the release of this movie in 2004 was the future. Use your imagination. The city is plagued by unruly slums, and to isolate the problem areas, the government has erected a wall around a particular neighborhood known as District 13. The walls create a makeshift ghetto wherein all schools, all civil servants, and all hope has been evacuated. Inside, two million people are divided into various gangs and the police have no say, except that no one can leave through the guarded checkpoints. Drugs and crime run rampant on the streets within. Meanwhile, Elitist politicians would prefer to wipe this blotch off their maps entirely and start over.

Two heroes ban together to fight both a crime boss polluting the inside and political corruption stewing from outside the walls. One hero, Leïto (David Belle), comes from the slums. After being double-crossed by the local police, Leïto watches as his sister, Lola (Dany Verissimo), is taken hostage by the seedy gangster Taha (Bibi Naceri), and then he’s put in jail for 6 months to rot. Enter the other hero, supercop Damien (Cyril Raffaelli), who is commissioned by his superiors to go undercover, befriend Leïto, stage a prison break, and then use Leïto to sneak into District 13 to defuse a deadly bomb. The bomb was supposedly stolen from the government by the District 13 gangs, but this McGuffin proves to be slightly more complicated. And of course, Damien has only 24 hours to complete his mission.

Nevermind the plot, though. You’re not watching to find out what happens with Leïto, Damien, and the bomb. You’re watching to see the physical bravado of the two leads, as they demonstrate some of the most impressive stunts you’ve ever seen in any action movie. Belle and Raffaelli run across rooftops, leaping from building to building with ease. They scale obstacles and scuttle across walls like Spider-man. Whenever surrounded by a horde of goons, the heroes take them down without a minimum of fuss, exacting fisticuffs with a seemingly effortless precision. Through it all, they keep up a light banter that keeps the tone chummy and enjoyable.

Belle and Raffaelli are actual stuntmen and practitioners of a street-born, pseudo-martial art known as Parkour. According to the definition of those who practice it, “Parkour is the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one’s path by adapting one’s movements to the environment.” As opposed to a direct defensive strategy such as karate or jujitsu, Parkour involves running and jumping with fluidity, dodging obstructions with competence and speed through a complete awareness of one’s surroundings. But all you need to understand Parkour exists within this movie. The most amazing scenes aren’t those brimming with violence, they’re the chase scenes where Parkour skills are used to escape.

Director Pierre Morel, who would later helm Taken and From Paris with Love for the American market, exhibits clear and decisive action. The editing captures all the movements of Belle and Raffaelli with amazing clarity, whereas action movies nowadays so often rely on shaky-cam to disguise the stuntmen standing in for big-name stars. There’s nothing to hide in District 13, however, as Belle and Raffaelli complete the stunts and the fights themselves. Comparable to Jackie Chan in his heyday, these actors have the charisma, humor, and ability to advance themselves from stuntmen to stars, and they advance this movie from another dull actioner to must-see entertainment.

Watch District B13 on Tubi here:

Posted in Art, culture, Film, Saturday Matinee, Video | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment